Search This Blog

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good-Bye 2016!

Aloha Everyone,

My sincere gratitude to our wonderful family and special friends who helped us make 2016 a year full of adventure and cherished memories.  

We concluded the year by attending our grandnephew's birthday party who was born on New Year's Eve 11 years ago. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 30, 2016

Pleasure Quotes

Aloha Everyone,

"Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures."
-- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Tranquil pleasures last the longest; we are not fitted to bear the burden of great joys."  
-- Christian Nestell Bovee

"Make treating yourself a priority and always remember  your life is happening now. Don't put off all your dreams and pleasures to another day. In any balanced personal definition of success there has to be a powerful element of living life in the present."
--Mireille Guiliano

"Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don't collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don't really mean anything. "
-- Norman Lear

"In the hierarchy of public lands, national parks by law have been above the rest: America's most special places, where natural beauty and all its attendant pleasures - quiet waters, the scents of fir and balsam, the hoot of an owl, and the dark of a night sky unsullied by city lights - are sacrosanct. "
-- Michael Shnayerson

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cousins from Australia and California Population Data

Aloha Everyone,

This morning, JJ and I met his cousin "Gadu" (Edwardo) and his wife, "Ding" (Andrea), who are visiting from Australia. It has been nearly 2 1/2 years since we met them the last time. They've lived in Australia for 35 years and have raised their family and are now enjoying retirement. Ding stated that she likes the diversity, multicultural yet inclusive lifestyle of Australia. Gadu also described many opportunities to do RVing in the vast and wide continent. J.J. and I accepted their invitation to visit in the near future.

According to data released by the Department of Finance, California added nearly 350,000 people over a one-year period from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015. California is the nation's most populous state and the total population is just under 39.1 million.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Niké's Portfolio of Etchings

Aloha Everyone,

Niké is one of our dearest and longest friends.Our friendship traces its origin to the Argao Beach Resort where her daughter and our sons befriended each other. We spent about a week at this private vacation destination. The three pre-school aged children became inseparable playmates eventually luring the parents to share our meal times together.

Niké, among many of her amazing accomplishments, is an extremely talented, internationally renowned artist. With Niké's permission, it is my pleasure to share with you a small selection from her portfolio of etchings. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Interesting People and Foods

Aloha Everyone,

We met Pepe and his wife Cherry at one of J.J.'s cousins' family gathering on Christmas morning. Travel became our topic of conversation. He is retired. When he learned that JJ and I are "South Dakotans"  Pepe expressed his desire to see the Dakotas. Next year, the couple are going to Spain and Portugal after visiting Singapore, Thailand and Philippines.

My Mother loves to snack on kettle corn. This morning J.J. and I made a point to stop by and purchase a bag from Robert and Raquel at the Farmers Market. When I asked Robert, who was stirring wonderful aromatic kettle corns, what is the secret of great tasting kettle corn, he mischievously smiled and said, "the secret is not to share the secret!" Robert quickly added, "good equipments and good organic corn kernel." 

Today we found a French bakery selling tasty quiche as well as a Greek vendor with a wide variety of humus and olives. My lunch was a fabulous vegan.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, December 26, 2016

Learning a Word a Day

Aloha Everyone,
Medical researchers recommend learning something new each day is good for your brain. J.J. and I employ an easy, painless way for us to learn something new everyday. It's free app for iPhone and called Word of the Day!
The daily word is shown with pronunciation guide, parts of speech, meaning as well as its use in a sentence. If you are already familiar with the word, you swipe the screen and get an alternate one.
For example, today's word is:
Abscond. Alternates are Slugabed and Irascible.
While reading books and online articles are excellent ways to improve and expand one's vocabulary, this direct approach is another terrific way to learn and keep your brain in tiptop shape.
Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Torrance Farmers Market Revisited

Aloha Everyone,

This morning, J.J. and I went to the farmers market looking for some interesting Christmas treats. Instead of Christmas ornaments or delicacies, we met some interesting participants.

Colin was manning a booth promoting a vegan lifestyle. Originally from London, England he was a long-time resident of California, but now lives in Thailand. The business card he handed us says that he is a Detox Specialist.  While I am not a pure vegan nor vegetarian, I definitely lean towards eating 80% veggies.  

Rick caught my eyes as I saw him hard at work. The booth belongs to Gary's Knife Sharpening Service.and Rick has been sharpening knives for 3 years. I asked him what qualities are essential to be a good knife sharpener.  His response was "skill and concentration."

We purchased our lunch from "Mana's Products." Individual items were sold for $5 each, but they bundled any three for $12. Out choice of pita bread, Kalamata olives and humus were superb treats.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 23, 2016

Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D.

Aloha Everyone,

If you have not yet read the book, "Younger Next Year" by
Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. this might be a good time to treat yourself to a copy.

There is no secret ingredients, just good, sensible guides. Here are the first two of the 7 rules to stop aging:

  1. Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.

  1. Do serious aerobic exercise for four days a week for the rest of your life.

No. It would not stop our aging process, but doing these exercises would surely slow down our aging process and definitely we will have more fun.


Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Whole Planet Foundation

Aloha Everyone,

After reading my blog on California's ban on single-use plastic bags, my friend Judy decided to send me a reusable bag in the mail. It arrived today.

The bag is made from 50% post consumer bottles. It is ultra-thin and as you can see collapses into a small packet, but it can carry up to 20 pounds. It is also washable and maybe used up to 100 times!

Judy told me that she found the bags at Whole Foods Market which established the Whole Planet Foundation. It is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to alleviate poverty in 69 countries, including the United States. 

Thank you Judy for your very thoughtful and useful gift. I will be sure to attach it to my shoulder bag along with my reading glasses, sunglasses and selfie stick bag!

To read more about the organization go to:

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Maria's Kusina, Filipino Restaurant

Aloha Everyone,

A wonderful treat waited for us after J.J. drove Honu through a pouring rain and heavy holiday lunch time traffic. The restaurant where J.J.'s Cousin Nonny and his wife, Moira invited us was Maria's Kusina, a Filipino Restaurant located in Buena Park. One of the owners, Mila is a sister of Nonny which means another J.J.'s many first cousins.

J.J.'s maternal grandmother, Lola Nena Albert, was a fabulous cook. A number of J.J.'s cousins and their children, like Vicktor, are continuing the family tradition. Mila, I recall, always was a terrific cook but for her to move on from teaching mathematics in high school and college to running of a restaurant must be an interesting personal story.  

Nonny and Moira's suggestions of Bangus Sisig, tofu sisig, Pangsit Bihon, garlic fried rice and Mila's special, leche flan (rich egg and milk dessert not on the menu) were all delicious!

Mila mentioned that at Maria's Kusina, all their food are cook to order. On weekends, the place gets packed with their regular clientele. We have a reason for return visits as the menu is quite extensive and sounds appetizing. Here is the website of Maria's Kusina.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Vincent Van Gogh's Ear

Aloha Everyone,
J.J. and I watched an intriguing, educational documentary based on writer Bernadette Murphy's new book Van Gogh's Ear: The True Story. Murphy spent 7 years immersed in conducting exhaustive research based on scattered hints and long overlooked evidence. She then came up with a bold and believable hypothesis on what really happened on December 23,1888.
1). Why did Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear 
2). Was it just an earlobe or the entire ear
3). To whom and why did Van Gogh present his severed ear?
When I was a student, Van Gogh was one of my favorite artists. I was drawn into his dynamic, unconventional approach to painting ordinary subjects. With his brush strokes, he made the starry night sky and stars become animated as if they were living beings. Sunflowers were no longer beautiful yellow flowers, but they were alive with souls.

This program presented under the umbrella of "Mystery of the Dead" kept J.J. and me on our toes. We were walking down the dark streets of Arles with Bernadette Murphy seeking for answers. Read more at
Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rock Cornish Hen Dinner

Aloha Everyone,

One of many things in which J.J. enjoys and excels is cooking. While he can whip up pretty impressive meals using one wok and a pot in Honu, J.J. loves the chance to prepare meals in a real kitchen.  

Tonight, he cooked Rock Cornish or Cornish hen. It is a hybrid chicken, typically small and commands a higher price per pound. Cornish hens are sold as whole and usually cooked and served as whole or half.

Sometime ago, I developed an aversion to the smell of cooked chicken and had to refrain from eating them. Whether due to J.J.'s skill in cooking and or the quality of the bird, I had no problem enjoying our meal. My Mother and I were full of praises for the chef and asked him what can we look forward to tomorrow night.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, December 18, 2016

California's Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags

Aloha Everyone,

My Mother started to set aside extra plastic bags from grocery stores in a preparation for the ban that was to happen. The bags are neatly folded 4 times into triangles. They actually look like a work of art.

Each time we return to California, J.J. and I have been finding that it is rare to find grocery stores giving free plastic bags. At the checkout stand, we are asked if we would like a plastic or a paper bag. That means there will be a minimum charge of 10 cents for either.

California is the first in the nation to effect statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The restrictions apply to food retailers, supermarkets and liquor stores. However the ban does not apply to restaurants or department stores.

The objective of this voter approved Proposition 67 is to encourage shoppers to carry their own reusable bags. I am trying to remind myself  to pack one or two cloth bags in my shoulder bag to comply with this ban which so far is limited to California.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Shopping Data

Aloha Everyone,

Here are some interesting data on Christmas shopping:

1). The busiest shopping day of the year is the Saturday before Christmas.  

2). The average American spends about $786 on holiday shopping.

3). The average holiday shopper will spend $107.50 on themselves.

4). December 15-24 is the height of the holiday shopping season accounting for 40% of holiday sales.

5). Approximately 42% of US consumers use Amazon as their primary gift buying destination.  

6). Based on psychological testings, color red stimulates spending. Retailers purposely use red on their advertising and point of purchase displays. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 16, 2016

From Sunny Arizona back to Rainy California

Aloha Everyone

Checking the online weather forecast, J.J. and I were prepared for a rainy day drive. However the morning light was incredibly bright and beautiful. The sun was out and birds were singing. Therefore even after my phone conversation with my Mother followed by 3 text messages from our family, J.J. and I shrugged our shoulders and said "Maybe we will avoid the rain!"

About 2/5 of the way, as we approached the Morongo Indian Casino, it began to rain. Not a shower but heavy downpour along with gusty winds. J.J. decided to load diesel and we also stopped for lunch at a Panda Express restaurant.

By the time we were on I-605, the sun had re-emerged. The Friday afternoon holiday traffic was heavy.  

We have arrived safely back at my Mother's house. The two of us are very happy to see her and gaining an hour to boot.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Aloha Everyone,

We woke up to another beautiful day. After 1/2 hour of yoga practice, J.J. and I went walking taking a large loop around the neighborhood.  

A private tree trimming service truck was parked along the road cutting branches off several trees bearing golden colored fruits. I learned from one of the workers that they were called Chinaberries.  

Woods of Chinaberries are mainly used for timber. Seeds are hard and used to be fashioned for rosaries. Cut branches maybe utilized for holiday decorations. While some birds including hummingbirds like the fruits, it is poisonous to humans and if consumed in a large quantity, they can be fatal. In some cultures, dried leaves of Chinaberries are used to store fruits and vegetables to prevent insects and vermin from eating them.

Aloha -- Cathi