It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since the world changed due to what is called a Pandemic. I have not taken a trip in two years!!! I was planning a trip last year and even had my camper van mostly packed. Finally, in August or September I decided to unpack the clothes and other items I started putting in the camper for a trip, realizing that I would not be going anywhere.
So, I have been staying home cooking, baking, talking on the phone, reading books, and sometimes taking an online exercise class or going for a walk. Every 2 or 3 weeks I take my camper van for a drive to keep it running well. When I go to the grocery stores every week or two I try to go to the few that I go to all on the same day to avoid more exposure to Covid and other germs. I am not going to get the vaccine. I don’t have any comfort level with it.
As for photos, I do have a few of foods I have made, but I haven’t tried to figure out how to add them into this revised version of WordPress yet. Maybe I will sometime. I have been trying lots of new recipes and improvising with others that I have made before.
Many years ago, when I lived in Texas, Macaroni Grill had an appetizer on the menu that they removed a long time ago. It was called Italian Nachos. It was so good it’s sad they removed it. I found several recipes on the Internet for it, but mostly they use wanton wrappers or tortilla chips as the base. Macaroni Grill used fried pasta dough pieces. I make my own pasta every now and then, so I made pasta sheets and cut them into squares and triangles, brushed them with a little oil and instead of frying them in oil, I put them in the air fryer until they were crisp.
That worked really well. Then I made a simple Alfredo sauce which I used for many dishes and even froze some for another time. To make the Italian Nachos I put the chips on a dish, added the Alfredo sauce, some cooked chicken and/or sausage, tomatoes, yellow peppers, olives, Asiago and Parmesan cheese and whatever else you may want on top. Then cook until hot and bubbly. It’s so good and very addictive. I still have been baking my breads, cookies, crackers, etc.
I also love to eat hamburgers stuffed with blue cheese. Putting any cheese or toppings between 2 hamburger patties and sealing all the edges is a special treat. Instead of the cheese and other stuff falling off the top of the burger, when bitten into the hamburger with the fillings inside it’s soft and juicy.
That’s about it for now. I did go get my eye exam and unlike last year when my vision changed, this year it’s about the same. This is good so I didn’t have to buy several pairs of new glasses like I did last year.
I have been traveling around the world meeting lots of new people on a platform called Zoom. I now have friends in so many states in the US, and many countries around the World. It’s been interesting trying to figure out all of the different time zone conversions. Especially since some states and countries either change the time or don’t change it. For example, the United Kingdom changes their clocks the end of March whereas the United States changes it the middle of March. Countries like India don’t change it at all.
Yesterday, I made bread. Today I am planning on making wheat thin crackers again. I haven’t made them in a few months and I like to snack on crunchy foods at night. I did make soft pretzels last week and I freeze some to eat over time. When I make wheat thins I usually make a quadruple batch because it’s very time consuming and while I am making a mess I make enough to last several weeks. For what would be 1 box of wheat thins in the store, I can make almost 3 pounds of my own and they have less salt and no chemicals. It’s really only butter, flour, and whatever spices I add and a dash of vanilla extract. I use different spices like smoked paprika, rosemary, sage, thyme, or whatever else to change it up. I don’t like spicy foods so I don’t add chili powder or anything like that.
I guess some of you are wondering how my health is since I have not written about it in a while. My checkup in January was good. My thyroid level is normal again, and I didn’t even take medicine the doctor wanted me to take last year. I did use some thyroid vitamins for a while. Maybe that helped, or my body did it on it’s own. My insides hurt a bit more again. Usually in the mornings when I wake up. I do take my medicine but it wears off sometime during the night. Once I get up out of bed and start moving I feel better and the pain mostly lessens. It’s just some days it’s challenging to want to move and get up and it may take me a while to get motivated to move and get out of bed. It’s all good. It’s not near as bad as it was from 2010 through 2015. I have not gone back to the neurologist nor had another MRI done to check the tumor in my pituitary gland. It’s evidently not affecting my vision and I don’t want brain surgery again. I don’t think of my tumors as connected to my body. I pretty much ignore then and if I think of them I tell them they are not wanted and I don’t let them affect my thinking.
There are so many things I have to be grateful for… the list is so long it would fill pages. I have been thinking about my friend and mentor Lois who was confined to bed the last 7 years of her life with a third of a lung on oxygen. If she laid really still most days she could breathe. She would continually tell me to stand up, take 2 steps and say thank you God that you can walk, talk, and breathe a the same time. She could not do that. Some days I wasn’t able to do that either and most days I can.
A few years ago when I was more active I did lots of really interesting and unusual jigsaw puzzles. I still have several I have not done yet. You can do a search on my website for jigsaw puzzles to see some that I have done over the years. Also, search inspirational poems and stories to read some that have helped me over the years. There are a few stories I wrote about Lois and things she taught me which have changed my life and perspective on life. Such as keeping an attitude of gratitude. She would ask me almost daily… what are you grateful for? Especially in challenging times.
Wow!!! It’s difficult to believe it is the beginning of a new year. A few years ago I had no idea I would be alive to see this year, nor the past 7 years. If you have been following my story you might remember that in May 2013 my doctor at the time told me I would not live to the end of the year, definitely not 2 years. Now it’s almost 8 years later and I am still here. Not only that but the constant intense pain I was in from 2010 through 2016 has lessened considerably and some days it minimum, thankfully. I am on some medication to help take the edge off the pain, but it doesn’t effect my mental thoughts for which I am very grateful.
Other than talking with friends on the phone, and using some media technology applications that provide video and sound, I have been reading lots of books on my tablet and making delicious meals and desserts. I’m trying lots of new recipes and experimenting with recipes I wanted to try for a long time. I am getting braver and making foods that are complicated and time consuming. I also recently was told about Amish Friendship Bread and it needs a starter to be made which takes 10 days before it’s ready to be used. I have since made it twice and once kept it alive for 20 days. I made some almond cookies, chocolate chip cake, and soft pretzels with the starter and I also gave 5 cups away, one cup each to 5 different people so they can try this starter with whatever recipe they want. I found a website that has about 100 different recipes for the starter.
I have a learning curve with my website since earlier last year. My friend Pam who set up this website for me in 2011 updated it so that it will be more secure and as a result the screen looks very different and it is different to try to upload photos. In all honesty, since early last year I have sort of been lazy in the way that I have been using email and Internet. Instead of taking my computer out of the computer bag and setting up my laptop, I have been using my phone, just because it’s handy and easier. So I only put quick posts on this website. Two days ago I unpacked my computer and set it up and installed a program so I can use the computer to visit with friends and see many of them at a time on the screen, rather than my phone which only lets me see 4 of us at a time. What a nice difference. Now I wish I did it 9 months ago.
I still have to figure out how to add photos and I also need to one day connect my phone so I can upload pictures from it to my computer. It’s progress, not perfection. Sometimes it takes me a while of procrastination before I actually get something done. From October until December I took advantage of Amazon offering Kindle Unlimited service to me again like they did over the summer, except it was $5 for 2 months rather than free. So since there are so many books I wanted to read and not as much time to read them, my priority was reading. Especially since due to this quarantine I was not going anywhere or doing anything exciting. Now a week or so ago, they offered 3 free months. So I am taking advantage of that.
I have found several authors that I like and am trying to read all of their books. A few authors I like had free books on Amazon. However, I found out that after their first book since they are not on Kindle Unlimited I would have to purchase the books. A few I did buy, others I only read the free short excerpts which gave a glimpse of what happens but not the details or outcomes. I use my imagination which I know is not the true happenings in the story. I did write a few of the authors to tell them how much I really enjoyed their stories and especially if there was something I identified with. A few wrote back and two even sent me the books after the free one in a series so I could read what really happened. In exchange, I surprised them sending them lots of my favorite recipes. I feel like we bartered, I don’t like to take advantage of anyone. That’s about it for now. One day, eventually, I will connect phone and computer and post photos when I figure it out.
Many years ago I had a Garfield the cat cartoon that I liked. It showed Garfield shackled spread eagle to a dungeon wall with chains. The caption read: Someday I am going to look back at this and laugh. Many times in my life I thought about that as I lived life. Including in 2010 and years after when I had those 4 operations and the pain and complications that came as a result of them. Also many other life experiences that were challenging and/or painful. I try to always be grateful no matter what. Lois a mentor I had from June 1988 to May 1989 taught me to always be grateful no matter what. She would tell me to stand up, take 2 steps and say thank you God that I can walk, talk, and breathe at the same time. Lois was unable to do that. She was on oxygen, had 1/3 of a lung, and was on oxygen the last 6 years of her life. You can search Lois, and also inspirational poems and stories. I wrote a few stories about my time with Lois and what she taught me that still has a strong impact on my life even today.
That’s it for now. I have so much to be grateful for. My gratitude list is extremely long.
I want to sell a lovely, peaceful, scenic, 5.9 acre wooded piece of property that I own on the Cumberland Plateau in Altamont, Tennessee, which is in Grundy County. My property is in Hunter’s Ridge, Unit 3. It is approximately 5 miles from the town of Altamont where the Grundy County Courthouse and numerous businesses are located. There are also several businesses closer to the property. Land in Hunter’s Ridge is parceled in a minimum of five acre tracts. Altamont is approximately 55 miles northwest of Chattanooga, and about a three hour drive northwest of Atlanta. It’s also about 78 miles from Nashville. Taking back roads it’s about an hour and a half driving time.
This is a beautifully wooded piece of land, and I had a gently curved gravel road put in on the northwestern side of the property going about 3/4 of the way back. Here is a link to a photo album of pictures I took a few years ago in both the summer and fall. Because of the thick brush, I wasn’t able to see all the way back into the property, that’s why I had the road put in close to the side boundary. Also, by visiting there in two different seasons, it shows what the land looks like with and without leaves on the trees. There are several nice locations on the property to place a house and still leave lots of tall trees around it for shade. This is one of the nicest pieces of property in Hunter’s Ridge, it sits high on the plateau and it’s close to owning a bluff view property.
There are several photos in the album which were taken in the surrounding area, but are not on my piece of property such as the pictures with waterfalls and ponds, and a few that show an overview of the tops of trees looking out over the valley. These were taken a few miles from my property. I have seen wild turkeys and deer walking around the property, and also there are wild berry vines on the property. The pictures showing cattle grazing on a hill or really it’s a mountain, are taken looking out from the back of my property, using the zoom feature on my camera.
If you or someone you know is interested in this property, please let me know if you have my personal contact information. Or, you can contact me at email@example.com, or call Will or Kay at 1-888-846-8703.
Due to the quarantine I’m not able to go anywhere. My camper was half packed. I had everything except for food and medical supplies in my camper and ready to leave on a trip when the quarantine for Covid 19 hit and I decided not to go anywhere to stay safe at home.
So I have been reading books on my tablet, cooking different foods and try a new recipes and sharing them with friends and Neighbors, and talking on the telephone. It’s hard to It’s hard to believe it’s already November and the end of the year is rapidly approaching.
The good part is I have been able to reconnect using different online applications and able to visit with friends in different states and make new friends in states that I have not been to . So that’s been interesting. I just decided to add I just decided to add this post so you know I am still alive and doing okay for the most part still have some health issues but I’m surviving them and I’m grateful for so many things I have so much to be grateful for and I feel very blessed and humble. I wish all of you good health and happiness always.
Due to the Covid-19 quarantine I am still at home. I was hoping to leave in early April on a trip for several months but it seems that it will not be possible to take a trip for a while.
I have been home reading books online, and cooking and baking and trying new recipes. The gym that I went to discontinued their fitness classes, but last week my gym instructor Shon associated with a new gym and is doing some online fitness classes, so now I’m getting some exercise 3 days a week thankfully. I am using my phone to update my website because I haven’t written since March. I will try to turn my computer on sometime soon and add some pictures of foods that I’ve made. I’ve been experimenting and trying new recipes including some that are a bit more challenging than my normal ones.
I hope everybody is doing well through this change in our New Normal. The good thing is through using Zoom and WebEx I’ve been able to reconnect with friends in Texas which has been really nice. Check back in a while and hopefully I’ll have written something within a week or so.
It seems the year is rolling along and time seems to pass quickly. It’s hard to believe it’s the end of March already. I finally wrote two previous stories for my activities of September through February. In addition to going to the gym five days a week, reading LOTS of books, and going to the events I wrote about in the posts prior to this one, I am still cooking, baking, and making almost everything I eat from scratch. I don’t want to eat all of the cookies, bread, and other things I make so I share it with my friends and other people I know through places I go to like the grocery store, mechanics, doctors office, and other similar places.
I am still having some health issues, but I think my body is finally settling in to trying to get back to a somewhat normal rhythm. Starting this past fall my body was doing strange things, even for me. My heart was beating differently like fluttering and beating hard when I was sitting and reading, headaches were severe, severe pain in my lower back pain from my arthritis in my lumbar spine, intense pain in my left hand and arm, and a few other issues. Since my four operations in 2010, I have been having some serious and intense health issues, and pain, which I have written about periodically. I decided to get massages at least once a month, sometimes more often. I am worth spending the money and I think it’s been helping me. A friend of mine is a massage therapist, so she comes over so I don’t have to go to her studio. We get to visit for a while before my massage and I make us something to eat for after and we have a nice time catching up on life and our adventures and activities.
Christmas Eve night I ended up in the emergency for four hours due to extremely high blood pressure and a severe headache which I also had when my blood pressure was normal. I have been to more doctors and different types of doctors in the past three months than in the past two or three years. I even went and had my eyes checked and found out I needed to get new glasses since my vision got worse. By the time the doctor ordered a heart monitor and it was put on me my heart decided to start working okay and nothing showed being wrong with my heart, which is a great thing.
I went to a neurologist and she ordered an MRI of my brain and Pituitary gland to see if we can find why I got such bad headaches. I have to go back to her the end of this week for the results, however, when I went to my primary doctor the other day he said one of the things the MRI showed is that there is a micro adenoma (tumor) in my Pituitary gland. It’s very small thankfully, this could be the cause of some of my health issues and my thyroid levels being elevated. In 1982, I had surgery on my Pituitary gland since there was tumor growing in it and putting pressure on my optic nerve. It took about 18 months of tests and waiting for the tumor to grow to a size that the doctor felt it was time to operate. We are not close to that size, however, I don’t think I will go through that surgery again, it took it’s toll on my body functions and it was a little over a year recouperation time.
I know medicine has changed a lot since then. I am not concerned about this tumor. I am going to think about it like the other tumors and cysts I have now, including the large tumor in my abdomen. I don’t give them permission to be in my body. I think about them as a ball that is there, but, not attached to any organ, nerve, tissue, etc. even though I know they are. I ignore them, except when they cause pain or complications, even then I still do my best to ignore them. I visualize them gone. Something is working, the abdominal tumor has not grown in 22 months, according to the CT scan I had in January.
I am still drinking my glass of celery juice I make almost every morning and it’s helped my back pain be lessened and on many several days gone, thankfully. It’s not fun waking up with pain in several places in my body every day and not wanting to move or get out of bed. But, I make myself do it every day even if I don’t want to. Until 2010, whenever I had operations they were not four in one year, I was younger, and after several months the pain would be gone and my body was normal, whatever that is. Since 2010, that has not been the case. I have been in almost constant pain and have had health issues and complications. I have a new normal, and it changes from time to time for a different new normal. I didn’t write about it for several years, only my close friends knew what I was dealing with and going through.
Then one of my close friends who also has serious health issues told me I should write about it on my website to give hope to others. So, I went back to the beginning of my stories in 2011 and added wording about my health issues and pain. So for the past few years I write about it every now and then like this story to show that no matter what we deal with we can still live life to the fullest that we can.
Perhaps we have to modify our activities, but life still happens and we can have fulfilling experiences. I refuse to be a victim and just sit and feel sorry for myself and let life happen. I choose to be proactive and live life as best I can. Some days it’s more than on other day. But I do push myself and not just sit feeling down or get depressed. It’s been ten years now that I have been going through almost constant pain, some days a lot more intense than other days. Thankfully, it’s now four days that I have not had a headache or back pain after having it for several months. My heart is pumping correctly, my blood pressure is under control. I still have other issues, and now this new tumor but it will all work out the way God has it planned.
My part is to continue to keep a positive attitude, look for all of the things I have to be grateful for… which are so very many. I focus on the positive. There are days that I tell God that I am tired of the pain and limitations I have, but then God puts people in my life that have more serious issues than I do, whether it be physical, monetary, or spiritual. Sometimes it’s so I can share the message of hope and gratitude. It shows me and confirms that I still have a purpose to be alive. It also gives me hope and inspiration.
I did not go on a trip in my camper van last year due to some health issues. I decided it’s time to take another trip this year. I am not going to let my health issues control my life again. As in previous years, I can hurt anywhere. There are three fire chiefs that stay in touch with me and a mechanic friend I made near one of the chiefs. They have been asking me to come visit them again since it’s been several years since I visited them. I think that is a great thing to do this year.
I have started getting ready for this trip. I had mechanical work done on my camper van to get it ready for the trip. I am hoping that there are no issues this year, even minor ones, but I know that if something happens I will be in a place or situation where it can be resolved. It seems every trip I take that something needs attention, my experience is that God has never left me stranded. One year the back step motor went out when the step was down, another was windows leaking water, or the refrigerator or air conditioner stopped working. In 2017, the transmission decided to stop working with no warning, another time it was minor needing to replace the auxiliary batteries. Maybe this year all will be well.
I know that God is in charge and has taken care of me all along the journey. I have driven about 80,000 miles in the camper van in the 15 years that I have owned it. My camper van had 25,000 miles on it when I bought it in 2005, and it was 8 years old. Now she is 22 years old and I am sure she has enjoyed the adventures and experiences we have had together. We have had some amazing and wonderful experiences as we traveled around the United States. Since 2011, I have documented the journey in my camper and my life and it’s nice every now and then to look back and read a story and look at pictures in the albums. There are some things I forgot about, one was holding a baby alligator at the fire station in Georgia. Or I look at pictures and remember the experience and feeling like standing in the snow at Crater Lake, Mount Ranier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
The long trip I took and went away for a few months was the summer of 2018 when I helped a family in north Florida on their farm. That was great and I had a kitchen to use because I also cooked meals and ate with the family and had a washer and dryer to use. Unless I am at a friends house, I wash my clothes and towels in a bucket and hang them on a chair to dry. If there is no shower house where I am camping I wash my hair and me using a hose at a faucet, and use a washcloth to was me. I used to go to a laundromat but found I didn’t like doing that and waiting hours for the clothes to be washed and dried.
So, since I now make all of my food from scratch I was trying to figure out how to do it as I travel in my camper van. I can’t take my Kitchenaid Mixer and attachments or my Vitamix because they are too large, as is my air fryer oven and my 6 quart pressure cooker. So, I bought a small 3 quart instapot pressure cooker and have been using it and it will work in my camper if I have electric, and maybe also operate on my generator, which won’t work for my air fryer oven since it is a more powerful voltage.
I have a Ninja master prep with three different size containers and I have been using it at home to see if it will work for my needs. I used it to make my celery juice, it doesn’t grind it as fine as the Vitamix, but it is okay to drink. I used it to make a cake batter, bread, and several other things I eat and I think by bringing two containers of the Ninja I can make foods almost the same as I do with the Kitchenaid and Vitamix. I will bring my hand crank pasta maker so I can make pasta and crackers. I only have a small toaster oven that will work in the camper with my generator, or electric if I have connections. It’s small and works fine, I have used it to bake desserts and chicken, fish, meat, etc. I would like to take my larger toaster oven, but space is an issue and so is how to run it if I am not plugged into electric.
It’s going to be fine and I am up for the challenge. I will also bring a few canned goods like chicken, soup, beans, pumpkin, etc. Of course I will bring flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and other things to bake with. I am bringing my silicone baking cups that I can use in my toaster oven rather than taking muffin pans that take up more space. I think washing the items may be more of a challenge unless I am at a campground. I have some meat and fruit along with some food I made and froze to put in my tiny freezer to eat while traveling. While visiting the fire chiefs they said I could use their kitchens to make food if I would like to. Also, in Georgia at the fire station, like the last time I was there they let me use the shower and stay in their break room to watch television and cook. When I am at the fire stations, we usually have a cookout which is great fun.
Evidently, Google and/or WordPress made some changes and I can’t figure out what I need to modify, but it seems that I won’t be able to update my travel map buttons to show my route anymore. It was nice being able to see the routes I took for each trip. I still use maps and my GPS as I travel. Every night and morning before I head out to a new destination I look at my maps, Atlas, and campground books to see what route I want to take or maybe where I want to stop for the day.
It seems that this new Virus and all of the panic the media and others are creating because of it is changing life and causing people to panic and alter lives. Based on seeing the food supply and empty shelves in almost every department at stores it seems people think that there is not going to be food to eat or clean water to drink. Paper products and other items like alcohol, disinfectants, aloe gel, hand sanitizer, etc. are almost non existent. There are long lines just to get in to a store. The line at Costco last week to get water or paper products was from the front of the store, around the side of the building to the gas pumps. If people would just get what they need and not panic there would be enough supply for everyone.
I am not panicking or changing much of my life. It’s frustrating and I feel sad for so many businesses and people who are losing their income because stores and businesses are closed for weeks. Even the place I get my eyeglasses have been ordered to close. Government offices are closed to the public, it’s almost impossible to transact business or do normal activities. We should all be conscience all the time. We never know when we pump gas who touched the handle before us. Could have been an exterminator using chemicals and people using the bathroom not washing hands, and many others that keep compounding the germs the same as on door handles, etc. I always have been washing my hands frequently so it’s not much different than now. I use vinyl gloves when pumping gas often and also when I cook.
Yesterday, I spent several hours in the camper to get ready for the trip. I put my clothes in it and went through my cabinets to make sure I am not taking unnecessary items. Usually when I come back from a trip I restock what I used up, like hand sanitizer which I use when I can conserve water to wash hands or clean items. I didn’t replentish in November because I was not sure when I will take another trip. Usually I leave in July for a few months, since I had to have the transmission replaced and the warranty is up the end of June I decided to leave in April for a few months. Now, all of the sanitizer, wipes, etc. are impossible to get I was concerned about having some for my trip. As I was going through the camper, I found two 8 oz. bottles of sanitizer, 16 rolls of toilet paper, two rolls of paper towels, and a package of sanitizer wipes. So, I am good for the trip. I also have a bottle of alcohol which I can use for towels to make my own if needed.
Here are pictures of some of the foods that I have been making, enjoying, and sharing with others. Eating fresh soft pretzels, homemade pizza, and fresh homemade pasta tastes so much better than store bought. It also has no chemicals and less salt. I use herbs and spices rather than salt and pepper. I have been trying recipes and making foods I never made before, many more challenging and time consuming than my regular foods. One of them was Ciabatta bread and another was Kolaches which I love to eat when I am in Texas. Neither was really hard to make, but they took lots of time to make and the taste was well worth the effort.
Lasagna with homemade pasta makes such a difference from using hard store bought pasta and it’s not hard to make. My homemade wheat thin crackers are addictive. I made two pounds at a time and it only lasts about 10 days. I made a corned beef in the pressure cooker the other day and it was great to eat for several days, including making Reuben sandwiches. So, I bought another corned beef and I will cook it before I leave on my trip to eat for a few days while I am driving.
In April 2019, my friend Debbie and I went to Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Okeechobee, Florida. Then in February 2020, I went there for three days by myself with my camper. In previous posts from my visits here, I had a link to their website which was Arnoldswildlife dot org but I found out recently that they only now have a Facebook page. I can’t provide a link since I don’t have a Facebook account.
Here is a link to the pictures I took during these two visits. There were several new animals since my visits in previous years. In February, I saw three otters in the otter exhibit and found out that the third one was the baby that I saw when I was there in January. I love watching the otters swimming and playing in their pool and chasing each other through the water or playing in the water spraying on top of their rock wall. The brown lemur was fun to watch. He would sleep a while, then play with his ball. He would roll it and then hold it using his tail, then play a bit more and then rest again.
Sadly, several animals have passed away due to age or health issues. I still love watching the various types of monkeys. Sometimes when I visit there are baby monkeys, usually ring tail lemurs or marmoset babies, but not this time. Bari who is a friend of Sue Arnold’s bought two donkeys that are a French breed and not very common. They are very large, but also very gentle. One of the donkeys has curly fur and the other has straight fur. The Prevost squirrels which are from Asia are so beautiful and a bit larger than common squirrels. There is a pair of Indonesian Jade Peacocks which are more green which are rare and endangered, so far there have not been any babies from this pair, that I know of. They are beautiful colored peacocks and they look different from the common peacocks which are turquoise.
The two deer in the pictures below are special needs animals. One of the deer has only three legs, it’s missing a back leg. The other deer must have also been hit by a vehicle, it’s back legs and hips are damaged. It seems it can put a little weight on one back leg, but the other just dangles and the whole hip moves together like it drags behind it’s body. It’s so sad to see animals hurt and having physical challenges, but they seem to do okay and get the best care here.
In addition to loving the various types of monkeys, I love the camels. So many of the animals I have come to know from my many visits over the years, like Zeke the Capuchin monkey, and Lucy the mama camel and Annie her baby who is now about three years old. I have been watching her from when she was a few days old. Sue Arnold sent me photos of Annie when she was a few days old, she was so cute. On my website there are pictures in older albums from when Annie was a few months old to now when she is about three. They love drinking water from their water spout which is next to the fence and I get to see them up close, other times they are on the other side of their large enclosure eating their hay and other foods.
I always enjoy my visit there and watching the animals play or interact with each other. Watching the monkeys and raccoons especially eat their food is also very entertaining and also educational. They eat the fruit very carefully to maximize the most they can get without losing the juices in their food. The meat eaters such as the jungle cats, panthers, bobcats, etc. get raw chicken and beef for their meal. Sue Arnold is very caring and makes sure all of the animals eat the healthiest foods and there is a nutritionist that comes frequently to ensure the correct diets are fed to the animals.
In February 2020, the City of Lighthouse Point once again held their annual Keepers Day event. My friend Nona and I always try to go on Saturday and watch the parade where it ends at the park, and then we walk around for a while, eat a hotdog, and enjoy our time together. This year there was no antique car show, we don’t know why. Perhaps there was another event they were at because they are usually here. It’s fun to look at the old cars and see how much they have changed and what autos were back when they first were manufactured and the transition over the years.
It’s been a while since I updated my website with what I have been doing. Part of this is due to health issues, and the other part is due to living life, cooking my food and reading lots of books. Kindle Unlimited had a great special in December so I signed up for it. It was three months of books for 99 cents. So I read as many books as I could during that time, which has now expired. When they have another special, I will sign up again. It seems that many authors let the readers get the first book in their series for free, most of the time. After that, there is a charge to read the rest of the books in the series. Now, once again, I have a list of series to complete next time at Kindle Unlimited has a good special.
Also, I have been having several health issues and have been going to the doctors and having tests done. I am still waiting for test results. Hopefully, nothing too serious will show up. I am feeling better and my body seems to be getting back to my new normal. It’s been a bit frustrating for me. Prior to 2010, whenever I had surgeries it took a few months and I was back to normal after the surgical healing process. Due to four operations within eight months, two within a week, my body has not recovered well and also since the abdominal tumor decided to invade my body in 2012. It’s been ten years of almost constant pain and complications. Some days, for the past few months, the pain has lessened, thankfully. There are getting to be more days that I don’t wake up in severe pain and wish to not be here any longer. God still has a plan for my life and sometimes experiences happen that show me why I am here and why my life matters and why I am needed. It renews my faith and gives me more reason to know why I am still alive, now seven years past when my doctor told me I would be.
Okay now to the fun things… Rather than writing a separate story for each event I went to, I am going to put a few in the same story and add a photo album with photos. I will put a few pictures in my story, however, most photos will be in an album. I am going to put the 2019 events in one story for November through December, and then create a new post for 2020 from January through March. Here is a link to the photos of this event. One of the original organizers of this Relay is my friend Gordon, he, I, and several others were given the honor to carry the survivor banner for the survivor walk, I am wearing my orange RFL hat. My friend Nona and I joined a group doing Yoga on the beach. Someone arrived on a bicycle and the cutest dog was in the basket!!!
This is the second year since 2011 that I did not go to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I am hoping to attend and volunteer next year for their 50th anniversary. I did watch it online on their live webcam. It was great watching it and every now and then I saw a pilot or board member that I know and I would take a picture of the screen and text it to them. I took lots of pictures of my tablet screen so I could post them on my website. In some ways I liked being able to watch it on my tablet, I saw photos I would not have seen being there in person. Especially if I was on chase crew. There were also updates and pictures showing the gas balloons, one of which landed in a field somewhere in Canada I think it was. They had to wait until the owner was contacted to let them into the field. Here is a link to the Balloon Fiesta pictures I took on their website.
Next event I went to was the Native Rhythms Festival which I usually attend every year. This wonderful event is Native American Flute music for three days. Many of the vendors and performers are my friends since I have been going for so many years. This year a few of my friends were not there because of family issues, and I missed seeing them. Here is the link to my photos of this event. There were so many exceptional performers, you can read about them on their links on the Native Rhythms Festival website.
Lowery Begay was performing again and he had a booth and displayed some of his original, amazing artwork. If you look carefully, you will see lots of interesting items he inserted and used creating his painting. Cody Boettner was the hoop dancer that performed this year. Cody won first place in the National Championship Hoop Dance competition. He won with a score of over 10 points above the next competitor and he is in his early 20’s. This was the most amazing hoop dancer I have ever seen and I have had the honor of seeing several champions. Here is a link to the story and video of his winning performance.
Shelley Morningsong and Fabian Fontenelle performed again this year. Shelley has one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard and the lyrics touch my heart as does her voice. Her husband Fabian tells stories and has a kind and gentle spirit. They have been married a long time and the love they share can be seen and felt strongly.
My friend Ed Winddancer performed and told stories again this year. He tells stories and makes them entertaining and especially gets the children involved. After one of his performances I went up to him to say hello and I didn’t get the warm greeting and hug like I usually do. I thought that was odd, but maybe he was unwinding from performing. Later on I saw his girlfriend Tammy and while we were talking she told me that Ed had a stroke in May and lost the part of his memory that recognizes people. She said he doesn’t even recognize her and every day is a new day.
I went up to Ed later and introduced myself and then I got the smile and hug. He said it’s okay to write about this issue he has. I suggested that he say something before he performs to let people know so they can be aware to greet him with their name and to give others hope that if they have a stroke that they can still perform or live the life they had with certain modifications. I asked Ed if I see him again in 30 minutes if he will remember me, he said no. So every time I went up to him I would say hi Ed it’s Carol. Then I got my smile and hug from him. Tammy has to remind him sometimes as well. Ed told me if he and Tammy go to the store and get separated he can’t recognize her to find her. So, at the beginning Ed gave a brief update telling about his stroke. So he had to modify his performance a bit and let Lowery do some of the stories and introductions, which was really a nice change. Lowery told stories about his childhood and how much his grandfather taught him and he shared childhood memories that mean a lot to him. Click on the two pictures of his artwork so you can see all of the detail in the pictures and some of the items that are used as other ones. For example, the rifle is an umbrella. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the case in real life?
Over the years, every few years it would rain during the festival, but I would sit under an umbrella and still listen to the music. Many other serious people like me would do the same. This year it rained more and harder than in previous years. The difference this year is thankfully the rain did not occur during the performance time. However, due to having so much rain the ground was over saturated and it was very muddy in places and deep puddles in other places. I am so glad that I brought my rain boots so I did not have to be concerned about the deep water.
As always, the performances and music were magical and I got to hear new stories and listen to new songs, along with some favorites. I didn’t take any classes this year. I have not been playing my Native American flutes, but I should because it is so tranquil and healing. I took my camper once again, and thankfully, the refrigerator worked. Last year the RV repair place turned up the flow of propane when my fridge wasn’t workingf so the fridge would now work, however, it does burn a bit more propane. That’s okay, I rather have the fridge working.
In the beginning of December, the city where I live had their tree and menorah lighting ceremony. It’s always a fun event. There were so many new and different bounce houses or inflatable rides for the children. There was a really high one that had polar bears and penguins on the outside of it. I thought that would be fun to go on and I asked the men running it if I could go on it and they said I could. I took off my shoes and climbed on the tiny bars which are what they call steps, while bending over since I was too tall to stand. This was not an easy task and it took longer to climb up then it did to slide down. It was fun and I would have done it again, except the line was really long with all of the children wanting to have this exciting experience. Now I know why these inflatables always have such a long line. Here is a link to the pictures I took during this event.
One of the ladies I go to the gym with lives with her daughter and her family and they love Disney and decorated their house with lots of Disney characters for the holidays. The lights at night were colored icicle type lights which were beautiful. I thought the lumberjack with his axe and pile of wood was adorable.
Sorry I have not updated my website as I said I would in the last post. Life is been happening and I’ve been dealing with some health issues and taking it easy and cooking like I have been for the past year or so, and lots of Life happenings.
I have stories to write and photographs to post like the Deerfield Relay For Life that was held at the beach this year and was a very nice event and the weather was wonderful.
Also I went to the Native Rhythms Native American Flute Festival in Melbourne, Florida, like I try to go to every year and that was an amazing experience once again and I have lots of pictures and stories to write about that. We had some rain like we’ve had on previous years, thankfully, this year it did not rain during the musical performances except maybe a light drizzle a little bit for one or two of them, unlike other years were it down poured through the event. The ground was very wet and muddy, I’ll try to get some pictures of the event posted soon hopefully.
The Lighthouse Point annual holiday tree lighting and menorah lighting celebration was in the beginning of December, and as always it’s lots of fun and the weather was perfect. It was a little bit cool which made it very festive. They had a lot of bounce houses including a very tall one with Polar Bears and Penguins and I went down that slide and it was fun it took a lot longer to crawl up it hunched over than it did to slide down.
I know I wrote more then I planned on in my previous post and it seems I’m going to do it again now. I’m still going through some health issues including really, really, bad headaches for extended periods of time. I did talk to my doctor about it today and he’s going to send me to a neurologist. I guess to see if we could figure out what it is that’s causing it. Christmas Eve night, at almost midnight of Christmas Day, unexpectedly I ended up in the emergency room at a local hospital. I was sitting on the sofa reading and my blood pressure keep going up and up and up and it got up to 210 / 109 which is not great. I didn’t want to have a stroke. So I called the ambulance and they took me to the hospital and I was there for a few hours they got my blood pressure regulated and I went back on my blood pressure medicine. They did a CT scan of my head and a chest x-ray and blood work and everything was good except I was a little low on potassium so we’re going to explore and see if we could figure this out unless it just stops on its own. When my blood pressure came down due to some medicine they gave me, they let me go home at about 3 in the morning and I got a taxi to take me home. I didn’t want to wake anybody up at that hour to come get me.
So, that’s mostly why I haven’t been working on my website, it’s because my head feels like it’s in a vise a lot of the time so I try not to do more than I need to sometimes. And when I can finally get to sleep I sleep about an hour and a half at a time when I can get to sleep. Naps during the day are good. And I still make myself go to the gym 5 days a week. I’ve had my eyes checked and they checked the pressure behind my eyes and it’s all okay so that’s not the cause. I just wanted to let you know because I know a lot of my friends read my website so this way you can know what’s going on with me.
The last couple of weekends I baked bread and made a lot of cookies to give away. When I was a kid we used to make spritz cookies in different shapes and colors and I have the cookie press so I decided to make spritz cookies to include with the cookies I give away and they’re so colorful and pretty so when I do update my website I’ll put pictures of the cookies on it. Right now I’m using my phone to and voice-to-text to update this post so that you can see I’m still around. However, it doesn’t give me the opportunity to add pictures. I’ll try to add one or two and see if it works for my phone but I don’t know. If you see a few pictures in this post then you will know it worked. I just tried to add pictures from my phone camera and it won’t let me do it unless I take a new picture and I don’t have any cookies to do that with since I gave them away so you’ll have to wait till I turn my computer on and upload the pictures from my phone and Camera.
I bought a professional massager for my feet and a handheld one and by using them it’s helped my lower back pain from my degenerative lumbar arthritis not hurt so bad which is a big blessing. And it’s increased my flexibility I could tell when I do my chair yoga at class I can stretch a little further.
But I have to turn my computer on at some point to write all the stories and post all the pictures I want to. I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. Thank you for being a part of my life in some way.
It’s been a few months since I last updated my website and wrote about what I have been doing. When I wrote my last post in June I had good intentions about keeping my website more up-to-date, but as you can tell that did not happen. I did write a quick note when Hurricane Dorian seemed to be approaching south Florida and sadly the Bahamas. Thankfully, we did not get much of an effect from Dorian. If it came a bit further west it would have been an entirely different story. I feel deep sadness for the people in the Bahamas and other areas that were tragically affected by Dorian.
As for me, I am doing fairly well healthwise. I have had some new issues with pain and high blood pressure but I am working with my doctor to try and get something resolved. The doctor I have had for the past few years got married this past March and evidently left the doctor’s office to stay home and be a mom. Nobody told me. I found out in May when I called for my monthly call to refill my prescriptions and was told she left and the doctor who is in charge of the office will now be my doctor and he wants to see me before he will write any new prescriptions for me.
I made an appointment and without going into much detail, we did not get along very well. I do not necessarily care for this doctors curt manner. After discussion and explaining my health condition to him and telling him that I am trying hard to get off my pain medication and that I have working on reducing it he agreed to refill my prescriptions. For two and a half months I seriously worked on reducing my medicines. I am able to pretty much get off some of my meds. Reducing the pills caused my body to react. Some days it worked to be on less medicine, and other days the pain was so bad I didn’t want to move or get out of bed. After much prayer and thinking about my quality of life and not functioning good in pain, I decided to stay on the dose that provides a good quality of life for me.
Several weeks ago I was opening a jar of sauce and felt something in my left hand pull. After a few weeks it still hurt really bad so I decided to go to the doctor. When I got there my blood pressure was 160 over something. I was told that was a bit high and the doctor would take it again when I was in the room with him. I met with the doctor and we still don’t exactly see eye to eye. I don’t like the cold bedside manner. When he took my blood pressure it was 180 over something and he said I need to go on blood pressure medicine because that is in the danger zone for a stroke or heart attack. For the past few years I have intermittently had high blood pressure. I told the doctor that my blood pressure has increased a lot by talking with him. I agreed to take some blood pressure medicine, not the one I tried a few years ago that gave me bad side effects.
After feeling my abdomen he said that it feels like my tumor may be a bit larger and since I have not had a CT scan for almost two years I am going to have to get one soon. Last one also showed that I have degenerative arthritis in my lumbar spine. That may also be getting worse since I have almost constant lower back pain. I didn’t think I would be writing so much about my health condition when I started this post, but when I write I let my story evolve as the thoughts are put into my head. It seems that most of my writing just comes as I start typing. I feel it is from inspiration put into my fingers. I have been writing stories and posting photos since I retired in June 2011, and it’s just evolved naturally. I am amazed when I really sit and start a new post. I pray and ask my Higher Power to let the story and what I write and share be what is supposed to be shared. Then I begin to type and time passes without me being aware of it. Sort of like being in a time warp and hours pass. Sometimes four to six hours and I don’t realize it. Other times like today might be, I write for a few hours, or maybe one hour, due to time or how I am feeling physically. Then a few days later I pick up and finish the story.
So, other than going to the gym five days a week and doing Silver Sneakers cardio and chair yoga classes, I am still cooking and baking and making almost everything from scratch. I give most of it away when I bake and people love getting homemade treats. I also freeze some of the food and especially cookies and cake so I can have snacks easily without baking and making a mess in the kitchen.
I have made lots of delicious and also interesting foods. I’ve also been experimenting with different foods and spices and making up recipes. I was at Aldi grocery store last month and they had their own brand of an electric pressure cooker, so I decided to buy it since I have heard lots of good things about a name brand of this appliance. I made some short ribs, bone broth, stew, beef in barbecue sauce cheesecake and other things in my pressure cooker and everything tastes really good and it’s fast. The short ribs took about 40 minutes rather than hours in the oven. I am still learning how to use it and adjust liquids but it’s been fun and interesting. I have made lots of different types of bread and the English Muffin Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread have been big hits. The other day I made carrot cake muffins with pineapple and coconut with cream cheese muffins and I gave some to a few friends and everyone absolutely loved them. In fact one of my friends wanted more and she came over the other day and we made a batch for her. She said she’s not much of a cook or baker and we had fun doing it together and she gave me some to keep for myself even though all of the ingredients were hers that she brought over.
This is the first summer and fall that I didn’t go on a trip since I retired in June 2011. I decided to stay home. It’s been different but I enjoyed it even though I missed being on the road and camping. Every few weeks I take my camper van and drive it for a half hour or so and I stop and run the generator and roof air conditioner to keep it all in good condition. The Native Rhythms Festival which is a Native American flute festival in Melbourne, Florida is the second week in November and I always try to go. I get to listen to excellent music and visit with friends there. Many of the vendors and musicians are people I have known over the many years I have gone to pow wows and flute festivals. I also help them in their booths and give them breaks when they need one, bring them food, and I volunteer at the event wherever I’m needed. The festival is next weekend and unless I know it will be raining the entire time I plan on going again this year. Two years ago it started raining the day after I got there which was not good for the event and vendors sine the crowds were not large. I sat under an umbrella most of the time listening to the music.
I have several pairs of rubber boots that I wear when I’m camping or it’s raining. One pair which comes almost to my knees is solid black, the other shorter pairs that come a little higher than my ankles have a pattern to them. One day I decided to paint a design on the black boots so I went to the craft store and bought paints in several colors. I painted a design of grass an flowers and I thought I would add to it gradually. It rained one day and I wore the boots out in the rain and some of the paint came off. I didn’t put a coating on the paint because it was still a work in progress. So, now, I get to repaint the boots and won’t wear them in the rain until I put a waterproof coating on them.
I was at a local store about six weeks ago and they had a great sale on nail polish. I went overboard and bought so many colors. I think I have enough polish and top and base coats to last for many years. They may outlast me!!! I put them in a shallow plastic container and put a piece of white tape on the top of each bottle and swiped a stripe of each color on the top so that I can see the colors without lifting each bottle.
I didn’t go to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this year so I went to their website and watched the live webcam broadcasts and took pictures of my tablet so I can post some pictures here and see the balloons. I miss being there and seeing my friends and volunteering at the event, and crewing on a balloon. When I saw someone I knew being interviewed or a balloon that I knew the pilot and had their contact info I would take a picture of the screen and text it to them. I am always grateful when they write back and thank me and we say hi and it brings back memories for me. Some of them tell me they miss seeing me there.
We have had a lot of rain. It’s strange, the sun will be out and then the sky gets gray and it rains. Sometimes for a short time, sometimes for hours with wind and thunder and lightning. Then the sun might come out and the ground drys and there is no sign of rain. As I am writing this story I saw the clouds get dark and the rain and wind started. This morning was the time change and my body is adjusting because I feel hungry now and it’s a bit early for dinner… except it’s not when I add an hour for the one I lost.
So, now that I realized I am hungry and need to eat I am going to end this story. I don’t know if I will finish it and post my pictures and an album before I leave on my trip to the music festival in a few days. I need to pack and get my camper ready for my trip. I always go to my mechanic and get the fluids and tires checked before a trip, even a short trip. It doesn’t always solve issues such as my transmission going out in Mississippi two years ago. Also, other things have happened every year I travel. Thankfully, it’s always been where I can get it fixed where I am or close by… usually.
I will also write about the music festival like I have in previous years.