February and March 2021

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.

That’s about it for now. Best wishes to everyone.

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