San Francisco and marijuana

April 9, 2017

There’s a lot of hullabaloo regarding marijuana these days.  I have never smoked it, because I don’t like smoke in my lungs nor do I like the odor of marijuana.

When I resided in San Francisco (September-December 1968), my roommate, Elsa, loved to host parties for her friends in our studio apartment.  Lots of wine and rock music were the norm.  I remember seeing her and her guests sitting in a circle on the floor, passing a joint around.  I sat on the sofa, declining to participate.  I always felt like an outsider back then.

Because of the hippies with their filthy long hair and love beads hanging from their filthy necks and the presence of marijuana and LSD at the parties I attended, I disliked living in San Francisco.  It was such a horrible place to live, and I have not changed my mind.  You can’t pay me to live there again.  Filthy people, filthy city.

On the other hand, I liked this oil painting of Golden Gate Bridge so much that I bought it in 2015 from my friend, Suzanne, who is an artist in Hawaii.  Isn’t it lovely?  I love her attention to detail:

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And, here is David, posing in front of Alcatraz Island Prison in San Francisco Bay in 2016:

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I guess San Francisco is a nice city to visit, but I certainly did not “leave my heart” back there in 1968.  Hawaii is so much better.  I would rather live here than there any day.

Horrible at math

April 7, 2017

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Bouquet of flowers on my dining table.

I am so glad I am done with college.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Hawaii.  I also pursued a Master’s degree in Music at Columbia University and later pursued a teaching certificate at UH.  If I had focused on one subject and one subject only, instead of spreading myself so thinly, I think I would have been better off in terms of a career.

One horrible subject comes to mind:  Mathematics.  Imagine third grade math at Manoa Elementary School.  Once a month, Miss Hirata would divide the class in half and make us compete at the blackboard, trying to solve math problems quicker than the other team.  Oh, it was just awful.  I could not figure out word problems, requiring reasoning.  If you gave me all day, I probably would have been able to solve each problem.  But, I was under the gun to finish in a few seconds.  It was agonizing!

“Hurry up, Gigi,” my team mates would yell.  “We are losing because of you!”

Aaaargh!  I hated myself, because I was so stupid and slow.  Somehow, I managed to pass third grade and was promoted to fourth grade.

Other than addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, why is advanced math necessary?  I have no need for algebra and plane geometry in daily life.  Why torture people like me, who choose a job that does not require advanced math?

At any rate, David is a retired accountant and comptroller, so he is the one who does all the shopping.  He retains prices in his head, gets the best value for the dollar, and challenges the cashier when she rings up the wrong price.  He is amazing.

And, of course, we all know that Maria is a high school math teacher and chairman of the math department.

I am sure glad that David and Maria compensate for my numerical disability.  I am so proud and happy to have such a wonderful husband and daughter in my life.

 

Artists of Hawaii, 2017

April 5, 2017

David and I drove to the Honolulu Museum of Art today to view the Artists of Hawaii 2017 exhibit.  Four local artists were featured.  These are photos of some of their work.

Kaori Ukaji, “Serenely Proliferative, 2017”:  Mixed media art, using clippings of her own skin, yarn, and rolls of tissue paper dyed with red pigment:

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Kaili Chun and Hongtao Zhou, “Net-Work, 2017”:  Collaborating artists used fishnets.  Viewers are invited to walk through these nets for an interactive experience:

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Kasey Lindley, “Intertidal Grandeur, 2016”:  Digital media, using moving and still images created while hiking and swimming on Oahu, plus watercolor sketches:

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Then, David and I had lunch at the café, located in the courtyard of the museum:

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Grilled eggplant and focassia bread:

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Filet mignon sandwich and cream of mushroom soup:

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Pasta with chicken, spinach, and mushrooms:

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Mango sorbet with crystallized ginger:

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All in all, we had a good time at the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Café.

Peace of mind

April 3, 2017

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David and I at 3660 On The Rise, a nice restaurant in Kaimuki.  (2016)

It took me a long time to reach maturity, but I must say that my life at age 71 is much better than my life at age 21.  Fifty years ago, if you had told me I would be married to a tall, brawny man like David, who was a classical musician and accountant, and that I would own a large, air conditioned house like ours, I would have laughed and said, “No way.  How could that be?”

I have had such a turbulent life, starting with childhood.  Then, there was my awkward adolescence and then my wild twenties, which were spent traveling around the world, finding work as a teacher and secretary to support myself.  I was also involved with many men to my great detriment.

It was because of my daughter, Maria, that I turned my life around and settled down, no longer a free spirit flitting here and there aimlessly.  All of a sudden, I had another human being to consider.  So, it was because of Maria that I married David in 1980, and it is because of my marriage that I have all of this.

My main goal in life is to achieve and sustain peace.  I am so grateful that I live in this quiet home, which is located on a quiet street.  I am grateful that David is easy to live with.  He helps maintain our property, and he takes me wherever I want to go (if I don’t want to go alone).  He is such a good companion.

Above all, I don’t have to live with people who disturb my peace of mind.  David doesn’t harass me like other people do.  He allows me to be myself.

Bella bambina

April 1, 2017

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This is a photo of me as a very young child at the Honolulu Zoo.

In November 1969, at age 23, I was on a night train from Zurich, Switzerland to Rome, Italy.  I shared a compartment with an Italian laborer, who reeked of cheap wine.  Together, we unfolded the two benches, made a large bed, and slept on top of it.  Then, as the train followed the swerving tracks, this laborer kept rolling towards my side, apparently asleep and drunk.  I complained to the ticket taker, who then yelled at the man in Italian.  But, it did not help one bit.  The guy kept rolling towards my side.

So, I left the compartment and stood in the aisle.  An Italian Army captain approached me and invited me into his compartment, because he pitied me.  We sat on opposite benches, conversing.  By then, I was exhausted.  He suggested that I lie down on my bench and get some rest.  No sooner had I dozed off, he was on top of me, squeezing my left breast with his right hand.

“Bella bambina, bella bambina,” he whispered.

I heaved and shoved him away.  “Leave me alone!”

At that point, the train stopped.  “Please, have breakfast with me in Bologne, and then I will put you on the next train to Rome.”

I noticed his gold wedding ring.  “Oh, baloney.  You are married.  I don’t want to join you for breakfast.  Knowing you, you will leave me stranded in Bologne.”

The whistle sounded, and when he realized that he was getting nowhere with me, he finally jumped off the train.

Bella bambina is Italian for “beautiful child.”

Well, I am not a bella bambina anymore, but at age 71, I still have a good memory!

Alex, the German geologist

March 30, 2017

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Waikiki Aquarium.

I was a 23 year old tourist, staying in Munich, Germany from mid-December 1969 to early February 1970, when I met a German geologist, named Alex, at the opera.  He was speaking to an American woman, named Andrea, who was seated next to me.  He wanted her to join him on a river boat cruise, but she declined, since she was already involved with a French man.  Long story short, he persuaded me to move from my student hostel to Andrea’s home in a Munich suburb.

Then, Alex invited me and Andrea to a dinner party at his friend’s apartment.  Everyone spoke German, which I had never studied in college.  Andrea had no problem, because she knew the language.  Oh, those three hours were torture for me, sitting around the coffee table, not understanding a word of German.  And, to make matters worse, the dinner consisted of cheese and crackers and wine, something I simply did not enjoy.  Had I known that it was going to be like this, I would have declined Alex’s invitation to the party.

Alex began dating me.  During the last meal we had together, he informed me he was in love with a Hungarian doctor, who was engaged to someone else.  He wanted me to join him on the river boat cruise (the same one he had invited Andrea to).  The doctor would be gambling on that boat.  He said he wanted to make his former girlfriend “jealous” by showing me off.

Arrrrrgh!  I was upset, because I felt that he was using me.  I left the restaurant in a huff and took the taxi back to Andrea’s home.

Much later, I was living in New York City, when I received a postcard from Alex that had been forwarded from Hawaii.  (I had previously given him my father’s address in Hawaii.)  That postcard stated that he would be in Hawaii, and he wanted to see me.  I wrote to inform him of my new address in New York, but my letter was returned as undeliverable due to the fact he had already moved out of his apartment in Munich.

And so ended my brief, platonic relationship with Alex, the German geologist.  It was fun while it lasted.

What makes a party a success

March 29, 2017

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This is my dining table, which can be extended to seat 8 people or used as a large buffet table.  That’s Indonesian art on the walls.

Since my memorial party last Sunday, many guests have told me how much they enjoyed themselves and asked when my next family get together will be.  This type of compliment pleases me and is my reward for working so hard to make the party a success.

I was thinking about what makes a successful party.  I am 71 years old and have hosted and attended parties around the world — in California, Thailand, Germany, New York, and Hawaii.  Some parties were wonderful while others were disastrous.

It helps to have a schedule or timeline.  Don’t just wing it and don’t just let it happen.  Have a clear idea of what time you will eat, start the program, and end the party.  Further, you should know how to prepare for the event, clean the house, stock up on food and beverages, buy the flowers for the table, and set up the table and chairs.

Above all, serve the meal 30 minutes after the start of the party, because there is nothing worse than cold, unappetizing food and people who are too full from eating appetizers and too drunk from drinking alcohol.  Never wait for everyone to show up.  Let everyone know when the meal starts and stick to the schedule.  You snooze, you lose.

My next party is set for April 30, when my in-laws from Boston and my daughter and her family will join us for dinner.  There will be 8 of us.  I’ll set the table with fine china and bring out the silver and cloth napkins.  It will be nice.

Memorial lunch

March 26, 2017

Today, 21 members of my family gathered together in my home for a memorial lunch.  The food was catered by Marian’s Catering.  David drove to Wahiawa to pick up the food.  At 12:30 pm, we had circle time, holding hands, and taking a moment of silence to reflect on the deaths of Mom and Dad, Dathan and Pat, and Pete.  Then, we sang Happy Birthday to family members born in March.  Mom would have been 101 years old, Pat 74, David is now 68, Lisa 35, and Hollis 88.  We then had our photo taken as a group with David’s Sony camera on a tripod.  Then we ate our lunch (rice, pork long rice, chow mein, chicken katsu, teriyaki beef, fish tempura, tossed green salad, fruit salad, chips, and coconut cake).  We also served wine, beer, sparkling juice, Diet Coke, and bottled water.  After lunch, we watched a family video, dated 1996, which was created by Aunty Bobbie for the Chung family.  After the video, I distributed Styrofoam boxes for people to take home left over food.

Here are photos of our family:

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Overall, it was a splendid memorial party!

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 was married to 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.