Dear Family and Friends,
If you are living in the USA I hope that your Thanksgiving was loving, peaceful and full of gratitude.
For those of us who live outside of our home country, occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays of our friends and family are sometimes a struggle to get through. This is especially true of Thanksgiving because in Cuenca it is just another weekday. Nothing special here unless you make it special.
Last Thursday our good friends, Rich and Nancy, hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings. They have the whole story on their blog RichnNancy. I will add a few pictures here but for more pictures you can click the link to their blog.
Rich carving up the turkey.
There were 28 of us all together in their condo. They have a nice large area that accommodated us all quite nicely. Freddi (Brian and Shelley's little doggie) was also there and believe me Freddi did not lack for attention.
Here is Carolina bookstore owner, Carol, taking her turn hugging Freddi.
Here is Chuck chatting with Larry about our upcoming trip to the Galapagos. (more on that later in this post) If you examine this picture real carefully you might see the handy dandy photographer in the background.
All of the food was very good. Everyone brought something to share. Our visiting sister-in-law, Carol, made an "almost pumpkin" pie. There are no pumpkins grown around here that we are aware of so Carol bought some squash. She made this pie and it tasted just like the real thing.
Everyone had a really great time and we are so thankful that Rich and Nancy put this together.
Last week Nancy emailed me and said that some friends of Bob and Rox were coming to Cuenca for a week. She said that they read our blog and wanted to meet us. We were excited to meet someone who follows our blog and we eagerly accepted an invitation to meet them. We all met at the Akelarre for dinner last Sunday night. (It is an odd feeling to sit across from strangers who know all about you already. But we are not the only ones, they know all about Bob and Rox, Nancy and Rich and Brian and Shelley.)
Here is a picture of Patty and Michael (new friends), Rich and Nancy, Chuck and Carol enjoying ourselves in the courtyard of the restaurant.
Patty and Michael live in Houston, Texas. They are planning on moving to Cuenca. As we shared dinner they told they were in Cuenca for one week and they hoped to buy a condo or two before they left. We thought this was quite ambitious of them, but by golly they did just that.
Here is Patty showing Carol the plans to their new condo at our Thanksgiving gathering.
Their condo is in the process of being constructed. They plan to be back in Cuenca in July to check on the building progress. We look forward to getting together with them when they return.
And speaking of friends, Friday night a group of us had dinner together at Zoe's Restaurant after the gringo get together.
Chuck and I are going to the Galapagos next week with our friends Larry and Linda. This is a first time trip to the Galapagos for all of us. We are renting a house together and just planning it as we go. We are armed with information that we gleaned from Brian and Shelley about their recent trip. It is partly a fact finding trip. I will do a post about what we did when we return. I will also share what we learned about doing the trip without going through a travel agency.
I doubt that I will be able to post to this blog while we are away so it will be about a week and a half before I can post again.
When I left the USA, I was on blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medication. I found the blood pressure medication is available here at the pharmacy. So I have continued taking it. But, I have always hated taking the cholesterol medication because of all the negative side effects one reads about.
Since I have been down here I have been eating a lot more starchy foods than I use to eat back in the U.S. That is not hard to do when you get the $2.00 lunches because they usually consist of a small portion of meat accompanied by corn, potatoes and rice. Also, I do like my ice cream!!
When I went to the doctor last week, he gave me paperwork to take to the lab to have my blood work done. I went to have my blood drawn last week and I hand carried the results to our doctor on Friday.
When I was telling Patty last week about not taking the cholesterol medication, she suggested that I take a teaspoon of cinnamon every day. She said it would lower my bad cholesterol and she said it also lowers blood sugar. I was happy to hear this good news because I really am afraid of the side effects of the medicine.
BAD NEWS: The results of the blood work showed that my bad cholesterol was very high. My good cholesterol and triglycerides were in the normal range (I'm thankful for that!)
OUTCOME: Even though I told the doctor about the wonderful qualities of cinnamon, he highly suggested that I take the cholesterol medication he was going to prescribe in order to get it lowered. He said that I should also use the cinnamon each day.
I have also heard that aloe juice is good for lowering cholesterol so I will probably add that to the mix of treatments.
I will get my blood drawn again in 60 days and we will see what my cholesterol is then. He said if I can get it under control with the cinnamon regimen, diet and medication that I could try reduce the number of times I take the medication to three times a week.
I have decided to go with the doctor's recommendation, I got the prescription filled and am now back on cholesterol lowering medication. By watching my diet and taking the cinnamon each day I hope to be able to cut back on the pharmaceutical approach within a couple of months.
I'll let you know how it goes.
I have a picture to share with you before I leave. Chuck ordered lobster bisque Friday night. I was feeling a little ticked that I had not ordered it also. When he got his order he let me have a taste and it was pretty good. Then he dug down deeper in the soup and brought this little critter to the surface. Boy, was I glad I hadn't ordered that dish.
Love to you all.