Sunday Morning 10/11/2020: Life In the Slow Lane

Our last sunset with the palm trees . . .
. . . the first without.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

We woke up Wednesday morning to the sound of saws and came out to the living room only to see that the two palm trees in the yard behind us were being cut down. What a sad thing that was! We have wondered for a while if the trees were diseased or not because although they were loaded with coconuts not one coconut ever dropped and they all looked dead as well. The rest of the trees looked healthy though, so who knows? But down they came, and they are missed. I loved how they helped frame the sunsets and how they always let us know that we were once again living in Hawaii.

The palm trees are greatly missed.

When someone is in quarantine here on Kaua’i, a member of the Hawaii National Guard comes by daily at random times to check whether the person is at home and staying inside. Our upstairs neighbor is currently under quarantine, and one day last week a police officer showed up at his door instead of the national guard. Due to the setup here any visitors for the upstairs apartment stand right outside our living room window to knock at our neighbor’s door (entrance is through a large foyer on our level and then up stairs to the apartment). The officer actually asked us through the window before he knocked if our neighbor was home (yes because he’d been stomping around all morning) and if we had ever seen him leave (no, because we hadn’t). Someone else in the neighborhood though had apparently reported Upstairs Neighbor for breaking quarantine, currently a criminal offense with an up to $5000 fine and it turned out the police officer was there to question him about it. The officer told Upstairs Neighbor why he was there, and began to read him his rights, but the neighbor didn’t want to answer the questions, at least not without a LOT of hesitation. The police officer was polite but firm, and kept going through the questions, and apparently at one point the neighbor started to cry for some reason. It was hard for us to ignore what was going on, and both Brett and I kept wondering why he wouldn’t answer the Miranda questions, especially if he hadn’t broken quarantine. The officer eventually told him that if he was denying breaking quarantine he wouldn’t charge him because apparently the witness/reporter couldn’t positively identify him. The officer left, and the neighbor stomped back upstairs, stomped around the apartment and yelled at things for a while, and we’ve only heard him go out the door once since then. We think there’s a good chance he did break his quarantine this past week, and was spotted leaving by one of the people living across the street as he sure seemed to have behaved toward the police officer like someone who knew he had been caught. It’s been a pain having him upstairs from us again as he’s so noisy, but he leaves for good next week.

She always comes and sits patiently by the front door now, without judgment.

Ally, the neighborhood cat, continues to visit us almost daily. We keep fresh water out for her, and after having a drink she often goes back to the deck to sleep in the shade under our lounge chair. Brett goes out now and again to give her back a scratch and let her know that it won’t be long before YaYu is back.

This morning I am: 

  • Reading: I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this past week, and thereby accomplished two of my reading goals this year: finishing the entire Inspector Morse series by Colin Dexter, and re-reading all the Harry Potter books. I’m finally reading Sex & Vanity by Kevin Kwan and enjoying every word of it as it seems to be an updated version of E. M. Forster’s A Room With a View, a favorite book which also happens to also be my all-time favorite film!
  • Listening to: I’ve been enjoying a very quiet morning – I woke up first and have enjoyed doing some reading in the peace and quiet. No dogs barking, no chickens screaming, no lawn mowers, just the breeze through the trees and the birds singing. It’s a lovely morning temperature-wise as well, cool with a constant gentle breeze. Brett’s up now though, putting away last night’s dishes and making coffee for both of us.
  • Watching: We’re still power-binging Homeland on Showtime, three episodes a night. Even with that I don’t think we’ll get through everything before our free trial period ends on October 29. We squeezed in Bread Week on the Great British Baking Show on Friday, but thought it was pretty lackluster. The show seems to be having a lot of trouble coming up with original ideas for the bakers, especially for the technicals. This week it was rainbow bagels(?). I miss the days when they had to make something difficult but still recognizable.
  • Cooking/baking: Tonight I’m going to make burritos for our dinner using A Dozen Cousins Mexican beans along with leftover grilled chicken, shredded cabbage, and salsa and will use the two remaining flour tortillas we have on hand to wrap everything up. Other dinners on the menu this week are grilled smoked chicken sausages with roasted mixed vegetables; Instant Pot chicken adobo with bok choy; and grilled ribeye steaks with vegetable kabobs. We still have pumpkin pie, but I’ll finally be making the Bacardi rum cake at the end of the week.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: It was another good week for walking, even with the weather being all over the place. Even on the hottest and most humid days we got in at least two miles, but we had good days as well and got in nearly four miles one day. I’ve mostly enjoyed staying isolated at home though and have gotten a lot of small chores taken care of as well as a lot of reading. We got our Christmas shopping lists made so we’re ready to go at the end of this month, and also got signed up on our family’s annual Secret Santa exchange and know who we’re shopping for.
  • Looking forward to next week: We have absolutely nothing on the calendar except for our weekly trip to the farmers’ market on Wednesday. Hopefully we’ll be able to get to the beach too.

We had a great day on Monday in spite of the heat and humidity.

  • Thinking of good things that happened: We had a fun and fruitful day last Monday. I got my hair cut, always a good thing, and then Brett and I stopped at Java Kai in Kapaa and shared a Kaua’i Cubano sandwich (ham, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, homemade pickles, and tangy mustard on a toasted ciabatta) and some purple potato salad (just a bite for me). Then we headed down to Kealia for a long walk on the beach path. It was very hot and humid, but we started out in the direction of the Pineapple Dump with plans to walk back past our car and onward for a longer distance. That didn’t pan out though – by the time we got back to our car we were whipped from the heat/humidity and decided against going further. We drove back into Kappa and had a small shave ice, and then went over to Alan and Cheryl’s for some good conversation and dinner. Otherwise it’s been a pretty uneventful week, although Brett got in a hike on Thursday on the Kuilau trail back in Kapaa. It was also a very hot and humid experience for him.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We put $5 into the change/$1 bill jar this week, leftover from the farmers’ market. Our only other spending this past week was for our sandwich and shave ice on Monday. Our travel savings balance is now up to $985.27. I set a goal of reaching $1000 by the end of this year, but it looks like we’ll be able to surpass that. I earned 2,984 Swagbucks this past week, which includes a 686 SB bonus that I earned from reaching my daily goal every day in September. I’m now over halfway to earning my first $500 Delta Airlines gift card. We had another good week of finishing up leftovers, and the only food thrown out was a head of iceberg lettuce that started rotting from the inside out (yuk).
    I named this eucalyptus tree The Old Man of the Woods. We’ve still got a ways to go at this point, but when we pass we know the rest of the path is downhill.
  • Grateful for: We’re thankful this week for getting to spend some time with friends, for having a great venue for daily walks, for the new friends we’ve made at the park during our walks, and for the return of the trade winds!
  • Bonus question: What is the most useless thing you ever had to memorize? Well, the list is very long and it’s hard to pick one thing. We were always having to memorize things, and frankly every bit of it other than some of the math stuff (multiplication tables, some basic algebra, even long division) has turned out to be pretty useless now. I memorized more phone numbers than I can count – no contacts lists back then – and have forgotten them all because no one needs or uses them anymore. In middle school we had to memorize long poems as well as the Gettysburg address, which I can still recite. I also learned The Night Before Christmas at some point and can still get through that too although there’s no one to hear it these days. I can only remember the openings of the several long poems we had to memorize (“Aye, tear her tattered ensigns down, long have they waved on high, and many an eye has danced to see that banner in the sky” from Old Ironsides by Oliver Wendell Holmes and “The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees. The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas . . .” from The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. Brett had to memorize The Highwayman too, and we still will say to each other, “the moon was a ghostly galleon” whenever we see a full moon among the clouds – it’s like a code for the torture we both went through having to memorize that poem. Anyway, pretty much everything I had to memorize is now useless. Do kids still have to memorize things in school, or has that gone the way of cursive penmanship? I don’t remember our kids memorizing anything other than the multiplication tables.
It doesn’t look like much but I’ve never gotten this far growing a tree from an avocado seed. There should be a seedling appearing soon.

I grew up in Southern California, in the land of avocado trees. My grandmother had a HUGE tree in her backyard, and one of the houses in I lived in had one in front of the house (the avocados the dropped could unfortunately draw skunks). I have absolutely loved all things avocado for as long as I can remember, but I have never been able to grow a plant from a seed . . . and I have tried so many times. I prepared the seed above from an avocado we bought at the farmers’ market a couple of weeks ago but also prepared myself for nothing to happen once again. However . . . the seed is sprouting roots from the bottom and the top has split in preparation for the plant to emerge!! To say I am excited (and nervous) would be a gross understatement. I’ve got my fingers crossed on both hands, and toes on both feet that I may finally end up with an actual avocado tree.

Have you voted yet? Do you have a plan? Only 23 more days until the election! Our ballots arrived yesterday (Hawaii is a mail-only state) – we’re filling ours out this week and will drop them off at the election office in Lihue.

Life here is slow these days, but never boring. I honestly miss our traveling days, but at the same time am still so very happy we landed back on Kaua’i. I hope everyone had a good, productive week, and that good things happened for all. Here’s to the week coming up, may it be another good one!

13 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 10/11/2020: Life In the Slow Lane

  1. I am loving your recipe posts but haven’t always gotten my comments to work from the UK.

    Always sad to see trees come down – especially those that fill our horizons. In our last house, we had a road on our walking route that was still unpacked for a bit and lined with huge trees. They were mostly cleared for the paving of the road, as many were pretty close to the edge. Some must have been a couple hundred years old. We were pretty sad…and that stretch was then in the hot sun all summer.

    Our mail-in ballots have arrived at home and I am REALLY hoping my daughter’s arrives here in the UK before I leave later this week. I want to hand carry it back so it arrives on time.

    My almost month long visit is coming to an end this week. 😢 While I will be happy to get home, I am so sad to leave this little family. My grand daughter has visibly grown in the time I have been here, and I have so enjoyed her naps on my shoulder. Hard to leave…

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    1. I so envy your time in England! Happy for you that you’ve gotten to spend this time with your daughter and granddaughter, but I’d love to go back again for a long stretch. Brett and I spotted a house for rent in Blockley (very affordable too) right across the road from our little cottage there, and we had a fun couple of days fantasizing about living there full time. We lack the “close connection” required for a long-term visa, but otherwise it would be doable.

      Your mention of the sun heating things up when the old trees were cut down is exactly what we’re experiencing now – we didn’t realize before how much those palms blocked the evening heat from the sun.

      Our ballots have arrived as well – we’re picking them up tomorrow and will have them turned in by the end of the week. Hope your daughter’s gets there before you go.

      Safe travels home!!

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  2. Sorry you lost the palm tree.
    I know you will not agree with me on this, but my stomach dropped when you said the guy upstairs was being questioned by a police officer because a neighbor reported he had been outside. During WWII a good friend’s dad end up in a prison camp because a neighbor turned him in (didn’t like him- he ate too much AND he broke curfew…The neighbor later said). I know we are not there…but I never thought we would ever be close to it. What if the guy didn’t have $5,000? Would he sit in jail for being poor?
    I do have a question. If a person comes in for quarantine, is everyone they are staying with also quarantined? If not, what stops the virus from escaping? My sister in law asked me that when her grands came from a state that is supposed to be quarantined in her state.
    Oh sooo many questions. My old Ahma in Hong Kong is finally permitted to go back to the Philippines this week after waiting since April. She has to quarantine when she arrives.

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    1. The upstairs neighbor was not reported just for “being outside.” It’s highly likely he did something like get in his car and drive off the property, or got in our other neighbor’s car and went someplace with them, and he was spotted leaving by someone at the time. That’s why the police came. In quarantine you’re allowed to be outside on your property. Quarantine is taken VERY seriously here! If our daughter came home when the quarantine was still in effect, we would quarantine with her, although we’re not required to do so. We’re already making plans for that possibility next month, although she has said she is going to quarantine anyway even if it’s not in effect by the end of next month.

      I have no idea what happens if you don’t have $5000, but the rules for quarantine are explained VERY clearly when you arrive in Hawaii.

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  3. My best friend died Monday. She had pancreatic cancer and only found out about three weeks prior. Her funeral was Friday. She had not been retired that long, a few years, but not many. We never know. We are all in shock. It makes me think. I am still not sure exactly where I want to retire. I have sort of narrowed it down, but I am 60 and wanted to wait until 65. But maybe not? Beautiful pics. I hate it about the trees.

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    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Cindy. Pancreatic cancer is awful, too – I lost two grandparents to it, my paternal grandfather, and my maternal grandmother. And you are right, we don’t ever know what’s going to happen. I’m sending prayers and positive thoughts your way.

      Retirement sort of came on us suddenly. We didn’t think it was ever going to happen, and then we figured we could but didn’t know when – that took a bit of figuring out. But once it happened it’s been wonderful, better than we imagined. You’ll know when the time is right.

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  4. I hate to see trees go! If the world took the virus seriously, we would be safer. I saw a video of the Chinese welding the door to someone’s home. That was scary since a fire could kill people.

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    1. Welding a door shut sounds like a very Chinese thing to do – someone probably refused to take the restrictions (for their and others’ safety) seriously and bam! I also wish more would take COVID-19 seriously – it makes my blood boil to see people gathered tightly, no masks, etc. As Cindy said, you never know when it’s your turn, so why potentially speed things up?

      I am slowly getting used to the new view, but I sure miss those trees. The might have come down to for being a danger to the neighbor’s house, but who knows?

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  5. Great post in every way! Purple potato salad?! Right now I am watching “Hawaii Life” on HGTV. Very interesting! Do you ever watch that, and what do you think? It’s on right between “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” and “Mexico Life” on Sunday nights here.

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    1. I did watch a couple of episodes of Hawaii Life back in the day, before we ever decided to move here. The first one I ever watched was about Kaua’i, and one of the houses was on the corner where we turned off the highway to get to our house! I recognized it right away after we arrived, and knew where the other two places were as well (the couple picked the most expensive home). We don’t have cable so don’t get to watch HGTV any more.

      I believe the purple potatoes were Okinawan sweet potatoes (which are not very sweet in reality). It tasted good – I took one bite and Brett ate the rest.

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  6. When I was in 9th grade, the English teacher made us memorize Invictus by William Ernest Henley. He said it would help us later in life when we faced hard times, and he was right. At the time, I thought it was silly because I was young and didn’t understand. The most useless things I had memorize were anything to do with math formulas since I never used them after high school.

    That was quite a story about your upstairs neighbor. I guess some people still don’t understand why the quarantine has to be taken seriously there. I’m amazed that Kauai has been able to enforce it. That must be quite a task. I wonder how they do that on Oahu, for example.

    It’s too bad they took the trees down, but I wouldn’t think they would do that unless there was something wrong with them and they were a danger. Your view still looks great to me!

    I haven’t had much time to read lately, but I did finish a book last week called Can’t Hurt Me by a former Navy Seal. I read the ‘clean’ version because that was what the library had, but I guess there is another version with a lot of curse words, lol. I found it very inspirational, but it may not appeal to all.

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    1. The upstairs neighbor is driving us crazy. He STOMPS all day long – we’re convinced he is incapable of walking normally. He also yells a lot which we can hear. He has done things like jump rope above us at midnight, or throw things to the ground, etc. Hopefully he actually will depart by the end of the week (his quarantine ends on Thursday). Kaua’i is very, very strict about quarantine and masks. Honolulu is having a terrible time of it though – 60 new COVID cases today, and 4 deaths.

      Invictus would have been a great poem to have memorized instead of the stuff we had to do. And, I do remember math formulas and concepts and am kind of surprised how often I pull them out and use them. No quadratic formulas or parabolas or anything like that, but just basic algebraic/math functions.

      I’m getting ready to start the new Rebus book by Ian Rankin today – can’t wait!

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