Expensive!

May 23, 2022

It’s expensive to own a house. Recently, the valve on our solar water heater was leaking, which meant that the water pressure was too high. The water pressure regulator was malfunctioning and had to be replaced.

Water pressure regulator:

We hired a plumber. He dug up the regulator next to the front door and replaced it with a new one. But, his gauge showed that the water pressure was still 130. It should have been 60. At 130, our water heater, toilets, and appliances would be absolutely ruined.

It was determined that the best solution would be to install the new regulator next to the shut off valve near the street. This was done successfully. The water pressure is now normal at 60.

The plumber charged us $1,539 for parts and labor!

The next day, our landscaper installed a pipe with 8 bubblers to irrigate our hedge in the front yard.

The landscaper charged us $350 for parts and labor!

Bubbler:

Is it worth owning a house?

Yes.

Owning appeals to me. Renting doesn’t.

Go figure.

Lunch at Chengdu Taste

May 20, 2022

We had an absolutely fabulous lunch at Chengdu Taste, located at 808 Sheridan Street. This 3 story building has a vertical parking garage, where cars are moved vertically via elevators. Hence, valet parking is required. The first hour is free, and it is $2 for every half hour after that. There also is an elevator that will take you to Chengdu Taste on the second floor. There are public restrooms on every floor.

Chengdu Taste specializes in Sichuan (Szechuan) cuisine, which tends to be hot and spicy. However, not everything on the menu is hot and spicy.

Sichuan province is a landlocked area in southwestern China. It is predominantly populated by Han Chinese. There is a small minority of Tibetans in the western part of the province:

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan. Ancient architecture contrasts with modern skyscrapers:

This is the restaurant on the second floor:

Here we are. We were the first customers. More customers came in later:

You need a smart phone to scan the QR Code on the table, and then you tap on the pictures to order your meal. Paper menus are available, but those prices are not current. If you need help, just ask the nice waitress.

Toothpick lamb with cumin. Tender morsels of lamb were skewered with toothpicks. Cilantro topped this dish. (Definitely spicy):

Spareribs with pineapple. Sesame seeds topped this dish. Sweet and sour flavor. (Not spicy):

Chengdu fried rice. Rice with egg and green onions. Seasoned with just salt and pepper. (Not spicy):

Dessert consisted of 3 Rice cakes. These were tender and very delicate. Lovely dessert. (Not spicy):

Overall, the food was to die for! It was all so packed with flavor. This meal was unforgettable.

The portion size of each dish was large enough to feed 3 people. We ate to our heart’s content and left nothing behind.

Chengdu Taste is an excellent place for delicious Sichuan cuisine. We’ll definitely be back to try other dishes on their extensive menu.

Interesting TV shows he watches

May 18, 2022

David and I have a good marriage. We have been married for 42 years. Basically, we stay home and do our own thing. He has his TV, and I have my computer.

This is David, watching TV:

This is “Pachinko”:

Lately, David has been watching a lot of dramas on TV. He watched “Pachinko,” a complex story about a Korean family living in Tokyo, Japan. It is interesting to note that even in 1930s Japan, this young Korean woman would become involved with a married man with three children. He impregnates her, and she is forced to marry another man, who tries to protect her by telling everyone that the child is his. The movie is based on the book by the same title. “Pachinko” streamed on AppleTV+ and will continue next season.

***

This is “Tokyo Vice”:

David also watched “Tokyo Vice” about the Yakuza crime world in Tokyo, Japan. I saw part of it. Some of the violence was so graphic it was gruesome. Ugh! I don’t see how he can tolerate watching all this violence prior to going to bed. Doesn’t he have nightmares? “Tokyo Vice” streamed on HBO Max and will continue next season.

***

Viola Davis portrays Michelle Obama, who is one of 3 First Ladies depicted in “The First Lady”:

“The First Lady” is another show he has been watching. It features the wives of 3 U.S. Presidents and what happened before and after they married their husbands. Some of the stuff depicted is so appalling. For example, FDR’s infidelity and Betty Ford’s drug addiction and alcoholism. So far, there’s no scandal involving Michelle Obama. “The First Lady” is now streaming on Showtime.

***

Amy Schneider on “Jeopardy”:

David also has been watching “Jeopardy.” This is a game show where three contestants answer questions and win cash. Amy Schneider won 40 games and $1.3 Million. She lost when she could not figure out that Bangladesh is the only country in the world that ends with an H. You really do have to be mentally quick and accurate to win. “Jeopardy” is a syndicated show on CBS.

***

David likes to discuss the shows with me. I don’t have the patience to watch TV, but I do like hearing the synopsis of each show from him.

As for me, I love to do research on the computer. I share some of my findings on my blog. I am a perennial student, who loves to learn and study. Oh, how I love the computer!

This is where I do my research and write my blog:

As I said, David has his TV, and I have my computer. We get along.

What a bargain!

May 16, 2022

I have good news to report. My recent eye exam went well.

I show no signs of glaucoma or macular degeneration, two conditions that can lead to blindness. I do have cataracts in both eyes, but they don’t impede my vision. There is no need for cataract surgery at this time.

My vision is quite good. 20/30 in my left eye, and 20/40 in my right eye. Dr. Young told me to buy reading glasses online. They should be +2.00.

So, I ordered a set of 5 reading glasses and 5 pouches from Amazon. The entire set cost $18 plus tax. What a bargain! Shipping was free, because we are Prime members. They were made in China and shipped from Ohio. They got to Hawaii in no time. They fit me perfectly.

All of this for only $18:

I have reading glasses next to my sofa, where I read the newspaper, iPhone, and tablet.

And there are glasses in my purse.

However, I still use my previous glasses, which are weaker, for the desktop computer.

That leaves me with 3 unused reading glasses, which are stored in my bedroom drawer. They will be used when the other glasses are scratched or broken.

I just love them!

Paintings of horses

May 13, 2022

The Kentucky Derby is over, and Rich Strike is the winner.

***

I have always liked horses. I rode several when I was young, always thinking I would fall off but never did. It was awesome feeling the muscles of the horse rippling during a trot. Just the memory makes me smile.

Horses have the largest eyes of land mammals. The eyes are located on the sides of their head, giving them a 360 degree view.

Today, I am going to showcase some paintings of horses.

***

By Arthur Braginsky:

By Manuel Garcia:

By Andriy Pistun:

By Mary Jo Zorad:

By Martin Frank Stainforth:

By Paul Keates:

By Shanina Conway:

By Marion Rose:

This last painting by Marion Rose is my favorite. It’s incredible! Just beautiful!

No doubt about it, horses are magnificent beasts.

I wish I had the talent to draw and paint like these artists.

“Three Coins in the Fountain”

May 11, 2022

I wish that I could travel again. But, my arthritis precludes traveling anywhere.

More than ever, I am so glad that I traveled the world when I was young and in perfect health. I have traveled to 13 foreign countries altogether.

Italy was one of them. I spent 3 weeks in Italy in 1969, when I was 23 years old and traveling alone. I wouldn’t mind going back there again.

Rome, Italy. This is the Trevi Fountain, designed by Nicola Salvi during the 1700s. Toss a coin into this fountain and make a wish. Your wish might come true:

This 1954 Hollywood movie made the Trevi Fountain famous. It’s about 3 American women working in Rome, who tossed coins into the Trevi Fountain and made a wish that they would find romance. They wanted to fall in love and get married. Louis Jourdan, pictured here, was one of the stars of this movie. Frank Sinatra sang the song, “Three Coins in the Fountain,” which was part of the movie’s soundtrack and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was written by Cahn and Styne.

No, I did not toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain and make a wish. I didn’t know about this custom when I was there. But, had I tossed a coin, my wish would have been to return to Italy. Oh, yes!

The Vatican is located in Rome. I enjoyed the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and my audience with Pope Paul VI. This is the Sistine Chapel, an example of High Renaissance Art by Michelangelo:

Florence, Italy. This is Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David, carved in marble during the Renaissance:

Venice, Italy. I enjoyed riding the gondolas and seeing Puccini’s grand opera, “Turandot”:

And, of course, I loved the cuisine! This is Shrimp Scampi with Pasta:

Italy is by far my favorite country on earth. It has everything I could possibly desire: The visual arts, the grand opera, the delicious cuisine. Not to mention, it is steeped in history.

How I wish I could return to Italy!

If it weren’t for my arthritis, I would be there in a heartbeat.

What to say to a French man

May 9, 2022

A French restaurant.

***

I have studied 5 foreign languages in my lifetime: Latin, French, Korean, Russian, and German. However, I am not proficient in any of them. I definitely am not a linguist.

English is supposed to be the lingua franca of the world. But, as a world traveler, I can tell you that it really isn’t true. Not many people can speak English.

Traveling the world was fun. I was in a Metro station in Paris in 1969, when a French man bowed before me and said, “Konnichiwa, Mademoiselle.” (“Hello, Miss.”) He spoke to me in Japanese and French, assuming that I was Japanese! I smiled and kept walking. Now, why did I not put my French to good use and say, “Bonjour, Monsieur. Comment allez-vous?” (“Hello, sir. How are you?”) I missed a golden opportunity to practice my French!

Even if you have no intention of traveling abroad, it’s still beneficial to study foreign languages in school. It broadens your knowledge of the world by introducing you to foreign cultures.

Besides, it might come in handy when you meet a foreigner.

For, example, you might want to impress a French man by saying: “Je t’aime beaucoup.” (“I love you a lot.”)

How could he possibly resist you?

Dim Sum at Jade Dynasty

May 6, 2022

Dim Sum is a Cantonese term referring to snacks to be eaten with tea. The custom originated in the Canton region of southern China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), when travelers would go to tea houses for breakfast or brunch.

Dim sum consists of dumplings or buns, stuffed with seafood, meat, or vegetables, which are steamed, baked, or fried. There are over a thousand varieties of dim sum. They usually come 3 per container, allowing customers to taste many different types of dim sum.

The best dim sum in Hawaii can be had at Jade Dynasty, located at Ala Moana Center, where parking is free. In addition to an escalator, there is an elevator to take you to the restaurant. Wonderful for physically handicapped people like us!

We went there for brunch one morning around 10:30 AM. We ordered 8 containers of dim sum. I ate one dim sum from each container, and David ate two. It was very filling, and we were happy and satisfied with our brunch.

This is the entrance to the restaurant:

Me:

David:

Mochi balls:

Custard tarts:

Taro puffs:

Barbecue pork buns:

Pork and shrimp dumplings:

Shrimp and chives dumplings:

Shrimp and spinach dumplings:

Beef and vegetable balls:

It’s amazing what the Chinese were able to create during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). This cuisine is still being served to this day. Aren’t we lucky!

All of this dim sum cost only $36. Chinese food tends to be inexpensive and very affordable.

We had a wonderful time at Jade Dynasty!

Chinese paintings: Then and now

May 4, 2022

I love art and art history. I wish I had majored in art history instead of sociology at the University of Hawaii. I would have been so happy being a curator of a museum or gallery.

Traditional Chinese painters typically used ink and colored pigments on silk or rice paper. Their technique was similar to Chinese calligraphy. Oil, which was common in European art, was not used at all.

Though artists often painted royal subjects and court life, landscapes were considered the epitome of traditional Chinese art. The human figure was just a speck next to towering mountains.

By Lu Han (1699). Ink and color on paper:

By Qian Zuan (1200s AD). Ink, color and gold on paper:

By Huang Jucai (1200s AD). Ink and color on silk:

Other traditional Chinese paintings (unattributed):

Then, during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), thousands of these priceless and valuable paintings were destroyed. The Red Guard attacked intellectuals and sent them to the farms to work as laborers. There developed a personality cult, based on the revolutionary ideals of Mao Tse Tung. After 10 years, this all came to a halt with the influence of Chou En Lai. However, the damage had been done. These priceless works of art are gone forever.

Now, a new crop of artists has emerged from the rubble. Contemporary Chinese artists have adopted modern techniques to express themselves.

These are examples of contemporary Chinese paintings:

The evolution of Chinese art is absolutely fascinating.

If you can’t attend art history classes at the university, you can always Google for information on the computer. It’s incredible what you can learn from the Internet.

Karaoke parties

May 2, 2022

Our Filipino neighbors recently hosted a birthday party in their carport. They invited a large group of people, dined on Filipino cuisine, and enjoyed the camaraderie. Then, they spent two hours singing karaoke. They sang American pop tunes such as “The Way We Were” and the love song from “Titanic.” They sang very well. It was a pleasure to listen to them.

Our other neighbors are from Vietnam and are fond of singing karaoke, too. However, they don’t sound good, as they sing in Vietnamese, which is a tonal language. They sound like cats wailing. Very unpleasant!

We don’t have a karaoke machine, but we do host song fests in our home from time to time. The last one occurred in 2017. Four of us volunteered to sing without musical accompaniment: Me, David, cousin Ethel, and Aunty Bobbie.

David sang “God Bless America”:

Ethel sang “Shalom”:

Aunty Bobbie sang “Manapua Boy” while dancing the hula:

I sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”:

We weren’t the best that’s for sure. But, we did have fun, and nobody sent over the police to quell the noise!

Here we are:

It was potluck, and guests helped themselves to the food at the buffet:

It was such a splendid party!