Sunday Afternoon 7/19/2015

A perfect Kaua'i day: blue skies, low humidity, and the breeze rustling through the palm trees

A perfect Kaua’i day: blue skies, low humidity, and the breeze rustling through the palm trees

It has been a week of ups and downs, and I am more than ready to start a new week. The humidity up here in the hills was frankly awful for most of this past week, and combined with warm temperatures it was often too miserable to even move at times. Plus, I didn’t feel well for a couple of days, and the heat and humidity did not help. However, the storms that have been causing all the high humidity seem to have finally moved on (unfortunately they’re heading for Japan), and the week ended on a high note. The humidity broke yesterday and Brett and I spent a long, wonderful afternoon at the beach with good friend and fellow “ex-pat,” Barb. The day couldn’t have been any lovelier, and we caught up and talked for hours.

And, Brett was able to fix our sluggish living room ceiling fan. YEAH! It had been operating on low (at best) for the past couple of weeks and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but he worked on it again yesterday afternoon and it now once again operating at full speed and keeping things pleasant.

It’s also almost hard to believe that this coming week is the last of summer vacation for the girls (although WenYu has been taking classes all summer), and they will start a new school year the week after next.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I started a new book this week, Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto, by Victoria Riccardi. The author spent a year in Kyoto studying kaiseki ryori, or tea ceremony cuisine. I am thoroughly enjoying it, and am learning lots about the history of tea in Japan as well as the tea ceremony. Her experiences in Japan are also interesting, and I can identify with many of them.
  • Listening to: There’s a light breeze rustling through the palms right now (thankfully), and just a few chickens screeching. Otherwise it’s just the hum of the fans. The girls are still asleep (at noon!) and Brett is reading. Our neighbor is building something (again), but for now the saws and hammers are silent.
  • Watching: Brett and I are almost at the end of Foyle’s War, with just two or three more episodes to go. We’ve decided that when it’s finished we’ll re-watch all of Inspector Morse again as it’s been a few years. WenYu loves the show as well and plans to join us as we work our way through the series. I have also started watching Luther for my late-night viewing and am enjoying it, although the crimes seem to be particularly gruesome. Update: Brett and I are going to watch Unbroken. I loved the book and hope the movie is good.
  • Cooking/baking: We’re having spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner tonight, along with some garlic bread and probably a salad. I’m thinking too I might bake a fresh peach cake for a dessert later this afternoon.
  • Happy I accomplished this week: In spite of the awful weather and my being under the weather, I did manage to get started on my retirement paperwork. It turned out though that the main application form is currently unavailable online, so it is being mailed to me. Hopefully it will arrive soon so I can finish it up next week and get it submitted. My target date for retirement is October 1.
  • Looking forward to this week: We have a new 1000-piece puzzle to start! And, YaYu will be getting her learner’s permit. One more to go!
  • Thankful for: I am so grateful for the way my children support each other. I grew up in a household where my siblings and I constantly competed against each other for almost everything, and while it was difficult then it has also made for difficult adult relationships. I don’t think Brett and I have done anything particularly special raising our children, but they all help each other and support each others’ endeavors. I am especially heartened by our son’s relationship with his sisters. He was 19 when Meiling came home, and not happy about suddenly having a sibling after being an only for so many years, but these days he has a great relationship with all of the girls, and even though they’re more than a generation apart and he lives so far away, he encourages them and helps out when he can.
  • Bonus Question: Do you play games on your phone or computer? I have seven little games downloaded on my phone: 7 Little Words (vocabulary); Flow (draw ‘pipes’ to fill the screen – more challenging than it sounds); Solitaire; Sudoku; 94 Seconds (word recall); Dots (connect dots – again, not as easy as it sounds); and 2048 (add blocks to end up with one block that equals 2048). The only one I am any good it is Sudoku – I can finish an expert level puzzle in around six minutes. I try to play each game at least once each day as I figure they all help to keep my brain sharp, and they’re great time-wasters fillers when I am stuck somewhere. I have been invited more times than I can count to play Candy Crush Saga or whatever it’s called, and Words With Friends, but just can’t get into them. What games do you like?

Hope you are enjoying (or enjoyed) a wonderful Sunday afternoon, and had a great week!

10 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 7/19/2015

    • Laura says:

      Well, I am not that great a Solitaire player (and only play one variety), but I also only like to play against myself, and beat my own time. Lately though I have been doing very poorly with Solitaire :-(. The other day I was more than ready to give it up!

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  1. JJ says:

    Thank you for the book recommendation. I’m definitely going to read Untangling My Chopsticks! When I was in Japan last month, our tour guide said she attended a kaiseki ryori school for a short time but couldn’t handle how precise everything had to be and dropped out. It sounded very difficult. We actually attended a tea ceremony in Kyoto and it was quite an experience. I look forward to reading the book.

    I have a neighbor who was building something in his backyard for a couple of years, so I know what that’s like. Thankfully, that seems to be over, but it was a loud couple of years of sawing and other construction noises.

    If you like word games, one I play when I’m on planes is Whirly Word.

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    • Laura says:

      I’m really enjoying the book. I am a Tokyo girl at heart, but love visiting Kyoto, so I am enjoying all the insights into the city the author provides. I just finished her chapter on teaching English to children. I did that and her experience mirrors mine. Like her, I always had several teaching jobs going at once.

      We seem to always have a neighbor who is building something. Always. The last neighbor in Portland was obnoxious – he would be hammering away at 3:00 am sometimes (and was repeatedly reported and written up, but it never stopped him).

      I am also going to check out Whirly Word!

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  2. Vivian says:

    When I took the Japanese history/culture class, the Japanese embassy paid for a lot of extras. We had a sushi chef come to our class, a class on flower arranging. A group of women who played Japanese instruments and a trip to south Florida and the Morakami (not sure of the spelling) museum. My teacher was an American who had spent a good portion of his youth in Japan and who had studied the tea ceremony for years. He and a Japanese friend of his did the tea ceremony for everyone. It was really interesting.

    I like to play Bookworm on my computer. Trying to make up long words keeps your brain working.

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    • Laura says:

      I studied the tea ceremony for two years when we lived in Japan. It was like studying an elaborate dance routine, and of course I never gained any of the depth needed to truly understand what was going on. The only part I was half-way good at was whisking the tea – my teacher said I had an “impressive technique” for a beginner.

      I will check out Bookworm!

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  3. Carole says:

    I love KenKen. I have done Sudoku for a few years, and was looking for something different. If you like Sudoku, I think you would like KenKen. Although, at the hardest level I need paper and pencil to complete. It is similar to Sudoku, but includes addition, subtraction, multiplication and division functions. Lots of fun and challenging!

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    • Laura says:

      I was just doing KenKen yesterday! I actually got addicted to it for a while, but eventually went back to plain Sudoku. I love the added math puzzle. On the bigger ones (7s, 8s, and 9s) I also used paper and pencil to strategize.

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  4. Libby says:

    I can’t believe school is starting for you so soon – we’ve only been out for 4 weeks exactly.

    Glad you are feeling better and the weather has improved.

    I’m addicted to Dots!!

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    • Laura says:

      The summer break here is very short, but students get breaks throughout the year that we didn’t see back on the mainland. It seems almost like year-round school. The short summer break has been a new experience for us, but the girls are ready to go back.

      Dots is very addicting! I went through a stage with it and had to delete it off my phone for a while to break my Dots habit. These days I just play one or two rounds and that’s it.

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