Sunday Morning 8/30/2020: Just the Two of Us Again

Rain during the night, clouds in the morning, and clear skies at night has meant no sunsets most of this week. The sun usually went down without a show.

The best effort was Friday evening, but otherwise it’s been a rather dull for the most part. 

We did get to see a lovely sunrise on Wednesday morning though, as we were up very early to take YaYu to the airport.

Good morning!

After just one shift all I can say is Bryn Mawr students have no clue how much work has gone into completely redesigning all of Dining Services to keep you safe and well-fed like the amount of unseen work done on this is absolutely insane and I just want everyone to know that. This was the tweet YaYu forwarded us from one of her friends shortly after her arrival, who wrote after completing her first shift working for food service. YaYu wanted us to know she is safe, and how much work the college has done and is doing to keep students safe. After a long travel day, she arrived safely in Philadelphia early Thursday morning. It turned out that another Bryn Mawr family from Seattle was traveling on their flight with their first-year student to help her move in, and they took YaYu and friend along with them out to the campus, saving them the trouble and expense of having to use Uber. She went to the campus first to see her room and get started on setting it up, then moved over to the hotel. She will take her first Covid test tomorrow, and then will be tested again in another two weeks. Anyway, our girl is happy to be back and is ready to get the term started. She’s not sure when she will begin work – she also has a job with food service, and one at the library – but should find out this week. We sure miss her though – it’s been a different few days for us as we adjust to her not being here. Ally the Cat still comes by every morning to look for YaYu and leaves disappointed after a few minutes.

“Where is the girl?”

In the meantime, Brett and I are enjoying being able to spread out a bit more in the apartment, and not having to tiptoe around in the morning while YaYu is still asleep on the sofa. The apartment upstairs went back on the market this past week, and has been shown a few times. We are very, very happy with our apartment, but the one upstairs is positively gorgeous. It’s twice the size of ours (bigger than our old house in Kapaa), with a newly remodeled kitchen and luxury bathroom, two large bedrooms, a balcony with beautiful views, and an enclosed lanai in the back. As we thought though, the rent is also nearly double what we’re paying. Our neighbors on the other side of the building are hanging on, but are still out of work. We’ve noticed the husband has been doing a lot more fishing recently, but they otherwise are doing OK. After a burst of visitors to the island during the past couple of months, the numbers have tapered off again, most likely because summer is pretty much over. Most of the people arriving these days seem to be returnees, maybe coming back because they have lost work in another location and are coming home to stay with family until things improve. I read the other day that experts believe it will take at least two to three years for Hawaii’s economy to recover from the pandemic.

We bought a scale this past week. I really didn’t want one, but Brett did because he likes to track his weight. I got a lovely surprise though when I stepped on it: I have lost 14 pounds! I knew I was changing shape, but seeing the same weight week after week on MyFitnessPal and last summer’s experience of losing only a few pounds had me believing things once again hadn’t changed much. I still am not interested in tracking my weight, so Brett has put the scale away – he can get it out whenever he wants, but I don’t care to see it until the end of September or even longer than that. Besides the scale, I also got a set of hand weights to start carrying when we walk, for strength training.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m almost finished with both Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and They Were Her Property, and will start Breasts and Eggs as soon as I’m finished with one of them as it just came off of hold again this morning.
  • Listening to: The winds were blowing pretty strongly (and loudly) when we went to bed last night, but have softened up a bit this morning. There are a few roosters out there doing their thing once in a while, but otherwise it’s very quiet inside and out – a lovely morning. There are quite a few clouds, especially to the north, but blue sky showing through everywhere else so it should be a pretty nice day!
  • Watching: We are still watching Mindhunter and looking forward to the second season coming up. I think we watched it last summer, but it’s been like watching a new series. We also are rewatching Hinterland (also on Netflix). We watched the available episodes a while ago (and don’t remember them either) and are finding it more dark (in a good way) than we remembered.
  • Cooking/baking: I miss YaYu’s help in the kitchen, but meals for just Brett and I going forward have been and will be more simple. Tonight we’re going to have Cuban-style black beans over brown rice along with sautéed green beans on the side. We’re doing another food shop again on Tuesday to pick up a few more things, and this week we’ll be having grilled ahi tacos with mango-peach salsa; basil and pepper chicken sausages along with grilled vegetables; and enchilada casserole for our evening meals with leftovers filling in the empty spots. Next week I’m going to bake a lemon cake that we’ll top with blueberry pie filling. The chocolate cake with cherry pie filling has been wonderful and we wanted to try another version. That little piece of cake at the end of the day has turned into the perfect treat, and has been enough that we don’t want or crave other sweets throughout the day.
    If I had added the sugar at the time the recipe called for it, I think we would have ended up with something way too sweet. My mistake made it just the right amount!
  • Happy we accomplished last week: We made guava jam! Using fruit from the guava tree in our yard, we ended up with seven half pints of low sugar (but still very sweet) jam. Since neither Brett nor I eat a lot of jam, it should last for a while. We walked all seven days again, and got in four three-mile days.
  • Looking forward to next week: We’re planning to head to the north shore this week for a long but socially-distanced visit with a friend up in Princeville who is recovering from recent surgery. We also decided to go to Hanapepe one day for a stroll through Old Town and a visit to the Talk Story Bookstore (and maybe share a pastry at the Midnight Bear bakery). We might even go to the beach if the weather cooperates and we can get our act together. I want to attempt making my own nonfat vanilla yogurt in the Instant Pot and see how that goes. I’m not sure I’m looking forward to the task, but next week’s theme is going to be “window cleaning.” I wanted to do each room on three separate days; Brett wants to do them all in one day as we really don’t have many windows (five, a set of French doors, and one patio window). At least I can look forward to the results!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) YaYu cooked for us the last two evenings before she left – on Monday evening she made fresh fettuccini again and a pan of rosemary-garlic focaccia bread. On Tuesday she did a big pan of fried rice, making enough that Brett and I could enjoy the leftovers for a couple of days afterwards. She always does a good job of cleaning up after herself in the kitchen as well. 2) Because I added sugar to the jam-making process too early we ended up with a nice supply of guava juice, created during the jam-making process. It’s also a good thing we made jam as we’re now in serious competition from the birds in neighborhood over the fruit still left on the tree. 3) All of YaYu’s flights back to Pennsylvania departed and arrived on time, and she is happy with her hotel room although apparently the food leaves much to be desired in her opinion. After sleeping on our sofa since mid April, she definitely deserves the room’s big, luxurious king-size bed! Classes start in two weeks, after everyone has been tested and retested. 4) Brett ordered new glasses on Friday – he wanted me to go along to help him pick them out. The new ones are very different, but very attractive! 5) We had a long video chat with our son yesterday and of course got to talk with the grandkids. They both officially begin school this week although our granddaughter did two days of orientation at her preschool this past week. K’s English is amazing – our son said it’s pretty much her dominant language now. C begins tomorrow and will be attending his school on a rotating hybrid model with some instruction online at home and some in the classroom. It’s almost hard for us to believe he’s a fourth grader. Both kids wear/will wear masks full-time at their respective schools as well as take other precautions.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We put $6.65 into the change/$1 bill jar this week and we’ll probably go to the bank this coming week to make another deposit. I earned 1310 Swagbucks this past week, another very good total. All  leftovers were eaten and no food was thrown away. Other than the farmers’ market, our shopping trip on Thursday, and Brett glasses, it was a no-spend week for us.
  • Grateful for: I’m thankful this week that YaYu made it safely back to Pennsylvania and is being very cautious. She is already worried about whether she caught the virus on the plane, but said she wiped down everything and wore two masks the entire trip and did not eat or drink because she didn’t want to take off the masks. I’m also once again thankful for our new vision insurance as Brett’s new glasses were very affordable, half of what he paid for his last pair at Costco.
    One of Brett’s household chores is making cocktails three evenings each week. He makes a very tasty G&T and great mojitos!
  • Bonus question: How are household tasks divided in your home? Back when Brett was in the navy, and working afterward he retired, because of deployments and long hours I was pretty much responsible for everything. When he was home he took care of yard work and taking out the trash, but when he was deployed I did all that too. Since he left the navy, and especially after his retirement in 2013, we have worked out what we both believe is an equitable sharing of household chores these days. I primarily take care of the kitchen, including coming up with weekly menus, making the shopping list(s), and cooking the evening meal (we each fix our own breakfast and lunch). Brett does mix the cocktails though. I wash the dishes throughout the day; Brett washes them in the evening and puts things away in the morning before I get up (we both like to wake up to a clean kitchen). I take care of all other cleaning in the kitchen. In the rest of the house, I make the bed every day (and change the linens), do all of the laundry and folding, take care of the dusting (my least favorite chore of all, but thankfully this house doesn’t get anywhere as dusty as our previous places in Kapaa), and am generally in charge of keeping things picked up and put away so the house stays tidy. Brett does all of the vacuuming and keeps the floors otherwise picked up and cleaned, takes care of the recycling, and still does everything outdoors, although we have a yard service here so those chore are fairly minimal. We share bathroom cleaning, with Brett handling the scrubbing of the huge, tiled shower and the tub while I do the sink and counter, shelves, and toilet. When the girls were growing up, they each were assigned a major task to complete each week, and we rotated those so each got the experience. Those tasks were laundry, bathroom cleaning, and thorough sweeping/vacuuming of the entire house. Some of them did better than others – WenYu was always the most conscientious of the three – but they all know how to do these things well now. They also helped with cooking, setting the table, and cleaning up afterwards. Our son helped clean bathrooms and did the family laundry when he was young (he refused to learn how to cook although he’s a pretty decent cook these days). Anyway, for now the division of labor works for both of us, and there are no hard feelings about one or the other carrying too much of the load.

I have been a bit surprised (in a good way) by the reaction to the recipes I’ve been posting. I started posting them because I don’t have all that much to write about these days, so it’s very gratifying they have been enjoyed. I greatly appreciate the suggestions or adaptations I’ve gotten back as well. It’s almost time to segue into fall cooking, although it definitely is not going to feel like fall here for quite a while. Our friend Alan named September here “Sweatember” as it’s usually one of the hottest and most humid months of the year on the island. We’ve got our fingers crossed though that our breezy, cooler-than-normal temperatures here on the south side will persist. We’ve noticed on our walks that it’s been growing hotter in the afternoons though, with a lot more sun beating down on us while we walk. As long as there’s a breeze up at the park though we do OK, and I always wear a wet tenugui around my neck these days to help keep cool. Along with carrying weights I also now have a sun visor to help keep the sun off of my face – it really helps.

Our last walk together. for a while – we miss our girl!

That’s all for this week. It was a bittersweet one, with lots of good things happening, but also sadness over YaYu’s departure. We miss her presence. I sincerely hope the week was a good one for everyone, and that you’re looking forward to the week coming up!

14 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 8/30/2020: Just the Two of Us Again

  1. So happy your daughter made it to college safely! I still think the sunsets are beautiful.

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    1. We were so relieved when she messaged us to know she had arrived safely. She’s settled in her hotel room for now, but after a day or two already was finding it boring!

      We love the sunsets too – this past week was so disappointing. Fingers are crossed for a more colorful week.

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  2. I do enjoy reading about the little day-to-day home stuff! Enjoy your “honeymoon” of being just two again.

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    1. I like the day to day stuff as well when I read other blogs. It can be both interesting and inspiring.

      We’re enjoying being on our own again, but also miss our girl. She had a big presence when she was here with us.

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  3. I’m glad YaYu made it safely back to college. How cute is Ally? That look 😂
    I love reading your blog. All the things, big and small.
    So smart about the scale. I’m doing WW right now so I have to use it, but when I’m done I’m going to put mine away too.

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    1. YaYu asks about Ally every time she messages or calls. Today (Monday) is the first time she (the cat) hasn’t come around, although it’s been a bit stormy.

      I got obsessed with the scale when I did WW, so am glad to be free of it now. I am going to try and hold of weighing myself again until the end of the year.

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  4. Glad to hear YaYu made it back to college. Hopefully Bryn Mawr will avoid the problems other colleges have had since it sounds like they have taken a lot of preventative measures that other colleges have not. I’m amazed she was able to keep the mask on during the long flights, but I would have done the same!

    I’m sure Hawaii will be able to bounce back after the pandemic, it will just take time. I remember you said your upstairs neighbors had to go back to the mainland. Do you know if they plan to return when things improve? That apartment sounds really nice. Too bad it’s so expensive or you could have moved there.
    Even where I live, a lot of businesses have closed and I wonder if it will be a ghost town if things don’t turn around soon. The governor has approved letting restaurants have indoor seating at 25% capacity since it will be getting too cold for outdoor seating soon.

    Enjoy your trip to the north shore!

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    1. Fingers are crossed here that all goes well for YaYu and for the Bryn Mawr community. She got tested yesterday for the virus and will be tested again at the end of her quarantine. She is already bored to tears at the hotel as they can’t go anywhere or out of their rooms.

      Hawaii is not doing well. We’re OK here on Kaua’i, but Oahu had five deaths yesterday and the Big Island had two. I think one of our upstairs neighbors is waiting to hear whether he will be hired back at the Hyatt, but the other guy found another job on the mainland. The apartment has been shown several times, but so far no takers. In this economy it may take a while.

      We have been to a dine-in restaurant (Kountry Kitchen) that has been reconfigured for social distancing. The food was as good as ever, but the experience was very weird. We’re not anxious to dine out again. Take out is fine for now.

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  5. So happy for YaYu for a safe & successful trip back to college. I almost ended up at Bryn Mawr, and think fondly of my orientation meetings in Portland whenever you mention it.

    We will be back to Hawaii some day. We miss it tremendously, and every time I plan ahead & think, by “X date”, we will be able to go back, I’ve been proven wrong.

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    1. I had no idea you almost went to Bryn Mawr. YaYu loves it, but her experience there is so different from WenYu’s at Wellesley.

      The way you feel about Hawaii is the way we feel about Japan – we’ll get back there some day, when it’s safe. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. Fall of 2022 is the earliest we think we’ll be able to go – two years from now. BTW, Hawaii is not faring very well, at least not Oahu and the Big Island – seven Covid deaths yesterday between them.

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  6. We attended an outdoor wedding up north this past weekend. It was fun to see my family, everyone was masked (well, almost everyone) and it was so cold I was more concerned about pneumonia than Covid. 😂 Honestly, the high was 64 that day with 23 mph winds off Lake Superior. BRRR.

    We didn’t go to the reception, as we and my 88 yo mother were concerned about an indoor event with a lot of young people. They live in a low Covid area, and we were concerned about what would happen when they all started to party. But all in all, it was a good outing.

    Glad YaYu’s flight went off well. I’m seriously thinking about going to England before the cold weather sets in and brings the flu season and more intense Covid. I have been chatting with some folks on a travel forum and I think it’s doable. I would have to quarantine at DD’s home, but we’re discussing and they want me to come if I’m comfortable getting there. From some folks I’ve chatted with, the planes are fairly empty and Delta is doing a decent job of it. I’m getting an over 65 flu shot tomorrow in case it works out. 😬

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    1. The wedding sounds like a wonderful respite. I think your decision to skip the reception was a good one too.

      I will be very excited to hear whether or not you are able to get over to England. We still don’t plan to travel until 2022, but we’re hoping YaYu can go back to Japan next summer and work for our son. Everyone thinks it’s a good idea, but whether restrictions against travel will remain is the wild card right now.

      I am earning Delta cards right now on Swagbucks – they are they only airline I currently want to travel with.

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