Sunday Morning 9/6/2020: Another Very Nice Week

Most evenings the sky just went gray, then dark, but a couple of times . . . oh my!

Good morning!

It was quite hot when we visited Hanapepe but our masks stayed on the entire time.

We’ve had a lovely week with errands run, visited nearby Hanapepe, and had a beach day at Salt Pond. We did a small-ish food shopping at Walmart and Costco on Tuesday, went to Hanapepe on Wednesday afternoon, and spent Thursday afternoon on the beach. Several businesses have reopened in Hanapepe, but many still only open by appointment only. While it was quite hot there and not all that nice to be outside (especially wearing a mask), we still managed to look around the Talk Story Bookstore, stop in a couple of other shops and chat with the salespersons, look through windows at the art galleries (and learn paintings by our favorite local artist go for over $2000 – yikes!), and share a Meyer lemon danish at the Midnight Bear bakery. Before we left we took an obligatory walk over Hanapepe’s historic swinging bridge and back, always an enjoyable (but shaky) experience. There’s a walking path up on top of the levee that runs alongside the Hanapepe Stream, so we’re going to investigate and see how long that is and hopefully get out there for a long walk some day (when it’s cooler).

We also made a trip to my happy place this week. We went to Salt Pond Beach Park on Thursday. It was my first time to the Salt Pond beach, and in spite of some very strong winds I really liked it there and look forward to going back. It was nice enough that I even went out in the water for a while! Salt Pond has beautiful, clear water and a protected area that’s perfect for little kids, so I’m already looking forward to visiting there with the grandkids in the future. We had hoped to go over to Barking Sands yesterday, but the weather didn’t cooperate so we’re going to try and go today (although the weather still isn’t that great).

It was very windy the day we went to Salt Pond Beach Park, but still sunny and warm.

WenYu called early last week to let us know she had been hired as a waitress in a high-end Italian restaurant near where she lives. She had been looking for work since she graduated last May, but hadn’t been feeling all that enthusiastic as jobs in her field are pretty much all in Boston, over an hour’s commute for her each way. So, when this local position was advertised she decided to go for it as it’s close to where she lives, will provide her with a cash flow, and gives her time to work on her portfolio, figure out what she really wants to do, and spend time with her boyfriend. The wait staff position was apparently highly competitive, but we felt somewhat confident when we learned she was made the cut for an in-person interview. She’s that person everyone enjoys having around and wants to have on their team, the one who can always find the positive any situation (plus she has waitressing experience). She always interviews well, and she’s a hard worker who always puts in extra effort. Anyway, she’s happy and we’re happy for her. We know she’ll eventually find a place where she can use her considerable artistic talents, but for now this is a good place for her.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I almost halfway through Breasts and Eggs. I am enjoying it, but it’s very Japanese, both the topic and the writing, and it sometimes jumps around a bit. I’ve put Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on hold at the library – almost can’t believe I just have one more in the series to go. The books have gotten so much better, exciting, and enjoyable as the series goes along.
  • Listening to: Brett is puttering around in the kitchen (putting dishes away, making coffee), and outside there’s a soft breeze blowing through the palms, birds are singing, and a couple of roosters are doing their thing off in the distance now and again. In other words, it’s a lovely morning in spite of the sky being filled with clouds. Hopefully they’ll clear out in the new few hours so we can go to the beach!
  • Watching: We’ve had a few nights where we couldn’t get into Netflix because the girls were all watching something (Netflix is provided by our phone plan so they all can access it as well), so Brett and I watched some other shows on Amazon and Britbox (Wild Bill, with Rob Lowe) those evenings. One favorite was A Suitable Girl on Amazon, a documentary about three young women in India and their quests to find a suitable husband and get married. It was fascinating and we enjoyed seeing scenes of India again. WenYu has recommended Indian Matchmaking on Netflix as a complement to that show, as well as a couple of others we now have on our list. When we can get on Netflix we’re still watching Mindhunter and Hinterland, but we should finish those this week.
  • Cooking/baking: We’ll be having be another (A Dozen Cousins’) beans and brown rice dinner tonight – tonight it will be Mexican Cowboy pinto beans. Other dishes on the this week’s menu are chicken adobo with bok choy; grilled ribeye steaks one night; and chicken and vegetable curry. Leftovers will fill in the gaps. I didn’t end up making the lemon cake last week because there were no lemon cake mixes at Walmart, and I refuse to pay nearly $4 to buy one elsewhere. I would have made the lemon cake from scratch except that we unfortunately didn’t have any lemons! I instead made a vanilla cake which we’re topping with apple pie filling. It’s not as good as the cherries and chocolate cake, but still very tasty and a nice sweet treat to end the day. I’ve promised myself though that our next cake will be something a bit more spectacular.
    Watashi wa tomodachi to nomi ni dekakemasu – got it on the first try!
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I feel like I turned a corner this week with Japanese. It was easier for some reason to read and remember kanji, and even though I still made mistakes, there were no where near as many of them as before. Before it often took me several tries for me to get things like the sentence above correct, but this past week I was able to get through review exercises without an error, a big step for me. We again walked every day (and got soaked on Monday – the rain started before we were able to get back to the car), and had five 3+-mile days. I’ve started carrying hand weights along when I walk. It’s been a bit of a challenge though as I thought I ordered two one-pound weights but instead ordered two two-pound weights. I know it won’t take long until they start to feel lighter. We didn’t get any of the windows washed this past week, so that job has been moved to this week, although we need to have a day when the sun is not shining brightly. We also did not get to see our friend on the north side as she was having a difficult week recovery-wise, so that’s been postponed until she’s feeling better.
  • Looking forward to next week: Brett and I are planning to go out on a breakfast date this week, to the Kalaheo Cafe just down the road. They do several different Eggs Benedict variations, so I know I will find something I like (and Brett will no doubt have French toast). Weather permitting, we also plan to get back to the beach, starting today, and hopefully get to go more than once. Otherwise, we have no specific plans for the week.
    Heaven in a bowl for breakfast.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Costco got flats of peaches in once again, and we found one with ripe peaches (soft to the touch and smelled like peaches versus hard as a baseball and no aroma). My idea of heaven for breakfast is nonfat vanilla yogurt topped with a fresh peach and a sprinkle of Anahola Granola, so getting to have peaches one more time is a wonderful thing in my book. Ally the cat continues to come by each day for water and a little attention. I never thought I’d say this, but we actually got worried one day when she didn’t come until late afternoon.
    She has made her peace with us, and us with her.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We stayed right on budget with our food shopping this week – I actually put a few things back at Costco just so we wouldn’t go over. We put $15.27 into the change/$1 jar. Our only other spending this week was the farmers’ market, the shared pastry at the Midnight Bear Cafe in Hanapepe, and some gin. Brett and I are not big drinkers – we only have one gin & tonic three evenings a week – but Safeway recently remodeled their liquor department and currently have a big wine and liquor sale going on, so this past week we stocked up on some small batch/specialty gins we’ve been wanting to try: Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice, Roku Gin from Japan, and Aviation Gin, distilled in Portland. Safeway’s prices were good to begin with, but we saved an addition $40 on top of those! We have enough gin now to last us for months. Otherwise in frugality, our travel savings balance at the end of August was $853. I got lucky and did several high-SB surveys, and along with receiving my monthly bonus award, I earned 1,854 Swagbucks this past week! Without YaYu here the amount of leftovers has dropped considerably, and all were quickly eaten. No food was thrown away this week as well.
    Pretty nice gin joint we’ve got set up now. This is definitely a want sort of thing and not a need, but we enjoy good gin and aren’t doing much of anything or going much of anywhere else these days, so why not? The Midsummer Solstice we enjoyed yesterday evening was amazingly delicious.
  • Grateful for: We’re thankful that all three of our girls is settled and healthy. Meiling is working (still full time from home) and she and her boyfriend moved this past week into a larger apartment (still in Manhattan); WenYu is now employed, and is otherwise happy and doing well; and YaYu is back at school and ready to start classes tomorrow. We couldn’t ask for more.
  • Bonus question: Where do you get your news these days? We don’t have cable TV, nor receive any local channels, and don’t currently subscribe to any newspapers. These days I keep up with what’s going on via Twitter. It may be seen as a strange source, but I have a highly curated list of (trusted) people I follow and I skim though tweets from them a couple of times a day to see what people are talking about and what issues, if any, I want to find out more about. Some of the stuff being put up on Twitter is frankly silly, and not worth my time, but there are other issues appearing almost daily where a tip from someone posting on Twitter gets me digging deeper. I then try to read articles from a variety of sources, and hear and weigh different viewpoints. At the same time I almost always refuse to read comments on Twitter because those can easily devolve into a trip down the rabbit hole or a bunch of name-calling or worse. Almost nobody follows me on Twitter because I rarely if ever tweet anything myself. I actually had one tweet of mine go viral last year, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to keep trying for that again.

We are so accustomed now to seeing everyone here wearing a mask that when we spot someone who isn’t it’s both shocking and maddening. The other day at the farmers’ market a women with five kids (definitely visitors) was shopping without a mask but instead had it dangling around her wrist. I guess she couldn’t be bothered to put it on, or though masks were for suckers or something. There are tons of signs throughout the market too reminding people that mask wearing is mandatory. I’m hoping someone eventually stopped her and told her to put it on. We also received an email from Bryn Mawr letting us know that apparently last weekend there were indoor gatherings on campus with no one wearing a mask, and several people had left campus to head into Philadelphia and elsewhere. Both activities are in violation of the agreement that students were required to sign before being allowed to return to campus. Being that the Honor Code at Bryn Mawr is a BIG DEAL, apparently these students are being dealt with individually, but the campus has gone into serious shutdown mode as well with ALL classes now online for the next week or so. YaYu says that almost everyone is trying very hard to stay safe and healthy, and everyone she knows is pretty upset about the actions of the few who chose to break the agreement and possibly endanger other students. The campus is also having issues with outsiders (not wearing masks, of course) wanting to walk their dogs on campus, etc. even though there are lots of signs posted that no visitor are allowed

That’s a wrap for this week. It was a very nice one for us, and moved along fairly quickly. Hope all of your weeks were good ones as well, and that you’re looking forward to the one coming up!


10 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 9/6/2020: Another Very Nice Week

  1. Yes to fresh peaches in my Greek yogurt right now! We live near orchards and they’re just fantastic. I try to just buy a few at a time (DH doesn’t like them) so I don’t get too many ripe at once. So good! And nice job on the Japanese lessons. That looks so hard.

    I too start with Twitter now, since anything that is hot news is typically trending and I can dig further or into other sources. I have a subscription to the NYT online, but honestly, I read it less than I used to. Headlines and a lot of the features, but not all the news stories. I also read Heather Cox Richardson’s daily synopsis on FB…she is measured and very bright without the drama. And I read the New Yorker…man, it takes a lot to keep up with it. Ha!

    College campuses seem to be the latest hotbed of clusters. It must be maddening for YaYu to follow the rules and have some yahoos cause consequences for everyone. So many young people seem to feel immortal.

    I booked a flight to the UK this week and leave in two weeks. Very excited and a bit nervous. I have been emailing with an American woman who is there visiting her DD and new grandbaby (I found her in a travel forum and she sent me a private message to avoid any negative feedback on the site). She has been really informative and helpful and actually gave me the courage to just do it. She is a retired nurse, so that is somewhat reassuring. She’s been there twice in the past few months and says none of their flights had more than 60 people on board. 🤞


    1. First, yeah for going to England!! I read a notice from someone who had just arrived over there and was currently in quarantine for 14 days, but she said the trip over (on Delta) went well and that there were barely 60 people on the flight. So, things should go well for you as well – just keep your mask on! I will know things are getting better when I see flights resume to Japan. Right now there is just one flight a week from Honolulu, on Hawaiian, I think.

      YaYu and many other students are frustrated by others’ lack of concern about the virus. All students have been tested and only one positive test was found, sadly a first-year student who is now living on her own in the quarantine dorm. They will all be tested again in a month, unless obvious cases start showing up.

      The peaches are gone now – we went through them quickly as they were already ripe when we bought them. We get such a short window here when they’re available at Costco, but I always look forward to seeing them when they arrive. Berries, melons, and some other summer fruits are available almost year round though, but I prefer the local stuff I can pick up at the farmers’ market.

      The news is overwhelming these days. I have to pace myself.


      1. Apparently, they can order Covid tests from the NHS sent to their home, return it by mail, and get texts of the results in 24-48 hours. Really makes you wonder why we’re doing so badly, doesn’t it? Anyway, glad to hear of another traveler that had a good experience. I will look like I’m going to outer space with a mask, face shield, etc., but it will be worth it. 😂


      2. Just keep yourself safe while you’re there – just read today that experts think the UK is about two weeks behind the resurgence that’s going on in the rest of Europe. Scary stuff.


  2. The beach looks gorgeous! Please keep the pictures coming! I am stuck at work all day and they are a beautiful distraction when I get home at night! Pictures of nature make me so happy. So happy to hear the kids are doing well.


    1. Yesterday we headed out to the beach at Barking Sands as weather reports said it was only partly cloudy while here at our place is was overcast and rainy. It was sunny the whole drive there, but when we arrived it was cold and windy with lots of clouds and rain clouds forming in front and back. We stayed for about an hour, took a long walk on the beach, and left just before the rain hit. It was sunny the whole way back home, and at home when we arrived! Sometimes you just can’t win.


  3. I’m not surprised about what happened at Bryn Mawr. It’s happening everywhere. My alma mater shut down a few days ago due to a large amount of positive cases. I’m not sure what colleges were thinking by bringing students back and expecting they wouldn’t get together and throw parties, etc. I know students had to sign agreements at all of these colleges and it would be nice to think young adults could stay away from each other, but it’s also not realistic.

    I’ve added Salt Pond Beach Park to my list of places to visit. I’m not a good swimmer and neither is the friend I normally travel with, so we’re always looking for calm water. We normally go to the beaches at Lydgate and Brennecke’s since both are calm.

    How do you like Memrise? I know a little Italian and want to be more proficient so would you recommend it?

    Maskless people upset me too and I’ve been seeing more and more of it lately. For me, I feel like if it’s outside, it’s hopefully not a big deal and I try not to let it bother me, but indoors, it’s mandated here and everyone should be wearing one. I went grocery shopping the other day and there was a woman on her phone with her mask below her chin. She didn’t even appear to be shopping because she had no shopping cart. Just walking around talking on her phone. I think someone said something to her because I saw her leave the store soon after that, but that was the first time I’d seen anyone inside a store without a mask.

    I must say, Ally the Cat looks well fed, LOL.


    1. I talked with YaYu this morning – she was in the process of getting her dorm room set up. Apparently two colleges/universities in Philadelphia just shut down because of cases and students partying without masks or distancing. She said most students at Bryn Mawr are very proactive though, and hopefully with some peer pressure all students will settle in and be more careful. All students were tested and there was only one positive case, a newly-arrived first-year student. She’s now living by herself in the quarantine dorm – very sad.

      Memrise is far from perfect, but I am learning from it. I’m doing much better with the kanji than before. I used it to study French for over a year before we traveled in 2018, and I was able to read most signs and actually put together a couple of sentences now and again. Brett studied Italian, and his experience was similar to mine. I know I will never master Japanese, but the more I know whenever we go makes it easier.

      We still don’t know who is feeding Ally the Cat, but she is well-fed. Haven’t seen her around yet today.

      You would like Salt Pond – you can stand up in the protected swimming pond, and the water is mostly smooth and very clear.


      1. It’s good Bryn Mawr only has that one case and it’s also good they have a quarantine dorm. Too bad for that student who is living alone now, especially since she’s a freshman, but hopefully she isn’t having symptoms and will be able to leave the quarantine in the two weeks.

        Salt Pond sounds perfect. Now I really can’t wait to return to Kauai! But it’s going to be at least a year before I’d even consider it and it all depends on how things are by then.

        I started Memrise today. I started with level 2 and am finding it easy so I might go to the next level. Are you using the free version or the subscription?


      2. Most of the women at Bryn Mawr seem to be very upset by the few that are not taking precautions, etc. I really feel awful for that first-year who has to be by herself in the dorm- I hope too that she’s out of quarantine in a couple of weeks.

        Re. Memrise: As a language instructor I would recommend you go through Level 2 again as a warm-up. You’ll do it quickly, and then be more than ready for the next level. We started with Level 2 as well, and I have been more than ready because of that for what’s going on in Level 3.


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