Sunday Morning 4/18/2021: Good Things Happening All Week

We enjoyed pretty skies most evenings this week.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

Lots and lots of good things happened this past week, but the best was YaYu learning that the research project she was hired for at the college has received full funding, and that she will be getting paid enough to support herself back in Pennsylvania for the summer. We are beyond excited for her because a) she will be getting paid enough to support herself, and b) research experience is required for admission into graduate programs in her field, and she will begin applying to those in the fall. She has mapped out what she needs to do in the future to accomplish her goals, and that includes attending graduate school and earning a Ph.D., and plans to continue and go straight through for that following her graduation from Bryn Mawr. We’re so proud of this girl!

On Wednesday morning we visited Ned’s farm stand in Kalaheo for the first time, recommended last week by Jane (who lives nearby). He had a nice selection of produce, although not everything we were looking for, but his prices were good and we will be returning in the future rather than dealing with all the visitors that are back at the weekly Kukui’ula market. Some of our favorite farmers sell at the market, but it was growing more and more unpleasant dealing with increasingly pushy customers and the lack of social distancing. After our visit to the farm stand we headed west to Hanapepe to drop off some clothes and finally check out the big resale store there. Although it’s called the Habitat for Humanity Re-store, the center is about one-third traditional thrift store with the other two-thirds building supplies. We had fun walking around the store – they did have some very nice stuff – and found a pair of Tori Richard shorts for Brett in the color he wanted for $6 (new pairs of Tori Richard shorts go for around $100 and up). I found a cute woman’s sleeveless aloha shirt with vintage coconut shell buttons that fit perfectly, but then discovered several stains down the front that we weren’t sure we could get out. Boo hoo! We also found a great little Chinese cookbook in like-new condition for $1 that we’ll put away for YaYu. On the way back home we stopped at Big Save in Eleele, where we picked up some Hawaii-grown green beans, broccoli, and butternut squash to give us enough vegetables for the week.

It was clear enough last Monday afternoon that we could see the tops of the mountains over on Oahu from Kukuiolono Park. I’d love to see as much as is shown in this picture, but I’m not a morning person.

The weather this week has been a vast improvement of what we’ve been experiencing since the first of the year. The first few days of the week were absolutely gorgeous, with blue skies, warmer temperatures, and soft breezes from the trade winds. We really should have headed to the beach as things started getting sketchy again on Thursday. Friday was just sort of meh though and couldn’t seem to make up its mind about what kind of day it wanted to be. I can’t get over these days how much my mood and sense of well-being improves when the sun comes out – I’ve had enough of clouds and cool temperatures! We got our first ripe guavas off the tree this week, and Brett added a couple to his morning oatmeal one day – they made the whole apartment smell so good. Our fingers are crossed for another good harvest this year so we can make another batch or two of guava jam for the year.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished both Moonstone Murders and Started Early, Took My Dog (I greatly enjoyed both), and the day before I finished Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager, became available for download from the library! It’s very eerie, and I’m hoping the answer to what’s been going on will have a logical explanation.
  • Listening to: Brett got up ahead of me this morning for a change and is making coffee and putting last night’s dishes away. We haven’t opened the windows or doors yet as there a fairly stiff breeze blowing this morning (loudly at times) and know it will be better to do that a little later. I can’t tell yet what kind of day it’s going to be though – it looks almost overcast but I can also see plenty of blue sky and the sun is shining through now and again. I was awakened this morning by a bird singing right outside the window, but otherwise it’s a perfecty quiet Sunday morning, and quiet mornings are one of the best things about being retired.
  • Watching: There were only three episodes of Endeavour in the 2020 season so we finished that quickly, and then started DCI Banks, It’s OK but not the most gripping series we’ve ever watched. They all seem to yell a lot. It has several seasons though so maybe we’ll get more into it as it goes along. Great British Menu continues, but I’m still not feeling as engaged with or as excited about this season as the previous two although a couple of chefs that I enjoy watching are back again and doing well. I also watched (streamed online) Frontline: American Insurrection, covering militias and other white supremacist groups operating in the U.S., and their part in the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. The show was both enlightening and very scary.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Other than getting our Hawaii taxes filed there weren’t any big accomplishments, just the usual stuff. Federal taxes aren’t due until next month and since we have to pay this year we’ll wait until almost the last moment to send those off.
The Tip Top Cafe’s very yummy banana-macadamia nut pancakes – it’s been a while, but they’re worth waiting for.
  • Looking forward to next week: Brett’s 71st birthday is coming up this week and we’re both looking forward to breakfast at the Tip Top Cafe that morning (banana-macadamia pancakes – yum!). I also have a much-needed hair appointment that day, so after breakfast we’ll drive up to Kapaa to for that and then take a long walk on the eastside beach path before coming home. It’s also time this week for another food shopping trip, but we won’t be buying much because it’s such a short time until we go again, and we don’t need much. We’re hoping to fit in another beach day.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: With YaYu’s news, new places to get our produce, thrift store finds, fruit from our guava tree, seeing Oahu, and good weather, the only other good thing that could have happened this week was getting to the beach, but we should be able to go this week. We’d love to see our stimulus check arrive, but it’s still been somewhat early for that. Next week we can realistically start to anticipate its arrival.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We put $3.67 into the change/$1 bill bag this week, and I earned a whopping’ 2,544 Swagbucks. I’m right where I need to be to earn another $500 Delta card before the end of June. We had been planning to buy a new pair of shorts for Brett at Costco this week, but the shorts we found at the resale store saved us more than half of what we would have paid for new, and besides being in great condition they fit and look great. We ended up spending slightly less than $19 for our farm stand produce and the vegetables we picked up at Big Save, the same or less than we would have paid for similar items at the farmers’ market (and there would have been no butternut squash). We were very happy about that and will continue with those two places for produce going forward. And, after a slow start, the blog is bringing in income! It’s not a lot but a good start nonetheless. Thank you so much for continuing to read.
  • Grateful for: Although we plan to become full-time nomads again, Brett and I are both thankful for the many options we have come up with going forward, that for now we’re not locked into any one thing. We have a preferred path, but there are others we can take if for any reason our first choice doesn’t work out.
  • Bonus question: What’s your favorite ethnic “fast food?” Number one for me would be sushi. Most big supermarkets seem to have a sushi bar these days and it’s so easy to pick up a pack or two (usually inari sushi and/or kappamaki for me) for a quick and healthy lunch or dinner. I also love tacos, especially from food trucks or little stands – they’re inexpensive and always taste so good. My favorite style are tacos al pastor, second would be fish tacos, but I’ll eat just about anything in a taco other than tripe or other offal. I don’t know if it counts as “ethnic fast food” if you’re in the country of origin, but when we’re in Japan we love to eat karaage, Japanese fried chicken, especially bought just-fried from a stand, as well as other quick meals like takoyaki (octopus dumplings), yakisoba (grilled noodles), onigiri (seaweed wrapped rice balls) and the prepared Japanese meals from convenience stores. The quality there is very high, especially compared to the U.S. and Japanese fast food is very affordable compared to U.S. as well. We only eat sushi at restaurants there, never as fast food! Pushing the boundaries of “ethnic,” I wonder if Kauai’s Puka Dogs would count as ethnic fast food – we love the sausages stuffed into the special buns made with a hole along with the locally made relishes and sauces that go along with the sausage. They’re only found here on the island!

Lots of things are blooming in the yard right now, and buds are very close to opening on the gardenia bush. The yard is one of the best things about living in our apartment, and I appreciate it every day, whether that’s looking out the French doors in the living room, or sitting out on the deck. It provides a constant reminder that we live in beautiful Hawaii. The yard crew did their thing this past week so it’s looking especially nice right now, and we’re thankful we’re not responsible for the upkeep. Brett continues to take care of the koi, keeping them fed and the pond clean. The pond is located outside one of our bedroom windows, and sometimes late at night I hear one of them leaping up out of the water!

I hope last week was as good a week for everyone else as it was here. We’re looking forward to the week coming up now, hoping for more good things happening, and hope you are as well!

18 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 4/18/2021: Good Things Happening All Week

  1. Great news for YaYu! That PhD is a long one, and I’m happy to hear things are going her way.

    The first time I tasted fast food Chinese, I was hooked for a long time. Now I too love sushi and it’s my first choice. I do love fish tacos, though. Tough decision.

    Our kids that live in Canada are showing up this evening to get vaccinations this week. They’re still American citizens so they can come across and were able to get appointments. So our house will be loud and crazy for the next few days. 🤣 But it will be great to see them. And my (finally) vaccinated daughter from Chicago will visit next weekend. That will be more sedate, but great. We haven’t seen her in ages either.

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    1. Oops. *That PhD path is a long one.* (Both my daughters went that route and it can be grueling. But I’m sure she has the tenacity to get through it.)

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    2. I also like fast food Chinese, although I prefer sitting down and ordering (especially dim sum!). I am so grateful we have so many choices for fast food these days besides hamburgers.

      YaYu now has to decide where she’ll apply – her list of choices is currently long and needs to be narrowed down. She knows she has a long road ahead of her, but it’s want she wants to do. What’s been interesting to see is that after trying some other things she’s come back to what she wanted study when she was in high school! She’s also minoring in Chinese, which will be value added as she pursues her advanced studies.

      Have a great time with your family. So happy to hear they are able to get vaccinated in the U.S. the more vaccines, the better.

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  2. Congrats to your daughter!!!! I love to get sushi at Publix. My new retirement home has several Publix. Yay!

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    1. The sushi in public markets has been surprisingly good over the years. I’m not as excited by the new “varieties” I see popping up though (some of them are WEIRD) – I like to stick to the traditional ones like you find in Japan.

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  3. Good news for YaYu! Sounds like you had a great week.

    Enjoyed the pics of the things from your yard. Our yard currently has Lenten roses, yellow irises (the purple ones already bloomed), pink and white azaleas, and our peonies are budding. And most of the trees are leafed out, so the dreaded yellow pollen is pretty much coming to an end. I especially love the azaleas in the spring….even the most humble place looks lovely when surrounded by azaleas.

    Have a good week!

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    1. 😦 sad here in NW Minnesota, 28 and snow again today! So demoralizing, we had one week of the 60’s that teases you which makes it worse.

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      1. That has to be hard, getting snow and below freezing temperatures after a week in the 60s. That was how spring in Portland often went – beautiful weather then cold and rain, and back and forth with that until nearly the Fourth of July. If it helps you feel any better, we’re back to rain and cool temperatures here this morning. We had an absolutely perfect day yesterday so today’s weather (and tomorrow’s forecast) are demoralizing.

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    2. Your yard sounds absolutely lovely. I am especially jealous of the peonies, which are my all-time favorite flower (iris are right behind). We had large azalea bushes surrounding one of our on-base houses when we lived in Japan – they wrapped from the front of the house all the way around to the back, and bloomed for two full months – gorgeous! Giant spiders would build webs from the bushes up to the gutters – scary to look at but we never saw a fly or any other bug in that house the three years we lived there.

      Have you ever seen that video of the pine tree being cut down and all the pollen that’s released as it falls? It’s like watching a horror film if you have allergies.

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  4. I’m so happy for you and YaYu! She must feel so excited about the summer and the future. A lot of work but she seems to be determined to get it all done.

    To answer your question, the best fast food(or more street food) I have had so far was in Istanbul-Turkey. It’s called shaorma and to this day I salivate like a Pavlov dog only when I think of it😊. I also like street tacos but in general, I’m not a big fan of fast food.

    Have you watched Outlander? There is a spin-off of it called Men in Kilts which is a road trip around Scotland diving into traditions, culture, and landscape that we enjoyed watching. The first season just ended.

    Have a fun week ahead!

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    1. YaYu is VERY happy. Plus, she got her first dose of the vaccine yesterday so know she’s feeling especially relieved now.

      I love street food. We avoid places that look sketchy, but some of the best food we’ve ever eaten comes from little places we found along the road. Actually, the only times I’ve ever gotten food poisoning (and it’s been bad) were from regular restaurants. I also love schwarma!

      Men in Kilts sounds interesting, and we love travel shows, so we’ll check it out and see if it’s something we can stream.

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  5. Always happy to hear about people making use of the HFH Restore. My Dad was on the International Board in the 90’s (he served with President Carter) and he was the first Chair of Habitat Canada. A great cause!

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    1. We loved that store, and there’s already something we plan to go back for! We’ve never had a HFH Restore near us before so this was a treat. Brett volunteered for HFH back when we lived in Portland.

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  6. Sounds like an awesome week! Hope the weather cooperates and you get to the beach this week.

    Congrats to YaYu! So exciting when everything comes together. I always think it is a thumbs up from the universe.

    Ethnic fast food….PIZZA!! Crepes from a street corner vendor in Paris in the winter, and CT lobster roll – butter no mayo on a top split hotdog bun. I also love sushi 🙂 And Thai drunken noodles with chicken. Gosh I better stop or I’ll want to get up and eat something!

    I have several friends who were discussing the Frontline report and said the same thing informative but very scary. I woke up this morning thinking that armed militia groups are the rural equivalent to inner city gangs. This leaves only “suburbia” as a stable area in our country, which is terrifying. I believe Putin is stirring the pot like crazy whether the militia groups realize it or not. What I want to know is, “What can I do to help turn things around?”

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    1. Last week was GREAT, and this week started off nicely (we went to the beach!) but today is cloudy, cool and overcast again and it’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow.

      I don’t think I consider pizza fast food. It’s my favorite food of all, and I like to sit and enjoy it whenever I have it. I guess though I’ve never lived where I could stop and pick up a quick slice.

      I like your analogy of the armed militia groups being the rural equivalent of inner city gangs, although I think they are far more dangerous, to be honest. What’s been shocking and scary to me is discovering that people I knew, or thought I knew, who support these groups and their aims. They tend to overlook or ignore violence, but they support many of these groups’ beliefs. These are well-educated, high-earning people too (sort of like the man in the program that worked for a defense contractor). I don’t expect people to hold the same views I do, but this is scary stuff to me.

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  7. Mama is watching a series called WPC56. Set in 1956 “Gina Dawson joins the West Midlands force as the first Woman Police Constable” She recommends it,

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