Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chili and cornbread and our relaxing weekend

Saturday right after breakfast I started prepping for the great big pot of Texas style chili I'd be making. I didn't have kidney beans, but I had pinto, so I boiled a medium amount on the stove. Once they were done, I rinsed and drained them. I used some lean ground beef from Costco that we picked up in Makuhari earlier in the week that I froze. Around 2pm-ish I started frying up the ground beef and putting the chili together and then boiling on simmer for a while. The whole house smelled delicious. Like chili on the stove, which it was. I also baked corn bread. I made so much chili, that I froze half of it, so we can use whenever we want. But we enjoyed a nice piping hot bowl of chili Saturday night and also on Sunday night as well. : )
The retro swimsuit came and the swimsuit cover also. Yay. : )
Remember how I couldn't find corn tortillas at Costco. Well anyway, I ordered them from where I usually order them from. Jerry's Uno, I think is the name. And we paid online via crdit card. And get this, the paperwork was written so that it was C.O.D. @_@ Imagine my surprise when Kuroneko asks me for money. This is the 2nd time this has happened with the tortillas place! So we paid the delivery man, again it wasn't the delivery mans fault at all. And then Noboru went and wrote them saying basically, please refund the money which I paid online, here is the receipt for that. And once again you all charged me as COD. He was very polite but he did say this was the 2nd time it's happened, which yes it was. They wrote back, a very nice reply. They were sorry and as a token for that we are sending your family 2 extra dozen of tortillas. Anyway that was really great customer service. We both thought so. And they did refund the amount he paid online since he gave the money also to the Kuroneko man.
These came Monday. Hmm, now we have 5 dozen flour tortillas. Oh well, we'll use them. : )
The week both Branden and Noah started back to school after the winter holidays. The entire student population was asked to write down 1 question they have about miso or natto. Your choice, just any question you have. 3 kids were chosen from our school and the other elementary school in our town also were to pick 3 kids. Branden's question was chosen. So, this past Sunday, Branden had to be at the plaza, at 2pm. The audience was full. Everyone wanted to hear this guest lecturer speak. The cost for a seat 1,000 yen. Noah and I were given 2 seat tickets since we were with Branden. But there wasn't a seat available so we stood at the back. Which is fine because I could take a good picture back there anyway. : )
At the end, the lady in cream suit towards the left of this picture said "any questions from the audience?" Two had questions. This lady was asking her question in the picture. And then they announced there were 6 children from this tiny town who also had questions.
First, 3rd grade girl from our shogakko/elementary school. She asked a very good question, very formal technical question. Question about the fermentation process. Notice the distance between the guest speaker and the girl and the woman in cream. And then the girl bowed and left to the back.
Out comes Branden. Woman in cream feels pretty happy, she is bending down. Close to Branden.
Branden asked a question from his heart. An honest question. A question many would probably like to know.  He asked very politely but he was curious. "why is natto so stinky" "basically why does natto smell like that?" again, he was very polite. The woman is smiling and actually laughing. The crowd actually erupts in laughter. The man/speaker loved this question! He comes a bit closer to Branden now.
First time he actually left the podium all day. This guest speakers walls came down right away. He asked Branden. "do you not like natto?" "No sir, I am sorry, I do not" "I see" the man says with a smile.
If it were me, and I were up there, I'd be a shivering nervous mess. But Branden isn't shy. He's very polite he does speak with respectful words, but he is quite a funny boy. And folks really really like him! They like talking to him. And the lecturer just found him delightful. Again respectful but funny and sharp.
Branden smiling and laughing in this picture. The man, look at his body language, he's having fun too...he's bending a bit back. The crowd loosened up, they laughed a few times while they spoke. He asked Branden well, what foods do you like. Branden said all his vegetables he likes. And he did say he was very fond of miso. Out of all 6 kids, he spoke to Branden the longest, yes he really did. And I stayed and watched the other kids speak and the guest speaker never left his podium before Branden or after Branden. But yeah he really enjoyed chatting with Branden a great deal, you could tell/see it. Again the principal and Branden's teacher approved of Branden's question so he did write it in a way that was polite, respectful but a very honest question a 5th grade boy would be curious about.
Sorry this picture is a little blurry. But for the record this expert suggests, to eat natto, "plug your nose like this and then swallow" the crowd erupted in laughter. And Branden shook his head in agreement like good one. It was a very great Sunday for Branden. He did so well. Proud of you kiddo!
He even stood closer to Branden and he shook Branden's hand and then Branden bowed to the audience. Everyone clapped and then the speaker went back to his podium.  And for what it's worth. Noah loves speaking with folks like that too. He's not nervous speaking in front of large crowds either. Me, I'd probably be tongue tied or trip walking up the stairs. hahaha. : )
All 6 kids were given manju as a gift. And the principal of our school was so thrilled about Branden's question and that back and forth flowing conversation Branden had with the guest speaker and how the audience loved it.... that he came right up to me afterwards and shook my hand and said, "Branden did so well!!!! Thank you for bringing him today", "not a problem", I said and "I'm glad he could come." So anyway, that was our weekend in a nutshell. We stayed home all weekend pretty much. I made homemade chili and I also baked cornbread from a box, which is fine. ; ) It was delicious. Branden had a question to ask at the plaza and he did pretty amazing with that actually. We had family movie night here at home also this weekend. And just basically enjoyed the weekend.