2/16/15 Chronicles

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  Monday 2/2/15

I stayed up way too late last night, and when David called me around 11am to have lunch, I just said, "Naw" and went back to sleep. Tsk tsk. I woke up after 1pm. Then I was sick for a while with the gluten poisoning, probably from that pizza place last week that I'd discovered had gluten, even though they said their pepperoni was safe. I hope that's the last time for a while that I get sick because I'm being very careful.

I was just really tired and blah all day. I did work on my site but little else, and it took me a long time to get going. I had a lot of places I wanted to go today and didn't.

I watched this movie "Christian Mingle" because I'm interviewing the director/writer on Wednesday. I wrote a review of it. It's not a bad movie, but it's very interesting in that it talks about love and honesty, but it's not preachy or about religion. The leading lady in the movie was raised Christian, got baptized and went to Sunday school, but otherwise she's not a "believer". I guess she's kind of an agnostic, but they don't really tell in the movie. Now, I'm not a believer at all, so to me, she's a believer because she talks to god sometimes and says she believes in him. She's open to the idea, at least, even though she has her doubts and hasn't had any epiphany about god. I guess that the movie is saying that unless you're "born again" then you're not a Christian. As someone who was raised Catholic, I take issue with that. If I were still Catholic, I would be kind of annoyed about it. I certainly believed when I was younger, even though I didn't have any "born again" moments in the Catholic church. I think there are lots of people out there that believe, even though they don't go to church and don't have any special epiphanies, who are struggling. I guess they're not real Christians according to this movie. I don't know. There are all sorts of people in this world, and all different types of belief.

One thing that really struck me about this movie is that it also seemed to be saying that she was always searching for something in her life and feeling lost. Now, I'm not a believer, and I don't feel that way. There are plenty of us that are perfectly happy, content, honest, and not searching, not missing anything, and yet we're not believers. I'm one of the most honest people I know. I think most people who know me think I'm kind, honest, and generous (I hope!). I've never really questioned life or being, or thought "is this all there is to life?" or "why am I here?" or "Where do we go when we die?" I really don't care about those answers. I'm concerned with the here and now. I'm not the type to get all upset or depressed about it. I'm generally a content and happy person. I always have been, for the most part. I think that's just part of my personality. But also, my life has been great, for the most part. Yep, I'm an optimist. Those people who are always worried, or depressed, or wondering about these big questions, need to just chill and stop worrying and wondering.

I didn't get to the gym or do any exercise today. Tomorrow I will for sure! I need to get up early again, too.

For dinner, we went to Epic. I had their usual strawberry arugula with goat cheese and candied walnuts. Yum! I had their scallops, too, but I only had one and gave the other to David. I wasn't that hungry...

Last week, after the apartment was cleaned, I couldn't get our two nightlights to work, in either bathroom, and even replaced the lights on them. I think the cleaning service plugged their vacuum in there, maybe, and it blew something. We looked at the fuse box, though, and only one was off, and when he put it back on, it didn't solve the problem. So I don't know what we'll do now...

I did laundry and then went to bed way too late again!

  Tuesday 2/3/15

I lost a few pounds, yay!! It's funny because when I first started dieting and exercising a few weeks ago, I gained 4 lbs. Now I've lost that and a few more pounds. I've been testing my blood sugar more regulalry, and that's not been great, so they may have to change my medication.

I made sure to get up around 11 so I can go to bed earlier tonight! We went to Subway for lunch.

I wanted to walk over to this gluten free bakery. It started raining really hard and we got drenched! Then the bakery was closed. LOL! Just my luck.

Later, after it stopped raining, I took my cart over to the Safeway and got some things...

It looks like my good friend Mary is coming to visit next week! That'll be exciting. We'll have lots of fun. She's coming Sunday night and will stay until the following Sunday. Woo hoo! We'll be doing lots of walking, and beach-going, and karaoke, and shopping.

I just have to get a new vacuum cleaner so I can get the spots that the cleaning service missed, and tape some rugs down again that they had pulled up before when they were here. I need to re-organize some closets and drawers anyway, so I started doing that a little today.

I flipped the fusebox switch again and now the bathroom plugs work again. Yay! That was easy.

We went to Murphy's for dinner. They had a catfish special. It was allright...very healthy.

I tried to go to bed early, around 11, and I was VERY tired, but I just couldn't sleep. I'll try again in a little while.

  Wednesday 2/4/15

I finally got back to sleep, eventually, but it was tough. I had David set the alarm for 9am, but I went back to sleep until 10:30. I had a conference call at 11.

We went to lunch at this little Turkish (?) place called Döner Shack. It's a little tiny place and most people do take-out there. They have a gyro-like sandwich etc. Their salad is really good. It's like a Greek salad but the chicken is delicious. We only ate there once before because you can't pay by credit card and we usually forget to go to the ATM. It's really good, though, and what a nice change from our usual visits to Subway or other fast food.

I was sick in the afternoon from the usual gluten problems, and then I took a nap. I have an interview any minute now. I don't know why, but I get really nervous before these, especially the one-on-one calls. It's kind of like stage fright, I guess. I hate how my speaking voice sounds and I always worry I'll say something really stupid or something else will get wrong. It's a silly, irrational fear. I used to get stage fright, too, but now I don't. I guess it's just a matter of doing it many times for years and hopefully, it will eventually get better. I'm just always so relieved after it's over. More than relieved, I'm usually very hyper and excited.

The call never came, which is very disappointing because I put a lot of work into it!

  Sunday 2/15/15

I really meant to post this, but things got away from me because of Mary's impending visit, and then her visit itself. Sorry for this extra-long post! Lots has happened.

We got a new vacuum cleaner, and then I cleaned the whole house again. It gets dusty in our place very quickly, so I dusted again, and I had a lot of straightening-up to do. I had to take lots of stuff out of the guest bedroom closet and get new hangers. I got some new plants as well. I had to vacuum everything because the old one wasn't working well. I then had to tape down all of the rugs again.

We went to the grocery store, and I cut up fruits and veggies, but we didn't eat much of them while Mary was visiting. She eats even less than we do.

I was upset to find out that McDonald's french fries are NOT gluten free. Now I can't eat there at all (I shouldn't, anyway).

I had bought a gluten free brownie at this little shop Not Just Dessert, and I phoned the chef, Chef Kate. I found out that they're all sugar free as well! Also vegan, low carb, and low calorie. Yay!

Friday David and I went to this restaurant called Vino, which is somewhat near the downtown area, just past the Ruth Chris. We'd never been there before, but our friend Sara had recommended it before. It was really good! They even had a gluten free menu. The only problem was that I'd ordered the sea bass, and usually that comes as a filet, but this came as the whole fish, with scales, tail, head and mouth! LOL! The waiter was very good and helped me figure out how to eat it. It was not all that great....

Sunday my friend Mary came to visit. She and I have known each other since 8th grade! We were even roommates briefly after I moved out of my foster parents' house in Carlsbad. She had a little studio apartment in La Mesa. I was supposed to get a job and pay part of the rent, but I had a hard time finding a good job, and I wasn't very good with money. I was on food stamps, in fact.  At one point I left there, and she and I kind of had a falling-out and didn't speak for a long time.  Eventually, though, we reconnected, and we apologized and have been good friends ever since. However, since I had moved away, and she moved away to the midwest before we were in Riverside, we seldom got to see each other or spend any time together. We saw each other just for a few hours, once or twice a year at most, either going shopping, meeting for lunch or going out to karaoke. So it was really great to have her here all week and really get to not only have fun with her but to spend time with her. She's such a nice person, and we've both grown up in the last 30 years!  We're both much nicer, less selfish, and less judgmental.

We've had very different lives. She's been married three times, and she has 5 kids. However, none of her marriages breaking up were her fault (aside from perhaps rushing into marriage the first 2 times when she was 1) too young and 2) didn't know him well enough.)  Her first husband became a drug addict; her second husband was abusive; and her third husband was pretty good for awhile but then became a drunk. She doesn't regret it, though, because she really wanted to be a mom and loves kids. Her kids are great. She's very good at being a mom as it turns out! Her kids are all smart, talented, funny, attractive and very talented.

She's had a couple of terrible car accidents (none her fault as she wasn't driving), but still she's a very positive and funny person, with a great sense of humor and positive outlook.  She's very good at finding bargains. She and I did lots of shopping, and we went to a lot of thrift and second-hand stores as well as some cheap souvenir places. She got some great stuff for very little money.

I'm posting pictures of her visit here and will be adding more soon.

What's great about Mary is that she's very easy-going and is up for anything fun. Sunday night we took her out to Downbeat Diner as we usually go there on Sundays. It's a great place, anyway.  Monday, she and I went to Waikiki, had lunch and walked around a lot. First we walked on the beach, then we walked around Waikiki, looking at stores. We had lunch at Rum Fire, which I always love. We both had the fish tacos and maitais. After we walked along the beach quite a ways, I showed her the big Duke statue, and we stopped for a delicious shaved ice that we shared.  Later, after a lot more walking, we stopped at this little bar called Da Big Kahuna and had soda and some edamame.

Then we went back downtown and had a light dinner with David at Epic. We took it pretty easy that evening. Tuesday we went to Zippy's for breakfast, then we walked all around the downtown looking at Chinatown, and then other downtown stores. We walked down to Gordon Biersch for a late lunch, then we went up the Aloha Tower and she took pictures up there.

In the evening, we all walked down to Blue Ribbon Bar & Grill for karaoke. We stopped at the Good Will on the way. Our friend Tom was there at karaoke, with a Korean friend of his, Yunwon, and his wife.  Tom's wife Cynthia was out of town for another evening. We had a great time at karaoke! It was a little louder place than usual, but otherwise it was fine. We ate dinner there. Turns out the only gluten free food they have is the spam and eggs (but I wasn't that hungry, anyway). Yunwon sang a Korean song, and we all enjoyed it. Mary sang, too.  They left a little early, and then Mary and I stayed later. It was fun! We had two more nights of karaoke, too. Wednesday, we walked around some more and then went to the bakery I talked about above. I bought a whole container full of sugar free and gluten free pastries.  Then we had breakfast at Scratch, a new place down the street that serves breakfast and lunch. They had a gluten free menu, too, so that was awesome. The place was very good. We did a lot of walking around and shopping.

Wednesday night, we got dinner at Grondin, one of my favorite restaurants, and then we went to Art's Hideaway for karaoke. There were only two guys there when we arrived, and no one was singing! Worse, Art was SMASHED! He was very funny (he always is), but a little obnoxious. He spent most of the night hitting on Mary. She didn't mind the attention, I guess. This young guy, Azam, walked in, having heard the music. He lives in the Executive Center (the only hotel downtown, which we stayed in when we first got here and considered moving into) and been having argument with his wife and was just walking around. He turned out to be great fun. He had always wanted to serve behind a bar (I guess because he's Saudi and there's no drinking in his country), so Art let him, and he was SO happy! In hog heaven as they say.  Art was so drunk that he could barely make any drinks, so it worked out nicely. Two other really fun, nice, young guys came in, and we all sang more, and I did duets with many of them. It was all very fun, and we got home quite late.

Thursday we had to get up early, but we were so tired! We went to Starbucks and got coffee first as I recall. We were picked up around 9 by this guy Cary, who runs Custom Island Tours. This is the same tour I took back in July with Barbara, but this one was run by the owner. He knew a lot of stuff, and he did a good job of pointing things out, and he gave us a really good explanation of how the islands formed, and how the volcanoes erupted, using a sand castle demonstration. I think he's a very nice person, but he's also very rude and grumpy. He probably shouldn't be working with the public. We did enjoy the tour despite those things, though. We stopped for lunch at this little place, Waiahole Poi Factory, that was delicious.  We also went snorkeling at Turtle Beach, which was an adventure. I don't swim very well, so I stayed close to the shore and just jumped on the waves.  The water was the perfect temperature. Mary went out with Cary to do some snorkeling. They saw this big sea turtle swimming in the coral. Cary took video footage of it. We also went to Ali-i and saw a big turtle up close, so that was awesome. It's an 8 hour tour and well worth the money. All of the other tours I looked at were only a bit cheaper, and we would have had to go down to Waikiki to get picked up, and would have had to go where they wanted us to. With this one, he picks you up right at your place and goes, more or less where you want to go. You get to pick and choose from a long list of things. It's just a private tour so you can stop when you want to, or if you have to go to the bathroom or whatever. Much more convenient than riding on a tour bus with a bunch of strangers. So I do recommend it, even though Cary is kind of obnoxious at times.

 That night, we went down to Waikiki for karaoke. First we had dinner at Kani Ka Pila Grille, which is always so good, at the Outrigger Reef. Then we went to the Shore Bird there, where they have karaoke at 9:30. It was kind of boring, though, so we went down the street to the In Between on Lewers. That was outstanding. They have many good singers and everyone was fun. I think we stayed out very late, like 1:30am.

Friday, we slept in a bit and then had lunch at Empress here in the Chinese Cultural Center. Then I went to Kaiser to get a new prescription... then later, we walked around and did more shopping and took a cab back down to Waikiki so we could meet Tom and Cynthia over at the Top of Waikiki.  Then we all walked down to the Hilton to watch their poolside mini-show (with singing and dancing) and then the fireworks. Trouble is, it had rained a little, and there were high winds, so the fireworks didn't last very long. However, it was weird because they just stopped and then eventually we all left. No one announced anything. That was very odd. We had a great time, though, despite the fireworks being cut short. We then walked over to the bar Irish Rose and had more drinks and chatting. A loud rock band started playing, so we left after that. We went back to the downtown for a few more drinks. We went to Murphy's and shared "Irish nachos", which are potato skins with corned beef, some horseradish sauce and melted cheese. Yum!

Saturday we got up pretty early and went over to Starbucks for some caffeine, then David drove us over to the Pearl Harbor memorial. They have a film you watch about what happened (which has some amazing old footage), and then there's a little museum, with another short film, and then there's a few ships, and a submarine. The main thing to see there is the Arizona Memorial, which is the sunken battleship that they built this white building over so you can look down into it. Well, it was pouring rain when we got there, and because of that and the high winds, they shut down the little boat that takes you over to the Arizona Memorial. But it was fine. The rest was good, and because of the changes, we actually got in earlier to see the other stuff, and there were no lines. I had made reservations the day before by phone, and they said to get there an hour early, so we didn't have to wait as would have happened if it hadn't rained.  We all enjoyed it, anyway.

David and I saw it in 1992, but I didn't remember it very well. However, I do know that previously, the film they showed was much more sympathetic to the Japanese perspective, so I guess there were complaints or something, and they changed it. Of course the whole thing is a bit sad, especially if you were around then or had a relative who died in it. It was 20 years before I was born (almost to the day). I looked it up online and apparently the film we saw in July 1992 was made in 1980, and they changed it in December 1992 to make it less pro-Japanese, I guess.  I do remember thinking that my mother-in-law, who was around during the war and remembers it clearly, would not have liked that other version. She got to see the updated version when she came last year, so that's good. Interestingly, it was the navy, in part, that made the first film, and then it was the veterans and the park service people who wanted it changed because a) it was too old and falling apart, and b) they got too many complaints about it having some pro-Japanese sentiments. Very interesting. Also, the older film had some inaccuracies and used "staged" footage, whereas the new one doesn't. I thought it did look very authentic, so I'm glad I was right about that. They had some pretty amazing footage from back then.

When we visited the Truman museum, too, another year, the photos and display about Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also very sad and moving. UGH. What people do to each other, particularly in war...it's really sad.

I was starting to have some issues again due to gluten. All week I'd been doing great before that.

We all went to lunch at Hooter's like we usually do and had a great lunch. David watched USD basketball while we chatted. Then we went home briefly (I got a sweater because the wind was pretty intense) and Mary and I walked around Chinatown. They had many booths, live bands etc. So it was a lot of fun. I tried this one thing they had, which was a large candy-cane shaped tube made out of corn, and then they pumped it full of soft ice cream. Bizarre. I gave most of it to Mary. She also tried another shaved ice, but it wasn't as good as the one on Waikiki we'd been to.

Then they had a big parade at 3:30. We stood there for an hour and a half taking photos, but we'd had enough and had reservations at 5. I had hoped to see the HPU float or the one with the governor, like we did last year. I was curious to see if I knew anyone on the HPU float or who it was representing the university.  We have a new governor, too, so I'd wondered if he was in the parade or not. I would hope so, but you never know.

We went to Duc's for dinner. It's our favorite place and always has great food. They had special desserts for Valentine's, so I had one of them, a chocolate ganache dessert that was pretty good. We had some great wine, too. David bought us both roses and he got me an orchid lei, so that was great!  We stopped at The Tap Room for another drink, but I was really exhausted, so we went home and I went to bed early, like around 9pm. I was POOPED!

Sunday morning, we got up around 5am so that we could take Mary to the airport.  It was too early for all of us! Ha ha! I have some souvenirs of hers to mail on Tuesday at the post office. It was just so great having her here. There's nothing outside of the security at our airport, so we couldn't have breakfast or anything, unfortunately! She got right in because we'd printed out her boarding pass and she had no checked luggage, but they did make her go through a special pat-down (she messaged me later).  Then her plane was a little delayed. Darn it!

I went back to sleep for a long while and then started catching up on mountains of laundry, and work on my site. Not kidding, I had 5 or 6 loads of laundry! Not even counting the bedclothes that I still need to wash. Also, I have some sand to vacuum up from our bedroom floor that fell out of my bathing suit. We went to Gordon Biersch for lunch, and then later to Downbeat for dinner as usual. Then we stopped by O'Toole's for some drinks. They were having some great Irish folk music.  David doesn't have to work tomorrow, so he stayed up a little later. I stayed up WAY too late, 5 am.

3 of the Irish bars on the island - Kelly O'Neal's, O'Toole's and Irish Rose, are all owned by the same people (I think they also own Anna O'Brien's, which we haven't been to). There are laws here about not smoking in bars or restaurants, yet somehow those 3 do have smoking. Someone told us it's because they're Irish bars so they protested the law due to ethnic heritage or something. I don't know if I buy that or not, but there's certainly some reason. The Murphy's doesn't allow smoking, but it's not just because of food because Kelly O'Neal's also serves food. Also, there are many other bars here that don't sell food and still don't have smoking. It's very odd. The only other thing I can think of is that it has something to do with their selling cigars.

My doctor called me in a new medication, Glipizide. Hopefully it'll help some with the blood sugar. I went off my diet a little while Mary was here, so that didn't help, but I didn't gain any weight, so that's great! Probably because we did so much walking. I was sick a lot all night due to the gluten allergy. Oh, well, at least it wasn't a problem while we had company.

  Monday 2/16/15

I had to get up around 9am to take the dry cleaning downstairs, like usual. Then I went back to sleep. David woke me up again two hours later so we could go to lunch. We went to the Cuban restaurant, which is always great. I usually have the ropa vieja, which is really yummy. We stopped by O'Toole's for a quick drink.

I'm very tired but trying not to take a nap so I can go back to my early schedule. I'm not exercising much today because of still having the gluten problems.

I'm going to go ahead and post this long thing. I hope you all had as nice of a Valentine's Day as I did! It's been a great weekend. I can't believe that Tuesday is Mardi Gras, too.

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