Time, Space and the Dinosaurs

by Bob Sparrow


I have been fascinated with space from an early age, and as I have mentioned in previous blogs, my teachers always referred to me as the kid who just took up space in school, but that’s another story.  Most who read our blog are part of the generations who have eye-witnessed the exploration of space first hand.

We remember the Russians, back then it was the U.S.S.R., as the first to explore outer space, as opposed to today’s Russian heart-breaking exploration of Ukrainian space. They opened the ‘space age’ in 1957 with the first satellite to circle the earth, Sputnik, which translated from Russians, means ‘satellite’ – hey, it’s not rocket science . . . well, actually I guess it is!  (Note how small Sputnik is in the attached photo).  A few weeks later, they were the first to send a living creature into space, a dog named Laika, but typical of the Russians, they neglected to send ‘poop bags’ with him, so he returned quite messy.  Subsequently, Americans feared they were falling behind in the ‘race for space’, which we were, so after two mulligans, we finally launched a satellite, called the Explorer, into orbit in January 1958.

In 1961 the Russians etched another notch in their ‘space belt’ by being the first to put a human in orbit around the earth, Yuri Gagarin, which in Russian translates to ‘Neener Neener’.   The Russians had a few other ‘firsts’, one of them being sending the first woman into space, although some say she has still not returned.

“One giant leap for mankind”

President, John F. Kennedy in May 1961, in an effort to put an end to Russia’s dominance in space, made a speech that challenged our scientists to land a man on the moon (and get him back safely) before the decade was over.  While most of our generation remembers where they were when they heard that Kennedy had been assassinated, we also remember where we were in 1969 when we watched Neil Armstrong deliver on Kenney’s promise, and walk on the moon, as well as proving, once and for all, that the moon was not made of green cheese (it was a rumor at the time, kids!).

Clearly the moon landings have been the biggest event so far in human space travel, but since then the launching of various satellites and telescopes that enhance communication and observation, as well as explore other galaxies have taken over the headlines.  In 2017 I wrote here about the satellite Cassini, that took nearly seven years to traveled over 4.9 billion miles to Saturn, made nearly 300 orbits of the ringed planet, took over 450,000 photos (Not all of them got Saturn smiling) and then crashed into the planet that it knew so well, and remains there today.

70 x 46 feet. The sunshield is the size of a tennis court

The next big thing in space happened in 2003 with the launching of the Hubble Telescope, which has provided astronomers with countless new observations about the vast regions beyond our solar system.

And now, we have the James Webb Space Telescope, which was just launched in December of last year (2021), and has now reached its final destination about a million miles from earth, where it will now orbit around the sun.  To say the least, astronomers are giddy!  Why?  Because with this giant telescope we can see further back in time than ever before.  OK, if that statement just made you shake your head, here’s a quick study on the space-time continuum that even those who didn’t take up space in school should be able to grasp. Light is not instantaneous, even though it seems that way when you turn on a light switch, but it is really fast; it travels at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.  OK, you still with me? The moon is our nearest celestial body in the universe, a short 238,900 miles away, it takes light about 1.3 seconds to travel from the moon to the earth, so we are seeing what the moon looked like 1.3 seconds ago.  Expanding that same logic, the Virgo Cluster of galaxies is the largest

I think that’s me in there somewhere!

nearby collection of galaxies at about 60 million light-years from the Milky Way. Still with me? The light we see today from galaxies in the Virgo Cluster started on its path toward the earth at the same time as the age of the dinosaurs was ending on Earth. So, if you were in a Virgo Cluster galaxy today, and you had a telescope powerful enough to study the Earth, you would be able to see the dinosaurs roaming the earth.  What?!!!  Yeah, I don’t fully understand it either!  But I’m thinking that perhaps one day they will be able to figure out how some of us old dinosaurs that are roaming the earth today will be able to actually travel back in time!  Naah, I’m not sure I want to relive all that all over again!!

It is mind-boggling, but so fascinating for those of us that are still just taking up space.



By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

In 2004 I was watching Hardball, the show formerly hosted by Chris Matthews, when his guest for the evening was Donna Brazile.   Ms. Brazile was coming off an unsuccessful stint as Al Gore’s campaign manager and at that time was the chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute.  On that episode of Hardball, she was asked about Tom DeLay, who was the House Majority Leader.  DeLay had made millions in the pest control business before entering politics (where he no doubt made millions more).  She made a derogatory comment about DeLay being “just a pest exterminator”, which in her estimation made him unequal to his task.  Matthews stopped the interview and told Brazile that being an exterminator was honest work and that in his religion “to work was to pray”. Matthews also noted that DeLay had been a successful exterminator while she was a failed presidential campaign manager.  He finished by saying, “There is honor in all work.”

I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment, which is why I am a bit befuddled by the high number of job openings in this country.  Work is good, and there is nothing like the satisfaction of doing a job well.  There are innumerable articles that have been published over the years about the benefits of working and they mostly boil down to a few things.  Work provides structure.  When all else is falling apart, it is good to have a place to go every day that provides stability.  A workplace can also provide friendship.  Sometimes it’s our friends at work that make a job bearable, especially when the boss is a jerk.  Nothing better than having a common enemy to bring people closer.  Work also provides money.  This seems obvious, but for anyone who has ever wondered how they are going to pay rent or buy food, a good job is invaluable.  When basic needs are taken care of a job can provide the cash to do fun things, like planning a vacation away from work.

If you are fortunate to find a job that you love, and that gives you opportunity to expand your horizon, work can go a long way toward a positive sense of self and becoming expert in your field.  Personally, I love watching people who are good at their jobs, whether it’s the street cleaner or a mechanic.  There is a poetry in watching skilled hands do what they’ve been trained to do.

So why are so many people choosing to stay home?  And how in the heck are they supporting themselves?  I’ve been told it’s the “gig economy”, where people pick up jobs as they feel like it and jump from place to place.  While the freedom that provides sounds enticing, I question how satisfying that is in the long run.  In my father’s generation people worked for the same company until they were ushered out with a gold watch.  My generation was influenced by the “Me, Inc.” philosophy, where people divorced themselves from lifetime employment and took more control of their careers.  These days it seems like it’s a free for all.

Of course, COVID has not helped the situation.  There has been a great, and unfair, divide between people who could easily work from home in their pajamas and those essential workers who were asked to show up regardless of how rampant the virus was in their community.  And then, of course, those people were subjected to some customers who treated them poorly.  That might explain why people are reluctant to return to work – who needs the abuse?

I recall my own experience with a bad customer.  After I retired from banking, I took a job one day a week in a yarn store.  One day a woman came in.  I didn’t know her but was aware that she lived in my community.  Without preamble she began to make demands, messed up the inventory and generally treated me as her personal servant.  Twenty minutes into her visit a mutual acquaintance walked in who commented to the nasty woman, “You know, Suzanne also lives in our community.”  The customer’s jaw dropped to the floor, as she said rather incredulously, “You do??!!!”  After that she bent over backwards to be nice to me.  But it was too late.  I knew who she was.  She was a nasty person, one who treated those she deemed beneath her in a despicable way.  As it turned out, she was later brought up on charges at our club TWICE for berating our employees.

So maybe we all have a part to play in getting people back to work.  We should honor all work…and be nice!

What Else is There to Do in the Desert?

by Bob Sparrow

Marriott Desert Springs Hotel

As you read this, I’m in ‘The Desert’.  No, my worlds travels have not taken me to the Gobi or the Sahara Desert, but rather the Colorado Desert, more specifically, Palm Desert.  Yes, this week I’m at our timeshare at the beautiful Marriott Desert Springs.  Those who have been following us here for a while, have read about some of our exploits at this timeshare that we have never traded away and never missed spending a week, or two, every year.  It’s a place that is only an hour and a half’s drive from our home, but that drive takes you into a whole different world.

After nearly 30 years of enjoying many of the things that the desert has to offer, I thought it would be interesting to try and discover some things that we have never seen or done.  My search of the Internet provided me with this list of the following attraction options:

Inside Ruddy’s General Store

Ruddy’s General Store

This store is a recreation of a 1930s general store, where proprietor, Jim Ruddy has assembled a collection of nearly a century of Americana.  Items that he’s collected are in their original packaging and a majority of them hold their original contents.  I already hate shopping, but shopping for things you can’t actually buy or use is out of my ‘fun zone’.

Volkswagen Spider

This former auto repair shop has a 28-foot tall, metal spider, made from old Volkswagen Beetle parts.  The property was once the Hole in the Wall Welding Shop, and now is just called the Hole in the Wall.  The structure is adorned with cacti and metal spider webs.  If this is as bad as it looks, I’d have to have a ‘Hole in my Head’ to spend any time looking at a giant, metal Volkswagen spider.


The Naked Bridge

Also known as the ‘Bridge of Thighs’, it is a 140-foot overpass created in 2003 at a cost of $500,000, so people could walk naked across this bridge.  There are five-foot canvas panels along the bridge to ensure that only the heads of crossing nudists are seen and thus prevent fender benders from happening on the street below.  Yeah, that’s what I really go to the desert for, to see senior citizens walking across a bridge naked!

The Babies

These 10 sculptures of babies appearing to crawl in a sand pit are found in the Palm Springs Museum courtyard.  They are intended to be a statement on the negative influence of big tech and data in our lives.  These babies have no faces, rather a ‘bar code’ appears in place of their face.  With any luck, my GPS won’t be able to find this creepy place.


Where’s the Spanish galleon?

According to tourist information, “Shiprock gained its name from its uncanny resemblance to a Spanish galleon, but no matter what photo I pulled up, and there are plenty, I never saw any resemblance to a Spanish galleon.  It sits at the bottom of a prehistoric tropical sea that existed over 250 million years ago.   ‘Uncanny resemblance’???  No matter how I looked at this heap of rock, I just couldn’t ‘see’ the ship, maybe it’s better in real life – I’ll never know!  What I do know about Spanish galleons, is that when Columbus discovered America, he got over 3,000 miles to the galleon!  Rim shot!!

Romance Theater

Shield’s Date Knight

Floyd and Bess Shields opened the Shields Date Garden in 1924; finding that date competition was very strong in the Coachella Valley, they created a slide show with a recorded sound track and called it, The Romance and Sex Life of a Date’ and put a mammoth Knight in Armor just off Highway 111 to direct people to their date farm.  It’s open all year – don’t miss it!  Sorry, not my idea of a ‘date night’!

So, if this is what I’ve been missing for the past 29 years, I think I’ll continue to play golf, enjoy fine dining and have a rum and coke while I watch the sun sink behind Mt. San Jacinto from the deck of our condo.  But perhaps you’ve found something here to make your next trip to the desert a unique one.

You’re welcome!



By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Confession:  I am a life-long 49er’s fan.  My husband is a life-long Rams fan.  It has made for some interesting (and heated) discussions over the years.  Although I’d love to see him happy about his team winning the Super Bowl today, I just can’t bring myself to root for our arch enemy.  Besides, I am an enthusiastic fan of Joe Burrow.  If you’re looking for a reason to care about the outcome of today’s game, I am re-posting my 2020 blog about Joe Burrow, with a wonderful update to the story.  

30 million Americans will be watching the College Football Championship game tonight between LSU and Clemson.  It is slated to be one of the most exciting playoff games in recent history – both teams are undefeated and have stand out quarterbacks.  Hopefully it will live up to the expectations.  But aside from the thrill of who will win the Championship, many people have found a different reason to take interest in the game – LSU’s quarterback, Joe Burrow.  In this age of bad-boy athletes where the headlines shout of domestic violence, gun shots, and cheating scandals, Joe Burrow is the soothing balm that reminds us of just how good college sports can be.  This one person, in one night, brought dignity, kindness and generosity to the forefront.  His story bears telling and re-telling.

Joe Burrow hails from one of the most impoverished areas in the United States – southeast Ohio.  His hometown is Athens, a part of Appalachia that has yet to see significant benefit from the soaring stock market and lower unemployment rate.  Joe is a product of the local high school and was heavily recruited upon graduation.  He attended Ohio State, where he red-shirted, obtained his BA in Family Resource Management, and then with two years eligibility remaining, decided to transfer to a school where he could get more playing time.  In May 2018 he signed on with LSU and their charismatic coach, Ed Orgeron.  The rest is history.

Fast forward to December 14, 2019.  Burrow was one of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy and, in a surprise to no one, he not only took home the trophy but did so by a wider margin than any winner in history, securing 93.8 percent of the possible points.   That alone would make him stand out in anyone’s book.  But it’s what he did next that swayed hearts and minds.  In his acceptance speech he not only thanked the usual people – his teammates, parents and coaches (including those from Ohio State), he took the opportunity of being on the big stage to remember those who have not been as fortunate as he.  Mid-way through his speech he said the following: “Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very impoverished area. The poverty rate is almost two times the national average. There are so many people there that don’t have a lot. I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home—not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here too.” He was crying, and I’m guessing anyone watching cried right along with him. It was a thoughtful moment – surely one to make everyone who ever had anything to do with this young man feel proud.  His dad commented the next morning that he received over 500 texts and the overwhelming majority of them congratulated him on Joe’s thoughtfulness, not the piece of hardware he’d won.  But it’s what happened next that highlights the positive impact just one high-profile athlete can have.

The following morning, Sunday, December 15th, Athens High and Ohio grad, Will Drabold, was so moved by Joe’s speech that he decided to set up a fundraiser on Facebook for the all-volunteer Athens County Food Pantry with a goal of $1,000.  By the end of that first day, he had collected more than $50,000.  Major media outlets picked up on the story and by Monday morning, the total donations surged to $80,000, which happens to be the annual budget the Food Pantry.  By Tuesday, December 17th, the fund had collected more than $350,000.  Drabold raised the goal to $500,000 – why not shoot for the stars?

On Wednesday, at a local middle school, a teacher played Burrow’s Heisman speech for her students. When they finished watching the speech, she said she saw “a lot of bug eyes, like, “Wow, he’s talking about us.” They sat down to write letters to Burrow. One of the boys in the class turned this in:
Dear Joe Burrow,
Thank you for showing me and other children that no matter where you’re from or your life story, if you work hard, you can achieve greatness. Also, thank you for giving back to your community. You have inspired me to not be embarrassed by my life story and work hard to achieve my goals. Again, thank you very much.
The student signed his name, and under it wrote: “Just a kid from Southeast Ohio.”

On Friday, December 20th, donations to the food bank were close to $450,000.  Joe Burrow, meanwhile, accepted another token of his hard work and dedication that day – his master’s degree in Liberal Arts from LSU.    By Sunday the total for the Food Bank topped out at more than $475,00. Karin Bright, president of the food bank’s board, was asked about the effect of the fundraising on the organization – “I truly hope this opens a conversation across the country and we finally address the issues of hunger and food insecurity in this country. We’re better than this. People in this great country should not be going to bed hungry. And for Joe Burrow to put such a personal face on it—his classmates at Athens, he knew, were going hungry. And he remembered that at this momentous time in his life.”  She said the funds that have been raised are a sacred trust and will ensure that it is allocated with utmost respect for those who gave it.

As of this morning, game day, the total donations are $503,211.  I don’t know who will win the game tonight, but I do know that Joe Burrow has already made more of an impact off the field than on it.  Yes, thousands of people in Athens County will be less hungry this year, but really, all of us have been given a gift from this upstanding young man.  He has lifted our spirits, caused us to remember that the American people are generous and kind.  He provided a shining example of what college athletes can be.  Joe Burrow is not just a kid from southeast Ohio – he is an inspiration to us all.

So, for tonight’s game I say, Geaux, Joe!

2022 Update:  Joe Burrow won the National Championship game.  He also lent his name to the Athens County Food Pantry, so one can directly donate to the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund.  It has been so successful that the organization has an endowment of $1.5 million dollars and provides food for over 400 families each month.  With the success of the Bengals this season, and specifically with their rather miraculous accent to the Super Bowl, donations have been pouring in.  The fund has received 1,272 gifts totaling $89,571 since the AFC Championship game Jan. 30.  The grassroots campaign has seen a majority of the gifts (more than 330) at $9 in tribute to Burrow’s jersey number.  Corporations are now chipping in and if the Bengals win the Super Bowl today who knows how many families will end up benefiting?  So, for me, I know the answer to Who Dey?  It’s Joe Burrow.


News or Walk, News or Walk?

by Bob Sparrow

“News may be sign of depression”

Early last week, I got my cup of coffee and sat down with the morning paper; yes, they still publish a morning paper and I still read it . . . every morning.  Although I must admit, it’s getting harder and harder to read.  Not that my reading skills have diminished . . . that much, but rather the content seems to get more and more depressing every day.  I typically start my morning, in beautiful southern California with a pretty good attitude, but I’m finding that reading the morning paper can change all that.

Of course, it really doesn’t matter where you get your news, online, TV, newspaper, radio, or the neighborhood hairstylist, it’s mostly the same, bad.  I like what comedian, Demetri Martin had to say on the subject.  He said, “Instead of calling it ‘News’, why don’t they just call it ‘What’s Wrong’”(If you’ve never heard of Demetri Martin, look him up online, he’s pretty funny).

Just in case you missed it, here’s a short summary of last week’s edition of ‘What’s Wrong’:

  • Tension mounting between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine
  • National debt tops $30 trillion milestone
  • Politicians busy ‘redistricting’
  • China . . . (fill in the blank)
  • Death Row ponders ‘Open Door’ policy
  • Hate Crime up 71%
  • Various political stories on:
    • Biden’s lost it
    • Trump’s an ass
  • Vaccines are good, Covid down. Vaccines are bad, Covid up.
  • Test tampering at the Olympics

As I’m sure you know, I could go on . . . and on . . . and on, but you’re depressed enough already.  So, we here at From a Birdseye View are not going to write about depressing stuff unless we have some solutions.

Here’s two ideas for taking the place of that ‘daily depressor’:

  1. The Squirrel News

Here, in their own words is what they sell:

Are you also frustrated by the fact that mainstream news consists almost entirely of conflicts, scandals, wars and disasters?

Then you’ve come to the right place. At Squirrel News, we provide you with the solution-oriented stories and articles which are otherwise neglected: stories covering original ideas, innovative approaches, and solutions to the social challenges we face.

Who publishes The Squirrel News you ask?  It comes out of Berlin, Germany.  Yes, the same people that brought us the Nazis, World War II and the Holocaust, now, seem to be looking at the bright side of things.

Here’s their url:   https://squirrel-news.net/newsletter/    Its’ free

  1. Morning Brew

Also online, Morning Brew calls themselves a ‘business newsletter’, but they consider everything somebody’s business, and they do it in a light, humorous way.  There’s also always a game, a test or some other interactive activity.

Here’s their url: morningbrew.com/daily/r/?kid=89915299     It’s free

OK, we’ve taken care of the mental side of things, now let’s look at the physical.  As fitness guru, Nancy Sinatra said in the song, These Boots Were Made for Walkin, “Start walking!”  Again, we here at From A Birdseye View, are just here to help, so here’s what the experts have to say about just taking a daily walk.

The New York Times recently stated that “walking just 10 minutes a day leads to a longer life” (So, walk only if you want to live longer).  Helen Dennis, nationally recognized expert on aging, suggests the following ways to get in that daily10-minute walk (with a few of my edits):

  • Walk with a friend or a dog (or a friend’s dog)
  • Make it a meditation walk, focusing on what you see, smell, observe or hear and or just focus on your breathing
  • Explore your neighborhood as though it were a first-time visit
  • Note the number of different trees and flowers
  • Think about being grateful for something . . . anything!

In summary, less ‘what’s wrong’, more ‘let’s walk’.

You’re welcome!



By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

By the time you read this on Monday morning, Scottsdale will have hosted an extravaganza known as the Barrett-Jackson car auction.  In case you aren’t familiar with it, B-J is the largest car auction company in the world and each January they host one of their premier events in Arizona.  The auction attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators, or “motorheads” as they are known.  You read that right – hundreds of thousands.  Most people have some passing interest in the cars up for auction (this year there were over 1850 special cars) but most people I know go to people watch.  There is perhaps no finer place to see a cross-section of high rollers and wannbe high rollers than Barrett-Jackson.  We have not attended the auction for several years, being neither car aficionados or in need of seeing blondes with boob jobs, but the atmosphere is the same, year in and year out.

        Bret and his Bentley

This year there were several celebrity cars up for sale.  David Spade, the comedian, sold his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle.  Gosh, I remember when one of the popular boys at school got a Chevelle and rumor has it that the back seat is not all that comfortable.  That said, unlike the average teenage boy, I don’t think the people bidding on it are contemplating spending much time back there.  The auction also featured a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit that was once the property of Burt Reynolds. Not only can you get a famous car, but they are throwing in an autographed copy of the late actor’s autobiography.  What a deal! The front man for the rock band Poison, Bret Michaels, appeared to sell his 2007 Bentley Continental GT.  Just as with Reynold’s car, there is a gift with purchase – a custom “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” guitar autographed by Michaels.  And rap star Pitbull made an appearance to oversee the auction of his 2022 Karma GS-6 EV 305 Edition.  Whatever that is.  Obviously, I am not a motorhead.

As I mentioned, most people I know go to people watch.  There are more than three dozen bars and restaurants at the venue, and they are all packed.  It’s a little like Vegas, where there are VIP suites and special bidder’s areas, but you can still run into the rich and famous out on the floor.  One of the most fun activities is watching the women who accompany the high rollers to the auction.  They wear so much jewelry and shiny clothing that you can see them from Mars.  Sometimes the ratio of jewelry to clothing tips well into the jewelry side of the ledger.  There is so much bleach and silicone in the building I’m surprised it isn’t declared a hazmat area.  Still, it makes for fun watching.

One of the benefits of the auction is the money donated to charity.  Each year Barrett-Jackson gives the profits from several of its car sales to local charities.  Since its inception at a dirt lot in Scottsdale 50 years ago, the company has donated more than $133 million to local and national charities.  So, even if you aren’t a motorhead, you can appreciate their gesture.  If you’re anywhere close to Scottsdale next January, you might want to give the Barrett-Jackson event a try.  I promise it will open up a whole world of beautiful cars, beautiful people and, who knows, maybe a gift with purchase!

Here Today, Gone to Maui – Photo Op

by Bob Sparrow

1st Sunset



Sunday: We arrive on Maui in the afternoon and had made dinner reservations at one of our favorite restaurants on the Kaanapali strip, the Hula Grill – right on the beach, feet in the sand, and one of the best ribeye steaks I’ve ever had.  I know I’m supposed to eat fish here, but this was too good to pass up.




Kaanapali strip

Monday: Stroll the ‘Kaanapali Strip’ seeing who has the best Mai Tais – started small umbrella collection.  Got in front of a TV early enough to watch the Alabama-Georgia championship game.  The game was over by 6:00 Hawaii time, so went to dinner at Monkey Pod, right behind Hula Grill.  Yes, I had fish . . . tacos!



As promised, a sunset and dinner on our sunset dinner cruise

Tuesday: Golf at the Kaanapali Royal Golf Course on a perfect day then a sunset dinner (fish) cruise – seeing lots of whales and a beautiful sunset.  After the cruise we wandered Front Street in Lahaina and settled in at an upstairs bar called Captain Jack’s.  We sat at the upstairs bar next to two guys from Rhode Island; one of them got up to go to the restroom and while he was gone, a restaurant employee came by and asked if anyone was using his bar stool.  We said yes, but he took the stool anyway.  When the guy returned from the bathroom, he was surprised that his seat was gone and asked what happened.  We told him and he looked around for an empty stool, found one and threw it off the balcony onto the street below and walked out.


A Sparrow on the ceiling


Wednesday: Free day, no golf, no tours, but still mai tais!  Drove north up to Kapalua and Napili, had liquid lunch at Duke’s.  Back to Lahaina, strolling Front Street, stopped at Cheeseburger in Paradise where I found my name on the ceiling. Continued on for dinner at The Lahaina Fish Company, yes, we had fish!  Then we went to Warren & Annabelle’s Magic Show and saw two great acts – John George, who was a great magician and pretty funny, and Chris Blackmore who was a good magician and very funny.  A very fun evening!



Sunset at Humu Humu


Thursday: Golf at the private course, King Kamehameha Country Club, awesome golf course and another perfect day.  The club house was designed in 1957 by famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, although he originally designed it as a house for Marilyn Monroe (long story).  Today, as the solitary structure on the hill, it looks like the start of a lunar colony.  After golf, we continue south to the Grand Wailea restaurant and my favorite bar in the world, Kumu Kumu (real name Kumukumunukunukuapua’ha – it’s a fish!).  I had a fish with a shorter name, Linda had a $100 ribeye, and said she should have ordered the fish!


Bob looking good. No, not me, the parrot’s name is Bob – he kept calling out my name, or was he calling out his name?

King Kamehameha Golf Club House







Breakfast at Mala Ocean Tavern. We were so close to the water we got ocean spray in our coffee

The trip was too short, but sweet – sorta like many of my Mai Tais!


By Suzanne Sparrow Watson


Over Christmas I spent some time with family – family that I adore and, apparently, the feeling is mutual.  So, theoretically we should be able to spend endless hours together catching up and socializing.  But as it happened, after about three hours together it was clear we were all ready for a break.  Or, as my college-age great-niece put it:  our social batteries were depleted.  I had never heard that expression but definitely could relate to it.  We concluded that we are all introverts at heart and enjoy time alone.  I got to wondering whether this is a Covid-related issue or something more universal.  Turns out, this phenomenon has been around a while; Covid just made it more apparent.

First, according to the Urban Dictionary (the term hasn’t made it to Webster’s yet), “social battery” is defined as a metaphor for a person’s capacity to intermingle with groups of people in one setting.  If you love having a day to yourself or are relieved when someone calls to cancel plans, it could be because you are an introvert with a low social battery. Being around people – friends, colleagues or family – is a challenging task that takes energy.  If you start the day with a low amount of social battery it doesn’t take much to drain it.  Spending time alone, being creative, is one of the ways that introverts re-charge.

As it turns out, our family was about average in terms of our battery capacity.  According to a 2016 study published in The Journal of Personality, introverts experience fatigue after three hours of socialization. If we exceed the capacity of our social battery, we tend to become irritable, inattentive and mentally and physically exhausted.  Boy, that goes a long way toward explaining why I’m grouchy at a long cocktail party!

Extroverts, on the other hand, need to be with people to charge their social battery.  They start the day like a phone that hasn’t been charged: they need some juice to get going.  They revel in a full calendar of events and meetings, and often volunteer their time in order to create more interaction with people.  Extroverts will keep in touch with friends and family on a frequent basis to share the stories that they need to get out of their systems.  We all know some of these people – the ones that call just as you’re getting dinner on the table and talk for 30 minutes about their round of golf.  Extroverts seldom like to do anything alone, whether it’s going to the grocery store or grabbing a cup of coffee.

But the world isn’t so simple that we can just be introverts or extroverts, there are also ambiverts and omniverts.  As you might guess, these are people that float between being an introvert and extrovert.  Ambiverts will change according to the external situation they are in, while omniverts will change depending on how they feel that day.  Researchers say that most of us fall into the ambivert or omnivert spectrum because we have learned over time what different social situations require.

So, now that I’ve probably depleted your social battery by droning on about this, I’ll conclude by observing that whatever your personality type, Covid has had an effect.  Numerous studies have been done over the past two years about how people have handled isolation during the pandemic.  Not surprisingly, extroverts have suffered more acutely from the lack of activities and interaction with others.  And while some social scientists called the Covid lockdowns “Springtime for Introverts”, that isn’t accurate either.  While lockdowns were more bearable for people with low social batteries, even introverts feel frustrated because their choice to isolate was made for them, and not by them.

Let’s face it, regardless of your type, we’re all tired of this damn virus.  At least now you may have a better understanding of why you’ve been grumpy.


It’s Not the WHAT or the HOW, but . . .

by Bob Sparrow

This week, as you’re reading this, I’ll hopefully be cavorting on the island of Maui, which I’m sure you’ll hear about in a couple of weeks.  But in the meantime, I wanted to perhaps provide a public service, or maybe a private service, to those readers who made a list of New Year’s resolutions – things like losing weight, eating better, exercising, being a better ______ (fill in the blank).

I don’t typically make a list of New Year’s resolutions, and when I do, like most of us, I rarely follow through on them.  I was inspired this year to at least make a couple, by listening to Darren Hardy, who was editor of Success Magazine and is a motivational speaker, who emails a daily (Monday-Friday) video, which is only about 4 to 5 minutes long, dealing with various subjects; it is called ‘DarrenDaily’.  I’ve listened to it every weekday morning for the past five years.  I have to admit that many of the sessions are targeted to younger, climbing-the-ladder, leading-a-team, types, but there is also plenty of things for old codgers like me to digest.

While what I’m about to share with you is not revolutionary, in fact, those who do make New Year’s resolutions in some form, may already do this, but it was new to me.  By way of explanation, the following is a brief, edited version of the parable that Darren shared last week regarding goals.

Long ago a tribe from the Andes mountains plundered their rival tribe in the lowlands, stole a baby and took it to their home in the mountains.  The strongest and bravest of the lowland tribesman attempted to get the baby back but couldn’t handle the high altitude and the rugged trails up the mountain.  After days of trying, they gave up and decided to return home.  As they were leaving, they saw a woman coming down the trail with the baby on her back.  In awe, they asked the woman how she did it.  As she continued by them, she said, “It wasn’t your baby”.

The lesson: The power of your ‘WHY’ is the most important part of any goal; all of your WHATs and HOWs will be meaningless until your ‘WHYs’ are powerful enough to overcome the obstacles that you will face in getting to your goals.

After listening to this, I went back to my two resolutions and saw that I had only written down WHAT I wanted to accomplish this year and HOW, but not the WHY.  Adding the WHY definitely gave the WHAT and HOW more meaning and increased by desire to seriously try to accomplish both of my goals.

If you’re interested in getting Darren’s video publication sent to your email each weekday, you can go to DarrenDaily@darrenhardy.com and subscribe – it’s free.

Wishing you all a Happier New Year.  May you make a positive impact this year.




By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

We are a divided country.  I’m not talking about politics, but over something much more important: when to take down the Christmas decorations.  On one side there are the people who put up the decorations minutes after they finish Thanksgiving dinner and leave them up until the first week of January.  On the other side, are people who wait until mid-December to decorate and then whisk everything away on December 26th.  Like much else in our culture, there is no correct answer as to when Christmas decorations should be taken down, but there are a lot of firm opinions in both camps.  But surely there is reasoning on both sides, so for our readers’ edification, I present both arguments.

          Beautiful…and a lot of work

The Christian calendar is the original source for dictating the putting up – and taking down – of holiday decor.  According to religious experts, the beginning of Advent is the correct time to start trimming the tree.  Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which coincidentally in the U.S., is usually around Thanksgiving.  So, for those of you who scoff at people who put their tree up “early”, they are actually following centuries-old tradition.  The Christian calendar also dictates that the decorations stay up until January 6th, or as it is known, the Epiphany. The day celebrates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and the arrival of the Three Wise Men.  It is also known as “Twelfth Night”, counting the days between Christmas and Epiphany.  Most of us recognize those twelve days because of the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, known for its milking maids and leaping lords and the annual newspaper article of that year’s financial tally for all those gifts.  So, we can conclude that people who put up their tree early and take it down late are not being influenced by Target and Macy’s, but by long-held religious convictions.  Or not.

        Christmas is Over

On the other side of the equation are the “when it’s over, it’s over” group.  Try as I might, I could not find one reputable article arguing for the early demise of Christmas decor. However, being a member of that camp, I am going to put forth my own reasoning.  First, I was greatly influenced by an old neighbor, who I watched drag his Christmas tree to the end of the driveway for garbage pick-up the day after Christmas.  He noticed my horrified reaction, and shouted, “Hey, when it’s over, it’s over.”  I was appalled that he could be so cavalier about the sanctity of the Christmas tree.  But as I came back into our house all of my decorations suddenly reminded me of the person who stays too long at the party.  Right then I had, if you will, my own epiphany.  Each year I took the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day off work.  It is commonly known as “dead week” and for good reason – it’s a great time to relax.  Each Christmas my mother-in-law would give me several books by my favorite authors, and “dead week” was my time to snuggle up on the couch and read to my heart’s content.

So that fateful morning of December 26th, I began to re-think how I wanted to spend my week.  My personality is such that I could not relax on the couch and read, knowing that I had hours of work ahead of me taking down all the decorations.  I looked around the room and felt as if the tree, the stockings, the garlands and the fifteen Santa Claus statues were mocking me.  So, I began to take everything down and by the end of the day the house was back to normal.  I spent the rest of the week blissfully reading and relaxing.  Each year since then, my goal is to have all of the Christmas decor down by noon on December 26th.  I have never regretted it and only smile a bit smugly as my friends lament the chore in front of them in the days after Christmas.  Like a lot of things in life, it’s a lot more fun going up than it is coming down.

But there is another reason I move on so quickly after Christmas is over.  I think that Christmas is a time for reflection and looking back with great sentiment.  New Year’s Day, on the other hand, is a time to look forward and anticipate great things for the upcoming year.  I have found that once I have put away the Christmas decor it allows me to focus on the future.  I know that past couple of years have not panned out the way any of us would have wanted, but still, I have great hope for 2022.  Maybe I’m naïve, or overly optimistic, but I think it will be a good year ahead.

My brother and I wish all of our readers the very best for the new year and once again, we thank you for continuing to read our blog.