Back to Billy’s Bar and Grill today for a family get together…Getting prescriptions filled…

Cactus plant in Campanario, Madeira, in 2014.

As mentioned a few days ago, when I couldn’t get my two blood pressure medications filled at CVS Clinic since there were no records or tests for medical care for me in Minnesota’s health records system. I left empty-handed, wondering what to do. As mentioned in that post, I knew if I went to another cardiologist or primary care doctor, they’d put me through a litany of tests, all of which I’ll be having in August when we go to the Cleveland Clinic.

Sure, my Medicare plan and supplement would cover the cost of those tests, but there was no way I wanted Medicare to be billed for tests that would be redundant in a few months. Also, I had a cardiac ultrasound at a cardiologist’s office in Las Vegas on March 27, when I needed to confirm the report from the cardiologist in Ecuador. The results were the same.

I contacted ProgressiveRX, sending them a not-so-clear copy I had of the prescriptions Doc Theo had written for me 13 months ago before we left South Africa. Once ProgressiveRX, located in Singapore, received the copy, they explained it wasn’t clear enough for them to read. Could I get a clearer copy?

This morning after breakfast, I asked the hotel general manager, Wade, whom we’ve come to know quite well based on the number of times we’ve stayed here, if he could produce a clearer copy on his printer. He did a perfect job. A short time later, I received a clearer copy from Wade in my email, which was perfect.

Immediately, I forwarded it to Vimala at ProgressiveRX, receiving a confirmation only moments later that the new clearer copy worked perfectly for their needs. My meds will go out today, and I will receive them in about three weeks. After scouring through the “pill bag,” I stumbled across enough of the two meds to last until I received the new batch. I had put them in a small ziplock bag as an emergency supply. Good thing. Now, I can relax knowing I’ll have enough meds to get me to the CC in 3½ months since ProgressiveRX is sending me 184 pills, plenty for my current needs. Whew! What a relief!

This morning, we headed downstairs (we’re on the 6th floor) for breakfast. There was nothing there I could eat except the hard-boiled eggs. I’ve tried to find the ingredients in those processed scrambled eggs they serve, but the results were all over the place. Thus, I’ve decided not to eat them, knowing full well there would be lots of preservatives.

After breakfast, I went to the fitness center to do the workout on the bike. A few days ago, I started at five minutes; today, I could do 12 minutes for two miles. I will continue at this pace until I get to a full 30 minutes; then, I will increase the difficulty level while maintaining the same period of time.

I check my pulse while biking to avoid getting too high. However, based on the Afib drug I am on, it prevents my heart rate from going too high, but I still need to monitor it throughout the process. Gosh, I am hoping to maintain my current state of being to last the next 3½ months without getting too many new symptoms requiring emergency medical care.

Friday is Happy Hour for Tom’s family, starting at 3:30 at Billy’s Bar & Grill in Anoka, a 45-minute drive from here. We never know who will be there, but most often, it’s four of Tom’s sisters, BIL Eugene, and occasionally some nieces and nephews. Last week, Tom’s daughter Tammy, partner Tracy, and grandson Vincent joined us, which was great. We’ll see who will join today.

That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back tomorrow with more.

Be well.

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

We love the house in Madeira, Portugal, with granite countertops, a microwave, a dishwasher, a great gas stove and oven, and views of the mountains and the ocean when washing dishes. Once the haze lifts, we’ll include more photos of views inside the house. For more photos, please click here.

Day #121 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Recalling the morphology of the banana tree…A fascinating process..

This was our first photo taken over two months ago on our first walk up the steep hill. We were fascinated by this peculiar-looking pod which is called the inflorescence.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 
Today’s photos are from July 22, 2014, while in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more photos.

After more research, we discovered the following statement on India’s visa site as follows:

Vide MHA O.M. No. 25022/24/2020-F.V/F.I(Pt.) dated 29.06.2020. In respect of foreign nationals whose Regular Visa or e-Visa or stay stipulation period is expiring post 30.06.2020, such Regular Visa or e-Visa or stay stipulation period shall be deemed to be valid until 30 more days from the date of resumption of normal international flight operations on ‘GRATIS’ basis without levy of overstay penalty.”

The “inflorescence” continued to grow, changing before our eyes.
We took a photo of this statement on my phone. We will present it at the airport if any issues arise when we attempt to leave the country within 30 days after normal international flight operations in India. In other words, we need to hightail it out of India within that period.
That will give us enough time to decide which will be the best country to visit to allow us to enter and stay for 90-days or more. With COVID-19, we prefer to fly to as few airports as possible during the journey, wherever that may be.
“The inflorescence is a complex structure that includes the flowers that will develop into fruits.” The hanging pink and yellowish protrusions are the flowers. Mother Nature is amazing!
For now, we sit back and wait for the 30-day ticker to begin when India opens its airports to normal international operations. We are OK with this prospect, feeling confident we’ll find a country to accept us somewhere in the world.

We’re back to our former status quo of watching news reports, the stats in India, and other countries, all the while wondering when the international airport will resume operations.

As days turned into weeks, the inflorescence changed dramatically.

Not much new is transpiring right now. My sister Susan, in hospice care in Las Vegas, Nevada, is in stable condition at the moment. I’ve been able to have a few good conversations with her when she seemed clearer and more lucid. I usually call her after 10:00 pm here when it’s morning in Nevada, which seems better for her than in the evening.

The 12½ hour time difference makes it tricky to reach family members at suitable times of the day or night. When I call at night, I miss my “sleepiness” signal at around 10:30 pm and end up having an awful time falling asleep after an emotional and stimulating conversation. 

One morning I noticed that the stalk, the rachis, had dropped partially out of view behind withering leaves.

After talking to Julie last night, I never fell asleep until after 1:00 am. Recently, I’ve started the equivalent of counting sheep, counting backward from 100. I may begin to over two or three times when I get down to 80, but this seems to calm down my over-active brain.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2014 while we were living on the island of Madeira in 2014. I should mention, I keep jumping back and forth to different countries and periods, based on the quality of photos from “this date” so many years ago. 

After a few weeks of rain, when we didn’t walk the hills, this small bunch of bananas appeared as nourished from the remainder of the plant and its fantastical elements. It’s easy to revel in how complex and exciting Life is all around us.

While in Madeira on this date, we’d shared photos taken over two months on the “morphology” of the banana plant as we walked each day in the neighborhood on the steep hills in Campanario to observe a particular plant. It was fascinating to watch the evolution of the plant to end a big beautiful bunch of bananas finally.

Here’s a link with a scientific description of the morphology of the banana plant, which we found interesting. In our world travels, we search for any forms of life that appeal to our senses, whether animal, vegetation, scenery, or culture.

I hope you enjoy these repeated photos from 2014 and perhaps think about it next time you peel and eat a banana.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 22, 2019:

A sailing regatta near Roundstone at dusk in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

Day #114 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…In a darkened room, hiding away…No sunshine here…

Bananas were growing everywhere on the island of Madeira. Many farmed for resale, while others were available for personal use.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 15, 2014, while in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more details.

We both are advocates of the value of getting Vitamin D from direct sunlight for 20 minutes a day. With all outdoor areas closed to guests in the hotel, there is nowhere we can go to get some sun directly on our skin.

Besides, it’s the monsoon season in India now, and it rains almost every day and night, often in torrents. As hard as this is to admit, based on our year’s long advocacy of the value of direct sunlight for setting bio-rhythms to produce better sleep and general health benefits, we now sit in a darkened room (with lamps on), 24 hours a day.

Some flowers are continuing to bloom through the summer season as is the case in the Alstroemeria.

It happened during the first month. One sunny day, we closed the drapes on the entire glass wall due to the glare on our laptops and kept the room cool. The view isn’t pleasant and we had no interest in seeing outdoors, especially when our chairs back up to the windows.

Over the next few cloudy days, we opened the drapes but again found the glare annoying and felt no benefit from keeping the drapes open. Finally, over a week, we gradually kept the drapes closed entirely. 

And now, over 100 days later, we spend each day in the darkened room with lamps on, while providing somewhat of a cozy feeling that we’ve both embraced. Now, if the cleaner leaves the drapes open after cleaning, we immediately close them in order for the room to return to its familiar ambiance.

What were these red things growing on a tree in our yard?  

The fact is that it may be more beneficial with the drapes open right now as we continue in lockdown month after month. However, right now, our general comfort seems to be of the utmost importance to us.

We walk daily and Tom adds in numerous flights of stairs to his walks in the corridors. I’m up to no less than three miles, almost five km, per day at a good pace, although I break it up into several segments to avoid sitting for any length of time. Tom does his exercises while our room is being cleaned.

Are we hiding away in a darkened room during these trying times? Is it impacting our moods? We aren’t hiding away but feel right now that avoiding the glare and the less-than-desirable view has a more positive impact on our ability to stay positive, contrary to what “they” may say.

These berries were growing on a palm-type tree in the garden.

Each has to find ways to console and comfort ourselves during these challenging times while easing the stress of confinement. Our dear friends Kathy and Don, who are currently living in Oahu, Hawaii (when not at their home in Marloth Park, to which they aren’t allowed to travel at this point), can walk outdoors and get together with friends at outdoor restaurants while maintaining social distancing.

Enjoying a glass of wine or a drink with friends (or even with each other) would be such a treat along with the opportunity to walk outdoors in the sunshine. However, it’s not as if we didn’t appreciate it in times past. Our level of appreciation in times to come will surely be over-the-top.

We hope you are safely able to be outdoors in bright sunlight and perhaps enjoy snippets of time with friends and family at safe distances.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 15, 2019:

With great reviews on TripAdvisor, it’s no wonder many visitors stopped by the unique eatery, The Misunderstood Heron in Connemara, Ireland with its stunning scenery. We didn’t order any food when all of it included wheat and high carbs. For more photos, please click here.

More new photos today…New artistry photos tomorrow from a visit to a neighboring home…Cramming it all in!

Beautiful steeples dot the scenery at the tops of hills in Madeira.  It was cloudy on the day of our boat trip.

Yesterday, when we were buying produce from the produce guy, Gina hollered down to us from the house above the wall, which she and her husband Carlos own among others. She had new guests coming to stay and was busy cleaning.

At the marina in Funchal as we waited to board the catamaran.

We’d yet to see that house which Carlos had designed and built. She invited us up to see it. We dropped off our veggies and headed over-anxious to see the gorgeous home. Once inside, we were enthralled by the unbelievable artwork on the walls that we’ll share in tomorrow’s post with photos. 

We never tire of the terraced farms and gardens on the hillsides in Madeira.

It’s funny how we continue to stumble on new story and photo ideas as we make our way through each day, doing a bit of this and that.

There’s a long bridge over a gorge in the background of this refinery.

When we returned home, Judite was busy cleaning the house so we decided to get out of her way, taking off on a several hour drive long along the shoreline. We were able to get a number of photos of unexpected scenery we’re excited to share on Sunday. Please check back over the weekend for two refreshing topics with photos.

A better view of the long bridge.

With only 13 days remaining in Madeira, we’re hoping to spend as much time as possible savoring in that which we loved so much about living in Campanario; walks up the steep hills, trips to the local market, spending time on the veranda simply relishing in the scenery, explorations to other villages, and a fine sense of appreciation for the often unique (to us) vegetation and flowers.

This restaurant may have formerly been a lighthouse based on its design.

When we look back over countries and homes in which we’ve lived I think we both would say we’ve loved Belize at Laru Beya only a few steps from the sea, two of the homes in which we lived in Marloth Park, South Africa with the wildlife roaming free and here in Madeira with an exquisite view of the sea. 

This house has been perfect for us. Click here for the link to Gina’s listing on Homeaway if you’re interested in a fabulous Madeira holiday/vacation sometime in the future. 

The low lying mist and clouds are ever-present in the hills of Madeira, even on otherwise sunny days.

Yesterday while on our drive, we discussed how Madeira is an ideal vacation or holiday location. The people are friendly, the scenery is beyond belief, there’s plenty of activities for those that prefer to constantly be on the go and, then there’s the weather, a temperate climate, never uncomfortably hot. 

Passengers were less interested in the scenery than possible marine life sightings.

If one is seeking a “baking in the sun” type of experience, such as can be derived from a trip to Mexico, Madeira may not be the best choice. At times, the cool temps may deter a visitor from sunbathing. 

Although the catamaran had only 54 passengers on board out of a possible 98, it still was crowded, making photo taking a challenge when everyone stood during the marine life sightings.

Another factor we’ve loved is how safe we’ve felt everywhere we go. We’ve yet to see any run-down areas or areas of high crimes. Of course, one can never be too careful, locking doors when leaving, keeping money and documents in secure places, and driving with the utmost of caution.

Oceanview vantage points are the location of many resorts and hotels.

As for the hills, they may not be for everyone or those prone to carsickness. Luckily, other than the first week of our arrival when I had a sinus infection, I’ve had no problem, even with Tom’s occasional jerky driving when he was first driving up the steep hills in the rental cars with manual transmissions.

Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is a busy harbor with many barges, fishing and pleasure boats.

The sounds, as well as the sights in Madeira, have been a source of great pleasure; the goats next door baaing all day; the musical food trucks driving through the hills; the church bells and clock towers ringing; the roosters crowing and often the sounds of chatter and laughter wafting through the hills. We’ve loved it all. 

This could have been a condo or apartment complex or a hotel, designed to maximize the ocean views.

With 13 days remaining, we’re cherishing each moment, trying to avoid projecting too far into the future, making an effort to remain present at the moment as the time quickly withers away. 

As we approached the airport to swap rental cars, we drove under the runway. Madeira’s runway at the Funchal Airport has won awards for its design but, is still considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world.

Today, we share the final photos from Tuesday’s outing and look forward to sharing more stories and photos.

It’s an experience in itself, driving under this sophisticated artfully designed runway structure.

Have a glorious weekend. Stop back when you can.

Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2013:

The vegetable truck arrived once a week in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy as it does here every Thursday morning around 10 am with fresh organic produce. We can count on the arrival time here in Madeira but it Boveglio, it played no music, arriving at inconsistent times. Thus, in Italy, we made purchased infrequently. Here in Campanario, we’ve purchased produce every Thursday morning since we arrived. For details of the story from that date, please click here.