Pretty evening skies this week.
Good Morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
Ads for Memorial Day sales have been popping up all week on the Internet, and as another veteran we know said this last week, we’re being thanked again and again for their service. We appreciate the sentiment (we do!), but this is not the holiday for that – Memorial Day is for our country to remember those who gave their lives in service to America. It’s a day to have a picnic, spend time with family and friends, and reflect on all of those whose goals went unrealized and dreams unfulfilled, and the sons, daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and friends that sacrificed all for our country.
On Sunday evening the weather was perfect, the wind was only a soft breeze, and we were finally able to build and enjoy a fire in our fire pit! We got out our s’more ingredients, had one each for our dessert that evening, then sat out and talked while we enjoyed the sunset and warmer temperature for a while. It was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that we did it again on Wednesday and Saturday!
Brett and I finally headed out to visit Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park last Monday, on what was supposed to be the best day of the week. Hah! It was sunny on the drive to Waimea and as we started up into the canyon, but the higher we climbed the denser the clouds became and it eventually started raining. We drove all the way up to the Koke’e Overlook hoping that there would a break in the clouds but instead we ended up in the middle of a giant, misty cloud. We stopped at lookouts all the way back down and walked around a bit, and were able to enjoy some great views of the canyon in spite of the weather. The sun came out just as we left Waimea State Park and shone all the way home until we got within a mile or so of our house where the rain started up again. We had a great time though, and it’s always renewing to see Waimea Canyon, which Mark Twain called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Both state parks were packed with tourists the day we went, and reminded us again of how spoiled we were during the pandemic when we had the island to ourselves. It was disturbing to see visitors already doing stupid and dangerous things – at one lookout the lower viewing platform was closed due to unstable and dangerous conditions, with the paths to the platform closed off with barriers, but it was still crowded with tourists who had climbed over and under the barriers, or created their own paths down the hillside from the upper platform, including a family group of over 25 people who were all leaning against the railings for group photos!
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished The Lady In the Lake on Tuesday (good book with somewhat of a surprise ending), and also finished The Bitterroots, by C.J. Box, a mystery/procedural set in Montana. The book opened with a 39-word run-on sentence and I was worried how the writing would go after that but thankfully things got much better and it was a good read. I started The Chestnut Man on Friday, a Danish thriller/procedural by Søren Sveistrup, and another book, Deception Cove, by Owen Laukkanen, came off hold yesterday, so I’ll be reading two books at the same time once again. Fingers are crossed also that some of the vegetarian cookbooks I put on hold will be available next week.
- Listening to: We’re enjoying a very quiet morning today – the skies are blue this morning with a few clouds, but the leaves are barely stirring on any of the trees or plants outside, nothing is going on in the neighborhood, and Brett is reading while I write. The only sound I’m hearing is the birds singing. I wonder how long the the calm will last?
- Watching: Brett and I watched Agatha Christie’s Ordeal By Innocence for three nights last week – very good but a bit confusing and hard to follow at times as well. Bill Nighy was one of the stars though and he’s always fun to watch. We’ve started a series called Silent Witness, about a pathologist who helps solves crimes (sort of an updated, British version of that old show, Quincy). Amazon did not have The Great British Menu season with the Women’s Institute that I was expecting for some reason, but instead skipped to next season where the chefs are competing to cook for a banquet celebrating Outstanding Britons (those who have won awards from the Queen). This is the penultimate season of Great British Menu that’s available on Amazon Prime and I can already feel I’m going to go through withdrawal when I finish the last season this coming month.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: Besides getting up to Waimea Canyon, being able to enjoy not one but three evenings out by the fire pit feels like a huge accomplishment after waiting so long. Our main accomplishment otherwise this past week was getting our car inspected and registered for another year. It’s a nine-year-old car, but it still runs great. We’re glad that’s over though, at least for another year, but we can’t wait not to own a car again!
A rainy day up in the canyon, but a beautiful drive up and back nonetheless.
- Looking forward to next week: We have a busy week coming up with four appointments Tuesday through Thursday: 1) a new ID card appointment on Tuesday at Barking Sands because last week’s appointment was cancelled again, and hopefully a beach day and hike can be included; 2) a much needed hair cut appointment for me on Wednesday and hopefully a walk on the eastside beach path; 3) Brett sees our Dr. in person on Thursday morning while 4) I have a tele-appointment with him on the same day at home. All these are necessary things and I’m looking forward to getting them done! We’re also hoping to enjoy at least one fire outdoors next week as well, s’mores included.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Our three evenings out by a fire, and Monday’s trip to the canyon were the best things! The weather cooperating most of the rest of the week was also a good thing, although some afternoons were quite humid and a real taste of what we’ll be up again this summer. The full yard crew came in and gave us a “deep cleaning” this past week versus the usual “haircut.” The yard always looks nice to me but the difference after a big clean-up is so noticeable. And, Alley the cat came back! We had not seen her for well over a month, but this past week she showed up again looking fatter than ever. We had been worried she had gotten sick or even died because she had been coming so regularly and then stopped so abruptly, and we were thrilled to see her again looking well. We sent loads of pictures to YaYu.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We had a very good week, spending-wise. Besides getting the car registered and buying a tank of gas, the only other spending we did was our grocery shopping for the next two weeks (yesterday) and just $5 at the farmers’ market last week for a giant bunch of bananas. Swagbucks was a chore all week, but I was still able to earn 1,991. We put $1.37 into the change/$1 bill bag. Our change/$1 bill earnings for May were $15.43, and our total for the year so far is $126.55. We ate all the leftovers created this past week, but had to throw out a zucchini that had gotten buried and forgotten in the bottom of the produce drawer. Our former neighbors left us a new-ish tower fan that we’re going to use in the bathroom on humid days. They also left behind several rolls of Christmas paper and a brand new queen-size fitted sheet that we snapped up.
- Grateful for: Memorial Day always is a time of reflection for me. I am in awe of the men and women who have gone into battle without hesitation even when knowing the danger and risk. I know they have been scared but relied on their training and sense of duty to their comrades to go forward and do what they had to do, risking everything. I think of the men heading on to the beaches of Normandy or in the trenches of Europe, of those in firefights in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq, or those who fought in the Civil War, and give thanks for what they did that I have never had to experience. I know I could not have done it. My gratitude for what they risked for our country and what so many gave is unending.
- Bonus question: How many hours do you sleep at night? I’m sleeping very well these days, much better than I did in the past. I’m generally not awake past midnight, and am usually awake a little after 8:00 in the morning. After two cups of half-caff coffee in the morning I go all day now without feeling tired – I can’t remember the last time I needed or took a nap. Our daily walks have made a big difference in how soundly I sleep as does having a very, very good mattress. I almost always read before I go to sleep, but even checking my phone doesn’t keep me awake any more. I still wear a sleep mask and use earplugs every night, a habit I picked up when we lived here before, and the dark and quiet also make big difference in the quality of sleep I get. I took me a few days to adjust to wearing a mouth guard at night this past week, but it’s no longer an issue. I also have to sleep with my head elevated, and a few months ago I bought a wedge pillow which helped but also turned out to be extremely uncomfortable. I slid down the pillow all night, and would wake up each morning in a lump at the bottom, so I went back to sleeping with two regular pillows and so far that’s been working out alright.
WenYu and Meiling have purchased their tickets to come in December! They found a great price for a flight this past week and snapped them up. They initially didn’t think they’d be able to come until January because ticket prices around the holidays are so high, but they found an affordable flight that will give them 10 days here. The catch is that they have to depart on Christmas Day. We’re all fine with that though, and will have our big family celebration and present opening on Christmas Eve, and a brunch on Christmas morning before taking the girls to the airport. It’s going to be crowded in our little apartment, but with the yard and lanai area outside, I think we’ll manage. Two of the girls will sleep on the sofa, and we’re going to buy an Airbed (twin) for the third girl – they can figure out who sleeps where, but it will be a nightly slumber party for them. Brett and I are so excited and happy they’re coming – we have missed them terribly, and can’t wait to have all our girls together with us again. We’re already planning to get together again for YaYu’s graduation in 2022, and before we head out on Big Adventure II, but this year’s Christmas will be special.
That’s a wrap for this week, another great one for us. Wishing everyone a safe holiday tomorrow, and that all sorts of good things come your way. Here’s to another good week coming up!