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  Monday February 22, 2016

My brother arrived today for his visit, so I was running around all day to finish getting ready. I got up a bit late, around 1, and I was sick a lot today with my usual gluten problems, but otherwise I did a lot. I had to mail some stuff at the post office (that took a while because some of them were going to Canada, and I was short some envelopes and had to address them at the post office), then I went to Wal-mart and got a mattress topper (hopefully it made our cheap twin bed more comfortable) and a few other things.  Then I stopped at McDonald's to pick up lunch. I got home, had lunch, and barely rested, then I headed out again, this time to go to the grocery store. David had gone for me over the weekend, but I still had more to get, like fruits and veggies.   Then I went out again to one of the flower stores to get more flowers for the apartment, and a lei for my brother. Traditionally, if someone visits you here, you should give them a lei. We didn't pick him up from the airport, so I gave it to him after he arrived here at our condo.  Anyway, I had bought some other flowers for our place a few weeks ago, but some of them are dying now, so I got new ones. I like mostly the really Hawaiian looking flowers.  Safeway had carnations, roses and other flowers that don't particularly look Hawaiian, so that was disappointing. I believe their leis were way more expensive, too.

It was pretty hot and humid today. 81 degrees and 63% humidity. Looks like it's going to be in the 70's the rest of the week, so that's good!

David met me at the lei shop on his way home, which was very fortuitous because this one bouquet I bought was in a heavy glass vase. After we got home, and I made him dinner, I had to clean the bathrooms, put the mattress topper on the bed and remake it, start the laundry, put away the stuff I bought, do the dishes, take a shower, get dressed, and open the curtains around the place.  Then we watched some TV, and I was more or less relaxing, but I was a bit hyper, waiting for my brother.

I had emailed him about how he needed to take a cab from the airport and let us know when he was leaving, so we could meet him downstairs to pay the cab and show him up, as well as where to tell the cab to go etc. but somehow he missed all that, so he was surprised when I texted him and mentioned taking a cab.  Well, that's him, you have to know him...LOL! Anyway, it all worked out. We had a nice evening, chatting and catching up. It's funny how with some people, even if you don't see them very often, or talk to them much, you can just pick up as if the years didn't matter.  That's how we are. I have two other brothers, and I love them both, but I don't think we're quite as alike and we don't have as much shared history; I guess that's the right way to put it. We get along best, too. Well, Stephen is very easy going and always has been, so everyone gets along pretty well with him.

It should be a fun week. I'm looking forward to it. I had hoped to get to bed early, and I'm very tired, but the usual things kept me awake when I tried. Allergies (Itching, coughing, and watery eyes) and my spine problem (pain in my neck and shoulder) and then also heartburn.  I'll try again in a few minutes.

We're just going to take it easy tomorrow...have breakfast, walk around etc.

  Tuesday February 23, 2016

We had quite a full day. We went to Zippy's for lunch. The food there was not great....I just had a salad.

We walked over to the Chinese Cultural Center to see the stores etc. there. I bought a shave ice and we shared it (I wanted him to try it for the first time, since it's a local Hawaiian delicacy). We walked around Chinatown a little bit and took some pictures. We had to stop a few times because I was a bit sick here and there... We sat for a while in Smith & King to cool off and have drinks. We had a nice long chat with the bartender, who was very nice and chatty. Then we walked down to the Aloha Tower. We went up to the top and looked out over the downtown and the harbor. I took a bunch of photos. Then we walked around the Aloha Tower Marketplace a little bit, stopped in the student bookstore and the other little student convenience store, and walked around some more. David was also there, separate from us, participating in a discussion about the election, for his university. So funny that we were both there at the same time.

Then we walked home and changed for dinner. We were going to meet David at Epic, but it was closed for a private party, so we went to Downbeat instead. Which was great because it's taco Tuesday! :)  Then we all went back to our place. David finished packing and left for the airport. Stephen and I watched TV all night, binge-watched "Supergirl."  We had fun. I cut up some veggies, cheeses and sausage for us to snack on, with some ranch dressing and hummus.  Nice and healthy, for the most part. I forgot to take a picture of it. D'oh!

We're going to bed a little early so we can get up at 9am tomorrow...give us time to walk over to Kaiser, so I can get my blood sugar tested, and then we're walking the rest of the way to Ward Center, maybe doing some shopping and have lunch. Then we'll meet Tom and Cynthia at 2 for the movies. We're seeing "Deadpool!" Yay!

  Wednesday February 24, 2016

I usually leave my cell phone on all night, in case of emergency calls. I rarely get any telemarketing calls. This morning I got TWO between 6am and 7 am. UGH. After the second one, I turned down my phone. So annoying. I had the clock set for 9 am, but I was tired, so I tried to go back to sleep, but I ended up just getting up at 9:30 instead. After we got ready, we walked over to Starbucks for some breakfast. I had planned to walk over to our destination, but I had a cut on my foot, so we took a cab over to Kaiser so I could do some paperwork and get my blood sugar taken. Then we took another cab over to Ward Warehouse to walk around and do some shopping. We then later walked over to Buca di Beppo for lunch. We shared a good salad. Then we met Tom and Cynthia at the movies (next door). We saw the movie "Deadpool," which is really good. It was hilarious, in fact.

After we got home, we ordered pizza for dinner from California Pizza Kitchen, via Aloha2Go. Now I'm struggling to stay awake... I took a little nap.

"Dead Pool" was such a good comic book movie. It had a lot of great sarcastic humor, and it was just very well done. Yes, it was very violent and had a lot of swearing and some nudity, so it's not for kids. I would advise that if you're an adult comic book fan, you should watch it. Even if you're not, you might like it for the humor.

We've been watching "Supergirl" on TV, catching up.  My brother and I are both geeks, so we can never get enough comic book TV shows and movies :)

I stayed up until about 3:15am...

  Thursday February 25, 2016

I set my alarm for 9am and actually got up, and stayed up. Yay! I was still very sleepy for quite a while. Stephen got up around 11 and got ready. We went over to Scratch for lunch, but we were waiting a really long time, so we left and went to Grondin. It was delicious.  Stephen wanted to visit some stores that sell Magic the Gathering gaming cards, so first we hiked over to this store called Armchair Adventure in the Dole Cannery mall. I had only been to the movie theater there. I had no idea that there were a few stores and a food court there. It was a bit hot, so I was just glad to sit down in the air conditioning (even though it wasn't all that strong, IMHO). I got a soda, then we rested a few minutes, then we hoofed it over to a comic book store called Other Realms. First we stopped at the Best Buy and bought a few things. The little mall next to it is where the comic book store is. The comic book store is a really good one. I bought a Star Wars stuffed Taunton and some Star Wars card protectors.  Then we walked the long way back, stopping only briefly to take some photos and to stop at a convenience store to buy some water. We were very hot and tired. I think we probably walked about 3 miles. It really wore us out.

We rested a bit at home and then went over to the Hukilau, which is a restaurant in the Executive Center. That place has really gone downhill. First of all, they pared their menu down. Secondly, the waitress was not very nice (not rude or anything, just not as friendly as most Hawaii waitresses are). Thirdly, it took about 40 minutes to get our food, and there was only one other table there. We took it home, and it was ok, nothing special. Too bad because it used to have really good food, a large menu, and nice wait staff.

After eating, we rested a little bit more, and then we played on my guitars. That was a lot of fun. We were both pretty tired after that. I just watched TV and did some laundry, and he played games on his laptop. We both went to bed early!

  Friday February 26, 2016

We were both pretty tired from yesterday. Stephen slept in and stayed home most of the day to rest. I got up around 9:30am and did some work on my site. Around 1:15 I went to Starbucks to get coffee, and then I walked over to my guitar lesson about a half hour later. On the way there, I always pass this parking garage called Makai Garage. There I saw some kind of hen and 4 or 5 little baby chicks! So adorable.

My lesson went great! I stopped at Long's on the way home, and then Subway to get a soda. My brother and I left about 4:15 to go down to Waikiki. He was hungry, so I took him to Rumfire, which is one of my favorite places on Waikiki. It has good food and a wonderful view of the ocean. We sat outside. I just had some veggies with dip.

Then we walked down the beach, taking photos...eventually we got to Hilton Hawaiian Village. I changed into some nicer clothes, and then we headed towards Bali's for dinner. We had a little trouble finding it at first, but eventually we did. We had 7:00 reservations there to meet our friends George and Lena. We got a nice table right by the ocean (I should have taken some more photos, but I forgot -- it was pretty dark, anyway).  This restaurant is a bit slow, and we were having fun chatting, so it took us a while to figure out what we wanted. I had the fish special, a local fish called mongchong. It was really delicious. Lena had ordered some asparagus that she shared with me. Stephen had also ordered some coconut rice that I shared.  I had some wine as well.  We had SUCH a great time, chatting and laughing. OMG it was so much fun! 

At 7:45 they show fireworks right on the beach there, and we went out to the lanai in the restaurant, along with everyone else, and watched them. They are right there, so we had a great view. I took a few pics and videos as well.  Even though Lena and George live near there and can see them off their lanai, I think they enjoyed them, too.

After dinner, the waiter gave us complimentary desserts because the dinner took so long, and we also got the kamaina discount (for locals). I always forget to ask for that. I had chocolate mousse. Yum. We had so much fun that we didn't leave there until almost a quarter to ten!  Stephen and I took a cab home...

I've been texting David. He's still having some problems with his ear and the end of his cold. Poor baby!

Now I'm going to bed because we have to get up really early tomorrow!

  Saturday February 27, 2016

Well, I woke up twice this morning from itching, and watery eyes, and I can't get back to sleep, so I'm up at 4:45 am. Not good! :(

We're leaving this morning at 6:30am to go on a tour of the island. Should be loads of fun. This is my first time on a regular bus tour with strangers around the island. I've had 4 personal tours (two with people David works with). I looked for another one online, but they were all super expensive. I'm sure it will be fine. I just worry about being on a long bus trip because of my gluten allergy problems (needing to find a bathroom quickly). Hopefully it won't be an issue today.

I got very lucky on our trip - no problems with needing a bathroom! Plus they did stop quite often for bathrooms, anyway. I forgot that they do get some elderly people on these tours, so I wasn't the only one who needed to go frequently. We didn't have any super elderly people but...old enough.

We had a great time, although both of us were very tired, so we were a little cranky with each other. No big deal or anything. We had to take a cab down to the Ala Moana Hotel (which is the hotel on Waikiki closest to us) for the bus to pick us up; they won't pick up anywhere else besides Waikiki. Thankfully, they have a Starbucks there, so I was able to get coffee, and we got breakfast.  Our driver and tour guide were both very nice. The guide was this young, cheerful guy, quite handsome. He had an 1800's style mustache (curled up) and is also an extra on "Hawaii Five-0!"  He had just done some shooting yesterday downtown with the show. Darn, wish I'd known they were there. We would have liked to have watched that.

We went to the other hotels to pick up the other passengers. This one woman was a bit lost, and she was at the wrong Hilton (there are two, so I guess there was some confusion), but we just swung back and picked her up. This is one of the cheaper tours at $99 each, so it was a bare bones kind of tour, but they were very nice and it was well-run. Unlike other tours, they didn't stop at Hanauma Bay, which is fine because we plan to go there ourselves later in the week. I just wanted to make sure we saw the basic sights and the sea turtles. I also wanted to see a waterfall, but this one didn't go there. You may recall that previously, we took a personal tour the last two times I had visitors, and it was great, aside from the owner, who was a real jerk. This tour was not as good as that one, but at least the people were pleasant. The bus was full of people. I had a nice young Aussie couple next to me, full of tattoos. There was a couple from Arizona that I chatted with frequently. There was a family with little girls and one baby that cried far too much, though. It's just not a good idea to take a baby on a tour bus. The mom should stay behind or get a babysitter.

Anyway, the tour showed us much of the same sights, but the previous tour was much better about giving us more details about the locals, and about history, plants etc. We went to Diamond Head, looked around, took many photos, then to many other beaches and lookouts. I've been to most of them, but it's always nice to see the beach and other beautiful sites here. I took many photos, which you can see on my Instagram feed. Or wait until I put them all up on Facebook, probably later this week.

We stopped for lunch at this little place that mostly sells local fresh shrimp, called Tsue's. Neither of us likes shrimp, but they had a few other things. I had a tuna salad, and he had a tuna sandwich. He's a very picky eater, and I have the allergies to worry about.  It was ok, nothing special. The setting was very picturesque, right next to this little inlet where people were going by in canoes or kayaks. There was this big Muscovy duck that ran out and was begging for food! Also, they had a little cat there begging for food, and a wooden table-thing with a box on top, with little turtles on it. We also saw a sea turtle swimming by under the water. The water was very clear there. Unfortunately, my phone battery died, so I didn't get to take any more photos at that point, but Stephen had his. He had it set on video, and neither of us could figure out how to put it back on still photos, so later on I did take some screencaps from his videos instead. 

After lunch, we went to what the tour calls "Turtle Beach." There is no beach with that name. It may have been Laniakea. It was not as nice as the beach we went to on the personal tour. By that I mean, the sand was very rocky both on the beach and the part of the beach that's under the water.  The previous beach I went to, which was with the Turtle Bay resort, had very soft sand. Not that it ruined the trip or anything... I did still enjoy going in the water and jumping on the waves. For whatever reason, Stephen didn't go in the water much. He did see a big sea turtle that was on the sand, so that's good! We saw many birds along our trip, too, like roosters and egrets. He took this video of me wading in the ocean.

I didn't like the bathrooms there...the floor was filthy, so I got this gross stuff all over my feet. I hated changing in there. Funny thing...I forgot to wipe off my backside after I was in the ocean, so apparently I had lots of sand there. So I dressed in my nice clean clothes. Then later I went to sleep right away, and when I woke up, I had sand all over my sheets and on my backside! LOL! At least it was dry...

After that, we went to the "tourist trap" places, the macadamia nut farm and the Dole Plantation. I haven't been to Dole since 1992 when we visited here for the first time. We didn't take the tour there, just went to the gift shops. I bought a few things and we had some pineapple whip, which is their specialty ice cream made from pineapple. I forgot to check if it was gluten free or not. Also, I had a bite of a free sample they were giving out of white chocolate, and I didn't read the ingredients carefully, and that did have wheat. Darn it! I've been so careful the rest of the week.

I fell asleep on the bus, but fortunately, I managed to hear the tour guide mention that we were in Chinatown, so I said, "Oh! I live here! Can you let us off here?" and thankfully, they did! They let us off at the Aloha Tower. Close enough!  That saved us a cab ride.  We picked up dinner at Gordon Biersch and then walked home with our many heavy packages. We got back before 5pm, so it was a fairly early-day trip.  We were exhausted and both of us went to sleep pretty early, around 8. I was literally falling asleep, barely made it to bed.

  Sunday February 28, 2016

We took it pretty easy today and just stayed downtown. I woke up around 10:30 and did some work until Stephen woke up. He rarely wakes up before noon. I don't blame him because he's 12 years older than me, doesn't get much exercise, and was probably jetlagged as well. We're both traditionally night owls, too.

We just walked to Downbeat for breakfast/lunch; most of the other restaurants down here are not open on Sundays, anyway. We then went to the Verizon store and I chatted with the guy about how my cell phone has been very slowly lately. He agreed that I probably need a new battery for my phone. His system was down, so he couldn't check my account, but he said that if I have the insurance with them, then it won't cost much to get a new battery. Otherwise, he told me about a place in town that sells them as well.  Then we went shopping in the nearby Walmart. We had fun looking at stuff. We stopped at Subway on the way home to get some sandwiches for later. It was not a very exciting day, but we had fun hanging out.

In the meantime, I got an email from the guy in Alabama who does our taxes. I had sent him the information for my site back in early February, but he never got it. I sent it again, and he still didn't get it. I had to finally send it to his wife's email account for them to get it. Sheesh.

Most nights we've been catching up on episodes of "Supergirl" on my DVR. I forgot to record the Oscars, but I'll get it On Demand instead. We watched this Jason Stratham DVD we picked up at Walmart called "Parker."  He loves action movies. It was allright.  I stayed up pretty late working on my site. I have a lot of work to catch up on that I've been neglecting.

  Monday February 29, 2016

I got up around 10:30 when the dry cleaner guy came by, and then I stayed up. This repair company has been fixing our building's lanais for a few years now. They're finally getting to ours, but the notice I received said they would start March 7. Well, two of those guys were on my lanai this morning. Thankfully I was already awake and dressed. They had to put some covering on one of the railings. That was annoying. They were being loud, chatting, so I asked them to keep in down, since my brother was still sleeping.

Around noon, we walked across the street to the Chinese Cultural Center because a vendor there had mentioned that her son might want to sell his Magic: The Gathering cards to Stephen, but unfortunately, he changed his mind...

Then we went over to the Ala Moana Center, this huge 4-level mall here. It's an open-air mall, so it gets pretty warm walking around, and it's also a very confusing mall. It doesn't help that the little paper maps and the big mall directory are not the same. I believe we figured out that the paper maps are more up-to-date. So some stores were there and some were not. I wanted to have lunch at Mariposa, which is in Neiman Marcus, but they were booked up.  We went to Starbucks first and then did some walking around to find this place called Eggs N Things. Turns out that it's on the outer part of the mall, but we found it eventually! I think we were both starving by then; it was after 1pm. They did mark food as gluten free, so I had their eggs and mango sausage. It was ok; no reason to go back there, though. They only have a few things I can eat. If they'd had gluten free pancakes, bread or waffles, I'd definitely come back! No such luck.

I got very sick the last two days, probably from that candy I ate accidentally. Between bathroom visits, we went to Brookstone, the Disney store, and the Animation store. We stopped at Bubba Gump's bar for a few minutes to sit down and rest, and have some sodas. The bartender was very nice and said we didn't have to pay, but I paid him, anyway...Still, it's very nice of him. He liked our T-shirts, too. Stephen has a great collection of shirts that he's picked up at San Diego Comic-Con and other places. I wore a different Star Wars shirt every day he was here :)

Stephen was looking for game stores to see if he could find Magic cards he didn't have.  We also stopped a little later at the food court there, so I could get more to eat and to rest. We got back home just before 5.

We watched "Tomorrowland" and finished watching "Supergirl." We also watched tonight's "Castle." We both liked the movie, but I thought the plot could be better. It was a bit silly and didn't make a lot of sense. (This review  is one I agree with as to why it was a bit disappointing. Too many unclear and unresolved plot threads) Stephen did laundry and changed his bedsheets. I went to bed about 10:30 and again, could barely keep my eyes open.

Tomorrow he's supposed to take the bus to Pearl Harbor. I've been there, done that, enough. I'll have some time to work on my site, clean up, and I'll probably go back to the Verizon store. David's flying home today from his business trip. Can't wait to see him! Have a great week...

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

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