Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Oprah and Maui

June 19, 2021

Oprah Winfrey is the most famous homeowner on Maui, the second largest island in the Hawaiian chain of islands. However, she keeps a low profile there and is not a controversial figure.

In 2003, Oprah bought her 163 acre estate in Kula (Upcountry Maui) for $2.1 million. Her house has sweeping views of the valley and the ocean.

Oprah is proud of her organic garden and has been known to give some of her produce to her neighbors.

Oprah is the first Black American to become a billionaire. Her net worth is estimated to be $2.7 billion.

She attended Tennessee State University on full scholarship, but did not graduate with a BA. She left college during her sophomore year to accept a job at CBS. However, she did receive an honorary doctorate degree from a university in South Africa.

She made her fortune in television and film, and has her own production company and TV network. She also is known for her philanthropy, focusing on educating girls and breaking the cycle of poverty worldwide.

She is 67 years old and was born in Mississippi to unwed parents. Her name was supposed to be Orpah from the Bible, but she has been called Oprah all her life. She is still unmarried, but has a long term relationship with her boyfriend. She is childless.

These are pictures I gleaned from the internet.

Oprah’s home is located in Kula (Upcountry Maui):

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Her house sits on 163 acres of land, which she purchased for $2.1 million in 2003:

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These two white structures belong to her:

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This is Oprah Winfrey in her home on Maui:

Her veranda has sweeping views of the valley and the ocean:

She is known for her organic garden:

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Beautiful Upcountry Maui:

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What a beautiful estate for a beautiful woman! Oprah has done well.

P.S. I made 5 trips to Maui from 1967 to 2004. I have been to West, Central, and South Maui, but I have never been to Kula (Upcountry Maui), where Oprah lives. Nor have I ever been to Hana in East Maui nor Haiku in North Maui. But, I have been to Haleakala, the world famous volcano.

I guess we should return to Maui one of these days.

These are some highlights of Maui.

Sacred Pools in Hana:

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Black Sand Beach:

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Another beach on Maui:

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Hiking on Maui:

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Iao Needle:

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Haleakala Volcano:

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There is a reason why so many artists want to live on Maui. It is so beautiful.

Mark Zuckerberg and Kauai

June 17, 2021

Since I wrote about Larry Ellison’s purchase of the island of Lanai in the previous post, I would now like to write about billionaire Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s purchase of more than 1,300 acres of land on the island of Kauai for $153 million. Kauai is the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain of islands.

Zuckerberg’s property lies on the northeastern shore of Kauai. It is beachfront property, but it also has a cattle ranch and is home to native birds, seals, turtles, and other species of wildlife as well as plants and trees. Zuckerberg wants to promote conservation, preservation, and sustainability.

Though he at times has been controversial here in Hawaii, he seems to have improved his image lately. He and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, have donated millions of dollars to Kauai during the pandemic. Recently, Priscilla administered 100 shots of the vaccine at the Wilcox Medical Center, while Mark helped with setting up the families at the site.

The Zuckerbergs and their children spend most of their time in Palo Alto, California, near Facebook’s headquarters, but they do vacation on Kauai as often as possible. They love the natural beauty of Kauai.

The Zuckerberg property is located on the northeastern shore of Kauai:

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This is the Zuckerbergs’ $70 million house on Kauai:

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Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan:

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Mark Zuckerberg has generated controversy regarding his handling of parcels of land owned by Hawaiians on his property. He filed lawsuits against them, but dropped the lawsuits later. These properties were then auctioned off to someone affiliated with Zuckerberg.

He then built a 6 foot tall rock wall around the perimeter of his property to block noise from the street. This upset his neighbors, because it blocked the view and breeze. However, the wall does not block access to the public beach, so the Zuckerbergs’ property is not as private and as exclusive as they would like:

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Mark Zuckerberg is only 37 years old, but he already is the 3rd richest man in the world.

I guess he can afford to buy 1,300 acres of land on Kauai for $153 million.

Let’s hope he continues to improve his image on Kauai and is at peace with his neighbors.

I am sure that the Kauai community is grateful for the funds and services he has donated to help the poor and unemployed during the pandemic.

P.S. I have visited Kauai 4 times. Twice during the 1980s, and once in 2007 and once in 2008. I might return to the Garden Island some day. David and I have many happy memories there. We even took a helicopter tour of Na Pali in 2007. Click on this link to see photos:

Helicopter tour – 2007 | gigi-hawaii (wordpress.com)

If you ever get a chance to come to Hawaii, please include Kauai on your itinerary. It is a treasure.

The gorgeous island of Lanai

June 15, 2021
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Billionaire Oracle co-owner, Larry Ellison, owns 98% of the island of Lanai, which is part of the Hawaiian chain of islands. He bought it from David Murdock for $300 million in 2012. The other 2% is owned by the State of Hawaii and private homeowners.

The island measures 140.54 square miles.

Though Oracle’s headquarters are based in Austin, Texas, Ellison resides on Lanai full time. He is trying to turn the island into a wellness utopia through his company, Sensei, with a focus on nutrition and helping people live longer and healthier lives.

This is Ellison’s house on Lanai:

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This is Ellison at one of the resorts on Lanai:

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There are two resorts (Manele Bay and Koele Lodge) and a smaller hotel (Hotel Lanai) on the island. About 3,000 people live on Lanai. They used to work on the Dole pineapple plantation, but pineapple is no longer grown there. I guess they now are employed by Ellison in some capacity.

Lanai is a beautiful island, as these photos show:

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Larry Ellison is 77 years old and was born out of wedlock in New York. He was adopted by his aunt and uncle, and met his biological mother for the first time when he was 48 years old. He attended the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, but never graduated with a BA. He has been married and divorced 4 times and has 2 adult children. He met his current girlfriend in 2010.

Ellison is the 10th richest man in the world. I think he did well by purchasing Lanai for only $300 million. What a bargain!

I am glad that I was able to visit Lanai twice before it was acquired by Ellison. The first time was in 1975. Lanai was so rural with pineapples everywhere. My 2 friends and I cut one off the stalk and ate it on our sailboat. It was ripe and juicy.

The second time I visited Lanai was in 1996, when David and I stayed at the Manele Bay Resort. I think we paid $220 per night back then. I could never afford to stay there now, at $2,500 per night.

However, rooms at the Hotel Lanai can be booked at $740 per night, which is way cheaper.

This is the Hotel Lanai, a modest hotel, which explains the relatively low price of the rooms:

I am now 75 years old and have visited 6 islands in the Hawaiian chain.

Lanai is one of them.

The gorgeous island of Lanai.

Go there if you can.

Appealing lifestyle

June 13, 2021

I like being retired and living a quiet life with David. I don’t have to earn a living or deal with unpleasant people.

I play easy classical music masterpieces on my violin. David told me that for someone who does not practice every day, I sound good. He recognized the “Ode to Joy” piece I played and was inspired to listen to a CD of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony from whence it came. So funny how one thing leads to another.

I wrote and published three memoirs from 2003 to 2008. That was a lot of fun. In 2010, I shut down my book business, and now focus on blogging for pleasure. I have been blogging since November 2006, so it has been almost 15 years of non-stop writing.

I spend a lot of time cooking fine meals and often look up recipes online. Cooking is never a chore for me. I just love to cook! Sometimes, I submit my original recipes to the local newspaper for publication. So far, three of my recipes have been published. Quite an honor!

I like to invite people to my home for lunch from time to time. I like to set the table, cook something gourmet, and present the food beautifully. After the meal, I like to have a nice conversation with my guests. We discuss our interests, our travels, and our family.

Maria, Julia, and Rylan visit me periodically, which is very nice. Always a pleasure to be with my kids and grandkids!

I find this lifestyle quite appealing. It is very satisfying.

Tennis

June 11, 2021

David has been watching the French Open on TV.

His favorite female player, 17 year old Coco Gauff, bombed in the quarterfinals:

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And his favorite male player, 39 year old Roger Federer, withdrew because he wasn’t feeling well:

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Then, there was 23 year old Naomi Osaka, who withdrew due to mental health issues:

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I have been watching the French Open sporadically, as I usually do with most TV sports. Interested but not that interested. You know what I mean? Bah, sports!

I remember taking a course in Tennis one summer at the University of Hawaii. The final grade was based on a written multiple choice test as well as my performance on the court. I did okay on the written test, but my performance on the court was horrible. I tried to serve the ball, but it went into a steep arc on my side of the court and didn’t pass over the net. The instructor was merciful and gave me a C for the course. Bah, sports!

Anyway, good luck to Novak Djokovic. I hope he wins the French Open. At age 34, he is ranked No. 1 in the world. He is 6’2″ tall and weighs 176 lbs. He is married (since 2014), and is the first tennis player to win more than US$100 million in prize money. Awesome!

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It must be nice to enjoy what you do and do it well.

What a great way to make a living.

Whether I enjoy them or not, sports are here to stay.

Suzanne’s “Party Time”

June 9, 2021

David and I browsed at the Downtown Art Center recently. It is located on the corner of Nuuanu and Hotel, with entrance to the parking garage on Bethel Street. There is an elevator that will take you from the parking garage to the second floor, where the art center is located. You have to pay the parking attendant upon exiting the garage.

Admission to the show is free. Thirty-eight artists are exhibiting their work. There is a cashier on the premises, and credit cards and checks are accepted. You may take the art home with you on the day you buy it.

There are paintings as well as ceramics:

My friend, Suzanne McCrary, exhibited four abstract works:

I bought the largest one, titled “Party Time.” It is 24 x 24 inches, and is a mixed media piece on canvas. In this piece, you will see acrylic paint, crayon, ink, and paper. It is just gorgeous!


“Party Time” now hangs above my stereo:

Suzanne has submitted another abstract painting to replace the one that was sold.

This exhibit is open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 am to 6 pm. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The show will end on June 25.

By the way, “Party Time” is the third painting that I have purchased from Suzanne McCrary. These are the other two that I purchased from her some time ago. They hang in my living room:

Suzanne used to paint landscapes, but is now focusing on abstracts. She is so talented! She truly is a Fine Artist. Her work is exquisite.

Tourists or no tourists?

June 7, 2021
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The majority of local residents polled recently stated that they would prefer to have fewer or no tourists here in Hawaii. It is felt that tourists ruin the environment with trash, pollution, and general wear and tear on our natural resources.

There has been some discussion as to whether higher fees and taxes should be levied on tourists to discourage them from coming here. Will that happen? Perhaps, the poorer tourists will go elsewhere, and the richer tourists will come. Which means fewer tourists overall.

Is this wise?

To my cousin, who is the general manager of a hotel in Waikiki, it is not. The more tourists the better. After all, if business declines, he will lose his job.

To my nephew, who is a parking valet at a hotel in Waikiki, it also is not a good idea. If there are fewer or no tourists, he, too, will lose his job.

Let’s face it, folks, the tourism industry is what keeps the economy going in Hawaii.

Hawaii must capitalize on its natural beauty by opening itself to tourists.

Without tourists, there will be rampant unemployment, and the economy will collapse.

Which is exactly what happened here during the pandemic. Without federal assistance, Hawaii would have died.

Now that the moratorium on evictions is about to expire, we need to draw more tourists to boost income so that we can pay the rent or the mortgage, and buy food and other necessities.

It is a bad idea to discourage tourists from coming to Hawaii.

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Cute dessert stemware

June 5, 2021

I bought 12 of these cute dessert stemware from Amazon recently. They are made of glass, but were not cracked or broken in transit to Hawaii.

This dessert stemware would be ideal for jello, ice cream, or pudding. I think cold desserts are better than the store bought cookies I usually serve. Not to mention, they would taste good after eating a spicy meal.

Lime jello. I added the pineapple chunks to the mixture. You have to chill it for 24 hours instead of the usual 4 hours because of the added fruit:

And this is how it looks inside the stemware:

What a wonderful dessert this is! So colorful and so refreshing!

Best of all, jello has no fat, whereas ice cream is loaded with fat.

I’ll serve the lime jello with pineapple chunks at my next luncheon party.

It will be a hit, I assure you.

Penang Curry with Chicken

June 3, 2021

In the above photo, I am the one wearing an orange gown and standing with my Thai students at a wedding reception in 1969.

As you know, I lived and worked as an English teacher in Bangkok, Thailand for ten months in 1969. I taught Thai students at Thammasat University, AUA Language Center, and Voice of America. I also had private students.

Yes, I was able to apply for these jobs, nail the interviews, and get hired. All I needed was a BA from an accredited university. I had a BA in Sociology from the University of Hawaii (1968).

I was 23 years old at the time.

It was a very good experience, which made me mature as an adult. There is nothing like working in a foreign country and earning a living as a teacher to make you more self-reliant.

But, I experienced culture shock, listening to a foreign language and getting used to foreign customs and cuisine. The heat and humidity also were daunting. It took a while to become acculturated and acclimated.

Thai cuisine is the most delicious cuisine in the world. I rank it at the very top. I just love Thai food. So delicious!

I took two Thai cooking classes here in Hawaii back in the 1990s, and have made Thai curry often over the years.

This is my version of Penang Curry with Chicken, served on top of brown rice. It was garnished with shredded coconut and chopped green onions. I took this photo the other night. Doesn’t it look delicious?

PENANG CURRY WITH CHICKEN

2 TABLESPOONS OIL

1 TABLESPOON PENANG CURRY PASTE

1 (19 OZ) CAN COCONUT CREAM OR MILK

2 TABLESPOONS WHITE SUGAR

2 TABLESPOONS FISH SAUCE

6-7 CHICKEN THIGHS, BONELESS, SKINLESS, CHOPPED

1 CHOPPED GREEN BELL PEPPER

1 CHOPPED ROUND WHITE ONION

SHREDDED COCONUT (FOR GARNISH)

CHOPPED GREEN ONIONS (FOR GARNISH)

Over medium heat, fry curry paste in the oil.

Add the thighs and stir, coating with the paste.

Add the bell pepper and onion and stir.

Add coconut cream, sugar, and fish sauce.

Stir thoroughly.

Bring to a boil.

Cover and bring down to a simmer.

Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir.

Scoop over rice.

Garnish with coconut and green onions.

ENJOY!

Laughter is the best medicine

June 1, 2021

I think the key to a happy life is to laugh more and weep less. Yes, laughter is the best medicine.

Remember Norman Cousins? He was a well known American writer and professor. He was told he had a terminal illness. Instead of crying about it, he began to watch Groucho Marx movies and laughed himself back to good health. He extended his life by more than ten years, and was often asked to speak at medical schools about the importance of laughter in maintaining good health. He believed in the power of positive thinking and also the importance of taking Vitamin C. He died of a heart attack at age 75 in 1990.

Norman Cousins:

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