Sunday Afternoon 11/19/2017

Between preparing for the holidays and getting ready for the girls to come home, this month’s Big Shop was BIG (and exhausting)!

The doctor released me from my splint on Friday, which means I can sort of type normally again. I say ‘sort of’ because my broken finger is buddy-taped to the fourth finger, and the two together get in the way of typing cleanly. I still have to wear the splint from time to time because of pain, and when I go out, more as a warning to others to be careful around my hand and not bump it. The bruised rib is (slowly) healing as well and although it still hurts it’s nothing like it was at the beginning of last week. So, huzzah for getting better! I am an impatient sick person, and having to slow down as much as I have has been difficult at times. Brett has been magnificent, as always, in picking up the slack. Also, a BIG thank you again to all who sent get well greetings.

With the confirmation of our India tour dates, and the booking of the cross-continent train trip in Australia, the rest of the 2019 part of our Big Adventure is firming up, and we now know for sure where we’ll be when and for how long. This past week I also came across lovely Airbnb rentals in Tokyo and Portland that are not only in great locations for us, but come in well under budget, something that we had pretty much given up on for both places. It’s too early to book the rentals now, but we’ve been in communication with the owners and they are tentatively holding the dates for us, so we’ve got our fingers crossed those work out in the end.

YaYu got her first college acceptance, from the University of Hawaii! It’s not her first choice of schools, but she says she will be happy to go there if she doesn’t get accepted at any of her other preferred colleges.

Finally, it’s normally a rare occurrence here to see a Hawaiian monk seal sleeping on the beach – their numbers are dwindling, and they’re on the endangered list – but over the past two weeks Brett and I have seen four of them when we’ve been out for our evening walk! Unbelievable! Apparently for the seals, Baby Beach is THE beach to head to right now when a rest is needed.  When a seal is spotted on the beach a volunteer is called, and he or she comes and sets up a perimeter around the sleeping seal with cones and such, and hangs signs letting people know not to bother the seal. The volunteer (or volunteers, depending on how long the seal is there) stands watch to make sure the seal is not disturbed. The seals are greatly loved here, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to see four of them in such a short time frame. One of them was positively huge, and found his spot under one of the picnic tables that are along  the beach.

A Hawaiian monk seal pup naps on Baby Beach. If you look closely there are a couple of sticks in the background, stuck into the sand as part of a protective perimeter around the seal.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I have been dragging out finishing The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore because I am waiting for a couple of other books to come off of hold, but I’m going to have to pick it up because the download ends in three days. I have nothing else on deck so hopefully the other books will show up sooner rather than later.
  • Listening to: We enjoyed another cool (cold?), breezy morning here. Thankfully the sun is out today though because it poured rain all day yesterday. I’m listening to the washing machine and dryer inside on top of the sound of the winds through the trees outside. Otherwise it’s pretty quiet around here.
  • Watching: Brett and I re-watched Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts while I was on my healing break, but that finished and we’re all back to watching the Chinese soap opera with YaYu, Auntie Duohe. It’s so dramatic, with lots of crying (and lots of running too for some reason). I discovered the Big Family Cooking Showdown, sort of Great British Baking Show-like contest for Britain’s best home cooks, and watched that while I worked on Swagbucks at night. It was a fun show and I loved it (Nadiyah Hussein, who won the bake-off one season, is one of the hosts), and can’t wait for the next season.
  • Cooking/baking: I made more chocolate chip cookie dough last week (which was an interesting and somewhat challenging experience), so no baking going on right now. Dinner tonight is baked chili relleno casserole, cucumbers, and yellow rice for Brett and YaYu, .
  • Happy I accomplished: Brett and I did our Big Shop last week, and it was a particularly BIG one because of Thanksgiving and Meiling’s coming home before next month’s shop. We also finished up our Christmas shopping except for two gift cards, and got most of the wrapping done. It was not my accomplishment other than to be Reminder Mom, but YaYu sent her Early Decision application off this past week, so we’ve all got our fingers crossed once again. This college is a long shot, but it’s her #1 choice so she wanted to try for early decision and know one way or another whether it’s a yeah or nay. Brett and I walked every day down on the beach path except for Tuesday and yesterday because of rain. I moved up to Level 5 in French, et encore une fois, j’ai étudié le français pendent dix minutes et j’ai bu huit verres d’eau tous les jours.
  • Looking forward to: Thanksgiving! It’s my all-time favorite holiday because it’s all about family and food, with no pressure to decorate or find gifts. We’ve gone out to eat the past couple of years but will be staying at home this year, and I’ll be serving a traditional turkey dinner with help from Costco. We’ll watch The Descendants again, and take a family hike out to the Pineapple Dump to check out the view.

    Coffee for me, and a coconut brownie (and coffee) for Brett, and a jar of cranberry-orange relish at the Monkeypod Jam store.

  • Thinking of good things that happened: The discounts on the India tour, the Australian dollar price for train journey versus U.S. dollars, and finding affordable rentals in Tokyo and Portland were all absolutely the #1 good things to happen last week. If we get the rentals, the total for those four things will be a savings of over $3600 from what we had budgeted for that part of the trip. I had a clean skin check at the dermatologist’s – not one thing that looked troublesome or to watch out for. And, I was told I had beautiful skin for someone my age, especially for someone who experienced as much sun exposure as I did when I was young (I think I’m pretty wrinkled though). Our daughter-in-law sent lots of videos and photos of the grands over the last two weeks – we can’t get enough of those two! And, Brett and I had a lovely time down on the south side this past week, including coffee and a pastry at the Monkeypod Jam shop when we stopped in to pick up a jar of their scrumptious cranberry-orange relish for our Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Grateful for: I’m feeling very, very thankful that I am continuing to heal, and for all the support I’ve gotten at home these past couple of weeks. YaYu and Brett really stepped up, especially when on top of everything else going on they had to listen to me moan constantly for several days from the pain caused by the bruised rib.
  • Bonus question: What are your best and worst Thanksgiving memories? The worst was getting food poisoning one year when I was around 10 years old – my mom had cooked a stuffed turkey and then let it sit too long and I got food poisoning (the only one in the family too). It was miserable, and it was several years before I would eat turkey and stuffing again (my Thanksgiving meal for years was just mashed potatoes, no gravy, and vegetables). I have happy Thanksgiving memories otherwise – no arguments, rude guests, etc. – just good times with family and friends. My funniest memory is the first time our daughter-in-law came for Thanksgiving. She had never seen a whole turkey before (and our turkey that year was a big one), and when she came in the kitchen I was in the process of cleaning out the cavity and had my hand shoved up the turkey’s rear. M screamed and was absolutely terrified by the turkey. Since then she’s learned to cook one, but that was a true clash of cultures at the time. Both of us can thankfully laugh about it now..

That’s it for this past week or so at Chez Aloha. How was your week? What good things happened for you? Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving?

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17 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 11/19/2017

  1. Joy Franks says:

    Glad you’re typing again! I bought “Thanksgiving dinner in a box” from Foodland for the 3rd year in a row. It is so good, already cooked and ready to just heat and eat. Same price as previous years as well!

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    • Laura says:

      Someone else told me just the other day that they got the Foodland Thanksgiving dinner, and said it was good. There’s just no point in me cooking a big Thanksgiving meal when it’s just the three of us, but I still want leftovers so the things from will work perfectly.

      The hand is getting better – got new X-rays on Friday, and this time the break was very clear (the swelling was hiding it before). My finger is still bruised, but the swelling is gone now, thank goodness.

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      • Joy Franks says:

        It’s a 10-12 lb. turkey. Our’s have been over 11 pounds. We eat for a long time off of one of those!!! Big Save sells the Turkey Dinner too. It’s a Butterball and $59.99. Foodland is $49.99.

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  2. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    Congratulations to YaYu on her acceptance! She has worked so hard and put in so much effort, a school would be crazy not to accept her!

    We’re trying something different and going to a Thanksgiving buffet at one of the local casinos with my aunt and uncle. Easy peasy for everyone, with more time to spend together, and maybe play a little Black Jack!

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    • Laura says:

      Thanksgiving buffets are wonderful! I imagine the one at the casino will be amazing, with more food than you can imagine, and all of it good. Sounds like a very fun way to spend Thanksgiving, and hopefully you’ll win something!

      UH has strong programs in the areas YaYu is interested in pursuing (Asian Studies/Chinese/Education), but she would prefer to go to a smaller school. We’ll have to see what kind of financial aid is available from UH as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tamara / My Retirement Project says:

    I am so excited for Thanksgiving! Both daughters plus hubby’s/boyfriends, and granddaughters will be here for an entire week. Weather is looking to be a gorgeous 75-82 degrees during their visit, so both pool and beach time are happening for sure, along with kayaking.

    For our holiday dinner I do everything but the biscuits from scratch, and I really do enjoy it. I don’t have any dish duties, however, which I very much appreciate.

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    • Laura says:

      If I had my whole family coming for Thanksgiving I would so be cooking the whole meal, heat or not! But it’s a lot of work for just the three of us, so Costco to the rescue. I’m planning on doing a big meal for our Christmas dinner as all the girls will be here.

      Have fun with your family! It sounds like the perfect week, weather-wise, and there’s so much there for you all to do (as well as enjoy each other’s company at home). Wishing you a wonderful time together!

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  4. Hawaii Planner says:

    So looking forward to a more relaxing week than usual (assuming work cooperates). We finished off regular season soccer this weekend, although Nick’s team is still in it for State Cup. One more weekend of that, & we should be wrapped until spring.

    I made rolls today, and am getting ready to make some white bean chili. I also found a turkey breast for Thursday. I’ve never made turkey before, so looking forward to trying it out. 🙂 We are watching the same British family cooks show! The boys love it. Before that, they were watching Zumbo’s Australian baking challenge, or something. It was really fun, if you enjoy baking.

    I’m reading “In Twenty Years”, which is nice.

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    • Laura says:

      Although we like soccer, one of the reasons our girls never played was because the seasons are so long and intense, and with three girls there would have been a real chance of each of them playing at a different field in a different place in town, and there were only two of us (with one car) so it would have been a scheduling nightmare (including practices). With two it would have been manageable. Good luck to Nick and his team for the State Cup!

      We buy the Kirkland already-roasted turkey breast – it’s a good deal and we’ll get at least 4-5 meals out of it. We’ve had their mashed potatoes and gravy before, but the stuffing is new this year (cornbread stuffing with cranberries and Italian sausage). It sounds good, but we won’t know until Thursday.

      I tried to watch Zumbo’s Just Desserts, but it was too frenetic for me – too much color, etc. I like to bake but gave up from exhaustion after watching for only a few minutes. There’s a new season of Top Chef available on Hulu now, so I started watching that instead.

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  5. Vivian says:

    Congratulations to YaYu.
    I remember when my Aunt made the turkey for the first time. She didn’t know the neck and giblets were inside so she left them in. Last year when I cooked my first turkey I very carefully searched and searched and searched. Nothing! They had left them out. Hard to make giblet gravy without the giblets. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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    • Laura says:

      I love giblet gravy – my mom used to make it for our Thanksgiving dinners. The last few times I bought a turkey, I don’t remember getting the giblets. Maybe I did, but I don’t remember – I never used them because the girls didn’t like them.

      We used to get free-range turkeys from a local store – we had to order them in advance. We didn’t realize how good they were until we bought a “regular” turkey one year – it paled in comparison to the free-range one. They sell organic, free-range ones here but they cost a small fortune!

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  6. tpol1 says:

    I am glad you are recovering well. Also, a big congrats to YaYu for her first acceptance. I know many more will come her way.
    Thanksgiving is my favorite US Holiday. In this part of the world, we certainly do not celebrate it but I like to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for the New Year. That is the only time I can get a full bird in this country. Other times I can only get parts. Even if I am alone, I cook a whole turkey because I like the ceremony of it. Lol! I make stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and buy cranberry sauce. Last year I also made a cherry pie from scratch with frozen cherries.

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    • Laura says:

      I think YaYu feels relief more than anything, that she will have someplace to go to college. She is applying to eight other smaller, liberal arts colleges – she would prefer to attend a smaller school – but will be OK with UH if nothing else works out.

      Your issues with finding a turkey mirror what our son and daughter-in-law go through in Japan. There is a market near to where they used to live that carried turkeys, but they were very, very expensive. My D-I-L would buy a turkey thigh or some other part though, and made mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. – not her usual repertoire. Then they found a buffet that served turkey – so rare in Japan – but our son said they closed this year so they weren’t sure what they were going to do this year. I always try to roast a turkey when they come to visit, no matter the time of year.

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  7. Laurel says:

    So glad your hand is getting better. And congrats to YaYu! I’m betting she’ll have multiple options as time goes on.

    My brother does Thanksgiving and all I have to do is show up with two pies. Easy peasy. More food than anyone could eat. But I do miss the leftovers. Sometimes we get turkey to take home…depends on how big the turkey is and how many people show up. This year it’s 14 so not sure. Sometimes I cook a small turkey over the weekend, but I’m not planning on it this year. I do make an extra pie, though, because they make great breakfast food. Ha!

    The story of your DIL and her first turkey is hilarious. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    • Laura says:

      We’re hoping YaYu has multiple options for school – she has worked so hard, and done well. But these days it’s anyone’s guess why students get accepted or rejected by a school. She’ll have her first answer on December 15, when the early decision admissions are announced. This is her first choice school, and she realizes it will be a long shot, but wanted to try. I’m hoping that if she’s not accepted she’s at least deferred to the regular admission cycle versus being outright rejected.

      Leftover Thanksgiving pie was always one of my favorite breakfasts! We don’t eat it any more, but it will be missed. If you’re wanting turkey, the Kirkland roasted turkey breast is excellent, and just enough for a couple of people (we usually end up freezing some of it).

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