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?

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12 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 10/16/2016

  1. Hawaii Planner says:

    Yeah for your flights getting booked, both for the girls, and for your trip to Japan. How much is the express train between Narita & Tokyo? I usually take the “limo bus” (it’s really just a bus, not sure about the “limo” part), on the way in, and then take the red eye out of Haneda on the way home. Haneda is actually lovely, if there are ever good options for you to Honolulu. I much prefer Haneda to Narita, as it’s quieter & easier to get in & out of.

    And, the cake looks lovely! I’ve cooked a lot this weekend, and it’s raining here, so I’m hoping to make soup with goat cheese crostini (and beets for me) for dinner. Yum! Hope your back feels better, and that you are fully on the mend asap!

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    • Laura says:

      I prefer Haneda as well because it’s only around 40 minutes from where our hotel is and where our son lives (very close to Roppongi). But, flights from Honolulu to Haneda are more expensive, and arrive too late – we have to be checked into our hotel by 10:00 pm or lose the entire reservation, so want to be on the ground no later than 4:00 or 5:00 pm, which means Narita. The NEX express train is only $40 round-trip into Tokyo which is very affordable, and the train is clean and comfortable; I think that cost may be less than the limo bus (which we have used before). We’re very, very happy with the fares we got; they leave enough wiggle room in the budget that we can upgrade to premium economy if we want and if seats are available, but 747 economy seating is quite comfortable compared to other aircraft. The flight also gets very good reviews for comfort, safety and service (9.3 out of 10).

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      • Hawaii Planner says:

        Your son is so close to the office bldg where I work when I’m in Tokyo! We usually stay at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo (Roppongi Hills), as it’s attached. But, totally makes sense on the hotel reservation. What are you looking for in a hotel? Have you looked into options with credit card companies & options with chains, or are you looking for a smaller, more local experience? I’ve never had status at a hotel, but recently won status at a work auction & now feel like it’s a huge travel advantage (depending on the chain, free breakfast, lunch, appetizers/drinks & a light dinner buffet) in the club lounge. May be worth checking into, depending on how many meals you prefer to eat out, etc.

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      • Laura says:

        My son lives about a 12-15 minute walk away from the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi!

        We are staying at the New Sanno Hotel this time, run by the navy for active duty and retired military. It’s extremely inexpensive, but 5-star quality. The only downside is that Brett (the servicemember) has to be staying there in order to get a room, so when I go without him I have to stay elsewhere. Last time we stayed in an airBNB rental right across the street from the Roppongi Corner/Mori Building, and it was very convenient and comfortable, and at another in Kyoto. I would use them again. Brett and I have also stayed in Japanese business hotels – they’re generally smaller and less fancy, but cost less than a “name brand” hotel like the Hyatt, and are clean with good service. After all the time we’ve spent in Japan we know how to eat cheaply but well in Tokyo too so that helps cut down on costs! One of my favorite things about going to Japan is getting out and about to eat!

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  2. anexactinglife says:

    The Bundt cake looks delicious and I like the sound of the Japanese snack cakes, too (I love anything filled with red bean paste!) I received jury duty notice once but was given a deferral because I had an urgent work project due. I could be called up again at any time but that was 3 years ago and my name hasn’t come up since. Your experience sounded both fascinating and infuriating. You did well to stand your ground and to be in agreement with each other.

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    • Laura says:

      The jury I served on only required a majority to convict. Of the twelve of us, all voted to acquit on the two charges of selling within a school boundary because of the entrapment, but only ten voted to convict on the drug-selling charge. Two of the jurors refused to convict on those charges because they felt the police’s actions/testimony tainted everything.

      Red bean paste (anko) was an acquired taste for me – I didn’t like it at first, but now love it. One of my favorite Japanese snacks is daifuku, a mochi ball filled with red bean paste. Yum!

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  3. Natalie says:

    Hi Laura…I recently followed your blog. I enjoy reading your updates and have similar interest for travel. I’ve been to Japan before, love it! Also been to Hawaii visited all the islands, except Kauai. It’s on my list. My week was quite good. I was able to meet my weekly fitness targets, and started my new blog. I’m posting approximately weekly at the moment, still learning to use Blogger 🙂 If you have time, please visit https://natalietheexplorer.blogspot.ca/ I look forward to writing about another local discovery walk next week.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks you so much for being a follower! Hopefully some of our Kaua’i posts will give you some ideas of things to see and do when you do eventually make it here. And, of course let me know when you do come – I love meeting my readers.

      I will definitely check out your blog – I love to read about travel and others’ experiences because I always learn something.

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  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life says:

    I’ve never yet served on a jury though I’ve been summoned many times. They just never needed me, I guess.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your Japan travels – that’s on our list of places we’d love to get to know but we haven’t been able to make time for it yet with all the required travel to see family on the West Coast. I’m using this time until we can go to take lots of notes from experienced travelers such as yourself 🙂

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  5. Vivian Gibson says:

    I’ve been called for jury duty 17 times and have served on 9 juries, both civil and criminal. I think I have done my civic duty and then some, especially when I hear from people who have never been called. Since I informed the last judge of that fact, I have not been called so I don’t know if they did something to remove my name from the selection process or if I just got lucky. (knock on wood)
    Glad to hear that you are doing better.

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    • Laura says:

      I know it was probably a pain to serve so many times, but thank you. As I said, I think it’s one of the most important things we can do as a citizen of this country. There was a man that I served with that had been called for jury duty just about as much as you have. He said he had no idea why as selection is supposedly random, but his name just kept popping up AND he was often selected for a jury. I have to say I’m glad I was never selected to serve on a grand jury, although it would be interesting – that jury duty required either six months or a whole year’s worth of service (every Friday).

      One day when I was called another prospective juror was a former judge (he had retired). He had been called, and showed up, but I saw someone go over to him at one point and tell him it had been a mistake. I thought it was cool that he had come rather than call and try to get out of it.

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      • Vivian Gibson says:

        I served with a young lady who had been on grand jury duty for a month. She had to drive to Tampa 5 days a week to serve. Then she got called for jury duty with the county and was picked again for a trial. Too much.

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