Fourth of July is going to be a very untraditional one this year at Casa Aloha. I got the days all wrong (I kept thinking it was on Tuesday, not tomorrow) so we’re not even going to fire up the grill tomorrow and will be having Chinese food instead. As for fireworks, you can set some types off at home here (ground based fountains and rockets). If the neighbors put on another show like they did at New Year’s that will be more than enough for us, although YaYu’s tutor handed her a bag with a few small things to set off. The Kaua’i Hospice hosts the big island fireworks show, but it’s their major fundraiser for the year and admission is pricey so we’re skipping it again this year. Kekaha, on the west side of the island, calls its display “The Last Fireworks Show In America” as they are located the furthest west of any other town in the 50 states, a full three hours behind the west coast of the continental U.S.
WenYu has a job! She was hired this past week at a popular local restaurant as a lunch-shift server. One of her friends has been working there but is leaving to go to Oahu for summer classes at UHM, and recommended WenYu to fill her place. The manager messaged WenYu on Friday, she interviewed that afternoon and was hired, and started this morning! The manager knew upfront that she could only work until mid-August, but said that was fine and that it would give them time to hire someone more permanent. WenYu also interviewed at another local restaurant, and they liked her but wanted someone who could stay more than just a month and a half. They still asked her to call back and check with them later today or tomorrow because it’s crazy-busy season right now and they may need some extra help temporarily.
It’s been a somewhat busy week for all of schedule-wise with WenYu’s interviews, YaYu’s numerous Key Club volunteer shifts (she’s president this year, and has to show up for everything), her tutoring sessions, Wednesday’s all-day Kalalau Trail hike, and Tuesday’s visit to the Kalaheo farmers’ market on the south side of the island. That was a different experience, to say the least. Brett and I arrived after opening time, but saw less than 10 cars in the parking lot and no stalls set up. We saw three women at the back of the lot talking together, so Brett went over to ask if we were at the right place. The three women were the entire market. One had lettuce, one had tomatoes, and one had tomatoes, lettuce and a few eggplants. That was it. We bought all the eggplant, got some tomatoes from the other woman and headed back home. We are so spoiled with our neighborhood market and its almost 40 farmers bringing an amazing variety of fresh produce for sale every week.
My one-month-at-a-time plan for the year has been going well, but this month I’m going to add back in Parmesan cheese, something I don’t use all that often but that I’ve missed. I have been craving cheese the last couple of weeks, but my last attempt at adding it back in didn’t go so well, so hopefully the Parmesan will not upset things. Otherwise, I’m sticking with no meat and no other dairy.
Anyway, this afternoon I am:
- Reading: I finished Ian Rankin’s Even Dogs In the Wild on Friday – it was a page turner until the end. I’m now reading The Caller by Karin Fossum, the “Norwegian Queen of Crime.” Scandinavia has a strong crime thriller/mystery tradition, and some of the best I’ve read come from there (two favorites are Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg and The Exception by Christian Jungersen – if you like mysteries these should not be missed!). After I finish, I’m going to reread Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s my second favorite book, and this will be my fourth reading. Every time it’s been just as compelling as the first and I’m sure it won’t disappoint this time either. My all-time favorite book, by the way, is Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
- Listening to: Everything’s pretty quiet around here right now. There’s a breeze blowing through the trees, and no one seems to be out doing anything in the neighborhood. There was a rooster crowing his head off right outside our bedroom window very early this morning – so annoying!! – but other than songbirds the roosters/chickens don’t seem to be around now.
- Watching: WenYu and I have been binge watching Downton Abbey, and both of us had forgotten how good the early seasons were, and all of the things that were going on at the beginning. Tonight though I’ll be watching another episode of Endeavour, followed by The Tunnel, which has me hooked.
- Cooking/baking: WenYu baked a pan of Hawaiian butter mochi (a sort of pound cake) yesterday, so no baking today. Dinner tonight will be Cuban style burritos, and in a little while I’m going to make some fresh pico de gallo to go with those.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I personally didn’t accomplish it, but Brett got the exterior of the house washed off. Salt deteriorates everything here, and our lease requires us to wash the house exterior twice a year. Brett said with everything all on one level it was an easy job. The windows didn’t look dirty, but we can’t believe how much clearer they are now with the salt film washed off.
- Looking forward to next week: The girls AP test scores will be released on Tuesday morning. Although we hope WenYu does well, in her case the results don’t really matter any more other than her score on the Calculus B/C exam. Wellesley only gives credit for AP math, but she’ll need a score of 4 or a 5 to receive that credit. We’ve all got our fingers crossed though for YaYu and her results on the U.S. History exam. She worked incredibly hard all last term for that class and the exam, and all of us want to see her efforts pay off. I’m also greatly looking forward to getting together with my friend Mary sometime this week – she just returned from a six-week visit to northern California. Her car was stolen while she was away by the person supposedly “storing” it for her, but she got it back, thank goodness.
- Thinking of good things that happened: I stepped on the scale for the first time in months and discovered I’ve lost eight pounds since the beginning of the year, a nice (and surprising) side benefit of the dietary changes I’ve made! Brett and I got in two great walks on the beachfront path, one out to the Pineapple Dump again, and the other down in Kapaa. We got drenched on the Kapaa walk when a squall blew over us, but the surf was the highest I’d ever seen when we walked to the Pineapple Dump – the views were spectacular! We put $8.54 in the change/$1 bill jar this week, and the seeds for an exciting travel opportunity have been planted!
- Grateful for: One of my childhood next door neighbors now lives very close to Wellesley, and she has invited WenYu and I to stay with her when we’re back in Massachusetts in August rather than at the hotel we had reserved. She has also offered to meet us at Logan airport as well when we arrive. Julie is an artist, and WenYu is very excited about meeting her and getting to talk with her a bit about her work. I’m so thankful that I’ll be able to get together with two of my former childhood neighbors (and their spouses) when I’m back in Massachusetts – we grew up in a tight-knit neighborhood and I’m looking forward to reminiscing and catching up.
- Bonus question: Do you have a nickname? Did you ever wish you had a different name? When I was very little lots of people called me Laurie, including my parents, but apparently when I was three years old I announced that my name was Laura, not Laurie, and I haven’t been called anything else other than Mom or Grandma. I grew up when Linda, Cathy, Nancy, Susan and Patty were popular names for girls, and I always thought the name Laura was rather dull, but I can’t remember ever wanting to change it. When my mother was pregnant with me the Dr. thought she might be having twins, so my parents had two sets of names ready. Laura was one, and the other girl’s name they chose was Paula. Although it’s a nice name, I’m glad they went with Laura. Also, my mom wanted the name to be Laurel vs. Laura, but my dad thought Laurel was “too theatrical” so Mom stuck with Laura even though my dad was serving overseas (Korean War) when I was born. If I had been a boy I would have been named James Mason – James was my father’s name, and he was serving on the USS Mason when I was born. I assume they also had a second boy’s name ready, but I have no idea what it was.
To all my American readers: Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone had a great week and is looking forward to the one that’s coming up.