Shopping with a Holiday-Fried Brain, Giants in the Hills and Cashew Moments


Like so many others during the holiday season, I find myself making multiple trips to the grocery store to buy that one  special ingredient for a recipe that I only make once a year.  As I wandered up and down the grocery store aisle, I literally ran into a display featuring “Entertainment Crackers.” That held my attention briefly as I wondered what type of entertainment crackers could supply. Do they sing, dance or tell jokes?

I finished my shopping and returned to my car. I couldn’t help but notice that the inside of the windshield was still coated with  a slightly-oily mystery substance. I told my son I had tried cleaning the windshield with the cleaner the manufacture recommended, but it hadn’t work. He suggested I use crumpled newspaper and glass cleaner. I hadn’t done that yet, but I would.

Given the state of my fried brain, I began to wonder about the cleaning process. I read that newspaper subscriptions are down and very few people actually buy newspapers with any regularity. I also read that most people now rely on social media for news, especially their smart phones. Did that mean that these newspaper- deprived, smart-phone users would have to use their smart phones to clean the windshield? Does Siri do windows?

One of the best things about the holidays is spending time with family and friends, reliving memories and sharing stories. Coming back from one  family gathering, we drove through an area of California that has low, rounded hills. In the Spring the hills are bright green, but now they are covered with a low brown growth that looks like suede from a distance. There are no deep canyons, only  soft, undulating bumps. Our family knows the area well. During the drive, my son reminded me that  when he was little, he thought the hills were sleeping giants and the brown growth was a blanket covering the giants.

My beautiful daughter-in-law and handsome son visited from out-of-state. They are wonderful to talk to. They shared a story about cashews. They discovered that they really liked cashews and had a supply on hand at home. When my daughter-in-law’s parents visited from Korea, they asked the name of the curiously shaped nuts.

Neither my son nor daughter-in-law could remember the name. They decided to avoid that problem in the future by spending a day when they referred to everything as a cashew; e.g. “Oh, my cashew (phone) is ringing.”  This apparently worked.

We now refer to those times when a word is not on the tip of your tongue as a “Cashew moment.”

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Best wishes for the new year.




Travel Tips – The 15 Day Cruise

My Best Friend in the World and I recently returned from a fifteen day cruise to Hawaii. Hawaii is a uniquely beautiful place – everything I thought it would be. The photo above was taken in Hilo. We toured a tropical botanical garden in Hilo, visited The Arizona and Mighty Mo  at Pearl Harbor, went on a fantastic helicopter ride over Kauai, and dove 130 feet down in a submarine off Maui.

I’ve learned that there are certain essentials you should remember when going on a such a long cruise. They are:

  1. pack as much patience as you can, then add a little more.
  2. take a large supply of compassion.
  3. pack  lots of underwear.

You will need patience traveling with a large group. There is a certain amount of “hurry up and wait.” It helps to remind yourself that this is a vacation and you are there to break out of your usual routine. It is not meant to be just like home. You can have good conversations with your fellow “waiters”. They often have interesting stories and you may never have the opportunity to talk to them again.

Be understanding. Show compassion for those you meet. Realize that staff members work hard. Don’t expect perfection every minute. It really isn’t evident of moral failing if the Steward forgot to leave mints on your pillow Wednesday night. If the toilet leaks, report it to guest services and let them take care of it. Don’t complain bitterly that the staff “let the toilet leak.” Things happen – even on a vacation.

If you are on a ship for fifteen days, adequate clean underwear is a must. You do not want to do a load of laundry  on the ship. Let’s just say, people are not always at their best standing in a cramped laundry mat for an hour and a half waiting to use a drying. This can be  drain on your supply of patience and compassion.

A close-up of one of the 1,500 species of orchids in Hawaii.

After we  returned from our tour on the submarine, we were given a chance to film the submarine as it submerged with  the next group of visitors.  Here is a short video.