THAI DINNER TO CELEBRATE

Celebrated librarian award yesterday with delish dinner at Maile’s Thai Bistro last night. (April24).

Forgot to shoot pix of spring rolls, a traditional way to start the meal…and ordered Thai fried chicken, a veggie plate with pork, and Thai chow fun with wide noodles. Yummy, yummy, yummy, with enough leftovers for dinner tonight.

That fried chicken, top; mixed veggies with pork, above left; Thai chow fun, bottom right.

A THANK YOU TO LIBRARIANS

I want to thank the Hawaii Association of School Librarians (HASL) for honoring me earlier today (April 24) as the organization’s Outstanding Library Service Award winner this year.

As a spouse of a former librarian and retired professor, I simply have been a helping hand at DOE workshops and American Association of School Librarians and American Library Association conventions over the decades. That’s what a spouses does: kokua when needed.

So arigato to Sandy Yamamoto, Carolyn Kirio and M.B. Ogawa for nominating me, and mahalo to librarians past and present for decades of support and aloha. And a shout-out to HASL co-presidents Danielle Fujii and Maricar Kawasaki for their successful virtual conference via Zoom this morning.

Danielle Fujii, Wayne Harada and Maricar Kawasaki.

ALL-DAY BREAKFAST AT ZIPPY’S

Yippee! I’m a breakfast person, morning, noon and night.So the news today that Zippy’s is offering breakfast fare around the clock is something to crow about. Cockadoodledoo!

Here’s the deal:

  • The Meatlovers Breakfast is $10.85. Corned beef hash, bacon, Portuguese sausage and Spam, plus eggs over rice.
  • The Korean Breakfast is $10.95. Korean chicken with a choice of one meat, plus eggs over fried rice.
  • The Bombucha, aka Deluxe Breakfast, is $8.80. Corned beef hash, Portuguese sausage and Spam with scrambled eggs over rice.The images tell the story. Visit www.zippys.com to order and get details.
  • PHOTOS: Top, meatlovers; below left, Korean; right, deluxe.
Meat lovers breakfast
Korean chicken breakfast
Deluxe or bombucha breakfast

Thanks for having my back

I am not alone.

Seems a lot of people have back pain issues. It’s a common ailment among the elderly and a regular conversation topic.

I’m lucky, however; a lot of folks have my back, supportive of a medical procedure I underwent last Tuesday (March 30) at Queen’s Medical Center.

I’ve struggled with chronic lower back pain for a couple of decades, but always dodged the customary back surgery … because many people, including my primary spine doctor, said to seek alternate means to manage pain since the recovery could be as painful as the operation.

So when I located a pain management doctor who introduced me to a procedure where a battery could be inserted into my body – a stimulator that could manage pain through electronic charges wired to the battery – I signed up.

During a trial week, an external battery bandaged to my back and hooked to wires placed under my skin; the test confirmed I was good candidate for the real deal.

So now I’m recuperating at home, feeling like a bionic man with the battery near my butt and wiring inserted in my spine.

It’s been a curious challenge since. The pain recurs, but I can’t discern if it’s from the wounds of the incision, or my regular back aches, doing its occasional dance. I think it’s a combination of both.

I imagine the pain levels may see-saw, but I have a device that resembles a mini iPhone, which can regulate the power of the jolts: up when needed, down when not.

This new procedure means I won’t have to go in for cortisone shots every three months, which was a regular thing. The shots worked, but the level of relief returned sooner than later.

I’ll have the bandaging removed next Wednesday (April 7) then monitor life with a hidden implant.

This whole episode at least brought a LOL moment, from my cousin emailed me after I sent a photo of me on a gurney at Queen’s prior to being wheeled into the operating room. When she saw me in the required blue head net, she commented: “All I could think about when I saw your pic was, ‘Everything is better with blue bonnet on it…”

Wayne Harada — with hair net and face mask — at Queen’s Hospital Same Day Surgery.

A Full Year

A year ago (on March 29, 2020), my “Show Biz” column in the Star-Advertiser, made history. It was shut down under dubious circumstances; I was told (falsely) that the coronavirus crisis, which was worsening and affecting the economy, was the reason for terminating the column.

Free-lance writers for the paper were being released to reduce expenses, the decision coming “from the top,” I was led to believe.

It was a lie because at that point, only two contributors were eliminated from the columnist rank. Me and travel writer Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi. The features editor told me that when conditions improved, the column(s) might be reinstated.

Ha! It was pau for good.

I agreed that if times were tough, yes, contributors should be the first to go, to protect full-timers from furloughs.

Ha! again. No other freelancers were terminated.

A year later, neither Cheryl nor I have been offered a chance to reboot. She continues to contribute travel articles in other resources.

I became fully retired and turned to Facebook to post reviews, share entertainment and other chatter, and communicate with former friends and new followers as I began enjoying the freedom of retirement and the uncertainty of unemployment.

The paper has moved on, too, with minimal concern for the performing arts, with diminished coverage and combining sections into bizarre Siamese twins.

I focus on my hobby, creating notecards and holiday-themed lapel pins that folks now wear as accessories on their facemasks. Earlier, I finished a batch of Valentine’s stuff, then Easter projects, and will focus later in the year on Halloween and Christmas.

It’s all a hobby, not a job. No revenue, but tons of fun.

By now, I normally would be planning trips – to Japan and New York – but both destinations are still not ready to welcome visitors nor am I ready to go. Yes, seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan would be joyful; and my passion for Broadway shows will have to wait till later this year, or perhaps next year, when pandemic threats are gone.

So my new normal has already happened. I make time for what I enjoy, with no rigid scheduling. And yes, seniorhood brings health issues, and I will have yet another procedure done at Queen’s this week – aiming to minimize and reduce chronic lower back pains. I have PT sessions twice a week with a personal trainer, who helps me with a regimen that encompasses exercise aimed at maintaining a healthy life.

Strangely, I’ve been busier than ever. The coronavirus tiers now allow more social gatherings and I hope to catch up and schedule more breakfasts and lunches and dinners in the months ahead.

And time is fluid; often on a Wednesday, it feels like Saturday. My calendar has monthly entries for doc visits, PT, and maybe a meal get-together. I can do cat naps a couple of times a week, follow trending shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime, and still have time for my crafts.

Hard to believe, but I had been writing the column for more than 50 years, 45 years as a hired hand, another 10 after retiring in 2008.

Aside from trips, I miss my weekend movies. So far, Consolidated has yet to program blockbusters, so there’s no reason to visit the cinema when “Nomadland” is streamed on Netflix. I’ve bought tickets to Diamond Head Theatre performances and next week, I’ll likely take in a live show at Blue Note Hawaii for the first time since 2020.

It doesn’t seem like it’s been already a year since I uttered my parting line in print, “And that’s Show Biz”…