Omelet in a bag party...Minnesota Vikings Football party today...

Tom's three-egg omelet after it came out of the bag.
It was a lovely gathering of 18 local residents including Tom's three sisters, their spouses and us. We can't believe how welcome we feel with this fine group of people and their social activities, often occurring several times a week.
Jane, our hostess, showing me how the omelets were made. Tom wears his name tag when we go to social functions. Go figure.
With our somewhat isolated lifestyle as we travel the world, this time in Apache Junction, Arizona has become special for us. Also, the opportunity to spend time with Tom's family with their endless humor and story-telling has only added to our experience.
The items to include with the eggs in the bag per each guest's preferences.
We needed time to unwind before we head out into the world again. The busy few months including time in Amsterdam, the Baltic cruise, three properties in England, one in Wales and then the cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, required an enormous amount of travel.
There were 18 attendees to the "omelet in a bag" party.
It's no wonder we were vulnerable to the virus we caught aboard the last cruise. Finally, after over six weeks we're recovering with only infrequent bouts of coughing. Tom's appetite has returned. His back is recovering from his twisting incident and we're feeling relieved to be our "old" selves once again.

Yesterday's party was fun. As usual, the women gathered in one area and the men in another. This phenomenon seems more prevalent in the older generation which doesn't both either of us. 
Our sister/sister-law Margie showing me how to mix the eggs in the bag.
It's never that either gender is attempting conversation less suitable for the opposite sex. Overall, I think it's just a habit developed over generations. Younger people today seem less likely to separate in this manner.
Len, our host wore a fun apron and handled the cooking of the omelets.
I politely passed on the omelet in a bag since I'd eaten ahead of time knowing there would be little I could have based on my way of eating and with my hesitancy about eating something cooked in a plastic bag. 
Host Jane and Len had plenty of eggs. Guests brought along a variety of fillings and breakfast side dishes.
I don't use plastic wrap or bags to heat foods in the microwave and quietly stuck to my beliefs. However, I never mentioned anything about the bags. Nothing is more annoying than a person discussing the avoidance of foods or smells at a party due to fear of toxicity. 
Giant pots used to cook the omelets in the bags. They cook for 15 minutes after each guest has written their name on the bag.
Although, I had no choice but to discretely admit to my way of eating when offered cheesy potatoes, yummy looking brownies, Christmas cookies, and the other Margi's cinnamon rolls and other such treats. The hardest item for me to resist was those sticky, gooey, nut-topped cinnamon rolls. 

It was another pleasant gathering and were both back to our little house by 4:00 pm. We had a quiet evening, watching a few shows we'd previously downloaded some time ago. The WiFi isn't good here so we doubt we'll be able to stream any new shows.
The other Margie made these yummy looking sticky buns.
Today at 2:00 pm, we're off to Colleen and Gene's home where Tom will set up his NFL GamePass connecting his computer to their TV using our new HDMI cord, enabling all of us to watch the live Minnesota Vikings game which isn't on TV here.

Tomorrow by 11:00 am we're driving to Rio Verde to meet old friends for lunch. We met in Vicki and Jerry in Kauai Hawaii in January 2015. We're so looking forward to seeing them!

Enjoy your Sunday!
Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2018:
After Louise had seen our photos of Little coming up the steps to the veranda, we all laughed out loud when he did it again while she and her son Jandre were visiting.  For more photos, please click here

Trying to avoid mundane posts...Exterior photos of our little temporary home...

We've already sat out outside several times and used the gas grill.
The weather is warm and sunny most days.

It's not easy to write fascinating posts when right now and until the end of January, our lives are simple and uncomplicated, mostly settled around socializing and daily living.

Are we having a good time? Absolutely! Time spent with the sisters, their spouses, and many neighbors is purely delightful. Last night, 16 of us gathered in and around Margie's patio hauling folding chairs from their own homes. There was room for all of us.

As usual, the conversation was lively and animated. Yes, they are all seniors, of varying ages ranging from their 60s all the way to their late 80s. We fit right in as we do on cruise ships when most passengers are seniors.

The exterior of our mobile home. It's a single-wide without the often added "Arizona room."
No, our lifestyle may be vastly different from theirs but this is often the case and we're used to it. Regardless, we all possess a commonality of past experiences coupled with the current events which are often humorous and entertaining.

These get-togethers aren't about food. Often the party-goers return to their homes around 7:00 pm to make their dinner after an early 4:00 pm start to the festivities. 
If food were involved, with most seniors here having little interest in cooking, fewer people would show. Instead, if one of the participants has a bag of chips, nuts or some other crunchy, salty item, they may bring it along to share.
Down the road from us.
This morning at 11:00 am, as mentioned, we'll be attending the "omelet in a bag event" at the home of a lovely couple who joined all of us yesterday afternoon and whom we met at the firepit a few nights ago.

There was a list of "items to bring" from which participants could choose. We're bringing a bottle of peach schnapps. Others are bringing various breakfast sides including cinnamon rolls, bacon, sausage, etc.

This time we'll take photos to share in tomorrow's post. We apologize for the lack of excitement in our posts over the past 36 days and in regard to the remaining 46 days until we're on the move again, this time to India for two months, where we'll be sightseeing almost every day.
The "backyard" where another mobile home is located.
We'll have plenty to share at that time. But now, the "simple life" continues with casual gatherings, endless chatter and quiet time spent in our little temporary home. We're enjoying every moment.

As for our lingering coughs...mine is almost completely gone and Tom still has a way to go to get to where I am now. He still has outrageous fits of coughing often during the night. But, overall, he's improving a little each day.

May you find the prep and planning for the holiday season (if you celebrate) enjoyable. Happy Saturday!
Photo from one year ago today, December 14, 2018:
Little told his friend that the "pickins" were good at this house so they both climbed the six steps up to the veranda to the front door. For more photos, please click here.

Laundromat...Farmer's market...

We purchased five yellow and orange peppers at a cost of $1.99. The red peppers, as
usual are priced higher at $.79 each, still an excellent price.
I hadn't mentioned we don't have laundry facilities in our tiny home. As a result, we have to bring our laundry to a large laundry room on the property, too far to walk.

It had been a long time since we'd had to haul our laundry to a laundromat, as far back as 2014 when we were in London for two weeks, staying in a hotel that didn't have self-serve laundry and only typically expensive laundry service. 
Cauliflower heads priced at two for $1. What a great price!
At that time, without a rental car, we placed our dirty clothes into a wheeling suitcase and headed to a laundromat several blocks away, sitting and waiting for at least two hours while our clothes washed and dried.

Here at Robert's Resort, we can leave our clothes in the washers and dryers while we return to our unit or take off on another outing. Today, we started the wash and drove a short distance to a nearby farmers market Tom's sister Colleen had recommended.

Checking on MAPS, the farmers market in Apache Junction, Superstition Ranch Farmers Market is less than three miles. After a very successful trip to the farmers market, we were back in plenty of time to place the laundry in the dryer. Of course, we weren't worried a bit that someone would abscond with our laundry.

We couldn't believe the great price on asparagus at the Superstition Ranch Farmers Market.
We purchased two pounds.
The farmers market was one of the best we've seen over the years in regard to pricing. We spent a little over $17 for enough to last until the next time we grocery shop.

With Tom's birthday upcoming in 10 days on December 23rd, I've begun planning the menu for his party considering what most appeals to him. I'll bake a cake and of course, invite all the sisters and spouses. 

We haven't celebrated Tom's birthday with his family since doing so in Henderson, Nevada in 2012 when the same group stayed with us in a holiday home we'd rented. It will be fun to celebrate with all of them once again.
It was a wonderful market with plenty of organic fruit and vegetable.
Since I can eat berries in moderation, we purchase, blueberries, blackberries,
and raspberries at $1 for each container.
Today, we plan to continue to work on financial matters and updating our spreadsheet. Over the past seven years, I've continued to add our spending and expenses on an Excel workbook with many tabs. 

While in Nevada with an hour to spare, I created an all-new workbook, changing many features we found to be important over the years. Beginning on January 1, 2020, we'll start using the new form. 

In the interim, I'll have to add all the bookings and costs to the new form that will transpire into 2020. It will be a time-consuming task but it needs to be done.
There's a display of Boar's Head meats but we'll purchase this fresh-sliced at the supermarket next time we make "unwiches" (sub-type sandwiches with romaine lettuce used in place of bread).
Most likely, tonight we'll get together with the family. Tomorrow morning, we're attending a get-together with neighbors for an omelet-in-a-bag breakfast. I'm concerned about what types of bags are used since Ziplock bags leach toxic chemicals when boiled in water or used to cook in a microwave. 

But, this may be one of those times, I just "bite-the-bullet" and go with the flow. We shall see. I certainly won't say anything at the party and make the hosts or guests feel uncomfortable.
May your Friday be action-packed with delightful experiences!
Photo from one year ago today, December 13, 2018:

Wounded was beginning to look a little better but we doubt he can see from his left eye.  He looked thin and weary but we continued to feed him all he'll eat and we're sure other residents were doing the same. For more photos, please click here.

An incident on the freeway...The active social life continues...

It was fun to sit by the firepit with Tom's sisters, spouses and other residents in the RV park.
We are so appreciative to be able to use Margie's car while here. It's an older Cadillac (2001) with over 128,000 miles on it but it appears to be in very good condition.

Yesterday, we had to return the rental car to the Phoenix Airport which we'd rented in Las Vegas on November 28th. I drove the rental car while Tom drove Margie's Cadillac. The drop off went smoothly.

On our way back to Apache Junction, a 35-minute drive, the Cadillac suddenly started acting up and was dead. Tom managed to get the car to the shoulder while we sat there trying to figure out what was wrong. 

We don't have AAA or another roadside service. Why would we when we're always traveling outside the US? Plus, in the past seven years, we haven't had a single rental car breakdown. (Thank goodness).

Tom tried a few times to restart it to no avail. Were we out-of-gas? How could that be? Margie had informed Tom that the gas gauge wasn't working but she had kept track of the mileage using the odometer to ensure she'd never run out of gas. She felt comfortable we had plenty of fuel until the re-set odometer read 300 miles.

We were fairly far from an exit ramp making it a too long a hike for Tom to take off on foot to buy fuel. Cars were zooming past us at a high rate of speed. Then, I remembered there was some sort of roadside assistance through our Visa credit cards.

I called the number on the back of the card, was on hold for a considerable time and finally was referred to another number. Over 40 minutes passed until I reached the correct department and was told we'd be hearing within minutes for a service vehicle to assist. 

The cost for the service would be $69 if we were out of fuel and another $69 if the car had to have the car towed under five miles, more if over. We requested the service vehicle come prepared with fuel and we'd see what transpired when they arrived.

In all, we'd been sitting there for an hour, waiting. Much to our surprise and delight a car zoomed past us but stopped on the shoulder and backed up to reach us. 

A kindly man offered to take Tom to a fuel station where he purchased a gas can and fuel for a total of $17. It took about 15 minutes for them to return while I waited in the car. The kindly man drove him back to the car. 

Once the fuel was loaded into the car, much to our relief, it started. It was at that point we realized, that perhaps the remaining fuel that Margie thought she had in her car had evaporated while she was away during the off-season. Tom gave the man who stopped a $20 bill and the gas can to keep. He hesitated to accept but Tom insisted, grateful for the assistance.

None of that mattered. I called and canceled the order for service and we were on our way to a gas station and then to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. From there we shopped at Fry's for items for a light meal to serve when the sisters and husbands visited last night after the gathering at the firepit.

Once again, we had an excellent evening as we continue to enjoy our time in Apache Junction.

We'll be back with more tomorrow!

Have a fantastic day!
Photo from one year ago today, December 12, 2018:
Zebra on the veranda! We knew we had to be very cautious not only for our safety but for his as well.  If we startled him or told him to get down, he could have broken a leg on the slippery tiles.  Instead, we tossed pellets on the ground near the bottom of the steps. For more photos, please click here.

Christmas parade in the neighborhood...Another fun night with the family!...

Yesterday was Tom's niece Laurie's birthday. Instead of a traditional birthday cake, Laurie opted for a fruit tart. Looked good.
After yesterday's big shopping trip and putting everything away, we feel organized with our little house tidy without clutter. It feels good to be settled in for a while. We've certainly been on the move for the last several months.

Tom is still coughing quite a bit but my cough has diminished greatly with only a few bad coughing jags during the day or night. Its a relief to finally be on the mend. I only hope Tom progresses further in the next week.
Several residents of the RV park decorate their golf carts in order to participate in the annual
Christmas parade through the neighborhood.
Regardless of how we've felt, we've continued to participate in family get-togethers and activities. Last night was no exception when Mary and Eugene's daughter Laurie (Tom's niece) arrived with her husband Craig to celebrate her birthday. 

They have a holiday home for about an hour from here. It was a pleasure to see both of them and all nine of us had an extremely fun time. The evening ended with us playing a hysterical game app on Laurie's phone entitled "Heads Up," a US-only game with questions relevent to US culture. We did a lot of laughing.
This classic car zoomed by during the parade. (I am still learning to use my phone's camera. Please bear with me).
This morning, we're returning the rental car to the Phoenix Airport and will be using sister Margie's Cadillac which she so generously offered to us during our lengthy stay. This saves us hundreds of dollars. I will follow Tom to the airport while he drops off the car.

From there, we'll find a restaurant on the return drive and stop for a late lunch. Yesterday, we cooked steaks on the grill around 3:00 pm and didn't bother making any dinner instead of snacking on some tidbits at Mary and Eugene's home.
More golf carts came around the corner as we all cheered.
Today, we'll stop at a market to purchase snack foods to offer when everyone comes to our place to hang out. Honestly, with the small kitchen, I have no interest in cooking. Yesterday we'd purchased many items for easy meals, items we can cook on the grill with a side of a few vegetables and rice for Tom. 

For some odd reason, I've totally lost interest in cooking these past few months. In essence, it's really been since I had the surgery last February. Standing in the kitchen for hours holds no appeal to me anymore.
Preoccupied in conversation, I almost missed this shot. Excuse the lack of clarity.
Once we leave the US at the end of January, we won't purchase groceries or cook for at least three months, two in India and another 29 nights on the cruise from Mumbai to Greenwich (UK). From there, we've yet to book anything but will do so in the next few months.

For now, we prefer to settle back and not engage in lengthy and time-consuming research as to what we plan to do once we arrive in Greenwich. We'll have a little over six months to fill until our next cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town (providing we receive the required visa waiver).
Santa and Mrs. Claus were sitting on the back of this golf cart.
Should the waiver come through, most likely we'll spend the six months in and around Europe where we've spent little time overall. For us, as wildlife and nature enthusiasts, Europe although an amazing draw for most tourists, holds less interest to us than many other parts of the world.

Now, we're off to the airport, lunch and a little more shopping.

We'll be back with more tomorrow.

Have a splendid day!
Photo from one year ago today, December 11, 2018:
This is Cupid with a heart-shaped marking on her throat.  She was particularly loving the lucerne we'd purchased for the garden. For more photos, please click here.

A different lifestyle for the next seven weeks...We try it all!...

The compact living room has everything we need.
Well, folks, we've lived in a lot of houses throughout the world, but this experience here in Apache Junction will be totally different from anywhere we've lived in the past.

We will be living in an RV park in a permanently affixed house trailer that basically, although small, has everything we need. Sure, it's small, although much bigger than a ship's balcony cabin.
The kitchen is small but without a dishwasher and has minimal cooking supplies.
Subsequently, we will keep meals simple, using the outdoor grill for most of our meals.
Our longest cruise was for 33-nights when we circumvented Australia which began on Halloween, October 31, 2017. We had no problem with living in that small space, nor will we here.

Three of Tom's sisters and spouses; Mary Ellen and Eugene, Margie and Colleen and Gene live in this same 55+ complex of trailer homes and RVs, only a stone's throw from our unit. It appears that most afternoons around 4:00 or 5:00 pm, we'll all get together for happy hour drinks and snacks. 
Convenient table-for-two.
Most days, we usually dine around 6:30 or 7:00 pm but it makes sense if we now redo our thinking as to when we'll have our big meal of the day. Most likely, we'll start having our big meal midday and not worry about dining in the evenings.

This morning, we headed to Fry's Market, one of the largest supermarkets we've seen (not counting Costco or Sam's Club) and were surprised at its size. It had 59 rows. By the time I finished shopping, I'd put over 5000 steps on my fitness device.

We spent over $300 on groceries and managed to find ample space for all the items we purchased. The storage in this unit is excellent with more space than we've had in many holiday homes in the past.
This is the most comfortable bed we've had in our travels. It appears to be a memory foam bed.
The five-hour drive from Las Vegas to Apache Junction was uneventful. Tom has seen some improvement with his back injury and cough and he managed the long drive easily without asking me to drive. We chatted about our experiences in the US thus far and our plans for the future. The time went quickly.

Tonight there will be Christmas parade in the neighborhood. We'll all get together to watch the parade and to celebrate Mary and Eugene's daughter Laurie's birthday. She and her husband Craig will be arriving at 5:30 for the festivities.
The WiFi signal and flat-screen TV are good.
We're good. The time we spent with family, although tempered by both of us being sick with this dreadful cough, was precious and meaningful. Now, over these next weeks, we'll spend time with Tom's sisters. He's the youngest in the family and it's important we spend this time with all of them.

We'll make every effort to continue to take photos to share here as we continue to post during our remaining time in the USA!

Have a fantastic day and thanks for hanging in there with us!
Photo from one year ago today, December 10, 2018:
For the first time ever, this lizard approached the veranda, looking at us.  He didn't seem to like pellets so we tried to figure out what we could feed him. For more photos, please click here.

On the move again...Off to Arizona...Last night's Vegas Golden Knights game...

On our way to the Vegas Golden Knights game.
In a few hours, we'll be leaving Richard's home in Henderson, Nevada to begin the five-hour drive to Apache Junction, Arizona. Tom still is under the weather, but it's time to move on. We've spent 11 days here, accomplishing everything we needed to and spending quality time with Richard and my sister Susan.
This morning after a decent night's sleep, I bolted out of bed knowing it was time to pack. We hadn't packed a thing the past few days and the entire job was ahead of us.

As I start gathering my belongings and toiletries, leaving enough out for Tom after his shower, I realized how quickly we can pack when weight is not an issue. Having purchased some new clothing while in the US, it made me realize how much more "thinning" I need to do in my clothing suitcase in order to comply with upcoming airline baggage restrictions in India.
Our seats were ideal in the center about 20 rows back from the ice.
Since we'll be in Arizona for almost seven weeks, I'll be able to unpack everything and redefine exactly what I want to keep. For some odd reason, I am hanging onto some old clothing I no longer wear. That mentality doesn't work in this lifestyle.

Our last full day in Nevada was good. We watched the winning Minnesota Vikings game with utter glee. A few hours later we were on our way to T-Mobile Arena on the Strip to watch yet another sporting event, the Vegas Golden Knights hockey game. I'd say Richard is definitely a super fan with his excellent season tickets.

He'd arranged for an additional two seats for us, next to him and we couldn't have been more pleased. Our mouths were agape as we entered the area of the arena. The music, the Christmas lights, the hoopla, and the enthusiasm were palpable.

Disappointingly, his team lost but we were totally entrenched in the "show" the team puts on during the games to keep their fans well entertained. There was never a dull moment.

After the game, we made our way to an old favorite restaurant of mine from years past when we've visited him. (He's been in Las Vegas for the past 30 years). The familiar smells and the energy in the California Pizza Kitchen create a pleasing and memorable ambiance.

The service was slow when many others had the same idea after the game. But we entertained ourselves in idle chatter, with leaving the next day on my mind. Of course, it's been hard to say goodbye to family members whom we may not see again for another two or more years.

Back at the house, we wrapped up the evening as we both took a dose of Nyquil to keep the coughing under control during the night and aid in us getting a decent night's sleep. I did better than usual. Tom, not so much.

This morning I focused on getting all the small stuff packed, leaving Tom with only his clothing. The sheets are in the washer and once they are dried, we'll remake the bed and be on our way.

This next phase of our travels, these weeks in Arizona should be easy. It will be a short walk to Tom's sister's homes and we won't have to be driving long distances to see family. Our days and nights should be uncomplicated and easy over the Christmas season. 

This schedule will provide both of us time to recover from the coughs and prepare ourselves for the next leg of our journey. The only long drive that we have ahead of us is to return the rental car to the Phoenix Airport in two days, which should be around a two-hour turnaround. We so appreciate that Tom's sister Margie's kindly offered her car to us while we're there. 

Tomorrow, we'll be back with more, a new experience, living in a senior RV park in Apache Junction, Arizona. Of course, photos will follow!

Have a great Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, December 9, 2018:
Traffic jam on the paved road in Marloth Park. Delightful! For more photos, please click here.

Busy weekend...India plans are set...

In Marloth Park on this day in 2013. This male zebra stood under the carport for quite some time, watching over the other males. For more photos, please click here.
It's Sunday morning. Richard and Tom are watching the Minnesota Vikings football game using Tom's NFL Gamepass app. The game wasn't broadcast here in Nevada.

In a few minutes, I'll make a breakfast of scrambled eggs with sauteed onions, bacon, and sausage and we'll eat in front of the big flat screen watching the game.

When the game ends, we'll bundle up in warm clothing for the hockey arena and head to the Las Vegas Strip to the T-Mobile Arena to watch the Vegas Golden Knights play today's 4:00 pm game. The temperature in the arena is about 60F (15.6C). We'll dress accordingly.

Yesterday, after I'd made the two pies in the early morning, I packed a container with broccoli salad and the fresh-from-the-oven pie in the rental car, carefully placing them on the floor in the front seat. 

On the way to Susan's house, I stopped at Chipotle and purchased two burritos for her and her ex-husband Tom who's been helping her these past few years.

She had married the boy next door when we were growing up in Long Beach California many moons ago. I've known Tom since I was in early grade school. The fact that he's been helping Susan is very special when they've been divorced for over 40 years.

On Friday evening, we wrapped up the 55-day private tour through the country of India beginning on February 8th, immediately after the end of the Maharajas Express Train ride from Mumbai to Dehli.

It will be a whirlwind of activity, but it's the best way for us to tour India when we know so little about the country. Also, the fact this is a private tour means we'll be able to go at our own pace, in the event changes need to be made in the itinerary to accommodate our needs.

Originally, when we considered this option, there were simply too many activities to suit our needs. We didn't want to be on the go non-stop for 55 days, especially when we'd want to carve out time to prepare and upload our posts and, if time allows,  relax a little.

Subsequently, we asked the rep to cut down on the number of activities. Most tourists don't book such long tours. Based on the length of our tour, it was practical to leave us with some downtime. We don't want to be run ragged, although we will be very busy during this period.

Now that I've been given the OK to tour at this pace, we feel more at ease and are excited about this unusually lengthy tour of India. Of course, there will be obstacles along the way, most likely regarding the food.

Tom doesn't like spicy, heavily seasoned food. Hopefully, the restaurants in the hotels will have other options for him. Based on the fact the hotels are all 4 stars or higher, most likely their restaurants will offer more international cuisine, not necessarily limited to the strong flavors of Indian food.

The challenge for me will revolve around being able to order foods without starch or grains. But, we're confident somehow we'll make it all work. They consume lots of chicken in India, which added to a portion of vegetables made without starch will work for me. I'm sure once we're there we'll figure out several suitable options for both of us.

As the time nears, we'll share more details on our itinerary and of course, be writing and posting photos each day during the upcoming train excursion. Our new phones may be used as hotspots, allowing us an adequate signal from most locations.

That's it for today folks. May your Sunday be rewarding and fulfilling.
Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2018:
This bushbuck family comes to visit daily.  They always stand at the foot of the veranda steps to be away from other wildlife that "steal" their pellets and veg. For more photos, please click here.

Another pie day...Favorite dishes...

Penguin statues were everywhere in the adorable town of Penguin, Tasmania. For more photos, please click here.
There's a hard reality I feel I must face when I say goodbye to my sister Susan today. With our plans to leave Nevada on Monday, this will be the last time I see her before we depart. This may be the last time I ever see her. Her health is failing daily.

Tomorrow, we have plans with Richard all day, including the brunch I'll be making during the Vikings football game; attending the Vegas Golden Knight hockey game at 3:00 pm, followed by dinner on the strip around 7:00 pm.

I certainly hope Tom is feeling better by tomorrow. On top of it all, he pulled a muscle in his back and now he's even more miserable. He's taking Tylenol (Paracetamol), cough medicine and again laying low today. 

This morning, awakening at 5:30 am, it dawned on me that I wanted to make my sister's favorite dessert in the world; our mother's recipe for cheese pie (not cheesecake which often includes flour which is not the case here).

Oddly, last night Richard mentioned that Cheesecake Factory has a low carb cheese pie and this thought stuck in my mind overnight. I also wanted to make him a low carb cheese pie (my low carb version of my mother's fabulous pie) that we can all have for dessert tonight.

I bolted out of bed at 6:15 am, showered and dressed for the day and was on my way to Smith's Market in no time at all. As I write here now, Susan's pie is out of the oven, cooling so I can add the topping and the low carb pie is baking after I had to first,  pre-bake the almond flour crust.

Waiting for the crust to cool, I made the low carb filling and was able to get the pie into the oven to bake in plenty of time. Now I'm timing the low carb pie until it's done. After I remove it from the oven, I'll have to let it also cool enough to add the sweet vanilla-flavored sour cream topping.

This morning I found Madagascar vanilla at Smith's, some of the finest vanilla extract in the world. It's unreal how easily I can find the proper ingredients in markets in the US. When we're outside the US it's a constant challenge trying to figure out alternatives for some of our favorite recipes. Then again, that is a part of the adaptation we so much enjoy.

Yesterday, I made another of Susan's favorites, that delicious broccoli salad we all love with almonds and raisins. I will be bringing a good-sized portion for her while leaving plenty for tonight's dinner. I plan to stop on the way to her assisted living facility and get her a Chipotle burrito, which should go well with the salad for a special dinner for her tonight.

Many people find great comfort in favorite dishes, often bringing up memories from our youth or other periods in our lives. With Susan lying in bed 24/7 with COPD and a variety of other conditions, at this point, she's less concerned about her diet and instead focusing on getting through each day. These treats mean a lot to her.

This may be the last time I see her. When I saw her on Thursday, I assured her, we will be together again in a feeble attempt to dismiss the prospect of her not living much longer. It breaks my heart.

Isn't this the case with many of our loved ones, as we age, we'll lose many along the way? Any love and comfort we can provide our loved ones during the waning years of their lives are never time lost or wasted. All these seven years of world travel, I have stayed in close touch with her and will do so as we continue on.

Speaking of continuing on... Yesterday, we fully booked our two-month gap in India. We're excited to share the details in tomorrow's post.

Have a fantastic Saturday!
Photo from one year ago today, December 7, 2018:
Yesterday, no less than 10 warthogs waded in our cement pond including mom and four piglets.  The animals are feeling the heat as well as us humans. For more photos, please click here.

The planning continues...As busy as I can be...

On this date in 2015, we were at the Arts Village in Pacific Harbour, Fiji. For more photos, please click here.
At this point, we need to get to work and decide on what we plan to do in India for 54 days beginning on February 8th after the end of the Maharajas Express train from Mumbai to Delhi.

We're deliberating over several options and will definitely share what we're deciding to do when we hopefully come to a decision in the next few days. There is so much to consider.

As far as booking periods of time, this period of time in India is the most challenging. We don't want to be floundering by ourselves jumping from town to town, flight to flight and hotel to hotel without a plan in mind.

Many have asked over the years if we are "backpackers" and if we possibly stay in hostels, making our way through a country without specific bookings in mind. That's not us. 

We have no home. We require the peace of mind of knowing where we'll be staying during our time in any country, whether it's in the US or anywhere else in the world. 

India is not an easy country to visit without plans in mind. We do not want to be trapped for days in a smoggy, over-populated city attempting to figure out what to do next.

A priority for us is also a tiger safari which is a must-do to be included in our almost two-month itinerary. This is not practical in many areas that are not particularly close to wildlife areas or national parks.

Having had literally no experience in India, we have had countless travelers and others making suggestions as to what would our ideal itinerary. We appreciate the input, but we feel we must pursue this considering our own interests and desires, not what may necessarily appeal to others.

Yes, we could make a mistake in the planning process, but as always, we're willing to take the risk. After all, we had the "unthinkable" happen this past February and somehow we managed to make our way through it with careful planning, dignity, and grace.

Right now, we are working with a highly competent agent with a highly rated travel agency in India who booked the train for us. As I write here now, amid stopping every 30 minutes to get back to work on tonight's dinner, Tom is going through all the "paperwork" on some options that may or may not work for us. We shall see.

This morning I went grocery shopping for the last time while here in Nevada. Before doing so, I stopped at a branch of our bank to get some blank checks. 
I am making tonight and tomorrow's dinner and Sunday brunch. On Sunday afternoon, we're going to the Vegas Gold Knight's game at 3:00 pm at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

After the game, we'll go out to dinner on the strip and then on Monday morning we'll pack and leave for Apache Junction, Arizona. Hopefully, Tom will be feeling well enough to drive for five hours. I'd be happy to drive but he doesn't like how I drive and the stress associated with his "backseat driving" isn't worth it.

He's yet to turn the corner with his cough and exhaustion, but when I consider that's where I was a few weeks ago, he still has a way to go. I looked back at the level of activity a few weeks ago in Minnesota and I don't know how I got through it feeling as he does now.

I just finished making enough broccoli salad for all of us, including a batch for my sister Susan, which I'll bring to her tomorrow. Soon, I'll make the low carb hamburger buns, peel potatoes for the first time in over a year for tonight's oven-baked fries (chips), shape the ground beef and ground turkey into patties, make the homemade ketchup, and slice the onions, tomatoes, and lettuce for toppings for the meat. It will be another busy day.

Tonight, we'll grill the meat poolside and enjoy a quiet and restful night in. Thank goodness.

Take care, dear readers.
Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2018:
A praying mantis stopped by for a visit this morning.  After it walked on the veranda table, it landed on Tom and then landed on me.  Friendly little fellow. For more photos, please click here.

The 2½ hour wait at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles...

While in Penguin, Tasmania in 2017 we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints!  For more photos, please click here.
We each had over a year left until the expiration of our Nevada driver's licenses. However, with uncertainty at this point as to when we'll return to the US, we needed to take care of this task before we depart Nevada in four or five days.

We both dreaded the process when the DMV in Henderson (and other locations) usually requires appointments to avoid waiting for hours. The last time we did this, seven years ago, the line extended outside the building with no less than 100 impatient applicants pushing and shoving to secure their spots.

With Tom sick all week, we avoided going. But as time wore on, we decided we'd better take care of this regardless of how he or I was feeling. When we awoke yesterday morning, it was raining heavily.

We imagined standing in that long queue outdoors in the rain with both of us still coughing (especially Tom) and getting soaked. I'd packed our cheap plastic rain protectors in the blue bag and by 9:45 am we took off.

Imagine our elation when we drove into the parking lot and there was no line at all! Apparently, due to the inclement weather, people decided to wait and go another day, which proved to benefit us greatly.

Upon entry into the building, which was packed, within minutes we got a number from the receptionist, found two adjacent chairs and began the long wait, making sure we didn't miss the call of our number over the PA system.

We realized the wait would be long, but we were so pleased to avoid standing outdoors in the rain, hardly a whimper crossed our lips during the over-two-hour wait.

Some may say, the facility is disorganized with so many applicants always waiting to be seen. In fact, we perceived it as being very organized and well-planned with friendly customer service and systems in place to facilitate a somewhat painless process.

I played with my new phone while Tom never took his eyes off the screen with the numbers that had been called and those numbers upcoming. The time went more quickly than expected and by noon we met with the rep who would process our renewals.

The process itself took about 30 minutes when the rep was curious as to why we were renewing early which apparently is unusual. She then continued to ask many questions. Of course, we had nothing to hide, but we didn't want to get into our entire story.

Finally, our temporary licenses were issued and we were directed to the area where photos are taken. Amazingly, there was no queue there and we breezed through the process in a few minutes.

Once out the door, we sighed in relief. It was finally done. Next time, we can again apply online when every other renewal time, an applicant must apply in person.

We feel as if we accomplished a lot while in the US, amid both of us being sick; we applied for and received our visas for India, applied and are awaiting our "second, four-year" passports and now renewed our driver's licenses. It's been a huge relief to get these time consuming and cumbersome tasks out of the way.

Our next project...deciding on how we'll spend the two unbooked months in India after we've completed the Maharajas Train tour on February 8th. Planning this is a big project and we just may have to wait until we get settled in Arizona next week. Plus, we still have to work on hiring an attorney to assist us in getting the visa waiver to return to South Africa.

I'm off today to visit my sister Susan once again. I'd intended to go yesterday, but when we returned from the DMV so late in the day, I realized I'd be stuck in rush hour traffic, in the rain, on the return drive. No thank you. I'll be on my way soon.

Have a pleasant day!
Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2018:
Mom and piglet enjoying the cement pond on a hot day. It's summer during this time of year in South Africa and with the drought and lack of bodies of water available to the wild animals, they may seek a refreshing dunk in the cement pond in our garden, intended as a source of drinking water. For more photos, please click here.