A few miscellaneous things too small for individual posts:
- Grandkids: We spent quite a bit of extra time with C and K this month beyond our usual duties. M came down with Covid the second week of the month so we kept the kids with us as much as possible until she recovered. Getting them up, dressed, fed, and off to their respective schools in the morning was a challenge – we were definitely out of practice!! Their schedules don’t sync at all either so there was lots of driving for Brett. Both kids are somewhat picky eaters, so getting them fed was also a challenge at times but we managed. I have baked like crazy all month making cookies, brownies, muffins, and cakes for some of their snacks, and have vowed to be better prepared next month. For those who might wonder, we are generously reimbursed for gas, snacks, etc. every month even though we don’t ask for or expect it.
- Eye surgery: My first surgery went very well, with a much faster and easier recovery than I expected. The almost-immediate improvement in the eye that was done was absolutely remarkable – I have 20/20 vision in that eye again. The other eye will be operated on tomorrow morning. I cannot wait to get all of this over and get new glasses (for close vision) but that won’t happen until the end of March, when both eyes have fully healed. In the meantime all I need now are inexpensive reading glasses.
- Breadmaking: Count me in as the latest convert to no-knead Dutch oven bread. I made my first loaf at the beginning of the month and it was instant love for both of us. I’ve been making a loaf per week since (the grandkids love it too), and have tried the cinnamon raisin version which we enjoyed as well. The main challenge is not to eat too much after it comes out of the oven! I’m still kind of mad at myself for taking so long to try it because it’s so easy and makes such a delicious loaf of bread. We’re also very happy with the take & bake items we’ve gotten from Whole Foods: blueberry scones, cherry turnovers, and croissants. The cost per item is the same or less than already-baked goods, but this way we get the items fresh and warm from the oven, so we’re going to continue to keep them in rotation (we have a pastry around once a week for breakfast).
- Reservations for Maine: I made our hotel reservations for four nights in mid-coast Maine following Meiling’s and KN’s wedding this summer. At first I thought it might be too early, but some places were already sold out for the dates we wanted! We’ve reserved a pet-friendly room in a well-reviewed place that provides a site-made free breakfast every morning, and the location will be perfect for exploring up and down the coast.
- Weight update: I was weighed the morning of my eye surgery and was very happy to find my weight far less than expected. I honestly thought I had gained a lot since we’ve been here, but even being fully clothed with shoes on my weight was only a few pounds more (less than 10) than I weighed when we left Hawaii. I don’t get as much exercise here as I did there, so all things considered I’m calling it a win. I’m very motivated now to keep up the walking and the way we eat! Brett is in good shape as well – he’s the primary dog walker and regularly gets 10,000 – 15,000 steps a day.
- Happy birthday, Kaipo! Our little pup turns one year old on Sunday. We are so happy and grateful to have this little guy; he’s everything we hoped for when we decided to add him to our lives. I can’t get over how much he’s changed since we got him last August – his breeder said he was pretty much as big as he was going to get, but he’s actually bigger and more filled out more than expected. He’s matured in other ways as well although he still loves to chew on things (thankfully not the furniture), and is a digger – he “digs” in his dog bed and “buries” his toys under the cushion. I felt bad for a while because we don’t have a yard for him, but can see now it would either be full of holes or he’d dig himself out under the fence. Meiling sent him a box of cute, fun birthday toys the other day and he had them all chewed up or damaged in less than 48 hours. I’ve repaired them as best as I can, but we knew when we first saw them they were doomed. We still love this little guy to pieces!
- Taiko concert: Brett and I are attending the Kodo One Earth Tour concert on Monday evening in Nashville courtesy of M and the Japanese Consulate. If it’s like any other taiko event we’ve attended it will be a very exiting evening!
The taiko: a traditional Japanese drum with limitless rhythmic possibilities. Kodo’s mission is to explore these possibilities, and in the process forge new directions for a vibrant living art-form. Since 1981, Kodo has given over 6,500 performances in 52 countries on five continents. This figure includes 4,000 performances under the “One Earth” banner, a theme that embodies Kodo’s desire to transcend language and cultural boundaries, all while reminding their audiences of the common bonds we all share as human beings.
Time is flying by: just a few more days of this short month to go and then it’s on to March!