“The Two Seasons – Na Kau Elua”

November 13, 2019

Last Sunday, David and I attended the third Hawaii Symphony Orchestra concert of the season. It featured an oboe concerto, performed by principal oboist, J. Scott Janusch:

Janusch had recently acquired a piece of wood, which came from a kauila tree. This tree had proudly stood for 300 years in the Kokee forest on the island of Kauai until it was knocked down by a hurricane during the 1980s. We know the tree was 300 years old because of the diameter of the trunk.

Janusch, with financial aid from various people and organizations, took the wood to London, where he hired someone to make an oboe out of it. This person was hesitant at first, because oboes are usually made of wood from Africa. Kauila wood is denser and heavier. It will sink in water. However, the person relented and, after two years, Janusch finally had his kauila oboe.

He then hired Professor Jon Magnussen to compose a concerto for the oboe. Dr. Magnussen teaches music at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu. He did a superb job crafting such a magnificent piece. It made its debut with a quintet earlier this year. Then, we got to hear the same concerto performed with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra last Saturday and Sunday.

This concerto is titled “The Two Seasons – Na Kau Elua,” because it evokes the wet and dry seasons of Hawaii. The piece calls for western classical instruments combined with Hawaiian wood blocks, which are tapped with wooden sticks. There also is bird song, which was recorded in the Kokee forest on Kauai. Awesome!

The kauila oboe had a nice tone. It had a mellow sound during lyrical passages and a more biting sound during staccato passages. It’s quite versatile with a wide range.

Next year, Janusch will give the kauila oboe to an organization, which will lend it to other oboists, who are interested in playing it.

This is the full orchestra. Note the wood blocks, placed on the lower right side of the stage.

Click on the photos to enlarge them:

Prior to the concert, a hula halau performed with wooden sticks in the lobby of the Blaisdell Concert Hall:

This is Gigi, wearing her new muumuu:

This is David, wearing his new aloha shirt:

This is the lobby during intermission. Note the men wearing aloha shirts:

We had a wonderful time at the concert. Always a good time with David!

Love it or leave it?

November 11, 2019

In June, David and I purchased a 2019 Hyundai Kona, a small SUV. It was quite affordable, costing about $19,571 including tax and fees. We had also traded in our old car, which was factored into the final price of the new car.

There are positive things and negative things to say about the Kona.

Positive: It gets good mileage, about 28 miles per gallon of gas. It is small enough to maneuver through traffic very easily. It’s also a breeze to parallel park. I also like the height of the seats, which makes it easier to get in and out of the car. My previous car was too low to the ground, unlike the Kona. Further, we have never had to take the Kona to the shop for repairs, and it has never been recalled by the dealer.

Negative: The leg room in the back seat is so small. I don’t see how anyone can sit behind David, who pushes his seat back to accommodate his long legs. Further, the Kona has a bumpy ride. It’s really not a luxury car with a smooth ride.

Counterpoint: Because our Kona is red, it’s very easy to spot in the Pearlridge Shopping Center parking lot:

So, there you have it. Love it or leave it? Do we have a choice? Let’s love it!

Art of the Philippines

November 9, 2019

Last Wednesday, David and I viewed the Filipino art exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

This is a map of the Republic of the Philippines, which is colored in red on the right side of the map. Click on the photo to enlarge it:

The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago that stretches more than 1,000 miles from north to south. Of the more than 7,000 islands, the bulk of the land mass is made of eleven: Luzon, Mindoro, Masbate, Palawan, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Mindanao. Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is located on the west side of the island of Luzon.

The Philippines was influenced by China, Southeast Asia, Spain, Islam and Christianity. All of this is reflected in the country’s art.

Here are images of some of the art in this gallery at the museum. David is in some of the pictures:

I am so glad that David enjoys our expeditions into the world of art. He is a wonderful companion.

So quick, so simple, so easy!

November 7, 2019

There are times when I just don’t want to slave over an elaborate meal. I am so glad I have modern appliances to produce a quick meal.

Automatic rice cooker. I steam brown rice in this rice cooker:

Microwave oven. I microwave a bag of frozen peas here for 5 minutes:

Electric oven. I bake chicken thighs here. The electric stove is on top of the oven:

Chicken thighs (boneless and skinless), baked with barbecue sauce and Panko bread crumbs:

And here is the quick meal (brown rice, chicken thighs and green peas):

After the meal, I load the dishwasher. Hot water and detergent sterilize the dirty plates, bowls, and utensils:

After the washing and drying cycles are finished, these clean items will be removed and stored in cupboards and drawers:

This is my small, but efficient, kitchen with all the modern appliances:

So quick, so simple, so easy!

Gigi’s photos of the natural beauty of Hawaii

November 5, 2019

Today, I am posting some old photos I personally took of the natural beauty of Hawaii.

Click on the photos to enlarge them, if you wish.

A botanical garden in Kaneohe with the Koolau Mountain Range in the background:

Watercress farm in Pearlridge:

Palm trees in front of the Blaisdell Concert Hall:

Botanical garden in Wahiawa

Waimea Falls Park:

Bird of Paradise:

Puu Oo Crater. You can see the smoke and the simmering lava under the crust. I took this photo from a helicopter, when David and I were visiting the Big Island of Hawaii in July 2011:

Waipio Valley, Big Island of Hawaii:

Black Sand Beach, Big Island of Hawaii. The black sand was formed out of lava, crushed over the centuries by the surf and tide:

Akaka Falls, Big Island of Hawaii:

Akaka Falls stairs and foliage:

Coast of Molokai:

Na Pali of Kauai. I took this photo from a helicopter:

David viewed the Halemaumau Crater on the Big Island of Hawaii during our honeymoon in 1980:

Health update

November 3, 2019

David and I rode an elephant in Jaipur, India (November 2012).


It’s been 2 weeks since I started taking my new blood pressure medication, Telmisartan, on October 21. I must say I feel so much better. I don’t have that chronic cough anymore (due to Lisinopril), nor do I have foot and leg edema (due to Amlodipine). My blood pressure is also normal.

There is still some residual right knee pain. However, I am now able to walk up and down the street (though very slowly), and I have begun to drive David’s car short distances. I am on the road to recovery.

It was my blog friend, Suranga, who advised me to take Telmisartan. It’s a pity that we were unable to meet her, when David and I were in India in November 2012.

Anytime I have a problem, I write about it in my blog, and there is bound to be someone in the whole wide world who will read my post and give me valuable advice. That’s the value of blogging.

George’s house has been sold

November 1, 2019

The house across the street from us was just sold after our friend, George, passed away last June. He was 100 years 8 months old. The house was sold for $850,000:

We invited George and his wife, Clare, in the pink dress, to our home for dinner in October 2010. They were in their early 90s when this photo was taken. Both are now deceased:

We wonder what our new neighbors will be like.

Gigi’s new muumuus

October 30, 2019

I recently purchased 5 new muumuus from T&L Muumuu Factory. The early American missionaries introduced muumuus to the Hawaiian women centuries ago. Needless to say, I love to wear clothing that is comfortable and machine washable. Remember: I don’t live in New York City anymore. I live in Hawaii.

Same design pattern with V-neck and 3/4 sleeves, but different colors:

New lunch items at the Palazzo

October 28, 2019

Last Friday, David and I were craving Italian food for lunch, so we headed out to Palazzo Ristorante Italiano in Aiea. It’s our favorite spot for a bit of Italy. This time, we decided to choose new items from their extensive menu:

We started with warm bread and butter:

As our appetizer, we had a lovely prosciutto with honey dew melon. We just picked it up with our fingers and munched on the colorful slices. Very refreshing for our palate:

David ordered his usual veal and eggplant provenciale:

I decided to try the fish ala piccata. This time, the fish of the day was opah (moonfish). The bones and skin were removed, and the fish was sautéed with garlic, mushrooms, and capers in a lemon butter wine sauce. Absolutely delicious:

This is a close up of the fish. It was really tender and moist. The capers gave it a tangy boost:

The menu is quite extensive, and it’s fun to experiment with new entrees. We’ll be back soon.

Julia’s and Rylan’s fundraisers

October 26, 2019

Last Thursday, our older daughter, Maria, and our grandson, Rylan, came over to see me and David. We had donated $20 to our granddaughter Julia’s fundraiser. She will be participating in a soccer tournament in Louisiana next January. In return for the $20, Maria brought us 5 bags of gummy bears. Three bags contained lemon peel flavored gummy bears, and two bags contained li hing mui flavored gummy bears.

Li hing mui flavored gummy bears on the left and lemon peel flavored gummy bears on the right:

Very, very tasty and delicious! Yummy!

We also donated $20 to Rylan’s fundraiser. He plans to go on a field trip to the Aulani Resort in Kapolei. It’s located on the west side of Oahu. This field trip will involve Rylan’s entire 4th grade. They will be learning about Hawaiian culture, eating and then sleeping over night at the hotel. For $20, we will receive two bags of oatmeal raisin cookies, which will arrive in December.

In addition to the 4th grade field trip, Rylan’s Gifted and Talented class will be going to the mainland next year for another field trip. I assume there will be a fundraiser for that field trip, too.

Looking back, I never did anything like this when I was in 4th and 7th grades. My grandkids are super duper. Awesome!

It was nice chatting with Maria and Rylan. The gummy bears were delicious! Now, we are looking forward to the oatmeal raisin cookies.