Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
Back in high school, my senior English teacher predicted I would some day write the Great American Novel, and for years I carried a dream of writing about the life of an ordinary American woman leading a somewhat ordinary life and making her ordinariness interesting. Well, the book never happened but for the past nearly 12 years I’ve been writing what I jokingly call the Great American Blog, about the life of an ordinary American woman’s life and adventures, and I think at least some of it has been interesting.
However, I spent most of this past week debating with myself whether it was time or not to close the blog. I have been posting five times a week since last March, and I had reached a point where I didn’t feel as if I had anything more to say about anything. I was starting to complain (to myself) almost daily about having to write so much. I thought about whether I should or even wanted to change the direction of the blog. I of course have opinions about lots of things that are going on these days, but decided I have no desire to convince anyone of anything, let along alienate anyone (the few mild political comments I have made always seem to bother someone). I still have loads of stories, but some I haven’t told are really no one else’s business. What, I kept asking myself all week, would, could, or should I write about?
I thought very deeply and honestly about whether I wanted to continue writing, and the answer in the end was yes, although I came very, very close to saying no. I am not ready yet to let it go. I enjoy writing, love interacting with readers, but I figured out I don’t need to write so often or so much. I can do shorter posts. I don’t have to keep to a schedule. I realized that’s the main reason I enjoy writing a blog: I’m the boss, I control the whole darn thing, and I can post what I feel like when I feel like it. Somehow though I had let this blog begin to control me and that needed to change.
We will be traveling again some day. That’s a given, in spite of COVID’s efforts. And, when we do eventually hit the road there will be lots more things to write about again. For the time being though there will be less. The Sunday post will continue as it’s the most fun to write and draws the most readers. To my surprise, what we’re eating and how many golf balls we find on our walks (another fun post to write) is also very popular. But otherwise? I’ve decided to post when I have something to write about or share, whether that’s a recipe, travel tip or memory, or something about life in general. I don’t want to be on any sort of schedule because a schedule eventually turns the blog into work, into an obligation that in my case was becoming more and more difficult to fulfill.
Anyway, I hope you all will stick around and see what happens.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finished both Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and A Rule Against Murder last week, and reached my reading goal of 52 books finished this year. For now, I’m going to keep going with my mystery theme and see how many books I can finish by the end of year. I’ve already decided on my theme for next year but that’s for later. It took me a very long while to find something that didn’t have a long waiting list (mysteries are very popular), but I eventually found a highly rated Japanese mystery/thriller, Six-Four, and am already into it. It is SO Japanese, and very different from anything else I’ve read this year.
- Listening to: There’s a fairly stiff breeze this morning, and lots of clouds, but nothing threatening for now, surprising because it rained hard last night. It’s quiet inside and out – Brett is putting away last night’s dishes and making his breakfast, but other than a few birds cheeping outside there’s nothing happening there to cause any noise. In other words, another perfect morning!
- Watching: We have been enjoying the Whitechapel series so far – its premise is an updated twist on historical British murders and crime, and so far it’s covered Jack the Ripper and the Kray Twins, but the latest seems based on an American crime (Devil in the White City). Tuesday evenings we watched a new episode Only Murders In This Building, and Wednesday we the latest episode of Vera, but we’ll finish up Whitechapel early the coming week so are already looking for something new. Has anyone watched Billions (on Amazon Prime) and can recommend? I love watching Damian Lewis (he does American accents so well that it’s strange to hear him speak with his natural British accent), and wondered if this might be a good series for us.
- Happy I accomplished last week: We’ve almost got our first golf ball order put together for eBay: 100 balls in 4A or 5A condition, and a box of 50 mixed condition yellow balls. Brett and I sat down last Friday and went through everything to pick the balls in the best condition, and we’re still trying to figure out how much our opening bid should be. I also photographed and listed a mid-size Japanese hibachi on our local Buy & Sell and Craigslist as it’s too heavy to ship, but it was discouraging for a few day and then it sold yesterday. Otherwise we had another week with no big or special accomplishments, just making sure all the regular stuff got done.
- Looking forward to next week: A long-time blogging friend, Bob Lowry (Satisfying Retirement In a Changing World), and his wife, Betty, will be visiting Kaua’i this week! We’re meeting for breakfast at the Tip Top Cafe on Tuesday morning, and then plan to meet up again for happy hour and dessert before their departure a week later, and hopefully a beach day at Barking Sands together as well if the weather cooperates. I can’t begin to say how much I’m looking forward to meeting them – we’ve talked about getting together several times and it’s finally going to happen. Also, this week we’ll be doing our “big” Big Shop for the month. We already have a good amount of food on hand so I’m not sure how big it’s actually going to be though. We had nice weather this past week on a couple of days, and fingers crossed for more this week so we can go back to Barking Sands.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) We had an absolutely perfect beach day on Thursday at Barking Sands. I think we stayed out there for over three hours because it was so nice, and once again we had the entire beach to ourselves, which is what makes going there so great: all that space! 2) Our avocado tree has a new home! Our landlord asked us this past week if he could have it as he and his wife have been wanting to plant one in their yard, and after he stopped by last week to take care of a maintenance issue it left with him. 3) One of our fellow walkers at the park gave us a bag of three big avocados from her yard this past week besides enjoying the delicious fruit we’re starting another tree from one of those seeds 4) I had three Etsy sales, with one order coming all the way from France! I offer free shipping for U.S. orders but anything from overseas has to pay postage, and it was surprisingly less than I thought, thanks to Etsy. The packaging of the item required a bit more effort than usual though.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: I stopped doing Swagbucks this past week except for a some easy tasks that only take a few minutes each day, and will provide enough SB for a $50 Amazon card sometime next year. I had earned enough SB for another $250 Delta card, and decided that was good enough for now because otherwise it was making me nuts. It’s wonderful being free of Swagbucks, and we still have $1750 total in Delta gift cards to put toward our flights to Pennsylvania next year. Our only spending this week was a trip to Costco on Wednesday to buy wine and sunscreen, and check for peanut butter, followed by a stop at Times Market to pick up two desserts (a matcha Swiss roll cake and a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake) and a jar of natural peanut butter – Costco has not had any natural/organic peanut butter for well over a month now. Brett saw the dentist on Friday afternoon for a new crown ($$$), but that expense was covered out of savings. We didn’t put anything into the change/$1 bill bag this past week because we used our debit cards at Costco and Times for a change. There was no food waste this week, and all the leftovers were eaten.
- Adding up what we sold: Two hashioki, a Year of the Tiger clay bell, and a small jubako were sold on Etsy this past week (the jubako shipped to France!). The three sales were a nice surprise as I didn’t think I’d have any after having a week-long sale. I also sold one of our porcelain hibachis after several annoying requests from other interested parties. There were lots of views, good reviews, watchers, etc. on both eBay and Etsy, but no sales this week on eBay. The deposit to our travel account this week will be $190.87.
- Grateful for: I’m feeling grateful this week for all of my readers, for your support and conversation, your advice and ideas, for having my back, but most of all for coming back again and again to read what this very ordinary woman has to say.
- Bonus question: Is there anything you won’t eat? I can’t eat most lettuces because of a food intolerance – they upset my stomach and cause other problems, so I avoid salads. I also greatly dislike olives in spite of repeated tries – the briny, salty flavor just doesn’t work for me (Brett loves them however). I hate fruit-flavored things, especially lime and cherry – I’d rather be sick than take a cherry-flavored medication – the only one I can tolerate is orange. I have no desire to ever try any bugs, grubs, or reptiles, things like rattlesnake or alligator – it makes my stomach turn just to think about eating any of them. The weirdest foods I have ever eaten were jellyfish and baby birds (not at the same time), and there is no way I’d eat either of those again. But otherwise, nothing is off limits.
The hibachi that was finally sold yesterday.
This past week we decided to contact an auction house next year when it’s time to sell our big hibachi table and a few other more valuable things. After this past week’s experience on Buy & Sell/Craigslist trying to sell the antique hibachi above, we realized neither of those is the right venue for some of the stuff we’re letting go. I got several messages: Is this still available?, I would responded yes, and then either hear nothing back or receive a request for a 25% discount (no), with offers of less than the cost of a similar-sized clay pot at Home Depot or Walmart. We had already priced it low because we knew it would be somewhat difficult to sell on the island. The woman who finally bought it yesterday also initially asked for a discount, but when she came over and looked at it she paid our full asking price without any hesitation. We’re happy it went to someone who will love it like we have over the years. Anyway, the auction house serves a whole different audience, and is seen statewide, so hopefully we’ll have better luck selling through them. We auctioned several Japanese woodblock prints before we left Portland and did very well, so we’re hoping for a similar experience here.
That’s a wrap for this week! It’s been a great one overall, with mostly nice weather, a wonderful day at the beach, books finished and a new one started, good food, staying connected with friends and family, and feeling pretty good for the most part. I’m looking forward to what the coming week brings, and hope everyone is as well.
34 thoughts on “Sunday Morning: 9/12/2021: Time for A change”
I’m so glad that you decided to keep writing your blog! I have been reading for many years. (When you were just dreaming of Kauai.) Great decision! I am a firm believer of living retirement on your terms. Life changes and what makes us happy does as well. I am retired. My husband will retire in 3 years and 1 month. We live in a home that we plan to be our retirement home, but have been discussing other possibilities as well. A few things have changed since we purchased our home. We decided to dream some dreams and see what we decide. We are open to another possibiliites. For now we are very happy in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, NC.
First, thank you for being such a faithful reader – it’s appreciated more than I can say.
Deciding to cut back on the amount of writing lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. I’m already feeling more excited about it again versus feeling like it was turning to drudgery.
We intend to do what we want (i.e. travel) for as long as we can, but growing older is one of the reasons we are slowing things down a bit, with longer stays in places we love.
By the way, Brett’s family all came from the Blue Ridge near Asheville! His mom was born in Bamboo.
Glad you’re going to keep posting. I know what you mean about regular posting becomes another thing to do, another chore. Hence my irregularity. Your golf ball challenge makes me smile. I love an unusual challenge. Something that’s quirky and goes over an extended period. Your golf ball collection has it all.
I’d love to buy all your Japanese stuff. But postage!!! I drool over your photos.
The writing was becoming a chore, and as a result something I was beginning to dread. I am excited about it once again now that I’ve relieved myself of the weight and obligation. I enjoy writing but it was starting to remind me a little of grad school LOL.
The postage of the item I sent to France was surprising less than I imagined. The paperwork though! And the packing – I had to make sure it was very, very well padded and cushioned for overseas transport – took a bit of planning and effort.
I would love knowing some of our Japanese stuff was with you!
Glad you said “yes.” I enjoy the Sunday post and the eating/exercise post, too, plus I’ve tried several of the recipes you’ve posted.
In answer to your question, I dislike fruit juices (love fruit) and colored drinks like Gatorade, etc. Oh, and beer. Sure wish I liked beer because microbreweries are fun, and the craft beers have great names.
Sunday and Monday posts get LOTS of readers – Sunday always has but the newer Monday post surprised me. Thanks for being a faithful reader.
I don’t care for beer either. I have tried it but it just doesn’t do anything for me. Brett used to drink it, but as he’s gotten older he cares for it less and less. He will enjoy a glass though if we go to a brew pub or a couple of other places where they have interesting offerings.
So happy to read you’re keeping your blog going!
As for “Billions”, it has excellent acting but I stopped watching it. Not the fault of the show. I am still weary in real life of rich and powerful people who don’t seem to have any moral compass. I want to watch something where I can like the characters.
Thanks for you review – will keep it in mind when we start watching (we’ve decided it will be our next up after Whitechapel). I enjoy watching shows though where there is someone to hate or dislike intensely because the acting is always worth watching.
I like your blog. I never got to Hawaii when my daughter lived there because my mom was so sick. I hate to fly so I doubt I ever get to see it in person. I do fly to see daughter’s family since she is 2000 miles away, but stateside now., and mom has passed, so I am not taking care of mom. I like the things you post. I feel like if you were nearby we would be great friends…. Lol. Really, it does not matter to me if you post about your life there in Hawaii, or about traveling, because it is all exotic and exciting to me! You probably don’t realize this, but those of us who are still slogging it out in the work force, or at least I do, find your pictures of Hawaiian sunsets, plants, food, and houses interesting. Post when you feel like it because I enjoy it all! I do miss Bob’s blog, but I am so happy y’all are getting to meet! I liked hearing about his life in Arizona, which is so different than my own life. Really, I read your blog,’and others, for entertainment because I do not watch tv, I deal with enough violence and animosity hourly on my job, and I am always very stressed at my job. So blogs like yours are a stress relief. It is not boring to me!!!!
Cindy – I am sure we would be great friends if we lived near each other. And like you vicariously enjoying Hawaii, I know I could happily pick your brain for hours about your work – so many questions, and stories I want to hear. You could unburden yourself to me and I would love it!
Really looking forward to meeting Bob & Betty tomorrow – we’re getting together at the Tip Top Cafe for breakfast. We are hoping to take them for a beach day at the base, but the weather doesn’t look too promising this week (it’s no fun to be there when it’s windy and/or overcast).
Billions is awesome. Just don’t let the first scene make you run away. 😉
What I love in a show is not always what everyone else loves in a show but I love to see actors just enjoying themselves. With Billions you can tell that every single actor is just having the most fun ever. Especially Damien Lewis. Highly recommend. 🙂 will be interested to see what you think!
OK, now I’m really interested! I love watching actors play bad people – it takes skill to make people hate you.
Happy to hear from you again – hope you and yours are doing well down your way!
Don’t worry. If you alter your blog schedule I will stick around. I too have cut back on my blogging. There just hasn’t been much to write about. The good thing about being on WP is that I will see the new post when I see it.
Thanks, Anthony. I feel a great relief taking myself off the self-imposed schedule I had created. It was becoming a burden and obligation, and making me dislike writing.
I agree there isn’t as much to write about these days, especially here as we sit tight and hope for a change in the COVID situation around the world. Once we’re traveling again the words will flow!
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I can see how difficult might be to find topics to write about. Something that doesn’t inflame the spirits and sparks controversy and/or full-blown drama. Personally, I enjoy your pictures of places, flowers, really anything that gives me an idea about Kauai, as it is a place I haven’t visited yet. You do what feels right for you, you should feel joy and excitement when you create a post, not a burden.
I am also an ordinary person and I feel awesome about that. It’s the ordinaries who make the backbone of a nation. Elites and unicorns( people who are really unique and different) are great, make life interesting but the everyday stuff that needs to be done is done by ordinaries, people who get up, show up, and get stuff done. I am content with being average. And I have a great deal of respect for people who are ordinary. I think that here, on this particular blog, we’re in good company.
Thank you, Niculina. You hit the nail on the head – it is hard to write something that’s (hopefully) interesting without creating controversy or drama.
There used to be a regular feature on a news program where the reporter would stop at random in a town, go to a phone booth and randomly choose a name, and then interview that person. What he (and viewers) discovered was that EVERYONE has an interesting life and story to tell; that no one is “ordinary.” I’ve always remembered that, that none of us is ordinary and that we are all connected in some way through our stories.
Here is an idea, ask Bob Lowry if he would like to write a guest blog once a month. That would boost his creative need and help you. He could also promote it on his blog which isn’t active but still there and it would boost your readership.
Bob is getting ready to rev up his blog again!! It will be somewhat different, but he wrote last week that he is ready to resume writing again. So, although a joint venture with him would be a big win for me, I’m thrilled he’ll have his own platform again.
Yay! You’re not giving up Sunday Morning! I enjoy reading it & look forward to it ever since I found that it existed. It gives me a sense of not being alone with my ordinary life, living far away from family, missing Daughter & the Grands, wanting to live minimally after acquiring lots of stuff through the years; shopping, cooking, recipes & trying to not have food waste, walking for exercise & seeing whatever there is too see & sunsets. Your writings truly have motivation & inspiration for me even though I don’t comment alot. I’ve tried to do a little blog writing about a few different things but get board with it after a short time & like you mentioned, felt a sense of dread when thinking about what to write, so I know what you mean. I do like to do Sentence a Day & have stuck with it for a year now. Yay! Karen
You sound like my secret sister, Karen, what with the missing grandkids, minimizing, walking, cooking, no food waste, etc. I love your Sentence a Day blog, and want to keep a Sentence a Day journal when we travel again – it’s something I can stick with as well. Thank you for being such a faithful reader!
I hope that you continue to write your blog. I look forward to reading your weekly review every Monday morning. I realize that writing can be taxing and feel like a chore but many of us really love to read your account of life. Hope that you continue to write!
I think how I felt last week about writing is the main reason I have no interest in writing a book – the writing becomes work, and I want to continue doing it because I enjoy it and not make it an obligation.
The Sunday and Monday posts will continue on schedule as they’re both fun to write, and other posts will appear more randomly as I find something to write about.
I enjoy your blog. I like your solution—just write when you have something to say. Don’t be pressured–just cut back. As you report I also like the Sunday blog and of course when you travel.
Thanks, Howard. I’ve found in the past that once I take myself off a schedule my muse returns and I find plenty to write about!
I think coming up there will be more posts about getting ready to travel again. It’s a bit different for us this time figuring out what we need to get for Round II versus what we already have on hand or don’t need. We took along so many things the first time that never got used or that we figured out really didn’t work for us.
I would love to read about what you took on your travels that you won’t be taking the next time.
Also – how did you manage all the technology when traveling? Without having access to a printer?
We took too many clothes for one things, and have gotten those streamlined. We also took too many health-related items that were never used, and the stuff we did need was easy to purchase overseas for the most part (except for cold medicine in Portugal).
We took a small amount of technology with us: phones, laptop for me, iPad for Brett, and our Kindles. Oh yes, and a voltage adapter – we’re actually going to take another one along this time as a back-up. We never needed to print anything as everything like boarding passes, etc. could be stored on our phones to show for check-ins. We had a big notebook of all our reservations that had been printed off but realized that was redundant because of all of it was stored on our computers and phones.
I enjoy your blog as well. Your photos never fail to bring me back to the place you are. The Sunday post is something I have come to look forward to. My daughter tunes in for your vegan dish ideas 🙂
Have a good time with Bob and Betty. I never got to meet them, my Mother seemed always on the edge when I was in Phoenix. Glad they finally are getting to walk the sands that they have cherished for so long.
Looking forward to hearing more about the auction house. The might be the direction for us at this point. We ended up moving all of our art and most of it is still in boxes. I didn’t know you used an auction before. Since most of our things are Chinese- the west coast is probably a better fit for a sale anyway.
Last, I am still on the fence with Billions. We binged season one. I’ll enjoy your take on it.
Janette: One of your older comments was discovered in my spam folder today. I have no idea why because every other one is fine. I rarely get any spam these days so don’t check it often either (and your comments are definitely not spam!). I am so glad we “met” though the blog (this one and Bob’s) and that you continue to read what I have to say (and that your daughter likes the vegan recipes – there will be more, now and again).
We’ll be having breakfast with Bob and Betty tomorrow. We talked about getting together when they came to Portland but then we did something crazy and moved to Hawaii, we left to travel, COVID happened, etc. But the stars finally aligned and we will finally meet tomorrow – I am very excited!
We had several Japanese woodblock prints that we parted with before our move over here, and most went for more than we could have gotten otherwise. Of course the auction house takes their cut, but they know how to price and who to advertise to, so we still did well. It was a very easy process as well and saved us a load of worry. Unless you’re in NYC or another big city, I agree the west coast is best for selling Asian art. Kaua’i is just too small a market on its own. The girls are going to take some of our art back with them, and only a few pieces will go into storage.
As has already been said several times – I’m glad you decided to continue to do the Sunday and food posts. I really look forward to both of them. Not many travel bloggers have much to blog about these days, but even your “mundane” is somewhat exotic to those of us in the lower 48! So I will enjoy whenever you feel like doing a post!
Thank you Addy!
You’re right, there’s not much travel to blog about these days. I’m more about preparation and planning these days as we start to get ready to go again next year. It’s very hard staying put though sometimes but we’d rather be safe than sorry.
Love reading that our life could sound “exotic” in any way. Things are pretty mundane here for the most part, although the location remains as beautiful as ever.
I have been a reader and fan since “I’m Losing It Over Here” and am glad you have decided to continue.
One observation: you put al lot of structure into your daily life with the cards you mark off each day, a frequent blogging schedule, and the Swagbucks goals. I agree with what others have said that one of the beauties and rewards of retirement is having control over how time is spent. Kudos for you for taking a hard look at how you have been spending your time and then making adjustments.
I’m in awe that you have earned so many Swagbucks! I’m content with my annual $150 of gift cards LOL. That Delta money will come in very handy.
All that being said, I, too, am motivated by setting goals and working towards them. I’m a member of a 12 step group and have learned that I don’t need to derive my self-worth from productivity and that I’m a “human being rather than a human doing.” Still a work in progress though 🙂
Thank you for being such a loyal reader, Libby. It means a lot to me.
It has taken over nine months this year for me to figure out that I have control over my schedule and not vice versa, that I don’t have to do EVERYTHING. I seem to have become more impatient about things though – without travel, etc. to look forward to I have channeled my efforts into everything else, and frankly was overdoing some things. I’m currently impatient for things to sell quickly when I need to stop and accept that it will take time.
I am so glad to be done with Swagbucks – I do two searches a day, play a game for 10 and do the daily poll and that’s it for now. I should earn enough for a $50 card next year, enough to buy new travel umbrellas for when we do get on the road again. The Delta cards I’ve already earned are going to make a huge difference in the budget for our trip to PA next year.
I like having goals and working toward them, but I need to relax more and be less intense about getting them accomplished. Sadly, they’re pretty much all I’ve had to work on this past year and I let things get out of hand.
Ah Covid….another unexpected impact from all that we are experiencing! Add in the unexpected twists and turns of politics and we are living in a real life snow globe that has been shaken 🙂
I love your enthusiasm and drive. You are motivating to me.
COVID is still the wildcard, isn’t it? It really has turned everything upside down, in ways no one ever expected.
I think you might be surprised by how lazy I really am, or at least perceive myself to be. But, I do always seem to have several projects going on. At first I hated being stuck here, even though it’s been a safe space, but now I’m grateful that we’ve had the time to think things through and get it right.
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