Sunday Morning 12/13/2020: A Beautiful Week in the Neighborhood

Not a lot of pretty sunsets this week as the sky to the west was almost always cloud free. The days are growing longer though, and sunsets will hopefully be lingering a bit longer rather than disappearing in moments like they have been.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

Friday’s weather was perfection, so we decided to head up north for a hike.

It’s been an absolutely lovely week in our part of Kaua’i. The weather has been beautiful, and Brett and I have gotten out as much as possible, including snap decision to do a six-mile hike on the Stone Dam trail on Friday. We took the “Enchanted Forest” loop versus the shorter route this time, which added nearly two miles to the hike, but it was easy and beautiful, and we finished in one hour and fifty-five minutes. There had apparently been some heavy rain the night before and that morning as the trail was quite muddy in places, but we were mostly always able to find some solid ground to get around or through the mud. We’ve decided to do the hike once a month next year as part of our long-distance walk training. The drive up to the north side of the island is kind of long, but the hike is definitely worth it. We stopped in Kilauea on the way back to drop off some books at the Kileaua Bakery’s little lending library, and also to check out the new Kilauea Market. Wow! Their gin collection was amazing, and included several lovely varieties from the UK – we’ve decided that we’ll stop by each time we’re up there and add to our collection.

Even encountering mud along the way, we had a great hike on Friday. The scenery was pretty nice too.

YaYu has finished her 3:00 a.m. wake ups, and has been very busy writing papers and preparing for her final exams. Those should be submitted and over by mid-week, and then she can finally relax for a while. She received her bill for the spring term this past week, and between what we’ve put away and her own savings (she saves portion of her work-study income each month) we can cover the bill, so that’s a relief. In the meantime she relaxes by cooking whenever she can, although it feels at times as though she is eating us out of house and home. As expected, our grocery spending has once again ballooned. We’re thrilled though that she is here with us, and as Christmas approaches Brett and I grow sadder about the other girls not being here this year. We have our fingers crossed for a big reunion in 2021!

One of YaYu’s creations this past week: noodles in fiery pork sauce. She made the noodles from scratch.

The week before this last one I realized all of my prescriptions were running low and I had not heard a thing from the prescription-by-mail service we’re required to use even though I’m supposed to be on automatic refills. I called and manually reordered the prescriptions, and then this past week realized I had once again heard nothing from the service about my order. Usually I get an email within a day or so letting me know that the prescriptions have been refilled and are on their way, and a tracking notification. But this time, nothing. So, I called again and was told by the automated service that “your prescriptions are in process” and would be ready to ship in about two weeks time, meaning my medication would run out before the new order arrived. I immediately requested to speak to a representative who checked things over, went and talked to someone, and then said there had been a “glitch.” Oh great. There has been a “glitch” with my account for nearly a year – I’m unable to register with the service online for a reason no one can figure out; earlier this year they sent my prescriptions to the Airbnb we stayed at last Christmas; and now this. I spoke with someone from the company’s IT, and she could not figure out what was going on other than it appeared at some point someone who had no idea what they were doing messed things up with my account and then tried to “fix” it and screwed things up even more! Anyway, the IT rep did some work and got this current order straightened out, but told me “glitches” may continue to show up now and again until things are fully straightened out. I received an email the next day that my prescriptions are now on their way and will arrive this week. I remind myself that we are very fortunate to have such an affordable prescription plan, that things usually go right, but this last incident was the kind of postmodern screw-up that can absolutely ruin a day.

Kauai Coffee and Kauai Kookies – the perfect coffee break.

Another reminder that the Kauai Coffee giveaway is open until midnight next Friday, and that you can enter once a day to increase your chances of winner. Thank you again for all the lovely replies and notes about local foods from your area or places that you’ve visited.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I have almost finished reading Caste. It’s been a difficult book to read and I’ve had to steel myself sometimes to open it up because of the emotions it brings forward. Once I start though, it’s difficult to put down. It will stay with me forever.
  • Listening to: It’s another quiet Sunday morning, and beautiful day here. YaYu is already working outside, Brett is putting away last night’s dishes in the kitchen, there’s a couple roosters making noise in a nearby yard, but otherwise all is calm and still. The breeze was stronger just a little while ago, but it’s mostly died off now. I sometimes can’t get over how much more quiet it is here than it was back in Kapaa, where it was always noisy (the chickens and dogs especially).
  • Watching: Our Schitt’s Creek binge continues and I love it more with each episode. We gave up on Darkwind and are now watching Black Spot, a creep show from France. YaYu loves to watch cooking and food shows, and and she and I finished a season of the Ultimate Food Truck Race this past week, and are now watching Britain’s Best Home Cooks, with Mary Berry, and we all watched the Great British Bake Off’s holiday specials on Friday – very fun.
  • Cooking/baking: We’re going to have burritos again this evening using the Mexican cowboy beans along with some grilled chicken, seasoned rice, finely shredded cabbage, and salsa. Other dinners this week will be shrimp pad Thai; mabo nasu with rice; grilled teriyaki chicken and zaru soba; grilled fish tacos; and meatloaf and mashed potatoes. We’ve been having pizzas on Friday evenings using mini naan breads as the crusts and I’ve decided to make chicken tikka masala pizzas – yum! The small pizzas have been filling without adding loads of calories. We’ll finish our chocolate ganache cake tomorrow and on Tuesday I’m planning to make a lemon cake which we’ll have with a homemade blueberry syrup.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I got in a lot of good walks this week, almost all an hour or more in duration, but we took Thursday off because neither of us felt very good (overly tired). I finished the last of my Christmas shopping and just need to get things wrapped. I found and purchased a twig tree from Amazon that we will use for our Christmas tree. It should arrive this week. It’s very simple, and I’m anxious to see what it look like, but it’s big enough that we can hang a few ornaments on it. YaYu and I got started yesterday on sorting through and organizing everything in our Christmas box – it’s going to be a big project for a few days.
    I covered this zinc-lined wooden tea box during our first tour in Japan, in 1982 (I used to teach the class at the rec center), and it has held our Christmas things ever since, with no damage during all our moves. The last set of movers taped it shut without wrapping it first, destroying the outer paper covering. They wrote on the outside as well further marring it.
  • Looking forward to next week: If the good weather continues (it probably won’t, sadly) we will definitely head to the beach this week. We’re also doing a slightly big food shop on Tuesday, and get everything we need to be ready for Christmas except for our Christmas Eve scallops and Christmas morning berries – we’ll get those the following week. With few visitors on the island once again, the stores aren’t crowded like they were a couple of weeks ago.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We were very pleased with this week’s Stone Dam hike. The distance is close to several of the days and distance we will walk on our Nakasendō walk, so if we can do this now we are confident we will be able to do the entire walk. There are no standout happenings as everything about the entire week was good!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: Not a particularly frugal week because of the Christmas shopping, but we put $3.83 into the change/$1 bill jar, leftover from when YaYu’s and my shopping trip. YaYu kept me in check and didn’t let me get anything not on my list. I earned 1920 Swagbucks this past week and am inching ever closer to that Delta gift card. We unfortunately had to throw out an entire bunch of cilantro the day after we bought it because it froze in the refrigerator in spite of our efforts to keep it safe, but otherwise there was no wasted food. I baked pumpkin – chocolate chip bars to use up some leftover pumpkin puree, and otherwise all leftovers were eaten.
  • Grateful for: We continue to remain thankful for the wonderful walking venue that Kukuiolono Park provides. There’s loads of ways we can switch up different routes to keep things interesting, and this past week Brett tried out a new wooded path that immediately became a must-do part of our daily walks. We’re also thankful that the walks include hills with some decent climbs and downhills, and of course there’s always the beautiful scenery and views.
  • Bonus question: Is there a book you can think of that’s been the equivalent of a blockbuster movie? The most recent book I can think of that fits this category was the final few books in the Harry Potter series. They literally flew off the shelves; there were parties so people could buy a copy at midnight the day the book came out; and they were greatly anticipated and talked about endlessly. Prior to that the only two books I can think of that were immediate blockbusters were Stephen King’s The Shining, and Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist. Both were eagerly anticipated, and I remember buying them as soon as they came out, and staying up all night to finish each one because they were both so scary I was afraid to put them down. I reread both of them last year and they both remain great reads (and are still scary even though I know what’s going to happen).

Even though it’s almost “winter” here, there are always beautiful things blooming and growing on the island. We spotted the pretty gold and red berries pictured above at Kukuiolono this past week, and the gorgeous pink ginger up at the Stone Dam. The lavender blossoms are from the gold berry plant, an interesting combination. Our yard is looking very lush and green these days, and we continued to feel beyond lucky to have such a beautiful place to look out on.

That’s a wrap for this week – it was an absolutely lovely one. I hope it was a good week for everyone reading as well. Rain has been forecast for later this coming week, although I never believe the weather report until I see it as things can change so rapidly. For now, here’s to another week of good weather, good things happening, good food and good books, getting things accomplished, great walks and more!

15 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 12/13/2020: A Beautiful Week in the Neighborhood

  1. Daddy had surgery and the Doctor asked us which pharmacy to use. We gave her the name of the one in town since it was for an antibiotic. I heard her tell the nurse which one to use. I went to pick it up and they had not recvd the prescription. Couldn’t get a hold of the doctors office that day and called the following morning. The nurse had faxed it to the mail in pharmacy. She called and cancelled but Publix would not fill it because express scripts had filled it and mailed it the previous day and insurance would not cover. Had to call express scripts and they agreed to an override and provided a phone number to Publix who didn’t want to make the call. Finally got the medicine late Friday night. We didn’t receive the one from express scripts until Tuesday. There seem to be mix-ups everywhere these days. I think mainly everyone is stressed and just not paying attention.
    Such a shame your beautiful box was damaged.
    As always, I love your pictures.

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    1. This mistake with mine is frustrating because it’s been going on for a while – things seem to go smoothly, and then all of sudden they don’t and something weird happens, like this latest goof. It’s just my account too – Brett’s works fine with no issues. You don’t notice it either until something goes wrong. Glad your dad finally got his prescription!

      Back when we were getting our stuffed packed to go back to Portland for storage, when I went out and saw what the packers had done to that box I blew up! They were really the worst movers we have used in a long time, and several other things were broken, things that had been moved several times with no damage. Thankfully I have a few other tea boxes that I covered (they are great for storage as they’re moisture-proof) but that one was special.

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    2. This kind of fiasco used to happen ALL the time when we used a mail-order pharmacy! Tried a few other big chains, with cheap prices, but pretty poor service. Finally settled on a regional grocery-pharmacy, and have excellent, prompt, personal service for a few dollars more. I don’t know if that’s possible at all for you, but missing antibiotics doses or other meds like anti-hypertensives,can be life-threatening.

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  2. Well after three tries finally got address changed with that home delivery service which you describe! It always amazes me how the service works fine for months and then after years of the same medications goes through a period of insanity. At least I know from your post it is not just us.

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    1. That’s been my issue – the service works fine for a few months and then things go really wrong. My husband’s, on the other hand, has worked flawlessly. It’s extremely frustrating for me though that I have to keep checking things to make sure it’s going to go right.

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  3. My order of Kauai Kookies arrived today! It’s so nice to get something in the mail from Kauai. I normally stop in Oahu and then go on to Kauai and when I was there a year ago, I bought a lot of cookies from Honolulu Cookie Company and didn’t get any from Kauai. So I thought I’d do the opposite this year.

    Thanks for the photos of your hike. We’re bracing for a snow storm here, so it’s a real mood booster to see pretty photos to go along with the cookies. I’m not familiar with Stone Dam trail so I have added that to my list of places to visit next time I get to Kauai. Now that the vaccine is starting to be administered, it gives me hope we’ll all be able to travel again in the not too distant future.

    That noodle and pork dish YaYu created looks yummy. Could you post the recipe? It’s impressive that she made the noodles herself. It reminds me of a Thai dish.

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    1. I love Kauai Kookies, especially the Cornflake Crunch and the Kona Coffee Macademia. Love visiting their factory store in Hanapepe as well although these days I am avoiding cookies. We used to love getting big bags of “seconds” – those were a good deal!

      The sauce used a packet of very fiery sauce that our DIL sent YaYu, and she added ground pork. She used a new recipe for the noodles, and said they were the best she’d ever made – the secret is apparently rolling them out very thin.

      I would love to hike the Stone Dam trail with you whenever you make it back to Kaua’i – it’s a great walk, and the scenery is gorgeous.

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      1. Yes, I will take you up on your offer to hike Stone Dam! Now that my nephew will be moving to CA (SF area) I’m planning to visit him late next year and then go to Kauai, as long as things are much improved with COVID by then. We shall see. You were away the other two times I’ve been there so I hope we can be there at the same time for once, LOL.

        I decided to get the variety pack from Kauai Kookies. It was free shipping and you can choose the ones you want and Kona Coffee Macadamia is one I picked. I did not get the cornflake one. I’ve never had it so I’ll have to try that next time. I’ve never been to their store in Hanapepe. I bought them somewhere else, but can’t remember where. It might have been a store in the Coconut Marketplace. Not sure.

        I really wish I was in a warmer climate right now. The storm tomorrow is supposed to dump 12-17 inches of snow here. Not looking forward to that.

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      2. I am looking forward to walking with you some day! We’ll also take you to the Kauai Kookie store in Hanapepe – it’s just down the road from us.

        Snow in the U.S. today, and “cold” weather here. Brett and I weren’t sure we would be able to walk today because there was so much rain, but when we arrived at the park the rain miraculously stopped and we got in our entire course. It was cold though, and we watched TV tonight wrapped in blankets!

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  4. I love your photos! And the walking distances and pace are impressive!

    One suggestion for the cilantro is to treat it like cut flowers and put into a glass of water (vase) and keep on your kitchen counter. No need to refrigerate and it should last almost a week – especially if you change the water every few days. This also works well with parsley. I usually cut a small amount off the bottom of the stems so that the stalk can absorb the water.

    I’ve learned the hard way as I also have freezing issues with food stored on the top shelf of my fridge right below the freezer.

    11″ of snow in CT and windchill temp is 7 degrees, brutal but everything is gorgeous and looks like Christmas!

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    1. Thanks, Libby! Sometimes I feel like I am overloading my posts with photos, but I enjoy taking pictures and enjoy seeing them in the blogs I read.

      The cilantro we get at the farmers’ market comes with the roots attached! They are always washed free of dirt though. The bunches are huge, and LONG, much more so than what I used to get back on the mainland. So far the best storage method I’ve found is to wrap the roots in a damp paper towel, and then double-bag the whole bunch and store in the produce drawer. But last week I decided to try something new. Our current refrigerator is the worst we’ve ever had with freezing issues – nothing is safe. We’ve had whole trays of egg freeze, produce, and other things as well. It comes and goes too, so it’s frustrating.

      It does not look or feel like Christmas here this year. Compared to where we lived before there are very few Christmas decorations out and I’ve yet to see a Christmas tree anywhere on the island other than for sale inside Costco!

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