The last pretty sunset this past week was on Monday.
Here’s wishing all the dads, both those with us and those in our hearts, a happy Father’s Day! YaYu got up this morning and is baking two kinds of scones for Brett’s breakfast: cranberry-white chocolate and blueberry, and I’m fixing a special seafood dinner tonight of panko-crusted fish (a gift from our downstairs neighbor, who goes fishing every evening), jasmine rice, and coleslaw with miso dressing. YaYu and I are also baking him a triple chocolate cake topped with ganache. She and I went together on his gift: Two bottles of gin, Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray Rangpur, and two four-packs of Fever-Tree elderflower tonic, which we found at a local market. Brett enjoyed it when we were in England, so this was a no-brainer once we had decided to give him gin. We were also going to give him a Day of Doing Nothing, but he was up ahead of both of us and already doing things. Meiling and WenYu sent him a box of fancy biscotti but unfortunately, it won’t arrive until next week.
This week started out with great promise and then sort of went downhill from there. We drove down to the Barking Sands base on Monday and enjoyed having the entire beach to ourselves for over two hours. Brett stopped at the exchange on the way in and purchased the beach chair of his dreams, complete with a side table for his drink and book, and all of us took long walks in the sand (did you know that walking in sand increases the calories burned by anywhere from 20% to 50%? I do now!). On Tuesday we woke to high winds and rain, both of which hung around for the rest of the week, most of the time anyway (Friday and Saturday were especially miserable, although it did clear enough in the afternoon for us to walk on Tuesday and Friday). The sunsets started off nicely but then turned fairly insipid as well. I have been having a tough time reconciling the weather we’ve been having with the fact that we’re approaching the end of June! Usually, by now it is hot, sunny, and humid, but it’s been unseasonably cool instead – great for sleeping, but less than ideal for going out.
YaYu has been out pounding the pavement this past week looking for a job, even if it’s only a for minimum wage. She is bored hanging out at home all the time, and would like to earn something this summer to contribute to her upcoming college expenses – that bill is coming up in a couple of weeks. She went to a job fair on Wednesday and then visited several other places on Thursday asking if they were hiring. Nothing has turned up so far, but there are jobs available and she plans to go out again this week.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I’m still reading The Daughters of ErieTown, by Connie Schultz, although I’m almost finished. It’s very good, very well written, but not really my style. Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour, by Lynne Olson, came off of hold at the library yesterday and was downloaded – I am eager to get started on it.
- Listening to: Brett is rustling around in the kitchen making coffee, while YaYu is anxiously awaiting her turn to get in there to make scones. Since it’s not raining, there are lots of birds singing in the trees outside, but one noisy rooster is trying to get into the act as well. While we have woken up to wild winds the past few mornings, this morning’s gentle breeze through the trees this morning is a nice (and less noisy) change.
- Watching: Same old, same old again this past week, but we finished Line of Duty and Dead to Me and started Ozark. We haven’t watched enough to have much of an opinion, but so far it’s got our attention.
- Cooking: Fish dinner tonight, and then we’ll be having Snake Alley noodles (although we’re all having it with zoodles instead of pasta), California roll salad, Vietnamese-style salad rolls, chicken tacos, Instant Pot mushroom risotto, and beef Polish sausages with a three-bean salad during the rest of the week.
Things I saw on our walks this week.
- Happy I accomplished last week: In spite of the not-very-good weather, we got in five days of good walks. I also finished up my first set of tracking cards, and got every day filled in – those five weeks went by quickly. My next five weeks’ set is ready to go!
- Looking forward to next week: Hopefully, I will finally be getting my new glasses! I called this past week to see what was up, and was told “they didn’t pass the final inspection” but I think that really meant they forgot to send in the order – oops! Packages are due from Etsy as well – our seat cushions as well as some handmade pottery salad bowls I almost forgot I ordered, but I checked the tracking information and both are moving through the system very slowly. Fingers are crossed that we get another couple of beach days this coming week!
- Thinking of good things that happened: I have short (very short) hair again and that is a very good thing! I did love wearing my hair longer and curlier earlier in the year, but it’s a style that does not work for me here (an understatement). We had a long video call with our son and family on Friday. Boy, have the grandkids grown in the last few months! K chatted right along with us in English too. She attends a nearby international school where she speaks English full time, and that has made all the difference. We miss them all terribly. I bought yet another Oxo hand-held spiralizer, our fourth, found on sale for a ridiculously low price at Macy’s. I thought our third one was the charm, but no, we left it in the cupboard back in Japan.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: This was not a particularly frugal week. Not a crazy week, but we spent more than usual (haircut, spiralizer, beach chair, Father’s Day gifts). We put $10.74 into the change/$1 bill fund (recycling week). We didn’t throw away any food, and all the leftovers were eaten. I earned an additional 565 Swagbucks.
- Grateful for: I’ve said it before, but I am continually grateful for the companionship and help of my partner-in-crime, best friend, and the love of my life, Brett. Beyond being thankful for his daily help at home, and his willingness to do many of the tasks that I dislike or don’t feel like doing, he has been and is a wonderful, loving, involved father with our children, rising above his own less than ideal upbringing. He has always made sure we have what we need, and has been the steady hand on the tiller through all the ups and downs we faced over the years.
- Bonus question: Do you have, or have you ever had a nickname? When I was very little I was called Laurie, but apparently, when I was three years old someone called me “Laurie” and I announced my name was Laura, not Laurie, and I’ve been Laura ever since, with two exceptions. One of my high school math teachers was a good friend of my mom (she was also a math teacher) – he had known me since I was little and still called me Laurie; I let it slide. My childhood next-door neighbor always called me “LR.” I was sort of afraid of her, so I let that one go as well. My older brother and sister had nicknames for me, but I don’t acknowledge either of those anymore. My brother’s nickname started out as a putdown and I’ve always disliked it, and I am no longer am close with my sister so that doesn’t get used either.
Kaua’i recorded its first active case of Covid-19 in nearly two months this past week. There has been an uptick in new cases in the state as inter-island travel has reopened, but almost everyone here continues to practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and so forth. A few more visitors seem to be coming to the islands these days as well, and we have seen a few people out and about without masks and assume they are visitors. Most venues however have someone there to remind people to wear a mask, places like stores or farmers’ markets. Fifty-seven percent of the households on Kaua’i now have someone who has lost a job because of the virus, and it is affecting the overall mental health of island residents, especially as businesses are only slowly reopening here, and the visitor quarantine has been extended until the end of July. Our upstairs neighbors returned from the mainland this past week and both are worried that they will soon be laid off permanently; both are already applying for jobs back on the mainland. They are currently under quarantine here, getting regular, but unscheduled visits from the police or National Guard to make sure they are staying home. As with many places, things are currently stuck between a rock and a hard place here. Open the state and there’s a high risk of a catastrophic infection rate, overwhelming the islands’ health care system. Stay closed and the state’s economy craters, maybe beyond ever reviving again.
Once again, that’s all for this week! I hope it was a good one for everyone, with good weather, good food, good books, and lots of good things happening. Happy Father’s Day as well to all who are celebrating today, and here’s to a good week coming up!