Posts tagged ‘life’

Moving Pains

I was going to post about something I made a few weeks ago today.

But then I couldn’t find the usb drive that had the pictures on it.

After searching in various places, I finally found the usb drive.

“Victory!” I thought, “Now I can write a new post, FINALLY!”

And then, I realized I didn’t know where I’d put the recipe.

I looked in a few different boxes, but, alas, to no avail.

I think I’ll have to wait until after we move to Houston this Thursday.

Moving is a pain.


June 11, 2012 at 8:11 am Leave a comment

Almost Moving Day!

Tomorrow is moving day! Well, tomorrow and Tuesday.

There’s still so much to do! Agh!

In other news, I finally finished my cheese press! Yay! And just in the nick of time too!

I would have a picture for you, but I’m not sure where my camera is… I packed it somewhere…

Maybe my suitcase?

Ah, moving…

June 3, 2012 at 8:16 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Mayhem

I know the title seems a little over dramatic. But if there’s one thing we value in my family, it’s a good drama queen (or king in the case of you guys).

Yes, yes, we have a slight tendency to be over dramatic about pretty much everything in my family. Seeing as both my parents are over dramatic, I figure, well, genetics are to blame, therefore, if I am over dramatic as well, it’s not my fault. 🙂 Great logic, right? Ha!

My menu plan for this week was thrown together kind of last minute, and the theme for this week is fast and easy.

It’s been busy as ever here preparing for move number 1 of 2 next Monday (my parents’ move and then me and Hisa’s move). Although this weekend, I think we spent more time doing stuff for our move to Houston.

First, we had to buy furniture. Hisa gave all of his away when he moved back to Japan, and all I have is a twin size bed (not very comfortable for two people) and a desk and chair. We’re taking the desk and chair, and my parents are giving us their couch (they’re getting a new couch set) and a bookshelf, but that still leaves us lacking some necessary furniture.

So Saturday, my parents, Hisa, and I headed to good old Mathis Brothers Furniture store in OKC, where my parents bought their new couch set, and Hisa and I bought a bedroom set, matress, and dining table and chairs.

It sounds so simple when I type it in one sentence like that, but picking out furniture takes awhile. We were there at least three hours I would say. Maybe longer. It’s kind of all a blur.

We weren’t done yet though! Not by a long shot!

After the furniture store, we headed to the Honda car dealership, and Hisa and I bought a car.

Right now we only have my old (old…old…) Chevy Malibu, and we’ll need two cars to get around in, so we decided to get a new car.

Again, “We went to the car dealership and bought a car,” sounds so short and simple. It never is at a car dealership though. We were there another good three hours at least. Here’s what I’ve learned from my first experience of buying a car:

  1. Don’t drive a rental car there, because you have to have proof of insurance to buy a car.

We drove the rental car, and therefore didn’t have proof of insurance (it was in my car at home). We had to call the insurance company and have them fax over a copy. Then, the insurance policy only had my dad’s name on it, and not mine. So we had to call the insurance company again, to have them put my name on the policy and not just listed as a driver, but by this time they were closed.

2.  If you live on a rural route address, be sure to bring your 911 address.

Evidently a rural route address doesn’t count to 911, so they created different addresses for people with such addresses. When you call 911, you have to give them your special 911 address, and not your normal address (like I’ll remember it in a crisis when I actually have to call 911! I’ll be lucky if I remember my own name, much less some special address they assigned to us a week ago!).
The car dealership people have to have your special 911 address as well, because they want to be special too.

3.  Car dealerships do not accept temporary checks.

That’s all we had, so we have to go back today with a cashier’s check. Yay.

4.  Leaving the country for four years is bad for your credit.

They never tell you these things when you first go abroad. Unless you use your American credit cards or are paying off American loans while abroad, no matter how wonderful your credit score is, it will eventually go back to zero. Burn.

So although we spent three hours at the car dealership, it was a very enlightening time. Fortunately, the people that helped us were very nice and helpful, so it wasn’t too painful of an experience. We did have to take the insurance by yesterday to actually be able to pick up our car, and we have to go back by today with a cashier’s check (the banks were closed yesterday for Memorial Day), but then we’ll be done! ….At least, I hope we’ll be done! Maybe I shouldn’t say that, or I’ll jinx it somehow.

Oh yeah, we also have to pack, and we have one week to find a moving company.

No worries! Right?



Menu Plan for May 28 – June 2:

Spaghetti with meat sauce and tossed salad

Chili and corn bread

Make your own wraps (put out a bunch of things to make wraps with, and let everyone put whatever they want in their wrap)

Puff Pastry Pie

Grilled cod with ginger sesame sauce, green beans with almonds, and tossed salad

Chicken gyros


May 29, 2012 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

What a week…


Hey! Sorry for the prolonged silence…

We’ve been so busy around here, busyness is practically oozing from my pores!

Or maybe that’s just the lingering humidity that came back from Houston with me…

Rather than complicate things with a long, drawn-out story, here’s the breakdown:

  • Hisa got the job in Houston he interviewed for.
  • We’re moving to Houston.
  • We visited my brothers, my sister-in-law, and my brother’s fiance in Austin.
  • Hisa and I slept on the couch/air mattress at my brother/sister-in-law’s place while frantically searching online for somewhere in Houston to live.
  • We extended our rental car for another week (which caused much strife and anger against the car rental company….but I won’t go there)
  • We went back to Houston and went to look at as many apartments as we could.
  • We had margaritas to battle the stress/fatigue of apartment hunting…
  • We found an apartment! Yay!
  • We came back to Oklahoma yesterday.

We now have a little over a week to find a moving company, get them out here to get all of our stuff out before my parents move out of here on June 3rd….
No pressure…

Oh, we also have to buy furniture; open a bank account; sell our old couch; help my parents pack, move, and unpack; get another car; and get car insurance for said car all before we move to Houston…

Fortunately, we won’t actually be moving into our apartment in Houston until June 15, so that gives us a little more time for those last things.

Like I said, the busyness is oozing from my pores.

Needless to say, I won’t be able to post as much as I want to in the coming two weeks, but I will be posting some! Even if it’s just an update post like this one.

Hisa and I are super excited that he’s found a job, and we’ll be moving to Houston. Of course we’re a little sad that we’ll be 8 hours away from my parents, but we’ll be closer to my brothers, which is great.
We’re also excited to be moving on with the next big step of our lives!

Oh yeah, being 30 minutes away from the beach AND the biggest mall in Texas is a big plus too. 🙂

May 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Life on the Farm

Hisa and I got back from Texas on Sunday, and man were we tired! We were still tired yesterday (Monday), so we ended up mainly resting.

We had a great time on the farm though!

It was really hard work, but very satisfying work. We were also fortunate in that the weather was beautiful (in the 70’s and lovely) almost every day we were there. The couple whose farm it was were incredibly friendly and kind people. N was an incredible cook, a huge supporter of Nourishing Traditions style cooking and the Weston A. Price Foundation (a very pleasant surprise for me), and cooked some amazing meals for us while we were there. K was a real Texas cowboy, gruff and straightforward, but with a very warm heart.

We would get up at dawn every morning (assuming the roosters hadn’t woken us up already), and do the morning chores (feed the pigs, the cat, the chickens and ducks, let the goats out, and let the chickens out) before going up to the house for breakfast at 7:30 am (We stayed in a separate cabin next to the barn, and went up to the house for our meals). After breakfast, we would work outside all morning, come in for lunch, work outside all afternoon until dusk, do the evening chores (same as the morning chores, except put the goats and the chickens in their enclosures for the night) and then come in for dinner. After cleaning up after dinner, we would usually go back to the cabin, shower, and collapse into bed around 9:30 pm.

We did all kinds of work on the farm. We weeded the garden, fed the animals, herded cattle onto the road (we blocked off the road with a person on either end, let the cattle eat the grass on the side of the road, and let cars through whenever they came), herded cattle off the road, extracted honey from honey combs from the bee hives, filtered honey, drove the tractor, cleaned up wood debris from the pastures, fixed a crushed fence, went fishing, etc.

We also got to eat a lot of food straight from the farm. We had their own eggs, beef, pork, honey, vegetables, bread, pickles, jam, honey wine, etc. Normally they would’ve had their own milk, but their milk cows/goats were dry while we were there, so we had raw milk from a nearby dairy. It’s really amazing to go get fresh eggs from the chicken coop, pick vegetables from the garden, extract honey from the combs, and then eat it. Not to mention the fact that it’s soooo good!

It was a great learning experience, and the place we were at was so peaceful and beautiful. The experience confirmed my thoughts, that working on a farm is a lot of hard work every day, and a bit hectic and disorderly (the more animals you have, the more disorderly it can be), but very satisfying work and extremely rewarding. As cheesy as it sounds, I felt like I was really living and experiencing life every day, much more so than I would be sitting at a desk in a cubicle all day every day (note: I have nothing against desk jobs and the people who work them. This is just my opinion, so no offense meant!).

Although I don’t want a working farm of the same scale as the one we were staying at, I do still very much want some chickens (no roosters, please), some dairy goats, and an organic vegetable garden. Maybe even a cow or two someday, and a pig. We’ll see. 🙂

I really hope Hisa and I can work on some more farms in the future with WWOOF, and I really recommend it to anyone who wants to know what it’s like working on a farm. It’s a great organization, and also a great way to visit other countries and experience the culture without spending a huge amount of money.

Now for the pictures!


Hisa, weeding away!

Sunshine and me deep in a conversation about…something.

The goats in the morning eagerly awaiting being let out.


The Sikie chickens

The cows out on the road, munching away on the grass. Except for that one cow, who’s trying to figure out what I’m doing.


One of the clover fields.

Me, busy at extracting honey with the help of David and Anna (two WWOOFers from France who were at the farm the same time as us).

An inside view of the honey extractor.

Look at all that delicious, raw (and at this point, unfiltered) honey coming out of the extractor! After we filtered it, we ate some on fresh biscuits. Heaven my friends. Pure heaven.


Raz and Folger, the farm horses.

Why yes, I can drive a tractor, thank you very much.

Hisa learning to drive the tractor.

Me busy at work, pulling the trailer out into the pasture to collect wood. The tractor was a stick shift, but much to my relief, it was a lot easier to drive than a stick shift car.


Three Billy Goats Gruff?


Me with one of the cows. They kept coming over to try and “help” us with picking up wood.


Hisa’s first fishing experience. He almost caught a wide mouth bass, but it got away at the last second.


March 6, 2012 at 11:34 am Leave a comment


Just a quick note, I won’t be able to post this weak, because Hisa and I are staying on a farm in Texas where we’re volunteering and learning various things about organic farming in the process. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and it’s only now that we’ve really had the opportunity.

It’s with an organization called WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).

Check out their website to read more about what it is, and how it works.

We’ll be here until Sunday, and as we’ll be working farm hands the whole time, I doubt I’ll have time to post. I will, however, be taking lots of pictures, so I will hopefully have some great stories and pictures to post when we get back!

Until then!

February 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment

A Bit About Japanese Homes or Things I’ve Learned In Japan By Screwing Up

I’ve been watching this really cool documentary called “Victorian Farm” recently. It’s about 3 people (two archeologists and one historian) who live on a Victorian era farm for one year as Victorian farmers. They can only wear the same clothes, eat the same food, and use the same tools and products, that Victorians used.

It’s really interesting watching them figure out how to plant a wheat crop using only Victorian machinery; raise chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows as the Victorians did; and my personal favorite, cook Victorian style food and make things like cheese, cider, and lip balm (all with the use of a coal burning stove).

It got me thinking about all the things I’ve learned to do while living in Japan.

There are things I do all the time now without thinking, that when I first moved into a Japanese apartment, I had no idea about. For example, I had no idea that Japanese bathtubs could re-heat the water in the tub, or that bathwater is usually used to wash laundry (the reason washing machines are always located really close to the bathtub). If that grosses you out, let me just add that in Japan, people always shower and completely clean themselves before they get in the bath. The bathtub isn’t where people wash themselves, it’s just for relaxing and getting warmed up after showering. Therefore, the water doesn’t really get that dirty, and it’s never soapy.

I had no clue that bathwater could be re-heated, re-used, and finally used to do the laundry. When my husband and I first moved into our apartment together, the very first night after taking a bath and getting dressed, I started to drain the water, and my husband came running in yelling, “Noooooooo!” and put the plug back in. Needless to say, I was very confused. Nowadays, I’m a Japanese bathtub pro!

Our bathtub with its cover on. This keeps the water hot and prevents water and soap from getting in the bath water while you’re showering next to it. Japanese bathtubs are often smaller than their American counterparts, but much deeper. The water is usually up to one’s neck. It’s wonderful. ♥

Another thing I had no clue about was sunning the futons. I knew Japanese people always hang out their laundry to dry (the reason apartments always have balconies and places to place poles for hanging laundry), and hanging laundry isn’t that hard to figure out, but I didn’t know that people like to hang their futons (Japanese people usually sleep on thick futons on the floor, although beds are also popular with some nowadays) over the balcony rail when it’s sunny and dry to sun them.

The sunlight kills any bacteria or mold that may want to grow on the futons do to lingering moisture. People also use a beating stick (think of the thing your grandma or great-grandma used to beat rugs, and that’s it) to beat both sides of the futons while their sunning. This gets rid of dust and any other lingering particles you don’t want on your futon, and makes them generally fluffy and nice.

A lot of futons and futon blankets hanging out and catching some sun. Photo credit.

People also usually put their futons into a futon closet (all bedrooms have very deep closets for storing their futons, blankets, and pillows) after they get up in the morning, and get them out again at night. This helps provide space during the day (rooms are quite small compared to the U.S.), and also leaving the futons out all the time isn’t good for the flooring underneath or the futons (it’s a very humid country, and this is just asking for mold problems).

The futon closet in our bedroom, full of our futons (bottom half) and our blankets and pillows (top half).

There are so many other little things I’ve learned while living here, it’s hard to remember them all.

Major house cleaning isn’t done in the spring (ala spring cleaning) but done right before the new year (Jan. 1st).

Trash must always be separated into burnable, non-burnable, paper (including milk cartons), plastic bottles, metal cans, glass bottles, aerosol cans, oversize trash, etc. (because there are so many trash categories, every day is trash day). This used to confuse the heck out of me. I thought milk cartons were burnable, but no, they’re paper. I thought light bulbs were glass, but no, they have to be taken to stores that have receptacles for throwing away light bulbs as well as batteries. I thought electronic appliances were non-burnable, but no, they have to be taken to electronic stores, where you have to pay them to dispose of your electronics.

Due to the lack of central heating and air, windows should be opened every day to circulate the air. It used to make me extremely disgruntled when my husband would open the windows in the depths of winter first thing in the morning…. Actually, this one still makes me a little disgruntled (he could at least wait until after coffee when I’m more awake and a little warmer, right? Right?!).

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It’s been an amazing four years, and needless to say, I’ve certainly learned a lot! It’ll be interesting to start living in an American home again, and probably there will be a bit of reverse culture shock that goes along with it. I, however, cannot wait to use an American dryer for the laundry!


November 3, 2011 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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