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Monday, March 29, 2021

Floating Doctors

Aloha Everyone,

David and Vicki, who like us, altered their lifestyle completely after retirement. They purchased a sailboat to live and travel in it.

Today J.J. and I received an email update with their sailing itinerary. David, a retired Navy doctor, mentioned they will be volunteering with a non-profit organization called, “Floating Doctors.” Based in South America, this group uses a boat as their base to go into remote coastal villages to offer medical treatments.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Adventure in Life Quotes by Dr. Debasish Mridha

Aloha Everyone,

Some of our friends reacted to our news of going to Ecuador with words of caution and warning. The word “brave” appeared several times in their communication.

Dr. Debasish Mridha is board certified in Neurology and Sleep Medicine. He is also a poet and author. I was recently introduced to Dr. Mridha’s work via one of the online psychology class I took.

I thought of sharing a few of his quotes on how he regards life.

“The biggest and grandest adventure in life is life itself.”

“Make enthusiasm a way of life.
Make optimism a way of success.
Make gratitude a way of happiness.”

“Every Day of life is an adventure. Don’t fear to dare and never forget to enjoy it.”

“Life is a daring adventure towards an unknown future. It’s beauty depends on how much you enjoy the journey.”

“People will not remember what you did for living. They will remember how you touch them with kindness and loving.”

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, March 26, 2021

Requirements to Enter Ecuador

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I are following two reliable sites where the latest requirements to enter Ecuador are posted.

Accordingly to the website of the US Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, we have to be in a possession of the vaccination card issued by the CDC. The card does not at all look officious. There’s no printed seal of the US government nor a bar code which could contain basic personal information such as name, citizenship, date of birth, etc.

Based on the website of Quito International Airport, the traveler must either present the vaccination card or have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to arrival.

The above information postings have been modified or “updated” since J.J. began monitoring.

Traveling is always an adventure but especially during this times of COVID-19, we must be prepared with added uncertainty and stressful situations.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Going to Ecuador!

Aloha Everyone,

The two of us will be visiting Ecuador for 10 weeks. We fly out on AA from Los Angeles Internacional Airport on April 15th vía Miami to Quito, Ecuador.  Our scheduled return to the USA is June 30th.

J.J. and I intend to divide our time in 3 cities: Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil. However, unlike our earlier travels when we thought nothing of walking 10 miles a day and wanting to visit (me mainly) as many churches, cathedrals and museums, the two of us will enjoy the slower Latin tempo and the ambiance of the place.

J.J. and I would be interested in looking for community volunteer opportunities that can be done within the current restrictions of COVID-19. Teaching yoga, meditation, balancing exercises for seniors, art, photography and English conversations for students are all possibilities.

Stay healthy, safe and practice mindfulness.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


Aloha Everyone,

There are hundreds of types, but nearly 95 percent of avocados we see in Southern California are Hass Avocado. Originally from Central Mexico, this fruit, with a dark green thick bumpy skin is sometimes referred to as Alligator pear.

Jinnie, my friend, and our neighbor, recently gave us a shopping bagful of farm fresh avocados.

I LOVE fresh avocados with firm meat. They are highly nutritious and a good source of protein. I find ways to incorporate them in my breakfast and lunch plates to give me quick energy and feeling of fullness without interfering with my physically active lifestyle.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Cathi’s Morning Walk

Aloha Everyone,

Here is a hand drawn map of my daily morning walking route. Also included are drawings of a couple of avian friends along with hedge flowers that adorn the paths I take.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Chicken Vindaloo

Aloha Everyone,

Vindaloo is a popular Indian curry dish that calls for meat to be marinated in a highly flavorful spicy mixture. In Indian restaurants, pork is usually offered but you can also get a choice of beef, goat, mutton, prawns or chicken. Per my son’s request, tonight’s dish was Chicken Vindaloo.  

Nine spices including essential tumeric makes this dish taste exotic and magical.

This meal was a result of a collaborative efforts between my daughter-in-law and me. I have an aversion towards handling raw meats and raw seafoods. Graciously, my daughter-in-law stepped up in preparing the chicken.

Two interesting discoveries: a reduction of spice quantity by a half was unnecessary for my son and me. We enjoy fiery spicy dishes!

For non-spicy eaters, chicken with onion, garlic, mushrooms and fresh asparagus was prepared as an alternative dish.

I love baking and cooking especially trying out new dishes from some of the places J.J. and I have visited. I am grateful that while the two of us are sheltering in La Jolla, we have the opportunities to practice our culinary skills.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Irish Apple Cake

Aloha Everyone,

We had a combined celebration of St Patrick’s Day and J.J.’s birthday. To salute J.J.’s Irish ancestry, I baked him Irish Apple Cake. It is a three layered cake with crust at the bottom, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples in the middle, then strudels on top. 

Our main course was Ribeye steak with a side of tossed green salad.

With SIRI and Google search engine, recipes are obtainable including what ingredients may be used as substitutes.

Encouraged by the initial success, mini apple tarts and baked apple cups followed to use excess fruits that were already sliced and kept in lemon water. Fortunately, since all these apple based desserts looked and tasted different, everyone had good appetite.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Honu’s Driving Day

Aloha Everyone,

Inspired by Fiona Gillogly, I tried to write our this week’s Honu’s driving day per a journal style. Appreciate any feedback.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, March 15, 2021

A Charming Way to Attract Tourists

Aloha Everyone,

Shinan is an island located in South Korea. Like many small, isolated communities around the world, Shinan’s younger generation left their island home for the cities seeking better educational and employment opportunities.

Since 6 years ago, this community of about 100 elderly residents has invested $4.25 million and turned the island purple. J.J. and I have visited the hill towns of Guanajuato, Mexico where the residents are required to paint their homes in colors designated by the municipality. No tall, modern buildings. The net effect is photogenic.

Imagine Shinan’s roofs are lilac. Many island residents dress in purple from head to toe and restaurants serve foods on purple plates.

What an novel idea for Shinan to distinguish itself from other destinations. Lilac fields photograph is magically charming.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Audubon Webnars: “How and Why to Keep a Birder's Field Journal”

Aloha Everyone,

Today’s webinar was amazing. It opened my eyes to how I can apply this techniques to my own travel notes.  

Fiona Gillogly, was a day shy of her 13th birthday when she first met John Muir Law (JML). Fiona had already taken the birders field journal to a level which JML admitted that he had not reached.

From the example I am posting I hope you too can visualize Fiona’s direct experience with birds. Having an art background, I always approached my drawings of any subject with hopes for a perfect result. I learned that field journaling is more towards taking notes, and less about art. I need to remember not to do bird portraits. I must remember to be willing to make mistakes.

JML graciously stated that this is a case where a teacher learns from his student. Hope you will also enjoy his video of Fiona Gillogly’s presentation from the 2019 Wild Wonder Conference.

Friday, March 12, 2021

1000 Letters, Part 3 of 3 - Around the World Adventures w/ Our 2 Sons

Aloha Everyone,

Our 1984-1985 travels with our two sons was an epic one-year long planned adventure. Prior to that time, we would take the boys on a one to three months trip, but always returned to our base to resume our work.

What made this travel drastically different from our previous ones was that we packed all our household goods, had them forwarded to Hong Kong for safe storage with instructions to wait for our further directive as to the destination. We then sold our house, gave away numerous personal effects to our family, friends and our employees, then boarded the flight to Frankfurt, Germany. J.J. had arranged to rent a motorhome from a company called InterRent for a duration of 6 months.

Our route took us from Germany to Denmark to visit our friends in Randers. They graciously offered to store our suitcases during our travels. From Denmark to Germany, Austria, Italy to visit our dear friends, then to former Yugoslavia and Greece. The latter is where we spent an entire month. Back to Italy before meeting my Mother, my sister and her daughter who joined to spend Christmas with us.

True the world was safer then. There was no EU. We had to go through each border crossing with passports in hand and in some cases visas. It was unusual for anyone to see a young foreign family traveling in a motorhome. In reflection, J.J. and I were brave. We trusted the goodness, the humanity of people and they in turn treated us graciously. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 11, 2021

1000 Letters/ Aerograms, Part 2 of 3

Aloha Everyone,

Aerograms is a onion skin like thin sheet of paper that serves as the letter and envelope. Aerograms have the postage value imprinted. As you can see, one can fill 3 parts of the folded inner section with your messages then seal wetting the gummed flaps. I recall purchasing dozens of Aerograms at a time primarily for me and our two sons to write to my Mother.

Enclosures are prohibited but as you can see one can get pretty creative in filling the allocated space. Again with wider usage of email and texts, Aerograms have joined the ranks of dinosaurs. Even for our children this product is as foreign as receiving a telegram.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

1,000 Letters to my Mother, Part 1 of 3

Aloha Everyone,

Over a span of 12 years, while J.J. and I lived overseas, I wrote hand written letters to my Mother. My 1,000th letter was personally hand delivered.

That was an era of pre-PC, pre-internet and with very expensive overseas phone calls. In many countries, you had to go to a special business office where usually the owner initiates a call. A client is charged for the service, the country destination and length of one’s call.

Fast forward to 40 some years later: J.J. and I retired in 2014, sold our home in Hawaii, purchased Honu and embarked on our minimalist lifestyle of RV adventure. We spent six years visiting all 50 states interspersed with foreign destinations. The drastic change allowed us to spend more time with my Mother and gave us more frequent opportunities to watch our granddaughter grow.

On my last visit with my Mother, she gave me back my letters which were kept in her bedroom. I thought perhaps one day, J.J. and I will read these letters and reminisce our youth. In the meantime, J.J. offered a practical solution of scanning letters and family photos to store them digitally. In addition to saving storage space, digital format would retain or even improve colors.  

After scanning, a Microcut shredder was the final stage leaving buckets full of impersonal but beautiful snowflakes shapes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Countries That Are Welcoming American Visitors

Aloha Everyone,

Travels in the times of COVID-19 has altered many things. Going to foreign destinations means that we will be subjecting ourselves to airports and airplanes where there are added risks of exposure to travelers especially from other countries.

In upcoming blogs, I will share with you some of tips we receive from multiple travel sites. Some are sane and doable and yet others go to extreme measures. The best advice is to adhere to the CDC guidelines of wearing a mask (or possibly two one cloth mask over a disposable type), wear gloves, soap and water whenever possible or use liquid hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

Below is a website that lists countries where Americans can travel to right now each with their own restrictions.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, March 8, 2021

Ambitious Program Initiated by Bornholm Island, Denmark to Recycle all Their Trash

Aloha Everyone,

Denmark as a country is one of the tidiest and cleanest places J.J. and I have visited. So it is not surprising to read Bornholm Island, the easternmost island of Denmark has launched an ambitious program of recycling all waste on the island by 2032.

Bornholm Island is small. Only 237 square mile. 40,000 people call Bornholm Island their home. The 600,000 annual visitors may be more of a challenge as it is easier to discipline your citizen than holiday goers.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, March 7, 2021

J.J. and I Got Our Second Pfizer Vaccine!

Aloha Everyone,

We were in high spirits along with everyone who were in line at the Scripps Torrey Pine hospital. All of us were there ready and willing to get our 2nd Pfizer vaccine.

Experienced and organized, the medical staff processed us through 3 checking in stations. 15 minutes later, the two of us were out of the clinic. A woman summarized what many of us were feeling by suddenly breaking into the theme song from the 1966 film, “Born Free."

So far neither one of us are experiencing any adverse side effects from our vaccine.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Audubon Zoom Class: How and Why to Keep a Birder's Field Journal with John Muir Laws

Aloha Everyone,

Today’s Audubon zoom class was, from the technical point of view, only 50% successful. I connected using one of the toll free numbers that were provided. However in hindsight, I should’ve access the meeting via the Zoom app instead of via phone call.

Audio was in excellent quality and the instructor, John Muir Laws, explaining what he was attempting to draw, including specific types of pencils and what he is trying to accomplish were very precise and descriptive. John spent a great deal of time sharing his knowledge how our visual memory are not too reliable. That is we tend to make modifications based on our own knowledge and past experiences.

John’s techniques in how to remember specific colors and shades, the positioning of a bird’s body were all useful.

Focused my concentration on his spoken words was also a practice in mindfulness.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Palak Paneer

Aloha Everyone,

Palak Paneer is a very popular North Indian vegetarian dish. Palak means Spinach in Hindi and Paneer is Indian style cottage cheese.

This dish request came from our son and I was up to the challenge. With any dishes, there are always a variety of methods and ingredients one can substitute.

I found the block of Paneer to be unexpectedly firm which worked in my advantage as I had to cut them into approximately 1/3 inch thick slices. One of the amusing thing is that when a piece of Paneer is heated to golden brown color in a frying pan with a small amount of oil, Paneer jumps into the air like popcorn and turn itself over. This happened at least 30% of the time keeping me alert as not to get my face burned, as well as be entertained.

J.J. helped me dice onions, garlic and ginger and into the stir fried mixture, I combined cooked chopped spinach.
Instead of heavy cream, Greek yogurt was substituted.

Here is a link to multiple recipes of Palak Paneer. Our son was happy with the result. J.J. was not impressed with this vegetarian dish as he prefers fish and meat entrees.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Happy Month of March!

Aloha Everyone,

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” - Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Our life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today was a perfect day to take Honu out on our once every two weeks’ drive. Sunny and bright, J.J. and I are grateful for the Southern California weather when many of our friends in the East Coast and Mid-West are dealing with overlapping days of melting snow then more snowfalls.

Stay warm, healthy and safe!

Aloha -- Cathi