The holiday festivities have begun...Sparse photo situation at present...Losing weight isn't easy...


The baby bushbuck took cover behind mom when she wasn't sure what to do when she saw us.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
With the small amount of rain, the bush has begun to green creating more vegetation for the wildlife.  But, it still has a long way to go to fully nourish them.
We can hear the cars and bakkies (trucks) driving down our road, minute after minute on what is not necessarily a thoroughfare.  Our road, Swartwitpens, is one of the bumpiest dirt roads in the park and isn't the first choice for local residents to get to their homes. 

As a result, most of the passing vehicles, often driving too fast are holidaymakers finding their way through the maze of dirt roads when the only paved roads in Marloth Park is Oliphant Street (the main road) and Maroela Road (for a short distance from Oliphant to the municipal park and building).

Why people drive so fast here baffles us.  It's not as if the roads are comfortable to maneuver when passengers bounce around as if on a boat in rapids.  In my old life, I'd never been able to ride on these dirt roads.  

Now, with renewed health due to my way of eating I no longer have pain that would prevent me from doing so.  For this, I am eternally grateful and maintain this strict diet with relative ease.

Unfortunately, over the next few weeks, we aren't willing to tackle the traffic on the river roads.  Tom is an impatient driver and it's just not fun being stuck behind multiple vehicles on the narrow dirt roads.

The lucerne lays scattered about the garden uneaten.  The warthogs move it around with their snouts but eat very little.
Instead, we'll stay at our bush house relishing every moment we can even with the few visitors we're getting right now.  This morning was a bit better when we had a few bushbucks and eight kudus stop by for pellets.  

It was exciting to see the kudus.  I told Tom to keep tossing pellets while I went inside and chopped carrots and apples for them.  A neighbor stopped by while I was tossing them and scared them off.  Hopefully, they'll return again soon.

Without our usual drives in the park, self drives in Kruger and with less wildlife visiting us, right now our photos inventory is sparse.  I know I should take photos when we're out to dinner and at social events but once I start having such fun, I forget about taking photos and instead, live in the moment.

I suppose in the realm of things, enjoying the moment instead of stopping to take photos isn't always a bad thing.  But, during this time, I'd be wise to take photos of social activities to ensure we have fresh photos for the next day's post.  I will start working on this tonight when we go to Kathy and Don's bush home for their holiday cocktail party.

And then, tomorrow is Tom's birthday which, as mentioned we're celebrating with Rita and Gerhard.  They're doing the cooking and all I'm bringing is one of Tom's favorite recipes, gluten-free apple crisp which is not low carb.  
Mom and baby stop by for some treats.
I found a low carb version I'm going to make tomorrow for Rita and I.  It has a total of 10 grams of carbs per serving so I'll have to carefully consider what I consume for the remainder of the day to stay within my daily allotment of 20 grams.

A while back I'd mentioned I was trying to lose the 11.34 kg (25 pounds) I'd gained when I was suffering from the now non-existent gastrointestinal issue for two and a half years.  Eliminating all dairy several months ago put a quick end to my woes.  

By dropping dairy from my diet and cutting back a little on fat and protein, so far I've lost over 9 kg (20 pounds) with only about 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) to go to be back where I was when we began traveling six-plus years ago.  

Need I say, I'm thrilled to be able to wear my limited wardrobe without lying on the bed to zip my pants and constantly feeling as if I had to "tuck in" my love handles which have now all but disappeared.  

Its been a slow process. While I was suffering from the condition I was constantly eating in an attempt to stop the gnawing pain in my gut.  Sure, I continued eating a low carb, grain free, starch free and sugar-free diet but one can certainly gain weight if eating too much of any types of food.
Mongooses often stop by looking foe eggs.
These last few pounds have been tricky.  When Tom and Lois were here, we were dining out a lot more often than usual and the weight packed on.  During their three-week visit, I gained back 2.27 kg (5 pounds).  

Its taken me since November 1st, when they left to return to the US, to get back to the point where I was before they'd arrived.  That's really slow! However, I stayed determined and on course, day after day.  If I lose the remainder by the time we leave here in February, I'll be content.

In the interim, the clothing I purchased in the US in 2017 is now too big and before we leave here I'll donate everything that doesn't fit and purchase some new items when we return to the US in April.  Wearing the same clothes over and over again with frequent washings results in wear and tear and every few years we must replace some items.

For today, I'm trying to dry a pair of white denim capri pants to wear to the party tonight.  Without a dryer, the heavy denim fabric often takes two days to dry in the humid climate.  Tom set us a chair in front of the portable fan and I'm hoping it's going to dry them in time.

That's it for today, folks.  We'll be back tomorrow on Tom's 66th birthday, looking back at his past birthdays since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012. 

Have a fantastic day as many of us delve into the spirit of the holiday season, wherever we may be.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 22, 2017:

Many of the streets in Montevideo, Uruguay reminded us of other historical cities we've visited.  For more photos as the 30-night cruise came to a close, please click here.

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