Friday, July 29, 2011

Loving Lately

Lately, I have been blessed with several things that bring a lot of joy to my life. I think this is because there have been several things that have been very challenging in my life, and so maybe this is my reward for enduring!
We are having the unique experience of living in a town where, this time, we know only one person who is fully bilingual (our very busy friend Sister T). Recently, I have had to go to two one-on-one meetings(a city meeting and school meeting) where the other person did not speak a word of English. I am going to say this was actually a great blessing, because it is pretty much forcing me to study Japanese more. And in fact, the language/cultural barrier has never been my biggest challenge while living in Japan. It has always been the extreme temperatures combined with no insulation or central air (hello, heat rash! I've missed you so!), and always, the food issue. As someone who doesn't eat meat, loves healthy cooking, and really, really, enjoys whole grains, the greatest challenge is living in a country that is founded on white rice, white flour noodles, fried food, grilled meat, and raw fish. (For shame, you say! What about Japanese pickles and produce? Okay, I will give you that. We eat a ton more fruits and veggies here.) Plus, I am pregnant and have been having a hard time with my usual Japanese staples, which leads me to be even more obsessed with food than usual!

So--besides those little issues--here are the things that have given me great joy lately!

--This Lentil Burger Recipe makes 8 delicious lentil burgers. Yum! I am really picky about veggie burger recipes, but this one passes the test. Super easy and good. I didn't have flax meal, so I substituted with panko.

--Yarn! This was what I got for my birthday (since I spend many nights just wiped out on the couch):

I am working on a hexagon afghan, but it is slooow going. Still, just seeing all these bright colors (Lion Brand Cotton Ease) makes my day!

--This book:

My sister-in-law sent me this book, and I am obsessed! It is so well-written and dramatic and really pulls you in. I'm about 400 pages in, and I have to pull myself away from it. Very very good! She also sent me the sequel, so these books should last me a while!


We live about 10 minutes from 2 different beaches, and the water is so clear and warm right now. We also live near a free kids' pool that is so perfect for my kiddos! So, we have really been enjoying getting out of the house and enjoying the water this summer!

--Project Runway is back! Hooray! I managed to get Fox to watch Next Food Network Star with me, so I'm going to see if I can reel him in to watch this, too. I think he'll go for it if I give him enough treats.

--Good music! My sister told me about Spotify, and it is awesome! This cover of Superbass is cleaned up and rapped by a white girl, so there! I love it!

And my kids (and Fox) are obsessed with the song Heavy Rotation by Japan's Pop Group AKB48 (there used to be 48 members, but now, it's more like 24). I love it, because whenever I play it, Cash does a full choreographed routine to the entire length of the song. His kindergarten class performed it for us on parent's day!. Watch the music video if you dare, but be warned: It's basically just Japanese girls singing in lingerie and doing other silly things, like sharing baths and kisses and yeah. Now you know why Fox likes it :)

So, those are a few of my favorite things right now, which sure give me a lot of distraction from this crazy humidity!

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