This past week there was another horrible school shooting, with 17 beautiful lives ended this time by yet another person who should never have been allowed to own a gun, let alone a military-style automatic rifle. When it comes to the issue of guns, our country is like an alcoholic who refuses to admit they have a problem and get help, all the while continuing to hurt everyone around them. The NRA, founded to teach gun safety, isn’t about that anymore; its mission now is to sell more guns. And, no matter where you stand on the regulation of firearms, not one of us anywhere in this country is safe anymore. NO ONE – no matter where or how they live, if they own guns or not, or how well-trained they are – is immune from the possibility of gun violence. People – CHILDREN! – are gunned down in schools, theaters, parking lots, concerts, shopping malls, offices – churches aren’t even a safe place any more, for heaven’s sake. The reality is that gun violence can happen to any one of us, anywhere, at any time, made all the easier by the proliferation and ease of obtaining guns in this country, especially ones that were designed specifically for killing as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. When are we as a nation finally going to say “enough” and mean it?
OK, rant over. I’ve been angry before, but I’m staying angry this time, and going forward I am going to do everything I can as a citizen of this country to change the status quo. Enough of this. I’ve been thrilled to read that high school students all over the country are stepping up and speaking out about this issue now – it’s not going away this time. The America I know and love can change and do better.
On a happier note, Brett and I enjoyed a lovely Valentine’s Day holoholo (Hawaiian for “getaway to someplace different”) down in Poipu. We started with lunch at Brenneke’s Beach Broiler, where the food was good, but the view was fabulous! When we arrived the place was packed with LOTS of tourists, and we were told the wait for a table would be around 40 minutes. But, 15 minutes later the hostess called our name and took us to the best seat in the house, right up at one of the front windows overlooking Poipu Beach Park! After lunch we headed over to the Kukuiula Marketplace, and had time to have a kid-size scoop of ice cream from Lappert’s and pick up a big Valentine’s cookie for YaYu before the culinary market opened. We were unable to get organic macadamia nuts for WenYu because the vendor wasn’t at the market – it turned out he was out of the country on vacation last week (but will be back the coming week), but we did buy some nice produce including a locally-grown pineapple. Since the market primarily caters to tourists we were afraid the farmers’ prices might be higher than we are used to at the Kapaa market they weren’t. We finished and headed for home in time to pick up YaYu from track practice.
The scholarship madness continues. YaYu interviewed yesterday morning for a Rotary scholarship, but had to go out on Friday after school and buy a pair of “professional-looking shoes.” Yup, there was an actual dress code for the interview! She ended up finding an inexpensive but acceptable pair of shoes at Ross. She has one more interview to go, for a local scholarship, and then she’s all done except for the waiting.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I’m working my way through Hamilton and greatly enjoying it. Like Grant’s Memoirs it’s very interesting but a dense read with a lot of detail, so it’s not going very quickly, and I’m probably going to have to purchase a copy for my Kindle in order to finish it.
- Listening to: It’s quiet inside right now although we’re starting the laundry in a few minutes. Outside it’s overcast, and has been raining off and on, but in between downpours the birds come out and sing for a while (and the roosters scream) before running for cover again. I can’t get over how many different birds we hear here – just when I think I recognize a song, up pops a new one I haven’t heard before and I wonder what kind of bird makes that beautiful song. I realized the other day that there are no crows here (or seagulls) – we used to hear them all the time in Portland and it’s been blissful here not having to listen to their racket.
- Watching: We’ve watched bits and pieces of the Olympics, but that’s all for me this week.
- Cooking/baking: We’re almost out of eggs, but have just enough to make scrambled eggs for the three of us tonight so we’re having those with bacon, toast and fruit. I made another pan of brownies yesterday so no baking today. On the menu for this week is pizza; grilled teriyaki pork kabobs with pineapple and green peppers; Italian sausage sandwiches with sautéed peppers and onions; mabo dofu with rice; chicken and vegetable curry; and of course leftovers.
- Happy I accomplished this week: It’s always a big chore, but we got the freezer defrosted this past week. We’re trying to downsize enough that we can start keeping all our frozen items in the house, but we’re not quite there yet. Our landlord wants to buy the freezer from us so as soon as we can stop using it he will take it. We walked four days last week, I drank lots and lots of water, and studied French only four days. I’m working on phrases associated with eating and food right now, but nothing is sticking in my head. I need to be in a classroom (or in France)!
- Looking forward to this week: We’re doing our Big Shop tomorrow – it’s the only day we could fit it in this week because of other appointments. We’ll drop in at Walmart, Foodland and Big Save on Tuesday. I’m hoping for good weather every day so we can walk every day and maybe get to the beach.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I went to the beach! The stars finally aligned on Friday and we were able to spend around an hour there, and it was wonderful! Other than not being able to get the macadamia nuts last Wednesday, our Valentine’s Day outing was lovely – everything went right, from finding a parking spot to getting the table with the best view. My daughter-in-law sent us a big bunch of photos and videos again, and we had a lovely, long chat with WenYu on Monday for her birthday. We’re down to just one teenager now.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We got our Costco rebate check: $213.55. It went right into our travel savings account. 2) I bought a $25 Amazon gift card for just 2200 Swagbucks (regular price is 2500 SB). We’re going to use our Amazon credit to buy books for our Kindles before we go. 3) We saved both money and calories on Valentine’s Day by sharing a sandwich and skipping cocktails, and then each having a small ice cream later at Lappert’s versus ordering dessert at the restaurant. 4) Our waiter gave us a 10% kamaaina discount when he learned we were local. 5) We put $9.00 into the change/$1 bill jar, leftover from the farmers’ market.
- Grateful for: I’m feeling thankful right now that Hawai’i enforces some the strictest gun control laws in the United States: “In Hawaii, no person shall acquire the ownership of a firearm, either by purchase, gift, inheritance, bequest, or in any other manner, whether procured in Hawaii or imported, until he has first procured from the chief of police of the county of his place of business, residence, or sojourn a permit to acquire.” It takes a minimum of 14-20 days to get a permit, the permit is only good in the county where it was issued, and there is no open carry. Concealed carry permits from other states are not recognized in Hawai’i. The laws in place here make a difference but no place is truly safe these days. There are all sorts of guns on Kaua’i, primarily owned and used for hunting, but there are also a couple of dealers on the island selling automatic rifles and accessories. For the most part though they are NOT welcome, and are shunned by locals.
- Bonus question: What do you like to have for dessert? I don’t dislike sweets, but I’m not all that crazy about them either, at least not these days. If I’m going to order dessert, I prefer something like a fruit crisp or small slice of fruit pie. I also like cheesecake, but again, not a huge slice, and I enjoy anything made with green tea because those desserts are usually not as sweet as something made with chocolate and such. Mostly these days though I’m content with a cup of coffee after lunch or dinner because most restaurant desserts are huge, and too big and too sweet for me. At home I usually have a cup of coffee after dinner along with a few dark chocolate chips, and that’s enough. Brett, by the way, loves all sweets and is always game for whatever is decadent on the menu.
Hope no one got whiplash from reading this post, going from a rant to Valentine’s Day or from gun laws to desserts. It’s been that kind of week though. How was your week? What did you accomplish? What frugal wins did you have? What good things happened for you?