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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Driving Honu to Oceanside

Aloha Everyone,

This morning, J.J. decided to take Honu on a longer drive. Our destination was Oceanside, California. We took Highway 101 South enjoying a familiar route where we haven’t driven since last year.

California Coronavirus numbers have not flattened. Governor Newsom ordered bars to close again today in seven counties. It was too early to tell if the owners of bars were adhering to the latest state mandate. In spite of the day being dark and gray, J.J. and I were amazed to see how packed beach parking lots were. Vehicles were lined up next to each other. There was no social distancing and rarely did we see pedestrians and sunbathers wearing face masks.

With the 4th of July holiday weekend approaching and the long stretches of California beaches continuing to lure sun lovers, we hope individuals will make responsible decisions when it comes to dining out and beach times.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, June 29, 2020

Rainy Morning Walk

Aloha Everyone,

I heard the sound of a falling rain sometime during the night. It was a chilly and wet when I started my walk at 5:30 am.

Rain is refreshing. Colors of plants and flowers appear much more vivid and alive. Rain washes away the dust and leave behind small unexpected treasures.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, June 28, 2020

This week’s Dining-in Meals

Aloha Everyone,

In chronological order, this week we enjoyed Spaghetti allá Vongole with a side of strawberries and blueberries;
baked Teriyaki chicken; a baked pasta dish followed by a roast lamb. How elaborate my assortments of breakfast dishes depends on how famished I am after my walk :-)

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Alligator Lizards

Aloha Everyone,

The backyard with many flowering plants is regularly visited by various song birds, humming birds, crows and butterflies. Tonight, we welcomed a rare visitor, the Southern Alligator lizard. Our son and our granddaughter have seen it once on their evening walks and based on their descriptions, I have been looking forward to seeing one in person.

It was about 8:30 pm. This is the time I tell my granddaughter “when I turn into a pumpkin." I am a morning person and I was already getting ready for bed when my son alerted me. I quickly ran downstairs and joined others who were already looking out from the living room window.

This lizard was long, looked full grown so I estimate it to be at least a foot long. It stayed still about a couple of minutes before slinking from the patio to hide beneath the Hibiscus bushes.

After learning about some of the characteristics of this species, I can understand why they are called alligator lizards.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

One Year Ago This Week

Aloha Everyone,

How our world has turned upside down from one year ago. This week in 2019, J.J. and I were in Hawaii to see our son Jeff and our daughter-in-law Jenny.

Jeff and I walked the Ala Moana Beach Park while Jenny ran the Magic Island and Ala Moana Beach Park loop. Looking back at the photos with our family and friends and the fabulous time we had, I can imagine how different things are due to the Coronavirus.

Governor Ige’s emergency proclamation requiring everyone, including residents and visitors to the state of Hawaii to a mandatory 14-days self quarantine is working. According to a friend who flew from the island of Hawaii (Big Island), Honolulu International Airport was deserted. She and her husband’s temperatures were checked. And while she was answering routine questions, her husband’s phone rang to confirm that the authorities have his correct and functioning phone number.

We look forward to the day when we can reminisce this week.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Peach Cobbler

Aloha Everyone,

To celebrate Father’s Day, my daughter-in-law and I made peach cobbler. Using her friend’s tried and tested and easy to follow recipe, this was a fun project.

For all of you fathers, Happy Father’s Day!

Aloha -- Cathi

St John’s Wort

Aloha Everyone,

Our daughter-in-law graces the dining room table and kitchen counters with fresh flowers. This week, on her bimonthly shopping trip to a Trader Joe’s, she brought home a couple of bunches of St John’s Wort. It is a flowering plant in the Hypericaceae family. The individual flowers (?) look like a bulb and it is firm to touch. So far I haven’t seen a bulb open but as it is, they are tiny, decorative and charming to look at.

St John’s Wort is a strange name for a natural supplement, but the extracts from this plant is being advertised on the internet to relieve stress and anxiety. Of course you should not trust everything you read on the internet.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Shave Ice

Aloha Everyone,

Shave ice with colorful syrups is uniquely Hawaiian. For residents and visitors alike, one place not to be missed on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i is the legendary store called Matsumoto’s Shave Ice in Haleiwa. This entity has been serving one of the true experiences of Hawaiian shave ice since 1951.

The origin of shave ice in Hawaii traces back to Japan’s Heian Period (749 CE to 1185 CE). This era was an uncommonly long period of peace. It is therefore easy to imagine commoners enjoying such simple pleasures as eating shaved ice known as kakigōri.

Usually after her Zoom Tang Soo Do practices, which takes place in the back patio, our granddaughter treats herself to a self made shave ice.

I think the preparation of the finished treat is just as rewarding for her as enjoying the fruits of her labor.  

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Major Shifts in Formal Education

Aloha Everyone,

One of many things the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting is what will happen to the formal education of our children.

San Diego School District with 121,000 students in pre-school through grade 12 is the second largest district in California. Parents are being asked what kind of schooling they would like for their children when schools reopen in the Fall. Broad options are (a) in-person school, (b) online learning or (c) both a & b.

It is easier to come up with proposals than to implement them within the guidelines of feasibility, affordability and acceptability to parents, students, teachers, and staff.

One must also take into account the state’s educational budget; viability of physical distancing while in school; as well as practicality.There are some homes and areas that have no WiFi access, and also some students who do not own computers

Our son Jeff teaches high school Social Studies in Hawaii. What would happen when the schools reopen in the Fall is one of our recurring conversation topics. Hawaii is unique in that the entire state is under one school district. We talked about inequality of advantaged and disadvantaged students based on where they live, family income and education of their parents. These factors often provide a launching pad or pose obstacles for students.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, June 15, 2020

Are We Living in a Historical Moment?

Aloha Everyone,

Are we living in a Historical Moment? I posed this question to our son Jeff, a high school history teacher. According to Jeff, for a historian, a period of one generation, 20 years must pass before an event or a person can be written as historical. So within the wide context of history, is the Coronavirus pandemic considered historical?  

What about all time records of high temperatures scorching in Alaska, in Siberia and other parts of the Arctic Circle? Would that be considered historical? Making Juneteenth an official national holiday, defund the police movement, changing traditional mandatory educational systems, are they individually and collectively also historical?

We have seen that history books may be skewed, favoring in one direction depending on who is the author or the publisher. Historical events may also be rewritten as more accurate factual data became available.  

It would be very interesting to see later how today’s event will end up in history books.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Haupia Sweet Potato Pie, Banana Bread ala Mode

Aloha Everyone,

Haupia is a coconut milk-based quintessential Hawaiian dessert.  For Haupia Sweet Potato Pie, my daughter-in-law prepared a shortbread as a base, layered It with boiled and mashed Okinawan sweet potato in the middle and Haupia for topping. Preparation for this is time consuming but the end result is absolutely delicious!

Banana Bread ala mode, Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs also led this week’s dining-in line ups. I also enjoyed a variety of dishes including Mexican tacos, veggie omelette, Blueberry topped cereals, cottage cheese and Tilapia filets.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - By Douglas Adams

Aloha Everyone,

Douglas Adams was an English author best known for his work, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This science fiction started as a BBC radio comedy in 1978. Its worldwide popularity skyrocketed after the radio comedy was developed into a “trilogy” of five books.

I read it over three decades ago and today I still find the writing just as insane, zany, preposterous and extremely entertaining. Although this book is not for everyone. If you love romantic novels, murder mystery detective type of stories, steer clear away. But then you won’t be able to find out what number is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything or who said, “Don’t Panic” before what event took place. Once you get hooked, your insatiable need to finish the book keeps you occupied. For me, I have to pry myself to attend to my Spanish classes and other daily list of “things to do”.

Here is a few of my treasured quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy.

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”  - Douglas Adams

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.” - Douglas Adams

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually is impossible to get at and repair." - Douglas Adams

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Congratulations! Class of 2020

Aloha Everyone

In the time of the Coronavirus Pandemic, schools are coming up with unorthodox creative solutions including virtual graduations and drive-through ceremonies. Some schools are even hand delivering diploma to individual graduates and meeting with their families to talk, from the driveway, at a distance, about their achievements, making their graduation more personal.

One of the most creative and entertaining graduation will be held by a high school in Pennsylvania. Their 141 graduating seniors prerecorded their speeches and prepared a photo slideshow. Their venue will be a drive-in theater where the students and their families will be able to watch from their cars.

Their celebration then continues for everyone is invited to stay to watch a new release movie for free.

So to the wonderful, courageous, resolute Class of 2020, be bold, walk on with your head held high and pursue your passion!

Quoting one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go...”

Aloha -- Cathi