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Monday, November 30, 2020

Spectacular November Sunrises

Aloha Everyone,

Amazingly beautiful morning sky is worth jumping out of a warm bed and begin my walk. Here are but a few of the sunrises I captured on my iPhone.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Special Dessert Treats

Aloha Everyone,

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my daughter-in-law made pumpkin mochi dessert. Mochi is glutinous Japanese rice cake made with rice flour. It requires quite a lots of ingredients but the prepping and baking can all be accomplished in less than an hour and a half. Adding pumpkin complimented the Thanksgiving dishes.

I always add a tablespoon of Flax Seed meal to my oatmeal. Following the recipe on the back of the Flaxseed meal, I made No Bake Energy Bites. Instead of chocolate chips, I used Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate with hazelnuts. I also substituted almond butter for peanut butter. By modifying and lessening some ingredients, and having smaller serving sizes, both of these special desserts were welcome treats for the holidays.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, November 28, 2020


Aloha Everyone

Breakfast literally means breaking the fasting period of the night before. Around the world, breakfast is the first meal of a day.  

Breakfast is called petit-déjeuner (small lunch) in France and it’s usually croissant or toast and jam plus juice and coffee or tea.

When J.J. and I traveled through England, we were treated to their full English breakfasts. This often included bacon or sausages, eggs, baked tomatoes and baked beans, even mushrooms with black pudding and wonderful local breads that were toasted. Served with fruit juice plus coffee or tea, breakfast was the best meal of the day. A large breakfast allowed us to skip lunch.

My daily breakfast is somewhere in between in terms of quantity, but it always includes fruits and vegetables.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, November 27, 2020

Wonderful Home-Cooked Meals

Aloha Everyone,

“Laughter is the brightest where food is the best.” - Irish Proverb

“So long as you have food in your mouth you have solved all problems for the time being.” - Franz Kafka

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook must bring soul to the recipe." - Thomas Keller

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

Aloha Everyone

Amid the raging Coronavirus pandemic, let us all pause for a moment and express our gratitude for love of our family and friends. The positive news regarding the coming availability of vaccines is also encouraging news.  Maintain a positive outlook. Have a safe and joyful Thanksgiving!

A beautiful, sentimental but timely Thanksgiving song for 2020. I’d like to acknowledge our son Jeff and his advisory class students for highlighting this song.  

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 23, 2020


Aloha Everyone,

Tonight we had an unexpectedly exciting dining at home experience. Our family found ourselves suddenly sitting at a darkened room. Fortunately we already had foods on our plates so our dinner proceeded with candle light. Our daughter-in-law also lit the gas fireplace and brought out two Micky Mouse light sabers to supplement and to add gaiety.

Reflection on the ceiling from the light sabers made a beautiful pattern which J.J. referred to as Las Vegas lighting.

The blackout lasted for about 50 minutes. According to the San Diego Gas & Electric website, about 800 customers in the San Diego area were affected. Sorry none of my photos came out since I did not use timed exposures.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Changing Views on Aging & Retirement

Aloha Everyone,

When there is a dramatic event in your life, it impacts your general outlook. It also causes you to reflect on the meaning of life and reflect on what matters most.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted  issues that were previously put on hold.

For example, more people will choose to age at home. About 40% of the COVID-19 related death in the US occurred  in long-term care facilities. Sentiment of elderly are that they rather age at home where thy will maintain family and social contacts which often are unavailable in care facilities.

Technology advancements catered to older adults is something which J.J. and I could relate to. The two of us are already proponents and are comfortable with our telemedicine experiences, mail in prescriptions and online shopping. J.J. and I are also looking forward to learning more about various uses of mobile devices.

Embracing a healthier life style and saving more money for retirement especially for those who still have 20, 30, 40 plus years to work have become more urgent.

Finally the topic many Americans avoid, planning for one’s death. This subject has been pushed to the forefront as we are constantly reminded of our final stages of life during the time of a pandemic. To read the full article, please go to:

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, November 20, 2020

Brighter Future Outlook

Aloha Everyone,

Whether one resides in big cities or small rural communities, people all over the country are concerned about a number of challenges we are facing.

In the article by Kimberly Lankford which appeared in the AARP magazine August/September issue, she takes 7 of the major issues such as the economy, closures of neighborhood businesses, big companies going out of business, loss of retirement savings, etc and shares the historical perspectives. Not that we feel happy to learn that 2/3 of small businesses started between 1994 and 2008 shut down within 10 years but again it will offers different point of view.

Remember money, job, large house, cars and other possession do not offer lasting happiness. Unconditional love, compassion to and from your family and friends and even to strangers can result in a real happiness.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Making Changes

Aloha Everyone,

For the first two years after J.J. and I retired and moved away from Hawaii, we went back to the island for 10-14 days to visit our family and friends. The trip also was necessary to see our doctors, dentist, banker and accountant. The two of us would try to finish most of our obligations during the first week leaving the following week for socializing.

When it became impractical to maintain our Hawaii based healthcare, J.J. and I found a primary care physician in Saint George, Utah. We also established relationships with Intermountain Medical Group and consulted with their specialists. This mutually reliable  relationship lasted 5 years.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the two of us have been sheltering-in-place since April with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Therefore, we have chosen a new Primary Care Physician in Southern California.

So it was a little shocking to receive a flurry of phone calls and email messages reminding us of our pending appointments from Saint George. Due to our traveling schedules, J.J. and I always initiated and asked for our appointments. Just to avoid any uncertainty or confusion, I replied with a letter clearly stating that we will not be returning to Saint George for any medical requirements.

Some people prefer status quo, the security of knowing how everything stand. However changes are a normal part of our lives and sometimes necessary.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Identical Twins & Their Special Bonds

Aloha Everyone,

My Mother’s younger brothers were identical twins. They had strong physical resemblance, spoke in similar, easy manners with baritone voice and they both enjoyed baseball games. There was a period when one lived in the United States and the other was in Japan, but their special ties were unbreakable. If one became ill, the other one became ill an ocean away. When my uncles were reunited in the United States, they chose to live on the same street across from one another.

When J.J. and I lived n the Philippines, we had a set of identical twins among our household staff. They were very attentive and gentle with our young sons.  Some people warned us not to hire them. They cautioned us that if we are unhappy with one, we might lose both of them. Fortunately, Ana and Clara were jewels to have around. I recall that I only had to give instructions to one of them and via movements of their eyes and slight gestures, our wishes were conveyed to the other without uttering sounds. Our friends who frequently came over were impressed how quiet Ana & Clara were.

The chances of having identical twins is about 33.7 per 1,000 births. (Data obtained from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) Identical twins at birth are always the same sex, either both boys or both girls).

In the Unwanted & Unwanted Quest series by Lisa McCann, which I just finished reading, the main characters are identical twin boys in the first series and identical twins girls in the second series. Psychological torments between the good and evil, selfish or compassionate characteristics of one twin vs the other are skillfully illustrated.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Keep on Walking

Aloha Everyone,

Some message speaks directly to your heart. My son Jeff and I are dedicated walkers. Occasionally we cite bad weather or other tasks on hand to try to come up with a legitimate excuse not to walk. But ultimately, having a good walking buddy, even we live in different states helps. We encourage each other. We remind ourselves how great we will feel after our walk. Walking is a salve for our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

“Above all do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday I walk myself into a state of wellbeing & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thoughts so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill.  Thus if one just keeps on walking everything will be all right.” - Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher (1813-1855)

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 16, 2020

More Positive News on COVID-19 Vaccine

Aloha Everyone,

Less than a week after we cheered the drugmaker Pfizer’s announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine, today, the second drugmaker, Moderna released their vaccine news. Moderna, an American technology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts said that their COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective.

These are truly encouraging news as competition will improve outcomes of their research. There are several other drugmakers working on the project which we hope will translate to making the vaccine available and affordable to anyone who is interested in getting it.

With this positive news, the NY Stock Market hit the all time record high with DOW making the fastest recovery from a bear market in 30 years.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Students Music Recital

Aloha Everyone,

Over the past 6 years, J.J. and I have enjoyed attending “live” music recitals organized by our granddaughter’s private music teacher.  

Today’s was a Zoom Music Recital, a new experience for the teacher, her students and the audience. While the teacher hosted the Zoom recital from her home, each student logged in to join. The audio quality was not optimum as we noticed sound dropping in and out several times during performances. There were also delays in video transmissions.

On the positive side is that family and friends who reside far away were able to join. It was particularly nice to see our family and friends from Honolulu, Hawaii and Rochester, New York who stayed the entire program.

Our granddaughter was the last to perform. She played flute solo of Study in B minor by L. Drouet and No 6 in D Minor I, II, III by G. P. Telemann. It was a memorable Sunday afternoon.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, November 13, 2020

Acorn Squash

Aloha Everyone,

In this week’s Farmers Basket delivery, there were 3 Acorn Squash. Unfamiliar with this particular fruit, I googled to see if they are edible. I also telephoned  my friend, Pat, who knows a great deal about fruits and vegetables.

The skin appeared to be hard and solid, but it yielded easily to a sharp kitchen knife and J.J.’s arm strength.

I tried 1/2 of the fruits by microwaving. Without any condiments, the taste was bland.

For the remaining half, I scooped out the seeds, placed butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and baked it in the oven for 20 minutes.

My daughter-in-law and I agree that we still need to experiment with this new fall fruit. They are supposed to be a great source of iron, Vitamin A and C and riboflavin.  We have nearly two weeks to experiment. Hopefully, Acorn Squash along with Butternuts Squash will add color, novelty and an interesting dish to our Thanksgiving dinner table. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Making Healthy Bread Choices

Aloha Everyone,

Bread for most of us is a staple food. While J.J. loves his rice, I prefer bread. Freshly baked bread dipped in EVO (Extra Virgin Oil) is irresistible.

I read labels when buying unfamiliar brands but this article help you decipher words such as wheat, multigrain, ancient grains and gluten-free.  

My bread choice has been the Ezekiel brand. After reading the article, I am looking forward to becoming a more adventurous bread lover.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Happy Veterans Day!

Aloha Everyone,

Thank you for your service, your heroism, you and your family’s sacrifice in service to our country.  

The heartwarming story below is about John Mahdhie, a former Air Force Senior Airman who left the Air Force in 2008 several years after his father’s death in a motorcycle accident.

Mahshie and his wife converted a nine acre plot formerly used to raise pigs by his family to an organic farm. Veterans who volunteer at the Veterans Healing Farm are given new purpose in life.  Mahshie mentioned that not only does the farm provide nutritious food, physical exercise and emotional support, but a sense of belonging to a community. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 9, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccine

Aloha Everyone,

The announcement of Pfizer and partner BioNTech on COVID-19 vaccine is truly exciting news. The effectiveness of their vaccine against COVID-19 may exceed expectations. Whether the vaccine would be between 60-70% or as much as 90% effective seems to be too early to predict. One needs to get two injections three weeks apart.  

The first eligible group are essential workers which are many. I believe that J.J. and I will fall in the 2nd tier, that is the higher risk people, which are seniors. While we are realistic and willing to wait until the vaccines are deemed safe and effective, the news make us giddy. It seems finally, there is a blurred but some light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Along with millions of Americans and people around the world, the two of us will closely monitor this exciting development.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fall Weather

Aloha Everyone,

Suddenly we are enjoying Fall weather. 41 degrees Fahrenheit this morning and it remained unchanged throughout my walk.  

Gusts of wind combined with heavy rain drops was invigorating. It took me a total of 5 attempts to complete my 100 minutes walk, but it was well worth it.

My breakfast included steaming and hearty oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Post Election

Aloha Everyone,

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been declared as the 46th President Elect and Vice-President Elect respectively. This has been a divisive election with historical voter turnouts.  

Setting aside the politics, all of us now should direct our energies and focus on finding solutions to pending problems.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 128,000 on Friday. That was a record for the third straight day. More than 1,000 a day are dying in the United States alone.  

Learning to Make a Difference, Value Creation in Social Learning Spaces is authored by Etienne Wenger-Trayner and Beverly Wenger-Trayner.  This book is an academic paper and while it is informative it is not an entertaining book.  

With permission granted by the Cambridge University Press, there are sufficient pages as “free preview” online.  Basic ideas in the book are inclusiveness, connection and mutual understanding.  Wenger-Trayner is a husband and wife team. They are internationally known leaders in the field of social learning.  For a limited time, you can access the free preview.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Timely Songs

Aloha Everyone,

Today I was introduced to two songs.

Xenosaga: In this Serenity is I suppose one can refer to as the theme song though it is captioned as “The Animation Ending Song”.  2:56 minutes long song sang by a female vocalist with soft, whispering voice is very fitting for its lyric. The YouTube I listened to can be followed in English, in Japanese or Mandarin Chinese.

What I find interesting is that use of Biblical mythology as well as principles of works of Carl Jung who founded analytical psychology and Friedrich Nietzsche, who among many of his achievements, is credited to influencing modern intellectual history.

Supermarket Flowers is by Ed Sheeran, a British pop singer, songwriter. It is a very personal and poignant song written about his grandmother from the view point of his mother.

Two different music of different genres but I found both to be appealing. Perhaps during this time of uncertainty and unrest, these particular music helps soothe us.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Comfort Food

Aloha Everyone,

The results of Election 2020 is still being tabulated. Whoever you voted for the presidential election, these months and weeks leading up have been a long and arduous passage.

So our daughter-in-law thoughtfully prepared comfort foods for the past two dinners. On Tuesday was Taco with ground turkey meat. J.J. enjoyed his with blue corn taco shell while I had mine as a taco salad.

Tonight was Japanese-style curry. I made a plate of curry with a small portion of white rice and seaweeds.

My breakfast plate for this morning and lunch completed our comfort foods for the past two days. Please do send me some photos of what you have been indulging yourself with.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Stress & Its Harmful Effects

Aloha Everyone,

The Coronavirus Pandemic, waiting for results of the Election 2020, job loss, loss of health insurance, unable to pay for essentials such as food and shelter, are some of the pressing issues people are worried about.

Some are feeling overwhelmed, depressed and lonely. Others are experiencing physical pain, anger and frustration. The Mayo Clinic website offers sensible advice on stress management. Please stay healthy.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 2, 2020

What Matters to American Voters

Aloha Everyone,

In the eve of the general election 2020, there are a number of articles and surveys done by various research groups as to what matters to registered voters. Coronavirus pandemic is out-of-control and the country is in a midst of a recession. So do people vote with their conscience or with their personal needs?

According to this research data, economy is top issue followed by healthcare, Supreme Court appointments then the Coronavirus outbreak. Violent crime and foreign policy are listed at 5th and 6th place.

Personally, J.J. and I discussed our concerns and our list begins with the Coronavirus outbreak with healthcare in the immediate 2nd place. For us economy and foreign policy takes slight edge over Supreme Court appointments and violent crime. 2020 has been most unusual, challenging and unprecedented year. Though we don’t expect anything to change overnight, we pray that winners will be magnanimous and losers will maintain dignity and self control to lead our country out of current gloomy situation.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Happy November!

Aloha Everyone,

We gained an hour today due to an end of the daylight savings time.  

A glorious sunrise, a beautiful promising start of November.

“Don’t wait until the fourth Thursday in November, to sit with family and friends to give thanks.  Make everyday a day of Thanksgiving!" - Charmaine J. Forde 

Aloha -- Cathi