2/8/16 Chronicles

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Happy Chinese New Year!

  Monday 2/1/16

I was sick a lot today, even though I was careful all weekend. I've decided I'm not going to eat out much any more. I know, I keep saying that. It's really hard. But I'm tried of being sick. I didn't go out all day, aside from getting dry cleaning and mail downstairs. Blah.

I'm really tired of being fat, too, so I'm finally going to really diet and exercise this time....it's hard, but I will. I need to. I look horrible and it's going to affect my health more.

I've been doing a lot of singing the past couple of days, and recording, watching TV, and working on my site. The weather was a little nicer, not so humid, too.

We had dinner here and watched TV. I went to bed pretty early.

This past week I recorded myself singing and playing guitar with my new video camera, so please Check it out!

  Tuesday 2/2/16

I woke up around 7:30 (too early!) and then went back to sleep for another hour after having breakfast. I had one chicken sausage and some coffee with hot chocolate (all sugar free). I was almost cold this morning. It was in the 70's, and I probably had slightly low blood sugar (that makes me cold). 

After waking up for a bit and doing some work, I got dressed and went to the gym. Well, I have 4 iPods but couldn't find the one I wanted. I can't find 2 out of the 4! And the other two were not charged.  So I figured I'd just use my phone, but then the headphones I took with me didn't work. I couldn't win! LOL! But it was fine. i did the treadmill for about a half hour, then I got a soda and snacks at the 7-11 and went home. I was really pooped.

I had phoned the water extraction place before going to the gym, and the woman there said she had to call me back after checking on what was going on (they still need to come back and fix this hole in our ceiling and the repairs on the wall). Then she called me back, but I was at the gym, and I couldn't hear her over the noise (a lot of the women here are very soft spoken, and it's hard to hear them on the phone). I went outside, and that didn't help, so I told her I'd call her back. Then when I got home, I completely forgot. Whoops! So I'll have to call her tomorrow.

I did more work on my site, and recording, and watching TV. Same old stuff, pretty much every day, except I don't always sing/record. I did some more guitar practicing. I'm still having trouble remembering to practice every day. I got out of the habit over the holidays.

It looks like a friend of ours might be coming to visit in early March, so that's great! We might also go to a conference in March, not sure yet. Oh, and a cousin I've only met once, a very long time ago, is coming to visit in April!

We ate home again for dinner. I had bought a salad at 7-11, so I just had that. I put the lettuce and other veggies in a bowl, cut them into smaller pieces, added the feta cheese and olives that came separately, added my turkey meat, almonds and my oil and vinegar. It was very yummy.

The Iowa primaries are weird, and fairly meaningless. Trump lost, and Cruz won, but they're both awful.  Hillary won, so that's good. Not that I care all that much.  Trump or Cruz have to win in New Hampshire or that's it for them, according to my favorite political science professor :) I think probably the same is true for Bernie. Hillary is beating him by a wide margin in the national polls. If it comes down to Trump versus Hillary, I think Hillary will win easily. Anyone else...she may have a tough time. I don't know. It all depends on whether all of those Bernie voters are easily discouraged or not and go out to vote for her against the horrible Cruz or Rubio, I guess.

I've been trying to figure out a way to improve my site as far as editing it. We use a very old program, Microsoft Frontpage, which they no longer support or update. Also, many have said that we should switch to a CMS (content management system), which would make it easier for us, apparently.  So far, all of the CMS's I've tried have been way too difficult for me to understand. I'm not a coder or a math person. The reason I love Frontpage is because it's what they call WYSIWYG, meaning, it's very easy to use, very user-friendly. It's a lot like Word, really.  So these other programs are not. I even paid someone to try to set it up for me in Joomla, to look like my site, but I still would have had to learn what all of the back-end things do, which is just too much time and work.  So I've been using Microsoft Expression Web the past few days. This is the program that they replaced Frontpage with. It's a bit different, but I like it ok. I still wish we had a CMS, though, because I want people who work on my site to be able to post articles etc. without Gisele and I having to do it, and for there to be comments like you see on blogs, stuff like that.

Speaking of my site...I have to do my taxes. UGH. I hate it. It's really not even that hard nowadays because most of the money my site makes is done via Paypal. It's still just something I dread. Because I have to take time away from other stuff, and it takes brain power!

I tried going to bed fairly early, and I was very tired, but the usual things kept me awake - spine pain and itching.

  Wednesday 2/3/16

I didn't really wake up for good until about noon, which is much later than I wanted to wake up. I had breakfast - one chicken sausage and a Greek yogurt. I just had a little time to work on my site and look at email before heading off to my guitar lesson at 1pm.

The weather's been a little nicer, so for once I didn't have to put my hair up in a pony tail, and the walk wasn't too hot. A little bit, but there was a lot of wind, which was nice. My lesson went great. My guitar teacher, Curtis Kamiya, has a concert every year with his students performing, at the Hard Rock. I went to it last year as an audience member, but it looks like I'm going to perform in this one, in April sometime. So we figured out which songs I'll perform. It looks like it will be "Anticipation" by Carly Simon and "All My Loving" by the Beatles. Hopefully it will be fun, and I won't mess up too much. He's in a band, so they play along with us, and he also sings harmony. This will be my first time performing in public with my guitar, first time playing an actual instrument besides my voice, with a band. With a GOOD band. He also gave me the chords for "Blue Bayou," which I've done many times both in karaoke and with my band.  It looks pretty easy.  Anyway, I have two months to work on those songs, so hopefully that will be good enough.

On the way home, I stopped at Wal-mart and picked up a few things, and then also stopped at Subway.  I'm not eating out much any more, so if I get sick, I'll know it's the fault of Subway! I don't eat the bread, so it shouldn't be making me sick. Their turkey and cheese is supposed to be gluten free.

I talked to the people at A1 Water Extraction today and it looks like the soonest they'll be repairing the middle room is next week. It's so annoying. We have boxes and furniture all over the house, especially in the hallway and our bedroom. Look at all the trouble I went to, to have the place cleaned, and now it's in total disarray. And I can't move it back because they have to paint and stuff. Also, they moved the bed and other things so I don't want to have to move it again.

Speaking of playing with a band, I called this guy Glenn back that phoned me in November, but I haven't heard from him. I'll probably try once more, and if I don't hear back from him, I'll contact this other guy that had emailed me. I hope it works out.

Two days now of exercising and watching what I eat. Yay! I hope to lose the 50 or so pounds I need to get rid of.

I was sick again, probably from something I ate this weekend, so I went back to sleep for a few hours.  This is the other reason I can't get up too early! I keep taking naps. It's hard. I'm old...LOL!

I spent quite a lot of time this evening texting with my SIL and also with my brother Stephen! That was fun.

I've been working so much for the past week, on my site, that today I've just had a hard time forcing myself to do anything....

  Thursday 2/4/16

I got up around 12:30.... that's still too late! I need to go to the gym.

I had some turkey and cheese, and a yogurt, for breakfast. I still think that I might be allergic to whey because whenever I drink milk, or eat ice cream, or yogurt, I get very congested. But not cheese.

Apparently the people in the apartment above us are just waiting to talk to the insurance company about the estimates for repairing the damage to their floor and our ceiling. I hope they hurry up!

Bad allergies today....eyes keep watering, nose running, both itching, and feeling lethargic. Whew!

After lying about for a little while, I finished the work on my site and then got up, got dressed and went to the gym. I'm glad I did it. I bought new earbuds yesterday, and charged my iPod, so I was ready! The music makes the time go by so much faster.

We went to J.J. Dolan's for drinks. I got a plain salad there to take home for later. We had hot dogs for dinner at home.

I'm very happy because I figured out how to configure Expression Web so that it got rid of the dark colors. I was having trouble seeing the page! Now it's way more like MS Frontpage. Yay!

David's leaving tomorrow for a business trip. I have the weekend to myself. Unfortunately, my friends are all busy or out of town. Bummer! I will have to take myself shopping or something. I wish there was daytime karaoke I could go to! That would be fun. There's one place near us that has it starting at 6pm, but only on Wednesdays.

I just finished my taxes. That is, figuring out how much my site took in, and how much I spent on it. Then I send it to the accountants. They do the hard part. It's not so hard for me... Not like the old days, when the ad companies would send me checks, and I would throw the check stubs in a drawer (most of the time), and then try to find them all and figure it out. Now everything is online. Most of it is via Paypal and the rest I can easily figure out online or in my email or through credit cards online. So it didn't take that long. It's kind of painful, though, because I spend way more than I take in, and I take in a lot less than I used to. One year I know I made almost $10,000, but now it's a whole lot less.

On the other hand, I spent half as much this year because last year I had paid off my work credit card.... so I guess that's not so bad. So glad I crossed that off my to-do list for another year!

I've been reading this book by my foster mom's husband, David. It's a very interesting book. He's had a really great life. He's a professional folk singer who also used to put on plays, and has done some movies, and was in the Roger Wagner Chorale. He's met and worked with a lot of amazing and famous people.  He and I might chat on the phone or Skype soon.

Wow, I had sent a friend in Northern California a Christmas card, and he moved a while ago, I guess, so it got sent back. I sent it December 15 and it just now came back! A month and a half!!! WTF???

I forget that we're in a sort of tourist area, being in Chinatown. The other day I was walking back from the grocery store and I looked up and suddenly saw about 30 faces staring down at me from a tourist trolley, while the driver was saying whatever over the loudspeaker. I had just crossed the street, and they were stopped at the light. That was weird. Kind of like suddenly being on stage! I felt like saying, "Wait, let me get my guitar..." LOL!

I went to bed pretty late...like dawn or around there.

  Friday 2/5/16

I slept in today and woke up for good around 1:30. I was sick a lot today, too. I mostly took the day off from exercising. I did walk over to the Wal-mart to buy some blank DVD's and a few other things, which is not quite a mile, but I was rushing and dragging my cart with me.

The streets down here in Chinatown are all cleared out for the big festivities this weekend. They had their big parade last weekend, but they're having a sort of mini-parade with dragons and fireworks, drummers etc. tonight. It's pretty exciting, but loud.

We went to Murphy's for dinner. I just got a salad to go because I was not hungry. I had McDonald's for lunch, but mostly...I was still being sick. Anyway, on the way back, we ran into the crowd with the parade. I took some video and photos, but then they threw a bunch of firecrackers into the street! Not too safe if you ask me. I was wearing shorts, as usual, and my legs kept getting pelted with whatever those firecrackers were throwing out at the crowd. It hurt, so I ran around the corner. Not fun. I hate to think what would happen if any little kids were around - they could get that stuff, whatever it was, in their eye. There were police there for the crowds, but they didn't seem to care.  It was really loud and there was the smell of burning stuff. So, it was fun, and exciting, but also really loud and annoying.

We live right at the edge of where all this is happening, so we hear it a lot, all night. Here it is, a few hours after we came home from dinner, and it's still going on and making lots of noise. Constant drumming sounds punctuated by the sounds of firecrackers. It sounds like it's right outside our building, but it's not. I can't actually see it off our lanai, just hear it. These streets really echo.

David just left for the airport, for this business trip. He's not going anywhere I'd like to go, but still, it sucks. I wish I had someone here to visit with, like Mary last year. Tomorrow I'll probably go to the Chinese Cultural Center across the street; they're supposed to have booths, so maybe I'll go, and buy some Chinese New Year stuff. I wish I could eat the Chinese food - I'm sure it's very yummy. I don't dare take a chance, though, unless I want to get really sick. Just as well because it's all very fattening and full of carbs.

I'm considering going to the mall or something on Sunday, by myself....  Thank goodness Cynthia is coming back on Tuesday, so we'll probably go to the Mardi Gras festivities down here.

We live in a building called Honolulu Tower, and they have had workmen here working on the lanais for a long time now. They use this scaffolding system to go up and down, and access the lanais.  They're going to start on ours in March. It's going to be hugely annoying and inconvenient. We'll have to take our rugs and chairs off the lanai for over a month, and store them inside somewhere, and probably have to keep all of the lanai doors shut because they said it will be very dusty and there will be strong odors. And we'll have to keep all of the blinds closed, or be dressed all of the time between around 8-5 every day. What a pain in the butt. I'm sure not looking forward to that.

I stayed up until about 3:30am, working on my site and watching TV. Very quiet here by myself! :) I don't mind it. It's nice only having to be concerned with one person for a change.

  Saturday 2/6/1

I woke up really late, almost 2pm. I was a little sick again, but not nearly as bad...

About a quarter to 4, I got up off my lazy butt and took a shower, then I went across the street to the Chinese Cultural Plaza, which is a square building across the street. It's sort of a strip mall, with a few stores, offices and some restaurants, but it has a center area where they have a big stage and events.  This is the last of the lunar new year festivities. They didn't have too much I wanted to buy. I got a Year of the Monkey 2016 T-shirt, and a cute little monkey figurine that's made out of something fragile (porceline?). You can see the pics on my Instagram. They had many great food booths that all looked and smelled awesome, but I can't eat most of it since it either has soy sauce or wheat flour. They did have a Thai booth, manned by a guy that is US-born, so he spoke English well, with no accent. (Otherwise it's really hard for me to communicate with people about what's in their food) I got two satay sticks (basically meat on a stick, with peanut sauce for dipping), which were wonderful. I should have gotten more. I also got some peanut butter curry stuff (I think I had it the year before last when I was at the same event).  They also had a booth selling my favorite cookies, macarons (not sure what that has to do with Chinese, since they're French cookies). I wish I'd bought more of those, too! They are great. Even better than the others I've come across.  The girl selling them suggested I put them in the freezer. I replied, "They're not going to last that long."  She completely understood. They were selling them 4 for $6, which I know sounds expensive, but I've seen them before for $6 apiece, so....

Oh, funny story. When I was first looking around, and I saw the little monkey figurine, and I asked how much, the woman replied, "$28," so I said, um, never mind... but then I didn't see anything else I liked that much, so I came back. This time her husband was there, and he said, "$19!"  LOL!  I'm sure I still paid way too much for it, but that's okay. I had seen a little stuffed lady bug at another booth, and the guy wanted $5 for it. Now, $5 is not that much, but I doubt this thing was even worth a dollar. I was actually surprised, when I said, oh, too much, and walked away, that he didn't say, "Wait! $3!" because that's what they usually do around here, especially in Chinatown or any small booths in the tourist area. Well, that's okay, I didn't like it that much.

Anyway, it was fun, but I didn't stay that long. I went to the ATM in the liquor store partway through. I forgot there was one there. Usually we go to the ATM that's another block farther. Stupid us.  They didn't seem to have any events on the big stage; they were just playing loud music. Too bad. I probably should have gone earlier...there's usually dancing and/or live music.

I notice on their web site that they have "Karaoke class!" That's hilarious. I wish I had the nerve to go check it out and see what it's like (if it's not all in Chinese!).

I went to get a soda at Subway, and then I came home for good. I had some of my Thai food and cookies. Heavenly! I've been texting and phoning David while he's away at his business trip, of course. I miss him, but otherwise, I don't really mind being alone...

Tonight I'm just working on my site and the usual stuff! I'm still learning how to use Expression Web. In Frontpage, if I went to "recent sites," it listed my other sites, and I could open more than one at a time. That doesn't work now; it will close the first site to open the second. However, I found out that if I open the program again from my desktop shortcut, then it will open a second window. Does the same thing, but extra work. There are several things like that in EW that I'm not too happy about.

One of the people I rely on most on my website let me down this weekend...so I stayed up really late, like until 7 am, to do the work that she was supposed to do. SIGH. Hopefully I haven't lost her for good. It took a long time to train her to do the job, and it really helps me out a lot if I don't have to do it.

  Sunday 2/7/16

I set my alarm for 2, but I really woke up about a half hour later. I was very tired, and it took me a while to really wake up. I don't count all of the times I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom, drink water or am awakened by noises! I slept pretty well, though, because it was not hot for a change, so I closed the lanai door, which really cuts down on the noise. I even closed the blinds really tightly so that I would have very little light come in. I slept like a log for most of the morning.

I'm really enjoying the beautiful weather. About 4:30 I got dressed and walked down to the harbor and got take-out. It was just perfect out, with some wind and sun, but just really nice. You may think Honolulu is always like that, but it's not!

I was stopped at the light outside our place when I heard a commotion behind me. A young Millennial-looking guy with a beard and pony-tail was grabbing an older guy to keep him from walking away. The older guy looked a bit dazed. The Millennial was explaining to another guy, from what I had could tell, that he had stopped to ask for help, that he saw this old guy fall down a while ago, and he had been trying to help him, and that he had big gash on his head. He had been trying to find a cop for help but couldn't. I guess he didn't have a cell phone, so he was asking the other guy to call for help. Meanwhile, the old man sat down at the bus stop, with the other two guys' help. That was weird. My light changed, so I kept walking. Poor old guy. I hope that turned out okay! Life in the big city.

Anyway, I had quite an afternoon that I must tell you about. It's pretty unbelievable. You know, we eat out a lot, but I had the WORST RESTAURANT WORKER EVER! I'm not kidding, nor exaggerating. So I went to this restaurant, that we go to a LOT (usually they have very good service, so this was not normal for them). I ordered their pan-grilled citrus chicken, which I always get because it's delicious as well as healthy.  So, this guy that took the order, I guess he's like the host? The person who seats you and takes the take-out orders, and answers the phone. I'm not exaggerating when I say I had to tell him about a dozen times what I wanted. Now, granted, it was loud in there, but that wasn't the problem. He seemed either stoned, or drunk, or like he hadn't slept in days. He's very handsome, and seems nice, kind of charming. Maybe he's just the type that's very lazy and gets by on his looks and charm? I have no idea. But he was not acting like a normal person.

I told him what I wanted, and he tried to find it on the cash register/computer screen but couldn't. He mumbled something about how they changed the menu. So then he took out a PIECE OF PAPER and wrote down my name (as suzzann) and then wrote "pan chkn" and the sides I ordered, I guess. I didn't see what else he wrote, but I was already dubious about whether he would get this right, based on the fact that I had to keep repeating what I wanted MANY times. That dish comes as either chicken or salmon, so I had to keep reminding him I wanted chicken, not fish. OK, so then he said, it'll be ready in 10-15 minutes, so I walked around, went to a little store there to get a soda and some ice cream bars, and took photos of the harbor. I came back, and I stood there, and he didn't recognize me one bit. I reminded him, said that I was wondering if my order was ready. He had a take-out order sitting there, in a bag, and he said, "Zina? Veggie burger"?  I said, no, Suzanne, pan-grilled citrus chicken...and had to repeat it a few times. He said it would be another 10 minutes or so, so I sat outside on a bench. He walked out a few minutes later and AGAIN asked me what I had ordered. I'm kind of getting more and more annoyed. I got bored and a little while later, walked back to the front counter to stand there and wait. He said, "Sorry, it's taking a while, since it's fish." I said, no, "CHICKEN, not fish! Not veggie burger!" I was really starting to lose it.  So a while later he finally brings out my order, and I open it up and it's FISH! I said, this is not at all what I ordered. So he says, sorry, let me go fix this.  In the meantime, another guy who works there (perhaps the manager) had seen me standing here a lot, so he finally came over. The phone had also been ringing off the hook and no one had answered it. He asked me if he could help me, so I said, well, I ordered takeout over a half hour ago, and it's still not ready. I said, "I don't know what's wrong with that guy, he seems like he's either drunk, or stoned, or hasn't had much sleep? I mean, I don't want to get anyone in trouble, he seems like a nice guy, but..."  And then that other guy came back and AGAIN brought me the wrong dish. This was chicken, finally, but had some sort of soy sauce dressing on it, so I explained that I'm allergic to that and couldn't eat it.  The stoner guy took it back to the kitchen, and the manager, very embarrassed and apologetic, said, "I see what you mean. Yeah, I'm going to have to send him home."  and then he went back to the kitchen, got my order going, and put a rush on it. Then I went to pay and then he said he was going to void it out, that it was free. I did have to wait for him to go get me a bag after he got the food, but that didn't take too long. The other guy, who didn't look all that bothered by what had happened, kind of gave me a half-assed apology/excuse, saying that the game was distracting him. I just laughed. I just found it all so funny because at that point, what else can you do? I chatted with him about the Superbowl until the manager brought back the bag with the food. I mean, OMG!!! My ice cream bars were pretty melted, too.  I did assure the manager that I eat there all of a time, so I know that this is not typical. He felt really bad about it, poor guy. I wished them both a good day and left. I was just finally so glad to be on my way! LOL!

It was such a nice day, with such a beautiful view, and so many people around (tourists as well as many football fans)...you can't get too mad in that situation. Even though I was really hungry at that point. I mean, this was basically my breakfast and it was 3 hours after I woke up. I finally got home at 5:40, over an hour since I left. The place is only half a mile away! One of the many reasons I like going there is because it's exactly a half mile away, so I get a mile's walk in just going there. Then the food is great and it has a beautiful view.  But what a sorry adventure that was!

When I got home, I was just so exhausted from that whole ordeal, so I sat on the couch and ordered "The Intern" on Pay-Per-View. It was a great movie and put me in a better mood. DeNiro is always wonderful, and this was a nice little comedy. I have a stack of movie DVD's sitting here, too, but I just didn't feel like putting one in. So lazy!

Here's a tip - don't ever rent a place that's just above a barbecue area! These smells are just always driving me crazy. We have a barbecue in our building as well, but on the other side. We've never used it. But I'm just always craving steak from smelling all the grilling that goes on at the place next door! ACK. They seem to grill day and night.

I bought a pork loin last week and just now got around to dealing with it...hopefully it's ok. It smells ok. I'm marinating it now and will broil it tomorrow. Pork always tastes good. I usually make this recipe from a Chinese cookbook, but I didn't have any of the right ingredients, so I just did a lot of substituting. Should be good, though, anyway. I'll let ya know!

I was going to go do more stuff this weekend, but I got lazy. That's not new! Tomorrow morning I have a conference call chat at 8 am so I have to get up for that. Tuesday I have one at 10 am and possibly a one-on-one interview as well. Keeps me busy! I hope to get out some tomorrow, maybe go to the gym.  Tuesday is Mardi Gras. Cynthia is coming back, so hopefully she'll want to come down here with Tom, and we can enjoy the festivities. David comes back Wednesday! Yay!

I didn't watch the Superbowl...I'm not a sports fan at all. If the Chargers were in it, maybe I would pay a little more attention, but not much.

I've been a bit chilly this evening. I even had some hot chocolate.  I just looked up the temperature online. It's 65! Yippeeee!!! I'm wearing SOCKS! I closed the lanai door and don't have a fan running. I wish this could last all year. I know that people who live in really cold climates will not be sympathetic....

Have a great week!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Don't forget to also check out my TV Blog! Both are updated about once a week.

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