Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Adios, Seattle!

I forgot to mention that I saw Amelia & Emmanuel last night; they were at the house when I got back. They moved out a month or so ago so it was a treat to be able to see them. Things sound like they are going well for them.

Michael cooked breakfast this morning, eggs with asparagus and bacon. The 3 of us had a leisurely breakfast before splitting up and going our separate ways. Michael had a phone appointment, Mary Ellen had to do the final step in moving Interfaith our of its old space and in to a new space, and I had to finish packing.

There were 2 final things I wanted to do, if I could find the time: drop off information for Dr. Sodhi at the Animal Hospital of Lynnwood about the cats and stop in to see the Balas. Dr. Sodhi was easy since he was just a short way down the road from Michael and Mary Ellen. But he wasn't in so I gave the information and photo of the cat run to Lisa at the front desk. She has been the receptionist there ever since we started; she remembered all the cats and thought the cat run was great.
The May 18th photo that I gave Dr. Sodhi.

I then made a run up to Boondocker's; I could stay until 11:15 am before I had to head for the airport. I got to Boondocker's at 10:50 only to find that the Balas took today off because of the Memorial Day holiday! So I ordered pakoras to go so I would have something good to eat on the flight. It was 11:07 when I left. I made it to the Alamo car rental return at 12:25, took a few minutes to get that squared away; then headed for the shuttle bus. I walked to the Delta check-in counter, went through the TSA pre-check, rode the train to the S gates, and walked around looking for gate S-3; I arrived there about 12:47 for my 3:15 flight. Or about 2 & 1/2 hours before my flight, quite a bit early for me, but late for Curtis, who likes to be at the gate at least 3 hours before the departure time. Needless to say the pakoras did not make it on to the plane, they were eaten about 30 minutes after I sat down at the gate.
Pakoras from Boondocker's Restaurant.

I got to see a lot of people on this trip to Seattle, mostly planned, but a couple of surprise encounters. It started with Linda B. in the airport (unplanned), then Aunty Florence, Michael, Louie the Dog, Kyle (unplanned), Jody, Dr. Shaw, Gulshan, Gabriele, Kai, Anne, Catie, Ricky the Dog, Bo, Barbara, Bick, Ron, Therese, Mary Ellen, David, Linda C., Ron, Bobbye, Carole, Micki, Alan, Carriann, Roxanne, Ty, Chris, Barb, Scott, Wakana, Aunty Daisy, Janice, Eleta, Trish, Brienne, Mim, Jim, Alison, Cathy, Karen, John, Brenda (unplanned), Darla, Clarissa, Terri, Beth, Mary, Susan, Jennifer, Sadie the Dog, Ashton, Isaiah, Charlie (by phone), Amelia (unplanned), and Emmanuel (unplanned). I also got to Gregg's memorial, did some business at SnoCOPE, and got my omiyage so it was a very productive trip!

Right now I'm waiting for my flight to Kona to board. I will arrive in Kona about 6:15 pm, by the time I get the rental car, get some groceries, and hit the road, it will probably be very late when I arrive at the house. The trip to the Big Island is primarily to take Uncle Kazu out to lunch for his birthday. But I also want to check in with the contractor and the nursery guys working on making the fruit trees more manageable.

Now that I have a hot spot, posts will be more regular while I am on the Big Island. I won't need to go and sit on the deck at the Kohala Coffee Mill! Or try to see if the library system has been fixed and is running again! At $20 a month I think its a good deal.

Signing off now, pre-boarding begins in about 30 minutes and I want to make a trip to the restroom before they get started.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Congratulations, Ashton!

Ashton graduates from high school on June 16th, her celebration & luau is the following day. I can't be there for her graduation, so this evening I went to spend some time with the family and give Ashton the lei I brought from Hawai'i for her. I brought enough lei so on graduation night, each of her immediate family members can give her a lei. They'll be having a luau to celebrate!

Dinner was great! It was marinated chicken with quinoa & rice pilaf and steamed cauliflower. The marinade had fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, coconut vinegar, & some other things.

Here's Susan combing out Isaiah's hair. He's gotten so tall; he's at least a head taller than I am and that's not counting the hair!
I think Isaiah is texting with his girlfriend while Mom combs out his hair.

I started the day by meeting John at The Loft. We talked a lot about our experiences caring for our aging parents. John would fly down to California every few months to help care for his father in order for his brother to have a break. I forgot to take a photo of John, he said he would probably end up on the cutting room floor anyway!

I met some of my former coworkers at The Sisters for lunch. We had a lot of catching up to do; there is so much that has happened since I left!
L to R: Darla, Clarissa, Terri, Mary, & Beth.

Happy Birthday to George!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Good Bye, Gregg! Welcome, Wakana!

The reason for this trip was to attend my friend Gregg's memorial which was held on Saturday. We were DJs for Da Coconut Wireless show on the community radio station KSER, along with several other people. Gregg, aka Pineapple Sam, did the 1st week, I did the 5th week.In between we had Bruddah Ace, Molly Mahalo, and Sistah T. After Gregg's health issues no longer allowed him to play the Hawaiian music he loved Bruddah Grant joined the 'ohana. Braddah Ace and Sistah T were able to make it to the memorial so I got to see them also. The memorial was followed by a reception featuring luau food.

The reception broke up earlier than I had expected so I texted Barb. We had missed her on Friday, she had gone outside to garden and did not check her phone until she came back in for dinner. This time, when she didn't respond again, we decided to stop by and see if she was out gardening again since we were close by. We looked up the driveway and saw that the garage door was open so we knew she was home. We had a great visit with her. And also helped find her cat Zippy, who had sneaked out of the house and was hiding on the hillside; the birds tipped us off as to where he was hiding.

On the way back to drop Kai off we stopped to visit with Bo & Barbara, who also gave me one of their old suitcases that they were no longer using. We had great conversation, tea & cookies. The night ended too soon.

On Sunday I went to Seattle for brunch with Aunty Daisy, Scott, & his new wife Wakana. Kai was too tired, so he didn't join us and missed out on freshly ground coffee.
The coffee brewing station.

Wakana made breakfast for us: fresh fruits, pancakes, & 2 types of sausage. I had met Wakana about 10 or 15 years earlier when she and Scott were first dating. She also remembers having a lively conversation with Kai about anime. After breakfast, we spent the rest of the morning checking out the new landscaping that Scott is doing as well as the community garden across the street from their house.
L to R: Wakana, Scott, & Aunty Daisy.

While I was there, Scott showed me the commemorative letter that Aunty Daisy had received when she first flew from Hawaii to Chicago. I had heard stories about it, but had a way different picture in my mind about what it looked like. Scott had it framed so it could be safely displayed. It commemorates the 7546th crossing on September 17, 1948; there were 36 passengers, the captain, and 2 stewardesses.

From there I went to Janice's condo. Apparently there was a small fire in the hallway, where vandals destroyed a security camera. There was still a faint smoky odor. I gave Janice a ride to Eleta & Trish's place for Kwanzaa. (Eleta began doing Kwanzaa monthly, concentrating on 1 principle each month, in order to more easily remember the principles.) We were also joined by Brienne and Shera.

After we left Kwanzaa, Janice and I went to an Iftar in Sammamish. Sunday was the 2nd day of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims. During Ramadan, observant Muslims in good health fast from dawn to dusk, which was about 3:30 am to 9 pm. The Muslim fast also includes a ban on water. Because she just got out of the hospital Janice is not required to fast. Janice was invited to this Iftar by one of the Egyptian Muslims that she knew. Too bad Kai wasn't able to make it; many of them worked for IT companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. When asked where to go in Seattle for authentic Egyptian food, they recommended the King Tut Mediterranean Restaurant in Lynnwood!
It was all good, I just don't know what the names are for any of it.

This morning I started out with breakfast with Mim & Jim at the new Buzz Inn Steakhouse on Broadway; I accidentally went to the old one which is now Harvey's Restaurant. I met Mim last year just before I left. She was driving a logging truck then and getting out of an abusive marriage. Now she's driving a dump truck, more well off financially, and in a good relationship. Way to go, Mim! Hoping to see them in Hawai'i soon.
L to R: Mim & Jim.

Here's my breakfast: country eggs benedict.

I had lunch with Alison at Areeya Thai & Noodle. Alison had his usual: won ton soup. I was still kind of full from breakfast so I had just a small green papaya salad.We had much lively conversation about a variety of topics.
Alison with his wonton soup.

I was extremely tired when I left. I was on my way to Ty & Chris' house for a barbecue but decided I needed to take a short nap so I could make it through the evening. I woke up a little over 2 hours later, having completely missed the barbecue!

And I was scheduled to visit the Port Gardner Bay Watercolor Society. They meet at the Cascadian Place Retirement Residence every Monday. But lately things have slowed down; only Cathy & Karen showed up tonight. But we still had a great time.
L to R: Cathy, me, & Karen with Pineapple Shortbread Cookies. (Photo by Cathy.

Happy Belated Birthday to Johnny & Anita!

Friday, May 26, 2017

2 Days, 2 Equipment Malfunctions

So I have been here for 2 days. On Day 1 I arrived to find one end of my suitcase wrapped up in tape. Somehow the back of the suitcase had been ripped open. I could anticipate the zipper coming unzippered but I can't figure out how the back would be ripped open. Nothing fell out, so that was good. But now I need to get another suitcase.

On Day 2, a few minutes after I dropped Kai off at about 10:45 pm, the "Check Tire Pressure" message began scrolling across the equipment panel. Then I started hearing a strange and not-too-comforting sound. Since I was on 236th, which is a narrow 2-lane road, I decided to drive to the end near I-5 where River Rock Tobacco & Fuel is located; this is one of the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians' businesses. It's open 24-hours and has food, water, and, most importantly, a bathroom. The car is rented from Alamo, they're paying for someone to come out & change the tire for me. It's one of those alternative tires which you can only run under 50 mph and only for about 80 miles. I have to take the car in tomorrow and trade it in for another. But the closest place opens at 8, so that's going to alter our plans for tomorrow. When I called to let Kai know that plans had changed, he said he had heard a sound as I left, like gravel getting kicked up by the tires; I heard the same sound but the warning light wasn't on at that time so that's probably not when it happened. (In the menawhile, I am working on the blog.)
Yup, its flat.

I didn't post on Thursday evening because I was very tired, so I'm catching up tonight. I got some sleep on the plane but not much. I didn't want to miss seeing the dawn & the sunrise from the plane; I got to see both!
Dawn, I think that's Venus in the upper left.

I also got a good view of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood.
L to R peeking through the clouds: Mt. Adams, Mt St. Helens, & Mt. Hood.

Here's a close-up of Mt. St. Helens. You can see where the north side blew out.

I dropped in to see Aunty Florence since she lives close to the airport. She wasn't able to make it to Mom's memorial so I dropped off a CD of the PowerPoint and a program. She made breakfast for us; it was ono! I left about 9 am, thinking the traffic would have cleared by then. Not!
Eggs on rice with shoyu, fruit with yogurt, and tea.
Traffic jam on Interstate 405 at 9 a.m.

For lunch I ordered a pizza from A Pizza House so that I could visit Gulshan. They're doing great; they have a new sign and new counters and a new item on the menu: butter chicken pizza! I took the pizza over to Gabriele's house. Unfortunately, I must have been hungry because I didn't even think to take a photo of it. Or Gulshan or Gabriele!

For dinner, Kai & I met Bo & Barbara, Bick & Ron, and Therese at Moontree Asian Tapas Fusion, which is on the Everett waterfront.

The have a whole bunch of delicious looking offerings. We ended up sharing each dish we ordered, which included beet salad, octopus salad, albacore ceviche, agedashi tofu, baked cod, grilled mackerel, coconut red curry sauce & noodles with tofu, spicy basil yakisoba with chicken, tempura salmon, and tempura vegetables. We had matcha macs for dessert. (Somehow I missed taking a photo of the black cod.)
L to R: Bick, Ron with beet salad.
Octopus salad.
Albacore ceviche.
Agedashi tofu.
Salmon tempura.
Vegetable tempura.
Coconut red curry sauce & noodles with tofu.
Grilled mackerel.
Spicy basil yakisoba with chicken.
Matcha Macs.

We closed the place down! After dropping Kai off, it was quite late by the time I got back to Mary Ellen & Michael's house. I spent a short time catching up on the news with Mary Ellen, then headed off to bed.

On Friday I had breakfast with David at Patty's Eggnest.

David had the Florentine Hash, I had the Chocolate Chip Pancake with a side of peanut butter. David does landscaping and yard maintenance. I hired him about 1&1/2 years before I moved to help me get the yard cleaned up and ready to sell. He did a great job! He also helped me get things packed up when I moved. I gave him all the garden tools that I didn't take with me.
David with Florentine Hash.
Chocolate Chip Pancake with side of peanut butter.

I've known David for a number of years; I met him through the Snohomish County Mycological Society, aka Mushroom Club. He knew I did wetland mitigation designs; he needed a design for the property he bought in Mukilteo where the previous owner cleared into the wetland and all the way down to the pond. I hooked him up with my friend Scott, who I had worked with but had since left the County and started his own consulting business. David was very excited about Scott's design and really got in to the planting of all the different species Scott listed. It's been 5 years now & David has fulfilled all the city's mitigation requirements and the wetland looks great! It still needs a little maintenance work, like removing some purple loosestrife and reed canarygrass, but overall it's doing very well.
From David's deck, looking down towards the pond. The weeping willow in the background was already on site.

After breakfast we took a walk around the wetland. Along the way we saw a bunch of ducklings in the outflow for the detention pond on the property next to David's place.

I met my friend Linda at Chanterelle in Edmonds for lunch. She had the Seafood Passion Salad and I had the Salmon Sandwich; it's a real piece of salmon, not some disc-shaped piece of pink slime. I met Linda a few years ago when I served on a jury & she was a public defender. She is now with the City of Edmonds, she said they are having problems with potential jurors showing up; we talked about ways to encourage people to show up. If you have any suggestions leave them in the comments and I will pass them along to her.
Linda with her favorite, Seafood Passion Salad.
Salmon sandwich.

On the way back to the car I stopped in at Bountiful Home & Nursery to find out more about the electric blue plant growing along the sidewalk and to admire the rest of the landscaping. The plant is called cerinthe.

Cerinthe major, blue shrimp plant.

Later in the afternoon we stopped in to see Bobbye. She had a stroke a few days before I left Washington last year. We had seen her when I visited last July, about 5 weeks after her stroke and shortly after she had returned home. During the day her caregiver Karen helps out, in the evening and weekends her son Ron cares for her; during the week Ron's wife Peggy, who is a nurse, keeps the money coming in. Bobbye's stroke affected her speech center and also paralyzed the motor functions on her right side. During this visit it was much easier to understand her, though she still had difficulty after a couple minutes of talking. It was great to see how much progress she had made in the 10 months since we had seen her. Ron asked us to call & talk to Bobbye on the phone since she seemed to do better than in person; he said she could manage 2 to 5 minutes of fairly good conversation over the phone.
Kai, Bobbye, & me. (Photo by Karen)

We headed further south on Camano to visit Carole. Last year she had a house fire; we helped her salvage as much as possible and move in to temporary place while her landlord removed the fire damaged portions and rebuilt them. The house looked amazing! And there were special cat furniture that Carole had installed for her inside cat Mocha and her the outside cat Tommy that adopted her.
The cat tower includes a portion over the window to the left.

Mocha is a very friendly and lovable cat. She really took to Kai.

Carole made prime rib with sweet potatoes and onions, spinach salad, and kiwis and yogurt for dinner. For dessert she shared some chocolate she had made with ground cacao nibs, coconut oil, and stevia.

L: salad; R: prime rib with sweet potatoes & onions and raw vegetables.

While we were at Carole's, her husband Norm called. Norm works in Oak Ridge TN; he & Kai spent about and hour talking about stuff, they always do. Curtis also texted me to let me know that Dad had decided not to go to Las Vegas because he "wasn't feeling well." We both think it is because he is feeling unsure about the dementia and that he would be fine once he got there, but didn't want to force him to go. On the bright side, Curtis said he was getting very good at giving Xander his pills!

Happy Birthday to Janice & Mari! Happy Belated Birthday to Marvin, Dwight, & Stan!