Many evenings the sky was empty of clouds and the sun went down quickly, but there were three nice sunsets though, on Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
It’s Sunday morning in Hawaii! Aloha kakahiaka!
This past week has been a very lovely week – we’ve woken up to sunshine in the mornings, the humidity has been low, there was less wind (until Friday when it was blowing like crazy again), and only a little rain now and then. It’s been downright delightful. It has mostly remained cool too, to the point that we sometimes got cold in the evenings, and have been able to keep the ceiling fans turned off. The weather has been ideal for walking though, although we did miss one day when we were crazy busy with errands, and then saw dark clouds rolling in right when we should have been heading over to the park. I have no idea if all the visitors to Kaua’i have been going to the beach or not because it’s been a bit too cool for my taste, but I guess if you spent a lot to get over here you’d probably go to the beach no matter what. There are still a LOT of tourists here, although this week Kaua’i went back to a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors, residents, and those coming from other islands. The amount of visitors changed from over 600 one day to just seven on the day the quarantine went back into effect, so we’re hoping this will allow the island to get the virus under control here again.
COVID-19 cases have continued to climb however. I don’t know if anyone heard or read about the local couple that flew home to Kaua’i this past week from San Francisco even though they knew they had both tested positive for the virus! They were arrested upon arrival and charged with reckless endangerment, fined $1000 each, and as soon as they have recovered will face a judge. I imagine the legal implications for them and the airline (United) because of this may be huge; that is, even though they were told not to get on their flight to Kaua’i and were put in the quarantine area at the San Francisco airport, they left and boarded their flight anyway, endangering everyone on the flight. If anyone on that plane comes down with the virus they possibly have grounds to sue, both the couple and/or the airline. Likewise, anyone who came into contact with them before boarding or upon arrival here has possible grounds. Brett and I think the couple possibly flew to San Francisco for Thanksgiving, maybe infecting everyone they came into contact with there, and then home to Kaua’i. They were traveling with a four-year-old as well, but we read the child has been placed with other family members for the time being (not sure whether voluntarily or by court order). Stuff like this not only makes me furious, but frankly makes me more scared to go out at all, including to our weekly trips to the farmers’ market, although we purposely spend as little time there as we can. Same for going to Costco, Walmart, or Big Save, and forget any other place else these days. Unfortunately, if we want to eat we have to go shopping as there are no delivery services on the island, and if they were they would be too expensive. The return to quarantining on Kaua’i will have a positive effect on the spread of the virus here, but I also feel badly that so many who just were able to go back to work will once again be unemployed for a while. I am beginning to wonder though if our country will ever get a handle on this virus.
YaYu learned on Wednesday that her fourth and final COVID-19 test was negative, so she at last feels comfortable going out with us, and we can finally give each other hugs. She’s managed all her early wake-ups this week and gotten all her classwork done, but keeps saying she is very ready for the term to be over. She’s running up at the park again, and has been a big help for me in the kitchen. She surprised up with some delicious ham buns (yeast rolls filled with chopped ham) when Brett and I were out doing our shopping, and also prepared the farmers’ market pasta the other night, but she mostly spends her time on school work, or outside on the deck with the neighborhood cat, Ally, who couldn’t be happier that YaYu has returned. She is torn about returning to school at the end of January or staying here and taking all classes remotely. She says she wants to have a better sense of what’s happening with the virus before making a decision about whether to return or not, and will let us know in early January.
Finally, don’t forget to enter the Kauai Coffee giveaway! You can enter once a day to increase your chances of winning – just leave a short comment, hopefully one about local foods you enjoy or have discovered on your own travels. I am enjoying all the comments, and taking notes about things to remember for future travels.
This morning I am:
- Reading: It has been a difficult week for reading. I had hoped to finish Caste this past week, but had more than a few nights where I started reading and fell right asleep. The book isn’t boring by any stretch but we’ve been walking more this week and when I climbed into bed I have been ready to sleep! It’s difficult to read during the day with three of us in the apartment.
- Listening to: It’s very quiet this morning, although things are starting to happen: Brett is making coffee (our holiday blend) and YaYu is waking up. It’s very, very quiet outside – not even a leaf on a tree is stirring. The sky is blue, there are almost no clouds, so it’s going to be a lovely (and probably hot) day. Bring it on!
- Watching: We are watching an episode or two of Schitt’s Creek every evening, and Brett is still watching Deadwind. We enjoy Scandanavian mysteries and police procedurals, but this one has lost me.
- Cooking/baking: It’s Sunday, and that means it’s beans for dinner. Tonight we’re having Cuban bowls: rice topped with Cuban black beans, roasted sweet potato, fried banana (in place of the plantains we can’t get here), and a little salsa. Other dishes on this week’s menu will be Mississipi pot roast; French dip sandwiches using pot roast leftovers; roasted fish with lemon and rosemary; Guadalajara quesadillas; and chicken adobo with bok choy. Tonight we’ll finish up the Blue Bunny banana split ice cream we bought last week (on sale again at Big Save), and then YaYu and I will make the chocolate cake with ganache tomorrow and have that for our dessert the rest of the week.
- Happy we accomplished this past week: 1) We somehow ended up with a lot of errands to run this past week, or at least it seemed that way – it seemed like we had to go somewhere and do something every day. Brett took care of the car’s oil change and did some recycling, and we did our food shopping on Monday (Costco/Walmart), Tuesday (Big Save), and Wednesday (farmers’ market). We drove down to the Big Save in Eleele for the first time – wow! It’s quite large and much more organized than the one in Koloa where we usually shop, so looks like we will be heading to Eleele from now on. It’s not quite as close to us as Koloa, but the store makes the slightly longer time it takes to get there worth it. 2) We got YaYu’s Christmas stocking gifts finished up, and just have a couple more things to get for her. 3) Every walk Brett and I did this week was over four miles and took an hour because we’ve started to think more about how long we walk versus how far as we know we have to be comfortable walking two to four hours per day when we do the Japan walk in 2022. We’re going to stay with where we are for now, and then add start adding some more time near the end of January – slow and steady should do it. 4) I finished up another five weeks of activity cards, and have another five-week set ready to go!
- Looking forward to this week: I am going to head out on my own to do some Christmas shopping for a couple of things for Brett, and one thing for YaYu, and then I am done. And, If this good weather holds (and it warms up a little), we may get to the beach!
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) WE USED THE FIRE PIT AND MADE SMORES!!! Brett decided to light it off last Tuesday evening following hamburgers for dinner, but although he got it going it didn’t last very long as the evening was more damp than we imagined. Still it was fun, the s’more were delicious, and the potential for future enjoyment is there. 2) Brett and I had a shorter than usual but fun time at the Kauai Coffee Company, and were able to taste five different coffees (and purchased a bag of their Chocolate Mistletoe (actually mint) blend. We’re not fans of flavored coffees, but this one is delicious). 3) Brett also got a much-needed new t-shirt there as he was down to only three shirts for daily wear. 4) The county is finally fixing the road we have to use to get up to the main highway – YEAH! The road has been in terrible condition ever since we’ve been here, with massive potholes, etc., and made worse recently as it was used by trucks as a detour while another road was being repaired. The road has not only been very bumpy and uncomfortable to drive on, but unsafe as well as cars swerve to miss the potholes and other rough spots in the road. It looks like sidewalks and curbs will also be installed along the way, which will be very welcome. Anyway, although things will be a mess for a long while, the work is much appreciated and welcome. 5) I’ve lost three more pounds!
Kauai Coffee used to offer over 20 varieties to self-sample out on the coffee patio; these days there are just five and they’re served to you, but we still had a good time. The view out over the coffee groves is still pretty wonderful though.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We did our food shopping this past week, got everything on our list, stayed under budget, and put $5.62 into the change/$1 bill jar. 2) I earned 2,664 Swagbucks this past week, which includes the 633 bonus SB I earned last month. Swagbucks have been difficult to earn this past week though – there was little I could do over the holiday weekend, and I don’t think I’ve ever been kicked out of so many surveys as I was this past week. I just keep plugging away though as I have less than 5,000 SB to go to earn a $500 Delta Airlines gift card. 3) Otherwise we did all the usual frugal things around here – everything has been used up and nothing has been wasted other than a brand new head of lettuce that got pushed to the back of the fridge (grrrrr) and froze solid.Grateful for: Both Brett’s and my Social Security will receive small increase next year, and Brett’s military retirement will also go up a little, and we’re thankful that between the three it will be enough to cover our rent going up in April (the small increase is built into our lease) and the small amount we now have to pay each month for YaYu’s health insurance through the military (Brett’s and mine thankfully remains no cost for the time being).
- Bonus question: Do you collect or keep magnets, photos, or other things on your refrigerator? We used to keep on lot more on our fridge, and I had a huge magnet collection that I had assembled from all over, but I sorted through those before we moved over to Kaua’i, and these days I just keep my favorites or ones the girls or Brett have given me. They don’t hold up much these days either as the fridge is in a location where stuff can get brushed up against and knocked off easily, and we also don’t have that many reminders to put up anyway, or photos – everything is digital now. I picked up several magnets from our times in China and Japan, and I love my “bitchy woman” ones that the kids and Brett have given me. The others are gifts from the girls, friends, or from their colleges, etc. They don’t get used much, but I still find them fun to look at and remember when and where they come from.
My favorite ad from when we were in England last year – it never gets old. Christmas season there started the day after Halloween (because there’s no Thanksgiving holiday to get through first).
I’ve been feeling very detached from the approach of Christmas this year. Compared to last year Portland, we’ve only seen a few decorations about here, and even with getting our presents wrapped and sent and Brett getting out our Christmas mugs (we got them for our first Christmas in Portland, in 1992), I’m just not getting any sort of Christmas feels this year. YaYu and I have been discussing our menus for Christmas Eve (scallops) and Christmas morning (scones, smoked salmon, fresh berries, and mimosas) and our Christmas dinner (grilled steak and a couple of sides; a pie from The Right Slice for dessert). Maybe that’s a good thing? We still haven’t decided whether we’re going to get anything to use for a tree, or whether we’ll just put out the presents on Christmas morning and call it good. YaYu and I are going to get out our big Christmas box one of these days and sort through all the ornaments and divide them up to get those packaged and sent to everyone for next year – hopefully that will help me get into the spirit a little more. Maybe though it’s just being back on Kaua’i with the sun shining and the shorts wearing that’s affecting me this year, or that the family won’t be gathering for the first time. Or, maybe I just need to get a panettone.
It’s been a very good week overall, and this coming week looks to be just as nice. We’ve got a few errands to run and some shopping to do, but otherwise we’ll be hanging out at home other than a trip to the farmers’ market and our daily walk up at the park. I’ve been working on goals for the coming year and feel like I may be overloading myself, so am going to do some thinking about that as well. Anyway, I hope this past week was a good one for all, and that everyone is looking forward to the one coming up. It’s wonderful to know there are only 26 more days left to go in this crazy year.