Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka! I forgot to hit the post button this morning – sorry!
We had a very soggy Monday morning. The rain eventually went away but left behind big clouds and oppressive humidity.
I am so glad to have gotten through this past week – it was a tough one weather wise. We started off on Monday morning with biblical amounts of rain that thankfully departed by late afternoon. However, they ushered in higher temperatures and high humidity. A front then parked itself offshore and blocked the trade winds for most of the week which made things close to unbearable. We still went to the park each afternoon to walk, but the heat, humidity, and giant swarms of gnats kept us off our usual path and we instead had to walk on a cooler but more challenging loop through the woods instead. There were thankfully no gnats in the woods, but it was just as humid as everywhere else and we left the park each day soaked in sweat. We almost gave it up yesterday as there were storm clouds threatening rain and the humidity was at its worse, but in the end we felt funny sitting at home and ended up getting in a good walk after all (and again left drenched in sweat). Even the beach gave no relief on Friday, and was just as hot and humid as everywhere else, with little to no breeze. With our ceiling fans going full time on high we stayed comfortable in the apartment. We woke up this morning though to the trade winds blowing once again around the house and through the yard, and the humidity level has dropped back so all is well once again.
We were the only ones at the Barking Sands beach on Friday. It was hot and very humid, and while the ocean looked deceptively calm, the waves that broke at the shore were anything but.
The second of our upstairs neighbors came back this past week to clear his stuff out of the apartment and get it and his car shipped back to the mainland. It didn’t take us long to figure out that he had been the one who used to make all the noise upstairs – he literally pounds across the floor when he walks, drags things around, yells, etc. He’s quarantined for the next two weeks, although we’ve heard him coming and going over to our other neighbor’s apartment (they had a barbecue last night). There have been several showings of the upstairs apartment over the past few weeks, but until this guy moves his stuff out no one else can move in. Fingers are crossed that our eventual new neighbors will be quieter.
Covid-19 cases are increasing again on Oahu, and there continue to be visitors who don’t think the rules apply to them. One couple arrived in Honolulu last week, and immediately broke quarantine and were fined $2000 bail and released. They immediately broke quarantine a second time to go surfing and are now sitting in jail (and have been fined a second $2000). It’s just nuts, and they’re not the only ones thinking the rules don’t apply to them. It’s also maddening that it appears Trump had the coronavirus for a few days before the news of his condition was released, including during debate prep and at the debate, and he possibly infected all sorts of people (and refused testing before the debate and his family refused to wear masks there even though they were required). I have been feeling especially frustrated and angry with those who have been consistently calling the virus a hoax, swearing that masks are not necessary, the “China virus,” and that the 210,000+ deaths were from something other than the virus. We have all deserved better than that.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I am well into the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’ve been reading two to three chapters every evening, but remembering that I read it overnight when it first came out so that I could get it to WenYu right away. She and I went to a release party at a local bookstore (fun!), and bought the book at midnight and I won the draw to read it first. Brett and I had a great time checking out Inspector Rebus settings during our visit to Edinburgh last year so we pre-ordered the newest Ian Rankin book this past week, A Song for the Dark Times, which will arrive in my Kindle on October 13 – I can’t wait!
- Listening to: The sound of the wind blowing through the trees is heavenly – it was sorely missed this past week. Brett is currently reading something as he waits for breakfast (he’s heading out for a hike afterwards), and there’s a rooster doing his thing outside, but otherwise it’s a lovely, cool, peaceful morning.
- Watching: We signed up for a free month’s trial of Showtime on Monday so we could watch The Comey Rule. It was outstanding, and added a lot to what we knew about what had been going on before and after the 2016 election. We’re going to binge watch as much as we can on Showtime before our trial runs out at the end of the month, and we started with Homeland, with Bordertown and One Foot In the Grave on hold for the time being. We tried to watch the Presidential debate on Tuesday and gave up in less than seven minutes. We also watched the second episode of the Great British Bake Off on Friday evening and are looking forward to this week’s episode. I’m not sure I like the new host, but maybe he’ll grow on me.
- Cooking/baking: No cooking today other than heating some A Dozen Cousins curried chickpeas and having those over jasmine rice along with some tasty Kaua’i cucumber. I was so happy this week to discover that the A Dozen Cousins six-pack of seasoned beans were back in stock on Amazon, and I signed up for Subscribe ‘n’ Save and will be getting a case every six weeks – we love them! Also, I tried The Hawaii Plan’s recipe for Egg Roll in a Bowl this past week and we loved that too. It will be put into the rotation here, and I can’t wait for YaYu to put her spin on it when she’s home for the holidays. Anyway, on the menu this week will be grilled teriyaki chicken sandwiches; beef polish sausages with sauerkraut; CookDo pork & pepper stir fry, and leftovers. We’re well-stocked for the coming weeks and with a weekly stop at the farmers’ market for produce we should easily make it through until the 21st. I also scored some dark rum – our neighbor bought some and offered me whatever I need for the rum cake (they also gave me some tequila last week for the Guadalara quesadillas, which were awesome by the way)! We bought a big pumpkin pie at Costco and are having a small slice of that after dinner for now, but when it’s done the rum cake will finally get made.
The path through the woods
- Happy I accomplished this past week: In spite of the awful heat and humidity, we managed to walk every day again, although it was too hot to do our increased distance as planned. We’ve decided to wait on that until things cool down a bit again. We went to Barking Sands on Friday, and did a long beach walk when we were there (I burned my toes). We drove over and checked out the old Koloa sugar mill yesterday, something we’ve been wanting to do for a while. We’ve often see the mill off in the distance and wanted to take a close up look, or as least as close as we could get. I finally filed our claim with the moving company, but we are not expecting much back from them. The replacement cost of the antique banner that was lost is now $1200 to $1500 (I definitely paid a LOT less than that), but the most we could claim was $500. I frankly think we’ll be lucky to get $50 back for our lost items.
- Looking forward to next week: We’re heading up to Kapaa tomorrow: I am getting a much-needed haircut, and we’re having dinner with Alan and Cheryl. In between we plan to take a long walk on the beach path for a change of pace. There’s nothing planned for the rest of the week though.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) While I had to have four very small to tiny pre-cancerous lesions frozen off at the dermatologist’s (a result of all the sun exposure and bad sunburns I got as a child), my skin is otherwise in very good condition, “especially for your age.” 2) Our yard got another trim, including the hedges, and is looking especially nice. On a sad note though, our lilikoi vine was mistakenly trimmed (destroyed) along with all its ripening fruit. 3) The guava harvest has finally ended. 4) We stopped one day to chat with one of the other regular walkers, Jim, a realtor, and discussed home buying vs. renting here for a few minutes. When we told him what we were paying for rent (with utilities and yard service included) he told us he wouldn’t consider buying – what we have for the price is amazing. It was nice to hear as Brett and I have been feeling these days like it will take a crowbar to get us out of this place – we love it here. 5) Jim also told us that on very clear days we should be able to see Oahu off in the distance from the end of the path we walk, something we did not think was possible.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We put $15.55 into the change/$1 bill jar this past week. Two of those dollars were a gift from our bank – we stopped by a new branch that opened this past week and is located less than 10 minutes away from us, and they had just had a traditional Hawaiian blessing that morning and were giving everyone who came in a crisp, new $2 bill along with some other goodies (face masks and disinfecting wipes) as part of the blessing! Such a lovely surprise, and we’re thrilled to finally have a branch that’s closer to us. 2) We somehow managed to stay under budget with our food shopping this week and got everything we needed, although it took effort and restraint. 3) We needed to order paper filters for our Chemex coffee maker this past week, but I discovered that for less than the cost of two boxes (which would only last for six months) we could get a stainless steel filter that will last for years and save us a bundle. The metal filters are a new thing, for us anyway – we’ve had our Chemex for years and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them. 4) No food was thrown away, and we enjoyed all the leftovers we created. 5) I earned 2155 Swagbucks this past week from taking several high-paying surveys.
- Grateful for: This past week we felt beyond grateful for the wooded path option in the park, as it was cool(er) and gnat-free, and allowed us to still get in our daily walks. Unfortunately it was still very humid, but having two out of three made walking a whole lot easier. By doing two loops on the path we were able to get in our regular 3+ miles, and also get in some hill climbing.
- Bonus question: What’s your favorite sandwich? Mmmmmm – sandwiches. I’m hard pressed to think of a sandwich I don’t like (other than the chopped olive ones my mom made once for our school lunches – YUK!) but I do have three favorites, all hot sandwiches. Number one is a reuben, next is a French dip, and in third place is the patty melt. I have a personal rule that if any one of these appears on a menu I have to order it, even if there are other dishes I might prefer. If two or more appear on the same menu, the reuben will almost always take precedence, but sometimes I’ll do rock/paper/scissors with Brett or someone else to eliminate one of them. Other favorite sandwiches are barbecue pulled pork with coleslaw, a tuna melt, roasted or grilled vegetables and cheese panini, and a good hamburger. A big thick pastrami on rye bread is also well-liked. My favorite fast food hamburger would be one from Five Guys, with (iceberg) lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup, but Street Burger‘s bacon & barbecue burger is my hands down favorite burger here on the island (and I love their house made ketchup too).
Brett’s and my drive out past Koloa and Poipu yesterday gave us an opportunity to see what we could of the old sugar mill and what else there outside of town. The remaining old mill buildings were behind a gate and couldn’t be approached (too dangerous anyway). After stopping outside the mill, we drove out as far as we could into the countryside to see what was out there, if anything. Once we passed the gorgeous grounds of the Grand Hyatt resort, the road turned to unpaved and bumpy, and the landscape to mostly scrub (including cactus), but we did come across some beautiful views now and again. It was surprising how hot it was out there too. Hawaii is usually thought of as being purely tropical, but yesterday was a good reminder that there are desert-like areas on the leeward sides of the islands. As we drove around, thunderheads began forming and the humidity began climbing, and we eventually decided it would be best to turn around a come back home before we got stuck in a storm on a dirt path. The sky turned dark with clouds yesterday afternoon, and although temperatures dropped a little bit the rain never arrived and the humidity didn’t decrease either. It was still a nice outing and we were glad we went.
Another reminder from me to make a plan and make sure to vote! The election is less than a month away now, and I know for me it’s the most consequential election of my lifetime.
This was one of those weeks where I greatly missed fall and its cooler temperatures. However, I know things will improve here soon and this miserable weather will be but a distant memory. Here’s hoping that everyone had a good week, that lots of good things happened, lots got accomplished, and that the week coming up will be a better one!