Sunday Afternoon 5/28/2017

Summer break is finally here – yeah!

Boy, did this month fly by!

YaYu is officially a senior – her last day of this school year was Friday. She has a busy year coming up though, and lots on her plate academically. The high school has a partnership with the local community college, and she can take courses for free, so instead of taking AP Calculus and AP English, she will be taking those courses through the college and receiving college credit (and saving us $$$ on the testing fees). It will also officially be Brett’s and my last year of full-time parenting. Other than a six-month break between sending our son off to college and Meiling’s arrival into our family, we’ve been raising children for 40 years. We’re (finally) ready for an empty nest!

I mentioned in the comments to my “Clues” post this past week that I am no longer studying Portuguese. I am still using Memrise, but a few weeks ago started learning another language that we can use on our BIG Mystery Adventure™ (yes, another possible clue). I enjoyed learning Portuguese – it was a challenge without being too challenging, and I plan to go back to it some day. The new language is the same level of difficulty for me, maybe a little bit more. I wish I could learn two languages at once, but I am not that person – one is enough for now.

Rick Best, age 53, was a city employee, a 23-year Army veteran, and father to three teenage sons and a pre-teen daughter. He was on his way home from work when he was killed.

I was horrified by the news from Portland on Friday about the murder on the TriMet streetcar of two good Samaritans, who, along with a third man, came to the defense of two Muslim teens who were being harangued and verbally abused by a white supremacist who then turned on the men and stabbed them. These heroes did the right thing for the right reason, and paid for it with their lives (the third man, Micah Fletcher, age 21, a student a Portland State University was also stabbed, and remains in the hospital with critical injuries). I weep not only for these men and their families, but for my country, and the coarseness and violence that is becoming more open and prevalent these days.

Taliesin Namkai-Meche, age 23, graduated from Reed College in 2016 with a degree in Economics, and was interning in Portland.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished My Name Is Lucy Barton, and because I was waiting for other library holds to become available I downloaded American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin, about the Patty Hearst kidnapping in 1974. It was pre-Internet, pre-Twitter, etc. back then but I remember being completely involved in the news of what had happened and how it played out. We were glued to our TVs every evening to catch the latest updates on the nightly news, and the day the house burned in L.A. the event broke into regular programming. It was heady stuff for those times. Anyway, the book is very readable and I’ve learned several new things.
  • Listening to: I was awakened early by the sound of weed trimmers in the neighborhood, and they haven’t let up. It seems as if everyone is working on their lawn this mornings. After several overcast and rainy days which always make lawns and other plants grow like crazy it’s lovely today, so I can understand why everyone is out working. Inside it’s nice and quiet though – Brett is out on a hike, and the girls are working in their room.
  • Watching: We’re still working our way through Better Call Saul and loving it. We are intrigued with the shows premise, always asking ourselves, “when and how does Jimmy McGill turn into Saul Goodman?” The show is well written, and the actor playing Jimmy/Saul is excellent, and fun to watch. I’m almost done with watching all the available Househunters and need to find something other show that I can watch while I do Swagbucks at night. Brett and I watched an older film that I wanted to see again, Road to Perdition, with Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and an otherwise all-star cast, on Friday evening. I thought Brett had seen it before, but it was new to him.
  • Cooking/baking: Brett is making Scotch eggs again for our dinner tonight, and we’ll have those along with some fresh fruit (and everyone but me will get toast as well). I was going to bake a pan of brownies later this afternoon but WenYu made some a couple of days ago so no baking today. Breakfast was the usual ‘you’re on your own.’
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: There wasn’t a whole lot that needed accomplishing last week, so mainly it was just been the basic stuff getting done around here. It’s been hard to keep up with all my daily bike rides because of the heat, but I have gotten the evening rides in, and the daytime rides when it’s been cool enough because of rain and such. I’ve substituted stretching and yoga inside, under a fan, when I don’t get out on the bike. I have kept up with my daily allotment of water, and with my language study. Brett has walked every day this past week, some days in between rain storms – he’s up to around five miles per day! I made at least my small goal every day with Swagbucks – it’s important to reach that goal in order to earn bonus points at the end of the month.
  • Looking forward to next week: It’s a small thing, but I have one last half loaf left of the wonderful raisin bread we brought home from Japan, and I’m going to get a slice out of the freezer tomorrow morning and have it for my breakfast – it’s my one carb indulgence. Brett and I are hoping to get to the beach at least one day this week, but otherwise our calendar is pretty empty.
  • Reporting gains and losses: I lost two more pounds this month, bringing my total weight loss so far this year to 20 pounds. I still have more to go, but am very happy with my progress so far. I will be satisfied from here on out with a monthly loss of one or two pounds, but know it’s going to be slow(er) going from now on. We put $630.58 into our travel savings this month – our total is now $3114.92. We’re actually a little ahead of where we need to be in order to make our goal of $7000 for the year, which makes me very happy.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: WenYu was hired at a local restaurant as a busser (which she says she prefers to server), both lunch and dinner shifts, so she should do pretty well this summer, income-wise, as it’s a popular, busy place. On top of her salary she gets a percentage of tips from each of the servers. My daughter-in-law sent us three videos of the grandchildren this last week – they always make Brett and I very happy. Our grandson is reading English now, and our granddaughter is growing so fast – she’s pulling herself up to stand. YaYu’s phone gave up the ghost at the beginning of this past week – not a good thing as she depends her phone to keep up with her many activities. She has often told us she wants a new, better phone for her graduation present next year, so we asked her if she would be OK getting her present early. She said yes, and we gave her the amount we had budgeted for her gift ($300, same as her two sisters), and she paid the balance for the phone of her dreams. It arrived from T-Mobile in just three days 🙂 and she is a happy girl although she is still waiting on the case and screen protector from Amazon. All we have left to do now for her graduation will be to buy a whole stack of lei, but family members will provide some of the funds for those.
  • Grateful for: Both my mother and grandmother were incredibly frugal women. Growing up, I did not appreciate many of the frugal choices they made, or understand why they made those choices. but these days I’m very thankful that many of their frugal ways somehow got implanted into me. I’m following in their footsteps and using many of their techniques both large and small.
  • Bonus question: What’s the worst job you ever had? What was the best? I don’t think I ever had a bad job, although I did have some bad employers who could make my life miserable from time to time. The worst was the publisher at the small newspaper I worked at as a receptionist – she was demanding, autocratic, and loved to find humiliating things for me to do just because she could. Everyone else at the paper was lovely and I enjoyed working with them, so the job wasn’t a total write-off. Another awful job was working as a teacher’s assistant for one of our local school’s kindergarten teachers. She was an awful teacher (I would have pulled my child from her classroom) and it was very hard to work with her. One day, out of nowhere, she filed a complaint against me with the principal saying I had lied on my employment application. The principal had to come and speak with me about it – he was humiliated, because it wasn’t true – but I left after that, and I learned the teacher was not offered a position at the school the following year. My best jobs were those teaching beginning ESL – I had wonderful students, from all over the world, and was constantly awed and humbled by their efforts to make a life in the U.S. and learn English (I still thank my lucky stars every day that English is my native language and that I didn’t have to learn it). It’s a cliché that teachers learn as much from their students as their students learn from them, but in my case it was absolutely true. They still inspire me.

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

4 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 5/28/2017

  1. HUGE congrats on the 20 pounds! That must feel amazing. 🙂 The longer I go without carbs, the more I can feel the dumping of sugar into my bloodstream when I eat them. I can’t eat regular pasta anymore without feeling like someone just gave me a shot of morphine, I get light headed. Lucky we found a version at Aldi which has maybe half the carbs of regular pasta.

    I have spent so much time listening to the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul podcasts over the years. Possibly too much, because when I see a gorgeous shot, I hear Vince Gilligan say in my head, very clearly “That’s a great shot”.

    If you love the show you might want to check out some of the podcasts though a lot of it is quite technical about how they did certain shots and what each member of the crew does. I personally find all that stuff fascinating and I could listen to them talk about it for hours.

    I remember when Mike got some time in the season 3 finale of Breaking Bad where he went to a warehouse with some balloons, that was the first moment when I realised hey, I really want to spend a lot more time with Mike Ehrmantraut. And this series has completely given me that.

    I always loved Saul but I think like everyone else, we all love Jimmy even more. And that very first episode, when it ended with that particular character opening the door, I laughed so hard for about 5 minutes.. I love how they have brought Breaking Bad cast members in dribs and drabs kind of as a surprise.

    I am surprised to find I began to like Howard Hamlin and completely unsurprised to find the more time I spend with him, the more I cannot stand Chuck. I believe it is his dislike for Jimmy that makes people feel that way. 🙂

    I trust Vince and co to take us wherever it is they are wanting us to go and make it enjoyable along the way. They have never let me down yet and I have enjoyed every minute of television they have created.


    1. I am so in agreement with you about how I feel about Howard and Chuck. It’s interesting because the actor that plays Chuck, Michael McKean, is (or was) better known as a comedic actor, so it’s been a real journey to watch Chuck’s character develop in a not-so-funny way. I’m also in agreement with you about how lovable Jimmy is – the more lovable he becomes, the more we wonder how and why he became Saul Goodman. I could write buckets about the Mike Ermentraut character – he practically takes over the whole show ever time he appears. Maybe a spin-off show for him someday? I’d watch.

      I actually do feel lighter with 20 pounds gone. A few pairs of my pants are actually starting to droop around the waist. I’m not ready for the smaller size just yet, but getting closer all the time!


  2. I, too, was outraged by news of the hate-motivated attack in Portland and heartbroken by the deaths of those two heroic men. When will this stop?

    As for the good things in my week, a highlight was attending a Jake Shimabukuro concert last night (in Orange County, CA). Always inspiring to see this phenomemal musician play the ukulele!

    And a “Grateful for”: We had a delicious, slightly splurgey dinner with my cousin before the Jake concert. (Our dads were brothers, who both died far too young.) As we talked and ate, we had a joint moment of realization when we both recalled our fathers as appreciating and enjoying food more than anyone else we’d met. It was because they remembered going to bed hungry all the time when they were growing up poor in Hawai’i. They worked hard so we never had to go through that. So we had a teary momemt of gratitude as we remembered our dads, how hard they worked to support their families when we were growing up, and how fortunate we are to have the good lives we do now and to be enjoying a delicious meal together.


    1. Thank you for sharing that story about your meal with your cousin and talking about your Dads – it was very special to me. WenYu wrote one of her college essays about Brett, how she didn’t get to know him until after he had retired because he was always working when she was young, but that she now understands that was because he didn’t want her or her sisters to have to go without like he did when he was young. She got that the life she enjoys is because of her father’s hard work. One of Brett’s greatest joys in retirement is that he has been able to spend time with the girls, and do things with and for them.

      Love Jake Shimabukuro – lucky!!

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