We’ve had another week of crazy weather here on Kaua’i. There was lots and lots of rain, thunder and lightning and wind earlier in the week, but although the sunshine is back it’s still cooler than usual. Nights have been downright chilly (well, for here). But, the humidity is low and it’s been great for walking – the skies miraculously cleared every afternoon so Brett and I have been able to get out every day except for last Sunday afternoon.
Every time I think YaYu is done with this whole college thing, she announces she’s applying for yet another scholarship, and we’ve had to run to Walmart for envelopes and mailing supplies, or to the post office for stamps. This week she brought home a form asking us to shop at Foodland because apparently they donate money to each high school based on the number of families that shop there and mention their school, and that money is divided up among students for scholarships. Foodland is not our favorite local grocery, but we’ll shop there this month to contribute. YaYu will hear back later this month from one of the colleges she applied to – she requested “early evaluation” and will receive a notice of likely, possible, or unlikely. A likely pretty much means she’s in, a possible gives her around a 20% chance of acceptance, and an unlikely means “no chance.” The school is not her top choice, but it will be nice to know one way or another what her chances are there and give her an indication of how she will fare elsewhere.
This past week I went through all my cookbooks and recipe files and cleaned out all the things I don’t use or want any more. Back in the day I collected cookbooks, read several food and cooking magazines, and was a big-time recipe saver. I kept my clipped recipes neatly organized in a set of notebooks but the reality was I rarely fixed any of those recipes – I had cut them out because I thought I might try them some day (and then never did). These days though I mainly go online to find new recipes or look up old ones, and was only using the notebooks now and again for a few family favorites. So, I went through everything, took out the few recipes I wanted to keep, tossed the rest, and organized the keepers in one big binder. I also went through my cookbooks and ended up keeping only four: Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything, Better Homes & Gardens Big Book of Slow Cooker Recipes, Japanese Country Cookbook (no longer in print), and Sunset Magazine’s Favorite Recipes, which I’ve been using since I was a teenager. All four have loads of favorite recipes plus plenty I’d still like to try. The rest of the cookbooks will go out at our moving sale or to a local thrift store. I plan to cut w-a-y back on my cooking duties once it’s just Brett and me, so getting rid of recipes and cookbooks I’m never going to use makes sense and means less we have to put into storage.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I finished up Grant’s Memoirs, and am now greatly looking forward to reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Grant, which has gotten great reviews. In the meantime, I raced through Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding this past week. I’m not a big fan of foodies’ tales of the very important or very cool people they got to meet or the very special restaurant they got to eat at or the very special dish they got to try, but Goulding throws in enough cultural stuff to keep the book down to earth for regular eaters like me. He even has a section on convenience store food! It was an enjoyable and quick read, and I highly recommend it for anyone traveling to Japan. The day before I finished it Ron Chernow’s Hamilton finally became available to download from the library so I’m into that now, and hope I can finish it in three weeks!
- Listening to: Other than a few roosters doing their thing out in the distance, and a few birds signing, it’s pretty quiet outside. We’ve been seeing and hearing lots of baby chicks these days too, but they’re not around right now. Inside it’s quiet too – we haven’t started the laundry yet, and each of us is doing something quiet (i.e. reading and writing).
- Watching: We finished up Season 2 of True Detective – it started off slow but ended strong (we still like Season 1 better though – Season 2 was complicated). Even though we cancelled our basic cable, it’s still available to us through Tuesday, so we’ve been able to watch some of the Winter Olympics and then will switch to using YaYu’s Roku stick. We watched Keeping Up With the Joneses yesterday evening with YaYu – fun movie!
- Cooking/baking: Brett’s making Scotch eggs for dinner tonight, and I’m going to steam a couple of artichokes to go with the eggs, and make toast for Brett and YaYu. I baked another olive oil orange cake on Thursday and there’s still some of that, so no baking today. On the menu this week is grilled teriyaki chicken and zaru soba; grilled pork chops with pilaf and artichokes; spaghetti with marinara and meatballs; grilled beef Polish sausages with roasted cabbage; and beef and broccoli stir fry with rice.
- Happy I accomplished last week: Besides getting all of the cookbooks downsized and organized, I also cleaned out a couple of the junk drawers in our living room tansu. I figure if I just keep plugging away at downsizing by the time things need to be packed for storage, or organized for our moving sale, we’ll be in good shape. Lots of little things got done this past week besides mailing off YaYu’s local scholarship applications. Brett and I walked every afternoon, and tried a new stretch of the beach path yesterday – it was a bit more effort, but lovely. I’ve drunk lots and lots of water, and except for a couple of days I’ve stuck with my French study. I feel like I know lots of words these days, but still can’t say anything.
- Looking forward to next week: Brett and I are heading down to the south shore on Valentine’s Day to have lunch at Brenneke’s Beach Broiler – hopefully the weather will be nice and we can snag a table to enjoy an ocean view while we sip mai tais. After lunch we’re going to the weekly culinary market at the Kukuiula Marketplace instead of our usual farmers’ market. WenYu’s boyfriend’s dad wants some organic macadamia nuts, and after much searching the only place to get them on the island is from a vendor at the market. Even the natural food stores didn’t have them. We’re just hoping the vendor is there on Wednesday. We’ll still be able to pick up our usual produce there – lots of farmers set up at the market.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I rarely do anything spontaneous when it comes to spending, but we had a lovely breakfast at the Art Cafe Hemingway on Wednesday, and can’t believe it’s taken us this long to eat there. We’re both looking forward to going back, and when we told YaYu about the crepe menu she wants to go now as well (we’re thinking for Easter brunch). It’s been a bit of a struggle this week weather-wise, but the sun is mostly back out, the island is drying out and the humidity is staying low.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We finally cancelled our basic cable TV, a savings of $11 per month. We’ve only watched TV via streaming services the past several months and decided we didn’t need the cable. 2) We cooked all meals at home except for our spontaneous breakfast out. 3) We all ate leftovers for our lunches everyday this week, including YaYu. She said her friends envy her leftovers! 4) I ran out of my favorite Mrs. Meyers bathroom cleaner, but instead of buying more made my own cleaner with vinegar and baking soda. 5) We put $21.50 into the change/$1 bill jar: $4.48 back from the cable bill, $3.98 from Walmart (mailing supplies); $10 change from the farmers’ market, and $3.04 from recycling.
- Grateful for: Even though the weather has been kind of wacky lately, I am thankful for the cooler temps and low humidity. Both make exercising, housework and sleeping way more comfortable and enjoyable than when it’s humid. The humidity will return in a couple of months, but for the time being I’m enjoying the “winter chill.”
- Bonus question: Have you ever spent the night in a hospital? Too many times, in my opinion! I’ve had six overnight hospital stays beginning with having my tonsils out when I was three and ending with surgery to repair a fractured kneecap when I was 46. Other than the tonsilectomy (one night), I was in the hospital for around a week each time, including when our son was born, but when I had my knee surgery I was discharged in two days. I guess that’s a good thing though the more we’ve found out about the nasty infections you can pick up in a hospital. What I remember most about my hospital stays was how noisy it was, and how I was constantly being awakened for something (vital signs, take a walk, roll me over, etc.) when all I wanted to do was sleep. The only wake-ups I didn’t mind were the ones to nurse our little boy.
That’s it for this week? How did your week go? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you? What are you reading?