Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's In the Mail

Most of today was spent making phone calls for Mom about various things. I found out the car insurance renewal form is in the mail (it apparently takes 2 weeks for it to arrive in Hawai'i), hurricane insurance for Mom and Dad's house will be an additional $700 per year, there is no easy way to change Mom's voicemail password so that she can get her messages, and the bank needs a hard copy of Uncle George's death certificate in order for him to be removed from the account Mom keeps for the Kohala house (its been about 10 years since he died so they won't take an electronic copy). Mom had voice mail messages from 2014 on her phone! So if you were one of the people wondering why she never called you back, that's the answer! (And for those of you who are wondering why I don't have voice mail on my cell phone it is because I think I should only be charged once for a phone call. It was confirmed for me again today that I pay for the call when it is received by my phone as well as when I go to listen to it.)

I gave Mom the adult coloring books; they are supposed to help with memory and stress-relief. She was very interested in them. The last time I was here she was complaining about not being able to do the crossword puzzle because the print was too small; I got her large print books (which were also easier than the New York Times crossword puzzles she was doing in the newspaper). Although she sounded interested in them, I don't see them around so I think they did not get used. Over the last year she has been having more trouble with finding the right words or even any words at all sometimes so I think crossword puzzles became more challenging for her. Hopefully, the adult coloring books will be able to provide her with some entertainment.

I cleaned out the Cat Genie today. For those of you who are thinking, "But I thought you said it was self-cleaning," you are correct. It cleans the stuff out of the bowl and mainly flushes it out of the unit. There is always some residue left, that is what I was cleaning out. It is actually quite easy to clean. I also ran the maintenance cartridge to get to other parts that I can't reach. Although they say you can run the maintenance cartridge in lieu of taking it apart like I did, I think that with 4 cats using it and 2 people being unable to troubleshoot if anything should go wrong, doing both is good insurance. Here it is almost done; this is the ickiest part of the system, but there is no smell because of the sani-solution.

Today Shirokiya closed. But it is only a temporary closure. They open up on June 1st in the new Ewa wing of the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Kai was sad when I told him about this; he would have liked to have been here to take advantage of the sales. His favorite bookstore is located in Shirokiya.

Momo was annoying Xander this evening. He was flicking his tail in Xander's face. Although Xander is bigger than Momo, he does not know this. He left.

Shiro has found a new sleeping place. No one else seems to like this spot.

Happy Birthday to Peter and Glory!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Big Picture

Forgot to mention that I had fixed the vertical blinds yesterday. One thing about the vertical blinds is that they have to be in the open position before the blinds are drawn. Mom keeps forgetting that, so things get kapakahi. I just needed to straighten out the slats and it works again! Wish all the fixes were that easy. A less easy fix is the piece with the broken top, I will need to jury-rig that one.

Yesterday when I arrived I found out both Shiro and Momo had lost their collars. Since the tags for the feeders are attached to the collars it could be a problem. For Momo the Wireless Whiskers is open as long as it does not receive a signal to close so he has been eating. For Shiro the WonderBowl was left in the open position when I left since his new IR tag had not arrived, so he could still eat; but the bowl was missing. I was able to find Momo's collar in the house but not Shiro's. Since The Boys are notorious for losing collars, I will be ordering extra tags for both so the next time this happens there will be no down time. I am also buying extra collars.

Dad was asleep when we arrived yesterday. He did not get up until about 7 pm. This was a lot longer than he had been sleeping during my previous visit. In January he would take naps after breakfast and lunch. He would be up by about 4 pm and stay up until about 9 pm. We'll have to keep an eye on this.

Today he got up a little late for breakfast. He took a nap after Aunty Florence and I left; I went shopping at Don Quijote, while she met with her friend Nancy outside in the lanai food "court" area. I picked up bento for lunch and we all headed back home, Nancy came with us. Dad would not get up for lunch, so we ate without him. He did get up for dinner at the regular time and stayed up for his usual amount of time after dinner.

Mom keeps thinking that she is out of paper towels; I found 13 rolls. And she has about 40 rolls of toilet paper. I keep reminding her. If training helps your brain to remember things I should do really well since I am having to remember for the both of us!

I read somewhere that we can only remember so much, after you reach the maximum point your brain sort of starts to overwrite other data. That's when I started using the DayTimer system about 25 years ago to keep track of appointments and contact information. Prior to that I kept it in my head. Now I also use a dry erase board for a bigger picture. The red items are the really important ones, like Mom's geriatric assessment appointment and the flight back. The blue items are also important, like my uncle's service and inurnment and the 442nd reunion. The green items are the nice-if-I-can-fit-it-in items. I have already missed the one on the 29th, but it was ambitious to think I could go to the dialogue with the curator of the CONTACT 2016 show on the evening that I arrived. My cousin Tomiko has a few pieces in the show; they are from her Passage show that is about the house in Kohala. We are planning on seeing it while we are here. The yellow stickies on the bottom are for  future months.

Besides going to CONTACT 2016, we will also be trying to see Doreen again and cousin Erica and her family.

Mom had some vegetables she was given last week at mahjong. So I made Crispy Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy tonight with them, sort of. She was given choy sum not bok choy, which is what I thought it was when I quickly glanced in the bag yesterday while I was cleaning self-destructing food out of the refrigerator. But the tofu is good with choy sum also, I think any mustard type green would go well with the tofu. I also substituted mirin for the shao hsing rice wine. Sorry, no photos, it looked almost like the photo in the linked recipe!

Happy Birthday to Bob, Marisa, and Delaney!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Running the TSA Gauntlet

I think today was the longest time I spent waiting in line to be done with something. I don't know if it is in response to the bombing in Brussels or it was just a bad day at TSA. Aunty Florence and I spent over 30 minutes and made over 102 steps to get through this mess at the airport. (I didn't start the timer or the step counter until we had gone through the first section of the screening line.)

Once on the plane we got to watch the progress of our flight on the interactive map.

We thought that we would get lunch but we got breakfast instead. The breakfast sandwich was fairly good; it was a round scrambled egg with bits of red and green pepper, and onion. With a Honolulu Cookie Company cookie for dessert! Hawaiian Airlines is the last major airlines to serve a complimentary meal on a flight. 

While discussing various people from the past, they asked me if I knew a particular person. I said I did and there were photos of him. When I found the album with his photo it started Mom and Aunty Florence talking about all the other photos in the album.

I think perhaps I should have moved back about a month ago. I found several disturbing changes. Moldy food in the refrigerator, dead night light fixture in the bathroom with no light bulb, no evidence of vacuuming recently, very dirty outdoor litter box, 4 very dead black bananas and 7 very speckled bananas, piles of mail and newspapers, and more. I shall have to make sure I am back by May 31st at the latest.

Happy Birthday to Jim and Leigh!

Monday, March 28, 2016

February 19 thru February 22, 2016

At Aunty Florence's house right now. She and I will be flying to Hawai'i tomorrow. Kai dropped me off tonight, Karen will take us to the airport in the morning on her way to work. The main reason for our trip is Uncle Art's service next Saturday, a secondary reason is Mom's geriatric assessment later this week.

Mom already has a chore for me to do. When I called this morning to remind her to take her pills she said she was trying to get the vertical blinds to open; they were stuck. Then she said I would need to fix them when I arrived. This is a lot better than a couple years ago when she would insist that she could fix whatever it was or call someone to fix it. I would find on my next trip that it had not been done so I would do it. I think it was after my 3rd trip that she started to let me know what needed fixing. It had been her "job" to find the repair people, I think it was difficult for her to turn things over to me to do.

When I called this evening to remind her to take her pills she wanted to know when I was coming! I could hear Dad in the background telling her I would be there tomorrow. She was very surprised by that. I have found that she forgets more in the evening or when she is tired or stressed.

This is the last catch-up post. All future posts will be real-time posts! So they will also generally be shorter posts.

Happy Birthday to Lenny and Jon!

02/19/2016 Day 1 It Was a Dark & Stormy Night
We’re down in Portland this weekend to visit friends and relatives before I make the final move back to Hawai’i. There are 5 friends/family here and 1 from Seattle who is here for a celebration of her uncle’s fight against discrimination experienced by Japanese-Americans during and after World War II.

We left about 7 pm after Kai’s medical appointment, so we arrived at friend Jane’s house about 11 pm. I could not believe the amount of traffic all the way down! We ran in to a traffic jam in Fife around 8:30 pm, the rest of the way was heavier than I’ve seen it except on the Wednesday just before Thanksgiving. It rained off and on all the way to Portland; in Lynnwood the wind was blowing so steady you could only tell it was windy by noticing that the tree tops were bent at an angle that they usually aren’t at.

It has been a long time since I have been farther south on I-5 than Sea-Tac Airport. I had not seen the Emerald Queen Casino or Great Wolf Lodge before. Or the giant Cabela’s outside of Olympia. I liked the additional lanes on I-5 but I guess they had to do that because of all the traffic, which is not so cool.

Passing by the signs to Mount St. Helens brought back memories of when I was stationed at the Toutle River Hatchery in May 1980. I think we will try to stop in at the visitor’s center on the way back so I can compare what it looked like on the day we were evacuating the hatchery to what it looks like now, 36 years later.

Jane knows how to treat her house guests, we had pie for an after-drive dessert! After a little catching up we headed off to bed. Photos will start tomorrow.

02/20/2016 Day 2 !Bienvenidos!
We had brunch with our friend Hazuki and her family in Beaverton. We met her in around 1997 in Mexico at her family’s Japanese restaurant; at the time it was the only Japanese restaurant in Chiapas, we were told the next closest one was in Mexico City! We were in Chiapas for 10 days to help our Sensei with an Aikido seminar. A couple years later her father asked us if her older sister Maki could live with us for a few months while she was studying English in Seattle. The next year Hazuki came and stayed with us. It was very enjoyable to spend a few hours with her and her family; we even got to Skype with her mother and father in Mexico. (Her father is Japanese, her mother is Mexican.) Hazuki served us pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit, and 2 types of chilaquilas. One of my fondest memories of when Hazuki lived with us was how she could open up our refrigerator and create something tasty from random things she found!

We gave them some Hawaiian chocolate as a gift. In return, they shared some chocolate from Hazuki’s native Chiapas region that her brother Takumi had sent her. It was from Cacao Nativa and has flavors such as tamarind, chile, pumpkin seed, tequila, and mezcal. The shop is located in San Cristobal de las Casas. Here are some reviews in English.

Later our friend Steven picked us up at Hazuki and Todd’s house. I met Steven in 1976 at the University of Washington; we were both in the Lander Hall dormitory. The coconut wireless spreads the word fast so that students from Hawai’i found each other quickly. Steven is from Kaua’i, the most northwesterly of the 8 main islands. We accompanied Steven on an errand to Asian Food Center (yes, that’s its name) to buy Longevity Peaches, special peach-shaped buns with red bean filling, for his mother-in-law’s 95th birthday celebration that was happening this evening. Unfortunately, they were all sold out. After he dropped us off at Jane’s house, he went in search of the elusive special birthday buns. (I aspire to be like his mother-in-law, until recently she was doing 30 minutes a day on her treadmill at 3.3 mph. Due to a minor medical issue she has had to cut back to 30 minutes/day at 2.8 mph. Right now I am doing 45 minutes at 2.0 mph - haven’t quite yet gotten coordinated enough to do it any faster, I think I am thinking about the belt rotating too much.)

I met our friend Jane, whom we are staying with, around 1995 when I went to work for the Community Development division as a grading inspector; they wanted someone with a stream and wetland background to investigate violations in those areas. Jane was working in another part of the department but later came to work with the grading section doing environmental reviews. Jane retired about 10 years ago and moved to Portland along with her mother to be closer to her 2 sons. Here’s an edgeworthia growing along her front walk. It is very fragrant and is used in paper making in Japan and China.
Edgeworthia chrysantha

In the evening Kai met his friend Matt at Sushi Ichiban. They worked together at Freelock in 2011.

02/21/2016 Day 3 Never Give Up!
We went to the Portland JACL Day of Remembrance event this afternoon. This year’s event honored my friend Barb’s Uncle Min, her father Homer was one of the speakers. There is a film being made about Min’s work fighting against the forced removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. We were joined there by calabash cousin Alton and our friend Jody. It turns out Alton, who is a professional storyteller, had actually interviewed Homer a few years ago and was involved in telling stories about the internment experience as part of Oregon’s 150th anniversary commemoration. The reading of the book “Stubborn Twig”, about the Yasui family’s history and wartime experience, was encouraged throughout the state. To find out more about how Japanese Americans were treated in Washington check out the book “Strawberry Days” which documents what happened to Americans of Japanese ancestry in the Bellevue area.

This morning I saw a hummingbird at Jane’s feeder that hangs off the back porch. Since it was backlit I could only see its silhouette so I don’t know what kind it was. It actually sat down for a while.

Found out more about Kai’s visit to Sushi Ichiban  He says the sushi was good and also very reasonably priced. For the 2 of them, eating 20 plates of sushi (that were delivered by a little train) it was just over $19. The neighborhood it is located in was extremely varied, with upscale shops next to soup kitchens.

02/22/2016 Day 4 Mount St. Helens
The original plan was to leave Jane’s around mid-morning so that we would arrive back in Everett by mid-afternoon, thus missing all the rush hours along the way. Since the weather was nice we decided to take a little side trip to Mount St. Helens, which meant on our way back we had to deal with the rush hour in Toledo, population 725. I wasn’t able to get very good photos because there was so much glare on my phone screen so I have provided screen shots from Bing instead. The blue dot is the salmon hatchery I was stationed at on May 18, 1980, it is about 15 miles from the summit of Mount St. Helens. Due to the topography it did not get hit by any of the mudflows, however when the debris dam at Spirit Lake broke, water, mud, trucks, logs, and whatever else was in it went cascading downstream. Everything hit the bridge crossing the Toutle River and flowed back up the Green River to the hatchery. The bridge eventually gave way and the only way to get in and out of the hatchery was through the logging roads.
Hatchery at blue dot (Bing maps)

I was not at the hatchery when St. Helens erupted. Since the previous week was my duty week I had worked 10 days and was on my 4 days off. At the time I was still working on my masters thesis and since this was pre-personal-computers I was in Seattle to use the University of Washington main frame computer to do the number crunching. As soon as we heard the news, I called in and we headed back down to the hatchery to help move the fish out. We got to the checkpoint and were allowed through since we worked and lived in the restricted area. We never made it to the hatchery, another flood of muddy water covered more of the road, swamping 3 cars that were ahead of us on the road. We couldn’t reach anyone at the hatchery so I called in to the main office and let them know where we were and spent the night at our friend Mark’s house in Olympia. I called Mom to let her know we were all right (she had been out shopping so had not been near a TV). On the late night news we were finally able to confirm that our house (and our cat V-8) was safe when they showed footage taken from a helicopter that flew over the hatchery. Mom also saw some TV footage and called to make sure we were all right! Two days later the department arranged for a convoy of trucks to take us back in to retrieve personal belongings. Here’s a closer view of the hatchery in relation to the Toutle River. You can see how there is still a lot of sediment in the Toutle but the Green is fairly clear.
Toutle Hatchery as seen on a Bing map

Being from Hawai’i, I made an offering to Madame Pele when St. Helens started becoming active. I had ti leaves (from a ti log from Hawai’i that I had growing in a pot) and alae salt from Hawai’i, but no red fish; so I used a salmon fillet. On each side of the walkway to the house I placed a piece of salmon on the ti leaf and sprinkled it with alae salt and asked Madame Pele to keep us safe. When the flood water backed up the Green River it came right to the edge of the ti leaf offerings but no further, stopping about 50 feet from our door. The hatchery buildings and ponds and the manager's house were full of mud, the mud had come to the back door of the 3 other houses. I don’t care what anyone says, Madame Pele kept us safe! (We were expecting some slides in the mail that Saturday. When we checked the mailbox, which was next to the hatchery building, the slides were there, nice and dry!)

I couldn’t find the access road to the hatchery while we were driving around today. I knew about where it should have been but could’t find it. After looking it up on Bing and Google maps I realized I could not find it because they changed the location of Hwy 504, they put it all on the south side of the river and there is no longer any access to the hatchery from that side. I was close though. After more research I found that the North Toutle Hatchery was reopened in 1985 on a limited basis.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

February 10, 2016 SCMS

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this day. (We celebrate the chocolate.) We went to IHOP for breakfast. Kai started with mozzarella sticks. With Tabasco sauce. I had the pancake and egg combo breakfast. I like rice and eggs and Portuguese sausage so I treat my hash browns and eggs and bacon the same way. Sort of like a western-style donburi, without the donburi bowl and they already cooked the egg. (I don't think you can get donburi in the US served with a raw egg any more. Traditionally, when the dish is brought to the table a room temperature whole raw egg rests in the depression in the lid of the bowl. Open the lid, crack the egg into the donburi, close the lid, wait a few minutes for the hot rice and donburi toppings to cook the egg, open the lid, and enjoy!)
Clockwise from upper left: steak sandwich with onion rings, salted caramel coffee, mozzarella sticks, chocolate chocolate chip pancakes, hash browns with eggs and bacon

Margaret came by to check out Kai's 1989 Volvo. Two of the brakes are seized up, the rear door and the front passenger door only open from the inside, the moon roof leaks (currently being sealed by duct tape), and there is a short somewhere in the electrical system that will drain the battery if you leave it hooked up. BUT the seat warmers work! So does the engine. And it has a great cassette deck! The body is also in good shape and it will make a nice sturdy first car when Jessica gets her license in August. The Volvo was gifted to us when Kai got his license and needed a car; Kai will be gifting it to Margaret and Jess if they want it. (Kai is getting my 1992 Subaru which runs great.)

Happy Birthday to Christina and Andreas!

02/10/2016 Snohomish County Mycological Society
At the mushroom club meeting tonight they had a cake for me. But I had forgotten about the meeting because, as another retiree put it, "every day is Saturday." Dorothy e-mailed me this photo with the subject line, "Your cake that we will eat." Fortunately the speaker was doing a slideshow and was long-winded so I was able to sneak in before the end of the meeting and get a piece of cake! Thank you, Dorothy! (Deja vu! It's the same kind of cake that was served on 01/07!)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

February 2 thru Febrary 7, 2016

Went to the service for my friend Cheryl's husband Dan this morning; it was a very nice service. Until today though, I never really thought about the differences between what Christians and Buddhists believe awaits one after death. I think it is because I will be going to my uncle's Buddhist service in a couple of weeks that I was thinking about that this morning. What I got from the service this morning was that Christians need to wait until they die to again see the departed loved one. Buddhists, on the other hand, get to see the departed loved one every year at Obon. The Buddhist way seems to me to be a more compassionate system. And I also learned something new today: Christians go through 3 levels before they reach the end of the journey (Buddhists have 7 levels). I was previously under the impression that it was a direct shot to Heaven or Hell.

There were about a dozen of us there from work (or retired from work). Although it was good to see everyone (especially the 2 other retired people), when Greg left he said, "See you Monday." I said, "Not!"

This afternoon was the annual meeting for the Communities of Color Coalition (C3). New officers were elected and plans for the future were discussed. I feel comfortable that C3 will be in good hands as I get ready to leave.

Happy Birthday to Brian and Todd!

02/02/2016 Day 11 SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM
In this week’s grocery ads Don Quijote had a special on portuguese sausage SPAM among other things. Mom wanted some so I went in search of SPAM … and found about 36 feet of shelf space devoted to SPAM! I could not believe the different types of SPAM that are available but I guess Hawai’i would be the place to find them; I got some for Kai. According to the SPAM website there are 22 flavors of SPAM.

I got a magnetic dry erase calendar board to help keep me organized when I move here. This is not what my schedule is for the rest of my visit here, this is the photo on the front of the label. It only came with a black marker; I will be getting other colors since I like to color-code my notes.

Today was mahjong day; I talked to one of the ladies about Mom's playing ability and she said Mom was doing fine. Later the mahjong ladies went to Duk Kee Chinese Restaurant in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Years that starts on February 8th. Apparently Duk Kee has the best jai in the city. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

02/03/2016 Day 12 Xander & Chibi Go to the Vet
Xander and Chibi went to the vet today. For Xander it was a check-up to see how his feline asthma is doing. For Chibi it was her annual check-up. The great thing about The Cat Clinic of Honolulu is that they really understand cats; the vet tech saw that Chibi was very anxious so she reached into a drawer and grabbed a towel to throw over her so she could hide. Xander’s lungs are doing fine; the asthma is staying under control. Chibi is also doing well even though she is FIV positive. The only problem is that she lost her RFID tag sometime last night. I reprogrammed Shiro’s tag for her so she can eat and be monitored by the Wireless Whiskers. Shiro will now be able to eat from the Wireless Whiskers since it won’t get the signal that he is locked out. This might be good for now since his IR tag is not working and the WonderBowl won’t open up when he comes up to it - the WonderBowl people are sending me another IR tag since its still under warranty. It should arrive in about 5 days, which will be after I leave; my brother will have to put the new tag on Shiro.
Chibi and Xander

I used the Fixa 7.2v drill today. One of the things I do on my visits is to check the smoke alarms. The one by the laundry room would go off whenever the dryer was used; the steam sets it off so I moved it farther down the hall so that it is nearer to the bedroom. I moved the one in the kitchen to the top of the cabinet since it was placed too low; we originally thought we would make it convenient for Mom and Dad to hit the reset button when they burn the toast but heat and smoke rise so that was not a good idea. (It is also a carbon monoxide alarm since they have a gas stove.) The last alarm, by the other bedrooms, just needed to be found; I did and put it back up. (When I first started making the multiple trips back 2&1/2 years ago all the smoke alarms were dead and sitting on the bookshelf because they kept forgetting to ask my brother to get more batteries and put them back up. And I also replaced their fire extinguisher, which was manufactured in 1996.)

I also picked up puppy pee pads. Mom has been asking me to pick them up since I arrived. She had one from a social worker who came to do an assessment; she thought it was a good thing to place on the couch to keep cat hair off it. She found another pee pad that I had in the cat carrier and used it when the other one got too worn. It sounds like a good idea since it would also come in handy later if anyone develops incontinence (or decides to hack up a hairball on the couch). This is a local product, ilio is Hawaiian for dog.

02/04/2016 Day 13 Sleepy Kitty
This morning I caught Xander taking advantage of the fact that Mom and Dad forgot to close their bedroom door. He’s not supposed to be up on the bed but apparently when Mom finds him there she thinks it is cute so she lets him stay. I think he will be very annoyed when I finally move here. He already gives me dirty looks when I take him to the vet and make him stay out of Shiro’s food. (If it turns out that he will need daily meds for the feline asthma I will become his least favorite human in this household!)
Naughty kitty

 We visited cousin Jane today. She’s the one that is the excellent cook; she invited us over for lunch. Once I move here she has promised to teach me how to make a lot of different types of dishes and baked goods. She lives in Hawaii Kai, east of Mom and Dad. On the way back we saw this familiar landmark from a not so familiar vantage point. Can you guess what it is?

We continued our early celebration of the Lunar New Year. We had gau as one of our dessert options this evening. (The hyperlinked article was written in 2008 so don’t go by the date given in the article. The Lunar New Year is on February 8th this year.)

A few days ago I included a photo of a TV show that Mom was watching and asked if people knew the actor and the show; it was interesting to see who responded (James Arness, Gunsmoke). Here’s another show that Mom was watching today. I think she watches the old reruns because she remembers them. Dementia is an interesting disease; in the early stages the older memories are very vivid while the recent memories are difficult to recall; so it may seem that the person has a “good” memory, when it really isn’t.

02/05/2016 Day 14 Mom's Second BP Check-up
Not quite sure what to make of it. On their machine Mom's blood pressure was 159/66 mmHg, which is similar to what it was last week. The nurse said Mom’s doctor will call if there is anything she wants me to do differently. On Mom's new BP monitor it recorded 141/66 this morning before breakfast and 145/75 when we took it just before they took the official one. The nurse said the difference between the 2 is acceptable. But I forgot to ask her how often I should be taking Mom's blood pressure and at which high or low threshold I should be contacting them.

On the way back from the doctor’s office, we stopped to pick up lunch. One of the things I know I will be enjoying is how easily good bento is to find. This is from the nearby supermarket, however, pretty much all the local supermarkets have a great selection.

After lunch we went to Nitrogenie with Mrs. Vea. I had a regular size Nutella Cornucopia. I think this will become a regular occurrence once I move here. With that (and the good bento) in mind I checked out the Wii. I got everything connected but could not figure out how to switch the TV in order that I could get to the Wii menu on the screen. I shall have to enlist the aid of my brother or his sons.

On the way back from Nitrogenie we saw a truck in front of the neighbor’s house. It said Deutschland Soup and Food which seemed to be a rather narrow niche market to be catering to, especially in Hawai'i. It sounds like it might be new. I signed up for their newsletter so I can find out more about them.

I went to dinner with high school friends Jackie and Lois (Alan couldn't make it). We went to Himalayan Kitchen; it’s up the stairs from Jamaican Irie Jerk Restaurant. We had opah korma curry, lamb madras, Kathmandu chicken chili, and naan. Sorry, it smelled so good we dived in as soon as it got there and I forgot to take a photo until we had eaten a bunch of it. I really need to get the Wii working; they are part of Room Service in Paradise, a restaurant food delivery service.
l to r: Opah korma curry, lamb madras, Kathmandu chicken chili

While I was composing this, Chibi came running in to the family room hot on the trail of a very large German cockroach. This is the second large roach that I have found dead in the house. And I have seen less live roaches running around. So either they are becoming more secretive or the cats are killing them.
German cockroach (Blattella germanica) & Chibi

02/06/2016 Day 15 Nat King Cole
Just returned from the opening night of the Honolulu African American Film Festival which is held at the Honolulu Museum of Art. This is the 5th year they have had it. The evening started with a reception dinner based on the song The Frim Fram Sauce. Following the reception, the opening movie was Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark, about his life and discrimination that he faced; I highly recommend it. I had dinner with Jolene, Kim, and Adrienne, whom I met there; Kim will be sending me information on joining the Honolulu chapter of NAACP. (Today is also Natalie Cole’s birthday, so they also honored her passing on December 31st.)
Clockwise from 12 o'clock: savory roasted chicken with Frim Fram sauce, peach bourbon crisp, kale & mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette, cornbread, oven "fried" red potatoes, strata "Lorraine" 

I started out the day at another Honolulu Museum of Art event, the sculpture show Spearfishing Omilu Ulua at the Spalding House Surface Gallery in the Makiki Heights area of Honolulu. The artist, Edward Clark, uses glass, mixed media, and found objects; “the installation focuses on spearfishing and explores its relationship to the modern fishing industry and the marine environment.” The installation is in what appears to be an old tennis or outdoor handball or one-wall racquetball court. The artist actually spent about 10 years in the Puget Sound area as a biologist and learned glass blowing there. (Omilu is the Hawaiian name for a type of carnivorous fish known in English as jack or crevally and in pidgin mix of Japanese and Hawaiian as hoshi ulua. Ulua is Hawaiian term identifying the individual as an adult as opposed to a juvenile, which is called papio. It is called hoshi, or star, due to the star-like neon blue speckles on the flanks of ulua.)

While waiting for the gallery to open I was treated to this view of Leahi, aka Diamond Head. It is also the mystery geographic feature that I shared a photo of a couple of days ago. Now I only need 33 more to have the “Thirty-six Views of Leahi” ala Hokusai (and Hiroshige). (I shared another view a couple of trips ago.) Leahi looks like its really far in the distance because there was a light drizzle; I think that’s why I was the only one in the outdoor sculpture gallery this morning.
#3 Misty day at Spalding House

I thought it was very appropriate that I left the Spearfishing Omilu Ulua exhibit to have lunch with some of my dive buddies from college. We went to Nico’s Pier 38, a favorite meeting place for us; they have excellent seafood. Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take a photo of the Furikake Pan Seared Ahi that I had; it was so ono! (Three out of the four of us ordered it.)

Dengue fever 250, not dengue fever 1109. Only 3 of the cases are still infectious to mosquitoes. For more info click here.

02/07/2016 Day 16 Return Flight
Instead of my usual 9 am Alaska flight that I would take to get me back to Seattle around 5 pm and give me a good night’s rest before going to work the next day, I took the 1:45 pm flight which got in around 9 pm. I was hoping they would ask for volunteers to give up their seat but no luck, in fact there was an empty seat in the row just in front of me. My perspective on getting bumped has shifted since I have retired.

I think my timing on moving back to Hawai’i will be just about right. Mom is not totally incapable of doing things but needs help with other things. For example, she is way better than me at making a perfect sunny side up egg; I just can’t depend on her to turn the stove off after she is done with the last egg. She needs someone to make sure she is reliably taking her medication and motivate her to walk each morning. I can do these things. And now Dad is showing some early signs. So now is a good time to make the move.

Friday, March 25, 2016

January 28 thru February 1, 2016

Made Fluffy Dinner Rolls for Vivian's birthday dinner tonight. It's a Cook's Illustrated recipe using the tangzhong method which is now used in a lot of Asian baked goods. What I like about Cook's Illustrated is they tell you the science that makes the recipe work. And when they test a recipe, they tell you what they did, why they did it, what worked, and what didn't.
First rise

Today is Vivian's birthday! Michael made his famous fried chicken with gravy and crumbles. Carole brought her artichoke casserole. And Mary Ellen made a pineapple upside-down cake for dessert. They didn't have all the letters to spell Happy Birthday, so the cake said "Feliz B-day".

Happy Birthday also to Glenn and Jose!

01/28/2016 Day 6 Mom's Medical Appointment
The reason for my special visit was to go to Mom’s appointment for her blood pressure check-up today; I wanted to make sure she was taking her meds every day for a week or so before her appointment. It was 155/59 mmHg; they want it under 150, so we met with her doctor. While going over her meds we discovered my brother and I should have been giving lisinopril to her twice a day. Oooops! Well it turns out, in order to make it easier to open frequently, Mom has been putting her lisinopril from the large prescription bottle in to a smaller (and older) prescription bottle … which says 1&1/2 tablets once a day. We go back again next Friday to see if having her on the prescribed amount of medication will get her blood pressure under control.

At least once per visit I have Hawaiian food for lunch or dinner; it was dinner tonight. We had kalua pig, laulau, poke, poi, lomi salmon, and kulolo. And the haupia loaded doughnuts for dessert. Foodland has a really great selection of poke. And Thursday is the day that kulolo is delivered to the grocery stores that carry it, such as Foodland. Here’s a photo of the kulolo. (The guy in line in front of us also had kulolo. He said he always shops on Thursday in order to get the kulolo.) 

I opened a new account at the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union. I now have a savings, checking, and debit card with a Honolulu address! If I use the debit card 10 times in the next 30 days they will deposit $50 in to the savings account. So I used it immediately at the Longs Drugs and Times Supermarket in the same mini-mall as the credit union. Later in the day I tried to pay Mom’s co-pay and it got turned down. I called and found out it had been listed as “lost”. Apparently when they were opening the account this morning they accidentally issued 2 cards, so they canceled one … the wrong one. I have to go in tomorrow and get a new one. (I’ll be having my retirement check automatically deposited to this new account.)

Do you know who this guy is? And what show he was on? This is what is in my future … watching old reruns during the day. And at night it will be Wheel of Fortune, Big Bang Theory, and FOX News. Yes, FOX News … this might be the most depressing part of moving to Hawai’i.

01/29/2016 Day 7 My New Occupation
Mom tells people I am an "environmental planter”. Which, I suppose, is somewhat accurate. In describing to her what I do I did say that I worked with plants. And she likes plants so I think that’s what stuck with her when I said “environmental planner”, which doesn’t really tell you anything.

Update on the suitcase foot: It held up for the flight here. But it did loosen up, so I got some JB Weld and will be working on it in the next couple of days.

Update on the new shower: Installation started on 12/28 and was completed on 01/07. And Mom loves it! Which is great since she originally wanted to just change the door and grudgingly okayed the shower work. She likes the color (Old Smoke), glass doors, folding bench, 3 grab bars, adjustable shower head, not having to scrub grout between the tiles, and the fact that she doesn’t need to step over the side of the tub. She is now interested in upgrading Dad’s bathroom; which will be one of the tasks when I move here.

The Boys went to the vet today. I was concerned that the edges of their eyelids had lots of dark spots that weren’t there when they were in WA; I was concerned it might be melanoma. They were also coughing more but I wasn’t sure if it was the vog or if they were developing feline asthma like Xander. It turns out the black spots are a response to more sun (like getting a tan). And the vog is probably the culprit but I need to keep an eye on them to see if they continue coughing as the vog dissipates this weekend. Here’s Shiro eating from the WonderBowl.

And here’s Chibi taking over Dad’s chair. (Momo is on the chair I was sitting in when I took the photo of him in Dad’s chair a couple days ago. Since I was in his favorite chair he took over Dad’s chair.)

Xander just got locked out by the Wireless Whiskers feeder. (Note the message showing on the Wireless Whiskers.) I have it set so it limits him to 10% less than what he ate during the calibration period, i. e., he’s on a reducing diet. He is not happy that he can’t get endless food from Mom any more. He goes to the vet next week for a check-up.

01/30/2016 Day 8 Halau Ho'omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai'i
Mom and I just got done watching a webcast on the Smithsonian website of our friend Suzanne and her husband’s hula troupe, Halau Ho'omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai’i. They performed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian today and will repeat the performance tomorrow at noon, east coast time. (Her husband, and kumu hula, Manu Ikaika is on the far right. Their son is to his right in the yellow aloha shirt. Their granddaughter is the young girl playing the ipu along with the women in the first song.) One of the songs they perform was written by Queen Lili’uokalani during her imprisonment. Watch the webcast if you would like to learn more of the history of the stealing of Hawai’i by Americans. The last song, Kaulana Na Pua, is my favorite Hawaiian song; i played it on several Da Coconut Wireless shows that I hosted about sovereignty and the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom. (Click here for Multi-artist video.)

We went to visit Mom’s cousin Doreen today. As always, it is a bittersweet visit; sometimes she remembers us, sometimes she doesn’t, and this is happening all during the same visit. She was better this time; we did not need to sneak out of the house like we had to during the visit in December.

In order to provide some activity I hung Da Bird cat toy out in the cat run at Thanksgiving. When I returned I could not find the feathered bird part. I found it today and put it back up. Here’s Momo in attack mode.

Xander is very attached to Mom. In the evening he follows her all over the place. Here he is stalking Mom.

01/31/2016 Day 9 Wireless Whiskers Refilled
I filled up the Wireless Whiskers today. It was about 2/3 empty after 1 week of Xander, Momo, and Chibi feeding from it. It looks like even if all 4 of them were eating from one feeder it would be able to go for a week without needing a fill up. The WonderBowl also seems to be able to hold a week’s worth of food for Shiro. But I did find out that Momo has learned to squeeze Shiro out when he is eating. And even when Shiro moves far enough away that the lid closes, Momo lets it close on his head and keeps on eating! (It opens up again then tries to reclose.)
Pre-fill up

I have read that pets are good for some people with dementia. It seems to make a difference for Mom. When we were kids Mom always said animals belonged outside. And although she complains a lot about the cats, she wants me to leave Xander with her when I move to Kohala. (She does not seem to understand that I will be staying in Honolulu to take care of them. She thinks as soon as I return I will be moving to Kohala.) She spoils Xander, feeding him ice cream when they have dessert, giving him extra food, watching TV with him at night. Here she is letting him know that she is on her way to watch Korean soap operas and telling him he needs to go to the other room to watch with her.

While I was doing yardwork today I think I figured out who cut off the top of the pink ‘ohai ali’i: Dad. I was searching for the lopping shears and pruning saw this morning; they weren’t in their normal place by Dad’s chair on the front porch. After searching for a while I finally found them near the green waste bin, which had been full of the remains of the ‘ohai ali’i. The height of the cut on the ‘ohai ali’i would be what Dad is able to do (he can’t bend down). I will have a lot of work to do to keep ahead of these two! Maybe its a good thing that Dad takes 2 naps a day ...

02/01/2016 Day 10 Wii!
Look what I found while looking for Mom’s blood pressure monitor. I will be checking to see if it still works. If it does, I think it will be a great addition to Mom’s daily routine. And a lot safer; the first block of her walk has no sidewalks and the ground is uneven in places. Plus, if she looks off to the side while walking she tends to stumble. Using the Wii Fit will keep her focused without distractions and allow her to exercise any time of the day, regardless of what else she has going on or whether it’s raining. 

One problem with the Wii Fit, however, is the condition of the Balance Board. Not sure how many times she used it since it was bought in June 2009. I will need to read more of the manual to see whether the Balance Board is needed for everything or if I can start her out on something that doesn’t need it. (She had it carefully wrapped up in a plastic bag to keep it from getting dirty but did not take the batteries out of it.)

We eventually did find the blood pressure monitor. But when we tested it all we got was an error message. I figured it was the batteries (that were likely in it since 01/2004 when the last test was done), so I got new batteries and tried again. And still got an error message. Its not pumping up the cuff, I’m guessing the rubber on the diaphragm has cracked after sitting around for 12 years. We’ll be looking for a new  one.

We also found her digital camera that she has been looking for. She used to use it a lot before, then about a year ago she said she couldn’t find it. It was in the same drawer she always keeps it in, but had been covered over by a bunch of other stuff. It would turn on but would not take any photos; new batteries solved that problem. The last photos were taken in 12/2014 and the batteries have been in it since then. I’m seeing a pattern here ...

Look what arrived in the mail today! Thanks, Suzanne! This will come in handy for the next home repair project. (The fig bars were to cushion the drill on its trip from Virginia. They are yummy!) She knows us well … its got a rechargeable lithium battery.