Here is my hibiscus garden so far. More hibiscus will be purchased later:
Aren’t hibiscus better than roses? No thorns, more green leaves, and bigger flowers.
Postcard photos of London, 1969.
As you all know, I worked as an English teacher in Thailand for ten months in 1969. After that stint was over, I flew from Thailand to London. I intended to find work in London, but when I was at the airport, I was told, “You have a tourist visa. You are not permitted to work here. Don’t even bother looking.”
I would have loved to live there, because London is so beautiful. Best of all, the native language is English, and English is my native tongue. When I walked down the street, an Englishman stopped and asked me, “Are you from Hong Kong?” I replied, “No, I’m not.” He then remarked, “Oh, you have a cute little American accent.”
Wow. I laugh now, because what is an American accent? If you travel to different regions of the USA, you will hear different types of accents. For example, compare the Southern drawl to the Massachusetts brogue.
Anyway, David and I went to the movie theater last week and enjoyed “Bridget Jones’ Baby.” It’s set in beautiful England, and how glorious it was to see British actors and actresses speak and behave in a British way.
Lovely movie. Go see it.
David: “Heaven must be very boring. No sex, no food, no TV.”
Me: “The angels in heaven are free to travel, right? They can flap their wings to fly here, there, everywhere.”
David: “People say they can hardly wait to die and enter the pearly gates. Me? I prefer to live for as long as I can, appreciating what life has to offer.”
Me: “I agree. God, if there is a God, did not put us on this earth to be miserable. He wants us to enjoy the life he has given us.”
We vacationed at this hotel in Lihue, Kauai in 2008. Isn’t this paradise?
People tend to take life too seriously. Recently, David asked me, “Why do you laugh so much? What’s there to laugh about?”
I replied, “I just think funny thoughts and find myself laughing. I’ll probably die laughing.”
For instance, I laugh at all this talk about how dangerous it is to consume certain types of food. Nonsense! If the food looks good, smells good, and tastes good – then, I’ll eat it.
Somehow, I have managed to reach the ripe old age of 70 without dropping dead yet.
Of course, I should not be so complacent. But, the opposite of being complacent is being anxious. Who enjoys feeling anxious? It’s better to be complacent, in my opinion.
Take this Betty Crocker Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin mix:
I refuse to make muffins from scratch. Too much work. It took 5 minutes to prepare these muffins, and 15 minutes to bake them:
Perfect every time. Go ahead and laugh between bites of these delicious muffins.
On Monday, I had an appointment with my hairstylist. I put on my shoes. Then, I dug into my purse for my car key, but it was not there. I checked my dresser, all of the drawers, but still no car key.
I told David to check my car trunk, because I remembered opening it to get my parcels purchased at the store on Sunday.
So, there I was with the phone in my hand, prepared to cancel my hair appointment, when David yelled, “Hang up the phone. Here’s your key. It was dangling from the car trunk lock.”
It’s a good thing no one stole my car. And, yes, I do have a spare key in the filing cabinet.
David power washed the patio floor, which was dirty:
These stripes consisted of caulking to fill up the cracks in the concrete. We wanted to cover the stripes with paint:
First, David coated the concrete with white primer so that the grey paint would stick to the concrete:
Then, he painted the concrete medium grey:
This is the result of his hard work. The covered barbecue grill is on the left:
I would like to fill the patio with flowers that can tolerate the hot sun. Ixora or Lantana flowers, perhaps? I won’t buy a table, because we will not be eating in the patio. Those chairs were put there so we could meditate in the early morning and early evening, surrounded by beautiful plants:
David also painted the side patio and planter box. We bought four ferns and three striped ti plants:
Close-up of the striped ti leaves:
David did an excellent job of painting the patio.
I am the one with the imagination, but he is the one with the hands. He enjoys implementing my ideas to make the house look better.
This patio is a work in progress. It’s not finished until it’s finished.
Photos of David (age 37) and me (age 40) on Kauai in 1986, when we were pain-free and skinny.
David got his lab test results yesterday and was very pleased. His glucose, cholesterol, and hemoglobin as well as a bunch of other things are excellent. If this keeps up, he’ll live to 100 or beyond. No kidding. He just needs to have a PSA test and a bone density test done.
He still exercises at 24 Hour Fitness every night, swimming 20 laps in the pool, pedaling on the recumbent bike for 20 minutes, and lifting weights. Then, he gets into the hot tub and sauna and socializes with people there. After taking a shower and changing clothes, he drives back to our home.
He has witnessed two deaths at the gym. One guy died of a heart attack moments after he got off the treadmill, and another died of cardiac arrest after he stepped out of the shower. Both men were middle age. When David returned home, he told me, “Don’t you dare join Zumba, because you have been sedentary all your life, and Zumba will kill you.”
Meanwhile, he still experiences pain when he stands or walks too much. His new knees are fine, but his hips, back, and shoulders are not.
I am so glad I don’t have arthritis.
I like to experiment in my kitchen, so yesterday I made stir-fried beef. It was delicious, and David told me this was a keeper to make again and again. The meat was tender, and the sauce was full of flavor.
Here’s my recipe:
Pour a little Canola oil into a COLD electric wok.
1 sliced sweet onion
1 sliced green bell pepper
1 lb sliced top sirloin steak (Don’t slice too thinly, as the meat will be dry. Slice into thick chunks.)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Add this mixture to the wok.
Set the temperature at 350F and plug the wok into the electrical socket.
Wait for the food to sizzle.
Then, stir-fry the ingredients. Don’t over-cook the meat, as it will be too dry.
When done, unplug the wok.
David and I were hungry for Korean cuisine so we drove to the McCully Shopping Center and dined at Ireh Korean Restaurant. It was very clean, efficient, and organized. The waiter spoke English very well.
We started with complimentary pan chan (Pickled turnips, cabbage kimchee, tofu, and cucumber kimchee). This was accompanied by soy sauce, chili sauce, and white rice:
The fried seafood pancake (consisting of seafood, egg, flour, water, and green onions) was delicious:
The fried mandoo was crispy on the outside, but the meat and vegetable filling was tender on the inside:
Pul kogi (marinated beef) and vegetables:
Here we are, almost finished with our satisfying meal:
The food was reasonably priced and more than enough for the two of us. The next time you are at the McCully Shopping Center, do pay a visit to Ireh Korean Restaurant, which is located on the first floor. There is ample free parking on the main level as well as below.
1969: Marijuana being sold at an open market in Laos.
I am the first sibling to reach the age of 70. My brother, Dathan, died at 55 of Hepatitis C, my brother in law, Pete, died at 65 of lymphoma, and my former brother in law, Gary, died at 53 of a heart attack. My sister in law, Pat, died at 73 in a traffic accident.
It truly baffles a lot of people that I survived a trip around the world by myself. President Obama mentioned recently that the USA waged a “secret war” in Laos, dropping more bombs there than in Germany and Japan combined. Well, guess what, I traveled to Laos three times in 1969 in order to renew my tourist visa to Thailand. This was during the Vietnam War, when the USA was trying to eliminate the Communists in Laos. What prevented me from being murdered and thrown into the Mekong River? My parents would not have known what had happened to me. I would have been just another anonymous statistic during that war.
Then, I traveled through Europe. I was very poor and stayed in student hostels, striving to live cheaply on $5.00 per day. Thank goodness no one kidnapped me and sold me as a sex slave.
When I lived in New York City, I was robbed at gun point. Hey, never argue with a gun. I gave the robber my wallet, and he let me go.
It was night time in Hawaii when I was pounced upon by a man, who had been following me from the university to my home in Manoa. I screamed so loudly that he fled down the street.
Whew! There is so much danger out there. I am amazed that I am still alive.
I eat red meat and don’t exercise. But, my heart keeps beating, and every morning I wake up to another beautiful day.