Sunday Afternoon 6/12/2016

Saying goodbye to Oahu - 30 minutes later we arrived on rainy Kaua'i
Saying goodbye to Oahu – thirty minutes later we arrived home on rainy Kaua’i.

Although I’m still basking in the afterglow of our getaway, there’s a huge pile of laundry across the room that keeps dragging me back to the here and now. Actually, we’re all happy to be back home again. Two and half days away were just enough!

One thing we’ve all agreed on as well is that we much prefer the trade winds and our ceiling fans to the artificial chill of air conditioning. I think one reason we spent so much time out on our lanai, besides the view, was that we couldn’t adjust to the A/C in our room and other places out in town. I know we’ll be having some very hot, humid days coming up in the next few months, and we’ll wish for A/C at times, but now we have something to balance that wish against.

Even before we moved here, and ever since we arrived, we have been searching for a Chinese (Mandarin) tutor for YaYu. I don’t think a month has gone by where she hasn’t mentioned at least once how much she misses studying Chinese. We have searched Craigslist to no avail, asked around, and just generally hoped something would turn up, but nothing ever has. But, I am happy to write that YaYu will begin tutoring sessions this coming Thursday! The vendor next to our favorite stall at the farmers’ market is from China, and week before last Brett and I went early to ask her if she possibly knew anyone here who would be interested in tutoring, or at least would be willing to converse with YaYu so that she didn’t lose any more of the Chinese she still retains. The vendor said that she did have a friend who recently arrived from China who had been a teacher there, and that she might be interested in tutoring. I handled the initial contact with the teacher, but after that YaYu chatted with her, and set up everything, including negotiating the schedule and payment for the sessions . . . in Chinese! I had told the tutor that YaYu’s Chinese was fairly advanced, but I don’t think she believed me until she spoke with YaYu – she was genuinely impressed. The tutor will be working with her in all four language areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The tutoring is affordable, but will be another expense we are going to have to absorb into our budget. So worth it though!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m about half way through Dennis Lehane’s World Gone By, the third book in his trilogy featuring character Joe Coughlin. I didn’t finish the second book in the series, Live By Night – just couldn’t get into it – but there’s enough background in this book that I can figure out the main plot points of the earlier book. World Gone By is a much better read, and I can see why it got such rave reviews.
  • Listening to: The washing machine doing its thing. I didn’t get any laundry done before we headed out of town, so there’s lots of catching up to do today. Thankfully too it’s a nice day for hanging clothes outside.
  • Watching: Brett and I finished up all the available episodes of The Mysteries of Laura last week, so tonight we’ll go back to start finishing up the last few episodes of The Land Girls, and then will move to The Americans on Amazon Prime later this week.
  • Cooking/baking: Everyone was on their own for breakfast this morning. Dinner tonight is zucchini frittata, Italian sausages and slow cooker risotto. I am so happy I discovered the risotto recipe as I cannot image standing over the stove anymore to stir a traditional risotto – too hot! I baked brownies last week, but Brett and the girls didn’t finish them before we left so they went into the freezer and are being finished now. We have lots of ice cream in the freezer too, so that’s a cool, no-cook option for dessert tonight as well.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I managed to stay within our budget on our Honolulu trip, even after splurging on dinner at one of the Hale Koa’s restaurants on Friday.
  • Looking forward to next week: We will be checking out another local shave ice venue this week! Fingers are crossed that we make it to the beach at least once. I am also getting a much-needed haircut on Wednesday – I really needed one about two weeks ago.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Besides getting YaYu’s tutoring set up (and seeing her big, happy smile), and our wonderful trip to Oahu, we put $10.15 in the change/$1 bill jar, mostly change we got back in Honolulu. Meiling successfully finished up her first year of college, and moved out of the dorm and into a temporary residence for the summer. She will be sharing an apartment with friends beginning in September – much less expensive than paying for a dorm room and meal plan.
  • Thankful for: I’m feeling very grateful right now that the Department of Defense provides a beautiful R&R facility like the Hale Koa for service members, both active duty and retired, and their families. We learned though that although the resort is run by the DOD, the Hale Koa is actually self-sustaining and receives no funding from the government. For over 40 years it’s made Hawai’i visits affordable for military members and their families. We couldn’t have stayed at a nicer place, and enjoyed being in an all-military environment again and feeling part of the “organization” once more.
    The faded front of my beloved purse
    The faded front of my beloved purse

    Heavily faded and worn side and bottom of the purse
    Heavily faded and worn side and bottom of the purse
  • Bonus question: Has a salesperson ever talked you out of buying something? This has never happened to me, ever . . . until last week. I was sort of looking for a new purse while we were in Honolulu as my old one, pictured above, is nearing eight years old, and although I love it and am sick with the thought of ever parting with it, it is looking rather shabby. So, as Brett and I walked around the Ala Moana Center, I stopped in at stores to see if I could maybe find an appropriate and affordable substitute. But, zip, nada, zero – if I found something I liked it was too expensive, or if a bag was affordable I didn’t like it enough to want to buy it. Finally, almost done for the afternoon, we wandered into Bloomingdales, not really expecting to find (or afford) anything there. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes though when there on the sale table was the most perfectly luscious leather bag in a gorgeous shade of gray-blue. And, with the additional 40% off the sale price they were offering that day it fell within my budget! At Bloomingdales! A sales woman approached, and asked if she could help. I showed her my old bag and its condition, and explained that it was time for something new and that I liked the blue purse. She ran her hands over my old bag and said, “Your bag is wonderful! Don’t replace it!” What??? I thought she was maybe being sarcastic, or joking, but she explained that the fading and worn spots, along with the design on the front, gave it a vintage look that was very desirable. Again, what the what??? I was both surprised and flattered, but still didn’t believe her. She touched the design on the front of my old bag again and insisted I should keep using it. She seemed sincere, but I couldn’t really tell, and finally said OK, that I’d think about the blue bag and Brett and I left without it. This woman could have had a sale but had talked me out of it! The next day though, when I went for my mani/pedi, another woman at the spa remarked that she loved my bag. So who knows? Maybe dirty, faded and worn really is ‘in’ right now. Whatever, I’m keeping my much-loved purse for a while longer!

Hope you are all have a terrific Sunday, and that you had a great week too!

10 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 6/12/2016

  1. I’ve never stayed at the Hale Koa because I’m not military, but I have stayed next door at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and have walked past many times and was always happy that military folks have their own hotel to stay at. I didn’t know it is self-sustaining. That’s interesting. Glad you had a good time there. I haven’t been to Honolulu in a couple of years and I really miss it.


    1. I didn’t know it was self-sustaining either, but it makes sense. They are almost always completely sold out – you have to book early to get a reservation. What I find interesting though is that their rates are so much less than surrounding resorts, and yet they have comparable rooms, grounds and amenities. I think the big difference is probably that they didn’t need to buy the land upfront first – it was already owned by the army. I imagine other resorts are still having to cover those purchase costs.


    1. Thanks! I’ve already got it bookmarked, although I hope not to have to turn on the oven again until next December!

      Here is the recipe I use: Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Risotto I have added butternut squash, or diced chicken, but usually leave it out. I always add a 1/2 cup of grated parmesan-reggiano cheese at the end – it makes it even creamier.


  2. if you further need to find a tutor, I use Wyzant and UniversityTutor. I’m not sure how active they are in Hawaii, but tutor and requests change almost daily. (I am a tutor and use these two sites in Colorado….)


    1. Thanks for the tip! We all have our fingers crossed out that this tutor will work out. There are very few Chinese speakers on Kaua’i – this would have been much easier if we lived on Oahu!


  3. When I was last on Oahu I bought multiple cross-body handbags from Kipling – up towards the Macys end of Ala Moana, it was at the time anyway, possibly everything has moved since I was there. I’ve found them to be excellent and I love the material and zippers they use.

    I got the Alvar cross body bag in three different colours, and I also got a backpack which has been going with me on my solo walks and runs.

    They are not leather but the material is very sturdy and three of the bags are still in my closet awaiting their day in the sun.. 🙂 The one I am using still looks as good as the day I first got it. 🙂 They do have a site online, as well. 🙂


    1. I am going to look up this brand!

      I don’t have to have leather, but want something simple but sturdy that’s practical when I travel. This bag got me hooked on having a crossbody bag – I can’t imagine carrying another style now. I will check out the Kipling bags (I didn’t see their store at Ala Moana, but there were so.many.stores. It was hard to keep track of where anything was!


  4. I don’t know if it is a Southern thing but getting talked out of buying an item is quite common here. A lot of times the sales people or their friends have bought an item and been disappointed. They will usually refer you to a different item at a lower cost or to a different store entirely if the item can be purchased cheaper. It actually leaves you feeling more trusting of the staff in that store which usually means more return business.


    1. When I used to sell kitchen equipment and goods many years ago, we were encouraged to send customers to another store if we did not have what they were looking for – sometimes we even called around for the customer. It was a good business practice, and greatly appreciated by the customers. It did make us more trustworthy.

      This was kind of different though – my bag really is looking pretty shabby right now and I would have bought the blue bag except the saleswoman told me not to, that I should keep using my purse for a bit longer. The girls also think it looks fine, so what do I know?


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