Well, March has roared in like a lion here, so hopefully that means we’ll be enjoying beautiful weather again by the end of the month. And, hopefully YaYu’s schedule will have calmed down as well. The whole week was pretty miserable, both weather- and schedule-wise. It’s been cold and blustery most of the week, nice and breezy for walking down by the ocean (if it wasn’t raining), but actually getting a walk in was difficult because we didn’t know from day-to-day what was going on with YaYu’s track schedule. We don’t blame her because she didn’t know either – the coach is currently out of the country, and the assistant coach hasn’t been very good about keeping the team informed. We ended up missing the farmers’ market on Wednesday because it was decided at the last minute the team would be practice at the stadium that afternoon. Same for the meet on Thursday – no one knew until the last minute what was happening. Anyway, it’s been that kind of week and we can only hope this next one will be better.
With the wind up this week, and the resulting high surf, we’ve been able to hear the sound of the waves from up at our house in the evenings – it’s been that loud. Brett and I have started walking a different stretch of the beach path lately, a little further to the north. It’s a bit more hilly than down in Kapaa, but has beautiful sweeping views. In fact, I almost walked to the edge of the cliff one time because I was so mesmerized by the view! We’re going to stick with this section for the next couple of months, and then will eventually move over to hiking out to the Pineapple Dump and back in order to be in the best shape possible when we leave on our Big Adventure.
March is Adoption Month for our family. All three of our daughters joined us in March: Meiling in 1997; WenYu in 1999, and YaYu in 2005. The girls were all from Hunan Province, in south-central China, so we traveled to Changsha three times, and stayed in a different (fancy) hotel each time. I only have pictures of meeting WenYu – with Meiling the meeting took place in the hallway of our hotel, and there was just Brett, me and the officials, with no one to take pictures. I remember watching baby Meiling come down the hallway in their arms – she was carrying a little bag of Cheetos – wearing enough layers of clothing that she looked like a little Michelin Baby. We met YaYu in the huge reception room of the provincial office where adoptions took place, but for her adoption it was just her, the orphanage director and our family, including Meiling and WenYu (adoptions typically involved big groups of people). Five year-old YaYu was terrified and began screaming her lungs out within seconds after being brought to us, so no pictures were taken on that occasion. For WenYu’s adoption I traveled with a good friend while Brett stayed home with Meiling, who was too young to travel, and my friend took lots of pictures. WenYu was mellow the entire time, calmly taking in the whole situation and checking everyone out. She hasn’t changed a bit!
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I’m still reading Hamilton. I’m anxious to get it done though because I have a whole bunch of books backlogged now that I want to read.
- Listening to: It’s semi-quiet around here. The washer and dryer are already doing their thing (thank you Brett!), but otherwise nothing is going on. YaYu is off meeting with friends to practice their presentation for the upcoming Key Club convention. Instead of the fierce winds we’ve been having lately, there’s a gentler breeze outside, but it’s still cool and somewhat overcast. There are lots of birds singing though, and one lone rooster way off in the distance. I can honestly say I will not miss the roosters. They don’t really bother me, but I don’t particularly enjoy them either.
- Watching: Besides catching a few episodes of Bunheads, I haven’t been watching much TV these days. I’m usually at the back of the house in the evenings spending some time with Alexander Hamilton instead. Last night though we all watched Wonder Woman – fantastic! And, Hulu currently has some great movies for streaming so tonight Brett and I are going to watch Capote this evening, with Philip Seymour Hoffman. What a loss – he was a phenomenal actor.
- Cooking/baking: I’m fixing eggs à la goldenrod for dinner tonight, and will serve Brett’s and YaYu’s over toast, with Canadian bacon and sliced apples for all of us. No baking today – the rum cake was finished last week and YaYu immediately asked for a chocolate bundt cake, so I made one of those last Wednesday and there’s still some left. On the menu for this week is pork & pepper stir fry, grilled chicken sausages and pilaf, noodles with pork sauce, and grilled chicken and four-bean salad. We’re hoping YaYu’s track practices won’t conflict with the farmers’ market this week – we need to go!
- Happy I accomplished this past week: We got Meiling’s package mailed off to her, which included her box of See’s Nuts & Chews (WenYu loved her surprise!). We made reservations for three items on our Kaua’i bucket list: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Barking Sands beach cottages, and the Kipu Kai Ranch ATV tour, which we’ll be doing in April with our good friend Denise! We were able to save big on all three, thanks to taking advantage of our military benefits for lodging, and riding with the guide on the tour versus having our own ATV, which saved us more than $40 per person over the price of renting our own ATV. While we didn’t get to hike the Stone Dam trail this week, Brett and I did get in five walks this week in spite of the scheduling madness and the weather. I also drank lots of water and studied French every day.
- Looking forward to next week: It’s always so empty when she’s gone, but YaYu heads over to Honolulu this Friday for the big statewide Key Club convention. She went last year and had a great time so she’s excited about this year’s event as well, and we’re excited for her. I think Brett and I will be better able to work around YaYu’s crazy track schedule this week, although there seem to be a lot of appointments again for some reason, and rumor has it the stadium practice will be moving to another day – sigh. We’re all hoping the weather will be better this week too. Maybe we’ll finally get that walk up at the Stone Dam trail! Brett and I are also going to try to fit in a coffee date at Starbucks.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: Besides the good deals/savings mentioned above, 1) I didn’t spend very much time with Swagbucks this past month, but still earned a bonus of nearly 400 Swagbucks; 2) Both our electric and water bills this past month were our lowest ever; 3) We did a great job of finishing leftovers, and YaYu took them every day in her lunch; 4) We had a no-spend week, not even the farmers’ market; 5) I found 3¢ on the ground this week, but otherwise we didn’t have anything for the change/$1 bill jar (no spending). We rolled a lot of coins though, and put those into our travel savings.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Our son and family are coming to Kaua’i in April! They will be coming for 10 days, over “Golden Week” in Japan (five national holidays in a week – it’s crazy there), and staying at a resort close to us. YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! I am already so excited I can hardly stand it! Also, Meiling had a great interview for her first “real” tech job (software and design) – we’ve got our fingers crossed that she hears soon about that as well!
- Grateful for: I continue to be thankful for being able to experience so many simple pleasures here on Kaua’i, like the sight of a hibiscus in colors I haven’t seen before, coconut palms against a blue sky, waves crashing against the shore, friendly people, tasty shave ice, etc. I have yet to grow bored with any of it.
- Bonus question: What something about yourself that you think might surprise people? I was initially selected to go into a very specialized intelligence field when I joined the navy. After a rigorous background check, I would have had a very high security clearance (crypto), but I started looking for something else to do when I found out I would always travel with an escort, and that I would have to work in some very, very remote locations. That just wasn’t what I saw myself doing with my life then, although in retrospect it might have been interesting. The navy was very understanding when I eventually told them I’d rather do something else, and I became an electronics technician instead, and a pretty good one at that. That change also was the reason I met Brett, so it was meant to be. But, I could have been a spy!
That’s it for this week. How did your week go? What good things happened for you? Have you read Hamilton? Did it take you forever too?