Sunday Afternoon 1/28/2018

The view WenYu and I contemplated on her last day – it’s not always sunny, but always beautiful!

We are three again here at Casa Aloha and the house almost feels too empty. Brett and I had gotten used to having WenYu around and we’re already missing her like crazy.

She left early Friday morning to head back to school but not without us having to purchase a last-minute ticket to get her back to Boston from Honolulu. We had booked the original ticket on Hotwire last fall, but somewhere along the line the return flight schedule back to the mainland got changed and Hotwire apparently set up a whole new itinerary but never sent it to either WenYu or me. All we had was the original one. Hotwire claimed that they tried to call us but couldn’t reach us, but when I asked the number they had wasn’t WenYu’s or mine. ???? They also couldn’t explain why they didn’t email the new itinerary. Really, really AWFUL service all around – I have nothing good to say about them AT ALL. Anyway, the new itinerary they had set up had WenYu departing Honolulu at 10:50 p.m. on a different airline which would have had her waiting in the Honolulu airport for nearly 14 hours, then flying into Los Angeles and arriving (if on time) just 30 minutes before the connecting flight to Boston departed. Nope. I tried but couldn’t get the schedule changed with Hotwire, gave up and went to Expedia where I found her a new flight on Hawaiian that got her into Boston via New York just a couple of hours later than her original itinerary for an amazingly reasonable price (she split the cost of the new ticket with us).

It was especially hard to say goodbye to her this time because it might be nearly a year before we see her again. The day before WenYu left, she went along with Brett and I on our walk, and she and I stood for a while looking out at the ocean. We both got weepy thinking this might be her last time on Kaua’i (like us, she loves it here). She said she was thinking maybe she should come back next summer to work, and help us move, but then again it would be a good thing if she can get an internship back in Boston in the summer, and also neither she nor her boyfriend want to be apart for the whole summer. Decisions, decisions, decisions. I know that everything will fall into place in a couple of months, but told her that for now all she should think of was how great it has been that she got to live here, even if only for a few years, and what a positive difference it made in her life.

Seniors are bedecked with gifts from their teammates at the end of the season! The goofy inner tubes and floaties were signed by the whole team and coaches.

Lots of “lasts” are happening now too, and I know they’ll be coming up again and again in the coming months. For example, I’ve been making garlic bread for the girls’ cross country and swim teams’ Friday spaghetti dinners for the past four years. It was always a something of a chore, and yet I felt sad it was over when I finished up for the last time on Friday. YaYu swam in her final meet on Saturday, and I cried all the way through her last race. I so enjoyed getting to watch both of the girls swim here. So many BIG changes will be happening for us this year, and it’s bittersweet remembering all the wonderful experiences we’ve had, and the things we’ve done here, both big and small, over the past four years.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m still reading Grant’s Memoirs. I’m positive I’m not going to be able to finish it before my check-out time expires so have decided to purchase a copy from Amazon for my Kindle if I have to . . . for just 99¢.
  • Listening to: Although it’s not raining now, it was earlier and I can still hear the rain dripping off the roof. The roosters are just getting going again – I can hear them across the way. It’s quiet otherwise – YaYu is at a volunteer function, Brett is reading and we haven’t gotten the laundry started yet. It’s so different from how it’s been the past few weeks – I’m enjoying the quiet but it’s almost a little too quiet.
  • Watching: Still nothing. I’m thinking though about signing up for the free trial week of HBO Now so I can watch Big Little Lies.
  • Cooking/baking: We’re back to having eggs for dinner on Sunday evenings, and tonight we’re having baked chili rellenos, along with yellow rice, and cucumbers. No baking today – we have lots of other cookies and snacks still available right now. On the menu this week will be grilled skirt steak and broccoli salad, slow cooker chicken adobo with bok choy, grilled Polish sausages with mixed roasted vegetables (bumped from last week), hamburger sliders and coleslaw, and tofu and broccoli stir-fry with spicy peanut sauce.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: We had a much quieter week than the one before, but I had to go get my annual blood work taken care of, and schedule a mammogram and bone density test for next month. I got my hair cut last Monday and am so happy to have short hair again! Brett and I were invited by one of the colleges where YaYu applied to write her a recommendation (!!!) and I got that done and sent off. We bought WenYu a big plastic tub with a lid to store the things she wants to hold on to, so she went through all her clothes and stuff here and pared down all her possessions and tossed or donated the rest. We got in almost all our walks, although rain got in the way a couple of days, I studied French six out of seven days, and drank my water allotment every day.
  • Looking forward to next week: We have no appointments or errands to run this week, and swim practices and meets are over for the season. I’m hoping to get some more reading done, and once again fingers are crossed the weather cooperates so we can get to the beach. It has been too long!

    Love this photo of our son with the grandkids!

  • Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu finished her swim season with two strong races, and beat her own personal record in both by several seconds. Now it’s on to track season, which begins tomorrow. My daughter-in-law sent a whole bunch of photos this past week, including ones taken after the big snow they got in Tokyo. We felt very lucky to find that last-minute flight that worked for WenYu and was affordable. It will also provide a whole lot of Hawaiian miles!
  • Thinking about frugal things we did this week: Having to buy a new plane ticket for YaYu was not frugal, but : 1) Other than getting coffee and snacks when we were up in Kilauea (a planned outing), we ate all meals at home and used up all the leftovers; 2) We saved gas by combining errands each time we went out; 3) We downloaded software to make our own wills because our estates are not complicated. The software was $69.99 while a lawyer here would have charged in the area of $150-$200 each, and I paid for the software with Amazon credit so nothing was spent out of pocket; 4) Our landlord reduced our rent next month by $250 to cover taxes and the extra we paid on the water bill. The difference will cover our half of WenYu’s ticket; 5) We put $6.81 into the change/$1 bill jar this week: $2.00 back from our Java Kai coffee date (which I forgot to put in last week), $4.61 from Safeway, and I found 20¢ on the ground. I spent our entire weekly budget amount at the farmers’ market this week so nothing back from that weekly errand (and I could have spent a lot more – so many beautiful fruits and vegetables were available this week)!
  • Reporting gains and losses: I didn’t lose any weight this month, but didn’t gain any either, so yeah! I am changing shape though. Two months ago I couldn’t fit into my white linen pants or the sage green cotton pants I’m taking along when we travel, but they fit perfectly now. We put $6067.96 into our travel savings this month. Total saved so far is $15,317.96.
  • Grateful for: On Thursday evening YaYu brought up how sad she felt that our family is splitting apart, with her and her sisters all going to different colleges and from there to jobs and lives in different places with their own families. She felt sad because it’s only going to grow more and more difficult for us to get together each year whether that’s over the summer or during the holidays. We’ve been a very tight-knit group, but Brett and I have always known that our children were ours only for a short time, and that it’s been our job to raise them to go out on their own and soar, to be able to function and succeed on their own. I think we’ve done a pretty good job. I am so thankful for all the times we’ve had together, with our son and with the girls. We have the best children, and we couldn’t be more blessed.

    Those were the days: Evans Seafood

  • Bonus question: Can you name one place you loved to go in the past that no longer exists but where you’d love to go again? Well, there are a few places, but number one on my list would be Evans Seafood on St. George’s Island in Piney Point, Maryland, just south of the Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center. Evans was a casual place that sat on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, with absolutely gorgeous views of the bay, and served amazing local seafood. We went several times a year because whenever one of the chief petty officers was transferring from Brett’s squadron at Pax River all the chiefs and their wives would take over the banquet room at Evans for an all-you-can-eat “farewell and fair seas” seafood feast. The tables would be placed in a horseshoe and covered with brown paper, and out would come buckets of peel-and-eat shrimp (note: I am a virtual bottomless pit when it comes to shrimp. Any restaurant offering all-you-can-eat shrimp will never know what hit them if I show up). The shrimp was followed by fried fish, oysters, mussels, soft-shelled crab and/or steamed blue crab if in season as well as hush puppies with honey, corn and cole slaw – all of it “all you can eat.” It was very casual, but so, so much fun and the seafood was SO GOOD. Evans was sold a few years after we left Patuxent River and turned into a more high-end restaurant, but that closed after a couple of years. If I found out the original Bugsy Evans joint was back in business both Brett and I would seriously consider buying plane tickets to the east coast just to eat there again.

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

4 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 1/28/2018

  1. Vivian says:

    Absolutely love the picture of YaYu, for some reason it just seams to embody all things Hawaiian. Love the one of your grandkids too, your grandson is just growing by leaps and bounds.
    I miss old Florida, when there wasn’t so much traffic and concrete. A time when the rain fell at the same time almost every day and the sun came out and dried everything off. I miss the family get-togethers of my youth when we spent all day talking, eating and taking long walks. The Root of Good blog had a guest blogger, a Taiwanese Canadian married to a lady from Denmark who spoke of Hyyge which is roughly– slowing down to enjoy life and appreciate the people around you. I think that was the embodiment of old Florida. I wish I could recapture those times.


    • Laura says:

      The swim team really went all out this year for the seniors. We were especially surprised that someone got them each a haku (the head wreath) – no matter what they’re made of those things are expensive! I think she got nine floral lei and a couple of candy ones as well. Their team took second place this year, but put in a terrific effort and we are so proud of YaYu for sticking with it over the past four years.

      I actually remember some of “old Florida” – my first visit was in the 70s and it was a much slower place then. Now it just seems crazy and too crowded. Living here we’ve definitely experienced a slower lifestyle, and I think it will forever influence how we live no matter where we end up.


  2. JJ says:

    I’ve never heard of a college asking parents to write a recommendation. That’s a neat idea!

    I remember last year when my nephew had his last track meet, I thought I was going to cry. I didn’t, but it was tough and definitely bittersweet. After so many years watching kids participate in various activities and putting so much time and effort into them, it’s just weird when it’s all over and there are no more activities to go to. Does YaYu think she’ll be going to college near WenYu or is it too soon to say? It seems to me you’ve raised four very independent kids and that’s something to be proud of for sure! I don’t think I could have gone as far away as WenYu is for college when I was her age, so I think it’s impressive.


    • Laura says:

      We were surprised by the invitation to write a recommendation, but the school reminded us that we also have much at stake in the process and invited our input. It sounds like it would be easy but it wasn’t – we didn’t want to “gush” but also wanted to present YaYu in a positive way and highlight the strengths that we saw every day. And now the wait continues.

      Her final race was inspiring and sad to watch. Swim is the only sport I attended. I tried going to cross country meets, but would see her run past for maybe five seconds and come in at the finish, but otherwise is was a LOT of standing around. Brett is the “track dad” – the meets are five to six hours long, which is just too long for me. I provide meals and snacks, and then wait for the results.

      We’ve encouraged all our kids to also look at schools closer to home, but yes they’re all very independent and have all chosen schools further away for the academic programs. With social media we’re able to communicate frequently, and the worst part has turned out to be the expense of bringing them home for the holidays or breaks. We’re excited to see what they end up doing, and where they end up living. Our son’s career is certainly never what we imagined, but he is very successful, and has made a wonderful life for himself in Japan. We can only wish the same for the girls.


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