Sunday Afternoon 1/14/2018

There’s not a whole lot of places to shelter on Kaua’i, nor an easy way to get away in the case there ever is a missile attack. The warnings (maybe) give you enough time to say goodbye.

Well, yesterday morning was interesting! WenYu and I woke up to the cancellation notice for the ballistic missile attack that was erroneously sent out – for some reason neither of us received the actual alert of an incoming missile attack (“this is not a drill”) on our phones (and those alerts would wake the dead). And, Brett and YaYu were stuck in traffic on the way to her swim meet when they heard it – there had been a bad accident earlier in the morning which had backed up traffic both ways on the two-lane highway. They followed what was happening on the radio, although only one station was keeping up with the situation. Poor YaYu was completely traumatized – she honestly thought she was going to die. The warnings here though are really only good for giving you enough time to say good-bye to your loved ones and friends, if you can get to them. There are no shelters here, or any way to leave the island quickly. This was a MAJOR mistake though beyond all the panic created. Hopefully there will never be a real attack, but if there is, many people may be more complacent and figure it’s just another error. And Brett, who worked with “special buttons” during his military career thinks there’s a bit more to this than “just pushing the wrong button.” It’s not that easy to do, or at least shouldn’t be.

I made chocolate chip pancakes for WenYu on Friday evening. It’s been fun cooking for her again – she eats everything with no complaints.

It’s been a busy, busy week here but things are slowly beginning to return to their normal pace. WenYu’s friend left for the mainland on Wednesday morning, so it’s just the four of us now until the end of the month. Still, there have been lots of extra errands and running around, and there are more things coming up on the schedule this week as well. I’m not a fan of the busy life any more, and am looking forward to calmer days.

I had a bit of fun on Twitter this past week when one of my tweets briefly “went viral.” I mostly read Twitter to keep up with the news, or to post cute pug pictures to WenYu, and rarely tweet or comment, but when someone posted a tweet about Oprah running for president I threw off a line that rather than wanting her to run for president, I wanted her to buy Fox News instead. For some reason that caught people’s attention, and it took off. In a day I had over 700 likes on my rarely read feed, but a couple of people with a zillion followers retweeted it, and one of them got over 33,000 likes and 15,000+ retweets – crazy! A few more people followed me, but they’ll soon be disappointed and leave when all they start seeing from me again are the odd re-Tweet (without comment) and cute pictures of pugs.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished We Were Eight Years in Power on Friday, just in the nick of time before the library snatched it back. It was a very thought-provoking and enlightening book, one I’m going to be thinking about for a while, especially the chapter on the case for reparations to African-Americans. I started Personal Memoirs by Ulysses S. Grant this evening. Written when he was broke and dying of cancer of the throat, and published in 1885, Grant’s Memoirs are now considered to be one of the great works of American literature. Grant thought no one would be interested in his life, but the Memoirs were very popular and well received and their success guaranteed his family’s financial stability (he died five days after finishing the last edit). His writing is clear and insightful and an absolute pleasure to read.
  • Listening to: The girls are up and fixing breakfast while YaYu watches a video on YouTube, the washer and dryer and going, and a rooster is screaming his lungs out right outside. Oh well. It’s a beautiful day though, with not a cloud in the sky and a lovely breeze blowing so I can’t complain. We may head down to the beach after the laundry is done.
  • Watching: I still haven’t been watching anything! Brett has been watching The Republic of Doyle on Netflix, and he and the girls watched the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie last night, but I’ve been heading back to another room and reading instead. I saw that there is finally a new season of Doc Martin on British TV, but know it’s going to be a while before it shows up on Netflix (but worth waiting for). I’m eager too for another season of Happy Valley to show up.

    Matcha-chocolate chip cupcakes getting frosted with matcha buttercream. So tasty!
  • Cooking/baking: Tonight we’re having a beef and broccoli stir-fry along with steamed rice (we had our egg meal last Friday while YaYu was at her team spaghetti dinner). WenYu and I made matcha-chocolate chip cupcakes with matcha buttercream frosting last Thursday, and there’s a few of those still around. Coming up on our menu this week will be spaghetti with marinara and meatballs along with grilled zucchini and garlic bread (YaYu’s birthday dinner); grilled chicken-apple sausages served with rice pilaf; tofu curry with vegetables and basmati rice; potstickers with rice and coleslaw; and the sloppy joes which didn’t get made a couple of weeks earlier. I’ve been wanting to make an olive oil orange cake, but we got an cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream cake to celebrate YaYu’s birthday so no more baking this week.
  • Happy I accomplished last week: So many errands! As a one-car family, we spent an awful lot of time all week coordinating schedules so that everyone could be where they needed to be on time. Brett had his hearing aid fitting on Thursday, and they should be ready for pick-up tomorrow. He and I were able to take most of our walks (we missed a couple due to scheduling difficulties), I got in all of my daily water intake, and studied French every day.
  • Looking forward to next week: We’ll be doing our monthly Big Shop on Thursday – our refrigerator was packed full over the holidays but things are looking pretty sparse now and the girls have been asking when we’re going again. YaYu turns 18 this week! She got her present last year – a small TV that covered last year’s and this year’s gift – but we’ll celebrate with her favorite ice cream cake in the evening. Brett and I plan to go to Java Kai one day for a coffee date and use his Christmas gift card. I have my annual doctor’s appointment for a cholesterol check, etc. on Wednesday and will get set up for this year’s mammogram and other tests then. I hope he is pleased with my weight loss!

    Two necklaces ready for travel: my Hong Kong stone necklace was (finally) restrung, and the bead shop also made the turquoise necklace with my leftover silver earring from our Grand Canyon trip.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Our son got a big promotion this past week – so proud of him and all his hard work! He thought he might get promoted next year, so it was a nice surprise for him. Two necklaces I was having re-strung/made at a local bead shop were finally ready, and they did a beautiful job (and the work was very affordable). I went through the other bits of jewelry I still have and gave a few more pieces to the WenYu and YaYu (Meiling took some earrings back with her earlier), so the only things I’m keeping for now are my silver charm bracelet with charms I collected from all over the U.S., and a cameo brooch that my grandmother gave me – her brother brought it back from Italy after WWI, where he had served as an ambulance driver. I got all the clothing I’m planning to take on the Big Adventure sorted and weighed and came in nine pounds under our goal weight – yeah!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did last week: 1) By choosing the Kirkland brand of hearing aids, Brett saved over $1000 over the other brands they had available. The cost was over $1600 less than what we thought we would be paying for them. 2) We used our credit card to pay for the hearing aids and will receive a nice amount into our rewards account (we paid off the card the next day). 3) After a few weeks that included several restaurant meals, we ate all meals at home this past week, and used what we had on hand or what we picked up from our regular trip to the farmers’ market. 4) When we were at Costco for Brett’s hearing aid fitting, we made sure to fill up our gas tank – the price at Costco was $3.09 per gallon versus $3.55 out in town. 5) We put $17.14 into the change/$1 bill jar this week: $3.16 back from recycling, $2.00 left over from the farmers’ market trip, $2.22 from buying YaYu’s ice cream cake at Safeway, and $9.76 change from the cable bill.
  • Grateful for: I am so very grateful there was no actual ballistic missile attack.
  • Bonus question: What are your favorite genres when it come to reading? Your least favorite? My least favorite are easy: Science fiction (including dystopian stories), romance or self-help books on any topic, although I do admit to liking the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondō, as well as the follow-up, Spark Joy. My guess is that those two books aligned closely with my own feelings about tidiness and the accumulation of stuff, so they were fun to read. I’m not a big fan of “chic lit” either. Otherwise, I like all sorts of books, both fiction and non-fiction. I especially love a good, meaty mystery or thriller, ones that take a while to work through and put together. I enjoy fiction about families or family situations, the more complicated and somewhat dysfunctional the better (maybe because my own family was so dysfunctional?). And, I love travel books and books about history, both non-fiction and fiction, especially the periods of history or places I’m particularly interested in: The Civil War, World War II, East Asia (Japan, China and Korea), and India. But for the most part, other than the topics or genres listed above, I’ll read just about anything.

That’s it for this week! How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?


11 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 1/14/2018

  1. My all time favorite genre is Science Fiction and second to that is Westerns. Weird combination, I know. Up until 9th grade, my favorite was biographies.

    I agree with your husband, it’s difficult to push the wrong button. I don’t like anyone to lose their job but after reading comments on how the alert affected people I feel that this is a case where the employee should be terminated. Trauma like that is very difficult to put behind you.

    I joined weight watchers again and lost 3.8 lbs the first week but am not real happy with the program as I feel it is somewhat misleading. Like my doctor says ” If it tastes good, spit it out.”


    1. I have read some great mysteries that are in a Western setting – they’re a great combination. But I just have never warmed to Science Fiction, although I’ve tried.

      Congrats on your first week loss! I’m a WW lifetime member too, but one of the reasons I didn’t go back was because I’ve learned I just can’t eat everything any more. It worked in the past, but those days are over. Plus, I don’t want to spend any money, although that used to be a great motivator.

      I hope we find out what really went wrong with that alert. If nothing else it showed everyone in the U.S., not just here in Hawai’i, that we are NOT prepared for a missile/nuclear attack.


  2. I thought of you immediately when I heard that horrible false alarm story. I’m glad you missed it and feel awful for the trauma YaYu had to endure. I too think we haven’t heard “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey always said.

    My DD visited us this weekend and we saw “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, which was intense but really good, and “Mudbound”, which was well done but included a lynching scene. We both agreed we wouldn’t have watched it if we’d known. I just don’t like to watch that that level of racial violence. I know it happened, but it’s too heartbreaking to watch re-enacted. At least for me.

    I’m with you on science fiction and romance novels – no thanks. But I love a good novel, especially a complex family story. And yes, dysfunction often makes a good one. 🙂 I also love memoir done well. I used to enjoy a political book, but not lately. When walking through my library the other day, I saw “Fire and Fury” on the Express shelf (2 weeks, no renewals, big demand). It had JUST been put out and I grabbed it. But I started to read it and just can’t get into it. I think the news is depressing enough and I read chunks of it online. I don’t want to waste my reading time on more of it. It’s just too crazy and upsetting. Just finished “Anything is Possible” by Strout. I love her writing. Next up: The Refugees. The library time clock is ticking on that one.

    Happy 18th to YaYu! And here’s hoping Oprah buys Fox News. LOL.


    1. WenYu and I not getting the initial alert meant we internalized the day completely differently from Brett and YaYu. It was just a totally weird day. I hope we find out what really happened.

      I love a good novel. The longest one I’ve ever read is A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, but I love one I can really nestle down into and let it expand and grow as I read. I have no desire to read Fire and Fury. The reality is bad enough without filling in all the fine points.

      I sincerely would love it if Oprah would buy Fox News. It would make a profound difference.


  3. As soon as I heard about the missile notification, I thought of you and your family. How horrifying….both that there was a false alarm (thank God it was false) but also that it could be a real possibility with the brinkmanship that has gone on with North Korea and the advances they have made in creating nuclear weapons. A wake up call for the entire country – not just Hawaii.

    I love your story of the tweet….if not Fox News, then NBC as they gave Trump a platform!

    Historical fiction is my favorite, followed by good stories. I read as “escapism”. I also like reading travel and cookbooks. Science fiction and sappy stories are my least favorite. I’m a little less than neutral about mysteries.

    Hope all goes well with the MD appointment. Another thing to check off the prep list!

    Have a great week.


    1. Yes, thank goodness it was a false alarm. What I think about now is that our family was separated, in two pieces so to speak, and there was no way to say a meaningful goodbye to Brett and YaYu if it in fact had been a real attack. The brinksmanship that’s been going on is the whole reason people were so panicked here. And that fact that Trump wasn’t quickly at the microphone to reassure people.

      Oooh, I like cookbooks too. I call them “food porn.” I don’t buy cookbooks any more though – I check them out from the library and then make a copy of the recipes I want to try. Most are online anyway, and there are too many in the books I will never try that keep me from buying the books. Sorry chefs!

      Fingers are crossed that all goes well at the Dr. I feel great though, I’ve lost weight, so it should all be good. I’m anxious to see if my cholesterol is still down there – I take a statin every day, but haven’t had to up the dosage in nearly 10 years. Fingers crossed!


  4. Like other readers, thought of you & your family immediately, & how traumatizing it would be, even if only for a few minutes you thought it was real. Eternally grateful it was an error, but I also hope it doesn’t have follow on repercussions where people don’t follow warnings. When the Napa wildfires hit, I was really surprised to find out no emergency notifications/alerts of any kind went out. Which is how people died in their own homes, with no notice. The entire system seems to need a reboot, now that technology & cell phones/communication has changed so much.

    The cupcakes look delicious! I made lots of things this weekend, to try & get ready for the week ahead. We’re in a transitional phase with breakfasts & lunch (trying to get the boys to make/prep their own), so I’m trying to plan ahead to make the first few weeks easier. It’s a bit of a time investment, but worth it in the long run, I hope.

    I sold a few items on eBay, went for my first run of 2018 (I’ve had a bit of a mental block towards getting started again), & booked some travel for the first half of the year.

    Hope you have a calm & peaceful week ahead!


    1. People here were very upset and panicked. Lots of students didn’t show up for Saturday’s swim meet – even though it had been announced as a mistake, they were just too shaken. And who could blame them. YaYu is now saying she doesn’t want to go to UH if she’s not accepted elsewhere – she says it feels too scary now to stay in Hawai’i.

      I added 1 1/2 TBS of matcha powder to the cake batter, and then sprinkled the chocolate chips over the top before baking. I added the same amount of matcha to the frosting – both taste really good without the matcha flavor being overpowering. I will be doing it again – I need to use up the matcha before we leave, and this is as good a way as any. The girls and Brett really like them too.

      Congrats on getting solar! It really is the way to go now. So many houses have it here – I sure wish ours did. Did you get a battery to store any extra power you produce, or will you sell it back or ???


  5. Your tweet came across my Facebook feed. Love your blog and follow regularly. Tina from Washington and Nevada


    1. The reaction to that tweet really caught me off guard. I got a few more likes and retweets again today, so I’m guessing it was retweeted again by someone with a bigger following than I have (which is very, very, very low). I really do wish though that she would buy Fox News.


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