Coffee, tea and me, please...The action continues...Busy day with Miles...Out late last night...

Daphne Islet is breathtaking.
Two mornings ago I had the first cup of coffee I've been able to consume since last December when I experienced the exacerbation of the symptoms of helicobacter pylori that had been populating my system for 16 months.

Now that the infection is gone, residual effects are often left behind after the infection heals for up to a year or longer. The symptoms of the aftereffects have waned considerably since I began taking mega-dose probiotics, VSL #3 with 450 billion bacteria based on a recommendation by Dr. Peter Dingle whom I met aboard the 24-night cruise from Sydney to Seattle.

It wasn't easy finding this high potency non-prescription product in the US since its rarely prescribed by doctors, who prefer to prescribe pharmaceuticals.  However, I've since found it online, after purchasing the first batch in Vancouver on May 16th.  It may be found here.

A second pricey box of 30 sachets (one of which is dissolved in ice cold water, stirred vigorously and chugged down) arrive at our hotel in Minnesota which arrived in cold packs.  Luckily, we have a small refrigerator in our hotel room where I've been able to keep the product cold which is vital for the bacteria to survive.

Please see your doctor if you're suffering from a gastrointestinal illness that may be helped with this product by improving the microbiome (gut) bacteria.  For me, it's worked wonders.  I can actually go an entire day without the pain and uncomfortable feelings after eating and drinking reasonable amounts of food and liquids.
Stunning views on a sunny day.
After purchasing a pint of heavy cream last weekend, I could hardly wait to try it with a cup of decaf.  Since I haven't had any caffeine for six months, I decided to start with a ratio of 3/4 decaf and 1/4 caffeinated.  So far, so good.  No negative aftereffects.

One may ask, "If you've gone six months without coffee and caffeine, why start it up again?"  For me, based on my restrictive diet there are few "guilty pleasures."  A good cup of coffee can satisfy me as much as a raspberry jelly filled donut (which I never consume) did in my old life. 

As I continue to increase the decaf to caffeine ratios, by the time we leave Minnesota, I expect to be able to savor a mug full of the "real deal," caffeinated coffee.  Also in the past week, I've been able to drink a few mugs of herbal tea each day as well, another fine treat.   After drinking only water (not a fan), this is a huge milestone for me.

Speaking of "milestone" I'm anxious to share the details of an especially fun day we had yesterday with my son Greg's middle child, grandson Miles who is nine years old.
From Daphne Islet a boat can access Brentwood Bay to the Straits of Georgia to the Salish Sea.
Wee started this "one child a day" concept now that school is out for the summer.  One-on-one interactions with each of our grandchildren give us a much better opportunity to build closer relationships.

Yesterday, was our first day alone with Miles.  This week, we'll have had Miles with us on Monday, Maisie on Wednesday, Madighan on Thursday and Vincent on Friday.  We're busy deciding as to which activities best suits each child.

Yesterday morning at 8:00 am we picked up Miles, (a 30-minute drive in traffic) in order to get back in time for the "free breakfast" at our hotel, Country Inn & Suites, Carlson Parkway, Plymouth, MN.

As mentioned in an earlier post, when we acquired the long-term corporate rate, we included us and three children as occupying the room.  This way, at any given time, we could have five for breakfast and a swim in the pool at no additional charges. 

This has worked out well so far, even though on a few occasions there have been one or two additional family members for the breakfast.  I discussed this with the hotel's general manager and based on the fact that there's never more than three of us (Tom and I and one grandchild) during weekdays, a few more on Saturday or Sunday certainly doesn't increase our overall allotment.
As we walked along the less developed area of the gardens we approached access to the sea, via Daphne Islet.

This hotel couldn't have been a better place to stay. When we returned to the hotel with Miles by 8:45 am, he was excited to have the self-serve breakfast in the hotel's dining area which included an entire waffle, tater tots, bacon and a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal with milk.

Miles is a slim little guy and we were surprised by how well he ate.  After breakfast,  he and I went out for a few quick errands at Ridgedale Mall, a visit to an ATM and of course, a stop at a Target store for a toy.  How can a good grandparent resist purchasing a toy for their sweet grandchild? 

After our shopping expedition, we returned to the hotel, where I taught him to play Blackjack on my phone.  He surprised us how quickly he figured out when and when not to take a "hit."  He's definitely his "father's son.'

In a matter of minutes, he beat my record of $150,000 with $990,000 in earnings.  I teased him that now I'll never be able to break my prior record.  We laughed heartily together.  Kids are amazing with digital stuff these days!

After awhile it was time to head out to the movie theater for a movie he's was anxious to see, Captain Underpants.  After buying him a blue Icee, we found great seats and watched the movie.  I dozed a few times but unlike Tom, he didn't nudge me for dozing off.  He was having a great time.
Small neatly trimmed logs create a pleasing border.

It was 4:00 pm when the movie ended and we headed back to his home where I hung out with Camille for a bit, then Greg and also Maisie and Madighan.  At 6:00 pm, Maisie and I went to her final Girl Scout meeting for the season. 
I waited patiently for 90 minutes during the meeting, carefully listening to their joyful and playful interactions at the home of the troop leader while the group of giggling 10-year-old girls had fun with crafts and making plans for next year.  It brought back memories of when I was a den mother when my sons were in Cub Scouts many moons ago.

By 7:45 pm we were back at Greg and Camille's home. Back on the road, a few minutes later I was headed to the northern suburbs to pick up Tom at son TJ's home after they'd gone to his Monday night horseshoe games. 

When I arrived around 8:15 pm, they'd yet to return from the games so I waited on a nearby side street. The road to TJ's house was closed due to road construction and Tom suggested I wait at the nearest intersection until they returned. TJ dropped Tom off where I waited around 8:50 pm.

I didn't mind waiting.  It gave me time to reflect on these many busy and fun days; those that have passed so far and the many busy days and nights yet to come.  I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.
A creek at Butchart Gardens in Victoria.
By 9:00 pm we were on our way back toward the hotel with a plan to stop for a bite to eat.  I suggested the "Big Bowl" at Ridgedale Centre hoping Tom could find something he'd like.  He ordered "sesame chicken" with white rice while I had a dressing-free Asian Chicken salad (minus noodles or crispy things).

By the time we returned to the hotel it was close to 11:00 pm.  Neither of us had trouble falling asleep when we turned off the lights close to midnight.  It was a good day.

Today, at 12:05 pm, Tom's sister, Betty, known as Sister Beth (a nun) is arriving at the airport.  We'll be picking her up and taking her to his sister Patty's home where she'll stay for the upcoming week.  We'll stop and pick up dinner to bring to Patty's and spend the afternoon and early evening with both of them.

Busy days, busy nights, happy times. Life is good.

May life be good for you as well!

Photo from one year ago today, June 6, 2016:
One year ago today, the Wi-Fi signal was very poor and we were unable to upload any photos.  For the post comparing living expenses for Bali as opposed to other countries, (without photos), please click here.


Kari Snell said...

Glad that you are able to enjoy a cup of coffee. I don't know what I would do without my morning cups! Family time is so important and I'm happy to read that both you and Tom are getting quality time with the grandchildren and family. Looking forward to seeing the two of you during the month of June which I know will go fast. Enjoy your time in Minnesota Jessica and Tom.

Now I have to go make another cup of coffee!

Niece Kari

Jessica said...

Kari, we'loved seeing you last night and appreciate all the love and support you've given us over these past years of world travel. It and you mean so much to us both.

Jess & Tom

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