Sunday Morning 05/31/2020: Things Are Happening!

It was a good week for sunsets.

It’s the last day of May! We went back to the beach for the first time last Sunday afternoon and it was every bit as wonderful as we hoped it would be. We went a second time on Tuesday and again, it was perfect. We went to Brenneke, a small beach just east of the Poipu Beach Park, and only about a 10-minute drive from our apartment. Brenneke is known for its great body surfing and boogie boarding sets, and we had a good time watching both kids and adults out in the water. And, as an extra bonus, there were turtles! On both days we were there several large (huge, really) sea turtles swam in the waves near the shore and put on a show for us. The beach was practically empty and there was plenty of parking, an additional treat. As long as visitors aren’t coming to the island Brenneke will stay our beach, but once tourists return we’ll have to find somewhere else as everything in Poipu gets very crowded, very quickly.

Brenneke Beach

We FINALLY heard from the moving company this past week! Our boxes will be picked up this coming week and will be delivered here four to six weeks later. The cost however was quite a shock – the estimate was nearly half again what it cost to move our things over to Portland two years ago. Ouch! However, that estimate is based on a weight we know is too high (we know the weight of what we shipped back to Portland, haven’t added anything, and the estimate is over that). The higher cost overall is due to increases levied by the steamship lines – those costs go up every year (which we knew from shipping before) and I’m sure the current pandemic hasn’t helped any. Anyway, here’s hoping it won’t be too much longer and we’ll soon have our stuff with us again!

On the downside, I got some sobering news from my eye doctor this past week: when this last prescription is no longer strong enough, it will be time to have cataract surgery – they have grown over the past three years to nearly the point for removal. That was a genuine surprise – I knew my vision had gotten worse, but had no idea it was because cataracts had started growing again. This will also be the last pair of progressive lenses he will prescribe – after the surgery (in a couple of years) he wants me to instead have one pair of glasses for daily wear, a second pair for reading and computer work, and a pair of prescription sunglasses instead of the Transitions lenses I wear now. I’m feeling even more grateful than before though that we were able to add vision insurance to our plan a couple of years ago. It covered enough this past week that I paid nothing out of pocket for my exam, and my new glasses, with designer frames and every other add-on, were less than half of what I paid for my current pair at Costco two years ago.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m still reading two books, and will most likely continue through June. My daytime/ beach read is American Dirt – I’m moving through it fairly quickly. My only impression so far is that I’m sort of glad we didn’t go to Mexico, although I know that’s too broad of a generalization. My evening book is the third in the Harry Potter series, The Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Listening to: It’s a quiet morning here: Brett is reading and YaYu is still sleeping. It’s quite breezy outside although the sky is blue with a few clouds. We’re thinking of heading down to Barking Sands this afternoon for some sunbathing and a long walk on the beach.
  • Watching: YaYu and I finished the Best British Home Cook – it was an easy-to-watch, enjoyable show, but still sort of meh in my opinion. There was none of the tension and excitement of The Great British Bake-Off, and not much of a chance to really get to know the contestants. She and I haven’t decided on something new to watch, but are leaning toward one of the true-crime series on BritBox. Brett and I started watching the British series Line of Duty this past week and it’s very good.
    Breakfast of champions: a banana, mango, papaya, and kale smoothie.
  • Cooking: The past week we worked hard at getting rid of odds and ends in our fridge and freezer so we could do our shopping at Walmart, Costco, and Safeway yesterday and have room to put everything away. For example, I had smoothies for breakfast a few days last week to use up fruit and some kale we had on hand. YaYu will be making spaghetti carbonara for dinner tonight to use up a few more things. Other meals this week will be grilled fish tacos with fresh mango salsa; pork & pepper stir fry; three-color Chinese salad; California roll salad; grilled Italian sausages with sauteed peppers and onions; and the chicken and rice casserole that didn’t get made this past week. No baking though – we bought a watermelon at Costco and until we finish that there’s no room for anything else. Also, the new rice cooker arrived and I am happy to have one again. I did figure out how to make good Japanese rice in the Instant Pot (thank you, Sheila!), and while the time was shorter overall it required several steps as well as watching the time for each carefully, difficult as I was getting other things ready at the same time. Also, we often prepare items in the Instant Pot that go along with rice and both can’t happen at the same time with one pot. Although it takes longer, I honestly prefer the fix-it-and-forget-it ease of the rice cooker.

Some things I saw on our walks.

  • Happy I accomplished this past week: This past week started out as a terrible one for walking because of the weather – lots of rain – but we got in some good walks at the end of the week, including one on the beach path in Kapaa. We’ve increased the distance we walk as well. I got a doctor’s appointment set up for the week after next with a nearby physician and a hair appointment for the week after that! I’ve been able to check off almost everything on my card every day and earned 425 Swagbucks last week.
  • Looking forward to next week: We loved being back at the beach and are looking forward to going as many days as possible this summer. We’re also looking forward to getting in a couple of walks on the eastside beach path each week. Although I don’t look forward to the drive over to Kapaa, walking on the pathway makes it worthwhile. Finally, I can’t wait to hear that our storage items have been picked up and are on their way!
    The scones YaYu made were as light as the ones we had in England and just as delicious.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu surprised us yesterday while Brett and I were out doing the food shopping, and baked a batch of scones with two flavors: fresh mango and chocolate chip. They were still warm when we got home so we each had one – delicious! Getting back to the beach twice last week and walking again on the beach path in Kapaa were also very good things as was a visit and catch-up with friends Alan and Cheryl while we were in Kapaa. And, we found a lovely shaded path in Kalaheo for walking and figured out another new walking route over in Kukui’ula as well. 
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: There was nothing special we did this past week, just the usual stuff like eating all our leftovers and having as many no-spend days as possible (we ended up with four). We put $14.06 into the change/$1 bill jar this past week, and as of the end of this month, we have accumulated $404 in our travel savings account.
  • Grateful for: I am so thankful that in just a few more weeks we should have our stored items back with us. We’ve managed without them for this long, but at the same time, there have been items we have missed greatly and others that will make our lives easier. I have especially missed our art, as well as the Japanese items we kept, and I am looking forward to having those in our home again. Most of all though both Brett and I are beyond grateful for our friend Joan’s willingness to store those items for us while we traveled!
  • Bonus question: Is Hawaii open now? For local residents, things are moving along slowly but surely, but for visitors, no. The governor just extended the visitor quarantine past June 30 after new cases of the virus re-emerged this past week on the Big Island and Oahu. Most likely all those cases came along with visitors to the islands since the quarantine, some of who ignored it and went out and even bragged on social media about doing so. More shops have reopened on Kaua’i (incuding hair salons!) so things are slowly returning to normal, but social distancing, mask-wearing, and other precautions are still strictly followed by all here. For example, for both my doctor and hair appointments next month, I have to call when I arrive and then wait outside in my car until they call and let me know they are ready for me as only a limited amount of people are allowed inside at a time. The only time we’ve seen someone without a mask and the only time we go without a mask is when we’re out walking or at the beach, but since nothing is crowded,  everyone keeps at least six if not 10 feet away from everyone else. Unemployment will run out for most people in the state at the end of July, and things are going to start getting very tough after that, but letting the virus get a hold here would be even worse for everyone.
We have a blue and gray theme going in the living room and think this rug will blend the two together very well.

I purchased two final items for the house this past week – a rug for the living room and a set of chair pads for our dining chairs. We have a rug in storage that unfortunately won’t work (it will probably go in the bedroom instead) and we’ve tried to rationalize going without a floor covering since we moved in, but have had to admit the room needs something on the floor. The rug we chose is nothing fancy or expensive, but it will work nicely with our stuff. The dining chairs have always been a bit too low and hard so pads were needed. As there’s nothing available on the island, I ordered them from an Etsy. The fabric is a blue Japanese-style design, and they will be custom made to fit our chairs. I am very glad to be finished with re-acquiring things though – we have enough now, especially so when our stored items get here.

As it’s the end of May, I’ve been reflecting more on what we would have been doing now, back in the Before Time. We’d be done with our five weeks in San Miguel de Allende, but have prepped ourselves for returning for a longer stay. We would have finished our five-day visit to New York City to spend time with Meiling and see Hamilton on Broadway, the experience of a lifetime. Today we’d be in Massachusetts, celebrating WenYu’s graduation from Wellesley, and tomorrow we’d be on our way for a six-day stay getaway with her in Vermont and Maine. Even in mid-March being back on Kaua’i had never even crossed our minds, and yet here we are, and glad of it. What a crazy and yet sobering time this has been.

Here are a few more hibiscus from around Kukui’ula. I’m going to have to broaden my sphere because I think I’ve now photographed all the ones there and in the nearby area.

That’s all for this week – I hope it’s been a good one for everyone out there. Wishing everyone a great week coming up, with lots of good things happening, good books to read, good food to eat and lots of things accomplished! 

9 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 05/31/2020: Things Are Happening!

  1. I’m sad for WenYu that she didn’t get a traditional graduation celebration. I’m happy you have such good vision care, and happy your household belongings are on the way! Is there any chance of posting a pic of the turtles in a future post? 🙂

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    1. We’re sad for her as well; she was so proud yesterday to show us her stole, and is going to save her graduation robe and cap as her class will be included in next year’s ceremony. We sent her a package with goodies from Hawaii – it was supposed to arrive in time for her graduation, but is still “en route.” Grrrrr.

      The turtles are hard to capture in a photo unless you’re standing above them. They occasionally poke their heads out of the water, and even more occasionally a flipper, but the water is clear enough hear that we can see them bobbing in the waves or floating near the surface. I will keep trying though!

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  2. It seems like lots of good things are coming your way and although you may need eye surgery, you still have another couple of years to come to terms with it. Come to think how our lives have changed in just a couple of months.Looking at those pictures however makes me think that you’ve ended up in a gorgeous spot of this planet. Enjoy going to the beach, I must admit I am a little envious.

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    1. It’s nice to know things are finally moving along: our shipment, a haircut, doctor’s appointment, etc. I am a patient person, but things were really starting to drag out.

      We’re in such a different place than we imagined we would be at this time, but we are glad to be back on the island. It is an incredibly beautiful place, but also filled with kind people. And the beaches – I could sit and look at the ocean for hours. It fills my soul. We honestly couldn’t have a nicer “home base” going forward.

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  3. It’s nice to hear you’ve had a good week! A lot of encouraging things happening there. And your stunning sunsets don’t disappoint. 🙂 I’ll need cataract surgery at some point, too, and as your eye doctor said, my guy said the time will come when he can’t adjust my vision with my bifocals anymore. The good news is that my mom and my DH both had it done and it’s pretty simple and apparently yields great results!

    I like the rug! And I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to have your belongings again. You are fortunate to be in Hawaii right now…between Covid and the political mess, it seems a good place to be.

    Still packing boxes here, closing the sale of this house Friday and the new condo a couple weeks later. Some days I’m just frozen when I look around at all that needs to be done, but overall we’re moving forward and should have it all in place. My lists are long and necessary – stress makes me forget things, I’m finding. And I’m stunned by what is going on in this country right now. It’s like living 1968 over only worse. God help us all.

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    1. We did have a good week! So far this one is starting out well too.

      The rug is due to arrive on Wednesday this week – I’m excited to see how it goes with everything and ties the room together. Plus, the coffee table will no longer slide around if it gets bumped and we’ll have something comfy to put our feet on.

      We have been stunned to watch what been going on over on the mainland, but IMO it’s been building for awhile due to the militarization of the police, a lack of accountability, and a lack of moral leadership. I honestly believe that some of the violence and destruction going on has been done deliberately in order to ramp things up – there are people who would like nothing more than the country to erupt in a civil war. But people are also just plain mad and frustrated, and something was bound to happen eventually. It’s just so much more though than most thought would happen, and more violent too.

      Hang in there – you are in the homestretch and almost to the finish with this move! I think the closer a move gets, the more frantic it gets as well, no matter how much you’ve prepped and accomplished. It’s just the nature of the beast.

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  4. Scary news about your eyes, but how wonderful that there’s a surgical solution!

    I’d love to see a collage of all the hibiscus photos.

    How wonderful to have the beach to yourselves. And to watch the turtles. Are they always so close to the beach or is this the result of fewer people due to lockdown?

    And why does unemployment payment run out? If there’s no work, surely people need social security?

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    1. Apparently the eye surgery is pretty easy and will make a world of difference. I am looking forward to getting my new glasses as these old ones just aren’t doing it any more, and I’m getting headaches more frequently.

      The turtles frequently swim close to shore and sometimes even come up on the beach to rest and bask in the sun for a while. Their appearance at a swimming beach might be because of the current lack of humans in the water – I don’t know. One almost landed on a woman’s head the other day – she was diving under a swell and didn’t see the turtle floating above her. A near miss (and I bet it would have hurt quite a bit as well).

      I don’t know the state rules for unemployment, but it doesn’t go on forever – the extra unemployment most are currently receiving ends in July. Also, currently there is a forebearance against evicting renters and homeowers for non payment or rent and/or mortages, but that’s going to go away as well. Things are going to get very bad here because as it will take a few years for the tourism industry to build up again (hopefully not as much as it was though – our island was being stretched to the max). Island families who can will take in and look out for members who no longer have work, and some locals will head to the mainland to look for work.

      I will try for a hibiscus collage one of these days, but I’m still on the hunt for more variations!

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  5. Congrats to WenYu! This is a difficult year to graduate, but it’s nice the college will include her class in next year’s ceremony. Did they do an online ceremony?

    I have many friends who have had cataract surgery and it was no big deal. All of them wore glasses before and now none of them need every day glasses! They need reading glasses though.

    I love Brenneke’s Beach! I like how clear the water is and the sea turtles. Every time I’ve been there I’ve seen at least one large turtle. The last time I was there in December, we ate at the Brenneke’s restaurant.

    I think about the Before Time a lot and what I would be doing right now if things were normal. I’d be getting my hair done, for one! Salons are still closed here but are scheduled to open in a couple of weeks.

    Your photos are wonderful and make me miss Kauai even more. It also makes me wonder when I’ll ever get back there, but I try to stay positive. This is definitely a crazy time, but hopefully it will all be a bad memory soon.

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