I’ve been crazy busy and pretty stressed these past couple of weeks. And strangely, the busy-ness and stress aren’t even related. Somehow the stressful stuff seems to be working itself out on its own, which is something of a miracle. The reason it was stressful to begin with was that there was nothing I could do about it.
Friday night I went to the hospital for a sleep study. My doctor thinks sleep apnea may be one of the reasons my blood pressure is alarmingly high, which I haven’t written about yet but will. I don’t sleep well in strange places, so my doctor prescribed a sleeping pill (generic Ambien), which I took right before they put electrodes (or whatever those things are) on my chest, and sensor on my upper lip. I drifted off with the TV on (ESPN, which is great background noise to fall asleep to) and my phone next to me. If after four hours I exhibited symptoms of sleep apnea, they were to wake me up, put a CPAP mask on me, and see if it helped me for the rest of the evening.
They did wake me. The mask wasn’t that uncomfortable, although maybe that’s because I was on Ambien. I have no idea if I slept better the rest of the night, but I guess I’m going to find out in a couple of weeks.
Of course I hope I don’t have it, but having it and identifying it would mean solving a couple of issues. It’s a weird place to be.
- What’s the best layered food?
I’m declaring a three-way tie, which is wussy but I’m so hungry lately that they all sound like heaven right now: lasagna, tiramisu, and Big Macs. Yeah, baby. Bring me them all.
- What’s the best rolled food?
I’m going with burritos here. I like sushi better, but really it’s nigiri sushi that makes me weak in the knees, and that’s not rolled.
- What’s the most recent cuisine you’ve tried for the first time from an ethnicity not your own?
A couple of years ago I tried Chamorro (the native people of Guam) food from a food truck on Kapahulu Ave. I had chicken kelaguen with red rice and it was delicious! The combination of grilled chicken with lime juice and fresh coconut? Heavenly. I went back the next week, and then they closed the food truck lot and I never saw that truck again. I’m not sure, but I think that was my most recent indoctrination into an ethnic food not my own.
- What’s a food that scares you?
Definitely weird organ meats. I just can’t. I consider myself pretty open-minded about food, but my discomfort with these kinds of foods isn’t just visceral. I’ve thought it out very rationally, and I just don’t want to eat it.
- What’s something you eat solely because it’s good for you?
Bananas. I’ve hated bananas all my life, but because I think I should eat them every once in a while (I’ve got a recent addiction to acai bowls, and those area almost always served with sliced banana), I launched an effort to make myself like them. For the past few years, I’ve had a banana every so often, usually slathered with peanut butter and sprinkled with brown sugar. At first, I also had it with a huge glass of water so I could chew chew chew chew really quickly and then down it with a huge swallow of water. As time went on, I used less and less peanut butter and sugar, and now I can eat a whole banana right from the peel with nothing on it. I don’t enjoy it, but I don’t really dislike it either.
- The first week of October is National Customer Service Week in the United States and Kenya. Where have you received especially good customer service?
The Wine Cellar in Makiki comes to mind. I don’t buy wine very often, but when supermarket wine won’t do, I make a trip there and tell the clerk what I have in mind. He (so far it’s always been a he) never makes me feel stupid and always gives me a range of choices with good advice. I’ve enjoyed every wine I’ve picked up there when I’ve been bold enough to ask for advice, which hasn’t always been the case. I once asked for “something with bubbles for people who don’t drink wine very often,” and he led me to an Italian sparkling wine that was “one or two grapes short of a prosecco,” and it was exactly right for the group I shared it with.
- The second Saturday in October was National Tree-Planting Day in Mongolia. When did you last do anything resembling tree-planting?
I’ve planted quite a few trees in my day. I’ve moved a few with my dad, and I’ve done several tree-planting service projects with my Boy Scout troop. Those were all in my teens, though. I think about ten years ago I planted a few herb things in my back yard. That might be the most recent.
- October 4 was World Animal Day (the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals). What’s an obscure animal you know a thing or two about?
A couple of months ago, I wrote something about the scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi. It wasn’t published; it was for a contest entry related to my work. It’s a threatened species, but it’s the third-most common native land bird in Hawaii, with an estimated population of 350,000.
- October 6 was National Poetry Day in Ireland and the United Kingdom. What’s a line of poetry that springs to mind now that you’re thinking about poetry?
“Let us go through half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels, of sawdust restaurants and oyster shells.” (T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock).
- What’s in your pocket?
I’m not wearing any clothes right now, but the pockets in the shorts I just took off contain my bus pass, my driver’s license, my work ID, my Costco card, a debit card, a Pilot Precise V5 rolling ball pen (black), $22 that I need to stretch out until Monday night, and a 16gb jump drive.