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Sunday, January 31, 2021

January Dining~in Meals

Aloha Everyone

From our 31 day menu, I am featuring 7 dishes from our January Dining-in Meals.

Meat Jun - a Hawaiian dish of Korean origin. Made of thinly sliced beef presoaked in a soy sauce mixture for overnight. Meat is then dipped in egg and fried.  

Roasted Lamb


Scottish Shortbread

Dutch Apple Pie

Fresh Papaya

Gelatin Fruits Medley

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Live & Work in Barbados for a Year

Aloha Everyone,

Barbados is a Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation.  

This BBC article is about a couple from Edinburgh (Scotland) who took the invitation of the Barbados government to live and work on the island for a year.

It is a huge departure from the safe, sophisticated, historical but cold, dark and cloudy Edinburgh to transfer to a carefree, blue sky, blue water island living.

As of the time this article was published, there were 3,000 Welcome Stamp Visa recipients referred to as “stampers”. The stampers are foreign nationals given a chance to live in Barbados and work (on their jobs for employers in other countries) for a year. The cost of a one year visa is £2,000.

COVID-19 has impacted where and how people are working on a global basis. To take a plunge of this magnitude would require a number of things that are aligned to make it work. We wish the best for this couple and others who have answered the call to a year in Barbados.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Cathi’s January Breakfasts & Snacks

Aloha Everyone,

I try to make my meals interesting as well as colorful with a healthy mixture of protein, veggies, fruits and controlled carbs. It is a good practice in discipline and self control. Taking photos as a record is also my way of monitoring my daily eating habits.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


Aloha Everyone,

Peacocks are flamboyant birds. Most of us think of peacocks with their tail feathers spread out with colorful, vibrant “peacock eye” designs. Females choose their mate according to the size, color and attractiveness of these colorful feathers.

By definition, only males are peacocks while females are known as peahens. Blue peacocks are native to India and green ones are from other parts of Southeast Asia. Peacock feathers are cherished by some as home decoration as well as for decoration for their large sun hats.

Peacocks are now found in most of the continents including in zoos and botanical gardens. They are abrasive and testy birds often seen chasing away other species by clucking and running trying to frighten them with a partially spread feathers.

I found that drawing peacock takes a lot more time. First of all, there are too many elements on its feathers to contend with and trying to emphasize the peacock eyes without getting overpowering requires a balance of colors and strokes.  

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, January 25, 2021

My Narrow Escape from an Uprooted Pine Tree

Aloha Everyone

During my morning walk, one of the tall, mature pine tree (estimated to be about 40 feet) uprooted and fell just where I was standing less than a minute ago. I was on the phone with Jeff for about 40 minutes walking back and forth on the sidewalk where the incident took place. 

Sudden loud noises that sounded like firecrackers accompanied by a shower of large pine cones was unreal.  I quickly did a 180 degrees turn and saw the road blocked by the fallen pine tree.

My heart was pounding so fast that I had to remind myself to take deep breaths. Fortuitously cars usually parked on the street weren’t there and no other pedestrians were out at that time.

I halted my walking and came home for a warm oatmeal breakfast to calm my nerves and share this extraordinary incident with J.J.

I’ve read pines especially are vulnerable to losing their grounds because their root systems go down to about 4 feet rather than spreading out. After gusty wind and steady rainfall, the ground is saturated and the condition was ripe for such an incident.   

Stay healthy, stay safe and be mindful of your surroundings.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 24, 2021


Aloha Everyone,

Turnip is often considered as one of the popular staple root vegetables along with potato and beetroot. Therefore when trying to find out how to prepare turnip, it was surprising to learn that the turnip actually is more closely associated with broccoli, kale, arugula and even Brussels sprouts.

It is a beautiful, photogenic vegetable with a medium sized bulb of off-white color with a lavender top to accent it.

Turnips is low in calories, low in sodium and low in carbohydrates. You can enjoy them as an uncooked vegetable to top your salad greens or cook them into a soup. Turnip is high in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium plus minerals. A multitudes of vitamins, including Vitamin C makes it a good, sensible, snacking vegetable.

I made a miso soup using turnips and tofu as its main ingredients and enjoyed it with nori (dried seaweeds) sprinkled on top. Delicious!

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Zoom Meeting with Hamilton Cast Members

Aloha Everyone,

Our invitation to join this special Zoom event was through our son whose colleague and his wife are amateur Thespians.  

There were 10 links for the Zoom meeting and we were grateful to be able to participate even though none of our family members are active in theater.

Two cast members, Jennifer Geller, who played the dancer, and David Guzman, “a swing and dance captain” talked about how they landed their roles in Hamilton.  David explained some of his challenges as he had to be prepared to be an understudy for all the choir and 4 dancing parts.

Amazing thing about a Zoom meeting is that Jennifer was in Florida, David was in New York, while the rest of us were in our respective homes in the San Diego area.

Both of our sons were involved in high school acting, singing, dancing, stage craft, etc.  I volunteered myself in assisting with the stage makeup of actors.  Hearing some of the stage lexicons brought back fond memories.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, January 22, 2021

Hilariously Honest Menu Description

Aloha Everyone,

Many restaurants try to entice diners with mouthwatering descriptions of their menu items only to fall short on their promises.

One Canadian Chinese Restaurant owner is an anomaly to this practice. Feigang Feu, who owns Aunt Dai, a Chinese Restaurant in Montreal is atypical. We understand that virtually every dish his restaurant serves is accompanied by Fei’s candid opinion such as,”compared to XYZ dish, this is not that good.”

Some people drive all the way to Montreal for a chance to dine at his restaurant and laugh at refreshingly honest descriptions of his dishes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Messages of Unity and Hope from President Biden

Aloha Everyone,

Messages of unity and hope, tolerance, truth and respect were a prevalent theme of the inauguration of our 46th President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The 90 minutes post inaugural “Celebrating America” hosted by Tom Hanks was well planned and executed. Many of the musical pieces were performed remotely or previously taped. It was appropriate and heartwarming for Tom Hanks to interject thanking everyday American heroes such as veterans, teachers, and essential workers.

The brilliant fireworks over the Washington Monument and Katy Perry singing her hit song Fireworks was an exclamation point to the uniquely historic 2021 inauguration.

“The new dawn looms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

The Hill We Climb
by Amanda Gorman

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, January 18, 2021

Bolero and a Flash Mob Performance

Aloha Everyone

Bolero, a work of the French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was originally written as a ballet for Ida Rubinstein, Russian a dancer in 1928.

Bolero is one of the most frequently played and recognizable pieces of classical music. It is conceivable that after a lengthy legal battle, Maurice Ravel’s music Bolero has become a public domain. This means anyone, anywhere in the world can perform without obtaining permission or paying royalty.

So here is a performance by a flash mob* that came together to perform Bolero at Gare de Saint Nazaire (train station) in France.

Please enjoy!

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Practicing Bird Drawings

Aloha Everyone,

Inspired by Audubon magazine on rejuvenating the gene pool of the Florida Scrub-Jay and 2021 Calendar by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, I devoted about an hour a day practicing drawing different species of birds.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, January 15, 2021

Pancake Friday

Aloha Everyone,

About a week ago, on my morning walk passing by a house where I usually smell bacon and eggs, I happened to inhale the wonderful aroma of pancake. I returned home hurriedly and mentioned to J.J. my craving for a fluffy pancake.

This morning J.J. prepared pancakes for our granddaughter, for me and for himself. As you can see, the pancake mix he used is Cracker Barrel’s brand and he cooked them perfectly, just how they used to serve his Mama’s Special Pancake breakfast at a Cracker Barrel’s.

To say it was delicious seems like an understatement. My granddaughter and I agreed that from now on we will ask FarFar (J.J.’s name meaning Father’s Father in Danish) to make pancakes every Friday.  

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Spaghetti Squash

Aloha Everyone,

Spaghetti Squash is a winter fruit introduced to us via last week’s Farmer’s basket box. Following an online recipe, my daughter-in-law first halved the fruits, then baked it. When I offered to help, she asked me to fork out the meat. As you can see, true to its descriptive name, the meat came out like spaghetti noodles.

She then stir fried the Spaghetti Squash with onion, served with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. The result was an unexpectedly flavorful vegetable dish.

Spaghetti Squash is low in calories, high in fiber, vitamin C, Vitamin B-6 and manganese. High in antioxidants and delicious nutty flavor, we all agreed that  Spaghetti Squash will be our top choice in substituting spaghetti noodles.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Gourmet Teas

Aloha Everyone,

My daughter-in-law gave me two boxes with an assortment of specialty premium teas for Christmas. One of them is fittingly called 12 Days of Sipping by The Republic of Tea company.

The second one is teas from Taylor’s of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.  Prominently displayed on top of the box is an emblem with “By Appointment to HRH, The Prince of Wales.” Such accolades are quite common in Old Worlds such as in Europe and Asia.

There is definitely an added allure of making a cup of tea even using individual tea bags. It is delightful imagining flavor and taste with such exotic names as Comfort & Joy Black Tea, Organic Pomegranate Green Tea, Honey Ginseng Green Tea, Peppermint Chocolate Rooibos Tea and Assam Tea.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Deliveries of Online Shoppings

Aloha Everyone,

Our perishables and non-perishable items are purchased from several trusted outlets including Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh, Costco, Walmart & Target. On rare occasions, we order pizza or baked goods directly from the source. For all of these services you either pay annual membership or satisfy the minimum purchase amount to qualify for a free delivery or pay a substantial delivery fee.

In the case of grocery stores or restaurants using Instacart, there is a revenue sharing agreement. The retailer mark up their price of goods and pays a percentage to Instacart. Depending on the order, a person who works for Instacart will only do delivery or do full-service shop and deliver. Most of these deliveries I have witnessed are being done using their own vehicle with purchases crammed in the backseats or in the trunk. I read that an individual shopper who will also delivers will earn $7 - $10 from the company. Customers are expected to tip even though tips are calculated  in the total cost.

Maybe the owner of Instacart is turning a profit but for shopper and delivery person, working for Instacart sounds like a challenging way to make money.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, January 9, 2021

January Reading

Aloha Everyone,

Bored is not a word we commonly hear around our home.  All of us have our own daily routine and activities to keep our minds and bodies occupied.

For January, I’ve selected 5 books to read.

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson is the conclusion of the Mistborn Trilogy. I think that I will follow my granddaughter’s suggestion of starting the series all over after I am done with this book.  If you enjoy well written imaginative and gripping adventure fantasy, I highly recommend the Mistborn Trilogy.

Howard Zinn is American historian and political scientist.  His 1980 book called A People’s  History of the United States presents what Zinn considered to be more unbiased views of American History.  Most history books are written by the winning sides.  To read a different apolitical viewpoints opens one’s horizon. You can download a free pdf copy of the book.

A Villa in Sicily and Beachfront Bakery by Fiona Grace are really light readings if you want to spend a couple of hours with a cup of coffee and in my case, a tiny bowl of snacking nuts.  In both books, the main character is running away from her mundane or “against the wall” existence and makes a drastic change of place to live and her career.  Fiona Grace seems to be a prolific author with a number of other book series published.  A Villa in Sicily and Beachfront Bakery are free to download.  You must purchase if you would like to read the rest of the series.

The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.  Two of the world’s leading spiritual leaders shared their views on how despite of sufferings, how does one find Joy.  This is the third time I read this book and I continue to learn much from their teachings.

“Something is lacking. As one of the seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has the responsibility to develop a happier world. We need, ultimately, to have a greater concern for others’ well-being. In other words, kindness or compassion, which is lacking now. We must pay more attention to our inner values. We must look inside.”  Dalai Lama

“We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy.”  - Desmond Tutu

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, January 8, 2021

Winter Socks

Aloha Everyone,

I should know better than to get hooked by advertising messages. I have been looking for comfortable walking/hiking socks that would not bunch up, keep my feet warm and hopefully would withstand constant washing. I figured if I have 10 new pairs, they should serve me for the time being.

They are multicolored and fun to look at. Described as “winter vintage, warm wool socks, thick knit, soft, cabin cozy.’ Their copywriters have great imagination. I also relied on user comments. They seem to be friends of the manufacturer.

Of course the above is strictly my personal opinion and other buyers of these colorful “cabin cozy” socks probably adore them with loose threads to massage soles of your feet unless like me, you wear a cotton socks underneath to keep them rubbing my skin.

Buyers beware when you are making online purchases of unfamiliar products.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Remote Performance - Little Mermaid Jr.

Aloha Everyone,

The following information is being provided by Mr. Robin Kitsu, Performing Arts Learning Center Director.

Please mark your calendar and hope to see you at one of the performances.

Aloha - Cathi

The Nānākuli High and Intermediate Performing Arts Center present a Remote Performance of Disneyʻs The Little Mermaid Jr. featuring students from Nānākuli High and Intermediate, Waianae High, Waianae Intermediate, Ka Waihona o Ka Na`auao Charter, Kapolei Charter, Nānākuli Elementary, and Mililani Middle schools.

The Remote Performance will feature our performers recorded separately and edited together to create a single Zoom like video format performance and streamed on the platform.

Streaming Dates and Times:

Friday, January 29 at 7:00 pm

Saturday, January 30 at 7:00 pm

Sunday, January 31 at 7:00 pm

Friday, February 5 at 7 pm


Cost for one streaming code for a specific date and time: $5

You may want to stream the show on your TV, Computer Monitor, iPad, or cell phone.




Robin Kitsu

Student Activities Coordinator

Performing Arts Learning Center Director

Newswriting Advisor

2001 National Milken Educator

Nanakuli High and Intermediate School

89-980 Nanakuli Ave.

Waianae, HI  96792

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Lo Mai Gai

Aloha Everyone,

Lo Mai Gai is one of the representative Chinese dim sum dishes. While most of dim sum dishes, usually steamed or fried, are small bite sizes, a single portion of Lo Mai Gai is large and very filling.

Originated in Guangdong or Canton province, this sticky rice dish wrapped in lotus leaf contains beef, pork, shrimp, pork sausages or Century egg (pickled egg) depending upon one’s preference.

Lo Mai Gai is our son’s top 3 favorite Chinese Dim Sum dishes. I was willing to give it a try in making it and started to search for recipes online. The main challenge was to be able to purchase Lotus leaves which is sold as dried 20 sheets in a pack. The second challenge is, from preparation to cooking time, it is estimated to take 5 hours. Having one normal family size steamer, this means to prepare 10 Lo Mai Gai to make our effort worthwhile would require up to 8 hours.

As a luck would have it, our daughter-in-law’s friend was able to purchase 3 different kinds of Lo Mai Gai and dropped them off for us.

You can imagine this is a wonderful New Year’s treat for our son and JJ :-)

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, January 4, 2021

Are We Ready For Some Good News?

Aloha Everyone,

Where do we go when searching for positive news that are unrelated to COVID-19 and politics? I went to Google and searched the key words “good news.”

The first one I came up was posted on March 1, 2017. It’s a cute story about then almost 100-years old Dutch woman persuading the local police to arrest her. One of the items on her bucket list was to experience a police cell from within.

The centenarian was handcuffed and placed in a jail. You can see her happy expression showing off the cuffs for the police who took photos to be posted on Facebook.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Benefits of Sunlight

Aloha Everyone,

Early morning sun has a number of health benefits including:

  • Gives you better sleep by increasing the brain’s release of Serotonin
  • Reduces stress
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Fights depression
  • Boosts mood, calming effect
  • Vitamin D for bones, blood cells

According to information on the WebMD site, depending on your skin type, 5 to 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight is sufficient.

So here is my first 3 days of the new year’s walk basking in the morning sunlight.

Aloha -- Cathi