Sunday Afternoon 1/29/2017

Stormy days ahead . . .

Shocked. Horrified. Ashamed. Those are just the tip of the emotions I’ve felt over what’s come from the new administration this past week, especially the immigration ban which began on Friday evening. If you know anything about history (and I do), this is how things started out in Germany in 1933, although it’s happening much more quickly here and now. I am not being hyperbolic.

I said I would never discuss politics on this blog, but this is not who we are. If you care about not seeing our democracy lessoned or destroyed, the ideals of our country shattered, I urge you to to stay alert, and not let yourself be overwhelmed by the waves of change and outrage that seem to be appearing every day. Resistance will mean everything if we want to stay true to who and what we are as Americans, and what we believe our country stands for.

On a more personal note, there has been trouble brewing over my mom’s will and the small amount left in her estate. The will is extremely clear about the division of any remaining funds in the estate, but my siblings have decided it’s “unfair.” There have already been some heated exchanges, with them threatening lawyers and courts, etc. One lawyer has already told them the will is valid and must be followed as it is, and any changes have to come from an agreement between us, but I’m not biting. I have documents that expressly refute what’s being claimed – I don’t think they figured I’d held on to them. I’ve been estranged from my siblings for several years, and have been biting my tongue not to say, “Well, maybe you should have said and done things a bit differently in the past.” Maybe I will once this is all over.

It turned out YaYu didn’t swim at yesterday’s final meet, although she went to support her teammates and Brett once again served as a timer. Yesterday was the conference finals, and only the top three swimmers in each event are allowed to participate. YaYu is not the slowest swimmer on her team, but she’s definitely not in the top three. It was also the last day for the team’s three coaches who are all retiring. YaYu brought each of them a lei to say thank you, and we will all miss them greatly next year. They were all terrific, both as coaches and people, and focused on team-building and technique first – very Hawaiian – rather than winning. The team has still won the county championship for as long as anyone can remember.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I started a new book yesterday, The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney. I had to put down Truevine because I could no longer deal with the author’s convoluted writing – she would start on one topic, but introduce a name or something else and then veer off for pages on that, with the same thing happening again and again, like branches on a tree, before finally returning to what she had started off with. Reading even a few pages had my head spinning because I never knew where I was going. I can deal with it when I’m reading fiction, but not non-fiction. Anyway, the new book is a mystery, my favorite genre, so the story should stay pretty tight.
  • Listening to: There’s a very strong wind blowing from the northwest this morning, making lots of noise as is blows through the trees and bushes. It’s loud enough I can hear it over the sound of the washer and dryer. The sun is still shining though and the wind is keeping things cool, for now anyway. It also not keeping several roosters from screaming their heads off. I would miss the chickens if we ever left Kaua’i, but not the roosters! They’re beautiful to look at, but otherwise a pain.
  • Watching: Brett and I are having trouble finding a new show to settle into. Everything we’ve looked at recently hasn’t grabbed us. Any and all suggestions are welcome! I had intended to watch Victoria last Sunday, but when the time came I couldn’t get myself excited enough to turn it on. We watched a lovely movie on Friday evening, from Japan: Our Little Sister, and last night we watched Downfall, about the last days of Nazi Germany. It seemed appropriate somehow.
  • Cooking/baking: I never got those brownies baked last week, so I’m doing that this afternoon. Dinner tonight is omelets filled with sautéed greens and bacon, and Brett and YaYu will have sourdough bread to go with theirs, while I’ll have an apple.
  • Happy I accomplished last week: We did all our grocery shopping for the month and came in under budget, but barely. We really were out of a lot of things, and still have to buy coffee beans from Costco. Not my accomplishment, but Brett did one of our bi-annual exterior house washes this past week (required in our lease, but the landlord gives us the supplies). It’s an all-day job, but the salt and dust that have accumulated over the past six months are gone and the house and windows look great! He also got our taxes done and sent off – we will be receiving a nice refund this year! I did all my daily bike rides (70+ miles, 2590+ calories burned), drank at least eight glasses of water a day, and studied Japanese and Portuguese every day. Japanese is till impossible, but Portuguese is starting to make a little bit of sense.
  • Looking forward to next week: I’m going to try swimming again – the community pool is close by, and my doctor suggested a second form of exercise on top of the bike riding. Swimming won’t aggravate the bursitis in my hip. I would have started last week except for injuring myself (and I’m still a bit sore). Otherwise, I am so ready for a new month to begin – don’t know how much more of this one I can take, but am also very afraid what’s coming will be worse.
  • Thinking of good things that happened:  There was an especially good variety of produce at the farmers’ market this past week, including broccoli AND cauliflower, something we almost never see here. I made a big pot of Weight Watcher’s Zero Point Soup yesterday – I substituted broccoli for the green beans and also added some cauliflower. Meiling is taking a metalsmithing class this term, and this week made two absolutely beautiful pieces of art. WenYu sent us the amazingly beautiful video story she created for her anthropology/writing class on the subject of home. It was so wonderful to see these talents blossoming in the girls and to be able to share in their work. We put $30.04 in the change/$1 bill jar this week.
  • Grateful for: I am feeling very thankful that I held on to documents sent by my Mom many years ago. I don’t think my siblings kept theirs, or have assumed I didn’t, and they have been trying to gaslight me about facts and figures. One thing I learned when I earned my certificate in Conflict Management years ago is don’t argue from emotion, argue from the facts.

    Boot camp photo
    Boot camp photo
  • Bonus Question: Did you serve in the military? Yes, both Brett and I served in the U.S. Navy. Brett served for 22 years with a speciality in radar and avionics, and achieved the rank of E-8 (Senior Chief Petty Officer). I served 18 months, as a training device specialist (i.e. flight trainers) and made it to E-4 (Petty Officer Third Class). I met Brett when he was my instructor for two weeks, but after I finished my six months of training I was sent to another duty station nearly 500 miles away. Brett drove down almost every weekend to visit. I was given the option of staying or leaving the navy when I became pregnant with our son. I asked for a transfer to be stationed with Brett, but was turned down, and learned there was a real likelihood we might never be stationed together. So, I chose to be discharged (honorable). Both sides of my family have served in the United States military since the Revolutionary War. What is happening now is against everything we served for.

That’s what’s been happening here at Casa Aloha. How was your week? What good things happened for you?


17 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 1/29/2017

  1. We are visiting our grandkids (and their parents, of course). They live in Canada, and it’s tempting to stay. Luckily for us, we have passports and are both US born. What a horrible way to treat refugees. We’re trying to remain calm, but the first week of this administration has been horrifying. How could our country have come to this? I am trying not to follow the mess every hour, but the anxiety is high.

    Your military picture is great! I didn’t serve, and my DH was turned away for a medical issue. But my family has served for several generations, and like you, this isn’t what they were supporting. I’m particularly appalled by the translators and others supporting our Middle East efforts now being thrown to the wolves.

    It’s unnerving to think what might be next on this unAmerican agenda. The airport demonstrations give me hope, though.


    1. Yes, I am afraid as well of what’s coming next. Someone wrote on Twitter, and I agree, that’s what going on is that Trump is salesman, and the odious Bannon is the President. He’s calling all the shots. Did you know he wanted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence removed from National Security Committee meetings, with him in their place? YIKES!


      1. According to the paper they have been removed and will only be invited to attend if something requires their expertise. Like you I also thought of all the refugees refused admittance before and during WWII and the concentration camps for the Japanese in this country for that same time period. I am very anxious.

        I did not serve in the military but was born in Ft Bragg as my father was career military.

        Even if there is no money involved, the claws come out over the death of a parent. All the childhood resentments and perceived slights manifest themselves. My grandmother had $600 when she died and my aunts went so far as to argue over who was getting a used frying pan.
        I am glad you kept all the documentation. This is the only time I am happy to be an only child.


  2. It is unimaginable what is going on. Every day it seems to get worse. Friday was also Holocaust Remembrance Day. Trump never used the word Jews. This was the first time ever a President did not use the word Jews in relation to the Holocaust. The White supremacists ( Bannon) wants us to believe it was just innocent lives that were lost so as to deny the almost annihilation of the Jews by Hitler. I really cannot believe we as a nation have come to this.
    On another note, good luck with the will. many years ago my husband was 2 of 13 grandchildren left out of his grandmother’s multi-million will. It was very painful but we never questioned the will as it was written as such. Wills can be tricky and certainly cause family tension. We never spoke to his 2 brothers again since they agreed he should have been left out of the million dollars (each) inheritance.
    I’d say tread carefully. But best to you in it all.


    1. From some of their language, it sounds like they’d like the Holocaust to disappear completely from the history books, like it never happened. It’s sickening.

      My mom’s will is very clear. My siblings have tried a number of arguments, none of them very good. I’ve told them if they want to challenge it, it’s their dollar, not mine or the estate’s. I have the paperwork to back up my claims and once I told them I had the paperwork, and would be happy to send them copies, their arguments have stopped. There’s no millions in my mother’s estate, just a few thousand, which is why this is ridiculous.


  3. Arguments over wills are the worst. My sister has long worked with Mom to make sure hers is strong. They discuss it with me to keep one other in the loop. Still, I am betting on a lawsuit from my older sister. My mom has stipulated that if we go to court, the one bringing the suit has the defense taken from their final settlement That should give some pause.
    We are a military family. Both our fathers, my husband, our two children and our son in law have and are serving. We,too, go many generations back. I am working on a lead through that my mother’s great grandfather was enlisted as a freed slave at the end of the war. Who knew!
    Another week of tweets are on the way. Agggggg!


    1. One of the first arguments I heard was that Mom’s will was written so long ago that it could no longer be considered valid, based on her savings then and what is left now. What does that have to do with anything? A lawyer has already told them that the will is valid, and has to be administered as it was written. The problem is that one of them received a significant sum from my mother earlier, and Mom’s will set out to make sure that the rest of us got the same amount first upon her death before that sibling received any more. With what’s left, the rest of us will be receiving less than half of what the other sibling did, and yet somehow my two surviving siblings have determined that’s “not fair.” Cry me a river.


  4. So sad to hear all the news from America. We are resisting with you! I know someone who will be in a similar position to you and your siblings someday. The parents’ estate is supposed to be split equally among 3 children, but one of them experienced some financial difficulty and was given an “advance” on their inheritance which is supposed to be netted off when the estate is settled. Wondering if that sibling will take action for an equal share.


    1. Ever since I wrote that I have a copy of the original “advance” and the terms under which it was given, 16 years before the will was written, the arguments have stopped. Don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing though.


  5. I’m so sorry you’re having trouble with your siblings. I had a similar thing happen with my brothers after my mom died. It caused a huge rift between me and my two older brothers. The oldest died without us speaking again, although we weren’t particularly close to begin with. I was able to reconnect with my other older brother after my husband died, but had to cut off communication again last fall before the election due to his right wing vitriol. I’m sure he’s really happy with the situation these days. Every time I read anything our President posts it reminds me of my brother. They suffer from the same issues for sure.

    I really, really wish we were still getting on that plane tomorrow to come visit you. But with the way things are right now, I’d be scared that something would happen and we wouldn’t be able to get home to the kids. How flipping wrong is that?? I agree with you, we must continue to fight for what’s right. We can’t roll over.


    1. I realized a bit after I posted this that is was completely tone deaf as to the fact that you have two daughters away from home. 😦 For that, I truly apologize. I can’t imagine that stress on top of everything else happening. I hope they are doing okay.


    2. My rift with my siblings happened years ago, before anyone knew the terms of the will. Funny thing though, although it made my mom sad, she told me she completely understood why I was keeping my distance. She never held it against me or urged me to make amends. She knew the weight was on them, not me.

      No apologies necessary – I knew what you meant. We worry about the girls as well, being so far from us right now. Hopefully things won’t spiral down that far. We are are taking extra documents with us when we go to Japan though.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. For TV suggestions, there are a few shows from our national broadcaster (CBC – in Canada) that I really like:

    * X Company – takes place during World War II and follows five recruits as they are trained as secret agents and sent out into the field.

    *Schitt$ Creek – a comedy, difficult to describe and you have to watch a few episodes to get to know the characters, but it’s now one of my current favourites

    * Heartland – Described as light family drama, it’s nice Sunday evening watching

    * Still Standing – “A hybrid comedy/reality series, the program features actor and comedian Jonny Harris. In each episode, Harris travels to a small Canadian community which is financially struggling but “still standing”, and spends time getting to know the residents and their lifestyle. He then performs a stand-up comedy show for the town’s residents, into which he integrates some of his newfound insights about life in their community.”

    * Arctic Air – “Set in the Canadian North, “Arctic Air” follows an extended, unconventional family through the ups and downs of owning an airline. Mel handles the pilots and Bobby keeps the business going, while the pilots themselves take on an interesting mix of missions in their little bush planes and huge World War II prop planes — from sightseeing tours to rescue missions. The group must battle the extremes of the north, competing airlines, and each other as they struggle to succeed in the town of Yellowknife”.


    1. Thanks for the many suggestions! I am going to check Netflix and Amazon to see if they have any of these shows. They sound promising!


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