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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Roses & Chocolates

Aloha Everyone,

Our daughter-in-law’s birthday week, she received bouquets of peach colored roses and a large box of gourmet chocolates from family and friends. J.J. and I gladly participated in enjoying the chocolates!

J.J. prepared Filet Mignon for dinner.

My breakfasts always consists of a cup of tea, either Yorkshire Tea or Twining English Breakfast. On Sundays, I treat myself to a cup of cappuccino prepared by J.J.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Profound Quotes

Aloha Everyone,

These are worth reading even if you have read them before.

“When words are both true and kind, they can change the world. Kindness should become the natural way of life, not the exception. As rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, do not burden your heart with judgements but rain your kindness equally on all. Health is the first benefit.“ - Buddha

“Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given only once, and it must be lived so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying you had a right to say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world—the fight for the Liberation of Humankind.“ - Nicolas Ostrovsky

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, May 29, 2020

Online Drawing Class - Invitation was from Audubon Society

Aloha Everyone, 

The instructor, John Muir Laws, is an accomplished artist, naturalist and he has been educating people to connect with nature through art and science.  

I don’t know how many participants were there as it appears most people turned off the audio as well as video on themselves so they could concentrate on the instruction.  

This session was the last of a series of 3 and and today’s main focus was drawing raptors. It’s been a long time since I sat in a drawing class. He emphasized on orientation lines of birds reminding the audience that usually larger the bird, smaller the head in proportion. John Muir Law also reminded me of the benefit of using a modeling clay to feel the full dimensions of a bird.

I need to study physical characteristics of different birds as well as major types of feathers such as vaned feathers, down feathers, semiplume feathers, floplume feathers, etc. This two hours class reminded me of establishing more careful observation skills. There is so much to learn about drawing birds. As an amateur birder, this is one of the techniques I would like to improve on.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, May 28, 2020

NASA Engineer vs Squirrels

Aloha Everyone,

Marc Rover is a former NASA and Apple Engineer. His challengers are bird feeder raiding squirrels.  

Amazing creativity, time, money and effort went into a project of coming up with a mini obstacle course in his backyard. Ultimate goal was to build a bird feeder that can deter squirrels. Some ideas incorporated were adopted from popular human obstacle courses game including Ninja Warriors.

It is a delightful video. For me, to not give away details, I will keep this brief. It’s a 21 minutes and 39 seconds of pure entertainment. Please enjoy!

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Ickabog

Aloha Everyone,

This is a children’s book written by J.K. Rowling, the famous author known for her Harry Potter series.  

Rowling had written the book for her then small children. They were never published because her time was occupied by the Harry Potter series.

According to Rowling, during the time of the pandemic, she decided to introduce it to the public. The Ickabog will be published free online. For details and how to access it, please go to:

So far Chapters 1-5 are online. It is an entertaining story.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Peony Flower

Aloha Everyone,

The flowers are native to Asia, Europe and North America. Flowers have subtle fragrance with colors varying from pink, red, magenta, purple, white and yellow. There are over 30 species of peony and are delightful to enjoy as indoor flower arrangements.

Our daughter-in-law was able to find white peonies on her last grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. Once a bud opens, the flower usually last for 7-10 days.  

I enjoy drawing flowers including Peonies. Here are my pencil and watercolor sketches. The last one I made it into a birthday card for my daughter-in-law.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, May 22, 2020

How It Should Have Ended

Aloha Everone,

After viewing a particularly unexpected or frustrating ending to a movie, many of us have experienced saying, “I could’ve come up with a better ending!”

How It Should Have Ended features a series of animation on YouTube. What the HISHE have created is satire, parodies with different endings to popular films. To name a few, you can watch alternative endings to: Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman and Star Wars.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Day to Drive Honu

Aloha Everyone,

Every two weeks we recharge Honu’s five batteries by going on a 45 minutes drive.

The first thing that jumped out when we got onto I-15 South was a flashing sign with the message, “Wash Your Hands and Help Beat COVID-19”.  

Putting on our masks, carrying hand sanitizers have become a routine. The traffic was much heavier than two weeks ago. Hopefully people will heed the CDC’s advice of social distancing, wearing mask in public and avoid unnecessary outings.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, May 17, 2020

This Week’s Dining-in Menus

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. prepared grilled ribs and our daughter-in-law delighted us with her Chicken PĂ­ccata.

Dining-in menus depend heavily on the availability of ingredients. We are very fortunate that in addition to our daughter-in-law going shopping at the nearby Trader Joe’s, one of her friends goes to a local Farmer’s Market to procure fresh fruits such as strawberries and raspberries as well as fresh vegetables.

As always, my breakfasts are my main meal of the day. I try to balance total fat, cholesterol, sodium, carb and protein.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Weekend Movie Nights

Aloha Everyone,

This weekend, we watched two movies produced in Japan.

Seven Samurai, released in 1954 has consistently ranked as one of the preeminent films. It won the greatest foreign-language film in BBC’s (British Broadcasting Corporation) 2018 international critics’ pool. Seven Samurai also has been reputed as one of the most “copied”, “borrowed” “made-over” films in cinema.

The story takes place in 1586 during the Sengoku Jidai (warring era). It is a simple story of farmers in a village who employ seven masterless samurai to help the villager fight off bandits. The process of identifying and convincing 7 masterless samurai to accept this unusual task for a mere exchange of food shows the genius of Akira Kurosawa, the director. The viewer might notice similarities of the village elder with Yoda from Star Wars. Many western film makers have paid tribute to Kurosawa by adopting the story lines, characters as well as the essence of the Seven Samurai. J.J. and I must have watched this film about a dozen times over the years but always find it enjoyable.

Whisper of the Heart is an animation film made in 1995. It is a romantic coming of age story directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. The Japanese title translates as “If you listen closely”. I enjoyed the theme music which is an adoptarĂ­an of the song, Take Me Home Country Roads popularized by John Denver. Graphics are beautiful, but the storyline is more appropriate for much younger audience.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dining Out In the Times of COVID-19

Aloha Everyone,

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” This quote is attributed to Plato, the Athenian philosopher during the Classic Period in Ancient Greece.

From high-end gourmet restaurants to mom & pop places, eateries around the world are coming up with creative solutions to keeping diners safe in the times of COVID-19.

Kay and Jim celebrated Mother’s Day by picking up these pre-packed complete full course dinner from a vineyard restaurant. Then back at home, their daughter and son-in-law joined them where they kept a safe 6’ distance from each other.

A few solutions are bizarre and others I nod my head and say, “Yes, I would feel safe dining there.” Enjoy some of the creative solutions!

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Easing of Travel Restrictions

Aloha Everyone,

Many states are either requiring or strongly encouraging Interstate travelers to self-quarantine at their destination for 14-days.

Governors of each state have to decide  on when to lift “sheltering-in-place” orders. This is a daunting task as each state government monitors how their state is containing the spread of Coronavirus.  

The situation is even more complex for the state of Hawaii where there are 5 main islands with resident populations.

My friend Judy, whose primary residence is on Hawaii (the Big Island) mentioned that if she flies to Oahu for a medical appointment, she would have to self quarantine for 14 days in Oahu. Upon her return to Hawaii (the Big Island), she is again required to self quarantine for 14 days.

The following is a 3 points suggestion and the full article titled, “As states ease social distancing orders, what does that mean for domestic travel?”

  1. Find out what are requirements for out-of-state travelers including 14-days quarantine.
  2. Are there stay-at-home orders where you are heading?  Are businesses and restaurants open?
  3. If you are traveling via car or in our case, with Honu (motorhome), do we need to go through state checkpoints. What about RV camping sites?

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dry Bar Comedy Club

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. looks forward to listening to stand-up comics whenever we go on cruises. I find even those that are stipulated for the general audience often use crude and insensitive jokes about gender, race, ethnicity, one’s job, social-economic positions and familial background. To me, the truth is that most of these jokes are not even funny.  

Dry Bar Comedy is a stand-up comedy venue in Utah.  Located in Provo, Utah, 43 miles south of Salt Lake City, it is home to Brigham Young University. Per the available published data, 78% of residents of Provo are members of the LSD Church, Mormons. Nearly all jokes by comedians have to be “clean.”

If you are interested in checking out, here is the website:

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day!

Aloha Everyone,

Flowers from the Pittosporum bushes in the garden made a beautiful centerpiece. Our son prepared wonderful dishes: fried rice ala Benihana of Tokyo and Shoyu Chicken.

J.J. helped me with slicing Granny Smith apples the day before, so I only had to prepare the crust and popped the pie in the oven.

All of us greeted my Mother and gave her virtual hugs.

I am thinking of you and sending you well wishes to all you Mothers and to you, nurturers who are Mothers to family, friends, neighbors and even to strangers, thank you for your kindness and unconditional love.  

Happy Mother’s Day!

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, May 9, 2020

TI-84 Plus CE

Aloha Everyone,

Made by Texas Instrument, this is a graphing calculator. It was released in early 2004 but until today, I’ve had not even seen one.

As part of her daily Tang Soo Do practices, my granddaughter asked me to call out random numbers from 1-30. When I mentioned that I should use a paper and pencil to make sure that I will not miss any numbers, she did a quick programming to generate random numbers on her TI-84 Plus CE calculator and handed it to me.

For mathematics and science students, TI-84 Plus is a powerful tool that can store, graph and analyze up to 10 functions. I found a website called <> with a tutorial for newbies titled “How to Enter Functions on the TI-84 Plus.“ I think this will be a good place for me to start to learn about this unfamiliar and advanced calculator.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, May 8, 2020

Walmart Pharmacy

Aloha Everyone,

CVS and Walgreens by far have more drug store outlets nationwide. However, we prefer to purchase our prescriptions From Walmart Pharmacy. One reason is the larger parking area for Honu.

J.J. and my prescriptions are scattered at 5 pharmacies located in Utah, Nevada and California. My previous experience, if a prescription had no refill, I have to call our Primary Care Physician’s office in Saint George, Utah. His assistant would then ask our doctor to approve the refill request and the order is then FAXED to a Walmart pharmacy of our choice.

My experience with the Walmart pharmacy located on Shawlne Street in San Diego was simply delightful. They contacted all the pharmacies on our list. One medication required renewal and this pharmacy volunteered to contact our doctor’s clinic.

FedEx packets arrived the following day. No more going to pharmacies to line up and wait. If you are still getting your medications in person, do inquire about the mail out prescription service. Both CVS and Walgreens are also advertising the service.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Stone Soup

Aloha Everyone,

This is an European folk tale with moral about the value of sharing.

During this unprecedented time of COVID-19 Pandemic, we are heartened by the selfless acts of kindness of people feeding neighbors and strangers. Please enjoy the tale of Stone Soup.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

May Blooms and Song Birds

Aloha Everyone,

Flowers are blooming in the yard. Photos from the top are: Birds-of-Paradise, Pittosporum, African Lilly, Star Jasmine and White Hibiscus.

I love working in the garden. Spending the time outdoors gives me a chance to listen to many songbirds. A tiny Song Sparrow always appears whenever our granddaughter practices her flute. Perched among leafy branches of a tree he sings loudly as if he is following the music.

Anna’s Hummingbird is sitting on a nest located at eye level of my granddaughter’s bedroom window. Only her tiny head and her long beak is visible. After numerous attempts to capture some of the birds with my iPhone, I decided that it would be faster for me to draw.

Hope you are enjoying the spring weather in your town.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, May 4, 2020

Happy Star Wars Day!

Aloha Everyone,

This year marks the 40th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back.” According to the Star Wars archives, the movie premiered May 21, 1980. To some of us, it feels like just yesterday when the audience were introduced to the epic adventure of work by George Lucas and music score by John Williams.

Today, May the Fourth sounds like ”May the Force Be With You” attributed to Obi-Wan Kenobi. So Star Wars fans like to use this date as an anniversary date.

Happy Star Wars!

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Tasty Desserts & Dining-in

Aloha Everyone,

This week, we enjoyed tasty, homemade banana bread baked by our daughter-in-law.

English Coastal Cheddar Cheese produced at the Ford Farm in Dorset, England has a distinct taste and a crunch when you bite into it. It is one of my favorite after dinner treats.

Additional dishes I am posting this week are meatloaf using bison meat; grilled zucchini prepared with egg and flour; panned grilled tofu in olive oil; Alaskan Sockeye salmon with pesto sauce; plus a few of my breakfast dishes.

I welcome receiving your favorite recipes which can be prepared without hunting for special ingredients.

Aloha -- Cathi