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.
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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
- Bonus question: If you were given five million dollars, with the condition that you had to live in first place you clicked on randomstreetview.com, 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!
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!