Sunday Morning 2/7/2021: Just the Two of Us Again

A sunset tried to happen on Thursday evening, but this was as far as it got all week before fading to gray. 

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

YaYu heads back to school tomorrow evening, and we’re saying goodbye with mixed feelings. We’re ready to have our little apartment back to ourselves again and not have YaYu’s stuff all over the place (it’s really too small for three people), but also know we will greatly miss her and that it will many months before we see her again. This long, extended stay with us has not been easy for her and she’s pretty much been bored out of her mind for most of it, but she has also hasn’t seemed as prickly as she’s been in the past. I am looking forward to not having to cook so much so often, and pick up after her so often as well. Anyway, she’ll fly from here to Honolulu tomorrow evening where she has a couple of hours layover, then on to Seattle overnight to meet up with a good friend in the morning before heading back to Pennsylvania together. They’ll share an Uber ride out to the campus, and classes will begin toward the end of the week. YaYu has a heavy schedule, and a lot to decide this term – she’ll be hunting down a research internship and researching graduate programs. She has a few options if she does not nail down the internship, but she definitely won’t be coming back to Hawaii – once again there won’t be anything for her to do here.

Hangin’ out in the yard with Ally Cat.

Brett had to begin quarantining the minute he came back from Honolulu, and that doesn’t end until Thursday evening at 5:00 p.m. YaYu has been freaked out about him possibly having brought the virus back with him so he has been wearing a mask inside and even out in the yard (and she wears a mask inside), she’s been eating separately from him, and he has not been allowed to touch the dishes (washing, putting away, etc.) or anything she uses. He still makes the coffee in the morning, but that been OK with YaYu because she doesn’t drink coffee. Brett has spent most of his time reading, but he has been taking care of various tasks around the apartment so our windows now sparkle, light fixtures are spotless and bug free, everything is dusted, the refrigerator has been scrubbed out from top to bottom, and so forth. His appointment with the doctor in Honolulu went well, and he’ll have one more test done here before surgery, which will thankfully also be done at the hospital here. He’s not sure whether he’ll have to go back to Honolulu for a post-op exam or whether that can be done via tele-med, but if he does have to go we’ve decided I will tag along as well and we’ll give ourselves a little break there. We’ll see.

There were big, loud thunderstorms in the middle of Wednesday night as the cold front rolled in, and then a gloomy and cold Thursday morning. The sun eventually came out although it stayed cold.

We’ve had another week of crazy weather with rain, wind, thunderstorms, and unusually cold temperatures. We had a few days where temps dropped down into the mid-50s to low-60s in the morning and at night, and stayed in the upper 60s during the day – it was uncomfortable. Friends on the mainland have laughed and reminded me that they haven’t had temperatures in the 60s for weeks now, but we don’t have insulation or heaters here, so if it’s in the 50s or 60s outside it’s also 50 or 60 degrees inside as well and all we can do is bundle up and hope it eventually warms up (we would have turned on the heat back on the mainland if it was this cold inside). It’s sort of like a reverse heat wave for us when it gets this cold here, the opposite of a few days of weather at 107° or so with no air conditioning, no ceiling fans, no breeze, and insulation made to keep the cold out. Anyway, things finally appear to be moving back to normal – the temperature is noticeably warmer this morning.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m just about done with The Perfect Spy, and then will go back to The Woman In White again this week. Hopefully I can get that done before the next book comes off of hold at the library. I had hoped to finish four books in January, but because of library scheduling and book length and density, that didn’t happen.
    Not a cloud in the sky – it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
  • Listening to: The sun is out and the sky is blue, blue, blue. There is a normal amount of breeze, and it’s 10 degrees warmer than it’s been all week – I don’t have to put on a sweater for the first time in a few days. There are a few chickens/roosters out screaming in the distance, but otherwise it’s very quiet both inside and out. YaYu is outside with the cat, and Brett is reading so it’s very quiet inside. I’ve got a nice hot cup of coffee sitting in front of me – the morning couldn’t be more perfect!
  • Watching: We’re still watching Call My Agent and The Umbrella Academy – both are great. I can understand a few more words in French these days but most of it is way too fast for me in Call My Agent.
  • Happy we accomplished this past week: Since he’s stuck at home, Brett has been taking care of loads of chores around the house: the windows have all been washed, inside and out, he cleaned the refrigerator, and several other things have been taken care of. I finally made a dental appointment for an exam and cleaning, but only because a small piece chipped off of one of my back teeth. I have sort of been avoiding the dentist because of the pandemic but can’t put it off any more. YaYu mailed two packages to herself, things that weren’t going to fit into her suitcase or backpack going back (including the yoga mat we gave her for Christmas and some of the snacks she got for herself). She was appalled by the cost of postage. She’ll get her packing done later today.
  • Looking forward to next week: Tomorrow will be my weekly day off from walking, and then I’ll be up at the park by myself for three days, so I am greatly looking forward to walking with Brett again beginning on Friday, once he’s out of quarantine. I’m also looking forward to preparing simpler meals once again next week, and not having to spend so much time in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to washing fewer dishes as well as Brett will be helping out again (he does the afternoon/evening dishes).
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and YaYu hiked up Sleeping Giant last Sunday; it was one thing YaYu greatly wanted to do before she left, and the weather cooperated. I received a lovely email this past week from our host in Florence checking up on us and letting us know they were selling the apartment we stayed in there. It was one of our favorite homes during all of our travels – so charming and in such a great location. We were so cold on Friday morning that Brett started a small fire in outdoor firepit to help warm us up (it was too early in the day for s’mores though).
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: Other than Brett’s trip to Honolulu, the farmers’ market (where I only spent $8), and a quick trip to Big Save ($20.15), it was a no-spend week. We put $7.93 into the change/$1 bill jar this past week, leftover from Brett’s trip to Honolulu and the farmers’ market. Our total change/$1 bill amount saved in January was $28.94. I earned 2,430 Swagbucks, which includes a 632 SB bonus earned in January. As always, no food was thrown away and all the leftovers were consumed.
  • Grateful for: Both Brett and I are very grateful for the time we’ve gotten to spend with YaYu and the chance we’ve had to spoil her a bit. We’re also grateful for the efforts her sisters have made to stay in contact with her while she’s been here as well. They have a strong relationship with each other, and it’s been a joy to see them support each other even though they can’t get together. 
  • Bonus question: How many places have you had a driver’s license? I counted these up the other day and was surprised to discover that I’ve been licensed at one time or another in eight different states: California, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Maryland, Florida, Oregon, and Hawaii. I learned to drive in California, but attended college in Arizona and needed a license there, then later lived in Colorado for a while before I joined the navy, and had licenses from Tennessee, Maryland, and Florida during Brett’s time in the navy. Oregon and Hawaii licenses came after, for obvious reasons. Other than my initial test in California, I’ve never had to take another driving test, only written exams for a new license. I also had a special driving license each time we were stationed in Japan, issued jointly from the navy and the Japanese government (again only a written test). That license was equivalent to one for a “professional driver,” such as a taxi driver, truck driver, chauffeur, etc. and if I’d ever had an accident there would have been assessed differently (i.e. stronger penalties) than a regular driver. By the way, in Japan we drove on the left side of the road, like in the UK, Australia or New Zealand. It was easy once I remembered to always keep the steering wheel to the center of the road. We lived in Japan long enough too that when I would watch American films or TV shows they were driving on the wrong side of the road!

Hawaii’s current visitor quarantine requirements are due to expire on February 20, but we heard rumors this past week that they may continue until more people/visitors have been vaccinated, especially with the relief bill coming with continued unemployment insurance, etc. Cases of the virus here have been dropping rapidly, but Hawaii is currently not getting enough of the vaccine, and what’s coming now is being used for the second dose of those who have been vaccinated instead of getting new people taken care of. Hopefully that will change soon. Everyone we talk to here admits to loving quiet and calm we’re enjoying now, the lack of traffic on the roads, etc. and is not looking forward to having hoards of visitors descend on the island once again once things improve. Hopefully some lessons have been learned, and tourism won’t reach the levels it was at back when we left in 2018 – it was overwhelming back then, and unsustainable. I am sorry though for all the businesses that weren’t able to make it without tourist dollars and won’t be coming back – peace and quiet has come with a price.

Even with the cold, there’s been lots going on in the yard this past week.

It’s been another quiet, low key (and cold) week but a good one and I’m looking forward to the week coming up and hope everyone is as well. Hopefully there will be more and better picture-taking opportunities. In the meantime, here’s to good food, good books, safe travels, frugal living, and good things happening for all!


25 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 2/7/2021: Just the Two of Us Again

  1. The various flowers in the photos are beautiful. My favorite is the Bird of Paradise.
    Have a great (if quieter) week!


    1. The flowers and plants here are probably my favorite thing about living in Hawai’i – it’s gorgeous here year-round. My one regret is that my mother wasn’t able to see it all here – she had been a botany major and would have loved all the different plants and flowers to explore.


  2. I have been licensed in three different states, but have lived in 14 different towns/small cities total in those different states. I did not realize it would get to in the 50’s there! Wow! Hope your daughter has a great semester.


    1. The 50-degree temperatures were a surprise, let me tell you, and very unwelcome. We’ve got another cold day again today – I had to break out a sweatshirt from my travel clothes and a pair of leggings in order to stay warm!

      YaYu’s schedule isn’t finalized yet because instructors keep changing their times. Class start at the end of this week though so hopefully it will call come together for her. She’s eager to get back!


  3. It’s funny that it was cold enough for a little fire – but not cold enough that Brett changed his flip-flops for shoes. Does that make him a true local?

    I feel guilty for also enjoying the fewer tourists and impact on the environment. I wonder if it will kick off to the same levels when the vaccines work. We don’t have any in Australia yet, but then we don’t have anywhere near the same levels of infection as the rest of the world. I think we are up to a fortnight of no local transmission in NSW – only cases are people coming from overseas.

    Safe travels for YaYu!


    1. Flip flops are Brett’s go to shoes here, although it’s cold enough today that he’s wearing wool socks around the house. I guess he’s more acclimated here than he realized.

      I feel the same guilt over the lack of tourists and what that’s done to our economy while enjoying the peace and quiet. Vaccinations are going on here, but the state is not getting enough to keep up – doses coming in are being used for second rounds versus vaccinating more first-timers.

      She is ready to go!


  4. Yikes…I hadn’t thought about no heaters. That does sound chilly. Glad it’s warming up!

    Wishing YaYu a safe and easy trip back. I totally get missing them and also having your space back. 🙃

    We had a snow/wind storm that closed the vaccine clinics this week on the day I was due for shot #2. So now I’m out to the end of next week. But it does sound like that have vaccines for 2nd doses anyway. DH is still waiting for shot #1 and we are hearing that there isn’t enough vaccine for everyone who wants a shot. So I really hope they continue to ramp it up. One of my friends participated in the J&J trial and she is eagerly waiting for them to get emergency approval. Then she’ll find out if she needs the shot (she’s pretty sure she go the placebo but doesn’t know) and will have priority to get it because of her participation.

    I’ve been licensed in Michigan, Virginia, Ohio, and California. Hadn’t really thought about it…interesting. The California driving test (written) was notorious when we moved there. DH failed it the first time, but I’m proud to say I was able to take his experience, study hard, and passed the first time. LOL.


    1. P.S. We’ve both been to the dentist for our normal appointments and also a crown this year. Once they reopened, the precautions have been really good. It’s like a movie scene – they are in full PPE and have their name tags on their face shields (over their masks) because they all look the same. 🙂


      1. I really appreciate all these messages letting me know how it’s gone for others at the dentist. I have been worried about it, but think now it will be OK, especially with the low number of Covid cases on the island currently.


    2. The no heaters is a big deal here, but when you don’t need them 99.5% of the time. . . . A few houses in the area have fireplaces though.

      Brett and I participated in the shingles vaccine trial – Brett got the actual vaccine, and I got the placebo. Every time I’ve asked for the vaccine though the office has been out of it! One of these days though – not looking forward to the new vaccine out because of the initial side effects.

      Agree with you on the CA driving test. The easiest one I took was Tennessee. My favorite question showed a picture of a man with sunglasses and a red-tipped stick walking down the street and we were asked why one had to look out for him. That was a pretty standard question for the test overall.


  5. I feel the same way about the dentist. The last time I went was January 2020 and I feel uneasy about not going for so long, but I feel more uneasy about going anywhere where I’d have to remove the mask. You’ll probably be ok since everyone is so careful there and you can’t let a cracked tooth go unchecked anyway. I know quite a few people who have gone to the dentist and were fine, but I’m going to hold off until the spring when I’m hoping things with the virus will improve.

    Wow, I can’t imagine temps in the 50s there! At least you were able to put the fire pit to good use. We just had another snow storm here, but not nearly as bad as the one last week. Still, I would like more time between storms!

    I’ve never driven on the other side of the road. It looks scary!

    Glad Brett’s appointment and trip went well. It’s great that he’s being very productive during his quarantine.
    Hope YaYu has an uneventful trip and a good semester!


    1. I think it’s going to be OK at the dentist (other than the actual dental work – I have a feeling I’m going to be getting a crown).

      It is COLD here again. We had a beautiful day yesterday, but today it’s windy, rainy, and the temperature has dropped again to where I’m comfortable in a sweatshirt and leggings (my feet are still cold though, even in wool slippers).

      YaYu has kept Brett from doing anything around the house other than cleaning chores, but he’ll help out more once she’s on her way (we’re pretty sure he didn’t pick up Covid over there). We’ll miss our girl, but also looking forward to just the two of here again.

      Driving on the other side of the road is fairly easy as long as you remember to keep the steering wheel at the center of the road. Within a day it all makes sense.


  6. I waited about going to the dentist and ended up with an abscess. It was not a good time. Did you live in Millington, TN? I am from Memphis. I have had a dl from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, making five states.


    1. Yes, we lived in Millington! I met Brett there – he was my instructor for a course I took there when I was in the navy. We were married in Memphis, but after I had been transferred to Pensacola and left the navy. We lived in Millington for another year and a half after that before being transferred again. Our son was born in Millington too. Big changes there now with all the navy big shots having their departments there now (Personnel, Education & Training). The Tennessee driver’s test was the easiest one I took out of all of them.

      I hate going to the dentist but it’s a necessary evil.


  7. It definitely sounds chilly for Hawaii weather! Our weather has been great (chilly in the mornings – 40), but 70 in the peak of the afternoon. The boys have been playing a lot of tennis, trying to take advantage of the limited socially distance sports options.


    1. It was in the 50s again this morning – very chilly and uncomfortable. The weather site says it’s in the 70s but there’s no way.

      I really feel for kids not being able to participate in their usual activities, whether that’s school, sports, clubs, etc. I’ve seen some interesting and innovative activities in response to this, but mostly it’s just awful, for both kids and parents.


  8. I’ve been to the dentist last month with no problems. They are very careful, they have hospital size air filters and wear double masks. Daddy is 90 and has been twice in the past month to replace a crown. He also had no problems.
    Only licensed in Florida, even when I was in college in Virginia. It never occurred to me to get a license there.


    1. I think all will be well at the dentist, especially here. Lots of precautions will be taken.

      I had to get a driver’s license in Arizona when I was going to school there because I bought a car (for $100, to get me to and from work).


  9. How challenging to have Brett quarantining with three of you in a small apartment. Such is life with a pandemic.

    I am starting to climb the walls living alone and 19″ of snow in the past seven days with FOUR more storms forecast for the next week. It’s near impossible to meet friends for walks with this amount of snow and cold. I keep reminding myself that “This too shall pass.”

    Driver’s licenses in three states: CT, MA, and ME. Such a New England girl LOL! But I’ve driven in USA, Mexico, Morocco, France (multiple times), Italy, and Portugal! Not what you asked 🙂

    Thank you for the gorgeous flower photos – they brightened my day.

    Sending YaYu best wishes for a smooth trip. it’s a long one.


    1. It has been a challenge for both Brett and YaYu, especially since YaYu has been so scared about the possibility of picking it up right before she heads back to school. I’ve been the person in the middle and have had to do everything. Once YaYu heads back Brett will pick up more of his regular duties around here (thank goodness, although I do appreciate all the other tasks he’s been doing).

      YaYu will sleep for most of her trip, although I imagine when she and her friend get together for the last leg they’ll chat the entire way. YaYu hates flying, especially now, but knows it’s something she has to do (I share that feeling).

      Re: the weather: as uncomfortable as it is, I keep reminding myself that I will wish for these days later in the year, when the heat is up and the humidity high.

      That’s a lot of foreign driving for one person. Brett drove in New Zealand, but he said after Japan (and over 20 years) it was like riding a bicycle being on the opposite side of the road again.

      More flower pictures coming next week!


  10. Thanks for reminding me that my driver’s license expire this year. I immediately wrote a reminder in my planner calendar. Everything looks so green around your place. Our area is brown & covered with with white.


    1. YaYu jokingly told me the only reason she’s coming home for Christmas this year is because she needs to renew her driver’s license. Brett and mine are good for a few more years, thank goodness.

      Green is one of my favorite colors, so I’m in heaven here with the year-round color. Portland was very green as well except for summer when all the lawns went brown (watering was discouraged).


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