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.

Thoughtful update from reader/friend….Thanks, Bob!…What inspires expats to live in Ecuador…

On the few evenings when it hasn’t been cloudy, Tom has been able to take these sunset photos shown today.

Yesterday, we received the following email from reader/friend Bob, whom I’ve never met but who found our site on Tom’s Facebook page. He attended high school with Tom many moons ago. Bob has been a loyal and consistent reader for several years, and we certainly enjoy hearing from him now and then.

Bob either posts a comment on a particular post or sends us an email with questions or comments, all of which have been very kind and supportive of our world travels and lifestyle. Here is the message Bob sent yesterday, commenting about yesterday’s post found here.

I had written that I had no idea if the vegetables we’d purchased from Raphael’s truck were a good deal or not. With our intent to support local farmers and other local vendors, we weren’t worried about prices when we thought what we were purchasing was within a reasonable range of what we may have paid in the US. Plus, the produce is pesticide-free and organic, based on insects we’ve found on the products.

This shot looks somewhat like a question mark.

If, at any point, we feel a vendor is taking advantage of the fact that we’re foreigners, we’d either negotiate a better price or, in some cases, not purchase if we felt the item(s) were grossly overpriced. Most recently, when we stayed in the US for several months off and on, we didn’t go grocery shopping and had no idea how much prices had increased with recent inflation.

While in Florida for three months, from the end of April until July, we had groceries delivered From Kroger, when there is a possibility prices were slightly higher for delivered groceries. So again, our knowledge of prices wasn’t necessarily accurate.

When Bob wrote yesterday, he so kindly did the research for us, taking our list of items we purchased from Raphael’s truck to his local market, Cub, as described in his message below:

“I read your blog today, and since I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, I went shopping today. I went to Cub Foods.
I did a price shop for you.

Watermelon $5.99
Broccoli. Head $3.99
Whole cabbage $2.25
Med zucchini  $2.79 
Carrots $1.25 lb
Med Avocado $.77 ea (x 3)
Strawberries $3.99 lb on sale
So you got “fresh from the farm” for half what it was at Cub today.
I was thrilled to see this information from Bob. How thoughtful of him to take the time to check these prices and report back to us. Thanks, Bob! You inspired today’s post with this information and gave us peace of mind, knowing we weren’t overpaying, although in this case, for the convenience of Raphael showing up twice a week at our door, we may have been willing to pay more than US listed prices. Apparently, we did not overpay when Bob explained we spent about half of the current US prices.
Another stunning view.
Considering we’re currently buying food from Raphael and the little market in the gated community, we are only spending about half for groceries of what we’d have paid in the US or many other countries. When we return to Manta on November 22 to exchange the rental car and for my second cardiology appointment, we will grocery shop at a big market and have a better idea of prices in Ecuador.
Over the years, we’ve heard many expats have moved to Ecuador due to the low cost of living, including housing, products, and services. Most residents living in Mirador San Jose are French Canadians who chose to retire here, partly due to the lower cost of living here than in Canada.
The rays streaming down from the horizon are enchanting.
We’ve yet to discover the prices of the houses in this beachside neighborhood. Surely, we’ll hear about that and report back here. However, I found this one listing of a home currently on the market for $189,900s, not directly on the ocean as the holiday house we are renting. See here for details.
Also, here is a link for an oceanfront vacant lot for sale in Mirador, San Jose, priced at $34,000.
That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with more tomorrow.
Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 12, 2013:

These huge pods have continued to dry out on a tree in the garden in Kenya. For more photos, please click here.

An amazing encounter with Raphael..Again, it’s the simple things…

Here is the produce we purchased from Raphael last evening. The total cost was US $12.50. I don’t know if this is a good price or not, but since we are grateful to be able to buy these, we are fine with the cost. There are three avocados behind the bag of strawberries and a giant zucchini to the right. We aren’t eating salads right now.

Last night, as we were preparing dinner of pork chops, rice, green beans, and cooked carrots for Tom and grilled fish (unknown type) and veggies for me, we heard Raphael’s honking horn. We couldn’t get outdoors quickly enough to find Raphael with a huge grin on his face while asking how we were in Spanish. We enthusiastically answered, “Bien. Como estas?”

Over the years of selling his fresh farm goods to the English-speaking locals in Mirador San Jose, he’s learned the English translation of all his fruits and vegetables, making selecting our preferences easy when we merely say the names of what we’d like to buy.

We don’t bother to ask prices for his bounties, nor do we attempt to explain why we aren’t interested in potatoes, beets, corn, and other starchy, sugary fruits and vegetables. When he suggests such items, we shake our heads, and he continues to let us know any new items he may have that he didn’t have last time. He comes by each Tuesday and Friday close to 5:00 pm.

I nearly jumped for joy when I spotted a container of blackberries and another with strawberries. With my way of eating, I can have berries in moderation, ½ cup per day. He let me choose those I wanted from the containers, as my mouth watered at the prospect of eating these fresh-from-farm berries.

The berries didn’t look as if they were washed. I’d picked fresh berries in the past and could tell. Since I will be eating them uncooked, we soaked and rinsed the two batches separately in bottled water, letting them sit for several hours. This morning, I put about a ½ cup of the blackberries in a bowl, which I promptly tasted. They were so tart, much to my delight, that I’d have to add a little of my sweetener to be able to eat them.

The fact they were tart indicated they weren’t genetically modified to be sweet, as are blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries in the US and other countries, to appeal to consumers who prefer fruits to be sweet. It was only when I was a kid, back in the 50s, that berries were so tart that my mother placed a bowl of sugar next to them, to which we added several teaspoons to the berries. Then, they tasted good.

Now, in the US and many other countries, when you buy berries, sugar is unnecessary when they are already so sweet they are hard to stop eating. Before I adopted a low-carb way of eating in 2011, I could easily and mindlessly eat a bowl of berries without any added sweetener, munching on them as if they were salty nuts, which also are hard to stop eating.

This morning, I had my usual bowl of two eggs cooked in a bowl with ½ avocado for breakfast. But this time, I added a small bowl of fresh, sweetened blackberries on the side. What a treat it was! For me, it was comparable to having a fine dessert.

As shown in the photo above, Tom will enjoy another watermelon while I munch on the berries until Raphael returns and hopefully has more berries in his truck.

We’ll repeat last night’s dinner tonight with pork chops (for Tom) and fish (for me), both of which are marinating in the refrigerator. But this time, we’ll add steamed buttered broccoli as our vegetable instead of green beans and carrots. Buying the pork chops and fish at the little nearby market in this gated community and buying fresh vegetables from Raphael makes shopping for food much more accessible than we initially anticipated.

When we return to Manta on November 22 to return the car and visit the cardiologist, we will shop at MegaMaxi, the huge Walmart-like store in the shopping center, recommended by the locals at Kokomo’s last Wednesday night.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 11, 2013:

On our first cruise and venture outside the US on January 3, 2013, on the Celebrity Century, an “Old Hollywood” style ship, sailing through the breathtaking Panama Canal. This cruise line and particular ship may remain our favorite, even after many additional cruises. Our all-time favorite bartender is shown on the far right, Juan. What a guy! For more photos, please click here.

The walking continues…Hopeful for the future…Football day!…

The watermelon was a little mushy and made it difficult to get all the seeds out. Tom ate the small seeds.

For the first time in years, Tom wanted to eat watermelon. When Raphael stopped by with his packed vegetable truck on Friday for the second time in a week, Tom spotted a watermelon and said, “Let’s get that also!”

Over the past few days, I’ve asked Tom if he wanted me to cut it into bite-sized pieces. Each time he said, “No thanks.” Finally, today, with a bit of prodding from me, he said, “Yes.” He never wants to make “work” for me, but good grief, I am happy to cut it up for him. I’m much better at this than he is, and besides, I try to remove all the seeds, which I always did for him and my kids decades ago until they came out with seedless watermelons.

Although I am still busy with the walking and will continue to walk day after day, it won’t take me too long to cut it up. Unfortunately, I don’t have a container to put it in, but I will use two of the larger pots with lids and get it all cut up today. After I just took a break to cut the entire watermelon, we noticed that the seeds were different from those in watermelons in the US.

I hadn’t cut a watermelon in almost 12 years. Tom had joined me in the low-carb way of eating long before we left the US and hadn’t eaten any fruit since then. During that time, he lost 40 pounds and got off seven drugs a day, when this way of eating helped his irritable bowel syndrome symptoms dissipate entirely.

Recently, he’s lost a lot of weight and is at his lowest and been enjoying a few foods he’s missed over the years, for example, two pieces of toast with butter and strawberry jam for breakfast and now a watermelon snack. We’ll see if this combination causes any gastrointestinal issues, and if not, he can continue to enjoy these foods. Otherwise, the only other food with carbs that he eats daily is white rice with dinner, and that doesn’t bother him at all.

Again tonight, we’ve roasting two large chicken breasts in the oven with the skin, which we’ll remove at dinner, with carrots and mushrooms in the pan. Plus, tonight, I’m adding fresh green beans for him and grilled eggplant (aubergine) for me. We aren’t eating any salads while here since we’re concerned about tap water, which the farmers are using to rinse off the vegetables. We aren’t taking any chances.

I miss having a big salad each night with my meal since all I have with my protein source is vegetables, which aren’t very filling. Each evening, I am a little hungry after dinner, but since I am slowly losing weight, as desired, that hunger usually subsides quickly. I don’t think of food for the remainder ot the evening. Thus, for most dinners, I have two vegetables and whatever meat we’re having.

For breakfast, I’ve had steamed vegetables, new or leftover from the prior evening’s dinner, and half of an avocado with an egg dropped into the pit’s hole. Then I cook it in the microwave for a few minutes (covered with a paper towel). This is a healthy and delicious way to start the day.

If I get hungry at midday, I’ll have some sliced sugar-free deli ham or chicken with one slice of cheddar cheese in the shape of a sandwich without the bread. Tom may have this with me from time to time. I don’t usually eat anything during the day between breakfast and dinner, but now that I am trying to lose a few pounds, I have found having a light snack during the day helps me eat less at dinner.

It isn’t a lot of food in a day, but my metabolism has been slow since I had heart surgery, something I’ve read online from other patients. But now, with daily walking and cutting back on the volume of food, I feel confident I can finally lose these few extra pounds. I must be diligent since I won’t lose more than a pound or two weekly. Of course, we have our scale with us, which we use for weighing our luggage and ourselves.

With nine weeks until we leave Ecuador, I should have lost all the weight I wanted by then. I read repeatedly that dropping as little as 10% of one’s body weight can significantly help those with Afib. This, in itself, is enough motivation for me, coupled with the walking. I can already feel the improvement in my heart and my legs.

That’s it for today, folks. As soon as I get this post uploaded, Tom will use my laptop to stream the Minnesota Vikings game, scheduled for 1:00 pm, since his Chromebook doesn’t have an HDMI outlet.

Happy day to all.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 5, 2013:

There were no photos posted on this date ten years ago. Instead, it was a story about how I started eating a low-carb diet to improve my health that Dr. David Perlmutter posted on his website. See the post here.

Not much sightseeing while here…

Tom, when we were in Florida about six months ago.

Note: Sorry, but we don’t have new photos to share. It’s been raining, and we haven’t gone out.

In researching this area, I came across this page on TripAdvisor listing the points of interest to tourists who may be staying in or around Manta, Ecuador, an hour’s drive from here. Based on the remote location of this holiday home, there really isn’t anything nearby that we can experience from the car.

Although I started exercising a few days ago, it’s still too early for me to expect to be able to walk long distances. Only time will tell, and it could be weeks before I am strong enough to tackle any such tours. Actually, in reviewing the activities listed on the above site, we aren’t interested in any of these since, in 2017, we visited Manta while on a cruise. At that time, we toured some of the events listed.

Instead, we’re staying put at this house until we head back to Manta in less than three weeks to return the rental car for another and buy groceries at the Walmart-type store Mega-Maxi, the locals told us about on Wednesday night. It will be interesting to shop at this big store.

As we’ve run out of some foodstuffs in the past few days and with the need to keep purchasing water, we’ve been going to the tiny market here in Mirador San Jose, owned by a friendly French Canadian, Gilles. Thank goodness, we got plenty of cash at the ATM in Manta when we were last there on October 26 and shopped at a market downtown that didn’t work for us.

Me, on the same date, while in Florida.

The locals said they enjoy shopping at Mega-Maxi, where we will find everything we want to round out our meals and supplies. We’ll still buy some produce from Raphael, the local vegetable guy, when he stops by every Tuesday. The question is, can we go another 19 days without going to a supermarket? Right now, in the freezer, we have enough meat to last for six dinners and multiple cans of wild-caught tuna, with which we can make tuna salad with rice and vegetables on the side, making it a total of eight days.

With leftover ribs for Tom and seafood for me, for this evening, we have enough food to last for nine more dinners, taking us through November 15, considering we’ll be dining out every Wednesday. You may ask, why don’t we go to Manta now? The answer is simple. We don’t feel like sitting in the car for over two hours round trip to the grocery shop any more often than we have to. Doing so on the day we return the rental car and get a new car is an ideal scenario.

Next week, we’ll return to Puerta Cayo, a tiny town with a meat market, Carnisariato San Isidro. It will be interesting to check out what they have and see if we can purchase enough to last until November 22. The little shop in this gated community has only a few meat options. We already tried the filet mignon, but it was very tough.

We laugh now over how we grumbled a little to each other while in Marloth Park that we had to drive 20 minutes to the Spar Market in Komatipoort. We’ll appreciate that short distance all the more when we return. Plus, their selections were vast, and we seldom left with items we couldn’t find.

But we have truly settled in and feel more comfortable here as we roll into an easy routine. It will be especially lovely when the sun comes out, and we can use the pool. It’s been raining off and on most days. We’ve had one sunny day so far. The house itself is fine, and the extra exercise I am getting going up and down the stairs to the bedrooms several times each day.

Each day is a new challenge as I continue rebuilding my fitness and health. Today is only day three, but I have already developed a routine to get me up and moving every 15 minutes. I start when I get out of bed and continue until 5:00 pm, when I stop to make dinner.

In time, I will lengthen the fast-walking period, hopefully enabling me to walk long distances eventually. Right now, the number of steps I am doing is working, and I am not going into Afib at the current pace. If I walked too hard and fast, I know I’d run into an Afib event. I remember, only so well, when my grandson Miles and I were leaving Target Field after the Minnesota Twins baseball game, and trying to keep up with the crowd’s pace left me in Afib for hours that night.

It’s a dual purpose: the exercise improves my heart health and also my ability to walk longer distances. This is a huge motivator. I realize now that I am active again how much I was stationary each day, fearful of triggering an episode. Most likely, being stationary exacerbated my condition. I am hopeful but prepared for potential setbacks that won’t deter me.

Again, thanks to our reader, Gary, for spurring me on to do this rather than whining about my limitations.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 3, 2013:

The Indian Ocean in Kenya has clean, white sand beaches, only cluttered with seaweed coming ashore during the rising and falling of the tides. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting and stuff to do…Final evening with Greg, Heather, Madighan and Miles at a fantastic Mexican restaurant…Two game day…

Heather and Greg at the Mexican restaurant last night in Chanhassen. We are so happy they are together and enjoying their loving relationship.

Yep, in two days, we are leaving the US after many collective months since last April when we left South Africa, traveled to Florida, then to Norway and Greenland via cruises, and ended up in Nevada and Minnesota to visit family and friends. Now, we head to Ecuador, South America, to the second-highest city in the world, Quito.

Yesterday, we called Alamo car rental to extend the rental by two days. When we talked to one rep, he said he’d handle it with an email confirmation for the extra charges. The email never arrived. Several hours later, we called again, and another rep stated we couldn’t extend it without coming to the airport to sign a new two-day contract. Hogwash!

We decided to return the car today when we checked prices and discovered it would be $295 for the two more days. Instead, this morning, Tom is running a few last-minute errands and will return the car, taking an Uber back to the hotel. When we leave on Wednesday, it will be easier and quicker at the airport when we’ll be dropped off by another Uber and avoid returning the car at that time.

Miles, 15, and Mad,14, two of Greg’s children, and our grandchildren.

Tonight, we’ll walk over to Pizza Luce, across the parking lot from the hotel, to meet Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent for one final get-together for dinner and trivia before we leave. This afternoon, TJ will stop by to get help from Tom on setting up his trail cam and to say goodbye. From that point on, we will have seen everyone we wanted to see to say goodbye and will be on our way on Wednesday morning.

Without a doubt, this was the best visit we’ve had since we began our travels. No one was sick or unavailable, and we could easily set up times together, making sure each family got our undivided attention. Between Tom’s siblings, our kids and grandkids, and friends, we had a wonderful time on every occasion.

Tom and Heather.

We spent a lot of money dining out and for other activities, but it was worth every last cent. Now, we can leave with peace of mind that we spent quality time with those we love. When will we return to the US? At this point, we have no idea. We will post the plan here when we do know, which may not be for some time.

Yesterday afternoon, we arrived at Greg’s home in Chaska to spend time with him, Heather, and the kids while watching the Minnesota Vikings football game. Again, they lost, which was disappointing but not surprising. We did our laundry during the game while Madighan and I worked on crocheting. I completed a winter scarf using every last bit of yarn.

A taco salad is the only entree Tom ever orders in Mexican restaurants. He scooped up the guacamole, which he doesn’t like, and gave it to me.

Mad said, “Grandma, I will think of you whenever I wear this!” I smiled from ear to ear, happy that it meant so much. I crocheted as fast as I could, recalling stitches from 50 years ago, the last time I crocheted when it was popular in the 1970s. During that era, crocheted clothing, purses, afghans, and pillows kept many of us busy with patterns and yarns.

Without a pattern, I used a simple stitch that my fingers remembered more than my brain. Actually, it was pretty fun, especially when it meant so much to Mad.

After the game ended, we all drove to a Mexican restaurant we’d visited in the past, Rey Azteca in Chanhassen, in our neighborhood. As we recall, the food was fresh and delicious. Every one of the six of us enjoyed the food, the ambiance, and the lively conversation. After dinner, we all said our goodbyes and Tom and I left to return to the hotel to watch the next Minnesota Twins game, already in the 5th inning. They won. We were thrilled.

After their entrees, Mad and Miles shared a Tres Leche cake drizzled with chocolate syrup. They gobbled it up.

I just received a notification from Alamo with the bill for the rental car, so Tom must already be on his way back from the airport in the Uber. I texted him on WhatsApp, and he said he’ll be here soon. We always miss one another, even when apart for short periods. How fortunate we are.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow and, most likely, even a post in the morning on our travel day since I think I can get something done before we depart.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 9, 2013:

This is a different angle from the photo already shown in an earlier post, but one that we saw in our first 90-minute drive, along with Anderson, our guide, as we waited for others to arrive. This giant 15-foot croc had captured an impala. With Anderson’s walkie-talkie, he was alerted when their plane landed, and we flew off in the little plane to the Maasai Mara. For more photos, please click here.

Daytime get together with Tom and a few guys from work…Another evening with family…

Last night, grandson Vincent, daughter Tammy, and daughter-in-law Tracy joined us for dinner and trivia at Pizza Luce, walking distance from our hotel.

Tom didn’t order dinner last night when we met Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent at Pizza Luce for dinner and trivia. He could have ordered dinner since he ate the entire plate of garlic bread that accompanied my dinner, as shown below. My guy sure loved bread.

He’s loading up now, knowing eating bread will come to a quick end by the end of the month when we arrive at our holiday home in Ecuador, and I start cooking again. No bread is served with our homemade meals unless we have guests for dinner, and bread is an appropriate accompaniment.

My meatball meal was topped with sugar-free sauce and mozzarella cheese. No pasta. It was delicious.

However, bread and doughy things are popular with meals in Ecuador, so dining out will allow him to enjoy the local flour-laden flavors. We may dine out on Fridays and Saturdays as we’ve done in the past, but that will depend on the foods offered at the local restaurants. We shall see.

At this point, we are leaving the US in eight days on October 11. We are getting everything we can ready for our departure next Wednesday. We both ordered hiking boots this morning after the cruise line reminded us we’d need them for the Galapagos. They will arrive from Amazon by Thursday.

The plate of bread that came with my meal, which I handed over to Tom, knowing he’d love it even though he was still full from lunch with the guys.

Also, this morning, I ordered a swimsuit since a few years ago, we accidentally left all of our swimwear at the top of a closet on a cruise. There were three or four swimsuits I liked, and I had to order one today for the pool at the upcoming house in Ecuador.

At this point, we have everything we need. We’ve ordered quite a bit, replacing worn-out adapters, plugs, earbuds, and miscellaneous items we use. I was thrilled to be able to replace a worn-out pair of white leather Keds slip-on shoes, which are hard to find online.

Also, we took many old clothing items to Goodwill, and if they were worn, we tossed them in the trash, including my suitcase, which was now cracked and unusable. Tom hasn’t found a taker for his railroad memorabilia and is taking it to the Minnesota Transportation Museum, Jackson Street Roundhouse, to donate the entire lot. We’ll receive a tax-deductible receipt for the items.

Vincent’s large pizza.

Yesterday, at 1:00 pm, Tom met up with a few of his railroad buddies at a restaurant in Roseville and enjoyed the time with the guys. Tomorrow, we’ll post those photos.

Besides Tom dropping off the railroad stuff at the museum, we don’t have big plans today. Tonight, we’ll dine out at Champps, where we can always depend on fresh and consistent food. This morning, we had a light breakfast in the hotel restaurant, but my choices are limited. The only things I can eat are scrambled or hard-boiled eggs. I prefer the hard-boiled eggs since I know what I’m getting.

Tammy’s lasagne.

Soon, when I’m done uploading today’s post, I’ll be heading to a lounge area in the hotel to call my dear old friend Cathy, whom I didn’t get to see this time. I usually speak to my girlfriends from that room so Tom can continue to watch football games and listen to podcasts on his laptop.

I will post the photos from Tom’s afternoon with the guys tomorrow. But that’s it for today, dear readers. Enjoy your day!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 3, 2013:

There were no photos posted on this date ten years ago. Instead, we posted about what we needed to bring on our first safari in Africa. For details, please click here.

What a fun day with friends and family!!!…

After our pedicures, my dear friend Chere and I went to lunch at Jimmy’s Kitchen and Bar for a lovely breakfast of ground ribeye, topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions along with a side of green beans or asparagus. Delicious!

It was a lovely day with my friend Chere, the third time we got together since Tom and I arrived in Minnesota three weeks ago. Chere and I have been friends for 25 years and have often stayed in touch in the past 11 years since we’ve been traveling.

It was the last time I’d see her in our remaining 12 days when she and her husband Gary took off on a road trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a dietician convention and won’t return until we’re gone. Chere is a dietician who appeared many times on various TV news shows and conducted countless seminars for corporate clients nationwide. Also, as a Life Coach, she’s had a continuous stream of clients with varied needs that she so well fulfills, leaving them loyal to her ongoing services.

Her beliefs about food are similar to mine, that we each should eat a healthy, lower-carb diet of food in its natural state without pesticides, chemicals and additives, sugar, and starch. Of course, healthy fats are included in her suggested way of eating. As a result of this philosophy and others, she and I always had an indescribable sistership. We have so much to talk about!

This is Jada, who did an equally fine job on Chere’s pedicure at the beauty school. We had a good time together and with the two young women.

The pedicures were fun with the two girls, who will appreciate seeing their photos on our site today when particularly young women enjoy any exposure via social media. I couldn’t resist posting their photos.

After the pedicures, Chere and I headed to a nearby Goodwill store where she had to pick up a variety of hats for a display photo booth at the convention. We got a huge kick out of picking out the wild-looking hats readily available at the store with Halloween on the horizon a little over a month from now.

Halloween brings up special memories, as many of our long-term readers know, since it’s the anniversary of the date we left Minnesota to begin our journey in 2012. As a result, we’ll be celebrating our 11th anniversary in Ecuador at our new holiday home by the sea. What more could we ask for?

Chere dropped me off at the hotel before 2:30 pm, shortly before Tom and I had to drive to Anoka for his family’s usual get-together at Billy’s Bar and Grill. In the next month or so, three of his sisters will head to their winter homes in Apache Junction, Arizona, where we stayed in a holiday “park model” near them in December 2019 and January 2020. (Once the sisters leave for Arizona, the weekly get-togethers at Billy’s will end until next summer).

This is Hazyl, my nail technician at the beauty school in Hopkins. She, too, did a fine job!

We took off from Arizona for India when shortly later, Covid-19 hit. Most of our readers know that unbelievable story when we were stuck in a hotel room for ten months in Mumbai, India, only six weeks after we arrived. Was that ever a memorable experience!

We drove back to the hotel after drinks and dinner with the family (photos to be shared in tomorrow’s post). We watched a few more episodes of Formula 1, again savoring every episode. What a great show on Netflix!

Oddly, we have no plans with anyone for today or tonight, but we did make a reservation at the same restaurant Chere, and I enjoyed yesterday, Jimmy’s Kitchen and Bar, for the two of us for tonight. When we return, we’ll hunker down to watch more of our current favorite show, which is soon ending. We are on season five after watching the first of ten remaining episodes.

We’ll be back again tomorrow with the family photos from last night!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 30, 2013:

My dinner at Le Cafe at Lantana Galu Beach, Kenya: Seasoned Grilled Red Snapper with sautéed non-starchy vegetables. For more photos, please click here.
Notice the lack of veggies on Tom’s plate? He requested they be placed on a separate plate to be handed to me. I did the same with my potatoes, handing them over to him. For more photos, please click here.

Tom’s outrageous meal at the stadium!…Fun times with son TJ at the Minnesota Twins baseball game…My lunch with son Greg…

TJ got tickets to the Minnesota Twins game for him and Tom. The tickets included all the food you can eat. Tom ate two hotdogs, one hamburger, fried chicken, popcorn, salted-in-the-shell peanuts, a Pepsi, and later two ice cream sandwiches. What a little piglet! This morning, he was still too full to eat breakfast.

Last night, Tom and TJ rode an Uber to the Minnesota Twins baseball game. With the cost of parking and traffic, this was an excellent option for them, especially if they drank beer during the game. But, as it turned out, Tom was too busy eating to drink beer when he was enjoying the food instead.

Once it started raining, they moved to different seats that were undercover.

TJ had special tickets that included “all-you-can-eat” stadium foods and drinks (except beer), and Tom, who particularly loves “free” food and beverages, had a field day (no pun intended). He was like a kid-in-a-candy-store. It was a good thing I hadn’t joined them. There wouldn’t have been anything I could have eaten.

Instead, I stayed at the hotel, dining on meat, cheese, and vegetables in the tiny refrigerator in the hotel room, which I “mono” ate over a few hours while watching a few shows on Hulu. I got into my pajamas early, hunkered down with a blanket on the sofa, and entertained myself for the entire evening.

Check out all the empty seats. The Twins had already won the division/pennant, so fewer fans attended this game as they finished the season.

By about 10:30, I headed off to bed, and Tom arrived a short time later, telling me how much fun he, TJ, and a friend of TJ’s had at the game, especially when the Twins won the game 11-3. It was a great way for father and son to spend another special evening together.

It had been a long time since I’d spent an entire evening alone, but I didn’t mind a bit, especially knowing Tom was having such a good time. After the prior night’s inadequate sleep, I made up for it last night, sleeping for eight hours.

The Twins won the game 11-3.

As for my day yesterday, my son Greg picked me up at noon, and we headed to People’s Organic restaurant in Eden Prairie, known for “healthy organic food,” when Greg asked if we could try a healthy location. What shocked me was that some of the menu items, including bad fats for preparations, were unhealthy. I asked for my grilled chicken (for my Cobb salad) to be cooked with butter in a separate pan since it is often cooked in harmful oils, which they did.

This children’s band played the National Anthem at the Twins game last night.

The restaurant’s food appeared fresh and well-prepared, but my way of eating (food in its natural state) wasn’t easy to accomplish with many sauces and toppings I always avoid. I didn’t make a fuss. Greg had a sandwich and salad.

However, I wasn’t thrilled that we had to order food at the counter instead of being served at the table. When dining out, I prefer to plop myself down in a comfy booth (if available) and not have to get up other than a quick trip to the loo if needed. This self-service concept usually doesn’t result in better pricing or reduced tips. Once our food was ready, the staff brought it to our table, which helped.

Target Field sign inside the park.

It was a delight to have Greg to myself for the 90 minutes we spent chatting. It was the first time in quite a few years we’d done this, and we’re both hoping to go to lunch by ourselves one more time before we depart two weeks from today. Gosh, that’s coming up quickly.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 27, 2013:

This is where we’ll lounge in the chaises at Madafoo’s in Diani Beach, Kenya, in a guarded area overlooking the Indian Ocean each Wednesday. If it rains, we’ll either wait until it stops or go the next day. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic dinner with Kristi, Kevin and Austin at Pizza Luce…Buying everything we need while in the US…

It was great to see Kevin and Kristi again in Minnesota. We saw them about four months ago in Florida. They are here for the summer, returning to Florida before winter.

I was so busy taking photos of everyone else’s food that I forgot to take a photo of my dinner. As it turned out, I had a summer-only dish that ended on the menu last night. It was a unique salad and was excellent.

Kevin and Kristi’s adult son Austin joined us shortly after they arrived. We also enjoyed seeing him since we hadn’t seen him in years. He’d grown into an outgoing and delightful young man in his late 20s. How the time flies. With Tom’s huge family, we don’t often have the opportunity to see many of the younger generation.

Kristi ordered the lasagna with white sauce.

The conversation with the five of us flowed easily, and the time passed quickly. Before we knew it, it was time to go. Tom and I had walked across the hotel parking lot to the restaurant, Pizza Luce, and in a minute or two, we were back at the hotel for more binge-watching Formula 1 on Netflix and, later, off to bed.

I had a fitful night, tossing and turning from 1:30 am until 3:30 am. I tried several times to get back to sleep, putting down my phone for extended periods, but had no luck. There was nothing I could do. The only thing I could attribute it to was the two small glasses of wine I had at the restaurant. Red wine can do that to me sometimes. Fortunately, I had no Afib episodes (more on that in a future post).

Kevin ordered the hamburger pizza.

After drifting off, I got six hours of sleep, according to my Fitbit, but I feel fine today and am ready to leave within the hour to have lunch with my son Greg. It will be the first time we will have an opportunity to chat independently.

Years ago, he and I often went to lunch once a week to catch up and mainly discuss business. I imagine the conversation will be similar today. Although I no longer own a business other than worldwidewaftage.com, I still enjoy commiserating over business thoughts and ideas. Me and my two sons have an entrepreneurial spirit deeply embedded into our personalities.

Austin’s pizza. I’m not sure what toppings he ordered, but he enjoyed part of it and took the remainder home.

Sorry about the issues of the past few weeks, consisting of photos not appearing on the posts and the fact that our site was down for part of the day yesterday. Hopefully, these issues are resolved. But that’s the nature of having a website. Sometimes, it doesn’t work as it should, and often, it is no fault of the contributor.

However, the owner of each site must stay on top of issues and take the steps necessary to get problems resolved as quickly as possible. Yesterday, I contacted our hosting company, Hostinger, to ask for their assistance in solving the issues, and they responded promptly with immediate solutions.

Here is Tom’s spaghetti and meatballs with garlic toast.

Our web people are located in India, and it was the middle of the night there while it was daytime here. I didn’t expect them to respond when I inquired and took charge of contacting the hosting company for assistance. It appears to me, on this end, that all is resolved.

But if you continue to have trouble viewing the site, please email me. I often have too many email messages to respond to each one individually. As a result, I’ll often address the resolution of the issues in a post. Please look here if you’d like to see the outcome of a problem.

That’s it for today, dear readers. We hope each of you is having a good week so far.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 26, 2013:

The sea and the mystery of ominous clouds over the Indian Ocean in Kenya rolled in, leaving us in awe with our mouths agape. For more photos, please click here.