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