Sunday Morning 6/6/2021: Summer Has Arrived!

No spectacular sunsets this week, just a pretty glow as the sun went down.

Good Morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

Summer has officially arrived it seems. We started off the week with lovely warm/hot weather (finally) but rain returned on Thursday and Friday mornings before the good (better) weather returned. The island is crowded with tourists once again though – numbers arriving on the island each day have been over 2,000 for several days. The traffic is awful again, stores are crowded again, gas lines are long, and so forth. We were up in Kapaa this past week and were reminded once again of how grateful we are to be living on the south side versus having to deal with the traffic up there. There are changes coming though – work has started to another lane to the highway in the Wailua area, one of the biggest traffic bottlenecks on the island. And, it looks like the old, ugly remains of Coco Palms may finally be coming down – time will tell.

This past week was a busy but very productive one. I finally have a new ID card, and along with getting that taken care of we also got in a hike on the Waiokapua Trail as well as some time on the beach when we were at Barking Sands. It was the perfect day to be there too – hot and barely a cloud in the sky but with a nice breeze. On Wednesday we drove up to Kapaa for my haircut, then took a walk on the eastside beach path before coming home, another hot but beautiful day. Thursday Brett went up to Kilauea for a doctor’s appointment, and while he was on the road I had a tele-appointment with the doctor! In between all our activities we got the meals cooked, the dishes washed, the laundry done, the house cleaned, books read, etc. One great thing about being so busy: the week went by very quickly!

We are entering a very long stretch of not being able to do much related to future plans and such; that is, there are only a very few things we can do now, like save as much as possible, but not a lot of activity that otherwise seems directly related to our future plans. It’s too early to make reservations for anything, or to even guess what things will cost when it’s finally time to do those things, let alone what the situation will be with the virus. All we can do now is get our minds wrapped even tighter around saving for the future, continue to exercise and stay in shape, and get started on the things we can do now, like learning the basics of another language, none of which frankly seem very exciting or motiving. Everything we dream of doing seems so far off, but I’m glad we at least have a plan, and live in a beautiful place while we wait to bring that plan to fruition.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished one book this past week, Deception Cove, and am almost one with a second, The Chestnut Man. Both were/are good, but The Chestnut Man is the better of the two, in my opinion. Two cookbooks became available this week and I’ve been looking through them, but neither seem to be very easy to navigate through on the Kindle, so I’m going to have to rethink this. Another book I’ve been waiting for, A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny, has been downloaded. It’s the first in the long series of her Inspector Armand Gamache books, set in Quebec. I read the last book in the series earlier this year and want to read them all, starting at the beginning. I’m looking forward to starting it in another day or so.
  • Listening to: Right now there’s a quiet breeze blowing outside, but it’s been off and on all morning. The sky is somewhat overcast, and it’s sort of cool, so not sure what the rest of the day will be like – will it rain or will it burn off? Birds are singing in the background though, always a good thing to get to listen to. Brett’s reading and finishing his oatmeal (I can hear him scraping the bowl). It’s a lovely morning to read, write, and relax with my coffee.
  • Watching: We discovered that we’d already watched most of Silent Witness when the theme music changed for the second season – we recognized it immediately! So, we switched over to The Unforgotten, which has three seasons for us to watch. So far so good. I am getting close to finishing Great British Menu and will start the final available season this week (starting the finals for the penultimate season tonight). I have no idea what I’ll watch when it’s over, but I’ve enjoyed it so much, especially while I work on Swagbucks in the evening.
  • Happy we accomplished last week: We got a LOT done last week. It was a busy one but great overall.
  • Looking forward to next week: We’re honestly looking forward to a less hectic week but still hope to get to the beach one day, probably Salt Pond versus driving all the way over to Barking Sands again. Our niece will be visiting Kaua’i this week with her family (they’ve been on Maui this past week). They’ll be staying right down the road from us in Poipu, but we’re going to try and get together later in the week so we can hear about everything they’ve been doing while visiting Hawai’i. I am not looking forward to visiting the dentist this week to get my old filling redone, but needs must.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: My new ID card is good for five years versus four as they were in the past. That will push me up to 74 years when it expires, and the card I get then will have no expiration date. We got to see two monk seals basking on the beach while we were at Barking Sands, always a good thing. We saw them when we were hiking on the Waiokapua Trail and initially thought they were big pieces of driftwood, but then noticed the driftwood had changed positions on our way back! Guards arrived as we walked to the beach to set up perimeters around the seals as they are an endangered species. Meiling gifted us with an Airbnb certificate that she received as an award from her work but can’t use! We’re going to put it toward an overnight staycation on the island later this year.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: Other than getting my hair cut, buying gas for the car, and picking up a bunch of cilantro from the farm stand we had a no-spend week. We put $9.32 into the change/$1 bill bag, and I earned 2,300 Swagbucks, which includes my 659 bonus for the month of May. I now have just slightly over 1000 SB to go to earn to get another $500 Delta gift card which I should accomplish this week! We had to throw out two more zucchini last week – we bought them at Costco but they spoiled quickly so won’t buy them there again. I also threw out a can of coconut milk that I had planned to use for whipped coconut cream. It had frozen in the refrigerator and ruined the consistency needed to make the cream. I hate throwing out food – such a waste!
  • Grateful for: I’m grateful that we’re able to put away more for travel this year from our income. Last year it seemed there was barely anything left over in the budget to set aside, but that’s changed this year and our travel savings are growing again, providing lots of motivation and an incentive to do even better.

Looking out from the old Pineapple Dump pier always puts everything about living in Hawaii into perspective for me. The beautiful but powerful ocean and skies go on forever – the next land reached straight ahead is 3,600+ miles away. It’s always a reminder of how isolated we are out here.

  • Bonus question: Have you done everything on Kaua’i you wanted or are there still things you want to do? We have had so many wonderful experiences on the island, and have done and seen pretty much everything we wanted to see and do outside of daily living. We’ve done a couple of “tourist experiences” and enjoyed them, like the ATV tour at Kipu Ranch, and the tubing experience, but we still would like to take a boat tour out to see the Na Pali Coast and plan to do that before we leave. We have absolutely no desire to do any zip lining or take a helicopter tour of the island though. There are some beaches we will be fine with never having visited, although we were talking this week of maybe going back up to Haena and Ke’e beach on the north side this fall after the tourist numbers have hopefully quieted back down (a pass is required to enter the park, ordered online before your visit), and we’d also like to visit to the Limahuli Garden and Preserve up there. We’ve also never visited the Allerton Gardens and would like to do that before we leave although tickets are quite expensive, even for island residents. Otherwise just living here is enough.

I posted about language learning last week, which got me thinking about my own plans to learn another language, and how I want to accomplish that. I’ve done some reading and searching this past week about effective online programs, and have found a couple that offer a free trial that I want to try out this week. I’ve used Memrise before, and Duolingo, and learned from both of them, but they only go so far. I have heard about the Pimsleur programs for years and how effective they are, and wonder if maybe it would be worthwhile to invest in one of them (they’re not free but not horribly expensive either). They focus not only on conversational speaking and listening, but also writing and pronunciation and might be a better fit than the free programs I’ve tried. I really need something more interactive than what I’ve used before, and as classroom instruction is not an option here, something like the Pimsleur program may be the next best thing. Decisions, decisions.

That’s all for this week, a busy but great one nonetheless filled with good books, good weather, good food, good friends, and lots of good things happening and getting accomplished. I’m looking forward to the week coming up (well, except the trip to the dentist) and hope everyone is as well!


19 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 6/6/2021: Summer Has Arrived!

  1. Happy Sunday! Just in case you haven’t read it, “Still Life” is actually the first book in the Louise Penny Gamache series. It isn’t the best one by far, but helps set the scene to read in order, as you mentioned. “A Fatal Grace” is book #2.


    1. OH! Thank you! I have read still life and for some reason thought it was the most recent book. Will be starting A Fatal Grace in a couple of days . . . I am looking forward to it.


  2. Gorgeous pictures! I have been slowly moving into my weekend/retirement/what will be my older son’s house when I die, home in the college town. I am in limbo also, just like you, but for different reasons. I am still working, living in my current home during the week, and hope to last working this job at least 35 more months, which will be when youngest graduates from law school. He starts this fall. I feel like I am in la la land, too far to really plan, but close enough that I am ready to go to the next step. I feel sort of anxious. .Of course this is dependent on a variety of factors, including my health. If anything, this past year has taught us things can turn on a dime, and we have to be flexible.


    1. Cindy, I know exactly how you feel. We feel like we’re living in a different dimension, having plans for the future but also trying to enjoy our life here before we depart. We’re actually grateful in ways for the delays, in our case because it allows us to save more to make future dreams come true (in your case, to help pay for your son’s law school costs).

      Life can change quickly. We are doing everything we can now to maintain our good health so that we can look forward to the future.

      Keep looking forward! You and we will get there eventually!

      P.S. I fixed the typo


    1. Retired military dependent. Brett’s never expires; dependent ID cards become permanent sometime after age 70. It will allow me to continue to receive healthcare, use the commissary, exchanges, etc. if Brett dies before I do.


  3. I’ve been thinking of you, and while I’m so excited to visit Maui & go there with my parents, I can image that the residents have mixed feelings about the return of tourists.


    1. There are definitely mixed feelings going on. So many are so glad to go back to work (and really needed to), but I think everyone on all the islands enjoyed sort of having the place back to themselves for a while. Brett and I feel very blessed that we got to experience life here without tourists and without the traffic, etc. We’re all adjusting but more quickly back to reality than we imagined though – it’s been shocking how quickly the numbers of visitors has shot up in the past couple of weeks. You’ll have a wonderful time on Maui and be welcomed.


  4. I’m very happy to hear they may finally demolish Coco Palms! It’s a hazard and a shame it has been allowed to deteriorate over all these years. Is there any news on what will replace it?

    Are those sea turtles on the beach? I can’t tell. Thanks for posting those beach photos! I was thinking of playing hooky today and going to the beach here, but it’s so hot that I decided to stay inside in the air conditioning.

    I also feel like I’m in limbo as far as making travel plans. I mentioned in a previous post that I was thinking of going on an Asian cruise late next year, but COVID is bad in some of those countries. Of course, that could change by the time I’d be going on the cruise, but who knows? I would love to come back to Kauai but I’m waiting until my nephew moves to CA later this year since I may go visit him and could continue to Kauai from there. Sorry to hear so many tourists are there, but I guess it’s not surprising. At least you had the place to yourself for about a year! 🙂


    1. It’s probably only wishful thinking on my part that the Coco Palms will be demolished any time soon. They are widening the road though so I guess I should be grateful for that if nothing else (still glad though we don’t live up there now and have to drive by the Coco Palms ruins all the time).

      Not sea turtles – seals! We’ve only rarely seen two at a time so it was quite a sight.

      Kauai’s economy is built on tourism, so it’s a good thing visitors are back. But, it was special to be here when they weren’t here, and get a feel for the island and how it used to be.


      1. I did some research on Coco Palms to see if they are demolishing it, but didn’t find anything so I guess all they’re doing is widening the road, which is certainly necessary. The experience you had while the tourists were away was probably close to what Kauai was like back when Coco Palms was in it’s heyday!


      2. I think it’s wishful thinking that the Coco Palms will be demolished. It will still be standing when we depart in 2023. The county would like to buy the land but can’t afford it, so who knows what will happen.

        The pandemic time really was a throwback to what it was like here in back in the day according to people who grew up here (although there was no Costco then).


  5. Even being vaccinated, we don’t feel inclined to travel far right now, so I think a lot of us are in a holding pattern. My trip to England really emphasized for me how much fun it is NOT to travel right now. But, like you, we are hopeful for future adventures.

    We did a day trip up the Na Pali Coast when we visited Kauai. It was a beautiful day and we still remember it fondly – and I wish I still had the hat I’m wearing in the pictures. 😂


    1. We really are not in any hurry to go somewhere, and when we do we know it’s going to be a very different experience than it was before. The pandemic’s outcome does not seem to be settled yet, so we will continue to wait and save, and hope for the future.

      YaYu has done a Na Pali visit and told us we can’t leave Kaua’i without seeing it.


  6. I agree with YaYu, you must do a boat trip up the NaPali coast. I tell our visitors that if they’re going to buy one tour, this is the one worth the money. Most of the outfits have kama’aina discounts if you ask. The Allerton Garden is also worthwhile.


    1. I was shocked by the Allerton garden prices. They have a kamaaina discount, but when the starting price is astronomical the discount doesn’t save all that much. But, we should go so we’ll fit it into the budget somehow.

      We are definitely going to do the Na Pali coast boat trip before we go. YaYu did her trip in a zebra boat; I think we’ll spring for something a little more comfortable though.


  7. On our one trip to beautiful Kauai we took a helicopter tour. Actually terrifying at first, but when I felt a little braver it was amazing! We saw places that would otherwise be impossible to see. One of the most memorable, if not THE most memorable experiences of my life.


    1. Before he went into the navy, Brett was assigned to a helicopter crew in the army (door gunner). He absolutely hated it and will not go up in a helicopter again for any reason (unless he’s being Medivaced somewhere and is unconscious). We have heard from others how magnificent the helicopter tours are, and how much you get to see, but it’s just not going to happen for us. I’m frankly leery of the boat trip (seasickness), but will do it for the experience and views.


  8. I hate the dentist. Don’t care that for the last, oh many years, I have had not an ounce of pain. I just hate the anticipation of pain and the picking with the metal crochet hock thing. Hope your visit went well.


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