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!
- 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.
- 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!