Sunday Morning 12/12/2021: More Storms

This ranked as a “good” sunset most evenings this past week . . .
. . . but then this quickie showed up yesterday evening. It was over in the blink of an eye.

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.
Our tiny freezer is ready to be filled with food for the girls’ visit.
  • 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.
Still pretty after over a week – the cooler weather has helped them stay fresh.
  • 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.
Even though we didn’t get to go, these tickets remain one of the memorable gifts I’ve ever received.
  • 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!

16 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 12/12/2021: More Storms

  1. I am laughing at your sunset photos – they are both a blessing and a curse over here! A blessing because they really are beautiful at this time of year, but also a curse because I feel compelled to go outside each night to watch them, even if I’d maybe rather stay curled up on the sofa with my book (what I’m usually doing around 4:30 PM here when the sunset ‘show’ begins). There is always a ying to every yang isn’t there? 😆

    And with regard to Hamilton- I don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but having read the book, listened repeatedly to the soundtrack, and then seen the live production in Los Angeles in 2017, I genuinely enjoyed the Disney+ showing more than the live production because I could see and hear a whole lot better than from our $250 each orchestra seats, LOL. So you can take that for whatever it’s worth.

    I wish you and your family the merriest of Christmas holidays! What a most wonderful present for you and Brett.

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    1. The other day I went through all my photos and got rid of a LOT of sunset photos from last year. Not sure why I was keep so many that were definitely non-spectacular! We’re fortunate here that we can see them right from the front door, but this time of year if they happen it’s right when I’m fixing dinner so I have to watch carefully because they’re usually over so quickly. So as you say, they are both a blessing and a curse! They’ve mostly been a blessing though and will be missed when we leave.

      I was thankful to be able to see Hamilton on Disney+ and it was a great way to see the show, especially with the original cast. But seeing it on Broadway would have still been a treat, and there was so much meaning behind those tickets as well. They were our daughter’s way of telling us that all of our efforts and hers had paid off and been worth it.

      Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas too! It will be here before we know it!

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  2. I’m with you…really hard to buy for. And honestly, DH and I have discussed how we really need nothing. So it’s more a question of making a list of things that we would like, and it’s a short list. 🙂

    Exciting to look forward to your kids coming! Have a wonderful time!

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    1. If not for the kids, Brett and I would not exchange gifts – we don’t need anything and can buy whatever we want whenever. Our lists for the kids are always short.

      Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the first arrival – we’re feeling very excited and glad to have lots to do today and before the first two arrive (flight comes in early evening).

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  3. I made your baked ziti recipe this week. Everyone loved it! Thank you for sharing. Enjoy the girls! So happy for you.

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    1. Oh, I’m so glad you all liked it! It’s so easy to make and definitely comfort food at its best.

      First arrival is tomorrow – I’ve already got butterflies in my stomach!

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    1. We set up a subscription with Amazon for a couple of months so that we have a good supply not only for here but to take along. We almost can’t believe we have just five months left here.

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  4. I think everyone has received good and bad gifts, we could probably collectively write a comic book about the craziest gifts we’ve got. I remember that one year I was gifted a compost bucket by my sister-in-law. It was so ridiculous and I ended up not sending a thank you note for it. What was I supposed to write? That I have composted my trash in it thus saving the Planet?

    Have a good time with the girls! They are your true gifts as much as you guys are theirs. The Universe and some good people have brought you together to become a family. Who has a family, has everything! Merry Christmas!!!

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    1. I’m so glad that re-gifting is a “thing” now, and we’ve been able to pass along gifts that someone else is happy to have but that we either don’t need or like. That “gift” from my parents that year taught me the importance of thinking about what would be meaningful or special to the receiver. I don’t always get it right, but I try (and thank goodness for gift cards – sometimes they are the best gift).

      Can’t wait to see the girls together again. It’s been two years since we’ve seen the oldest two – too, too long.

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  5. In Illinois, in 2 days we had temps from 22-55, rain, sun, winds, snow, and sadly, way down south, terrible tornadoes! Pretty strange for December. Tonight there was a glorious sunset.
    Laura, your excitement and anticipation about your girls’ visits comes through clearly! Happy for you!

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    1. I guess it’s been crazy weather everywhere. It’s still cool here, but at least the rain has stopped for the time being (during the day). Definitely wouldn’t want to be sitting out on a beach though. I saw a video of the tornado moving across Kentucky that someone shot from their front porch – huge & horrific.

      Tomorrow is the big day – grateful to have lots to do today and tomorrow so hopefully the time will go by quickly, or at least feel that way. Can’t wait to have our girls together with us again.

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  6. Enjoy the time with your family! I was talking to someone I work with who lives in the UK and she said Omicron is bad there. It’s been on the news that they had a death from it the other day. She said she’s gone back to staying in most of the time and is trying to get a booster shot, but there are long lines.

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    1. Yes, apparently Omicron is racing through the UK right now, but in South Africa they think they are seeing the “decoupling” of the virus and death, or at least as much as the Delta variant causes. It doesn’t mean that the Omicron variant won’t cause death, but it’s not the killer that Delta is. We are still good to go to France, especially since we have our boosters, and now there is the new pill coming out as well. Don’t know if that will be ready before we leave or not (probably not).

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