Bad night…Afib returned…Not much sleep…

There were several bird cages with parakeets in the restaurant in Marrakesh.

Last night, Tom dropped me back at our place around 7:00 pm after spending the late afternoon at Colleen’s place. Something wasn’t quite right with me, but I didn’t want to say anything in front of the eight of us while playing cards and socializing. Once back here, I changed into my pajamas and settled down to watch American Idol.

Within about 40 minutes of settling in, I felt the Afib hit. I did an ECG on my Fitbit, and it indicated atrial fibrillation. I did every technique possible but couldn’t get it to stop. It felt awful, as always. A few nights ago, the same thing happened when Tom and I were streaming a show at about the same time in the evening as last night. It took about two hours to return to normal sinus rhythm.

Last night, it lasted for about five hours. At 9:00 pm, I took my usual dose of Afib medication, and then around three hours later, it kicked in and stopped. I never called Tom to return to be with me. I know it’s very frustrating for him when he can’t do anything to help me. So, I kept it to myself until he returned about 12:30 am. By then, it had stopped, and I was anxious to sleep.

We’d planned to do laundry this morning, but I didn’t have the strength to sort the clothes and ride in the car to the laundry room. Tom always does all the lifting and putting the clothes into the washers and dryers. But I was too weak to fold the clothes. We’ll do it another day.

After moving around this morning and chopping ingredients for tonight’s taco salad, I feel better but not quite well enough to walk today or do my usual yoga exercises. Tom cooked the ground beef for the taco salad, and all I had to do was chop onions, celery, lettuce, and tomatoes.

I seasoned the meat, and it’s now in the refrigerator to be reheated at dinnertime. It looks like we’ll be staying in tonight. Today, Tom will drop Mary and Eugene at the airport in Mesa and return here for dinner. I’ve insisted he can go if he wants to return to Colleen’s home after dinner around 5:00 pm. But he sounds determined to stay with me.

Last night, I sent a message to scheduling nurse Tina at Cleveland Clinic, asking if she could speed up getting us an appointment date. Having this Afib is indicative that my failing valves are worsening, a sure sign that something must be done before too long.

Cleveland Clinic has the highest survival rate in the US. I am committed to going there instead of any other facility in the country. Sure, there are many good heart clinics in the US, and if it becomes an emergency, I may have to choose another clinic, but right now, I am willing to wait.

I don’t have any of the urgent symptoms indicating surgery must be done immediately: swollen ankles, breathing issues, chest pain, or other angina, although Afib is a known symptom for many patients. I think I can wait a little longer. They’ve seen my reports and surely would get me in sooner if they felt it was urgent. At least, I hope so.

Emotionally, I am fine, although I check my phone each time I hear the email notification ping. We plan to continue our US travels, leaving Arizona on May 1. It’s still 13 nights until we depart Arizona. If anything worsens, we’ll go to emergency at one of Cleveland Clinics’ associated hospitals in Arizona.

Otherwise, today’s weather is beautiful with a high of 88F and sunny skies. We use the aircon at night but turn it off in the morning and open the screened sliding door for fresh air. A few minutes ago, almost at noon, Tom turned it back on when it started getting very warm here. Park models can get hot quickly, but the excellent whole-house aircon units cool it down in minutes. Whenever we leave the unit, we turn it off.

I will try a little walking now and see how that goes. We hope all is well your way.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 18, 2014:

in Marrakesh, a complimentary bowl of spicy olives is served at Arabe restaurant. For more photos, please click here.

Quiet in Robert’s Resort as “snowbirds” leave for the summer…Who are these people?

We walked quite a distance to this restaurant in Marrakesh for lunch instead of dinner since it was safer to walk during the day. Tom was reading something on the wall as we sat on a banquette. The food was fantastic.

We often wonder about snowbirds who head south or to other locations during the winter months to escape snow and cold weather in northern locations throughout the world. This phenomenon is not exclusive to retirees when many jobs are mobile and can be performed from anywhere in the world if the still-working snowbirds can afford the cost of having two homes or more.

Many retired snowbirds have paid off their homes and only have the expenses of property taxes, maintenance in their absence, and utilities, making it more affordable to head to a warmer climate during the winter months. See below.

Average temperatures in summer in Arizona
Month Average high Average low
June 106°F 73°F
July 108°F 81°F
August 106°F 81°F
September 100°F 75°F

We’ve especially observed this here in Arizona, as we see not only the family returning to Minnesota in the next three weeks but also the fact that many of the residents of Robert’s Resort have already left to return to homes in the US, Canada, and other locations. Few residents of this RV park stay behind during the heat of Arizona summers, running  as high as

In searching online for statistics to share, I found the following from this site:

“The Migratory Processes of Snowbirds: Where They Come From and End Up

Snowbird Travelers: America’s Seasonal Flock

Each year, flocks of “snowbirds” travel cross-country in search of warmth and respite from cold winter temperatures. These snowbirds, however, are not actual birds of a feather; rather, snowbirds are people who identify as seasonal travelers.

So, who are these snowbirds, where do they come from, and where do they end up? Read on to learn about the migratory patterns of our nation’s seasonal travelers.

Snowbird Origins

The origins of the term “snowbird” do, in fact, tie to a species: the Dark-eyed Junco bird. But in 1923, the word “snowbird” was coined to describe droves of seasonal workers who moved south in the winter in search of additional work and income. Today, these snowbirds and seasonal travelers are largely retirees who migrate annually to warmer climates during the year’s winter months.

Snowbird Demographics: Who Are These Travelers?

The snowbird population consists primarily of baby boomers, adults born in the years following World War II. With the majority of snowbirds between the ages of 50 and 70, this generation is well-educated, financially secure, and active — a solid foundation for the snowbird lifestyle of adventure and migration.

Another snowbird demographic: many are Canadians. While most snowbirds alternate between two destinations within the United States, about 10% of snowbirds reside permanently outside of the United States. Nearly 80% of the international snowbirds actually come from Canada.

Migratory Patterns: Where Are All These Snowbirds Headed?

Despite common beliefs that all snowbirds flock to sunny Florida, snowbirds actually settle all over the United States. Migratory patterns resolve in places including Las Vegas, California, and Hawaii. However, snowbirds do tend to follow two primary trajectories: west coast birds fly to Arizona, and east coast birds sail on towards Florida.

New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania residents escape cold winters by spending three to six months of the year in Florida. Towns like New Smyrna Beach, Florida’s Secret Pearl, is an affordable snowbird destination along Florida’s artsy east coast. Luxurious lakefront homes in New Smyrna, such as this one, are drawing snowbirds with price tags around the $300,000 range.

Upper-left US residents are primarily drawn to Arizona. Tucson, in particular, attracts a large snowbird population each year. Sited at a lower elevation in comparison to other Arizona towns, Tucson boasts warmer (and more predictable) winter temperatures. With a mix of RV parks, long-term condominium rentals, and fully furnished homes, Tucson offers snowbirds a warm respite that balances urban and rural life.

What Drives Snowbird Flight?

Aside from the advantageous weather situation, what draws snowbirds away from their primary homes and established routines? The snowbird lifestyle is more than just a retirement hobby; snowbird living centers on practicality.

As people age, winter weather conditions pose serious concerns: a slip on the ice becomes highly dangerous; maintaining a clear path to a front door in several feet of snow is too straining; and the low-temperature limits outdoor lifestyle and health routines like walking and bike riding. By migrating to a warmer climate, snowbirds avoid harsh winter climates and seek environments where they can avoid injuries and maintain healthy habits.

The community also drives snowbirds to their warmer homes. Early snowbirds often start as vacationers, but most eventually evolve into flocks. Established groups of friends and family band together and find communities with similar ethnic, cultural, or religious groups existing within many snowbird communities. Snowbirds are, in fact, continuing to build life with one another.

Dispelling Snowbird Myths

Younger generations of established community groups may see snowbirds as disruptions to the local economy, as mere tourists, or as another form of inconvenience. But it’s time to dispel these myths.

Snowbirds are trying new places on a whim: Wrong. Visits turn into established patterns, and each visit requires careful planning and thought: winterizing your primary home, packing and securing insurance documents, resisting a change of address, ordering long-term medications… the list goes on!

Snowbirds are burdens on the local economy: False. If anything, snowbirds are major contributors to the local economy. Look at Palm Beach County as an example: in addition to the county’s standing 1,335,415 residents, annual snowbirds bring an additional 143,837 residents with an estimated financial impact in the billions.

Snowbirds, Take Flight!

Whether or not you’re in a stage of life where being a snowbird is a realistic pattern for you, snowbird migration offers health, community, and economic benefits to people and areas across the country. Is snowbird migration in your future? Visit a warmer state this winter, listen to those who have made the journey, and who knows, before you know it, homes.com could help you find your winter home.”

There’s no doubt that had we not traveled the world, we surely would have become snowbirds. There was no way we would have been interested in staying in Minnesota during the winter months when the temperatures can get as low as -20F, with many feet of snow covering the ground at any given time. Summers can be hot and humid with vast amounts of mosquitoes.

What brings snowbirds back to states like Minnesota when the summers aren’t ideal either? Mainly to be with family and also to enjoy outdoor activities, especially because Minnesota has over 14,000 lakes, drawing many people to partake in fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor adventures.

In any case, we love the life we’ve been living over the past 11½ years, and hopefully, we’ll be able to continue traveling in times to come.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 17, 2014:

Tom was getting his haircut in the barbershop in the souk in Marrakesh, Morocco. For more photos, please click here.

Tom’s new laptop is ready to use…Another fun evening of playing cards…

It was pleasant to see so many flowers blooming in the desert.

Tom’s laptop is done. Since he didn’t want to carry over “junk” from his last laptop, I loaded every item separately without using Google’s transfer tool. Over the years, he decided he didn’t want to keep many old and useless files that invariably get carried over using any transfer tool.

That’s why I took so long to give him a clean start. He wanted to save some items, but they are on two clouds, Dropbox and Google Drive. This way, his Windows desktop is uncluttered and easy to manage with a fresh start. This allows his device to operate more efficiently and gives him ease of use.

Overall, it took me about eight hours to complete the process while he helped by sending links to website pages he uses regularly. Now, as needed, he can add folders that will automatically save on Google Drive.

Windows includes a browser that neither of us cares to use, Microsoft Edge. Removing this browser from the laptop is difficult when we prefer to use Google Chrome. Microsoft has made it nearly impossible to eliminate Edge, so we make Google Chrome the default browser. At times, Edge seems to pop up. It’s Microsoft’s way of ensuring its Windows users also use their browser to make more money.

Undoubtedly, Google Chrome is a money maker for Google, but since we can choose our preferred browser, we operate with the one we like, regardless of who’s making money from our use. All browsers are money-makers for companies. Who are we to complain when we also have advertisers on our site? It’s the nature of the beast. We’re “small potatoes” in the realm of things.

We don’t make much from our ads on our site and YouTube. Why? We haven’t promoted our advertisers since that’s a job we didn’t want to include in our life of world travels. Nor did we hound our readers to use the links on our site. However, we kindly ask that you consider using some of our advertisers when making purchases.

By using our advertisers, we make enough money to cover the costs associated with the operation and management of our website. The links have the same products and services as you’d find if you go directly to the sites from your browser. It costs you no more, and small amounts of revenue are sent our way to cover our costs. Thank you to our readers who use our advertisers! It’s so appreciated!

Last night, we sliced some ham and cheese and brought it to Colleen’s unit for snacking while playing cards. Tom had gone to lunch and wasn’t ready to eat a full dinner before we headed to her place. I had nibbled on a few healthy items during the day and was fine without making dinner.

Today, I’m bringing a huge batch of chicken salad and a green salad to one of the sister’s park model when we gather again this afternoon. Another family member, brother-in-law Tom (Rita’s husband), arrived late last night. Now, there are eight of us for the next few days until Mary and Eugene head back to Minnesota for a funeral, where they’ll stay for the summer, returning to Apache Junction late next fall.

We don’t know how they can keep up two houses, as many retirees do, to get away from cold winter weather up north and other areas in the US with inclement weather in the winter months. We love not having the upkeep on one house, let alone two or more. It provides us with so much freedom.

Have a great Tuesday!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 16, 2014:

At the Terrasses des Espices Restaurant in Morocco, we were served this black olive Tapenade, which I could eat along with a basket of bread for Tom. Notice the ashtray on the table. Smoking is allowed in restaurants. For more photos, please click here.

Halfway through our time in Arizona…Original plans changed…Tax Day in the US!…

A view from a second story in the souk in The Medina, The Big Square in Marrakesh, Morocco.

When we realized today is April 15, tax filing day in the US, Tom commented on how we are halfway through our time in Apache Junction, Arizona. Initially, we planned to stay two weeks longer, although we only paid for April in advance. We figured we could easily add two weeks to our rental agreement if necessary, with the weather heating up resulting in fewer renters staying in the RV park.

Knowing we were waiting to hear from Cleveland Clinic for my soon-to-be-arranged appointment, we decided to move along more quickly. With Tom’s sister Rita here now for the next two weeks, we wouldn’t go to South Dakota, which we intended to do to visit her on our way to Minnesota.

Thus, once we leave California to see my sister Julie for three nights, we’ll head to Utah to see Marylin and Gary for lunch or dinner and then get back on the road to Milwaukee to see Tom’s sister Betty in Milwaukee, in a medically assisted retirement home for nuns, staying only one night and then make our way to Minnesota the following day. Most likely, we’ll arrive in Minnesota around May 10.

Our hotel reservation in Minnesota begins on May 23, based on our original plan to arrive later, but we won’t worry about that. We can easily book the added days we’ll need. at either end, depending on my Cleveland Clinic appointment date.

This morning, we’re busy making chicken salad with leftover chicken I’d frozen a few days ago when making the dish to share with the family for Saturday night. Since we have no idea when we’ll get together with everyone, chicken salad is an easy meal to have on hand, with no additional preparation necessary other than to add a lettuce salad, if desired.

There’s a fabulous microwave here with excellent settings for defrosting frozen meats. In no time at all, the chicken cubes were defrosted. Meanwhile, Tom is busy peeling the hard-boiled eggs for the chicken salad. Once he’s out of the way in the kitchen, I will chop the onions and celery to go into the chicken with the diced hard-boiled eggs and also make a green salad to go with it.

With our Boost grocery delivery service contract (from Las Vegas, also used here) ending on April 19, I am putting together our last online grocery order. We’ll head to Fry’s Market to shop when we need more groceries. All we have left in the freezer is ground beef, for which we’ll make taco salads, enough for three dinners, and a small turkey breast roast, enough for two dinners.

With all the upcoming planned meals, we have enough to get us to April 23, with only one more week to prepare meals. It will be easy going forward to plan simple meals using the ingredients we have on hand.

We’ll have lightened our load when we leave here in 16 days. Soon, we’ll drop off the two old laptops at a recycling center in Apache Junction, and we will eliminate one of our suitcases, which has broken wheels and won’t be necessary going forward. Traveling on the road for the next several months by car makes traveling much more accessible.

Since we stay in holiday homes or hotels anyway, those we book on the road trip won’t be an extra expense, nor will dining out at the end of each day. The only additional charge we’ll incur on the road trip is the fuel for the rental car and the rental car, although, in most locations, we’ll have a rental car anyway. Even with the high fuel cost, we’ll still be ahead when we won’t incur expenses for flights and baggage.

That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 15, 2014:

Dining on the rooftop, we spotted this familiar Minaret Tower. For more photos, please click here.

Rushing through today’s post…Much to do…

Ancient buildings, as seen from the rooftop of a restaurant in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2014.

Today is the day to set up Tom’s new device. I’ll start the process as soon as I finish today’s post. Since his old laptop is a Chromebook with everything on the drive, it will be easy to do but will require some time with all the apps he uses, which I’ll have to add one at a time. With his new device, he will be returning to using Windows, which we both prefer.

We wanted to watch the Masters Golf Tournament, ending today, but we would have had to sign up for Showtime. on the Roku TV, a service we aren’t interested in paying $11.95 a month as an add-on to Paramount+, which we already have. We’ve already used all the 7-day free trials they allow, and at this late point in the golf tournament, it’s not worth committing to another streaming service.

Also, we were curious to see if Tiger Woods had a chance, but we’ve heard his chances are non-existent at this point. I feel bad for him after his injury, which resulted in him struggling to maintain his standings in tournaments. But the guy amazes us with his determination to continue. Tom suggested he’s being paid substantial sums to play, although he’s not likely to win when he draws such huge crowds, which may be the case.

Speaking of sports, which I apologize for mentioning since it has nothing to do with world travel, except for the fact that we encounter enthusiasm in most countries over soccer, rugby, football, tennis, and more, especially in South Africa, where most of the population are major sports fans. It’s fun to see their excitement over games and playoffs.

While we’re on the subject of playoffs, my favorite sports team, the Las Vegas Golden Knight hockey team, last year’s winners of the coveted Stanley Cup, has made it into the playoffs, which begins on Monday, April 22. I signed up for their app, and we can stream all of the games while we’re here and when we get to Minnesota. The hockey league’s playoffs last for quite a while.

As for the rest for today, we’ll most likely stay in today and tonight. Last evening, when we brought dinner and salad to Colleen’s, seven of us had a good time, ending in more time playing Buck Euchre. By 9:30, I was ready to return to the park model and hunker down for the night.

I sat in the living room for a few hours, streaming a few shows until I finally needed to sleep. I heard Tom return around 2:30 am. He crawled into bed a short time later and slept until around 8:00 am. I am happy he’s enjoying quality time with his sisters, reminiscing about their childhood and youth.

I’ve heard their stories many times in the past since I’ve been around for almost 33 years, but it’s fun to see how animated and lively they become sharing their history. The voices and laughing are loud and playful, always interspersed with teasing and laughter. It’s fun to see.

I saved a pan of last night’s dinner for us for tonight’s dinner. All I have to do is make a salad to go with it. So far, this morning, I’ve done half of my daily walking and will soon do the yoga exercises for the day. It’s been easy for me to commit to this daily schedule, knowing how important it is for my health as I prepare for what’s coming down the road.

Enjoy your Sunday, and be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 14, 2014:

The handmade wares the locals offer are a common sight along a highway in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco. For more photos, please click here.

Another beautiful day in the desert…Busy cooking for tonight’s family dinner..Convenient routines…

An odd combination made for me by Madame Zahra, our household cook in Marrakesh, Morocco, consisted of calamari rings, white sauce, and ground beef tagine. It was delicious!

I’ve been in the kitchen all morning, preparing tonight’s dinner to bring to the family. (our place is too tiny for all seven of us). It’s one of our favorite all-in-one dinners: Low Carb Sausage, Mushroom, and Chicken Casserole. Now, it is in the refrigerator, ready to be baked at about 6:00 pm, and ready for the arrival of the fourth of Tom’s six sisters, Rita, who is flying in early this evening.

To go with it, I prepped a huge salad to toss with homemade dressing before serving. There will be enough for the seven of us tonight and plenty of leftovers for everyone for the next few days. Hopefully, they all like it. I feel pretty confident they will. In addition, I froze an uncooked extra pan for the two of us for another dinner that we’ll savor some time in our remaining 17 days until we head to California to see my sister Julie.

Amid my busy morning, I walked, hoping to get in all my daily scheduled steps and yoga exercises. Getting up and out of bed by 7:15, I had plenty of time to do everything, leaving ample time to do today’s post. Yesterday, I cooked and diced the Italian sausages and chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces to include in the dish.

Preparing the meat ahead was a time saver, making this morning’s prep considerably easier. Now, I’m waiting for the washed lettuce to drain in the strainer in the sink and will soon wrap it in a bath towel to dry further in the refrigerator before adding it to the other ingredients in the salad.

It’s funny how we all have little cooking routines, hoping to make the final dinnertime preparations at a minimum. I do not enjoy chopping, dicing, or preparing other ingredients just before dinner. Prepping all the ingredients well in advance makes the final preparation easy.

Once we decide we’re hungry and ready for dinner, the longest it ever takes is to cook a steak, burger, pork chop, or piece of fish and Tom’s white rice, which cooks for 20 minutes in a pot with a lid on the stovetop.

When we did the laundry a few days ago, we folded everything while in the laundry room rather than dumping it into the basket to become wrinkled. This way, we never have to iron, which I’ve rarely done in our travels. Besides, most of our clothes are “wash and wear,” but even those can become wrinkled if not appropriately handled after coming out of a dryer.

This morning on the Garage Logic podcast, Joe Soucheray mentioned how long we stay at new locations, saying, “Boy, when the Lymans come to visit, they sure stay a long time.”

So true. At this point, Joe and his staff have no idea what we’ve been doing in the US for so long due to my current medical issue and planning for the future. Daily, when Tom sends “This Year in Minnesota History,” Joe mentions the ‘traveling Lymans,'” our website, and where we are at any given time. It’s fun that he mentions Tom’s five-day-a-week contribution and our location daily. At some point in the next few months, we’ll explain why we are in the US for so long.

If you haven’t heard this mention of us, click this link, any day of the week, and scroll to the podcast’s last seven or eight minutes to hear Joe mention us. It’s been such fun for us when we listen each day.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Now, I’ll return to walking and soon do the yoga routine which changes daily for 28 days. It’s a good plan at BetterMe.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 13, 2014:

The winding roads through the Atlas Mountains caused me to get queasy, an uncommon occurrence for me. For more photos, please click here.

Stayed in last night…What?…WiFi outage in the US?…

Handbags are for sale in the souk and all knock-offs. For more photos, please click here.

With the family exhausted from many consecutive late nights of card playing, everyone decided on a restful night in their respective homes. We were happy to have a light bite to eat and lounge, streaming a few series. We hadn’t watched much in the past few weeks since we’ve been playing cards since we arrived almost two weeks ago.

After dinner, we sat on the sofa and the recliner and set up a series to stream, but we were having trouble with the stream. In no time at all, we determined we didn’t have a WiFi connection. Knowing Colleen was streaming her favorite series at home, I texted her to ask if she also had connection problems.

She responded promptly to say she was experiencing the same problem. I asked her for the provider’s name (Mojo) and looked up their number on Google Fi on my phone. No one answered when I left a message about our location, the lack of a signal and my phone number.

Within 20 minutes, I got a call back from Mojo, who told me they had sent a technician to their operations site to fix the problem. Thirty minutes later, it was back on, and we could continue watching our shows until it was time to go to bed. We started a new excellent thriller series, “Pieces of Her,” on Netflix.

Tom always prefers to stop streaming by 9:30, but I can wait longer. He doesn’t go to bed that early, but he prefers to work on his laptop. Since I wasn’t ready for bed, I watched a few episodes of American Idol, which was quite entertaining. When I went to bed, I used the Hulu app on my phone to watch one more episode but fell asleep and awoke to turn it off, finally drifting off for a good night’s sleep.

Since I began my new sleeping regime, I have been sleeping through the night while getting up early each day. It made all the difference in the world; instead of sleeping late when I was awake for two or three hours at night, failing to drift off again until 5:00 am. It feels so much better to be sleeping through the night.

Today, I’m prepping a few ingredients for a dish I’m making to bring to the family for tomorrow’s night dinner. Tom’s sister Rita arrives around 6:30 pm, and we’ll eat shortly after she arrives. Yesterday, Tom and I headed to Fry’s Market to buy the ingredients for Saturday night’s dinner, and we were amazed by the size of the popular grocery store.

We’ve been ordering our groceries from Fry’s but had no idea of the enormous size of this market, which included sections for clothing and household goods. We found all the ingredients easily, although it often required a long walk through the store to locate some of the items.

Without trying, I managed to finish getting all of my daily steps accomplished while shopping. I moved about the store as quickly as possible, Tom following behind, pushing the grocery cart. When we checked out, my membership number provided us with a discount of $29. Wow! That was unexpected.

We’ll only have to shop once or twice more until we depart on May 1. As always, we’ll be striving to use up a few items in the freezer while being creative with the other grocery items we have on hand. It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through our time in Apache Junction.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Thank you for all the supportive and warm messages we continue receiving while we wait to hear what’s in store for us shortly.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 12, 2014:

These are the walls of a double wall protected by ClubMed in Ouarzazate, Morocco. For more photos, please click here.

Fun day in Apache Junction…A surprise visitor..

The view from the “lounge room” in our riad in Marrakesh, Morocco, to the center courtyard. All rooms surrounding a center courtyard have drapes covering the doorways.

Yesterday morning, we finished all the laundry, again using an app on our phone for $18 for washing and drying four loads. In between washing and drying, we cleaned the entire park model. Feeling accomplished, we headed to Mary and Eugene’s place to play Buck Euchre more.

When we arrived at Mary’s, we were thrilled to see Tom’s nephew and our friend Kevin, who also enjoys playing cards. He had flown in for 36 hours, and by early this morning, he had already left to return to Florida. It was great to see him again. Perhaps, sometime while we’re in Minnesota, we’ll see him and his wife Kristi when they come to Minnesota for a few weddings.

After playing cards, Colleen brought over a wonderful spread of meat, cheese, crackers, dip, and a platter of fresh fruit with blueberries, strawberries, and more, much of which I could eat. I promised myself I wouldn’t be “cheating” anymore and stuck to the meat, cheese, and berries.

We played Buck Euchre for hours. By 7:00  pm, I was ready to return to our place, allowing another player to take my spot. The game is best played with only four players. There were seven of us, and since Mary doesn’t play, we rotated in and out of the game to allow everyone to play. It was pretty enjoyable, although I don’t often win. But the money I lose is usually no more than $15 per day, which is well worth the entertainment. Tom wins often enough to remain even most days.

Back at the park model by myself, I ate some of the tuna salad I’d made in the morning and settled on the recliner to watch several episodes of American Idol. As it turned out, I haven’t missed one day of working out since we arrived here. I walk on and off until we leave to play cards, get in my planned number of steps, and do the yoga exercise on the BetterMe app on my phone.

It’s rewarding doing this each day. I am on a mission to be as healthy and strong before I face yet another open heart surgery sometime in the next three months or so, a date yet to be determined, as I patiently wait to hear from Cleveland Clinic. Much to my amazement, I am not worrying much.  I have chosen to let my mind stick to the events at hand and not project too much into the future.

Soon, Tom and I are heading to the supermarket to get the ingredients to make a dish for Saturday night when another sister, Rita, is arriving from South Dakota to stay for a few weeks. Mary and Eugene are leaving on April 18 to return to Minnesota, but Rita, Margie, Colleen, Tom, and I will remain in Apache Junction with enough of us to continue to play cards, which is best played with four. Rita doesn’t play but will sit with us as the lively conversations continue as we play.

Talking on the phone with my family members and friends has been comforting; they offer abundant love and support while we’re here. I make a serious effort to stay as upbeat as possible around others. This has become a habit, and I stay cheerful when I am alone. No situation is ever improved by being downtrodden and worried.

“They” say that going into surgery with a positive attitude impacts a positive outcome. That is my ultimate goal, regardless of how frightening it may be, especially as one is wheeled into the operating theatre. Those few minutes were the toughest for me, along with waking up while still intubated. But those times will pass, and hopefully, I will recover better than last time.

Tom is almost done with his shower, and then we’re off to the market. In a funny way, I am looking forward to getting out and browsing the aisles in the market, which I seldom do when we go. It’s nice to see what’s available in the market now and then.

We hope you have an excellent Thursday, wherever you may be.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 11, 2014:

Our last look at the Kasbah Ait Ben Hado in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco before we continued on our way. F r more photos, please click here.

Lunch with the ladies…Relief and peace of mind…

This was the weirdest Cobb salad I’d ever ordered. I gave Colleen my rice and picked up the rest.

Yesterday, Colleen picked me up, and I rode with her, Mary, and Margie to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch. I love Mexican food, but since I don’t eat tortillas, the only options are taco salads or other types of salads that may be on the menu. When I saw a Cobb salad on their menu, I didn’t hesitate to order it.

Little did I know how skimpy and unappetizing it would be. I gave Colleen the white rice, which is never included with a Cobb salad and was left with the above-shown mess: overcooked bacon, a few tablespoons of dry chicken breast, a third of an avocado, a few tablespoons of diced tomatoes, an abundance of jalapenos, with very little lettuce, all without the usual cheese.

I ate what I could get down and was starving afterward and made a terrible mistake. I ate an entire bowl of tortilla chips left on the table, which isn’t included in my way of eating. I seldom cheat like that and was disappointed in myself for doing so. However, today, I suffered no ill effects and have returned to my usual routine, no worse for the wear.

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable lunch with the other eight women, and the conversation was lively and animated during the two hours we spent in the restaurant. I had met some of the others four years ago when we stayed at Robert’s Resort before we left for India.

We stayed in last night and had nothing planned for dinner. Thus, I made Tom a ham, onion, and cheese omelet with bacon on the side while I had a bowl of plain Greek yogurt and a protein bar. It was fine.  Around here, it seems few people cook much of a dinner each night, and it’s been easy for us to do the same thing.

Colleen just stopped by to tell us that Kevin, Tom’s adult nephew (wife, Kristi), with whom we got together in Florida last year and again in Eden Prairie last fall, surprised everyone and flew in from Florida last night and will be playing cards with us this afternoon. It will be fun to see him again and especially fun to play cards with him as well. We plan to join them all today at noon, as soon as our laundry is done, and I am finished making a tuna salad to share later today.

We hadn’t done laundry since we arrived on April 1. Once we got the washer using another online app, we returned to our place, and Tom vacuumed and washed the floors while I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom. By the time the washers were done, the place was clean. As the clothes were drying, I continued to work on today’s post.

In about ten minutes, the clothes will be dry, and we’ll head back to the laundry room to load up the clean clothes, after which I’ll fold everything and put it away. Then, we’ll have accomplished everything that we needed to do today other than for me to wrap up this post.

So, what happened yesterday when my UPS package to Cleveland Clinic was delivered but missing? Tina, the doctor’s assistant, contacted me in the afternoon writing that she’d found the package. Now, my two-week waiting period to hear about an appointment time starts over again. This isn’t very pleasant. However, we’ll continue with our plans until we know more.

Wherever we may be in the US, it won’t take more than five days to get to Cleveland. There’s nothing more we can do. We’ve both decided to stay calm and relaxed about hearing the news and will enjoy our time in each upcoming location, as we’d planned originally.

That’s it for today, folks. Hugs to all of you!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 10, 2014:

Stopping at a popular overlook while touring the Atlas Mountains in Morocco with a driver, we spotted what appeared to be a soccer field at a local school. For more photos, please click here.

Oh, oh…an unexpected glitch impacting our lives…

Sunset in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2014.

As soon as I awoke this morning, I checked my phone for any messages, hoping to hear from Cleveland Clinic about my appointment date. Initially, I was thrilled to see a message from the doctor’s assistant but frustrated when I read the message stating they hadn’t received my package from UPS, which I sent on April 1.

Immediately, I found the receipt for the shipment and tracked the result, which clearly stated it had been received on April 2. Tina, the doctor’s assistant, couldn’t find the package. This is very problematic. Every day lost is one more day that I am walking around with a time bomb in my chest.

I have been communicating back and forth with Tina and hope I’ll soon discover she’s located the packet. If not, I must start the process again, returning to day zero. This is beyond stressful and frustrating. Some of the documents required my signature. They don’t do online document signing.

So, I must go to another UPS store, sign the papers and ship them overnight. It would have been easier if I had emailed them, but they insisted on a shipment. I sent Tina the actual receipt that it was received on April 2 at the correct address and the name of the person receiving the package. What more can I do?

Now, I wait for Tina to notify me that she’s found the package. I am not happy about the stress of this situation, but as I wrote a few days ago, patience must prevail, and I am working to stay calm and maintain an even keel. It’s situations like this that are most stressful for one’s health.

At the moment, Tom is researching rental cars for when we depart here on May 1, and he was able to book a car to get us to Minneapolis, returning the vehicle on May 30 in Minneapolis at the airport. We are checking to see what might be available on May 30, depending on the schedule for Cleveland Clinic, since that will be the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend.

Everything we are booking now is up in the air since we know nothing about where we’ll be any time over the next few months. But having cars and hotels booked gives us peace of mind as long as they are cancellable. No longer do we book anything that doesn’t offer a free cancellation.

Since COVID-19 has settled down, more venues offer free cancellations. This is particularly helpful for us right now.

On another note, yesterday, we went to the Apache Junction VFW for “Taco Tuesday” on Monday. Both Tom and I ordered taco salads without beans. He ordered his salad with the taco shell; mine was plain. The portions were very small, but the food was fresh and tasty.

Soon, Colleen will pick me up for the “girl’s lunch” they had previously planned with neighbors, asking me if I wanted to join them. I happily agreed. It had been a while since I attended a girl’s lunch, and it sounded like a fun idea. Tom will stay in our unit while I’m gone. Most likely, later in the day, we’ll play Buck Euchre again. We played yesterday afternoon, but I gave up my seat to Colleen at about 7:30 pm.

Tom drove me to our park model and returned to Margie’s to play cards while I spent the remainder of the evening streaming mindless drivel while playing with my phone. It was a relaxing and easy evening.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 9, 2014:

The pointy-toed shoes remind us of magic carpets and flowing gowns typical of the perception of Morocco, which is not too far from reality, minus the flying carpet, of course. For more photos, please click here.