Sunday Afternoon 12/17/2017

Our new ornament this year celebrates our daughters. I bought the small clay bells in Japan last spring, and put them together to hang on the tree. The pig, tiger and rabbit are their Chinese zodiac animals. I made a similar ornament over 30 years ago for Brett, our son and me (tiger, horse and dragon), with clay bells from the same shop.

WenYu arrives home this week! We’re all getting excited about her return and having all three of the girls together again. I don’t envy her trip though – she leaves Boston at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening and gets into Honolulu at 6:40 in the morning on Thursday, and then into Lihue at little after 9:00 a.m. She is the only member of this family that I know can sleep on airplanes though so hopefully she won’t be too exhausted. Her sisters are going to monopolize her time (when she isn’t working), but Brett and I will be thrilled with whatever time we get with her. Just having all three of the girls around is going to be wonderful.

We’ve had another week of wacky weather here. It’s been cold (one morning the temperature dropped to 57°, which is bone-chilling for here), but most of all it’s been windy. Long sleeves and jackets have been required on more than one occasion this past week. There hasn’t been a whole lot of rain though so Brett and I have still been able to get out for our daily walks. We’ve seen seals up on the beach every day, and on a couple of days there have been more than one seal – very exciting!

This past year I gave myself a goal of posting five times a week on the blog. It’s been a challenge at times, and I after some thought I’ve decided I’m going to cut back to three times per week next year – I just have so many other things going on, especially as we get ready for the Big Adventure. I will be folding both the Tuesday weekly menu plan and Friday’s Five Frugal Things into other posts, most likely the Sunday Afternoon post, and then will post on Tuesday and Thursday. Other things may be changed up a bit, or might be added later, so I hope you’ll stick around! I’ll have a post up tomorrow, but after that I am taking some time off until the end of the year, to enjoy the holiday and our family time together.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m making good progress through Pachinko, and the further I go the better it gets. I was actually hoping to be further along by now, but I’ve been having a real problem with falling asleep when I read. The book isn’t boring in the least, but I’ve been apparently more tired than I realized.
  • Listening to: I got the laundry sorted and started last night, so I’ve been listening to the washer and dryer all morning to the exclusion of everything else. I’m longing for some peace and quiet (but will be glad to have the laundry finished earlier in the day).
  • Watching: After finishing up the second season of The Crown I haven’t been watching much of anything in the evenings. Mostly I’ve been reading (and falling asleep). I’ve been watching episodes of The Great British Baking Show again while I work on Swagbucks at night – they’re just as enjoyable the third time around as they were the first!
  • Cooking/baking: Brett is making scotch eggs tonight, which he and the girls will have with toast. I’m going to slice up some apples to round out the meal. I may make a pan of brownies today but I plan to bake a triple chocolate bundt cake the day before WenYu arrives – it’s her favorite.

    I’m making slow progress on this page in my coloring book. It’s fun to do, but requires a LOT of concentration.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Getting the Big Shop done and coming in just under our regular budget was quite the accomplishment, and I’m still not sure how we did it. And, getting dinner on the table every night this week was an accomplishment, but it happened (and everything turned out well). Hopefully next week will be easier! Because it’s been cold again this week I’ve had a harder time drinking all eight glasses of water every day because I’m just not as thirsty, but I managed to do that too. I’ve also done my daily French lesson, and Brett and I have walked every day except for yesterday, when it rained, I’ve started back coloring in the book Meiling gave me last year, but it’s been hard to find the time to sit quietly and work at it because the designs are quite delicate and difficult. I’m happy with what I did get done.
  • Looking forward to next week:  I’m looking forward to having all our girls at home, and (most of) our family together again. I can’t wait!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We had quite the wonderful week! We got together with friends Alan and Cheryl not once, but twice, (the second time we talked for over three hours, and realized that we could have talked the whole evening except they had dinner reservations!). They also bought several pieces of furniture from us, in preparation for their move over here next summer. On Friday morning we had breakfast with Portland friends Julie and Ken, who were visiting the island, and we could have talked with them all day, but they had a plane for home to catch. And, we’ve been loving every minute of having Meiling with us, and enjoyed having lunch with her on Tuesday at the Charburger. My daughter-in-law sent us a bucketload of pictures this week, which we always enjoy – I can’t even count how many times I’ve looked at them. We’re talking now about them coming next summer, for one more visit to Kaua’i before we take off on our adventure.

    Bowdoin College
  • Grateful for: For quite some time, YaYu’s first college choice has been Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. She applied Early Decision, and learned on Friday that she had been deferred to the regular decision. While of course being accepted would have been ideal, she knew it was a bit of a long shot as her high school does not provide mid-term grades; their report only notes satisfactory progress during the term, and Bowdoin requires grades. But, everything else in her application was good enough that she’s still in the running, and for that I am currently feeling very thankful. Her grades for the term will go off right after the first of next year along with a letter stating her continuing interest in attending Bowdoin, and we will keep our fingers crossed for good news next March. In the meantime she will continue finishing up the applications for the other schools she is applying to.
  • Bonus question: What’s the best thing you ever got for Christmas? We were very, very fortunate that for all the years Brett was in the navy, he was only not home for Christmas just once. His ship, and the airwing, were sent to the Persian Gulf in 1990 in support of Operation Desert Storm, leaving our son and me back in Japan. It was a very scary time, because that’s when Saddam Hussein really did have weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons. The previous summer though we had moved from our off-base house out in town into base housing, and had gotten back our cleaning deposit and rent deposit from our landlord, and Brett encouraged our son and me to use the money and go somewhere for Christmas rather than staying home that year and feeling sad. So, I booked a tour to Hong Kong, and M and I spent seven days there, including Christmas, and had a wonderful time. There was another year where the airwing went on high alert because of troop movements in North Korea, and Brett spent the three days before Christmas at the hangar with his seabag packed, expecting to deploy to some base in Korea, but on Christmas Eve the alert was called off and he came home. Brett somehow managing to be home for every Christmas except that one was almost a miracle, and better than any present I could have ever received.

That’s all for this week! How was your week? What good things happened for you? Are you ready for the holidays?



12 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 12/17/2017

  1. I’m pretty much ready! Finished the last of my shopping (actually, helping my son shop for a gift, but that’s an entirely different story. 11 year old boys are just so clueless. That’s all I can say. ;-)) Made my cardamom bread this weekend, & it turned out beautifully! I’ve glazed it & it’s now in the freezer, awaiting our trip to Portland on Saturday.

    Both boys have had colds, so we’ve tried to keep them resting at home. They struggle with that.

    And, probably the best thing that happened to me this week is that we ended up cancelling our holiday date last night. The kids weren’t feeling well, I didn’t sleep at all the night before (lingering jet lag), so I thought we’d enjoy it more in January. We ended up having the best evening – just the four of us at the house. We opened up a bottle of nice wine, M made a fancy new experimental dinner, we worked on a puzzle, went to see Christmas lights, and then came home & popped popcorn & watched Die Hard. Perfect! The days are going really fast, so I have no regrets about spending the time with the kids.

    Love the ornaments! Bowdoin looks a bit chilly, but fingers crossed for YaYu! And, enjoy all of the time together with your girls.


    1. Are you staying in Portland when you go, or will you be heading out to the coast? You vacation home is in my favorite beach town in Oregon, so when you mention it I always close my eyes and picture our times there.

      Your stay-at-home family night sounded wonderful. I know exactly what you mean about kids growing up too fast. Where did the time go, I’m always asking myself, and how did it go so fast?

      Merry Christmas to you and yours! Best wishes for a wonderful holiday in Oregon (and fingers crossed the boys feel much better soon).


  2. I know someone who just got into Bowdoin. I don’t know much about it myself, but your kids sure like cold and snowy campuses. lol. I hope it works out for YaYu. Are most of the other colleges she’s applying to in that same area? My nephew will be home next week from college. Can’t wait to see him.

    I’m amazed that Brett only missed one Christmas the whole time he was in the navy! A friend of mine who was in the navy 20 years only came home a couple of times.

    Merry Christmas!


    1. I had a feeling she was going to get deferred, but we all hoped she would be accepted. So we will see – WenYu was deferred at Wellesley, and then accepted regular decision, so it happens. YaYu has also applied to Wellesley, as well as a few other colleges in the area. WenYu complains about the cold all the time, so it will be interesting to see how YaYu takes to it if she ends up back east.

      It is amazing that Brett only missed one Christmas – we know so many other families that were separated for several Christmases because of deployments. Brett missed everything else though – we joked that when he arrived at a new duty station he was required to turn in a list of all family birthdays, anniversaries, etc. so that they could send him away then. During our 15 years of marriage while he was in the navy, he was home for just three of our anniversaries.


  3. Please let me know if YaYu goes to Bowdoin as I have a very good friend who is HK Chinese and lives in Brunswick….and she’s a dragon ; )

    And do you know that the main drag through Brunswick is spelled Maine Street?!

    And that Admiral Perry of Artic fame is a Bowdoin grad? Those Maine winters were good training LOL.

    Can’t get over how much your granddaughter has grown since the “destroyer” photos. Hope you get to see them this summer.

    It was 13 this morning in CT, which is cold for here. We are expecting more snow tonight.

    I’ll miss all of your posts but totally understand the time commitment and need to prioritize……as long as you promise to post during the great adventure!!

    Merry Christmas!! Enjoy being surrounded by family.


    1. Bowdoin is YaYu’s “dream school,” so if she is accepted we will be shouting it from the rooftops! Somewhere between 10%-20% of deferred applicants eventually are accepted for regular decision, so we will see. She has applied/will apply to several other great schools though.

      I’ll be back before the new year, but am honestly am looking forward to writing a bit less. Most of the time it wasn’t too bad, but there were times when it was rough. We have a lot coming up this year too that will be keeping me busy.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours! Wishing you a joyous holiday!


  4. Bowdoin! What a great campus! I will keep my fingers crossed.

    You were in Hong Kong for Christmas our first Christmas there. There are so many parts of that stay we all miss- including the woman who watched our children. She will be making a trip to the US in two years to visit us once again. I am rubbing my pennies together to make that happen.

    Your grandchildren are DARLING!


    1. Hong Kong is a very special place for us, which is why Brett and I decided to include a stop there on our Big Adventure. I have visited Hong Kong seven times, including Christmas 1990. I had a great time there with M – we shopped, took tours, etc. and loved every minute. It was the best thing to do when Brett couldn’t be home for Christmas (and then I went back in April to meet him when his ship stopped there on its way back to Japan). How wonderful that your ayi (or is it ayah in Cantonese?) will be able to come visit you again!

      I would give anything to see my grandchildren right now. Every time we get a picture of them, they have grown so much. I hope I can hold out until next summer, and it’s going to be wonderful being able to spend a long period with them in Japan each year.


  5. I went to Lynchburg College in Virginia because I had a full scholarship. It was so cold! I cannot imagine going to Maine after living in Hawaii. Best of luck to your daughter.
    Your new Christmas ornament is wonderful.
    The best Christmas is when the whole family is together. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.


    1. Both girls chose their location based on the school and not the weather, that’s for sure! They were exposed to cold weather in Oregon, but nothing like what they get back east. Every time we talk to WenYu now she is complaining about the cold, and eager to get back to Hawaii. Fingers are crossed that YaYu gets accepted at Bowdoin.

      I was really happy with how the ornament turned out. I was frankly surprised that the shop where I bought the little bells was still there when we visited Asakusa this past spring. I remembered the shop so clearly, and there it was! (The wonderful gelato shop next door was gone though sad to say).

      Merry Christmas to you and yours, Vivian! Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday.


  6. Merry Christmas to you and your whole family. I love the ornament! And the picture of the grandchildren is just adorable. I can see why you are eager to see them again asap!

    My DH has an aunt in Brunswick and that area is so beautiful. And the Gelato Fiasco has the best gelato I’ve had…and that includes Italy. My fingers are crossed for YaYu, cold weather notwithstanding. I’m a northern person, so I love the snow. For a while. haha

    We are almost ready…I still have cleaning and straightening to do and some wrapping, but overall we are on target. By Friday evening, we’ll have a full house including adults, kids, another dog and one grandson who is just about walking. So we’re also digging out all our cabinet locks, outlet covers, etc. We’re excited…we get the littles about every 3rd or 4th year and they’re at the perfect ages (4 and 1).

    Enjoy your time with your family! And I will keep reading whenever you have time to post. Your blog is one of my favorites.


  7. Thanks, Laurel! Our fingers are crossed for YaYu as well. We were kind of surprised she is applying to so many schools back east versus anything in the west, but she has done her homework and research and knows where she wants to be, snow and all.

    Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas with your family! I can hardly believe it’s only a week away.


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