Ahoy! Weigh anchor!

weighanchor

Fun! I’ve been wanting an anchor necklace all summer long ever since I stocked up on nautical-themed summer tees at Old Navy. I was really surprised that I couldn’t find any there, or at Target, or anywhere else where I would normally pick up cheap costume jewelry. Luckily, I walked into a local bead shop in Berkeley today on my way back to my car after lunch and picked up the materials to make my own for about $6.50. I don’t normally make jewelry, but it was so super-easy that maybe I should start…? :)

Tonight

Tonight is one of those nights where I know I should just fall asleep, but somehow just can’t. I blame the 90° weather we had today. It is ridiculously hot in the house, even with a fan and air conditioning running. My husband has already fallen asleep, and I have a mechanical keyboard that goes clickity-clack when I type, so I’ll keep this short, but I wanted to say a few things. First, I wanted to apologize — to myself, to my blog, and to any of my readers — for not keeping this up the way I used to. Second, I wanted to say hello, and say that I am still here.

I want to be a better blogger, I really do.

I didn’t blog so much after I returned from Japan because it was a rough time. There wasn’t much positive news to share. I was unemployed. I was burning through my savings. I was happy to be home, and was also homesick for the home I had been in for two years. I missed Japan. I wasn’t going out much (mostly, to save money). My days were the same day-to-day and it was a whole lot of boring.

yumsandwich

Me, with a delicious sandwich = Me, happy.

But the good news is now I am not blogging so much for a different reason. Things have turned around, and I am happy that life is going in the direction that it has been. I am employed, permanently and full-time. My husband has also found a job. We have health benefits. We are saving money, for retirement, for a future down payment on a house, and for unforeseen emergencies. I am trying to get in shape by setting goals to exercise on a regular basis. I still miss Japan, but I am enjoying being back in California. I’ve gotten to spend time with family and friends. I have a new baby niece, and I’m setting out to be her BFF Aunt of the Year. My husband and I have had all sorts of life goals, and are at a point in our lives now where some of these goals may finally be attainable. I am busy, but in a good way. I am enjoying life.

panorama

I’m trying to get in better shape so I can go hiking more and shoot more things like this. Life is beautiful.

Life is meant to be enjoyed.

But I still want to be a better blogger, I really do. And whether things are up or down, it really shouldn’t be an excuse. This post is not a promise to blog three times a day or three times a week. This post is not a promise for anything. But it is a start, and it is another goal. I will try to be a better blogger.

I have so much to share still about our time in Japan. And as things continue to move forward in our lives, I hope to have more to share with you in the future.

Thanks for sticking around for the ride. :)

Little by little

avocadotree

I found a blog post in my drafts, which I had started to write in December, and decided not to share. I’ve erased what I originally wrote but wanted to share this picture from a few months ago of the avocado plant I started growing last year.

It’s continued to grow since I took this photo, and will share another update when it’s a bit more impressive looking. I have to say, I am quite proud of this little guy. It’s going to be living in a pot for some time, but I hope to be a home-owner by the time it’s ready to be planted into the earth’s soil.

Little by little, meeting my life’s goals.

My 2013 Reading Challenge: The Results!

Hip hip hooray! I did it! This was my second year taking on a reading challenge, and after the success I had with my first one, I decided to go at it again in 2013, and will probably continue to do so year after year. My goal has been consistent at 12 books a year, or roughly one book a month. Some books take longer than others. I am also a bit of a completionist, so once I start a book that is part of a series, I have a tendency to churn through to read everything else related to it.

Last year, I really enjoyed reading The Hunger Games trilogy, which helped me realize that I really enjoy reading books that (a) target young adult audiences, so long as they aren’t filled with teenage angst, (b) enjoy sci-fi and fantasy novels, but particularly (c) really enjoy the dystopia genre. I pretty much stuck to it last year, and still have several books on my Want To Read list for this year that fall into these categories.

This year, I also ended up adding some books to my Never Finished list. It turns out there were some books that I just could not get into, or did not find enough motivation to finish.

completed

2013readingchallenge

  1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell ★★★★★
  2. Bloodsucking Fiends (A Love Story #1) by Christopher Moore ★★
  3. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion ★★★
  4. The New Hunger (Warm Bodies #0.5) by Isaac Marion ★★★
  5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ★★★★
  6. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami ★★★★★
  7. Microserfs by Douglas Coupland ★★
  8. Ender’s Game (Ender Series #1) by Orson Scott Card ★★★★★
  9. Speaker for the Dead (Ender Series #2) by Orson Scott Card ★★★★★
  10. Xenocide (Ender Series #3) by Orson Scott Card ★★★
  11. Children of the Mind (Ender Series #4) by Orson Scott Card ★★★
  12. Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth ★★★
  13. Ender’s Shadow (Shadow Series #1) ★★★★★
  14. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher ★★★★
  15. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ★★★★

As you can see from Battle Royale and Allegiant, I just couldn’t fill the hole in my heart left by the end of The Hunger Games. (Speaking of which… I was so ecstatic that the Catching Fire movie was released in November — which was AMAZING by the way! It was like watching the novel come to life! Beautifully done! And Peeta! Oh, Peeta! ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡)

I pretty much immersed myself in the Enderverse this year. A friend recommended it to me, and was surprised I never read it in high school as most other kids did. I really enjoyed Ender’s Game. Like, a lot. Obsessively. I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t get enough of Ender, and his artificially sentient friend Jane (who I pictured to look and sound a lot like Mass Effect’s EDI). And Bean! Oh, I loved Bean! But as I progressed through the Ender series, and through the Shadow series, the books became less sci-fi, and more religious, political, and philosophical. I could sense the characters changing, almost in ways that didn’t feel true to their original selves. I just couldn’t continue on.

Started, but Never Finished in 2013:

  • You Suck (A Love Story #2) by Christopher Moore

The first book was okay, and the completionist in me wanted to continue on, but honestly this book wasn’t even mildly entertaining. I set it down almost immediately after I started it.

  • The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy by Leah Wilson

I actually started reading this in 2012, but didn’t get very far. I loved The Hunger Games, but I just couldn’t love a collection of analytic essays about The Hunger Games. Not my cup of tea, I guess.

  • Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence by Jacob Lund Fisker

This is actually a good book. It’s a bit too extreme for my tastes, but I knew that coming in to it. I got just about halfway through it, and it definitely helped give me a new perspective on money and finance. I didn’t feel the urge to push through to the end just yet, but perhaps in the future, I’ll pick it back up again.

  • Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas

This book was not what I expected. Maybe I’m just not a fan of non-fiction. This book was described to be “part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet,” but it definitely was… not. I read a couple of pages, flipped through to the middle, and then jumped right to the end. There is a listing of shops and confectionaries in the back which may be of use if/when I visit Paris, but otherwise, this book came off as… blah.

Here’s hoping 2014 is a better year for reading! It’s not even February and I’m already on my third book!

MMM-FRUIT.com in Review: The 2013 Annual Report

WORDPRESS.COM PRESENTS

MMM-FRUIT!

2013 IN BLOGGING

ANNUAL REPORT

Happy New Year from MMM-FRUIT!

This has not been my best year of blogging, and I suppose if I make any New Year’s Resolutions this year, it will be to push on, do my best, and ガンバレ to get more photos and posts up here. It’s been a crazy year, and I am happy to say GOOD RIDDANCE & ADIEU 2013! It was definitely not my best, and probably one of the reasons I avoided sharing so much on my blog. To quickly summarize my bad string of luck, to just put it out there and be done with it, I’ll just emphasize some key words, including but not limited to: unemployment, car crash, bad health, the flu. But in the end, things have started to turn around. I have a full time job now, which accounts for my lack of free time to catch up on blogging, and *knock on wood* I haven’t gotten sick since earlier this year. I’m hoping it’s all a sign of things to come in 2014.

Crunch numbers

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

In 2013, there were 45 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 295 posts.

The busiest day of the year was June 6th with 474 views. The most popular post that day was Brobee Beanie Hat Pattern.

brobee

Most Popular Posts in 2012

  1. Pastillas de Leche: A No-Cook Recipe!
  2. Brobee Beanie Hat Pattern
  3. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at J-POP SUMMIT Festival 2013
  4. ¡Hola, Las Chillonas!
  5. Nyanda Cafe

My Lovely Readers! (Hello, You!)

2013 Visitors

Thank you for a wonderful year of blogging! Please take a moment to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. :)

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