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.
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.
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).
- 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.
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!