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February 17, 2019

New Walking Route

イギリスの田舎暮らしがとてもよかったので、アメリカに帰ってからの家探しも田舎暮らしを選びました。もともと引っ越し先が小さな街というのもあるけど、そのまた郊外の、農園の広がる地域、最寄りのスーパーまで7キロ弱というかなりの田舎になりました。裏庭を、普通に鹿の家族が横切っていきます。散歩道も林に囲まれてて、春になって木に葉っぱがついたらいい景色になるだろうな~、と楽しみにしています。


My new walking route is amazingly similar to my walking route in England. But I guess it is not that funny considering how our country living in England affected our "must-haves" when we were choosing a house to buy.

We had known back in the Desert that we didn't want to live in the planned development anymore. The HOA we lived in had more than 4,000 houses and the houses were just stacked on top of each other and we were provided with a thick stack of HOA rules. We used to even have a "3 shrub rule" that said we had to have at least 3 shrubs in the front yard.


But having lived in the country side of England , we pretty much solidified that our next house environment would be a bit more unique than a planned development. So it is: we chose a house in an unincorporated town where the property tax is half of what the house within the city limit would be.

Our house is on a dead-end street so it's very quiet and surrounded by woods, with a little peak of farmland down the hill. Luckily, unlike it was in England, the street is wide enough for 2 cars to pass by so I don't have to walk off the street when a car goes by.

It has gotten warm last week and the daffodils shot out in a matter of 2 days. We are really loving it here, Deep South!


February 10, 2019

Moving Truck Has Arrived

引っ越し屋さんのトラックが来ました。2年4か月ぶりに家財道具と再会です。巨大なトレーラーがやって来た時には、こんなに物があったっけ、と心配になったけど、トレーラーの3分の1はカラだったので、ちょっと安心。(でも物ありすぎ)

もう何度も引っ越しを繰り返してきたけど、引っ越し屋さんを使うのは今回が初めて。いや~、重い家具を運ばなくていい引っ越しというのはいいものだね。

さすがに砂漠地帯の、ただのブロックでできた倉庫に2年4か月も眠っていた家財道具は、どれもすべて小汚いです。段ボールに入っていた物も、持ち手の穴から埃が入るのか、もうとにかくすべてが小汚くて、ただ荷ほどきをする、ってことができず、全部洗えるものは洗うか、雑巾で水拭きしなくてはならなくて、荷ほどきに非常に時間がかかっております。

この2年間、必要最低限のものだけで暮らしてきたので、物の多さにちょっと焦っています。頑張ってコンマリしてます。やっぱりときめく物だけに囲まれて過ごさないとね。


The day has finally come: the moving truck full of our household stuff from the Desert has arrived.

Since MOTH had a business trip back in the Desert, he was able to coordinate and oversee the shipment of our household goods from the storage in the Desert to the Deep South. When I saw the ginormous trailer, I was worried that we had so much stuff, but luckily the trailer was less than 2/3 full. (Still that's a lot of stuff...)


We have moved quite a few times in the past 15 years but this was our first time using a mover. It was nice I did not have to do any heavy lifting.


A ramp makes a huge difference.



Halfway through and still jam packed.


When we moved from the South to the Desert, we had to store our household goods in Pods for a year because we couldn't sell our house and buy another house right away. The Pods was nice: we packed it ourselves and it got delivered on our door step when we moved into a house. The contents were clean and we just unpacked.

What is different this time is that our stuff sat in a storage unit for 2 years and 4 months. We got a good ol' cinder block storage unit that is not climate controlled. So everything got very dusty, literally, everything, even the the stuff that was in a box. Everything has thin layer of dust and grime.

So the unpacking has been a slow process. I have to wash everything if I can, or wipe them off every single item.

The house is a hot mess and my allergy has flared up from all the dust in the house. There are just so much stuff compared to what we had in the past 2 years so I'm a bit overwhelmed and trying to do KonMari and let things go if they don't spark joy anymore.

Today's goal is to finish the kitchen area so that I can start cooking a proper meal. Let's get to it.

February 4, 2019

Bought a House

イギリスから深南部に引っ越してきて40日。ローンの書類にサインして、家を購入しました。ということでまたしても引っ越し。

イギリスから送った荷物は荷ほどきせずにとっておいたのでそんなに荷造りする必要もなく、アパートから家への引っ越しはとても順調に終わりました。1か月半ぶりの荷物との対面。ずっとトレーナー3つとジーンズ2本をローテで着ていたので、いろんな服が出てきてちょっとうれしい。

まだ家具は一つもないので、ベッドもなく、床に直寝。私はユキのベッドに寝ています。全く文句なし。

私は今も在宅で仕事をしているんだけど、もちろん机も椅子もないので、アイロン台をイケアの棚二つの上に渡して机代わりにしています。ワンルームアパートに住む男子大学生の部屋みたいになっております。



After 40 days since we moved from England, we signed off the loan documents and bought a house. That means moving, again.

Since we only have stuff that we shipped from England (means essentials only with no furniture) and they were still packed tight in the bins, and the fact that we had 2 overlapped days at the apartment, we had very few packing at the apartment and just made a few trips to transport the bins. It was really nice to reacquaint with our stuff after 6 weeks. I had been wearing a rotation of 3 hoodies and 2 pairs of jeans so it's nice to have more options.


Since we have no furniture whatsoever, we are currently sleeping on the floor. I'm using a dog bed. The high-density foam bed is pretty comfy, as I discovered when I had food poisoning. There are also 4 layers of packing blankets under the quilt, too.


And this is the state of my "office." My ironing board laid across 2 Ikea boxes. After all, I am Japanese, I should be totally fine sitting on the floor all day long, right?

January 28, 2019

Food Poisoning

先週、食中毒になりました。お昼に食べたものにあたったらしい。夕方6時頃、なんか調子悪いな~、と思い始めたら、15分ぐらいでもう「あ、横にならないとだめかも」な状態になり、もうその後すぐにはスーパーの袋いくつかつかんで食中毒症状全開。下痢でトイレに座りつつ嘔吐する、という非常につらい夜をすごすことになりました。

一晩中全身が痛くて、一晩中トイレとベッドを往復してました。(往復する体力すらなく、ほぼトイレの床で寝ていた)回復するのに丸2日かかり、あんなに激しく具合が悪かったのは人生で初めてだね。

ちなみにユキは7歳にして「お手」を覚えたんだけど、7歳半にして今度は「ハイタッチ」を覚えました。年とっても、頑張ればできるもんだね。


At the age of 7, the dog learned to "shake," and at the age of 7 and a half, she has mastered (though somewhat inconsistently) the "high-five." An old dog can still learn new tricks.

I had food poisoning last week.

There must have been something wrong with what I ate for lunch that day. I began to feel queasy around 6 pm and in 15 minutes I had to lie down on a couch.

I could feel I was progressively feeling worse by the minute so I grabbed a couple of plastic bags and went to bed to lie down. In 30 minutes, I was violently sick.

Seriously, I had never been that sick before and I had never puked so many times in one day. One time during that evening, I was sitting on a toilet, having diarrhea, and throwing up at the same time. That was hard core. I have to thank MOTH for bringing me a fresh plastic bag every time I puked.

After the puking was over, the wave of diarrhea came every 30 minutes to an hour throughout the night. I was so dizzy and it was so difficult to make the walk to and from the bathroom. I stayed on the bathroom floor for a while but it was too cold to lie down on the floor, so the next time I was well enough to return to the bed room, I took the dog's bed with me to the bathroom. The high density foam dog bed was surprisingly comfortable. I spent half the night on the dog bed on the bathroom floor.

It was interesting that I wasn't really having any "stomach ache." Rather, my entire body, especially from my gut down to my knees, was in pain. I was tossing and turning and twisting all night long. I was also shivering. I was feeling freezing cold and had to double up a quilt.

Needless to say, it was a tough night. I barely slept (and neither did MOTH, poor fella). I felt better in the morning but I was nowhere near mobile condition and the poor dog did not get to go potty until MOTH came home from work (not that she cared much, she can easily hold pee for full 24 hours). It took me 2 full days of complete bed rest to recover. I can confidently say, it was the sickest I have ever been in my life.

My bowel movement did not return for 5 days after that horrible night. Although I'm totally back to normal now and eating normally, even after a week, my poo production is still on the mend. You know, food poisoning is a serious thing. "Poison" is exactly what it feels like.

One good thing out of this violently sick experience was that I renewed my appreciation of being healthy and being well. I'm generally in good health and rarely sick so I forget how bad it feels to be sick and sometimes I even envy people who is sick and gets to stay in bed. You know, not being sick is a wonderful thing. I should feel lucky to be well and healthy.

January 19, 2019

Shipment from UK

イギリスから送った荷物が届きました。予想はしていたけど、かなり悲惨な状態で運ばれてくる荷物にちょっとドキドキ。幸い衣装箱が壊れてた以外は見た目大丈夫そうです。月末また引っ越しなので、荷物は開けずにクローゼットにしまっておきます。
ユキは犬のベッドが戻ってきてうれしい模様。


Our personal goods shipment from UK has arrived.


The international move involves a lot of hands, and the moving goods are handled and transported so many times before they reach to the destination.


The boxed goods from our UK house were taken by the the UK movers into their truck. The goods were then transported to their warehouse, re-packaged as air cargo, then transported to the airport. From there, the pallets were loaded to the airplane and flew to the US (they might have taken a connecting flight, which means more loading and unloading). Once landed, the pallets had to go to cargo, go through customs, possibly move to the mover's warehouse or distribution center, then finally they were transported to the final destination.


After going through so many rough hands and rough roads (and who knows, rough air turbulence), the boxes looked pretty sad...


The stuff we packed were all safe and sound (except for the one bin that got smashed), but most of the stuff boxed by the UK movers were pretty much all smushed. To be honest, I knew this would happen. The UK movers' packing was less than stellar but I kept my mouth shut.


And I like how the US customs just ripped off boxes. The box that had my sewing machine was opened by US customs. The handle of the box was ripped off completely (probably from attempting to lift it out of the double box), and they slashed the outer box apart, leaving the outer box vulnerable to falling apart. Other boxes got ripped off in the middle of the side panel to poke through the contents. I totally understand what they have to do in a short time they have. I'm just sad that my sewing machine box got ripped! (I know it's only a box...)


Other than the few items we took out of this shipment, we just packed them back and put them all in the closed. We are moving in a couple of weeks so no reason to unpack.


At least the dog is happy to have her dog beds back.

January 6, 2019

New Year's Resolution 2019: The Wheel of Time

2019年の目標。月に1冊本を読む。
もともとあまり本を読むのが早いほうではないんだけど、英語で本を読むのは、慣れてはきたけど、時間はかかる。今読んでいるのはロバート・ジョーダンの「時の車輪」というファンタジーシリーズで、このシリーズ、なんと15冊もあるのです。長いよ、長すぎるよ、このシリーズ。(日本語訳版は1冊の本を5冊ぐらいの文庫に分けて出版されているらしい)今3巻目を読んでるんだけど、毎月1冊読めば今年中にシリーズ全巻制覇できるのです。
全巻制覇できるように頑張ります。


Let's follow the rule of goal setting: declaring it out loud and making it measurable.

My new year's resolution for 2019 is to read one book a month. I always made it my goal but almost never followed through.

You see, I grew up as a bookworm. I liked reading and I read quite a lot of books as a child. However, my reading habit sadly disappeared when I moved to the U.S. I was learning English so reading in English was itself a chore, and my reading speed was a snail's pace so it took a looooong time to read anything (it still does). I spent hours every day reading text books for school and I had no time for pleasure reading.

My reading speed in English is still quite slow. I'm kind of a person who reads out loud in my head. If you know any speed reading technique, you know that's not how you are supposed to read if you want to read fast.

Anyway, one book a month. I have set this goal before, and I'm setting it again for this year. One difference though, is that this year, it's a bit more specific: I am trying to finish reading The Wheel of Time series this year.

The Wheel of Time series is a fantasy novel by Robert Jordan, who unfortunately passed away after Book 11, so the last 3 books were finished by Brandon Sanderson. It is a series of 14 books plus a prequel, so 15 books total. Yup, it's a big series.

The Man of the House had been recommending me to read it for years, and I actually got a Book 1 from a library few years ago. Sadly, I could not get into the book; maybe the slow pace, maybe how the story unfolded at the beginning, I don't know why, but I just wasn't into it. I extended my loan twice (1 loan is for 3 weeks) which was the maximum time I could keep the book, and I only read less than a third of the book.

Then last year, MOTH got me a Windows Surface Pro, which is sort of like a hybrid of laptop and a tablet, and he loaded it with the entire series of the Wheel of Time.

I wanted to see what it was like to read a book on a e-reader, so I gave it a try. And this time, I started from Book 0, a prequel.

Well, what can I say; it was much more pleasurable reading the prequel, and it was much easier reading the Book 1 after that.

In 2018, I tried to read 1 chapter a day. Each book has about 50 chapters so with the days I didn't read, it was taking about 2 months to read a book. I haven't been reading much for the past couple of months with all the moving, and I am still in the middle of Book 3. At this rate, I would be reading the series for the next couple of years. I like reading books, but I like reading different books than reading one story for so many years!

Hence my goal for 2019: I will cut back on my YouTube watching time, and devote more time on reading. If I can read 1 book a month, I can finish reading the Wheel of Time in 2019.

Now I have said it, and that's a very measurable goal, isn't it? I shall report back on the progress.

January 5, 2019

Happy New Year

あけましておめでとうございます。2019年もよろしくお願いします。
アパート生活も2週間。オットは1か月の休暇を終え(12月は丸一か月お休みでした。)やっと仕事に行くようになって私も家で静かに仕事ができるようになりました。ダイニングテーブルで、ノート型のパソコン一つで仕事するのにも慣れてきました。今まではノート型のパソコンにに大きなモニターとキーボードをつけていたので、モニター一つで仕事するのは画面の切り替えが多くてちょっと面倒くさいし、ノート型のキーボードを使うの久しぶりなのでタイプミスが多いです。
来週やっとイギリスから送った荷物が届く予定。でもまたすぐこのアパートから引っ越す予定なので、荷物が届いてもなるたけ開けずに置いておく予定。
アパートは池を囲むように建っていて、駐車場のある外苑を1周して、池側を1周するとちょうど3キロちょっとと、犬の散歩にちょうどいいので、車の通りを気にせず散歩ができて気に入っています。


I hope y'all are having a good start of 2019.

It has been over 2 weeks now since we moved into an apartment. The Man of the House had a whole month off during December, but he has finally gone back to work this week so now I can work in peace. I was using my lap top with a full size keyboard and an extra big monitor in England but now I am reduced to just a laptop on a dining table. It's annoying to have to switch numerous windows in 1 laptop screen and I'm making so many typos with my lap top keyboard, but at the end of the day, it's not too terribly bad.

We are expecting our personal goods shipment from England to arrive next week. We are also planning to move out of this corporate housing in a month so even when we get our shipment, they will just be stored as is in boxes. No sewing is happening for a while.

This apartment complex sits in a large property surrounding a pond/lake. I can walk on the outer circle in the parking area, then go on the inner circle around the lake for a good 2 mile walk. It's nice not to have to worry about cars when walking a dog.

December 21, 2018

Back to U.S. and Relocating

引っ越し終了!
約2年のイギリス生活を終えて、アメリカに帰国しました。そして今度はアメリカ南西部から、深南部へ。偶然にも義妹家族の住む街へ。
家財道具一式は空輸され(いつ届くのかは不明)、オットのトラックは船便で来月到着予定。
とりあえずは家具付きの社宅アパートに入居したのでテレビとかソファーとか掃除機とか食器とかなんでもそろってて便利です。でもこのアパートにいられるのも1か月か最大2か月なので、近々また引っ越しなのねぇ(泣)
スーパーに買い物に行って、品物の多さに「あぁ、アメリカに帰ってきたわ」と思いました。


We have moved; out of the U.K., back to the U.S.
Our household goods were taken away last week and should be on their way to us via air (though I don't even know when they are coming). For now, we are living off what we stuffed in the suitcases.


MOTH's truck was also taken away last week to be transported to Southampton via ground, then to South Carolina via sea. This, buying a Land Rover Defender and shipping it back to the U.S., had been his plan all along even before we moved to U.K. so there was no stopping even when the shipping charge was three times more than he expected.


Not only have we moved back to the U.S., but we have also relocated at the same time. We left Southwest for good (or at least for now) and now we are in Deep South. We still have 2 storage units full of stuff (including MOTH's truck that he absolutely refuses to get rid of) that we left in Southwest 2 years ago that need to be moved 1,600 miles over here, but that is for another day. Right now, I don't even want to think about moving. Fortunately, we got a furnished corporate apartment so moving in here was not too bad. But this is only temporary so we have to move AGAIN eventually, in a very near future, like next month or two.


There were so much inconvenience and impracticality in England, but I definitely miss the greenery. No more breathtakingly beautiful morning walks. Good bye, England, I had a lot of fun.

December 2, 2018

Last Project of the Year

引っ越しに備えてそろそろミシンと裁縫道具を片付けなくてはならないので、大急ぎで今年最後の裁縫仕事。鞄に入れるポーチを作りました。
この時期は天気が悪いと一日中真っ暗で細かい作業はあまりよく見えないのでかなり適当になっております。
布は、前に作ったポーチと同じ、外側はスエード調のビニールで、内布は青緑。


I needed a new pouch to keep in my bag so I made one, rather hurriedly before I have to pack my sewing machine.


The fabric is the left-over from my Clematis Wristlet: faux suede for exterior and teal cotton for lining. #5 zipper for the main opening and #3 for the pocket.


I could not press the faux suede so that's where my sloppiness started. Plus the weather was nasty out so it was really dark even in the early afternoon (the daylight in December/January is VERY short in England. I can't imagine living in Scotland this time around...). Even with all the LED lights in the room (there are 8 in this room), it was still dark to work on a dark fabric so my sloppiness continued.


Yup, there are thread bunching up on the bobbin side and I left them as is.


I wanted this pouch to have a wide opening so I used a wide mouth zipper pouch tutorial from Noodlehead for that.




So this is the last sewing project of 2018. I am going to pack up my sewing machines and other stuff today. No more fabric purchase and no more pattern purchase (well, except for PDF patterns...). Let's hope that my sewing machines survive another international move safely.

November 25, 2018

Annual Report

イギリスに引っ越してきてすぐの2017年2月から、毎週木曜日はCitizens Adviceという慈善事業団体にボランティアに行っていました。それも先週の木曜日が私のボランティア最終日でこれにてイギリスでのボランティア活動終了。


前にもちらっと説明したんだけど、Citizens Adviceは消費者相談センターみたいなところで、離婚とか子育て問題とか、借金とか、アパートの賃貸問題とか、社会保障の問題とか、そういういろんな生活問題に、アドバイザーが一緒になって解決策を見つけたりするサービスをするところです。


私は主に事務仕事のお手伝いだったんだけど、いつしかポスターとかチラシ制作担当になり、今年は年次報告書のデザイン・レイアウトで締めくくりました。チラシとかも、印刷屋さんから上がってきたやつを見ると結構達成感があったけど、さすがに年次報告書はちょっと厚めの紙に印刷されて冊子になった姿で出来上がったの見たらちょっと感動した(笑)


I started volunteering at Citizens Advice back in February of 2017, right after I moved to England. I was going there every Thursday, but last Thursday was my last day.


As I mentioned it before, Citizens Advice is a charity organization that provides free and confidential non-legal advice to people in wide variety of problems from welfare to debt to divorce to traffic tickets, etc., etc. There is a national, sort of "corporate" umbrella organization, and local offices are run by franchisees, like Citizens Advice East Herts where I volunteered.

 
I originally started as an admin assistant, but somehow quickly became a poster/flyer maker. I had never done any graphic design of any sort before but I really enjoyed designing posters and flyers. This year, I had a task to design and layout the Annual Report, which was distributed at the Annual General Meeting a couple of weeks ago.


It was always fun to see the final posters and flyers especially when they were professionally printed on a fancy glossy paper, but the Annual Report, printed on a slightly thicker paper and in a booklet format, was a bit special. I just can't stop looking at it. This whole experience of designing posters and leaflets really got me interested in graphic design. Desktop publishing for my next career?!

November 10, 2018

Union Jack Bunting

イギリスを去る日が近づいてきたので、思い出の品購入モード。(ちなみにまだどこに引っ越すかは未定よ)
ユニオンジャックの万国旗かざりを作れる布を買って作ってみました。
ユニオンジャックの骸骨マグとおそろでいい感じ。


Our last day in the UK is getting near, though I still don't know where we are moving to, so I am into souvenir shopping mode.


I found this bunting panel print and thought it would be fun to make some bunting. Brits loooove bunting.


I'm still not sure if the white perimeter was part of the bunting print design or it's supposed to be the seam allowance. I think I should have left the white around it? Well, the bunting goes well with my Union Jack skull mug.



Madame Tussauds in Itch to Stitch Aveiro Cardigan

3度目の正直で、ついにマダムタッソー蝋人形館に行ってきました。
8月に1回挑戦し、あまりの列の長さにあきらめ、夏休み過ぎたらもう人が少なくなってるかなと思って先月また挑戦するもやっぱり列が長くてあきらめていたのです。前回行った時にわかったのは、行列には2種類あり、一つはチケットを買うための列、そしてもう一つの列は、決まった時間帯に入場しなければならないために入場時間を待っている人たちの列だということ。なので今回は、事前にしっかりオンラインで行きたい時間のチケットを購入して行きました。
蝋人形は、似てないのもいくつかあったけど、びっくりするぐらい本物にそっくりなのが多くて、まるで有名人を間近に見てるようでした。
イギリスの有名人達。
Russell Brand
Posh Spice & Beckam
Bond, James Bond
Duke & Duchess of Sussex
Sovereign and the Kings-to-be
Ed Sheeran
そんなロンドンを歩き回るのに寒くないように重ね着対策でカーディガンを作りました。
型紙は最近こればっかりなItch to StitchというとこのAveiro Cardiganです。
布は前にワンピースを作った時のニットの残りを全く同じコンビで。
下に着てるワンピースもその下に来てるカウルネックのシャツも自作だよ。


Third time's a charm. I have finally conquered Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. We went there back in August and gave up because of the very long lines. We went back last month, thinking the lines would be short now that the summer tourists were gone. We were wrong. But we learned that there were 2 lines there: one for buying tickets and the other to wait for the timed entry. So this time, we bought the tickets online. The line was still scary long, but we were able to enter at the specified entry time.


I have to say, that the place was PACKED. Even with the timed entry, the crowd was too much for us to enjoy all the wax figures comfortably. The tickets are pricey too, $45 or so per person. That's way over priced for my liking, but I used my Buy 1 Get 1 Free code. I felt sorry for those people who were in the line for over an hour to buy the ticket and pay the full price.


For a day out in London, I needed to layer my clothing to keep me warm so I made a cardi. The pattern is Aveiro Cardigan from Itch to Stitch.


I like cardigan, and I'm very picky about the design. I have to have front closures to keep my front warm; I don't like those cascade front or the loose open front cardigans. And I want a V-neck. I had actually been contemplating getting Itch to Stitch's Lisbon Cardigan and hack it into a V-neck, but then this pattern came out. This was exactly what I wanted.

The pattern has 4 bodice length options and 4 sleeve options. I made a 3/4 sleeve version with a short bodice. I cut a size 2.


The fabric is a left-over from my Jalie 3024 dress, the exact same combo: solid black ponte for neck band and bodice hem and the lacey double knit for the main. I used the slid black ponte because I did not have enough lacey fabric to cut everything, but I think the color blocking worked better.


I skipped the interfacing on the neck band pieces. My black ponte was beefy enough without the interfacing. The neck band in the pattern is made out of 3 separate pieces: 2 front band and a back neck. I think it was unnecessary so I added the back neck piece to the front neck piece and cut it on fold.

The cuffs are much smaller in circumference than the end of the sleeve so you stretch the cuff piece to fit into sleeve. The end result is like a sweatshirt cuff. For a 3/4 sleeve length, I want a more straight line sleeve instead of having the cinched look, so I might adjust the pattern or just omit the cuff next time.


The dress underneath: McCall's 7014
The cowl neck T-shirt underneath the dress (told you I was layering up): Sewaholic Renfrew.
I was actually wearing Jalie 2680 coat over it as well. Yup, all me-mades. yoohoo.