Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Leah: Traveling Nurse

March 24, 2017

I recently learned that my niece, Leah, who is my youngest sister Lucille’s daughter, is a traveling nurse, who has been working nationally and internationally.  What a great way to travel and do good work around the world.

Leah has a blog about her experiences.  Please click on her name on my blog roll and you will be amazed at what she has been doing and seeing.

I was also surprised to learn that her father, who had been a prominent doctor in Virginia, committed suicide in 2011.  At the time, he had divorced Lucille and married his second wife.

These are photos I took of Leah and other family members when I hosted a party for her in May 2015:

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Have a good life, Leah.  Don’t forget to call us the next time you are in Hawaii.

Plants restore my spirit, too

March 22, 2017

Some people like to buy clothes and jewelry.  I prefer to buy plants.  I was not born with a green thumb.  By trial and error, I have learned which plants thrive and which ones do not.  It makes me happy to water my plants, rotate the ferns, and simply admire the flowers and greenery.

Boston ferns, striped ti leaves, mock orange, and hibiscus:

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Red crotons.  Note the little green leaves in the center of the plant.  I don’t understand the science, but suffice it to say the green leaves will eventually turn red.  It’s like perpetual autumn:

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My darling anthurium plant on my coffee table.  Eventually, the pink flowers will turn green and brown as they age and die.  See the green flowers?  They are dying:

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Who needs a dog or cat?  Aren’t plants better?  They restore my spirit just as classical music does.

My spirit soars above the clouds

March 20, 2017

Sometimes I wish I were living in Manhattan, New York City.  I would love to live on the West Side near Lincoln Center.  What I miss is the excitement and verve of the classical music scene there.

It’s too bad that Hawaii is so provincial.  Ah, well, I have no choice but to continue living here and make the best of it.  I am just too damn old to move to New York City, even if David and I could afford to.

At any rate, we do enjoy attending the symphony and opera at the Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu.  It’s nice to sit with people who enjoy the same kind of music.  Classical music is so uplifting, it makes my spirit soar above the clouds.

These are photos of the Blaisdell on Sunday, when we listened to Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony.  The pianist (Zhang Zuo) was from China, and the conductor (Jun Markl) was from Germany.  Excellent performance!

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What a guy!

March 18, 2017

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Caricature of David with his clarinet (1970s).  Note his beard and mustache.  I got him to shave it all off, as I don’t care for facial hair.

After spending six hours per day practicing his clarinet and five years pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, David finally graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1972.  His goal was to become a band director in high school.  However, he could not find anyone who was willing to hire him.

He returned to the University of Hawaii and took four undergraduate courses in Business, discovered he was good at it, and applied for admission to graduate school.  In 1976, he graduated with an MBA in accounting and found work as a research analyst.

In 1980, David and I got married.  We had met at a music rehearsal, playing our respective instruments (his clarinet and my violin), and he began taking me home after each rehearsal.

In 1982, he passed the CPA exam on his first attempt.  However, he could not find work as a CPA in a public accounting firm. He later worked as a comptroller of a trucking company for twenty years and also taught night courses in accounting at a community college for ten years.  He is now retired.

A few years ago, David sold his two clarinets for $1,400 to Jim Moffitt, who plays in the Hawaii Symphony:

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We both enjoy listening to classical music at home and at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.  On Sunday, we will attend a concert, featuring Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony.

David and I are very compatible.  What a guy!

Good retirement in Hawaii

March 16, 2017

Our wedding day (1980):  David and I in the front; his father, aunt, and uncle in the back:

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People often ask how we manage to live in Hawaii, the most expensive state in the nation.  Our answer is we take advantage of discounts, sales, and special deals.

Today, David and I will have lunch at the Cattle Company in Pearl City, a short drive from our home in Honolulu.  David will have his meal for free, because the restaurant sent him a gift coupon for his 68th birthday.  It is good for one week prior to his birthday and three weeks after his birthday.  I will have to pay for my meal, because it isn’t my birthday.  The meal includes bread, salad, soup, steak and seafood, a beverage, and a dessert.  Not bad!

In 2011, we got a reverse mortgage on our home.  Our two mortgages were erased, and we received $160,000 in cash from the bank.  We get to live in our 3 bedroom 2 bath house for very little.  We pay only the property tax and the home insurance premium.  No mortgage, no maintenance fee, no rent.  We can live in our house until we die.

David takes advantage of Discount Tuesdays at the movie theaters.  Instead of $9.00 for admission, he pays $6.00.  Instead of $6.00 for popcorn, he pays $3.00.  He does this every Tuesday.

The lawn mower he purchased a few days ago was on sale.  Instead of paying $319, he paid $269.  And, of course, by mowing the lawn himself, he doesn’t have to pay the landscaping company $100 every time they come.

We have decided not to rent out our guest room this year, because we have enough money to live on:  My inheritance, our reverse mortgage, and our IRAs plus Social Security.

I think that we have a good retirement, and I have no complaints right now.

Little old lady in Hawaii

March 14, 2017

I am so glad that I have no claim to fame and that I am a nobody.  There are no paparazzi, waiting to photograph me when I exit my home.  I never have to worry about the cops, arresting me and taking me to prison.  The IRS has never audited me and is not after me to pay back taxes.  No one has ever filed a lawsuit against me, so I don’t have to hire an expensive attorney to defend me in court.  No one tries to kidnap me, because I have no money.

Just look at my home in Hawaii.  It’s wide open.  No fence, no gate, no wall:

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Anybody can come to my door and knock.  I am free to open my door or I can simply walk away without opening it.

Above all, I am so glad I have no enemies.  I am just a little old lady in Hawaii, trying to stay out of trouble and have a pleasant life.  Nothing wrong with that.

David’s knees

March 12, 2017

As you know, David underwent two total knee replacement surgeries at Straub Hospital, the first done in 2015 and the second in 2016.  He also underwent physical therapy after each surgery.

Prior to the two surgeries, David was unable to mow the lawn, because the terrain was uneven and caused pain in his knees.  We donated our lawn mower and hired a landscaping company to do the yard work.  They charged us $100 each time they came.

Lately, David has been feeling so much better.  His knees don’t hurt, and his back pain has diminished.  He decided to buy a brand new lawn mower from Sears.  Yesterday, he tried it out for the first time:

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David is very happy with his progress and is glad he no longer has to pay the landscaping company $100 every time they come.  He enjoys working outdoors.

Unsavory tenants

March 10, 2017

In 1995, David’s friend bought a two bedroom townhouse in Nanakuli as an investment.  It was quite a bargain, costing only $21,000.  The rent is $1,400 per month.  Long story short, his tenants have not paid the rent since December.  He is taking them to court in order to evict them.  It seems that it is illegal to simply throw them out.  Tenants have rights that somehow overshadow the rights of landlords.  What a horrible mess!

For 1-1/2 years, I rented my guest room to someone who worked at the airport.  He wasn’t a bad tenant, paying us the rent in cash on a monthly basis.  He paid us $900 the first year and $1,000 the next year.  This money came in handy.  However, it all came to an end when he was transferred to Texas.  I miss the money, but not the hassle of having one less bathroom and no guest room for my daughter, who vacations here periodically.

This is my guest room:

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I just don’t want to rent to an unsavory tenant, who does not pay the rent on time.  And if I make him angry, he might damage my house or hurt me physically.  It’s dangerous to rent to strangers these days.  I’ll have to find some other way to make money.

P.S.  Recently, I almost rented my guest room to a relative, but he insisted on having his girlfriend live with him.  I told him that I wanted a single occupant, as the bed is too small for two people.  He walked away and that was that.

Sylvia is selling her restaurant

March 8, 2017

My sister, Sylvia Thompson, is selling her vegan restaurant, Greens and Vines, to people from Beijing, who are Buddhists and vegetarians.  The restaurant will close on March 31 and reopen at a later date with a different name.  The new owners plan to use the same raw, gourmet, vegan concept but will expand it to include soups, noodles, tea time, and classes.

This is my sister, Sylvia Thompson, in her restaurant, Greens and Vines (2014):

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I invited some of my friends and relatives to lunch at Greens and Vines.  That’s me on the right, wearing a lavender muumuu (2014):

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This is an appetizer, consisting of flaxseed crackers, radishes, and three types of dips:

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This is Living Lasagna, made entirely of vegetables and nuts:

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This is a dessert, consisting of various fruits:

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This is a vegan cigar with coconut ashes:

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If you are interested in this type of delicious vegan cuisine, please dine at Greens and Vines for lunch or dinner before the restaurant closes on March 31.  It’s located on the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and Ward Avenue.

After the restaurant closes, Sylvia will retire and work on her vegan cookbook.

Moscow, Russia

March 5, 2017

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Plants at Home Depot in Hawaii.

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If I were in better health, I wouldn’t mind traveling to Moscow, Russia.  I would love to see the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Ballet, as well as listen to Russian classical music, conducted and performed by Russians in a Russian concert hall.

When I lived in New York City 1970-1975, I was enthralled by the famous ballet dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova, who both defected from the Soviet Union and performed in New York.  I also loved listening to the renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich at Carnegie Hall.  He and his wife, who was a well known soprano, defected to the West also.  Alas, I probably will never see such fine ballet dancers and musicians of their caliber perform here in Hawaii.

Because my former boyfriend was studying the cello at the Moscow Conservatory in 1970, I decided to study the Russian language at Columbia University in New York.  Russian sounds like Hawaiian, full of vowels and very melodious.  I was pleased that I received an A for the course.  However, I studied Russian only for one semester and remember very little of the Cyrillic alphabet and vocabulary, other than Da (yes) and Nyet (no).  After all, it was back in 1970.

My mother toured the Soviet Union decades ago, but was unimpressed with the cuisine.  She said all she ate was sour cabbage and bits of beef.  When she left the country and entered Sweden, she was overjoyed to see colorful fruits and vegetables in the Swedish markets, something she did not notice in the Soviet Union.  I have been googling for information about the cuisine in Moscow.  People describe exquisite food in elegant restaurants, so I guess conditions in Russia have improved in that regard.

Hence, there are two countries that I would like to visit:  North Korea (because Grandpa was born and raised there) and Russia (because of the famous Bolshoi Ballet and Russian classical music).