Sunday Morning 9/25/2022: A Very Good Week Indeed!

Worth the wait in the end, and exactly what we hoped for

All’s well that ends well. The missing box of parts to our Carta credenza arrived early last Tuesday morning and Brett had it assembled by the afternoon. We absolutely love it and both of us agree the wait was worth it in spite of all that happened. There was of course a twist to this last delivery: We actually received TWO identical boxes of parts, one of which was the missing box from our initial delivery back in August! The extra box went back to Burrow on Thursday morning.

Of course once we set up the credenza and the TV our living room seemed too crowded, so I thought about it for a bit and then rearranged all the furniture . . . by myself, in the middle of the night. I’m still not sure how I got the sleeper sofa moved because it is heavy. The living room is more open now and we’ll have room for everyone at Christmas as well as a small tree. Kai was initially confused and not happy with the new setup; it took him a couple of days to figure out where everything was (i.e. his toys and bed) but he’s back to being our happy pup.

Our trip to the Shiloh National Military Park today was postponed because the chance of rain is just too high. If it’s not raining here this afternoon though Brett and I may head over and visit the historic Carnton plantation linked to Carter House and the Battle of Franklin. We keep seeing historic markers around here every time we go out – they are everywhere. We just discovered one that’s within walking distance of the apartment the other day, over by a nearby corporate park! I think we need to find a list of all the ones in the area and then start checking them off one by one – I honestly had no idea our little suburb or the surrounding area was so rich with history.

This morning I am thinking about:

  • What we accomplished: 1) Besides getting the credenza assembled and the furniture rearranged, my only big accomplishment last week was getting my current Covid booster and a flu shot. Brett and I are now ready to go for the winter, or at least we hope so, but another new Covid variant has popped up so who knows? This virus mutates faster than an iPhone with all of its updates. 2) Our license plates arrived so the business side of our move to Tennessee is complete.
The origami cubes are to slip over the lights on our Christmas tree. The folding is not as easy as I thought it would be, but practice will make perfect!
  • What we’re looking forward to this coming week: 1) I want to get started making small origami cubes to slip over the lights on our Christmas tree. M brought me a package of origami paper from Japan, but they’re not as easy as I imagined so it’s going to take me a few weeks. 2) We’re greatly looking forward to cooler weather coming up; the heat at the beginning of the week was awful although the humidity thankfully wasn’t too bad. 3) This is food shopping week, and we’ll hit up ALDI, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and maybe Publix for a couple of things. I did some food shopping on Saturday (see below) so the trip this week will be small and mostly produce.

Once things cooled off we were back out on the trail. I’d never seen an Osage orange (or hedge apple) before!

The delicious Japanese-style dinner M prepared for us last week.
  • Eating and exercise: 1) The hot weather this past week kept us to short walks with Kai at the beginning of the week but once things cooled off we were back out on the trails for longer walks/hikes. I got quite a workout though moving furniture last Tuesday night! 2) This past week we ate leftovers one night; had roasted vegetable quiche and melon (two evenings); barbecue pork sandwiches along with four-bean salad; somen noodles with chicken in broth, Japanese potato salad, and broccoli (meal provided by M); barbecue chicken sausages, tater tots, and (more) broccoli; and clam chowder.

Welcoming fall this weekend!

  • How we saved: 1) I bought some calamine lotion for the poison ivy rash Brett picked up last week when I was at Target getting my shots, and we stopped at Nothing Bundt Cakes for K’s Fabulous Friday treat, so we thought this would be a low-spend week. I even stopped myself a couple of times from going to Trader Joe’s, ALDI, or Publix because we didn’t honestly need anything. Then on Saturday we went to the opening day of the Flying Ghost Pumpkin Market in Nashville – oh my. I’ve never seen so many different kinds of pumpkins in one place, from tiny to humongous, mundane to the truly weird. Prices at the market could not be beat though so we bought a traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkin, a “firebomb,” and two small Cinderella pumpkins for cooking later. After pumpkin shopping we headed across the street to the Japanese market. I went crazy and stocked up on all our favorites, including CookDo sauce and other things we’ve missed. Everything I bought will provide many delicious meals in the coming months. We did not end up with a low spend week but we are ready for fall and some of our favorite Japanese meals! (the Japanese market spending will come out of October’s food budget). 2) We put $2.73 into the change/$1 bill jar. 3) We didn’t throw out any food except for a package of sliced cheese that got moldy. We have to be careful about buying too much of things like bread and cheese because we don’t eat them very quickly. 4) I ordered a small silk plant for a spot in the living room, but decided it was just clutter and returned it for a refund.
The animal whisperer on her way into work
Another POV
  • Good things that happened: 1) The arrival of the credenza parts and getting it assembled was very satisfying. It’s a piece of furniture that was worth the wait. 2) Rearranging the living room opened up a lot more space and made the room more comfortable. 3) The Great British Baking Show is back on Netflix! 4) Even though it was broiling hot on Wednesday (99 degrees), I spent a lovely afternoon over at the pool with K, and met some of our neighbors. The next day we had a perfect first day of fall with cool, crisp weather. 5) Brett and I finished our Christmas shopping although nothing will get wrapped until later. 6) I made a small discovery this past week that has made a HUGE difference in dealing with my GERD. I read (can’t remember where) that adding just 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to a pot of coffee was enough to neutralize the acid without disrupting the flavor. I have had to give up several of my favorite foods because of the problems they cause, but I was not ready to give up my morning coffee and this adjustment changed everything – my stomach is happy! 7) This past Friday (Saturday in Japan) our son did his annual walking challenge to raise funds in support of a Japanese organization that serves terminally ill children or children with incurable diseases and their families. This year he walked 28 miles in 10 hours. Over the past seven years he has raised nearly $50,000 for this organization, raising $9,410 this year, his best yet. We’re incredibly proud of his efforts and dedication. 8) YaYu called on Thursday to catch up, and let us know two research papers she co-authored this summer were accepted and will be published (a big deal in academia). And, her boss hinted this past week that she wouldn’t be disappointed to see YaYu apply to the department’s graduate (Ph.D.) program this year.

Bluer skies and fluffy clouds for fall. If you look carefully, in the picture on the right you can see vultures circling up high in the cool breezes.

Fall is my favorite season of the year, so I couldn’t be happier that it’s finally arrived. The heat almost “popped” overnight last Wednesday, with the air noticeably different on Thursday, the first day of the season. The sky was bluer, the air clearer, and the temperatures cooler. Leaves on the trees are just beginning to change too. I’m still holding out hope that Trader Joe’s will get their yummy pumpkin toaster pastries in (doesn’t look like it though), but we’ve already bought pumpkin pancake mix and Meiling told me the other day we need to try their pumpkin sticky toffee tarts. We’ll see. After a long, hot, and and very busy summer Brett and I are ready to relax and enjoy Tennessee. There’s plenty to see and do around here and we plan to enjoy all that fall has to offer.

What a great week we had! Mornings are now cool, and there’s a real change to the way the everything feels outside. We got a lot done, had fun, and we’re set for the week coming up (and for several months with Japanese supplies). I hope you’re as excited about autumn’s arrival as I am, and are looking forward to all it brings. In the meantime, here’s to another great week coming up!

20 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 9/25/2022: A Very Good Week Indeed!

  1. I’m planning to head to Trader Joe’s tomorrow. The one near me has the worst parking lot and I never go there on weekends because it’s a mess and an accident waiting to happen, but it should be ok tomorrow. I want to stock up on the pumpkin flavored items you mentioned and also those tiny ice cream cones because they also come in a pumpkin flavor.

    Congrats to YaYu! I work in academic publishing so I know what a big deal it is to be published in a journal. Also congrats to your son for walking to raise money for the charity. I can’t imagine walking 28 miles in one day! Glad to hear your credenza ordeal is finally over.

    I’ve never had CookDo sauces but I’m going to venture out to an Asian market this week and see if I can find them.

    I actually went to the beach on Wednesday because it was so warm and it was SO nice! Very few people there so I felt like I had it all to myself. But the weather has changed drastically since then and it feels more like fall now. I’m glad I went to the beach when I did, but tomorrow looks like it might be nice, so I may try again. I try to go as often as I can before it gets too cold.

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    1. If you are interesting in trying CookDo sauces, two good beginning ones are the beef & pepper stir fry (we usually use pork though) and the chili shrimp. They, along with mabo tofu and mabo nasa (eggplant) are the flavors most often found in the U.S. In Japan there are over 30 varieties to choose from! One of our favorite is sweet and sour pork, but I’ve never found it in the U.S. There’s also a pork & cabbage stir fry that’s good, but I’ve also never seen it in the U.S. I am going to ask our son if he will bring a few packages when he comes for Christmas.

      I forgot about those little pumpkin ice cream cones at Trader Joe’s – I may add those to my list this week. I would love to try the pumpkin JoeJoe cookies, but am afraid I would like them enough to eat the entire box in one sitting! The chocolate peppermint ones at Christmas have to be avoided at all costs!

      The air just feels different now, so different from how it felt last Wednesday when we went to the pool. We are enjoying our walks more, although we have to avoid the woods right now because the poison oak and poison ivy have exploded. Brett got some on his leg the other day and has been miserable. Thankfully there are plenty of other places nearby to walk.

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  2. I am always happy to see your blog in my mailbox. It is going to be 80+ here in the pnw near Tacoma for the next two days but there is the feeling of autumn in the air. It is also my favorite season. It has been a hot dry summer here.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary – it’s always gratifying to hear from readers that they like what I write.

      Hard to believe you’re still getting 80 degree days up in the PNW but this was always the time of year where we needed to have both winter and summer clothes available because the weather could be anything from day to day. But eventually, the rain started and we settled into fall, sweaters, and changing leaves. They are just starting to change here and we have views from where we live of several hills that are going to be gorgeous in a couple of weeks!

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  3. Trader Joe’s near me has pumpkins spice cereal bars. I think they’re a bit too sweet but once in a while are okay.

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    1. I have seen those, and have avoided because I too think they will be too sweet. The toaster pastries were more like a little pumpkin pie, but more pastry than sweet filling – they were ideal and are missed.

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    1. That pumpkin market was something else! It was set up in a small park and had the most incredible selection of pumpkins along with a huge selection of chrysanthemums and other fall decor. We’ll definitely go again next year. The “firebomb” pumpkins were my favorite but I was also glad to find pumpkins for cooking.

      We had a trial month of Prime membership and decided to order gifts while we still had free shipping. We had already made a list of what we wanted to give everyone, so a couple of days before the trial ended I just went ahead and ordered everything. Brett and I will have enough other stuff going on before everyone arrives (i.e. meals) that this was one thing we could take care of now.

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      1. That pumpkin market was fabulous, not just the prices but the variety! I’ve never seen anything like it.

        Our Christmas shopping is something of a fluke this year. I’m normally not this organized. But, there is so much else I have to think about for Christmas this year so I’m very glad one piece of it is done.

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  4. Congrats, both to your son and YaYu for dedicating themselves to such big accomplishments! Good kids, I’m sure you guys feel very proud.

    I think a lot of people are ready to transition to fall, it has been a really hot, scorching at times, summer in many parts of the world.
    When we visited Tennessee, we also noticed how prevalent the presence of historical sites is in that part of the country. Getting a list with all there is to see is a good idea.

    Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming…smart to start preparations now. I love that idea with origami paper.

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    1. We are so proud of our son and his efforts. He works at a company that values community service so he gets a lot of support from them but also has a wide circle of friends outside of work that also support his effort. It’s a big effort for him, but he prepares well for it and it has grown every year. He walks the entire distance by himself but others from his work join him for a few laps as well as bring him drinks and meals. Our daughter is just beginning her post-grad career and is doing well. She really is the little engine that could – if she sets her mind to something she will accomplish it.

      We walked to the nearby historical marker yesterday and also discovered a nearby a close-by family cemetery nearby, with graves dating from the 18th century! That was a surprise. We’re looking forward to getting out and learning more.

      I think with the origami I am going to have to first practice on larger pieces of paper before making the smaller cubes. There are so many folds, and I kept losing my way on the smaller pieces of paper.

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  5. Osage oranges are called Monkey Balls around where I live. They are considered precious because it is said that they repel spiders and other crawly things. When I’m driving and see them, I park and pick them up.

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    1. I had never seen one before and found them beautiful, especially their green color (which is my favorite). Maybe we’ll head back over and see if we can find some more to put in the house – we’ve seen a couple of spiders (daddy long legs) making their way in as the weather starts to cool.

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      1. Here in the Midwest, and including Missouri and Arkansas, they (Osage oranges) used to be everywhere, but seem to be disappearing with all of the building going on. Farms and woods are now houses and industries. They were “hedge apples” because they ended up between fields and in roadside brush. We always gathered them, just for decoration and smell. They can be between 3 inches and 6 inches in diameter. Even 60 years ago we laughed at the people who thought they repelled spiders- they don’t. But they smell great, kind of citrusy, and look like green brains. Get rid of them when they get soft and smell weird.

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      2. Now I want to find more of them and bring some home – the ones we saw the other day were about four inches in diameter. We saw several today by the road, but they had been run over. I love the beautiful color, but I’m also curious about their citrusy smell.

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  6. Great job by YaYu! Being published in academia is a huge deal. And your son is really faithful to that fundraising effort every year.

    Love the origami cubes for your lights. Haven’t seen those before. And the credenza is gorgeous. Nice to have things in place and chill for a while.

    I finally made your orange olive oil cake this week and it’s a hit! (The baking soda in the coffee was fine with me, but my super black coffee partner noticed something was “off.” 🤣) I may just put a few grains in my own cup before I fill it. Anything to fight GERD is a hit with me.

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    1. We are super proud of all of our kids and their efforts, and this past week is was our eldest’s and youngest’s chance to shine. Hard to believe sometimes that YaYu did not speak any English when she joined our family back in 2005 and was in ESL classes for five years, catching up. She is so determined though, and has found a subject and area she loves. Our son said the 28 miles he walked this year was his second worst distance – what?? It was raining for most of the day though, so maybe that’s what held him down.

      Glad you loved the cake – I was thinking about baking one tomorrow! The baking soda has made a big difference for me, and like you, anything that fight my GERD is a winner for me.

      I saw the origami cube lights years ago on Pinterest and have always wanted to make them. I need to practice first on larger pieces of paper though before I tackle the small patterned pieces our DIL brought from Japan. I think I’m going to need to make about 50 of the cubes for our small tree, but once I get started I plan to make a couple a day until I have enough. After they’re done, a small slit is cut into each cube with a razor and they’re slipped over the light.

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