Sunday Morning 1/31/2021: An Ordinary Week

There were no sunsets this week, just gray clouds and overcast skies, so I give you instead the most incredible sunset we’ve ever seen here, taken back in 2017. It looked like a literal pillar of fire.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

Other than the weather being kind of wild this past week, with the wind sounding like a freight train moving through the yard most of the time, we’ve had a very simple, ordinary week. We did our food shopping, walked almost every day, took care of chores and such around the house, and did nothing out of the ordinary. I have worried all week about what I would write about today, but in hindsight it was great to have a week without a lot of stress or running around.

We will be glad to see the backside of January – it has been a very expensive month for us. Three birthdays, flights for both Brett and YaYu, over budget on food and supplies, and a few other expenses have rung us dry. The girls’ birthdays were an expected expense, as was YaYu’s flight, but Brett’s trip over to Honolulu and back sort of came up suddenly when there was a cancellation with the specialist there. Besides his ticket we also have to cover his ground transportation, meals, and such while he’s there. We honestly didn’t figure on running out of so many things at once either, especially items that we typically buy in bulk. Anyway, February is so far looking better – with YaYu’s return to school food costs will drop, we’re well-stocked with supplies, and there should be fewer surprises, or at least we hope so.

Spending some quality time with Ally on a cold, dreary day.

YaYu heads back to school a week from tomorrow. She is excited, but we will miss our girl. It has been a very boring stay for her as there hasn’t been anything for her to do here, and her remaining friend on the island headed back to school a few weeks ago and they were only able to get together once during her stay. Ally Cat is going to drive us crazy after YaYu is gone as well – she shows up two or more times a day to spend time with YaYu – the two of them love being together. Brett and I are honestly looking forward to having more space once again as our apartment really is too small for three, at least for a long-term stay, but we’re very much going to miss YaYu’s company and cooking. This year she won’t be coming back for the summer either – the next time we see her will be next winter, whether that’s here or elsewhere.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I was dividing my time between A Perfect Spy (daytime) and A Necessary Evil at night this past week, but finished A Necessary Evil last night as it moved along a more quickly. I will concentrate on A Perfect Spy for now (reading both day and night) and then get back to The Woman In White.
  • Listening to: This is the first morning all week where the wind isn’t howling out in the yard as it blows past. The sky is blue and the breeze is a normal level, although it’s still nicely cool. There’s a rooster screaming now again but otherwise it’s quite peaceful for a change. It’s quiet inside too – Brett is reading and YaYu is still sleeping – and I’ve got a nice fresh, hot cup of coffee in front of me so things are just about perfect as far as I’m concerned.
  • Watching: Brett and I finished watching both Dark and Ratched this past week, and have started Call My Agent and The Umbrella Academy. Call My Agent is French, and has subtitles, so I have to pay careful attention to catch what’s going on. I can understand about every 50th word but hopefully I will do better as it progresses – there are four seasons. Umbrella Academy is strange but promising. Last night we watched The Dig on Netflix, a lovely story and lovely movie. YaYu is watching a show called The Magicians, and I catch some of it from time to time – it’s a strange but interesting show as well. I have been thinking about how Brett and I rarely watched TV before we set out on our Big Adventure, but got into the habit when we were in Portland in the summer of 2019 and then in England, and now we look forward to watching together every evening after dinner.
  • Happy I accomplished: I got my activity card filled in this week, but don’t think we accomplished anything special this week although we did get our food shopping done including lots of snacks for YaYu to take back to school with her. Otherwise it was just our usual cleaning, laundry, walking, meal prep and clean up, etc.
  • Looking forward to next week: I am frankly not looking forward to next week as Brett will be quarantining for 10 days following his return from Honolulu tomorrow. That means I will be walking by myself each day, he will not be dining at the table with us, he will not be able to go to the airport to see YaYu off, and other precautions will be taken. He is going over to Honolulu with a KN95 mask and wearing a cloth mask over that, and bringing along loads of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, so hopefully all will go well but it’s still worrisome. I have my fingers crossed for continued better weather this week, with more sunshine, and that the temperatures will creep up a bit. It has been very chilly at night all week although the humidity has stayed low.
    A surprise gift from our neighbor, from her backyard! It lights up the entire room.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) We were coming down the road to our house from our walk last Wednesday and passed a neighbor, who was on her way up to the park, and she stopped and gave us a gorgeous bouquet from her garden (she thought see would see us in the park)! It was such an unexpected and lovely gesture. We only met her a few weeks ago up at the park – Brett recognized her dog and car – and we ended up talking for a long time. Her husband is also retired navy, so after YaYu has gone back to school we’re having them over for cocktails and conversation. 2) We were able to get lilikoi at the farmers’ market this past week – such a treat! It’s hard to find these days.
    Quite a haul from the farmers’ market this past week for just $20: a bag of lilikoi, bananas, 2 limes, big carrots, a cucumber, green onions, a huge bunch of cilantro, a big bag of green beans, and bok choy.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We had slightly under $11 left over when we did our food shopping last Thursday, even after buying extra fruit and snacks for YaYu, and spending a full $20 at the farmers’ market. Some of that went into the change/$1 bill jar ($6.21) and the other $5 was put away for a future farmers’ market trip. 2) We finally received a $20 Costco card we earned when we signed up for automatic renewal last year, and used it at Costco this week but put $20 out of our regular shopping money into our travel account. 3) We also put $24.10 in credit card rewards into the travel account. 4) I earned 1,564 Swagbucks and will receive bonus SB later this week as I reached my goal every day in January. 5) I made a big pot of vegetable rice soup last Tuesday using up odds and ends from the vegetable drawer, some open containers of chicken stock, and a half-cup of rice, and enjoyed that for lunch for four days. 6) All other leftovers were used up and we didn’t throw away and food.
    My leftover vegetable soup contained green beans, spinach, cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, and broccoli.
  • Grateful for: I feel sometimes like I’ve hit a wall with this pandemic – I’m tired of not being able to go out other than to food shop, tired of wearing a mask when we do go out (but grateful that everyone here wears one without argument), tired that other than food shopping our only outing is a trip up to the park each day to walk or up to the Stone Dam trail. But then I remember that I am healthy and that my family is healthy, that I live in a very safe place, that I do not have to worry about losing my job or not being able to afford to eat or pay my rent, etc. and I am very grateful for all those things. Far too many others have not been as fortunate. I know we will get through this, although I am beginning to realize and accept that the world will not be the same, that there is no going back to what was “normal” before. Still, I can dream and I do, and I remain grateful for that as well.
  • Bonus question: What’s something you’re very good at but hate doing? This turned out to be another question I really had to think about for a while, and had a hard time coming up with a satisfactory answer. One of the joys of being retired is that I don’t have to do anything I hate these days whether I’m very good at it (or think I’m good at it) or not. Actually, I don’t think I’m very good at much of anything now. I was a very good academic writer back in the day but that’s something I would hate doing these days. I also used to be very good at embroidery, but while I don’t hate it I’m also not eager to pick it up again. Everything else I do very well these days I don’t hate doing. 
The prayer plant on the left is really surging but there are loads of new sprouts coming out on the right plant. Fingers crossed!

For someone who has prided themselves on have a green thumb with indoor plants, I have nearly killed three of them since we’ve lived here (four others are doing great though). I think the mostly likely problem was overwatering – because of the humidity the plants didn’t dry out as much as they should have between waterings and I nearly drowned them. Oops! We set all three outside and all are now sending up new leaves and shoots. For the time being we plan to leave them outside on the porch – they’ll get plenty of sun and water – and then will plant them in the yard later.

That’s a wrap for this week. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great – it was just very ordinary. I plan to savor this last week with YaYu, and help her get ready to head back to the mainland and will deal with Brett’s quarantine. I hope this past week was a good one for everyone, with good books, good food, lots of good things happening, and that everyone is looking forward to the week coming up!

18 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 1/31/2021: An Ordinary Week

  1. Hope Brett will be ok with the traveling. I use KN95 masks and I also wear a cloth mask or a neck gaiter over it and it’s works well. Even though YaYu didn’t have much to do there, I’m sure it was still a relaxing break. My nephews went back to college a couple of weeks ago. It’s nearby, but we can’t see them due to COVID so it almost feels like they’re far away.

    I’ve hit the wall with COVID too. It really feels like that movie Groundhog Day–every day is the same. I’ve been very busy with work though so that does break up the monotony, but I do long for the days when we could go out and do things without a mask or worrying about catching a scary virus. But, like you said, I am grateful for the good things and try to focus on those.

    I also rarely watched TV before COVID and never even used Netflix until 2020. I just never had time for it and had no interest in getting caught up in a series, but it has been a nice way to pass the time. That’s another thing I’m grateful for–technology! I was thinking how much worse this would be if we’d had a pandemic 30 years ago.

    We’re bracing for a severe snowstorm that’s starting as I write this and won’t end until Tuesday. They say we could get over a foot of snow with winds over 35 mph, so it makes me want to move to a warmer climate even more!

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    1. He had a good trip yesterday and all went well. They are going to do some more tests here, and surgery will be done here on Kaua’i, although he may have to go back to Honolulu post-op to see the specialist. YaYu is freaking out though – she doesn’t want Brett touching anything even though he washes his hands frequently and wears a mask all the time.

      I would be bored out of my mind without the Internet! Without it though I’d probably get a whole lot more reading done though.

      Hope you have survived the snow storm – the amounts of snow dropped look incredible.

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      1. We had 17″ of snow here. Not the most I’ve ever seen, but the duration is what was odd about it. It’s over now, thank goodness.

        I found out someone I work with is in Hawaii right now on vacation. Unbelievable. I don’t know what island she went to, but she’s there for 2 weeks.

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      2. No snow here, but it is in the 60s today, so it might as well have snowed as far as how it feels. I have to admit to liking wearing a sweater, leggings, socks, etc. again, even if only for a day.

        Still not a lot of tourists here, although some do arrive every day. I kind of feel sorry for them as the weather has not been great – cold, rainy, stormy, etc. Perfect for relaxing though.

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  2. That cat absolutely loves your daughter, you can tell from the photo! So sweet!!!!!

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    1. They do have a special relationship. The cat will drive us crazy for a few weeks after she leaves – she’ll be here several times a day calling for YaYu. Brett and I will give her some scratches, and freshen up her water, but no hanging out together.

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  3. I’ve SO hit the wall with COVID. So, so, so much. The kids are just really struggling & it’s so hard to watch & experience. For me, I don’t love it, but I can push through. For the kids, it’s just the worst. I found my parents a COVID vaccine (3 hours drive each way) next week, & they are SO excited & happy, so at least progress is being made.

    Sending good thoughts for Brett & YaYu’s respective trips!

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    1. I am so eager to get the vaccination, just for the peace of mind it will provide. Our time is coming up, but they’re still only doing 75 years or older, and we’re not there yet (there are LOTS of older people on the island because people live longer here).

      Brett had a good trip, and now YaYu can’t wait to get out of here – she is terrified he picked it up yesterday.

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  4. Two blizzards in a week here in Illinois! I don’t remember staying at home for three-plus days and nights before. Hibernating me really loves to see your photos and hear about Hawaii!

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    1. You can have your two blizzards in a week, although hibernating sounds wonderful. I never minded snow when we lived in Portland as long as I didn’t have to go out and drive in it.

      Cool weather continues here – on Thursday the high is supposed to only reach 69 degrees, which is bone-chilling cold on Kaua’i.

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  5. Like you, I’m am BEYOND over this pandemic. But also very grateful for our situation vs so many others. So we soldier on and try to appreciate the increasing length of the days and the good things in our life. It’s the monochromatic season here around the Great Lakes, so I’ve been amusing myself with reading and Netflix. Haven’t seen Last Tango in Halifax until this week and really enjoying it!

    Your neighbor’s flower gift is so beautiful. I think I’ll go out and buy some tulips today. Fresh flowers are so uplifting. And I’m scheduled for my second vaccine shot this week. Now if we could just get DH scheduled for his. He’s registered EVERYWHERE and still can’t get a shot, which is ridiculous since he’s definitely in the group that is eligible. The appointments seem very arbitrary and random for some reason.

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    1. We are very lucky to be in such a safe spot, but wish we could get out more. I’m tempted to go with Brett over to Honolulu if he has to go back for a post-op check up. I love it here but need a change of scenery!

      We were so surprised by the flowers! She invited us to come and visit their yard one of these days – apparently they used to provide flowers to one of the big nearby hotels so I imagine it’s pretty spectacular (her husband’s hobby is raising tropical flowers). The flowers are really lasting too – I think we’ll get to enjoy them for another week, maybe longer.

      We’re still looking at mid- to end of March for our vaccinations. No sign of anything speeding up here sadly. Hope your husband gets his soon!

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  6. Oh my, those flowers are quite spectacular!
    We had some wild weather here too, with extremely high winds and power outages for days, which is not typical for our area. Now it’s calmer and sunnier but we’re still waiting for more rain, which is very much needed.
    Covid situation has been a mixed bag for me as well and I feel that now we’re entering an even trickier situation with so many more people infected and the new strains that are circulating around. We babysit our baby granddaughter four days a week and that adds to the risk. The vaccine is still elusive for me and my husband and we’re really hoping that the roll-out of it will drastically improve I hear you, it is stressful and I’m too tired of it. However, Covid has been forcing me to appreciate more the little things that I would otherwise overlook. I am reminding myself that spending time with my baby granddaughter is a gift- she’s only 9 mo old and keeps me on my toes. So it isn’t all bad although it would be nice to not have this pandemic cloud over our heads.
    You’re right, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to where we were before but rather be more cautious or even reluctant to venture out in the world. But we shall see how everything will work out. For now, we’re still in the thick of it so we need to be careful and vigilant.
    To answer your question, I think I am really good at teaching school-age children but I am glad to be now retired. Distance learning is not a good way to teach this demographic group and I am happy I don’t have to do it. I enjoy my retirement, thank you very much:).

    Wishing you and your family a good, safe week ahead.

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    1. The flowers are such a treat – she said to come by anytime and she’ll make us another bouquet. I’m tempted, but don’t want to wear out our welcome, if you know what I mean.

      I am a real homebody, but even I am chafing at the bit to get out and do more. As I said to Laurel below, I am very tempted to accompany Brett over to Honolulu if he has to go back for his post-op appointment, and do a little holoholo there for a few days, just for a change of scenery.

      I don’t think the world will very be the same again, especially as new variants of this virus seem to keep popping up, but I think eventually we’ll be able to travel and such again as long as precautions are taken. We’ll see. I worry about never getting to spend time with our grandchildren again, or at least not for several years, perhaps when Brett and I are too old to travel.

      I am glad not to be distance teaching ESL these days!

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  7. Those flowers are so beautiful! And I enjoy reading about your “non-exciting” week too. Especially since most of our weeks are non-exciting!
    We have been able to do some things, but still miss the freedom of going and doing whenever without having to think about the safety factor. After letting our guard down briefly and ending up quarantined, we are being more careful again. (Thankfully, neither of us got the virus.) Today we ran a few errands (drive-through bank, drive-through burger, curbside pickup at Target, and drive-through Starbucks) which we are thankful for drive-through and curbside pickup options. This past week we did a little day trip – drove a couple hours away and then home again – and it was nice to just see some different scenery for a change. We were very fortunate to get our first vaccine and have the second one scheduled.
    So here’s to another non-exciting week!

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    1. Last week really was quite ordinary – and this week is turning out to be more of the same. I can’t wait to be able to get out and do more than what we have been doing these last several months. I am grateful to be here though as Kaua’i remains a safe location. Brett said EVERYONE in Honolulu was wearing a mask (the same here).

      Congrats on getting the vaccination – hope our time comes up soon. Right now we have to get Brett through quarantine though. I came up with several chores around our place to keep him busy, LOL!

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