Merry Christmas Eve to all of our readers/friends and family…Tom’s fun birthday evening…

It’s Christmas again, the 10th Christmas since we left for our world journey. It’s hard for us to believe it’s been so long. When we think about how much time we’ve spent held back due to the pandemic, which will be two years in March, it’s an entirely different picture.

While listening to a popular cruising podcast, Cruise News, this morning, we were disheartened by the number of cruises that are either canceling or returning to the embarkation port due to rising cases of the virus aboard the ship. Many countries are forbidding cruise ships from stopping at a planned port of call when officials don’t want to risk more cases being brought into their countries. I don’t blame them.

With ports of call rapidly canceling, cruising may easily take another nose-dive. Yesterday, we got a notice from Costco that the final payment for our April 8th transatlantic cruise will be debited to our credit card tomorrow, Christmas Day. Is it likely this cruise will sail in a little over three months? I’m not so sure.

However, today is Christmas Eve, and our thoughts need to go elsewhere, focusing on the many blessings we have before us and have had over the many years of our world journey. Sure, we have had some challenges, some of which we would have had regardless of where we lived or if we’d traveled or not. They include the loss of loved ones, illness, and ten months in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, along with myriad unexpected events that left us reeling for a few minutes as we decided what to do next.

In each case, we figured it all out and never gave up. When faced with life-changing challenges, this is just like you when faced with life-changing challenges…you figure it out. We are not unique in that way. As the holiday season is upon us, we’re reminded of how fortunate we’ve been in so many ways.  This season, this year, and always, we celebrate that good fortune and pray for a new world for all of us.

None of us are exempt from experiencing the effect of the past few years in one way or another. Many have suffered dearly from the loss of loved ones, severe illness, and loss of financial security. The pandemic has taken a toll on the lives of citizens worldwide, and it’s not over yet.

Last night, we had a fantastic evening at Jabula. Our dear friends and owners at our favorite restaurant had decorated the bar with balloons, a birthday sign for Tom, and put a reserved sign at our favorite seats at the bar. Tom couldn’t have appreciated it more. Of course, the conversations at the bar flowed with ease with plenty of laughter, teasing, and holiday spirit.

Tom wanted to eat at the bar rather than take a table on the veranda, and we never missed a beat as locals came and went, celebrating along with us. By 8:00 pm, 2000 hrs, we headed home. Tom was looking forward to his cake. He let his dinner settle for a while we watched a few shows on my laptop, and then he dug in.

Unfortunately, and much to my disappointment, the cake wasn’t as moist as it could have been. But, Tom, the sugar enthusiast, savored every bite and had a second helping this morning with his coffee. Surely tonight after dinner, he’ll have another.

As a special treat for Christmas, this morning, I made myself a low-carb almond flour cinnamon coffee cake, making a second cake to bring to Louise and Danie this afternoon, who also eat like me. Although the recipe didn’t originate from my efforts, this cake is a favorite of mine. Knowing how good this is, here is the recipe for those who prefer to eat a low carb/keto diet from this site:

1/2 cup butter, softened slightly
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs, room temperature
6 1/2 ounces almond flour, 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream the butter, cream cheese, Splenda, and extracts. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix the almond flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture gradually. Pour into a greased 9″ round cake pan. Mix the topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over the cake batter. Bake at 350º 45-50 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the cake is firm to the touch.

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup almond flour, 2 ounces
1/4 cup granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, softened just until pliable

Makes 12 servings
Can be frozen

With granular Splenda:
Per Serving: 286 Calories; 26g Fat; 8g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 5g Net Carbs

With liquid Splenda:
Per Serving: 276 Calories; 26g Fat; 8g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 3g Net Carbs

May all of you who celebrate have a fantastic Christmas holiday. Those celebrating Chanukah, Kwanza, or any other seasonal holidays, may you also have a wonderful holiday season.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #274. For more, please click here.

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