This past week was a quiet one. We walked a lot, we read a lot, and we ran a few errands – but that’s pretty much it. We celebrated K’s actual birthday this week with a surprise box of Crumbl cookies for her treat as well as a bouquet of birthday balloons. She got a much-desired scooter from her mom, so we’ve been including that on our afterschool walks .
In another world we would be traveling up to Edinburgh today after finishing a two month stay in Oxford. I never felt sad about cancelling our time in England for some reason, but it took me a while longer to get over feeling sad about not going to Edinburgh. We had a quick trip there in 2019, and we were greatly looking forward to exploring more of the city than we were able to do earlier, as well as taking side trips to Glasgow, up into the highlands, and over to Isle of Skye. I firmly believe we are doing what we are meant to be doing, and we are surprisingly happy here in Nashville, living in suburbia. I will be forever grateful for the time we get to spend with our daughter-in-law and granddaughter as well as the opportunity to save a little more than we expected. Travel has only been postponed.
This evening Brett’s taking K to a Japanese moon viewing (otsukimi) celebration put on by the Japanese consulate while I stay home with the puppy. Our daughter-in-law will be working at the event, serving sake and Wagyu beef appetizers created by the Consulate’s personal chef at a special tasting booth with admission by ticket only. The event (and tickets) apparently sold out very quickly, in less than two days. By the way, in America we see a man in the moon but in Japan they see a rabbit pounding mochi!
This morning I am thinking about:
- What we accomplished last week: 1) Family members worked together this past week to set a date for next year’s Big Event, which looks like it’s now going to happen in early 2024 versus December 2023 because it’s easier for our son and DIL to take time off then. We also strategized together ways for everyone to afford the Event and came up with some ideas and plans. 2) I finally got around to ordering some good walking shoes, another pair of HOKAs. Skechers are comfortable for casual walking but are not cutting it on the longer walks we’re taking.
- What we’re looking forward to next week: 1) We’re very excited about Kai getting his first haircut tomorrow because he is such a mess right now. It’s been seven to eight weeks since his last cut which is far too long, so we have a pretty good idea now of how frequently he’s going to need to be groomed (around once a month, five weeks at the most). 2) Cold weather pajama week has arrived! It’s not cold enough for fleece and socks yet, but I need to wear something warmer than my summer PJs. Mornings have been quite cool recently. 3) We’ll go food shopping again at the end of the week, always fun these days. 3) I am meeting with the gastroenterologist mid-week to discuss my ongoing stomach issues (which I currently seem to have somewhat under control) and to possibly schedule a colonoscopy although I’m hoping to put that off until next year.
Some upper loop apartments have beautiful views of the hills. The trees are more mature, and larger and fuller on that side; there are more garages; and more apartments have fireplaces – on our side only the top floor has them. If we were going to stay I’d request a move to the other loop!
- Healthy exercise and eating: 1) We got in five, good walks this week. Last Tuesday I told Brett I was just going to walk around the apartment complex a few times, thinking I’d do two to three loops, but instead I headed up to the upper level of apartments. By the time I walked one loop through our section and around the upper area and back to our apartment I had spent 40 minutes and covered over two miles! The route has some gentle hills as well so it’s a good workout. We enjoy walking through the upper level because it’s gorgeous, with lots of big trees and some beautiful views. For now Brett and I are going to walk the two-mile loop each day, and do a shorter walk with K some afternoons, but we’re planning to double up next month for four miles/day. Kai seems to be enjoying the longer walks as well. 2) We enjoyed some delicious and healthy meals this past week: leftover shrimp and smoked salmon from K’s birthday party; feta & spinach chicken sausages topped with tzatziki in a roll along with roasted butternut squash; bacon-cheeseburger pizza; pork & pepper stir-fry with steamed rice; chicken noodle soup & cornbread; and falafel in pita sandwiches with tzatziki, lettuce, and chopped tomatoes. M took us out to dinner to celebrate K’s birthday at a nearby restaurant serving Southern cooking. Brett had a bacon and avocado sandwich but I had smothered fried chicken, green beans, and collards. The food was delicious but neither of us could finish our meals and the leftovers provided lunch the next day.
- How we saved: 1) Brett washed and vacuumed our car for free at the apartment complex’s car wash station. 2) Yesterday M & I went on a “treasure hunt” at two local Goodwill stores, and treasures were found. See below for details! 3) I resisted purchasing an armchair for the living room. The price was right, the style was what we’ve been looking for, the color was perfect, and I came this close to ordering it. But, I finally convinced myself to wait 24 hours and see if I was still as excited about it the next day, and in that time realized the chair could wait and that I’d rather save than spend right now. 4) We put $3.15 into the change/$1 bill jar. 5) We didn’t throw away any food and all our leftovers were eaten.
Good things that happened: 1) We had a good time at K’s birthday party last Sunday. There was a unicorn piñata that Brett ended up nearly beating to death with the stick because no one could get it open – too funny! M eventually had to rip it apart with her hands to pass out the prizes. 2) My insomnia is fading, helped in part by this past week’s increase in walking distance. I am tired at night and have been falling asleep earlier than before, sleeping soundly, and waking up earlier as well. I’m still not totally back to my normal routine, but I’m getting there. The allergies seem to be tapering off as well – I only needed to take a Zyrtec tablet twice this past week in spite of being outside for longer periods of time.
Goodwill scores from yesterday!
Yesterday I invited M to go thrifting with me. I have a somewhat limited fall/winter wardrobe and thought maybe I’d be able to find a couple of sweaters at Goodwill. Thrift stores are a recent addition to the shopping mix in Tokyo; Japanese traditionally prefer new items, so this was a new experience for M. The first Goodwill we visited had a limited clothing selection but a fabulous household goods section, and M found a few things (vase, serving platter, Day of the Dead glass for K, and more) and a new, still-in-the-package toy and a book for K. I discovered a cute Christmas platter, a Crockpot mini-dipper to use when everyone is here in December, and two red mugs for a Christmas project I’m putting together. I also found a red cotton turtleneck and red fleece pullover for sleepwear this winter. My best discovery though was a black wool & cashmere blend peacoat, for the astonishing price of $7.99. The second store we visited was the reverse of the first, with lots of great clothing but a very limited household good selection. M found a lovely glass bowl in the shape of a Christmas tree, but I scored a wool marine blue turtleneck sweater, a gray wool & cashmere sweater, a deep pink-red corduroy shirt, and, as I was walking to the register, a L.L. Bean striped shirt in gray with white stripes that I have desired for years! So, a very successful day for me with only $58 spent on everything, tax included. I did leave behind a complete set of Fiestaware (dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and cups & saucers) at the first store. That took some willpower.
We have a busy week coming up because K is on fall break all week. M has tomorrow through Wednesday off from work, but we have several errands and then will have K with us all day Thursday and Friday. The week sort of caught us by surprise (we knew it was coming but hadn’t paid attention to the dates), but we’ve got some ideas to stay busy the two days K’s with us. There are always hikes to take, her new scooter to ride, books to read, movies to watch, and pictures to color or paint for starters. She and I are also wanting to bake muffins (chocolate chip and pumpkin-raisin), and she wants to help Brett make pancakes for lunch one day. Hopefully with all this going on she’ll have a good time with her old grandparents.
It’s been another great week full of fun, good things, bargains, and surprises, and we have much to look forward to this coming week as well. I hope it’s been equally good for everyone as well, and that you’re looking forward as much as we are to the week coming up!