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