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Thursday, May 27, 2021

2020-2021 School Year is OVER!

 After I wrote my last post, my third born decided to return to school so I guess she had about six weeks with her class.  My oldest held out until the last two weeks of school and then returned for special events, some of which stressed her out and gave her headaches but she enjoyed being with her friends.  So even though it means kids are home again and I'm balancing work from home with them here, I'm happy to have them back.  Looking forward to a fun summer!  Also, no trip to Texas this summer, a break in a 6 or 7 year tradition.  I might need to go on a Tex Mex bender in July to compensate.  I'll learn how to make homemade tortillas and Pork Asada.  

Saturday, May 15, 2021

2021 Garden Update

May 15th - finally got all the plants in the ground.  We waited this long because the nights had been in the 40's and this is the first point where it seems to be solid 50's at night for the next 10 days.  I had excellent success with my seedlings, much better than last year, credit goes to heat mat and wrapping the plant stand in plastic with a heater in the room keeping temps in the 80's.  Once the plants reached a point where I could begin hardening them, my husband suggested I turn off the heater so they could get used to 70 degree temps in the house which were closer to what they'd experience during the day once planted outside.  I'd say they spent about a month in the super humid 80's environment and then 2-3 weeks re-potted and waiting to go into the ground.  I thought I started my seedlings late by starting April 11th but it turns out to be perfect for this year.

I also had the incredible fortune of turning one purple sweet potato into enough plants that I did not need to buy any, but I had placed my order back in February to Filaree Garlic Farm so I called and asked them to switch it to Beauregard sweet potatoes.  They couldn't have been nicer and made the switch so now I have to figure out where to put 12 more plants when they arrive.

The following is a photo of my purple sweet potato plants grown from one - just one - purple sweet potato!  I may never need to buy slips again!


 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

One kid pushed back into school!

They've been home for two quarters, in this time we've seen one major surge of coronavirus in this area which I covered in November/December.  The levels in our area appear to have fallen back to 5% as people are getting vaccinated.  I guess it's fair to say our quarantine is coming to an end.

Evie is the first to go back because she needs more reading time with her teacher than what I can provide.  Despite my best, or I should really say floundering efforts, she's not where I'd like her to be and I know she will benefit from being in school.  She was so excited to go back, up at 6:30 and promptly dressed in her best outfit, it is literally the first day of school all over again.  I'm really happy for her.

The others, well I'm sad to say Sam didn't do so well this past quarter.  He missed many assignments, there's been lots of debate over the how and why but regardless, the numbers don't lie.  I ordered new school pants, he grew out of the ones I bought for the school year, and they arrive on Friday so next week he goes back!

Charlotte has been a rock star in all this, and I don't say this to compare apples to oranges when it comes to my kids but the simple truth is she's more mature and has handled her work load well.  She wants to stay home and I'm of a mind to let her.

That leaves Violette, who also wants to stay home.  She gets her work done and her class is super full at school so I'm of a mind to keep her here.

We might have a 50/50 split for the remainder of the year.  I guess that's fine.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ten Years of Travel

It's time to renew my passport!  I know that once I turn it in that I won't get it back.  I'm sad to say goodbye to some of these stamps, Japan and Paris are two fond memories.  For these more unusual trips, one never knows if they will happen again!  

Apparently 2011 was a BIG year for travel for me:

  • February 26th - went to Japan, had a layover that because the original flight left late, meant I had to spend the night in Japan!  They put us up in a hotel and gave us dinner.  For me it was so incredibly cool because I've always wanted to visit.  I spent hours the next morning walking through the airport and had a nice teriyaki lunch before boarding my flight to Vietnam.
  • After Vietnam, I went to Hong Kong and China for a few days.  Then back to Vietnam for a few more days and on my return to Hong Kong, while in the airport, I watched in horror as the tsunami coverage unfolded on every television in the airport.  I literally watched live coverage.  It was heartbreaking.  I then had to return through Japan because United would not change my ticket.  My flight was the first back into Japan after they were able to return to work.  It almost felt disrespectful to barge in right after a national tragedy but they were so polite and professional.  It was so tragic.
  • July 8th I went to Paris!  To date it's the only time I've gone and it was a trip I'll remember for the rest of my life.  I was actually pregnant with Violette at the time!  After Paris, we went to London!
  • In September I was back in Hong Kong and China 
Violette was born on 4/3/12 so I did not travel this year.

In 2013 I went to Asia in the spring and fall.  I also went to London in February and it was my last trip there as our client merged with their US office thus negating the need to return. I'm forever sad about that.

In 2014 I went to Asia in the spring.

Evie was born on 12/29/14 so I didn't travel in 2015

In 2016 I went to Asia in the spring and fall.  I was given a 10 year visa to travel into China!  It's funny that my passport was set to run out in 5 years but I think they only offered like 1 year or 10 year after you get through the shorter months of 1 month or 3 month.  I don't think they'd offer me another 10 year at this point given the cooled relations between US and China.

In 2017 I went to Asia in January.

In 2018 I went to Asia in October.

In 2019 I went to Asia in January.  The rest of 2019 was filled with Hong Kong people rioting so all trips were canceled.

In 2020, Covid-19 took over the entire year so there was no travel.

In 2021, who knows what will happen, it's still early!

In summary, I went to Asia 10 times, Paris once, England twice, had two babies, and experienced one international corona virus lock down.  Looking forward to the next 10 years!  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

2021 Garden started

With Mike gone for two weeks, I struggled just to keep the basics going and put off the seedlings until his return.  Now I've removed all live food from the pantry room to prepare the room to be in the 80's for the foreseeable future.

I've also wrapped the shelves in plastic to hold the heat in and seedlings are on a heat mat.  Now we wait for sprouts!

Here is a list of what is planted:

  • Purple tomatillo - 2
  • Anaheim peppers - 6
  • Zucchini - 2
  • Jalapeno - 4
  • Red Bell Peppers - 6
  • Butternut Squash - 6
  • Roma Tomatoes - 12
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes - 30
  • Yellow Squash - 3
  • Lavender - 2
  • Coleus - 2
I also have edamame and purple sweet potatoes on order and I plan to plant black beans in May.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Mike is Home!

 After two negative tests we are sure Mike did not catch the virus.  This despite being in a home with two Covid-19 patients, three times a day for seven days.  He wore two masks, one N-95 and was fastidious with hand washing.  Super thankful to have him back, but I also proved I can manage the kids for two weeks without him.  This was literally my first two weeks without him!  I've gone on many long trips over the years and left him alone.  It was interesting to be on the flip side.  He found himself doing the same thing I do when I get back from a trip, diving in to do whatever needs to be done!  

My cousin and aunt are getting better.  My cousin will probably need another 2-3 weeks to get her strength back, she was hit pretty hard with this virus.  Thankfully we have care takers in place to help with my aunt and some substitutes at school to help my cousin ease back into work.  

Friday, April 02, 2021

Mike was called in

We'd prepared ourselves by discussing our covid quarantine plan at length, it was simple, if one of us is exposed we live out of the camper.  My husband was undaunted by cold nights saying his sleeping bag is rated for 40 degree nights.

We got the call on March 24th, my cousin was too weak to help my aunt get out of bed and my aunt needed help getting out of bed and down the stairs so Mike left his classes at 11am and he's been over there three times a day ever since. 

We pretend he's on a long work trip.  I did plenty of trips over the years where I was gone 2-3 weeks but this is different.  The kids are stressed about Amanda's health and now Aunt Joyce's health, both are dearly loved family members.  This makes for lots of kid fights and picking, they can't seem to leave each other alone some days.  Yesterday I instituted a policy where you apologize to the family for disturbing the peace for yelling at someone, screaming, making obnoxious noises more than 5 times, bossing someone around, etc.  First apologize to the person you yelled at, then apologize to the family for disturbing the peace.  We spent considerable time on this over dinner last night, I can't say if it's helping or not.

On March 31st we found out Joyce had Covid but Mike tested negative.  I guess his mask worked!  He was in a covid house 3 times a day for 7 days and didn't get covid.  Fastidious hand washing and wearing a well fitted mask did the trick.  

By April 1st, care givers had been hired and began working.  Now we count day from 7 days from last contact, get Mike retested and then he can come home.  I wanted him to get a rapid test but he argued they are not as accurate and then all this separation could be for nothing if he still brings it home.  Well, it sucks to say the least because he will miss Violette's birthday and Easter.  I'm struggling with that but I'll be okay.

Last night temps dipped to 27 degrees.  Mike survived with a heater and his 40 degree sleeping bag.  He says he slept well but I don't think I'd be eager to try it.  I wonder if they make 0 degree sleeping bags?