It’s been another quiet, but busy, week here at Casa Aloha. We’ve settled into our regular fall schedules and routines, but this was the week for our monthly Big Shop and some other appointments so we kept busy. Brett and I had hoped to get to the beach a couple of times this past week, but it rained on Tuesday and YaYu had a special cross country practice on Thursday that messed with our day. The weather has been lovely though for the most part, and it’s definitely cooling off. I actually felt cold for a while on Friday morning, and was glad for my nice, warm cup of coffee. Even though the change is barely noticeable here, fall is coming!
After a couple of days off we’ll be watching more of the Vietnam documentary again tonight. The show is excellent, and very thought provoking. On the second night last week I heard a familiar name: Lt. Ken Good, who served as an army advisor in Vietnam and was killed in January, 1963. He was from my hometown of San Marino, and I clearly remember our pastor announcing his death in church one Sunday. I had never heard of Vietnam before – I was only 10 – but apparently it made an impression on me because I’ve never forgotten the announcement or his name.
YaYu’s Questbridge scholarship application will finally go off this coming week (deadline is Wednesday). All of us will be so glad when it’s finally submitted. The application is quite long, with several essays, and requires all sorts of other information and references, and YaYu has been working on it since early July. Her teachers have been great about doing their part and getting things in on time, but her counselor, who is required to not only provide a reference but other key information (like transcripts) has dragged her heels. She has known about the application for nearly two months, and YaYu stops by her office every week to check on the status of things, yet the counselor still has done nothing (although she reassures YaYu the information will be there on time). We’re biting our nails at this point that no problems arise. YaYu has also been the most difficult of all our children to work with on her essays. I taught writing for many years, and coached all three of our others kids on their essays, providing suggestions and editing, but it’s been a very different situation with YaYu. She has asked me for help/critique several times but then rejected almost every suggestion I’ve made, to the point that I finally asked her not to ask me but her teachers instead. Her final biographical essay is good though, and after Wednesday we will have our fingers crossed that she makes it to the Finalist round for the scholarship (decisions will be announced November 1).
- Reading: I’m still reading both of the books I currently have checked out: Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, and Stephen King’s It. I read one in the daytime, and one at night. It must be a big book – I read page after page after page, for a long while, but when I check the percentage finished it turns out my reading progress has barely moved. Both are still good reads.
- Listening to: We’ve enjoyed a lovely, cool, mostly quiet morning. There have been a few roosters out there making some noise, and I can hear a weed trimmer in the distance but otherwise there’s only the sound of the breeze through the trees. Brett is out for a run, and YaYu is sleeping in so it’s nice and quiet inside.
- Watching: Besides watching Vietnam, we finished the final season of Ripper Street – all the main characters either died, were killed, or moved away in the last episode. It’s time to find something else, but we’re not sure what at this point. I’m still watching The Mindy Project at night while I do Swagbucks, and still loving it.
- Cooking/baking: I baked a yellow cake this morning, and will ice with vanilla buttercream in a little while – simple but tasty (and none for me, thank you). Tonight we’re having breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and fruit.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I got the Big Shop done for the month, although it was a challenge. We noticed especially this past week how much more food is costing now than it did when we arrived here three years ago. I did a five mile ride on my bike six of the last seven days, drank more than 64 ounces of water every day, and did my language study every day. I know I accomplished other things, but can’t remember any of them.
- Looking forward to next week: Besides YaYu getting her scholarship application submitted, we’re looking forward to a relaxing week with a couple of trips to the beach. I see the eye doctor again on Wednesday to check whether my (beginning) cataracts are getting worse or holding steady – fingers are crossed for holding steady.
- Thinking of good things that happened: One of my younger brother’s sons was married yesterday to his longtime girlfriend in a lovely, small ceremony. He’s had some rough times, especially following my brother’s death, so it’s especially gratifying to see things finally going well for him, and to see him so happy. We had a plumbing issue in the house last week (which will affect our water bill) but we texted our landlord, he contacted the plumber and in less than two days the problem was resolved and we didn’t have to pay anything – it would have been an expensive fix otherwise! We also learned that our landlord’s health is improving, and that his cancer is now moving toward remission rather than getting worse!
- Reporting losses and gains: It’s the last Sunday of September, so I weighed myself this morning and was very surprised to discover I lost three more pounds this past month, for a total loss of 28 pounds so far since February. I’m just going to keep doing and eating how I have been, and if I lose some more, great! If not, that’s OK too. We put a whopping $1490.33 into our travel savings this past month! Our savings total for the year is now $6801.55, so we’re less than $200 away from our original goal of $7000. We’ve decided to raise the goal to $8500 in our travel account by the end of the year.
- Grateful for: I’m grateful to live in a country that guarantees the right to protest. Both Brett and I served in the military to protect that right for everyone, whether we agree with them or not. We did not serve to make sure people honored a flag or stood for a song, but to defend our constitution and the rights enshrined within.
- Bonus question: Which is worse, packing up a house to move or unpacking it all when you arrive? To be honest, both are equally hellish. When Brett was on active duty the unpacking was actually worse because the movers hired by the navy packed up everything for the move – we didn’t have to do anything other than provide cold drinks and snacks for the movers (which meant they usually treated our stuff very nicely). When we arrived at our new destination however, we had to unpack everything on our own which took forever. Now that the navy is not paying for our moves, we do almost all of the pack-up on our own and it’s been a lot of work (and very motivating when it came to downsizing the amount of our possessions). On our move over to Kaua’i Royal Hawaiian did a superb job of packing every thing on the mainland end and unpacking everything here as well as taking away all packing materials (we still had to put all our stuff away though) – they were worth every penny we paid them. The easiest move we ever did was moving to the house we’re in now from our other house – we overlapped in both houses for about three weeks, so we’d bring just a carload or two over here every day and put things away. Brett brought a couple of van-loads of furniture over one day, and we paid a mover for about five heavy pieces but when that arrived we were fully moved in and ready to go! (And no, we’re not moving anywhere, at least as far as I know right now.)
That’s the wrap-up from here for the week. How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you? Have you been watching Vietnam?