A year ago memories…That never happened…

She decided to look at her reflection in the glass of the little red car, assuming it was another hornbill, perhaps a possible mate. For more, please click here.

As I read the year-ago post, I felt a little melancholy. It was a post about how we assumed we were leaving in one month on February 15, 2019. See the post here.

We were getting ready for an upcoming birthday dinner party for our friend Rita (husband Gerhard), whom we’d met from our site, who ended up living in the same house in Marloth Park where we’d lived for three months in 2013/2014. 

They rented the house when our site-directed them to Louise, our dear friend and property manager who’d rented the Hornbill House to them and us, and then four years later rented the Orange House to us. 

Rita and Gerhard became friends fast enough to host Tom’s birthday party on December 23, 2018, and reciprocate joyfully. We decided to host Rita’s birthday party several weeks later. 

The same wonderful group of friends was coming to the party. Linda and Ken from Pretoria were coming to stay with us for a week, adding to the excitement and fun.

In the interim, we were all headed to Tambarina Restaurant for dinner that night for the first celebration of Rita’s birthday. We all loved a reason to celebrate, and then again, we didn’t always need a motive other than the pleasure of sharing time.

Kathy had arranged a going away “girl’s day” for me on February 5th to include pedicures and lunch. That never happened.

Kathy and Don were hosting a going away party for us on Friday, February 8th. That never happened.

The next night on February 9th, our last Saturday night in the bush, we were all getting together for dinner at Jabula. That never happened.

Leaving for Kenya for a fantastic tour and numerous safaris was on the schedule, with our intended departure date on February 15th, the day our visas ended. That never happened.

Eighty-four days later, we were supposed to be in Minnesota. That never happened.

On Friday night, February 8th, after the heart disease diagnosis with the subsequent emergency open-heart surgery scheduled for February 12th, Kathy and Don invited all of us for dinner at their house. I’ll never forget that night when we all sat around the fire in their garden, sharing stories and our deepest feelings.

The next night, February 9th, we all met again for my pre-surgery dinner party. It was a bittersweet evening with loving friends. I’ll never forget these times with heartfelt gratitude and devotion.

So, reading yesterday’s post reminded me of all of these events, which will permanently be emblazoned in our hearts and minds, grateful for our friends and for Dr. Theo, who discovered my condition on a hunch.

Yes, as we look forward to heading to India in 15 days, we’ll never forget what we’ve left behind and prayed for the days we’ll all be together again.

May you enjoy good health and loving friends.

Photo from one year ago today, January 14, 2019:

“Pig in a pond.” Mom opted for a sitz bath on the steamy hot day while the youngsters played nearby in the bush. For more, please click here.

Recipe request from many readers…More fraud on one of our credit cards…

One of several giraffes we spotted last night when dropping Rita and Gerhard back at the Hornbill house. The partial moon is shown in the photo. For more, please click here.

After yesterday’s post and mention of our dinner last night, we had many requests for the recipe. I must mention this high-fat recipe is only recommended for those on a keto or low carb diet, having converted their bodies from burning sugar for fuel instead of consuming sugar-inducing foods such as sugar, fruit, wheat, and other grains and starches. (More on this way of eating here).

We both decided to resume intermittent fasting several days a week to aid our health as described here, which may be highly effective in maintaining health and losing weight. These two means are effective for many health conditions, including heart disease, as described in a Harvard study.

(Please keep in mind, we are not providing medical advice nor recommending you eat this way. Please check with your physician before starting any new health regime or diet).

Many, who have been following us all along, may wonder, “If these ways of eating were so effective, how did I end up with the cardiovascular disease and the subsequent bypass surgery?”

The doctors in both South Africa and the US explained that I’d had hereditary CVD for 30 or 40 years, long before I started this way of eating. Also, I exercised all of my life. They stated that my low-carb diet and exercise most likely prevented me from having a fatal heart attack. 

Also, this way of eating and exercising prevented me from having type 2 diabetes, another hereditary condition. Before I started eating this way, my blood sugar was construed as pre-diabetic. Surely, by now, I would have been on medication.

Everyone has to make decisions that work best for them based on many factors, including heredity, lifestyle, sleep patterns, and stress. When my children were young, and I was a single parent with two young sons, owning a stressful business with no child support being paid, my life was exceedingly stressful. 

At that time, I drank caffeinated beverages all day to maintain a certain level of energy. However, I exercised all of my life and, at that time, consumed a low-calorie, low-fat diet. This, coupled with my bad genes, was highly instrumental in my developing severe cardiovascular disease.

I began this way of eating in 2011, and there is considerable information here on our site. If you type in ‘”low carb” into the search box on the right side of our home page under the word “Search” located below the advertisers, you find many posts on this topic.

Thus, here is the link to the recipe mentioned above, which we found many years ago. If you decide to make this, let me know if you love this dish as much as we do.

Today is a busy day, taking care of financial matters. We had another credit card number used fraudulently. That’s two-card numbers stolen since we arrived in Arizona. Go figure. This is more fraud than we’ve experienced in any other country. We’re awaiting the new card in the next few days.

May your day be pleasant and fulfilling!

Photo from one year ago today, January 13, 2019:

I’ll feed gentle Ms. Bushbuck from my hand, one of few instances in which we do so. For more, please click here.

The Minnesota Vikings continue to disappoint…Social evening softens the blow…Prescription drug error…

In Kauai, Hawaii, on this date in 2015, here is another of Tom’s exquisite sunrise photos. For more photos from this date, please click here.

Yes, we were sorely disappointed by the Minnesota Viking’s loss yesterday afternoon. The playoffs and the season are all over for them until next season, when preseason games begin in August and the regular season in September.

Tom watched the game with the boys at Colleen’s home while I stayed behind at our place, continuing to work on more of the contents of our package that arrived on Friday night. A year’s supply of my three prescription drugs had to be popped out of the plastic packs and placed into bottles with my name and prescription on the label. 

Carrying loose pills in those plastic containers asking for trouble. The medications could cause a real issue if stopped at security, as we discovered early on in our travels.

Also, I’d ordered several bottles of supplements suitable for the cardiovascular disease instead of taking statins, a decision I made many months ago. As mentioned, Tom and I went through the vitamin bottles consolidating as much as we could while leaving them in the original bottle.

In the process of going through the newly arrived prescription drugs, I noticed that the bottle of thyroid medication I’d been prescribed while in the hospital (when I was running out before the surgery) was for the wrong dose, .25 mcg as opposed to .75 mcg. 

My new prescription was for the correct amount of .75 mcg. Subsequently, I’d been taking ⅓ of my previously required medication. After all, we’d been through, I never looked at the tiny print on the bottle, but I did notice the pills were round, not oval. 

Since many drugs look different from country to country due to a variety of generic drugs, I didn’t give it another thought…not until yesterday, and then I understood why, after all this effort to feel 100% failed in part by not taking the appropriate dose of this vital drug.

Subsequently, I’ve had typical symptoms of hypothyroidism which may be found here. I wondered why I gained weight over the past year (15 pounds) and have been unable to lose it as I’ve always been able to do it easily. Also, it explains why I’ve had a hard time getting up in the morning, staying in bed until 8:00 am or later.

This all makes sense. I was always the early bird, along with Tom, bolting out of bed at 6:00 am, ready to tackle the day. Today, I took the first correct dose, but it takes about a month to see an improvement.

In India, I’ll continue to eat a healthy diet of mostly fish, chicken, and vegetables, and of course, we’ll be walking a lot while on tours over the next several months.

A few days ago, we received our final itinerary for our almost two-month tour in India. We were able to check the menus at the various hotels. Neither of us will have a problem based on these menus. 

The hotels are four and five stars and appear to have excellent, highly rated restaurants. No beef, of course, but plenty of other meat options that will work for both of us. Tom doesn’t eat lamb, a popular item on their menus, but he occasionally eats fish and chicken. We breathed a sigh of relief.

Last night, after the game, Tom returned. I sliced the remaining roast beef we’d cooked the previous night, reheated the huge pan of mashed potatoes, cooked green beans, and made a salad, all of which we loaded into the car and brought back to Colleen and Gene’s home.

The seven of us gathered around the big kitchen, eating our reheated leftovers that everyone seemed to enjoy. We had a great time! The conversation was lively as always, with many funny stories flying around the room.

This morning I made a favorite low-carb hamburger casserole with a big salad for tonight’s dinner. We’ll stay in while Tom watches more football today, and tonight, we’ll stream a few shows we’ve been watching.

May you and yours enjoy a fantastic Sunday!

Photo from one year ago, January 12, 2019:

Frank and The Mrs and friends stopped by for a visit. Frank is on the far right, the Mrs is found on the left. They never had a chick the entire time we were there. Maybe next time. For more photos, please click here.

Busy social calendar over the holiday season…Link to two favorite holiday recipes from our “old lives”…

It’s a sad time right now without enough rain to sustain the wildlife.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is one of our favorite pairs of warthogs, Mike and Joe, named after two US vice presidents, non-partisan of course, Mike Pence (current) and Joe Biden (last presidency). Tom always says, “The VPs are here.”

We had a busy social calendar in our old lives, most often with us doing the bulk of the entertaining. Scattered among our events were several parties and get-togethers, some work-related, some family events, and some with long-time friends/neighbors.

It was a festive time we always enjoyed, although, at times, it proved to be exhausting when I made too much work for myself while Tom continued to work long hours, day after day.  

Handsome male zebra.

As a business owner for most of my career, I’d take time off work during the holiday season when possible to plan and orchestrate holiday events, including decorating, shopping, gift wrapping, baking, and always sending hundreds of Christmas cards, each handwritten inside the card.

Each year we made over one hundred bottles (wine bottle sized) of Tom’s Homemade Irish cream with hand-designed and printed labels and delivered these in person as gifts to special people on our list. It was a daunting task, but we both participated in the process and loved sharing the holiday treat with family, co-workers, and friends.

Sustenance is low in the bush right now.  Zebras often graze on the dry bush.

When we left Minnesota to begin our world journey, those days were over. There are no more Christmas cards to be sent, no more decorations, no more baking, no more handmade dog biscuits for our animal lover friends and family, and no more Tom’s Homemade Irish Cream. This part of our lives was over.

If you’re interested in Tom’s Homemade Irish Cream recipe and my 
Polish Poppy Seed Bread (Strudel) recipe, please click here.

Only hunger will bring a shy impala to our garden.  

The only shopping we do now is for gifts for our six grandchildren. We agreed with our adult children that we’d no longer exchange gifts or cards. It was too difficult to do so from afar.

Thus, when we “left,” we also left behind all of the festivities, social gatherings, camaraderie, and events we so much. This will be our seventh Christmas since we left Minnesota. Of course, we’ve missed the activities with family and friends, but oddly we don’t miss all the commotion and work.

Impalas are very resourceful in finding food. Plus, they are one species we see out and about on the hottest of days, whereby others find shelter from the sun and the heat.

Overall, we’ve spent the bulk of the past Christmases on our own except for the first in 2012, when we rented a holiday home in Henderson, Nevada, and spent Christmas with some of Tom’s siblings and spouses, my son Richard, my sister Julie, cousin Phyllis and daughters Robin and Wendy and a few friends.  

And then, in 2014, three of our adult children, spouses, and six grandchildren joined us on the Big Island in Hawaii for the Christmas season. During that time, all of us saw lava for the first time, flowing from Mt. Kilauea, and the festivities were many.

The symmetry of the bodies of impalas is a beautiful sight to behold.

The remaining Christmas eves (we spent 2013 Christmas Eve with friends Kathy and Don at their lovely bush home here in Marloth Park) and Christmas days, we were on our own, although we spent all of those in restaurants and hotels. In each case, we had a good time.

Last Christmas, we were in Buenos Aires, Argentina, awaiting the Antarctica cruise departing on January 23rd. Everything was closed, so we ended up eating cold cuts we found at a local minimart. We were the only guests in the hotel. Here’s the link and a photo of our Christmas Day meal. We had to laugh!

Our Christmas Eve dinner last year in a boutique hotel in Buenos Aires, which we repeated on Christmas Day.  We were the only guests in the hotel.

This year, everything is different. Here are our plans over the upcoming holiday season:

Thursday, December 20, 2018: Dinner-buffet at Ngwenya Lodge and Restuarant (we have a standing reservation)
Friday, December 21, 2018:  Dinner at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant (we moved our standing Saturday reservation to Friday)
Saturday, December 22, 2018:  Holiday sundowners and starters at Kathy and Don’s river-view bush home
Sunday, December 23, 2018:  Tom’s birthday dinner at Rita and Gerhard’s temporary home at Ngwenya is a fully equipped luxury on-site holiday home
Monday, December 24, 2018:  Christmas Eve at our house with Rita and Gerhard joining us 
Tuesday, December 25, 2018: Christmas Day dinner at Kathy and Don’s
Thursday, December 27, 2018: Back to Ngwenya with Rita and Gerhard for the Thursday night buffet dinner
Saturday, December 29, 2018:  Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for our standing Saturday night reservation with Rita and Gerhard
Monday, December 31, 2018:  New Year’s Eve party at a popular local resort, details to follow.

Usually, males stop by together while females also visit separately.  

As for New Year’s day, we’ve yet to make a plan, but surely something will be on the agenda. Whew! This busy schedule makes us smile and, of course, feel grateful for our beautiful friends who have included us in their inner circle.

Whatever you do (for those who celebrate), we hope you’ll have a festive and meaningful holiday season.

Photo from one year ago today, December 19, 2017:

Shipwreck in Puerto Madryn in Patagonia, Argentina, a town we toured as a port of call on the South America cruise.  For more photos, please click here.

An extraordinary evening with new friends in Tasmania at a special cafe in Penguin…

Tania’s dedication to quality drinks, service and ambiance are easily evidenced in her unique  and inviting café.

We feel so fortunate. As we travel the world reveling in the experiences of visiting and living in many countries, we often find ourselves in the company of local residents who enhance our adventures and warm our hearts in ways not easy to describe.

An organ located at Renaessance for customer’s enjoyment.

One may think it’s difficult to get close to people in the short periods we stay in any given location.  There’s a commonality we share with those we embrace in our lives as they include us in theirs, which we’ve found to be universal from country to country, town to town, village to village.

Blackboards are updated frequently with menu items.

Making new friends is magical.  How is it that people come together for the very first time and the magic happens? After all, its just the two of us and, although on a day to day basis, we don’t feel lonely or displaced, we have each other and that love and companionship is a powerful and meaningful adjunct to each of our individual lives.

Cocktail price list, listed in AU dollars such as AU $15 equals US $10.95.
Breakfast and lunch menu.

Tom doesn’t meet the “boys” for coffee or a beer, nor do I go to lunch or shopping with the “girls.” Our lives are full and rewarding together and by communicating online with old friends whom we plan to see when we’re in Minnesota in a mere five months.

The thoughtful décor provides a pleasing environment, whether a guest stops in for coffee, lunch or wine and cocktails.

In the interim, as we’d experienced on the recent 33-night cruise, we made new friends, building relationships we’ll always remember and treasure even if we never return to a specific location or have an opportunity to meet face-to-face in the future.

A cozy well decorated corner in Renaessance.

Upcoming in 14 months, we’ll return to Marloth Park to again be with the many friends we made in South Africa. This will be the first time we’ll be returning to a specific location, in this case, to celebrate my 70th birthday with those friends and to relive the exquisite interaction with wild animals in the game reserve close to Kruger National Park. 

Fran and Terry hosted our evening out. For the first time since the cruise ended two weeks ago, we each had two drinks, beer for Tom, white wine for me.

As much as I longed to return to the bush, to the wildlife, we may not have been returning to Marloth Park four years later, had we not made so many friends while there. Staying in touch via email and Facebook has certainly contributed to maintaining these and other special relationships we’ve developed over these past years.

Gerard, who’s fabulous B&B we highlighted a few days ago, High on Penguin.  Click here for the post and photos.

Last evening, as soon as we entered Tania’s Renaessance café, located at 95 Main Street, Penguin, Tasmania, we felt at home. We’d expected the establishment to feel small in its compact space, but upon entering we were delighted to see how comfortable and roomy the café actually is.

From the left, Kath Downie, Penguin Deputy Mayor and friends, Leah and John.  It was delightful chatting with them as well.

From the creative design and décor to the wide array of unique and befitting amenities, each corner was well planned and usable, offering the visitor a memorable experience, unlike any other found in a typical coffee shop or wine bar. 

A cat sitting on a fence behind Renaessance next to the train tracks.

The foods offered were fresh and well plated, with a focus on healthfulness and yet, those seeking more traditional options would easily be able to find items to suit their tastes and desires.

Renaessance is all about coffee, wine and art and a perfect spot for locals and tourist to mingle.

The selections of alcoholic beverages, wines and nonalcoholic drinks was extensive, suitable for the lunchtime or happy hour enthusiast or a family with children.

Christmas decorations atop a cabinet.

No more than seconds after we met Tania and I engaged in lively conversation, both finding an immediate connection. While she and I chatted, as she attended to other customers, Tom sat in the lounge area, giving us some much appreciated “girl time.”

Tiny boxes with a variety of teas.

In a short while Terry, his lovely wife Fran and other customers arrived ordering drinks, appetizers and filling up the space. The conversations flowed with ease to a high level of camaraderie. It couldn’t have been more fun.

These candies (referred to as lollies in Australia) reminded me of a time from long ago.

Finally, at almost 9 pm, we all started to wander out, hugging and saying warm goodbyes with hopes of being together again soon. What a pleasant surprise and festive means of spending quality holiday time with new friends!

Although the café is small there are numerous tables and chairs suitable for seating for about 20 customers.

Yes, we are fortunate for the friends we make and the people we meet as we continue to travel the world, never for a moment or a day taking anything for granted. It’s truly a gift, all the gifts we’ll need or want over this holiday season and always.

The backyard of Renaessance overlooks the sea.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2015:

In Suva, on the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu, we visited an enormous farmers’ market.  For more photos, please click here.

A local annual holiday event in Penguin…Penguin Surf Club…Locally owned business…

This health and wellbeing exhibit by Belinda at Natural Intuition caught my attention.
To contact Belinda, email her at:  naturalintuitionwellness@gmail.com The little case in the center of the display was filled with therapeutic grade essential oils. If I had space in my luggage, I would have wanted one. Again, practicality prevails. We had a chance to chat with Belinda. She was warm and welcoming and we enjoyed every moment. Had she not be going to Queensland for the holiday, we have no doubt we’d have been getting together. 
Another view of Belinda’s health and wellness display.

When Terry, our new friend and landlord, dropped off a flyer for the Penguin Surf Club Christmas Market occurring on Thursday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, we were excited at the prospect of attending.

Upon entering the Penguin Surf Club we knew we were in for a treat.

Although we had no intention of making any purchases at this local annual holiday gift and arts and crafts sales event, we thought it would be fun to mingle with the locals and take photos.

Handmade aprons, pot holders and more filled this area.
We chatted with Leone, the local rep for Tupperware.  She was delightful and welcoming us to her town. There was an item here, I’d have loved to purchase, that red pull chopper. Again, no room in the luggage for kitchen gadgets. To reach Leone for Tupperware, call her at 040-921-7730. 

We’d already purchased all the Christmas gifts for our six grandchildren in the US. Long ago, we’d decided to forgo gifts between us and our adult children due to the inconvenience of receiving, shipping and purchasing items from around the world.

Adorable flannel its including baby blankets and bibs.
A variety of locally made olive oil and products filled this pretty table.

For the grandchildren, we always purchase items and gift cards from US vendors making returns simple and uncomplicated. Within 24 hours of our arrival in Penguin, I sat down and got to work and within a few hours our online shopping was completed.

Cute stocking stuffer items.

Yesterday, we made a late lunch of cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon (the best bacon we’ve found anywhere!) and a favorite; low carb, grain, starch and sugar free coconut pancakes. We’d found maple syrup sweetened with Stevia at Woolies to which we added to the glob of delicious grass fed Tasmanian butter.

There was a wide array of adorable handmade items on this table.
Several tables offer spa and bath products.

Each time we make this meal I always say I could have this meal every day and love it. But, in an attempt for variety we only make it every so often, especially since in many countries we can’t find coconut flour although, coconuts are commonly found in many warm climates.

Hand carved wooden toys and games filled this display.

Satisfied after the great meal, at 5:30 we headed out the door for the 10 minute drive to the edge of town to the Penguin Surf Club where Terry has been an active member for many years. 

I hadn’t seen a Mary Kay display in years.
As we perused the facility beyond the multitude of booths with holiday offerings, we noticed his name over and over again on many plaques and awards. Having lived in Penguin all of his life, he’s been actively involved in community activities and events.
Tom really got a kick out of these lighted glass blocks. Clever idea!
I flipped over these “map of the world” shoes.  But, practicality always prevails in our lives.  They weren’t meant for lots of walking and each of my five pairs of shoes are practical except one pair of dress shoes which I’m considering giving the heave ho.

At the entrance to the building, we paid a “gold coin” each for an entrance fee equivalent to one AU dollar (US $.75). The place was packed, the energy, uplifting and holiday-like and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to be a part of this small town’s special seasonal event.

Tie dye baby clothing.  Too cute!
This chair and cover were made to look like a toy stove.  Cute!
We began wandering from display to display, some containing homemade gifts, foods and holiday décor and others packed with more traditional commercial items. Many were unique as we both giggled over spotting the same items simultaneously.
I always loved these handmade dolls.
Wall décor made with rocks and wood found in nature.

If, we had a home or were living near family, there were many items we would have been tempted to purchase. But with the high cost of shipping items to the US none of it made sense, especially when our grandkids have no interest in craft items nor do their parents want their homes filled with more “stuff.”

Colorful scented Play Dough.  Fun!

Being able to chat with a few of the vendors was the highlight of the event. We took photos of their wares, offering to post photos on our site today. Had it not been so busy, we’d have had a greater opportunity to talk to more vendors to later share their products and information.

Scents and hand and body sets, perfect for holiday gifts.

Today, cool, windy and cloudy we plan to stay in, work on future travel related tasks. At long last, we’re making our low carb gluten, starch and sugar free pizza after finally being able to find all the ingredients needed for our recipe. We haven’t been able to make the pizza since we were in New Zealand almost a year ago. 

An oar we spotted in the food area where Terry was one of the crew for an event. 
The bar wasn’t busy yet, but give it a few hours and it would have been packed. Food was offered for sale in this area, including burgers, brats and hot dogs.
Watch a movie? Eat pizza? Yep! That’s fun too! Enjoy your upcoming weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, December 9, 2015:

Walkway from one area of the Arts Village to another while in Pacific Harbour, Fiji.For more photos, please click here.