Sunday Morning 5/10/2020: Happy Mother’s Day!

Sunsets were subdued this week when compared to previous weeks.

Happy Mother’s Day! Today is my traditional Day of Doing Nothing, where Brett and YaYu will take care of everything, from cooking to cleaning to laundry and so on. The family has done this for the past several years, and I prefer having nothing at all on my plate for a day and not feeling guilty about it more than any thing they could give me. Right now I’m sipping a cup of fresh-brewed coffee (TheRoyale™!) and noshing on a toasted onion bagel slathered with chive cream cheese. In a short while, YaYu will make me a banana & tropical fruit smoothie. I’ve had messages from all the kids (calls will come later) so my day is starting off nicely.

This past week felt sort of meh, but overall it wasn’t a bad one. We got together with our neighbors one evening, walked almost every day, including walks on the beach, but there were no drop-dead, gorgeous sunsets because there were usually few to no clouds in the evening – basically, on most days the sun just sort of disappeared and then it got dark. The strong winds continued as for most of the week as well which helped to keep things cool but at the same time kept things sort of noisy. In other words, the new normal continued.

I contacted the moving company again early last week about our shipment, and this time got a name and direct line for contact, but as before, after I got done speaking with the agent and getting assurances they were going to work on it . . . nothing. I think the problem may be with the moving company in Portland (the office that coordinates the mainland side of things is in San Diego). Either the Portland office is closed under the current stay-at-home orders, or working with a very small staff and our small shipment is not a priority. On the plus side, I heard from the US Department of Transportation that my complaint against Aeromexico has merit and they are pursuing it, and also from our bank that the disputed charge for the tickets is still ongoing as well. Hopefully, that refund will be resolved in the next few weeks.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I continue to have two books going, but once I get myself caught up where I’m on track to accomplish my goal of 52 books this year, I will cut back to one. My two current books are The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom (daytime) and The Last Chinese Chef (evening/night), by Nicole Mones, a novel about “friendship, love, and cuisine.” The Yellow House is an award-winning memoir about a large family and their home in New Orleans, before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. I finished Death Is Now My Neighbor mid-week, and have just one more of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse books to finish. I know he dies in the last book, and I’m already feeling sad about that so I’m going to have to steel myself to read it. I am so glad the woman I met in the Oxford Information Office recommended that I go back and read all the Morse books. I’ve not only been able to place myself in different locations and settings and follow Morse and Lewis through the city, but have a deeper understanding of the university culture too.
  • Listening to: There’s a nice, gentle breeze outside this morning instead of the howling winds we’ve had for over a week so it’s nice and quiet. Brett and YaYu are rustling around doing something, but otherwise it’s a lovely, quiet morning.
  • Watching: We finished all the available episodes of Shetland, and YaYu and I are now watching Season 14 of Top Chef. After we finish an episode of Top Chef, Brett and I then watch an episode of Trapped, a detective series from Iceland. I’ve seen the Top Chef season before, but I don’t remember who won.
  • Cooking: I’m not sure what YaYu is planning for this evening, but afterward we’re going to the Kukui’ula Marketplace to celebrate with some Lappert’s ice cream. Other things planned for dinner this week are omelets; mabo nasu (if we can get eggplant); fried rice; and Thai chicken pizza. We’re going to get take-out on Thursday but where it comes from will be a surprise. We never got the Instant Pot cheesecake made this week, so we will try again this week, and I’m going to have another go at making focaccia.
  • Happy we accomplished this past week: 1) YaYu finished her second year of college – all classes over, all tests taken, all papers submitted. WenYu also finished her classes at Wellesley this past week and is now officially a graduate! 2) Using yeast and flour gifted us by our neighbors, YaYu and I attempted rosemary-garlic focaccia bread this past week as it was a dough we could tackle without our big mixer and we also have a big supply of fresh rosemary in the back yard. It was the first time we’d ever tried making it, and the result tasted good and was the right consistency, but it didn’t brown enough (possibly the temperature is off in the oven). 3) I successfully pressure cooked a slow cooker recipe in the Instant Pot – I was nervous about doing this but it turned out great and I will probably never slow cook it again. 4) We walked five out of seven days this past week.
  • Looking forward to next week: We have nothing special on the calendar, but my 68th birthday is on Thursday – I’ve asked for take-out for dinner and another “day off” that day, the perfect gift because I don’t want or need anything else!
    The new sofa table – we’re really pleased with it!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We had a long, lovely video chat with our son and family on Wednesday. K is speaking so much English now! All of them are well and managing the Tokyo lockdown. Our sofa table arrived last Wednesday and we love it! I had found four different ones on Amazon that would have worked, but selected this one for its simple, organic appearance and attractive price. Last Sunday evening we were invited to our downstairs neighbor’s apartment for a wine tasting. Our neighbor is a chef at the Grand Hyatt, and his wife is also a chef, so there were some tasty nibbles as well as good wine. We had thought the upstairs neighbor was the restaurant manager but it turned out he is the resort’s sommelier! He provided a lovely selection of wines for tasting, and we had a fun time getting to know our neighbors better. The next day, our downstairs neighbor brought up flour and yeast for us so we could bake (we had talked a lot about bread the night before).
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: I had apparently left $100 in a savings account here (I thought I had closed it), so I used that as the base for our local travel savings account. I put in $14 this past week, earned from recycling and saving $1 bills. Our total travel savings is now $164, so we’re off to a good, if simple, start. We ate all our leftovers this past week and didn’t throw anything away, and other than a stop at the farmstand, and a quick trip by Brett to Costco on Friday for toilet paper (that they didn’t have) and Diet Coke, we didn’t spend anything.
    Apple bananas and fresh mangoes from the farmstand
  • Grateful for: We’re feeling thankful that the Kukui’ula Farmer’s market opened up again this week – combined with the farmstand we now have two nearby sources for fresh, affordable, local produce. We’re also thankful that a few nearby restaurants that have been shut down are re-opening for take-out, including two of our favorites: Puka Dog (Hawaiian-style hot dogs) and Da Crack, (Mexican – their burritos are amazing). A couple of shops have also re-opened in the Kukui’ula Marketplace. The reopening will be slow here, but it’s getting started.
  • Bonus question: How do you feel about having to stay home all the time? For me, an introvert, it’s mostly a satisfying situation. I have several projects going on and manage to stay busy every day. In fact, this past week I purchased a small spiral notebook to get started on my travel planning project, and then was not able to find a block of time to get started! That’s one of my goals for this week though. I enjoy getting up when I’m ready and not having to follow any sort of defined schedule throughout the day, but I’m always surprised at the end by how much I’ve gotten done, whether that’s reading, baking, cooking, cleaning, exercise, etc. Anyway, staying at home works for me, at least most of the time. I am looking forward to getting out more though, like down to the beach for more than a walk, getting together with friends, and getting my hair cut, but that’s most likely another month or so off from now.

It feels good to be done acquiring things for this apartment – all we need now is to get our stored stuff over here and we will finally feel settled. We continue to pinch ourselves that we found this place with its beautiful yard, great breezes, nice neighbors, great location, and all for less than we assumed we would be paying. In just a little over a month here, we’ve come to realize how truly miserable our last house here was, on top of the awful landlord. The house had high-end finishes and looked good on the surface, but it was small and a pain to maintain, and there was absolutely no airflow through the house – any air that moved inside was only because of the ceiling fans that operated constantly (the house sat in a small valley, and windows were not placed to facilitate air movement through the house – even if the wind was blowing outside no air came through the windows). I understand now why the humidity seemed so awful and caused me so much such misery – it was miserable! I’m still waiting to see how summer goes here, but I feel like the heat and humidity may be a whole lot easier to manage than they were before. We’ll see though.

I spotted a few new hibiscus varieties this past week while we were out walking, and also discovered Indian ginger, pink Hawaiian ginger, and some miniature anthurium. 

That’s all for this week! Again, a very happy Mother’s Day to all who celebrate. If the day is a challenging one for you though, I hope, as Connie Schultz says, that it lands gently for you. Here’s to good things happening, good books, getting things accomplished, and looking forward to the week that’s coming up!


28 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 5/10/2020: Happy Mother’s Day!

  1. Happy mother’s day! Love that sofa table. Sounds like a lovely, relaxed week. We were at both those restaurants last year when we visited Kauai, probably because you’d mentioned them in your blog. Also visited Lapperts a couple of times for ice cream.

    It’s fun to read books that take place in places we’ve lived or visited. I’m partial to a few Seattle mystery authors because I grew up in Seattle. Although we’ve watched all the Morse, Lewis and Endeavor TV series, we had a hard time finding the Morse books at our branch library. Once the library is open again (soon, I hope), we’ll try library loan.


    1. Our Lappert’s ice cream yesterday was so good but boy, are they getting expensive! Just like everything else, I guess. My cup of Kauai Pie (my favorite) was free though, so that helped. I’m looking forward to my “surprise” take-out meal on Thursday.

      I had a hard time finding three of the Morse books – they were not available in the library or for the Kindle, so I ended up buying them used from Powell’s, but even then it was a bit difficult. I think I wrote about it here, but when we were in England and I was reading one of the books, I discovered that Colin Dexter had gotten some directions wrong! He was writing about the area where we were staying and got the locations of a couple of the towns backward on the direction Morse and Lewis were driving. I checked the maps a couple of times against what he wrote just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, but it was wrong in the book. You know you’ve stayed someplace too long when . . . .


  2. Happy Mother’s Day! I love the sunset photos.I love any pic with palm trees. The beach pics are fabulous! Such blue water! I love the sofa table! My four kids all contacted me and my youngest son brought me purple petunias and a lavender orchid because he said it was my fav color! So sweet! More importantly, he fixed my toilet…. lol. There are no restaurants here. I do usually go eat at a Mexican Restaurant every couple of weeks with my middle son, in the college town where he lives, but of course that has not happened since the first of March. Just about everything is opening back up here tomorrow and I expect cases of Covid to explode soon …sigh.


    1. Sadly, the sunsets have been rather unimpressive lately – the amount of color we can see has to do with the clouds, and because of all the wind there haven’t been many lately, at least not at sunset. They’ll be back, but for now we’re dealing with pastels instead of bright colors.

      That was very sweet of your son to bring you flowers in your favorite color (and do make repairs for you too!). The girls and I video messaged later in the afternoon which was fun – they are already planning their trip over here for Christmas! I am always glad to hear from Meiling – we worry about her so much because she lives in Manhattan, but she is fine and says her life is boring. They plan to leave New York as soon as they can – it’s been fun for them, but not where they way to stay – but no idea yet where they want to go.

      I have seen visitors, not locals, at the marketplace the past couple of days, so they are starting to come back. They make me a bit nervous though – why aren’t they in quarantine? They all have sunburns which tells me they’re not staying inside. I am terrified of the virus exploding here again – we haven’t had an active case on the island in over two weeks.


  3. Love the table. Barber shops and beauty salons open tomorrow. I think my father will ask me to take him after his lab appointment. Mothers day was good but mama’s gifts didn’t get here. According to Amazon it will be another week. One of the medical supplies I ordered for Daddy is somewhere in transit. It was ordered April 24 and is expect to arrive sometime between May 15 and May 21st. I am amazed you are getting your orders so fast. Love all the pictures. Just beautiful


    1. That is strange that your stuff from Amazon did not get there on time – almost all of our stuff arrived early! Brett thinks that’s because there is so much room on the empty planes coming over here.

      I cannot wait to get my haircut. My curls look nice as long as I stay indoors, but when I go out to walk my hair explodes. Even Brett commented on it the other day. It’s going to be at least another month or longer though before salons open up here. I wish I could do it myself, but I don’t have that kind of hair. Keep your Dad isolated if you go, wipe things down, wear masks, etc.


  4. Happy Mother’s Day! The kids and grands are really sweet and I like the idea of this holiday but I don’t like very much to be the center of attention so I keep a low key celebration as well.
    As you mentioned about your problems with the trucking company, it dawned on me that maybe they rented out the majority of their trucks to FedEx, UPS or any of these big transport companies. I know that in our subdivision there is a moving truck delivering parcels for FedEx.There has been a huge surge in deliveries and even Amazon may would have opted to rent trucks rather than buying since this situation is temporary.Just a thought. I love that coral hibiscus, how pretty! Take care, have fun and stay safe!


    1. I had a lovely day yesterday – it was so nice having no responsibilities. YaYu forgot to start the dinner so we ended up with something other than planned but it was fine, and best of all used up some stuff in the freezer (I will be making last night’s dinner tonight).

      Just not sure what is going on with the moving company in Portland, but your guess is as good as any. I will wait another couple of weeks and then call again, but boy do we miss our stuff. It isn’t much, but some of it we could sure use now (cooking utensils and cookware especially, and we don’t want to buy anything more).

      I just can’t get enough of the hibiscus – every time I feel like I’ve seen them all in our neighborhood I find a new one!


  5. Happy Mother’s Day! Would you mind sharing the amazon link for that table? It’s great! We’ve found it odd which things amazon will and won’t ship to Hawaii, it’s always a guessing game, so I never thought to look at the furniture options.


    1. Here is the link for the table: Metal 48″ Media Console Table, Live Edge. The table is very heavy and solid. The top is pieced versus one solid slice of wood (which is why the price is low), but is very well done and definitely not the first thing you notice. There is a whole line of pieces from coffee tables to dining tables in the line.

      In my case, Amazon no longer publishes prices next to items that won’t ship to Hawaii, so that’s been helpful (and disappointing too at times).


  6. Great table…I love the “live edge” look. And your pictures are wonderful as always. So beautiful there!

    Sounds like you lucked out with great neighbors, too. That’s always a gamble. We have a neighbor across the street that we really won’t miss when we move. Most of the people on our street are great, but this guy is totally annoying.

    We sold our house Friday, which is HUGE relief. We had two offers the day after showings were able to resume here, and so we were also able to get a decent price. There are many things I will miss about this house, so I am making a “will miss/won’t miss” list to remind myself why we decided to sell. LOL. Our builder seems to be on track timewise, so we’re hopeful it will all come together.

    Have a great week!


    1. CONGRATULATIONS! Oh, I know you must be feeling so relived that the house sold. It must have been all that mulching! Now on to new things!

      Brett is not a fan of the live edge look, but he loves this table! It about killed him though getting it up the stairs into the apartment so he could assemble it – it is very heavy, and said right on the box that it was a “two-person life.” Anyway, it’s a good fit for the apartment and other piece with a “beachy” vibe to it. I am glad though to be done with aquiring furniture.

      We’ve always been hit or miss with neighbors. The ones here are much younger than us, but still amiable and good about including us. They dream of traveling so want to hear our stories and get advice. I want to learn to cook from them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! It’s just really a relief for sure. Inspections tomorrow, but an inspector that did this house a month ago for the buyers who backed out. 🙄 He really liked the place, so we expect good reports. 🤞 We have all good neighbors on this street – friendly but not invasive. Except for one guy across the street who is a real pill. I must say, we’ll be happy to be rid of him.


      2. There’s always one, isn’t there?

        Fingers crossed that all goes well with the inspection, but it sounds like you’re in good hands. Our last inspection was a nightmare. “Our” agent, who was also representing the buyers, brought in an inspector who miraculously found – after an hour and a half – exactly what the buyers wanted: getting the whole house re-sided and repainted in the color of their choice with us paying for it! We said no, fired the agent, and got a wonderful new agent. The siding specialists she brought in as well as the new inspector said there was absolutely nothing wrong with the original siding! Go figure.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. OH my gosh!!! That does sound like a nightmare. Wow. An agent makes all the difference in the world…this is the very best agent either of us has ever worked with. Just a real gem.


      4. After I answered you, I went back and read what I had written about the agent at the time. It was worse than I remembered – she literally took over EVERYTHING, and want to make ALL the decisions about everything and then tell us afterwards and present us with the bill. She ordered repairs without telling us, etc. – just out of control. The smartest thing we did was fire her. Our next agent was a dream – just superb and at the top of her game. Funny thing: they both work for the same agency now, are both principal brokers, and our second agent knows all about the stunts Agent #1 pulled with us.


  7. What a lovely Mother’s Day you appear to have had! And very hopeful news about the potential improvement of humidity this summer at your new place vs. your old one. Fingers crossed for you!

    On a somewhat funny note, I likewise normally don’t cook on Mother’s Day, however in that it feels like EVERY day these days is laid back(!), I actually made breakfast yesterday for once. However, the rest of the day I was spoiled. We met my oldest daughter and her BF at a coastal park in Capo Beach (since I know you know the area 😊 ), they brought poke bowls for dinner, we went for a walk along the beach, it was a beautiful afternoon, and I had a wonderful time.I

    The passage of time is very slow right now.


    1. Oh, I so agree that every day now is a “day off.” But, yesterday was still lovely. At one point I hung a few pieces of clothing on the rack to dry and got scolded for that, so I honestly did nothing the rest of the day. Your day sounds lovely as well – beach walks where you are are so great, better than here I think. We go down to the same stretch of beach almost every day but it’s always different, to me anyway.

      The days are long but the years are short – isn’t that how the saying goes? I am trying to embrace the slowness of time right now as it felt like it was speeding by before.


  8. That sofa table looks great. Can you give a link as to where you purchased it, please? Thanks. I have enjoyed your writing immensely.


      1. Thanks for the info. I should have asked this previously, how much assembly is required?


  9. I read some of your blog and enjoyed your adventures. I noticed your love of hibiscuses. Take a drive into Kukui’ula into the employee parking lot right before the club house, take your camera because there are some outstanding hibiscus there.
    Being locked down in New Zealand was a real stroke of luck for us. The only problem, my husband surfs and since we’re staying in Maori tribal land, they’ve forbidden surfing. I think that will change this week. We leave May 21 after being here almost 3 months but I’m homesick for Kaua’i, my kids, friends and my 3 cats. Lucky we live Kaua’i!


    1. My hibiscus love sort of caught my by surprise, but the more I see the more my love grows! Many of the ones I’ve photographed already are from Kukui’ula, but I’m going to take your advice and park at the other end and see what I can find down that way! They always thrill me.

      We are happy it be back on Kaua’i. We had not thought of returning, but this past Christmas our daughters told us they thought we should return when we finished traveling. We visited for 10 days on our way over to Japan, and it felt like we never left, although we realized we did not want to live up on the east side again. So far we are loving it here on the south side. Great location, great breezes, and we love our little apartment. We plan to travel again, but just two big/long trips a year and then spend the rest of our time here on the island. Oh yes, so lucky we live Kaua’i! Hope we can meet up and trade stories when you get back.


      1. My husband, Roger, was the project manager for the farm, nursery and landscaping at Kukui’ula and just retired at the end of last year. He had all those beautiful hibiscus planted.
        We’ve lived on Kaua’i for 42 years so it is home to us. I worked in England for 8 years but had summers off so traveled back and forth for Christmas and the summers. I retired in 2013. We have a married daughter living in Kapahi, she’s a cowgirl! Our son lives in Seattle but I always hope he’ll move home. No grandchildren and I don’t think there will be any.
        Many of our travels have revolved around surf trips or plant collecting over the years. I go back and forth on a bucket list of travels…or just staying home. We have one more house to build that we need to get going on. Maybe after the house is finished, we’ll get an RV or a trailer and see parts of America and Canada. We’ll see. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants type. Maybe I should be more of a planner like you!


      2. Kukui’ula is lovely, especially because of the landscaping. I’m not much of a shopper, but I still love to walk through the marketplace because of the plants. I’m looking forward to finding some more of your husband’s treasures, hidden or otherwise!

        I wonder if the way Kaua’i is now is like it was when you arrived all those years before, or at least closer. There’s no traffic right now, no visitors, everyone or almost everyone is local. It’s all very peaceful compared to what I remember from our earlier time here. The tourist dollars are needed, but this is still pretty special.

        We still hope to travel, but know it won’t be full time again. The longest Brett wants to be away is 45 days. He’s interested in mainland trips first, although he didn’t flinch when I suggest driving around the south island of New Zealand, or driving around Ireland. We’re also talking about a drive across Canada. And of course, we’ll go to Japan every year as long as we’re able, to see our son, DIL, and the grandkids as well as spend time in our favorite place. I’m afraid right now about how long it’s going to be before we see them again.

        I think the only one of our kids that will end up here is our youngest. The three girls fought us moving here tooth and nail, but now say it’s the best thing we ever did. Kaua’i is home now.


      3. I think we live in the best place on earth. We have seen a lot of changes over the years. We got married at the old, old Waiohai in 1978. It was a small 50 room hotel with blue shutters. There was only one stop light on the whole island, it was on Poipu Road and only worked when they were hauling cane. We started Kaua’i Tropicals in 1984 and were the largest tropical flower grower/shippers on the island, actually we were the only tropical flower shippers on the island then. We’ve been through two hurricanes and we’re still there. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, it’s home!
        My husband had nothing to do with the landscaping at Kukui’ula Shopping Center, only Kukui’ula Development.
        I’m anxious to get home, get through quarantine and get to experience Kaua’i in this downtime. We are a little sad about leaving New Zealand but I told my husband he has some of the best surf anywhere in the world and he gets to go home with virtually no tourists surfing in the water. How cool is that?
        Your daughters all sound amazing, I hope I get to meet them.


      4. I agree about being in the best place on earth. We had never been here before when we decided to move here – it was all done “scientifically,” through research, charts, etc. The first time we came, six months before our move, we stayed for nearly three weeks, and didn’t do anything “touristy.” We checked mileage, visited schools, talked to EVERYBODY about everything from good to bad and in between, and left knowing we had made the right choice of a place to live. We’ve never regretted our move (our last landlord, yes) and Kaua’i is home. Our girls were angry about the move, but all three encouraged us to come back last December (!), and they all consider Kaua’i their home.

        Thanks for correction about Kukui’ula – we will head over to the development and see what hibiscus we discover there!


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