Sunday Morning 4/25/2021: Another Week of Good Things

We had beautiful sunset following Tuesday’s storms . . .

… and last night we thought we were in for a real treat. However, three minutes after this shot it started breaking up, and a couple of minutes after the picture below was taken the winds picked up, dark clouds filled the sky, and it started raining!

Good Morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

We went to the beach! We drove over to Barking Sands last Monday and enjoyed perhaps the most perfect beach day we’ve had in I don’t know how long. We stopped at the commissary on our way in and picked up some cold drinks, then hiked the Waiokapua Trail and back (and got overheated) before sitting down and enjoying the picnic we had brought along. Afterwards, Brett put up our umbrella and we sat out on the beach to read and enjoy the the view for another couple of hours. To make things even better we also had the entire beach to ourselves the whole time we were there! We’re hoping for another beach day again this week, although this time we’ll probably go to Salt Pond, which is closer. With visitors arriving in large numbers every day, Poipu beaches are no longer an option for us.

Our stimulus payment arrived on Wednesday, but not before I had trouble falling asleep on Tuesday wondering if it had been lost and what we would have to go through if it had. And, we got a bit of a surprise because it came in the form of a debit card versus a check, something we definitely were not expecting. We first felt a little stunned – “a debit card?” – but after some reading figured out we could download the entire amount directly into our bank account – easy peasy. Two-thirds of the amount will go into our savings account, and one-third will go into YaYu’s account to help cover college expenses in the fall. After nearly four weeks of waiting, debit card or not, it is a relief to have that money in our account.

It was very noticeable that tourists have come back when we went up to Kapaa last week – traffic was heavy once again and we crawled through Kapaa to get to the beach path and the hair salon. It’s only going to get worse too as we get nearer to summer. I felt glad for a couple of things though as we sat in traffic that day: 1) that we no longer live in Kapaa and have to deal with traffic any more when going to and from shopping, medical appointments, etc. and 2) that we had this past year to experience life here without crowds of tourists everywhere. Visitors to Kaua’i are what support our local and state economy, and they are very welcome, but everything seems to be moving at a quicker pace once again, the traffic grows worse every week, and shelves in stores seem to be empty more often.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: Choosing to read mysteries, etc. this year is turning out to be a very good (and fun) decision. I have enjoyed everything I’ve read so far, am finding all sorts of new books and authors, and am super pleased with my progress as well as I’m nearly at the half-way point of my goal of reading 52 books this year, and it’s only April! I finished another book this past week, Dead Scared, by Sharon Bolton (second book in the Lacey Flint series), a real page turner, and am nearly two-thirds of the way though with another book, Sun Storm by Asa Larsson. When that’s done I will begin reading both Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and The Trauma Cleaner, by Sarah Krasnostein. The Trauma Cleaner is non-fiction, about a person in Australia whose business is cleaning up after violent crimes, suicides, and so forth.
  • Listening to: Right now I’m listening to it pouring rain outside along with a strong wind, which is practically blowing the rain sideways. At least it’s warm enough that the French doors can be open – the air is nice and cool. Brett’s in the kitchen making his breakfast – I can hear him chopping up an apple – and he’s finishing the coffee. Another nice quiet morning inside, another drippy morning outside! I’ve got my fingers crossed that the rain blows through and some nicer weather blows in.
  • Watching: Brett and I are still watching DCI Bates, with four more seasons to go. The stories are getting better, but they still seem to do a lot of yelling. The actress that played Doc Martin’s wife has joined the cast – she’s fun to watch. The finals are now underway for the latest season on the Great British Menu, and my favorite chef has made it second time in a row, and I am hopeful he will be chosen to cook for the banquet again. There have been too few standouts this season otherwise (in my opinion) and I’m ready to see what the next season brings. The show remains a lot of fun to watch nonetheless.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Once again, there were no big accomplishments last week, but everything that needed to be done got done and that’s good enough for me!
  • Looking forward to next week: And, we have nothing on the calendar once again, so all we’re looking forward to is hopefully another beach day.

Brett and I both enjoyed Tip Top Cafe’s banana pancakes at his birthday breakfast, and they were as wonderful as ever, the fluffiest pancakes we’ve ever eaten. The restaurant maintains social distancing which meant the line was still long late into the morning.

  • Thinking of good things that happened: We again had lots of good things happen this past week, including a fantastic beach day and a hike at Barking Sand on Monday; finally going back to the Tip Top Cafe for Brett’s birthday breakfast on Wednesday – their pancakes are, if anything, better than ever; getting my hair cut and taking a nice walk on the beach path that day, and finding some more driftwood. We have been collecting pieces for a while (we use it in our fire pit), and since I seem unable to keep much of anything alive inside the apartment, I’ve been trying to create an arrangement with some of the driftwood. I was thrilled this past week to see that Mavis has done something similar at her home in Maine and it looks beautiful (ours is currently a work in progress though). The gardenia blossoms are opening and because the bush is located just outside our bedroom window we are getting the full, aromatic benefit of them as we fall asleep. We also had a long video conversation with our grandkids the other day and got all caught up. It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we’ve seen them and my be over a year before we see them again. They’ve both grown up so much, and so quickly.
Our driftwood arrangement is a work in progress. It’s lacking one more tall(er) piece, and then some pieces to fill in around the bottom.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: This was a pretty typical frugal week for us on top of getting our stimulus, which went right into our savings account. We did a small food shopping on Tuesday (Costco, Walmart, and Times Market) and with some effort stayed under what we had budgeted. We’ll be doing a bigger shop next week and I’m already working on the list for that. We put $11.70 into our change/$1 bill bag last week, leftover from food shopping and a quick stop at the farm stand. I earned 2,138 Swagbucks last week and it looks like I will be able to end the month 5,000 SB ahead of the goal I gave myself for the month. Leftovers have been eaten, and nothing was thrown out this past week.
  • Grateful for: We are very, very thankful for this latest stimulus payment, especially that there were funds this time for YaYu to help with her college expenses next year, her final year at BMC. We have been contributing as much as we can, but it’s taken a real effort to make sure all her costs are covered and the stimulus will give us all a big boost. We’re thankful to be able to save our part of the stimulus payment this time, providing a real boost to our savings as we work to build it up again.
  • Bonus question: You’re handed a round trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world for a weekend and $1000 cash. The catch? You have to go alone, right then & there with only whatever you have on hand. Do you go? Where would you go? Would I go? Does an accordion player wear a pinky ring? Of course! Where would I go? Japan would be one destination, to see our son, DIL and grandkids again even if it’s just for a weekend and the flight is long – it’s been too long. The jet lag wouldn’t have time to catch up with me until I got home! I could stretch $1000 pretty far there for things I need (a few extra pieces of clothing and other supplies from the navy exchange, for example), especially if I stay with M & M. I’d be equally happy with heading back to Boston to see Meiling and WenYu. They could help me find extra clothing and supplies with lots left over to make sure we had a great time together. I honestly wish this was a real challenge, although I know I would miss having Brett along and would feel a bit guilty for traveling without him (although I know he would not be up for such a short trip and turnaround).

This week’s blooms: Hibiscus along the eastside beach path, and gardenias in bloom in our yard.

When we moved here in 2014, I told my mom that I wished we could bring her along. She would have loved it here, especially the variety of beautiful and interesting plants and flowers on the island, and how many of her favorites can be found all over and grow all year versus seasonally. Mom was a botany major in college, and to the end of her life stayed interested in plants, and had a real skill in making things grow and reviving plants that you didn’t think would or could make it. I would have loved taking her on walks and drives to see all that grows here, and I’m pretty sure she would have gotten a kick out of the farmers’ markets as well and the variety of produce that’s available year-round. I think of Mom every time I stop to snap a picture of plants and flowers here.

That’s all for this week – it was another good one. I hope the week was great for everyone, and that all are looking forward to the one coming up as much as we are.

16 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 4/25/2021: Another Week of Good Things

    1. Thank you! They take time to write out, but I’ve learned to get an early start in the week and fill in as the days go along so there’s not so much pressure on Sunday mornings.

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  1. Well, this summer, I am flying for a couple of days, to see grandchild 2000 miles away. I could only get off during that time because our jury court schedule is killing us. A lot if things got really backed up during covid. It was not a free ticket though….lol. It will have been 22 months since I have seen her, nearly two years.

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    1. So, so happy for you Cindy – I know you have greatly missed your grandkids. I can’t get over how big our two grands have gotten in the last year, and that it will be more than a year before we get to see them again.

      Will be thinking good thoughts as well that your work load calms down sooner rather than later.

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  2. I haven’t been to the Tip Top Cafe. Those pancakes look amazing! Glad you had a private beach day. That’s a rare treat!

    It’s hard to believe YaYu will be a senior next year. My nephew is graduating next month. That’s really blowing my mind! It went by so fast.

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    1. You should give the Tip Top a try, especially for breakfast. It’s a very “local” place but the food is very, very good, especially those pancakes, and reasonably priced. They have good coffee too. There’s always a line to get in, but it moves quickly.

      Just one more year for us with having a student, or at least supporting one. It’s been a long road, but we’re ready.

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  3. Gardenias are my favourite flower. There are hedges nearby but strangely, I’ve never had much luck growing them.

    I look forward to reading what you thought of The Trauma Cleaner. An unusual read.

    It’s a scary feeling having things open up – even ignoring the problem of more traffic. We can travel to NZ now but I don’t feel confident of doing it. Not just yet.

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    1. We had gardenia bushes running up the side of our driveway at the house we lived in when I was young because my mother adored gardenias. The blossoms seem to come and go so quickly on the one in our yard, but thankfully it’s loaded with buds so we should be able to enjoy the scent for a while longer.

      So far so good with the Trauma Cleaner – it’s very readable, and she’s a fascinating character.

      We’re not confident enough to try any overseas travel, which is why we’re postponing things until 2023 (other than a trip to Japan in 2022). The number of tourists arriving in Hawaii now is frankly frightening, but we’ve got our routine down and can ignore most of them most of the time.

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      1. I hope they let us in! We will be holding our breath all of this and next year, watching and waiting to see how it goes with this pandemic. We’re hoping that time (and science) will be on our side.

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  4. Sounds like a great week! The pancakes look amazing, and the flowers that surround you are always so lovely. Nice that you could put the stimulus money in the bank! 😁

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    1. Tip Top’s pancakes are AMAZING – I wish I had the words to describe how truly fluffy and light they are, and how good they taste. We all want the recipe, but they’re not giving it away.

      So glad to have that money in the bank! There’s a million things I could easily spend it on, but we are determined to make Big Adventure II a reality!

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  5. Yeah for the beach! Yeah for stimulus money!

    The pancakes look yummy.

    I burst out laughing when I read, “does an accordion player wear a pinkie ring?!” LOL

    $1K and leave right now? Iceland…easy flight from NYC or Boston. Traveling alone? Not a problem.

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    1. The beach was wonderful – so glad we got to go and of course now we’re chomping at the bit for another chance to go.

      I asked Brett if he would take the $1000, free ticket, and go somewhere and he said no! I told him I would miss him, but I’d be home soon.

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    1. I was so worried it would never arrive after our bank screwed up, so we are feeling very relieved. I hope your parents’ arrives soon – fingers are crossed!!

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