Sunday Morning 11/8/2020: Change In the Air

These were the two best “sunsets” we had this past week. It’s been gloomy.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

It’s over . . . finally. Brett and I started watching election results at 4:00 p.m. here last Tuesday and lasted until nearly midnight, both of us nervous wrecks. We put together a big plate of sushi to eat while we watched but were too anxious to even get through half of it (we ate what was remaining for lunch on Wednesday). The initial results were not everything we hoped for here at Chez Aloha, but the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was finally called yesterday. Some states were flipped from the last election, and there’s still a chance for big things to happen in Georgia in January. The overall turnout for this election was amazing and heartening, and I hope it continues going forward in future elections. I have no illusions that things are going to magically change for the better, or change quickly, but there will be changes, some of them faster than others, and I am heartened that getting the pandemic under control will be the top priority. I am especially thrilled that our new VP will be a woman – it’s been a long time coming and long overdue.

Normally we would have had no problem taking care of most of this, but nerves got the best of us on Election Day and we didn’t even finish half.

We finally got YaYu’s travel plans sorted and arranged, and she will be home on November 21 and with us for Thanksgiving as originally planned. It looked for a while like her homecoming might be delayed because of the testing requirements, and she was making plans to stay with a friend in Seattle for a week or so to get her pre-flight testing done there before coming to Hawaii, but the friend’s parent are both physicians and have been assigned to the COVID-19 area in their hospital this month, so it turned out not to be a good time for hosting anyone in their home. However, YaYu made arrangements with a friend in Pennsylvania to take her to be tested the day before she leaves, and she will quarantine for two days once she gets here and then submit the results online and follow up with back-up testing here on Kaua’i. Cases of the virus are rising here on Kaua’i – as of Friday there were nine active cases on the island with two of those hospitalized. One good bit of news though – the first flight of visitors from Japan arrived in Honolulu yesterday, the first foreign visitors allowed back into the state. Our son has said that once a vaccination has been tested and approved, they will come to Hawaii. We are all hoping for that to happen in 2021.

We had a weird/disturbing thing happen this past week: On Monday, Brett received a U.S. Bank debit card . . . and we don’t have a U.S. Bank account. We did some investigating, and the card was apparently filled with hundreds of dollars of unemployment benefits! We learned this is a major scam that’s been going on all around the U.S., apparently run by some Nigerian outfit (the prince?). Retirees have been targeted, and their names and addresses used to file for unemployment benefits (because in some states all you apparently need is a name and address) but sometimes the cards have ended up going to the actual retiree named on the card, like what happened with us. Hawaii is in the mix of states affected, so we have no way of knowing whether the fraud happened here or in another state, which seems more likely as U.S. Bank does not operate in the state of Hawaii. Brett filed a fraud alert with the bank, and with the card issuer, and we went over our credit records with a fine-toothed comb but found nothing irregular. We will be watching things a bit more carefully for the next few months though. 

We had another stormy, crazy weather week, with cloud cover most days and several days of very high humidity once again. It was not a good week for picture taking. The trade winds broke through when they could, and we got out to walk as much as possible, but also spent a couple of days stuck inside. We were hoping to have a celebratory bonfire in the yard with our neighbors as we bought some firewood this past week, but it looks like that’s going to have to wait. Fall weather has always been sort of messy here, and winter is coming, even in Hawaii.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m about halfway through Susan Spann’s Climb and enjoying it. It makes me wish I was in Japan. 
  • Listening to: There’s a strong, cool breeze blowing outside this morning – it’s wonderful listing to the sound of the trees moving in the wind again. Humidity is very low or at least it feels that way. Brett is in the kitchen making his breakfast, and our neighbor has been rustling around upstairs, but otherwise it’s a perfect, quiet morning.
  • Watching: We finally finished Homeland, got through “80s Week” on The Great British Bake-Off, and are now watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix – it’s so, so good. We’re also alternating between episodes each an evening of Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix and Bordertown. WenYu had been watching Unsolved Mysteries and thought we would enjoy it as well (and she was right).
  • Cooking/baking: It’s Sunday, so beans and rice for dinner tonight – Cuban beans this week but with roasted sweet potato, fried banana, and a little salsa for a sort of Cuban bowl vibe. This week we’re also going to have grilled fish (ono) tacos; subuta (Japanese style sweet & sour pork); grilled smoked chicken sausages and sauerkraut (we want to finish up the big container we bought at Costco last month); and InstantPot chicken adobo with bok choy. We finished up the Blue Bunny ice cream yesterday, so I’ll be baking the dark chocolate cake this afternoon for our dessert tonight.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Because of this week’s weather we only got in five days of walking up at the park – we were rained out last Sunday afternoon and this past Wednesday. We almost had to scrap our plans to increase our distance this week as well, but Thursday afternoon there was a wonderful cool breeze blowing during our walk, we felt good, and we got in the extra amount and walked a little over four miles. We’ll be going for two days of that distance this week. I finally got our pantry better organized this past week using some OXO containers, and it’s wonderful not having to dig through everything to find needed items as well as have the extra space the organization created (we’re fortunate to have a pantry in our tiny kitchen, but it’s very narrow and had been difficult to arrange things in any sort of practical way).
    Can’t believe how tall our little avocado tree has grown, or how long the taproot is.
  • Looking forward to next week: I am so hoping we can get through a whole week without a storm and its accompanying humidity, or at least if there has to be one it comes in the middle of the night and is gone by morning. Our avocado tree has leafed out and we’re looking forward to transplanting it into a pot this week.
    Currently Christmas is in chaos. Order will hopefully be restored this week.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Even with the days of counting, the election results were worth the wait. 2) On Friday our neighbor brought us some fresh fish he had caught (he cleaned them too), two blue snapper and one gold snapper. We tucked them into the freezer and will roast them with lemon and rosemary when YaYu is home. 3) All the Christmas presents we ordered for the girls arrived this week so all Brett and I need to do now is get them wrapped, packed (if going to Meiling and WenYu), and sent off by the end of the month. I love wrapping presents so I’m looking forward to this. 4) Rambutan was available at the farmers’ market this week. They’re like fuzzy litchi, but so, so good. The ones we got are big and sweet.
    Dragonfruit are becoming harder to find, but it was thrilling to see rambutan arrive at the farmers’ market.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: While we underspent on our food shopping at Costco, Walmart, and the farmers’ market this past week, and put $18.61 into the change/$1 bill jar, the week ended up being an expensive one as we restocked our gin collection for the next several months. We bought giant bottles of Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick’s at Costco at a higher up-front price but lower overall price for the quantity than buying it elsewhere. Although those two bottles upped the amount we spent now they will save us overall in the long run. Otherwise we had a no-spend week. I earned 3,016 Swagbucks, which included my 681 SB October bonus. All our leftovers were happily eaten, and no food was thrown away.
    The Chez Aloha gin joint is back in business! This is several months worth of cocktails for us.
  • Grateful for: I am unabashedly grateful that the majority of voters in our country stepped up and chose democracy and decency and rejected outright authoritarianism and yes, fascism. There is much work to be done going forward, many things to be fixed, and the journey will not be easy, but I am grateful that our country will be stepping back on the right path again.The message below expressed perfectly to me of what was lost these past four years, and a big reason why we supported Joe Biden in this election.
  • Bonus question: What is your weakest claim to fame?  This was another fun question that popped up on Twitter this past week and the answers were fun. Basically, it asked what was your most mundane interaction with a celebrity. Most of my moments meeting celebrities were thrilling, but the most mundane was selling a newspaper to Stacy Keach in 1987 at the Casa Marina hotel gift shop in Key West, FL. I usually staffed the hotel clothing boutique, but that morning I was fill-in in at the general gift shop for some reason. I recognized him immediately even though he looked like hell, sold him his paper and handed him his change without saying a word, and that was that – so very mundane. Now, if it had been Eric Clapton buying a newspaper (he had stayed at the hotel the year before), I would be telling a very different story!

One of the things I’ve read about, heard rumors about, and will be watching for when Biden takes office will be possible changes affecting student loan repayment. I have been paying back the federal student loans I took out to finish my bachelor’s degree and attend graduate school since 2000, for a degree that was required for me to work in my field. Every month since then several hundred dollars have been automatically removed from our bank account, except for the nearly three years I took classes again to earn a certificate in Conflict Management and received forbearance (the college I worked for covered my tuition). As of now I have made payments equaling what I borrowed, but I still have another 13 years to go before the loan is paid in full, and I have always had an interest rate less than 3%! The total amount I will have paid at the end of the loan period will be nearly double what I borrowed. My loan is nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, and students today are holding far more debt, and at much higher interest rates. So, I am going to hope beyond hope that some forgiveness might become a reality, not just for me but for so many others who struggle to pay their loans and who cannot more forward because of them, and that the whole student loan business model is refigured. Forgiving student loans, or some portion of them, will provide a huge boost to the economy, more than many other changes that can be made, and more than people realize, I believe.

The day lily above is one of many that have sprouted in the woods recently at Kukuiolono Park. The photo above does not capture how much its orange color actually glows – the color is almost DayGlo because it’s so bright. We saw earlier in the week that some of the lilies had been dug up, probably by other visitors/walkers, but these past few days more were bursting out in the area. I’m not the biggest fan of day lilies, but these ones are nothing if not eye-catching, and the color gorgeous.

I’m frankly glad this week – this election! – is over. The election itself and the following vote count caused so much anxiety, and even though the ending turned out well for the majority I know there are still hard feeling and they will continue. I also understand the disappointment many are feeling now as we experienced the same in 2016. But, here’s to a good week coming up and better times, and to the start of some healing for our country.

40 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 11/8/2020: Change In the Air

  1. Yum on the fruit.
    I am delighted for you. A Biden/Harris administration should be good to watch. I hope Democrats take the senate- so we can really get into what they ran on.
    Student loans. I wonder if the kids who signed up for military or Americorps instead of student loans could get some of that cash back? I know quite a few of them. The doctors who were trained by BIA instead of taking on debt? How about those who took on a few more years of service to get a bachelors or masters? I know Navy were huge Biden backers. I am not being rude- just asking the questions that I have heard circulated. I’m glad to hear that yours may be paid off. HUGE to have that money back.

    Like

    1. I have been paying my loans for nearly 20 years, and if for some reason I got excluded from having my loans forgiven I’d be disappointed, but happy and thrilled for all those who did get their loans reduced or dismissed. I believe people feel the same way in spite of having already paid off their loans, or working hard not to have to take out loans (like our daughters). Our son gave up nearly two years of his salary in order to pay his law school loans, and thinks no one should have to go through that. The whole system needs to be reimagined and refigured, from the colleges to the loan companies to the government. The burden of these loans has had and continues to have a very negative effect on the whole economy. There are always going to be a those eating those sour grapes though.

      BTW, currently if your loans are forgiven you have to claim that amount as income. The irony is that most people paying off loans couldn’t afford the taxes if their loans were forgiven. It’s a lose-lose situation right now.

      Rambutan are a favorite for me – so happy to find them this past week at the market!

      Like

  2. Like you, I am happy with the election outcome and am so glad it’s over. It was the realisation of just how exhausting the past 4 years have been. Whilst I am ecstatic about the outcome my hope is that going forward we can find a way for everyone to work for the betterment of all Americans. I want the hate to stop. I’m tired of having to listen to Trump supporters tell me CV is a hoax and I don’t need that face mask. I want everyone to prosper for their efforts. It would be nice if commencing on January 20 we could all find a way to focus on making 2021 the best year ever. However my greatest fear is what drama is going to unfold before inauguration. As you say too much money in this country goes towards student debt and healthcare costs. How is it possible for people to get ahead?

    Like

    1. These past four year have been exhausting. Everytime you’d think things couldn’t sink lower, they did – there never appeared to be any bottom. I’m not expecting miracles from a Biden administration, but there will be changes and return to decency, something that was sorely lacking during the Trump administration.

      Here’s hoping that 2020 will be a wake-up call and that we can all work to make 2021 better.

      Like

  3. My student loan interest rate was 7% and my mortgage was 4%. That drove me nuts since I couldn’t refinance the student loans. Making the minimum payment for 15 years hadn’t reduced the balance by much. I finally buckled down and applied every spare dollar for two years and then they were gone. Such a relief when I received that payoff confirmation! The two years seriously sucked but it was worth it.

    Like

    1. We were unable to pay more while we raised the girls, and now that we’re retired we want to travel while we can. We’ve set a goal though for a few more trips and then buckling down like you did and paying the loans off. Before the amount was just too great to contemplate, but it’s moving into a range where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (even if it is 13 years away).

      Like

  4. My most mundane celebrity run in was with Kevin O’Leary–Shark Tank for you, Dragon’s Den and would be politician for me. I was picking up something at a TV station parking lot and he came out. Since his TV manner is not particularly appealing, I only glanced at him.

    Like

  5. My most mundane celebrity run in was standing in line for the washroom with Rosalynn Carter at a Habitat for Humanity event in the early 90’s. (My Dad was on the International board as was former President Carter.)

    Like

    1. I met John Lennon standing in line to go through customs in Japan back when I was a college student, but standing in line for the washroom is a whole ‘other layer of mundane. Actually, meeting John Lennon was thrilling – I didn’t want to bother him so kept to myself (even though I was going crazy on the inside), but he leaned over and asked me If I had had a nice trip over! SWOON! Took the mundane right off of that encounter, for me anyway.

      Like

  6. Please unsubscribe me.
    Not interested in your political thoughts.
    BTW pay those student loans…you borrowed the money not the tax payers.

    Like

    1. You will rarely if ever hear my political thoughts on this blog, but there was just an election . . . .

      And I have paid back the equivalent of every bit of what I borrowed, for nearly twenty years without any late payments or missing a payment. The loan company has been taking their pounds of flesh in interest off the top, so I am now going to pay an amount nearly equal to what I’ve already paid to finish off the principal, although nearly 50% of each payment still goes to interest. I hope that makes some taxpayers happy. Wish I could write some of it off like I did my mortgage interest. I doubt my loans will be forgiven as most of what I borrowed was for graduate school, but it would be nice to be putting that money back into the economy in other ways.

      More than happy to unsubscribe you.

      Like

    2. Eric is a hilarious example of a Trumper. They simply cannot bear to hear the other point of view. Good riddance.

      Like

      1. My favorite part of his reply was that I’m apparently not supposed to write about my political views on MY blog! And yes, no thinking that there might be another side to the story, or another way of seeing things. My loan is repaid to the U.S. Government; the massive amount of interest I am paying goes to a private company. It’s the way the interest is paid and the amount of interest on these loans that is so crushing. That’s where relief is needed.

        Like

  7. Still worried about what Trump will try to do in his remaining 70+ days in office but am otherwise happy with the results.
    I met Johnny Weismuller at a furniture store in Kentucky where he was signing Jungle Jim autographs. I remember it because my mother asked him to sign as Tarzan. I met Martha Rae at Ft Campbell Ky where she gave a show for the troops and stopped her show to sign autographs for two little girls ( I was one). My other two celebrities were Truman Capote and Eric Segal (Love Story) who spoke at my college. No opportunity to speak with either one.

    Like

    1. Yes, the next 70 days are going to be interesting. I’m still holding my breath.

      I would have loved to meet Truman Capote, or at least hear him speak, like you did. My other celebrity sightings other than Stacy Keach were all exciting. Besides John Lennon, I also met Robert Kennedy about two months before he was assassinated. Our church group was on the way to do some work on the Navajo reservation, and we stopped for breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Flagstaff – RFK was staying there as well and he graciously came out to talk with us, shake our hands, etc. It was very exciting! I also got to get up close to Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, and the guitarist from Los Lobos asked me to come up to the stage with him when I was at one of their concerts. I was with a date though so didn’t go. My interaction with Stacy Keach was so, so mundane by comparison.

      Like

  8. Like you, the election brought some relief. I do agree that the next two months will be a struggle as Trump tries to cling to power and create drama, chaos and conflict. What’s new? It is exhausting though. But now I feel hope anyway. And Pfizer’s news this morning re: the vaccine trial success is so welcome. AND, they did it without government funding. Huzzah!

    When I was walking through the Cincinnati airport in 1976 with my month old son, we met Charo (remember her? Hootchy Kootchy!) and she stopped to say, What a beautiful baby. And, one of my political crushes, Steve Schmidt, was on a regional flight into Louisville with me when I was still working. I chased him off the flight and had a co-worker take our pic together. As we walked away, my co-worker said, Who was THAT? HAHAHA.

    Glad to hear your are enjoying The Queen’s Gambit. I’ve heard good things and need something new now that I’ve finished Schitt’s Creek (although I may watch that whole series over if I need uplifting in the dead of winter).

    Like

    1. I am frankly a bit frightened right now about what’s going on re. the results. Lots of it is hot air, but this is what happens when an actual coup is being attempted. It continue to be exhausting and worrisome.

      And yes, huzzah for the vaccine! Fingers are crossed it becomes available sooner rather than later.

      I think Charo would have been hard to miss – so cute that she stopped to admire YOUR baby!!

      The Queen’s Gambit is excellent – after I finish reading Caste I want to read the book that the series is based on. It’s categorized as a thriller ?? so should be interesting as well.

      Like

  9. I got 3 of those US Bank Debit cards in the mail on Friday…3 different names and we aren’t even retired! or unemployed. What a hassle to get a hold of the bank as well.
    We are trying our best to get to the islands in 2021it has been too long

    Like

    1. OMG!! I think states may need to tighten up their unemployment filing rules a bit – apparently BILLIONS have already been stolen using this scam. It was a hassle for us to get hold of the bank as well and get things straightened out too.

      If you make it to Kaua’i next year, let me know so we can get together (in a social distanced, mask wearing way, if necessary).

      Like

  10. Eric is ridiculous. It’s not like you haven’t posted your political thoughts on YOUR blog in the past. I met Bruce Springsteen once at a bookstore. I am a long time fan and could only look at him with awe – I lost the power of speech.

    Like

    1. Yes, I have posted my political opinions before; they are MY opinions on MY blog where I am free to write on any topic I wish, not just those that please particular readers.

      I would have been equally speechless to meet Bruce Springsteen. Same with Eric Clapton. I was speechless with John Lennon standing next to me; but did manage to say a few words when he spoke to me.

      Like

  11. Don’t understand why everyone is being so negative towards Eric. He made a simple request and gave his reason for the request. Then gave his opinion about student loan relief. Is he not entitled to his opinion?

    Like

    1. Maureen, he is entitled to an opinion, but his opinion was to state that he didn’t care to hear about my politics on MY blog. His opinion added absolutely nothing of substance to the discussion other than to let me know I shouldn’t discuss politics unless he agrees with them. He also asked me to unsubscribe him. He is free to leave on his own; he didn’t need to ask.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As the snarky online comments go, It’s not an airport. He doesn’t need to announce his departure. LOL.

        Like

  12. I’m not understanding the scam. They give you money, then…??? I hate so much that human beings try to trick and steal. I know many who’ve been victimized in various ways.
    Bozo the clown stroked my hair and got closer than was comfortable when I was a young Mom, taking my daughter to the TV show. As if that wasn’t strange enough, not too long after that, he was a patient at the hospital and I was his nurse! It was not a good or happy time in the life of this clown and of course I never saw the show without thinking about these experiences.
    Just curious, if someone wanted to unsubscribe, they can just click a button, right? They aren’t required to come to the comments section, are they?😉

    Like

    1. We’ve been trying to figure out how the scam is done because the perpetrators obviously didn’t get the card sent to them, but then again who knows that they didn’t file for several of them in Brett’s name and got all the rest? Reader Patti had three of them arrive at her address. They have determined that the scam is being run by a Nigerian group, but beyond that they haven’t been able to stop it, and billions have been stolen from multiple states.

      Yes, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click yourself – no comment required LOL. Eric asking me to do it for him got him a block.

      Clowns have always given me the creeps. If Bozo had touched my hair I would have run away screaming. But then to have him as a patient. That must have been VERY weird.

      Like

  13. Elections are never called by the media so we shall see.

    You are what is wrong with this country – you chose to borrow money and now you want it forgiven – just like a liberal – give me something free…..

    Like

    1. I don’t know, Melissa – Trump’s election was called by the media in 2016, and Hillary Clinton called him that evening to concede, with far, far less votes separating them. She conceded publicly the next day. You all seemed to be fine with the media calling that election. The Obama administration got right onto the transfer as well. I guess you believe that what was good for the goose doesn’t apply to the gander.

      I have to laugh at your comment about getting or wanting something for free. We have paid off in full the parent loans we took out for our son’s education. We have paid off Brett’s student loans. I have paid off one student loan of several thousands of dollars. But I have also been paying this final loan for nearly 20 years, and after all this time, nearly half of the payment is still interest to the loan servicing company. Federal loan interest payments were supposed to be suspended during COVID; I checked and mine qualified, and my payment should have all gone directly to the principal but because I make automatic payments guess what? The loan servicing company continued to take their interest each month. So I’m getting and have gotten NOTHING for free. Loan repayment is structured so that the servicing company gets their interest UP FRONT, something that is not explained to students when they take out the loans – it is technically a mortgage on your education. No one wants anything for free, but what students, and former students like me, want, is a recognition that the way loans are structured and repaid does nothing to help the taxpayers and puts a massive burden on the shoulders of student borrowers – so much of what is paid goes into the pockets of the giant loan servicing companies. Please educate yourself about what’s going on with these loans and what they’re doing to our economy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Melissa – I AM paying the loans. I will continue to pay the loans, but if some sort of loan forgiveness is enacted that I qualify for I am not going to turn my back on it. I doubt many conservative borrowers would either, no matter what you believe.

        You have worn out your welcome.

        Like

  14. I’m sorry you’re getting trolls on your lovely blog.

    I stood near Meryl Streep and one of her daughters at the original Lilith fair back in the 90’s. At the time I thought it was so amazing.
    Also, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon came into the small cafe I was working at in Massachusetts around the same time in the 90’s

    In my area we also used to be so thrilled to see Bill Cosby in town, but of course we Later learned what a Complete creep he is/was…..
    Anon in mass

    Like

    1. The trolls could be entertaining if they ever made any sort of a real argument, but they never do.

      You celebrity meeting meet the standard of mundane. Definitely weak claims to fame (LOL) – I love them! Not so much the Bill Cosby sightings, but who knew back then?

      Like

  15. I am late to the party, but my celebrity sighting goes back to the early 80’s when we lived in Tucson. Actor Lee Marvin came into the hardware store where I was getting something for the home. At that time he lived in the Foothills area. There was no mistaking his voice or old cowboy look. We nodded to each other but no words were spoken. He knew I knew who he was!

    Like

    1. I believe that when a celebrity is cited in a mundane setting, that they appreciate being left alone, and like you, a nod of the head to each other is enough. In other words, recognized but left alone. They deserve and need “time off” from their celebrity. That’s why I didn’t speak to John Lennon – I wanted to but thought he needed/wanted to be left along in the situation (standing in line for customs), but then he leaned over and spoke to me! I was floored and realized then I probably didn’t have it in me to have spoken first to him.

      Like

Comments are closed.