Recycling old laptops…A pleasant day and evening with the sisters…Five days and counting…

Tom’s pork tenderloin sandwich on a bun with homemade potato chips, which he enjoyed.

As we wind down our time in Apache junction, Arizona, we’re wrapping up a few details before we take off in five days to head to California. An important task on our “to-do” list was to recycle two old laptops. We’d intended to do this while in Nevada, but time got away from us, and we didn’t have a rental car for a very long while in Lake Las Vegas, which prompted us to get this done while we were here.

Tom will take off to the recycling place in a short time and then head to Great Clips for a needed haircut. I will stay here while he goes on these errands and continues working on today’s post and other projects to prepare for leaving on May 1. We’ve yet to pack but will do so soon.

My chicken fajita salad was excellent, even without the tortilla chips, corn, rice, and beans.

Yesterday afternoon at 3:45, we picked up the sisters for an early dinner at a wonderful restaurant about 15 minutes from here, JJ Madison’s All American Grill. The sisters talked about the excellent pork tenderloin sandwiches, reminding them of a popular restaurant in Minneapolis, Tony Jaros, where they had the best pork tenderloin sandwiches in years past.

Tom, Rita, and Colleen ordered the sandwich, but although they liked it, it wasn’t as good as they’d hoped. Maybe when we get to Minnesota, we’ll head to Tony Jaros so he can have the pork tenderloin sandwich he remembers from his youth. But you know how that goes. Often, our expectations exceed reality, and the “old” flavors aren’t as good as we recall. Our taste buds may have changed over the years, and we remember the food being better than it was at the time.

Margie’s grilled Minnesota Walleye with tartar sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sauteed vegetables. She said it was delicious.

Nonetheless, we had a nice lunch, and everyone enjoyed their meal and drinks, as shown in today’s photos. Tom had a Margarita, and I had one glass of Pinot Grigio while the sisters ordered their favorite drinks. The food was good, and the conversation was lively and animated.

When we returned to the RV park, we dropped off the sisters and headed back to our place to collect and return items we’d borrowed from the sisters while here and to pack items for the upcoming evening’s card playing. For the first time since we arrived, I finally won a game. A few days ago, I realized I was playing too conservatively ever to win a game. I changed my strategy and won a game. Whether we win or lose, it’s fun playing.

By 9:30 pm, we were back at our place and spent the next hour enjoying a delightful series to stream, recommended by our friends Marylin and Gary, whom we’ll soon see in Utah. The series “Anne with an E” on Netflix is utterly enchanting. We’re looking forward to watching more episodes, which we may be able to do at night in a hotel room, after dinner, or during our upcoming road trip.

This was Rita’s pork tenderloin with crispy French fries.

No, I haven’t heard a word from Cleveland Clinic. The scheduler/nurse originally stated it could be two to three weeks before I heard about an appointment. When my UPS-sent file was lost on April 2 and not found until April 8, I am assuming my three week waiting period began at that time. Thus, at the moment, it’s not quite three weeks. I have sent two email messages but haven’t got a response. I will call and check on the status if I don’t hear anything by Monday.

I’m assuming I don’t have priority scheduling since I’d be paying using Medicare and supplement benefits, compared to celebrity and wealthy patients worldwide who’d pay cash. That’s the reality of the world we live in. Money talks! But I will persist and hope nothing bad happens between now and when we arrive. I am still holding my own with only a few symptoms.

Tom just left for the recycling store and haircut while I continue to work on today’s post, interrupted only by my walking routine every ten minutes. At noon, I usually have the walking completed and can begin doing the yoga exercises I have been doing for the past two months.

That’s it for today, dear readers.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 26, 2014:

Orange trees are often growing in the center courtyards of restaurants in Marrakesh, including where we dined, Arabe. For 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.

It was a lovely anniversary!…Pizza night!…An exciting addition to Marloth Park!!!…

Off-putting to some, I was intrigued by all the parts of the fresh fish used in cooking in Morocco from this post here. As mentioned in the ten-year-ago photo, I managed to sneak a few pictures before being caught by the photo police.

It’s been a busy morning. I did half of my walking and prepped the pizzas for tonight, consisting of one sizeable three-night pan for Tom and two small pizzas for me, made with less cheese and chicken instead of sausages that will also be enough to last three dinners. Also, I made a salad, as always.

Tom’s pizza is made with a cheese and egg crust, baked atop parchment paper in the oven before adding the toppings, which include Italian sauce and sausage, onion, mushrooms, sliced green olives and mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

My pizza is made with coconut flour, baking powder, and egg-white crust, cooked in a non-stick skillet to resemble a giant pancake that I top with sauce, sliced baby bell peppers, onions, olives, mushrooms, and a lesser amount of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Mine is about 60% less fattening than Tom’s and easily fills me up with a few slices and a large salad.

Then, I made two cooked eggs topped with Wholly guacamole, Pace Hot Picante sauce, and a dollop of plain Fage Greek yogurt for breakfast. Lately, I have been having this same breakfast each day. It’s a great way to start the day. All of the above is all I will eat today. If I’m hungry after dinner, I will have a bowl of keto-sweetened plain Fage yogurt topped with ground flax seeds.

Keto meals can be as enjoyable as any meal one may prepare using starch and sugars, keeping one’s blood sugar in check and preventing weight gain. I can’t believe I’ve been eating this way for over 12 years, and love every meal I make. On the other hand, Tom craves sweets (donuts) and desserts (popcorn or ice cream). He doesn’t eat breakfast other than two plain cake donuts with coffee and then doesn’t eat anything else all day until dinner.

Yesterday, our 29th wedding anniversary was a quiet day. We stayed in, had a great dinner and streamed a new show on Netflix, “The Gentlemen,” which was very entertaining. There are two seasons to keep us busy over many evenings when we wind down from our busy days and relax on the sofa until bedtime.

Since I quit drinking coffee about a month ago, I’ve mostly been drinking water at room temperature. Never much of a fan of plain water, I’ve found I feel my best without any other beverages other than my one glass of red wine at happy hour that I finish during dinner, followed by water throughout the evening.

Oddly, I haven’t been able to find any decent low-alcohol wine while in the US. When we return to Marloth Park in three months, I will enjoy the many options of delicious low-alcohol wines readily available at the grocery store.

Speaking of grocery stores, we can’t wait to see the Spar Market opening very soon in Marloth Park, only a three-minute drive from our holiday home. I can’t imagine it will be large enough to have everything we use, but we could drive to the further away Spar in Komatipoort (25-minute drive) once a month to stock up and supplement weekly at the MP version.

May be an image of 3 people and text
Yesterday, this photo of a Spar delivery truck was on a Marloth Park Facebook page. It was exciting to see that this is happening!

This is very exciting for all of the residents in Marloth Park, more so than short-term holiday renters who don’t cook as often, mostly buying meat, potatoes, bread, fruit, and snacks. But for us long-term visitors and the locals, this will be a considerable time and petrol saver.

We’ll head to the new market within hours of our arrival, buying enough for a day or two since we’ll be too tired to shop for enough for a week. Then, after resting, we’ll return and have a better perspective of what’s available. We’re both looking forward to this convenience.

That’s it for today, folks. I have to return to my walking and exercises in the app BetterMe. This is going so well; I couldn’t be more pleased.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 8, 2014:

I managed to sneak a few pictures in the market to avoid being accosted by the photo police in Marrakesh, Morocco. These are steaks with all of the fat removed. In South Africa, fat is a delicacy left on the meat. That is not the case in Morocco, where all beef appeared lean and free of visible fat. For more photos, please click here.

A date night in the Village…We had such fun!…

It took Madam Zahra a few times to figure out our food preferences after we showed her photos on my laptop since she only spoke Arabic, not English. From there, every night, we were excited about her unique dishes.

Last night, we went to dinner at “The Bar,” a pub at the bottom of the one flight of stairs from our floor to the Village. We decided to go early, at 4:30, to ensure we’d get two seats at the bar. We’d dined there for the first time about a month ago but arrived after 5:00 pm, which was too late to claim two seats at the bar.

We were thrilled to see two empty seats at the bar, as if they were waiting for us. We couldn’t get situated fast enough. As it turned out, by 5:00 pm, the place was packed, and there was barely a regular table available. With the narrow bar top, we knew it would be better if we ate at a high-top table.

Fortunately, a table opened up after our drinks, and we quickly grabbed it. Usually, I only drink one glass of wine, but with the short “pour” from the bartender using the only stemmed glass in the place, I ended up drinking three glasses of the Pinot Grigio, the most I’ve had to drink in a long time. But, looking at the pour, each couldn’t have been more than 3 ounces.

When two people spend every day and night together, dining out may not necessarily be a time for lively conversation. But we are different that way. We turned our chairs to be knee-to-knee, with my feet resting on the base of his barstool, and the usual highly entertaining banter began with us. Sitting at a bar makes us both more animated when the atmosphere is all the more conducive.

There we were, almost 33 years later, and it felt like a fantastic date of the early days of a budding relationship. We couldn’t have been more fun. We never chatted with other patrons, just with each other. We had such a good evening that we decided to forego dinner out on our upcoming 29th wedding anniversary on March 7 and dine in. I’ll make something special for dinner, and then we’ll head out again next weekend.

How fortunate we are. We will never forget that. Getting along day after day is such a joy in itself, but actually having fun together, giggling, teasing, and showing signs of affection is all it takes for every day to be memorable. We often hear that marriage takes a lot of work. But, we are grateful that it never feels like “work” for our marriage to succeed.

Having had about a bit more wine than usual, I woke up at 12:30 and didn’t get back to sleep until 3:00 am. This morning, I could sleep in and make up for the sleep I lost during the night. When I finally awoke this morning, I felt great and ready to tackle another day.

It’s noon, and I’ve already made the salad and prepped everything for tonight’s dinner: roast beef with carrots, onions, and mushrooms for Tom, which he’ll have with his rice and wild-caught salmon with broccoli. All I have to do is put Tom’s dinner in the oven around 4:30 and mine about 15 minutes before his roast beef is done. Easy peasy.

Once I’ve completed today’s post, I’ll do day 7 of my BetterMe, 28-day yoga/pilates-type exercises. I am totally committed to this program and already feel some benefits from these at-home exercises. I may not have access to a fitness center in the future, and having a definitive at-home program is most beneficial. The exercises are not easy but each day I notice improvement.

This morning, we’re still smiling at one another or our fun “date night” and look forward to another beautiful day together “at home,” wherever that may be.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 2, 2014:

Finally, we made it to Marrakesh, Morocco. We were greeted by this man who hauled our bags in the Medina, The Big Square, to our riad, quite a distance away. For more photos, please click here.

Great memories from years past…

When we “babysat” the pregnant alpacas while the owners were away on the farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand, in 2016, this precious little girl was born. For my birthday, along with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, the owners named this little girl “Miss Jessica” after me. It was the best birthday gift ever! For the post, please click here.

As another birthday approaches, I can’t help but reminisce and appreciate past birthdays, especially since we began traveling the world. The birthdays before that time seem to blur in my mind., except perhaps my 50th birthday in 1998 when we had a big party at our house.

At that time, I spent days cooking and preparing for my own party. Now, 26 years later, I have no interest in cooking and decorating for my own party. Then, of course, since we began traveling, my most exciting birthday was last year, celebrating my 75th birthday, which Louise and Danie hosted at the fabulous Khaya Umdani house and prepared all the food and drinks to perfection.

I will repost the photos from last year’s birthday in tomorrow’s post. This year, on the actual day of my birthday, we don’t have any big plans other than going out to dinner, at Tom’s insistence since he doesn’t want me to cook. Tom rarely cooks, so we would unlikely go that route.

But I am content with tomorrow’s easy plan to go out to dinner. Then, the next day, February 21, we have special plans hosted by Richard, which we’ll share with photos and the story the following day, February 22. I suppose at this point in life, birthdays are as important as when we’re young, but in a way, I see them as an opportunity to be grateful for one more year of our lives. That, in itself, is worth celebrating, isn’t it?

In any case, I don’t have a lot of expectations about my birthday. Texts or phone calls from family are meaningful. And, of course, the many well wishes and messages from family and friends mean the world to us.

Today is laundry day. Amid my walking schedule this morning, the sheets and dark clothes are in the dryer in the laundry room down the hall, and the whites and towels are spinning in the washer, which we’ll hang on the drying rack soon. Tonight’s dinner will be coconut sauteed cod, the one time Tom will eat fish.

To make the fish, I put about ½ cup of coconut flour in a bowl and then two raw scrambled eggs in another bowl. I well-season the flour with garlic and onion powder, Himalayan salt, and coarse ground pepper. First, I dip the patted dry fish in the coconut flour, then into the eggs, and then back into the coconut flour while three tablespoons of coconut oil are heated in the non-stick skillet.

The fish cooks very fast at medium heat, so I keep an eye on it, never leaving the stove for a moment. In the meantime, we will have cooked Tom’s rice, steamed the broccoli, and tossed the salad with homemade Keto dressing. Everything gets done at once to ensure it is all hot.

It only takes about ten minutes to prepare the fish, making this an easy dinner, although it gets the stove top messy, requiring cleaning the glass top as soon as it’s cool enough. Earlier in the day, I’d prepped the salad and the broccoli while Tom put water, salt, and butter in his small pot for the rice. We have an excellent system that works well for us. We have great meals with little prep time for most of our meals.

I am heading back to the corridor for my next round of walking now. It’s a good day.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, February 19, 2014:

The “girl’s lunch” to celebrate my birthday. No one was handy to take a photo of the three of us, so Linda and I were in the first photo. The Buhari Lodge was located on the Crocodile River.
My wonderful friends Linda and Kathy (left to right) lived part-time in Marloth Park. The three of us stay in close touch regularly. For more photos, please click here.

Football days are upon us…New recipe…easy or time consuming…

This was a European roller we spotted in the bush described as follows: The European roller is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa south of the Sahara in two distinct regions, from Senegal east to Cameroon and from Ethiopia.

Gee… There are a lot of football games we can watch while Tom is streaming them from DAZN (formerly NFL Game Pass). Based on his subscription to this service, the commercials are gone if he waits three hours or more after the game ends. But, if we wait too long, we may see any particular results, and we both (Tom particularly) don’t like to know the final score ahead of time.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid seeing the results of games when there are many mentions of results all over the internet. Tom, who enjoys Facebook, can’t avoid seeing the results and comments from avid football fans. Coincidentally, the Super Bowl is being held in Las Vegas this year. No, we won’t buy the pricey tickets, especially since our favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings, won’t play. They haven’t played in the Super Bowl except as mentioned below:

“Minnesota Vikings is an American professional football team founded in 1961 and based in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, that plays in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The Vikings have appeared in four Super Bowls (1970, 1974, 1975, and 1977), losing each time.”

We both have other teams we like. I am a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs (Missouri) since I love watching Patrick Mahomes, and this year, Tom favors the Green Bay Packers (Wisconsin) and the Detroit Lions (Michigan). As for the other NFL  games, I seldom pay much attention. Instead, while he’s watching on my laptop with the HDMI cord plugged in, I play games on my phone or read news and other articles.

Once I upload the post each day, I seldom use my laptop other than when we’re researching future locations to travel. Thus, I don’t mind him using my laptop to stream the games to the TV. His laptop is a Chromebook with no HDMI outlet, and although we purchased an HDMI adapter a while ago, it isn’t working on his device. Thus, we use my Windows 11 laptop with a built-in HDMI port.

I had a late start on today’s post when I decided to make beef enchiladas for dinner for the next few nights. After considerable research online for keto tortillas, I found none that didn’t use wheat, starch, or bad oils. I checked through every keto tortilla on Amazon and at local markets. Nothing meets my criteria except the brand Egg Life. When we were in Florida many moons ago, I tried those, and they were awful, tasteless, and quickly fell apart.

Instead, this morning, I began making homemaker keto tortillas using this recipe I found online here. One wouldn’t want to tackle this recipe if they weren’t prepared to spend about an hour making a dozen of these in the kitchen. But the result is fantastic. Putting the ingredients together is easy; it’s rolling the 12 pieces of dough (I doubled the recipe and adjusted it to make 12 tortillas) and cooking them in a non-stick skillet for four minutes each (two minutes each side).

To my surprise, I enjoyed making these and will do so again. As for the enchilada recipe, I bought two large cans of enchilada sauce and cooked and drained three pounds of grass-fed ground beef. I added chopped onion, seasonings, and fresh garlic to the pan. Tom helped me cook and drain the meat, which needed to be broken into small pieces, not big chunks.

Once I am done here soon, I’ll go back into the kitchen and put the enchiladas together. I’ll add half of the sauce to the meat and add lots of shredded cheddar cheese, wrapping each tortilla in ¾ of the meat. Then, I’ll line the huge, lightly greased pans (using avocado oil) with the wrapped tortillas, adding more sauce, meat, and cheese. I’ll cook this for about 30 minutes at 350F until the top is bubbly and smells fantastic.

With this meal, we’ll have a big salad. It should be a delightful dinner. I used to make this dish with chicken or beef in our old lives, but I hadn’t made it in over 12 years, since before I changed my way of eating when I could use store-bought tortillas. It will be interesting to see if it tastes as good with the keto/low-carb homemade tortillas. I’ll take a photo tonight and let you know tomorrow.

If you can eat regular store-bought tortillas, this is a fantastic recipe for the family or entertaining. This recipe can easily be put together in 30 minutes without the lengthy process of making the tortillas.

Be well.

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

No photos were posted today due to a poor WiFi signal while we were in the Blyde River Canyon in South Africa.

Correction in yesterday’s post about Medicare, Plan G for foreign travel…

This restaurant, Luna Rossa, is about a one-minute walk once we get down one flight of stairs.

I made an error in yesterday’s comprehensive post about supplement Plan G, which I chose as an adjunct to Plan B enrollment. My insurance agent, Janet Mueller, at jmueller@teameip.com, noted the need to make a correction, which I’ve done on the post and noted today. See below for details:

  • Maximum annual $50,000, with $250 deductible, which pays 80%, on emergency medical services for foreign travel outside the US. Air and ground ambulance are covered. Here is a link with information on ambulance and air ambulance services for Plan G.
  • Tom sure loves bread.

Now that the Medicare information is posted and hopefully clear for those interested, we’re moving on to other topics, such as our first evening out to dinner last night in The Village, one flight down an outside stairway from the hallway on our floor.

We had a lovely time in the restaurant. We went to the Italian restaurant Luna Rossa, a one-minute walk once we got downstairs to the ground level. We’d thought of going to the Mexican restaurant but, at the last minute, decided against it when I’d planned to make beef enchiladas on Monday.

Tom’s delicious lasagne.

Only a few items on the Mexican restaurant’s menu appealed to Tom with some modifications. Most Mexican restaurants serve Spanish rice and refried beans with each entree, neither of which Tom will eat. Taking those two items away from a plate may leave little to eat. As a result, he only likes taco salad with beef, not chicken. Of course, he could ask for meat instead of chicken, but he doesn’t care to ask for special adjustments when he orders off a menu.

On the other hand, I’m always asking for special adjustments for my orders to ensure they are gluten-free, starch-free, and sugar-free. I always tell Tom, “We’re the customer paying the bill. It’s ok to ask for changes, especially if we’re willing to pay for upgrades that may increase the price.”

My mussels and clams in a tasty broth.

Oh well, we each do it our way. He’s a picky eater due to his taste buds, and I am picky only to ensure I don’t eat anything that isn’t suitable for my way of eating. If I didn’t eat this way, I pretty much like everything.

Once seated at Luna Rossa without reservation on a Saturday night, we felt at ease at the table for four with a crisp white tablecloth and lovely table setting. The service was fast and friendly, primarily by older Italian gentlemen with experience. More servers were in the restaurant than customers, but about half of the tables were occupied, which surprised us.

I can always find something to eat in Italian restaurants even when most of the dishes contain pasta, none of which I’ll order. Tom had the delicious lasagne, a good-sized portion, made to perfection. I ordered the mussels and clam in a delightful broth that I finished with a spoon. We each ordered one drink, a brandy and Sprite for Tom and a lovely Merlot for me.

The restaurant was surprisingly busy. We didn’t expect the eateries in The Village to be busy.

The wine glass was huge, and there couldn’t have been more than four ounces of wine in it, typical for somewhat fancier dining establishments. But the drinks and food were plenty for us. Tom enjoyed the basket of bread, which only came with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, neither of which he’d eat. He started eating the dry, unbuttered bread but didn’t ask for butter. When the waiter passed, we asked for butter, and Tom dug into the bread.

Our dinner bill was $98, including tax and tip. We could have easily had two nights’ dinners at Jabula for this amount, including drinks, tax, and tip. At these prices, we’ll only eat out once a week.

The short walk back to our place was refreshing in the cool air at only 40F. As I write here this morning, it’s only 46F, typical for the winter cool desert temps. I love this cool weather in Las Vegas, especially when it’s sweltering in the summer months.

I’m off to take the bedding to dry in the laundry room using the handy laundry app on my phone. As mentioned, we have a washer in our unit but no dryer. We dry everything else on the portable laundry rack we purchased at Amazon.

Today will be a football day. Last night, we watched an exciting game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. No spoilers here if you haven’t watched it.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Be well.

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

Baby warthog is sleeping in our yard, while mom and three other babies munched on vegetation. For more, please click here.

Slowly but surely…We’re getting better….

Octomom and seven of her eight piglets, one of which was off to the side. We hope to see them when we return in June.

Today, I am rushing through the post so we can use my laptop to broadcast the last Minnesota Vikings game of the season on the TV monitor using the HDMI cord. After another night of coughing, I notice that my cough is finally breaking up, meaning it’s on its way to being over. Today, Tom said he feels the best since this all started about 12 days ago. I was about three days behind him when I didn’t get it immediately.

This time, I didn’t take any over-the-counter medications I’d used in the past other than Hall’s sugar-free cough drops and the saline nasal rinse. I didn’t even take Tylenol and noticed no difference in getting better. Those products may temporarily relieve symptoms but have no impact on shortening the duration of the virus.

Tom took Vitamin C, zinc, Zyrtec, Tylenol, antibiotics, and a prescription cough pill. We’ll both have had symptoms for the exact number of days. It was an experiment on my part to see what helps and what doesn’t. With Tom’s asbestos-caused lung problem, he needed to take antibiotics so the cough didn’t turn into pneumonia.

We don’t advocate one method of treatment over another to our readers. If you become sick, please see your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. I wasn’t ill enough to see a doctor, but Tom was, and thus, our visit to Urgent Care six days ago. We’re both grateful to be on the mend.

Last night’s Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie dinner was delicious, and we’re looking forward to repeating it tonight and tomorrow. This week, I’ll make another favorite low-carb dish, a copycat recipe for a low-carb version of Costco’s famous chicken loaves. This dish is another favorite of ours.

I make smaller portions of these special dishes for me so I can stay on my diet. I am stuck right now, but I continue to work on losing the last six pounds. I never have a cheat day, and I stick to the macros I’ve chosen for losing weight, which consist of fat, carbs, and calories, all of which matter. Over the years, I have found that there is no such diet as “all you can eat.” But, based on my macros, I am seldom overly hungry. I use a free app, Cronometer, to track every morsel I put in my mouth.

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to go to the fitness center to spend a little time on the exercise bike. I had been doing well when I stopped after I got sick, but now, after many days, it’s time to start getting back into it. I did 60% of what I’d reached before I stopped, and between today and tomorrow, I should be back to 100%. Soon, as my legs strengthen, I’ll start doing resistance training.

Last night, based on a suggestion from our dear friends Marylin and Gary (long-time readers we met in Marloth Park and will see again when we return), we started watching The Gilded Age on Max (formerly HBO). We signed up for a one-month free trial and will have it watched long before the month’s end, at which point we’ll cancel the service.

Today, I have to do laundry, make a salad, and work out when Tom takes his 2:00 pm nap. Dinner will be easy when I pop two more mini pot pies in the oven about 30 minutes before we dine. It’s an easy day, which I appreciate at this point.

That’s it for today, folks. We will listen to a podcast about the economy and start watching the Minnesota Vikings game on DZN (formerly NFL Game Pass). We don’t have much hope for them winning or even having a chance at the play offs, but we can hope, can’t we?

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today,  January 7, 2014:

This batch has four packages of lean grass-fed ground beef, referred to as “mince” in Africa. The total cost of these huge packages was US $17.23 and ZAR 183.50. The forward huge T-bone steak is US $3.43, ZAR 36.47. In the rear of this photo are pork chops and lamb chops. Due to inflation, these prices have doubled since we posted this, but even so, the prices are much lower than in the US and many other countries. This meat will feed us for eight dinners, considering our two nights of dining out per week. For more, please click here.

Cooking a favorite dish tonight…Impulse buying..

We always enjoyed seeing female kudus stop by with their youngsters.

Tom is seated at the kitchen island, eating his morning toast with strawberry jam and coffee. Over the past several months, he’s preferred toast to bacon and eggs, and I’ve kept my mouth shut about this unhealthy breakfast. The remainder of the meals I make are healthy, low carb, and without grains, sugar, and starches.

A few days ago, I mentioned how time-consuming making meals can be, but I didn’t say so, meaning I am unwilling to take the time for special meals we enjoy. Today is such a day, and I am making Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie, a favorite recipe I usually make once or twice a year.

Unable to get the ingredients in Ecuador and not cooking for a few months while we traveled, I included all the ingredients in yesterday’s Smith’s Marketplace order, delivered to us by Instacart through the Boost service we joined to reduce and avoid weekly delivery fees. Boost charges $7.95 per month and especially pays for itself when ordering weekly. The minimum order for free shipping is $35, which is helpful when needing to fill in a few items here and there.

Many markets throughout the US offer this or a similar service….pay a small monthly fee for “free” delivery for as many orders one prefers in any given month. A small tip is included, which may be increased, reduced, or eliminated as desired. We stick with the included tip.

The person who selects our chosen items, a “picker,” contacts me by text if a replacement is needed. I make a point of keeping my phone nearby once I receive the message that the picker is in the process of gathering our items. This works perfectly for me. Yes, one or two items aren’t available each time, but the picker suggests alternatives, or I can choose an alternative.

Yes, we’re paying for the  delivery service, $7.95 a month, and the tips, around $20 a month, may seem like a significant extra expense. But, the store’s coupons are online, offered for each item, and we easily save more than these costs using the coupons. For example, yesterday’s $160 order provided me with $8.98 using online coupons. I indeed wouldn’t have clipped walking into the store.

But, the most significant savings are ordering online and not purchasing a single impulse item, which most of us have trouble avoiding when shopping. This is particularly useful for us when we don’t want food left over when we depart a location. As that annoying insurance commercial on TV always says, “Buy only what you need.” I imagine we save more than $20 monthly, avoiding impulse buying.

Also, we avoid tossing unused food, mainly produce, which is expensive, and shoppers often over-buy. We use all the vegetables we buy. I don’t recall when we’ve had to throw away unused food.

What’s surprising me here in Nevada, is that once we stocked up on basic laundry and cleaning supplies, spices, and paper products, we’ve only been spending about $160 a week for groceries, way lower than we’ve paid while in the US in the past. Of course, based on the way we eat, we don’t buy snacks, chips, cereal, milk, or fruit other than the frozen berries I’ve been adding to my Fage yogurt as a dessert at night.

The only snack Tom’s been enjoying lately after he finished his three huge Costco pies when we first arrived, is microwave popcorn, which he enjoys at night when we’re streaming something. We don’t eat much during the day. Plus, we love leftovers, and I usually make sufficient quantities of any dish, enough to last for three nights’ dinner. Yes, it takes time to prepare three night’s dinner, but it’s worth it when the following two nights, all I have to do is make a salad.

Since I am feeling better today, I don’t mind heading to the kitchen soon to finish making the pot pies. I make them in individual tin foil pans for each night. I am cooking them fresh each evening. This time, I am making enough for an extra batch to freeze for future dinners.

Tom is feeling better, too. This morning, we slept until almost 9:00 am. When my cough is mostly gone, I will start working out again, which I look forward to.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 6, 2014:

Named Clive by Facebook friend Peggy (feel free to ‘friend me” on Facebook using my email address: jessicablyman@gmaiil.com), we considered that he may be the same ostrich we’d seen on December 7, 2013 (click here to see that post) only a week after our arrival. For more photos, please click here.

Update on my weight loss…Tom is at his lowest weight ever!…Not me!…

In August, the view was amazing as we sailed away on a Norway cruise.

It’s time for an update on my weight loss. But first, let me tell you about Tom! Since we left Minnesota and he stopped eating doughnut holes and bananas from breakfast at the restaurant at the hotel in Eden Prairie, he’s lost almost 20 pounds (9 kg). On the Galapagos cruise, he was careful with portion control and didn’t eat junk, bread, and excess sweets, although he usually ate a small dessert after dinner each night.

Since we’ve been in Ecuador with limited groceries other than items for breakfast and dinner, he’s been eating two pieces of toast with strawberry jam he’s been able to purchase at the little store down the road, plus a good-sized portion of watermelon each day. Even with that, he’s continued to lose weight and right now is at his slimmest when we first arrived in Belize almost 11 years ago.

For us, weight is about health, well-being, and, of course, being able to fit into our clothes. For me, the past few years, that’s been an issue. When I began recovering from open heart surgery in 2019, I started gaining weight from all the heart medications I was on. By the time I got off of all those drugs, about four months later, I was carrying an extra 20 pounds on me.

Norway was exactly as we anticipated, with colorful buildings and loads of charm.

Few of my clothes fit, and when I had an opportunity to purchase clothes online, I went from a size small to a large. No longer could I wear my jeans and most of my tee shirts when I had a “muffin top” hanging over the sides. That part was about vanity for me. I never liked that look on me. I started buying loose-fitting tops to hide my excess weight.

I tried losing weight in the past four years on many occasions but never had any luck. I’d lose a few kilos and then gain it right back, thinking I could eat as much as I did over 11 years ago, and that was not the case. Sure, I continued to eat the low-carb way, but let’s face it, one can overeat in any way of eating. I was deluding myself that I could do otherwise.

Once the Afib started and I began doing tons of research on possible remedies, one fact I encountered over and over again was that as little as ten pounds overweight could increase the risk of Afib. That, not appearance or clothes fitting, was enough motivation for me to attack this with gusto, and I have done just that.

  • So far, since November 1, when I began to cut back, I have lost 11 pounds (5 kg), with about 13 pounds (6 kg) more to go. By the end of this upcoming week, I will be halfway there. How am I doing it? Eggs, nonstarchy vegetables, a small portion of berries for breakfast, a small amount of cheese and chicken for lunch, and a dinner consisting of whatever protein source we have, with portion control in mind. I can eat all the nonstarchy vegetables I want.
It was one more cruise we knocked off to a location we wanted to see.

Since small amounts of berries are okay on low-carb and are loaded with nutrients, I am especially enjoying these as a treat. We’ve been buying the vegetables, freshly picked berries, and watermelon from Raphael on Tuesdays and Fridays when he comes by around 6:00 pm with his truck filled with organic fruits and vegetables.

I decided to post about this today when I found it helps me stay motivated when I’ve shared it here. You know, accountability. I’ve tried this here in the past with less success, but improving the Afib is a massive motivator for me, much more than anything in the past.

Tonight, I am making a beef tenderloin stir fry with celery, onions, broccoli, green peppers, carrots, fresh garlic and ginger. The seasonings won’t be as flavorful without all the usual spices we have on hand, but we’ll make do and enjoy it anyway. Tom will have his dinner on a bed of rice, and I’ll have mine without the rice.

Previously, we only ate once or twice a day, but here we’ve added a light lunch, as mentioned above, which, right now, seems to work better for me since I get less hungry for dinner. I am committed and will stay on this course until I reach my goal, and then, I will add a little more protein and healthy fats to maintain it.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 19, 2013:

At dinner in Diani Beach at Swahili Beach Resort…Tom’s hair still had shampoo in it when the water went off during his shower before we headed out.
Luckily, I’d showered hours before him. For more photos, please click here.