Last Tuesday evening’s sunset was one for the books. Brett, YaYu and I were just sitting down to dinner and noticed there was an unusual orange-y glow outside, so we walked out front and what you see above is what greeted us. Amazing doesn’t begin to describe it, and yes, it was truly awe inspiring. We stood there with our mouths hanging open for a few seconds before we realized we needed to grab our cameras. Pictures taken by others around the island, especially the west and south sides, show equally amazing views of that evening’s sunset. Lucky we live Kaua’i!
As we move through our current “quiet period,” waiting to find out where YaYu will be going to college, Brett and I have been talking about where we might want to settle when the Big Adventure comes to a close. We have been thinking about what we want going forward, and then attaching those things to some places on a (sort-of) spreadsheet. It’s very basic now, but an outline for a post-adventure plan is starting to take shape. Obviously there’s not a thing we can do about it now, but it’s something we can think about more and tighten up as time goes on.
YaYu received a “possible” evaluation from Wellesley this past week, which means she is still in the running with them. According to what I could find out, about 20% of those receiving a possible evaluation are ultimately accepted and the rest are put on the waitlist, so fingers will remain crossed. She is feeling very impatient these days and wants to get a solid acceptance (beyond the University of Hawaii), but those notices won’t start arriving until the end of next month. This past week she heard from two schools that she was missing some of her financial aid paperwork, so she had to scramble to get that sent off (especially frustrating since it was all information they already had). We have no idea whether these schools asking for this information now should be taken as any sort of indication that they’ve made a decision about her or not, but I’m thinking not.
Anyway, this afternoon I am:
- Reading: I had to order a copy of Hamilton for my Kindle as the library came and took their copy back this past week (for some reason that no one can figure out – my three weeks weren’t up). I’m enjoying the book immensely, but my heaven’s there a whole lot of (interesting) information packed in there – it’s taking me much longer to read than I imagined it would.
- Listening to: We’ve been listening to rain, rain, rain this morning and into this afternoon. It’s stopped for now, but I can still hear it dripping off the roof and down the drains. The roosters are out in force right now though, as well as some other birds, so maybe they know it’s over. The laundry is going inside, but otherwise it’s quiet around here.
- Watching: YaYu has gotten me hooked on Bunheads – what a fun show! The other day she also accidently discovered a Japanese ghost/horror series on Netflix that looks promising. Japanese ghost stories are quite scary (which I love) so I may look into it after we’re though with Bunheads.
- Cooking/baking: YaYu is making fried rice this evening for our dinner. It’s not really an egg-centric dish, although it does contain eggs, but we’ve got all the odds and ends to put it together, and she loves the leftovers in her lunches. Plus, I can fix my own low-carb serving with the rice cauliflower. Last week’s menu plan got blown up when YaYu started stadium practices for track, and I forgot about her swim banquet yesterday evening. This week won’t be much better because besides the stadium practice her first meet is coming up on Thursday and those don’t finish until after 9:00 p.m. Last week we ended up having yakisoba one night, and beef tacos on another evening instead of what was planned, so chicken and vegetable curry, mabo dofu, and grilled Italian sausage and sautéed pepper sandwiches were moved to this week. Besides those I’m putting chili pork sauce over rice (versus burritos) and maybe barbecued chicken on the menu and we’ll see how it goes. I baked a rum raisin bundt cake on Friday, so no baking for a while. Brett loves it, YaYu doesn’t, but has other things she can eat when she wants something sweet.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I had a mammogram and a bone density scan this past week, and got good reports from both. Brett and I made eight breakfast burritos for YaYu and froze them – they contain hash browns, scrambled eggs with chopped onion, breakfast sausage and a little pepper jack cheese. Brett got WenYu’s organic macadamia nuts so we finally got her box of stuff packed up and sent off. I cleaned out the media cabinet in the living room – we’re keeping the Cassette Feu butane cooker we had stored in there but everything else either went on the moving sale shelves or was thrown out. Brett and I walked every day except Wednesday (track practice), I drank lots and lots of water, and I studied French on four days. I’m back to working with Memrise, and am at Level 6 now. By the way, Brett and I measured one of our walks the other day: it was approximately 2.4 miles and I took somewhere around 7,000 steps for me (fewer steps for Brett, but his legs are longer). We expect to be walking a lot on our trip, so this was good news.
- Looking forward to next week: Brett and I were going to hike the Stone Dam trail up in Kilauea this past week, but things just got away from us schedule-wise, so we’re planning to go this coming week. I am so excited about seeing this place because every picture I’ve seen so far makes it seem like you’ve entered Paradise. I’ve also been looking forward to stopping at Banana Joe’s for a frosty after we’re done, but Brett noticed the other day that the store is closed until the end of May! I guess we’ll have to stop at the Moloa Fruit Stand on the way home – they make frosties too, although I don’t think they’re as good as the ones from Banana Joe’s.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: For the most part we did our regular frugal activities around here, but there were no standout frugal wins. We did have one big frugal fail this past week though. After I was finished with my screenings at the hospital, Brett suggested we stop at the gift shop and treat ourselves to something from See’s Candy (the gift shop is the only place to buy it on the island). Their See’s supply was very low post-Valentine’s Day and I mentioned they were out of my favorite, Nuts & Chews. “Oh, we have those in the back,” the sweet little old lady running the cash register said. So, we said we’d take one box (to take home to share with YaYu). However, the sweet little old lady accidentally charged us for three boxes (!) and then couldn’t get the charge reversed off our debit card! That procedure apparently required a password that she didn’t have, and the people who did have it were not available. She kept getting more and more flustered trying to resolve things for us and after more than 20 minutes we finally agreed to take the three boxes of candy and call it done. See’s is not inexpensive, but WenYu and Meiling are now both getting a surprise box of Nuts & Chews. We also have $60 less in our checking account – sigh. We only put $2.10 into the change/$1 bill jar this week, $1 leftover from the farmers’ market, and $1.10 change back from the post office.
- Reporting gains and losses: It’s the last Sunday of the month, so time to look at the bottom line again. I didn’t lose any weight again this month, but also didn’t gain, and that’s OK. I’m continuing to slim up though – I can tell by how my clothes fit. We put $1261.11 into our travel savings this month, for a total savings amount now of $16,579.07.
- Thinking of good things that happened: We’re all feeling very happy that YaYu received good news from Wellesley. It’s not her first choice school, but apparently they see her worthy of further consideration. Although we cancelled our cable, it’s stayed with us long enough to watch and enjoy the Olympics. Also, the See’s candy was a very special treat, and it was delicious (as it always is).
- Grateful for: I am so thankful both WenYu and YaYu were able to go to high school here. No, their school hasn’t won any awards, nor is it what many would consider to be a “good” high school, but in the era of hyper-competitive college admissions, both girls have gotten a good, solid education, taken challenging courses and done well on the testing. Plus, they’ve enjoyed going to a school that’s far less competitive than the one they attended/would have attended in Portland. The kids here are less materialistic, and the girls have been able to participate in more sports at a higher level than they would have back on the mainland. Both of our girls have thrived at their school here, and been able to shine, and for that we are grateful.
- Bonus question: What’s more difficult, getting rid of debt, downsizing, or losing weight? The short answer? All three. They’re all difficult to accomplish and require more dedication and fortitude than you think you have, especially if you’re older and/or have children. I’ve accomplished all three, and although the books or diet plans or whatever all made it seem like it would be a straight path from beginning to end, it was anything but a straight line, and instead the roads were chock full of dips, blocks, and setbacks. I had to get very familiar with the terms need, want, rationalizations and excuses. I’ve found it’s been somewhat easier staying out of debt and keeping all our stuff to a minimum than it ever has been maintaining a weight loss. I have no advice to give other than what worked for me was to visualize my goal at the end (and set a reasonable deadline, if possible), and give myself rewards along the way. If I strayed off the path one day, I got right back on it the next.
That’s a wrap for this week! It’s almost hard to believe we’ll be heading into March next week. How did your week go? What good things happened for you? Did you have some frugal wins? What have you been cooking?
And, if you’re interested, this coming Wednesday our story of getting out of debt and the difference that’s made will be a post in Bob Lowry’s blog, A Satisfying Retirement. Today’s post features Barbara’s story (from Living Richly in Retirement). It’s an excellent and worthwhile read.