Sunday Afternoon 3/12/2017

It’s been too long since we’ve enjoyed this view! We’re hoping, if the weather cooperates, for a chance to go this week in between trip prep activities.

It’s very exciting to think that a week from now we will be in Japan! We’ve entered trip prep mode, and are taking care of things like making sure all our bills are paid and other household chores are done before we go. Packing will commence next Wednesday – we’ve got our fingers crossed we can fit everything into our bags. Our suitcases are definitely going to be a lot lighter coming home than going over!

In spite of all her fundraising, we still have been spending a lot for YaYu’s activities recently. There seems to always be something she needs, and Brett and I have felt like money has been flying out of our accounts the past few months. Next month we have to buy a graphing calculator and earphones ($$$) for her AP/SAT testing in May and for calculus next year. However, next month will be the last for Chinese tutoring, so that will help, and we’ll hopefully get a break over the summer before her senior year starts up. We used to think Meiling was the expensive one, but YaYu has broken all records. She’s not a demanding kid, and a good fundraiser, but when the heck did high school get so expensive?

I am probably the only person around who welcomed the arrival of Daylight Savings today. Why? Because a) Hawai’i doesn’t do daylight savings, and b) it means I can start a new day of Swagbucks at 9:00 p.m. versus waiting until 10:00 p.m. The new Swagbucks day starts at 12:00 a.m. PST, and with DST that means 9:00 p.m. here. I try to earn my daily goal before I go to bed at night, and starting at 10:00 has meant sometimes staying up later than I wanted. I will be taking a break from SB while we’re in Japan, mainly because I can’t access the site from there, but plan to be right back at it as soon as we return.

One more thing: For some unknown reason I have been having a difficult time commenting on some blogs hosted by Blogger. I write a comment, hit publish and the comment vanishes into the ether. But, on other Blogger blogs, no problem. I don’t know what’s going on or why, but I have tried to comment on several blogs recently with no success. I’m still faithfully reading though!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I tried a tip from Barbara at Living Richly in Retirement and set my Kindle to airplane mode (i.e. shut off the WiFi connection) which means that I can continue reading Nobody’s Fool even though the download has expired. I just downloaded A Man Called Ove from the library this morning, so as soon as I finish Nobody’s Fool I will be digging into that.
  • Listening to: I woke up this morning to the sound of the washing machine – Brett’s getting an early start on today’s laundry. It’s beautiful outside today, and the birds are singing like crazy. It almost sounds like we’re in the middle of a nature documentary! We’ve heard some of our neighbors outside, but otherwise it’s pretty quiet around here.
  • Watching: Brett and I are still watching Ripper Street, but are now in the last season available on Netflix. We’ll have to find something new after we get home.
  • Cooking/baking: We were supposed to have baked chilis rellenos for dinner tonight, but I had to postpone  them and a couple of other meals from last week’s menu to fit in some things that needed using up quickly. So, tonight we’ll be having the pork noodles that we were supposed to have this past Thursday. I’ll probably bake another cake this afternoon or tomorrow – any leftovers can go in the freezer before we leave.

    I made this chain to remind me how many months we have to save until our Mystery Big Adventure™ next year!
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I worked out our budget for the next six months to see if it was possible to kick up the amount we put into savings. My income is going to change mid-way through though because I go on Medicare in May, so we will lose the amount for that payment every month, and working around that was tricky, but doable. The family that YaYu will be staying with in Honolulu during the orientation for her summer trip to China will be on Kaua’i the day we return from Japan, and we set up a lunch date with them so they could meet YaYu and she won’t feel like she’s staying with total strangers. I got in all my bike rides (105+ miles ridden, 3885+ calories burned), drank all my water, and studied Japanese and Portuguese every day.
  • Looking forward to next week: Japan! Our flight from Lihue over to Honolulu leaves before 7:00 in the morning, which means we will have a nearly four-hour layover at the Honolulu airport before our departure for Japan. We’re planning to have breakfast once we get to the Honolulu airport, probably coffee and breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks for Brett and YaYu, and fruit for me. Although it’s going to be a busy week, Brett and I are hoping that the weather and our schedule will align so we can go to the beach for a couple of hours.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Both Meiling and WenYu have received their financial aid awards for next year, and they’re pretty much a repeat of this year’s so we’re all happy. They each got a generous award directly from their respective colleges and each got a small Pell Grant. WenYu was offered a small Federal loan but won’t take it because she’s saved enough to cover the rest of her costs, and plans to work this summer to begin earning for the following year. Meiling will continue to earn enough from her job to cover her own room and board. WenYu and her roommate applied to room together again next year, in the same dorm, so that’s taken care of as well. Meiling just interviewed for a summer job at the college that will provide room and board, and she’s already found a roommate for apartment sharing next year, so that’s settled as well. We put $8.53 into the change/$1 bill jar.
  • Grateful for: I am feeling very thankful right now that YaYu’s high school requires students to wear a uniform – it has saved us a great deal of money. All she needs to be outfitted properly are shorts, a school related t-shirt, and flip flops, and she’s good to go. We will have to buy her new running shoes this fall, and probably a couple of team tank tops, but otherwise she is set for her senior year.
  • Bonus question: What do you think would surprise your parents most about you now? I think both would be surprised by what a good money manager I am. They both saw me as flighty and unserious as well as a spendthrift, even though growing up I used to save my babysitting money to buy things I wanted that they didn’t want to buy (i.e. clothes or shoes). I also think they might be surprised as well by how organized I am, and how I set goals and achieve them. My dad especially loved to say  that I never stuck with anything (although I did) – what he didn’t see was that I knew when to bail out of something that wasn’t working or never would. I know both my parents would be very proud of how Brett and I have raised our children. My Mom told me toward the end of her life that one of her greatest joys was meeting our girls and getting to know them, that we had done a great job raising them (all three girls joined our family after my dad had died). No one on either side of my family had ever adopted before, and my parents unfortunately had all sorts of preconceived beliefs about how adoption just never worked out.

That’s a wrap for this week at Casa Aloha. How was your week? What good things happened for you?

20 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 3/12/2017

  1. I tried the new egg souffle type items at Starbucks this week, and they were pretty tasty! So you may have that option in Honolulu. Have a wonderful time, I can’t wait to see pictures!


    1. Honolulu airport Starbucks tend to be a little behind everywhere else, but an egg souffle would work for me! I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

      Inquiring minds need to know what you thought of the red pepper sauce. I plan to make it again when we get home – we made a double batch last time and I ate it over roasted vegetables and with eggsm – so good!


  2. I’m getting excited on your behalf … can’t wait to hear about your new granddaughter, your awesome hotel and all the great Kit Kats you find in Japan! 🙂


    1. I just cannot wait to meet our new granddaughter – I’m so excited about that I can hardly stand it. And of course I love seeing our grandson too – we will be there for his birthday so have a few surprises arranged for him.

      We will once again be on a mission to find as many flavors of KitKats as we can. The last two trips we’ve found seven different varieties, but we’re hoping to do better this time.


  3. So going into airplane mode DOES work! I have had some success with that and wondered if it was just a fluke. Sweet!

    My COBRA is running out next month and I have to buy insurance on the exchanges (argh) for a year before I hit Medicare. I am seeing my doctors and doing my normal annual visits as well as deferred maintenance as needed (Ha!) in hopes of keeping my costs as low as possible for the next year. Of course, we can’t predict our health, but I feel pretty good about it.

    Hope the trip is wonderful…I look forward to reading your blog and seeing pictures!


    1. Yes – the airplane mode trick worked. That is, until I turned it off to download the second book – Nobody’s Food disappeared very quickly. Sob! But, I went to the library site and checked it right back out again, so all’s well that end’s well.

      This whole insurance things is making me very upset and nervous. We won’t be directly affected as we get our insurance through the government (retired military) and Medicare, but I’m afraid it may indirectly affect the girls, and if they can mess with Medicaid, etc. now there’s no telling what they’ll do with Medicare and military insurance in the future (although I dare them mess with retired military insurance – most retirees now were promised FREE care for life following retirement, and that got taken away, so any attempts to reneg on that even further will not go well).

      I’m taking my computer along and hope to get a couple of posts in while we’re away!


  4. I enjoyed the film version of A Man Called Ove, so I’m sure it’ll be a fun read. Have fun on your trip! Japan is on my travel list…one day we’ll make it out there!


  5. Have an awesome trip!

    I’m curious what you do for a cell phone while traveling in Japan.

    Also – do you have an adapter/converter that you like for travel?

    And finally – how do you (if you do) weigh your bags to make sure they are under the airline limit?

    Inquiring minds want to know ; )


    1. I can get a prepaid SIM card for my phone in Japan. They weren’t available when we went a couple of years ago – we had to rent a phone. Pocket WiFi is also available, but with the SIM card (phone & data) I won’t need it. Brett and YaYu are bringing phones, but for photos – their phones will otherwise stay in airplane mode.

      I have an adapter – I bought it in Japan when I went in 2014. Our 3-prong plugs will not fit their outlets (like for my computer charger). Japan current is 50-cycle (versus 60 in the U.S.) so most U.S. electronics work without problems unless there’s a timer involved (because things run a tiny bit slower).

      Since we’re only bringing carry-ons, we don’t have to weigh. I read though the other day that a fish scale is handy if you travel a lot for weighing your bag before you go.


  6. My week was productive and fun. I went out with my sister for a tasty dinner at a Korean restaurant. Our talk time together was priceless. I booked our tickets to Costa Rica (yeah!). I got in my exercises and learned Spanish every day. Happy and safe travels!


      1. It was a hot pot entree called Bul Nak Jeongol on the menu. The kim chi and pickled dishes came first, then the hot pot and 2 bowls of purple sticky rice. The ingredients in the hot pot included onions, green onions, cabbage, carrots, bulgogi, squid in spicy beef broth and topped with glass noodles. I forgot to take a picture…too eager to eat 🙂


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