Thursday, March 31, 2011
He was a really kind, very knowledgeable (shall I add tall, dark and handsome?) specialist. He looked great in his uniform. Marine? However, I swear he looked like he was younger than my son.
It's a good thing I keep a health record with all the pertinent health information I needed because he asked me about all the surgeries I'd had, what the diagnosis had been for my thyroid surgery, etc. I wouldn't have been able to answer any of those questions without the health journal I keep.
I went to see him because I keep feeling like I've got a lump in my throat. I've got two dear friends who have esophageal cancer and it was unnerving me a bit. A few weeks ago I found that even when I raise my head to look up during my Tai Chi exercises, I cough because it feels like the lump presses against the back of my throat.
Anyway, Dr. Sneshkoff did an ultrasound first. He found that I had a bit of scar tissue in my throat which is probably what I'm feeling. He then sent a scope through my nose and down my throat to make sure my voice box was OK. It was.
He says there's tethering at the scar site which is probably what is causing the lumpy feeling, but there's no cure for that. An operation to remove it would only cause more scar tissue. He says the Tai Chi exercise is probably good for it and I should also massage the scar site on my throat to try to loosen the tethering.
I'm thrilled that I'm OK. It was causing me some worry since I really don't want another surgery. Dr. Bentley who did my thyroid surgery in Chicago did a fabulous job and I really wouldn't have wanted that nice scar to be tampered with (especially since I tend to keloid badly). Dr. Bentley had assured me that he would do the surgery so it would just look like a natural fold in my neck.
Well, we've got our Tai Chi lesson tomorrow morning. I guess I won't avoid looking up anymore. I'll position myself in the back where the wind will drown out any cough I might have.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
“I am trying to locate my Japanese relates in Sendai. Please ask your family if they know them and if they have any information. My uncle is Masatoshi Suzuki, cousin's name is Masataka Suzuki and lives at 2-22-22 Miyaginoku Saiwaicho Sendai. My great aunt lived at 191 Higashi Hachibancho. Her name is Kiyako Kihriyama. I would appreciate anything they can tell me. Was that street destroyed, anything. My mother is frantic. Thank you so much if you can help!
I sent a letter 6 days ago, do you know if they are getting mail, and what are they doing with it if the house is gone?”
I had no idea how to do that since Sendai is such a large city. There are higher and lower elevations there and we were just lucky that our relatives live in a higher area away from the tsunami devastation. We were able to reach them by phone and now can also occasionally write to them by e-mail. They themselves are also still wondering if all their friends are all right in other parts of the city.
Then I remembered a comment I got soon after the tsunami struck from South Lakes Mom. Her blog is called I didn't know THAT!
"Kay, I just found a website where you can interact to see if you can locate your family members in Japan.
It was in Japanese so I called my mother to read the instruction. I checked out one of the names that Frances gave me and came up with some information. What a surprise! I'm not positive it's the right person. However, the name she gave me that I typed in showed the address she also included so I'm hoping it's a match!
This morning, I got another e-mail from Frances:
"Thank you so much!! I appreciate it and any other info you can provide. Thank you, thank you!"
If you have another Person-Finder site I can post, please let me know.
Isn't blogging amazing?
POSTSCRIPT: I just got this message from my Sendai cousin, Masako:
I don’t know the person named Masatoshi Suzuki, but I know the areas such as
Saiwaicho, Miyaginoku and Higashi Hachibancho. Both areas are near the center of Sendai. They are not near the coastal areas, and so are not destroyed by the tsunami. I think she doesn’t need to worry so much.
I was very busy at work at the end and the beginning of the month. But, on Sunday, I may be able to go out to find the house 2-22-22 Miyaginoku, Saiwaicho.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
LOL (Laughing Out Loud)
OMG (Oh My God)
BFF (Best Friends Forever)
If they're going to add those, why not ROFL (Rolling on the Floor Laughing) which I've seen countless times?
Art, who is an electrical engineer took issue with the addition of WAG (Wives and Girlfriends). He said WAG is an old engineering term they used for Wild Ass Guess.
I was surprised with the addition of Muffin Top. It's supposed to be that roll of fat over our waist band. OK. I guess it does look rather like that even though I keep trying to pull my waist band over that bundle of fat. Sheesh! (I blame the muffin top problem on the current fashion of having the waist band below your navel! It just forces all that fat over the brim. I need a girdle.)
Then they've got ♥ (heart) to be used as a verb as in "I ♥ Hawaii".
I'll bet those of you Down Under would like this one that I got from the Oxford English Dictionary website:
"The OED aims to cover lexical developments from throughout the English-speaking world. In this update, a few new items from Australian English enter the dictionary for the first time: flat white n., a style of espresso drink with finely textured foamed milk; tragic n., a ‘boring or socially inept person, esp. one with an obsessive interest or hobby’; and yidaki n., an Australian Aboriginal term for the musical instrument better known in English as a didgeridoo."
So who came up with didgeridoo? I thought that was the Aboriginal term.
I looked up "Aloha." Apparently Aloha made the Oxford English Dictionary in 2008.
"Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
▶exclamation & noun
a Hawaiian word used when greeting or parting.
– origin C19: from Maori aroha ‘love, affection, pity’."
As a matter of fact, when we were in New Zealand I did discuss the similarities in the Hawaiian and Maori languages with our docent, but that would be a topic for another post.
Monday, March 28, 2011
I took this photo of the Tanabata festival that I went to with my grandmother, Masako and Norio. We'd gone to an evening kindergarten program to see Masako and her classmates perform. It is still such a beautiful, happy memory.
With letters and the advent of computers, we've been able to maintain contact. Masako has visited us in Chicago and we've spent time with her and the rest of the family in Sendai.
I e-mailed Masako after the earthquake and got this reply yesterday from her.
"I am sorry that I could not reply to you earlier regarding the heavy earthquake which hit Tohoku area. I think you must have been very worried.
We are all okay, including my brother Norio’s family and the relatives in Shichigahama. I am thankful that we are alive, considering the fact so many people lost their lives by this earthquake.
In Miyagi prefecture, more than 6,000 people’s death was confirmed as of today, and the number is increasing everyday. Since there are still many people unidentified and not found yet, I don’t know how many people were actually killed. Many of them were killed by the tsunami which hit coastal areas on the Pacific.
And there is one more great problem which troubles us now. That is radioactive contamination in Fukushima atomic power plant. In Fukushima, there is a big atomic power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company. (The electricity for Kanto area is produced in Fukushima, not in Kanto.) Since Fukushima plants were damaged by the earthquake, radioactivity continues to leak. The air, the sea, soil are being contaminated. The nation prohibited shipment of some vegetables, milk produced in some areas.
Several days ago, the water purification plant which supplies water to Tokyo areas, showed the relatively high number of radioactivity and the government recommended not to give tap water to babies under 1 year old. So, people rushed to buy mineral waters, and mineral waters are not easy to gain now. A few days ago, the government cancelled this announcement because the number of the Tokyo purification plant showed lower levels, but I am not sure if it is really safe or not. Since my son needs powder milk besides breast milk, I am really worried about the water contamination problem. Not all mineral waters are good for babies, since the high minerals are a burden for the kidneys. Low mineral content in waters under 30% per liter are desirable. Please do not worry so much. I could already secure enough stock of mineral waters with the help of my husband.
For three days after earthquake, I slept with my parents and son in my car. Now, we are sleeping in house. At first, we had no water, electricity, or gas. Later, electricity resumed, and water came yesterday. It will take longer for gas.
(We cannot take a bath until gas is available.)
At first, we couldn’t buy food at all. Today, we are able to buy food, though many shops are still closed and we must wait in long lines to buy.
We cannot obtain gasoline yet. Many gas service stations are closed, and once we find a station open, we must wait 5-6 hours to buy. They won’t supply gasoline for a full tank (like up to 2,000-3,000 yen limitation), so we must return again soon. I am really tired of getting gasoline.
But, I hope things are getting better. Considering many people died, I am thankful for what we have.
Please do not worry. You need not send anything, because I am not sure if the goods will be delivered to our door. Transportation to Tohoku area is limited yet.
A second e-mail followed soon after I wrote to her:
I found another mail from you after I sent my last mail.
Thank you for worrying about my baby and offering a “vacation” in Hawaii.
I really appreciate it.
But, it is difficult to leave Sendai since I must go to work and my parents do not want to leave their house either. Norio already asked my parents again and again to come to his house in Akiu, because Akiu had water supply earlier than Yagiyama and they could take a bath without gas( with electric). But my parents refused. Their Yagiyama house is more comfortable for them.
I am still going to work, leaving my son with my parents. I had many busy days after the earthquake, since so many people rushed to my husband’s shop to buy cassette gas, electric pot, etc. as substitute for gas. Since he cannot collect enough supplies in Sendai, he had employees drive very far to Niigata everyday to obtain goods. (until a few days ago.) Since we cannot obtain gasoline in Sendai, we were getting it in Niigata so far.
I will write again when I can. Please do not worry so much.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
As she showed us several of the rhymes on Skype, I recited some of them for her.
Little Miss Muffet sat on the tuffet eating her curds and whey..
Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall...
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star..
When I saw Three Blind Mice, I was going to sing,
"Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?"
Before I finished the first few words, Tif stopped me with, "Uhhhh...Mom? No, that's not what's written here. The words have been ummmm... altered." Then she read them to me.
"Three nice mice,
Three nice mice
See how nice they are
See how nice they are
They’re always polite
When they nibble their cheese
They cover their noses
Whenever they sneeze
Ah, Ah, Ah, Chooo!
Three nice mice"
I must say, this new teacher adapted version is a lot more PG and less bloodthirsty. When you think about some of our English/American fairy tales and nursery rhymes, they're pretty darn violent. I can see why KC's pre-school teacher wanted to edit the original even though the words sounded a little strange to me. I guess I didn't pay much attention to the words when I was a child.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I haven't seen any news about Hawaii's participation, but found this on the web. Looks like Hawaii is joining the world at 8:30 tonight for our Earth Hour.
I'm all for it! I'll have to get our candles out. I'm just so glad we've got our solar panels, Prius, CFLs, energy efficient appliances, etc. We can all make a difference if we just try.
POSTSCRIPT on following day: We did it last night! The strange thing is walking around in the dark reminded me of Japan and what many suffered and are still suffering. It made the inconvenience of me choosing to be without electricity for an hour seem trivial.
This morning I got an e-mail at last from my cousin in Sendai. I'll post what she said on Monday.
Friday, March 25, 2011
This tells you a bit about it:
“Jamie Ford's first novel explores the age-old conflicts between father and son, the beauty and sadness of what happened to Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut.”
-- Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
I have to agree with Linda that this is a wonderful book, but I don't quite get what Lisa See meant about the "beauty" of what happened to Japanese Americans".
I've always known about the Internment Camps, of course. Art's aunt's book was published about the Japanese Americans in Hawaii who were sent to the camps. In Hawaii, the people who were taken away were generally those who were leaders or men of influence or learning. Since my grandfather was a Buddhist priest, he was on the list though he left Molokai's Kalaupapa before it all happened.
Still, although I knew all this, Jamie Ford's book made it even more real and gut wrenching. The prejudice and hatred directed against even a 2nd generation Japanese American was painful to read about. Art who is usually into Action or Science Fiction books says he'll read it before I return it to the library for the next person on the Hold list. Now, that's a surprise!
To be perfectly honest, when I saw that Mr. Ford was actually half Chinese and his story is about the hatred many Chinese felt for the Japanese, I expected a story slanted toward something he must be acutely familiar with. Instead, he writes objectively about this terrible time and lets you decide. I was really drawn into the story and did wipe bitter sweet tears away at the end. Still, like Linda, I wished there was another chapter. I wanted to know more about what happened to Henry's lifelong love, Keiko.
Hmmm... maybe that could be another book?
Here is Janice of My Reading Diary's review on this book.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I did want to read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford because so many of you recommended it.
I was looking at the Hawaii Library System online website and found that I could put a hold/save on a book. Just for fun, I put a hold on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. There was a LONG wait list. I figured I'd get to read it next year, but lo and behold, I got a card in the mail a month later saying it was ready for pick up.
While at the library to pick up the book, I checked the Friends of the Library second hand book shelf. Paperbacks were on sale for 50 cents a book. I bought these six books for $3.00 AND I can loan them to my friends when I'm done!
So there you have it. I like my Kindle, but I still love my library!
Oh dear! I hope you authors out there won't be upset with me. I'm going to curl up with Mr. Ford's book now and finish it as quickly as I can so that the next person in queue will get it faster. (I'll have something to say about this book later.)
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
However, they are in direct line of the narrow passage that Mom walks through to do her gardening and have been harassing her everyday.
I thought some wood colored caulk would take care of the problem. I caulked all the holes I could see as well as below the fence where they seemed to have dug their entrance ways.
I figured if I closed the doors to their entrance ways, they'd go somewhere else to set up their villages.
This golden bee tried to go in, then seemed to look at me and say, "OK...I give up, I think I'll head toward Kaneohe instead."
What a shock when I woke up this morning! I thought maybe Art didn't think I did a good enough job and had dug the holes out for me to redo. No, he wouldn't do that, but he always says I look for a way to place the blame on him first.
Then I looked below the holes and realized the bees had dug out the caulking I did the evening before all by themselves. Good grief!
OK... they've won this battle.
Unfortunately, I will have to escalate. I'll be caulking in the morning to give the caulk more time to dry. And I'm going to use a mirror to find all the holes below eye level that I must have missed before.
It's not over yet!
POSTSCRIPT: I'm glad to know the male bees don't sting. It's only the females that do. I thought I heard something under Art's breath when I told him, but he denies it completely. Now then... how can you tell which are the boy bees?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Today we had one of those days.
Early this morning, Art found a large bag of boiled peanuts at the back of the fridge. "Whose peanuts are these?" he yelled from the other room.
"Oh nuts!" I meant to give those to my brother, but I forgot! No wonder he didn't thank me for them. (We decided to just eat them ourselves since they were now a week old. If I get a stomach ache, it'll be my fault. I'm hoping the light salt in it will keep us safe.)
We went shopping and found a great 20% off sale. The cashier at check out said only one of the items was on sale, but the others weren't. We left the store. However, it bothered me enough that we went back in and I checked all the sales signs again. Yup! There it was! It was all supposed to be on sale. Went to the customer service line and had to wait and wait and wait to get it corrected. I felt badly for the people behind us.
Arrived home at around 1:30 having missed lunch. My mother met us at the door, all upset and miserable. "The toilet broke!" she said. "I took off the tank cover to see what was wrong and the water shot out at me and got on everything. And where did you put my Fosamax pills? I can't find them anywhere."
"Hunh?" I never touch her Fosamax pills.
We bought these 2.5 gallon Nestle plastic bottles of water (for our disaster kit) before and one of them leaked and damaged the laminate flooring in the closet. I could not believe it, but we thought it was a fluke.
NOPE! When I checked the three we bought today after bringing the groceries in, I saw that two of the three containers had leaks!!! AGAIN! Doggone it! (I blame Art. I wanted to buy the smaller bottles, but he didn't want to pay the deposits on each bottle.)
Well... we did manage to quickly fix the toilet. The chain was broken and the hose had popped out of the thingamagig.
Art found the Fosamax. Mom had thrown it in the garbage can. She must have been distracted and threw it away instead of storing it back in the cupboard.
Tonight, I got on the scale and discovered I gained four pounds. Arrrrghhhh!
It's the yin and yang of things. The leak happened before we put it in the closet this time so it's taught us to store it in a plastic storage container from now on. The toilet is fixed, the medicine is found, I'd better exercise and I think I'll go to bed early tonight... ummm....after Hawaii 5-0 that is. It better not be a rerun again.
Monday, March 21, 2011
We knew this was going to be an amazing party and it definitely was! First year parties are very important in Hawaii. Since we were on the mainland when our kids reached their milestone, Tiffany and Jonathan just had a tiny cake with their grandparents to mark the occasion.
This adorable Lady Bug themed luncheon party was at the Hee Hing Restaurant near Waikiki at 449 Kapahulu Avenue.
I just loved the Peking Duck! Yummmmm! The little favors had cookies frosted with the number 1.
I was getting pleasantly stuffed with all the baus and dim sum when the rest of the dishes started arriving. I was not hungry when dinner time rolled around.
Here I am with Diane and Joanne (another childhood friend) with her husband in the back holding the table decorations that Diane gave us. I just loved the Gerbera daisies in the colorful pails. KC loved seeing the balloons when we spoke to her on Skype at home.
Sunday was the time to celebrate my Uncle Toshi's 91st birthday in Chinatown at the Empress Restaurant. My cousins, Ellen, David and Larry had planned a spectacular suprise party for their dad.
That's my uncle above with the kukui nut lei opening a musical card we gave him. And here are the three sisters together.
I haven't had Peking Duck in years and now I've had it twice in one weekend. Mmmmmm... yum! Aside from the duck, a chicken and noodle dish, everything else was different and scrumptious. Wow! We ate even more. Both Art and my eye brows went up to see how much my mother ate.
Ellen, David and Larry presented their aunts with these orchid plants even though they insisted our presence was all the presents my uncle would want.
My brother, Dennis and I recorded the occasion so we'll be sure to make that our present to our sweet uncle who served as a translator for the U.S. Army during WWII. He is a very modest, independent and learned man who always showed his nieces and nephews love and kindness throughout the years. We were so happy to be able to celebrate this day with him.
Hmmm... I wonder what next weekend will be like...
Sunday, March 20, 2011
As a service to the community of Honolulu, we also accept telephone books for recycling. The drop-off location is our plant at 274 Puuhale Road. Look for the “Drive-up, Drop-off” banner during business hours, 8am to 5pm (please call ahead at 847-5310 to let us know you’re coming), or the 2nd Saturday of every month from 8am to 12-noon. Your phone books will be shredded, baled and shipped back to the mill, where your old books will be re-purposed into new paper.
Note: Businesses and Government Agencies will be charged $50 per ton for shredding and recycling drop-offs.
We accept glossy magazines, catalogs, brochures, mailers, and phone books.
IMPORTANT, please remove:
• Magnets on Phones Books • Hardback Covers • Rubberbands • Metal & Spiral Bindings
• Carbon paper • Photographs • Blueprints • Shrink Wrap • Adhesives (labels, post-its, stamps, tape).
Staples are OK, but all other metals must be removed to avoid shredder jamming.
Monday 8am to 5pm
Tuesday 8am to 5pm
Wednesday 8am to 5pm
Thursday 8am to 5pm
Friday 8am to 5pm
Second Saturday of each Month 8am to Noon
Or, drop-off at any Lex Brodie’s (during regular business hours):
Honolulu 701 Queen St., Honolulu 96813
Pearlridge 98-115 Kamehameha Hwy, Aiea 96701
Waipahu 94-169 Farrington Hwy. Waipahu 96797
Kalihi 333 Kalihi St., Honolulu 96819
Kaneohe 46-158 Malina Pl., Kaneohe 96744
I understand the GOP is dismantling ex House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's composting program. Unfortunately that program wasn't working out too well according to the article.
Still, it was sad when Jimmy Carter set up solar panels to heat water at the White House and Ronald Reagan dismantling it because it wasn't classy looking. I understand that President Obama is being encouraged to install solar panels again as a commitment to renewable energy. The latest I've heard is that they will go up this year.
I really feel the U.S. needs to work toward Reducing, Reusing and Recycling!!!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
"Look, Grandpa," she'd call out excitedly, "I'm sending you lots of coffee." Then we'd see photos of mugs of coffee appear on our Skype screen.
I remember a time when I'd have to limit the calls I made to Hawaii from Chicago because of the expense. Now we can see and talk to KC and Tif whenever we want for FREE. We can even have a three way conversation with Tif in Chicago and her husband Ed (wherever he is on business) so he can advise us on some computer glitch. It just boggles my mind every time.
UPDATE on Sendai:
I was able to place another call to Sendai yesterday so my mother could speak to her sister, Atsuko. Mom told Aunt Atsuko that we were concerned about what we were seeing on TV about the radiation levels in Fukushima as well as all the shortages.
My aunt said they're still doing OK. My cousin's husband's family has a business that was not affected too greatly by the earthquake. They have been selling out on quite a few of their household items such as containers (to hold water, etc.), small gas stoves, etc. Profit is very small because they have to drive very far to Niigata to keep their shelves somewhat stocked and the cost in fuel to transport products is expensive. When they travel to Niigata, they're able to get water for my aunt's family. Aunt Atsuko says they are much luckier than many others in the area. She says her new grandson is keeping their spirits up with his smiles and happy squeals.
Still, my mother let them know that our house is always open to them if they can get themselves over here. They know about the radiation risk, but so far feel they are safe.
Since the train lines were down, the only method of transportation is the bus. My Aunt Suzuko in Tokyo offered to bring milk, diapers or whatever they needed by bus, but Aunt Atsuko told her it was still unnecessary.
There is a word in Japanese that is a common philosophy. It's called enryo. This link gives you a more thorough meaning, but basically it means to defer your own needs for others. Somebody might offer you a delectable treat and you may enryo and not accept it so they can enjoy it instead.
In that way, I fear our relatives would enryo rather than impose on us. Heavy sigh...
Friday, March 18, 2011
Most people would probably just give up and chop down the tree. Not Art.
He and my mother prize this tree because it's been providing us with some very sweet papayas.
To think I threatened to chop it down when it didn't bear fruit for over a couple of years.
After staring at it for several days, Art decided to design a crutch for it.
I had to pad the crutch so it wouldn't dig into the tree trunk. Then he wanted to make sure the wind wouldn't blow it in another direction as well as into the neighbor's fence which isn't exactly sturdy.
It's not the most attractive look, but what the heck! Our kids will tell you that their dad will go to extraordinary lengths to save a living thing.
Maybe it's part of his Buddhist upbringing?
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Art's aunt treated all of us to a luncheon at the Waimalu Chop Suey Restaurant. While we waited for our food, Art's cousin, Tsugi laughingly boasted that he could hold chopsticks on both hands since he was ambidextrous.
That's when Art noticed that Tsugi held his chopsticks using three fingers to manipulate the top chopstick. Art tried to show him that the proper way was to hold the top chopsticks with two fingers.
Tsugi's brother, Kazu chuckled and told us that he's always been embarrassed about not learning to hold chopsticks correctly. We all raised our eyebrows and (sorry to admit) burst out laughing uproariously when we saw that he held his chopsticks crossed! How does he ever hold his food?
And there was a lot of food! This is my plate and I certainly didn't finish it. We ate my leftovers for dinner.
That's when we got into the chopsticks wars. I told Art he was NOT holding his chopsticks properly.
My mother took Art's side. Wouldn't you know it? As a matter of fact, she holds it like Art. What the heck?
"NO", I said. "You're supposed to hold the top chopstick with three fingers and brace the bottom one on your ring finger." After all, how can you catch a fly like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid, if you're not able to control that top chopstick better?
My brother agreed with me later. He told Art he needs the strength of that third finger so he can lift heavier food to his mouth...hence (he laughed) his size compared to Art's.
When we went to my aunt's house, she agreed with my mother. She said the two fingered approach was much more graceful. However, my cousin who happened to be there agreed with me.
Well... I looked online and proved to my mother that I was right. She didn't like that. She said just because it says so online doesn't make it so. I don't think I want to admit to her OR Art that I found another website that said (maybe) they were right.
Ah well... should we discuss how we hold our forks?
Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody. And nope, I wouldn't use chopsticks for corned beef and cabbage. Knife and fork all the way!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
"This morning, my mother received a phone call from our aunt in Sendai.
(I hope you have already talked with them.) They came back to their house and started using electric power, getting warm, having temporary water supply.
I believe the situation is getting better."
Since Kanako said phone calls were possible I decided to try contacting Sendai again. Incredibly, after many attempts I was able to get through. My mother, in near tears spoke to her baby sister. I could hardly believe it! My aunt and family are truly fine...for now.
They have a good emergency supply of food and told us not to worry. Their shortages at this point was in diapers and milk for their grandson and WATER. Lack of water is always such a problem.
They all sleep together in the room closest to the front door in case of another earthquake.
The days are full of ups and downs.
For us, the news have gotten a bit better. We're keeping our fingers crossed. They were one of the lucky ones, but it's not over yet.
This photo is of my Hawaii aunt and my mom with their baby sister at her Sendai home in spring of last year.
It seems like such a long time ago.
POSTSCRIPT: I just told Art that we need to get our disaster supply organized. (This is the link to FEMA's disaster supply list.) I'm going to make sure we have enough water!
POSTSCRIPT 2: Margaret commented about our donation decision. After a lot of thought, we've decided to send our contribution to Direct Relief International. Thank you for this recommendation, Nancy.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I just saw this interesting information which is great.
March 14, 2011 02:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time
MasterCard Worldwide Provides Support for Japanese Relief Efforts
PURCHASE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MasterCard Worldwide announced that it will provide support for the Japanese relief efforts following the tragic earthquake and tsunami. Interchange fees on Japanese relief donations that are made using U.S. issued MasterCard cards to the following organizations will be waived: American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and World Vision.
In Canada, interchange fees on Japanese relief donations that are made using Canadian issued MasterCard cards to the following organizations will be waived: Canada Helps, Canadian Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and World Vision.
I'm leaning toward the IRC (International Rescue Committee), Doctors Without Borders or perhaps the American Red Cross. My cousin in Hawaii told me that several Hawaiian banks have established funds that will go toward the Red Cross efforts in Japan. We'll keep monitoring the situation and make our decision in the next couple of days.
(Art just showed me a news article warning people to be cautious of scams that have suddenly popped up. The article said to be wary of online solicitations, watch for phony names, examine web addresses, don't pay in cash, check with the charity, resist pushy demands and do your homework.)
By the way, isn't it incredible how there hasn't been any cases of looting going on? Everybody seems willing to wait patiently for hours in lines that stretch to eternity for food and water, sharing whatever they have. I wish every disaster could be met with the same determination and desire to survive together.
POSTSCRIPT: My friend, Nancy just sent me an e-mail suggesting Direct Relief International. It does indeed sound like another great place to send donations.
Monday, March 14, 2011
We haven't been able to contact my aunt, uncle and cousins since that one very brief phone call that incredibly went through. I imagine they aren't able to stay at their house since my aunt said it showed a lot of cracks in the walls and damage. They were also worried about more aftershocks bringing the house down on them.
Our dear friend in Tokyo who we lovingly call Sam has offered to do everything in his power to help my relatives in Sendai with food, clothing or whatever they need. However, we don't even know where our relatives are now.
Life goes on here in Hawaii. We're going about our everyday activities which I will post tomorrow, but not today. My heart is just too heavy.
I just got an e-mail from one of my cousins in Tokyo this morning:
"Yesterday, we received cellphone-mail from Tomoko (Sendai cousin).
Communication lines are not stable.
Tomochan said that her family is fine in car still now, though they cannot use electric nor gas nor water.
We are informed that we cannot personally deliver any goods to Miyagi now. (Many of the roads are closed.)
The thing we can do is donation and economize on electric power."
It was wonderful to hear something. Not knowing and not being able to do anything is just the worst thing!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Since my brother and I both have blood that mosquitoes love, I would like to get one. I'd rather not send for it from France because I imagine the shipping alone would be terribly expensive. I looked online and found somebody who said it's sold in Canada.
Therefore, this question is for my Canadian bloggers. Have you seen this product sold in Canada? Is it sold at any of the pharmacies? Since we're planning to make a trip to Canada this spring, I'd love to buy one if it's available.
I wish they'd sell this in Hawaii! Then again, does anybody know if it really works? I want to believe.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
"The day is over; now I will sleep. It has been a normal sort of day, common like a rock along the path. Nothing about it would make one exclaim over it, as one might do with a shell or a glistening piece of quartz. It was just a rock, lying there along my way. But now, knowing that it is about to go from me forever, I hold it in my hand curiously, turning it this way and that, marking its shape and texture, weighing it on my palm. What was it really, this normal day?"...
The essay speaks of cherishing that ordinary day because someday it could be taken from you.
I'm looking around me today and seeing Art's smile, tasting my mom's dishes, talking to my children on the cellphone, doing some shopping and seeing some relatives. They are common everyday things. With all the tragedies so far away happening to those dear to us and everyone around them, it's made me acutely grateful for what we have now.
I'm going to take the time today to appreciate how lucky we are, to notice the wonderful people and things around me and treasure it.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Phone calls were racing back and forth last night and this morning between the three sisters here in Hawaii trying to impart any news they'd heard about the situation in Sendai and Tokyo.
We've also been concerned about a dear friend of ours and his family in Tokyo and my (Hawaii) cousin's husband who was visiting his family in Fukushima which is located between Sendai and Tokyo. My nephew's wife, Miho's family also lives in Tokyo. Miho reassured Mom that her family is doing well although they are staying at a shelter right now.
This morning, my aunt in Hawaii called with exciting news. She was able to get through at last to their sister in Sendai.
Apparently, my aunt, uncle and cousin were sleeping in their car because it was too dangerous to stay in their house which though still standing is unstable and in shambles. My aunt needed to use the bathroom so she ran into the house quickly just when my Hawaii aunt placed her call. She was able to reassure us that they were very badly shaken but fine. The call was short because my uncle was frantically calling for her to get out of the house.
This is a photo of us with my aunt and cousin during our 2008 trip. It was such a peaceful, happy, lovely day.
This is a photo of my mother with her brother in Tokyo, also from 2008 when we went there with my brother, Dennis.
This afternoon, I placed a call for her to Tokyo. My uncle and his family live in a relatively new home built with the latest earthquake proof specifications. They incurred no damage at all. In fact, he'd been desperately and unsuccessfully trying to call Sendai to find out how their sister fared. He laughed realizing that he was getting news about Japan from his sister living in Hawaii.
The latest call from my aunt here in Hawaii reassured us that her daughter's husband had called to say he was at Narita Airport getting ready to board a plane to return to Hawaii.
Oahu incurred very little damage from the reports I've heard recently. However, I know many of the boats in the marina sustained some damage. All the public and many private schools on the island were closed today. My brother was sent home from work as well. The tsunami alert is down to just an advisory right now.
Although we are relieved that our family seems to be alright for now, we are still reeling from the tragic loss of life and devastation all around northern Japan. Each new piece of information is more horrible than the one before.
Our hearts are very heavy. I'm looking outside at the sunshine and bright skies, but everything looks different. The day is different.
I told my mom about all your love and prayers from around the world. She was amazed, so very touched and asked me to thank you with all her heart. It meant more to us than I can adequately express.
It's truly a time to hold each other and be grateful for all we have at this moment. In just a few awful seconds, life can change so much. I am sending you all our love and gratitude for your kind words, prayers and thoughts.
I'd just made a call to Japan earlier in the day so that Mom could speak to her sister. Mom asked her about the earlier earthquake. My aunt said it caused no damage. We were all very relieved and the two sisters had a lovely chat to catch up on their lives. This photo is of our family temple in Sendai where my grandfather was the priest.
And now this.
My post was about the happiest person in America yesterday. It was a frivolus post. I was happy.
And now this.
My fingers are shaking as I type this. I've just read that Sendai where my mother's sister and family are has been hit badly. There was a 13 foot tsunami. Tokyo has also been damaged. We have more family and dear friends there.
We tried to call my aunt and uncle, but the phones are overburdened and we couldn't get through.
We're sitting here... not knowing.
It's such an awful feeling.
Good grief! The Hawaii tsunami siren is going off! We're supposed to be hit by a tsunami at 2:30 AM or something like that. What in the world is going on?
Thursday, March 10, 2011
"The New York Times asked Gallup to come up with a statistical composite for the happiest person in America, based on the characteristics that most closely correlated with happiness in 2010. Men, for example, tend to be happier than women, older people are happier than middle-aged people, and so on.
Gallup’s answer: he’s a tall, Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and has a household income of more than $120,000 a year. A few phone calls later and ...
Meet Alvin Wong. He is a 5-foot-10, 69-year-old, Chinese-American, Kosher-observing Jew, who’s married with children and lives in Honolulu. He runs his own health care management business and earns more than $120,000 a year."
Okeedokee. I have the Asian part going for me. I'm married and have two children AND I live in Hawaii. I thought I was, but I guess I'm not the happiest person in America. The Star Advertiser said there are only a handful of men who are Asian and of the Jewish faith.
What strikes me as interesting is that for all the pain and suffering Jewish people have had to face, people belonging to that faith are considered the happiest. My mother has always repeated that to know great joy, you have to know what is great pain.
Art wouldn't approve of me having a sex change operation but in a few years I'll be over 65 and have one more thing going for me. Hmmm... I wonder what kind of business I should start...
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
While at Sears (department store) we noticed a Dyson DC23 Animal Canister Vacuum Cleaner. We'd seen Dyson advertised on TV so we decided to see what it was like. The salesperson, Suzette was very helpful showing us how it didn't need a bag or replacement filter. Lovely! It was on sale from $549.00 down to $439.20. That's still pretty expensive for a vacuum cleaner. She said it would be on sale for two days and that Sears would conveniently handle the Dyson 5 year service guarantee. (If you want to buy a vacuum cleaner at the Pearlridge Sears store, go see Suzette. She's great!)
We really wanted to buy it but decided to check online to see what critics thought of the machine. Besides you KNOW we can never make up our minds that quickly.
We then stopped at the Base Exchange and discovered that they didn't have the model we wanted, but they had the cheaper model for about $50.00 MORE than Sears had it on sale for. Strange.
Our next stop was Target. They had the model we wanted. It was over $500.00!!! What the heck!
We stopped at a Vacuum Repair place and the very nice fellow said he can't fix Dyson because he can't get the parts. Hmmmm....
We were ready to go back to Sears and just buy the darn thing. However, I really wanted to check online so we went home instead.
Back at home I read the reviews. Apparently tall people complained that the wand was too short. Gee... I'm short... sort of. So no problem.
Checked Best Buy (online) to see if they had a better price...just in case. By golly! They had it on sale for $399.00! (No shipping charge! Just pick it up at the store.) Woo hoo! But what about the guarantee? How would Best Buy handle that?
I called Dyson and asked about their 5 year warranty if we bought their vacuum cleaner from some place other than Sears. What would happen if my machine broke? The very nice lady said Sears handles the guarantee no matter where you buy their machine. If the machine stops working, you call Dyson, get a work number and take your machine into Sears where they are supposed to repair it.
Called Best Buy in Aiea. The nice lady said they were all out, but their computer listed two Dysons available. She gave me the number to the Honolulu store.
Called the Honolulu store. Put on hold forever and a day! Finally a woman answered the hold I was put on to say they had NO machines in stock and none back ordered or available for purchase.
Went back online to the Best Buy site and bought the Dyson on sale. It stated that it was ready to be picked up at Best Buy Honolulu now!
I called Best Buy Honolulu back and talked to a rather not so friendly fellow which meant I had to resort to my teacher voice. He said they do have the Dyson ready for pick up. I asked him why the woman I talked to earlier said they didn't have any and wouldn't have any in the near future. He said she probably didn't know that it was in the storeroom (even though it's listed on their computer inventory, mind you).
I looked at the rating for Best Buy Honolulu. They got 1.5 out of 5 stars from 64 customer reviewers and I can see why. The Aiea store got a better rating but they don't have the vacuum cleaner available there.
Wouldn't you think that if a store had such terrible customer service ratings from so many people that they would do something about it? When I mentioned this to my brother, he burst out laughing saying he makes it a point not to go there.
Can you believe we made this decision in ONE DAY? That's a record! Now let's see if we really like it.
POSTSCRIPT 1: We went to Best Buy Honolulu to pick up our Dyson Animal Canister vacuum cleaner. I'm happy to report that the pick up counter person was very friendly and helpful. We brought the cleaner home, quickly assembled it and tried it out on our rather clean looking 4 X 6 feet oriental carpet. We could NOT believe how much dust it picked up!
Needless to say, we are quite happy and satisfied.
POSTSCRIPT 2: Uh oh! I just talked to my friend, Diane last night. She said their school had a Dyson and it broke within a year. Sigh...
Well... thank goodness for the 5 year parts and labor garantee.