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Wednesday, September 21, 2016


When you get to my age, it does not take much to have a monumental day.  When I retired from the University of Hawaii nearly 17 years ago, I promised myself not to get involved with any committees or organizations.  I largely succeeded, until I moved into 15 Craigside a little more than two years ago.  I realized recently that I was chairman of three committees/subcommittees, and wondered how this happened.

No matter.  I decided last night to totally abdicate and live life my way.  Fortunately, these chairmanships are relatively manini (in Hawaiian, insignificant).  Yet, people you live with are involved, so the tiniest of issues still needs to be treated with dignity.  

The key leadership role was chairman of the 15C Dining and Nutrition Committee.  Eating is just about everything in a senior's community, so, in our confined universe, which is a kind of Purgatory, the responsibility is awesome.  OK, that's an exaggeration, but the fact of the matter is that I had outlived my usefulness after serving as chair for 1.5 years.  The problem is that in a place like this I was not supposed to take this role too seriously.  However, it is understandable that I suffered from hysteresis of too many decades in academia, and in the process of trying to make things work, I did not realize I was alarming too many people who run the place.  While I tried to be as diplomatic as possible, no question I alienated an individual or two or more.

Fortunately, enough, my Dining Com (most of them I sit with at dinner time) was wise enough to, a couple of months ago, select my replacement.  No one in the real world can truly appreciate this maneuver.  People enter something like 15 Craigside to enjoy the rest of their me.  Trying to get anyone to even serve on a committee is the equivalent of pulling teeth.  Then, to find anyone who has an inclination to lead any bunch is close to a miracle.

I will not mention names, but this individual was ideal to take over, for he has a more pleasant personality.  While the timing was unexpected, he gracefully agreed to save me.  

I can't imagine who would be interested in this kind of minutiae about my current life--after all, this is a blog site to Save Planet Earth and Humanty--but I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.  The relief was so immense, that I decided to walk into downtown Honolulu to have Shanghai Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao or XLB).

Dumpling Heaven was said to be at Jin Din Rou, a Japanese take on a Taiwanese chain, but it is located on King and Kaheka, and, anyway, after a big splash, it is no longer open.  The supposedly second best XLB was Ming's on Dillingham.  It too closed.  What's happening?

XLV, or Shanghai Soup Dumpling, can also be found in walking distance from my apartment, Mandalay on Alakea:

I ordered an Imperial dried scallop soup to accompany these dumplings.  That glass on the plate contains a jigger of scotch, which I poured into the soup.  The beer, of course, is Tsingtao. This is a Chinese restaurant, but my lunch above (plus you need to add the $17 I lost by not dining at 15 Craigside) with tax and tip cost $40!!!  However, I'm at this stage of my life where I have just enough money for my limited lifespan to essentially do whatever reasonable I want, and the crucial factor was that I could not have imagined a better lunch.  There was so much soup that I took home two-thirds. 

I then stopped by Safeway and bought an artichoke plus Castello Blue Cheese.  My dinner, with a bottle of Stanford Governor's Selection Chardonnay, the scallop soup, Fritos, some celery and Oolong Tea was ideal to prepare me for poker tonight, where I actually won money (this is difficult to do these days because after every game five chips are skimmed off to treat us all to a fabulous lobster dinner on November 10--I am allergic to crustaceans, but I understand I can order something else):

Incidentally, my herb garden has flowers, first spearmint, then basil:

Now that I am in the process of gaining total control over my life, I thought I would thus celebrate my coming freedom by spending the weekend at the Westin Moana, on the beach at Waikiki.  On Friday, September 23, there is the Hawaii 5-0 premiere a short walk from the Moana, beginning at 6PM.  While the world, including Hawaii, views the first showing of season 7 on their TV, I will get it live surrounded by these actors to the left.

Hard to believe it was all of four years ago when also stayed at the Moana, the oldest on Waikiki Beach, and visited the third year premiere.  Unfortunately, I have booked dinner at Michael Mina's Stripsteak, a brand new restaurant in the brand new International Market Place, so I'll miss the actual showing.  Not important, as I don't think I've watched one 5-0 program this year.
I have not decided what to do on Saturday.    But a whole another day and night in Waikiki.  The options are exciting.  I wonder if Starwood allows one to grill a Japanese wagyu steak on my hotel lanai?  Clearly, this is one of those situations when it is best not to ask.  Can you imagine my getting approval to drop Pearl's ashes off at the Taj Mahal?


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