. . . then this happened yesterday evening!
Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
While temperatures thankfully dropped some this past week, the humidity remained high and uncomfortable all week. We usually had a breeze through the apartment most of the time and the ceiling fans kept the air moving otherwise, but being outside was awful, and we came home after walking each day drenched in sweat. We heard thunder on Friday night, and rain finally arrived early yesterday morning. It lasted all day, and broke the humidity, but made for a gloomy day and kept us inside. Today is much nicer, thank goodness.
Hawaii has extended the quarantine until the end of November as they just can’t seem to get a handle on COVID-19; last week, for example, there were 60+ new cases in one day and four deaths. However, the new testing regime went into effect this past week – no quarantine if you test negative three days before arrival – and the number of visitors increased dramatically. YaYu will have to quarantine when she arrives before Thanksgiving because Bryn Mawr will test her four days before she departs, so she’ll be out of the range. Although Brett and I are not required to do so, we plan to quarantine with her for the most part, and will only go out to walk in the park (which is very, very socially distanced) and we’ll also probably do a quick in and out at the outdoor farmers’ market each week for fresh produce. But otherwise we’ll be at home, and plan to have enough groceries on hand that we don’t have to go to Costco, Walmart, or another supermarket for the duration of her quarantine. YaYu is terrified of bringing the virus home to us and already is making plans to protect herself as much as possible on her journey back. Speaking of which, one of her flights home has of course already gotten messed up. Hawaiian cancelled the flight we booked and put her on an earlier flight, which departs from Honolulu less than half an hour after her flight from Seattle arrives. That’s not enough time for her to get to the flight, and it’s also the last flight of the day which would leave her in the Honolulu airport overnight if she misses it. Southwest has a flight that leaves a couple of hours later, but I want to talk with Hawaiian first to find out if the flight she’s booked on happens to be a connecting flight for her flight from Seattle because if so they will hold the flight. If not, my plan is to take a credit for the Hawaiian flight (and use it to get her back to school at the end of January) and then book her on Southwest. I’m currently nervous about committing to anything though as Southwest could change their schedule as well.
This past week Brett and I headed to Home Depot for a couple of things, and while we were there we saw they had outdoor fire pits back in stock (they sell quickly here). We had been talking about getting one for a while, to enjoy out in the yard, and decided to buy the simplest and most affordable one, just under $50 with our discount. Now we have to find fire wood, not the easiest thing to do on the island. There is a local tree service that sells firewood, so we’re going to check out their prices, but our other idea is to take along a bag or two whenever we go to the beach and collect some driftwood. We’re excited about being able to sit outside in the evening under the stars (the fire should keep bugs at a distance), and to toast marshmallows and make s’mores with YaYu when she’s home.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I’m almost to the end of Sex and Vanity – it’s been so much fun to read and connect it to A Room With a View as I go along. Kevin Kwan even gave the characters the same first names (which took me a few pages to catch on): there’s Lucie, Charlotte, George, a Mr. Beebe, Cecil, Freddy, and so forth, and he also snuck in Merchant and Ivory! There’s even an elderly pair of sisters, although this time they’re from the Philippines. Kevin Kwan of course puts his own fun spin on the culture, spending habits, and decadence of the rich to add to the mix. Our copy of the new Ian Rankin book, A Song for the Dark Times, arrived mid-week and I’ve got that started as well – it’s my day book, with Sex and Vanity saved for at night.
- Listening to: We woke up to a much nicer morning today than yesterday, when it was pouring rain. There are clouds today but blue skies as well, and yesterday’s storms broke the humidity. The birds are going nuts outside this morning – lots of chickens making lots of noise for a change, but also lots of happy birds singing. Brett made coffee and is reading, and it’s really just a lovely, perfect morning!
- Watching: We’re still barreling through Homeland at three episodes each evening, with a break for The Great British Baking Show on Friday. The most exciting TV news this week was that Season 4 of The Crown will be out on Netflix in mid November and will cover the Princess Diana years.
- Cooking/baking: We’re going food shopping on Tuesday! We’ve done very well these past three weeks if I do say so myself, and haven’t run out of ideas of what to fix, but supplies are getting low now. Tonight we’re having rice and beans (Cuban black beans), and during the rest of the week dinners will be grilled chicken and roasted cauliflower, egg roll in a bowl, hamburgers, and chicken coconut curry over jasmine rice, with leftovers filling in the blank spaces. I finally made the Bacardi rum cake last Friday – our neighbor gave us the last of his rum – and it turned out great in spite of not being baked in a Bundt pan (which was in our lost box). It will last through this coming week and into the next but I’ve already got a plan for the next cake: dark chocolate with coffee frosting.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I filled out our ballots and turned them in to the election office in Lihue last Wednesday – now we wait. We got in only six days of walking this week as it rained all day yesterday. The humidity made walking difficult earlier in the week, especially on Thursday and Friday, but we persevered. It felt at times as if we were enveloped in a wet blanket. We’re now doing 3.5 miles in about 50 minutes which is a great workout. Otherwise all we accomplished was our errand to Home Depot and the regular stuff around here.
- Looking forward to next week: I am having my annual mammogram done tomorrow, the last of my physical stuff for the year. It’s the one test I’m always most nervous about as there has been cancer on both sides of my family, so I always hold my breath until the results come back. I’m happy and grateful to get it done though. Thankfully the whole test experience is easy and less painful these days, and the clinic is somewhat luxurious and spa-like. We are also looking forward to trying out the fire pit, hopefully this coming week if the weather stays nice. We plan to go down to Barking Sands and start our driftwood hunt there as the beach usually has a good supply, but that trip will also depend on the weather.
- Thinking of good things that happened: We had a nice conversation with our son and grandkids yesterday, and got caught up. The empty Japanese hibachi that sits next to the kitchen finally got to me this past week and I decided it was time to find something to put in it, so we headed to Home Depot where I bought a big monstera plant which fits perfectly. I also bought another plant and ceramic pot to put in our giant bathroom. Our baby avocado tree continues to grow, and this past week we moved the seed into a larger jar as the tap root it’s sending down had reached the bottom of the small jar we started it in. The seed has split enough that we can see a tiny green sprout inside and the seed it sprouting more roots, but we think it’s still going to be a while before the actual plant emerges so we’ve still got our fingers and toes crossed that our little tree keeps moving in a positive direction!
- Thinking of frugal things we did: The fire pit was a splurge, but otherwise it was a very low-spend/no-spend week. Our trip to Home Depot and a quick trip to the farmers’ market were our only spending this week, and there was no change from either place so we didn’t have to put anything into the change/$1 bill jar. We used our military discount at Home Depot though – 10% off of everything. No food was thrown out this week, and all leftovers were finished. I earned 2,279 Swagbucks.
- Grateful for: I’ve been feeling very thankful this week for our little apartment, for the fresh air that flows through it, the lovely yard out back, the sunset views, and the cozy, comfortable space it provides. It’s just the right size for Brett and I these days, and exactly what we hoped for when we came back to Kaua’i.
- Bonus question: What, in your opinion, is the most under-rated candy bar? This question popped up on Twitter the other day, and the replies were a lot of fun to read – people really do have their favorites! In my opinion, the two most underrated candy bars were/are the Milkshake Bar and the Zero bar, both of which are absolutely delicious when frozen. Zero bars are still around (I see them at Walmart) but Milkshake bars are sadly no longer being made, although they apparently still have a cult following. Many people also recommended freezing a Charleston Chew, something I’ve never tried. Another underrated candy bar in my opinion is the Heath Bar (or Skör Bar). Toffee covered with chocolate is just about perfection in my book. One last underrated candy is the Chunky chocolate bar, small but mighty, and filled with nuts and raisins – so rich and yummy! The most underrated candy combination in my book is a frozen Reese’s peanut butter cup enjoyed with a cold, frosty root beer. They make an unbelievably good pairing.
The upstairs neighbor departs tomorrow – no more stomping, yelling, etc. Some people came over to see him on Thursday when his quarantine ended – two big guys – and we never heard a thing while they were there, not even footsteps. Nothing, which made us more confused than ever as to why the neighbor causes so much noise. We briefly chatted with him on Thursday and were genuinely happy to hear that he has landed on his feet back on the mainland with a good job. He and our other neighbors held a garage sale yesterday to get rid of the last of his stuff, his car is on it’s way back, and quiet will return tomorrow. Now we just have to wait and see who our new neighbors will be, and keep our fingers crossed they’re not as noisy as this guy was.
Don’t throw away your shot! Plan your vote and then do it! There are only 16 more days until the election (thank goodness!). It’s been emotional for me to see so many vote early, and stand for hours in line for their right to do so. Those voters are heroes in my book.
That’s a wrap for another week! I hope it was as good for you as it was here (in spite of the humidity). Here’s to more good things happening, good food, things accomplished, and another great week coming up!