Sunday Morning 10/25/2020: They’re Back!

This was as close as we thought we’d get to a sunset this past week. Meh.
Yesterday evening came through for us somewhat though. Sunsets seem to arrive so early these days.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

Visitors began returning to the islands in significant numbers beginning last weekend, after the state removed the quarantine requirement for anyone who had a negative COVID-19 test from an approved vendor within three days before arrival. Their return has come with mixed emotions. Some people have been able to go back to work, while others still wait for things to gear up a bit more. For example, the wife of the couple in our building has gone back to work; her husband, the chef, hasn’t. There are signs placed all over our area reminding visitors that Kaua’i/Hawaii is a “mask-wearing community” and to please remember to wear theirs at all times. Other signs ask visitors to “do their kokua” and wear a mask (kokua means to cooperate and pitch in to help others without any expectation of personal gain). Still, there have been problems with visitors refusing to mask up, and some businesses have opted not to serve visitors without masks with both sides feeling upset and disgruntled. Also, there have been reports and rumors that many of the current visitors came because of current cheap airfares and hotel deals, and are not tipping or otherwise supporting the local community. We noticed this past week that for the first time since we arrived last March traffic had increased, and Walmart and Safeway had several empty shelves, something we used to see regularly when we lived here before and tourists abounded. So far there has been just one new case of the virus on Kaua’i, apparently a local who returned to the island, but the tiny island of Lanai had six new cases reported last Thursday, and an additional 16 on Friday! It’s going to be a bumpy ride for a while as we settle back into the “new normal” here, but we’ll get through it.

We had a emotional call from YaYu yesterday morning about her return next month and having to quarantine in our small apartment. She is unable to go through the new pre-testing regime to avoid quarantine (she would have to be tested in Seattle during her flight back, and has no way nor time to get to the only approved testing site there, located in downtown Seattle and costing $135). That means she won’t qualify for the free resident testing upon arrival (she has to have taken an approved test before leaving the mainland). She is terrified of bringing COVID-19 to us and has already worked herself into a state about it. We are prepared for her to quarantine here and will take every precaution, but there’s really nothing we can do about it otherwise and she doesn’t want to accept that. Hopefully Meiling and WenYu can calm her down so she can get through her last month at school. She will be tested five days before departing Bryn Mawr, and if for some reason she tests positive she won’t be allowed into Hawaii anyway and we will have to make other plans for her. We know she will take every precaution at the airports and on her flights. Neither Brett nor I are sure what the difference is between when she came back in March and now, and have tried to reassure her, but so far we haven’t been successful.

Friday morning showed lots of promise (not).

It’s been another roller coaster week as far as the weather. We’ve had high humidity, rain storms, thunderstorms, everything. Brett and I did our food shopping last Tuesday morning while it poured outside, and yet by the afternoon the rain was over and we were able to get out and walk. It was very humid though, like being wrapped in a damp blanket, and we noticed that any breeze we felt (which wasn’t much) was coming from opposite the usual direction of the trade winds. We woke up to pouring rain again on Friday morning, but it was over by the afternoon, enough that once again we could get out and walk. It was of course terribly humid again, enough that we skipped the last lap on our walk. One blessing this week has been cooler temperatures, to the point we had to turn off the ceiling fans in the evenings because it got so chilly, and the sun has been covered by clouds most of the time during our walks, which helped some. Anyway, we’re hoping this coming week things will calm down and return to normal, and the trade winds will return. Fingers are crossed!

By Friday afternoon the rain had stopped, but heavy clouds, no breeze, and high humidity remained.

Saturday morning was beautiful, but by noon heavy clouds and humidity had returned. The clouds eventually disappeared, but the humidity remained. We fear the same for today.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m halfway through A Song for the Dark Times, and it’s very good. Detective John Rebus is elderly now, and doesn’t consult with the Scottish police any more, so I wondered how Ian Rankin would fit him into a police procedural, but it’s a great story so far. Next up later this week will be Climb, by Susan Spann.
  • Listening to: Nothing really – a few birds are singing outside, but that’s it. I wish I could hear the trades blowing through the trees, but it’s dead calm out there. Brett is reading and for now it’s delightfully quiet inside – my kind of morning!
  • Watching: Same old, same old again this week, with multiple episodes of Homeland and The Great British Baking Show on Friday. We extended our Showtime subscription for three months. 
  • Cooking/baking: I am making pumpkin apple pancakes for Brett and my breakfast this morning, right after I get this posted. Brett will have two of them, but just one for me (I make big pancakes) and leftovers will be enjoyed during the rest of the week. I had so much trouble finding pumpkin this past week – a couple of places were sold out, but I finally found some at Big Save, at the back of the shelf. I bought five cans even though it was expensive. I’m going to order via Amazon next time if I can. Dinner tonight will be curried chickpeas with jasmine rice, and other meals this week will be chipotle chicken tacos; grilled smoked chicken sausages with sauerkraut; chicken tortilla soup; and a new pumpkin recipe. I hope to be able to post the recipe on Friday! I’m planning to bake that dark chocolate cake topped with coffee buttercream for our next dessert on Wednesday.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I bought a giant, 150-piece bag of Halloween candy at Costco this past week, divided it up (without eating any!), and sent a package off to each of the girls. Snickers bars abounded and there was a pretty good selection of other varieties, but only three Almond Joys in the entire bag! We got started on our Christmas shopping for the girls, the part we can do here, and picked up flat-rate boxes at the post office to pack things in so we can get them off to the girls before the end of November. We also got the grandkids’ gift sent off to Japan – the postage for that was just over one-third of the amount of yen we sent! In spite of the crazy weather and the insufferable humidity on some days, we walked every day this week. We sure are ready for some cooler weather though. We did a big food shop on Tuesday, and along with having a hard time finding some things we went over our budget. Thankfully we will only need a very few things this coming week so we will be back in balance. I almost can’t believe that I got through this last week’s Japanese lessons as they were all about politics, political parties, the military, etc. The kanji was excruciating, and I’m dreading the tests at the end of the level. The grammar is getting tricky as well.
  • Looking forward to next week: We will be ordering the online portion of our Christmas gifts this week which should be fun. Recent gift ideas/requests from the girls have helped us narrow down what we’ll be getting for them. We’re also hoping for some beach weather so we can get back down to Barking Sands and/or Salt Pond, and want to get up to Kilauea toward the end of the week to walk the Stone Dam trail.
    The Women’s Clinic gives each woman a long-stemmed rose after her mammogram is completed.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: My mammogram results were normal, so I can exhale for another year. I lost another three pounds this month, and now have only five pounds to go to reach the doctor’s weight loss goal for me. I am going to keep going with what I’ve been doing though and see if I can lose an additional 10 pounds beyond that. Our avocado tree has sprouted! It will stay in the jar for another five to six weeks, and then be transplanted into a pot. We learned that avocado trees grown this way, and kept indoors, will not bear fruit, but will make a lovely houseplant.
    The trunk has sprouted!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: This was not a frugal week, with postage costs and overspending on food, but we should have things rebalanced by next week. Brett also desperately needed new walking shoes (the soles are worn through and coming off the ones he’s been using since 2017) and he found an affordable pair on Zappos, and discovered when he ordered them that he still had a balance on his gift card which saved an additional $5. I went to cancel our Showtime subscription and they offered me three months at 50% off so we took advantage of that deal and will cancel when it ends. I earned 2,300 Swagbucks this week, and we put $10.81 into the change/$1 bill jar. Leftover were finished up and no food was thrown away.
  • Grateful for: I am thankful for, and amazed and exited by the numbers of early voters this year – it’s really been something to see all the enthusiasm for a change. I am grateful too that voting in Hawaii was so easy – we’re a mail-only state when it comes to voting, same as it was for us back in Oregon. No standing in lines or going to a polling place. Either put your ballot in the mail, or drop it off. I wish it were this easy for everyone, everywhere.

  • Bonus question: What’s something from your childhood that kids today just wouldn’t get? Oh my, this list could go on forever. I may have asked and answered this question before, but the other day I realized that the girls may have never known or don’t remember that we all used to share the same phone number – they’ve always had their own. I can’t remember how long it’s been since we gave up a home phone and went to cell phones only. They also never have experienced having to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel, or having only three channels to choose from, no color, and of course nothing like streaming. Movies, if they were on TV at all, were only shown on certain days of the week (“Tuesday Night At the Movies”), or like The Wizard of Oz, only shown once a year. I was thinking the other day that there are in things in my children’s lives that they take for granted that their children will someday find strange and outdated as well – time and technology march on! These days, when it comes to the changes that have occurred in my lifetime, I identify more with my grandmother who was born in 1890, and in her lifetime saw the advent of automobiles, airplanes, and television; lived through two world wars and other conflicts; and saw a man walk on the moon. I don’t know what she thought of things like the women’s movement, the anti-war protests of the 70s, and other social movements, but she always stayed positive about it all, and I try and follow her example. Progress may be difficult, but it’s overall a very good thing.

There have been lots of new flowers appearing in the yard recently, including orchids that seem to pop out of nowhere. We wonder if our landlord or whoever lived here before would buy orchids for inside, and then toss them out in the yard once the blossoms dropped off. Some of them rooted and we’re now the beneficiaries now as they bloom again in various places around the yard. I sadly don’t know the name of most of these plants, and I keep telling myself to use the iNaturalist app but then I get busy and forget to do it. 

Just nine more days to go until the election! We have been lucky here to have not been bombarded with ads, signs and other election paraphernalia, but I know that others around the country are sick to death of it all. Brett and I went online this past week and learned both our ballots have been logged in and tabulated! YaYu finally got her Pennsylvania ballot this past week, and both the WenYu and Meiling have voted as well, or at least are ready to go. If you haven’t voted yet, I hope you have a plan and are ready to go on November 3. If you are mailing in your ballot, get it in now!

That’s it for this week. In spite of the weather it was a great week, and lots of things were accomplished and good things happened too. I hope it was the same for you, and that the week coming up will be a great one for all of us!



14 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 10/25/2020: They’re Back!

  1. Have YaYu check with the airport for her departure, in the Bay Area (CA) they are doing the pre-flight testing at the airport. That being said, the appt app is a little weird (I just helped a friend with it) and available times pop on and off indiscriminately.


    1. We’ve already checked with Seattle, and their message is that they are working at having a testing kiosk in the airport “soon,” whatever that means. If it’s there when she goes through then she’ll be able to test; otherwise, no and she’ll have to quarantine. BTW, the kiosk the SFO is not a Hawaii-approved site; only the one at Oakland is.


  2. Beautiful flower pics! The rose is beautiful and what a lovely thoughtful thing for the mammogram center to do. We voted last Sunday in person with no line and in and out in 10 minutes. Some of the early voting places had quite long lines, but we used our county’s “check the voting queue app” and found that there was no line, so we hurried over. It felt good to do our civic duty – although I prefer to say that we exercised our freedom to vote. A privilege not a duty!
    Hope YaYu starts to feel better about her trip…so sad that we all have to be so concerned about getting/giving Covid.
    Hope your week goes well!


    1. That’s great that you have an app where you can check on how long the line is at voting sites in your state. You’re right too that voting is not a duty, but a privilege, but it’s also more than that: It’s your RIGHT as a citizen.

      YaYu can overthink things at times and get dramatic. I know she is just very worried, but it’s ultimately our decision to have her come home and quarantine with us. She’ll be OK, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be OK too. I will be so glad when this thing is finally under some sort of control rather than running rampant through the country.


  3. We’ve voted & are so ready for the election to be over (for many reasons). I have a super busy work week ahead, but hoping we get through it without too much angst. We’re entering the busy season at work, which I’m not looking forward to at all.


    1. So, so ready here for Election Day. Angst is definitely the way to describe I how I feel right now. Election results from the east coast start coming in mid-afternoon here, so we’re planning to walk earlier that day and the will settle in to watch. We always have a fun, special meal that day – this year we’re going to have sushi!

      Are you still working remotely, or are you back to the office?


  4. Beautiful pics! I already ordered and received my Christmas presents for my three sons. I have already sent my daughter her Christmas present. I wanted to make sure she got it, since I had to send it to her. Covid is a nightmare. Every day I say I am gonna retire but then I don’t. I sort of understand your daughter’s reaction. I am having strange responses to Covid related precautions. I think it is even more stressful for young people.


    1. We’re ordering gifts from three different locations, and hope it doesn’t take too long for them to get here. WenYu will be celebrating with Meiling in NYC, so we’ll be sending all their gifts there. Things sent from here to NYC get there in a couple of days for some reason.

      Brett checks our COVID stats every day – so far Kaua’i continues to do well. Everybody is on edge about it though.


  5. Different people seem to react differently to the Covid situation based on their personality and background. It is definitely causing friction in a couple families I know. I’m sure YaYu is worried about you, and I get that. Hopefully it will all go well and she can relax at home for a while. I follow the guidelines (masks, hand washing, social distancing) but am also out and about running errands weekly I am leery of the upcoming holidays though. And I’m hoping there won’t be hard feelings if we decide to back out of some of the traditional gatherings – if they indeed occur. Not sure at this point.

    So, so ready for the election to be over. We delivered our absentee ballots to a ballot drop box last week, but being in a swing state, we are still inundated with ads, robocalls, flyers in the mail, etc. It’s exhausting.

    I need to get our gifts off to England. The baby books I sent my granddaughter in July showed up while I was there – in mid-October! And I’m pretty sure it only happened because I filed a complaint with the USPS. They are super random and slow lately. Maddening that this administration can even screw up the post office.

    Re: the past. We grew up on a party line for quite a while. It was exactly like a sitcom – hear the click and know someone is listening. Unimaginable today. Well, except for Alexa, I suppose.Ha!


    1. We have come up with a possible solution for YaYu once she gets here (Plan B), but she is going to ask if she adjust her BMC testing date and see if that will make a difference. It will all work out one way or another.

      We are currently waiting on a package our DIL sent us back in July! We had actually forgotten about it, but our son asked the last time we talked with them, and I remembered that Halloween would have been the earliest I would have expected it. Hopefully it will be here by Christmas (it contains food items and tea).

      Just a week to go for the election. I’m afraid I’m going to be such a nervous wreck by then that I won’t be able to watch. Someone said unlike 2016, we should start in the fetal position this year and only unwind when we get the word that things are going well – LOL!

      We had a party line when I was little. I also remember that my grandmother in Indiana’s phone number only had five digits – everyone was on the same exchange and you didn’t need the first two (well, maybe for long distance, something we never used). Remember when the first two numbers had a name – our first phone number was “Atlantic” and after we moved it was “Sycamore.” Our girls just shake their heads when I tell them this stuff.


      1. If YaYu wears a mask around you and Brett for the two weeks, it should be fine. Does she have a bedroom in your apartment? If so, she can just stay in there most of the time. That’s what friends of mine have done when their kids come home from college and they haven’t had any issues. Does the airport in Philadelphia have the testing?

        I hope the number of cases continues to be low there. Sorry to hear about the traffic though! I had to go to the mall here yesterday and saw quite a few people not wearing masks. It is mandated here and I was very disturbed because the other times I’ve been there, most everyone was wearing a mask. I think people are tired of the whole thing, but as we get into the fall and winter, this is not a time to be cavalier.

        When I think about what my parents and grandparents lived through, I remind myself that we aren’t the only people in history to live through difficult times. My grandparents lived through the Spanish Flu, WWII, and countless other things and we will too.

        I showed my 15 year old niece a photo of an old rotary phone and asked her if she knew what it was and she knew all about it because she said she had seen one in a museum on a school trip. So that made me feel old, LOL. I told her how we didn’t have cell phones and had to look around for pay phones if we were out somewhere and had to call someone. Or maybe you could go into a business and ask to use their phone. She said she can’t even imagine what that was like, but I told her we didn’t know any better and had no way of knowing how far technology would come not that many years later. It’s really amazing.


      2. We have suggested mask wearing to YaYu but I think she is working on getting an official, Hawaii-approved test before she comes. We’ll see. We have a Plan B if not and she’s still worried, but we think it’s all going to be OK.

        WenYu got a taste of what it was like for us in the past one day when we had a freak snowstorm in Portland just as she was leaving school. The buses were stopped about halfway through her trip home and her phone died (and we were panicked because we didn’t know where she was and were afraid she was stuck outside in the storm). She finally got up the nerve to go into a nearby store and ask to use their phone, called us and Brett went to get her and bring her home. Her first reaction was that now she knew what it must have been like for us back in the day and how did we ever manage? She was freaked out.


  6. Poor WenYu! It’s good she had that experience though. I really think everyone should know what to do if their cell phone isn’t working. During Hurricane Sandy here when all cell service was down, young people were completely lost because they had never experienced life without one.

    It’s understandable that YaYu would be concerned, but I’m around my relatives who are her age and we wear masks and haven’t had any issues.


    1. That was a crazy storm, and we were frantic because we had no idea where she was. No one had dressed for the storm either – it was totally unexpected so we were worried she might get frostbite or something, and were so grateful when she called from a store not that far from us. The storm was actually powerful enough that it shut down the city for several days – it was right before Christmas so some shops weren’t able to reach their seasonal goals and ended up closing.

      Haven’t heard from her this week about her new testing plan, so we may be going to Plan B if we don’t hear anything this weekend.


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