Sunday Morning 5/3/2020: May Already

A few of this past week’s sunsets – the sky was on fire!

With the arrival of our coffee table this past week, we are now feeling a bit more settled here, minus our stored items, of course. There’s still been very little to no movement on getting that going either. I was able to get hold of someone from Royal Hawaiian early last week who then contacted the moving company on the mainland who would handle things there. They, in turn, called me back right away. They asked for contact information for our friend Joan to set things up with her, said they would be calling her within the hour, but four days later she had not heard from them nor had I. Sigh. I will be back on the phone again with them tomorrow.

Hawaii’s stay-at-home order will be continuing at least until the end of this month, although a few things will begin opening this month, including golf courses and car dealerships. Beaches will open for exercise but not for sunbathing. There is still no consensus for when things will open for visitors, although according to our neighbors, the Grand Hyatt here on the south shore is tentatively planning for a June 1 opening. Although people would like to get back to work, no one seems very eager about having visitors possibly bring the virus along with them again. There have been less than five cases per day appearing in the islands now with visitor quarantines still in place and stay-at-home orders and mask-wearing (socially) enforced. Kaua’i hasn’t had a case of the virus in over two weeks, and no one here is in isolation any longer. Until we hear otherwise, we will continue to spend most of our time here at the apartment, wear masks when we go out, wash and sanitize our hands, and follow social distancing rules.

YaYu finishes this term’s classes this week, so she has been thinking of what she can do to fill her time. We have given her free use of our Amazon account to order books because libraries will remain closed for the time being (and she doesn’t have a Kindle). She also wants to do some more cooking and baking. Brett plans to get a sketchpad and pencils and get back into drawing. Along with reading, I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve of things to keep me busy. Weather permitting, we all plan to get out and walk/run down at the beach at least five evenings per week.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished The Splendid and the Vile this past week, but I am still working my way through Midnight in Chernobyl during the day. It’s an amazing book. The penultimate Inspector Morse book, Death Is Now My Neighbor, is my current reading at night. 
  • Listening to: The wind is howling again outside. This wind speed has ranged anywhere from 22 to 35 mph this week, and there’s been rain too on a few days. It’s been hard to believe sometimes that we’re in Hawaii . . . in April and May . . . except that many of the trees being blown about are coconut palms and in spite of the wind it’s been warm during the day (although very cool at night).
  • Watching: We’re still working our way through Shetland. Thank you for the many suggestions for shows we can watch after we finish the series – we haven’t decided on anything yet though.
    Instant Pot rice pudding with whipped cream – served in one of our glasses because we don’t have any other dishes. The pudding was very creamy and delicious.
  • Cooking: Tonight we’re having patty melts, one of YaYu’s and my favorite sandwiches, along with chips and coleslaw. Also on the menu this week will be grilled flank steak with roasted potatoes and Caprese salad; CookDo sweet and sour pork; Vietnamese-style salad rolls; slow cooker chicken adobo with bok choy; and one-pan pasta. Side dishes will be determined by what we find at the farmstand. YaYu and I baked a cake this past week and made rice pudding in the Instant Pot yesterday, and this week we’re thinking about trying a cheesecake in the Instant Pot.
    We sometimes walk through the deserted Kukuiula Marketplace. Music is still playing, but the only two places open are Uncle’s Shave Ice and Lappert’s Ice Cream.
  • Happy we accomplished this past week: I finally found a sofa table on Amazon at an affordable price, and got that ordered. Yeah – no more furniture! Brett, YaYu, and I got in four walks last week (YaYu usually runs while we walk). We’re especially pleased with the amount of exercise we got this past week because the weather has been mostly awful. There hasn’t been a whole lot more to accomplish around here though – it’s been boring at times, to tell the truth.
  • Looking forward to next week: A couple of books are scheduled to arrive for YaYu, and I have a small crossover bag arriving (I don’t need my big tote bag here on the island), but otherwise, packages have slowed down to a trickle. We’re also ready to go down to the beach for some of our walks.
    The new coffee table has a “beachy” vibe to it – we love it!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We love our new coffee table! It’s an inexpensive piece that I found on Amazon, but it’s solid wood, it fits perfectly in our living room, and we love the look of it. YaYu’s blender arrived early last Friday, so she’s having fun with that. And, Brett and I finally have actual linens on our bed! They arrived from Amazon yesterday – just four days after I ordered them! I did not realize I had ordered a gray duvet cover, but we both like how it looks so it all worked out. The vent arrived for the dryer so Brett is working on getting that installed. We still plan to line dry most things though, but it will be nice to use the dryer when we need one. I am actually starting to get a bit of a tan, the beginnings of looking more like I live here rather than a piece of shark bait that just got off the plane.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We made two trips to the farm stand and one trip to Big Save in Koloa for a few odds and ends, but that’s all the spending we did this past week. I saved $200 by ordering bed linens from Amazon versus reordering from the first company after our original order was (finally) determined to be lost. We had been thinking about buying a sofa table from a store in Lihue but saved $800 by choosing the one from Amazon (and it’s solid wood too).
  • Grateful for: For many reasons, we are so thankful to be back on Kaua’i and so grateful our daughters told us last Christmas that this is where they wanted us to live again. Even with the crappy weather this week, Brett said he never wants to “do winter” ever again and was never so happy to be anywhere as he was when we landed here back in March. It’s not always the easiest place to live (expensive and difficult to find things, and difficult to get together with family), but we made it work for us before and we know we can do it again.  
  • Bonus question: Although outings are limited, what interesting things are you finding these days? One of my favorite things to do while we’re out and about, walking or otherwise, is to be on the lookout for new (to me) colors of hibiscus. I have always been amazed by how many different variations there are. I go through periods when all it seems I see are standard red or yellow ones (the big yellow ones with a red center are the state flower and they are everywhere), but then all of a sudden out will pop one in a new color or with a different petal. I’ve decided there are more varieties than I’ll ever be able to see, and that’s OK with me!

I had my first moment of panic over things this past week. It didn’t last long but it still gave me a scare. I am very good at adjusting to circumstances, quickly if need be, but for a little while the other evening, I felt good and scared, like maybe we are in the middle of circumstances that will not be resolved and that will resist adjustment. I have to wonder how things are going to go with all the demand for reopenings currently going on, but as someone said, we’ll know in June if May was too early. Hopefully, this will be a better week coming up, from the weather to things happening that need to happen, and my general sense of optimism can take over once again.

That’s a wrap for this week! I’m hoping it was a good one for you, that you got things accomplished, had good books to read, that lots of good things happened for you and that you’re looking forward to the week coming up.

18 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 5/3/2020: May Already

  1. We walk a few miles every morning. Several times over the last few weeks we’ve spotted a Great Gray Owl – always makes for a bit of excitement.


    1. You live in such a beautiful area! It would definitely be exciting to spot owls. We saw a sea turtle sleeping on the beach yesterday though – that was unexpected and exciting!


  2. You wouldn’t be a thinking human if you didn’t have the occasional panic attack. Hope it’s passed quickly enough!

    Love the sunsets. And hibiscuses. They can be your next collection – like KitKats but better for you. They do well in Sydney and a love them but my garden has lots of camellias and azaleas so I’m not putting in one, though I was tempted.


    1. The panic was over fairly quickly, but it was a very strange sensation. I hope I don’t have to experience it again, at least not for a long while.

      We are still eating those KitKats! At one per evening it’s taking a while. But yes, hibiscus as better for me. My grandmother grew them in her yard in southern California. Camellias were her favorites, but she could make anything grow, and wanted a hibiscus after she visited Hawaii.


      1. No one is liking the peach KitKat – reminds me of bubble bath or pot pourri. But the strawberry one is desired at work. Wish I had got a mixed pack to try different flavours. A day treat as you are having.


      2. This is so interesting because we all love the peach. I dislike the strawberry one (as much as I could dislike a KitKat) because the flavor is so artificial. We are now down to mostly traditional Japanese flavors which are not as popular, especially with our daughter (Brett and I enjoy them though).


  3. Your new table is quite nice, and you saved money!

    My husband and I worked in our yard this past week, over 3-4 days. I weed and trim shrubbery/bushes I can get to and hobble to the tarp with those smaller limbs. He gets the higher items and I get to “advise” which shrubs to trim. We have quite a pile on our street waiting for the town’s yard waste pick up. It is overwhelming because of the neglect. I do love the parade of perennials that started even earlier this year in January. I am looking forward to buying bulbs to plant this Fall for next year. The weather here is marvelous—definitely not the heat or humidity that will show up soon.

    This week I started the eBook of A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, published in 2012. And we watched two lovely quirky movies, The 2016 The Beautiful Fantastic and Carrie Pilby. They are lovely character driven movies. Not sure why I had not attempted Irving’s book before now but a great impetus to get a book read is an eBook with a finite loan time and a queue for the title. Even though we have been isolating on our own since February I have had difficulty reading/concentrating on books. Must be an undercurrent of angst with the news—in fact I have decided to limit my attention to multiple news updates. I do find the prospect of opening up our area after lockdown worrying, but understand the impetus.

    Your sunsets are fantastic! I love the photos. I look forward to your posts of books you read, television series you watch and your adjusting to being home.Thank you!


    1. We love the coffee table! I had to order some new coasters though – everything here sweats and our tile coasters don’t help much and we don’t want to ruin the finish.

      I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany, but then again I’ve enjoyed almost all of John Irving’s books, especially The World According to Garp – I have been thinking of re-reading it this year and now I think I will. Thanks too for the movie suggestions!

      Some days are better than others for sunsets – it really depends on how many clouds there are in the sky. Yesterday there were very few clouds so there wasn’t much of anything going on when the sun set.


  4. Believe it or not, your weather sounds preferable to ours in Southern Arizona- it’s been close to or over 100 degrees all week and will continue for at least another week. Al has been walking our dog at 6 am and 8 pm!
    I love your hibiscus photos- I had no idea of the range of colors. Must come over and see for myself😉
    In case you’re not aware, you can put the Kindle ap on any cellphone. I’ve been reading all of my books that way for years.
    Take care, hope you enjoy some sunny weather this week!


    1. The winds have continued – I think this morning (Monday) has been the worst of all! The temperatures have stayed nice though so we are grateful for that. We seriously considered settling in Arizona, but when it came down to it we couldn’t deal with the high temperatures. Just as we cocooned indoors during the rainy winters in Portland, it would be the same during Arizona’s summers. Also, it seems to be getting hotter there all the time. I still love the area though.

      The variety of hibiscus is amazing – it’s been very surprising. I am looking forward to finding more!

      YaYu said she hates reading on her phone – I also suggested it. So much for that good idea. Books will be arriving for her this week.


  5. I love your coffee table…great choice! I think we have a similar taste in furniture. (We have a Nelson bench that we use as a coffee table in our TV room with a very similar top.)

    Our builders are going back to work, as are our realtors here in Michigan. So we’re back in the dance. We have a showing of our house scheduled for Saturday and had 8 yds of mulch delivered this week. Yikes…that’s my job for the next few days for sure. We’re both working at it hard, and we’re feeling validated that downsizing was the right decision. During a water break today on the porch, we chatted about how much less stamina we have for this type of activity than we used to. The projects we used to do together were strenuous and now we’re not sure if we’re just horribly out of shape or this is part of aging. Either way, we’re sleeping like the dead at night. With the help of Advil, of course. LOL.

    My DD is about a week and half from her due date. Today she sent me a really cute video showing me the finished nursery which is just adorable. It promptly sent me into tears. I’m working hard at staying even through this whole thing, but honestly, as her due date nears, I am really sad over missing the first bit of this little nugget’s life. But, like you, I’m generally an optimist and I’ll bounce back.

    I love your sunsets and hibiscus shots. Makes me want to go back to Hawaii. Honestly, we love a couple of trips per year (nothing at your travel level) and I’m wondering when we’ll get to travel again. So yeah. I’m kind of struggling today, but I’ll be weeding, mulching, and more optimistic tomorrow. I hope. 🙂


    1. I honestly feel so sad for you that you cannot be in England with your daughter right now. What a mess this all is! But, happy for all of you that she is healthy, you are healthy, and that there are ways now for you to communicate and virtually be there for the birth. I feel your sadness though – our son and DIL send pictures from Japan, and while we love seeing them, they also come with bittersweet feelings that we can’t be there, and don’t know when we’ll get there again.

      The Nelson bench was always my dream coffee table but the cost of raising the girls put it out of range (also the fear of them ruining it). Anyway, I was thrilled to find this table – it’s a good substitute and perfect for us now. The sofa table arrives this week as well – really looking forward to seeing it and having it in place as well.

      I hope you get to come back to Hawaii one of these days . . . and when we are here so we can get together! Like you though, I wonder if we’re ever going to get to travel again. I am trying to be optimistic but sometimes it’s very hard.

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  6. Beautiful table snd beautiful sunsets! I so needed to see that. My 85 yr old uncle died unexpectedly… sort of. He was in poor health. I “attended” his funeral over zoom, or rather the last two minutes of it because my cousin forgot to add me, as I was at work. She later sent me the video with military presenting the flag. Then my oldest son’s best friend accidentally OD on prescribed meds and died…. long story. He was 32. We are all distraught, as three of my four kids knew him well. Funerals are limited to ten people but others can come and remain in cars. All funerals are graveside. I never thought I would have to know the requirements for a COVID funeral, but here we are. Then three colleagues, who have worked in the neighboring county, ranging from 20 to 30 yrs, were laid off because The County Commission cut funding to the DA office. They were obviously older and among the highest paid, and excellent at their job. At the moment, the bottom line in terms of money seems to be all that matters because younger, and cheaper staff, could have been cut. .Since I also fit the category of being among the best paid in my office, I am wondering if this is going to happen to me. If it does, I guess I will go into private practice or agree to a pay cut. To be real, I am not too keen on the idea of being around the general public until a vaccine is available. I don’t want to die. I also don’t want the economy wrecked. I don’t know the answer. So COVID has really been causing lots of issues around here. I still have one son unemployed because of it, and he still hasn’t received any financial help like the stimulus, nor unemployment,, nor his tax refund, so I am helping him out. I know this is a real cheerful post. I hope a vaccine is found soon. I am sure folks in Hawaii want to make money, but they are also leery of tourists bringing this disease.


    1. You are having quite a time of it Cindy, with lots of things happening at once. Too much, maybe. I will be thinking good thoughts for you on the employment side of things. This whole COVID situation has been and is a very tricky series of needles that need to be threaded, and in the right order, and so far that hasn’t happened, and now we seem to be in a bigger mess than ever.

      I am in the same boat as you with your son – I think Meiling may have gotten the stimulus check, but the other two girls are out of luck, even though they have worked all through school. At least Meiling still has a job – we are all grateful for that. It will be years before WenYu catches up – her boyfriend has a solid business though and has hired her to do work for him (graphic design). Not a perfect situation, but it’s something. And, she’s safe and healthy – that counts for much these days.

      Sending good thoughts, prayer, and comfort for the loss of your uncle, and your oldest’s best friend.


  7. We started following you since your Italy trip as we too were visiting Italy at the time. We’re recent retirees and your blog is a great inspiration. I was wondering if you have ever thought of doing a short book recommendation list from your annual reading list. I am trying to return to more reading instead of too much YouTubing and binge watching. I read and enjoyed a few titles from your 2019 list which I happened to come across at the library. Take care.


    1. Thank you, Helen – I’m so glad you found us! Where were you in Italy? We dream of going back – we’d love to spend time in Naples and Sicily. Someday it will happen, hopefully.

      I like your idea of doing some short recommendations. I try to note which books I think are better than others (Midnight in Chernobyl was an amazing book), but I could do more and will try to add more on my Sunday post if I have finished what I think is an exceptionally good book. Not a review, but why I think a book might be of interest to others. Thanks for the suggestion!


  8. I like that coffee table! Can you send me the link! We are having so much trouble getting furniture for the upstairs! That would be perfect! I hear you on the panic. I have a panic attack nearly every day now…..


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