sitting comfortably


Sometimes I can’t find a comfortable position to sit in.  Some part of my body hurts, it’s difficult to sit straight up, or my internal or external tremor is being a huge pain in _ss. So, I have several spots around the house where I can read or work on my lap top, depending on what’s the most comfortable at the time. I’ve haven’t heard anyone talk about this so I’m wondering if you sometimes feel this way.

Several of these places might seem the same but just the little difference of height, angle, or firmness can be the difference between comfortable and uncomfortable. Also having several options is helpful as I often move throughout these areas each day.

Desk – Setting up the four points really helped my comfort level. First, I set my chair at a height where my arms are at about the same level and my keyboard. Then I placed my monitor on top of a book to bring the top of the monitor to my eye level. I have a footstool under the desk to keep my knees up to thigh level and feet flat on the stool.  And lastly, I place a small pillow on the back of my chair to keep my posture straight (gracious, it’s like setting myself up in the space shuttle).


Sofa or Arm Chair – When I’m sitting on my sofa I tend to start curling forward with bad posture, so I put a pillow behind by back that’s large enough so my feet sit flat on the floor. If I’m using my laptop on the sofa, I use a footstool that I can put my feet on and push against it to keep my back straight. I have several ottomans, footstools, and poufs which might seem excessive but they are super helpful.


Dining Table – When my tremor is making it difficult to keep my book steady, reading on the table is a help. I can prop up my book.


Yoga Ball – I sometimes replace my desk chair with a yoga ball. When my tremor is bothering me, moving feels the best and with the yoga ball I can make small movements while still sitting. It also helps me practice my balance and helps strengthen my core. I like to keep the ball full and stiff.

Floor Cushions – If you’re not used to sitting on the floor this might be challenging at first, but because you can move around and sit in several ways, it can become comfortable. It’s also a great way to build up your strength as the act of sitting and getting up from the floor works many areas of your body.

Bed – Sitting on my bed with my laptop or book. A fold open breakfast tray and again, with the pillows, but they really do help! If you have any suggestions, please let me know or share them in the comments.

aloha friday


This weekend is the Hawaii Parkinson’s Walk at Ala Moana Beach Park. I’m sure it will be fun day for all, to help raise awareness of PD and to raise money for the Hawaii Parkinson’s Association. If you’re in Honolulu, please join us. Aside from that I’m doing a little diy project of painting my kitchen counter stools and of course reading and gardening. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

~ Liz Dennett’s inspiring story of hoping to become the first person with Parkinson’s to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Go Liz!

~ These are two fall vegetable dishes that I’m looking forward to trying this week that both have a mouth watering miso glaze. Miso-Glazed Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes w/Sesame Pistachios & Miso-Citrus Dressing.

~ This simple tan colored silk top from Everlane is on my wish list. It looks great on the model but since I’m so short it may be too boxy on me. Hmmm….I’ll think about it.

~ I’m in the middle of reading The Butler Speaks by Charles MacPherson. The author is a Butler and it’s a fascinating read about the history and current day knowledge and skills that Butlers utilize in their work.

~ Dolly Parton is one of my favorite celebrities. Now there is a podcast about her. Love it.

~ A year from now…Will today’s emergency even be remembered? Will that thing you’re particularly anxious about have been hardly worth the time you put into it?

Better question: What could you do today that would matter a year from now? - Seth Godin

tips on applying makeup with parkinson's

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The tremor in my right hand has progressed so that I have a difficult time applying my makeup with it. I’m fortunate that I’m sort of ambidextrous, so it was relatively easy to switch hands. However, I’ve been wondering what I’ll do when my tremor migrates to my left hand.  Here are few tips that might be help. If you have any suggestions please share them.

1. If you stand in the bathroom, try to find a place to sit instead. It may help your tremor and you can rest your elbow on a counter or table for stability.

2. Use a magnifying mirror. You will be surprised how much more you see (good and bad) and catch little mistakes that you’d not see otherwise.

3. Find a place with good natural light to apply your makeup. You’ll see how your makeup will really look when you’re out and about, as artificial light can sometimes not be accurate.

4. Take your time and don’t rush. I made this mistake by giving myself the same amount of time to get ready as I did before I was diagnosed with PD. Little by little as my symptoms increased it was taking a little longer to get ready but I hadn’t realized it, so I found I was rushing around. Give yourself extra time so you can apply it in a relaxed state.

5. Drugstore vs. Department Store brands – I use both but I noticed that drugstore brands generally have less pigment than department store brands which means they can be a little more forgiving. However, that can also mean the application doesn’t last as long, so you may need to apply it again during the day.

6. If you use a foundation, use a primer beforehand. It really does help the foundation stay put longer.

7. Use transparent lip colors instead of opaque colors. They are more forgiving, and you don’t need to be as precise around the edges, particularly if you use darker colors.

8. Lip stains are also a good way to minimize having to retouch as often.

9. Cream or powder – Eye shadow, foundation, blush, they all come in both creams & powders. Try them to see which ones are easier for you to apply.

10. Application – You can apply makeup with sponges, brushes, or your fingers. Again, try them all and see which is more comfortable for you. I used to use a sponge for my foundation but now I use my fingers because I feel like I have better control in smoothing it out.

11. Double duty- Tinted moisturizer, BB or CC creams are a great way to combine skincare, moisturizer and foundation in one.

12. Lastly, permanent eyebrow or liner tattooing might be right for you. The eyebrow tattooing of old has progressed quite a bit and looks much more natural.

aloha friday

What’s going this weekend? I’d love to take a hike or a long walk in a new neighborhood, followed by a good read and a nap! That sounds perfect to me. Have a wonderful weekend.

~ Morgan Harper Nichols Instagram - Her site has such beautiful words of inspiration.

~ Recent books I’ve read: Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarity. I saw the HBO series before I read the book. The TV series is a lot more glamorous than the book but I still really enjoyed the book.

~Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

~A Beautiful Mystery & How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. Books 7 & 8 in the Armand Gamache mystery series. Love this series.

~Mrs. Beeton’s Book on Household Management - This is more of a book you will skim than read. She was sort of the Martha Stewart of her day and you get interesting information about life in that time with servants and everything basically being done hand. It made my housework seem easy after looking at this. It’s also a free e-book because it’s out of copyright.

~Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore - Good as an audio book, read by her. Very honest about her family life and struggles and I really enjoyed it.

~I have a bumper crop of lemons on my tree this year, so I made lemon curd, which was super delicious with yogurt and granola, this lemon almond pound cake, which was on a recent episode of Milk Street TV. Now that it’s fall, I have this Butternut Squash & Ricotta Bruschetta from Ina Garten on my list to make.

~Are you looking for some new underwear? This article asks 26 stylish woman about their favorites.

~When we visited Japan, I was impressed with how clean it was without a public trash can it sight and this BBC article explains a little about why.

dear kai

I got this email from one of our readers and thought it would be a good post. If you have any suggestions for a topic or a question, please email me at and I’ll be happy to try and answer on the blog or in private.

 “Dear Kai, I’ve had PD for about six years and I’m finding it difficult to motivate myself to exercise. I’ve been a moderate on and off exerciser most of my life. I’m tired a lot and it’s easier to put it off for another day. Any suggestions?”

Motivating yourself to exercise can be extra challenging with a chronic illness. Fatigue, tremors, dystonia, balance issues, and physical weakness can add up to saying “maybe tomorrow”. And if you’re a person who didn’t exercise much before you’re diagnosis, it can be a tall order to start exercising after.  But we all know the mantra that beyond for normal wellness, we with PD must exercise as much as we can. Here are a few ways to help.

Make it fun – There is much ongoing research on which exercises are best for PWP but I say the ones that you enjoy will be the ones you do the most. There are so things to choose from and you may need to try a few before you find something you like. Is there something you did when you were younger that you enjoyed and could start up again?

Make it convenient – Do things that are close in proximity to where you live or work. Research shows that the farther away your exercise place is, the less frequently you will go.

Figure out your personality – Are you the type of person who will show up more often when you are accountable to someone? Then find an exercise buddy. Aside from the workout, you could get a cup of coffee afterwards and get a twofer of exercise and a nice chat with a friend. Do you prefer having a set day and time each week or would rather have flexibility if your schedule differs a lot?

Make it a family activity – If you have kids or grand kids, doing exercise together is a great way to bond. How about an easy hike, or hit some balls at a golf range. Or while you’re waiting for your kids at their sports practice, instead of waiting on the sidelines, walk around the field or neighborhood.

Write it down – Keep track of your exercise and you’ll see your progress and accomplishments. When you look at your monthly calendar and see how many times you actually did exercise, it can encourage you to keep going.

Change it up – I get bored doing the same exercises all the time so I do a variety of things. Kickboxing one day a week, walk with someone another day, go to the gym, do yoga at home, swim, walk on the sand. It keeps it interesting and fresh.

Cut yourself some slack – When you miss a day, that’s ok. Just get back at it the next day. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and are always looking at what we didn’t do, instead of what we did accomplish.

Every little bit helps – You don’t always need a hardcore workout. It seems we have designed our world to eliminate physical movement in our day to day lives. In his book The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner talks about the places in the world where their populations live longer and healthier, and that one of the common traits they have is they incorporate exercise into their daily lives. So walk to the store if you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Ask your yard person to come every other time and you do the lawn on the alternate weeks. There are many ways to incorporate movement into our daily lives if we look for them.






i gotta pee


Urinary incontinence is a common symptom with Parkinson’s. Other things that can contribute to incontinence include pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and medications. Fun right? Stress incontinence is when you have leakage from pressure, let’s say when you cough, sneeze, or laugh hard. Urge incontinence is the feeling or sensation that you have to urinate even when your bladder is not nearly as full as it should be for a normal urinating sensation. There are a few things that can help.

Diet - Certain foods may exacerbate your symptoms including caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, high doses of vitamin c, & chocolate.

Exercise - Pelvic floor muscles are just that, muscles, and doing regular kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. Michelle Kenway is a Physical Therapist that has free online videos tutorials that show how to do them correctly.

There are also phone apps that are a good way to set reminders and keep track of how often you do them. Kegel Trainer PFM Exercises for iPhones and Kegel Trainer for Google Play are just a couple.

Bladder Training - Bladder training involves voiding at timed intervals with the goal of spreading the times further and further apart over the course of six to twelve weeks. You typically keep a diary to track your progress. Here is an article with more details from the University of California San Francisco.

Medication - There are a number of medications that may help. Of course talk to your health care professional about all of the above options to find the best fit for you. There is no need to be embarrassed, it’s a common problem for both men & women and the good news is there are things that can help.

food this week


My wonderful in-laws were visiting last weekend so I made a retro dish, Steak Diane. I remember reading an article a long time ago from I think either James Beard or Craig Claiborne, who talked about going to the theater in New York to see a play and making a quick supper of Steak Diane beforehand. It sounded so chic, so New York, and how can anything with steak, butter, cream, and cognac be anything but delicious.

Easy curries have been on my regular rotation in the last few months. I like their versatility. Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Curry and Zucchini & Shrimp Coconut Curry are my current favorites to riff on.

The eggplants in my garden are going bananas this year. I’ve made Pasta alla Norma and Eggplant Caponata which is a delicious Italian dish great as an appetizer on a slice of baguette or spread in a sandwich. My mom also gave me some corn on the cob and my favorite thing to eat this week was a free form salad with corn and blueberries. Put a few cobs of corn in a hot dry saute pan and turn every minute or so until the corn is grilled on all sides. Cut off the kernels and in a bowl mix the corn with fresh blueberries, diced red onion, & chopped basil. Toss with a little rice vinegar, olive oil, and s & p. Let macerate for about an hour before serving.

Have you tried the new plant based burgers called the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger? They are both delicious, look just like beef, and if no one told me it was plant based, I would not have known. Beyond Burger is sold in stores and the Impossible Burger you can find in restaurants but I’ve heard that they will be in stores soon.

I use these guides to what produce is in season in Hawaii and Southern California. They’re very helpful as I look at recipes and put together my meals. You probably have something similar for your area.

These Green Falafel Balls from 101 Cookbooks are great to freeze and and pan fry a few for lunch. Last but not least, take a look at this incredibly beautiful Rainbow Cake from Molly Yeh. I could never make this in a thousand years but I love it so much. Happy eating.

Photo from NY Times Cooking.


Balance. It means many different things to those with PD. I try to exercise most days with either yoga, weight lifting, kickboxing, stretching, or gardening. It helps me both physically and mentally and I’m always on a quest to find the right balance of pushing myself a little to keep my symptoms in check while not over doing it so that I’m overly tired.

Balancing our daily activities. Some days you’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends and other times you need down time. Your meds are not working properly or one of your symptoms is particularly challenging and you need time to yourself. Both are important. I know for some it’s difficult to get out and do activities but it can lead to feeling isolated, so sometimes you have to just do it, even though you don’t feel like it, and once you start you end up enjoying it much more than you thought. Other times don’t push and relax with a good book or take a nap.

Balancing our mind. There are so many things I’m grateful for and live a blessed life, but having PD can be at times mentally exhausting. Your always being reminded of it throughout the day, dealing with pain and other symptoms. Meditation, a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness and being present, all help me keep a positive attitude when things are challenging.

Balancing our medications. Boy is this a fun one. Trying to take enough of, and the right combination of medications to feel our best, without having too many side or adverse effects. Also trying to coordinate our meals with our meds, makes Parkies the world record holders in the number of times we look at our clocks each day.

And then of course there is our physical balance. Tai Chi, yoga, and many other exercises can help with our balance. Doing little exercises during the day like standing on one foot when you’re at your kitchen counter or waiting in line while running errands can be helpful. I’ve been doing this one for a while now so it’s automatic. Whenever I wait for an elevator or stand in line at the store, I do it without thinking about it. I call it my mini flamingo pose.

summer of brazil


We just returned from a fantastic trip to Brazil. My son Bronson lives in Rio so we started there and enjoyed many breathtaking sights, fabulous food, and experiences. It’s the perfect time to visit as it’s winter there and the low tourist season, so it felt like we had many places to ourselves.

In Rio we stayed in Ipanema a block from the gorgeous beach. Some of the favorite foods we ate were the Pao de Queijo which are chewy bread rolls with cheese in the middle, the Portuguese custard pastries called Pasteis de nata, and a fresh farmers cheese and guava paste they call Romeu e Julieta. And of course the Caiparinha’s were flowing.

From Rio, our next stop was Paraty, a charming small colonial seaside town where we took a small boat to along the coastline which was incredible. Then to the big city of Sao Paulo and the falls of Iguassu. The people throughout Brazil were very friendly and welcoming, the scenery is spectacular, and the food delicious.


When I travel, my PD symptoms seem to lessen. It’s probably the adrenaline of being on the trip, coupled with wanting to keep up with everyone that keeps my focus on other things. I did rest when I needed to and did my best to eat well which did help quite a bit. It was a memorable trip!

aloha friday


I hope your week went well. This weekend there is a PD support group meeting and I’ll be getting ready for our trip to Brazil. My current dose of carbidopa/levodopa is starting to wear off before my next scheduled dose, so I’m thinking of adding Entacapone to help extend it. If you have tried it, I would so appreciate it if you would email me with your experience. Thanks and enjoy your weekend.

~ Great, more good books to add to my TBR list. 14 Books You Wish You Could Read for the First Time Again.

~ This summer cocktail looks strange and interesting at the same time.

~ Watched The Accountant of Auschwitz on Netflix. Very interesting doc about one of the last living members of the SS who went on trial for war crimes. Also really enjoying Big Little Lies on HBO.

~ Books I’m currently reading - The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, Heirs and Graces (The Royal Spyness Mysteries #7) by Rhys Bowen, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams.

~ The photo above Sweet Potato and Black Bean Freezer Burritos if from Molly Yeh. What a great idea for an easy lunch or dinner. I’m making a batch this weekend.

~ Melissa Clark has a new food podcast called Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark. Listen to the intro episode and try her tomato salad recipe. It is out of this world.

~ Interesting article The Biggest Wastes of Time We Regret When We Get Older.

~ “It is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy.”



Popsicle’s are not just for kids. They are easy to make, involve no cooking, and are super refreshing. I like them whenever I want something a little sweet, but also trying to nudge towards the healthy. The basic formula for 6 popsicles is 2 c. fruit, 2-4 T honey, 1/2 c. either yogurt, juice, milk, or water, and any flavoring ingredients. Have fun using whatever fruit you have available. For all of them you basically whiz the ingredients into a blender, pour into the molds, and freeze for a few hours. Enjoy.

Mango Yogurt Popsicles

2 cups diced mango

2-4 Tablespoons honey (or sweetener of your choice)

juice from 1/2 lime

1/2 cup yogurt (I used full fat yogurt but use whatever you’d like)

Also try:

1 c. strawberries, 1 banana, 1/2 c. fruit juice, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 T. honey

2 c. watermelon, 1/2 c. cranberry juice, juice of 1 lime, 3 T. honey

fudgesicles- 1 c. room temperature coffee, 1/2 c. half & half, 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 tsp. cacao powder, 3 T. honey, 1 tsp. vanilla

practicing happiness

Being happy can sometimes be challenging when you have a chronic illness. First there is the lack of dopamine and all the other physiological reasons. Then there are the daily challenges that can rack up, and zap our ability to be happy or positive. On those days, we may need to nudge ourselves in a more positive direction. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I’d rather have a short pity party, but then it’s time to get back on track.  

 Here are a few things that can zap happiness:

- Don’t “should” yourself all the time. I should do this, I should do that. It comes from a negative place. Say instead “I’d like to do this” or “I will do this”. And while we are at it, try not to “should” others in our lives.

- Comparing yourself to others. As FDR said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. It really doesn’t matter what others have done. Do what’s right for you. When you have a chronic illness, it can sometimes feel that everyone is whizzing past you in life. But it’s not a race. You do you.

- When you’re having a tough day, don’t pile on. It’s easy to start adding on other negative feelings or thoughts. Try to keep it to just that situation. You’ll get through it.

Practicing these things can create more happiness:

- Do little positive things each day. It’s not the grand gestures that make you happier, but the little daily habits that build on themselves.

- Exercise. It’s shown in studies that it not only helps us physically but can help reduce anxiety and depression.

- Spend time outdoors. Exercise, read, people watch, anything. Do it now while the weather is good.

- Socialize with others. Not only with friends and family, but casual relationships are also beneficial. So, chat with your postman each day or the cashier in your grocery store each time you see them.

- Write down two things each day that you’re grateful for. They can be the smallest things but write them down.

- If you want to keep it, give it away. Helping someone else can make you feel happier.


an unexpected gift


When you have a degenerative disease, one of the most challenging things to deal with is the uncertainty. The uncertainty of tomorrow, next month, and next year. At the same time you’re feeling uncertain about the future, you’re also mourning you’re previous normal. You may have just gotten used to the latest symptoms and medication balance, and then they change.

That’s why I think PWP have become so good at living in the moment. Now while it’s true for everyone that we don’t know the future, I think those with a degenerative disease, along with their caregivers and loved ones, feel it in the forefront of their daily thoughts.

Before I had PD, I took for granted that if I couldn’t do something today, I would able to do it in the future. Now I am much more present, aware, appreciative of things in the moment because I understand all too well that it may change in the near future. Having PD is certainly no gift, but living and appreciating little things in the moment has been an unexpected gift. A gift we can practice giving ourselves each day.

aloha friday


I started a new kickboxing class this week. It was posted on our local PD association email, so I thought it was a class for PWP. I showed up and I was the only one there who had PD. At first it was a little nerve wracking because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep up with everyone, but I ended up having a terrific time. If you live in Honolulu and would like to find out more, email me directly and I’d be happy to share more details.

Aside from trying to stay cool, here are few things that I’ve been interested in this week. Have a wonderful weekend.

What I’m watching - I want to hang out with Monty Don in his garden. His soothing voice and obvious passion for gardening makes me love every show he is in. I’m currently watching Gardeners World. All the Queen’s Horses is a an interesting documentary about a comptroller in a small town in Illinois and how she embezzled $53 million in public funds. TCM is highlighting movies made in 1939 called “Hollywood’s Golden Year” for movies. There are some great classics that I’ll be watching including Love Affair and Wuthering Heights.

What I’m reading - A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny. This is the 7th in the Armand Gamache mysteries and I’m just loving this series. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. Super interesting the way he interspurses his real life into the novel. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow. A highly researched and written book about the family banking dynasty. Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson is a beautiful book with great tips.

What I’m listening to - Joao Gilberto the pioneer musician of Bossa Nova just passed. I’ll be making a weekend cocktail and listening to this classic album Getz/Gilberto. Gretchen Rubin’s latest book is Outer Order Inner Calm. I enjoy all her books and this one is about decluttering and organizing your home.

Last thought - Chronic illness can take, but one of the things it has given me is the awareness to marvel in the ordinary.

xoxo~ kai

summer fruit

My mother is Korean, and if you know anything about Korean mothers, you’ll know their obsession with feeding their children fruit. When I visit my mom, I’m usually leaving with a bag of fruit in hand. So it’s no wonder that the bounty of summer fruit factors heavily into my summer eating. You can’t beat just eating them fresh at their ripest, but once you’ve gorged through mountains of cherries, peaches, plums, berries, & melons, you have to start looking for other ways to enjoy them.

I started off making this strawberry summer cake from Smitten Kitchen. It’s become my go to easy cake this year and it’s also delicious with mango. The next two on my to make list are Ina Garten’s mixed berry pavlova and summer fruit galette from David Lebovitz.

I make this big batch of brandied cherries each year and freeze them. These little ruby red gems are fantastic in a Manhattan or an Aviation cocktail, spooned over ice cream or sponge cake, or even drizzled over yogurt. This peach tart from Food52 looks totally doable and I love that it gives a zillion variations. When you’re grilling on the bbq, these grilled peaches with creme fraiche from White on Rice are an easy and elegant dessert.


For a few healthier options, fruit salads are always a good way to go. After cutting up the fruit, toss with a little lemon or lime juice, honey, and chopped mint leaves. If you have leftovers add them to your smoothie or freeze it for a future smoothie. If you haven’t tried the watermelon salad from Love and Lemons, the salty cheese combined with the melon is a great combination, and these tropical coconut popsicles from Pick Up Limes are a cool snack.


summer lovin

Summer is here, so let us Parkies find more ways to enjoy it.

Exercise outdoors- If you have a hard time finding the motivation to exercise or the weather in your area can be a deterrent to get outside in the winter, let this be the season for you. Choose your favorites. Walking, hiking, gardening, biking, swimming, an outdoor Tai Chi or yoga in the park class. Mix it up. Walk a different park or neighborhood each week. Don’t have a garden? Check with your local garden extension or public gardens and volunteer. Make it a date. Find someone to do it with and when you’re done, have a cup of coffee at a new cafe.

Enjoy the summer bounty - This is the perfect season to increase your fruit and veg. Pick a couple of your favorites and look for a few new ways to enjoy them all summer long. Right now there are beautiful local mangoes, so I’m trying them in all sorts of ways. I made this summer cake and replaced the berries with mango, coconut tapioca pudding, and mango salsa that I’ll top fish and tacos. Visit your local farmers market and get inspired.

Eat outdoors - It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Enjoy coffee or a cocktail. Have a picnic. No cooking necessary. Take a crusty loaf of bread, slices of salami & cheese, olives, fruit, and few store bought cookies and enjoy the sunset. It really doesn’t matter because everything you eat outdoors tastes better!

Try a new activity - Summer time may bring lots of extra activities to your city. Look for festivals, museums with special exhibits or free days, watch a movie or play in the park. Instead of reading on your couch, find a big tree to sit under and enjoy your summer read. In our neighborhood there is an old cemetery. A local theater group put on a play in the cemetery portraying interesting people buried there and how they contributed to the community. It was fascinating.

Stay cool - Dress in natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk. Looser cuts and dresses or skirts feel cooler than thick jeans. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Infuse a big pitcher of water with a few slices of lemon or lime, mint, or cucumber to make it more interesting. Wear sunscreen every day. Cerave and Elta MD are two of my favorites for my face and Sun Bum for my body. Wear hats. Solumbra and Coolibar are fantastic. I wear this wide brim hat for gardening and this one for walking. I can throw them both in the washer and they travel well.

Happy summer!

aloha friday

Today is the summer solstice for those in the northern hemisphere and winter solstice for the southern hemisphere. It’s officially summer and this summer I’m looking forward to swimming and hiking more & having a few easy picnics. Lofty goals I know but being outside really helps me feel better so I’m always looking for more ways to do that.

~ Speaking of summer, Gretchen Rubin talks about designing your summer in this episode of Happier with Gretchen Rubin. It talks about not just letting your summer pass without planning some enjoyable things to mark the time.

~ I’ve been watching the comedy Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. It stars the very funny Eugene Levy & Catherine O’Hara and if you liked Arrested Development, you’ll like this also. It takes a few episodes before it really starts to kick in but they are only 20+ minute episodes.

~ Two excellent memoirs I just finished are Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl. Ruth talks about her time working at Gourmet Magazine and it’s abrupt shutdown that came as a complete surprise. Ruth is a wonderful food writer and a few of my other favorites that she’s written are Garlic & Sapphires and Tender at the Bone. The other book is Becoming by Michelle Obama. No matter your political point of view, you can see what a strong & caring family she came from and the challenges and joys being first lady has provided her. Both memoirs are fantastic in audio form.

~ I regularly make red wine vinegar but I’m trying my first attempt at apple cider vinegar. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime I’m loving this simple fresh salsa with chips, on quesadillas, and taco tuesdays. If you’re losing your smell and taste, give it a try. The acid, spicy, salty hits my taste buds! I’m also going to give this strawberry summer cake a go this weekend. It looks simple and delicious.

Wishing you a beautiful summer. xoxo Kai

(photo above from House & Garden)

summer PD book read


If you’re looking for a summer read, how about a book about Parkinson’s. We share many similarities from the disease itself but all have different paths and journeys, and it’s so touching to read others experiences. I laughed, cried, was inspired and learned a lot of helpful information, and I hope you will too.

Lucky Man: A Memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future - Michael J. Fox - We all know MJF and all the incredible work he has done for the PD community. All three of these books are great to listen to as audiobooks as he narrates them with his familiar sincerity and humor and how he still sees his as a charmed life.

Perseverance: The Seven Skills You Need to Survive, Thrive, and Accomplish More Than You Ever Imagined - Tim Hague - Tim shares the story of his life, from his challenging childhood, to life with PD and how his time being on the first season of the show The Amazing Race Canada with his son, has dramatically changed his life.

Parkinson’s Diva - Maria De Leon, MD - Maria has been a caregiver, a Neurologist, and also has PD, so she has a very unique perspective. Her book is a terrific mix of medical information wrapped up in fun and personal stories. Maria is also writing a new book and I can’t wait for it to come out and if you missed it, here is a link to the interview I did with her.

Every Victory Counts - Davis Phinney Foundation - This is an excellent manual with lots of good information for both PWP and caregivers. You can download the ebook for free, or your can also receive a printed copy until they run out.

Here are the books on my to be read list. Have you read any of these or do you have any good books about Parkinson’s that you can share?

smiling & laughing

I don’t where I picked up the habit but for years, whenever I went to the restroom, I would look in the mirror when I washed my hands and give a quick smile to myself. Sounds odd I know, but it physically made me feel better. As I progressed with my Parkinson’s I noticed I did it less and less and that I also smiled and laughed overall much less than I did in the past. It’s a common symptom of PD called facial masking or hypomimia.

So I took to the Google and read a few articles that said smiling and laughing do have a physical effect on us. They can release dopamine (our long lost friend) which contributes to happiness and serotonin which contributes to the feeling of calm. Even forcing or faking a smile can trick our brains into feeling better.

So I put my forced smiling and laughing plan to work. When I wake up in the morning and before I get out of bed, I smile and think “good morning”. When I’m drinking my morning coffee I look at a couple of reddit feeds like contagious laughter or made me smile, that show funny video clips and watch it until I laugh which doesn’t take long and I swear it makes my day start in a happier mood. I’m also practicing my smile in the restroom again and take the opportunity to smile at someone during the day if I’m out and about.

I really do notice a difference. Think about it. Do you smile and laugh every day?

aloha friday


Tomorrow we’ll celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday. She has been and continues to be such an inspiration to me. Happy Birthday Mom! Today it’s gardening, exercising, and reading. Have a wonderful weekend.

~ Yay, the Downton Abbey movie will be released in September. Here is a trailer and guess who’s coming to visit?

~ Here is a shocking way to see how much added sugar you’re consuming.

~ Bill Gates does his yearly summer book read recommendations and this year looks like some really interesting picks.

~ Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs - I enjoyed this memoir from the oldest daughter of Steve Jobs. The surprising humble life she lived growing up and the difficult relationship with her world famous father is so interesting to read.

~ This One-Pan Bruschetta Spaghetti from the NYT Cooking site looks intriguing. I’ve always wanted to try a one pan pasta and with summer tomatoes soon at their best, this is the perfect season.

~ Actress Minnie Driver has a lovely new line of furnishings from One Kings Lane. I love to soft British prints.

~ The Japanese secret to living a longer life. What is your Ikigai?

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.” ~Wayne Dyer

(photo above from Big Red Sun)