Reflections as we near 2019
After we returned from our trip, the time seemed to fly by. Soon, Halloween was already upon us, and instead of doing a Dias de Muertos /Coco theme, the kids and I decided on the Greatest Showman. It gave me a chance to wear the amazing sparkly dress I got as a gift from my dear "aunty" Rachel X when we stayed with them in Pennsylvania (I wore the dress plus gave myself a beard with face paint, easiest costume!) it gave Kyle a chance to shine as the star of his first real Trick or Treating excursion (he walked it this year!!) and Chinami was an amazing "Ann", it was perfect! And since Yasushi was off work this year, he was able to join in the fun and have his first Trick or Treating! Since he is tall, he played "the elephant" using the hat Kyle had used for his very first Halloween at 7 months old. The kids' costumes came together at the last minute, using lots of tacky glue and other sneaky techniques but we got lots of compliments!
After Halloween it was already November, and just like that, it was already Thanksgiving in just another week or so! Yasushi's workplace closed for dinner on that day, so I went shopping little by little during the week to amass all the ingredients we needed for our family feast -- a turkey of course (7.99 for a 15 pounder from Safeway with an in app coupon) some mixed wild rices and quinoas for our "stuffing" which is really takikomi wild rice with the turkey neck/tail/giblets, celery and carrots, creamed spinach which was my favorite dish at Boston Market and something unique to my American heritage, some brussels sprouts and corn, and this year instead of having mashed potatoes and doing sweet potato/kabocha pie and the like, I changed it up a little and just threw a bunch of different kinds of sweet potato (traditional orange yams, Japanese yellow satsumaimo, and "local" Okinawan purple) and some kabocha for good measure into the oven all wrapped up in foil when I put the turkey in. And for dessert, we had a special "new" family dish-- pumpkin butter mochi! Kyle has always loved butter mochi, since he was just a baby and his uncle Brandon brought some over and he just couldn't stop eating it!! At his 2nd birthday I made a butter mochi bus-shaped birthday cake with donut tires. And so I thought for our family Thanksgiving it would be appropriate to incorporate this piece of our family culture into the menu, and got us some butter mochi mix, and some canned pumpkin, and did a little adjustment and made it all work.
This year, I worked overnight on Wednesday, plus we were invited to a lunch potluck, so more than ever it was so important to prepare as much as I could ahead of time. On Tuesday I started the dry-brine on the turkey and put it in the nylon baking bag. On Wednesday I made sure all the ingredients were put together and grouped in the fridge, and on Thursday in the hour between coming home and leaving for the potluck I double checked and made sure everything would be ready to shove into the oven and push the "on" button on the pressure cooker when we got home around 1-2pm so I could nap for an hour or so before waking up again to check on things and clean up, and heat up the creamed spinach.
At the potluck, they had a microphone and amp set up for anyone to jump in and do some entertaining. So of course, with a little hesitation, I jumped in and sang a song. Kiyoshi no Zundoko Bushi. And so now everyone at the church knows that I like to sing Enka. I mean it's not something I actively keep a secret, I just never had the opportunity to bring it up, and now even people I don't know already know I sing Enka. After that a bunch of people had brought ukuleles and we had a good old fashioned kanikapila or "jam session", me with my accordion for the first time in years playing with others. It felt good!
Yasushi's friend from work came to have dinner with us and he brought us some wine. And luckily our roommate arrived home before we all passed out so I was able to make her a plate as well.
And just like that, now it's December. We have our Christmas tree up, and I even decorated our balcony door as well! This Sunday is the day of the JLPT test, which I signed up to take the N1 since it's been 10 years already since I passed it the first time.
I feel like the last few years I have lost focus on myself. But now I am getting back to my old passions. And I'm in a place now thanks to my overnight (premium pay) job where I am going to have more time to give the things I used to do another try. Sure, a lot has changed in the 6 years since I became a mom, but we'll see if I can adapt.