Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Sasaki Bag

Sometime ago, in my browsing on, I found Sasaki Bags. Barb Sasaki of Kona, HI makes bags out of burlap coffee bean bags. What caught my attention was that she had a bag made out of a Kauai Coffee bag and the address on the back side of the bag had the town of Eleele, Kauai. My mother was born in the town of Eleele.

I left a comment about loving her bags and so began a cyber friendship. I told her I wanted a bag with that coffee bag. She told me to let her know when I was ready and she would make one for me. I "liked" her Facebook page and have commented on her blog.

About a month ago or so, I emailed her to tell her I wanted to order a bag and would she be able to have it completed by the end of May. I got it the first week of May. She told me she could and I then told her what I wanted. I decided on the style and what I wanted. The bag I purchased is called the medium Omiyage bag. Here's the front of the bag. I don't know what this bird is called, it is common to the Hawaiian Islands. The bag comes with web handles.

As a gift, she included a shoulder strap. It would have been an extra charge.

Here's the back side of the bag.

Showing the shoulder strap and the web handles. And her tag.

As another gift, she included a cell phone pocket and a pencil pocket. The fabric used for the inside and the bottom of the bag is a common hibiscus pattern, red and white. I love it....

This is a 10 inch zippered pocket that I ordered.

Another gift she included is this tissue holder. The fabric is a map of the Waikiki area including parts of Kapahulu. I was so excited to see this fabric. Hopefully the picture can be enlarged, if so Seaside Avenue is just above Royal Hawaiian Avenue. My mother and her cousin, Aunty Lou (we called her Aunty because she was older than we, although she was a cousin...this is Hawaiian style) had a dress shop on Seaside Avenue just up from Kalakaua Avenue. While I was in high school, my younger sister and I spent a lot of time after school, helping to sweep up the floor
and take the trash out.

On this side, Palani Avenue can be seen. It runs between Kapahulu Avenue and Date Street, just one block long. My grandmother's house was on Palani. Grandma had a drapery business and my younger sister and I would go there too after school to help her clean the floor in her sewing room. Sometimes she would have one of us iron the pleats in on draperies she was making. Her house is no longer there. After she died, her property was sold and there's an apartment building there now. That was really sad to see because between the "big house" (that's what we called it...there was usually a family member living there. My mom lived there for a while) and Grandma's cottage and sewing room was a huge Hayden mango tree. The cousins spent many a day up in the tree eating green mangoes until we were sick to our stomachs. :-)

I am very excited to have my bag. I'm going on a trip in a couple of weeks and I'm going to use it as my carry on bag. It is quite large...13 inches from the top edge to the bottom of the red fabric and 18 inches from side to side. The bottom is 6 inches wide. There is a piece of wood that is fabric covered on the bottom. I will be able to have my Nook, camera, phone and Mp3 player and still room for my wallet and other items. And with the shoulder strap I can cross it over my shoulders and it won't be cumbersome to carry. I plan on taking another bag to use too.

Oh, she also included a stainless steel water bottle with a hook on it. I can hook it to the shoulder strap. I used it the other day when we went to watch the Tour of California downtown. My water was still cold when we got home.

I believe Barb is originally from Idaho. She is married to a Japanese man. Here are some of her links: her etsy shop, her blog and her web site. Take a look and see what she has to offer.

I've sure enjoyed our chatting and who knows, maybe someday I'll get to meet her.

Mahalo, Barb!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Sauces

I don't know if these are brand new products on the market...I've seen them advertised so I decided to try one. I bought a tub of one of the sauces, Italian Herbs and Cheese, and fixed some pasta for dinner tonight. I looked on their web site first to see if there was anything interesting and quick.

So here's what I made...I bought a Farmers John ham steak and cut it up in cubes. Then I cut up half of an onion. I cooked the ham first in a pan with a little bit of olive oil then added the chopped onion, cooked that for a few minutes. I microwaved 1 cup of frozen peas then added that to the ham mixture, along with the tub of sauce and 1/2 cup of half 'n half. Mixed it all together and let it simmer for a few minutes. I added more cream to it because it was getting too thick. I had some fettucine cooking and when that was done and drained, I added the sauce mixture to the pasta and mixed it all together. We sprinkled some shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

It was good and simple. I forgot to take a picture. The dish was very similar to one that I make with tortellini. For that dish, I make the sauce from scratch. There are 2 other kinds of sauces...I'll have to try them some time. I'm constantly on the lookout for different dishes to fix.

On another note...
Last night we went to a concert at Melody's school. She's a granddaughter. This was the school choir's spring concert. For an elementary school choir, they are excellent. The choir is made up of 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Melody is a 5th grader. This is her second year in the choir. Tomorrow the 5th and 6th graders are singing the National Anthem at the River Cats game. The River Cats are Sacramento's minor league baseball team. I believe the choir was there last year too.

It brought back a lot of memories of singing in school and church choirs for me. It was always a lot of fun.

Erik, Gerry's son that lives in Idaho, is in town. He got into town yesterday afternoon so we picked him up and he went to the concert with us. We stopped at Smash Burger first and had some dinner. He is going to be re-roofing the house where his mother and older sister live. Jason (younger son who lives in the area)will work with Erik on Jason's days off. Next Tuesday Erik's younger son, Seth, is flying into Sacramento to help out too. We'll have the boys over for dinner one night next week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tour of California, May 15-22, 2011

Stage 2 of the Tour, downtown Sacramento, Monday 5/16 - a new Nissan Leaf, one of the sponsors
Here comes the Peloton, heading east on 9th Street, we are at the corner of 9th and L Streets.

Getting closer.

Here they are!

They are a blur as they whiz by...

Team cars

Team cars and some of the motors that are part of the group

More team cars

Part of the CHP escort and emergency vehicles. The police officer on the right had quite a job making sure no one crossed the street in front of the riders and vehicles

We crossed L Street and am now on the east side of 9th Street, looking back towards L St. The motor coming around the corner is in front of the Peloton. They should be coming around the corner any minute. They did 3 and a half circuits around several blocks but they crossed the finish line at 11th and L St, on the side of the State Capitol.

A few of the riders rode by after the race.

Here's a couple more.

Stage 3, Tuesday, 5/17 in Folsom. This rider was part of the 6 man breakaway, ahead of the Peloton.

These team cars are for the riders in the breakaway.

Here's the Peloton. It was raining lightly and the streets are wet. It is also cold and windy.

They had their rain gear on.

More team cars...these are for the riders in the Peloton.

The lone rider in back of the Peloton. Hopefully he was able to catch up with the rest of the riders.

More team cars.

The first stage of the Tour of California was to start in South Lake Tahoe on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was snowing up there. They postponed the start time a few hours to see if the weather would clear up. They also shortened the race. The plan was to go around the lake one and a half times ending at Northstar which is on the north side of the lake. Because of the weather, they were going to go around just the west side of the lake ending at Northstar. It kept snowing so the race was cancelled completely. The second state was to start at Squaw Valley, still in the Tahoe area. However, the roads had iced over Sunday night so the location was changed to Nevada City, ending in Sacramento. So instead of a 130 mile ride, it was a 70 mile ride.

Gerry and I left home before noon and took the light rail into Sacramento. We had a couple of hours to walk around and look at what the vendors had to offer. We decided to get some lunch and had about 45 minutes after we ate to wait for the riders. We stood at the corner of 9th and L Streets to watch them come into town. We thought they were coming down L Street, instead we found out they were coming down 9th Street. There were barriers across 9th. So we had to get out of the way as the barriers were opened up. One of the barriers caught the back of my shoe and scraped my heel. There was a guy in front of me with two large dogs and I couldn't get around them. The guy that was pushing the barrier apologized.

Across L Street, on 9th...there was a huge arched balloon going across from side to side. Just minutes before the riders appeared, it deflated. There was a huge scramble to get it out of the way...with mere seconds to spare.

It is such an impressive sight to watch the riders come into sight. They are riding fast and are so close together, it is a wonder they don't all crash.

When we moved over to the east side of 9th, there weren't any barriers up so we were standing on the curb. The riders were so close to us as they whizzed by. Everyone was whopping and hollering as they went by.

On Tuesday Stage 3 started in Auburn, came through Folsom on their way to Modesto. So we drove over to Folsom to watch them ride through. We were going to go out a little ways outside of town. Instead when we got to Folsom, Gerry turned off on Leidesdorff and drove through a couple of parking lots looking for a space. We ended up parking in a new parking garage which was right off of Riley and Scott. We were able to stand at the corner of Riley and Leidesdorff to watch the riders come up Riley after crossing Rainbow Bridge. It had started to rain lightly and it was cold and windy waiting for them to come through. One can only imagine what it was like for them having to be out in it. At least it wasn't snowing. :) We left as soon as they passed by.

We were going to go eat at Sutter Street Grill. It would have been a little difficult getting to it since it is right where the riders went past. So then I thought of Lake Forest Cafe which is on Folsom Blvd. We drove out there, unfortunately they were closed. So we ended up going to a Japanese restaurant on the east side of new Folsom. That was a big mistake. The prices for their lunches were very expensive, the service was horrible and the food was bad too. I told Gerry that we had been there before, he didn't remember that we had. So that's a place we won't go back to again.

The tour will end next Sunday in Thousand Oaks which is off of Highway 101 in Ventura County. Hopefully the weather cooperates and the rest of the tour is pleasant for them.

Before I forget, riding light rail is quite an experience. I think this was the 3rd time we've ridden it. We don't have to drive very far to get on it. When we got there on Monday, we missed one train. They run every 15 minutes so we didn't have to wait very long. They have security people around the stations now. The one that was there on Monday told us to stand at the spots where the front of the train stops. He said during the middle of the day there are a lot of teens that ride the train, they play their loud music and usually sit in the back cars of the train. There were several seats empty in the front train so we were able to sit together. Coming back, the trains were packed. We had to stand for most of the way and then a couple of stops before we got off, a seat became available so we could sit. It was much nicer being in the front cars so we will have to remember that for any future rides. We've encountered some spooky people on past rides.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My daughter Denise Noelani and her Children

My daughter, Denise Noelani and her children, Nathanael Ray (Nathan) and Rebekah-Elizabeth Noelani (Bekah)

Denise Noelani

Mother's Day, May 1971, Denise at 18 months old, Vista, CA

Denise posted this picture this morning as her Facebook Profile picture. The comment she left brought tears to my eyes. I am so blessed to have such a fantastic daughter. Not only is she lovely to look at, she has a beautiful spirit about her too. She is an example of a Proverbs 31 woman of God and for that I am most thankful.

I've always loved this picture. She was always a very happy baby, playful and with a beautiful smile. Her hair was a beautiful auburn with golden highlights.

Posted by Picasa

In Honor of Mother's Day - My Grandmother and My Mother

My grandmother, Evangeline Camara Hulihe'e

January 1, 1894 - April 29,1990

She was born on the island of Kaua'i

My mother, Bernice Kealoha Hulihe'e Chung-Hoon and I.

This picture was taken in August 1994. I had gone home to join the family in celebrating my mother's 80th birthday. We had a big Chinese dinner for her. That next week there was a Christian Women's Fellowship luncheon. Mom wanted me to attend it with her. I was thankful that I had taken a dress with me. I am wearing a white ginger lei that a friend of my Mom's had given to her in celebration of Mom's birthday. Mom wanted me to wear it...I was thankful to have it to wear. It, of course, smelled fantastic.

I have this picture as my Profile picture on Facebook. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 5, 2011


There's a high pressure system sitting offshore of California. When this happens it means the temperatures go up. Yesterday and today has been rather warm. I turned on the A/C for a couple of hours yesterday and today turned it on around 3pm. I turned it off before 8pm and opened up the windows. It is still warm outside. The bedroom window has been left open the last couple of nights. Its still been hard to sleep. I forgot about it being warm and put the flannel sheets back on the bed Monday night. That certainly hasn't helped...duh!! I need to get them taken off and put regular sheets on. The heavy blankets are off and just have a light summer blanket on. Get this, though, by Sunday there are showers forecast.

I finished the last ebook I downloaded from the library last night. It was really good, a little heart-renching though. It is called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Linda See. I think I mentioned in a previous post it takes place in rural China in the mid 19th century. It went into a lot of detail about binding the feet of young girls and the match making that occurs when the girls are still quite young. I would highly recommend it if interested in stories that take place in the Orient.

I was going to download something else, however there wasn't anything that I was interested in and available. So today I stopped at the library before I went to Bel Air. It is on the way to the grocery store. I have read several books by Brock & Bodie Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee). They write historical fiction. They wrote several series about the Jews in Europe and the struggle to get back to the Promised Land. A few years ago I started a series called the AD Chronicles. These take place during the time of Jesus. I would buy the hardcover, read it then pass it on to Denise. There are now 11 books in the series...I got as far as the 6th book. Barnes & Noble does not have them available as ebooks and the library doesn't either. They do have them in the branches. So today I borrowed the 7th book and also borrowed another book of Debbie Macomber's that is on my wish list. They are both due May 26th...I'll have them read before that date.

A few months ago I found a crafter online who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, Barb Sasaki (Sasaki Creations). She makes handbags and other items out of coffee bags. I think I found her Etsy shop when I snooping around on Etsy. Anyway she had a few bags made from Kaua'i Coffee Company. My mother was born on Kaua'i in the town of Ele'ele. One of the bags she had in her Etsy shop that was made with a Kaua'i Coffee bag had the town of Ele'ele on the bag. We've corresponded back and forth on Facebook and email and last month I ordered a bag made from that particular coffee bag. I got an email from her today that it was finished and she was mailing it. I am so excited to get the bag. I want to use it as a carry-on and bag when I leave on my trip to Alabama next month. It should be big enough to hold my Nook, camera, MP3 player plus wallet, etc. This is an early birthday present from me to me. I'll take pictures when it gets here and upload them on this blog.

Easter Sunday we went to Mimi's Cafe to eat. I got their Asian Chicken was so good. So since it was so hot and I didn't really want to be in a hot kitchen, I decided to make a salad for dinner. I didn't take a picture. I bought a bag of mixed greens, then put in half of a red bell pepper, some mushrooms, green onions, red cabbage, avocado. I also bought a package of won ton wrappers and some chicken. I pan fried the chicken and then cut it up in small pieces. I used half of the package of wrappers...cut them in strips and then fried them. I broke them up when I added them to the salad. The dressing I got was made by Ken' Asian Sesame dressing. I was not too pleased with it. It definitely did not taste like Mimi's dressing. :)However the salad was fantastic.

Wow, this post is long...that's enough then...until next time...

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Last year for Mother's Day I got a Nook e-reader. I've enjoyed it immensely and have read several books on it. I created a Wish List on Barnes & Noble and it has been from that list that I have purchased and downloaded books to my reader.

A few weeks ago I learned that the Sacramento Public Library had e-books to borrow and download to one's computer. Depending on the format of the e-book available, they can be synced with e-readers or other media devices. I thought it was a great idea that I could sync any book I borrowed to my Nook. Unfortunately, to date I haven't been able to figure out how to sync the books to my Nook. :(

I had to go up to the local library branch and get my library card renewed. So far I've downloaded 4 books and read 3 of them. You can choose the borrowing period of either 7 days, 14 days or 21 days. I downloaded the books for 21 days. Earlier this afternoon I figured out how to return the books before the borrow period is up. At the end of the borrow time, the books just automatically disappear from my library. I had to download a program from the library so I can read them on my computer and a library was created when I did that.

I've read 2 books by Debbie Macomber - Susannah's Garden and her newest book that was just released last week A Turn in the Road. Her books are based in Seattle, WA. She writes in a conversational style...her books are easy to read, some twists and turns in the story line and very entertaining. I discovered her when I was setting up my Wish List on Barnes & Noble. I've read several of her books on my Nook.

Then this afternoon I finished a book called When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall. This was the 3rd book in a trilogy called "Sisters of the Quilt". She writes Amish fiction, much like Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter. I've read several of their books. I have hardcopies of the first 2 books in this trilogy. This was another outstanding book and I enjoyed it a lot.

Reading these e-books on my computer has really been enjoyable. I'm able to expand the view so it is easy to read the print.

I am going to start reading the 4th book which is called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Linda See. I believe the author is originally from the Sacramento area and is of mixed heritage - Chinese and Caucasian. Most of her books take place in China. This one is no exception...the story is told by an 80 year old woman about the very close friendship she had with Snow Flower. It takes place in 19th century rural China. I am anxious to begin reading this book.

The library has about 500 books that are in e-book format, unfortunately there is not too many titles that interest me. The ones that do are not available. In fact, on Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I put in an e-request last week and got notice this afternoon that it was available. I think I have 2 more books that I've requested.