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Well, we made it through another month! Who would have ever thought in our lifetime we would be grocery shopping with masks on and wearing gloves? But we did it! and arestill doing it until the crisis passes. We are resilient, after all. We may not like it, but we do it for the greater good! Soon our houses will come alive with open arms ( not closed doors, house calls, not phone calls) and picnics, not zoom chats! It appears to me our next step is to prepare for that “Grand Opening!”

Time for a deep, disinfecting clean on all our household surfaces and items we use regularly and some you may not have even thought of! As with any virus, the Covid-19 spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and those respiratory droplets land on another person in close contact who then touches their face or eyes. The CDC adds that it’s possible to get the virus by touching a contaminated surface or object. Thus, the importance of faithfully cleaning and washing your hands constantly. All disinfectants work best if you follow the directions given specifically for each cleaner. In general, disinfectants take time to work. When spraying your bathroom and kitchen, spray all surfaces and let them sit wet for 10 minutes. If you spray and then wipe immediately, you will be doing little disinfecting.

You may have encountered a shortage of the products we are urged to use. PLEASE, now is not the time to play chemist. People often think that if one product works, mixing it with another one will make it even better. But here’s the scary truth: Certain products, which are safe when used alone, can sometimes cause unsafe fumes or other chemical reactions when mixed with other products. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Poison Control Center has reported a 25% increase in calls concerning just this thing. It is always wise to read the warning labels on any product. The following is a list of products that should NEVER be mixed together.

1. Bleach and Vinegar The combination sounds as if it would be a powerful disinfectant, but the two should never be mixed. Together, they produce chlorine gas, which even at low levels, can cause coughing, breathing problems, and burning, watery eyes.

2. Baking soda and Vinegar In spite of what you may have read on Pinterest, skip any DIY cleaner recipe that involves this not-so-dynamic duo. Baking soda is basic and vinegar is acidic. When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really, just mostly water. Plus, vinegar causes baking soda to foam up. If stored in a closed container, the mixture can explode!

3. Bleach and Ammonia Bleach and ammonia produce a toxic gas called chloramine. It causes the same symptoms as bleach and vinegar, along with shortness of breath and chest pain. Many glass and window cleaners contain ammonia, so never mix those with bleach.

4. Hydrogen peroxide and Vinegar Combining them creates peracetic acid, which is potentially toxic and can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system.

5. Bleach and rubbing Alcohol Perhaps you’ve heard of chloroform? You know, the stuff kidnappers use in the movies to knock out their victims? Although it may not actually make you pass out, this combination can be irritating and toxic. Make a rule to NEVER mix bleach with anything but water!

All that said, let’s start cleaning:
Make it a habit to frequently clean your doorknobs and light switches. Spray a microfiber cloth with a good disinfectant and wipe them down often. We all have cellphones and they are plastered near our faces for a large percentage of the day. It’s a good idea to eliminate as many germs as possible on these heavily used items. Wipe your phone down with a EPA approved disinfectant wipe. Apple just released updated guidelines on how to clean your iPhone, given that it’s so sensitive to moisture. After unplugging your iPhone and turning it off, you may safely use a disinfectant wipe to clean your screen.

Are you working from home? Don’t forget to clean your computer keyboard. Use compressed air to get rid of any hard-to-reach particles. (If this product is new to you, it is a can that sprays a concentrated amount of air to blast the small spaces between the keys. It can be found at office supply stores.) After that, turn to your trusty disinfectant wipes to clean the top of the keys. Disinfectant wipes can be used on all sorts of things! Your car keys, for example. You touch them after you leave the grocery store so don’t forget to give them a quick wipe. Your steering wheel and door handles of your car are next. Keep a small pack of wipes (if you can find them!) in your car for just such purposes.

If your grocery store allows reusable bags, give them a quick wipe if the material allows. Perhaps it’s best to just use the disposable bags until things are back to normal.

Soon, and very soon, I hope, this pandemic will be a time we can look back on with a fair amount of pride that we made it through a very difficult phase of our lives. Now is the time to plan that big party/open house so when the “stay at home” order is finally lifted, you will be prepared and ready to throw open the doors!


Several months ago I decided to indulge my taste for sushi at Sushi Sho in the Ritz-Carlton, Waikiki. The chef (Keiji Nakazawa) was known in Japan for Edomae sushi, a traditional style using aged fish to enhance umami. Originally, this technique was used to preserve the fish. He has taken it to a whole new taste level.

The setting is quite elegant with a lovely Japanese cypress wood sushi bar and watching the chef and his assistants prepare the meal is like going to a show! One of the assistants translated the chef’s commentary.

The dinner is typically omakase (chef’s choice). There were close to 30 courses to choose from, including a crunchy miruga (giant clam) with Maui onion, baby snapper sprinkled with vinegarcured crumbled egg yolk and a particularly fresh tasting right finger lime atop grilled moonfish (opah) belly. They also have a variety of nihonshu (Japanese sake) allowing you to have appropriate pairings with their dishes.

Under normal circumstance, reservations are extremely difficult to obtain, but if you love sushi, this is a unique experience you won’t want to miss!

Yesterday, challenged by the food boredom I was experiencing and the fact that I lost 15 pounds, I felt I needed to take the opportunity to try their takeout special! This was a bargain compared to their in-person formal dining. Once again, I was impressed by the vinegar-flavored Chirashi rice dish, Uni and tuna rolls (which were scrumptious!) I enjoyed the steamed abalone with liver and boiled squid and the stewed black codfish with konbu seaweed). What a bargain and the boredom vanished in the comfort of my own home!

Hours during the Covid crisis 12-6
383 Kalaimoku St

Last month, we were stunned to see the the closing of events which enriched our experiences with those around us. Little has changed in the past thirty days. Honestly, life’s path is full of crossroads. In these troubling times, shift your energy to a more positive focus. Everyone has talents, it’s time to get to work…

Let’s consider a few avenues to travel:
The mind/ body connection is a mightily empowering force. One of the best way to harness this inner energy is in the visual arts. Whether you are inspired by drawing, watercolor, oil painting, sculpture, crafts, wood working, glass or textile arts, there is a medium for everyone’s voice. An artist creation is a transformative experience which will give you peace in these troubled times. I strongly suggest you give it a try. Books, videos and supplies are readily available and you have time to hone these skills.

Cooking is the one constant that defines a family experience. The disruption of your children’s lives in the past month has been traumatic. They miss their friends and school. Why not teach your children to cook? Again books and videos with suggestions are abundant. Perhaps you could Zoom with their other families to share the experience. This could be fun…

Writing. With all the interest in the stories of your family tree and their experiences, create a page for your future relatives to share. This is a pivotal time in history. Keep a diary, journal or any other form of recording to relate to generations in the next century of how your family survived this event. These should be first hand accounts with different voices and pictures. Share as much detail as possible and include information from your extended family, especially if some of them are in different parts of the country. This will become a time capsule of what happened to your family in the spring of 2020 when the entire world faced a catastrophic event. That is news worth printing.

Hang in there, WE GOT THIS!!
Kind regards,
Cathy, Mary and Jeff