Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka! And . . . BOO!
I was feeling sort of melancholy yesterday as I thought about how Halloween has turned into one of those holidays we just don’t celebrate any more. We didn’t even send candy to the girls this year! I used to go all out for Halloween, collected Fitz & Floyd pieces that I decorated with, and I loved, loved, loved trick-or-treating, both my own when I was young, and our children’s years of going out. I trick-or-treated with friends every year until the ninth grade; that was our kids’ cut-off year as well. Trick-or-treating was a big enough deal that my friends and I used to carry and fill entire pillowcases with candy during our middle school years. I looked forward to helping our kids carve their pumpkins, pick their costumes, and go out with them to trick-or-treat, helping them practice what to say at the door and reminding them to say “thank you” when they were toddlers. Anyway, I have lots of good memories associated with Halloween, but these days we’re at the end of a dead end street, located at the back of a building, so no visitors and no candy here. Brett and I will dim the lights this evening and watch The Exorcist for our little celebration (no candy for us this year either).
Christmas shopping got underway this past week and I’m already about halfway done. Amazon Prime literally had everything here in two days as did a couple of other places I ordered from. Meiling sets up our family’s annual Secret Santa exchange every fall, and everyone finally got their wish list up so it was easy picking gifts, and everyone is going to get things they want. I ordered a few non-gift items as well that I can’t get here, things like Cadbury’s drinking chocolate to enjoy while the girls are here, and Fisher scone mix for our Christmas morning brunch. We scored some leftover Christmas paper when our neighbors on the other side of the building moved out earlier this year, so I’ll be getting things wrapped, labeled, and tucked away this coming week. This will be our last Christmas with the girls for a couple of years as (fingers crossed) we plan to celebrate in Japan next year and the year after. I also ordered an inflatable queen mattress to use when the girls are here, and then Brett and I will use it next year after we sell our mattress and frame.
Weird stuff continued with Buy & Sell this week but ended on a high note. Ghosting B&S listings seems to a problem everywhere but I think part of the blame this last time may go to Facebook. I added another listing to Buy & Sell last week, a mid-century modern bench, and immediately got two “is this still available” messages, in less than a minute of the listing being posted, a new record. One of these people lives in Seattle and the other is on Maui, both outside the supposed 100-mile selling distance! Facebook hadn’t been loading correctly anyway, so I deleted its cookie, reloaded, and changed my password. From that point forward everything worked like it should, and I received only local requests for the bench and sold it immediately. We’re otherwise going to take a break from selling anything else (other than golf balls) until after the holidays, but starting in January we’ll have something for sale most weeks until we leave. The car will be listed for sale in early April, and we’ll hold our garage sale mid-April. We plan to close down our eBay sales at the end of the year, but I’ll most likely keep the Etsy shop open for a couple of months into next year.
And, for those who were baffled by or curious about American washcloths, above is what they look like, and how they sometimes come packaged. They’re very useful, easy to wash and dry, and great to have along when we travel.
This morning I am:
- Reading: Apples Don’t Fall, set in Australia, got off to a slow start, but it’s building and I’m enjoying it. Truth Be Told: A Novel also came off hold early last week, so I’m again having to read two books at the same time so they both get finished in time.
- Listening to: We’re enjoying blue skies and a quiet cool morning with nothing but birds singing outside, much appreciated after two days of overcast and rain. I’m hoping the good weather lasts all day so we can get our walk this afternoon – we couldn’t go Friday or yesterday because of bad weather. Brett was already up and had the coffee made when I got up, so it’s perfectly quiet inside as well with me writing and him reading. In other words, it’s another perfect Sunday morning, one I’m hoping I can stretch out for as long as possible.
- Watching: We’re still watching Great British Bake Off, Billions, and Inspector Morse, although we’ll finish Billions this week and we’re getting close to finishing Inspector Morse. Hopefully we can segue from Morse right into Lewis, but we haven’t found where it’s streaming yet. We love watching Guiseppe and Jurgen on GBBO, and it’s sort of fun that the two top contenders this year (and great contestants) are not British (born)! We watched the first episode of Squid Game this past week and all I can say is whoa!
- Happy I accomplished this past week: 1) Besides getting some of Christmas shopping done and the inflatable bed ordered, I also starting work on a menu for when the girls are here. There are things Meiling likes but YaYu doesn’t and vice versa so I’m trying to make sure I get those dishes fixed at the right times (before one arrives and after someone leaves). I’m also trying to make sure we have everything we need on hand before the girls arrive so that we’re not stuck with a big, expensive shopping trip right before their arrival. WenYu thankfully likes everything and will eat anything. 2) We got our end of the month shopping done last Friday, came in under budget, and have plenty to get us through until the middle of November! 3) The only other things accomplished were all the regular stuff we have to do.
- Looking forward to next week: Once again, there’s nothing we have to do next week, but we’re hoping for another beach day. If we make it down to Barking Sands, we’ll stop at the MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) office and reserve one of the beach cottages for our last few days on the island, after we move out of the apartment. Otherwise, our calendar is open once again – the days still seem to go pretty quickly though.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Etsy sales are always a good thing. 2) So was getting Facebook sorted out, and another thing out of the apartment. 3) We enjoyed absolutely beautiful weather the first part the week, although rain finally showed up at the end (gotta keep things green though). 4) Meiling is having a wonderful time in Paris and has been sending lots of pictures (including some from a 19-course vegetarian meal at a 3-star Michelin restaurant. I can’t even imagine doing that, but she’s a foodie and it’s one of the things she saved for). 5) Our new avocado tree is having a growth spurt of some kind and has more than doubled in size – leaves should appear this week.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) I used some of our credit card rewards to pay for the inflatable bed, so it cost us nothing. We’re going to keep it; it will be mailed back to Massachusetts after we move out of the apartment. 2) We noticed gasoline had climbed to $4.16 this week at Costco, so we’re strategizing on how we can cut back even more on our driving. 3) We were $58.92 under budget on our shop this past week, and that’s after buying some more items for the girls’ that were not on our list!. 4) We put $8.92 into the change/$1 bill bag this week, making our total for the month $13.54, not bad for the small amount of shopping we did in October. 5) All our leftovers were eaten this past week, and there was no food waste.
- Adding up what we sold last week: I sold 15 hashioki this past week, and the mid-century modern bench in a day once I got FB straightened out. $193.53 will be going into our travel account tomorrow. I was ready to pull the rug off B&S last night, but then got a last minute legitimate request from Honolulu! The potential buyer and I are both working on an affordable solution to getting it over there, so it’s not a done deal yet but getting there. I also sold another hashioki this morning so will be packing that up in a little while; I won’t see the funds from that until next week.
- Grateful for: I’m always thankful for the occasional days when we can’t go out to walk. I thoroughly enjoy our walks and look forward to them, but I also enjoy having a day off now and again where I can curl up with a book and a cup of coffee and not have to watch the clock and be ready to go. Days off don’t happen often, and although we’ll walk in almost any weather other than rain, they’re always appreciated and I try to make the most of them.
- Bonus question: Do you have an all-time favorite book? The one book that has affected me more than any other was Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which I read in the late 1980s. I’ve never had such an emotional reaction to a book before or since, and although I’ve wanted to read it again I haven’t as I’ve never felt ready to face those emotions again. It was that good. The book I’ve actually read more than any other is Joe McGinness’s Fatal Vision, about the murders of his wife and children Dr. Jeffrey McDonald committed at Fort Bragg in 1970. I had never read a true crime book before, and boy did I get hooked. I think I’ve read Fatal Vision five or six times now and I always find something new to think about. The Jeffrey McDonald case is one of the most litigated murder cases ever, but he’s still in prison where he belongs (and still claiming he’s not guilty).
One of the best things I’ve discovered recently on Twitter is the daily tweet from Gurdeep Pandher of the Yukon (@GurdeepPandher) doing a 55-second dance. Gurdeep is Indian, a Sikh, who moved to the Yukon Wilderness in Canada a few years ago. He lives full-time in a cabin (with electricity but no running water). Every day he posts a short video of himself, dancing Bhangra, a joyful style of Indian dance. He shares his dances to build cross cultural bridges, to illustrate the power of joy and positivity at the center of one’s life, and to show the beauty of the natural world as well. For some reason that tweet and video always shows up early in my Twitter feed each day, and in the middle of what is often pretty much nothing but glum news, his minute of happy dancing always brings a smile to my face and a reset to my thinking for the day. Being joyful and positive, he reminds me, does not mean I can’t feel sadness, or anger, or frustration, but that those are places I should only visit before returning to a joyful, positive center.
That’s all for this week, and for October, too! Six months from today will be our last in this apartment, and time seems to be speeding up with each month we reach. We still have so much to do to get ready. Cheers to finishing another good, productive week, and here’s to another good one coming up!