Sunday Morning 11/1/2020: November!!

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.
    Another five weeks, ready to go!
  • 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. 
Chat Noir heads off to school . . .
. . . and so does this sumo wrester!

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!


12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 11/1/2020: November!!

  1. Hurricane Zeta dropped my neighbor’s large tree on my roof. The sound and the house groaning was terrifying. Unbelievable damage everywhere. At least my house didn’t burn to the ground like a house two streets over. My coworker’s dad’s business also burned to the ground. Transformers sparking, wires shorting, constant flickering and the. a big kaboom, in the middle of hurricane force winds ( it was a hurricane one by the time it reached me, so it had lost considerable strength.) Tree company has removed tree from my roof, and my yard is a mess. I am waiting on roof guy for assessment of damage. Was without power, many, many folks still without power in my area, but I now have power. I have court to deal with tomorrow at work, I guess. The town where I work also has considerable damage. So now that is iffy. I also have court scheduled on election day. At this point, no one around here is thinking about the election, most voted earlier. We are trying to clean up and get back to the normal pandemic mode. Between the pandemic, relatives dying, best friend dying, my son almost dying, I am really not a ray of sunshine this year, but it is what it is. I am thankful my kids are alive and I am alive. It could be worse. I hope next year is better. I am from rather stoic folks. We suck it up and carry on. I mean, what choice do we have? I love your pics of the sunset. It was certainly beautiful. We had beautiful sunsets after the hurricane also. The full moon was gorgeous on Halloween.


    1. Cindy, you have had a time of it. It’s like 2020 picked you out for special treatment, and you did absolutely nothing to deserve it. So glad you have power back, and that everyone is pitching in to help get things cleaned up. We’re all hoping for a better year in 2021, but I’m putting in a special request for you because no one deserves it more.


  2. As usual it is enjoyable reading about your life!

    My daughter and I voted early here in Massachusetts this past week. It was her first time as she turned 18 over the Summer. Early voting was very easy in all of the areas that I have knowledge about through friend reports, here in Massachusetts. This does not however limit my ability to understand that voter suppression exits so forcefully in this country in more ways than one. I have been voting in local,state and presidential elections since I was 18 (now 47) and it has always been an easy and quick process. I am so appalled by what some Americans are being put through just to register and vote.

    I will also say sadly that I have already shifted my thoughts and feelings about the election. This is to say that I have come to terms with the fact that we will be subjected to 4 more years of the trump administration. And this is naturally going to bring much much more horrifying behavior and destruction to this country than we saw over these past 4. Really. My friend N is mad at me for saying this but I believe it to be true. Our country really has been shattered.
    My 101 year old grandfather said back in 2016 that he needed to live long enough to see trump out of office…not sure he can make it another 4 years but you can be certain he will never give up wishing and thinking this “president” away.
    Anon in mass


    1. I don’t know what to think about tomorrow. Things look good, better than expected in some places, but who dares to believe good things are going to happen any more? So, I will continue to hold my breath, cross my fingers and toes, and hope for the best tomorrow. We can’t take four more years of this madness.


  3. Love the sunsets pics! And the Halloween costumes are fun! A lot of people around here put out folding tables in their driveway with little bags of candy for kids to take. They had chairs in their garages so they could see the kids and costumes and the kids could take candy without contact. We are in a new area with mostly empty nesters and I didn’t see or hear any trick or treaters on our street.

    The coconut flower is really beautiful and such a unique piece…a great decoration. I went to my favorite decor store this week. Every month with a fifth Saturday, they have a 15% off everything sale, plus I had a 20% off one item coupon and a gift certificate. I went late in the day and the store was mostly empty. I picked up a few cheery things for the holidays – my favorite is some sort of white branchy thing with tiny jingle bells on it. Plus I finally had time to dig out some of my fall and winter decor. Some things work in the new place and some don’t. 🤷‍♀️ The dark and short days are upon us, and I’m thinking lights, candles, throws, etc. Whatever it takes to get through it. Covid and the election aren’t helping this year.

    Like you, I will be in the fetal position Tuesday night and into Wednesday (and longer, I fear). My hope is that we have a big enough blowout that it’s not really a contest. But I’m probably being Pollyanna. Still, one can hope, and here’s hoping we all wake up to a better day on Wednesday.


    1. That sunset was the most amazing one I’ve ever seen, and interesting to us because we spotted it first to the north versus the west of us.

      The coconut flower unfortunately started falling apart yesterday so it’s now out on the front porch, but will probably go into the trash at the end of the week. I’m so glad we got to see and enjoy it for a few days – it was gorgeous.

      No more decor items for us – I already feel like we have too much. The last thing to go up is two vintage-looking Kaua’i posters that we bought in Hanapepe. I’m waiting on two frames to arrive this week, then they will be hung in the kitchen over the stove.

      I did not think it was possible to hold both hope and dread at the same time, but even an old gal like me can learn something new. Not sure I enjoy the feeling though.


  4. I’m so glad you have a good, new neighbor! That makes all the difference in close quarters.

    The sunset photos are gorgeous and I just love the mountain view photo during the dam walk. Pure Hawaii!

    This year for Halloween I dressed up as a suffragette with a sign that read “Vote 4 Women” to honor the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote! No candy but a socially distanced party of seven around a fire pit. It was 37 degrees here in CT and had snowed the day before.

    Like so many of us I have been holding my breath and dreading what might happen. I did not vote early as I wanted the in-person experience this year. Polls in CT are open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm and I am planning to arrive at 5:45am in the frigid dark. I was shocked to learn that so many states have much, much shorter voting hours. How do people vote if they work until 5:30-6:00, have a commute, and the polls close at 7?

    I, too, am discouraged and shocked about the voter suppression efforts in so many states. NPR had a story that Iowa (Iowa!) had reduced the number of polling locations by 33% due to the “lack of volunteers.” In CT we pay the people who work the polls on every election day. Why aren’t we doing this in all 50 states? With Federal monies?

    All right I’m ranting and I know I’m preaching to the choir.

    Thank you for the blissful slice of Hawaiian life!


    1. The Stone Dam hike and the views were truly something. There is a longer route than the one we took (1.5 miles longer) so we hope to be going back once a month or so as we train for our long-distance walk in Japan. The other. trails here are so poorly maintained that it’s very difficult for me to walk on them, so this one was a dream come true (and beautiful to boot).

      If things go well tomorrow, I sure hope that one of the first changes to come about is making Election Day a national holiday, and that some other national rules are put in place, if possible, to tamp down all this voter suppression. Change is needed.

      I think tomorrow though is going to be crazy. I’m glad to be here on peaceful Kaua’i.


  5. Wow! Wow! and did I say Wow!. What great pictures, and just what I needed to take my mind off the election. I would love to hike that trail and I don’t hike.


    1. I’m glad the pictures helped. I’ve been overplaying on the games on my phone as I try to distract myself, but it doesn’t help much. You’re definitely in one of the states we’ll be watching.

      Brett and I the girls hiked the Stone Dam trail before and in their pictures it always looked like paradise. Even after all the flood damage from two years ago, the restoration has brought paradise back. Can’t wait to go back and hike it again (long drive for us though, both there and back).


  6. Wow, what a spectacular set of photos! You have an eye for beauty for sure. Never have I seen a coconut flower, so again I’m learning something from you. I’m continuously amazed by the beauty of nature, I remember how ecstatic I was when seeing an artichoke flower for the first time.
    Your granddaughter looks all grown up in that costume-it is incredible how much kids change in a few months.
    Getting ready for moving on Nov 4th has kept me busy and away from most of the madness that’s going on. I’ve been voting by mail for at least a decade and I haven’t heard so much bruhaha about it until this year. I’m glad I won’t have the time nor a connected TV to watch the circus. I keep a glimmer of hope that we may get back to some sort of civility but I also fear that we may not see it happen this time. We shall see…


    1. Niculina – not sure how I missed this comment – so sorry for the delay in commenting back.

      The picture of K surprised me – she does look so much bigger and more mature than she did at the beginning of the year, but she’s still only four. She was such a tiny baby and toddler, but it looks like she may be catching up now.

      Hope you move has gone well and things are mostly set up or getting there.

      Happy with the result of the election, but there’s a long, hard road ahead of us because of the divisions. It’s not going to be easy . . . .


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