How we spent July 4th

July 5, 2015

Thank goodness for our air conditioned home, because, baby, it was searing hot outside yesterday.  While others cooled off in the ocean, David and I spent Independence Day indoors, relaxing like a couple of old fuddy duddies.

We watched the traditional Hot Dog Eating Contest on TV.  Yeah, it was grotesque watching the guys stuffing themselves with all those hot dogs, and it made me want to barf.  But, David insisted he wanted to see this competition, as he does every year.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

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The guy on the right, Matt Stonie, won by eating 62 hot dogs, beating the defending champion in the middle, Joey Chestnut, who ate 60.  The prize was $10,000:

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I watered the Boston ferns, hanging outside our family room:

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David fixed our automatic lawn sprinkler, which had sprung a leak:

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Then, he grilled steaks for our dinner on our gas grill in the patio.  He preheated the grill for 15 minutes and then cooked the steaks for 5 minutes on one side, 3 minutes on the other:

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And, here’s our dinner – steak, tossed green salad, and a pasta salad:

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It was a really mellow day, and we enjoyed ourselves.

Music tames the snarling beast

July 3, 2015

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Thai or Cambodian temple rubbing, featuring musicians and dancers of long ago.  It hangs in my family room.

David and I have been mulling over the new symphony season coming up in September.  Though we have not been informed about the program, schedule, and artists, we are inclined to purchase the season tickets by the July 31st deadline in order to keep our present seats near the left aisle.  I like our seats, because we can see the piano keyboard clearly.

You should have been there for the final concert last month, when ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro performed Yasui’s “Concerto for Ukelele and Orchestra,” the only ukulele concerto of its kind in the world.  The orchestra was enormous with many instruments, such as seven basses and a harp.

Unfortunately, during Jake’s cadenza, when he was playing solo, a cell phone started to ring.  A woman rummaged through her large hand bag, but could not find her phone, which kept on ringing.  Grrr.  That stupid woman should have left her seat and gone to the lobby to find her phone in her bag instead of remaining seated.  Man, talk about lack of concert etiquette!

However, I simply adored Jake’s encore, which he composed himself.  It was a duet for violin and ukulele.  It was so lyrical and soaring that tears welled up in my eyes and streamed down my face.  How I wish I could hear that piece again!

We also plan to subscribe to the opera season.  I love Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” and would love to see Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” and Britten’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  How exciting!

I just hope that David’s knee replacement surgery on July 30th is a success and he can accompany me to these events and have a good time.

Electronic toys then and now

July 1, 2015

I babysat my two grandkids recently and, of course, I took a bunch of photos.  What struck me was the memory of my two daughters, Maria and Lisa, playing with their electronic toys when they were little.  And now, Maria’s young children are doing the same thing, though they play with more sophisticated electronics.

Here’s a photo, taken in 1989, of my daughters, Lisa (age 7) and Maria (age 10), playing with their Game Boys.  Note the cord between their devices, indicating that they were playing a game together:

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And here’s a photo, taken in June 2015, of Maria’s children, Julia (age 7) and Rylan (age 5).  Julia is playing with her Kindle Fire, and Rylan is playing with his iPad:

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Kids these days grow up so fast.  My grandkids could read and write when they were in preschool, whereas I didn’t learn the alphabet until I reached first grade in 1952.

What types of toys will my future great-grandchildren play with?  Will their toys be electronic, too?

I want to stick around to find out.

Our 35th wedding anniversary

June 29, 2015

Last night, David and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary at Morton’s Steak House in Ala Moana Center.

How we looked on our wedding day in June 1980:

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How we looked last night:

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We have dined at Morton’s before, so I won’t be sharing photos of food we ate, because it would be redundant.  Suffice it to say, we indulged in a Caesar’s salad, a main entrée consisting of filet mignon, crab cake, spinach, mushrooms and baked potato, and a dessert of crème brulee for me and hot chocolate cake for David.  All delicious!  In addition, the restaurant gave us a lovely lemon soufflé as an anniversary gift.  Yummy.

Thirty-five years of marriage is a long time.  Among my sisters, I am the only one with a husband, as two sisters are divorced, and a third sister is widowed.   I hope David and I continue to live the good life for many more years.

Just imagine:  If we do celebrate our Golden Anniversary after 50 years of marriage, I will be 84 years old and David 81.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  I hope we make it.

I was a single mother on welfare, when we began dating.  David said, “This is what I like: family life.  You, me, and little Maria.”

We married in June 1980, and my husband inherited a family instantly.  In October 1980, he legally adopted my two-year-old daughter.  And now, 35 years later, he enjoys being a grandfather to this daughter’s children.

To top it off, we have another daughter, who graduated with a doctorate of physical therapy this year.

We are doing quite well as a family, don’t you think?

Design flaws?

June 27, 2015

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Ala Wai Harbor.  Photo by Ted Trimmer.

A woman I know complained about the new unit she and her children had moved into.  She said that the sliding glass windows had to be shut tight when it rained.  But then there was no air flow.  She said that jalousies would have been better, because they could be shut only slightly, keeping the rain out but letting the air in.

She also said that a ceiling fan had been installed, but it was too close to her son’s top bunk bed.

So, there were serious design flaws in that new unit, too late and too expensive to fix.

Hind sight is always 20/20, isn’t it?

David and I love our 3 bedroom 2 bath house.  Some people have remarked that they would have preferred a larger kitchen and bathroom.  But, how much time do you spend in the kitchen and bathroom anyway?  Very little time.  If I had to choose, I would choose a large entertainment area (family room and living room) rather than a large kitchen.  And a large entertainment area is precisely what we have.

Some people have also mentioned that we have no view of the city or ocean.  Well, we could have purchased a house on the hill with a splendid view, but that would have meant climbing up and down steep stairs.  Can you imagine making multiple trips from the car to the house, carrying bags of groceries up the stairs?  Not good when your husband has severe arthritis.

In lieu of a view, we hang beautiful paintings on our walls.  The art is not investment grade, but we like it.  I tend to frown at works by Picasso, but smile at paintings by local artists.  The paintings we display make us happy.  For that reason, they are priceless.

Design flaws?  Our home is livable.

Shrimp and Zucchini Stir-Fry

June 25, 2015

I love to create new things to eat, and yesterday was no exception.

I call this dish Shrimp and Zucchini Stir-Fry:

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And here it is on a plate with homemade potato salad and a tossed green salad:

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As you know, the more colorful the food, the better it is for you since it is bound to be chock full of vitamins and minerals.  The pink shrimp contrasts well with the green zucchini.

The unusual aspect of this food is that I did not heat up the wok first, because I did not want the garlic to burn.

Here’s the recipe:

In a COLD pot or electric wok, add:

1/3 cup oil (can be olive oil or canola oil or both)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (mixed herbs)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon cumin

Mix the above ingredients.

Then, add:

1 lb. raw, peeled shrimp (I used large shrimp)

2 – zucchini, chopped

When all of the ingredients are in the pot or wok, turn it on to Medium or 350 F.

Stir fry.

Do not over-cook.

Enjoy!

Spectator or athlete?

June 23, 2015

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David and I golfed at the Navy-Marine Golf Course in 2008.

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We were watching the U.S. Open on TV last Sunday, when David remarked, “I enjoy watching golf even more than actually playing it.”

I guess that applies to all sports.  For us, it’s more fun being a spectator than being an athlete.

When we were downsizing our home to rent out our master bedroom and bathroom for additional income, we decided to donate our two sets of golf clubs to Goodwill.  These golf clubs had been given to us by an uncle and a friend.  We used them for a while at the driving range and putting green at Pearl Country Club, but I was afraid that David’s arthritic knees would twist, causing irreparable harm, so we abandoned the idea of becoming golfers.  No regrets.

Now, David swims at the gym every night.  I, on the other hand, exercise by walking in my neighborhood and doing housework.  Yup, housework is considered exercise.  Try it sometime.

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We have so much fun watching the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the tennis and golf tournaments, and Major League Baseball, especially on our wonderful 65” TV.  It’s better than actually being there in my opinion.  We can get up and go to the bathroom and kitchen without having to stand in long lines.  We can also recline on our comfortable sofa and rest our feet on our ottomans.  Can’t do that in a stadium or arena, where we have to sit upright on hard seats and restrict ourselves to that small space.

So, all in all, life is good and being an “armchair quarterback” can’t be beat.

Which do you prefer:  Being a spectator or being an athlete?

Blogging can be a blessing or a curse

June 21, 2015

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David and I at Victoria Peak, overlooking Hong Kong (2010).

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The Giant Panda we saw at Ocean Park, Hong Kong.

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We rode this little cable car way up in the sky at Ocean Park, Hong Kong.

In 2010, I went to a local bank in Hawaii and requested foreign currencies (Hong Kong dollars and Japanese yen) for my trip to Hong Kong.  My initial request was made on a Monday.  I was told to pick up the currencies on Friday.  But, when I got there on Friday, the money was not there.  I waited 30 minutes while they phoned the foreign currency department.  I was then told that the money had been delivered to another branch by mistake!

“Come back on Tuesday,” they said.

On Tuesday at around 9:45 a.m., I called the bank to confirm pick-up.  They said the money was not there, yet, but they had left a message at the foreign currency department.  I did not get a call-back until 3:30 p.m., when I was told the currencies would be there the following Friday.

“Why Friday,” I asked.  “Why not tomorrow?”

“Deliveries to this branch are scheduled for Mondays and Fridays,” they said.

Grrrrrrr!!!!  If that is so, why did they not deliver the money yesterday (Monday)???

Well, I wrote about this episode on my blog, and lo and behold, the next day two bank officials called me to apologize.  When I asked the second person how the corporate headquarters of the bank had heard about my plight, she said someone at corporate headquarters had read MY BLOG.

I got my foreign currencies that Friday, and was met at the bank by the manager, who apologized for the inconvenience.  He presented me with a thermos and mug as a consolation prize.

Wow, I was so amazed that this little blog of mine had gotten such immediate results.

However, we do have to be careful of what we write, as sometimes, it can backfire.

For example, if I write a blog post criticizing the U.S. government or the military, I could very well be placed on the terrorist watch list and be prevented from flying out of Hawaii.

No kidding!

Blogging can be a blessing or a curse.  Blog wisely and use it to your advantage.

The desire for money as gifts is crass

June 19, 2015

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(These chocolate dipped strawberries make a great gift!)

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I have been pondering the whole idea of gift giving.  My conclusion is that I will not give anyone any more money.

The desire for money as gifts is crass.  I give you $50.00 and you give me $100.00.  Will you feel cheated because you gave me $50.00 more than I gave you?  Or suppose I give you $20.00 and you give me $20.00.  What a wasted gesture!

So, no more monetary gifts whatsoever.

I prefer to buy or make my gifts.  My sister-in-law in Boston sends us homemade cookies.  In return, I send her Maui Caramacs, which she can’t get in Boston.  How wonderful it is to give and receive food as presents!

Macadamia nuts are healthy to eat.  I have been known to give those to my guests at my Christmas parties.

When I traveled to India in 2012, I returned to Hawaii, bearing gifts of silk scarves and neck ties and other Indian souvenirs for my family and friends.  That was a special gift for special people.

One thing I must not do is give a set of wine glasses to Mormons, as they do not drink alcohol.  There are some Mormons in my family.  No joke!

And restaurant gift cards and movie passes aren’t that great, either.  Many times, those gift cards and passes remain on people’s desks unused.  What a waste!

So, instead of money, I will give objects – things to eat, things to wear, things to put in your home, and things to play with.

Hope you all agree that the desire for money as gifts is crass.

We balance each other

June 17, 2015

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(David and I opened presents in my parents’ home following our wedding reception in 1980.)

My husband and I balance each other.  What he lacks, I have, and vice-versa.

For instance, David makes perceptual errors.  He will see the word “Medicaid” but perceive it as “Medicare.”  He also doesn’t fill out application forms well, glancing at a sentence and assuming it does not apply to him.  I have had to proof read his work for that reason.

On the other hand, he is a better listener.  I tend to tune out when a conversation is boring, whereas David hears everything.  He does not daydream when people are talking.  He also is a good conversationalist.  I hate to use my voice, which is why I hated teaching.

So, there you go.  I like to read and write, but he prefers to talk and listen.  We help each other.

When I discussed this with David, he laughed and said it was not true.  Just the other day, he was at Target and was perusing his receipt, when he noticed the cashier had charged him twice for the tomatoes.  He pointed it out to her and was refunded.

“That proves I can proof read just as well as you,” David said.

“Well,” I replied, “let’s see how well you do with the next application form you fill out.  I’ll bet you will transpose numbers or letters and not catch your mistake.”

Anyway, my point is that we balance each other.  I have excellent eyes, but he has excellent ears.


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