Out of control fires. Hurricanes. Major earthquakes. It seems like the earth is very, very angry right now, and I keep wondering, what’s going to happen next? Although our eyes are currently on Irma as she churns her way up Florida, and our thoughts and prayers with everyone hunkered down there, the fires in the Columbia Gorge, just outside of Portland, have been the most painful to follow this past week. We spent many happy times in the Gorge, visiting the many waterfalls, hiking, taking in the glorious views, dining at the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge (which was thankfully spared), so to see the pictures of what much of it looks like now has hit us hard. It’s even more difficult to comprehend because all the destruction was caused by the completely thoughtless, careless actions of one teenage boy, who thought it would be fun to light firecrackers and throw them down into the (dry) forest off the trail.
We’ve had a fairly nice week here though with mostly cooler temperatures, although last Wednesday was as hot as ever. Kaua’i has been having much warmer weather this year than in the past, and a much drier summer. There haven’t been any temperature records broken, but more consecutive days at the high temperatures which is why it feels hotter than previous summers.
We seem to back into the swing of things here as we get into the school year, although we are already seeing YaYu’s hand stretched out for things required for graduation and such. We just paid for her senior pictures (flat rate for everyone) and we have her grad night celebration fee coming up soon as well. We’ve also had to buy her cross country team shirt, and there have been a few more things. I complain about it all, but it really is much, much less than we had to pay for all of this back in Portland. Meiling and WenYu are settling in for their school years as well. Meiling has moved into her new apartment, and WenYu and her roommate got a nice, big room this year versus the cozy one they had last year (no lake view though). WenYu got a job working part-time at the dining hall in her dormitory. Finally, my son and family moved into a new condo at the end of last month – they wanted to live closer to our grandson’s school (he just started first grade at an international school), and this location is also next to a big park so he can get outside more. The condo is a bit bigger than their last one, and has a traditional tatami room! They’re still unpacking and getting settled, and both Brett and I looking forward to seeing pictures when they’re done.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I finished Mother Daughter Me: A Memoir mid-week, but had nothing on my hold list come available so I am rereading Your Keys, Our House by Michael and Debbie Campbell, the Senior Nomads. There’s so much good information in this book, and I’m already picking up things I missed the first time. Michael and Debbie, by the way, just began a 10-week internship with AirBNB in San Francisco!
- Listening to: I’m enjoying another quiet morning here at Casa Aloha. There’s a lovely breeze outside, and lots of birds making noise – thankfully none are chickens. The weekly laundry will be starting soon though, and there will go the quiet..
- Watching: Tonight Brett and I will be watching the last episode of Endeavour – such a great series – but otherwise we watched Wolf Hall on Amazon about Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. The Tudor period has never been all that interesting to me, but the show was superb. Is there anything Damien Lewis is in that isn’t top quality? We just started watching the series Catastrophe on Amazon and are enjoying it so far. I binge watched Master of None on Netflix, starring Asiz Anasi, and loved every episode and wish there were more!
- Cooking/baking: We’re having one of our favorites tonight: Chinese stir-fried tomatoes and eggs, along with steamed rice for Brett and YaYu and cucumbers for all of us. I baked a triple chocolate bunds cake this morning by request.
- Happy I accomplished this week: Brett and I fulfilled our goal of going to the beach twice – both times were delightful and a nice break from the heat. Brett took the car in for its semi-annual service, so that’s done until next year. I did my language study every day, made my daily water intake goal every day (and then some), and rode my exercise bike five miles every day except Wednesday (it was just too hot, even in the evening). I Can’t wait to get back to riding more, but it’s just going to have to cool down some before that happens.
- Looking forward to next week: There’s nothing on the calendar for us so we’re hoping to get back to the beach another couple of times. It’s so relaxing there, and with the summer tourists gone we practically have the whole place to ourselves.
- Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu retook her ACT test yesterday morning and feels like she did a little better. She was miserably sick when she took the test last spring (running a fever, couldn’t concentrate, came home and went to bed for two full days, etc.) so fingers are crossed for a better score this time. Getting that first Southwest gift card was a big accomplishment, and will help with travel expenses when we begin the Big Mystery Adventure.™ My goal is to earn at least three more before the end of next summer.
- Grateful for: Firefghters and search and rescue crews did a fantastic job in Oregon of getting people living in the fire zone evacuated, and keeping homes and other landmarks, like the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, safe from burning. It’s going to take a while for the Gorge to heal, but I’m so very thankful no lives or homes were lost.
- Bonus question: Have you ever been through a hurricane? Yes! We lived in Key West in the late 1980s, and were there for Floyd in 1987, a Category 1 storm. Brett was one of the hurricane readiness coordinators for NAS Key West, and helped prepared the evacuation shelters, among other jobs. Thankfully we didn’t end up needing to evacuate, but it was still a frightening experience to go through, so I can only imagine how terrifying a Category 4 storm is, and the damage it has caused. We went through two Category 3 typhoons in Japan. Japan’s forecasting for the storms was nothing short of amazing. If they said the storm would arrive at 9:04, it arrived at 9:04, on the nose. I remember one of the storms literally stripping all the leaves from the trees, among other damage it caused, and then seeing the trees budding out again and the cherry blossoms blooming a second time in the summer – very weird. The most difficult part of the storms to go through for me was the sound of the howling wind – it was relentless, like banshees shrieking, whether it was Floyd or one of the typhoons in Japan. We also experienced two tornados when we were stationed at NAS Memphis. Again, very scary, but thankfully no damage to where we lived (there was damage nearby though). I am praying and thinking all good thoughts for everyone in Florida as Irma passes through.
That’s a wrap for this week at Casa Aloha. How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?