Sunday Afternoon 10/23/2016

Waipouli Beach Resort

My good friend Joy, who lives up in Princeville, has arranged another spa day for us next month at the Waipouli Beach Resort in Kapaa. We went last year and had an amazing day, and she was able to sweet talk the spa into once again giving us complimentary full day pool passes so that after our spa treatments (massages and facials this time) we can enjoy the hot tubs (six of them, all with sand bottoms) and fabulous swimming pool as well as lunch at the resort’s restaurant on the beach. Joy and I never run out of things to talk about, and I’m excited about getting together and setting the world straight again. Fingers are crossed for good weather on that day!

I am also feeling super happy about those fares I purchased last weekend for our March trip to Japan. On Monday morning, I went back to check on something and the fares had gone back up to $152 more per person, so apparently I stumbled on to a weekend special of some kind. I was also able to upgrade our seats to premium economy, and will have a post up tomorrow with some thoughts about seat upgrades and ways to potentially save on those. There are some lower fares out there right now for our destination, but there’s a reason for that – some of the trips are 19 to 30+ hours long – no thanks!

Mom staffing the sale table!
Mom staffing the sale table!

My mom is still hanging in there. This past week my sister and niece helped Mom have a craft sale at her residence. Mom had a successful craft business for many years selling crocheted items, so this little sale was a nostalgic one, and she enjoyed making things to sell (and sold quite a bit, too!). We thought she might not live through this month, and yet here she was doing her craft thing once again. Yeah Mom!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finished The Secret Place with just a few hours to spare on my download, and was going to start Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South, about the abduction of two young Black boys, both albino, to be exhibited as circus ‘freaks,’ and their mother’s years’ long search to find them and bring them home. The Doll Master and Other Tales of Terror, by Joyce Carol Oates, was recommended too so I downloaded and started that book last night. I was expecting some frightening, ‘traditional’ horror stories, but the monsters in these stories are the ones that already live among us. Reality has always been more frightening than fiction.
  • Listening to: It’s cool today; there’s a lovely breeze blowing even though the sky is blue. Lots and lots of birds are singing, and some roosters are making a racket a couple of blocks away, but otherwise the neighborhood is quiet. YaYu had a long, busy day yesterday and is still sleeping in; Brett is reading so all is quiet inside too. My kind of day!
  • Watching: Brett and I have been binge-watching Longmire on Netflix. Such a good series! We just started the second season (out of five) on Friday evening, before I switched over to the Hamilton special on PBS.
  • Cooking/baking: Brett and I bought a giant apple pie at Costco this past week, and because it will take us a while to finish that there’ll be no baking for a while. Dinner tonight is panzanella (Italian bread salad) with garbanzo beans – I’ll be putting that together later this afternoon. The bread cubes are toasting now in the oven.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I got our monthly Costco shop done last Tuesday, and spent way less than usual even though it felt like we were buying more than usual (i.e. Halloween candy). I have had no problems shopping at Costco since I hurt my back because the carts provide good support, but this last week I left in agony for some reason. I was fine the next day, but did not enjoy myself at all while we were shopping (and sadly the Japanese cakes are not in yet either). The Halloween candy has been divided up among the girls, and packages are ready to go out to Meiling and WenYu tomorrow. We also got a package ready with our granddaughter’s baby gift and that will be sent tomorrow as well. Otherwise I spent most of the week once again resting my back.
  • Looking forward to next week: Other than my two PT appointments we have nothing planned for next week. I’m looking forward to reading, trying out another macaroni and cheese recipe (this past week’s recipe was amazing), and continuing to help my back feel better. Little by little I’m getting back to my normal routine, and picking up some of my chores again.14796238_10153953366798091_22096649_o
  • Thinking of good things that happened: My daughter-in-law sent us lots more pictures (and video) of our new granddaughter and grandson. Our grandson is totally smitten with his new sister; it’s easy to see in the pictures how much he adores her. Meiling and WenYu both called a couple of times last week to chat – they’re both doing well and are happy, and I love hearing about what they’re doing. A good friend from Portland, who I hadn’t spoken with in a while, also called last Thursday and we had a good, long catch-up. And, I ‘won’ the Neko Atsume (Cat Collection) game – I finally got all the mementos! I’m going to continue playing and earning though because I know there will eventually be new cats added and I want to be ready. Once again we had no food waste, and we put $16.39 in the change/$1 bill jar.
  • Grateful for: I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m again feeling very thankful to be able to download books to my Kindle for free from the library. I very rarely buy book from Amazon these days, usually only when the waiting list for a download is weeks or months long. The time limit for download checkout is very motivating as well. The library has so many wonderful services, and this is currently my favorite!
  • Bonus question: What’s your Meyers-Briggs personality type? If you’ve ever taken the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test, you know there are 16 personality types based on three different dichotomies: attitude (introvert or extrovert or I/E); functions (sensing versus intuition, S/N, and thinking versus feeling, T/F); and lifestyle preference (judging versus perception, J/P). I’m a INTJ: Introvert, Intuition, Thinking, Judging. According to 16 Personalities, “people with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.” The INTJ nickname is”The Architect.” It’s the rarest personality type – just 2% of the population are INTJ, and women only .8%) and sometimes difficult for INTJs to find like-minded individuals (Brett is an ENTJ, so we’re close). I’ve taken the test several times and always scored the same, and feel like the INTJ characteristics, both good and bad, describe me quite well. The most surprising discovery was how high I scored as an introvert. I grew up in a family of extroverts, and tried to act like one, but always felt ‘odd.’ It was very freeing to learn I really was an introvert, and that my wanting to be on my own was not some aberration. Anyway, if you haven’t already done so, it’s fun to take the test (free) and see if your score matches with how you see yourself!

That’s a wrap for this Sunday Afternoon! Hope all of you had a great week!

Hiking the Kuilau Trail

Another great eastside Kaua‘i trail is the Kuilau Trail, which starts on the right side of Kuamo‘o Road, about 100 feet (30 meters) before arriving at Kawi Stream.

papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), white ginger (Hedychium coronarium), blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora)
Papyrus, White Ginger, Asian Sword Fern, and Blue Ginger, amongst other lush greenery

About seven miles up Kuamo’o Road from the Kuhio Highway, just before crossing Kawi Stream, there’s a small parking lot (currently closed for repair) on the left. Additional parking may be available across the stream, on the right. However, DO NOT CROSS if the stream is running high (knee deep or higher). Limited parking along Kuamo’o Road, headed back down to the east is also in vogue at this time, and there are three reasonably safe spots by the trailhead (two other nearby commonly used spots are not safe because they block the gate that is used by trucks, and earth moving equipment that also use the trail.

Kuilau Trailhead
Kuilau Trailhead

At the beginning of your hike, there’s a large clump of papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) that grows along the side of the road between the stream and the trailhead. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the trails have been wetter than usual this year, which takes a bit of the fun out of hiking, and the Kuilau is no exception. Sometimes the easiest path on the Kuilau Trail is right down the deep impressions made by tractor tires; in other spots, the path between the ruts is less soggy.

muddy ruts
Muddy Ruts

As I gained elevation on my last Kuilau hike, the sun began to dry out the ruts, and some of the smaller creatures began to move across the trail while attempting to remain unseen. Can you spot the tiny gecko in the picture below?

Green Anole
Fellow Hiker (Anolis carolinensis)

There is no potable water available along the trail, but edible fruit is abundant in season. On my first hike, someone told me the vine-y little briar with the white, five-petal blossom was wild raspberry, but on tasting I discovered it was something I had known on the mainland as thimbleberry (Rubus rosaefolius), also known as: West Indian raspberry (ola’a), roseleaf raspberry, or rose-leaf bramble.

Rubus Rosaefolia

Both guava (Psidium guajava), and its invasive cousin strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) are also prevalent at lower elevations along the trail, and while the low hanging fruit is almost always picked bare, the fragrance of the remnants is intoxicating.

Farther along, I saw a strange vine with what appeared to be potatoes growing from it. The air potato or bitter yam (Dioscorea bulbifera) is best left alone. For one thing, it’s invasive, but most importantly, while it may be pleasing to the eye in the wild, it is almost certainly poisonous.

invasive; poisonous
Bitter Yam or Air Potato

Other vines, although invasive, are not quite so dangerous. Monstera (Monstera deliciosa) is ubiquitous in Hawaii, and internet search results highlight its delicious aspects.

Monstera, M. deliciosa
Monstera appears on every trail I’ve hiked

These prehistoric giants thrive in heavy shade as well as on bright, open slopes all along the trail. Due to my limited botanical knowledge, I cannot tell whether the fern pictured below is the native Hapu’u Pulu (Cibotium splendens), or the invasive Australian Tree Fern (Cyathea Cooperi), but like a tinkling bell in a light breeze or trickling water, its presence is soothing and cooling.

tree fern
Tree Fern

Easily recognizable, common era ferns along the trail were much easier to identify because of their similarity to those I had known at Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon. The most common fern along the lower ridge, as well as many other trails, is the Asian Sword Fern (Nephrolepis brownii aka multiflora), often seen among smaller, lacy ferns that I cannot readily identify.

Asian Sword Fern
Asian Sword Fern

Around the half-mile mark the landscape grows more interesting. The shadowy “amphitheater” shown here is an eastern crater below Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale (‘rippling waters’) known as the Blue Hole.

crater to the east of Wai'ale'ale
Blue Hole

A little less than three quarters of a mile along, a break in the trees permits this splendid view across the valleys of the Keāhua (‘the swelling, as a wave’) and Kāwī streams to the saddle between Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale and the Makaleha (‘to look about, as in wonder’) mountains. The peak in the distance is Keana‘awi Ridge.

Saddle between Wai'ale'ale and Makaleha Mountains
Saddle of the Makaleha Mountains

Eucalyptus tree are prevalent at the three-quarter mile point as well. As a matter of fact, there is a tunnel of eucalyptus on the Moalepe Trail, about a quarter mile past the bridge that separates these two trails. When conditions are just right, a little warmer and much drier, the scent of the eucalyptus is almost overpowering. As shown below, the eucalyptus not only provide shade for the understory, but a home for other plants as well.

Eucalyptus at Upper Elevations
Eucalyptus at Upper Elevations

I spotted a lone cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) at one mile. These birds eat bugs and geckos, and can always be found following behind lawn mowers to snatch whatever the mower churns up.

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Below is the breathtaking view of the Makaleha Mountains from the picnic shelter set up at the one mile distance on the trail. Many visitors are unaware that this is not the end of the trail. From the lawn surrounding the picnic shelter, the trail veers off to the right, but is rather inconspicuous when the grass is tall.

Makaleha Mountains
Makaleha Mountains

About a half mile beyond the picnic area is a little waterfall near trail’s end.  This little fall on the upper part of Opaeka‘a Stream (which eventually leads to Opaeka‘a Falls in Wailua) is more often heard than seen. Its splash pool lies about 30 feet below, and because Opaeka‘a Stream is barely a trickle at this point it’s just a pleasing sound, an affirmation that we have had sufficient rain.

little waterfall
Little Waterfall

A bridge joins Kuilau and Moalepe trails if you want to hike further (about 2.75 miles). The signs are somewhat misleading, and if you zoom in you’ll see that someone has scratched through the line “1.25 MILES TO PARKING AREA” because the other side of this sign lists 1.75 miles as the distance to Keahua Arboretum, which is only a quarter mile from the Kuilau trailhead.

End of Kuilau Trail

According to the Division of Land & Natual Resources website, Kuilau Trail is 2.1 miles long. So, allow at least three hours, more if you plan to take photographs and even more if you want to stop for a picnic lunch; pack at least a liter of water, and as always, sunscreen and mosquito repellant.

Finally, here’s a long view from the trail looking down the Opaeka‘a valley to Wailua (‘two waters’) along Kauai’s east side, somewhat obscured by dense clouds earlier in the day.

Wailua Water Gap

This Week’s Menu: Macaroni & Cheese, Please

Creamy macaroni & cheese (photo from the NY Times)
Creamy macaroni & cheese (photo from the NY Times)

Election night has always been a big deal at our house. We settle ourselves around the TV to watch the returns, and serve finger foods to nosh on while we watch the returns come in.

In a change from tradition, YaYu has asked for fried chicken from Pono Market in Kapaa (the best fried chicken ever, according to her) along with macaroni and cheese for our election night meal this year. OK! Because of the time difference, election returns from the east coast will start becoming available here in early afternoon, but since YaYu will again be serving as a poll worker, she wants a more traditional meal when she finishes in the evening.

I have been wanting to try out some new mac & cheese recipes for a while, so this week I’m going to fix a simple recipe from the New York Times for a creamy macaroni & cheese that’s baked in the oven, and next week I’m trying one that’s prepared in the slow cooker. Whichever one ‘wins’ YaYu’s approval will be prepared again on election night.

Of course this means that for the next three weeks macaroni and cheese will be appearing on the menu here at Casa Aloha. I’m not sure I’m ready to indulge in something with that much dairy, but hopefully I can manage a small amount.

YaYu’s cross country season has ended, and since Friday night spaghetti dinners (for the swim team) won’t start again until after the first of the year, I’ll have to put something on the menu again for that night. We’ll stick with having leftovers on Saturday – I like finishing things up and that no one has to cook!

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Spaghetti with marinara sauce; grilled Italian sausages (vegan for me);  grilled zucchini; garlic bread
  • Wednesday: Grilled steak; baked potatoes; sautéed Swiss chard (no steak for me)
  • Thursday: Tofu & broccoli in spicy peanut sauce; steamed rice
  • Friday: Creamy macaroni & cheese; salad
  • Saturday: leftovers
  • Sunday: Panzanella with beans
  • Monday: Grilled ahi tuna; couscous; grilled zucchini

We plan to buy a bag of broccoli florets at Costco today, which will last us two to three meals. We’ll get Swiss chard, zucchini (YaYu’s favorite vegetable), cucumbers, a green pepper, and carrots at the farmers’ market this week, as well as more limes and bananas, but otherwise we’ll see what catches our eye and looks good (and is affordable). Brett is still doing the majority of cooking, but I’m pitching in more and more as I feel better.

How Do You Like Your View?

Kaua’i offers basically two choices for ocean views:

Long distance views from up high and/or far away


Shore views, with breaking waves

Both are beautiful and breathtaking.

The office where I’ve been going for physical therapy has a view of the ocean out their big front windows. While the therapist works I watch waves break out on a reef in the distance, and then roll gently into the shore, which is just across the road from the office building. The color of the ocean transitions from deep blue to a lighter sea green and finally to a clear turquoise as the ocean gets near to the shore, where the waves break white.

Watching the waves the other day, I realized that I could never tire of seeing them. I love to watch them come in, whether at the beach, or crashing up against a cliff or onto a rocky shore. I marvel here at how the color changes as the ocean approaches the shore. Most of all though I enjoy the ever-changing movement, the constant reminder of the ocean’s power. The waves seem to be always sending a message: Respect me. It’s a fool who thinks they can do battle with the ocean and win.

The long distant views provide a calmer image, and gazing out at the horizon always makes me think about what lies beyond. My father, who served 24 years in the navy, greatly preferred this view. He didn’t care to see rocks or a beach, just long stretches of calm, blue water out to the horizon. While I agree the distant view is a very soothing one, I know that I would eventually grow bored with it and take the view for granted.

The ocean's different shades of blue
The ocean’s many shades of blue

I have pondered this for several days now, trying to come up with a deeper metaphor for the reason why some prefer watching the waves instead of the long distant view, something about choosing turbulence and change over calm and placid. I finally realized though there really isn’t any great metaphor. We like what we like, and for our own reasons.

The odds of us living in a house here with either a close-up or long-distant view of the ocean are extremely slim to nothing. Ocean views here typically cost a lot of money, especially the ones where you’re close enough to watch the waves. For now, I’ll stick with the gorgeous view we get every time we head down the hill into town: first a distant look out at the ocean, followed by a spectacular view of the waves breaking on the reef and then rolling into shore when we reach the bottom of the hill.

After more than two years on this island, the ocean and the waves still take my breath away every time I see them, and thrill me to the bottom of my soul. I can’t ask for more.

Sunday Afternoon 10/16/2016

Lunch at Duane's Ono Char-Burger!
Lunch at Duane’s Ono Char-Burger!

Do I feel better after some time off? Yes and no – this injury has been the most stubborn thing I can remember dealing with for a long, long time. The physical therapy is making a difference, as is all the rest I’ve been getting, but I still can’t be up and around for too long. Enough whining though. I’m in much, much better condition than I was a few weeks ago and getting better every week.

I guess I’m now ‘officially’ a Kaua’i resident because I got called for jury duty! I got my summons this past week, and will report in early November to the county courthouse in Lihue. I may be one of those rare persons who doesn’t mind jury duty, and besides voting see it as one of the most important functions a citizen of this country can perform. One nice thing about jury duty here is that if you already have travel plans made, you can show your itinerary and be rescheduled. That didn’t happen back in Portland.

The tickets for our March trip to Japan have been purchased! We found a great fare and great schedule out of Honolulu on Delta, and the plane is a 747, which means that it will be a comfortable flight, even in economy. Yeah! We already have our Tokyo hotel reservations, so now all that’s left to do is book our round-trip transportation between Narita airport and Tokyo, an approximately two-hour trip each way by express train. Meiling’s and WenYu’s travel plans for winter break have also been finalized, including their RT flights from Honolulu to Kaua’i. I’m already so excited about them being home, although they’ll only overlap for a week because their respective school schedules are so different. We had planned to “pay” for their flights with the miles we’ve accumulated with Hawaiian Airlines, but for Meiling’s flight from Portland the miles required for a seat in coach were more than would be needed for a first class seat, and there were no award flights available at all for WenYu. We ended up purchasing flights for them in and out of Honolulu, and then used our mileage awards for the Honolulu-Kaua’i portion of the trip. We’ve discovered that this may be the best way to use our miles – to get back and forth between here and Honolulu at no cost. Using Honolulu as the main point arrival/departure opens up a whole lot more affordable flight options than booking a round trip from Lihue.

Othewise, this Sunday afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I confess to getting little to no reading done at all this week. I pick up the Kindle and a few words in and I’m fast asleep. I’ve got another week to go of my download of The Secret Place, so am going to make a real effort this week to get it finished before the library takes it back.
  • Listening to: It’s so quiet – I can hear a few neighbors talking outside and the word ‘Halloween’ floated through the air. Otherwise even the chickens are quiet this morning. It’s cool, so I’m a bit surprised no one is out working in their yard.
  • Watching: We finished all the available episodes of The Mysteries of Laura, but learned the series wasn’t renewed. Several other series we like, like Midsomer Murders, has new episodes available so we’ll catch up on those (although we cannot figure out how there’s anyone still alive in Midsomer County, especially since there are at least two murders per episode). We’re also going to check out Longmire.
  • Cooking/baking: There’s a pork roast in the slow cooker right now, getting itself ready to be turned into barbecued pulled pork for sandwiches tonight. I discovered some vegan barbecued ‘pork’ sandwiches by Gardein at Safeway last month that are actually very tasty, so I’ll be having one of those. I’m making coleslaw to go with our sandwiches. YaYu baked a triple chocolate bundt cake yesterday so we’re good for sweets for a while.

    Triple chocolate bundt cake
    Triple chocolate fudge bundt cake
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I really don’t feel like I did much of anything at all, so I guess the fact that I rested as much as I did will have to count as my main “accomplishment.” I did a bit more online Christmas shopping and now have WenYu’s gift done and part of YaYu’s (at no cost, thanks to Swagbucks!). Meiling’s present is proving to be a bit trickier to find than I imagined but I’ve got plenty of time yet.
  • Looking forward to next week: I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow – yeah! I can go a few weeks after a cut and everything is fine, and then wake up one morning and think “what the heck happened to my hair?” because overnight it seems to have grown another couple of inches. Brett and I will do about half of our monthly Costco shop on Tuesday, a good thing as we’re running very low on some things, and then do some more next week when a few items go on sale. We’re both hoping the Japanese cakes (imagawayaki and dorayaki) that have been available for Christmas the past two years will have arrived – we love them and are looking forward to stocking up again.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu cleaned the two large sets of blinds in both her bedroom and ours this past week. They were in need of being cleaned back in August, but I’ve been unable to do it so YaYu finally stepped in. She did a fantastic job, so we took her out for lunch on Friday, and will add some $$ to her bank account as well for her efforts (yes, it was that big of a job). FAFSAs for both of our college girls were officially submitted (finally – it took both of them la while to get things back to Brett), and Brett also finished the CSS form for WenYu’s financial aid. It is such a relief to have all of that done! We had no food waste this last week, and put $8.75 in the change/$1 bill jar.
  • Thankful for: I’m a very fortunate woman. We have enough income that neither Brett nor I have to work, so have the time to let my back heal. We have excellent, and very affordable, health insurance to cover the expenses I’m incurring because of my injury. And, I have a loving husband and child who care for me every day, and have picked up my chores to make sure I get the rest I need so that I can get well.
  • Bonus question: Have you ever served on a jury? I’ve been called for jury duty several times, but was only selected once (so far). I still count serving on that jury as one of the most interesting experiences in my life. The defendant had been arrested for selling drugs, and came to trial with four counts against him; two were for selling within a school boundary zone. After hearing all the evidence, and deliberating for several hours (during which we were given a very nice lunch and snacks), we decided that while the defendant had definitely been selling drugs and was guilty of those two counts, he had been entrapped by the police into selling within the school boundary and we acquitted on both those counts. The police were surprisingly bad witnesses, and their attempts at entrapment fairly transparent. I was also summoned once to potentially serve on a special jury but the trial was cancelled when the defendant pleaded guilty before he came to trial. A co-worker, whose husband was a judge (not for that trial though), told me later that I should consider myself lucky that there was no trial. I knew a bit about the murder as it had been covered in the news, but she said it had been more brutal than most anyone knew and would have been a very difficult trial to sit through.

That’s what’s been going on this week at Casa Aloha. How was your week? What good things happened for you? What did you accomplish? What are you looking forward to?

Fall Break

A Rainbow Shower tree: Hawaii's attempt at fall color
A rainbow shower tree: Hawaii’s attempt at fall color

YaYu is off from school this week for fall break, and I’ve decided to take the week off from blogging as well. I’m working on several posts, but to be honest it’s difficult writing when I’m lying on my back, and I can only sit up for a short time so that doesn’t work very well either. I feel like I need some time off.

Don’t go away – I’ll be back next Sunday afternoon!

Sunday Afternoon 10/9/2016

14550939_10153914687603091_2023206091_oWe’re grandparents again!

Our new granddaughter arrived last Wednesday, a wonderful surprise as we weren’t expecting her until later in the month. She’s a dainty little thing, but absolutely beautiful. Her English middle name is my mother’s name – I started crying when I saw they had chosen it. We love the first name they picked too – very Japanese and very American as well – but we never would have guessed it in a million years. Our grandson is completely smitten with his baby sister – the picture of him meeting her for the first time is maybe my favorite. He’s going to be a fantastic big brother!

Maybe my favorite picture: our grandson meets his little sister for the first time
Maybe my favorite picture: our grandson meets his little sister for the first time

Other than the thrill of receiving that wonderful news, and lots of pictures as well, it’s been a very quiet, uneventful week here at Casa Aloha. I’m getting plenty of rest, which will continue, but as I wrote on Friday I now know what I’m dealing with when it comes to my back. Brett will be handling the farmers’ market trips on his own for the next couple of weeks, and will continue with kitchen and other household chores while I work at getting better.

YaYu finished up her cross country season yesterday morning. Her team took first place on the island and a few of her teammates will be going to the State Finals on the Big Island (not YaYu – she’s a middle of the pack runner). She has this next week off for fall break, but then kicks right back into things. Practice for the swim team ‘officially’ starts in December, but they’re already scheduled to be back in the pool right after they get back from the break. YaYu is dreading it – she’s a good swimmer and likes to swim, but the season is exhausting.

Otherwise, this afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I didn’t get much reading done at all this week, so I’m still working my way through Between You and Me. I have three days to get it done before the download gets cancelled, so I’ll be having some marathon reading sessions in the next couple of days.
  • Listening to: The roosters were so loud this morning. I swear one was screaming its head off right under my bedroom window! But, they’ve pretty much quieted down in the last hour, thank goodness. It’s a gorgeous day, so people are out mowing and trimming their lawns, and Brett’s bustling around in the kitchen.
  • Watching: Brett and I finished Penny Dreadful on Thursday evening. The ending was OK, and the story was resolved, but I just didn’t want it to end because the show was so well done (gruesome, but well done). Tonight I’m watching more of The Mysteries of Laura with YaYu. Brett will watch the debate live this afternoon but I like to follow them online (via live-blogging and Twitter).
  • Cooking/baking: I’m going to mix up a pan of brownies for Brett and YaYu later this afternoon – I think I can stand long enough to manage it – but Brett is in charge of dinner once again. He’s making the seafood enchiladas that were originally planned for Thursday because our schedule got mixed up that evening and so we had the mango-mustard tofu instead because it took less time to prepare.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I got started on my Christmas shopping this week and ordered two things for WenYu. I had an Amazon gift card from Swagbucks for one item, and the other item went on sale, 20% off, so I went ahead and bought it now. I also got our granddaughter’s baby gift ordered. I found a great fare for Meiling’s trip home at Christmas, so all that’s left now is to get the tickets for our Tokyo visit next March. Prices continue to be a little higher than we want to pay but predictors keeps saying the price is going to drop so I’m hanging on.
  • Looking forward to next week: I’m actually looking forward to next week’s PT sessions – I felt much better after the second session this past week, and love being able to look out at the ocean while the therapist works. I’m of course excited about receiving more photos and news of our sweet little granddaughter. Once again, I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to get our tickets for our March trip to Tokyo next week.

    My new specs
    My new specs
  • Thinking of good things that happened: There’s nothing that tops the arrival of our new granddaughter, but I did get my new glasses this past Tuesday, and they’re great, especially the bigger lenses. My toughest critics, the girls, all approve of their mom’s new look🙂. I’m super happy about the airfare I found for Meiling’s flight – $170 less than we paid last year. Once again we had no food waste this past week, and we put $8.42 in the change/$1 bill jar.
  • Grateful for: I’m so thankful for all Brett’s doing for me these days. He is very strict with me about resting, and not overdoing things – he says he doesn’t want to have to keep doing everything forever. I know it all was a bit overwhelming for him at the beginning, but he’s getting the rhythm of housekeeping and cooking down, and has kept up with the bigger housekeeping chores as well.
  • Bonus question: Speaking of chores, which is your least favorite? What chores don’t you mind? Without hesitation, my least favorite chore is dusting. It always seems so hopeless every time I do it because dust is probably the fastest thing to reappear. I’d rather clean toilets than dust. Otherwise, chores don’t bother me all that much. Sweeping is kind of in the middle – don’t love it, but don’t hate it either. Same for doing the laundry, and making the bed. Washing dishes might be my ‘favorite’ chore – it goes fairly quickly, and is a nice time for quiet contemplation. The only time washing the dishes gets onerous is after a big dinner for the family – so many pots and pans to scrub. But, for just the three of us it takes very little time.

Here’s wishing all of you are having a great weekend, and a lovely Sunday afternoon!