Sunday Afternoon 1/7/2018

What’s left of a winter fruit still life after the girls got into it: a breadfruit, a papaya, a few longan (they’re similar to lychee) and some rambutan.

OK, I had to write the date twice because I initially typed in 2017 and it took me a couple of glances (“something doesn’t look right”) to catch it.

It’s been a somewhat crazy, busy week here. We got Meiling off OK last Sunday evening, although we weren’t sure for a while if that was going to happen or not. Earlier in the day she was feeling a little unsure about how close together her arrival in Honolulu from here was to her flight leaving for the mainland because that flight would already have started boarding when her flight from Lihue landed. So, we paid a $50 change fee and got her on the next earlier flight departing Kaua’i. However, when we arrived at the airport an hour before her flight the line from security came out of the building and snaked all the way down the sidewalk past the end of the terminal! In all the years we’ve lived here, all the flights we’ve taken or met, we’d never seen anything like it – it looked like every visitor to the island was leaving that evening! Meiling ended up stuck in the security line and missed her flight, but Hawaiian put her on the next flight (the one she was originally supposed to take). The flight attendants put her at the front of the plane and let her off first so she could catch her next flight, which she thankfully did. Meiling is appealing for a refund of the change fee since she ended up on her originally scheduled flight, but we’re thinking it’s most likely $50 down the tubes.

We had lunch at Duane’s Ono Charburger on Tuesday. Brett and I shared a “Local Boy,” a teriyaki-cheeseburger combo. It was divine.

We’ve also been busy this past week entertaining WenYu’s long-time friend. She’s an easy and helpful guest, but we’ve been taking her and WenYu around the island while at the same time trying to fit in errands, appointments, YaYu’s swim meet yesterday, etc. The holidays have been wonderful, but both Brett and I are ready for things to return to a somewhat normal pace again.

YaYu sets off on her 500m freestyle race (20 laps). It’s the only one where she doesn’t care about her time; she just wants to get it done.

YaYu heads back to school tomorrow for her final term of high school. I seriously can almost not believe this will be the end, but we know the term is going to be a busy one and hopefully it will pass quickly. YaYu got another slew of college applications off on Monday (January 1 deadline), and now has just three more to go (due January 15) before the Big Wait officially begins. She’s been quite sick with a cold this past week on top of everything else, but after two days home from swim practice she was back at it and seems to be doing OK.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m about a third of the way through We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy and finding it not only a good read, but extremely thought provoking.
  • Listening to: It’s cool and a bit overcast today, and for the most part it’s been very quiet (yeah!). The girls have all been sleeping in, but that’s about to change shortly, and I’m going to start the laundry as well. I have no idea what the girls have planned for the day, but I’m looking forward to a quiet day here at home (both figuratively and actually).
  • Watching: I haven’t been watching anything at all! I’ve been so caught up in reading that I haven’t bothered to look for something new to watch. I am giving myself a self-imposed break from Swagbucks for the month, so have not been staying up to do that resulting in no late-night TV for me.
  • Cooking/baking: I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning, and served those with breakfast sausage that Brett did out on the grill (I had sausages and a cup of blueberries). I’ve got a balsamic pork roast going in the slow cooker right now (and it smells divine) – we’ll have it with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. I’m baking e a pan of brownies with pecans for Brett and the girls this afternoon. Coming up on the menu this week will be mabo dofu with rice, spicy steak pizzaiola, sloppy joes, grilled teriyaki chicken and zaru soba, and maybe (hopefully?) pizza.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: With Brett’s help I got all the Christmas decorations down and put away, and was able to fit all of the decor we are keeping and will store into one box. I boxed up and mailed off the wooden Advent tree to our grandchildren, and still cannot get over the cost of sending something so light to Japan from here. My new frames arrived on Thursday, and I dropped them off with the prescription at Costco on Friday. They’ll be ready in a week or so and then I will be ready to get my hair cut! I drank at least eight glasses of water every day, walked three miles every day with Brett down on the beach path except for Friday, studied French for 10 minutes every day, and colored in my coloring book every day except last Thursday (when we were out and about most of the day down on the south shore).
  • Looking forward to next week: I am frankly looking forward to a little more peace and quiet and a calmer schedule as our household returns to its normal composition and schedule. I’m hoping Brett and I (and WenYu) can get to the beach at least one day – it’s been too long.

    We enjoyed beautiful weather and scenery on the south shore when we visited. This view is looking west from Spouting Horn in Poipu.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Meiling making her flight and getting back to the mainland on time was a very good thing. We were very worried that she was going to end up stuck overnight in the Honolulu terminal, and would miss a doctor’s appointment she had scheduled in Portland before heading back to Eugene, but it all worked out. We had a terrific time down on the south shore in Koloa and Poipu on Thursday, and did a little shopping as well as have lunch at an affordable burrito place we have been wanting to try – it was delicious! YaYu had a good swim meet yesterday, and got her long race (500m) out of the way. We also tried breadfruit for the first time and liked it, and got to try egg fruit for the first time too.

    While the girls poked around old Koloa Town, Brett and I went to Aloha Roastery: an espresso for Brett and a matcha latte for me. We’ll definitely be visiting here again.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: In hindsight it was not the most frugal of weeks. We had two lunches out with the girls (burgers at the Ono Charburger, burritos at Da Crack followed by ice cream at Lappert’s) – not expensive places but when you’re paying for five it adds up. Otherwise we ate all our meals at home, and Brett and the girls did a great job of eating the leftovers. I’ve wanted something from Blue Ginger since we’ve lived here but have bided my time, and on Thursday I found a top I loved on the sale rack, saving $14 off the regular price – it will be great to take on the Big Adventure, and a wonderful memory of Kaua’i. December was a very lucrative month with Swagbucks, and I earned 1178 in bonus Swagbucks for the month, giving me enough to redeem for $150 in Southwest Airlines gift cards. We put $12.61 into the change/$1 bill jar: $8.86 from Safeway, $2.30 change back from the post office, $1.25 left over from the farmers’ market, and 20¢ we found on the ground.

    And look what popped up yesterday when I did a quick search . . .
  • Grateful for: I’ve been unable to come up with any particular thing I’m thankful for this week. I live a blessed life, and am truly “lucky I live Hawai’i!” I and my whole family are healthy. We live in a nice house, have reliable utilities and hot and cold fresh water on demand. I have everything I need and a few extras as well. Best of all, I am loved and I have many to love back. I am so very thankful for it all.
  • Bonus question: What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done? I don’t remember if I have written about it before (and apologies in advance if I have), but when I was a recruit in navy boot camp one day we had to put out a fire in a burning building (actually a 10′ x 10′ room with 10′ ceiling and no windows). The fire was “controlled” but still very real and dangerous. Our company was divided into teams of four, and by luck of the draw I ended up as the lead in my team, which meant I had to enter the building first carrying the nozzle of the fire hose (which was VERY HEAVY and difficult to control with the water shooting out of it). Two other fellow recruits were behind me to carry the heavy hose, and the fourth woman on our team walked behind my right shoulder carrying a long, thin nozzle that sprayed water over my head while I worked the main nozzle. Before the exercise began I was terrified, but when our team was called up and told to “put it out,” I went through the door and was all business. I first knocked the fire down from the ceiling and at the top of the walls. Then the command was given to “lower the hose” followed by “sweep!” where I moved the nozzle back and forth sideways on the lower walls and floor until the fire was completely out. Our team was given high marks for our work, but what was most remarkable to me was realizing that once again I was not the flighty lightweight my family thought I was, but someone who could concentrate and not panic when called upon to do something difficult and dangerous. By the way, after the firefighting drills were over our company went to lunch, then marched back to get tear gassed in the afternoon. Good times.

That’s all for this afternoon. How was your first week of the new year? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?

And, I hope (if you haven’t already) that you’ll follow The Occasional Nomads on Instagram!



11 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 1/7/2018

  1. I like reading your posts….they are so productive and organized. ‘Motivates me!

    We still have our tree up, I can’t bare to take it down yet. Massachusetts has been so cold! And I secretly love it, seriously I can’t remember cold like this….for this long. My daughter had Thursday and Friday off from school and I stayed home from work Thursday due to snow. So we’ve been staying in being lazy. And your commitment to no/low carbs is amazing. I feel like I can do it then I keep giving in and I know it will be good for me. Keep trying I guess.
    Glad the airport stuff ended up ok for your daughter tho sounds like quite a worry headache for a parent. Happy New Year!
    Anon in mass


    1. Your first sentence perked me up because I have been feeling anything but organized the past few days. It feels like I’m keeping just one step ahead from disaster.

      I have carbs now and again, but I measure them and don’t overdo it. I have a small amount of dark chocolate every day, and tonight for dinner I had 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes – I knew I’d do something foolish if I didn’t let myself have a couple of bites. If I tried to give them up 100% I’d backslide so fast your head would spin! A big motivation for me as well is that if I eat too many carbs my GERD starts back up, which is miserable.

      I hope WenYu’s flight back to the mainland go much better than Meiling’s did.


  2. You’re not alone in adjusting to a new year! I finally feel like I’m getting it together today, having exercised, meditated and journaled. And went back to eating semi-normally. The holiday food fest wasn’t good for the scale. Ack. Our holidays were fun but hectic, and I know just what you mean about getting things back to normal. Our tree is still up, but it’s so cold and dark in January, that I always negotiate for a few more days and so far DH has agreed. I think he’s just avoiding the work of taking it all down, which TBH I am, too. 🙂

    My DD that lives in the UK bought a ticket to visit this summer for a month! I’m so excited. She spent time with us in Rome, but it will be great to have her in the US. And I know she’s looking forward to it, too.

    It’s trite, but I think the most dangerous thing I ever did was ride on the back of a motorcycle going 110+ mph. The driver was an old boyfriend and he was trying to impress me before we were actually dating, I think. He succeeded in scaring me to death, but I still almost married him. LOL.


    1. I have always liked to have our tree down by the January 1 – I like to the start the new year with a clean house and everything ready to go. I started when we lived in Japan – the custom there is to clean house thoroughly, pay all bill, get rid of things you don’t use, etc. so you can start the year with a clean slate (literally).

      How exciting that your daughter will be coming for a visit. I know exactly how you feel – I would be over the moon if our son said they were coming for a visit!

      I had a boyfriend who did dangerous things. I did marry him, but it didn’t last long, thank goodness. I am lucky to be alive (seriously).


  3. We have had freezing weather. Down to the 20’s and 30’s at night. It even snowed in Tallahassee. I like a little bit of cool weather but not frigid. When the Greek boys dove for the cross in Tarpon Springs it was in the 30’s and everyone one was in bathing trunks and t shirts. Brrr!
    I joined weight watchers again (I am a lifetime member). I have the same reaction every time, deprived and depressed. I paid for 3 months up front so I don’t give up.

    I don’t usually do anything dangerous but when I was taking flying lessons you are required to put the plane into a stall and recover. I was doing little leaf stalls till my instructor took over and put the plane into a full stall and I had to recover. I understand why it is required but way too scary for me.


    1. You’re in Florida! Actually, we have experienced freezing weather more than a few times in Florida – once a DisneyWorld it dipped below freezing and killed all sorts of plants, and we had to buy hats and gloves and sweatshirts that we hadn’t planned on. And it snowed a couple of time when I was stationed at Pensacola. The only place that stayed warm all the time was Key West.

      I am a lifetime WW member as well. They were the one program that worked, but these days I’m too cheap to go back. No-to-low carbs (plus exercise) is working for me now.

      There is NO WAY I would fly a plane. Beyond too scary for me (especially coming out of a stall) – hats off to you for taking lessons!


    1. The biggest advantage I have here is the time difference – I can work on them late at night while I watch TV, and before I go to bed and earn A LOT (like several hundred), and then add things now and again during the day. December had lots of ways to earn big SB though. I couldn’t believe I got 100 for a search – I thought I was seeing things at first. I’m taking a break though this month – just doing the occasional search but nothing else.


  4. When you make brownies, do you make them from scratch or out of a box mix? I’m trying to find a “from scratch” recipe that turns out great, but I haven’t found one yet. It seems like brownies are on your baking list pretty regularly, so I thought you might have a good recipe.


    1. I make brownies using the Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate brownie mix I get from Costco and add nuts or other things from time to time – they are easy to make and taste as good or better than any I’ve ever made from scratch. YaYu doesn’t eat many sweets, but she does like brownies. Brett does too. I like them but can stay away.


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