Friday, October 31, 2008

Some Post-Halloween Notes

*Teaching the boys the "Trick or treat, smell my feet...." song right before we headed out to go trick-or-treating tonight was not my smartest parenting decision.

*If you are obviously too old to be trick-or-treating, without costume, ring my bell AFTER I have turned the lights off for the night and I am STILL nice enough to give you candy, please don't kick our pumpkins off our front steps as you leave.

*Noe didn't make it inside a single house. That was my small victory for the night. (His latest "behavior" is finding neighbors with open doors and exploring their houses uninvited. Luckily, my neighbors have been really cool about it so far. But holy crap...the stuff you learn about your neighbors as you are chasing your child through their house.)

*Our new Indian neighbor kept answering his door to trick-or-treaters and then had to explain that he had no candy. "So so sorry...." he said over and over in his thick Indian accent. I finally took it upon myself to tell him that he should probably turn his porch light off and close his door if he didn't want to be bothered all night. Poor guy....all of these strange American holidays and customs.

*Ed was so lucky he got to escape to work tonight. Between the sugar-induced tantrums and my sugar-induced headache, I am ready to call it a night.

Happy Halloween...

from our little Mexican revolutionaries!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just Another Asher

I was sad to find the name 'Asher' on another popular baby name list. I guess we weren't as original with our baby names as I thought.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Babes!

To my wife, best friend and partner in crime: Have a happy, happy, happy 29th* birthday!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our New Lawn Sign

Ed went down to the local Obama headquarters to sign up for some volunteer hours and to grab some Obama swag. I had requested a lawn sign, but the only one left said, "Asian Pacific Islanders for Obama."

Our neighbors must be so confused!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Autumn in Reston....

has finally arrived.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rock the Boat

With such a contentious presidential election, one thing that campaign officials and ads have been imploring people to do is vote early, if your state allows it. Here in Virginia, that is the case and on Friday, I (Ed) took Asher with me to our regional polling place in Reston. I had to sort of bribe him, telling him we'd go to the library to check out more "train veedos" and return the ones we had right afterward since we were going to be right next door.

Anyway, I figure going to vote a full 11 days ahead of election day, I'll just breeze in and out, we'll go to the library and come back home.

We get there, and parking's impossible. We parked a few blocks away. Then we get to the polling place... and the line is out the door. Who says we're an apathetic bunch? I felt heartened by the sight of Democracy at work. Since we stood in line for more than an hour, me and Asher had plenty of time to talk and I explained to him what was going on. (And to his credit, he was an amazingly well-behaved boy while we waited all that time.)

So I told him, over and over again, that we were going to vote for the next president. He seemed to understand, until about 30 minutes in, he started asking me "we gonna ride de boat?" Apparently, he thought we were waiting in line at a Disneyland ride or something. Once we got to the booths, he saw there wasn't a boat. He was a little disappointed, but he got excited again when I put on one of those "I Voted" stickers on his shirt.

One of my best friends told me of a time she went with her father to the polling place in 1964 when she was three years old. It's not a typical memory, but she remembers it fondly. So who knows, maybe someday Asher will tell his friends about the time he rocked the "boat" with his Papi.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Nature Trail

Asher thinks Halloween is a place and for the past month has been asking me when we are "going to Halloween?" Tonight, I finally got to take him to Halloween. Our neighborhood's Nature Center was putting on a 'spook trail.'

Our second event of the Halloween season. Back in the day, Halloween night we dressed in our homemade outfits, pulled out our pillowcases to haul our candy and spent the night canvassing the neighborhood for goods. These days, it seems like Halloween has turned into a month-long festival with enough commercialism mixed in to rival Christmas!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Timing We Can Believe In

They say life is about timing. Today, I (Ed) got another example of that and got to have a cool experience with my dear aunt, lovingly referred to in these pages as Tia Nanny.
As Jen noted in the previous post, my parents and aunt showed up to visit this week for a quick trip that was practically last-minute. And while I was checking my e-mail before going to bed on Monday night, I got a note that said Sen. Barack Obama would be holding a campaign rally here in Northern Virginia on Wednesday. It took approximately 0.00000003 seconds to figure out how I could juggle my work and take my aunt to see Obama speak in person. The fact that they just happened to be in town when this was announced only added to my urgency to make it work.

A little background: as we've noted on this blog, my aunt is in the tank for Barack Obama. A strong-willed woman, it's safe to say she's the liberal lion of the family. And to her credit, she's been on the Obama bandwagon from the start. My parents were big Hillary fans (my father, in fact, still wonders why Obama didn't pick Hillary for his running mate), so we were a Democratic family divided for a long time. Me and Jen voted Obama in the Virginia primary, and my parents gave me a ton of grief afterward. It really wasn't till Obama gave his acceptance speech at the convention that my parents finally came around.
Anyway, today I cleared my afternoon, worked from home in the morning and then me and my aunt made our way to Ida Lee Park in Leesburg. It was in the car that I told her where we were going. "Excited" doesn't do her reaction justice. She probably could've glided to Leesburg on her own. My aunt, 67 years old, babbled like a giddy teenager the entire trip.
The drive up to Ida Lee Park was quite an experience. Traffic was a nightmare (There was a lone two-lane road to get there, so the last mile took an hour. Really.), but being stuck in traffic allowed for plenty of time to talk and people watch.

And what a cross-section! Young, old, professionals, blue-collars, veterans, with several ethnicities and cultures represented. It made you fully appreciate the scope of Obama's candidacy. This went beyond him being "the black candidate" or "the liberal candidate" or (gasp!) "the socialist," as the McCain supporters at the park entrance kept calling him. This was about people being genuinely excited about the possibilities that lay ahead for our country, about actually feeling optimistic about something in politics.

As they say in "The Shawshank Redemption," hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things.
(And yes, of course it helps to have someone who's charismatic and has a fascinating personal story. I'm sure Dems were not THIS excited about John Kerry, who had the personality of a turnip.)

But on a more personal level, it was great to have this moment and this time with my aunt, who clearly enjoyed herself, whether it was cheering for Obama or sassing McCain supporters. She's been in fragile health of late, so any chance I get to spend quality time with her is a bonus.
We left a little early to beat the traffic but it did not lessen our enjoyment. In a quiet moment while dodging more pedestrians (they were still walking up to the park as we left) I gave a quick prayer of thanks that we got to do this. The impact she's had on my life is too long to chronicle here, but it's profound. Taking her to this rally was a form of thanks that doesn't even begin to cover it, believe me.

And the other thing that made this a cool experience for me was that I know that the guy who gave the speech would've understood. After all, what did Obama do after leaving Leesburg? He suspended his campaign and flew to Hawaii to be with his ailing grandmother, who he's cited in speeches and interviews as someone who's had a profound impact on his life.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Que Sorpresa!

Late, late Friday night Ed called from work....Guess what? My parents and my aunt are coming to visit (awkward pause)....Sunday morning.


I had an autism workshop scheduled for all day on Saturday, and then Ed was working Saturday evening. I had no clue how I was going to get ready for their arrival in time. But Ed did a ton of work on Saturday on basically no sleep....and here we are far so good.

While Mama Solis and crew are taking over my house for the next few days, I'll be reading....

Andrew Pham's breakthrough book.....his bike journey through Vietnam and the story of his family's escape after the fall of Saigon......

and working on my knitting project for Love Scarf 2008.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Columbus Day Weekend

Between a day at Chesapeake Beach...

And another day at Cox Farms....

We almost forgot about the Rohoboth Beach weekend that was not.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Financial Crisis versus LA Dodger Crisis

Our investment portfolio has lost about a third of its value in the past year. Our house is now worth 15-20% less than our purchase price. We are probably in for a long and deep recession.

The Dodgers are on their way to tanking in the second round of the playoffs.
Guess which crisis Ed was reacting to last night when he was slamming doors and throwing an absolute 3-year oldesque fit about the whole thing?*
Apparently, he is fine with delaying his retirement by ten years as long as the Dodgers win the pennant.

*in Ed's defense, he waited for the boys to go to bed before he started his tantrum.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Team Noe


Please consider making a donation here.

If you are in the area, we would love for you to join us at the National Mall on November 8. I promise it will inspire you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Hope You Go Bankrupt HELLiday Inn Express Rohoboth Beach

I sure feel like I let down my family right now.

We had planned to spend Columbus Day weekend at Rohoboth Beach, Delaware. Ed looked up our hotel confirmation earlier tonight and noticed that our check-in date was for a day last September (probably the day I made the reservation). I called them, with little hope they had an extra room for this weekend (its supposed to be in the 80s....gorgeous)...yeah...and I was right.

Not only that but they charged me for the two nights in September. I got them to take off the charges for one of the nights, but they won't give me a refund or even a raincheck for the other. I haven't given up....I'm going to make some more phone calls tomorrow. I'm pretty good at getting my money back.

I'm already dreading tomorrow morning when the boys wake up. I know that Asher will be asking about the beach before his little eyes are completely open. I called EVERY hotel in the Rohoboth Beach area and everything is booked. We'll have to make it a day trip.

Man, we sure needed this weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Few Random Notes

We are watching the debate right now and playing a pretend drinking game. When McCain addresses the audience as "my friends" or says "with honor and victory" I have to take a pretend shot. When Obama says "when I'm president" then Ed takes a pretend shot. We are both crazy pretend drunk.


I finished my pajama job yesterday. I was helping to rewrite Kaplan's curriculum. I am so bummed... it was such a great gig. My office was usually the couch, my uniform.... often pajamas and my hours....whenever I felt like working as long as I met my deadlines. Best of all... I didn't have to talk to anyone.


Noe lost his first tooth tonight. I was so surprised...I don't remember losing any teeth until the first grade. It makes me sad that he doesn't have the language yet to get excited about this milestone and look forward to the tooth fairy. But then again, I guess it will save us some money.

How is it that a three year old who calls our television set the "TB" and our portable DVD player the "train box" (thomas the train videos), work both machines better than his mama?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tia Nanny

Read all about our fun summer with Tia Nanny here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rasputin's Vice (and mine, too)

Ever since our trip to Portland in June, I have been craving another Rasputin's Vice from Rimsky-Korsakov, a favorite coffee house in inner SE Portland. So when I was recently assigned to serve a dessert to our neighborhood book club, I decided to make a copycat version. It turned out really good....very close to the real thing.

I used coffee-flavored ice cream, whipped cream, raspberries, chopped up toffee bars and chocolate-covered espresso beans. I served them in the little Irish whiskey mugs I treasure so much from an old friend.

Eating my copycat Rasputin's Vice sent me straight back to that little coffee house -- reserved, cerebral, bohemian, and eclectic -- just like my Portland. I remembered a thousand nights out with my best friends, discussing first college plans, boyfriends....and later husbands, jobs and kids.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Isn't it Supposed to be Fall?

Reston Jazz & Blues Festival
Lake Anne Plaza, Reston VA
great music
good food
and unplanned fountain fun