Sunday Morning 8/16/2020: Sunny Weather Returns (sort of)

Sunsets are all about the clouds. Most of the week there were no clouds in the evening, so . . . no beautiful sunsets.

Good Morning!

We could see where to find the pot of gold, right down in those trees!

It’s been another week of wacky weather for us although we have had more sunshine than in the previous two weeks and we’ve been able to get out and walk every day, with frequent rainbows appearing from recently finished to soon-to-arrive rains. Weather-wise, we’ve dealt with everything from vortex force winds spinning through our yard, rain every night and most mornings, high humidity, and everything in between. Thursday morning I went to hang the laundry outside in the bright hot sun and before I was even halfway through getting that done a massive rainstorm passed over – it arrived so quickly I barely got everything up to the deck and under the umbrella in time to avoid getting soaked. There are many different microclimates going on all over Kaua’i and a “one-size fits all” weather report does not cover the differences depending where you live or where you are. We gratefully have a near-constant breeze here in Lawai, and get heavy winds from time to time, while we heard from our friends Alan and Cheryl up in Kapaa that the trade winds have already slowed down to almost nothing there. Whatever the weather though, it’s still paradise (for the most part).

All Saints Church in Turnditch, Derbyshire. (photo credit: Mapcarta)

I have never been into genealogy at all, and although I know some information about my ancestors a great deal of information about my family, both on my mom’s and dad’s side of the family has been lost as their generation has passed on. However, this past week I had the pleasure of learning not only my great-grandmother’s name, Alice Houlgate, but where she was born. I knew on a very superficial level that she had been born in England and immigrated to the U.S. in the 19th century, married a farmer and moved to Nebraska (my grandfather and two brothers were born in the sod house my great-grandparents built in Fairfield, Nebraska), but that was the extent of my knowledge – no one ever told me her name nor the name of my great-grandfather, and I never knew where she was from in England. It turns out Alice, one of nine siblings, was born in a small village in Derbyshire called Turnditch where the Houlgates had lived since the mid-18th century. Alice and her husband, and apparently many of her siblings, eventually moved to Pasadena, California – I know my grandfather was working in Pasadena when he was 14 – and I grew up hearing about the local Houlgates, and was occasionally dragged along to meet my “Houlgate relatives” (although I had no idea who they were or how we were related). Alice died two years before my mother was born and my mom was given the middle name of Alice, and one of our daughters now also has the middle name of Alice. A long-time dream of mine has been to see where my family came from in England, so I’m hoping I will be able to visit the village of Turnditch in the future and see if there are still Houlgates living there. I did find a Derbyshire walking tour that stops for the night in Belper, located less than two miles from Turnditch, so if we survive our Cotswold walking tour, maybe we’ll do that one next!

YaYu’s early morning flight over to Honolulu on Southwest was cancelled this past week and she was switched to a later flight that got her there just 10 minutes before her Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle took off! Nope. I contacted Southwest and got a credit to use later (credit is good through September of 2022), and booked her on an early morning Hawaiian airlines flight that will get her there in time to get her bags and recheck them on Alaska. The cost for the Hawaiian flight was the same as the Southwest one; however, she will now have to pay luggage fees to get her bags over to Honolulu (and also has to pay for her luggage on Alaska). 

Ally, the judgmental cat.

YaYu has befriended the judgmental cat that kept appearing at our door and the cat now appears like clockwork every morning to spend some time with YaYu. She (the cat) is going to be very disappointed though after YaYu leaves and when Brett and I won’t come out to sit with her and pet her. We have promised YaYu that we will keep the water bowl that she set out for the cat filled, but that’s it. SIGH again. The cat’s name is Ally, by the way – she was abandoned by a family in the neighborhood that moved away a couple of years ago, and now makes daily rounds to several houses in the neighborhood for food and affection. We’re not sure who is feeding her but she has refused food and treats from YaYu so someone is taking care of that.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Thursday evening, just as three books came available at once from the library – yikes! ! am once again reading two books: The Chain, a recommended mystery-thriller, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Waiting on deck is They Were Her Property, about women who owned slaves in the antebellum south. The Chain is a good read, but I should have it finished this evening, and as soon as it’s done I’ll start They Were Her Property.
  • Listening to: Another quiet morning although it was raining not too long ago. It’s still cloudy, but that’s supposed to clear   out later. Brett is puttering around in the kitchen, and YaYu is checking her social media, so it’s quiet indoors and out. A perfect morning in my book!
  • Watching: With YaYu’s help we got our TV set up so we can watch PBS shows from the web there, which is much more enjoyable than watching on my computer screen. We watched the first episode of Endeavour this week and are looking forward to watching the current season’s second episode tomorrow. We’re still watching Silent Witness – I think we’re in the last season though – and Mum, which we’re really glad we found.
  • Cooking/baking: This will be YaYu’s last full week with us, so I will be fixing some of her favorites before she heads back to school. The day after tomorrow though we’re going out to one of her favorite restaurants on the island, Paco’s Tacos to pick up some tacos for a Taco Tuesday celebration. One of their locations is at the club house at Kukuiolono, we’ll just head over there as part of our walk. Tonight we’re having Chinese three-color salad (hiyashi chuka), and other dinners this week will be grilled pork, pineapple, and pepper kabobs;  shrimp tacos with pineapple salsa; chicken and vegetable curry (which didn’t get made this past week); hamburgers; and one leftover night. No baking this week – the yellow cake with vanilla buttercream didn’t get made until Friday, so it will get us through this week.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: It’s difficult to come up with accomplishments these days as we’ve settled in and most of our days are the same, filled with regular daily stuff like cooking, cleaning, reading, etc. – we’re not doing anything special. Even rearranging YaYu’s travel didn’t take much of an effort. I see our daily walks as my real accomplishment – a few weeks ago I felt like I needed a day off after five days, but for nearly three weeks now we’ve walked every day, and now I look forward to getting out. We did seven days again this week, upped our distance to a little over three miles on two of the days, and will add a third day of over three miles this week.
    Guava smell so good – their aroma perfumes the entire apartment. We get a few ripe ones every day.
    Lilikoi blossom number 10! Another fruit should set by next week.
  • Looking forward to next week: The weather improved this past week, and we are hoping for more next week. Brett and I want to do a four-mile hike on the Moalepe Trail if the weather permits and also get down to the beach at Barking Sands once more before YaYu leaves. We are looking forward to doing some food shopping next week as we have pretty much emptied the refrigerator and cupboards. The guava are starting to ripen, and if we get enough next week we’ll try and make jam.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: This past week YaYu got bored, so she got out her pasta machine and made a huge batch of handmade fettuccine for us, enough that we were able to enjoy it for two meals. It was delicious! I earned my first $100 Southwest gift card through Swagbucks, several weeks ahead of when I thought I would.
    Homemade fettuccini!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We had another no-spend week except for our visit to the farmers’ market and the airline ticket change. We put $2 into the change/$1 bill jar. The Southwest credit will come in handy later though. It was a very good week on Swagbucks – I did several high-pay surveys and earned 1379 Swagbucks!! We did a fantastic job using up leftovers this week, and got the refrigerator cleaned out. Hopefully we can keep it from becoming so full again as so many things freeze when too much is crammed in there (one of the side effects of having a small, lower-quality refrigerator). This past week I had to throw out a whole package of celery (unused) as it had frozen and was ruined.
  • Grateful for: I am very, very thankful that we were able to find another early morning flight on Hawaiian to get YaYu over to Honolulu, one that gives her plenty of time to pick up and recheck her bags. We would have been in a real pickle otherwise, either having to change all of her flights, or send her over the day before and pay for an overnight at a hotel (and there is nothing affordable close by the airport in Honolulu). We’ll be able to use the Southwest flights in the future, most likely as soon as 2021 (to get her back to Pennsylvania for the spring term).
  • Bonus question: What is a place you loved going to in the past but can’t imagine visiting now? That would be either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. We took the girls to WDW four times, back when round-trip tickets from Portland to Orlando were very inexpensive for some reason – for a while it cost more to fly to Los Angeles from Portland! We usually went for a full seven days, stayed on property, and we always had a wonderful time. We had also been to WDW twice before the girls joined our family – we were there with our son for his 8th birthday. I grew up near Disneyland in California, and went many, many times when I was a child (my first trip was just three months after the park opened). We also went to Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland during our Big Adventure, interesting experiences but once was enough. The Disney parks always go out of their way to make the park experiences good ones – the parks are clean, workers are friendly, they do a good job of crowd control, and the attention to detail in the parks was amazing. I never went to a Disney park to see anything “authentic” as pretty much everything in a Disney park is ersatz, but that sort of got to me on my last couple of visits. These days I can’t imagine stepping foot in another Disney park as it’s gotten out-of-control expensive and there are other places I’d rather spend my money. The experience now is also very tiring. It was magical to go there with my children when they were young, and with my grandchildren, but been there, done that is how I feel about Disney now.

The number of virus cases continue to climb on Oahu, and there were two more deaths there this past week. The number of visitors to the islands continues to climb each week as well, and YaYu read the other day that many are registering with a phony address for the quarantine (probably some locals are as well upon return) so they can get out and about. Thanks so much. So far Kaua’i continues to do OK with only a couple of virus cases here, but this past week an average of 30 visitors per flight was arriving on the island. Also, an average of 12 people per week claim they are “relocating” here, although many may be locals returned to Kaua’i from other islands. We have seen tourists out and about, usually without masks – it’s very frustrating. Thankfully the stores we shop at and the farmers’ market – the only places we go to these days – require masks and won’t let anyone in without one. It’s very frustrating to watch other countries around the world making progress while knowing how much longer it’s going to be before our country gets a handle on this pandemic. We chatted with a man the other day at the park, a life-long resident of Kaua’i, and he said we couldn’t have picked a safer place to come to when we returned to the U.S. I sure hope it stays that way because if the virus ever gets a foothold on Kaua’i we are all doomed.

Everyone else has built a wall around us.

And on that happy note I will close. We did have a very nice week, and got lots of things done, books read, etc. and are looking forward the coming week and hope you are as well!


24 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 8/16/2020: Sunny Weather Returns (sort of)

  1. Good to read your post! Genealogy has become my full time retirement hobby. It’s been fascinating. I was able to get into the pool twice this past week. I put Tegaderm over my incision and it has worked perfectly. I only have one little spot left to completely heal. I’m standing up much taller now! Still have PT twice a week and it’s been successful. I feel 14 again. 😉


    1. Joy! I am so glad to hear that you are getting better every day. Once our baby girl heads back to school (next week) Brett and I plan to drive up and pay you a visit! Maybe we can plan a spa day for later this year.


  2. Yep, we’ll stay put for a while, not too many countries want us. There is so much talk about this pandemic but the reality is that we, as a country, apparently can’t get our act together. Until we, as a country, don’t start to pull in the same direction, we’ll never get out of this, with or without a vaccine. Right now it looks to me like some people are playing some sort of game, trying to prove that they can disobey the rules and do whatever strikes their fancy. So immature, just like my 3rd graders who used to tell me that we live in a free country, so they get to do only what they want.
    Your cat story made me smile, we once purchased a house and in the process, we inherited a neighborhood cat who kind of lived with us on and off until one day he disappeared. His name was Chopper. He belonged to a family who moved away and was left behind.
    I am learning so much about the weather in Kauai, I never thought it is so unpredictable. Here we’re battling triple digits for few days and we still have another week to go. Yesterday was a record of 111F and I had to cut my morning walk because of the heat. The power lines are having a hard time to fare the scorching and I just hope we’re not going to have a blackout.
    Bon and a safe voyage to YaYu!


    1. This map was so depressing, but it really brings home the situation we’re in relative to the rest of the world. We are truly a country of selfish people.

      The cat is going to be very sad when YaYu departs – she comes almost daily, sometimes twice a day, to spend time with our girl. We’re willing to put out water for her, but that’s it.

      When you live on a tiny island in the middle of a BIG ocean, you’re at the mercy of whatever is going on out on the ocean. Weather forecasters can guess some of it, but otherwise the ocean weather is going to do and go wherever it wants. We’re thankful to be on the south side this time – in spite of the crazy weather it’s much breezier and cooler than it was when we lived in Kapaa.


  3. YaYu’s pasta looks delish! I haven’t seen that map before of where US citizens are allowed to travel. Wow. If that doesn’t make clear our ineptitude than I don’t know what does.

    I’ve been thinking about your earlier comment regarding USPS and this morning I walked with a friend who said the postal service is asking everyone to buy stamps so they have the cash to do what is necessary for supporting the election. It’s on my errand list for tomorrow.

    Lilikoi blossoms are fascinating! Nature’s art.

    I’ve started hand pollinating my squash and cucumber plants in hopes of upping the yield. First frost could be as early as 30 days here but with the summer heat this year, I’m hoping we have at least 45 days.


    1. The fresh pasta was VERY good. She’s hoping to make it once more before she leaves, but otherwise she’ll make it again when she’s back for winter break. She learned to make pasta back in high school, and we gave her the pasta machine one year for Christmas. She still knows her stuff!

      We get our prescriptions through the mail, and have other things delivered – it’s been very frustrating having them take so long to get here. We’ve bought stamps as well – we mail our rent check and other local items but are too afraid to depend on the mail right now for things going back to the mainland.

      I am so excited to have lilikoi growing in our yard – I absolutely love it. You have to let the fruit go until it looks like it’s starting to rot – that’s when flavors are at their peak. I hope I can wait that long!


  4. If your daughter became an Alaskan Airline member (free) she is entitled to two free checked bags. She will also get airline miles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The judgmental cat made me laugh. Both my DDs have had cats…aren’t they all judgmental? Ha!

    The homemade pasta looks yummy! I’ve only had it once at a friend’s house and it was great. I do remember making homemade ravioli from scratch for a boyfriend when I was young. I knit him an entire sweater, too, after he said he loved the gray sweater Yuri wore in Dr. Zhivago. I must have been bored…or madly in love.

    The map of where we can travel makes me crazy. I actually googled that the other day and saw a list, but hadn’t see it graphically depicted. So maddening. It didn’t have to be like this. Grrr.

    Wishing YaYu safe and clear travels back to school!


    1. I think some cats are judgmental but other cats just don’t give a damn. They’re in charge though no matter.

      You knit a sweater for a boyfriend. You were madly in love – there’s no other reason. My mom used to knit wool argyle socks for my dad – I can’t even. All I remember now were the tiny needles and the tiny balls of different colored yarn.

      YaYu is already worried about here flight, but all planes are less than half empty, middle rows are blocked, masks are required, and the air is highly filtered so we think she will be OK. She is going armed with plenty of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ironically, I was a fairly novice knitter and the neck wouldn’t go over his head, so his mom took it apart and redid the neck so he could wear it. LOL.


  6. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a cat rescue group assist with Ally the cat? Even in Hawaii the life of a stray can be painful and scary, and, if not neutered, many, many unwanted kittens can be born and that leads to huge problems. You aren’t able to give her a home, it sounds like- are any neighbors able to join together and help with this?


  7. Since I absolutely love genealogy, I checked WikiTree and Ancestry and found Alice Houlgate. Her great-grandnephew and I share a small amount of DNA according to GedMatch. I have no idea how that DNA is connected, but I find it fascinating. Such a small world!


    1. Oh wow, that is interesting! Although it’s a very long shot, can you tell me the name of the great-grandnephew – that would be in my generation. It really is a small world though.


      1. Laurence Houlgate is Alice’s great grand nephew

        Laurence and I are 16th cousins once removed.

        Some more information from WikiTree about Alice. I’m pretty sure she is the same Alice you wrote about in your post.
        Alice Houlgate
        1856-1922 born in Turnditch, Derbyshire, England

        married William Cooper on 30 Nov 1880 in Fairfield, Nebraska

        died 17 Jun 1922 in South Pasadena, California

        Mother to William Ambrose Cooper, Albert Cooper, Alfred Cooper, and 3 sons listed as private on the site.

        Isaac Houlgate her father
        Sarah Alton her mother

        I found this note interesting, too.

        Alice Houlgate Cooper wrote the following letters to her sister Sarah Houlgate Anderson shortly after Sarah reported that her husband Jeremiah had disappeared with their daughter Cora.

        Fairfield, Nebraska, 26 February 1898
        Dear Sister Sarah:
        I received one letter from you that you wrote in your room in Los Angeles but did not answer it as I had mailed one the day before to you before I got your letter to the General Delivery in Joshua’s care. I thought you would have left that room before a letter could get to you.
        I saw a letter to Richie telling of your starting to Pasadena and Saturday evening Will went after the train came in, to see if there was any letter from you folks and got one from you.
        Will is anxious to get letter from you folks as I am. We got a card from Joshua a few days before saying that they were still not through the tunnel and were going around another way. So I expect they would not get through till last Saturday [their brother Joshua and his son Joshua arrived in Pasadena on 3 Feb 1898 — LDH].
        I have been pretty anxious about you for fear you would get lonesome and praying that you would get through all right. I am glad you got the work to do but hope you will not have to work so hard that you will get sicxk. I am some better since I got that medicine but I have one of those days that I am no account.
        This is Monday. I washed today with Will’s help and am writing this letter so Edwin can run down and put it on the train…
        I will send your letters on to Mary. I have already witten to her about you starting, also to Mrs. Nickels to ask her to look out for Cora [Sarah’s missing daughter — LDH].
        Write as often as possible and I will do the same.
        With love from Alice

        Fairfield, Nebraska 27 March 1898.
        Dear Sister Sarah:
        I received your letter Friday morning along with Joshua’s and you don’t know how glad I am that you are near Joshua. I did not know but you might be down hearted or lonesome. I should have written to you that day but we had to wait till too long on account of some business of Joshua’s.
        I sent your letter to Mary today. I don’t believe I have received a letter from her since you left although I have written her two or three ….
        We have had several inches of snow, week before last, it tried to bring up a rain last week but fizzled out with a sprinkle. there has only been a few nights that it has not frozen since you left but Spring is gradually coming on….
        I wrote a letter to that address you saw in Kansas City paper about that girl baby wanting a home and put addressed card in for return answer. I should think it would be here pretty soon if there is anything in it. I will write to that place in Virginia right away.
        In regard to our coming [to California] in time to get work that will depend. We shall have to stay to raise this crop to have money to come with and want to pay off all we can on that Iowa farm mortgage but won’t let that hinder us coming. We will try and have money to buy us some chickens and a cow when we get there and clothes enough for a year and a little something to keep us for two or three months. What is bothering me more than that is where we shall settle when we get there.


      2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all this information. I actually knew about the letters (although not their contents) because it was my maternal grandmother who submitted the letters and put them into the genealogical record! She wrote/published a couple of books on both her family and the Houlgates, probably for the Los Angeles County Library. Almost hard to believe she did all her research without the Internet but she did.

        I did not know though that Alice and William had three boys before my grandfather and his two brothers were born. William, Ambrose, and Alfred either must have died or stayed behind in Nebraska when the rest of the family moved to California. Edwin was the oldest brother I knew of. He became the Postmaster General for the Philippines when it was a was a U.S. territory, and was a candidate for VP of the U.S. on the Prohibition Ticket in 1952! My grandfather, Carl, came after Edwin, and the youngest boy was Leslie.

        Anyway, now I want to find out what happened to William, Ambrose and Alfred! I may get hooked into genealogy after all! Again, many, many thanks!


  8. Glad YaYu’s flight got worked out. We had an international trip scheduled and were waiting for American to cancel so we could get a full refund. That hasn’t happened (the country we were going to visit is now letting Americans in). However, we noticed our return scheduled had been altered significantly (although we had not received any notification of such) which qualified us for a total refund. Thankfully the refund has now been posted to our account. Hopefully we can reschedule in a few months.


    1. It has really paid for us to learn the rules about the conditions that require an airline to refund what you paid. In our case Aeromexico was breaking all sorts of laws and we wonder if the US Dept of Transportation will fine them or punish them in any way.

      I’m with you – I sincerely hope we can get this virus under control so that life can resume somewhat, including international travel. No one wants us to visit them now though.


  9. We have 579,932 cases of covid -19 but testing has slowed dramatically. 9,758 deaths as of this morning. The governor has ordered everyone to have in class schooling or lose funding. There are already outbreaks in Georgia and North Carolina. Several Georgia schools have had to close already and the University of North Carolina closed after one week as students were drinking and partying at off campus parties without social distancing or mask wearing and there was an outbreak of 130 students and staff so far. Same thing happened in Scotland. The governor refuses to mandate masks and has refused to allow state health departments to give advice to local school boards. The idiot is a Trump disciple of the worst kind. God help this country if Trump is elected again.

    On the flip side, I love the cat. Notice I did not say “your” cat. I am currently feeding about 7 feral cats. Only one of them will allow me to pet it.
    I love genealogy, some of the family have been traced back to the 1600’s and yes my family was all born in America at that time. I think my family are mainly English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh but have never taken the DNA test to find out for sure. It would be really interesting to travel to England and find out where they all came from.


    1. YaYu and friends are already growing nervous about returning to school after reading about UNC and Notre Dame, but her school is very different. First, it’s VERY small compared to these schools that are having to shut or go to online classes (only 1300 students or so), there are no sororities there, it’s located in a more rural area, and so for. Mask-wearing will be enforced – they’ve already told the students if you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t come back. This is not to say there might not be problems, but I think Bryn Mawr has a much firmer handle on things than what I’ve been reading about these other schools.

      My mothers’ family (both sides) have members who arrived on the Mayflower, and my dad’s family arrived in South Caroline in the late 1600s, so our families have been in America for a long time. My family is all English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish, from both sides. This was very exciting for me to find out where my great-grandmother came from – she is the most recent relative I know of that was born outside the U.S.

      The cat sometimes stays away for a few days, but she’ll be back. Brett and I are willing to put out water for her, but that’s it. She’ll miss all the attention YaYu has given to her.


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