Sunday Afternoon 3/4/2018

We’re eagerly awaiting the return of blue skies!

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.

What those trees above have looked like this past week.

The roar of the surf has been deafening – we’ve been able to hear it from the house.

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.

Meeting beautiful Miss WenYu for the first time!

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!

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

  • 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!

    Just when you think you’ve seen every color of hibiscus there is, out pops yet another pretty one.

  • 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?

8 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 3/4/2018

  1. Laurel says:

    OH, wow. That hibiscus! And that picture of you and WenYu! So precious.

    We had an amazing trip to Volcanoes Nat’l Park and I hope yours is too. The bubbling caldera was just awesome. We still talk about it. And I remember standing exactly where that picture was taken.

    We are still watching Doc Martin. We so love it! Last night we watched 4 episodes back to back! I am going to be lost when we catch up. haha

    This is going to be a week of doctor’s appointments, so I’m just going to grin and bear it. And our weather has been sunny but cold, and we’re getting more rain/snow mix this week. We definitely took a warm weather vacation too early. This is about the time we normally go and I’ve long forgotten the warm weather we saw in January now. 😦

    SO happy for you re: the visit from your son and his family! That will be wonderful. We have grands visiting in two weeks and are already excited. It’s awesome to see the kids as they change so much between visits.

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    • Laura says:

      We are SO excited our son and family are coming – they have a lot going on during the summer, and didn’t think they could work in a trip here, but they did – my DIL said they want to come see us one more time before we go (in case we end up not returning). The resort where they are staying is FABuLOUS, the same one where we’re staying right before we leave on the Big Adventure. There’s huge pool with two slides, and lazy river feature – we’re never going to get our grandson out of it! There’s also a sandy-bottom wading pool for little ones, just perfect for our granddaughter, and six(!) hot tubs. Plus, there’s a wonderful spa and great restaurant on site as well – Brett and I will be over there all. the. time. while they’re here! Condos there are totally upscale as well – SubZero fridges, Wolf ranges, air conditioning, etc. The price per night they’re getting (us too) is better than a hotel though, so it’s a good deal.

      We felt the same way about Doc Martin when we finished all the available episodes. There are new ones out now, but we can’t access them yet. Once I get Hamilton finished, I’ll go back to more regular TV viewing.

      I have a Dr.’s appointment tomorrow – after hearing that everything was OK, I got a call from his office that he wants to talk to me about my bone density scan. ??? So, up I go to see him tomorrow. I have a hair appointment on Tuesday afternoon, farmers’ market on Wednesday, and I’m positive something will pop up on either Thursday or Friday. On their own the appointments are not a problem, but fitting them in with YaYu’s ever-changing schedule is these days.

      Brett and I are super excited about visiting Volcanoes NP – we are going to fly in and out of Hilo versus Kona, so we’ll have a bit more time at the park then we had originally thought (plus a little time to poke around Hilo). Hawaiian wanted too many miles to fly us into Kona.

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  2. Natalie says:

    March is a special month for you and your family for sure. I’m excited for you re: April visit from your son and his family, and the ATV tour with your friend. I had a good week. I got my exercises in, learned Spanish, attended another amazing piano recital, and viewed a really nice art exhibit. The weather has been more spring-like here. We have gorgeous sunny days when the lake water just sparkles in the sunlight. I’m getting ready for my trip to Chile. I look forward to everything except the long flights.

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    • Laura says:

      When the girls were all still at home, we used to pick one night in early March for “Family Day” to celebrate all their adoption anniversaries. I’d fix a special dinner, and we’d have cake, etc. These days though they’re satisfied that I can keep the dates straight!

      We’re super thrilled about our upcoming adventures, and we’re going to add another: a tubing tour with our grandson through the old irrigation channels. It’s just thrilling enough that he should have a lot of fun.

      I envy you all your cultural opportunities – they’re very, very minimal here. We’re looking forward to taking in (free) events as we travel.

      Can’t wait to read about Chile. I saw some photos the other day and it looked fascinating!

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  3. Tamara / My Retirement Project says:

    I am over the moon for your upcoming grandbabies visit. I know EXACTLY how you must be feeling. It’s the best sensation ever. ☺

    What a wonderful share about the adoptions of your three beautiful girls. I hadn’t realized YaYu was five when you adopted her. My heart breaks for what she must have gone through in her short young life before coming into your arms, and into Brett’s. No child should ever have to suffer, and I simply cannot understand a higher power that would allow it. (Sorry . . . I digress!)

    And I love that you love where you live!

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    • Laura says:

      I am over the moon that they are coming, and will be here for a full 10 days! Our grandson will be old enough this time for several activities that he couldn’t do before, like the tubing tour and boogie boarding at the beach, so I’m excited about doing those things with him as well. He and I have the best time when we get together. I’m excited to get to know our granddaughter better too – she was just five months old the last time we saw her, and she’s walking and talking now.

      All three of our girls were treated well in their orphanages, at least as well as they could be in an institution. We’re grateful their birth families made sure they would be taken care of when they couldn’t. YaYu was positively terrified when she met us, but after a bit of a rough start (I remember carrying her, screaming and thrashing, through the fancy hotel lobby while she yelled at the top of her lungs that she didn’t want to go with this family!) she decided we were OK, and she’s never looked back. She is the bravest girl I’ve ever known – I can’t even imagine her side of the experience. All three of our adoptions were win-win: the girls each got a family and we were blessed with three beautiful daughters. Brett and I consider ourselves the lucky ones.

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  4. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    I can’t wait to visit and take the ATV tour! You really did save us big on that – thank you! I’m also going to do the canal tour with my friends, so it will be a super fun visit.

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    • Laura says:

      I was so happy to find that discount (and let someone else who knows what he’s looking at do the driving!). Can’t wait to see you!

      You’re talking about the tubing tour through the canals, right? We’re going to do that with with our grandson when they’re here – he’s finally old/big enough to do it!

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