Sunday Morning 10/2/2022: Cooling Down

A bridge on the Stillhouse Hollow trail.

It’s October! Fall is really here and I couldn’t be happier. The weather is noticeably cooler but still sunny and bright, the light is different, and the trees are changing – every day the hills around us pop with a little more color. When I was young, the sound of leaves rustling in the streets and gutters were the sign that fall had finally arrived in Southern California (usually happened just before Halloween), and I still love that sound when dry leaves get blown around our patio, which I now have to sweep almost daily. The stores are flooded with Halloween and fall items for sale, from costumes to candy to clothes to everything pumpkin. Halloween and fall were so not a big deal on Kaua’i (for some obvious reasons), but I had no idea until seeing all the fall hoopla around us here how little attention fall got there, including Halloween. I’m not sure what the treat-or-treat protocol is or will be at our apartment complex, or whether K might instead go with some of her friends from school who live in a nearby neighborhood.

K’s birthday confetti pink princess cake is coming from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Their cakes are to die for.

K’s sixth birthday is this week and we’re very excited about celebrating with her. We’ve been in Japan plenty of times for our grandson’s birthday, but never in the fall for K’s special day. Later this afternoon we’re going over to our DIL’s place to attend a small birthday party for K, and we’re planning to make her actual birthday this week’s special day instead of on Friday as usual. We’re so thankful for all this time we get to spend with K, and being able to make memories with her.

The view of the Spring Hill Battlefield from the parking lot, with the walking trail cut into the side of the hill. The trail continued along the top to the right and around the hill. There were five maps/markers in total along the trail that explained the battle’s progress. The walk from the car and back was a little over a mile.
The view of Stillhouse Hollow falls from the overlook was somewhat blocked by the many nearby trees. An unnamed tributary of the Duck River falls 75 feet into the rock hollow below before going on its way.

We had planned to go to the Shiloh National Military Battlefield yesterday, but K woke up with a cough and slight fever, and we agreed with M that it was best for her to stay home and stay well so she could enjoy her party today. Brett, Kai, and I instead set out to visit the Stillhouse Hollow Falls, located about an hours drive south of Nashville. On the way we stopped at the Spring Hills battlefield historical site, and walked the battlefield to learn what happened there. Markers and maps were set up along the way that helped us understand what happened that day (the Battle of Spring Hill was the setup for the Battle of Franklin the next day). After we finished we headed to Stillhouse Hollow, a Tennessee State Natural Area, about a 25 minute drive away. We were mildly surprised to find the parking lot full, but yesterday’s weather was perfect for hiking, and we passed several other hikers along our way. We thought we would hike down to the bottom of the hollow for the view, but my bum knee did not like the downward slope of the somewhat rough trail, so we stopped at the falls overlook instead. By the time we arrived I knew if I hiked to the bottom I would be in big trouble. We were sad to miss the views, but the parts of the trail we did hike were filled with beautiful scenery. Kai was a fantastic companion, at both the battlefield and on the trail, and got along with all the other dogs he met along the way.

This morning I am thinking about:

  • What we accomplished: 1) One of the few reading genres I dislike is dystopian fiction, so finishing The School for Good Mothers (by Jessamine Chan) this past week felt like a genuine accomplishment. I had no idea it was going to be such a dark story when I checked it out. The book was well written but difficult for me to read at times and I for several days I couldn’t pick it up or decide whether I even wanted to finish it which is unusual for me. Thankfully I did and the ending was somewhat satisfying. Five books came off of my library wait list last week, a new record, so I’m pretty much going to have my nose buried in a book for the next couple of weeks to finish them all. 2) Brett and I watched the sobering Ken Burns documentary about the Holocaust and the U.S. Some things that are going on in the U.S. now are a little to close for comfort to things that were happening back then. 3) I got all our food shopping done for the next few weeks at Trader Joe’s, ALDI, and Costco. I enjoy food shopping here (unlike in Hawaii, where it turned into a chore), although our local Costco is always a madhouse. I managed to get out of there this past week with less than 10 items in my cart which is something of a miracle.
  • What we’re looking forward to next week: 1) We’re excited about celebrating K’s actual birthday with her later in the week. We’re giving her a small box of cookies from Crumbl for her treat after school that day because she talks about them all the time, and we will also be making her a balloon “bouquet” of six balloons (we have a small present to take to her party today). 2) Otherwise. we have nothing on the calendar for next week and are hoping for a relaxing week (with lots of time for reading).
  • Exercise and eating last week: 1) Besides walking nearly three miles yesterday, we took four brisk 1 1/2-mile hikes in our neighborhood this past week, including a visit to the historical marker near us (about the Carothers Family) last Sunday afternoon. Nearby we found the old Carothers Family cemetery, with graves dating from the 18th century. Most of the stones were so old the engraving had disappeared, and there were so many small, tiny stones that we guessed were for children that died. The cemetery is preserved on the current grounds of a large conference center, so we walked around that and discovered several cherry trees at the edge of their parking lot which will be lovely next spring. The parking lot connected to a paved trail back to the apartments. We were grateful to find it because we are staying out of the woods behind us now. Poison ivy and oak have exploded and are everywhere – Brett has been dealing with an outbreak on his legs for the past two weeks. 2) We ate healthy and well last week. Our dinners this past week were inari sushi, chicken & vegetable spring rolls, and vegetable potstickers; a “leftovers pizza” that used up odds and ends from the refrigerator; Mandarin orange chicken, steamed rice, and cucumber; smoked pork in barbecue sauce over a baked sweet potato and corn on the cob; shrimp burgers with sweet potato fries; breakfast for dinner (pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, and strawberries); and California roll sushi, a surprise from M.
Leftovers Pizza ready for the oven: the bottom half used up pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella and the upper half finished up some pesto, a small bag of sausage I found in the freezer, chopped red onion, and tomato-basil goat cheese crumbles. The crust is a flatbread pizza crust from Trader Joe’s that had been hanging out in the freezer.
  • How we saved: 1) After two weeks, five calls, and speaking with 10 different people, Brett managed to get an erroneous charge of $109.75 taken off of our Xfinity bill this week. 2) We put $10.93 into the change/$1 bill jar. 3) It took some effort and putting a couple of things back, but we stayed just under our grocery budget amount. 4) We didn’t throw away any food.
Eager to try his first Puppachino . . .

Good things that happened: 1) We took K to Starbucks for her Fabulous Friday treat this past week. She chose chocolate milk and a unicorn cake pop, Brett had a cinnamon latte, I tried a nonfat pumpkin spice latte – nope, still don’t like them – and Kai loved his first Puppachino (whipped cream in a small cup). 2) There were no other real standouts this week; everything that happened was a good thing in one way or another.

. . . and very excited about her unicorn cake pop!

My insomnia has come back with a vengeance. I have cut my coffee way back, try not to drink any other caffeine during the day, and yet there I’ve been at 3:00 a.m. every night with my eyes wide open and my brain racing. It’s frustrating because I do eventually fall asleep but never know what time I’ll wake up. Some days it’s 9:00 a.m., but other mornings I sleep soundly until noon! I know the insomnia will eventually pass – it always does – but getting through it is a challenge. And, although I’m thrilled with the cooler fall weather, allergies have come back – I’ve had a runny nose and itchy eyes the past few days, and vertigo has returned as well. Hopefully this is just my body adjusting to a new location, climate, and flora, but I sure hope an adjustment happens sooner rather than later!

That closes another great week, one that went by surprisingly quickly. A quiet yet exciting week is coming up that will be filled with celebration, lots of reading, good food, and family. Change is in the air and I am here for it! I hope last week was a good one for everyone, and that you’re looking forward to the one coming up.


24 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 10/2/2022: Cooling Down

  1. Happy birthday K! She is so cute! Love the pics of Tennessee! Hope you feel better soon. I have issues with vertigo sometimes and it is related to my ears. So annoying.


    1. Thanks, Cindy! Her party yesterday was very cute and fun, and included a piñata that NO ONE, adults included, could break!

      I had no problems with my allergies on Saturday, so whatever was/is causing them seems to be close to us at home. The verigo is subsiding again, thank goodness.


    1. Sometimes it feels like nothing much happens during the week but when I look back we were busy! I guess that’s the idea – stay busy but feel like you’re not doing much of anything LOL.

      The party yesterday was fun. K’s guests were from Japan and India, and Brett and I enjoyed meeting and talking with the other parents.


  2. How fun that you get to spend a birthday with K. That cake is adorable! And I’m sure she liked the Starbucks treat as well… the way, I am not a big fan of the pumpkin latte, but the pumpkin Frappuccino (non-fat) is pretty tasty!
    Kudos to Brett for his persistence in getting that charge removed. I was recently going over the charge details for a visit to the ER and saw where it appeared they had charged me twice for the same procedure. So I called about it…resulting in a review by two different groups and eventually got a letter stating that they had removed $751 from my bill. It pays to stay on these things!
    Hope you feel better and can continue to enjoy the lovely fall weather.


    1. We had a very good time yesterday, enjoyed meeting the other parents and trying to smash that darn piñata! The cake was fantastic! M gave us the leftovers and K and I are going to make cake pops with them later this week.

      Brett excels at things like the Xfinity situation. He is far more patient than I am, and knows just when and how to ramp things up, take names, etc. All that navy training comes in handy in these situations.

      I usually avoid frappachinos (too many calories) but may give the pumpkin one a try. I am looking forward to having one of Starbucks peppermint mochas when they appear for the holidays – they are lovely.

      Allergies and vertigo seem to be winding down, at least I hope so! I never had allergies when I was young so this is a relatively new experience for me (and I don’t like it!).


      1. Oh yes, I love the peppermint mochas! They are my very favorite thing at Starbucks. Unfortunately, they don’t do the sugar free peppermint syrup any more, so I limit my consumption to just a couple.


  3. Happy Birthday to K, she is so adorable! I think she’s going to LOVE that cake. I hope you’ll feel better soon, allergies are nagging issues. Have you tried Zyrtec? They are pricey but I thought they helped me a lot.


    1. The cake was a big hit with everyone, and K was thrilled. She and I are going to make cake pops later this week with the leftovers.

      I do take Zyrtec (Costco’s generic version), especially if I wake up with symptoms (runny nose, etc.) or they appear in the morning because I know it’s going to be a bad day. Zyrtec does help. My doctor also recommended Flonase, but things haven’t been bad enough so far where I felt like I needed it.


  4. I love your adventures. My knee hates downward walks, too. If your dog gets into a bit of poison oak/ivy, it can be transmitted to you–nasty stuff. K is very cute. I am awake, too, in the middle of the night and have to sleep when I can.


    1. The downhill thing (and stairs without a railing to hold on to) have been been a persistent issue since I broke my knee in 1999. But, I am grateful I can walk at all and that the arthritis in the knee is minor.

      We have found a great paved trail behind our apartment that keeps us and our puppy out of the poison oak/ivy for now. It took Brett nearly two weeks to get rid of his reaction.

      I am a nightowl by nature, but the bouts of insomnia drive me crazy. They come and go, come and go, about twice a year, and I just have to get through them as best as I can. I get a LOT of reading done when they appear! I wish I could nap during the day, but rarely can.


  5. Your granddaughter looks like such a sweet girl! I love the picture of her walking Kai. When I suffer periodic bouts of insomnia, I use the Calm app and listen to a sleep story. I used to turn on the TV and listen to it, but the light was more distracting. With the stories, I typically fall back asleep in about 15-20 minutes. It helps me turn off the racing thoughts!


    1. K is an absolute character. She’s very bright and confident, but definitely a six year old in her thoughts and desires. We enjoy every moment with her and are grateful for this time.

      I stick to my Kindle when I can’t sleep as the light isn’t too bright. Thankfully the insomnia doesn’t last too long, but it’s just something I have to write out. I tried the Calm app but it didn’t do much for me. My brain will be racing and then boom! I’m out, just like that.


  6. Ahhh, I love the pics of your granddaughter. And she seems to be enjoying your doggie. That BD cake is so cute. We love Nothing Bundt Cakes. You wouldn’t think a “new” cake franchise would work, but there we are.

    I love walking through cemeteries, especially when there is a really old section. The Old Cemetery in Southampton UK near my daughter is fascinating. My parents took us to the cemetery a lot while they manicured the family graves and it just stuck, I guess. DH knows when we are traveling that if we find a cemetery I will have to visit. The ones in Paris are particularly interesting, but I also enjoyed seeing Charles Lindbergh on the back side of Maui, and one in mid-Wisconsin where I found the grave of Alan Ludden. 🤷‍♀️

    Glad your allergies and vertigo seem a bit better. I hope your insomnia resolves soon. Like another commenter, when I absolutely can’t calm my mind, I listen to sleep stories on the Headspace app. Most times, I only hear about 3 minutes, though, so I have no idea how they end. 😂


    1. K is something else. She is a veritable bundle of energy, has a million questions but is eager to learn, and already has a wonderful sense of humor. She can be exhausting at times, but that comes from being six-years-old. She loved her cake and it was as beautiful as in the picture. M found a sparkling “6” candle that went just perfectly with it. Nothing Bundt Cakes are terrific – I’m planning to serve one (red velvet) at Christmas when everyone is here.

      Cemeteries interest me as well, but I think I love battlefields more. I love to read and study the maps and see where different sides were placed and how troops were moved around, how a battle was won or lost (often because of something seemingly insignificant) and especially how different battles affected future events. Heaven only knows where that interest comes from though. I could care less about weapons other than how they affected strategy, but am fascinated otherwise, and try to understand how much courage it required/s to place oneself in such danger (I would have run away immediately or at least crumpled into a useless, sobbing mess.). I can’t wait to visit Shiloh again, but I’m also looking forward to exploring Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga and a few other important Civil War sites in the area as well.

      I have been waking up at a decent hour the past couple of mornings, so the insomnia may be breaking up because I’m also falling asleep a little earlier each night. I had never heard of Headspace before but should check it out. Actually, I could probably try any audiobook – they almost instantly put me to sleep!

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      1. I watch an old TMC movie around 3am. Insomnia is miserable (thank goodness it does come in spurts) plus I’m also battling occasional vertigo. I’ve been doing PT for the vertigo but I don’t have the kind that’s more responsive to PT. So time will tell. Did you ever get to that other Franklin plantation? Forgot the name but we enjoyed it plus the cemetery!


      2. I have thought about watching TV, some old series that I love, but am afraid that would wake me up even more! Books seem to work better, and I’m lucky right now to have so many that need to be read.

        Are you talking about Carnton? We are planning to go next week. We drove by they second plantation that’s included in the Battle of Franklin Trust, Rippavilla, last Saturday – it’s a bit of a distance from us so we’ll save it for last. Also saw another old plantation home but don’t think it’s open for tours.


  7. Six! Such a glorious age!
    I was going to suggest Audible. As the seasons change I really struggle. Since my hubby thinks we need to be up and moving at 6 am, I need to get to sleep before midnight.
    BTW- I learned that many older MidAtlantic cemeteries use both head and foot stones. Those could be what you are seeing. Little children were often buried in the same grave area as the parent or grandparent.


    1. I can’t even listing to books in the car when I’m driving because they put me to sleep very quickly. We were thinking of getting Audible for some other reason though (can’t remember now) but maybe should give it a try.

      There were too many tiny gravestones for them to be foot stones, but now I’m going to start looking for those as well!


  8. I have been waking up every night at 3 am. I too read my kindle. I have been staying in town because electric got back faster. I only got electric back on at my place last night. This will be my first night back in my own bed so I am hoping for a good nights sleep. Normally I am a couch potato but I walked 5.8 miles 1st day after the hurricane and nearly as far the following day but being exhausted did not help with my sleep. You just have to put up with the insomnia and hope it will pass sooner rather than later. At least I am getting a few hours sleep, it’s worse when you get no sleep at all,


    1. Vivian: I am SO GLAD to hear from you! I was worried about how the hurricane had affected you, but it sounds like you made it through without too much damage at your place, or at least that’s what I hope.

      Walking makes me tired, but not sleepy, if that makes sense. I was exhausted from our hiking last Saturday but still couldn’t fall asleep until sometime between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. I’ve been waking up between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. for several days now, (versus sleeping until noon) and feeling sleepier earlier as well, so hopefully this round of insomnia will soon be gone.


  9. Happy birthday to K! My son is 6 and it is such a fun age. I love seeing the world through his eyes. He makes me laugh with the things he comes up with and imagines.
    I do not like the pumpkin drinks at starbucks. For years, I’d always get one at the beginning of the season because it felt like the ‘right’ way to introduce Fall but I finally gave up and now I always treat myself to a caramel macchiato – delicious!
    Poison ivy is the worst! I got a rash last summer and it was so terrible. I hope his heals quickly.
    Love hearing about all of the places you are exploring. It’s amazing how many wonderful places can be right outside your door.


    1. Six really is a fun age and K is game for so many things now like hikes, etc. And some of the things she says! Our favorite so far was “baby’s spit” instead of baby’s breath flowers. Took us a few beats to figure out what she was talking about and then it was all we could do not to laugh! It’s amazing though what she’s learning in Kindergarten – last week was MATTER of all things (solid, liquid, gas) but we had some great discussions on the drive home from school. Wish we could have more toys for her over here, but there’s no room. We do keep a bag with art supplies so she that gets done a lot here.

      I’ve had poison oak once and it was MISERABLE so have really felt for Brett these past two weeks. Hopefully by the end of the month it will be too cold for it to thrive and we can get back into the woods for our hikes.

      I like pumpkin in everything but coffee. Just not my thing.


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