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Monday, July 31, 2017

Bucket List

Aloha Everyone,

We all have our bucket list. Things we would like to do when we have more free time, more money, better health. Whatever your bucket list might be, get started on them now. Don't give excuses to delay. Our motto is if you can do it now, don't hold off until tomorrow. If you do not have the time, make the time. If you do not have sufficient funds, scale your activity down.

Whether it is purchasing a new house, new car, dream vacation, adjust your expectations until you can achieve it within your budget.

Some people think that two of us must be wealthy. Not really. We have given up a permanent home. We have given up a car. Both of these are now rolled up in one as Honu.  

We've always enjoyed traveling. Naturally, our bucket list heavily leans towards going somewhere. Travels stimulate our brains and energize our psyche.

Spain is one of the top European destinations on our bucket list. When J.J. and I are ready to travel to Spain, we will be more prepared after finishing Rick Steves' Best of Spain. I am eagerly pouring over the pages, re-familiarizing ourselves with this glorious country. The country known for its massive cathedrals, Moorish palaces, world-class art, sumptuous national dishes. The country that is rich with history and culture. And the country where J.J. traces a part of his root and where he lived early days of his life.


Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reflection

Aloha Everyone,

A message in my inbox said, "Thank you for writing.  Every week or so I read and enjoy your travelogue."    

This from a friend in Honolulu. It was unintended on his part, but made a me realize that I have been rather selfish. I was too focused on waiting to write about some unusual event, fascinating sights and sounds, extraordinary meals or meeting unforgettable people. What I lost sight was for me to just write. To share both extraordinary and ordinary days of our lives. I should regard this time of non-RV adventure period as my chance to improve my writing, to make it worth while for our friends to stay connected with us.

So my apologies for those of you wonderful people who are regular readers of our blog. I will approach these ordinary days more philosophically, never take it for granted those spontaneous hugs from J.J., routine activities of preparing meals, doing dishes, laundry, trips to the post office, bank and to supermarkets.

I shall count my blessings and treasure these ordinary days. I shall say my gratitude to each sunrise. I shall revel in one hour brisk walk before breakfast, sharing meals and reflective times with my Mother, sitting on the sunlit porch with a good book. I shall focus on my good fortune of being able to practice backyard yoga and say "thanks!" to these ordinary days.



"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. " --William Arthur Ward

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Flat Granddaughter 2017-2018 Edition

Aloha Everyone,

She stands shy of 7 inches and weighs about one ounce. In preparation of the next phase of our adventure, I fashioned our Flat Granddaughter 2017-2018 edition.


Our granddaughter is currently wrapping up her Hawaiian cruise accompanied by her mother and her maternal grandparents. We are looking forward to our next get together and hear all about her experiences and impressions of islands as the ship approaches from the sea.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 22, 2017

McDonald's

Aloha Everyone,

The first McDonald's hamburger franchise, using the arches logo, opened in Phoenix, AZ in 1953.  

In 1955, Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent and subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers.


Today, McDonald's is the world's largest restaurant chain located in 120 countries. There are approximately 36,900 outlets that serve about 68 million customers daily.

McDonald's have modified menu to address clients' preferences based on the restaurant's location. For example, McDonald's in Hawaii serves Spam, egg and rice as one of their popular Hawaiian menu items. In Germany, Austria and France, McDonald's serve beer. One of my friends who recently returned from her first trip to Japan was raving about prawn and macaroni croquette burger, squid ink burger and the McChocolate french fries.

J.J. and I infrequently stop at McDonald's for a cup of coffee. Our main objective is to access free WiFi.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 21, 2017

Honu is in a Repair Shop

Aloha Everyone,

Sunrise RV Repair located in the city of Hawthorne is where we chose to have Honu's repairs done. J.J. and I prepared a list of items to be attended to starting with 3 items on our priority list and about 10 on our secondary list.

Sunrise RV Repair had excellent online reviews. Satisfied customers stated Ralph, the owner, is "honest, very helpful, knowledgeable, great customer service at a great price."


It is a small mom and pop operation. We saw numerous motor homes crammed in a small lot where at least 3 mechanics in overall were busy attending to vehicles. It is very different from spotless Mercedes Benz shops where regular oil change cost $200 to $450. We are hopeful that in Ralph we found Honu's regular maintenance man.

There are two signs on Ralph's cluttered office entry door that gives insight to how Ralph runs his business: 


"For those who need to haggle, we will gladly raise the price so we can give you discount."

"Prices are subject to change according to customers' attitude."

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Backyard Yoga

Aloha Everyone,

I have practiced yoga in hospitals, yoga studios, library, recreational centers, mountains, parks, private homes, at beaches and even in a 400-years old palace in Italy. Strange it may seem but today was the first time I took my yoga mat and practiced in my Mother's backyard.

60 minutes practice using my hand written notes to guide me through 15 different kriya* was uplifting and so enjoyable that I intend to practice my "backyard yoga" at least every other day.

("In Kundalini Yoga a kriya is a series of postures, breath, and sound that work toward a specific outcome. Practicing a kriya initiates a sequence of physical and mental changes that affect the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously.")

Namaste

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cleaning and Reducing Honu's Load

Aloha Everyone,

On Friday, JJ and I have an appointment to take Honu to an RV repair shop. Our primary requirement is to restore on board AC and 110 electricity. If we are fortunate to find the right repair shop, J.J. has a list of items to repair or replace. Anticipating that potentially Honu might have to remain in the shop for a few days, we are removing items we normally carry with us.

It is incredible how much we have crammed in our little mobile home. The two of us thought that we have simplified and live rather minimalistic life.  But, the reality is that in the past 3 plus years, we have accumulated things we can certainly get rid of.

We purchased 6 cardboard boxes to temporarily "house" Honu's load. 5 of them are already halfway filled. J.J. and I made a commitment that we have no intention of storing any of these items more permanently in our outside storage locker.

I should be able to share with you our achievements when we resume our RV adventure in Honu with a reduced load.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Emoji or Emojis

Aloha Everyone,

The word emoji  means pictograph. Emoji originated from Japanese words "e" (η΅΅, "picture") +  moji  (ζ–‡ε­—, "character"). 
The first emoji was created in 1998 or 1999 in Japan by Shigetaka Kurita who was part of the team working on NTT DiCoMo's I-mode mobile internet platform.
Since international inclusion in Apple iPhone, then Android and other mobile operating systems, emoji have become popular worldwide.  

In total there are 2,666 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of May 2017.

The most popular emojis on Emojipedia in 2016 were:
  • πŸ˜‚ Face With Tears of Joy
  • ❤️ Red Heart
  • 😍 Smiling Face With Heart-Eyes
  • πŸ€” Thinking Face
  • 😊 Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes
  • πŸ”₯ Fire
  • 😘 Face Blowing a Kiss
  • πŸ™„ Face With Rolling Eyes
While I occasionally include emoji in my text messages, I am not convinced about watching The Emoji Movie on a big screen.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bikers

Aloha Everyone,

Biking, also known as cycling, is a popular sport. For some people, bikes have replaced cars as their daily means of transportation. In 2016, about 12.4% of Americans cycled on a regular basis. Between 2012 to 2014, this number has increased considerably.  In 2016, there were 66.5 million cyclists in the U.S.

The two of us often meet fellow RVers who are also cyclists. The bikes are transported either inside their RV or mounted on the rear. We once spoke with a couple who was traveling with 2 children. When they arrived at their destination, he told us that their bikes and rack were missing. He had no idea where he lost them. Hopefully their bikes did not cause any accidents.  

J.J. and I belong to AAA Premier and RV. Since May of this year, roadside assistance calls can be used for bicycles as well. We remain undecided whether or not to buy bicycles and a rack.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Back to Torrance in Record Time

Aloha Everyone,

Denny's in Gold Strike Hotel & Gambling Hall stays open 24 hours a day. Our complimentary breakfast of two large pancakes, bacon, 2 eggs plus coffee was too rich for my body. I ate scrambled egg white with a cup of coffee while J.J. ate his bacon and eggs, but only finished 1/4 of his pancakes.

Passing through Victorville located in the southwestern section of San Bernardino Valley, J.J. and I hope that the construction of the Cracker Barrel Country Store will be finished by next year. Victorville is a perfect rest stop for us. Estimated population of 122,000 plus, the Victorville store should do well.

Driving from Primm, rather than our usual starting point of KOA Sam's Town in North Las Vegas, saved us nearly 45 minutes. Light Sunday morning traffic with no accident on the road, we were back at my Mother's home in 4 hours.





Tonight J.J. prepared delicious snow crabs for dinner.  


Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Stopping in Primm, NV to Avoid the Noontime Heat

Aloha Everyone,

At 7:30 am, when J.J. and I left Saint George, Utah, the temperature was already 87 degrees. Our plan was to arrive at Primm around 10:30 am. We forgot to factor in the time change in NV.




Gold Strike Casino and Hotel is an older property. We requested for an upgraded room but since it was too early to check in, and preferred to get a room immediately, we settled for a standard room. The best part of the room is a powerful AC and free WiFi that works even though the outside temperature reached 108. It also has a good quality flat TV screen and they showed the Godfather Trilogy this afternoon.


Gold Strike Steak Restaurant was our venue for dinner. We shared fried calamari appetizer followed by for J.J., 16 ounces Porterhouse. I selected grilled salmon. The restaurant was about 40% filled when we left at 7:30pm. It was rather lamentable to note that 3 couples who sat near our table all had smart phone and those 6 individuals were busy using them. What happened to the dinner time conversation?





Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 14, 2017

Good Annual Check-ups

Aloha Everyone,

Our health maintenance check up went well. The two of us are good to continue our current lifestyle for now.


We first celebrated by having our favorite breakfast selections at the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Cracker Barrel's staff are well trained and we always receive excellent services.



Today our server was truly exceptional and outstanding. When I complimented her, she told me that she actually is a "4" star employee and waiting for the 4th and the last star to arrive. Peyton, originally from Portland, Oregon, told us that she is very excited to be returning to Portland to work for a new Cracker Barrel at her home town. Speaking with the manager, a new store will be also be opening in Victorville, CA.


For dinner, we went back to Honolulu Grill.  J.J. for Saimin and me for Mahi-Mahi to celebrate our continuing good health. 


Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 13, 2017

James A. Michener's Novel, Centennial

Aloha Everyone,

It is scorching in Saint George, Utah. Morning low of 75 to high of 108 degrees Fahrenheit is keeping J.J. and me indoors. Today in preparation for our routine procedures at the Utah Gastroenterology tomorrow morning, the two of us adhered to the prescribed liquid diet.

For a change of atmosphere, we went to the public library located in the St George Historic District. While J.J. spent his time exploring books on our future overseas long-stay destinations, I started on a novel by James A. Michener.



The story traces the history of the plains of northeast Colorado beginning with prehistory until the early 1970s. Coincidentally, J.J. and I have driven this area and are very familiar with Greeley where much of the book was based. Since the novel was written, Centennial was incorporated. But visitors might be disappointed as the actual town of Centennial has very little similarity to the fictional town.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Honu Falls Victim to Excessive Heat; Red Lion Hotel

Aloha Everyone,

At KOA Las Vegas, to mitigate the excessive desert heat, we had to run Honu's air conditioning unit at its maximum level. Adverse unintended consequence of using the AC for a prolonged period is that it stopped functioning.  

Temporary solution was for us to check into Red Lion Hotel a day earlier than scheduled.





For dinner, we took a short drive to Honolulu Grill where J.J. purchased a Hawaiian Plate consisted of Teriyaki Chicken, Kalua Pork and rice. This small no-frill eat-in, take-out place seems very popular with local residents. J.J. says that the quality was excellent and may be interested in a return visit before we depart from Saint George.




Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why Saint George, Utah for our Health Care

Aloha Everyone,

Saint George, Utah is fast becoming one of the favorite retirement communities. It is one of 10 best places in Utah to retire, according to a 2017 survey.  

Saint George's location on Interstate 15 in the southwestern part of the state on the Arizona border, near the tri-state junction of Utah, Arizona and Nevada, is very advantageous.


Saint George is only 118 miles northeast of Las Vegas.  Saint George feels suburban and expansive. Whenever we approach the city and gaze at the Red Cliff Hills of Red Cliff Desert Reserve, they are peaceful and welcoming. This is true in all 4 seasons and in all kinds of weather.


Dixie Regional Medical Center is the major medical referral center for northwestern Arizona, southeastern Nevada, and southern Utah. J.J. and I are fortunate to have found Dr. C as our Primary Care Physician in Saint George.


Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 10, 2017

Back in Saint George, Utah

Aloha Everyone,

This week is set aside for our medical checkups. After we finished completing our lab works  that required 12 hours of fasting, J.J. and I treated ourselves to a sumptuous breakfast at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Saint George.

J.J.'s Mama's pancake special includes a stack of large, fluffy pancakes served with warm maple syrup plus 2 scramble eggs and bacon.


My healthy choice of low fat yogurt with fresh fruits and granola was served with scrambled egg white and 2 turkey sausages. Each served as a comfort food and they were more than satisfactory.


Honu is back at Red Ledge RV Park, absolutely one of our favorite RV parks. A sign in the lady's room says a lot about Gail, the owner's philosophy and attitude about life!



Aloha -- Cathi