Sunday Afternoon 10/15/2017

This horse came out to greet Brett and YaYu when they hiked past on the Wai Koa Plantation trail last Thursday. The trail is flat, so when it cools off and the humidity diminishes a bit, I’m going to give it a try! While they enjoyed good weather as they hiked it was pouring rain here, just 15 miles away!

All of us here at Casa Aloha are biting our fingernails right now because YaYu will learn on Thursday whether she’s a finalist or not for a Questbridge scholarship. Brett and I are going to pick up cookies & cream ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream (YaYu’s request) on Thursday morning so we can either celebrate  or drown our sorrows with her that evening. Brett and I feel she has around a 50-50 chance to be selected: she wrote a terrific biographic essay and her other essays are very good as well; she’s taken rigorous courses all through high school and maintained a high GPA; she’s taken and passed several AP exams; and she has a strong slate of extracurriculars, several with leadership positions. Coming from a small, rural high school in Hawai’i is also a plus. On the down side, her standardized test scores aren’t as good as they should be, and we have no idea how much those will count. Questbridge applicants as a whole are a very sharp bunch of students, and we realize YaYu just might not make the cut.

I’m thinking positively though, and being proactive. When WenYu was named a Questbridge finalist two years ago we were woefully unprepared and had to scramble to get all her paperwork together to send off to the colleges she had ranked. Every school wants something different, so this last week I checked each school’s application requirements and make a chart so we can quickly check off each item as we get it sent. The chart may end up in the recycling if she’s not a finalist, but if she is we only have 12 days to get everything sent off, and we want to be ready, especially since it can take up to 10 days for mail to reach several of the schools.

The Questbridge application process has been long and hard, and even if YaYu does not make finalist or receive a match scholarship in the end, she has learned a lot and is well-prepared to move forward. IF she makes finalist but doesn’t get a match it will carry a lot of weight in the regular college application process and can still provide a BIG financial aid package. (WenYu’s scholarship from Wellesley is a Questbridge regular decision one). She can re-use her Questbridge essays for the common application, and several of the schools she wants to attend will still waive the application fee for her. She is prepared no matter the outcome.

Anyway, we hope you’ll keep your fingers crossed and think good thoughts for her this week.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished A Legacy of Spies on Friday night, and started LILLI de Jong, by Janet Benton, yesterday (per Reader Laurel’s recommendation!).
  • Listening to: There’s a strong breeze blowing this morning and it’s making a lot of noise in the trees around us. I hope it hangs around and keeps the humidity at bay, because the last few days here have been awful – we’ve had big, heavy, moist clouds hovering overhead. There are a few roosters doing their thing outside, but otherwise no outside noise. Brett is reading, and YaYu is fixing herself breakfast – it’s the last day of fall break, so she slept in.

    Stranger Things 2 is coming soon!

  • Watching: We finally got around to starting the new season of This is Us (love this show!), but otherwise we feel like we’ve seen just about everything we want for now on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. We’re pretty much just waiting for new episodes/seasons of our favorite shows to become available again. The second season of Stranger Things will be arriving on the 27th. Because of Mavis’s recommendation, we watched Dead Poet’s Society yesterday evening – still a wonderful film.
  • Cooking/baking: I’m probably not going to bake anything today because there’s still plenty of cookie dough in the freezer if Brett or YaYu want cookies. Last night’s fried rice didn’t get made because we were all too hot and tired, so we’re having that tonight instead of shakshuka (I’m having leftover steak pizzaiola).
  • Happy I accomplished last week: Besides getting a Questbridge paperwork chart set up (heavens, I hope we need it), I also made my shopping list for this coming week’s Big Shop. I did some more Christmas shopping (and saved some money!) – I’m about 3/4 of the way done now. Brett and I have walked several evenings down on the beach path – rain is the only thing that has kept us from doing that. I’ve ridden my bike in the evening a few days as well – when I haven’t it’s been because it’s just been too humid. I drank at least 64 ounces of water and did my language study every day. Finally, I had one silly accomplishment: I finally won the Neko Atsume (cat collecting) game! I have been playing for over two years now, but every time I would get close to having all the cats and all the mementos, the game would add new ones. Well, this past week I added the last available ones (for now) to my collection, so I am done for a while.

    Hanalei

  • Looking forward to this week: Besides looking forward to the Questbridge announcement, Brett and I are planning to head up to Hanalei on the north shore on Tuesday (weather permitting), to go out to lunch and just poke around for a while. On Wednesday we’ll be doing our monthly Big Shop, although it won’t be very big this time. Our freezer is being temperamental, and we’re just not comfortable with loading it full of stuff only to have it shut off again in the middle of the night.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Sluggy of Don’t Read This; It’s Boring fame has put up another great giveaway. The prize includes several things that would make great stocking stuffers here at Casa Aloha. Even though the weather has been beastly the past few days, the early evening walks with Brett down on the beach path have been wonderful. I’ve lost enough weight that the bursitis in my hip doesn’t bother me, my old shoes are working out OK, and the views as we walk are always breathtaking. The conversation has also been great! Brett’s new running shoes arrived this week, so he’s got a bit more spring in his step too. YaYu bought me socks! I was planning to buy some next week when we shopped, but for the first couple of walks I had to borrow some of her (many pairs of) ankle socks. When she was out shopping for a friend’s birthday gift she picked me up my own bundle, just because, so I am set!

    One of the many gorgeous views we get to see on our walks.

  • Grateful for: I’m so thankful for all the beauty of this island. I complain bitterly about the humidity, but walking on the beach path, or seeing the pictures from Brett and YaYu’s hike, or driving past the ocean all remind me of how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place.
  • Bonus question: Is there one place you’ve visited more than any other? Would you go back again? For me, that would be Hong Kong – I’ve visited eight times (stayed in different hotel every time) and would go back in a heartbeat! The city has grown and changed so much since we were last there, and I would love to see what’s new and what hasn’t changed. When we were stationed in Japan, and Brett was with the air wing on the USS Midway, the ship always stopped in Hong Kong on its way back from a long cruise and  I and other wives would fly down and meet the ship. The wives would gather at Fenwick Pier and wait as the launches arrived one by one with our spouses. The most exciting visit was when the ship was on its way home from Desert Storm because that’s the longest the ship had ever been away. I thought I’d have to wait for several launches to see Brett, but he was on the first one (still not sure how he managed it)! Anyway, we had four wonderful, romantic reunions in Hong Kong, I went on a shopping trip with a friend once, and our son and I went for Christmas in 1991, when the Midway was deployed to the Persian Gulf for Desert Storm (the only Christmas Brett wasn’t home). We also did two of our three adoption orientations in Hong Kong – Brett and I went in 1997 for Meiling’s adoption (Brett had broken his leg and was in a cast!), and my good friend Kris accompanied me in 1999 to get WenYu while Brett stayed home with Meiling. All of those eight trips were shopping extravaganzas (it’s what you did), but we also had a great time eating our way through Hong Kong. One reason I want to go back because I still haven’t had afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel!

One more gratuitous photo of my granddaughter, from her first birthday photo session. I love this girl! (and the poor thing got my ears)

That’s a wrap for this week at Casa Aloha! How was your week? What good things happened for you? What are you reading? What did you accomplish?

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12 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 10/15/2017

  1. Laurel says:

    FIrst of all, my fingers and toes are crossed for YaYu! You all are SO organized and on board for her. I’m sure she will do so well next year regardless. And I think the ice cream back up is genius whichever way it goes. Also, how thoughtful of her to get you sox. And I’m encouraged that you have less pain after losing weight. That’s always one of my motivations and it’s hard at this age, but I’m making progress. VERY slowly.

    Next, I have to say your granddaughter is so beautiful. The pics on your earlier post loaded after I commented, but she and your grandson are just precious. And I love that your DIL shares so much…good person.

    This is Us…love it! My favorite right now. Last night I watched the Netflix movie “Our Souls at Night”. I loved the book by Kent Haruf and the movie as well. It’s so nice to see Jane Fonda and Robert Redford again and they’re actually playing older folks. It’s not a fast moving drama, but a character driven story, which I love.

    I’m at the stage of travel (inside the 10 day window) where all my possible clothing options are piled on the guest bed and I’m needing to curate them to a carry on bag. Of course, my real goal is comfort and foot comfort is tops. This week I am coming off a 7 day cold/sinus thing that I am kicking with tons of tea, steam, decongestants, saline spray, and determined not to be sick to board that airplane to Italy next week. As well, my DH is fighting his random case of burgeoning diverticulitis. He laughingly says he knows he’ll be left if I have go alone, but I probably wouldn’t. (Hmmm…my daughter is in the UK and meeting us in Rome. Maybe she could meet me early. JK. Ha!) I’m sure his doc can help with antibiotics. Ugh. He knows Italy is top of my bucket list and I’ve been working on this trip for ages. Wish me luck. 🙂

    Like

    • Laura says:

      We are all trying to stay calm here right now, but it’s sort of hard now. There’s a lot riding on this decision, but thankfully not everything, so she’ll be OK no matter how it all turns out. One big worry for me right now is the thought of YaYu eating ice cream – she’s lactose intolerant. I don’t like it, but we’re going to buy Cool Whip instead of real whipped cream just to keep things less problematic for her.

      I can’t wait to hear about your trip to Italy – it’s on our bucket list as well. I don’t remember if you’ve told me, but where are you going? My “dream” places there are Florence, Sienna, Rome, and the Cinque Terre. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your husband will be in tip-top shape by the time you go.

      Our DIL is very good about sending lots of photos and short videos so we can see what the grands are up to. We can’t wait to see them again – for now, they are planning a trip here in the spring.

      Like

  2. quesoit1 says:

    Your granddaughter is adorable!

    I’m on the library’s waiting list for A Legacy of Spies. I’m a le Carre fan, so am looking forward to it. Am about to start We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. But I’m afraid it’s going to make me even more worked up about politics and racism right now.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Thanks! Our little girl looks a lot more like our son than our grandson does – he looks just like his mom!

      A Legacy of Spies was a great read. I’m a big le Carre fan as well, and now I’m thinking of going back and reading his earlier works again. I’ve heard good things about We Were Eight Years in Power – I’ve got it on reserve, but the list is long so it might be a while. I was shocked though by how quickly I received A Legacy of Spies so who knows?

      I listen to very little news these days, just enough to know what’s going on. Otherwise it’s just too depressing/frightening.

      Like

  3. vivian says:

    Love the picture of your granddaughter.
    Anytime I visit a military base, it makes me homesick. Born at Ft Bragg North Carolina, stationed at Chrailsheim (not sure of spelling) and Baumholder, Germany. Twice at Ft Campbell, Kentucky and finally back to Ft Bragg. Haven’t lived on base since 9th grade but visiting any military base gives me the same feeling. Ft Campbell was the best.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Isn’t it funny? We like visiting military bases as well – they all feel so comfortable and familiar when we do. We met at NAS Millington, then I went to NAS Pensacola for a while, but came back to Millington. After that we went over to Japan for our first tour, then back to Washington D.C. for recruiting duty (we lived in Maryland). Then we went to NAS Patuxent River, NAS Key West, and finally over to Japan again. Brett was in the air wing (worked on A-6 and A-7 aircraft) so we always went to air bases except for recruiting duty (which we both hated). Our favorite base was NAS Atsugi, in Japan.

      Like

  4. LIVINGRICHONTHECHEAP says:

    If you like British Shows you might consider Acorn TV at $4.99USD a month a bargain. They don’t have nearly as much as Netflix but a nice alternative if you’re a bit tired of the Netflix offerings. I am only signing up for 2 months and watching what I want, then in Spring might do it again.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      We tried to sign up for BritBox but couldn’t, so maybe we’ll try Acorn TV. We love British shows, from mysteries to comedies, so this might be the way to go. $4.99 is a bargain.

      Like

  5. The One in Debt says:

    I really like This is Us. Dead Poet’s Society a classic. Just recently watched that too. Now I have started The Mindy Project. Also binge watching the Twilight series via YT.

    Crossing fingers!

    Wow they really don’t give you anytime to get that paperwork out. Stress major. Glad you will be prepared!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I loved The Mindy Project! Another good one to check out is Master of None, on Netflix, starring Aziz Ansari (from Parks & Recreation). It’s a funny but very sweet show. There were only two seasons – I was so sad when I finished watching.

      Thanks for the good wishes – we are as ready as we can be!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. tpol1 says:

    That’s a very cute picture! She is adorable.
    I am sending positive vibes across the oceans for YaYu. She obviously has put in so much work in this application.
    You and Brett must be very proud parents of all of your children. You guys are certainly excellent parents.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment! Brett and I are very proud of all of our kids. All of them are amazing to us. All we have ever expected of our children is that they do their best, and that they find something that makes them happy. We’ve tried not to push them but let them find their own paths. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve been very blessed.

      Thanks for the positive thoughts – they will help!

      Like

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