Mondays are okay when retired…The US celebration of Thanksgiving is approaching…

Tom was holding my bag and wine while I took this photo on the cruise to Norway in August.

In my old life, I always dreaded Mondays. As a business owner for most of my career, I often left folders on my desk for tasks I needed to accomplish but couldn’t resolve by Friday late afternoon. Remember that feeling? Thus, when Monday morning rolled around, I faced that pile of folders to tackle them one-by-one before continuing with the rest of the week.

Some required lengthy phone conversations, and others required lots of paperwork, which I always dreaded. I was efficient and meticulous in my work, but these situations were unavoidable. Plus, it was nice to have some time off on a weekend. I only worked when clients couldn’t work with me during the weekday hours.

On the other hand, Tom, working on the railroad for 42½ years, always had an erratic schedule, subject to a pager going off requiring him to head to work imminently. As the US Thanksgiving approaches this year, on Thursday, we both recalled the year he had to leave the dining room table after I had just placed all the dishes to be served on the table.

When we went ashore, we looked back at our ship, Azamara Journey.

Tom’s kids, Tammy and TJ, were at the table, along with my son Greg. My son Richard had already moved to Nevada at this point and wasn’t in attendance.

There was no time for even a “doggie bag.” Off he went with his little brown bag of lunch that I had prepared earlier in the day with a sandwich and a few snacks. At least the next day, I could pack leftovers for him, including pumpkin pie, in that little brown bag. He loves pumpkin pie.

This occurred early in our relationship, maybe in 1991 or 1992, but that wasn’t the first time he wasn’t there. Over the years, I got used to it and accepted the reality of being married to a railroad guy. He was worth it. I didn’t complain.

With our nomadic lifestyle, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore, although I’d be willing to make the many delicious dishes and pumpkin pies. The problem is that turkey, the ingredients for pumpkin pies, and the various side dishes are not readily available in most other countries. Years ago, we decided the effort wasn’t worth it.

A pipe organ in a church we visited in Norway.

But, on a few occasions, our dear friends Kathy and Don had Thanksgiving dinner in the bush in Marloth Park. Kathy had packed many ingredients in her luggage and arranged for turkeys in Johannesburg, a five-hour drive from the park. It was fantastic, although the four of us were the only Americans at the table of 12 or 14.

On another occasion, I made Thanksgiving in the bush for 12 guests, buying and roasting a stuffed chicken for each couple at the table and baking eight pumpkin pies in 42C, 104F weather. I called the pie-baking “Yesterday’s pumpkin pie hell” when it was nearly impossible to roll the dough for the pies in the heat and humidity. I’ll never forget that day. The pies tasted good, but the crusts were not a pretty sight.

This year, nada…none…no Thanksgiving dinner when none of the ingredients would be available here, either. As I work diligently to feel better, even if I could find the ingredients, I can’t imagine standing in the kitchen all day. Are those days over for me? I don’t know right now.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Again, thanks for all the well wishes. On Wednesday, we’ll head back to Manta to see the cardiologist, find out if he thinks I need heart surgery, and later shop at a bigger market we heard about, MegaMaxi.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 20, 2013:

Tom’s dinner consisted of Swahili, a coconut-flavored sauce over the catch-of-the-day. He ate a few bites of his veggies. I always tell him that fried potatoes (referred to here as “chips”) don’t count as a vegetable. For more photos, please click here.

Nature can be cruel..Heartbreaking photos…Thanksgiving dinner in the bush…A startling revelation from last year…

This heartbreaking photo of a precious little duiker who encountered a porcupine, who responded by releasing quills, makes us cringe in horror. How can she possibly survive these massive injuries? (Not our photo). From this site: “Porcupines are solitary, slow-moving animals that largely keep to themselves unless threatened. The quills usually lie flat against the porcupine’s body until they encounter a threat, at which point they “puff up” and erect their quills, swinging their spiny tails until the threat either leave them alone or gets a sharp whack and a face, hand, or paw full of quills.  Quills are stiff, hollow hairs with microscopic, backward-facing barbs at the tip (kind of like tiny fish hooks), so when they come into contact with flesh—human or animal—they get stuck and pull free from the porcupine’s skin.”

When we saw today’s photos on Facebook and Kathy sent them to me via Whatsapp, we were both heartsick over the devastation caused by a porcupine to this precious duiker. Hopefully, he’ll be found by the rangers and treated by the Marloth Park vet. Some of the quills appear to be deeply penetrated. We can only imagine how painful this is.

We hesitated to post these photos, but as we always say, we tell “it like it is,” and when 99% of our images can put a smile on ours and our reader’s faces. The bush isn’t always pretty. As we’ve always mentioned, we aren’t those people who may nonchalantly say, “Well, it’s all a part of nature.”

We feel deep sorrow for animals in pain as we do when humans are suffering. Animals are no less important in our world, and without them, we wouldn’t be on this planet. We are all integral players in the ecosystem.

When we hear of humans losing a pet, we certainly understand their grief and sorrow. Some may say, “It was just a dog or a cat.” But, those pets play a huge part in our joy in daily lives which are often riddled with challenges. The relationships and love of pets can provide great comfort.

Over the years we’ve spent in Africa, we witnessed many heartbreaking wildlife injuries. Sadly today’s photos sit at the top of this list, and we only hope this poor little duiker gets some help soon. Unfortunately, with the extent of the damage the quills may have caused, euthanasia might be the only option.

On a more positive note, last night, we attended a Thanksgiving dinner celebration at Kathy and Don’s lovely home overlooking the Crocodile River. As mentioned in yesterday’s post here, we brought the two pies I’d made, Rita brought the green beans, and Kathy made the balance of the delicious meal: turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a delicious salad.

Of course, I only ate turkey, green beans, and salad which was perfectly satisfying. I couldn’t help but drool a little when everyone was eating the cherry pie with ice cream and whipped cream and pumpkin pies, also topped with whipped cream, both of which I loved in my old life.

Please, if any Marloth Park residents or visitors see this duiker, report it immediately to the rangers. (Not our photo)

But, I didn’t take even a bite when the others did a little coaxing, encouraging me to try a taste. For me, after all these years of strict low carb, even a small portion could set me on a destructive path. One bite would never be enough when I’ve always had a sweet tooth.

Load shedding began during the dinner party and lasted for two hours while we dined at their big dining room table, drinking wine (except Tom, who drinks brandy and Sprite Zero) in the dark. There were plenty of candles on the table, allowing us to see what we were eating. The night had cooled down considerably from a sweltering day, with heavy wind and rain with the windows open in the dining room, and we were all comfortable. It was a great night indeed.

In today’s heading, we wrote: “A startling revelation from last year.” Yesterday, while working on corrections, I realized it would be one more month until I’d be done. I came across this post from January 23, 2020, while we were still in Arizona, preparing to leave for India in less than a week.

Contained in the post was our first mention of Covid-19. We were sharing details of our upcoming cruise from Mumbai, scheduled to sail away on April 3, 2020, shortly after the end of our private tour of India. As it turned out, the cruise was canceled due to Covid, and we had to cut our tour of India short by many weeks, again due to Covid. It was on March 24 that our 10-month isolation in lockdown began at the Marriott Hotel in Mumbai. Wow! That seems like a long time ago!

It’s still with us. Be careful. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 10, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #201. The veranda to our tent at Camp Olonono in the Maasai Mara in Kenya.  Approaching, it took our breath away. For more photos, please click here.