A stunning discovery…Everything has changed…

In Madeira, Portugal, five years ago today, we wrote: “Nothing like a view from the veranda at dusk.”  For more details from that post, please click here.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
The Royal Cork Yacht
Club, founded in 1720, is widely recognized as the world’s oldest yacht club.
The club plays host to Cork Week, Ireland’s largest and most prestigious
sailing event, held every two years and attracting boats and sailors from
around the world. There is still a very strong tradition of sailing in many of
our coastal towns, and you can either hire small sailing boats for your own use
or sign up to sailing courses in towns such as Schull and Baltimore.”

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In an effort to avoid complaining and becoming known as a “whinger” or “whiner,”  I haven’t disclosed here quite how bad my recent situation has been.  My painful legs and arms made walking or performing the simplest of tasks unbearable.

Yes, I walked everyday recording steps on my fitness tracker but each step took everything I could muster.  Also, I wasn’t noticing any improvement after all the walking up the hill, up and down the stairs, and throughout the house.

I’d mentioned this to Tom but didn’t emphasize how severe the pain was.  I didn’t want him to worry any more than he’d worried already.  As of several days ago, I was imagining life in a wheelchair along with an end to our travels.  Desperately, I tried not to keep mentioning it.
A summer rose in Madeira.
The only relief I had was when sitting or lying down.  When I was cooking or hanging laundry I could barely stand in one place.  I was trying hard not to let this get me down but I was teetering on the edge.

Each time we’ve grocery shopped or took off sightseeing, I could barely get my legs to move.  My arms and shoulders ached.  I did arm and shoulder exercises to no avail. Getting dressed took everything I had.

Each day I contemplated what we were having for dinner and how long I’d have to stand in the kitchen to prep the items.  I let carrots spoil when I couldn’t imagine peeling them while standing at the counter.  I know I could have asked Tom for help but good grief, it’s been over five months and I’ve needed to be more independent.  How would this ever improve?

I wrote to the cardiologist and he assumed something was wrong with my heart and I needed to make an appointment with a cardiologist.  But, my heart is fine.  When I’ve walked up the hill in front of the house my legs burned beyond description.  My pulse was exactly where it should have been.  I wasn’t out of breath any more than Tom would have been.  He’s very healthy!
Lush greenery, blue skies, and the sea create a colorful scene in Madeira.
At a loss, I didn’t know what to do.  Subsequently, I started reading the medical literature, kindle books, and reputable information by world-famous and highly regarded cardiologists and physicians…not public opinion, not forums, and not heart-related blogs.

After weeks of research, I discovered what I’d expected, that as much as 30% of patients stopped taking their prescribed statins due to side effects.  In the US, over 28% of people over 40 years old are on statins.  How much money Big Pharma has made!

Prior to the discovery of my cardiac issues, I was a stench naysayer about statins, having read volumes about them.  I’d pull out my statin “soapbox” from time to time (when appropriate) and express my views.

But, when suddenly I was a cardiac patient after triple bypass surgery, the first drug they gave me was a statin, comparable to a drug called Crestor in the US but known as Zuvamor 40 mg in South Africa.  
Rooftops, power lines and terraced hills are a common sight.
When I questioned the doctors expressing my aversion to statins during my followup appointments, who are often funded by “Big Pharma” they insisted the drug would save my life.  Frightened, while not feeling well, I acquiesced and took the daily dose.

Every day that passed, the pain escalated and I came to the conclusion it was the statins, for the very reason I was vehemently opposed to this class of drugs.  Conducting more research I discovered it takes 77 hours or more for the drugs to leave one’s system.

On Tuesday night, I took the last pill deciding I was done with statins.  If, and I mean, if, I believed that they’d protect my health, I might be worried about stopping.  But, after considerable research, I feel at ease knowing I am doing the right thing.


Please keep in mind my decision to stop statins in no way is a suggestion you do the same, nor am I soliciting any medical advice. Each of us must become well educated as to what works for us with the support of medical professionals you trust.
Banana leaves along the road.


That’s the keyword…”trust.”  I noticed in the medical report I received from the surgeon (upon request) that he stated I’d had a heart attack.  I did not have a heart attack and asked him to amend the report accordingly.


This morning, less than 77 hours since I stopped the drug, I got out of bed, hopeful.  Alas, after moving around I noticed an 80% improvement in the pain in my arms and legs.  I’m anticipating that as more and more of the drug leaves my system, I’ll continue to feel more relief.


This morning we grocery shopped and for the first time shopping since the surgery on February 12th, never once did I think about pain in my arms and legs.  Once back at the house I easily put away the groceries while Tom helped as usual.  


Previously, I had to pull up a chair to the open refrigerator to put things away.  Today, I easily bent over the under-counter fridge to load the vegetables in the drawer.

With few homes having clothes dryers, railings on verandas become clotheslines.

Am I taking a risk?  With no conclusive evidence that taking statins prevents heart disease, I don’t think so.  But, if I am taking a huge risk, quality of life is most important to me.  Living in a wheelchair due to side effects from a drug is no quality of life for me, especially for our lifestyle.

You may say, try another statin.  I appreciate the concern.  But side effects are many regardless of the brand name and even lower doses.  I’m done.  Done and happy to be so.

My legs are weak but now instead of walking gingerly and favoring the pain, I can begin to walk with confidence and finally build some strength.  No, I’m not totally 100%.  That will take time, especially at my age.  But, I will continue on this path with optimism and hope for the future. 


Thank you for listening…

Be well.  Very well.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2018:
This giraffe was having a “bad hair day!”  The hair on the female giraffe’s ossicones is usually short and straight up.  For more photos, please click here.

Stormy sleepless night…Musings of life…What does homemade toothpaste have to do with anything?…

Ingredients for making the toothpaste recipe (see below).

Sleep was elusive last night as we both tossed and turned most of the night.  I’d be surprised if I’d slept three hours, Tom a little more.  Nothing in particular was on our minds as we both commented on several occasions how we were still awake.

Famous words to a loved one during a fitful night, “Are you awake?”

Wait 10 seconds, ask again, “Are you awake?”

“Yes,” they reply after the second inquiry after which you realize you may have awoken them with the question, “Did I wake you?”

“Oh, no,” we say, “I’ve been awake for hours.”

This type of dialogue is not uncommon when receiving a phone call during the night.  Why do we always say, “No, you didn’t wake me.  I’ve been awake for hours.”


When following a recipe I place my laptop on the counter to easily follow the instructions.

Funny, we are, us humans. Regardless of our country of origin, our language spoken, our learned behaviors, we often respond similarly all over the world.
Finally this morning after reading a book on my phone for over two hours I dragged myself out of bed feeling exhausted in body, alert in mind.  What’s that about? 

In part, I believe a sense of joy over the gift of another day of life triggers my brain into full on mode as I begin another day the moment my feet hit the floor. 

That’s not to say each morning we awake with an over-the-top cheery disposition although neither of us are grumpy in the morning, or at most other times of the day. 

We attempt to live by these principals, although unspoken in their exactness, exercised in our daily lives:

Gratefulness.  An natural segue to happiness.

Appreciation.  A natural segue to a great relationship.

Organization.  A natural segue to maintaining a sense of responsibility.

Faith, humility and reverence.  A natural segue to maintaining a sense of peace and acceptance of the immense impact of a higher power in our lives.

Perfection?  Not on the menu.  We are subject to the flaws and foibles we continually allow to flow from our beings, in essence that which makes us unique and vulnerable. 

Combining all the dry and wet ingredients separately, made the final mixing easier.

We love that vulnerability and in this life, we make an effort to find humor in our flaws, our peculiarities and at times our insane rituals.  We each, in our own way, possess a series of things we say, things we do and ways in which we respond to one another. 

For us, this uniqueness makes our 24/7 existence not only tolerable but highly entertaining and meaningful.  The fact that we travel the world living in one country after another, is almost incidental.  Its the day to day that shapes our lives and contributes to our personal growth and well being.

What does making toothpaste have to do with all of this?  I suppose one could say it falls into the category of “organization” in taking responsibility for our health in yet one more simple way.

Finally, I put the liquid ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and mixed thoroughly.  I didn’t need to use a blender or food processor.

Today, we share yesterday’s photos of that quick and easy process of making toothpaste which we’re happy to report proved to be more effective, better tasting and better feeling in the mouth than we’d expected. 

Here’s the recipe from Dr. Josh Axe, a renowned and highly acclaimed natural medicine doctor.  More on Dr. Axe is located here


We prefer not to pack glass containers.  This BPA free contained we had on hand was perfect.

Dr. Axe Homemade
Mineralizing Toothpaste

Total
Time:

2 minutes

Serves: 30

Ingredients:

·        
4 tbsp coconut oil

·        
2 tbsp baking soda

·        
1 tbsp xylitol powder

·        
20 drops Cinnamon or
Clove essential oil

·        
20 drops Peppermint
essential oil

·        
30 drops Trace Minerals

·        
Toothpaste
Tube

Directions:

1.     Put all ingredients into bowl and mix well
together. (You can also use a food processor for this)

2.    
Remove homemade
toothpaste and store in glass jar with a lid. If it starts to dry out, add a
bit of water

To keep the packing weight at a minimum, I only packed the items we may have more difficulty getting in Bali, the next vacation home in our journey.  I left out the baking soda which is easy to find in any country.

Its delicious tasting and forms a solid paste easy to scoop from the container with a small spoon.

May you have a day filled with gratefulness, appreciation, organization and faith.

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Photo from one year ago today, March 24, 2015:

A year ago, we attended the Princeville Artisan Fair in Kauai and thoroughly enjoying the experience as we met and later highlighted one of the talented vendors.  For more photos, please click here.

We left Minnesota 1000 days ago…One year ago…Final costs of 77 days on the island of Madeira…

This flower appears to have the face of a fluffy white lamb.  Notice the eyes and nose.  We didn’t see this until after we uploaded our many photos from our visit to the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

Today is 1000 days since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012 to begin our new lives, our worldwide adventures, our foray into the unknown.  We’d marked the calendar that long ago for the 1000th day, at the time unsure if we’d ever reach it.  (Some time ago, we mentioned posting our 1000th post which is different.  We began posting seven months before we left so these are two distinct dates).

We had no clue when we posted today’s reminder for the 1000th day if we’d tire of traveling, find our health prevented continuing on or if we found it financially impossible based on costs and inflation throughout the world.  None of these concerns have impeded the joyful continuance of our travels.


On the return drive from Cairns, we stopped to check out this roadside stand.  We didn’t purchase anything when they only had fruit.

We are as enthusiastic in this life now as we were 1000 days ago.  The fear is gone with knowledge and experience in its place. We truly feel like experienced travelers and yet, we still have so much more to learn, to see, to explore. 

Many of our readers have been with us since the beginning and we commend you for your loyalty, diligence and input.  What a gift we receive everyday in knowing you are there!

We’d driven by this Farm Market many times on our way back and forth to Cairns, deciding it was time to stop to check it out.

Is it possible to imagine that some mornings I load my laptop, connect to the internet and start the app I use to upload this site without a clue as to what to put down in words and photos?

Can you imagine that some mornings when I study the folder on my desktop entitled “photos to post” that there’s only a mishmash of unrelated photos I’ve yet to upload for lack of relevancy to a particular other batch of photos?


Their meat case was filled with many pre-seasoned and pre-coated with flour and breadcrumbs, none of which work for us.  But we did purchased a few bacon, chicken and spinach wrapped chicken breasts.

Do I panic?  Not at all.  Do I say to myself, “Gee…I wish I didn’t have to do this every day?”  Not at all.  My little brain goes to work either from morning conversation between Tom and I, a tidbit on the news or at times a light bulb moment popping bright within my field of vision.

Sure, the day could come when the slate is blank and literally not a word, a thought, an urge or a nuance will waft through my head to reach my fingers on the keyboard, which are usually itching to be in action.  That could happen.  In reality, some day, this will happen.  But, its not today.


We hadn’t seen cherries in a long time.  Some veg is organic and others are not which is not evident by signs posted.

Can you imagine that the photo file is nearly empty and we don’t feel like going out on a sightseeing expedition?  That’s a relatively common occurrence.  Why wouldn’t it be?  Do any of us have enough “share worthy” information combined with photos to share every day of our lives?  Hardly.

Neither of us are into “selfies” which eliminates an entire category of photo taking.  Nor, am I continually updating my Facebook page with the “photo of the day or moment.” 

This package of crocodile is AUD $15, USD $10.91.  Next time we stop by that store, I think we’ll try buy one of these and try it.

On Facebook, I tend to post a photo of an inanimate subject that I find interesting such as in today’s photo at the top of this page that I “saved” from the Cairns Botanic Gardens” to post. 


We aren’t quite ready to try eating kangaroo and these sausages contained sugar and wheat.


The main photo was my favorite from the gardens tour day, saved in the same manner that one may save that last tender morsel on their plate to eat as the very last bite…a reward at the end for our patience?

There’s a lot of things we could do today.  Sylvie and Andy purchased chaise lounges which they placed next to the pool so we could lounge there for our dose of Vitamin D, as opposed to sitting in a chair on the veranda.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the kind and caring attention they’ve given to our needs and wants.  Today, we could lounge by the pool for awhile.


Tom put his hand out to show illustrate the size of this huge sweet potato.

We could take a drive to a new area further from Trinity Beach to return with hundreds of new photos which could see us through days of posting or, we could make several short trips to unseen spots in the area, although we seem to have already thoroughly scoured the immediate area.

Don’t get me wrong.  We love getting out and taking photos.  Its getting us out the door that is always the challenge when its so easy to do nothing, one of our favorite pastimes.  And doing nothing is not really doing nothing.  We seem to be busy all day even when we stay home with the intent of doing “nothing.”


We purchased some of the bacon in the rear middle of this case.  Once cooked we realized that the rind was still attached and we had to pull it off like a long leather boot shoelace.  Otherwise, the bacon was nitrate free and delicious.  As shown, many of the items for sale are pre-seasoned and coated.

I can imagine that many of our retiree readers totally get what we’re saying here today.  Life doesn’t always consist of busy, meaningful and active days filled with new discoveries and revelations.  And, many otherwise quiet days end up a flurry of activity.

So, we’ll see what the day brings.  I imagine that tomorrow when you stop by, you’ll see something new and shown for the very first time as we do each and every day. 

Ibis are commonly seen birds in Australia.

Happy day to all of you whether you stay in, head out on a walk or on an adventure.  It all matters.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2014:

As we were fast approaching departing Madeira, we posted all of our final expenses as we do when getting ready to leave each country.  For details of those expenses, please click here.

Out and about…Always discover something new and interesting…Joined Coast Fitness…

This pretty restaurant, L’únigo (misspelled in TripAdvisor as L’Unico) is rated #3 of 16 restaurants in Trinity Beach. We’ll try this one also.  The sun peeked out for a few hours yesterday!

With dense fog and pouring rain impeding the view of the ocean and the horizon, we’ve decided not to go on the road trip along the ocean that we’d tentatively planned for today. 


With the intent of taking photos of the scenery along the coastline to share here, we’ve decided to wait until the next sunny weekday. We prefer not to travel on busy weekends fighting traffic and crowds when we can just as easily travel on weekdays.

I stepped out of the car to take this shot.  Tom reminded me that passengers on the ship had told him that the ocean is murky at most beaches in Australia, as opposed to the clear crisp blue waters of Hawaii and other islands.  Here’s an article about the murky waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef.

However, yesterday when we took off for me to join a fitness center, we  took a drive and stumbled upon a fabulous area with photo ops we look forward to sharing here over the next few days.  (With wifi limitations and the overall poor signal, we can’t post as many photos as we had in some past locations when we had free unlimited wifi).

Coast Fitness is the closest health club and although modest, it certainly will do the trick.  I’ve always found that a health club must be conveniently located to one’s place of residence. It’s hard enough to make oneself workout on a regular basis, let alone having a long distance to drive. 

View of the mountains from Trinity Beach.

Working out, although obviously beneficial, requires a degree of self discipline that I’ve always found challenging.  Once I’m there and warmed up, its all good. 

Unfortunately, Tom has to drive me wherever I’d like to go.  The car rental required an extra USD $23.22, AUD $30 per day to add me to the agreement.  It just wasn’t worth spending an extra USD $2066.58, AUD $2670.36 for me to drive myself to the grocery store and fitness center during the 89 days. 

There are warning signs along all the beaches in this area in regard to stingers and crocodiles.  We’ve seldom seen anyone in the water or lounging on the beach.

Its not like Tom has a lot to do to prevent him from having time to drive me around. He brings his phone loaded with books he’s reading staying entertained while he waits. Also, driving a stick shift left handed and on the opposite side of the road wouldn’t have been ideal for me.  In essence, I’m happy I wasn’t included on the agreement.  It would not have been pretty.

As we exited the car at Vasay Esplanade, we were excited to see restaurants along the street. Trinity Beach Beachfront Bar and Grill which we particularly liked for their menu is rated #4 of 16 in TripAdvisor.  We’ll try this one soon.

It took no more than 10 minutes to pay the required US $177, AUD $230, for the next two months and get my membership card.  Not wanting to pay for a third month, my membership will end two weeks before we leave Trinity Beach on September 8th.  During that final two weeks, I’ll do the workout at home.

This morning’s view at 10 am.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a facility on the tiny island we’ll be living on in Fiji after we leave here.  I’ve already begun searching, contacting various resorts for possibilities, hoping to hear back before too long.

We can’t see beyond the yard.

I hadn’t realized that I’d feel so out of shape when I started yesterday’s routine. I can only attribute it to the fact that I was sick during the final month in Kauai, never working out and then did a less than stellar attempt on the ship when we were busy socializing each day. 

Now I’m totally committed to go to the fitness center frequently and give it everything I have.  Its amazing how energized and strong I’ll feel after a few weeks. 

The modest entrance to Coast Fitness.  Although unassuming, it has excellent equipment, everything I can possibly use.

As we left the fitness center, Tom, with his keen sense of direction, decided to take us on another drive toward the ocean.  Little did we know we’d stumble upon a quaint oceanfront area of Trinity Beach we hadn’t yet discovered.  I practically squealed with delight as we parked the car.

The pool at Coast Fitness wasn’t particularly appealing.  With the pool here at the house which we’ve yet to use with the mostly cloudy weather these past few weeks, we won’t be using this pool.

Even Tom, who doesn’t get quite as excited as I do, couldn’t get out of the car quick enough so we could wander along the ocean boulevard, Vasay Esplanade, checking out the scenery and the various restaurants and their menus.  We found enough restaurants in that one location to satisfy us for weeks to come.

The equipment is up-to-date and adequate.

However, we’ve yet to dine out since we arrived.  What can I say?  We’ve so enjoyed making our meals and, with Tom losing weight like crazy, its pointless to dine out and spoil the momentum. Perhaps soon, we’ll visit one of these appealing options.

We’re content, feeling settled in, enjoying the area.  We’ve begun looking ahead to the future when we still have holes in our itinerary that we need to fill.  We’ve waited long enough and currently are considering several options.  Once, we’ve booked the next round, we’ll certainly be sharing the news here.

Have a warm and wonderful day filled with sunshine in your life, if not in the skies.
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Photo from one year ago today, June  24, 2014:

This was the first time we’d seen these Angel’s Trumpet flowers as we drove in the mountains of Madeira.  Later, I saw these in Kauai when I toured the Princeville Botanical Gardens to discover that these flowers are used as a hallucinogenic by certain cultures.  For more details, please click here.