Around 6:00 p.m. on Monday, the thunderstorm had passed and we spotted this happening up to the north.
Nothing much though was happening to the west . . . or so we thought.
It was spectacular! The rest of the week? Meh!
Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
We have a new neighbor! So far so good – John is a doctor, formerly an orthopedic surgeon but now practices a fusion of western and eastern medicine at a local clinic. He’s somewhere near our ages, a military retiree (served in the Army Special Forces, i.e. the Green Berets), is from the Portland area in Oregon, and just an all around nice guy. We feel very lucky to have him upstairs, especially since he’s also very quiet – we barely know he’s up there. On top of everything else he’s a yoga instructor and has invited us to join one of his classes, something we think we may take him up on as he has experience teaching yoga to the elderly, veterans, and men.
We have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime this week when it comes to weather. We woke up on Monday to rain, rain, and more rain along with thunder and lightening for most of the day. We got an amazing sunset that evening though. Tuesday and Wednesday were cool but very humid, and there was no breeze to be had. On Thursday though we woke up to a perfect day, with the trade winds blowing through the apartment once again, and with nothing else on our calendar Brett and I headed up north to Kilauea to walk the Stone Dam trail. The dam area used to look like the Garden of Eden, but suffered catastrophic damage during the 2018 floods. It has been closed since then, but recently reopened and all is beautiful once again. The dam was built in the 19th century to provide water for the Kilauea sugar plantations, and the dam’s location, Wai Koa plantation, is surrounded by other farms, mahogany groves, and beautiful scenery. Brett and our girls all walked the trail when we lived here previously but Thursday was my first time. Brett and I had a great hike and a comfortable walk as the trail is mostly flat and well maintained.
The Stone Dam hike
Hawaii doesn’t participate in daylight savings, so the only change for us today is that west coast on the mainland is now only two hours ahead of us, and the east coast five hours ahead versus six. It’s getting darker earlier in the evenings here though – sunsets are now arriving just a few minutes after 6:00 p.m. – but otherwise everything remains the same. The biggest change for me personally will be when I can start a new day of earning Swagbucks each evening. Swagbucks starts a new day at midnight PST, so before today I was able to start doing surveys, etc. at 9:00 p.m. while we watched TV – tonight I will have to wait until 10:00 p.m. I always try to meet my daily goal (set by Swagbucks) before going to bed; that’s now going to be a little bit harder, and I’m going to have to stay up later most evenings – ugh.
This morning I am:
- Reading: My current reading is Climb, by Susan Spann, which I am immensely enjoying. I just ordered Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson, from Amazon for my next book. I usually only buy a book when Brett and I both want to read it, but I checked this week and was still over 900 on the waiting list for Caste at the library and decided I didn’t want to wait that long.
- Listening to: I’m enjoying another quiet morning – Brett’s puttering around in the kitchen fixing his breakfast, birds are singing outside, and there’s a gentle breeze. Such a difference from where we used to live where we were inundated by the sounds of dogs barking, chickens screaming, or yard equipment almost all the time. It’s no wonder I sleep so well here.
- Watching: We’re getting close to finishing up Homeland – just one more season to go – and watched Episode 5 of the Great British Baking Show on Friday evenings. “Japanese Week” was . . . weird. I think they could have come up with some more interesting and more Japanese things to bake than they did as Japanese baked goods are amazing, always with a uniquely Japanese flair.
- Cooking/baking: It’s Sunday so that means A Dozen Cousins beans for dinner – tonight we’re having tacos made with their Mexican cowboy beans. We’ll be having sushi on Tuesday as we watch the returns, and the other meals this week will be CookDo pork & pepper stir fry; CookDo mabo nasu; a Mississippi pot roast; and French dip sandwiches on another night made with the leftovers. No baking this week – we’ve been enjoying Bubbie’s mochi ice cream because the holiday flavor assortment (gingerbread, chocolate eggnog, and peppermint candy) was available at Costco this past week and we couldn’t resist. Big Save also had Blue Bunny ice cream on sale at $4.25/container, which is almost as low as ice cream gets on the island, so we picked up two containers (banana split and pistachio almond) and will have ice cream for dessert for the next few days.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: Monday’s thunderstorm kept us from walking, but we walked every other day, including 4.5 miles on our Stone Dam hike on Thursday. I got a new set of checklist cards ready to go for the next five weeks – they’ll get me through into December, the final month of this miserable, screwball year. We got some of our food shopping done on Friday, at our nearby Big Save Market, and will do the rest tomorrow. Making a list took a while though as we have another two and a half week stretch before we go shopping again (other than produce from the farmers’ market). I got all the Christmas gifts ordered – they should arrive later this week. We have a few local items to pick up for the girls but should be able to have their packages done and ready to send the week before the end of November.
- Looking forward to next week: Election Day – I just want it to be over. The angst and anxiety are almost overwhelming at this point.
- Thinking of good things that happened: The perfect shorts, the ones I have been looking for since we arrived in Hawaii were in stock this past week at Costco and I bought four pairs (@ $9.99/pair). They’re super comfortable and I am a much happier walker these days! Our avocado tree continues to grow, grow, grow as does the cherry tomato plant our neighbors gave us as a thank you for the big bag of guava we had given them. The tomato plant has even started to produce blossoms.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: Kukuiolono Park trimmed their coconut palms this week, and invited visitors to take home some coconuts, and we brought home three. I’m not sure how frugal it is, but we also picked up a stunning coconut flower – I found it lying among the coconuts. We’re currently drying it indoors, and if it ends up OK we plan to permanently display it in the apartment as it’s very lovely, almost like a sculpture. We put $7.49 into the change/$1 bill jar, and took $87 in change and bills we have saved over the past couple of months into our savings account this past week. Our travel savings now totals $1057. I’m pretty happy with that as I was sure we wouldn’t make it to $1000 until next year but we should end up with around $1200 by the end of the year. Those small amounts add up! I earned 2,353 Swagbucks this week. All leftovers were either eaten or frozen for future meals, and we didn’t throw away any food.
- Grateful for: The trade winds returned this week – yeah! They are truly one of those things where (in a nod to Joni Mitchell) “you don’t what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” I’m so thankful for their return, and for the cool, dryer air flowing through the apartment once again. Walking is again a pleasure as well with the winds helping to keep us cool.
- Bonus question: What are your plans for Election Day? Voting back on the mainland will have been going on for hours by the time we wake up over here in Hawaii, and results will start coming in at around 2:00 pm HST. This year I’m going to follow a recommendation I read the other day: starting out in the fetal position (because I’m already a nervous wreck), and only unwinding myself if and when I get the word that all is well. Brett and have decided to have sushi as our main course at our traditional Election Day feast, along with some fresh fruit and vegetables, and ice cream for dessert. Gin & tonics will make an appearance sometime during the day as well. We’ll probably skip out at some point in the afternoon for our daily walk but otherwise will remain glued to the TV.
How was Halloween at your place? Did you get trick-or-treaters or was that cancelled in your area? We didn’t do much of anything because a) many kids attended socially distanced, island-wide celebrations versus house to house trick-or-treating this year, and b) our apartment is at the back of the building and no one comes back around to our door anyway. The girls got (and have been enjoying) the candy we sent them, and our daughter-in-law sent photos of the grandkids costumes: K was Chat Noir from her favorite cartoon show, Miraculous, and C was a sumo wrestler! Halloween gets bigger and bigger in Japan every year – back in the day we used to occasionally see a small display in a department store, but these days it’s everywhere.
Last reminder: If you haven’t done it yet, get out there and VOTE on Tuesday!
That’s a wrap for October! Here’s wishing everyone a great week coming up, and a great November as well!