This past week was one of those that felt both incredibly busy yet also very relaxing. I got lots done, caught up on chores and other things that needed to get done, but also found plenty of time to read and have fun. YaYu’s track schedule was once again crazy, maybe more so than usual. They have a new coach this year (a single guy with no other obligations) and he wants the team at the stadium as much as possible to practice on the track, which is at a minimum 30 minutes away from the high school and our house. Other than Thursdays (meet day) though, YaYu never knows until the day before whether they’ll be practicing at the stadium or not, and it’s far enough away that Brett and I usually can’t plan or do anything while they’re practicing there. YaYu is having a great track season, but we are all looking forward to it being over!
The weather stayed mostly miserable for another week (we’ve had only two full days of sunshine since February 22), although last Monday the clouds cleared out for a while in the afternoon, the sun came out and it actually got a bit hot. Brett and I had an errand near the stadium that day, so we did our walk on the outside lane while YaYu and her team practiced. We were hoping the good weather would last through the next day, when our ATV tour was scheduled, but it was not to be. The rain and clouds were back on Tuesday although it thankfully didn’t actually rain while during the tour even though it threatened to the entire time. The sun appeared for the last stop on the tour, the overlook for the Kipu Kai beach on the south shore, and it was glorious. Getting to see that beach was one of the big reasons I wanted to do the tour too. There was LOTS of mud everywhere, but the whole experience was fun, fun, fun from start to finish, and best of all we got to do it with our friend Denise!
Meiling got back the results from her DNA test and discovered she is 97.99 . . . Chinese! The test results were interesting though. Han is the main ethnic branch in China, followed by Mongolian and then several other minority groups, and it was interesting to see the makeup of her DNA. The results also mentioned a couple of medical markers, but those were vague (“you might develop xxx in middle age or older”). Neither of the other girls is particularly interested at this time in doing a DNA study (nor are Brett and I).
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I finished Eat Up! mid week, and have also finished Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann, and The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn. I could put neither book down – both were the definition of page-turners. Although it was non-fiction, Killers of the Flower Moon read like a fictional murder mystery, and was about a tragic and unsettling piece of American history, the Osage murders in Oklahoma, something I ashamedly admit to knowing nothing about before reading this book. The Woman in the Window grabbed me from the first sentence and wouldn’t let me go until the last page (I read all 448 pages in less than two days). I’m back to non-fiction today though with Goodbye Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki.
- Listening to: We’re listening to the sound of more rain again this morning. There were massive thunderstorms passing over all last night, many areas on the island are flooded, and there have been landslides and closures. Hanalei on the north shore has gotten 24 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. Here at Casa Aloha, YaYu is fixing her brunch (spicy Thai noodles with chicken), and we’re getting ready to start the laundry so that will shatter any other semblance of quiet. Supposedly there will be more thunderstorms tonight. (Photos above by Kolohe Kapu.)
- Watching: We finished up all the available episodes of Death in Paradise this week, and started a new British mystery series, Case Histories. There’s currently only one season of the show available right now on Amazon Prime, so when we finish we’ll have to look for something else.
- Cooking/baking: Because we’re starting to run out of lots of things (Big Shop is next week), it’s breakfast for dinner once again tonight: scrambled eggs, grilled sausages, fruit and toast for Brett and YaYu. I made brownies a couple of days ago, so no baking today. Other dinners on the menu this week are grilled chicken & apple sausages along with steamed broccoli, grilled pork & vegetable kabobs; chicken and vegetable curry; and fried rice with Chinese barbecued pork and vegetables.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I got started on a big project of organizing all of our travel reservations for the Big Adventure. Both Brett and I have things saved in our email accounts, but I wanted to have all of it in one easy-to-locate place for both of us to access. The project’s not finished yet but I’m off to a good start. I also made our flight reservations to Philadelphia from Dallas, and hotel reservations near Bryn Mawr, so the first half of The Big Adventure is set. Brett and I went back to Hanapepe on Friday and picked up a guidebook for Australia from the Talk Story bookstore. While we were down that way we also took care of a couple of Big Adventure-related errands at places that were on the way coming and going. I drank lots of water, studied French every day, but it’s been a terrible week for walking thanks to YaYu’s schedule and the not-so-good weather.
- Looking forward to next week: We’re meeting Denise tomorrow for breakfast at the TipTop Cafe! She heads home on Wednesday, but I’ve got an appointment with the eye doctor on Tuesday so we picked tomorrow morning for one last meet-up. Otherwise we’ve got nothing on the calendar for the week.
- Thinking of good things that happened: The ATV tour was the only touristy thing I’ve ever really wanted to do here, and it was worth every penny. We had a great time, and riding with one of the guides was the way to go. Plus, Brett and I got to spend some quality time with our friend Denise and have plate lunches afterwards at Mark’s Place, and those are always good things! Besides picking up guidebooks while we were in Hanapepe, we also stopped at the Midnight Bear Bakery for coffee and a pastry, and brought home a treat for YaYu.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) YaYu asked Bryn Mawr to recalculate her financial aid award because they had based their calculations on us having just two in college versus three next year, and they increased her aid for next year! However, the previous aid award gives us a very good idea of what the following year’s aid amounts will be after Meiling graduates. 2) We had to pay income tax this year (no more extra child credit). It wasn’t too bad, but we put it on our credit card for the reward points and then paid it off. 3) The cost of the Australia guidebook was completely covered by the used book store credit we had received. 4) We’ve done a very good job of using up produce odds & ends and leftovers this week – nothing has gone to waste. 5) We put $15.51 into the change/$1 bill jar: $8.75 back from the water bill, $5.02 back from the cable bill, and $1.74 change from the dentist. We spent all our money again at the farmers’ market.
- Grateful for: I’m feeling thankful these days for my training as a language instructor. It doesn’t make learning French any easier, but it has helped me realize what I need to do to be a more effective learner. In my case, that’s getting lots of feedback, and real communication, even if that’s just from other learners. Textbook and online exercises help, but they only go so far, for me anyway.
- Bonus question: What is your least favorite household chore? I have maybe covered this before, but hands down I hate dusting, mainly because it has to be done here every. single. day. There is no rest. Sometimes it needs to be done twice even because the dust here is awful. It’s even worse right now because of the damp and the dust is sticking to everything. I would rather clean toilets than dust. I also don’t like doing yard work, or the laundry, which is the main reason we only do it once a week. I am one of those obnoxious people though who will refold towels and such if someone folds them “wrong.” Otherwise I don’t mind most chores because I like a clean, tidy house. My favorite chore is probably washing the dishes – I find it very contemplative – but I only have the morning and lunch duty these days – Brett does the dinner dishes every evening.
That’s all for this week! Thank for indulging me with some time off last week. How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happen for you?