Thursday, June 30, 2016

Experiments with Brownies

I baked 2 batched of brownies this morning while it was still relatively cool. The first batch is for my nephew DT who is in Michigan. The 2nd batch is for my nephew David who is gluten-intolerant. For both batches I froze them then sealed them in FoodSaver vacuum bags. The Food Saver manual says to freeze baked goods before sealing so they don't get squashed by the vacuum process, which seemed to work. DT's brownies were flatter than David's brownies to begin with so they seem like they got squashed but they aren't. I actually did not like the texture of DT's brownies (very soft and gummy, I like mine with more substance) and will be using another brand next time. Sorry, no photos.

Here's a photo from last week:  Ava's introduction to the sand in Hawai'i!
L to R: Misty and Ava (photo by Misty)

For most of the day the cats conserve their energy in various parts of the house. Each of them has a favorite place: Shiro lounges on the armchair in the living room, Xander prefers the floor under the dining room table, and Chibi is almost always under the living room couch. They become more active in the evening around dinner time, which would also be hunting time if they were feral (or a wild cat). Here are Chibi and Shiro moving to their active hunting places.
Chibi in the cat run, getting ready for the big evening hunt!

Chibi generally spends the entire evening out in the cat run. Except if the neighbor is in their garage or along the side of the house near the cat run, then she bolts in to the house to hide.

Shiro getting ready to do the same!

Shiro likes to sit at the garage door, looking through the screen at the road beyond the garage. Since Momo has been gone he sits there and calls for his brother 3 or 4 times a day. 

Mom and Dad and Curt return from Las Vegas tomorrow afternoon. Can't wait to hear of their adventures! Mom keeps telling me I should go with them. Curt says if Dad gets worse, I will have to go with them so he can watch one, while I watch the other. I sure hope they have wi-fi access in the keno lounge! (Dad is a keno player, Mom likes the video poker which Curt also likes.)

Happy Birthday to Amanda!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Java Sparrows and TV Rip-Offs

I should have posted a photo earlier of what was going to happen in June, at least what was known at that point in June. I will do one in early July, should be interesting since there is so much going on in July! But in the meanwhile, here's June 2016.

I made a quick stop at Don Quijote today to pick up some brownie mix. I want to experiment with freezing the made brownies before using the FoodSaver on them. Lori initially bought the Food Saver so she could send brownies to DT and have them be nice and fresh. But she said the brownies just got smashed as the air was being sucked out of the bag. According to the instructions, they should be frozen before being sealed so the vacuum process does not squash them. While at DQ I saw a pair of Java sparrows, aka Java rice birds, that had found their way in to the store and were hanging out in the rice aisle. They went after the expensive stuff.
Lonchura oryzivora

I started organizing the main refrigerator. I was forced to do it, one of the little containers jumped off the shelf and committed suicide, splattering all over the kitchen floor. Here are its buddies, awaiting their fate. I might keep the ones that are in sealed single servings. (Except for the one that is open and partially used.)

Mom says she doesn't want to take any more pills. But today she received a shipment of Supple and TurboFlex. On autoship every 7 weeks! I think she saw it on TV and ordered it over the phone, they spelled her name wrong. This has been one of my fears; that she begins to send away for things and lets people talk her in to doing an autoship so it will continue to come even if she is not using it. The shipping and handling costs almost as much as the supplements, what a rip-off! I will have to talk to her about it when they get back from Las Vegas.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mochi Making

While Mom and Dad are in Vegas my goal is to take care of getting re-established. Like getting my drivers license changed, switching my health insurance, paying my final bills, etc. But yesterday I filled in for Mom and Dad at breakfast with cousins Jane and Gladys and Gladys' husband Phil. Its a tough job but someone's got to do it! 

Gladys and Phil are birthday boy Mitchell's grandparents. They are in Honolulu until today when they head back to California so they will miss Mom and Dad, who are returning on Friday. We had dinner at Jane's house later in the evening, along with Jane's son Dean, his wife Sherry, and daughter DeeAnn (the same one in the Safe Harbor photo with Mom), and also Erica, Marc, and Mitchell!

Jane taught us how to make filled mochi, specifically peanutbutter mochi, which is Phil's favorite! Here are the balls of filling that will go in to the mochi, which is the white cubes at the top of the photo. The purple balls are ube (purple sweet potato) wrapped around haupia. The mochi is made with mochiko, the white substance in the container at the left is potato flour used to keep things from sticking to your hands.

Here we are wrapping the mochi around the fillings.

Here are the completed mochi. The peanutbutter ones are rolled in kinako (toasted soybean flour).

And here is a happy Phil!

Happy Belated Birthday to Anne!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Valet Parking ... at the Humane Society?

Today Mom and Dad and Curt left for Las Vegas. Their usual routine is to leave about 2 pm on Sunday and return around 12:30 pm on Friday. Since my nephew needed to go to work in Waikiki, my sister-in-law Lori drove him and Curt in to town, then she took them to the airport. Lori usually picks them up since she works close to the airport, but since I am now here, I will pick them up on Friday.

I went to check for Momo again today. And it was really busy at the humane society. So busy that they had valet parking! The humane society is the last place I would expect to have valet parking but they have a very small lot in a location where on street parking is not an option. (It's sandwiched between the freeway and a very busy, narrow thoroughfare.) No luck in finding Momo, but the volunteer said they have had cats found 3 years after they were lost. I will definitely be checking for as long as Shiro is going to the door and calling for his brother.

While I was searching for supplies that we brought home last night I found a brand new rice cooker that Mom had in one of her pantry cupboards! Guess she forgot that she had another one since she gave me money to buy a new one that is on sale at Don Quijote. (Longs also has one on sale.)

I also did a load of laundry today. And discovered that the dryer has a problem. When you open the door it should automatically stop as a safety feature. Mom's doesn't. I think she has an extended warranty on it (she does for all the appliances she purchased from Sears and I think this is one of them). I will have to call tomorrow about it.
Looks kinda like an abstract painting!
Last night Lori had a giant cookie as part of the dessert.

Happy Birthday to Valerie and Mariah!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Aloha Oe to Misty and Ava

I picked Misty and Ava up this morning and took them on a lei shopping trip. We went to the lei shop that Mom always goes to and I had them pick out the lei that they wanted. Misty wanted something fragrant and chose a lei made of tuberose and rose. Ava wanted something pink and chose a lei made from orchids. (In Hawai'ian, a noun is pluralized by adding the word na, as in na lei; thus you will see lei used as both singular and plural in Hawai'ian written or spoken word.)
The refrigerated case behind Ava and Misty holds all different kinds of lei

Then it was off to the airport! I found out Misty and Ava had stayed at the beach the previous evening until dark. Here's a couple photos of what they were doing.
Aloha from Ava! (photo by Misty)
Mahalo from Ava! (photo by Misty)

On the way back I stopped at Hawaiian Pie Co. to pick up dessert for the dinner at Curt and Lori's tonight. I chose Hawaiian Mango for dinner tonight and Caramel Apple for Mom at a later date. And I got 2 cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning.

I also stopped in at the Neko Cafe event. Sort of. I stopped, parked, then walked around to find the event which was in one of the small stores in the Ward Warehouse mall. I found it, but decided not to stick around. The line was at least 100 people long. It appeared that they were metering the people in, a wise decision since there were a bunch of kittens running around the store. (Even though I had them in an insulated carrier, the pies would have defrosted by the time I got in the door!)

While at Ward Warehouse I spotted another view of Leahi. That's Ala Moana Boulevard in the lower right.

Here's something else I spotted. A sign of the times in a multicultural society!

Since Mom's dementia manifested itself, cooking has not been an option for Mom. She can't remember what goes in a dish or has trouble following a recipe or has trouble remembering to turn off the stove or oven. I thought a microwave and rice cooker would be safe for her to use. NOT! Last night, even though I said I was bringing a pizza home for dinner, Mom cooked a full pot of rice. Five cups, we ate none of it. I went to put it in the fridge and could not get the pot out of the cooker. There was a slight gap, that I had never noticed before, that I could just barely get my fingertips into but I still couldn't get it to budge. Later in the night I had a hunch so I tested it after I got back from the airport and IT WORKED! I turned the rice cooker on for about 30 seconds until the bottom heated up and I pulled and it came out easily! What was going on? It turns out a plastic lid had fallen in to the heating unit, it melted, then hardened when the cooking was done, cementing the pot to the unit. Heating softened it up and unstuck it. A rice cooker bites the dust, I can't get most of the plastic out since it oozed around the edges of the heating element.

Happy Birthday to Susan and Ellen!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Obama Tour

I took Mom to the dentist this morning. Dad was supposed to go also but the appointment was too early for him (9 am) so he opted to stay in bed. Mom needs additional work so I scheduled her next appointment along with Dad's cleaning for 11 am in a couple of weeks. As we were leaving Mom insisted on giving the receptionist $20 to go to lunch. She refused 3 times, then finally took it and whispered to me that they would credit it to Mom and Dad's account as they have in the past when Mom gets like this. But as she wrote out the receipts for me she slipped it between the 2 receipts and handed it back to me; I put it with the grocery money that Mom gave me.

While there I started the paperwork to have my dental records sent to their office so I can get my dental work done here. The receptionist said that if Washington Dental is part of Delta Dental then I could have work covered by my current COBRA coverage since Hawaii Dental is part of Delta Dental. She is checking from her end and I will check with the Conexis folks who administer the COBRA program.

After I dropped Mom off I spent the rest of the day with Misty and Ava. They wanted to see the beach that President Obama goes to. We started with lunch at Rainbow Drive-In, one of the destinations on their Hawai'i bucket list and also a favorite of the Prez. Ava had a chicken burger, Misty tried the loco moco, and I had the shoyu chicken, which I shared with Misty and Ava so they could sample more local cuisine.
Top to bottom: chicken burger (in bag), loco moco (with a piece of shoyu chicken on the side), and shoyu chicken

To head to the Windward side there are several options. I decided to go via the Pali Highway so I could take them to the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. This is where King Kamehameha defeated the chief of O'ahu and united the Hawai'ian Islands under one ruler. Unfortunately I have no photos at the lookout, though I did take a few for Misty. There was a light drizzle and mist blowing up the face of the pali.

We then headed for the beach at Lanikai, another presidential favorite. Misty and Ava waded out in the water for a while. It started to drizzle as we headed back to the car; once we got in it began to pour! We headed to Kailua Beach Park, further down the road where the beach was wider. It was drizzling there, too.
Ava and Misty wading in the water at Lanikai; background, L to R: Moku Nui and Moku Iwi (collectively known as Na Mokulua)

As we were leaving the area we passed by Island Snow, the shave ice shop that the Obama family goes to when they are in town. Ava had cotton candy, I can't remember what Misty tried, I had mango and li hing mui which actually tasted like mango and li hing mui!

On the way back we stopped at Waimanalo Beach Park, Halona (Blow Hole) view point, and took a drive up Wilhelmina Rise. We ordered a pizza which we picked up on the way home and had dinner with Mom and Dad. As she was leaving, Mom gave Ava some money to buy a memento of her trip to Hawai'i. The one thing I forgot to do was take them by Leonard's Bakery to get for malasadas for dessert! Oh well, they'll just have to come back for another visit!

One thing I have noticed is that Mom is really in to giving people money these days. And then she frets about whether she has given them enough money. Or even if she has given them anything at all. After I returned she kept asking me if she remembered to give Ava some money. I do know she is always concerned about not owing anyone any money but I am not sure what this is about.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

No-Win Today

Mom says she can handle everything herself now. So I don't need to be here. She wants me to move to the Big Island as soon as the house is finished. She says Dad can help her do everything.

What is interesting is that an hour or so later she will be asking me to help her do something. Sometimes though I can't figure out what she is asking me to help her with because it makes no sense. So as I try to figure it out, I ask clarifying questions which makes her angry. But if I do the wrong thing that also makes her angry. It's a no-win situation, unless I guess right.

So although there were a lot of positive things we did today, e.g., short walk in the morning that helped ease the pain in her hip, "balanced" checkbook, and cashed a check (that had been sitting around for a couple of months), because I made her take her pills this evening she wants me to leave. Following the After Hours nurse help line and taking her to the after hours clinic also got her upset. (She asked again tonight about why her right foot is fatter than her left foot and what she should do about it.) It doesn't make any sense, but with dementia not much does. Tomorrow she will have forgotten all of this. But this or a similar conversation will likely happen again in a week or so.

Sometimes when something gets her attention, like a commercial on the television, she will talk about it almost continuously, repeating her statements after about 5 minutes. It is especially difficult when she seems to think it is somehow related to something she can remember something about, but doesn't quite remember the details (that usually make the relation irrelevant). This can go on for half an hour. It is no wonder that Dad has gotten in to the habit of tuning her out, which then causes her to start yelling at him and getting very angry with him. She accuses him of not listening (which is true) and not helping her (also true, but I think it is a by-product of tuning her out). It is a wonder that he is still sane.

I put up "Lost Cat" flyers around the neighborhood this evening. We'll see if they are more successful than checking the Humane Society every other day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Another ER Visit?

Does a visit to the After Hours Clinic count as an emergency room visit? After dinner tonight, Mom went to lay down on the couch to watch Wheel of Fortune. As I was looking past her at the puzzle board, I noticed that her right foot from just above the ankle was noticeably swollen and larger than her left foot. I palpated it and found she was retaining fluids. She also said it was colder, though when I put my hands on it and on her left foot they felt the same to me. (She said my hands felt hot.)

I called the Kaiser Permanente After Hours Clinic line. After about 5 minutes worth of questions the triage nurse advised us to come in to be seen by the after hours staff. She is concerned that there may be a clot in Mom's leg (which could travel and cause a stroke). After sitting in the ER 10 days ago with Bobbye and watching her quickly deteriorate from her stroke I didn't really want to go through that again! If this visit could avoid that, then I'm willing to make the drive to the after hours clinic tonight. No matter what Mom says! As it turns out it was okay but the doctor did advise her to wear compression hose on her upcoming Las Vegas trip.

In other news, Mom can't remember how to deal with checkbooks. So she is now leaving all the bills for the Kohala house for me to deal with. Since they are automatically paid by the bank it is really only a matter of getting them properly entered and doing the math to make sure there is enough money in the account to cover all the bills. I sorted through the bills and this is what I ended up with. I will have to do the same with the household checkbook account tomorrow.

While at breakfast yesterday with Lani, we saw a poster for an event this Friday, the Neko Cafe! "Your one-stop-shop for art,fashion, and food for cats and cat lovers! Grab a coffee and cuddle with adoptable feline friends." Going to check it out, but not to adopt a cat. Apparently this is a big thing in Japan.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mo'ili'ili History

In the week since I have made the final move I have spent time with 3 groups of friends from Washington: Susan & Jennifer & their kids on Saturday & Sunday, Misty & her daughter on Monday, and Lani this morning. Susan and Lani are originally from Hawai'i and now live in Washington. Susan is in Kona on vacation and to show her family where she was raised. Lani is back for a short visit to celebrate her mother's 102nd birthday!

Lani grew up in the Mo'ili'ili area of Honolulu, which is also where my father grew up. (She was also a classmate of my brother.) She loaned me a book, Mo'ili'ili - The Life of a Community. It has a lot of old photos, maps, and stories about the area and the people. I having been thumbing through it and finding out a lot about Mo'ili'ili that I did not know. I am hoping it will spark a conversation with Dad about the early days of his family in Mo'ili'ili. But I won't be showing the book to him until I can get something to record his recollections. (Lani will be back some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I have a few months to do this.)

I went to the Hawai'i Humane Society again today to look for Momo. Their website had a photo of a cat that looked like him. And I also realized (a bit late) that when I was there yesterday I should be calling him so that if he is hiding in a cage he will come out. So I went and called, and there was one orange tabby that was answering but it wasn't Momo. It was just a talkative orange tabby, he had a longer face, more white on his muzzle, and a deeper meow than Momo. I sure hope Momo turns up, Shiro misses him a lot. Every day he goes to the screen door at the garage and calls for Momo; usually he does it several times during the day.

Mom asked this evening when I was moving to the Big Island. I said when she and Dad no longer need my help. She said they don't need my help now so I should go as soon as the house is finished. Dad on the other hand says they need my help now. And I think so, too. I need to come up with a more evasive yet truthful answer to her question. Of course, I could always make it like the Winchester Mystery House and keep on fixing things! (After this current work is done, there still needs to be repairs to the garage, addition of solar panels to garage roof, and remodel to turn the sewing room in to full-sized room with good cross-ventilation. If I add repairs of termite-eaten walls and trim that could keep the project going forever!)

I read an article this evening that examines the link between Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. "Until now, we always assumed that obese people get type 2 diabetes and then are more likely to get dementia - we now show that actually it also works the other way around. ... Additionally, it was previously believed that diabetes starts in the periphery, i.e. the pancreas and liver, often due to consumption of an unhealthy diet, but here we show that dysregulation in the brain can equally lead to development of very severe diabetes - so again showing that diabetes doesn't necessarily have to start with your body getting fat - it can start with changes in the brain. ... This study provides a new therapeutic angle into Alzheimer's disease and we now think that some of the compounds that are used for obesity and diabetic deregulation might potentially be beneficial for Alzheimer's patients as well. The good news is that there are a number of new drugs available right now which we are testing to see if they would reverse both Alzheimer's and diabetes symptoms. We will also be able to study whether new treatments developed for Alzheimer's can improve both, the diabetic and cognitive symptoms."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ava Wiggles Her Toes in the Sand!

Today my friend Misty and her daughter Ava arrived in Hawai'i; I met them at the airport with lei made from puakenikeni and plumeria & orchid. Since it was noon, and their check-in time was not until 3 pm, we went to lunch at, you guessed it: Zippy's! Actually we tried Highway Inn first but their lot was full, then we went to Liliha Bakery but there was a 15-minute wait for a table; at Zippy's we walked right in and sat down! (Misty promised she would try something more adventurous the next time!)
Misty & Ava with (clockwise from top left): small roast turkey special, chicken nuggets, small Zip Pac with teriyaki beef and fried chicken

After lunch there was still an hour and a half or so before check-in, so I drove them around and gave them a little tour on the way to their hotel. We stopped at Ala Moana Beach Park because Ava wanted to get out and wiggle her toes in the sand! We drove by Kewalo Basin, Aloha Tower, Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Fort DeRussey, Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, Kapiolani Park, Diamond Head lookout, Kapiolani Community College, Kaimuki Intermediate School, Leahi Hospital, Diamond Head Theater, Kahala Mall, the Ala Wai Canal, and Rainbow Drive Inn.

On the way back from their hotel, I stopped at the Hawai'i Humane Society to complete the microchip paperwork on the cats. The official microchip registry for animals in Hawai'i is the Hawai'i Humane Society; they are now all officially registered. Momo's "lost pet" paperwork will be available for 30 days, but I will be checking in every other day to see if he gets picked up. We think he got out on the evening I arrived; we think Mom kept the outer door open while she was trying to figure out how to turn on the garage light (which she never did).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

In the ER Again

When we arrived to say Good Bye to Uncle Kazu for this visit, we found they had moved him to the emergency room and were doing a bunch of tests. Apparently this morning he tried to get up and go to the bathroom by himself and slid off the bed. He was unable to hold his weight up. It turns out he had a high potassium level, slightly low sodium level, and low heart rate. The doctor administered calcium, insulin with 50% dextrose, and something else I didn't catch the name of. By the time we had to leave Uncle Kazu was looking a lot better but the doctor still had concerns with his heart rate. If it doesn't improve he will be sent for a cardiac assessment to see if a pacemaker is necessary.

We headed off for Kona, filled up the rental car, and met Susan at the rental place. She took us back to the condo they are staying at to pick up the rest of the family. Then we headed to Mitchell's 1st birthday luau! Here's the birthday boy with his mom and dad.
Mitchell with Marc and Erica

Although Mom had complained yesterday, she enjoyed herself a lot today. She got to talk with Junko, whom she had not seen in years. She also spent time with Doris whom she sees about once a year around Obon.
Mom, Junko, and Doris

Back in April when Erica heard that I was also seeing Susan, Jennifer, Ashton, and Isaiah, she invited them to come to Mitchell's birthday luau as well. Mom had a great time with them. Here they are at the luau.
L to R: Mom, Junko, Doris, Jennifer, Ashton, Susan, and Isaiah

When we got back Curt had some disturbing news; Dad could not remember that Mom and I went to the Big Island and was wondering why Mom was not at home. He also did not seem to be eating right. I will have to keep an eye on this to see if he is getting worse.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mom Not Traveling Anymore?

We were on an 8 am flight to Kona and through most of the 45 minute flight I mainly heard about how Mom did not want to travel anymore. Except to Las Vegas. She kept saying she did not want to go to any more birthday parties except for people older than her. And funerals. She was quite adamant she was too old to travel any more.

We met Susan and Jen and their kids Ashton and Isaiah at the Alamo car rental stand. They followed us to Leilani Bakery in Waimea, where Mom kept telling Leilani this was her last trip to the Big Island; Leilani wondered why Mom tells her that every year but then shows up the next year. We had lunch at Charley's Thai Cuisine with Susan, Jen, Ashton, and Isaiah. (Don't judge it by the name, the food was quite good.) Mom enjoyed herself very much and stopped talking about not wanting to travel any more. I think getting her out around interesting people lifts her spirits.

They followed us on the Kohala Mountain Road to the house and we gave them a quick tour of the work in progress. Chris Johnson, the contractor that I am working with, has just started on fixing the floor and doors. He has started painting the walls, replacing doors, and laying more plywood on the floors.
Living room in progress

We also checked out the many fruit trees and flowers. The mountain apple tree was covered with fruit; some of it was ripe. They took some back with them for breakfast tomorrow. There should be a lot ripe when we return in July.
Susan with mountain apples

Unfortunately Jen started to react to the mountain apple she tried, so they ran off to get some benadryl at Takata Store, while Mom and I went to visit with Uncle Kazu. We also brought some mountain apple and lemons for Uncle Kazu. Since Uncle Kazu did not want to go for ice cream today, and he and Mom were having a good time just talking, I met up with Susan, Jen and the kids at King's View Cafe for some Roselani ice cream. We went our separate ways after ice cream. They went to find the Kamehameha rock; Isaiah wanted to see if he could lift it. I went back to check on Mom and Uncle Kazu. Mom was getting tired so we left to check in at Kohala Village Inn, where we are staying since the house is not habitable right now. The Kohala Village HUB is a pretty cool concept and has a great mission.

We ended the evening by visiting cousin Lem and were surprised to find cousin Fran was there visiting with him, until we realized it's the Father's Day weekend! We're planning to get together with Fran on O'ahu to visit with her mother Doreen. Mom ended the day not complaining about traveling. She is soundly sleeping as I write this. Getting her out and about seems to be good for her spirits.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Suitcase Contents

I keep having to remind myself that Mom can't be reasoned with at this stage of her dementia. This morning she was complaining about Dad not moving his money to a bank that had a higher interest rate. Apparently one of the banks she uses has a rate of 0.25% and his is 0.02%. (Curiously 1 of the 2 other banks she uses is also 0.02%, but she said it was OK for her to leave it there because she did not want to get it mixed up with her other accounts. FYI She has each of her accounts in a different institution so she does not get confused as to which is which. She did this well before the dementia.) Later this evening Dad was talking about closing that account and she was questioning why he would do that!

Shiro is missing his brother. He walks around the house plaintively calling for Momo. I went looking for him again today but did not find him. Even in WA he was the one that would get out the most, but since the weather was colder he would be back by late evening; he did not seem to like being cold.

For those of you who wanted to sneak a ride in my suitcase; Xander has beat you all to it! (To him its just another box!)

We were packing up for the trip to the Big Island tomorrow for Mitchell's 1st birthday luau and left the suitcase unattended while eating dinner. Mom is conflicted over going to Mitchell's birthday. When Erica 1st invited Mom (in April when we had dinner with Mitchell & Erica) she was sad because no one would be around to take her. When I said I would, she was genuinely happy. Now that it is closer to becoming reality, she said she's too tired to be flying all over the place! I bet she will have a good time even though she is complaining about it now! I think she has come in to my room about 7 times tonight to ask if she has packed her toothbrush and clothes for the day of the luau.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The First Chore ... of the Rest of My Life

One of the first things I discovered after I arrived last night is that Momo is missing. Again. Neither Mom nor Dad can remember when they saw him last, but I suspect it was Wednesday morning since Mom gave him his thyroid medication then. I called him several times last night and also this morning but got no response. The last time this happened he was gone for about a week.

I also noticed that Shiro was missing his collar. They couldn't remember when that had happened either. But it must have been a while because he has put on a bunch of weight, which is likely due to his having unfettered access to the multi-cat feeder.

And the Cat Genie wasn't working. It was beeping and the red light was flashing. I tried the easy fix of turning the power off then back on again; no luck. I checked the water, it was sort of on, so I opened it wider; still no luck. I made it a priority to get it working this morning. I cleaned the water sensor off and reinserted it; SUCCESS! It was running! Then I looked in the hopper and found this:

GROSS! I figured some of the carpet pieces plugged it up. So while the Cat Genie worked at scooping through the litter, I took a trowel and removed most of the material in the upper portions of the hopper ... and found Shiro's missing collar! It was the culprit!
Shiro's collar minus infrared tag

I washed it up, including a soak in the sani-solution, and began testing the tags. The infrared tag for the WonderBowl no longer works, the RFID tag for the Wireless Whiskers multi-cat feeder still works well. It was a good thing I decided to order extra tags for both!

I also started on the mail piled on the breakfast counter. Sorting and labeling was the easy part, getting Mom to actually do things was nearly impossible. When I handed her a pile to do something, she would reread the mail I had just read! I eventually got her to begin sorting through her papers. I will continue along this line for another couple of days. Wish me luck!

Aloha from Hawai'i!

I am now in Hawai'i. Arrived last night, 9:40 pm Hawai'i time, 12:40 am Seattle time. Got the first good night of sleep in a couple of weeks. But have to take a nap now. More later. In the meanwhile, enjoy looking at this old suitcase that my paternal grandfather brought with him when he emigrated from Okinawa. I think this will be its last trip as an actual suitcase, the machinery ripped a lot of the leather edges; I am afraid another trip will destroy it.

Moving Day!

This was supposed to post on Tuesday, but I was apparently so tired I clicked the wrong button So here it is.

Well, actually Stuff Moving Day! The movers came today (Tuesday) to help move my stuff, my body will physically be moving tomorrow (Wednesday).

It was very hectic today! I am glad that Margaret and Bo were able to be here to help us get things done. When I was leading the movers (Osnid, aka Osie, and his wife Jessie) to the storage unit the car in front of me decided to come to a full stop while it was turning in to a parking lot as we were going downhill on Pacific Avenue. As I hit the brakes, I kept thinking, "Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!" because I did not need any more delays in the move. Fortunately, the Subaru has good brakes and it was dry and sunny!

To be clear not all my stuff is moving. A lot of the resources I used for work do not apply, the same as a lot of the resources I used for my social justice activism does not apply. Ditto for the clothes. In fact, I even gave away a can of Camp Dry since I really won't be needing that either! (For non-hikers, Camp Dry is what you spray on your boots to make them waterproof. My feet are waterproof so I don't need to spray them.)

I have a lot more stuff than I thought I had. I should have started the brutal purging and packing that we have been doing for the last week as soon as I decided to move back to help out Mom and Dad. As it is there will be a lot more that I am leaving behind than I had originally intended. This is good practice for me to let go of material things! My mantra has been, "No attachments." With some things I do better than with other things.

Osie and Jessie were great to work with! They did not get upset about any of our requests or the fact that we were packing ahead of them and getting in their way. Which slowed down the process, they left the house at 9 pm. Here's what the kitchen looked like when we were done.

The computer gear in the kitchen is because Kai and I were getting ready to put things in to storage for him while he couch surfs. (If you are in need of someone to house-sit/pet-sit for you, please give him a call.) Most of the boxes in the photo are empty. The blue bin in the left front is stuff to be donated.

Besides stuff moving, we also were donating the Volvo so that KSER can get some benefit from it. When Dan showed up, we did not have the right paperwork, so I had to run to Licensing at the county building. I texted Stephanie that I would be there since they had been talking about coming to the house around afternoon break time to say Good Bye since the Good Bye party was interrupted. I got to see Stephanie, Mary, Chris, Terri, Misty, Greg, and Paul! Hopefully, we can also get together when I am visiting in July.

Many thanks to Margaret and Bo for helping with packing, to Osie and Jessie for getting everything in the truck and doing it so professionally and with a smile on your faces, to Mary Ellen for bring food and drink when it was much needed, and to Kai for not getting too bent out of shape!

Now on to new adventures!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Weekend Push to Get Things Done

On Thursday we went to Seattle for dinner with our friends Barb, Bick, and Ron. Since we were down that way, I decided to take more plants to Aunty Florence. So I packed the car full of plants. How full was it? Well, I had to look through the jungle to see what cars were behind me!

We made a big dent in getting things packed on Friday thanks to Charlie, Margaret and Anne! Charlie and Margaret concentrated on the kitchen. Here's the result:

And here's the other end of the packing job.

On Saturday Bo, Margaret, Ron, Bick, Michael, Amelia, Emanuel, David, and Patrice came to help with packing items to go, taking still usable items to Value Village, and the rest to the transfer station (aka "the dump"). And also adopting some still usable items. They did a great job but I will still need more work done to get things taken care of. Here's the garden shed all cleaned out.

Sunday was a day of rest for the helpers but Kai and I had a bunch of things still left to do. We planned on doing it after we returned from the final going away party that my friend Clarissa, who is also my former supervisor, was having at her house. As it turns out, I missed the party! Our friend Don, whom I had left a message with earlier, called back just as we arrived at the front door so I stayed outside to talk to him. My friend Bobbye was coming up to the Clarissa's home and fell just as she was going up the first step next to me. I tried to catch her but because my hands were full I was only able to slow her fall. It was a good thing Don called then, otherwise I would not have been standing outside when Bobbye fell.

As she lay on the driveway Bobbye told me she thought she broke her hip, she also had a nasty cut on her elbow, and her wrist was beginning to swell up. She lay there for about 5 minutes before she felt like she was able to get up. She was able to sit up with help but could not get her feet under her to stand. I went in and got Kai and we helped her to stand, but she was unable to put any weight on either leg. Fortunately Irene and Gary arrived and were able to run in to get a chair. John brought a rolling chair out for her.

We wanted to call 911 but Bobbye was was adamant that she was OK and just needed to go to the walk-in clinic. But John said when he walked in with a broken wrist they sent him to the emergency room and that was where she needed to go. So we ended putting her in my car and going to Northwest Hospital. Here's the last shot I was able to get from my phone before it decided to quit!

We were there for over 7 hours! Got out of there about 10 pm. I had called Bobbye's daughter-in-law Peggy, who is a nurse, and started texting her info as the ER staff gave it to us. She made a bunch of calls to Ron (who was in San Diego) and Mike (who was out on the coast) and started clearing her schedule so she could stay with Bobbye for a few days. She also had to run up to Bobbye's house since she was unable to get a hold of the neighbors to ask them to feed the cat, so it was about 8:30 when Peggy arrived (since she was there she also got some personal items for Bobbye).

We got Peggy up to speed on what we had been told so far. Then the neurologist arrived and gave her the rundown on Bobbye's condition: cerebral hemorrhage in left hemisphere caused a stroke and now putting pressure on brain, fractured right wrist, minor fracture of pelvis (so minor there is nothing they do for it). The next 48 to 72 hours will determine the extent of the damage.

We also talked about how fortunate it was that the stroke did not occur as Bobbye was on the freeway or even at her home, where she lives alone and no one would find her until she missed an appointment or something. It was perfect timing for my going away party!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Lot Has Happened Since I Last Posted

I last posted something almost 2 weeks ago. That's because I have been very busy purging and packing, cleaning, negotiating with movers, making flight plans, working with the buyers on the inspection, changing addresses and stopping service, and saying Good Bye to friends. As well as getting Kai set up to live without a place to stay.

On the 26th I rented a 5' x 10' storage locker at Everett Downtown Storage for him so that he has a place to leave the things he is keeping while he couch surfs. Sunny and Shirley were very helpful with getting us set up with a unit. Kai will be couch surfing until he gets a job so he knows where to look for housing. We got a wardrobe box for him to hang his good clothes and Hawaiian shirts in. He will have his videos, games, books, futon, and computer there also while he figures things out. Until he has a job I will be paying the storage fee for him.

On the 27th I had brunch with my friend Terry who retired about 9 years ago. He meets up with his old work crew, one of whom (Mike) is still working; the others (Rick, Lupe, Bob, & Shirley) are in various stages of retirement. They meet every Friday morning at the "lunch" break for people who start work really early; they've been doing this since they were actively working and have continued the tradition.

After a lot of research I decided to have a regular moving company transport my stuff. The alternative was systems like PODS, where a container 8' x 8' x 12' is brought to your house, you pack it yourself at your own pace, then they take it to the new place and you unpack it yourself sort of at your own pace (you can also rent it as storage). It was only going to be about $1500 for the 3 things I really wanted to take with me (and which would take up about 70 cf). Those 3 things had a replacement value equal to the cost of the POD so anything else I could get into the container would be a bonus!

The only problem is that I want everything to go directly to Kohala, where they do not bring it to your door as they would in Honolulu. For residences in Kohala you have to rent a truck and move your things out of the POD within 2 days of it arriving in the harbor at Kawaihae, which wasn't going to work for me. So on the 27th I spent more time verifying exactly what was included in the estimate for the move by a real moving company. And also the logistics of paying for it. Kim at Hawaiian Shippers was very helpful and flexible. I feel like this is the most cost-effective way to move the things I want to take with me. All total they estimate I will have 716 cf of stuff (which would be a cube 8' wide x 8' high x a little over 11' long). I thought I took a photo of what approximately 70 cf looks like, but apparently not. You will have to use your imagination as you look at this photo of what approximately 35 cf looks like. If you extend the boxes to the doorway to the left at the same height as the green boxes on the right, you will have about 70 cf. (The row is about 8' wide x about 6' high x about 1.5' deep and does not include non-box items in the foreground at the right.)
Approximately 35 cf of boxes

On Sunday 05/29 we started out with dim sum lunch at The Noble Court Restaurant in Bellevue with Aunty Florence, Karen & Dave & the girls, and Tomiko. (Tomiko found it when she was searching for a place to do an installation for her show, "Uncovering the West Tributary". Kai provided tech support during the night of the show.) Tomiko and I spent a lot of time talking about logistics for the Obon visit and Uncle Orv's hatsubon service, as well as the interment at Punchbowl. Sorry, no dim sum photos. (Darn! I should have at least taken a picture of the the chicken feet that Kai ordered!)

Later in the evening Tomiko, Karen, and I coordinated our flights to Kona then to Honolulu and finally to Seattle. Here's what it looks like in general: On July 5th, the Seattle folks (Aunty Florence, Karen & the girls, Tomiko, and Kai) will arrive in Kona around 8:15pm. The Honolulu folks (Mom and I) will arrive about 5 minutes later. We will get two 5-passenger cars and split people up between them and head to Kohala. The hatsubon service and Obon is on July 9th. We will all leave Kohala on the 11th, with Aunty Florence and crew leaving earlier in the morning to have time to verify the arrangements for the interment at Punchbowl, which will take place on the 12th. Mom, Kai, and I will stay a little later to close up the house; Curt will also be closer to getting off work so that he can pick us up. Karen has to leave shortly after the interment, so Aunty Florence will watch Justine and Ursula. The rest of the Seattle crew will leave on July 21st, with Tomiko heading directly back to San Francisco. Mom and I will be on the same flight since I have 2 weddings to attend (one on the 24th and the other on the 29th). We will stay until August 2nd, when we fly to Kona to meet my stuff that is being shipped from Washington. Whew! While in Washington in July I hope to see old friends again.

On Memorial Day my friend Ty and her husband Chris hosted a Coconut Wireless going away party for me. It was a potluck barbecue and included some non-KSER folks as well. Sandy's Jamaican Jerk Chicken was a hit, as well as Molly's Best Strawberry Sheet Cake. Did not think to take any photos of the wonderful friends and their potluck specialties. Thanks to everyone who was there!

On June 1st the couple buying my house had someone inspect the house and garage. He found a couple things wrong that I was not aware of and explained another that I knew about but was told was from a different cause. Overall he said the house was in good condition and I had made a lot of important and helpful upgrades. (Like a new metal roof, new double-glazed vinyl clad wood windows, new 12/2 wiring, new plumbing, new furnace, new tankless water heater. "New" being relative, as in "newer than 1926".) The couple buying my house intend to do some remodeling then resell it, aka "flipping". They will be removing the old carpet and linoleum; if there is good wood floor under it they will refinish the floors. They will be upgrading the bathroom, probably get rid of the paneling, and probably change the kitchen countertops but retain the knotty pine cabinets.

On the 3rd my friends Laurie and Bernie's son Mikkel graduated from high school! Yay!
Laurie, Mikkel, & Bernie

The next day I started out in Anacortes, visiting my friend Chris. While we were walking through the farmers market there was a rainbow cloud overhead. I bought some fresh kimchi made with arugula. At the end of the market, they buy up the unsold vegetables and start more of kimchi!

 Later we went to a graduation dinner for Mikkel. On the way back we saw a dark cloud to the east and wondered what it was.
On Evergreen Way, looking towards the north (photo by Kai)

Kai checked the Everett Herald's website and they said a fire had broken out "at waterfront businesses on Marine View Drive," which made us concerned that it was at the location of the Sunday farmers market. So we decided to stay on Evergreen and drive parallel to the waterfront on the bluff above to see if we could figure out if it was at the farmers market location. It turns out it was not on West Marine View Drive where the farmers market is located; rather it was on East Marine View Drive where the old Weyerhaeuser mill. Our path to avoid the commotion ended up taking us right in to it! So we went on to Smith Island and used the u-turn route to come back and get a better view. People were doing crazy things, stopping on the bridge and actually getting out of their cars in a 40 mph zone!
On SR 529, looking southwesterly (Photo by Kai)

On the 7th I made some calls and turned in paperwork for change of addresses, closing out accounts, and stopping service. Later I had dinner with John, another volunteer from KSER; he also goes to the same naturopath that I go to. We went to Sol Food Bar & Grill for Taco Tuesday. Here are before and after pictures of dinner.
Before; clockwise starting from candle at left: chips & salsa, chips & salsa (we had 2 bowls), Spanish rice (just barely visible), tacos #2, 3, & 4 (John couldn't remember what they were called), taco with chorizo picadillo, taco with grilled veggies (looked more like an enchilada to me)

After: remains of chips & salsa, Spanish rice, and tacos #2, 3, & 4

Today (8th) I spent most of the day completing the rest of the calls. Since tomorrow is garbage day I also emptied out most of the refrigerator; the rest will go on Saturday.

Throughout the last couple of weeks Dad has improved greatly. The sleepiness, lethargy, and confusion that Curt and I noticed since earlier this year has essentially disappeared; he even sometimes answers the phone at 7:30 in the morning. The oral surgeon was right, he had an undiagnosed infection that the antibiotics took care of and he is back to normal again! Curt is making arrangements to take them to Las Vegas the week after I get there.