Sunday Morning 9/13/2020: Cloud Magnets

This week gave us one sunset with some color. Otherwise there were either dark gray clouds or nothing.

Good morning!

We’ve finished up another very nice week which included not only going out for breakfast one morning, but getting in two trips to the beach. We enjoyed ourselves both times, but seemed to be cloud magnets for some reason. Last Sunday, when the skies clouded over at the apartment, we decided to head down to the beach at Barking Sands for some sunshine. Hah! It was sunny the whole way down, but when we arrived at the beach it was dark and gloomy with heavy clouds overhead, squalls out at sea in front of us, and low, dark rain clouds behind us. It was also obvious there had been some less than ideal weather there recently as the high water mark from the waves was halfway up the beach and there were still large ponds of water in places on the beach. We didn’t even bother to take our umbrella out of the car, but set up our chairs and nibbled our lunches, then took a l-o-n-g walk down the beach and back before calling it quits. We got in our car just as the rain finally arrived. Ironically, there was barely a cloud in the sky the entire way home once we left Barking Sands!

Friday looked like another a perfect day for a beach visit so we headed back to Salt Pond Beach Park. We set up our umbrella, and had just settled ourselves in our beach chairs when a large, dark cloud moved overhead and parked itself right above us! There was sun to the left of us, and sun to the right, but our location was in shade the entire time (we took the umbrella down after a few minutes). There had been a brush fire burning on our way into Salt Pond that was producing a lot of smoke, and while we were on the beach we watched a helicopter fly in to pick up water from the ocean to help fight the fire – that was interesting to watch. After a while we couldn’t see any more smoke, but as we left to come home we noticed there were still plenty of fire and police personnel and trucks/cars around, and fire trucks were still arriving so apparently the fire was still burning or smoldering somewhere.

LOTS of ripe guava appear every day now – it’s a race to get them before the birds.

Our guava tree continues to produce amazing amounts of ripe fruit every day. Brett goes out and picks as much as he can, and has been taking at least a full shopping bag of the fruit up to Monkeypod Jam each week for the past three weeks (and will do the same probably for the next two, at least). MJ has been happy to take the guava as they use only local fruit for their jams, preserves, and baked goods. Our lilikoi are coming along but won’t be ready for another month or two, and we’ve noticed the oranges are starting to change color. They’re not close to orange yet, but have been turning a lighter shade of green getting ready to go in that direction. The orange tree is loaded with fruit as well, which makes us happy as it produces very sweet and juicy oranges. The first ones should be ripe by late November, and the tree will continue producing into spring.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: Breasts and Eggs has turned out to be a longer book that I initially thought. I have been reading lots every day but am just barely over 55% of the way through. I’m enjoying it though, especially since the protagonist lives in Sangenjaya, the same place we stayed on our past two visits, and I can recognize many of the places she visits and the train lines she rides on. Anyway, I’ve only got eight days left from the library so the push is on to get it finished before it has to go back.
  • Listening to: The usual cool morning breeze is blowing through the yard and the trees. Brett is making our morning coffee and taking care of his morning chores (putting away the dishes, getting the trash ready to go out) and making a bit more noise than usual for some reason! There were also blue skies when we got up, but in the last hour the sky has filled with clouds and now it’s raining! One of the things I love about living here is that we can always hear the rain arriving as it moves across from the mountains.
  • Watching: We finished both Mindhunter and Hinterland this past week and have started watching Bordertown, a Finnish detective show, and are (re)watching One Foot In the Grave on BritBox. We loved that show and how much it makes us laugh (still does). The actor who plays Victor Meldrew is a gem.
  • Cooking/baking: Although we’re going food shopping this week, it will be minimal as the freezer and fridge are still quite full. Tonight’s another beans and rice dinner though – we’re having A Dozen Cousins curried chickpeas (our favorite) over brown rice along with some cucumber. This week we’re also planning to have grilled burgers; fettuccini with pesto; and grilled teriyaki chicken and zaru soba, but otherwise it will be leftovers or whatever else we can pull together to use things up. I was going to get fancy and make a Bacardi rum cake this past week, but when we bought our gin last week we noticed Safeway was also having a big ice cream sale, so we went back and picked up two containers: Blue Bunny Banana Split and Tillamook Mountain Huckleberry. We’re enjoying a small scoop of each now for our after-dinner treat.
    “Give your tongue a sleigh ride” – what my grandmother always said when she served us ice cream.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I’m not sure how long we walked on the beach last Sunday, but it was a workout. In some places our feet were sinking into the sand almost up to our knees! We walked 3+ miles every other day at the park last week and will be sticking with this distance for the next two weeks before pushing ourselves to do closer to four miles per day. I’d like to say that carrying the hand weights is getting easier, but at least it’s not getting more difficult. I found a great step-by-step guide for preparing for long-distance walks (10-16 miles) that we can use once we get our daily distance up to five miles, so we’re now very motivated to work toward that. We still have the window cleaning to look forward to – if it stays overcast this would be a good day for it – and nothing much else got accomplished either.
  • Looking forward to next week: We have no plans at all for next week. Every day will be a blank canvas for us to fill however we wish.

Breakfast date at the Kalaheo Cafe

  • Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I had a lovely breakfast date on Thursday morning at the Kalaheo Cafe. We ate outside on the lanai because the weather was so nice and because there were hardly any people out there. Brett broke with tradition and ordered a Belgian waffle instead of French toast, and I enjoyed a smoked salmon Egg Benedict – very yummy. Brett picked up his new glasses on Thursday afternoon – a new look for him (and I like it!). This past week I discovered a company that offers great walking tours throughout Japan, both guided and self-guided, and we have been going through them wondering which one we should do first (whenever we can get back to Japan). Our DIL sent us loads of grandkid pictures again this week – we miss those two so much. They’re both enjoying being back at school. K loves her preschool, and C has moved over to the “big kids” building at his school this year.
    New clear-frame glasses for Brett
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: This was not the most frugal of weeks, although we did keep our spending (ice cream, gasoline fill-up, Brita filters, and breakfast out) as low as possible. Having to buy the Brita filters was frustrating because we ended up having to get an expensive 10-pack at Costco as we couldn’t find them anywhere else (on the plus side we’re good for filters for at least the next two years, if not longer). We put $3.60 into the change/$1 bill jar this past week. We sure don’t seem to get much change these days as we haven’t amassed enough of any coins to roll since we’ve been here. I earned an amazing 1,912 Swagbucks this week (!!!) and have decided that rather than redeem for $100 gift cards I am going to work toward earning as many $250/$500 Delta and Southwest gift cards as I can before we travel in 2022 to help keep our costs down. I have a nice system now for earning Swagbucks, nothing that requires a lot of my time, and so far it’s been working better than expected. On the food front, we currently have a few leftovers to finish, but we’re keeping up with them, and no food has been thrown out. I recently discovered that I can fix just a half-cup of rice in our rice cooker, which is perfect for just Brett and I, and creates fewer leftovers.
  • Grateful for: I am very thankful right now that we stocked up our food supplies the last couple of months because this month we don’t need to purchase much. We have plenty of protein on hand and a good variety as well, so our focus this month will be more on fruits and vegetables from the farmers’ market and pantry staples. Anything we don’t spend out of our grocery budget will go into travel savings!
    These were the original kimekomi temari I made (the blue one on the right was the first). I do mono-chromatic temari as they have a very elegant (shibui) look to my Western eyes and taste; traditional Japanese temari are multi-colored.
  • Bonus question: Do you enjoy doing any sorts of arts or crafts? These days my answer would be no, but I used to enjoy doing artsy/craftsy things. I have done sewing, embroidery, tea box covering, quilting (by hand), knitting, and scrapbooking, well enough that I could use/wear/gift the things I made but these days I have no interest. My final fling with crafting was making kimekomi temari, or traditional hand balls, which I learned to do during our second tour in Japan. Kimekomi is the process of pushing and glueing fabric into grooves carved into a compressed wooden shape to create a smooth surface – it is most often used to make dolls. My daughter-in-law helped me get supplies from Japan, and I sold them through a Japanese goods shop in Seattle – they went for more than I imagined and also sold more quickly than I imagined they might. A few of my temari were also exhibited in Japan as my Western style and color choices are very different from traditional Japanese kimekomi, and besides using only traditional satin brocades I also had covered a few temari with vintage Japanese cotton indigo fabrics. I stopped making the balls when the girls’ schedules became so crazy that I had no time to make anything but dinner. It’s the one craft I’d love to go back to but I haven’t taken that last step yet to start it up again.
    Wearing my white linen capris in Sydney . . .

Finally, a goal I set for myself earlier this year was to get in shape enough to fit back into my white linen capris once again. The last time I had worn them was in January of 2019, when we visited the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. I faithfully carried them around with me after that, but couldn’t squeeze myself back into them last summer in Portland, and I was in even worse shape when we arrived back here in March. However, with all the walking we’ve been doing I’ve been changing shape, and along with 14 pounds lost I decided to give them a try again this past Friday and . . . voilà! They were actually easier to put on then they were in 2019! That gave me a happy feeling, and another goal has been met!

. . . and again this past week (finally).

Even with our less than perfect beach days, we had a very enjoyable week and accomplished (most) of what needed doing. Good things happened, we ate well, and I hope the same happened for everyone as well. Here’s to good weather this coming week to help to tamp down or eliminate the fires raging in the West – my goodness, it’s awful in California in Oregon, and my heart aches for all those affected in any way. I’m hoping for a good or better week for all.

22 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 9/13/2020: Cloud Magnets

    1. Thank you! It was a very nice surprise to put those on the other day, and motivating as well to continue what we’ve started.

      Lots of people tried kimekomi doll-making in Japan, but it just wasn’t my thing. The balls are fun to make – I enjoy picking colors, etc. I think the next time we go to Japan I am going to stock up my supplies again.

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    1. Good thoughts for you Cindy that the storm passes without problems, and that the rain isn’t overwhelming.

      We had lovely weather last week for the most part – it makes picture taking easy (but also makes for less beautiful sunsets).

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  1. Huge fan of the clear glasses frames that Brett picked. They look great. And kudos to you on the weight loss. I have a pair of pants that I no longer wear, but I keep them in the bottom of a storage drawer to try them on from time to time when seasons change. This year they’re a bit tight…but still redeemable if I give it an effort in the coming months. Could happen with less stress…time will tell. 😜

    The kimekomi temari are really gorgeous. It’s funny how we get busy and things we used to do fall by the wayside. I have a queen sized quilt of 12 different sample squares that I made at a quilting class/store (hours and hours and hours of hand quilting) when my kids were young. I’ve been carrying it around with me for 30+ years, I’m embarrassed to say. The edge panels need to be quilted and sewn shut and it will be done. I laid it out on our bed before we moved and decided to take it along. Ha! Maybe this winter I’ll finish it. It would be a miracle, but it could happen. When I was younger, I was all crafty (cross stitch, crocheting, knitting sweaters, sewing my clothes, etc.), but I’ve pretty much given it all up. At the very least, I think I need to finish that quilt.

    This is my week to pack and I’m really hoping my kids stop adding things to my suitcase. Haha! DD in England wants some of her favorite American ‘stuff’, DD here is sending things to her sister, and I have a couple baby gifts I’ve been collecting, etc. And I still plan to carry on. Luckily, we’ll be going virtually nowhere while I’m there, so it’s all casual and things I can wash when the baby spits up on me. Six more sleeps and I’m off. 🤩

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    1. I made a sampler quilt top back in my quilting days, all by hand, but Brett got transferred before I could start the quilting. We moved to Southern Maryland, and I found a Mennonite woman who did quilting to earn pocket money and she finished it off for me. While I would have liked to have done it, her work added to the memory. I sent the quit to Japan when our grandson was born; both grandkids have used it. She also quilted an antique quilt top in the Dresden plate pattern that my great grandmother had pieced by hand; Brett and I used it for many years until the fabric began to disintegrate.

      The temari are a great craft for me these days. I can work at them for an hour or so, and in a few days one is done. I am very low on supplies these days though, and getting anything from Japan is impossible, so am thinking I’ll stock up next time I’m in Japan – shopping for the fabrics and cores will be a fun activity!

      Will be thinking of you this week and wishing you a safe bon voyage! I know you’ll have the best time with you daughter and new baby.

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  2. Well done on fitting into your pants!!

    Island weather is interesting in its changability.

    I’d love to join you on a walking tour in Japan. Can’t even get out of my state; can’t see when I’d be allowed to travel overseas.

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    1. I am SO HAPPY to hear from you! I kept checking your blog, but no updates and after a while was starting to fear the worst.

      We are hoping that things will have turned for the better by 2022, which is why we’ve picked that far-away date for our first international trip. We are planning to go in early September and stay a month or so in Tokyo, then hike for 10 or so days. More information coming tomorrow about the tours in a blog post. I don’t think I have to say how much we would enjoy having you and your husband hiking along with us in Japan!

      The pants fitting again made a good week better, and has motivated me to keep going.

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  3. So good to see photos of the sky, cloudy or not! We’ve been lucky so far here in Central Oregon- no fires- but terrible, terrible smoke. At one point Portland had the worst air quality in the WORLD; I’ve heard that they are now second to BC. Ours is not far behind. But that is nothing compared to the destruction in Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley; whole towns are gone. An artist friend lost her home in Blue River, 35 years of memories and artwork gone. So I hope this week brings some of that rain you’re having, we’ll take all that you’re willing to share!

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    1. What’s going on in California, Oregon, Washington and now BC is horrifying. We have seen just awful pictures from friends there – a video one sent of the air particulates in Portland was especially awful. Air quality has been off-the-chart horrific. For those still denying climate change, the proof has arrived and it is worse than anyone could have imagined. We are praying for rain, but know it’s a tough time of the year for that, especially in California. Oregon and Washington need it badly though too.

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  4. Love the kimekomi temari, if you can get back to doing that and selling them again it would boost your travel budget. I’m hoping to sell some of my paintings at some point. Now that fall is here, I plan on getting back to it.

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    1. Once I can get more supplies, making the temari is not a problem (the only thing I dislike doing is sanding the wooden cores, but Brett can do that for me now) but finding a market can be hard. Some have suggested Etsy, but they also do well when people can pick them up and examine them – they’re actually very, very light (core is made from compressed sawdust!). I want to be doing something again though but will most likely have to wait until we can get back to Japan before I can stock up on supplies.

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  5. I would love to make the kimekomi temari! I sew all sorts of things, crochet some, do needlepoint, and cover lampshades and other crafts I have dabble in. Right now, I got a new serger so I can sew again.

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    1. Linda – there are all sorts of videos and online instruction on how to make them. In the U.S. people use a foam ball and cut the design into the foam, and then cover with fabric. People often make them for Christmas ornaments. Anyway, it’s doable.

      Would also love to have a machine again, but there’s really no place for it in our current apartment. I’ve thought about taking sewing lessons again when it’s once again safe to do so, just to brush up on my skills once again.

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  6. Congratulations on getting into the white linen capris again! And the hand balls are beautiful. Like you, in the past I have done several types of crafts, but really don’t have much interest in doing those now. I still hope to do a lap quilt in Christmas fabric sometime…..we’ll see.
    Beautiful beach pics too!

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    1. Writing about doing crafts got me wondering why I let so many of them drop, or why I’m not doing something like making the temari again? Hmmmmm. A lot of the issue for me is that I no longer have a place or way to use the things I make – don’t need quilts here, or have any place to display embroidery, etc. As well as brushing up my sewing skills, I have thought about taking a class to learn Hawaiian quilting (appliqué) but right now it’s not safe to do so. My attitude these days is the same as yours – we’ll see. I certainly have the time these days.

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  7. I was talking to the friend I normally travel with today and we were joking that since we’re both working from home, we should hop on a plane and rent an apartment for a couple of months and work from Kauai! That’s not going to happen, but it fun to dream. Thanks for posting the beach pics. They make me want to be there even more.

    Right now I’m reading Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford. It’s an historical fiction novel that is loosely based on a true story of a boy in China in the early part of the 20th century who is sold by his prostitute mother to someone who brings him to the US. She couldn’t afford to keep him so she had no choice. I just started it, but it seems like it will be interesting.

    Congrats on getting into your capris! It’s great you and Brett have been walking so much. The weather has cooled off here so I’ve returned to walking outside.

    I’ve never heard of those two ice cream flavors. I’ll have to see if I can find them around here.

    The kimekomi temari are beautiful!

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    1. I think there are quite a few people who decided to come over here and spend a few months “working from home” – LOL.

      Walking has always made a difference in my shape, and one of the benefits of living here is that we can walk almost every day. Right now though it’s HOT, but we still go. Since we’re walking more for training then just exercise, we’re very motivated to keep it going which is only going to get me in better shape (I hope).

      Tillamook is my favorite ice cream brand. Blue Bunny is good, but the Tillamook is creamier. Ice cream here on the island is VERY expensive. Blue Bunny, for example, usually sells for $10.99-$12.99 per container!! When we saw it for $3.99 at Safeway we went back for it and if our freezer was larger we would have bought more. Tillamook is usually $8.99 or so, and was on sale for $4.99. Both flavors are really good, but I prefer the Tillamook blueberry.

      I wish I had more pictures of some of the temari I made. The indigo ones always were beautiful, and I also bought an antique silk obi and covered several balls with that. Every one of them was one-of-a-kind. They take about a week to make – the process of cutting the fabric and then glueing it into the grooves is time consuming as each shape on the ball has to be cut and inserted individually – mass production doesn’t work.

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  8. I have never been interested in crafts. My mother did everything, the only think I ever did was needlepoint which was the one thing my mother didn’t do. Not sure what that says about our relationship. Mostly I prefer to read.
    Wish I could send some of our rain out west. We have been getting 1 to 2 inches per day. Ground is saturated and our road keeps washing out. I have never seen so much standing water since the hurricanes of 2004. I hope we don’t get a hurricane now, it would be a complete disaster.
    Love that you are seeing such wonderful results from your walking.
    The temari are beautiful.

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