Sunday Morning 5/23/2021: A Mostly Gentle Week

A gentle sunset on Wednesday evening . . .

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

After nearly two years away, no thanks to the pandemic, both Brett and I finally saw the dentist last week for exams and cleanings. Mostly it was good news, but Brett is going to need three new crowns ($$$$). We’re thinking he may only get the most urgent one taken care of here, and the rest done overseas (where you can get equally good dental care at a much, much lower price, even without insurance). I fared somewhat better with just one old filling needing to be replaced (it had cracked), but I also need to start wearing a mouth guard at night because I apparently am now clenching my teeth when I sleep. We picked one up yesterday and I did OK with it last night. I’ve also been instructed to start using a Waterpik-type device along with my flossing. There are portable ones for travel so we’re investigating those.

Our neighbors on the other side of the building are moving off the island next week in order to become full-time travel nomads! They have been selling everything they own for a month or so and held a final, big two-day yard sale this past week. I was frankly amazed by the amount of stuff they had, but know that the longer you’ve stayed in a place, the more you accumulate, and they’d been here for several years. They asked us if we wanted anything, but we honestly don’t need another thing and quite literally have no room for one more thing anyway. They also suggested we ask to move over into their apartment after they’re gone as it’s the same rent but a bigger space. Although having a bigger kitchen with full-size appliances is tempting the apartment lacks the sunshine we get in our apartment, and also does not get the air flow we have here – they had lots of fans for sale. Plus, the front door on their place opens directly out to the yard which means a bigger potential for bugs. Our apartment is up off the ground, and bugs don’t like to climb stairs.

A s’more is almost too sweet for me these days, but once in a while it’s a fun treat for dessert, and not too indulgent. Fingers are crossed on both hands that the weather will allow us use our fire pit so we can actually make one!

We bought graham crackers, Hershey bars, and marshmallows this week to make s’mores now and again with our fire pit in the coming weeks, figuring maybe the weather might finally cooperate one of these evenings and we should be ready. We thought yesterday evening was going to be our big chance, or at least it looked the way until mid-afternoon when heavy clouds and rain rolled in. Sigh. Seriously, since we bought that fire pit we’ve had all of two or three evenings that were suitable for a fire – it’s either been too windy or too wet to sit outside. Neither of us can remember a spring like this when we lived here before. In the meantime, our s’mores ingredients are stored in the back of the pantry so we’re not tempted, although I told Brett if we don’t get to have a fire in the next couple of weeks I’m going to go ahead and roast marshmallows over the stove!

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished two books this week, The Devotion of Suspect X, and Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. The latter was one of those books that kept me up at night, but I finished it in two and half days. I’m still waiting for a book to come off of hold, so in the meantime I downloaded The Lady In the Lake, by Laura Lippman, which has gotten rave reviews and was to my surprise actually available for checkout. So far, so good.
  • Listening to: It’s very, very quiet both inside and out. There’s no wind at all this morning, no noise other than birds singing, just blue sky sky and quiet. Brett’s making his breakfast, and I’ve got a freshly made, hot cup of coffee in front of me – perfection. I know, I know, we should go light a fire!
  • Watching: We finished all the available episodes of Tennison (which was great) and watched Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse on Friday and yesterday. We’ll have to look for something else to sink our teeth into tonight. Great British Menu marches on, and some of my favorite chefs from the season are in the running for the D-Day commemorative banquet – the winners will be announced tonight. After the banquet show tomorrow, another new season will begin on Tuesday, with the next banquet celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Institute.
  • Happy we accomplished last week: Besides getting those dental visits done I was also scheduled to get my ID card renewed on Tuesday, but the computers at the base went down that morning so I got my appointment rescheduled for this coming week instead. Otherwise, other than doing our food shopping last Sunday there were no major accomplishments, just the regular stuff we try to accomplish each week. However, I can’t tell you how much I love having a week with only “regular stuff” to do. We got our shopping done last Sunday afternoon, and initially thought we might make Sunday our shopping day going forward as Costco was almost empty, a pleasant surprise. Walmart was a madhouse though so that idea got scratched. We can deal with crazy at Costco, but less so at Walmart.
  • Looking forward to next week: Hopefully this will be the week the weather gives us a break and we get up to Kokee State Park. We’re also going to try to get in another beach day and a hike at Barking Sands when we’re there to my ID renewed, weather permitting.

In spite of the clouds it was actually very sunny at Salt Pond, and quite hot too. It was too windy though to set up our umbrella.

  • Thinking of good things that happened: We spent a lovely afternoon at the beach on Friday. We almost didn’t go because it was so windy, and it looked quite cloudy in that direction as well, but when we got there it was delightful. It was hot enough that we even spent some time in the water to cool off! Otherwise, there were no standout good things during the week, just a nice week overall.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: Well, we went (slightly) over budget with our food shopping last week which was frustrating. Several necessary non-food items put us over, but on the positive side they will not need to replaced or restocked for a l-o-n-g time, like over a year in a couple of cases. Our big case of toilet paper (80 rolls) arrived last Friday. The price was a slightly lower than we paid last time (still less than 60 cents per roll), and far less than anything we could find on the island, even with a coupon. Also arriving this week will be a case (12 containers) of my favorite roasted red pepper & tomato soup, with individual boxes at least $1 less than what we’d pay out in town. We put $5.63 into the change/$1 bill bag, and I earned 1,872 Swagbucks. I completed two surveys last week totaling 500 SB which did not pay out, but I filed a claim for each of them and hope to see at least some of those points this week (I always take screen shots of the completion pages so I have proof to include with any claim). I am so close to earning the next Delta gift card! We did a good job of finishing up all of the leftovers that were produced last week and nothing was thrown out.
We had half a bunch of basil left over from another recipe, but I remembered we had a big can of San Marzano tomatoes in the back of the pantry and I made some marinara which was frozen for later. Nothing wasted!
  • Grateful for: This was another week for feeling thankful for having dental insurance, especially considering all the work we’ve had done in the past few years. Dental care is appallingly expensive, and the insurance has made it possible for us to afford some expensive, but necessary work.
  • Bonus questionWhat is a character quality about yourself you need to work on? I am a continual work in progress about always wanting to have everything perfect. I even annoy myself sometimes! I sometimes have a hard time knowing the difference between when detail is necessary and when it’s not, although I think I’m getting better and more relaxed as I grow older (for example, I no longer refold towels so they look perfect on the shelf). There’s nothing wrong with liking order, but I can still get too wrapped up in the little stuff and miss the bigger picture. I can also be judgmental but I’m more mindful of when I’m doing that these days and letting it go as it really doesn’t matter most of the time nor push the story forward. Like the perfectionism, it’s still a work in progress though.
Gardenias have always been a favorite of mine, a good memory from my childhood when we had a row of bushes running down the side of our driveway.

Brett picked a small bouquet of gardenias this past week to bring a little spring into the apartment – the scent has been lovely. The big bush in the yard is almost bloomed out though. The guava tree on the side of the apartment is apparently not going to produce much of anything this year. We were hoping for another big crop (although not as crazy as last year) so we could make jam again, but it seems like the tree exhausted itself last year and has to rest this season. There are a few more oranges left to pick and lots of other blooms going on, but I can tell we’re moving into warmer weather even if it doesn’t always feel that way. The beauty of our yard is one of the biggest reasons we don’t want to move from our apartment, along with the gorgeous sunset views. We couldn’t have found a better place for the two of us to live here if we had tried – the grass is greener here.

That’s all this week, a fairly quiet, easy one, all things considered. Writing this post always helps me reflect on the good things that have happened and what we’ve accomplished even if it doesn’t seem like much. It also helps me focus on what’s coming up and the areas where we/I can do better. I hope it was a gentle week for everyone as well and that the week coming up will be a good/better one for all.


8 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 5/23/2021: A Mostly Gentle Week

  1. Dental work is so necessary and such an unexciting place to spend money. One or the other of us seems to need a crown or some other pricey repair way too often for my taste, but it is good to have insurance to cover some of it at least. Ouch.

    Two more days here and I head for London to catch my flight home. It’s always hard to leave, but I do look forward to being back home. The weather here has been rain, rain, rain for most of the visit. We have had a few nice days for walks and outdoor laundry, and we had a beautiful day for my granddaughter’s little birthday gathering, but again tonight the wind is lashing the rain on the windows. Brrr. I will say all the rain has really brought out the green, and the azaleas and other spring blooms are amazing. The Brits have lovely gardens.

    I tend toward perfectionism too, and it is a hard thing to overcome. I think I let go of a lot more as I have aged, but I still like things orderly and the way I like them. 😂


    1. I hope that someday the insurance industry will come to terms with just how expensive dental care is, and how necessary. So many other health issues can be traced back to poor dental health, and yet it is so unaffordable for so many. And so painful and miserable as well at any stage, no matter how much you pay.

      Sounds like you’ve had another wonderful visit to the UK. I have read about all the rain – it sounds very similar to what we’ve been experiencing here all spring.

      The one area where my perfectionism fails me is with this blog. There are ALWAYS mistakes in my posts. I am my own worst editor. However, when I go into to find mistakes I end up wanting to make other changes, and I get to a point where I just have to say, “let it go!” Done is better than perfect, as my thesis advisor always told me.


  2. Going to the dentist is one of those things that almost everyone loathes. Unfortunately, there is no way around it, although I must admit that I used the pandemic to skip a couple of cleanings. However, soon I need to go in and I am already terrified both about the findings and the cost.

    I love gardenias. I love white flowers in general as I find something beautiful about the combination of different shades of green and white. Gardenias, white tulips, and white hydrangeas as well as white lilac are my favorites. I imagine that you have huge gardenia bushes in the area you live. How exquisite!

    I believe people, in general, have a constant drive to attain perfection. It is one of the forces behind any form of progress. For me, it is not the strive for perfection that bothers me, but the feeling that I am not enough, that I don’t do enough to improve either myself or things around me. Like you, I’ve gotten better at letting go but I still have a ways to go. Who knows, maybe one of these days…


    1. I do hate going to the dentist, but hate getting the bill more. Our current dentist gives us a printout though of exactly what the procedure is going to cost and what our insurance will pay so there are no surprises (although our insurance tends to pay more than their estimate). It has helped even though the work is still unpleasant. My gums really hurt after this last cleaning because of the extra work necessary but were fine the next day.

      I love gardenias – we had a row of bushes growing up the side of our driveway when I was young, and the scent was intoxicating when they were in bloom. My favorite flowers however is peonies – white ones would be gorgeous. Unfortunately, after living in Japan I now associate white blooms with death – that’s what they’re used for there. I didn’t know and once gave a bouquet of white flowers as a gift – oops!

      I raised four non-perfectionist kids so I either did something right or failed miserably. I am getting better though, and my kids are all good people even if they’re not perfect – that’s what I keep reminding myself.


      1. Peonies are superb flowers indeed. I didn’t know about Japan and white flowers-wow, I can see how things can go sideways. It reminds me how shocked I was when I first move to the US and my husband surprised me once with a gorgeous bouquet of 36 roses. In Romania( where I am originally from) flowers for living people are offered in odd numbers while even numbers are brought only to funerals. One lives and learns😃

        Raising 4 kids and getting all of them through college is a fantastic achievement and you deserve a great deal of recognition for it.


      2. We learn through our mistakes, and cultural mistakes are a given. Thankfully, we are usually forgiven for those and don’t make them again!

        We almost can’t believe our youngest will be in her final year of college next year, and will be graduating. When our girls were little we knew we couldn’t afford to pay for their college educations, but because of their hard work and determination, and the help we could give, all three will graduate with zero to very little debt, and the two who have graduation have found very good jobs. Our youngest has several more years of school ahead of her though and she is already planning for that financially.


  3. I haven’t been to the dentist since January 2020, but now that things are improving with COVID, I’m planning to go in June. Not looking forward to that.

    Were the neighbors who are becoming nomads inspired by you and Brett? Are they going to be nomads within the US?


    1. Is there anyone who looks forward to seeing the dentist? (If there is, I don’t want to know them).

      I don’t know if they were inspired by us or whether it has to do with the husband not being able to find work. They leave today, and will be spending some time traveling around on the mainland before heading over to Europe. Fingers crossed that it goes well for them!


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