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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Movie Dates

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I are catching up on movies this weekend. There are several movie theaters located in the greater Tucson area and driving takes about 18 - 30 minutes one way.

The 15:17 to Paris - produced and directed by Clint Eastwood is what is referred to as a “biographical drama”. It is based on an autobiography by Dorothy Blyskal, The 15:17 to Paris.

The gripping story is well executed, starring the trio, Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos as themselves, who stopped the 2015 Thalys train attack.

Red Sparrow is based on a novel by Jason Matthews, a former CIA operative. The film is being promoted as an intelligent, sexy spy thriller with Jennifer Lawrence playing the lead role. This was not a film for me though J.J. and I both agreed that an unexpected twist at the end was worth sitting through the entire film. 

Excellent American cuisine at Cracker Barrel’s, our favorite restaurant chain on the road.  

Cheddar’s claim is that nearly everything they serve are made from scratch. Our server, Luis, was friendly and accommodating as he patiently repeated my order which I usually request that 25 - 40% of ingredients to be omitted. J.J., on the other hand rarely requires food modification at restaurant. Both of us enjoyed our selections.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, March 30, 2018

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Aloha Everyone,

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Getting Ready for Texas

Aloha Everyone,

We are staying in Tucson to prepare Honu for our Texas road trip. The sink faucet is broken. We need a good repairman to fix It.

Lee, the owner of Arizona Roadrunner RV Repairs told J.J. to come in at 9:00 am. J.J. and I arrived at 8:30 am! We prepared a list of additional repairs, but J.J. decided to focus on the kitchen faucet. Honu’s Mercedes Benz engine and chassis is imported from Germany. Works on cabinetry, electrical and plumbing were done in Canada by Roadtrek. This means replacement parts must be ordered and shipped. We will return to Tucson in a few weeks for the repair.

Spent nearly an hour at a cost of about $100 to replenish Honu’s camping supplies. J.J. and I also purchased a pair of comfortable slippers and discarded the old ones.

Since coming back to the USA, we have been looking for restaurants that serve authentic Mexican food. We drove around Tucson taking in some interesting sights.

Lunch at Guadalajara Grill.  The service was excellent and we enjoyed conversing in Spanish with our server. The food was typical TEX-MEX with enormous portions compared to México.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

From Phoenix to Tucson, AZ

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I have not “lived” in Honu since last year September. During our travel to Spain, cruise through the Panama Canal and travel to Mexico, Honu has been in a RV storage near my Mother’s home.

I am finding that I have far too many things. There are magazines and books I need to read then pass them on. Downsizing and decluttering is necessary in order to create precious space inside our small home.

The two of us stopped in Phoenix to visit Cousin Ricky who joined us for a lunch at a neighborhood Japanese restaurant. J.J. and I just had lunch with Ricky’s brother, sister-in-law and their youngest sister who reside in the Los Angeles area. We are always grateful that our current lifestyle allows us to see families on a regular basis.  

THIS IS YOUR LIFE was hanging on Ricky’s kitchen wall.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

California Interstate 10 Rest Areas

Aloha Everyone,

Interstate Highway rest areas are critical for motorists’ safety. Most provide safe place to walk and stretch your bodies, walk your pets, use rest rooms, purchase some refreshments and get tourist information. Some states have a comprehensive tourist welcome center combined with rest area, food courts, gas station and even over night stay for RV with full hook-ups.

Unfortunately, in California, budget woes have forced closure of many highway rest areas. I read that there is no funding for testing the drinking water at rest areas with exceptions of municipal water source. The domino effect of closures mean cleaning, maintenance, landscaping staff are also out of work. Websites that list the current number of California Highway Rest Stops and which ones are open are not available. I do hope accidents and fatality of motorists have not increased due to closures.

It took us about 90 minutes to leave Los Angeles traffic and another hour to cross into Arizona. Compared to California, Arizona can claim:

1).  Superior highway maintenance

2).  Rest stops are open and in full operation

3).  Diesel 2, which we use for Honu, is between 70 to 80 cents cheaper.

Tonight we are staying at KOA Salome, in a middle of nowhere. The place is safe and clean and the management is friendly, but it is 35 minutes from I-10. Too far from cellular towers mean no phone signal and no reliable WiFi.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, March 23, 2018

Lunch Date With My Mother

Aloha Everyone,

After a week with my Mother, J.J. and I will embark on our next RV adventure in Honu.

The photo of my Mother was taken today when we dined at a Peruvian restaurant.

“The most inspiring piece of advice I've gotten is simply to persevere. My mom taught me to always keep going no matter what from an early age. When it feels too difficult to push forward, I always remind myself, 'This too shall pass,' and then I redouble my efforts.” — Liya Kebede

“One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.” — Jim DeMint
“I would say that my role model, as far as just somebody leading by example, which to me is what a great youth counselor does - they are there to talk to and lead by example - would be my mom, but she wasn't a youth counselor. She was a teacher, and she is a good person and definitely one of the biggest influences in my life.” — Carrie Underwood
“When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.”
— Erma Bombeck

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Erik Hagerman, a Practitioner of Blockade

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I are back in California. While we were away from the U.S.A., we had a limited access to Headline News, General News, Sports News, Business News, Weather News, Travel & Entertainment, etc. In one sense, we are happy to be insulated from news whose contents do not usually benefit us.

For Eric Hagerman, November 8, 2016 became a life changing day. This was the day this 53 years old former corporate executive decided to exercise his self imposed “blockade”. He swore that he would avoid learning about anything that happened to America after this date.

According to Mr. Hagerman, it was going to be for a few days. But at the time this interview took place, it’s been more than a year. He knows almost nothing about American politics. He has “become shockingly uninformed during one of the most eventful chapters in modern American history. He is as ignorant as a contemporary citizen could ever hope to be.”

Mr. Hagerman chose to live alone on a pig farm in southeastern Ohio. He stated “I’m emotionally healthier than I’ve ever felt”. The Blockade has made him question the very value of being fed each day by the media. 

Mr. Hagerman’s current passion, which will be his life’s work, is to restore some 45 acres of land on the site of a former strip mine which he purchased. He plans to restore it, protect it, live on it and then preserve it for the public. Mr. Hagerman has come to believe that being a news consumer doesn’t enhance society. He also believes that restoring a former coal mine and giving it to the future does.

“I see it as a contribution that has civic relevance that aligns with my passions and what I do well,” he said. 

Source: The New York Times
By Sam Dolonick
March 10, 2018

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist, January 8, 1942 - March 14, 2018

Aloha Everyone,

Stephen Hawking was one of the best-known and respected scientists in history. While studying at Cambridge he was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease which left him almost completely paralysed.

Hawking used a voice synthesizer to communicate. His book, “A Brief History of Time,” is a layman's guide to cosmology first published in 1988, became a best seller introducing a complex subject to the general public.

A man of great humor with a colossal mind, his passion for learning touched many lives around the world. Here are but a few of my favorite quotes by Stephen Hawkins:

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

Life would be tragic if it weren't funny.

People won't have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.

Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.

It matters if you just don't give up.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Aloha Everyone,

México J.J. and I discovered is much more diverse in its typography, culture, customs, language and characteristics of its people. One study result indicates that French Mexicans, Mexican citizens of full or partial French ancestry, make up the 2nd largest European group in Mexico after Spanish.  

Needless to say, we love México! One of our friends commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you not liking any of the places you and J.J. visit.”  That is true.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” - Mark Twain

“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” - Gustave Flaubert 

“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.” - Seneca

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, March 12, 2018

Return to Léon

Aloha Everyone,

Mexican bus transportation is reliable, once the bus we boarded had left the terminal. And it is very comfortable, air conditioned, with less than 40 passengers using reclining seats equipped with individual tv screens. For our bus ride from Guadalajara to Léon, it was approximately 139 miles and it took us a little over 2 hours. Traveling In México teaches us patience. This morning, we took a taxi to the central bus terminal. The clerk at the ticket window stated the time of the next departure was in 10 minutes.

Here let me share with you one necessary aspects of traveling, use of the public toilet. In México, they are often referred to as “Sanitarios”. At bus terminals, you drop 6 pesos to enter. There is no attendants, but for the small payment of US$.33, one could generally expect spotless and modern facilities which can rival a similar one anywhere around the world.

I did not realize that the gate I went in and the gate I walked out were different until I found myself in a completely foreign environment. Realizing my error, I told the security guard that I do not have my bus ticket with me as I need to rejoin my husband.

So far so good until I found J.J. in a state of a panic. He was checking time and we had 2 minutes to board the bus. The two of us grabbed our 2 suitcases and rushed to the designated area. Check and more checks and we were then told that our bus has not yet arrived at the station. When we asked them how long we expected to wait, they casually stated, “10, 30, 60 minutes, who knows...”

Our wait was about one hour and during that time, we noticed that passengers to other destinations were encountering similar delays. But nobody complained or even appeared irritated. They took such occurrence in stride. Perhaps we can learn how to lead less stressful lives.

Landscape between Guadalajara to Léon reminded us of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.

Our hotel in Léon, Wyndham Garden, is located in an isolated area within a 10 minutes ride to the airport. J.J. and I are running the AC which seemed to be set too cold, but our room becomes too stuffy when it is off. We requested for a blanket.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Aztec & Spanish Legacy on México

Aloha Everyone,

Mexico’s population estimate is 113 million based on 2010 data. The country is divided into 31 states and one federal district. The country of Mexico was named after the capital city, Mexico City.  Here is a simplified list of Aztec legacy and Spanish contributions to México after the Spaniards defeated the Aztecs in 1521.

Aztec Legacy:

1.  Mexican flag - An eagle with a snake in the mouth, perched on top of a cactus is based on the original myth of how the Aztecs came to find their capital Tenochtitlán.  Today, the ruins of  Tenochtitlán are located in the central part of Mexico City.

2.  The Nahuatl is still spoken by 1.5 million people, mostly in the states of Central México.

3.  Chocolates

4.  Models of organic farms 

5.  Herbal medicines

Spanish legacy:

1.  Catholicism - 81% of adult Mexicans are reported to be Catholic.
2.  The Spanish language - 92.7% of the people in México only speak Spanish.

3.  Animals - horses, cattle, sheep and donkeys were introduced.

4.  Weaponry - muskets and cannons

5.  Smallpox - which eventually decimated the Aztec empire.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Daylight Savings Time

Aloha Everyone,

Tomorrow morning at 2:00 am, most Americans will advance their clock or more likely mobile phones by one hour.  

Based on historical data, Germany became the first country to officially adopt Daylight Savings Time. That was in 1916 to conserve coal during World War I. Britain and many other European countries followed. In 1918, a year after the U.S. entered the war, Daylight Savings Time was implemented to save electricity.

Today all but two states, Hawaii and Arizona, observe Daylight Savings Time. Does this federally mandated program really save electric consumption? The answer depends on which study you believe.

A critic of Daylight Savings Time stated in his article:

“Today a big reason we have daylight saving time - and one reason it lasts so long during the year - is because the barbecue industry and the golf industry lobbied Congress to keep the silly thing alive. That's not a joke - it just sounds like one. When the sun sets later, people have more time and spend more money to barbecue and golf.”

Source:  Opinion: Day Light Saving’s Time Spring Ahead?  Not this year, not this guy.
Michael Levin/
March 10, 2018

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, March 9, 2018

Eating Well in México

Aloha Everyone,

Following the local custom, J.J. and I have our biggest meal between 1:00 - 3:00 pm. We choose restaurants that are upscale by local standard which would assure me that I can get fresh salad, fish or occasionally a steak.

On the average we pay MX$300 - 400 which is US$16.67 to $22.23 for the two of us with bottles of water.  The price includes tax.

Here are some meals the two of us enjoyed within the last 3 days. Our Flat Granddaughter is standing by the balcony of the restaurant “Antigua” located in Plaza Guadalajara where we dined with a panoramic view of the plaza and the Cathedral. As far as atmosphere, it couldn’t get better.

We also wanted to include Nadia and Lorena, the hotel’s restaurant staff.  For nearly two weeks they greeted us cheerfully, making sure that we are happy with the food. I should add that the buffet selection is quite extensive. The breakfast is served from 7:00-12:00 noon giving option for some guests to have an early lunch before checking out.

Aloha -- Cathi