Part 3 (of three parts)…Month by month, emotional and memorable events from our world travels in 2023…Happy New Year!…

Happy New Year to all of our readers, friends, and family. May your new year be filled with wondrous surprises, health, and well-being. We love you all!

Last night, New Year’s Eve was more festive than anticipated. With Tom still not feeling well, we’d agreed to lay low and stay in for the night. Yesterday, when I was in the fitness center working out, I met a lovely woman who told me that at 9:00 pm, there would be music by a DJ and fireworks shot off over Lake Las Vegas.

Thank goodness, it wasn’t as cold as it’s been, and the distance to the DJ stage at the beach was only a five-minute walk after we went down one flight of steps, all downhill and a little more challenging coming back when heading uphill to that stairway. It was worth every step when we were amazed by the crowds, the twinkling lights, the oldies music, and the energy from the hundreds of people waiting for the big event beginning at 9:00.

Suppose I hadn’t been in the fitness center, most likely. In that case, we’d have figured it out when we saw all the people downstairs, eventually hearing all the fireworks blaring into the air. We are glad we went. In a way, it was magical. If only Tom had felt better, we could have celebrated with everyone else.

In any case, Happy New Year everyone! We didn’t quite stay up until midnight and nodded off about 11:30. It would have been difficult not to kiss one another at midnight, which we always do when we were afraid I’d catch his illness. Instead, we wished one another “Happy New Year, Lover,” with the utmost warmth, love, and sincerity.

This has been a busy morning. We slept until after 8:30, and I bolted out of bed to begin making pizza, which took a while. I made a separate pizza with less cheese and more veggies using a new low-carb crust recipe called Paleo Pizza Crust. Here’s the link to the recipe. I took a taste when the crust was done cooking and loved the taste.

For the first time in ages, I burned Tom’s two pizza crusts in the oven, which cook separately from the actual pizzas. It cooked much faster and hotter in the oven here, so I have to start that all over again. Oh well, at least I have plenty of ingredients to start over. I was not about to ruin his favorite dish with burnt crusts.

I’m back after putting the two new crusts in the oven to bake, lowering the temperature and cooking time. I’d instead jump up to check them every three minutes than burn them again.

Today will be a rest day from working out, which I’ll take once a week. I will take plenty of steps by cooking, tidying up, and folding the dry laundry out on the rack on the veranda. Tom’s napping now on the sofa at noon, and soon, I will search for the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey game starting in two minutes. I love watching these games. It’s pretty fun.

Today will be the final day we post photos from the past year for our “year in review.”  As it turned out, after reviewing the post, we traveled a lot more than we thought. It was a busy year, filled with challenges and health issues, but now we are content to be staying put for the next few months, taking life easier than ever in this beautiful location,

So here are our photos from where we left off yesterday as we wrap up 2023. In many ways, it is “good riddance” for some.

Be well.

September 2023 – Henderson, Nevada and Eden Prairie, Minnesota

With a horrible WiFi connection on the two cruises, one to Norway and the second to Greenland, we didn’t post many photos of the few weeks we spent back here in Henderson, Nevada. Below are some of the friends and family members we saw while in the above two locations, which ultimately are more important to us than scenery photos.

Our grandson Vincent and Tom after skeet shooting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Grandson Vincent, daughter Tammy, and daughter-in-law Tracy joined us for dinner and trivia at Pizza Luce, walking distance from our hotel in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Our granddaughter Maisie when she and I went to dinner for a “girls’ night out.”
My former business partner and dear friend, Theresa.
My dear friend Chere, whom I always manage to see several times when we visit Minnesota.
Our friends and Tom’s nephew Kevin and Kristi, whom we’ve seen a few times in the past year.
Our dear friend Sue, her husband, and our dear friend Chip (who passed away before we left) were wonderful friends and neighbors for many years.
Our newer friends, Gary and Marilyn, whom we met in Marloth Park when as readers of our posts, came to visit us in Henderson while we stayed at the Green Valley Ranch Spa and Casino. They live in Utah. We will see them again in July when they return to Marloth Park.
Tom, on “White Night,” sailing through Norway’s fjords on the Azamara Journey.
Our dear friend Connie, second from the right, invited us to a special dinner for the one-year anniversary of her husband and our friend Jeff’s passing at our house in Marloth Park on September 21, 2022.
Here are long-time friends, also years-long readers of our site, Rita and Gerhard, whom we met in Marloth Park and flew from Washington (state) to see us for eight hours while we were in Henderson last September.

We have been so blessed to make such amazing friends and have such loving family members, and many more not shown here, who have become integral people in our lives over the past years, before and after our world travel.

October 2023 – Eden Prairie, Minnesota ( to see family)

Heather and my son Greg at a Mexican restaurant in Chanhassen, Minnesota. We are so happy they are together and enjoying their loving relationship.
Miles, 15, and Mad,14, two of Greg’s three children and our grandchildren. It’s always wonderful to spend time with our kids and grandchildren.
Tom’s son TJ’s lake cabin in northern Minnesota, where he stayed with TJ and daughter Tammy while in Minnesota.
While on a cruise in The Galapagos Islands, Tom was seated on a bench surrounded by giant iguanas.
Baby tortoises will grow to be giant tortoises, a highlight to see in The Galapagos.

Tom was thrilled to get this photo of whitetip sharks in a channel. Whitetip reef sharks are one of the most abundant Galapagos reef sharks. They can be seen from the surface to over 300 meters under the ocean. Although they prefer shallower water and are rarely seen deeper than 40 meters, they occasionally venture into open water from the reef.
Photo of blue-footed boobie also prevalent in The Galapagos. If you’d like to see more Galapagos Island photos, please check our archives for October 2023.

On October 31, 2023, we celebrated our 11th anniversary of traveling the world while we were already staying in Mirador San Jose, Ecuador, which was not our favorite location during our travels. We didn’t do anything special that evening since there was nowhere to go for dinner within an hour’s drive. It wasn’t safe to drive in the dark on the highway.

November 2023 – Mirador San Jose, Ecuador

We spent all of November in Ecuador at the house on the ocean. We don’t have any particular photos we’d care to share, especially since it was so recent. Please our archives for more photos.

December 2023 – Mirador San Jose, Ecuador – Lake Las Vegas, Nevada

We spent half the month waiting to depart Ecuador and look forward to arriving in Lake Las Vegas at this beautiful location and condo. We couldn’t be more content to be here and spend time with Richard and his SO and relax and unwind after a very busy and complex year.

Have a fantastic New Year that fills your heart with great memories and your mind with unforgettable adventures, big and small, wherever you may be. Tomorrow, we’ll share our photos from New Year’s Eve.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 1, 2014:

Last night at Jabula Lodge, bringing in the New Year. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2 (of three parts)…Month by month, emotional and memorable events from our world travels in 2023…Happy New Year!…

In May, when staying at The Villages, we spent a day on Lake Harris, boating with reader/friends Linda and Burt. We stopped at a campsite for lunch. It was a fun day!
It was a delightful day on Lake Harris and the Dora Canal.

May, June, and part of July 2023 – The Villages, Florida, USA

Tom’s cold isn’t going away. He doesn’t feel awful and has no new symptoms, but he’s not himself. We thought that after a week, it would be gone by today since we’d made plans for tomorrow that we’ve since canceled. Fortunately, I feel fine.

Our dear friends Rich and Karen came to visit us twice while we were in The Villages Florida.
Kristi and Kevin, Tom’s nephew, thoughtfully drove the eight-hour round-trip to see us. We had a fantastic day!

We had planned to clean the condo on Friday. When he awoke this morning, he was still not feeling well. For the first time in a very long time, I cleaned by myself. We’d purchased a Swiffer from Amazon with dry and wet pads, and I ran around doing one project after another, washing, wiping, dusting, and floors. It took me about an hour.

Our friends from Boca Raton, Mark and Carol. They are visiting us for three nights. We’re having an excellent time with them. See the post here.

After struggling for almost a year, I surprised myself with how energetic I am. Today, I will be up to 20 minutes on the exercise bike, adding one minute daily. I can’t believe how quickly I was able to increase the duration. Now, I will stop increasing time and instead increase the difficulty. Doing this has changed everything for me.

When they visited, we had a great time with friends Lea Ann and Chuck. Right now, they are on a nine-month world cruise. How fun!

Note: we’re waiting for one more photo from our dear friends in Florida, Karen and Rich, who visited us twice while staying at The Villages. We were so busy yakking we forgot to take photos!!!

Our dear friend Lisa is on the left, and her friend Vicki is on the right. We had a fantastic day and evening!

Soon, I will begin doing resistance exercises using light weights using the equipment in the Fitness Center in this condo complex. I know how to pace myself since I worked out six days a week before traveling the world 11 years ago for most of my adult life. I was always fit and ate healthy. But even so, I fell prey to heart disease due to heredity. There is little one can do to override our genes.

Fortunately, I don’t need to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I’ve lost 21 pounds, am working out again, eating as healthfully as possible, and have reduced my occasional red wine consumption from two glasses to one. I considered giving up wine, but I love a glass of red, and it doesn’t seem to affect my heart or pulse rate; I decided to reduce the amount.

A few days ago, we stopped at Liquor World near the petrol station when Tom needed to refill the fuel in the rental car before returning it to the airport for another car. At that store, I found the brand Black Box, Cabernet Sauvignon, with only 5% alcohol, as opposed to the usual 12% to 14%. With this wine low in carbs, calories, and alcohol, I could drink a second glass, which still would be less alcohol than one glass of regular wine.

I realize low-alcohol wines don’t taste as good as regular wine, but it’s a tradeoff I am willing to make for my health, like the tradeoffs I’ve made with food. I haven’t opened it yet, but I think I will tonight, it’s New Year’s Eve. Tom won’t be celebrating with me but will once he’s feeling better.

Last night, we did a Grubhub order with a Henderson Asian restaurant. We purchased enough to last us for two nights. Tom had his usual sweet and sour pork with pork fried rice, and I had steamed shrimp and vegetables. It was delicious. We get Grubhub with no one-year delivery fees through our Amazon Prime membership. But still, the two-night order was $105, including Grubhub’s service fee, taxes, and tip. We rationalized the cost, realizing we’d spend more than this to go out to dinner one night. Once in a while, this is fun to do.

On another note, today’s post is to share what transpired in our world travels in 2023. There wasn’t much traveling in today’s second segment since we spent May, June, and part of July at The Villages in Florida while we waited to go on a few cruises, which we’ll share in tomorrow’s final segment. Although, we had a wonderful time when friends came to visit us.

However, in August, included in the second segment, we went on two cruises, and thus, the cruise-related photos continue in today’s “year in review” post.

July (end of the month) and August 2023 – Edinburgh, Scotland, and two cruises, one to Norway, the second to Greenland

We couldn’t post photos while we spent three days in Edinburgh. The WiFi connection at the hotel was too slow to add pictures. Then, when the three days ended, we immediately boarded the first of two cruises: the first on the Azamara Journey, with horrible WiFi preventing us from posting more than a few photos to Norway, and the second on Celebrity. Summit to Greenland, 17 days later. For detailed photos from these two cruises, please check our archives for August 2023. But here are a few. Please scroll down to see.

A few nights into the Norway cruise, we got off the ship to a theatre with local dancers and musicians performing. See the post here.
Tom’s photo today of the town of Isafjordur, Iceland, while on the Greenland cruise. See the post here.
Tom was squinting his eyes after he took off his glasses for a selfie. We had so much fun at the” Silent Disco.” From the post here.
Deep-sea sediment cores from northeast Greenland, the Fram Strait, and the south of Greenland suggest that the Greenland Ice Sheet has continuously existed since 18 million years ago. See the post here.
Cape Spear Lighthouse in Newfoundland. See the post here.

Running out of space with all of these photos, we will continue tomorrow with September through to the end of the year here in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. Thanks for sharing this year with us. It wasn’t as exciting as some years ago, but we visited nine countries in 2023!

Happy New Year everyone. Have a safe and enjoyable segue into 2024!

Photo from ten years ago today, December 31, 2013:

On New Year’s Eve, after returning to the house in Marloth Park, this centipede on the wall by the bathroom door made us cringe. Tom, as always, disposed of it. Sleep didn’t come easy the remainder of the night, fearful that the rains of the past few days may have brought more of these inside the house. For more, please click here.

Day #282 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Happy New Year!…Part 2…The “Year in Review!”…10 days and counting…

There she was, our first Bengal Tiger sighting in Bandhavgarh National Park. We couldn’t have asked for a better vantage point. Safari luck prevailed one more time! See the link here.

Today’s photos are a compilation of photos we’d taken in our travels in India, before the lockdown. Included will be the link for each post on which the photo appeared. Photos will be divided for both February 2020 in yesterday’s post here and March 2020 in today’s post on New Year’s Day.

Perfection! A local artist we met at the resort shared his painting with us. See the post here.

Thank you to so many of our family/friends/readers for all of the well-wishes for our safe and successful travels and the New Year to come. Your kindness,  generosity, and loving comments warmed our hearts, in more ways than we can count.

This baby elephant was being prepped for humans to ride him in search of tigers. Riding an elephant is a custom in India, but as most of our readers know, we wouldn’t ride one. See the post here.

It was an uneventful New Year’s Eve for us. We streamed a few TV series, including Netflix’s “A Million Little Things” which has proved to be very entertaining. We stayed awake until midnight as the New Year was rung in here in India, but more due to the noise in the hotel than on a celebratory note.

A gaur crossing the road. “The gaur (/ɡaʊər/, Bos gaurus), also called the Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine. It is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. The global population has been estimated at a maximum of 21,000 mature individuals by 2016. It declined by more than 70% during the last three generations, and is extinct in Sri Lanka and probably also in Bangladesh. In a well-protected area, it is stable and rebuilding.” See the post here.

If we each slept three hours, it’s stretching it. My Fitbit showed I’d slept for six hours, but only due to the fact I lay there quietly trying to fall asleep amid the noise. We understood the loud music and cheering on New Year’s Eve and made no fuss about that. However, the worst part was loud noises from the rooms on either side and above us. It was unbelievable.

As only a small section of Ravla Khempur, also known as the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, for the 2012 movie filmed on site. See the post here.

It consisted of banging, clicking, yelling, cell phones beeping and vibrating, and the frequent sound of the door banging every five minutes from the suite next door. Each time we dozed off after 2:00 am, we were startled awake by one outrageous noise or another.

Us, in an old vehicle, referred to as a Willy/Jeep at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. See the post here.

Tom called the front desk twice during the night, to ask them to tell the guests in the one room to turn off their “notifications” and the other room to un-engage the deadbolt lock preventing the door from fully closing, for whoever’s convenience, so they wouldn’t have to use their key card to go in and out. Most likely, they were leaving the room to smoke in the stairwell.

The entrance to the Raaj Bagh Restaurant in Udaipur, which facilitates guests of the hotel and is located across the street. See the post here.

This morning Tom had to send his breakfast back. The omelet was uncooked in the middle and the bacon was so crispy, it was like dry jerky, impossible to chew. The re-order arrived quickly and was prepared as it should have been. Then, at 10:40 the cleaner arrived, cleaned the bathroom and the toilet, and then hand washed our coffee mugs and glasses.

Tom’s tiger video from Bandhavgarh National Park with more safari luck. See the post here.

Ridiculous! Tom re-washed everything carefully in hot soapy water. Who cleans their bathroom/toilet and then washes dishes or glasses without changing their gloves and/or washing their hands thoroughly? We have mentioned this to management many times and have continued to watch the cleaner to ensure it’s done correctly. Today, again, it fell through the cracks. Frustrating.

This blind priest prays in this position all day, standing outside the Eklingi Temple. As a functioning temple, no photos are allowed. Silver was used in embellishing the interior and it was stunning. See the post here.

This is something to consider when staying in hotels during Covid-19 and beyond, washing the glasses, spoons, and cups yourself, let alone disinfecting the room, the phone, the door handles, the remote, and surfaces.

In Chennai, this temple is described: “Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati that is Arulmigu Kapleeswar and Karpagambal respectively, the temple should be on the top position of your list of temples to visit.” The skill and years of artful work to carve these colorful figures are mind-boggling. See the post here.

Oh, dear, the next 10 days can’t come soon enough. Yesterday I went through all of my clothing and removed items that no longer fit me after my recent weight loss. I’m left with very little, but once we’re situated in South Africa, I can try out a few local shops for anything I may need. Fitting into clothes made in SA has been tricky in the past since everything is suitable for either tiny pre-teens or mature adults, much shorter than me.

At the Ideal Beach Resort in Mahabalipuram (try to pronounce that!) for a few days. We had sundowners on the beach at night. See the post here.

If I end up having to wear what I have on hand, so be it. Jeans and nice tee-shirts are acceptable at any of the venues in Marloth Park and that, I can manage. The same applies to Tom who has fewer items to unload. As for the upcoming booked cruises at the end of 2021, we’ll see how that rolls out before I start thinking about appropriate “cruise wear.” Most likely, those cruises will be canceled.

“Krishna’s Butterball (also known as Vaan Irai Kal and Krishna’s Gigantic Butterball) is a gigantic granite boulder that rests on a short incline in the historical coastal resort town of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu state of India. Since it is part of the Group of Monuments at Mamallapuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built during 7th- and 8th-century CE as Hindu religious monuments by the Pallava dynasty, it is a popular tourist attraction. It is listed as a protected national monument by the Archeological Survey of India. It is best viewed at sunrise from northwest to southeast or at sundown from northeast to southwest when the panorama is bathed in magical golden hues.” Our guide explained that at one time, centuries ago, the locals tried to move this boulder using elephants but it wouldn’t budge. See the post here.

Now, as we begin to think about sanitation when flying, with the Mumbai Airport closed for all flights except for a few such as ours, which was booked before the closure. There will be fewer passengers at the airport compared to how many there would have been otherwise. If we can actually board that flight, we’ll feel relatively comfortable with Emirates Airlines, one of the highest-rated airlines for Covid-19 safety.

Lakshmi was so sweet and welcoming. I patted her thick trunk and looked deep into her eye. More here: “This Ganesh Chaturthi, you can visit the extraordinary Manakula Vinayagar Temple situated approximately 400 metres away from the Bay of Bengal in White Town, Pondicherry. Read on to know why devotees, photo fanatics, and experience seekers flock to this special temple of Lord Ganesha.” See the post here.

As for the upcoming 16-hour layover in Dubai, UAE, we have no idea what to expect. In any case, we’ll make a point of finding a secluded spot for us to wait during the long period, getting up once an hour to walk and move about, as far away from others as possible.

In this post here, on March 13, 2020, we described why we stopped our private tour with three more weeks remaining. Hence, began our lockdown.

There are numerous photos from the posts in February and March 2020 that weren’t included yesterday or today. Please feel free to peruse our archives for many more.

“Buffaloes are believed to have domesticated around 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley and thrive best in the areas of moderate rainfall as they require plenty of water for their daily bath.   Indian buffaloes are considered to be an important source of milk today. They yield nearly three times as milk as cows. Interestingly, 47.22 million milch buffaloes produce 55 percent of milk, which is more than half of the total milk produced in the country. Whereas, 57 million cows contribute only 45 percent of the total milk yield.” See the post here.

We hope you had/have a pleasant and safe New Year’s Eve and restful and peaceful New Year’s Day. May this New Year bring all of us a new perspective on our health, well-being, and the future to come.

Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2020:

Last New Year’s Day we posted “The year in review photos” which included this view from our veranda while in Falmouth, England. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!…A new year, a new decade, a new beginning…

On this date in 2013, this foot-long insect on the wall by the bathroom door in the master bedroom made us cringe.  Sleep didn’t come easy the remainder of that night, fearing that the rains of the previous few days may have brought more of these ugly things indoors. Tom, as always, disposed of it outdoors, but of course, didn’t kill it.  For more photos from that date, please click here.

Many times in the past seven years, we’ve chronicled our year in review on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll list where we traveled in 2019 with snippets of what transpired during those travels. 

As our readers know so well, this has been a tough year for us when on February 12th, I had triple coronary bypass surgery with many complications. We won’t get into all of that. 

We’ve said enough and appreciate the patience of our readers who saw us through that difficult time and stayed with us, continuing to read our daily posts. That month I only uploaded 16 posts when I could not prepare posts during the first two weeks after surgery. 

In tomorrow’s post, we‘ll breeze by that period when in May we were “on the move” once again, albeit with a certain amount of trepidation and fear.

Instead, now, we look to the future with hope and optimism that we’ll be able to continue for years to come. But, we’ve both decided over the past few months that we cannot and will not dwell on fear or apprehension of what could happen. 

We could all get caught up in this state of mind, even those in great health. None of us know what the future holds and we can only do our best to maintain good health and a good attitude which ultimately may be instrumental in our quality of life and longevity.

Most of us can look back at our prior year and recall various circumstances causing us to worry and be concerned for ourselves, our loved ones, our circumstances. No one is exempt.

And, most of us choose to move forward, learn from our experiences, good and bad, and continue on the path we’ve chosen for our lives or in some cases choose a new path as we had done over seven years ago. It changed everything.

Rather than New Year’s resolutions, we find it helpful to look back over the past year to determine what we have learned, changes we have made and the changes we need to make going forward. 

It’s highly individual and we cannot imply or suggest that any of our readers/friends follow such a path. But, we find a sense of comfort moving into the New Year knowing we are doing the best we can to maintain a quality of life that brings us both joy and contentment. 

That being said, we wish each and every one of our readers a meaningful and purposeful New Year that fulfills your needs and wishes and brings you joy and contentment as well.

Happy New Year!

Photo from one year ago, December 31, 2019:

Adorable giraffe at rest in Marloth Park. For more photos, please click here