Sunday Afternoon 9/11/2016

Waves crash over the rock wall surrounding the pool at Lydgate Beach Park.
Waves crash over the rock wall surrounding the pool at Lydgate Beach Park.

Brett and I made it to the beach not once, not twice, but three times this past week! It was glorious. We went to nearby Kealia Beach on Tuesday and yesterday, but on Thursday we drove down to Lydgate Beach Park so that I could float in the pool. The surf was quite rough the entire week, so the chance to swim in the calm, warm pool was much appreciated. Signs were posted up and down Kealia warning of dangerous currents and rip tides both days we were there, and last Tuesday we watched as the undertow crashed into the incoming waves over and over, causing the surf to splash high into the air. It was still happening yesterday, but not as fiercely as it had been earlier in the week. There was no way we wanted to go out into that mess, but we saw lots of surfers and boogie boarders further out where there appeared to be big, clean waves breaking. A surfer we talked to on Tuesday said that although the waves were big, they were actually kind of “mushy” and not as much fun to ride as they could have been.

Signs up and down the beach warn of dangerous currents that day
Signs up and down the beach warn of dangerous currents off Kealia
The undertow going out meets a wave coming in
A rip current going out meets a wave coming in
Surfers wait out past the rough surf
Surfers wait out past the rough surf
One of the views from my beach chair on Saturday
The view from my beach chair

Meiling had a good interview and was hired this past week for a new job, and has finally quit the old job that she had grown to hate but couldn’t leave until she had something else. The new job is a work-study position, and the hours somewhat limited, but it will pay enough for her to afford her rent in the apartment. She is continuing to look for a second job, but has enough saved to carry her through until she does. WenYu communicates with us frequently and is having a good time, enjoying her classes, meeting more people and getting into the whole “Wellesley experience.” She says it’s starting to get cold there, which must mean temperatures have dropped into the 60s at night. She would wear a sweatshirt here when it got into the 70s.

Speaking of WenYu, the other evening YaYu discovered a gecko in her room. It took her a while and scared the living daylights out of her, but she eventually caught the little lizard in a container and released it outside. The next day, we were sitting at dinner we started talking about WenYu when YaYu burst into tears. “WenYu always caught the geckos in our room,” she sobbed, “and now I have to do it on my own.” It was actually a very touching moment, and showed how much YaYu misses her sister. But, only in Hawai’i would it be about geckos.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished The Little Friend by the skin of my teeth. I thought the checkout period ended this coming week, but was informed last Monday it would expire on Friday, and as I only had about 40% read I put in some marathon reading sessions in order to finish it. The ending was a bit frustrating because the incident that opens the book, and drives the whole story and the main character, still isn’t resolved at the end, and left me wondering and curious. I’m currently reading (and enjoying) a Donna Leon mystery, The Waters of Eternal Youth, while I wait for some other books I’ve put on hold to become available from the library.
  • Listening to: I was woken this morning by the (very loud) sound of lawnmowers and weed trimmers out my window. The noise continued for around an hour, but it’s quiet now and the yard looks beautiful. Still, not the way I prefer to wake up in the morning! The birds are singing and chattering away, and the breeze blowing so all’s right in the world!
  • Watching: Brett and I are still working our way through Lark Rise to Candleford, and are looking forward to starting The Americans when we finish. We and YaYu watched the movie Hot Fuzz on Netflix last Monday – very, very funny, and with an interesting cast. It was surprising to see the famous names that popped up at one point or another.
  • Cooking/baking: Since YaYu does not particularly care for pancakes, waffles or french toast (or maple syrup, perish the thought), we won’t be having those again for Sunday breakfast until her sisters are home at Christmas. This morning she fixed herself her once-a-week bowl of ramen, and I had a bowl of raisin bran with soy milk (Brett had oatmeal). Dinner tonight will be simple: potstickers with steamed rice, and some ‘Asian-style’ coleslaw. I may make a peach cobbler later this afternoon – I discovered three jars of peaches in the pantry and want to use them.
  • Happy I accomplished this week: Besides getting to the beach on three days, Brett and I also got all sorts of small errands and tasks completed on Wednesday, such as finally making an appointment for my eye exam and choosing new frames, and getting my voter registration updated. We also got all our Hawaiian air miles transferred over to his account so we have enough aggregated to reserve travel for the girls’ trips home this winter – now we just have to pick the dates.
  • Looking forward to this week: YaYu leaves early next Saturday morning for an overnight Key Club meeting on Oahu, so Brett and I are planning to spend the day on the west side visiting Waimea Canyon, with stops to eat in Hanapepe and Waimea, and then breakfast out on Sunday morning. We love eating at the Kountry Kitchen, but are going to try another place that’s been recommended. I’m also looking forward to another great week with temperatures in the mid-80s, and hopefully more trips to the beach!

    Guavas from our tree
    Guavas from our tree
  • Thinking of good things that happened this week: Besides Meiling finally getting a new job, YaYu had a great first race for the opening of the cross country season, and her team came in first. Brett picked several more guavas off our tree out back – they’re not our favorite fruit to eat, but leaving them out in a bowl makes the whole house smell wonderful. We had no food waste, all the leftovers were eaten, and we had a no-spend week (although that meant there was nothing for the change/$1 bill jar). The weather this past week was wonderful – lots of sunshine, and low(er) humidity.
  • Grateful for: With just YaYu at home now, Brett’s and my schedule has quieted way down, and we feel like we are finally getting started on our retirement. We’ve spent a lot of time the last three years transporting the girls, attending their conferences, meetings, sports events and so forth – our lives have rotated around their schedules and needs. We did it happily, and greatly miss Meiling and WenYu, but I’m feeling thankful these days that there is finally more time for “us” and the things we want to do.
  • Bonus question: Where were you on September 11, 2001? WenYu, who was just three years old, and I were scheduled to fly to Boston on September 12 to visit my friend Kris in Maine. Kris had traveled with me to China when we adopted WenYu, and I was looking forward to seeing her again and for her to see how much WenYu had grown and changed. On the morning of September 11, I had just woken up and was heading down the stairs to get Meiling up for school (she had just started kindergarten a week earlier) when the phone rang. It was Kris, very upset and telling me to turn on the television. The second tower had just been hit and soon after there were reports of the Pentagon being struck. It was horrifying and frightening to watch, and no one seemed to know what was going on. Soon after I got off the phone with Kris, my son called from Japan and urged me to cancel our trip back east (not knowing then that all flights would be cancelled for several days). The rest of the day is a blur – I have no memory of whether I woke Meiling up or if I got her off to school, or what I did with WenYu or when Brett came home. I just remember sitting and watching the television all day and into the night, trying to process what was happening. The whole day was just awful, beyond awful really. Numbing. I know though that what I felt and experienced was less than nothing compared to what thousands of families in New York, or of those who had been on the planes, were going through that day, and going forward. The images over the next few days of the families searching and hoping for their missing loved ones still haunt me. What lingers now when I remember September 11 is how the world and our country changed that day, and that we can never go back to what or who we were, or how we felt before.

That’s all from here. I hope it’s been a good week for you, and that you’re looking forward to another terrific one!

7 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 9/11/2016

  1. We were getting married on 9/14 and decided to have a photographer take our picture that week. While driving over, we turned on NPR. They were discussing a plane hitting the World Trade Center and what it meant. Then they said a second plane hit and I told my (now) husband, “It’s terrorism.” We arrived at the photo studio to find no one there and the next stop was a stationery store for a few last favors for our reception. No one was there either, but we determined they were all in the back of the store glued to their TVs. What a horrible day/week. We considered cancelling our wedding, but everyone was driving in except one relative in Maine who had to miss it when the planes were all grounded. We had a lovely gathering, but we discuss every year on our anniversary how shocking that week was and what a strange feeling it is to have our anniversary so close to 9/11.

    I hope you love The Americans. I just started Season 3 last night. It’s gripping and makes me a little nervous. It’s clear to see (at least it seems so) we have KGB agents living among us. I wonder if any are on my street. 😉


    1. Yes, the whole week was bad. What I hated the most is that I very briefly let myself feel afraid when I first saw my Fall term class rosters and had students from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. I got over it quickly, but I hated, and felt ashamed, that I had felt that way for even a moment. My students were wonderful, and were horrified and angered by what the terrorists had done. The other students in my classes embraced the Muslim students, and we ended up having a wonderful term in spite of what was going on in the rest of the country when it came to how Muslims were treated.

      I just refuse to be afraid of the world. That doesn’t mean being naive; there are bad people living amongst us, and always have been. I’d rather carry on and be positive than let fear, suspicion and misery rule my life. But now you’ve got me wondering if I’ve ever lived near a KGB agent!


      1. Agree totally that it must be hard to be a Muslim in this society right now.

        And wait until you watch a bit of The Americans. The KGB are among us. But I’ve decided they are most likely in the DC area, since that’s where the good stuff is spy-wise. Ha!


  2. I’m still reading “Honolulu”, which is amazing. Listening to the sounds of the boys playing Battleship. 😉 I made fresh cranberry muffins for snacks/breakfasts this week. I’m looking forward to having lunch with M this week (at work, but it’s something). Oh, and I’m getting a massage! My neck has been a wreck since Hood/Portland to Coast, so I’m giddy with excitement. Good things. . . Nick’s team didn’t win once last season. They are back this season, but in a better division for their skills & have crushed it. It’s so cute to see their excitement, and he scored two goals yesterday. He’s still proud! Grateful for these crazy kids, despite the time commitment, loud noises, stinky laundry, etc.

    I was getting ready for work when I saw the planes crash into the Twin Towers – I was watching Good Morning America, maybe? I still find it really hard to talk about/think about. That, and Sandy Hook. No matter how simple the questions that the kids ask about either topic, I can’t really answer. Both are very emotional topics.


    1. My lower back still hurts now and again from whatever I did to it on my return home, so I get wanting a massage. As much as I’m enjoying having more time to myself, I do miss having the girls around, and listening to them chatter. My kids have been the best part of my life, no matter what was going on.

      I. Can’t Even. when it comes to Sandy Hook. That ANYONE could think it didn’t happen bothers me so much I can’t even talk about it. The same with the crazy guy who killed all the Amish kids in their classroom.

      I’m going to check out Honolulu.


      1. Definitely check out the book. I found it to be a great read. And yes, the Sandy Hook revisionists really induce a lot of rage in me. The fact that we have made zero progress after that situation also really hurts to think about. The kids do drills all of the time at school, and have started to ask questions about why. I get so choked up that they have to be prepared for these kinds of situations, and it terrifies them, obviously. Talk about having your security shattered – to not feel safe when you send your kids to school.


  3. I live close to NYC and could smell and see the smoke on 9/11. I still have trouble talking about it so I’ll just leave it at that. As for Sandy Hook, one of my nephews played in a basketball tournament in that area not long after that happened and one of the teams his team played was from Newtown. The kids on that team all wore remembrance armbands and t-shirts with photos of the children and teachers who died. I’ll never forget how sad they all looked. My younger nephew, who was only 10 at the time, kept asking me if the kids on the team knew anyone who died and I said they probably did. Truly heartbreaking and difficult to explain to a child when I didn’t understand how that could happen myself.

    On a happier note, your photo of Lydgate makes me smile. I loved that beach when I was there. I’m not a good swimmer and was thrilled that the water was so calm there. We were even able to snorkel there, which was a nice treat. We stayed at the hotel right near the beach. I was playing Pokemon Go while I was there and one of the Pokestops was at Lydgate and the game actually had an interesting fact about it. It said that there was a local politician in the 1960’s who visited Sorrento, Italy where they had installed a rock wall to keep the rough surf out of a swimming area, so he got the idea to do that once he got back home. I thought that was interesting and so I said a little “thank you” to him when I was there for giving kids and adults who are poor swimmers a place to go when they visit Kauai! 🙂


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