And it’s February! Less than seven months until we leave on the Big Adventure! Right now we’re in a sort-of holding pattern as far as trip planning, and are waiting now to hear where and when YaYu will be going to school. Once we know that, near the end of March, things will begin to move very quickly again as far as reservations, etc. In the meantime we’re working on downsizing and try to do something every day toward that end, no matter how small, so that we’re not overwhelmed as we get closer to our departure.
Brett and I also continue to work on getting ourselves in the best shape possible for travel. We’re being careful about what we eat, and walking every day unless it’s raining. When we started out with our afternoon walks we sort of strolled along the path, but these days we’re doing more of a power walk, and I’ve started carrying weights to build up the strength in my arms. The bursitis in my hips has disappeared completely. Brett’s also back to running again most mornings. I’m happy where I am weight-wise, but if I can lose a few more pounds so much the better.
This past Wednesday, someone I know here said a big storm must be coming to the islands because his arthritis was acting up something fierce. My first thought was, “we’ll see” but late Thursday afternoon the storm arrived. Brett and I got caught out on our walk and got soaked, and heavy rain continued all night (along with thunder and lightning, which is rare here) and into Friday when the rain became even heavier. Thankfully it stopped for a while yesterday morning when YaYu volunteered at a community car wash fundraiser, and they got lots of customers. Brett and I went out for our walk yesterday afternoon, but the air was so thick with humidity you could have sliced it with a knife, and it started raining again during the last couple of minutes before we got to the car. It rained heavily all. night. long. last night, but it’s stopped again for now. We have no idea whether we’ll be able to get out for a walk this afternoon, but we’re not planning to hang out the laundry today – we’ll be using the dryer.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I’m still reading General Grant, and continuing to make progress. Again, it’s all interesting but so very, very detailed that it takes time to get through. I’m now into Volume Two and getting near the end of the Civil War, but I still think I have at least another week or so to go. I have two great books on deck though once I finish the Memoirs.
- Listening to: I can still hear the drip, drip, drip of the last bit of rain coming off the roof, but there are lots of birds singing, and the chickens and roosters are making noise again so maybe that was the last of it (it’s still very overcast though). Inside it’s quiet, although we haven’t gotten the laundry started yet. It’s nice and cool outside though, and there’s a slight breeze blowing, so I’m happy.
- Watching: We signed up for a free month of HBO Now last week (using YaYu’s Roku stick), and Brett and I watched all of Big Little Lies this past week – it was excellent! We’re now getting into True Detective, with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConnaughey, and it’s also very, very good.
- Cooking/baking: I found a package of breakfast sausage in the freezer (I thought we had eaten all of it when WenYu and Meiling were home) so we’re having scrambled eggs, sausages, and fruit for dinner tonight, and Brett and YaYu will also have biscuits. I made a pan of brownies with pecans yesterday for YaYu and Brett so no baking today. On the menu this week will be panzanella (bread salad) with beans, chili pork burritos, kalua pork served with rice and cucumber salad, zoodles with pesto (a request from YaYu!), and mabo nasu with steamed rice (and leftovers one night).
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I had a nice, lazy relaxing week and didn’t accomplish anything special, although we did clean out the small bookcase that sat at the end of our hallway, and are keeping less than 10 books, all of them about Japan. Brett and I walked every day except Friday, I drank lots and lots of water, and studied French six out of seven days. I moved up to Level 6 with Memrise, but for now I’m working in my phrase book, putting together what I’ve learned from Memrise with things I’ll need to know how to say or ask when we’re in France.
- Looking forward to next week: We have nothing on the calendar for next week. Maybe we will FINALLY get to the beach (we didn’t go this week because the weather wouldn’t cooperate).
- Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I have had two packs of playing cards on our provisions list for the Big Adventure, but YaYu gave us a lovely twin pack of cards that Brett’s sister had given her a few years ago, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The designs are of antique Japanese lacquer. I have been enjoying the cauliflower rice we found last month at Costco, and feel like I’m finally getting a “full meal” these days.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) Although I didn’t spend much time on Swagbucks last month, I will earn a few bonus Swagbucks (less than 100 though); 2) Brett used one of his many gift cards to get a pound of decaf coffee at Starbucks. For some reason decaf is very hard to find in stores on the island (we drink a 50-50 blend); 3) I did a big clean-out in the fridge, freezer and pantry last Thursday and made a wonderful chicken, vegetable and noodle soup for dinner one evening with the odds and ends I found; 4) I found a container with a small amount of loose-leaf lychee tea in the back of the pantry that I didn’t know we had, and made a pitcher of delicious and refreshing iced tea; 5) We put $9.80 into the change/$1 bill jar: $6 from the farmers’ market, $2.40 change from the water bill, $1.38 from Safeway, and I found 2¢ on the ground (yes, I stop and pick up pennies).
- Grateful for: It’s sometimes hard to feel grateful for rain, especially when it’s coming down as fierce as it can here and we’re stuck inside (or outside nowhere near our car), but Kaua’i is beautiful and green because of it, the farms lush and productive, and there’s an abundance of fresh water for drinking and other needs.
- Bonus question: If you were given the power to change just one of your physical characteristics, which would you choose? When I was younger I always wanted to be naturally thin, to not have to work at it and be able to eat what I wanted. I wanted a thin, athletic body that could run effortlessly. All those magazine ads, etc. that glamorized thin and equated it with beauty had a profound effect on me, and family members also teased me for being less than svelte (when in reality I was not even slightly overweight). These days though I’m happy with the body I was given. It’s not perfect, but I’m healthy and I can’t ask for more. I were to change anything now I think I’d rather have a beautiful singing voice – I would enjoy it more, and could do more with it for others and not just myself. No matter though with either – I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve been given.
Finally, a reader wanted to know what our kitchen looked like, so here’s a (not very good) picture I took the other afternoon. It’s small, but works for us. We bought the stainless worktable after we moved in – it’s very functional. We feel lucky to have a gas stove, and the only thing more we could ask for is a dishwasher. I’m still not crazy about granite counters.
That’s all for this week! How was yours? What did you accomplish? What are your reading? What good things happened for you?