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Saturday, July 30, 2022

Class Room Teacher to Walmart Employee

Aloha Everyone,

Most public school teachers choose teaching career because they love to teach.

Seth Goshon, former Ohio teacher, shares his story of why he quit teaching for a well-paid Walmart job. According to Walmart’s career page, the salary range for coaching roles as Walmart employees is $55,000 - $80,000 per year.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 29, 2022

How Far We Go For A Healthy Diet

Aloha Everyone,

From our daily breakfast to mid-day meals and dinner, I try to make our plates tasty, appetizing and healthy.

Here are some of our recent meals prepared at our home base including Natto, which is fermented soy beans. I only eat it for health reason. J.J. prefers Kim Chee, fermented chopped cabbage with an obnoxious smell. Both are high in pro-biótics.

On such occasions, masks come in handy :-)

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Lunch with Family

Aloha Everyone,

Over a luncheon with my sister and her daughter (my niece) we shared stories, laughter and the chance to relax. All of us have “things to do” everyday but we agreed taking time to enjoy each other’s company is good for our spiritual health. 

This is the 4th time J.J. and I meet my sister at the restaurant. The manager knew us and seated us at a booth which he referred to as “your booth.” Excellent service and good public relations.

Today J.J. chose a set menu and my niece asked for a sushi plate, both which were colorful and photogenic. My sister and I are not too adventurous and stayed with our regular choice of salad, tempura and cold soba.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Casualties of Extreme Heat 

Aloha Everyone,

Over 400 OTC Health Products from Dollar Stores were recalled. Affected items included brand name pain reliever, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, mouthwash, etc.

These products were shipped around May 1 to June 10. Per Food & Drug Administration (FDA) they were stored at the wrong temperature.

The two of us buy our grocery and healthcare related items in large established entities l, avoiding Mom & Pop stores even for emergency purchases.

During this challenging times, we have to be extra cautious about the foods we consume and where they are originating from, and definitely where have they been stored.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Avocado Cartel

Aloha Everyone,

Mexican avocado farmers in the state of Michoacán consider avocado as “green gold.” The lucrative fruits, mainly sold to US, avocados and limes have been used by drug cartels to finance their business.

Roughly $2.8 billion worth of avocados are exported from Mexico to the US every single year. Organized criminals are trying to levy heavy taxes, manipulate and control the market.

Criminal organization stealing large plots of land with fully grown avocado trees, kidnapping avocado farmers, illegal diversion of water sources for their own farm use are some of the horrible tactics documented.

We noticed that prices for avocado from Mexico has increased by approximately 12% since 3 months ago. In addition to Mexico, they are grown in California, Central America and South America.  

I was able to find large fruits from Peru priced at 2 for $4.00. The Haas brand grown in California are being offered at two for $5.00 at Sprouts market. These avocados are stored in refrigerated containers, but they lack the taste and smooth milky texture of freshly picked avocado I’ve been treated to in Hawaii.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 25, 2022

Cleaning of PTAC (Heating/Air Conditioning Wall Unit)

Aloha Everyone,

Guests at the Extended Stay America received notification about the cleaning of heating & AC wall unit in the room.

Our room was scheduled for this afternoon. While actual work took 15 minutes or so, moving the bed and other furnitures so that they could access the unit took a total of an hour. While J.J. remained in the room and was on his computer, I went to Honu to tidy up the interior. It was our nap time and I must’ve been extremely sleepy. I opened side windows in the back of Honu and fell asleep for at least 30 minutes :-). Overall, it was time well spent.

This scheduling is very timely. Airborne dusts could cause eye irritations especially immediately after cataract surgery.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Online Patient Registration

Aloha Everyone,

The surgery center where I will have my first cataract surgery requires that I pre-register online. With J.J.’s assistance, it took us nearly an hour to complete the tediously detailed forms. Prior surgeries, prior hospitalization, do I smoke or drink alcohol, and listing all my medications and vitamins. My answers seem to indicate that I am in a pretty good health  :-).

Three prescription eye drops were ready at our Walmart pharmacy. One eye drop is to treat eye infections to be used 3 days prior to surgery 4 times a day.

Second eye drop also to be used 3 days prior to surgery 2 times a day.

Third eye drop is to be used 2 days after surgery. A chart provided by the surgery scheduling nurse is a good guide. 

The pharmacist mentioned that when I have to use multiple eye drops, give a 10 minutes rest time in between to make sure that my eye can absorb each medication. There’s always something to learn even in the simple act of putting eye drops.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Hazard on the Streets

Aloha Everyone,

Every time I step out of our room, then onto residential streets in the neighborhood of Extended Stay America (ESA), I kiss J.J. and ask him to wish me luck. 

This area (Del Amo Fashion Square) is upper-middle class with single-family residences valued at $850,000 to $1,200,000.

There are no street shootings, gang violence or homeless people. Having a fire department located adjacent to ESA is comforting.  So what are hazards on the street that I have to pay attention and be alert for?

Steep driveways are dangerous especially when home owners are already sitting in their cars and upon opening garage doors. Some drive out without verifying whether the path is clear.

Walking the same streets is advantageous. I know which home owners have their lawn sprinklers on. Where are badly patched cracks on sidewalks and where they maybe excess water pool.

Other early morning joggers are courteous but not dog owners. I am grateful my ability to do my daily walks and aim to stay fit and healthy.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 22, 2022

PRE-OP Measurements

Aloha Everyone,

The first machine used to take my left eye measurements was aa Cornea topography. Using computer software, this machine provides a topological map of the exact shape of the front surface of my eye.

Anthony, the technician then transferred me to sit at IDL Master 700. This is used to get measurements Axil Length. 

Meetings with a surgical staff followed. She went over about a dozen standard typed written sheets with instructions:

No food, drink, gum or candy 7 hours prior to surgery. No water except for small sips of water for medication only.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Dehydration in Extreme Heat

Aloha Everyone,

Torrance, along with many coastal cities of California, is blessed with year around temperate weather.  However, 65 degrees Fahrenheit by 7:00 am and rising to 85 degrees by mid afternoon, heat is a deterring factor to my daily walking regimen.

In order to avoid dehydration, I began employing the following 3 solutions:

1) Do my 60 minutes morning walk at dawn, before the sun comes up. 

2) Break my walk to 30 minutes per segment. Twice in the morning hours and once at dusk. Depending on my speed, I can do 5 miles in 90 minutes.

The water above will give me a chance to frequently hydrate myself. Dark chocolate treat also helps boost my energy level.

I realize so many of you are currently suffering from historical prolonged heatwaves. Please stay healthy, safe and hydrated.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Hannam Chain Supermarket

Aloha Everyone,

Signage for the shopping complex where Hannam Chain Supermarket is located caught J.J.’s eyes. His pursuit of good food is a serious endeavor. 

The first Hannam store opened in 1988 in the area known as Korean town in Los Angeles, CA. The Del Amo site, within a short walking distance from our hotel, just opened.

The two of us were impressed with the size of the complex and the large variety of mostly Korean products. J.J. purchased ready made steamed buns and potstickers to try.

Excellent quality and well priced, we will go back for more serious grocery shopping, including Korean-style marinated beef, fresh fruits and veggies.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Subway Foot Long Sandwich - AUS $1,844

Aloha Everyone,

Jessica Lee, a 19-year old Aussie was fined $1,844 when she landed in Australia. Forgetting to declare her 1/2 leftover sandwich that was in her bag meant she had broken the country’s Biosecurity Act.

It could have happened to anyone after a long haul flight. Jessica had flown over 8,000 miles in the span of 24 hours with one stopover.

The post of her ordeal in TikTok went viral. Subway gave her a voucher for $1,844 worth of sandwiches. A lesson from this fiasco, according to Subway, is “Always finish a foot long in one sitting.”

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 18, 2022

Huge Monster Waves Washes Over Two-Story Townhouses in Hawaii

Aloha Everyone,

Incredible, impressive, but very frightening images showing huge amounts of water washing over two story townhouses in Keauhou Kona, Hawaii were broadcasted over multiple television channels. Luckily, the townhouses seemed to have evaded a direct assaults.

The two of us have experienced aftermaths of stormy seas. Cleaning up afterwards including the building, lawn and personal effects soaked in seawater could be costly and time consuming.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 17, 2022


Aloha Everyone,

Plumeria plant is native to the Caribbean, Central America, Brazil and Florida. Plumeria, scientific name, frangipani are flower bearing plants of different colors, sizes and shapes.

Most species of plumerias are deciduous. Leaves usually shed by the time flowers open, leaving stick-like branches with colorful flowers. The sap from plumeria is sticky and toxic.

Easy to propagate, my sister currently has over 30 plumeria plants growing in large planters in her backyard.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 16, 2022

SPAM®, Canned Cooked Pork

Aloha Everyone,

SPAM® produced by Hormel Foods Corporation, traces its history to 1937. The canned cooked pork was one of the staples for WWII U.S. service personnel. Today SPAM® is sold in over 40 countries. 

In Hawaii, SPAM® musubi, made of cooked SPAM®, rice and wrapped with nori, a sheet of seaweed is one of the favorites local snack.

The product can be served hot or cold. Due to affordability, accessibility, and storable without refrigeration makes it very popular.

It is interesting to see that Hormel Corporation has launched a national advertising campaign promoting the versatility of SPAM® which can be cooked and prepared in multiple ways.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 15, 2022

Korean Food

Aloha Everyone,

Korean restaurant Gaya, satisfied JJ’s recent craving for Korean food.  Parking is a bit of a challenge but manageable.  A spacious indoor sitting area had two tables occupied. We ordered takeout plate lunches. 

Waiting time was 20 minutes to fulfill our orders.  Beef and chicken boxes accompanied by steamed red beans rice made JJ happy. Total price was $31.75 inclusive of taxes  I think Gaya will join our regular list of takeout meal suppliers.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 14, 2022


Aloha Everyone,

Nightingales are song birds and territorial. Mature male birds have rich, melodious and a large repertoire of songs mimicking as many as 10 different song birds.

They belong to a European Thrush family. Dull, brownish plumage help conceal this incredible singers from other birds, animals and humans.

The word nightingale has German origin, Nschtigell, which means sing. 

One of the highlights of my morning walk is to listen to the songs of Nightingale especially when it’s foggy and chilly crisp air promises of another beautiful day.

Photographs courtesy of Audubon Society San Diego website.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Aloha Everyone,

Learning a new language is helpful for one’s brain health. The United States military uses a set of words known as the military phonetic alphabet. This alphabet is also used when signaling with Morse Code, flags and lights.

When spelling words with non-native English speakers over a poor telephone connection, J.J. uses The NATO Phonetic Alphabet. It is slightly different from the US military version. Commercial pilots and airline personnel have their own.

Here is the list. See how many you are familiar with.

Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Honu’s Brake Light Repair

Aloha Everyone,

Torrance Autohaus has a fading signage advertising “specialist in Mercedes Benz service and repair.” Unlike a Mercedes dealer, this place looked unpolished. Trusting their stated claim, J.J. pulled in to inquire about repairing Honu’s left back brake light.

After the person asked a few questions, J.J. felt comfortable that the person is a trained mechanic. Consulting his manual, and using simple tools, the mechanic replaced the burned-out brake light. His charge was $8.76. If we had taken Honu to Mercedes Benz dealer, it would have set us back by $150. (We paid $400 for an oil change.)

As you can see, Torrance Autohaus is not equipped with lifts to raise Honu to work on the undercarriage. However, for small repair jobs, J.J. feels confident that we found our mechanic. A reticent man from Bangladesh, he reminded us of a self-trained talented mechanic who could take apart J.J.’s father’s Landrover.  

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 11, 2022

1 US$ Equals 1 Euro

Aloha Everyone

Today’s big news of a particular interest to us is that 1 US$ equals 1 Euro. The last time this happened was in 2002 when Euro was not yet widely used. Today, 19 out of 27 European Union member countries use Euro as their official currency.

Simple way to calculate is that we could be looking at a 15% discount on our travels to Europe.

Our mailboxes are inundated with messages from travel agents as well as airlines and cruise companies. Some are offering 80-90% discounts on our future travels. Should they give us 80% discount on our airfare to catch a cruise that’s offering 80% savings off the regular fare, yes we would consider! Unfortunately, prices for air travel is going up.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Dr. Scholls Tri-Comfort Shoe Pads

Aloha Everyone,

The two of us are getting into a routine while waiting for my cataract surgery appointments. Daily morning and afternoon walks targeting 5-6 miles a day take about 2 hours.

Since I began to use Dr. Scholls Tri-Comfort, any discomforts I used to feel in the soles of my feet have disappeared. This is a voluntary, non-compensated comments from a grateful user :-).

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Costco Hot Dog Combo

Aloha Everyone,

Costco on Saturday at 10:00 am was packed with shoppers. This is a membership store where merchandise are well priced and people buy in bulk or in large sizes. For example, extra large bottles of popular brands of shampoo and conditioner were being offered as a set of two and members save $10 per pack. Tempting, but that’s a lots of shampoos and conditioners. Similarly bath soap, skin cleansers, skin cream, laundry detergent are sold at discounted prices.

My sister and I decided to purchase the popular Costco All Beef Hot dogs. There are some changes. You need to show your Costco membership card when you place your order. Apparently, this $1.50 and soda combo was so attractive that non members purchase them for lunch. The price has remained the same since 1985 despite inflation.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 8, 2022

Thailand Tourist Police

Aloha Everyone,

The Tourist Police In Thailand is a department of the Royal Thai Police. It was created in 1992 to assist tourists.

The Tourist Police are uniformed personnel, but lack police powers. They are responsible for writing out reports for insurance companies for victims of thefts.

The Tourist Police has volunteers who are foreign nationals residing in Thailand. Their ability to speak multiple languages is crucial to helping tourists. The volunteers number more than 500. They have to pay for their uniforms and equipment.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Titanic Hotel, Belfast, Ireland

Aloha Everyone,

On cruises, dinners at sea are usually highlights for passengers. For Titanic passengers, there were three distinct classes.  

For First Class passengers, printed menu cards offered the latest in French cuisine. Second Class had selections that would be comparable to regional hotels. As to Third Class, I can imagine it probably was a one dish meal such as a hearty soup and bread.

Titanic Hotel located in Belfast, Ireland has reproduced the decor and ambiance of Titanic. Even for history buffs, I don’t really see much charm in spending a night in the ill fated Titanic meal replica. But the restaurant is filled with diners. Some even dress in period clothes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Shortage of Pyrotechnics Experts

Aloha Everyone,

From shortages of teachers to airline pilots, supermarket clerks to hotel workers, all of us have one way or another been impacted by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. So it’s not surprising to learn that there were not enough licensed pyrotechnic experts to do the American tradition of 4th of July fireworks. Some communities canceled this popular annual event or rescheduled for the 3rd or 5th.

J.J. and I watched two nationally televised 4th of July fireworks. Displays in Washington DC, with the Lincoln and Washington memorials as background, were absolutely outstanding and impressive. In comparisons, displays that lit the New York skyline were scattered, diminutive in scale as well as in designs and colors.

Pyrotechnics jobs are mostly seasonal and part-time. In 2020, the pyrotechnics industry lost 90% of their revenues. (Source:  American Pyrotechnic Association -NPR-01/07/22)

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 4, 2022

The Big Mac Index

Aloha Everyone,

In 1986, The Economist magazine created the term, the Big Mac Index.  It was meant as an unscientific guide. For example, how much does a Big Mac cost in Paris vs the same Big Mac in Mexico City. Using the theory of purchasing power parity (PPP) one could compare the economic standards of any two countries.

We had a personal experience in Jerusalem. J.J. and I each had a sandwich. When we were asked to pay the equivalent of nearly US$20 each, we were a little taken aback. The two of us thought perhaps we were also paying for the tourist guide’s sandwich. The price apparently is correct for Jerusalem, one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Very interesting reading on the Big Mac Index that Jerusalem is No. 1 on their list.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Have a Safe 4th of July Weekend

Aloha Everyone,

Despite of high gas prices, the AAA (American Automobile Association) is predicting 42 million people across the US will be on the road over this 4-days holiday weekend.

Most will be driving 50 or more miles. This morning during my daily walk in the ESA neighborhood, I witnessed several vehicles ignoring stop signs and signal lights speeding to enjoy(?) their day.

The two of us are staying put. We have an assortment of “goodies” to snack on in between our healthier meals

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 1, 2022

Annual Wellness Checks

Aloha Everyone,

Our Medicare Annual Checkup went very well. A couple of minor issues to follow up, but both of us are generally healthy. After getting my cataract surgery, we will be able to resume our travels.

J.J. and I also got our tetanus vaccines as part of our preparation for future travels to exotic destinations. The vaccination is good for 10 years.

Aloha -- Cathi