Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
We had another wild ride on the weather roller coaster last week starting with heavy rain all day Monday, which resulted in catastrophic flooding in places throughout the state. Tuesday was a little better, but the rain was back on Wednesday. Thursday was very windy and rain threatened all day, and then it rained again all day on Friday. Yesterday’s weather included on again, off again rain in the morning, but ended up pretty nicely although the rain was back full time at night. Besides the rain there’s been high winds and cool temperatures. Sadly, it’s predicted to continue until Christmas, and a beach day with the girls maybe won’t happen. I can’t think of anything worse than spending a lot of money to come to Kaua’i and then not being able to go to the beach or other places, plan anything, and maybe having to spend much to most of your visit indoors because of bad weather but we’ll have a good time together nonetheless.
Here’s what happened though when we were stuck inside because of bad weather: we got another idea for a possible fallback plan if COVID takes our travel plans apart and then spent the whole week researching and talking about the new plan daily, both the potential and the pitfalls. We had a lot of fun, and came to realize we sort of preferred this new plan to our original Plan B and figured out the steps we would have to take to make it happen (if necessary). However, it’s still not what we really want to do and there are definitely pitfalls so it eventually got placed on the shelf with the original Plan B. We remain confident we’ll be going to Europe next year, we’re excited about going, but while there are still so many unknowns we know it’s important to have a solid back-up plan (or two).
With the Omicron variant already on the ground in Hawaii, we have switched over to wearing NK95 masks versus cloth ones. Better to be safe than sorry, and we will need the NK95-type masks when we go to France as cloth masks aren’t accepted there. We bought a box of masks several months ago (don’t remember why anymore) and will be ordering more in the coming weeks. Kaua’i still has strict mask rules in place, and we wear masks at dentist or doctor appointments, or when we are in stores or enter restaurants. We are practically hermits these days, but are going to have to be more conscientious about mask wearing going forward. The Delta variant is still out there and a killer.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I finally finished I’m Traveling Alone. It was creepy, and too spread out at times, but everything finally came together in the end. I’m now reading The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware. This will be my 63rd and last book for the year. I’ve greatly enjoyed my year of mystery and suspense, with 11 books finished beyond my goal of 52.
- Listening to: Well, at least it’s not raining, but the wind is howling again here at the vortex. Lots of birds are singing though. Brett is putting away last night’s dishes while he makes coffee, and then he’s going to make pancakes for our breakfast this morning.
- Watching: We finished watching The Morning Show, and also finished a four-part series, The Long Call, on Britbox. Maigret, starring Rowan Atkinson, came up next, but there were sadly only four episodes of this show. We’ve only seen Atkinson in comedic roles but he’s very good in this serious role. On Friday evening we watched the Tom Hanks’ movie, Greyhound, with lots of good navy action and dialogue for Brett, and then started a new series, Home Before Dark, yesterday evening.
- Happy we accomplished this past week: 1) We continued to go through boxes of things and purge – Brett filled over three bags with shredded paper at the beginning of the week. Over and over we kept asking ourselves why we had been holding on to all this stuff, stored it, shipped it, etc. 2) I worked some more on a calendar for next year of when things will be put up for sale, when we’ll hold our yard sale, when things will get packed and mailed to WenYu for storage, and so forth. We will be busy, but it’s for a good cause! 3) Brett and I studied French every day, and are currently ranked in the top 14% of French learners on Duolingo, whatever that means. We continue to struggle with new vocabulary, verb conjugations, and of course, pronunciation, but we’re making progress. 4) The freezer has been emptied of everything that needed to go before we shop for the girls’ visit.
- Looking forward to next week: WenYu and Meiling arrive on Wednesday afternoon, YaYu on Friday evening! I am already so excited I can barely stand it! All three girls are concerned about traveling because of the Omicron variant, but they are all fully vaccinated and have said they will be obsessive about mask wearing (NK95), distancing, hand washing, etc. All three are in the queue for the booster, but because of their ages are not eligible until after the new year. Meiling is bringing us some items from Trader Joe’s that we’ve missed – a few bottles of Thai red curry simmer sauce, and some ginger-miso broth.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Honestly, I did not think I would be getting any Etsy orders this week, but lo and behold I got two, and hashioki leaving the apartment is always a good thing. 2) The flowers the neighbor brought us last week are still going. They are fading a bit, but only one blossom has dropped off. 3) Our daughter-in-law sent another huge batch of photos and a video. The grands are growing up way too fast – we can’t wait to see them again.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We had a completely no-spend week and nothing went into the change/$1 bill bag. The freezer is almost cleaned out, and we didn’t throw any food away.
- Adding up what we sold last week: The two Etsy orders this past week meant six hashioki left the house and $29.34 is going into our travel account. Every little bit helps!
- Grateful for: I continue to be thankful for the COVID vaccines and boosters we have received as they seem to be the best defense, and the Omicron variant for now. Omicron still appears to be extremely virulent, but with cases reported as mild to moderate. There have been no reported deaths from it so far, another thing to be grateful for.
- Bonus question: What was your worst Christmas gift? Your best Christmas gift? A gift is a gift, and I am thankful for all I receive, but the worst gift ever was the two Time-Life science books my parents gave me when I was eight or nine years old. They subscribed to these books for the family, mostly for my older brother (a book would arrive in the mail every other month and he would read them from cover to cover), but my mom wrapped the two that arrived in November and December of that year for my gift. I can still clearly remember the palpable sense of disappointment and sadness I felt when I unwrapped those books because I knew my parents hadn’t even tried to find a gift for me. There were two gifts that I consider the most memorable: 1) Our son and girlfriend came to Portland for Christmas 2002, arriving on Christmas Day. When we got home with them from the airport they announced they had gotten married (civil ceremony) before their departure from Tokyo (on Christmas Day)! I started crying and jumping up and down because I was so happy! It was a wonderful surprise and something Brett and I had been hoping for. 2) The second most memorable gift was Meiling’s gift in 2019 of Hamilton tickets. Even though we weren’t able to go (we were planning to visit her in NYC in late May of 2020) I will never forget that moment of complete surprise and happiness when we opened the envelope, saw the tickets, and realized what she was giving us. She had graduated earlier that year, had found a great job, and those tickets were her way of saying thank you to us.
When it come to gifts I admit to being notoriously difficult to buy for, especially personal items (clothing, jewelry, etc.). I honestly prefer more useful things like kitchen or travel gear, so every year I have to provide a detailed list of ideas to the family. I find more joy in thinking about and giving gifts than receiving them, and coming up with that list every year is a chore. Brett drives the kids crazy because every year his sparse wish lists are the same: socks, ball cap, t-shirts. We all get him other things that he enjoys, but he sure does hate making suggestions. Everyone is supposed to create a wish list for the Secret Santa exchange, but for some reason YaYu didn’t so she is going to have to be happy with what the rest of us think she might like. The lists make it very easy for everyone to list the things they want/need, and for everyone to stay within their budget as well.
The regular Monday eating and exercise post will be up tomorrow, but otherwise I won’t be back until next Sunday. We’re going to be busy here at the apartment today and tomorrow, Tuesday is a BIG SHOP, and then the girls start to arrive on Wednesday. It turned out to be a good week for us even with all the crazy weather here, and I hope everyone had an equally good week and is looking forward to the one coming up!