Only a couple of mildly interesting sunsets this past week . . . until yesterday’s. That was a stunner.
The week started out poorly, weather-wise, but eventually turned nicer on Thursday. We enjoyed sunshine and blue skies again for a few days but this morning it’s back to strong winds and rain again. We woke up last Monday morning to absolutely pouring rain, with the same on Tuesday and again Wednesday morning, all accompanied by howling winds. By early afternoon each day the rain would stop and a tiny bit of blue sky would break out, and we would dash over to Kukuiolono and get our walk in. Then the clouds would eventually roll back in and by evening the rain would be back. One of our fellow walkers warned us though that when these storms stop that’s when the trade winds will stop as well and things will heat up, and we’re not looking forward to that again. Although there aren’t may visitors to the island these days, my thoughts when we have this kind of stormy weather are always that I’m glad we didn’t spend thousands to come vacation on Kaua’i. By the way, the quarantine in Hawaii has been extended until the first of September. Masks are still required on the island in all public locations except for when exercising outdoors or at the beach.
Friday was the first really hot and humid day we’ve had this summer. The movers arrived early in morning (like two hours earlier than expected – we were still in our pajamas when they called to say they were on their way!) and everything was off the truck was in our apartment in less than an hour. One box at first appeared to be missing but we eventually found it. We unpacked all day Friday, and surprisingly got almost everything put away. Saturday was spent finding places for the last few items, and getting all the boxes and paper out of the apartment so that the moving company can come pick them up for recycling. We didn’t think this move (including the pack-out from when we left in 2014) was as good as our earlier one with Royal Hawaiian – there were a few broken things this time (thankfully all repairable), including the pottery bowl made by my aunt and given to us as a wedding present, and the reproduction primitive clay horse I bought during our first tour in Japan. One of my jubako (porcelain stacking boxes) was also damaged, but again, all can be repaired.
YaYu has been rethinking her return to college this fall this past week. She got her bill last Thursday and NO financial aid had been applied, but the issue has been corrected and she should get an adjusted bill tomorrow. We about fainted though when we saw the amount without financial aid – yikes! YaYu’s main concern about going back is that she will catch the virus and bring it back with her when she comes home for Thanksgiving. Returning to school is still her first choice, but we have told her that she is welcome to stay here if she ultimately decides against going back – it’s her decision. We’ve told her that if she does stay we will have to reduce what we’re putting away for her as the cost of feeding her has been more than we expected (the girl can eat!), and we will also probably have to pay more rent for the time she’s with us. The landlord has been accommodating so far, but we don’t want to push our luck.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I am almost done with the fourth Harry Potter book in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It’s still a very good read and I’m enjoying it. The Blossom and the Firefly, by Sherri L. Smith, just came off of hold from the library – I’ve been waiting a long time for it so am excited to get started. I ordered the new Kevin Kwan book from Amazon, Sex and Vanity, as it looks like it may be a while for other holds to be released. I’ve enjoyed all of his other books (Crazy Rich Asians, etc.), and supposedly this is his best one yet.
- Listening to: The wind is howling again outside, and rain is coming down (sideways) at intervals. It’s very cool though, almost like we have air-conditioning – such strange weather for summer. Brett is reading and YaYu is still sleeping, so it’s very quiet inside.
- Watching: We will finish up Ozark this week and haven’t come up with anything to watch next. Suggestions are welcome!
- Cooking/baking: I am thrilled to have my full contingent of cookware once again! Since we’ve lived here all we had is one 3-quart saucepan, a 10-inch skillet, a sauté pan, and five cooking utensils – it’s been a challenge at times to figure out how to get everything made and on the table. Brett is especially happy to have a can opener once again – he’s been opening things all this time with the tool on his pocket knife. Tonight we’re going to have curried chickpeas over rice and some grilled chicken (if the weather improves). Other main courses this week will be chicken adobo with bok choy (it didn’t get made last week), Cuban bowls (black beans, roasted sweet potato, fried banana or plantain if I can find it, and pico de Gallo, all over rice); pork, bean, and rice burritos; grilled monchong, one of our favorite local fish; and roast chicken with mashed potatoes, a request from YaYu. We’ll do leftovers for one meal. I’m planning to bake a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting this week for our dessert cake.
- Happy we accomplished this past week: I am glad we were able to walk as much as we did this past week considering both the weather and getting all our stuff unpacked and put away. It was touch and go almost every day, quite hot on a couple of days, but there is thankfully always a breeze up at Kukuiolono and we were always able to get ahead of the late afternoon rain. We took Friday off from walking to unpack and still managed to get in as many steps right in our small apartment. YaYu and I finally finished Level 2 of our daily Japanese lesson on Memrise and have moved on to Level 3, which actually feels easier for some reason. Brett got his hair cut (and looks like he is back in the navy again).
- Looking forward to next week: Our pictures are the last thing remaining to be unpacked, and that will be finished tomorrow and everything hung by the end of the week. We’re hoping for some beach weather this week so we can get out of the apartment for at least a couple of days. And, maybe this will be the week the chair pads finally arrive, although I’ve pretty much given up on expecting them – they’ll get here when they get here. I actually think they’re in Honolulu, where packages seem to have to hang out for a (possibly long) while before finally being shipped over to Kaua’i. I’m also looking forward to getting my hair trimmed again this coming Saturday.
- Thinking of good things that happen: The arrival of our stored items was like Christmas in July, and I’ve been enjoying using our things again. We had a wonderful, long phone call with our grandkids on Friday evening – always a lot of fun, and balm for my soul. We liked the bench-style coffee table we had, but it was not a good fit with our sofa so we ordered a new table (same style as our sofa table) and it arrived early this past week. The new coffee table is big and fits much better in the space (as well as giving us more room on top), and the old table is now serving as a bench at the end of our bed. We didn’t have any place to set things, or sit down, other than the bed so that’s now taken care of. But, we really are done buying furniture now.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We went over budget some on our food shopping last week, but other than that and our weekly trip to the farmers’ market and a haircut for Brett it was a no-spend week. The leftovers continue to get eaten up, but this past week I had to throw away a small piece of cabbage that had gotten mushy, some kale that had turned, a couple of onions that had gone moldy, and a small amount of green-is Parmesan cheese that had gotten hidden in the back. I hate throwing away food, so this was a wakeup to make more of an effort to keep track of things in our small fridge, and make sure they get used. We put $4 and some coins into the change/$1 bill jar, and I earned 524 Swagbucks.
- Grateful for: I felt like I could finally exhale when I saw that our big antique hibachi had arrived in one piece (the moving company had actually built a special wooden crate to ship it), as did its stand and the antique plate that sits in the middle. The plate had only been lightly packed inside the hibachi and we consider it something of a miracle that it made it in one piece. We bought the hibachi and plate during our first tour in Japan, in 1982, and they have now moved back and forth across the Pacific Ocean five times, and across the mainland a few times as well. Brett had the wooden stand custom made in the Philippines during our second tour in Japan, and we had the legs added not long before we left Portland in 2014, as well as having a new piece of glass cut for the top so the hibachi could function as a side table (it had served as our coffee table before that for many years). Both Brett and I are extremely grateful for its safe arrival one last time as it’s the piece of furniture that grounds us and lets us know we’re home.
- Bonus question: What was your favorite food when you were a child? Your least favorite? My mother was not an inspired cook – it was always a chore for her – but she did make a couple of dishes that I absolutely loved when I was a kid: baked macaroni and cheese, and Noodles Romanoff (this recipe is closest to Mom’s, although she didn’t add the cream cheese or heavy cream, but increased the amount of sour cream). Both had pasta, lots of cheese, and were rich and creamy. Mom always made big pans of them, so there were always leftovers that were for me just as good or better when eaten cold the next day. Her macaroni and cheese was the dish I always asked for whenever I came home from college. I also loved her tapioca pudding – it was very fluffy and creamy with a wonderful vanilla flavor. My maternal grandmother was not a good cook, but she occasionally made dates stuffed with walnuts and peanut butter that I absolutely loved, and also the most amazing stewed apples. The recipe for the apples died along with her though – no one has been able to duplicate them. My paternal grandmother was a very good cook, and her yeast biscuits were from heaven. I have her recipe for them (written in her own hand), but they’ve never turned out as light and fluffy as hers were. My least favorite food growing up was salad (and still is). I have a fairly serious intolerance to most forms of lettuce (especially romaine) – it makes me very sick – but my parents always served me salad (mostly made with romaine) and expected me to eat it even though I told them over and over how it made me feel. I became an expert at hiding salad under the table and getting rid of it after a meal was over. Several years ago my mom was visiting and said when I explained why I wasn’t having salad, “You know, you never really liked salad when you were young.” Thanks, Mom. One of the great injustices of my childhood (in my mind) was watching my brother not have to eat tomatoes or squash because “he doesn’t like them” while I was expected to eat the salad on my plate no matter what.
We have just a few more things to do to finish up here and finally feel settled. What’s been most surprising has been discovering the extent of what we let go before we left Kaua’i in 2018. For example, I was sure we had kept our bathroom scale, but no. I also apparently didn’t keep any baking supplies other than my stand mixer, not even a measuring cup! It was fun to finally see the dishes we bought at Kappabashi during our first stay in Japan, in 2019. They had been wrapped at the store when we bought them so until they were unwrapped on Friday we had no idea what we would find – we had completely forgotten what we had chosen. We were able to put quite a bit away for YaYu to have for whenever she sets up her own place someday, things we had too many of or realized we just don’t need any more. Anyway, it’s so good to have our things back with us again, and know that what’s missing or broken can be replaced or fixed. We have more than enough.
That’s all for this week! All in all it was another good one here, even with the crazy weather, and I hope it was good for you as well, with lots of good things happening. Here’s to another good week coming up!