Sunday Afternoon 1/10/2016

Beautiful swimmers

Beautiful swimmers

I was up early yesterday morning to go to the community pool for the girls’ swim meet. They both signed up for all their least favorite races for this one, so no exciting finishes this time but those races are now out of the way. It was a gorgeous day for the meet – not a cloud in the sky – but thankfully the team had a tent and chairs available for parents and other guests, so I was able to stay under cover and somewhat cool most of the time. Because we were the home team we also provided a potluck afterwards. There was lots of terrific food (we brought a big Caesar salad), but everything contained meat or dairy except for some (thankfully) vegetarian pancit so I was able to enjoy something. Brett served as one of the meet’s timers, and was off in another pavilion the entire time – he disappeared when we arrived and I saw him at the potluck afterwards!

I’ve been riding the exercise bicycle every morning in place of walking, which I wasn’t enjoying (in the morning; I love the evening walk). The bike sits at the front of the garage, and with the door open it’s delightfully cool in the morning for a ride. Best of all, I don’t have to get up so early, and I also don’t feel the need to go back to bed. I might take a short nap later in the morning, but usually I’m good to go for the rest of the day. The bike also counts calories, mileage, etc. so I can track my progress.

The only picture we had of Meiling until we met her in China.

The only picture we had of Meiling until we met her in China.

Finally, happy 20th birthday to our beautiful Meiling! Nineteen years ago on this day, after a long wait, we got a call that there was a little girl in China waiting for us, so it’s an extra special day for Brett and me as well. Today also marks the start of “Birthday Month” around here – all three girls have birthdays within the next 33 days. They’re all getting their favorite gift this year: cash!

This afternoon I am:

Reading: I finished Look Who’s Back early in the week and finished All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr last night so am currently looking for something new. I started All the Light a long while ago, but stopped about one-third of the way in when several library downloads became available at the same time last year (books have to be downloaded immediately and read within three weeks). I just never got back to it until now. I’m so glad though I picked it back up – it’s a marvelous book. By the way, by the end of Look Who’s Back, Hitler, still spouting the same evil rhetoric as in the past, had become quite popular again in Germany . . . as a celebrity. I think the main point of the book was that people will always be taken in by celebrity, even if that celebrity is Hitler.

Listening to: The washing machine is doing its thing. It’s a bright, sunny day so a perfect day to set up our ‘solar dryers’ outside. WenYu is in the kitchen fixing her lunch, but otherwise it’s been a very quiet and peaceful morning around here.

Watching: WenYu and I have our seats reserved again for Episode 2 of Downton Abbey tonight. Brett and I binge-watched Season 2 of Broadchurch this past week (LOVE this series), and started watching the new episodes of Foyle’s War. We finally finished all the available episodes of Midsomer Murders, and have just a few more to go of Murdoch Mysteries.

Cooking/baking: I’m going to make an olive oil orange cake this afternoon, using a vegan egg substitute so I can enjoy some too. Dinner tonight will be coconut curry with tofu, potatoes, butternut squash and peas served over jasmine rice. We were given a large bag of oranges last week and I’m going to juice them today.

Happy I accomplished last week: I was able to get in two exercise sessions each day last week. I had thought I would just do one in the mornings to kind of kickstart things, but felt energetic enough every afternoon to take a second walk (usually with Brett or one of the girls).

Looking forward to next week: There’s nothing on the calendar for me this week, so I plan to enjoy a nice, relaxing week. Brett and I will probably go out for coffee one day.

Grateful for: This past week WenYu’s laptop, an older one that had been handed down from Brett, died and could not be revived. Since Brett and I had been planning to give her a new laptop for graduation, we decided to go ahead and buy her one now because she is in the middle of a required online course and needs a computer for other coursework this term. I am feeling very thankful right now for our savings and that we were able to do this for WenYu without throwing our whole budget out of whack.

Bonus Question: What’s something you try to avoid at all costs? This is an easy answer for me: crowds. I don’t know if it’s because I’m an introvert, or afraid of getting lost or what, but I stay away if possible from anywhere there will be a crowd or even just lots of people. So, no concerts, fairs, festivals, fireworks shows, sporting events, etc. for me these days. If there’s a lot of people I get very nervous very quickly. On the other hand, I love being in Tokyo, one of the busiest, most crowded cities in the world. Go figure. I have been squeezed and pushed into train cars during the morning rush hour. I have been packed into buses. I have been to festivals in Japan, and walked down popular shopping streets where you practically can’t slip a piece of paper between people. I can’t say I like it, but it’s part of the Japan experience, and I survive. For some reason over there I never feel anxious like I do here.

How was your week? How is your Sunday afternoon going?

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4 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 1/10/2016

  1. Hawaii Planner says:

    I too loathe crowds, and as a result, do not like visiting big cities. Tokyo included, unfortunately. 😉 Although, out of all of my work trips, it’s certainly my favorite. Very clean, safe & almost everyone speaks English enough that i can get around. 😉

    Your swimmers are lovely!

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    • Laura says:

      I don’t know why I love Tokyo so much, but I always have, from the very first visit. I think primarily it’s because it’s so clean and safe even though it is incredibly crowded. I also love the blend of old and new, the avant garde with the traditional. And, I can get myself around easily. I do try to avoid anything that’s called a festival there though.

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  2. Vivian says:

    I don’t like crowds either but I do manage to go to the art festival in town. Because it is spread over so many blocks it doesn’t feel so crowded.
    Too many people just makes me exhausted.

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    • Laura says:

      Exhausted is exactly right. Plus, crowds here scare me – they’re unpredictable, at least to me. Maybe that’s why I don’t freak out in Japan – crowds there are very predictable. Everyone is polite, there’s no shoving – you just move along with whatever pace everyone else is going.

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