Sunday Morning 11/22/2020: Tanned, Rested, and Ready

Last Sunday’s sunset looked like a painting in the sky.
Thursday’s sunset never reached its potential – the clouds all turned gray.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

While I am rested and ready to get back to writing, I’m sure not very tan (and this week’s weather sure didn’t help either). I’ve gotten used to being asked if I’m enjoying my visit whenever I wear shorts as my legs are pale enough that they glow. But, I feel rested again and ready to move forward. I had very a pleasant week off and thought a lot about what I wanted to write and when. I’ve decided that for the time being I’ll continue to write on travel topics now and then, and about all the other things in the blog header (plans, goals, Kaua’i, and so forth). The posting schedule I’ve been using works well for me right now as well, so I’m going to stay with the Sunday Morning posts, have something else up on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and recipes on Fridays for the time being. The response to the recipes has frankly been a pleasant surprise as they’re simply ones our family has enjoyed over the years, ones I’ve collected from all sorts of places. I’m feeling grateful that I put almost all of them online several years ago because my cookbooks were in the box that was lost in the move.

YaYu in full travel regalia

Our baby girl is home, but once again her journey nearly turned into a logistical nightmare. Sometime last week Alaska changed her schedule, and had her flying from Philadelphia to Chicago on American Airlines for the first leg of her flight versus the non-stop we had booked into Seattle. Their email informing her of the change went to her spam filter for some reason and she didn’t see it until Friday. The new Alaska flight out of Chicago had her arriving later into Seattle than the original reservation, so her flight into Honolulu had been changed to one that didn’t arrive there until 9:00 p.m., long after the final connecting flight of the day to Lihue on any airline had departed – she would have had to spend the night in the Honolulu airport! I got on the phone with Alaska, explained the situation, and they quickly changed her to a non-stop flight to Lihue from Seattle at no extra charge. However, that left us with the Honolulu to Lihue Southwest ticket that we had booked for her back when Hawaiian changed their schedule, but I was surprisingly able to cancel that ticket for a full refund right at their website with a click of a button – so easy. Hopefully YaYu didn’t catch the virus from the huge crowds that were at the Philadelphia and Chicago airports, but we will be practicing social distancing and mask wearing here at home for the next few days just in case. She wore both a mask and face shield during her travels, and was very conscientious about wiping things down and cleaning her hands so we hope all will be OK.

The Eastside beach path views never disappoint

It’s been another week of wacky weather, running the gamut from sunny and hot to rainy, cold, and damp. The ceiling fans haven’t been on all week, and on most evenings it has been cold enough to put on a sweater (it gets downright chilly here when temps drop into the low 70s, and frigid in the upper 60s). It rained all day Wednesday, too much to even try to get to the farmers’ market; but on Thursday we walked one lap before the rain arrived and soaked us. We thought Friday was going to be a bust as well, but the rain stopped long enough in the late afternoon for us to walk a couple of miles. Yesterday we woke up to heavy rains and gale-force winds again with gusts above 20 mph all day, there were torrential rains falling horizontally at times. We caught a break in the late afternoon though and were able to get in an hour’s walk, although we had to skip the trail through the woods because of the mud. However, last Monday was lovely – warm, sunny, and with a nice breeze. We were up in Kapaa for my haircut and decided to walk out to the Pineapple Dump, and ended up going beyond it to check out Donkey Beach. On the way back though the breeze stopped, the sun was beating down on us, and shortly before we got to the car I started feeling strange: my legs felt like they were made from jelly, I started having cramps in my chest and abdomen, and I began feeling very dizzy and foggy. I had apparently become dehydrated and was also suffering from low blood sugar as I hadn’t eaten or drank anything in a few hours, and combined with the heat I got pushed fairly close to heat exhaustion. Once in the car I finished the entire contents of our water bottle, Brett got the A/C in the car turned on me, and by the time we got home I felt fine again. It was a scary experience though, and I won’t walk that distance again, especially when it’s hot, without taking water breaks along the way and making sure I bring along a snack. Lesson learned!

A big surprise this week was the arrival of the box our son and daughter-in-law sent to use back in July. I sort of jokingly guessed when they sent it that the earliest we could expect it to arrive would be Halloween, so that ended up being not too far off. Packages into the U.S. from Japan can only be sent by surface mail right now (i.e. a slow boat) and then have to clear customs, creating a long, long delay. The package contained 10 packages of mugicha tea bags, which will hopefully last until we get back to Japan and can get more, as well as several spicy sauce mixes and some spicy chips for YaYu, and three packages of Japanese cookies for us, including our favorite asparagus biscuits (not made from asparagus, just shaped like spears of asparagus).

This morning I am:

  • Reading: My current book, Caste, is powerful, excellently written and researched, with the truth of what the author says difficult to read some times and anger-producing as well. America is a special case in the world when it comes to race, and this book lays out clearly and in a compelling fashion what that is and how we got here.
  • Listening to: The wind is howling loudly once again but at least it’s not raining . . . for now. Brett is making coffee, YaYu is reading, so it’s quiet inside but outside it is LOUD. Hopefully this storm or whatever it is will blow though today. LOTS of visitors arrived last night on the plane YaYu came in on and I’m pretty sure this weather and noise has to be discouraging for them.
  • Watching: We watched five different shows this week, six if you count Friday night’s Great British Bake Off semi-final episode (Patisserie Week). We’ve started off each evening with an episode of The Crown, followed by Young Wallender (which we finished), and then either Bordertown (which we finally also finished) or Unsolved Mysteries. With Young Wallender and Bordertown finished we started The Valhalla Murders, set in Iceland. We think The Crown has been fairly brutal and quite unflattering to the royal family this season. 
  • Cooking/baking: It’s Thanksgiving week, but we’re skipping the turkey this year as YaYu doesn’t care for it. Instead, our Thanksgiving meal will be ham along with herbed stuffing and sautéed green beans on the side. Dessert will be a lovely, fluffy lilikoi chiffon pie from Hamura’s Saimin in Lihue. Tonight’s dinner will be bean burritos fill with Mexican cowboy beans, leftover pulled pork, seasoned rice, shredded cabbage, and salsa. Other dinners this week will be noodles with pork sauce; mabo tofu; ham fried rice; soup with ham and cheese sandwiches, and of course leftovers if there are any although with YaYu home things should be eaten up more quickly. I won’t be baking this week although YaYu might feel like making something. Brett and I finished up our chocolate cake last Thursday, but instead of picking up a pumpkin pie at Costco we got some more Bubbie’s mochi ice cream and have been enjoying a couple of those with a two Japanese cookies for our dessert. I’m going to make an olive oil orange cake tomorrow though to get us through Wednesday and then we’ll be having a small slice of the lilikoi pie on Thursday and for a few days after before I bake something again.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: We ended up getting in six days of walking this week, even if not as much or as long as usual on some of those days. We got all the food shopping done for Thanksgiving and don’t have to go again until December 1. We also got Meiling’s and WenYu’s Christmas presents packed up and ready to go to the post office early this coming week. Brett got our avocado tree transplanted into a big pot (he chose one from the collection of pots under our porch) and it will now continue to grown outside. We still can’t get over how big it got growing in the jar.
    The little tree that could.
  • Looking forward to next week: Besides spending time with YaYu again (at a distance), I’m honestly looking forward to not going anywhere next week except to the farmers’ market and up to the park every day for a walk. Stores were already getting crowded last week because of the upcoming holidays and I’m dreading going shopping during the next month or so. I’m wondering now if our fire pit brought a curse along with it, but fingers are crossed for better weather next week as well so we can be outside more (also because we have everything to make s’mores now).
    Single eggs Benedict for both of us yesterday: traditional for Brett, kalua pig for me.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Besides finally 1) receiving the package our son sent, and 2) having YaYu home with us, we 3) got big news from WenYu that she had been hired as adjunct faculty at a tech school in Boston to teach web design and another web-related course! The job pays well and is a perfect fit for her, and still gives her time to create items for her Etsy site as well. Currently all courses at the school are being taught online, but she will eventually teach in a classroom once it’s considered safe enough to reopen the school. We’re so very, very happy for her, especially that she found something in her major field! 4) I had my six month eye exam on Friday, and learned I don’t need new glasses . . . yet. I will be going for a consult next spring however for cataract surgery as the doctor feels it’s best for me to get it done early rather than wait. 5) Brett and I finally got out for our breakfast date yesterday morning at the Kalaheo Cafe. The food was delicious, we were appropriately distanced from others, and we had a good time! 6) The week has been a mostly gloomy one, but on the plus side there have been lots of rainbows spotted, including a couple of full arches. They are glorious.
    Saturday afternoon’s rainbow show

Sunday’s rainbow was a spectacular full arch. I should have taken a panoramic shot – it was huge, and especially bright.

  • Thinking of frugal things we did: This past week was not a particularly frugal one as we overspent on food, but that was because we decided we did not want to go out at all this coming week so we bought the things we would have bought next week. Finding room for everything in the pantry, freezer, and fridge has been a challenge. We finally received our settlement from the moving company for the box they lost. Their initial offer was an insulting $22.80 but I told them that was unacceptable considering this wasn’t a couple of broken items but an entire box that they failed to load into our shipment. They then offered us $100, which we accepted. It doesn’t cover what was lost, but I knew that was the best we were going to get from them based on the coverage we had purchased. The check went right into our travel savings. I earned 2,352 Swagbucks, but we didn’t put anything into the change/$1 bill jar again last week because we didn’t get any change back anywhere. We had more than the usual amount of leftovers this week for some reason but they were joyfully eaten, with no food wasted.
  • Grateful for: Brett and I are both so thankful that our girl is safely home once again and that she was able to arrive as planned and on time. We’re also thankful BMC paid for her Hawaii-required COVID-19 test (@$139.95) as it was required for her to come home and not have to endure two weeks of quarantine. We’re going to take things easy for the next couple of days, although she got a negative result again on her preflight COVID test (second in a week). She will be tested once more on Wednesday (free for island residents) and if that’s clear then we can stand down here at home. For the time being though we’re staying masked full-time and are keeping ourselves distanced as much as possible.
    This was my location from Hamnvik, Norway. A little isolate, a little rocky, but looks lovely in the summer. Not too sure about winter though.
  • Bonus question: If you were given five million dollars, with the condition that you had to live in first place you clicked on, would you do it? Could you do it? This was another fun question that popped up on Twitter this past week. The location selected for me was Hamnvik, Norway, located up near the Arctic Circle. I’m not so sure that $5 million would be enough to get me to live at this spot as it’s so far north. The view is spectacular though, and with $5 million I could probably afford to build a gorgeous house on top of that rock formation with a state-of-the-art heating system, but winters would still be extremely problematic, especially since I’d be coming from Hawaii. Also, I’d have to learn Norwegian – not sure about that although it’s probably easier than Japanese. Still, the $5 million dollars is quite tempting – after the house and other needs are met, there would probably be enough money left over to travel as much as I desired, and I could go live in the south of France or back here on Kaua’i during the winters!
Wearing a pristine white apron, my great-x11-grandmother, Priscilla Mullins, serves turkey to Squanto on the first Thanksgiving, while her future husband, John Alden, stands ready with the sweet potatoes. Miles Standish, in full uniform, stands to the right. Sadly, there is nothing remotely accurate about anything in this picture other than those people were actually there.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday – no presents, no expectations (at least not in our family), just good food and being together and thankful for all we have and have been blessed with. This year it will just be the three of us, and our meal will be very untraditional, but that’s the way things seem to be going this year. We’re planning on sleeping in on Thursday, and will take a walk out to the Pineapple Dump if weather permits, a tradition we started when we lived here before. In the evening we’ll have our annual holiday viewing of The Descendants (last year we watched it early when we were in Edinburgh). Sometime during the day we’ll have a chat with Meiling and WenYu, and maybe will get to talk with our son and family, although the time difference is always an issue and it doesn’t sometime happen. No matter what, it should be a lovely day. 

And that was the week that was (mostly)! It was a very nice one too, and I’m looking forward to our simple Thanksgiving and the rest of the week coming up, and hope you are too!


21 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 11/22/2020: Tanned, Rested, and Ready

  1. So glad she is safely home.Why in the world do the airlines change their reservations like that? It has to be so stressful, especially in Covid times. In this time of technology, it looks like the airlines would have the technical ability to make sure their passenger’s connecting flights can be made also, even on different airlines. You would think they would have a cooperating sharing program with other airlines. I like ham far better than turkey, but my family would have a fit if I did not serve turkey at Thanksgiving, so I serve a ham at Christmas sometimes. I may not this year because I have an extra turkey breast. I am cooking with a mask on and delivering the food to my relatives front porches. Covid times sure make things difficult. I saw that has Japanese KitKats, but they were expensive. I, sadly, finished my pumpkin Kitkats and have only white chocolate ones now. Beautiful pics! Weather in the 70’s here and sunny.


    1. Cindy – I think it was WordPress that messed things up because this comment initially went to the spam folder, which has never happened with you before, and when it did it screwed up the formatting. Anyone, it got released and all is well although I will be checking my spam folder more frequently going forward.

      I agree about the airlines though. Not sure why they couldn’t have put her on an earlier AA flight if that’s what they had to do because the other one got cancelled. Anyway, it all turned out alright, and she’s home and will get her Hawaii COVID test tomorrow and then all should be well.

      I love turkey, but it’s one of those once-a-year things for us, so I will be missing it this year. I don’t have a problem with ham though, so we will enjoy our meal.

      I checked out the Walmart site and saw two Japanese flavors I’ve never tried, but since we’re being careful about what we’re eating will skip them for now (and I agree they are expensive). Still, it’s interesting to see there’s a US source for some of their flavors. We’ll definitely be collecting again when we go back to Japan.

      Weather here is miserable again so far this week, but it’s still beautiful in spite of the rain and clouds.


  2. From your picture of YaYu are you sure you have the right girl?!!
    How can you stand not giving that girl a big hug and kiss?
    I miss my son and daughter-in-law so much. Haven’t seen them since last Thanksgiving!
    It will be a tiny Thanksgiving for 2 this year. Fortunately I like the planning and cooking and leftovers.


    1. I can’t tell you how glad I was that she had sent us that picture because I would not have recognized her otherwise when she came off the plane!

      No hugs for us either, and we’re all staying distanced from each other. The wind is blowing ferociously today but we’ve got all the windows open to keep the air circulating . . . and I’m freezing!

      I’m going to miss the turkey this year because I love it, and I’m already thinking we should have turkey for Christmas this year. YaYu likes everything but the turkey – we could grill her some chicken or a pork chop instead LOL.


  3. I tried your randomstreet and wound up in Acapulco, Mexico but it must have been a bad part of town because it did not look very inviting. With 5 million dollars you could buy a house and spend 95% of your time traveling.
    Love the pictures, Donkey Beach was beautiful. How did it get that name?
    You have to be really careful with heat exhaustion, it doesn’t take much time at all to be affected. Please stay safe.
    We thought about ham this year but will have it for Christmas instead and stick with the traditional turkey meal. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Acapulco wouldn’t be too bad as far as the weather goes, but I wouldn’t want to live there in a bad neighborhood (although how I would judge that I have no idea). Brett tried it and got a sad-looking cement block house in some village in Poland – even snow in Norway was more appealing!

      Donkey Beach was named for the mules that used to haul sugar cane in the area. It’s pretty secluded, and at one time was a “nude beach.” Apparently some people go without clothes there, but only during the week when there are few people there.

      YaYu continues to make a face whenever I mention turkey, so now I’m not sure what we’ll have for Christmas. I miss having a full turkey dinner though so we’ll see. Actually, she loves everything but the turkey, and can skip that if she wants.


  4. Glad YaYu got home ok despite the angst of changed flights and glad for WenYu’s new job! Enjoy your week and Happy Thanksgiving!


    1. It was a very long travel day for her, and she didn’t eat the entire day either. It also didn’t help that the guy across from her wouldn’t wear a mask during the flight from Seattle. The flight attendants kept asking, but the minute they left he’d take it off again. Grrrrrr.


  5. So happy YaYu made it after all the flight changes. She looks quite like I did going to England. LOL. And your dehydration symptoms sound a lot like my bad seasick adventure some years back. Ugh. What an awful feeling that must have been…at least you know what to do in the future.

    Haven’t heard of randomstreetview, but I ended up in Ireland. Sign me up!

    We have a turkey, but probably only two of us, maybe three if my DD decides it’s safe to drive over from Chicago. Our activities are a bit more extensive than hers, although we think we’re quite careful. But our county is surging and we can’t get tested without symptoms from what I’ve read. I so hope we can get a more robust testing program after Jan 20.


    1. As I said below, we were glad she sent us that picture because I would not have recognized her otherwise. She had several layers of clothes on as well. We’re wearing masks indoors now, and keeping all the windows open, but she goes for her resident post-return test on Wednesday and if that is negative we can relax.

      Anywhere in Ireland would have been delightful. I have been clicking on the site about once a day since I found it, and some of my hits make that place in Norway look like paradise!

      I am hoping for more robust testing as well. Kaua’i now has six cases, all returning residents. Not sure if they returned from visiting other islands or from the mainland though. As of today though, testing requirements have been tightened up. Visitors and returning residents must now have a negative test result before they board their flight; before it was test administered less than 72 hours before flying, and I guess some people with the virus were getting through.


  6. Glad you’ve got your baby girl back home, what a stressful journey for her and for you.
    Thanksgiving this year will be different for a lot of people. Your menu sounds delicious and if everyone likes it, it will be a very pleasant evening for the whole family.
    We opted to buy a breast and 2 thighs for roasting in the crockpot rather than getting a full bird. For the two of us will be enough for dinner and sandwiches next day(s). We’ll share the fixings with 2 of our kids who live close by, but no gathering at our house this year. We’ll just drop off the food we have for them and visit with their families for a short time in front of their houses.
    Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving and congrats to WenYu, what a wonderful opportunity for her!


    1. One of the downsides to living here is the long flights everyone has to take to get here or go somewhere else. The girls’ flights have always been stressful, but they come anyway. We’ve got our fingers crossed everyone will be able to get here next year.

      We don’t roast a full turkey any more; I usually pick up a roasted turkey breast at Costco these days. But even that is too big for Brett and me, so not sure what else to do. I love all the sides too – potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, dressing, etc. Oh well – time marches on and we go with the flow. Brett picked up our pie this morning – it looks AMAZING! I know it will be delicious too – only a few are made fresh every morning at the shop.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well – your plans sound just about perfect for this year.


  7. So glad that everything worked out for you and your family last week. Just the two of us for T’day and I’m beginning to feel a bit glum about it, but looking forward to calls with the grands. Happy for WenYu and her new position-tell us about her Etsy site. Happy T’day!


    1. I have been reminding myself that back when Brett was on active duty he was ALWAYS deployed for Thanksgiving, and it was just our son and me on our own. We often spent the day with friends, but also liked to eat at the enlisted dining hall. They would put on an amazing feast – all you can eat for $2.35. Lots of people we knew went, so it turned out we really weren’t along, although it didn’t make us miss Brett any less.

      WenYu’s site on Etsy is called Low Stress Doodle. She’s sold almost all of the first round of items she put up. She has been busy getting ready for her new job but promises more stuff soon. Her stuff is very cute and clever!


  8. Glad YaYu made it back safely. I saw your comment that someone on one of the flights wouldn’t wear a mask. Sigh. Good thing she was prepared. I heard the airports have been crowded. Congrats to WenYu on her job! Was teaching something she had wanted to get into, or was this a happy accident?

    Randomstreetview took me to an industrial park in Estonia, lol. It didn’t seem possible to live there so I tried again and got a dirt road out in the woods in Finland. Not sure I’d want to live there!

    Even if the painting is not exactly historically accurate, it is still pretty cool that you can trace your family back to the Mayflower. I’ve only been able to trace mine back to my great-great grandparents.

    I just started watching The Crown, so I’m only on the first season. It’s interesting, but I wonder how accurate it is.


    1. YaYu said all the airports were crowded. We had seen pictures of O’Hare before she left, which scared us to death, but she kept her distance and kept on her mask and shield.

      WenYu actually applied for this job, and got a call back and now has a job. As Meiling has said, “once she gets the interview, she’s in. Everyone wants to work with her.” She really does have that kind of personality, but in this case she also had all the skills needed, and previous work experience as well.

      My grandmother’s hobby was genealogy, and she has traced our families going back centuries. She was in both the Mayflower Society and the DAR based on her connections (two things which I could care less about). I recently discovered where some of my family is from in England, so if we ever get back I plan to visit that village and see if there are any connections still there.

      I think The Crown is somewhat accurate, at least historically, but otherwise it’s a drama made for TV. It’s still very enjoyable.

      $5 million would not be enough for me to live at an industrial park in Estonia, nor out on a dirt road somewhere in Finland.


  9. For five million dollars, I could live anywhere and travel extensively. I saw a house with a glass house built around it somewhere up near the artic circle or in Norway. That would work. It had porches where you could sit and be outdoors with still be in the glass house enclosure.


    1. I could live almost anywhere if I had $5 million – there are exceptions though. No amount of money would make me want to come back to a house located in an Estonian industrial park.

      I love the idea of a house surrounded by glass, especially in a cold climate like Norway’s. Add some radiant heated floors and it would be a pretty nice place to be no matter what the winter brought.


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