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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Keeping Up with World News

Aloha Everyone,

Apple iPhone comes with a NEWS app which is organized by channels such as CNN, The Washington Post, NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, etc. You can also search via Topics and Stories.

On my iPad, I also have apps of BBC NEWS, NHK WORLD JAPAN, SMART NEWS (lets you browse the latest headlines), Al JAZEERA, HAWAII NEWS NOW and Stocks Pro.  

Many of these apps also provide separate access to COVID-19 Special Coverage.

The origin of Coronavirus seems to trace back to late 2019 to Hunan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China. By reading latest news from different international sources, J.J. and I hope that we are accessing impartial news.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

How To Find Your Happiness Webinar

Aloha Everyone,

An invitation to attend a webinar hosted by edX had an intriguing title.

A talk by Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center on The Science of Happiness focused on 3 main areas which they believe would help one be happy.

  1.  Social Connection
  2.  Positivity
  3.  Resilience 

Basic takeaway is that happiness is within our control. I especially appreciated a mindful meditation that was led by Dacher Keltner at the end of  the session. To me, it was well worth allocating approximately 20 minutes.

Do keep in mind, as my son stated, that anyone can make claims or give guidelines, but each one of us is different and cannot be categorized.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Auditing My Granddaughter’s Spanish Class

Aloha Everyone,

On Tuesday mornings, from 8:00-10:00 am, my granddaughter attends her Spanish Class. As with all of her classes, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her classmates are learning online.

I was thrilled when my granddaughter suggested for me to audit her class. Just to make sure that I will not be late, I scheduled my morning walk from 6:00 am and came back in by 7:30 am to join her for a breakfast. Yes, I was ready at 8:00 am!

14 students signed in today. The Spanish lessons are at the high school level. This morning, the teacher began her lesson by showing common signages such as stop sign, do not enter, walk don’t run, etc. and then practiced them with her students. The segment which I was most attentive and took down notes was her teacher’s explanations and examples of “present progressive*” both in affirmative and negative statements plus questions/answers.(*What is currently happening).

After an hour or so, I quietly left my granddaughter’s side when the students played Spanish word games.

It is a well-designed class to keep students focused and engaged. It helped me clarify the present progressive tense plus I have a list of additional verbs to learn.

As long as J.J. and I are sheltering-in-place with our granddaughter and her parents, I look forward to attending her Tuesday Spanish classes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Special Treats & Dining-in

Aloha Everyone,

Chocolates and ice creams are most everyone’s favorite treats. They bring joy and smiles to our faces.

Our daughter-in-law bought 4 different kinds of ice cream. She also bought milk chocolates (J.J.’s favorite), dark chocolates (my favorite), chocolate covered marzipan (everyone’s favorite). 

Zucchini lasagna with ground bison meat is among our daughter-in-law’s signature bake dishes. It tastes as delicious as it looks.

Another excellent meal is tonkatsu (pork cutlet) with Basmati rice, seaweed, veggies and fruits.  

The rest is a sampling of my different breakfasts.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, April 25, 2020

This Week’s Readings

Aloha Everyone,

Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward is the first book my granddaughter recommended. Well, actually that is not totally accurate. I wanted to read something with a typeface that is larger than 6 fonts so this hardbound book fits the criteria.

Released in 2018, it is a science fiction novel. My granddaughter also has book two but other 2 in a series of four books are yet to be released.

My son was introduced to Terry Pratchett’s books when he was in graduate school. My son has the entire Terry Pratchett’s work in his library.  I have read some, but trying to see how many I will be able to read while we are sheltering in place.

Sir Terry Pratchett books stand apart from his contemporaries. He is entertaining, philosophical and as Anne McCaffrey said, “Delightful... Logically illogical as only Terry Pratchett can write.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sir Terry Pratchett here is a weblink:

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, April 23, 2020

My Morning Walk

Aloha Everyone,

I enjoy my daily morning walk. I already know by face 3 sets of couples and 2 other individuals who are accompanied by their dogs. We usually wave but since all of us are wearing masks, there is no way to ascertain whether one is smiling or frowning.

Starting today, I decided to increase my morning walk to 100 minutes which equals 5 plus miles. After 60 minutes, I stop to take a drink of water and eat some fruits or nuts to tidy me over until breakfast. The final 40 minutes is when I have to focus and tell myself to “keep it up”.

Today my time passed quickly. I watched gardeners from Landscapes USA putting fresh ground cover mulch in the front yards of individual homes and the flower beds of common areas.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

40 Minutes Drive in Honu

Aloha Everyone,

Exactly 2 weeks have passed since we came to LaJolla to shelter in place with our son, our daughter-in-law and our granddaughter. Today, J.J. and I took Honu on a drive to run its engine and recharge five batteries.

Funny how driving Honu used to be an ordinary activity and how it became an event! J.J. drove to the Marine Corp Air Station Miramar. This is the base made famous by the 1986 movie Top Gun.

The 40 minutes round trip was a good break for us. We appreciated the green open fields and wild flowers that are visible from the freeway.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, April 20, 2020

Paper Towel

Aloha Everyone,

During this unprecedented Coronavirus lock down, many of us are faced with shortages of what we consider as essential household items. Have you noticed how the previously taken for granted lowly stature of paper towels suddenly rose to its heights of importance?

So what did people use before paper towels became commonly available?

Paper towels origin dates back to 1878 when two brothers from Philadelphia founded a business, The Scott Paper Company.  If you are interested in the history, please click here:

J.J. and I are guilty users of paper towels. When we live in Honu, paper towels are handy and convenient way to keep the interior and exteriors clean. Even when we go on extended stays in overseas destinations, one of the first items on our local shopping list is paper towels. In most countries, cloth towels are more commonly used and reused.

So when a package of paper towels was dropped off by my daughter-in-law’s friend, who was able to purchase it at Costco, we cheered!  “Hurrah for paper towels!”

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, April 19, 2020

This Week’s Dining-ins

Aloha Everyone,

Here is a selection of our dining-in this week. From the top:

Baked pasta with stir-fried Chinese cauliflower

Filet mignon with baked potatoes, sautéed mushrooms with onions and green salads

Deep fried pork loin with lemon juice and dill

A small selection from my daily breakfast 

I try to get at least 7,000 steps or over a half of my daily walk before breakfast. By the time I return from my walk, I am famished. This is evident from my large breakfast.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Positive News Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Aloha Everyone,

There are people who are coming up with solutions rather than talking about the problem.

Wife is a doctor. Husband is an engineer. Their dinner time chat about the Coronavirus mask shortage led to a new system of decontamination that can clean & recycle 80,000 masks a day!

Read in Apple News Spotlight:

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, April 16, 2020

My Current Readings

Aloha Everyone,

I am always impressed with my granddaughter’s voracious appetite for reading. These are some of the books that are currently stacked on her desk - Tui T. Sutherland, Wings of Fire series, Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson series, and Brandon Sanderson, The Stormlight Archive.

My granddaughter has generously offered for me to read any book in her personal library. I decided to begin with two relatively thin books which my granddaughter read for her English class assignments.

Night by Ellie Wiesel  

This book is the author’s personal narrative about his experiences in a Nazi German Concentration Camp at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944- 1945. Painfully personal account of Wiesel as a teenager who had to live through two years watching his father’s health deteriorate and reversal of roles as a parent and a child.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This is a fiction that takes place after a swine flu pandemic known as the “Georgia Flu.” It devastates the world and kills most of the population. The author skillfully weaves victims and survivors and brings them together.  

Written in 2014, some of the descriptive narratives at the start of the Georgia Flu pandemic has eerie resemblances to how we learned about COVID-19, and how people try to maintain some sort of control of during uncertainty by hoarding food and household essentials.  Station Eleven is  a gripping book.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Learning Tang Soo Do From My Granddaughter

Aloha Everyone,

Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art that incorporates fighting principles of karate and Chinese martial arts.  

My granddaughter began her Tang Soo Do when she was in a kindergarten class. She was a tiny, willowy little girl whose small frame was hidden by the enormous, stiff, bulky Tang Soo Do uniform. I recall her teacher would roll up my granddaughter’s uniform sleeves and pants to reveal her tiny arms and legs.

She continues to study under the same master and is now in her 8th year. My granddaughter is poised, exhibits speed, flexibility and self-confidence.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

How to Learn Online

Aloha Everyone,

This is the title of an online class I took today from edX. This class gave some useful advice such as techniques in reaching your goal using an acronym:

SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based

I also learned technical terms such as digital pedagogy accessibility and metacognition. Overall, it took me a mere 30 minutes to watch some short videos and read text. It was time well spent.

edX offers open online courses for free. If you wish to receive college credits, then there is a nominal fee.  

I finished my first online Basic Spanish 1, given by Universitat Politécnica de Valencia in Spain. It was an easy class for me having had Spanish classes both in high school and college. Tomorrow, I am starting Basic Spanish 2. This will also be an asynchronous course, meaning you can progress at your own pace, but the course will end on a specific date. I will probably need most of the time allocated.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!

Aloha Everyone,

Wishing you all love and happiness.

Have a safe and peaceful Easter!

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dining In

Aloha Everyone,

Our son and daughter-in-law prepare home cooked meals using carefully selected ingredients. As a result, we have been eating well.

Chicken Florentine with baked sourdough bread & fruit

My breakfast plate includes rice cracker, Greek yogurt over blueberries, grapes and raspberry tea

Another breakfast consisting of a slice of Ezekiel bread with blue cheese, fruits & veggies

Salmon baked in a parchment pouch with lemon slices, grated garlic, dill and topped with Greek yogurt

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Wear Mask & Out Walking

Aloha Everyone,

Our son expressed concern about us getting cabin fever during a prolonged sheltering in place. I also thought that might be a possibility. However, with a strong will, anything is doable. I can walk back and forth within the walls of the second floor bedroom that J.J. and I are occupying. There are pleasant views of the backyard, a public neighborhood park (which is now closed) and foothills beyond. On sunny days, the sunrises are worth getting up early. I also walk up and down the stairs as well as on the first floor.

Of course there is nothing like being outside. My daughter-in-law, granddaughter and I wore homemade masks and went out for a walk. Though we confined our walk within a gated community, it was nevertheless enjoyable and very satisfying.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sheltering in Place

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I accepted the very kind and generous offer of our son and daughter-in-law to shelter in place with them until it will be safe for us to be back on the road.

Today was an overcast day with a couple of sudden and brief downpour. But the driving on Interstate 405 was a breeze. There was hardly any traffic. The distance normally take us 2 1/2 hours to traverse. It took less than two hours!

We brought in our luggage and essential personal effects; took shower and put all our laundry in the washer. It was then time for hugs all around. There was no social distancing! The two of us are blessed to be sheltering in place with our family.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Interesting & Helpful Articles

Aloha Everyone,

The Coronavirus is adversely affecting the travel industry, so Greece Has Begun Offering Virtual Tourism

The long lost hobbies people around the world are revisiting during the coronavirus pandemic
How to make DIY no-sew face masks with fabric and hair elastics
Aloha -- Cathi