In spite of some not-so-good weather, we still got a few pretty sunsets this past week.
August has arrived, but we’re still wondering if summer will ever get here. Temperatures are still cooler than expected, it’s still plenty windy, humidity is low (yeah!), and on and on. We thought it might be warmer down here on the south side, but it’s actually been cooler and breezier than it ever was when we lived up in Kapaa. It’s to the point that visitors comment on how windy/breezy it is at our place – it’s that noticeable. To be honest though, I’m mostly enjoying the weather (so far) and know it could be a LOT worse. August, September, and October are typically the hottest and most humid months of year, especially as the trade winds die down or disappear, but I’m kind of hoping things will continue as they are (with a few beach days thrown in). It’s just been . . . different.
Speaking of August, I realized this past week that we’ve passed the four month anniversary of our return to Hawaii. It sure has seemed like we’ve been here much longer, but I think that’s because of all that we’ve accomplished in the past few months, from finding a place to live, getting it furnished, and getting ourselves resettled. Things on the island have loosened up some since we arrived and are very slowly returning to some semblance of normal, but masks are still de rigeur everywhere, many businesses and restaurants remain closed or have gone out of business, and visitors are still few and far between due to the quarantine. Things are still on edge though as cases rise, especially on Oahu (Kaua’i currently has just two active cases). We read this past week that Japan may open back up to visitors from Hawaii only, and vice versa, but cases in Tokyo are rising again as well so probably not.
YaYu received her updated financial aid information this past week, and it turned out to be much better than all of us expected. All of her aid comes from the college this year – the only federal aid she was offered were loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, but she turned them down. Her fall term has now been paid for, and a round-trip plane ticket to and from Philadelphia has been purchased. She will leave here and fly to Honolulu, then on to Seattle where she will meet her friend and roommate from last year to fly together on to Philadelphia. She’s nervous about the flight, but otherwise excited to be going back. Only a few seats have been sold on each of the flights though, and Alaska Airlines is keeping the middle row empty on all their flights, so maintaining a good distance from others should not be a problem. We picked up extra disinfecting wipes for her to take back, and she has masks as well so hopefully will be OK on her trip back and in her room at the college. We also got her extra hand sanitizer as well, but discovered it’s not allowed on planes because of the alcohol content (it’s very flammable), so that’s the one thing she’ll have to find back there and that they hopefully will offer on the planes. YaYu is excited and happy about going back to school, even with all the restrictions put in place. She and her friends got their room assignments this week, and they will all be in the same dorm on the same floor (in single rooms). She’s very happy about that, but we’re not sure that’s such a good thing. YaYu has also been hired for two on-campus jobs this year, but thinks one may be eliminated. Her other job will be at the campus library.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I’m back to reading two books, one during the day and one at night, because another book I’ve been waiting for just came off of hold (They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers). So, The Vapors is my evening book, and I just started Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix during the day. I didn’t think the first three books in the Harry Potter series were as good as remembered, but the Goblet of Fire was excellent and The Order of the Phoenix is as well so far.
- Listening to: There’s some blue sky showing through the clouds this morning, but still a fairly stiff breeze can be heard blowing through the trees outside, and it’s comfortable cool. Brett’s rustling around in the kitchen making his breakfast, and YaYu is still trying to sleep out here in the living room. Otherwise it’s quiet, although that will change I a short while as our downstairs neighbors are holding a garage sale today, beginning in around an hour.
- Watching: We finished watching Father Brown and Taste the Nation last Thursday, and are now watching A Confession (starring Martin Freeman) on Britbox. YaYu sadly does not share Brett’s and my love of British crime drama and/or mysteries.
- Cooking/baking: We are beginning a two-and-a-half week break between food shopping trips which required me to make a list of all the dinners we could have based on what was already in the pantry and freezer and what we could pick up at the farmers’ market each week. It took some effort, but I think we now have everything needed to get through until the middle of the month. Tonight we’re having Chinese stir-fried tomatoes with eggs over rice, a long-time favorite. The rest of the week’s menus include subuta (Japanese-style sweet and sour pork); InstantPot carnitas for burritos and tacos; grilled fish tacos with fresh peach salsa; InstantPot chicken risotto; and hamburgers from the grill. I was planning to buy pre-made burgers patties at Costco last week until I saw both the price and the calories – yikes! – and ended up buying ground beef instead to make them myself. This week’s baking will be a fresh orange cake with orange buttercream frosting.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: We got in some good walks again this week once Douglas had passed, although each day we wondered if we would be able to go because the weather was that dicey. We’re getting ready to add a bit more to our walks this week. Finding flights to get YaYu back to Pennsylvania was not an easy task, but we were finally able to find a schedule that works for her and allows her to fly the Seattle to Philadelphia leg of the trip with her good friend.
- Looking forward to next week: Better weather? Royal Hawaiian locating our missing box? I can dream.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Besides YaYu’s financial aid award arriving it’s been a rather low key week with not a lot happening, but almost everything was good. We were excited to discover a lilikoi (passionfruit) vine in our back yard, hidden among some other plants on the wall. One fruit has already set and other blossoms are starting to open, so hopefully we’ll be getting a few more. The guava tree on the side of the yard is loaded with fruit. Guava is not a favorite, but Brett and I do like guava jam so we’re already planning to make some of that once things start ripening. And, the orange tree is also already loaded with little green, golf ball-size fruits – there’ll be lots of sweet oranges probably around December and into early next year.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: The Living Foods Market in the Kukui’ula Marketplace sadly permanently closed this past week. We never really shopped there as their prices were always kind of outrageous – they seemed to primarily cater to rich tourists staying in Poipu – but on Wednesday, their last day, everything in the store was 50% off and we picked up three bags of our favorite Anahola Granola (best granola ever). It typically sells for $8-$9 for a 12-ounce bag, so at half off it was a steal at $4.68/bag (tax included), and will last us for over three months as we only have a tablespoon or two at a time. The Alaska Airlines credits we took back in March covered almost the entire cost of YaYu’s round-trip flight to school and back. We had a very frugal week at the farmers’ market, and spent only $17 for a lot of produce, and put $3 into the change/$1 bill jar (our budget every week is $20). We did a good job eating up the leftovers, but had to toss half of a head of cauliflower as it froze and turned to mush when it defrosted. Our travel savings is now up to $809.11, so we’re making good progress! I earned 543 Swagbucks last week.
- Grateful for: We’re all feeling very, very grateful this week for the generosity of YaYu’s college as we had been very worried about whether or not we had saved enough to help her get through another year. We’re already a bit worried about next year as our experience with senior year levels of aid is that they drop, as colleges know they have a “captive audience” and less is awarded. However, the amount she received this year will give all of us a breather and allow Brett and I to hopefully add enough to our savings to get YaYu through her final year.
- Bonus question: Do you buy/eat mostly organic food? While we are not fanatics about it, we do try to buy organic as much as possible, but it’s probably only about a quarter or less of what we eat. Costco offers many organic options, and given the choice between organic and non-organic, we’ll always choose the former even if it does cost slightly more. I don’t think there’s any taste or nutritional difference between organic and non-organic, but believe that organic provides an extra layer of protection so to speak, even though organic farming does rely on chemicals and such (made from things like beetles and other natural sources however). Current organic items in our home are eggs, ground beef, milk, butter, peanut butter, pasta, summer squash, frozen strawberries and blueberries, oats, pizza crusts and sauce, spices, and olive oil. None of the farmers at the weekly market sell organic produce, but none of them spray their crops either. We only buy fresh, wild caught local fish and try to buy other locally-produced or raised food as much as possible if we can’t get organic.
I’m going to call Royal Hawaiian tomorrow morning for an update on our missing box. Every day it seems I recall or need something that was in that box: the cake stand the girls found at Goodwill and gave me for my birthday one year and the glass cover I found for it, my citrus juicer, the cake pans and pie plates, the salad spinner, the bathroom scale, and Brett’s blood pressure monitor all have been missed and mourned this past week. I thought I’d only feel badly about the wall hanging and cookbooks, but it turns out we both miss all that other stuff too – there was a reason it was kept. We know if the box went into someone else’s crate we’ll never see any of it again, but we continue to hope it was left somewhere in the storage facility and can be found. That hope diminishes day by day though. The only upside, if there is one to be found, is that right now we have no idea where we would put all that stuff as storage is already pretty full-up.
And that’s the week that was! It wasn’t the best week ever, but not the worst either by a long shot. Overall I’d say it was pretty good. I hope it was a good week for you all as well, and that you had lots of good things happen for you, good food to eat, good books to read, and that you’re staying healthy and busy during all the current madness. Here’s to the week coming up!