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Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Aloha Everyone,

I was introduced to the Albert family recipe of paella when J.J. and I got married. His grandmother used her mother’s recipe which she brought from Spain.

Paella, is one of the best known dishes in Spanish cuisine and its root traces back to the Valencia region. Traveling through Spain, we dined at a number of restaurants where each claimed to have  the original recipe of Paella Valencia.

Paella is basically a rice dish and its ingredients can vary from seafoods, pork, chicken, longaniza (sausages) to combinations thereof.

Today, J.J. made a paella dish primarily consisting of jumbo shrimps. It was a welcome variation and we all encourage J.J. to try out more paella dishes using mixed ingredients.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Bird Drawing Class with John Muir Laws

Aloha Everyone,

I have drawn birds perched on tree branches, sitting in nests, walking on seashores but I am not very successfully when it came to birds in flight.

Today’s zoom class answered many of my questions regarding how to draw birds in flight. John chose raptors as his subject stating that small birds flutter their wings but large hawks or eagles, for example, soar in the air. Therefore they are much easier to draw in flight.

John emphasized on understanding the structure of a bird and characteristics of 3 main types of feathers: primary, secondary and covert. John also devoted a good part of the seminar on foreshortening of bird bodies, and wings importing geometric concept to his drawings.

This was one of the most helpful classes I have taken recently and I am eager to improve my drawings.

You can go to the secure website of John Muir Laws by typing his name and access his free classes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 27, 2020

My September Breakfast Selections

Aloha Everyone,

My breakfast sets how energetic I feel and how well I function the rest of the day. Occasionally, I do treat myself to more fruits then I probably should. By keeping records with photographs is, for me, an effective method to keep myself in check.

We should always remember, “You are what you eat!” The phrase is credited to French author Anthelme Brillat Savarin and his 1826 work Physiologic du Gout de Medetation de Gastronomic Transcendante.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, September 25, 2020

German Words in Our Daily Conversation

Aloha Everyone,

Thanks to Arminius, who commanded an alliance of Germanic tribes at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, Germany was never conquered by the Romans.

As I spend my time trying to study multiple languages, it is interesting to note that while Italian, Spanish, French share Latin root and even Greek root, German language stands alone. 

However, the English language contains numerous German words that have been adopted into our vocabulary. I believe most of us native English speakers use them without much thought about their origin.

Here is a short list for you to ponder:

  • Kindergarten Kinder = children, Garten = garden
  • Angst = fear
  • Blitz = lightning
    Krieg = war
    War of lightning
  • Apple strudel - Strudel = swirl
  • Sauerkraut = sauer = sour
    Kraut = herb; cabbage
  • Volkswagen Volk = people, nation
    Wagen = car, cart
  • Gesundheit = health
  • Iceberg = Berg = mountain
    Mountain of ice

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, September 24, 2020


Aloha Everyone,

The pomegranate, bright, ruby-reddish colored fruits with a hard shell, has been cultivated since ancient times. The pomegranate is said to have originate in the region extending from Iran to India. In the late 16th century, the fruits was introduced into Spanish America and reached California in 1769 by way of Spanish settlers.

Today, the pomegranate is cultivated throughout the world in warmer climates. India is one of the largest producers.

Using Farah’s (our cousin) technique, of soaking the entire fruit in icy water for about 20 minutes, removing the seeds was quick and easy.

There are many health benefits to pomegranate juice. Enjoy!

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cyprus & Uruguay

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I are curious about two potential destinations when the COVID-19 is under control and Americans are again welcomed into their countries.

Lee from Vancouver, whom we befriended in Portugal about a year ago, is spending 90 days in Cyprus. This is her 50th trip to Europe and she is delighted to be spending it in Cyprus. During our FaceTime conversation, Lee told us that she would feel comfortable living in Cyprus. Though the summer days are hot, beaches and mountains reminds her of Hawaii.

The two us also have been reading about Uruguay. Some compare the country to Switzerland. The population is mostly European and the architecture reminds visitors of Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. The cuisine is similar to neighboring Brazil and Argentina.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, September 21, 2020

Unwanted, Fantasy Novel

Aloha Everyone,

When the book arrived in the mail, our granddaughter couldn’t wait to start reading it. She actually finished it in one sitting going back again, a second time, to absorb all the small details.

Add caption

According to Kirkus Rykus Book Review on Book One of the Unwanted series as “The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.” Neither my granddaughter or I am familiar with The Hunger Games, but both of us have read the entire Harry Potter series. My granddaughter has also seen the two days theater showing of the Harry Potter play and enjoys playing the Harry Potter board game called Harry Potter Clue.

The two of us agree that Lisa McMann, the author of Unwanted’s imagination and creativities far exceeds that of Harry Potter.

The Unwanted series is written for middle school age readers in mind. There are 7 books in the first series and 6 books in the second. The latest book my granddaughter received in the mail is the 13th which she waited for a year for its delivery. The final installment, Book 14 is scheduled to be released about a year from now. What a propitious place for an author to be to be knowing her readers will eagerly wait to see what will happen and who will survive in the dystopian society. It’s an easy and fast reading. I enjoy the books because my granddaughter and I can converse about the characters in the book, creativities or magic they employ and kinships and conflicts among friends.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 20, 2020

IOS 14 Update

Aloha Everyone,

The latest update IOC 14 for Apple iPhone and iPads is reported as a major release of the IOC mobile operating system. It has so many amazing features that it’s almost overwhelming.

Although Apple’s development team makes IOC 14 user friendly for non techie persons like me, it would take some practice to get used to this latest upgrade.

Your iPhone and iPads must be 7 or later model. I read somewhere that this is a precursor to the next generation of iPhone and iPads.

I believe attached screen shots could better illustrate than wordy explanations.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, September 19, 2020

RIP Former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

Aloha Everyone,

We lost a Titan. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was THE Supreme Court’s feminist icon. She was diminutive in stature, soft spoken but fierce, a force to be reckoned with.

Ginsburg was brilliant, the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Her pointed and powerful dissenting opinions was both feared and respected.  

As director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, Justice Ginsburg argued landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme Court.  Ruth Ginsburg and her husband, Marty Ginsburg had a strong lasting marriage that spanned 56 years until his demise in 2010.  They were equal partners and Marty Ginsburg helped his wife reach her potential.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, September 18, 2020

Greek Alphabet to be Used to Name Atlantic Hurricanes

Aloha Everyone,

According to the National Hurricane Center, 2020 has been a hyperactive hurricane season. After exhausting the alphabet to name tropical storms, forecasters are now using the Greek Alphabet.

This is the second time such measures have been taken. The first time it happened was during the 2005 hurricane season. Many of us recall the now infamous Hurricane Katrina and Wilma. It was also the year for Tropical Storm Zeta.

A weather system developing in the Gulf of Mexico will be named Tropical Storm Beta. Followed by Gamma, Delta & Epsilon. I made a Greek Alphabet chart and it would be interesting or rather scary to see how many of the Greek alphabets will be used.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Potato Allergy

Aloha Everyone,

The only item I had for my lunch which I don’t normally include was a white potato. I washed the skin of the potato well then placed the potato in a microwave oven for 2 minutes. I ate half a potato with little a bit of butter and Himalayan pink salt. It tasted very good.

However, shortly thereafter I started to feel intense pressure behind my eye balls, then my eyes began to water. When I looked into a mirror, my eyes were very red. Almost simultaneously, I experienced runny nose and a numbness of my lips. By the time I decide to go bed to rest, I was feeling dizzy. My daughter-in-law wisely suggested that I take an antihistamine pill.

I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to songs by Andreas Bocelli. For dinner I ate a toast and took a 2nd antihistamine. I slept soundly for 8 hours and the following morning, I was back to normal.

Per my online research, potato allergy, while not very common, can occur at any age. Whether the culprit was the raw potato buds I handled or the microwaved potato I consumed, I made a mental note. It appears that the immune system in one’s body could perceive the protein, alkaloids and other substances in potato as potentially dangerous. As a result, my body might have produced an over abundance of histamine and antibodies. Thanks to my daughter-in-law’s quick suggestion, taking antihistamine was an excellent idea.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sidewalk Chalk Art

Aloha Everyone,

Chalk artwork on sidewalks are there to share with the public. Today, I took a couple of photographs of children’s chalk art.

The first one, the artist must be preschool age. The circular face has round eyes, butterfly-like wings on top of their heads and either arms and legs or multiple legs.

The second drawing, located at a different cul-de-sac, is that of a little girl with flowing hair. This artist is more cognizant of a human body. Her bent elbows with palm of hands depicting fingers are charmingly drawn. She is wearing what seems like a dress and a legging and a pair of shoes.

There is a little boy standing nearby and between them is an object. Using my wild imagination, that object could be a dog on a leash.

Children’s art illustrate full of dreams, hopes and possibilities. It is a joyful diversion to see sidewalk chalk art on my morning walk.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Dried Figs & Golden Kiwi Fruits

Aloha Everyone,

This week I am enjoying a couple of healthy “pick me up” snacks.

Figs are one of my favorite snack items. When fresh figs are not in season, I am more than happy with dried figs. Figs are native to the Middle East and Mediterranean. One of the oldest trees in the world, the fig trees appear in historical documents, J.J. and I have seen them in ancient paintings, tapestries and Greek & Roman sculptures.

Kiwifruit as known to the West originally came from China where it was called, “yang tao." When cultivation of yang tao or Chinese Gooseberry became successful in New Zealand, a new name, Kiwifruit was given. The name is taken from its national bird, Kiwi.

Interestingly, figs and Kiwifruit share many similar health benefits including:

  •  good source of calcium
  •  rich in potassium 
  •  high in dietary fiber
  •  rich in Vitamins
  •  antioxidants 
  •  low glycemic index

These fruits are natural energy boosters. Golden Kiwi, a little sweeter and milder tasting than its green cousins are also superb topping for cereals and oatmeal’s.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, September 14, 2020

Great Vowel Shift

Aloha Everyone,

Pronunciation of English words differ from one English speaking country to another. Pronunciation of English words also change within a country ie: England, Canadá, the United Stares.

Great Vowel Shift refers to a series of changes of the English language Between 1409 and 1799. Otto Jesperson, a Danish linguist and Anglist (a person who studies the English language or literature composed in English) is credited to the term Great Vowel Shift.

To help understand the shift in vowel pronunciation, I am including a chart from the Wikipedia website:

dVowel pronunciation
Late Middle English
before the GVS
Modern English
after the GVS
For additional reading, please go to:

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 13, 2020

What if? (Non-fiction book)

Aloha Everyone,

This is a unique, one of a kind, and very entertaining book. Written by Randall Munroe, It’s subtitle is “Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.”

Randall Munroe, a former NASA roboticist left the agency in 2006. Munroe draws comics on the internet full-time. In “What if?” he answers some scientific, technology and others utterly ridiculous or weird speculative questions.

For examples:
Q.  How quickly would the oceans drain if a circular portal 10 meters in radius leading into space were created at the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest spot in the ocean?

Q.  Which US state is actually flown over the most?

Q.  What would happen to the Earth if the sun suddenly switched off?

Q.  What if rainstorm dropped all of its water in a single giant drop?

For additional information, please go to:

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Newspaper Delivery Lady

Aloha Everyone,

Every morning, I encounter a woman delivering papers. Accessing the security gate by using the key pad, she zooms into our gated complex.  I have not seen anyone who drives as rapidly or recklessly inside this complex.  Driving her small sedan with her right hand, she zigzag in & out of lanes.  She extends her left arm straight into the air then she flexes her wrist and the paper flies over the top of her car and lands right at the entry path of a house.  If there are 3 different papers to be delivered at a same address, she repeats the motion 3 times and papers land neatly next to each other.  It is actually quite impressive.

I’ve never spoken to her as she appears to be always in such a hurry.  When I hear her approaching with her car wheels screeching, I stay clear out of her path, grateful that I didn’t get run over and now able to finish my morning walk in tranquility.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, September 11, 2020

Sukiyaki Dinner

Aloha Everyone,

A large head of Nappa cabbage was included in this week’s Farmers vegetables and fruit order. My daughter-in-law and I came up with a list of easy to obtain ingredients for a Sukiyaki dinner.

Sukiyaki, often prepared at the dining table is a very popular Japanese dish. The dish typically includes thinly sliced beef, tofu (bean curds), nappa or regular cabbage, rice noodles, shiitake mushrooms and other seasonal vegetables. Aside from washing and chopping vegetables, Sukiyaki is an easy and healthy dish to prepare.

My daughter-in-law and I were pleased with the result that we agree to include it among our favorite home prepared dishes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Using Music to Connect Students

Aloha Everyone,

Our younger son, Jeff, is a high school Social Studies and History teacher. In addition to his normal classes, Jeff also has an advisory class. Advisory meets 3 times a week and focuses on creating a support system for a small group of students.

Jeff asked each of his Advisory students to choose one of their favorite song to share with their peers. They play one song per class as a way to get to know each other. Afterwards listening to the music, Jeff's students discuss the song, its meaning, and how it might relate to their teenage lives.

Jeff is amazed by the range of music selected. Here are some of the songs that his students have chosen thus far:

Can You Stand the Rain:

I Can Only Imagine:

Don't Worry, Be Happy:


Rewrite the Stars:

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Dilbert Comics

Aloha Everyone,

Some comic writers are ideas people and they don’t necessarily draw very well. Others are also terrific artists who can execute their great ideas in visual characteristics and provide appropriate settings where the stories take place.

Dilbert’s creator, Scott Adams falls in the first category. His drawings are simple and even crude but his comic strips are known for its satire about a white-collar engineer working in a micromanaged office environment. Dilbert’s office humor was introduced to the public in circa 1989.  

The main character, Dilbert, his boss and colleagues are developed from Scott Adams’ personal experiences working in big businesses in various roles.

Dogbert, Dilbert’s pet dog who can be more human, far wiser than Dilbert, displays the dark evil side of Scott Adams’ own personality, said the author.

Our son has the full collection of Dilbert from the time he was in grad school. He told me that these books were his stress reliever at the time. During this period of Covid-19 Pandemic, I think that most of us can use a stress reliever.

Here are a few of my favorite selections from our son’s collection.  

To visit Dilbert’s home page, please go to:

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, September 7, 2020

Ethereal Sunrise & Cricket

Aloha Everyone,

There are multiple fires still burning in the California Sierra Nevada mountain range. In the valleys of San Diego county, we have three active fires. As a result, this morning’s sunrise appeared hazy and shadowy as if the sun prefers to wait rather than to rise and shine upon us.

A cricket, about 1.5 inches jumped in my walking path. Crickets are usually amber, brown to almost black in color. They are not visually attractive. However crickets make music or they make a distinctive sound. By rubbing a part of the body located on tops of their wings, male cricket produces melodious tunes.

Coincidentally, later when I walked into the garage to use the washing machine, I heard the faint song of a cricket.

“When the cricket’s song is the only sound you hear, how peaceful the whole earth seems.“ - Marty Rubin

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Have a Safe Labor Day Weekend!

Aloha Everyone,

Another heatwave is affecting Southern California. Excessive Heat Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service until 8:00 pm tonight.

To beat the heat, I woke up even earlier than usual. I love the time when the dawn breaks and the sky begins to get brighter. The transition between the morning twilight and the sunrise is brief and fleeting. The colors of the sky in soft blended shades of pink, yellow, blue are magical and difficult to capture with my iPhone camera.

Have a safe Labor Day weekend!

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Aloha Everyone,

I started and finished this book today. It is one of those books that you can’t put down until you reach the final page.

A provocative and disturbingly beautiful novel, one will surely feel strong emotions. The author describes  a depiction of life: of despair, hate, love and hope. The fact that one of the settings is Athens, Greece and one of the main characters is an artist are connecting threads to my life.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, September 4, 2020

Walking the Memory Lane

Aloha Everyone,

It’s been 6 plus years since J.J. and I purchased our motorhome and affectionately refer to as Honu. Honu is a Hawaiian name given by our granddaughter as she thought our “home” is like a sea turtle who carries its home on its back.

It is also an auspicious name because Hawaiian sea turtle is a symbol of good luck and wisdom.

Attached photo taken 6 years ago at the Crater Lake National Park in Oregon was forwarded to me by my sister. If interested, below is a copy of our blog written on September 3, 2014.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Telemedicine Update

Aloha Everyone,

By necessity, J.J. and I are learning additional ways to use our mobile devices. When the two of us decided on our Primary Care Physician at Scripps Torrey Pine Clinic, things proceeded very rapidly. The Scripps  technology staff are accustomed to assisting new patients. Via phone conversations, they walked us through steps of downloading 3 new apps, how to navigate and echeck in prior to our first teleconferencing with our doctor.

Our first teleconference which lasted 30 minutes each were very helpful and comforting that we will be under an expert and caring medical professional. The next morning, J.J. and I went to the Scripps Torrey Pines clinic to have our lab works done.

Making eappointment, answering required questions via echeckin prior to our arrival meant that we could just walk in at the appointed time. Everyone had their masks on, no waiting room meant limited contact. Except for the lab technician, I did not come in contact with anyone. We are also grateful that our daughter-in-law drove us so that we didn’t have to look for an oversized parking stall for Honu.

It was totally unexpected when I received a call from our PCP the same evening to go over the lab results. Overall, I am healthy. So is J.J. When she suggested that we reduce one of my medications and possibly discontinue using it after a follow-up lab test in 3 months, I was truly happy. She also emailed our designated Walmart pharmacist to give them my new prescription.

Changes are part of life. Changes are constant and we should accept them head-on. However, when changes mean positive outcomes, they are truly welcome.

Aloha -- Cathi