Sunday Afternoon 2/19/2017

The view looking south from Kilauea Point, where big swells were breaking against the rocks. You can't see them, but the hill is covered with birds.
The view looking south from Kilauea Point, where big swells were breaking against the rocks. You can’t see them, but the hill is actually covered with white red-footed boobys.

We had another lovely week here at Casa Aloha, with Valentine’s Day turning into something special. I gave Brett and YaYu each a box of See’s chocolates (the best!), and Brett gave me a small bouquet of roses – very unexpected and sweet. We usually don’t do anything celebrate or mark the day, so this year turned out to be a nice surprise for all of us. The day itself was glorious, so Brett and I headed back up to Kilauea to visit the National Wildlife Sanctuary (admission free with our senior lifetime National Park pass). We almost didn’t get in because there were so many visitors, but we decided to wait and see what happened and within a few minutes a few cars came out and we were allowed to drive in. We saw more wildlife than we thought we might, including several whales, nene (Hawaiian geese), and other shorebirds. The views were nothing short of spectacular.

Kilauea Point Lighthouse
Historic Kilauea Point Lighthouse

We found out this past week that YaYu has to attend a mandatory four-day orientation on Oahu in June for her China trip this summer. We called the organization to say that we couldn’t afford the additional expense of four days on Oahu, but a homestay will be arranged for YaYu with another student who will be going on the trip. So, we will have to buy her a round-trip ticket over to Oahu and back, and pay a very small stipend to the family for breakfast and dinner, but we can fit those things into our budget by June.

The total for all that beautiful produce we bought at last week’s farmers’ market was . . . $32! The most expensive item was the little jar of honey, which cost $5. The big head of broccoli was $4; the tomatoes and bunch of bananas were $3 each; the small head of cauliflower, bok choy, Swiss chard, zucchini and cilantro were $2 each; and the cucumber was $1. The two papayas cost $4, and all the oranges and tangelos together were just $2. We won’t be going to the market this week as YaYu has a doctor’s appointment up in Kilauea at the same time, but we’ve got enough to get us through next week. That head of broccoli is big enough for three meals!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished Life As We Knew It on Friday, and am now reading Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo. I’ve enjoyed everything he’s written, so am greatly looking forward to this book.
  • Listening to: It’s very breezy outside today – the trees are making lots of noise. But, otherwise no outside noises, including roosters (yeah!). Inside it’s quiet except for the washer and dryer doing their thing. 
  • Watching: Brett and I continue to work our way through Ripper Street. In the past we’ve watched more than one episode of shows at a time, but are only allowing ourselves one an evening now, to stretch things out a bit. Friday evening we watched The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, a documentary about famed animator Hiyao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. As we are all major Studio Ghibli fans here, this was especially interesting to us. Once again though, I could barely understand a word of Japanese – thank goodness for subtitles.
  • Cooking/baking: We usually have eggs of some kind on Sunday evening, but because there’s no school tomorrow (President’s Day) YaYu is having a friend over this evening for dinner and a sleepover, and I’ve got the slow cooker carnitas going today and we’ll have tacos and rice this evening. I’m going to make a pan of brownies this afternoon for the girls to nosh on later. I made ginger sugar cookie dough yesterday evening, and baked the cookies this morning (the dough needs to be chilled before baking, the longer the better).
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I got all our food shopping done for the next month, and came in $20+ dollars under budget, so that’s money into the savings account. We lowered our food budget this year from $600 per month to $500, so to come in under is some serious saving. Hopefully we will get most of the food used up by the time we leave for Japan. I didn’t make it to the pool for a swim this past week, but on the days I couldn’t go I added in an additional session on the exercise bike. Otherwise I got in all my bike rides, even though were a couple of times I didn’t feel like it, drank all my water, and did my language studies. I am really disliking Rosetta Stone at this point, but just have four more lessons to go and I am done!
  • Looking forward to next week: We really don’t have anything on the calendar next week other than YaYu’s doctor’s appointment, but the trade winds are supposed to be quite brisk, so not sure if Brett and I can make it to the beach or not.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu had to attend a Kiwanis Dinner on Valentine’s Day, and she and a partner decided to take along some more of the chocolate bars they’ve been selling as a fundraiser. She and her partner sold 90 of them! YaYu has now almost completely covered the cost of her April trip through fundraising. She also worked yesterday afternoon to distribute the malasadas the swim team sold, and she a bag for all of us to share – I admit to having one (and it was divine). I must be losing weight though because a pair of pants I couldn’t put on at the end of last year went on easily when I tried this past week (but I’m holding off on officially weighing myself until the end of the month).We put $24.73 in our change/$1 bill jar this week.
  • Grateful for: I am feeling very thankful that the staff at PAAC (Pacific and Asian Affairs Council) is working to make sure we can afford to send YaYu to the orientation in June by finding a homestay for her so that she can go on the planned trip to China. I can’t explain it in words, but I could really sense the spirit of aloha coming from the woman in Honolulu that I spoke with, that they will do everything they can for YaYu, and will look out for her as well.eleanorroosevelt_640x400
  • Bonus question: Which famous person, dead or alive, would you like most like to know? This required a bit of thought, but I honestly would love to have had the chance to know Eleanor Roosevelt. She overcame a very difficult childhood, infidelity in her marriage, the loss of a child, and jokes and taunts about her appearance to become a powerful, insightful First Lady who championed the rights of the underprivileged, and who later became a respected representative for our country to the United Nations. She also became “her own person,” secure in who she was and what she could accomplish, and did this in a time when women of her class were (other than during WWII) expected to stay home and tend to their house and family. She’s always been an inspiration and role model for me.

That’s a wrap from Casa Aloha! How was your week? What good things happened for you? What are you doing this afternoon?

8 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 2/19/2017

  1. Completely agree about Eleanor Roosevelt. I love so many of her quotes. Quite a few of them are on this page: Very inspirational lady.

    The Kilauea Lighthouse was closed the day we went, so we had to view it from the fence. It was still spectacular, but I’m sure it’s even better when you get to go inside.

    I think it’s wonderful YaYu will be going to China and the woman from the organization was so nice about the orientation. They should have made it clear that there would be orientation and an added expense though, but it’s great YaYu will get to visit the country she was born in.

    I went on a job interview last week and was told it would have been nice if I could speak another language, especially one of these: Spanish, French or Italian. I took Italian in high school, but that was many years ago and I wish I had kept up with it. I was thinking of getting Rosetta Stone, but you don’t seem to like it much. I seem to remember you said in a previous post that their Japanese course isn’t very good, but Portuguese was better, so I’m wondering if Italian would be any good. There is a woman near me who teaches Italian, but she charges close to $500 for 12 lessons, and that’s a bit beyond what I’d like to spend!

    We’ve been experiencing balmy temperatures here on East Coast (65 today!) so I’ve been getting a lot of walking in…5 miles today and yesterday. I’m hoping we’re done with winter, but I have a feeling we’re not.


    1. The lighthouse was closed when we arrived because the parking lots were full, and the ranger was telling people to come back in the afternoon (we got there around 11:00 a.m.). We decided to hang around, and I waited over by the ranger, and watched several cars leave. In less than five minutes they were letting people in again! So happy, because we were not going to drive back in the afternoon!

      I think Rosetta Stone would work much better with the Romance languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian) as they’re much, much easier for English speakers to learn. Japanese is just so linguistically different from English in so many ways that it’s not a good fit other than for the most basic of phrases. I took Italian for about 18 months through Community Ed, offered through our community college in Portland – it was very affordable. There’s nothing like that here though. Check out Memrise, too – I’m really liking it so far.

      We’ve already heard from the family that will be hosting YaYu :-)! They’re actually coming over to Kaua’i, but it’s while we’ll be in Japan, so we’ll miss getting together with them.


  2. We have grandchildren (and their parents, of course :)) visiting this weekend, and it’s been a balmy, sunny weekend here in the Midwest. We’re happy to see them and the 3 yo is hilarious, and his 2 month old brother is adorable. A joyous weekend.

    YaYu sounds like she could sell anything! She probably has different ambitions, but there is always a great living to be made in sales. 🙂

    I loved Nobody’s Fool. The follow up, Everybody’s Fool, was not quite as good, but I still enjoyed it. Russo is also a favorite writer of mine.

    We have a framed photo of the Kilauea Lighthouse on one of our bookshelves. My DH is a lighthouse fanatic and we visit any that are in range of any vacation we take. As well, we have three cabinets of lighthouses across our home. Sometimes I get frustrated with his “collections”, but I do love visiting them. We’ve seen and climbed many, but Kilauea is a beauty!

    See Chocolate is awesome. And I love their little Lollypops. Yum!


    1. I envy your getting to spend time with your grandchildren! I am getting so excited to meet our new granddaughter, and see our grandson again that I can hardly stand it – less than four weeks to go!

      See’s chocolates are in a class by themselves. So good! The lollipops are now 59 cents each – when I was in high school they were five cents each, and we used to sell them 3/25 cents for fundraisers. They only had two flavors back then though – chocolate and butterscotch. I like the new latte flavor they have now, and the vanilla one is pretty good too.

      I have a lighthouse board on Pinterest with over 4,000 pins. I have always been fascinated with them – I wanted to live in one when I was young.


  3. Your See’s chocolate comment made me laugh. M bought a different kind of chocolate for Valentine’s Day this year. I politely sampled a few, but took the rest to work. He noticed & asked, & I mentioned that I loved See’s chocolates. For next year. 😉 The bridge mix is my favorite!

    It was overcast & windy today – I think I got a wind burn watching the boys play flag football. Sam scored his first touchdown, and Nick had a tooth (a baby tooth) knocked out during the game. Quite the excitement. Nick is at a sleepover & Sam is trying to convince us to play Monopoly. A pretty standard weekend evening. 😉


    1. Nothing compares to See’s. True story: the first time I went to Hong Kong some of the other wives and I discovered a See’s store in the Ocean Terminal mall. We couldn’t believe our luck, and all of us bought boxes of chocolates. Then the ship with our husbands arrived, but ended up only staying for one night instead of five because a typhoon was bearing down and the ship needed to get back out to sea (safest place to be in a storm). We wives all ended up stuck in our rooms for the day because of the storm, but when we got back together we discovered all of us had eaten ALL of our See’s chocolates! They were too irresistible and it was one of those ‘must have chocolate’ situations. We all went back to the store and bought more to take home! I’ve bought See’s there every time I’ve gone to Hong Kong (seven times).

      Too bad about the tooth, but thank goodness it was a baby tooth!


  4. I visited Val-Kill two years ago. I never knew Mrs. Roosevelt was such an interesting and determined woman. It was a great visit and it is such a nice place.


    1. Oh, I would love to visit Val-Kill! I’ve read her biography twice – she was truly one of a kind, and a great role model for all women.


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