All set to attend Lisa’s graduation

August 31, 2014

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Hawaii:  Lantana (photo by David).

Lisa will graduate with her doctorate in physical therapy next May.  Yesterday, we bought a package deal online and are all set to fly to Las Vegas.  We will be spending three nights at the Bellagio, which is a luxury hotel on the Strip.

The only trouble with staying at the Bellagio is that smoking is permitted on the premises.  We reserved a non-smoking room, but there is no guarantee that we won’t be bothered by tobacco smoke during our stay.  Smoke makes me nauseous and dizzy.  I simply hate smoke.

David and I have been to Las Vegas once before (in 1998).  We stayed at the California Hotel and were not impressed.  The only reason why we are going to this city again is to see Lisa graduate.

Maria plans to attend Lisa’s graduation ceremony, also.  We will be so proud of our daughter when she receives her diploma.

Meanwhile, Lisa is going to start her clinical rotation in September.  She is focusing on neurology and wants to help stroke patients.  I am sure she will do very well.

Calm and cool under pressure

August 29, 2014

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Hawaii:  Plumbago (photo by David).

I babysat my grandson for 2-1/2 years from the time he was five months until he was almost three years old.  He was quite the leader.

Two year old Rylan would say, “Grandma, let’s go outside and pick up rubbish.”  We would go out in the front yard and he would drag dead palm branches to the green bin for disposal.  Then, we would wash our hands in the bathroom.  This continued for about two months.

One day, Rylan said, “Grandma, you pick up the rubbish and I’ll stay here and watch.”  He stood on the porch steps and supervised.  I asked him, “Why don’t you want to help me?”  He replied, “I don’t want to wash my hands.”

Oh, okay.

Another time, I was humming a tune and he said, “Stop, Grandma, stop.”  That’s because I was interfering with his television show.

What a boss!

During the time he was with me, my grandson more or less called the shots.  He never cried or got upset with me, because he usually got his way.  Besides, he was such a great kid, he didn’t need to be disciplined.

Now, Rylan is in preschool and must learn how to get along with his peers and his teachers.  Not everyone wants him to be their leader.  I hope he is calm and cool under pressure.

Surgery canceled

August 27, 2014

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Hawaii: Bougainvillea (Photo by David).

I have some good news to report.  David found a buyer for his two clarinets and was overjoyed to receive a check for $1,400 for them.  Now, he intends to have his car repaired at the auto body shop near the airport.  The fender and bumper need to be fixed.

Another bit of good news:  We were able to change our subscription tickets for the Hawaii Symphony concerts from the balcony to the orchestra level.  It cost a lot more, but we are so glad that we will be seated on the left side and will therefore be able to see the keyboard when a piano soloist performs.  We decided to make this switch because of David’s arthritis.  Frankly, at our age, we should not be going up and down the balcony.  We are little, old people who should creep on the ground rather than climb an arduous bunch of steps.

Speaking of arthritis, David has decided to cancel his total knee replacement surgery.  His medication (Clomid – Clomiphene Citrate), which was prescribed by his urologist to boost his low testosterone, has resulted in stronger leg muscles, which means he can stand up and walk with ease.  His motto is:  If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

The funny thing about this medication is that its original purpose was to treat infertility in women.  Now, it is also prescribed to help men with Low-T.  Bottom line:  David is more energetic and much stronger.  There is no need for surgery at this time.

Good news, indeed.

All we have is each other

August 25, 2014

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Hawaii:  Orchids (Photo by David).

We had dinner with family last night at Romano’s Macaroni Grill.  There were ten of us, including David’s brother’s family and our daughter Maria’s family.

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Clockwise from bottom left:  Rylan, Grant, Amanda, Julia, Maria, Shirley, Victoria, Michael, me, and David.

Time marches on.  In ten years, Julia will be 16 and learning how to drive her dad’s car.  Rylan will be 14 and his voice will have changed.  These grandkids will be so busy dealing with their teenage interests and teenage angst, they will have no time for their 78 year old grandma, if I live to be that old.

Maybe, in ten years, there will be no blog to document the passage of time.  Imagine the demise of gigi-hawaii.

Meanwhile, we do what we need to do to be happy.  I want to enjoy the rest of my life, every bit of it.

According to the media, one in six people living in the USA is eligible for food stamps.  That’s more than 50 million people who are at the poverty level.  Talk about misery.

David and I are poor, but not that poor.  We are rich, but not that rich.  Would you call us “middle class”?  I like to think so.

It helps to be married and to be close to family, who can help us when we are in need.  It helps to have good friends, too.  Ultimately, all we have is each other.

We are fortunate, indeed

August 23, 2014

Hawaii:  Pink hibiscus.  Photos by David:

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You might remember that Maria’s former bedroom had been used as a storage room.  In the process of transforming our master bedroom into a rental unit, we had to downsize considerably by removing everything from Maria’s room.  We discarded books, exercise machine, bicycle, appliances, and tables.  Whew!  Everything had to go.

Now, David and I sleep in Maria’s room, and the rental unit is currently occupied.  We have one spare bedroom, which is reserved for Lisa and our grandkids.  Nobody can stay in that room permanently, as there simply is no space for anyone else’s stuff.  Our towels and table linen are stored in the dresser, the first aid equipment is in the desk, batteries and lights as well as bank statements are in the nightstand.  The closet contains David’s clothes, the ironing board, and other items.  This is in addition to the things in Maria’s room.

So, basically, only two people and a guest can stay in the main part of the house.  No way can we have a permanent resident in Lisa’s room.

I am so grateful that we had the foresight to buy this house.  We don’t have to pay a maintenance fee, rent or mortgage.  All we pay is $132 per month for the homeowner’s insurance and $1,818 per year for the property tax.  Imagine paying that elsewhere for a house this size.

It is also nice to have rental income to supplement our retirement benefits.

We are fortunate, indeed.

When I think of Steve, I laugh!

August 21, 2014

These are flowers in our neighborhood that David photographed with his Sony camera the other day.  I cropped the photos.  They turned out well, didn’t they?  I think his $600 Sony is better than my $86 Canon PowerShot, because his pictures have more clarity.

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I don’t know the name of these pink flowers.  Desert Rose?

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The flowers in the lower photo resemble Singapore plumerias, but these flowers have pointed petals, whereas the plumerias I am familiar with have rounded petals.  We used to have a white plumeria tree in our yard, but the flowers could not be strung into leis, because they bruised and died too soon.  White plumerias are not as hardy as yellow plumerias, for example.  My all-time favorite is the pink plumeria, which has a pretty color and a delightful fragrance.

David took a bunch of other photos around our neighborhood that I’ll post from time to time.  He doesn’t think he will ever have a blog, because he doesn’t care to write.  He prefers to talk and listen.  Well, that simply doesn’t satisfy me.  I enjoy reading and writing, too.

Wish we could all be like Steve.  Steve who?  The Steve who bought the Los Angeles Clippers, that’s who!  What an exciting, rich and happy guy!  How would you like to buy a professional basketball team for $2 billion?  Whatever you think of that type of transaction, please don’t rain on his parade, okay?  He graduated from Harvard and was a graduate student at Stanford.  It was Microsoft that made him wealthy.  He has a wife and three children.  I admire Steve Ballmer tremendously.  Sure, he doesn’t have the power to change the world, but, boy, is he having fun!  When I think of Steve, I laugh!

One way to become senile

August 19, 2014

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Spathiphyllum: a plant I bought at Home Depot last week.  The anthurium that sat on the coffee table had grown so tall and ungainly that I discarded it and bought the Spathiphyllum.  There was no sense in planting the anthurium outside, as it would not have tolerated the bright sunlight.  Both plants like the shade or indoors.  It’s such a pleasure to see a pretty, new plant on our coffee table.

David has been feeling bored lately.  He is considering taking a series of tax preparation classes at H&R Block either this year or next year.  Even if he is not hired as a tax preparer, he looks forward to learning something more about tax law.  He does not think we will have to pay taxes for 2014 due to the business expenses incurred for our rental unit.  For example, 1/3 of our electric, water and cable bills can be deducted.  The monthly yard bills as well as home insurance and property tax can be deducted according to a fraction of the square footage of the house.  In addition, we can deduct the cost of furnishing the rental unit and changing the sliding doors and carpet. There is so much to learn about tax law!

David said he might start his own blog, titled “David’s World.”  If he does, I’ll include his link on my blog roll.  I encouraged him to take his Sony camera and photograph flowers in the neighborhood.  His camera cost $600 but it sits on the shelf, rarely used.  This is so ironic, because I use my $86 camera all the time.  Why in the world did he buy such an expensive camera?  He should make use of it and practice composing his shots.  Maybe, he could even include photography in his blog!

It’s important to be creative.  Don’t accept passive entertainment as a way of life, i.e. watching television all day.  That’s one way to become senile, isn’t it?

Greens and Vines

August 17, 2014

David and I have dined at my sister Sylvia’s raw vegan gourmet restaurant, Greens and Vines, many times since it opened in 2012.  Every time we go, we like to try new items on the menu.  The food is really delicious, and it is healthy precisely because it is raw, vegan, and organic (no animals, no dairy, no additives, no pesticides).

Last Saturday, I hosted a wonderful lunch for a party of 10 friends and relatives.  We had a great time.  Here are photos of the event.

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Clockwise, starting from the lower left:  Aunty Marilyn, friend Flo, friend Raymond, friend Robert, sister Nedra, friend Hank, Aunty Bobbie, David, me, and Uncle Harold.

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At the opposite end of the table were Hank on the left and Robert and Nedra on the right.

We started the meal with drinks:  Beer from Belgium, Prosecco (sparkling wine from Italy), Chablis, Kombucha (made from gogi berries and strawberries), iced tea, and Kona coffee.  I especially enjoyed the Kombucha, which was refreshingly cold.  David and Robert enjoyed the Belgian beer.

Then, the food came.  Awesome!

Appetizers:  Chips (flaxseed thins and onion bread) plus 3 types of Dips, which were unique and full of flavor.  There also was chia seed Caviar with cashew nut cream on Radish chips.  So colorful!  Notice that the cream is not dairy; it is made from nuts.

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Main entrée:  Living Lasagna and side salad.  This is their signature dish.  Everyone raves about it, so if you go to Greens and Vines for the first time, you must try it.  The lasagna consists of zucchini “pasta,” fresh tomatoes, sundried tomato marinara, spinach, macadamia nut cheese, and basil pesto.

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The cute vegan cigar was absolutely divine!  It was so addictive, I could have eaten more than one (made of banana, mango, chocolate, amaretto, with coconut “ashes”):

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The Limoncello cleansed the palate and was almost too pretty to eat (consists of a fruit puree and assorted edible condiments on top). :

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So, of this 5 course meal, there were 3 that were new to me:  the Caviar on Radish Chips, the Cigar, and the Limoncello.  That’s what makes Sylvia’s menu so interesting; there is always something new and different to try.

This is my sister Sylvia, the owner and chef of Greens and Vines:

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If you want more information about this fine restaurant, just google GREENS AND VINES online.

My cup runneth over

August 16, 2014

David wondered if these gorgeous orchids were real.  Yes, they were.  We enjoyed looking at the new shipment of flowers and plants at Home Depot last Thursday:

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I thank my lucky stars that I am married to David.  For one thing, he makes an excellent traveling companion.  When we are on the plane, he is able to lift up my luggage and store it in the overhead compartment.  This is quite a blessing, as I am so short and can’t reach up there.  And when we are in the hotel, he is able to set up my computer after buying Internet time from the front desk.

Yesterday, I again was thankful that I am married to David.  I happened to be at the Aiea Medical Building and couldn’t start my car, as the battery had died.  I couldn’t call Geico for assistance, because I didn’t know the street address of the building.  What to do?  I phoned my husband, and he drove to Aiea, jump started my car, and told me to drive to Sears to have the battery replaced.  He met me there and discussed the situation with the repair man.  Long story short, I can now drive my car.

Today, I am hosting a lunch for 10 people at my sister’s restaurant, Greens & Vines.  Next weekend, David will host dinner at Romano’s for his brother’s family.  And the last weekend of the month, his brother will host dinner at Prince Court.

So, my cup runneth over.  I’m very happy.

iPad Air

August 14, 2014

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In November 2012, David and I rode an elephant in Jaipur, India.  These photos were taken by an Indian photographer, who sold them to me.  We had so much fun back then.  I think our trip to India was by far the best trip I have ever made in my entire life.  If you missed them, my posts about our trip can be viewed by typing “India” in the search bar at the top of the screen (home page).

We went to the Apple Store the other day.  David bought an iPad Air.  He’s been fiddling with it ever since, and he simply loves his new toy.  It is so much better than his Kindle Fire, because the keys and screen are larger, and it is faster.

Unfortunately, the iPad Air seems to be incompatible with my Canon PowerShot camera, so I intend to take my Lenovo laptop computer when I travel to Nevada next year.  I will need it to post photos and essays on my blog.  The Lenovo laptop is what I used in India, and I had abolutely no problems with it.

I also bought two iPads for my grandkids, but Maria said she has been restricting the amount of time on their father’s iPad to once a week.  Since they don’t need additional iPads, I have decided to get a refund from the Apple Store.

At any rate, it seems that the iPad is obsolete, and the iPad Air is the new model to buy now.


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