There were some very pretty sunsets this past week. Thursday’s was a showstopper!
When I sat down to start this post this past Thursday (I lay out the outline on Thursday, make some notes, and then gradually fill it in by Sunday morning) my first thought was What am I ever going to write about this week? We are living such a simple, low-key life these days, with outings constrained by both virus precautions in place and our budget. We spend most of our time at home, which I have to admit as an introvert I love, with our only outings once a week trips to Costco, Walmart, Big Save, and the farmers’ market and our daily walks up at the park. It’s definitely not exciting or different from out people’s lives these days, and I continue to wonder how much of interest it is to many any more. We hope that things will begin to change by the end of the year, but that remains to be seen, especially as cases of the virus are exploding in Honolulu. Brett and I have been talking about places here we want to visit again and things we can do after the first of October and have come up with a few ideas, but we’ll most likely continue to spend most of our time at home, especially if the virus gains a foothold here.
YaYu heads back to school this week. She will leave early Wednesday morning, and will eventually arrive in Philadelphia nearly 16 hours later. While she is excited to see her friends again, she is also concerned and worried about catching the virus, and knows she will have to stay vigilant with mask wearing, hand washing, and cleaning. She just learned this past Friday that she will be doing her initial quarantine in a hotel off campus as the floor she’s on in her dorm is the only one without A/C and is apparently beyond stifling in late August and early September. She’s especially excited that while she’s there the college will pay for room service so the she can remain inside her room, and that she will have a private bathroom. It will be strange for us at first for her not to be here as she moved into the apartment with us last April and has been a constant presence – we are going to miss her. For the most part we’ve gotten along well, but we have had our issues from time to time. YaYu has never complained, and we realize it’s been a difficult and mostly boring time for her, but she has also been mostly oblivious about the work it takes to keep even a small home running and the costs involved. In other words, she has enjoyed being taken care of. YaYu mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she was seriously thinking about not going back to school after the winter break, and staying here until fall 2021 while doing online classes and working, but we have told her that unless the college officially closes and/or she is sick we cannot afford to have her stay with us and continue to put away enough to help pay for her senior year. There will be no jobs here for her next year either, and our landlord, while tolerant of her being with us for the summer, will definitely charge us more rent if she moves back in for a 10-month stretch (especially since utilities are covered in our rent). The apartment is really too small for three people as well, and we don’t plan to move – we love this place, and also can’t take on the expense of relocating again.
Following our hike last Monday, the rest of the week was one of research and reflection on how I can better manage my chronic bursitis. I’ve done a lot of research and reading to understand better what’s going on, how I developed the condition (most likely a hip injury all the way back in 1994) and have learned that exercises and stretches that were recommended in the past are no longer thought to be effective, that isometric exercises are the way to go these days. I should also be taking a regular anti-inflammatory, such as Aleve or Advil; however, those mess with my stomach so that will be a last-ditch response. Rough surfaces such as cobblestones and the trail we were on last Monday are definitely aggravators and should be avoided if at all possible. As reader JMac commented, walking sticks are a game changer as they help with hip balance, and while I was going to ask for a set for Christmas I am instead looking at finding some sooner than that. I plant to check at Costco this coming week, although our store is more likely to have boogie boards and beach towels than hiking gear. I have decided that I will most likely hat to get steroid therapy before setting off on a long walk/hike, such as our planned Cotswold Way walk, but in the meantime I have some good information to get this annoying but not life-threatening health issue under better control.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished The Chain quickly – I couldn’t put it down – and I’m now reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince during the day and They Were Her Property at night. I thought the latter would a dry-ish historical read, but it’s very well researched and quite interesting. Another book came off of hold too, Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami, a novel examining modern womanhood in Japan. I was able to delay having to check it out by a few days, but really need to get through these other books as it won’t be too long before I have to accept it.
- Listening to: Ally the cat is outside talking to (yelling at?) YaYu – it’s almost like she has a big story to tell her. Otherwise, the wind is gusting through the trees and making a lot of noise, but it’s also keeping things cool. There are lots of clouds out there this morning but we can see some blue sky as well so hopefully it won’t rain.
- Watching: Brett and I finished all the available episodes of Silent Witness, and are just about done with Mum, which we will be sad to finish. It’s been a very sweet, gentle, but funny show and we have enjoyed it immensely (it’s a BritBox exclusive). We just got started with Mindhunter on Netflix. We’ve already seen the first season but are re-watching it to reacquaint ourselves before moving on to the second season.
- Cooking/baking: With YaYu leaving, Brett and my meals are going to become much more simple, with less cooking for me, something I’m looking forward to. Tonight though we’re having the hamburgers that were on last week’s menu as we ended up making pad Thai last week instead – we got mung bean sprouts which needed to be eaten immediately after purchase. YaYu is making pasta again tomorrow which we’ll have with pesto along with grilled Italian sausages and roasted zucchini (we’ve eaten the sausages all summer as YaYu loves them, but I’m ready to give them a rest for a while). Tuesday evening we’ll have pork and vegetable fried rice. Brett and I plan to have beans and rice later in the week as well as stuffed peppers, and a pork and pepper stirfry. Peppers don’t agree with YaYu so we’ve kept them off the menu as much as possible this summer, but Brett and I love them, and are looking forward to eating them again. While not giving it up we’re also hoping to cut back on the amount of meat we consume – YaYu is definitely the carnivore in the family and it’s been reflected in our menus this summer. I baked a chocolate cake yesterday which we’re having topped with a little cherry pie filling – so yummy! Without YaYu’ helping us to eat them, each cake from now on will now last Brett and me for nearly two weeks. Bring it on, I say!
- Happy I accomplished this past week: We made it to the beach yesterday! Finally! This past week saw another seven days of walking, and including our hike last Monday on the Moalepe Trail we got in four days of walking at least three miles. We’ll continue our current route at the park for another couple of weeks and then will kick it up again, up to four miles per day. Even though I always go out slathered in 50SPF sunscreen, I noticed this week that I have accomplished something of a tan, at least on my face, neck, and arms, and almost look like I live here or something. I give up on my legs though – they just don’t tan at all. I finished up five weeks of daily task cards yesterday and got a new set made so I’m ready for the next five weeks. When I get to the last card in the set I’m always a bit surprised that the five weeks have gone so quickly.
- Looking forward to next week: While we’re not happy about YaYu’s departure, at the same time Brett and I will admit to looking forward to “being on our own” again. Not sure what we’re going to do next week other than walking as it will depend on the weather. Right now I know we’ll be doing another small bit of grocery shopping, probably on Wednesday after YaYu has left. We should have enough ripe guava from our tree this coming week to make jam – we are planning to pick up some canning jars and pectin mid week.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Our Taco Tuesday night from Paco’s Tacos was fantastic – Brett and I shared an order of al pastor-style tacos and YaYu had carne asada fries. It was all very affordable and I appreciated not having to cook that evening. The movers finally called and arranged to pick up the empty packing boxes tomorrow morning – we’ll be glad to have all of that out of the way. Although they still haven’t located the missing box, they are continuing to search for it. They went ahead anyway though and sent the forms for filing a claim. Although I wasn’t able to complete our planned hike on Monday, I did learn some valuable things that I’ll be able to change and/or improve for the next time. My favorite afternoon snack these days is a pack of big, light senbei (Japanese-style rice cracker) basted with soy sauce and a little bit of nori (seaweed), and I to discover Big Save market has them in stock all the time (I had been getting them at Walmart but they kept running out). Less than 100 calories for two crackers, they’re just enough to keep my stomach happy for the time between lunch and dinner.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We had to have the front brake pads and rotors in our car replaced mid-week – ouch! That was a several hundred dollars repair. Otherwise, we came in under-budget with our food shopping, and put $5.24 into the change/$1 bill jar. I earned 1,182 Swagbucks this week and now hope to earn another $100 Southwest gift card by the end of October. We did a great job again with leftovers and had no food waste.
- Grateful for: I continue to be so very thankful for the cooler weather we’ve experienced this summer, especially when I remember how miserable I was previously, when we lived in Kapaa. We’ve rarely experienced high humidity here, and if it does arrive it doesn’t seem to hang around. We have a constant breeze (sometimes it feels like we live inside of a vortex), and temperatures have not gone above 83°. I came to wonder in the past if Kaua’i really was paradise, but it sure feels like it where we are now.
- Bonus question: What’s something you do on Kaua’i that you would never do elsewhere? The first thing that comes to mind is shopping at Walmart. I think I went to Walmart once back on the mainland and hated the experience, but it’s very different here. And, other than Costco there are no other mass-merchandise stores on the island. We actually do some of our food shopping there now as Walmart’s prices are definitely lower that island supermarkets, and they have a fantastic Asian foods section – we always go there before heading over to Costco. Walmart has started to get in some produce lately, some of it grown in Hawaii, so we always check that as well. I bought their cherry pie filling the other day as it does not contain high fructose corn syrup, but otherwise we usually stick to name brands (their chocolate chips and a few other Great Value products were mediocre). Walmart is also a great place here to get things like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Costco has been out of stock of those items for ages, and we don’t have room to store such big packages anyway, and the larger size packages at Walmart are not overwhelming. Anyway, I never thought I would ever be a regular Walmart shopper, but it’s what you do on Kaua’i.
We finally made it back to the beach yesterday. YaYu very much wanted to go one more time before she left, and the stars aligned yesterday with the weather so we headed down to Barking Sands. We stopped at the Navy Exchange/Commissary on our way to the beach and picked up some sandwiches and cold drinks to take with us, and then spent three and a half glorious hours basking in the sun, reading, and taking long walks along the beach before packing up and heading for home. Every time I go back to the beach after a long time away I remember how much I love it. We all decided that we’d like to rent one of the beach cottages at Barking Sands when YaYu is home again for the winter break, and spend a couple of days right on the beach for a little local holoholo (getaway).
It was a quiet but good week for us, and I hope it was a good one overall for everyone else. We’re going to miss our girl, but we knew she couldn’t stay forever. Here’s to good things happening, good books, good food, and more in the coming week!