Sunday Morning 9/26/2021: Settling Into Fall

The best sunset last week happened Sunday evening at the close of a stormy day

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

Bringing the outside in: my view out our front door

The other day I looked around and thought our apartment almost looks like an Airbnb rental because there are so few decorative things around now, things that used to somewhat define us and our homes. The place is just starting to feel empty, but Brett and I agree that’s a good thing. Everything is going to stay pretty much as it is now, for the time being at least, but more things will leave with the girls when they return to their homes/school, and we’ll have an even emptier space! The one great thing about our apartment is that we have such a wonderful view out the front that creates a close connection to the outside and makes our small space seem larger than it is. I’m pretty sure in a different place I might not feel as good about the results of our downsizing as I do now.

Last week ended up being very busy with lots of errands and a great get-together with Bob and Betty Lowry. It was another slow sales week though with just two small orders from Etsy going out. I got two different offers for the set of Starbucks coffee mugs I had listed on Buy & Sell, set up meet-ups for both, and both times the so-called buyers never showed and I never heard from them again! I’ve decided that no more will go on Buy & Sell except for golf balls until it’s time next year to sell our furniture. It’s just not worth it, and things from now on will be set aside for an eventual garage sale. I’d list the mugs on eBay except there is already a glut of them there, and with what postage costs from here I can’t price them low enough to compete.

A tiny slice of delicious, but expensive lilikoi cheesecake

This past week we bought two 8-inch pies at a local pie shop, to serve for dessert when Bob and Betty came over. I was a bit taken aback by the cost, but their pies are always good and we try to support local businesses. Once we had decided on the two pies we wanted, the woman took our choices out of the display case, put some plastic wrap over the top, and rang up the bill. We were not offered a box for the pies. The transaction was handled on an iPad, and I was very surprised when a tip was suggested (there and by the woman helping us) – the choices were 15%, 20%, or 25% – and for maybe the first time in my life I said no. I don’t know if I was being frugal or cheap, but suggesting at least 15% on top of the cost of the pies just for putting plastic wrap over them was a bridge too far for me. If pie had been cut and served, coffee poured, wrapped and boxed up, etc. I would have had no problem tipping. The pies were still delicious, but I sadly doubt we’ll be going back.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finally finished Six Four on Monday, and just as I did another book came off hold. I decided to finish one book at a time so I’m current reading Sixteen Horses. It’s very, very creepy. Box 21, by Anders Roslund, also came off of hold, but I’m not going to start it until I’ve finished Sixteen Horses.
  • Listening to: Stormy weather is our background noise this morning, mostly wind blowing through the trees but the rain that was coming down a little while ago has stopped and birds are beginning to sing again. It actually feel like fall this morning, although that still doesn’t transfer into “sweater weather” here. Anyway, I’m enjoying the cooler temperature this morning and am eagerly awaiting a cup of coffee. Brett is currently banging around in the kitchen, making the coffee and putting away last night’s dishes, but he’s almost done and then our usual Sunday morning peace and quiet will settle in.
  • Watching: Well, the HBO Max come-on turned out to be a lot of hype and all we got to watch was one episode of The Flight Attendant but then had to subscribe to see more (and Mare of Easttown wasn’t even included in the promotion as it turned out). No thanks. So, we started Billions this week and are enjoying it so far. I did not know Paul Giamatti starred in it as well – I love watching him act as much as Damien Lewis. I also did not know until this past week that Paul Giamatti’s father was the 7th commissioner of baseball! The name has always sounded familiar for some reason, and now I know why. Our Tuesday evening viewing of Only Murders In the Building continues – it’s a great show, and I was happy to learn they have been renewed for a second season.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Although we had a busy week with lots of errands, it was not a week for big accomplishments except for one very big thing which will be revealed next week. I had only two small sales on Etsy, and other than rearranging a few things in the apartment nothing much else got done except for the regular stuff. Brett got the car serviced yesterday, so that’s done for the year.
  • Looking forward to next week: Once again there’s nothing special on the calendar, so our hopes are for good walking weather, a couple of Etsy sales, and maybe another day at the beach. I’m not sure we’re going to make our goal of 26 beach visits this year – the weather just hasn’t been cooperating.
We should have known better than to have the sun behind us! We absolutely loved getting to meet and spend time with Bob and Betty.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) We had another great time with Bob and Betty Lowry last Tuesday. We picked them up at the airport after they had dropped off their rental car, and headed to Poipu where we enjoyed drinks, snacks, and lots of good conversation. We finished up with pie and coffee at our apartment before taking them back to the airport to catch their plane home to Phoenix. I can’t say how much we enjoyed meeting them! 2) Yesterday was our son’s annual fundraising walk, the “Komazawa Challenge.” Every year, rain or shine, he walks the length of a marathon in the Komazawa Olympic Park, joined throughout the day for a few laps by family and co-workers. His effort supports an organization in Japan that serves children who are terminally ill or have incurable diseases. Donations received this year totaled $7,450! 3) I received a lovely personal message from the woman in France who bought the jubako from me on Etsy, letting me know it arrived safely, thanking me for packing it so well, and that she loves the piece. I had been holding my breath hoping it would arrive safely.
M with some co-workers mid walk. They brought him refreshments throughout the day and kept him company (and donated a lot as well).
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We bought two pies, got gas for the car, and had the annual car servicing done, all planned expenses. I ran out of the Neutrogena moisturizer I use (contains SPF 50) but Walmart didn’t have any, so I checked online at Amazon and Walmart.com and found it for less online at Walmart.com than it costs in the store and with free shipping included (I ordered three tubes)! It will be here by Wednesday. We put nothing in the change/$1 bill bag this week, ate all our leftovers, and we didn’t throw away any food.
  • Adding up the things we sold this week: Just one hashioki and a Japanese clay bell left the house this week. Side hustle income for the week was $12.88, but there should be more next week when Etsy releases the rest of my reserve funds.
  • Grateful for: I’m feeling especially thankful this week for Brett’s constant support and encouragement. He and I are very different people, with different temperaments, interests, and so forth. Picking a TV show that we can both enjoy is a major challenge! No one can drive me crazy faster than he can (and vice versa), but we always agree, as we say, on the big stuff: money, child rearing, politics, and so forth. I’m thankful he not only reins me in when needed, but encourages me to think big as well and then go for it.
  • Bonus question: What film(s) have frightened you the most? Jaws was the last film I remember that really scared me, and Wait Until Dark almost turned me to jelly (especially the ending, even though I knew it was coming). That scene was absolutely terrifying. On the other hand, The Exorcist wasn’t at all scary nor was The Shining, although both books scared the living daylights out of me. The first time I watch The Ring I felt scared at times, but I watched it a couple of years later and couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. I had a very vivid imagination when I was young though, and the most frightening films for me remain the ones we were shown in elementary and middle school each year for Fire Prevention week. All of them gave me nightmares and kept me awake at night for weeks on end. The most horrifying film was in fifth grade, where little Bobby was goofing around when the school fire alarm went off and didn’t leave the building with the other students. When the teacher realized he was missing she went back into the building to find him, and both died from smoke inhalation (the actors playing Bobby and the teacher were shown slumped dead in a stairwell at the end of the film, an awful scene that had many students in tears). I couldn’t fall asleep for weeks after those films unless my dad was still awake downstairs (and then still had nightmares after I fell asleep). Ironically, my Dad’s smoking was probably the most likely cause of a fire in our house.

I rarely watch YouTube videos, but one of my favorite channels is First Time Hearing, where two young black men (twins) listen to a song they wouldn’t normally ever play and evaluate it. They’ve listened to songs as diverse as Dolly Parton’s Jolene to Phil Collins In the Air Tonight to Pavaratti singing Nessum Dorma and their reactions are priceless. When they listened to Heard It Through the Grapevine Marvin Gaye was labeled “the master” but they were puzzled by the lyrics because “no one uses those words in songs any more.” This past week I watched one twin (the other was not there for some reason) listen to Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers sing Unchained Melody. He was struck speechless by his voice and how effortless he made singing seem, especially the falsetto, and said Hatfield looked like “he could do this lying in bed” (true). I watched a few other reaction videos for the Righteous Brothers and had fun seeing young people from all backgrounds blown away by them (some of the reactions were actually laugh-out-loud funny). The Righteous Brothers still sound just as fresh and relevant today as they did back in the early 60s – absolutely amazing vocals.

My all-time favorite Righteous Brothers song – it still gives me chills.

That’s all for another week that went by very quickly. September has just flown by, and I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that next Sunday will be in October! I hope everyone had a great and productive week with lots of good things happening, and is looking forward to the week that’s coming up.

25 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 9/26/2021: Settling Into Fall

  1. Fantastic that your son does that walk for charity! I hope Bob starts his blog back soon! Your front door view is incredible!

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    1. We are so proud of our son! He works for a company though that is big on community involvement so they support him in a big way. We’re hoping we can be there one year to walk at least part of the way with him.

      The front door view resets my soul every morning.

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  2. Beautiful sunset!
    I was wondering what fall actually is like there?? Does it ever get cool enough for sweaters? I remember when we lived in Central Florida, about the first of October, the skies would become brilliant blue (instead of the milky blue of summer) and the humidity would start to go down a little bit. We’d still have 90+ degree days, but somehow it just felt different. And whenever the temps got down to 69, everyone brought out sweaters and sweatshirts! Now that we live further north, we laugh to even think about that!
    So nice that you could meet and enjoy time with Bob and Betty. I enjoyed his blog and look forward to whatever he has coming next.

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    1. That sunset was amazing. The fun thing about the really good ones is that they build slowly and then . . . wow!

      We lived in Key West for two years and I remember there was always a day in the fall when the climate would “pop.” for lack of a better word. We would go to bed on a hot humid evening and wake up, like you say, to a clear, brilliant blue sky. The difference was palpable. We ran our A/C though 24/7/365 – on Christmas Day we used to close the drapes and turn the temperature down low. We do get a few days here when we put on a sweater, but that’s when temps drop into the 60s. In the low 60s it feels like we need a parka!

      We absolutely loved meeting Bob and Betty. I don’t think we’d ever run out of things to talk about. I’m looking forward to his new blog as well.

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  3. I was wondering what your Starbucks mugs look like. My husband likes a certain kind and they are not available in the size he likes. His favorite is a New York City mug we bought several years ago.

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    1. The mugs are from the blue & white architecture series. I have two from Portland, two from Seattle, and two from San Francisco. I think you can find them on eBay if your search to see what they look like. We collected them when we lived in Portland and visited Seattle and SF. Loved using them, especially for soup, but it’s time to let them go. If you’re interested though . . . let me know!

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      1. If i am looking at the right mugs, they are the light blue cityscape on the white background. Are these are the 18 oz cups?How much would you charge for all 6 and do you have any idea what the shipping costs are? My husband has new york city 18 oz and it is in sad shape, His favorite cup. I would keep one set and give the other to my sister in law who lives in Seattle

        I loved the link to the righteous brothers

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  4. There’s a FACE in your first photo of the tree!!! Sort of looks like Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest with the palm fronds on the left side as his hair flying out 🙂 it just jumped right out at me!! LOL

    I was at a small sandwich shop in Maine two summers ago where you ordered food at the counter, waited to be called, and walked the tray to your own table. I was served by the shop’s owner and was presented with the same ipad with the same options for leaving a tip….uhmm no. Ringing up an order is not deserving of a tip. I did as you did and choose nothing and made the decision never to return to this establishment.

    I loaded 11 items onto Poshmark and Ebay last weekend and have only had one small sale. I keep thinking that since Labor Day is in the rear view mirror that people will start buying again. Here’s hoping that October will jump start sales.

    I love that your son does this fundraiser each year. The weather looked perfect versus the year he did it alone in the rain. Snaps to him.

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    1. Things have really slowed down on eBay and Etsy, but I think (hope) it’s just a lull before the holiday season.

      I feel for people working in these establishments, but I do like to receive some sort of actual service if I’m going to tip and I just didn’t feel that putting plastic wrap on a pie was service.

      We’re super proud of our son. He came up with this idea for a walkathon several years ago – he started out walking around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, but moved to the park because it’s more convenient. I’m hoping we get to walk a few laps with him some day.

      And, I saw the face. It took me a moment, but it’s there.

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  5. At our local bagel shop they do the same thing. They bag up my bagels and I get a coffee. Then they turn the ipad around and it says tip. I actually always do a tip of a minimum of 15%. These people serving us thru a pandemic deserve some extras that can come from a tip and if I can afford an extra $3 bucks what’s the big difference? Just my perspective.

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    1. The tip for those pies would have been a lot more than $3. Also, I had no way of knowing if the person at the counter was an employee or the owner. We didn’t receive anything resembling what I would call tipped or even very friendly service. I consider myself a generous tipper, but this time nothing that happened rose to the occasion.

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      1. I’m a very generous tipper, too, unless I feel pressured into it by a piece of technology! And it’s for going above and beyond, whether that includes great service, friendliness and anticipating our needs, or doing those small subtle extras, packaging take-out or leftovers well, or whatever. Just doing the basics means maybe a 10% tip, and if the food is very over-priced, then, no. I was always told we don’t tip owners and that they would be insulted, but I see that is now true anymore, at least for hair and nails. When I was a server (we called it “waitress” back then,) I really believed in making every meal a great experience for each customer, even a hamburger or scrambled eggs, and tips felt like a happy surprise.

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  6. Your son is so dedicate to that fundraiser. Inspiring! Kudos to him for keeping it up.

    Sounds like a lovely visit with Bob & Betty and you’ve given us a teaser. Can’t wait to see what you are up to!

    I’ve had a few ghosting experiences on local sales. Makes me want to hunt people down and lecture them. 😂 You kids get off my lawn!

    And I’m with you re: tipping for services that have all but disappeared. Hard to say no, but again, it’s just expected now and on some level, I find that annoying. That practice of turning the ipad around and seeing the tip space has become ubiquitous. FWIW, I would be nervous to transport pies with only plastic wrap. I understand them cutting out the price of a box, but it’s just frustrating on every level.

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    1. Our son has been doing this for several years and we couldn’t be prouder of him. He works at a great company and gets a lot of support from them (he does others’ fundraisers with them).

      The ghosting was so annoying. The mugs didn’t involve a lot of money thankfully, but if you don’t want something, let me know – it’s not the end of the world. And, it’s done via Messenger, not in person, so how hard can it be?

      I think you’re right, that tipping has spilled over into so many areas where it’s expected whether you receive good service or not. I’m usually a generous tipper, but nothing that happened in that interaction at the pie shop was tippable service. BTW, we live about five minutes from the shop, so getting them home with only plastic wrap wasn’t the problem it could have been.

      Loved, loved, loved meeting Bob and Betty. Bob is just like he is in his blog, and Betty is just as sweet as you would imagine.

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      1. P.S. I hadn’t heard of that You Tube channel…so thanks. And could not agree more on the talent of the Righteous Brothers. What a voice in that clip of Unchained Melody!

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      2. In more than a few of reaction videos I saw the women were very overwhelmed by Unchained Melody, but surprising how many men were impressed by it and his singing as well.

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  7. I don’t think I will ever get American tipping. If the person at the counter selling food expects a tip, what about the person selling other stuff? I’d just prefer to pay more so a decent wage can be factored into the cost of the business.

    Love the plate you served the cake on. One of your Japanese plates?

    Dr Who, the weeping angels, scared me. Until Dr Who became too convoluted, lots of the episodes scared me. Had to watch from behind a pillow. Pillows have known protective qualities.

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    1. It was so nice not to have tips expected when we traveled – we usually still tipped but it was never hanging over our head. The problem we have now with tipping, especially in restaurants, is that prices would have to be raised much higher than they are now to cover the lost income if tipping was done away with.

      The plate came from a place we used to call the “dirty dish store.” It had lots of odds and ends of dishes, and some of them had sat around for a while and were quite dusty, hence the name. I think I paid about 50 cents each for those plates – the design is called “Arabesque” and we’ve had them for over 20 years – they’re very useful. They’ll be one of the very few things we’re keeping when we move.

      I usually plug my ear, squeeze my eyes shut, and sing to myself when I’m scared and hope I don’t open my eyes before the scene is over.

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    1. First Time Hearing is so much fun, and can be laugh out loud funny at times. I don’t get a lot of their slang, but always get their excitement or confusion or love for what they’re hearing.

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  8. Betty and I felt the same way about being able to turn a blogging friendship into a real one. You two made us feel right at home and were so quick to welcome us into your world. Breakfast, pupus, drinks, and those over-priced but excellent pies made our time together perfect. Our flight home was without incident, with one of our daughters gamely picking us up at 7 AM.

    Kauai is a very special place that warms our hearts and refills our souls every time we make it. Thank you for your Aloha spirit and friendship.

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    1. I have met several readers over the years and have loved every meeting, and as you say, have turned blogging friendships into real ones.

      We are hopeful our paths will cross again one day. And, I know you’ll be back to Kaua’i – it’s definitely a place that calls you back.

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  9. I’m slowly getting caught up on your posts. I always enjoy them, but I don’t like to rush through them. Anyway, the scariest movie I’ve ever seen was “Play Misty for Me”. I saw it in middle school along with a second movie, which was also pretty scary, but I don’t remember the name. I tried watching “Play Misty for Me” again as an adult and it still scared the bejeezus out of me! I don’t think I’ve watched a scary movie since. It’s just not what I want in my brain.

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    1. I am behind on comment, so guess I’m going slowly too.

      I’ve never seen “Play Misty for Me” but guess I should watch it one of these days. A well-done scary movie is a rarity. I love ones that play with your mind, and don’t mind being scared if it’s done well. Reality (something that could really happen) is far more terrifying than make-believe or fantasy.

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