Sunday Morning 11/6/2022: Last of the Fall Color

There are still fall colors on some trees, but most of the leaves seem to be on the ground now. Three days after I took the pictures of trees above, all had dropped all their leaves.

November has arrived! Following our weekend getaway, this last week was positively peaceful but boy did it go by quickly! I enjoyed having time to read, to get things caught up with things, and walk for a longer stretch almost every day, but time feels like it’s speeding past these days. There are more leaves on the ground now than in the trees but temperatures were still in the 70s for most of the week, perfect for walking, although it was nearly 80 degrees on Friday. Winter will be here soon so I’m trying to soak of as much of these days as I can.

Coming up this week is Election Day and I’m already biting my nails. Brett and I will set up our typical election night dinner of small bites to eat while we watch the returns come in – this year it will be samosas from Trader Joe’s (because they’re already in the freezer). And of course, Thanksgiving is coming this month as well. We’re looking forward to celebrating with M and K this year, and I plan to serve a full traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, a couple of sides (pretty sure it will be roasted butternut squash and green bean casserole), and K and I are already planning to make another pie for dessert (apple). My thoughts are also turning to Christmas and the end of the year. I’ve been menu planning for Christmas, or at least trying to, and thinking of what I can buy early to be ready without having a huge cash dump for food right before everyone arrives. With several dietary restrictions in our group this year meals are going to be a challenge so I’m grateful for the opportunity to start early on this. I also want to do some more baking with K this month, mostly cookies and muffins as well as our Thanksgiving pies. One final goal we have is collecting a full year’s supply of toiletries so we can keep those off our shopping lists next year. We have four shopping sessions left in 2022 and will add items each time to complete the stash.

Brett and I are also starting to think and talk more about goals for the coming year, although any sort of list is far from complete. Besides having annual goals, I’ want’d like to again set monthly goals like we did before we moved to Hawaii. Those lists greatly helped us to stay focused, get things done, and kept us moving forward.

Anyway, this morning I am thinking about:

When I went into vote there were about 10 people in line; when I finished and came out the line wrapped around the building!
  • What we accomplished this past week: 1) I voted early on Wednesday. The line at our polling place was quite long, a good sign I hope. Brett voted week before last and had the same experience. 2) We dropped our new print off with a local frame shop to be matted as well as four other smaller pieces (photos and art) we had sent from Hawaii. We purchased a commercial frame for the print, but the other pieces will be left unframed and set on a picture rail. 3) I roasted two pumpkins and froze the puree to use later. 4) Brett and I made our budget for next year. There will probably be a couple of tweaks in January, but overall it’s pretty solid and covers everything.
Our two small pumpkins produced seven cups of puree! We have two big pumpkins left but they are still providing fall decoration for the time being.
  • What we’re looking forward to next week: 1) I’m not sure whether I’m looking forward to Election Day or not. Actually, I’m quite nervous about how things will turn out and what the future might hold for our country. I encourage everyone to vote, no matter who or what you support, if you haven’t done so already. 2) K will be with us all day and overnight on Tuesday (schools closed on Election Day) as M has work and than has to attend an early morning event in Knoxville. I am planning for the two us to make a pan of oatmeal shortbread and Brett and I are thinking up another couple of projects for her to do while she’s here.
This section of woods that we pass by on our walks changed color over the weekend.
  • Healthy eating and exercise: 1) We kicked up our walking distance this week to three miles around the complex Tuesday through Friday (we only walked two miles on Monday, and it rained all day yesterday). It was tiring the first couple of days but we’re into it now. 2) Healthy evening meals this week were barbecue pork sandwiches and coleslaw left over from our getaway along with corn on the cob; tuna noodle casserole; cheddar broccoli soup; pasta with red pepper sauce, meatballs, and roasted green peppers; fish sandwiches, tater tots, corn on the cob, and apple slices; and slow cooker pork chops with sauerkraut, apples, and bacon, along with mashed potatoes. 3) K and I baked a cherry pie on Thursday and we had that for our dessert on Friday (M & K eat dinner with us on Friday evenings).
K cut out all the pie crust leaves and arranged them on top of the pie!
  • The ways we saved: 1) Brett bought gas on Monday morning, and we paid in full for the picture matting and a commercial-produced frame (from money set aside for it), but otherwise we had a no-spend week and put $9.02 into the change/$1 bill jar. 2) We had to hunt quite a bit for a commercial frame for the print because of the size needed and a requirement for acid-free acrylic, but we found one for the right price at which came with free shipping. Buying the frame online saved us over $100. 3) We used what we had on hand to create all our meals, ate all our leftovers, and didn’t throw away any food.
There’s lots of sunlight streaming through the trees and into our apartment these days – I love it!
  • Good things that happened: 1) Leaves falling off the trees behind us is allowing more sunlight into our apartment during the day, something we really noticed this past week. 2) K enjoyed her first trick or treat experience on Halloween. M took her out to a nearby neighborhood, and although she was was initially hesitant and a little scared, she ended up impressed by how kind everyone was and how much everyone seemed to enjoy the holiday and meeting the trick-or-treaters. 3) K and I had a great time making our cherry pie. She did all the cutouts for the top and arranged them. She says she is excited about our next baking experience. 4) Brett and I are thinking that next year we might start selling some of the natural items we find in the woods here on Etsy, things like acorns, pinecones, hedge apples/Osage oranges, and so forth – there seems to be a market for them. There is an abundance of these items right on the complex property and plenty more if we increase our range.

Brett and my thoughts are starting to gel around one post-Nashville location. We’ve been ranking the items on our list, assigning them to different locations, weighing needs and wants, and this location in particular has risen to the top of our list. That said, another couple of places are still contenders, and I think our final decision will depend on what is going on in the U.S. in the coming year or so. Meiling and her partner are thinking of moving from Massachusetts and YaYu may leave Pennsylvania for graduate school, and those two things have the potential to affect our decision as well. In the meantime we’re going to settle in here and make the most of our time in Tennessee.

And that was the week that was! I’m happy to have reached the end of another good week and am looking forward to the next, hoping it will move along as smoothly as this past one did. I hope everyone had as good week as we did, and that this week coming up will be filled with good things for you as well.


16 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 11/6/2022: Last of the Fall Color

  1. K did fabulous with the pie crust! So cute! Excited to hear about your plans! I wanted to live close to grandchildren but that state taxes social security and it is also a very expensive state, so that was a big no for me. I will just fly a lot. I loathe flying, but will do it for family only.


    1. Cindy, we feel the same way about flying, at least for now. We’ll do it to see our kids, but otherwise we’re just not interested right now. I hope we will change our minds in the future, but the memories of some pretty awful flights leaving Hawaii and getting to Baltimore still leaves a bad taste in our mouths.

      K and I had fun making that pie, although she refused to even taste it. She’s more excited about the apple pie we plan to make for Thanksgiving!


  2. I voted already as well. Nervous about what will happen in my state, but hoping for a good outcome. This is our first year of ranked-choice voting which changes things up a bit.


    1. Nervous is the way to be right now, I think. No one seems to know how things are going to turn out and in many cases I think the races are going to be nail biters.

      I was super surprised by the amount of people in line at our polling place when I walked out. People seem to be fired up this year, and in spite of everything that’s going on, it’s a good thing.

      I’ve never voted using ranked choice. From what I’ve heard some love it, others don’t (just like everything else in the world).


  3. We have also voted already and are very nervous about what is going to happen in our state. We used to think New Mexico politics was nuts. Now that we live in Arizona we are seeing what true crazy is. Praying for our nation.


    1. Arizona does seem weird/crazy this year and kind of scary, frankly. We will be watching results there closely as Brett served with Mark Kelly during our second tour in Japan, in VA-115. Lt. Kelly was a very nice guy, but his wife back then . . . woo boy. She was a real piece of work.


  4. I’m catching up with your trip, so many beautiful things to see in this world! Quite a remarkable area, thank you for sharing these amazing photos! We drove through NC in 2019 while going from Atlanta to Charlotte, and we discovered Spartanburg, a quaint little town, as well as a very beautiful area north of Charlotte where Lake Norman is. This country has so much stunning natural beauty! How can one see all that in a lifetime?!

    I’ve been voting by mail since…I don’t even remember, probably 2010. I love it, never had a problem, I get a text on my phone when my ballot is received and counted. I can track it online and see if there is an issue with my ballot or how it was registered. It’s so simple and convenient. Because of my personal experience( and my immediate family’s as well), I can’t quite understand what’s the whole bru-ha-ha about voting in the last couple of years. So much hostility and unnecessary violence on full display make me wonder who benefits from all of this. Divide and conquer is as relevant today as it was back in the Roman Empire era. Let’s hope that things will calm down and civility will prevail, although I share the concerns of so many others.

    On a much lighter note, you’ve got yourself a little apprentice baker. How adorable!!


    1. I read somewhere the other day (maybe here on the blog?) where someone from Australia asked why we would ever travel elsewhere as there is so much to see in the U.S. I have been fortunate to see much of our country (the only two states I haven’t visited are Montana and Alaska) but feel like I’ve barely seen all that there is to see here, historical, natural, and otherwise. I am enjoying our time here in Tennessee – so many things to see I didn’t know about.

      Oregon was one of the first states (if not the first) to adopt mail-in voting. We arrived in 1992, and voted in person that year but it was mail-in after that. So easy, and we were so grateful for the big voters guides that came each election, where we could sit down and take our time to know more about the candidates or issues before voting. Hawaii adopted mail-in voting in 2020.

      K does like to cook – we’re making shortbread this week!


  5. We’re really nervous about the election, too. We get absentee ballots all the time now, but we drop them off at the Clerk’s office. Something about the hand off in person reassures us, although we’ll be able to track them on Election Day and they seem secure. The crazies in Michigan are making us pretty nervous, especially given we have election deniers running for top spots. 🤞

    So cute your granddaughter loves to bake with you. Do you think it’s an advantage for schools to be closed on Election Day? Somehow it seems parents would have a harder time voting if they don’t have day care or time off work. Granted, I’m suspicious of anything short of a national holiday so everyone can vote. 😊


    1. Locally there isn’t much going on here election wise, but there were four statewide ballot issues that could potentially cause problems if they pass. Voting here was easy and everything from directions to what we were voting on was very clear. I don’t think there’s going to be a “wave” on either side, just a whole bunch of very closely fought battles. It’s going to be a long night.

      Schools are closed because many are used as voting sites, so they just close them all for the day. I agree though, it must make it difficult for some parents. Election day should be a national holiday, a day off for everyone.


      1. AH, I hadn’t considered the polling place aspect. I worked as an exit poller a long time ago, and it was indeed at a school.


      2. Voting sites on Kaua’i were at schools but they didn’t close. Voting areas were very clearly delineated and watched. That’s all moot though as HI is now completely vote-by-mail.


  6. Quite a busy week indeed!!! I’m wondering about the toiletries items stock-up. What is the purpose aside from having the items on hand?

    Love baking with the littles!!!


    1. We have very little room in our apartment to stock up on anything, but we could do toiletries. For some reason they are items I hate having to add onto our shopping list, so thought if we stocked up at the end of this year we could focus more on food next year, and spending less overall. Our toiletries list is pretty simple, so this is not going to be a huge amount of stuff. I’m planning to do a post about it either later this month or in December.


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