Friday, September 13, 2019

Sightseeing in Glasgow

So, I must apologize, I left my phone in my hostel room because I wanted to use my good camera, and realized half way through the day that it meant I couldn't share any pix with you all, so tomorrow I will bring it along so I can post here and on Instagram.  I definitely had some jet lag last night, I slept till noon today. Rather than finding breakfast somewhere, I decided to see how far away my pickup place is for next week's tour. It wasn't too far, about 9  blocks, and happily I wasn't winded going there. My exercises and walking have definitely made a difference!

I went to Georges Square to catch a hop on hop off bus which my daughter Tiffany recommended as a good way to see all the hot spots and figure where you want to go. It was a fairly long ride, but she was right and I saw some places I wanted to visit and their relationship to where I am staying. I decided to visit Glasgow Cathedral which I had heard was beautiful and was also used in Season 2 in Outlander. As I was getting off, I ran into two ladies from British Columbia who were Outlander fans as well.

The cathedral was so beautiful I kept saying, "Thank you, Lord." It just made you grateful for such a beautiful place to worship.  I went to every nook and cranny taking pictures. The floor in one room was tiled in a beautiful pattern with smaller tiles that had what I have seen used as a quilt block! There were small areas that were designated for certain saints, and one room had an original door with bullet holes in it! There were tons of beautiful stained glass windows and a crypt with Glasgow 's patron saint whose name was Mungo! I definitely recognized it as the hospital in France from Outlander

When I was finished there, I went to the Necropolis  next to it. It was used in the 1800's because small church yards were running out of room as thousands were dying every year. It is breathtakingly incredible. I just stood at the entryway looking up at all these elaborate gravestones going in a circle higher and higher until you are actually looking over the city. John Knox, the father of the Presbyterian ⛪ church is buried there, so is the guy wrote "wee willie winkie".I am so grateful that I bought good sneakers through ortho feet... I spent about 3 hours at these places, then hopped back on the bus to get off to get some dinner before going back to the hostel. Pickings were slim on Sauchiehall St. Lots of coffee shops or street food places with kebabs and other finger foods. Finally settled on a place advertising world food. Basically it had Indian and Asian food and some American food like wings, pizza, ziti and macaroni and cheese. I really did want tio try new foods, but other than a vegetable sushie, I stuck with what I know. I did notice lots of men coming in and loading up on the Indian and Asian food. I did notice when I left that there was a place that had fried Mars bars, and tucked it int my brain!  However, I completely forgot to eat all day and it reminded of going into NYC and forgetting to eat. I am sure this is a good thing for me. I have nothing to nosh in my room and with all this. walking, just maybe I will drop some weight. That's it for todsy. good 🌙

Knackered but happy!

I am safe and in Glasgow at the moment. The plane ride to London was close to 7 hours. I have to say there are a lot of things you don't realize when you are a large lady and travelling. I had to book 2 seats, which I was well aware of, and that was fine. Even with 2 seats, I only paid 510 dollars each way. That was expected.
What I didn't think about was how close each row is to the next on these planes. I had to really squish myself into the row, the first embarrassing thing I had to deal with. The next was when the dinner arrived and I couldn't open the tray all the way, kind of like when you are on a ride at an amusement park and have to lift your stomach so they can close the bar...which is why I avoid them. Anyway, while I am angry with myself for getting this big, I know there is still hope for me as I have been pretty diligently working on my weight. Because I chose to put my extra bag under the seat in front of me, I couldn't really get comfortable enough to sleep well and the girl I was sharing the row with was asleep, so i didn't want to wake her. I knew I was ready for sleep when I realized I was nodding off while watching Rocketman. It really was good, but I was definitely dozing. So I put on my c-pap, minus the humidifier which you can't use on a plane and went to sleep, but kept waking up because my throat was so dry from the c-pap. Then, it seemed like all of a sudden breakfast was being served and we were a half hour from London. Transferring to British Airways was easy, but we had to take a shuttle to get there. It was miles away, the airport was HUGE!! I thought they were supposed to put us through customs there, but they didn't, so, I was off to Glasgow. Coming out was easy, but honest to Pete, I never went through customs! I don't know if I somehow missed it in London, there were so many
signs or they just go through your luggage somehow and okay it...I could possibly be here illegally!!
Anyway, I got a cab from the airport to the hostel I am staying at. I haven't been in a hostel since 1970 and things have changed. I was able to book a room for less than £30. The room is super tiny, with a double bed and a small bathroom with a tiny shower. But I have to say I am very happy with it. I am not the only older person here. It certainly has fit into my strategy of doing things on the cheap so I could book tours and go places here. After all, what do you do in a hotel room   - you sleep! I have a facebook friend from Edinburgh meeting me Saturday for a Highland Fling. The hotel this event is at is across the street from me. The rooms are over £200 and the fling is £100. It's one of the things I can do because of staying in the hostel. I am off to dreamland...more tomorrow.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

3 More Days!!!

So, it's getting pretty close - just a few more days and I will be in Glencoe, Scotland!!
The past few days have been pretty crazy trying to get all in order - had some doctor visits, a mini scare when I had my mammo yesterday, with me having to go back today and have additional "pictures", then having to have an ultrasound, before being given an all clear - Phew! That was a little scary, I'm not lyin'.  I managed to trim my hedges which were getting close to 5 feet without losing a  finger, then sprayed the moss on the roof of my porch with a pinterest recipe to kill it and finally have almost all my storm windows painted and looking pretty. I'll hang a few of them tomorrow, then I'll have to find someone to get on a ladder to put the higher ones up, I'm not taking any chances. I still need to tackle the mold on my porch ceiling (caused by the moss on the roof), its gonna be tight, but I think I can manage....maybe......

Tomorrow after church will be a dry run of packing my tiny 22" suitcase. The more I look at it and think about needing at least a sweater or hoodie, plus some dressy clothes for the Fling, formal night on the cruise, high tea at Windsor and a charity ball, I am thinking of picking up a 26" tomorrow just to see the difference. My biggest reason for the 22" was one of the tours I booked doesn't allow luggage larger than 22", but now I am thinking if i bring a "duffle" bag as well, i could put the larger luggage in a storage facility for the 4 days and have that larger size. Hmmm.

I spent this evening making sure I had all my ducks in a row with printing out all my hotel reservations, trains, planes, buses and ferries. I think I need to sleep! Good Night all.

Monday, September 2, 2019

A New Start


 I kind of feel like Bilbo Baggins these days, I am about to embark on an adventure and looking at it with excitement and a little trepidation.  Life since my husband passed away has been hard. Not like desperately hard, but like a slow death every day. I knew I was suffering from depression, but frankly didn't really care. Other than going to my quilting group I had pretty much shut myself out of everything else. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything, so I just sat home staring at my computer, a book or television. Nothing was getting done, the house was a wreck and I was gaining weight yet again. But something simple happened that started a chain of events that led to this adventure springing up into my hands.

     I have wanted to go to Ireland for a long time. I talked about my dreams with my husband and he said when the right time came, I should go. I also have followed the group Celtic Thunder for 10 years and did 2 cruises with them. It didn't look like one was in the offing, but then Emmet Cahill, who I would say is my favorite because I absolutely love his voice and he is a really nice guy, announced he was going to do a European Extravaganza for his fans. There were only so many spots, so it was going to be done with advance notice and whoever got their info in quickest would get one of the "golden tickets."  I was one of the lucky ones and had fun thinking about the places I would see. Besides some places in Ireland, the tour included a cruise down the Seine with stops in Honfleur and Rouen, a stop in Liverpool and a day in Wales. But then I started thinking, well, as long as I was over there, I should see if my friend who lives in England would like a visit - she did, so I added several days on to the end of my itinerary. Then I thought well ,I am only seeing a small portion of Ireland with Emmet, maybe I should go a week before and see some other places...well you can see where this is headed I am sure. So, I am now getting ready to embark on a 2 month odyssey through Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Wales and France! Oh, and did I mention I am going alone?  That doesn't really bother me, 50 years ago when I spent 4 months overseas, I did it on my own as well. Now I know I am a senior citizen, but I really feel quite confidant about it all. I have done all my own bookings and planned my own tours. I am hoping this gives me a kickstart back into life - I am sure it will!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I'm Radioactive!

     Well, yesterday I went to Nuclear Medicine to get a renal scan - pretty easy to have done - other than trying to find a vein in my arm - I have veins that liked to run and hide when they got stuck. After one try, the tech got someone else who used a teeny tiny needle meant for children to get the IV started, then they shoot you up with radio isotopes and lasix and you just lay on your back for a long time! However, because of the lasix  you have to urinate every 5 minutes because it stresses the kidneys - and I had an hour drive home! I must have stopped in every place that had a necessary! I hit the office twice before I left, the McDonalds in Glenmont, the Stewarts in Coxsackie, Cumberland Farms in Catskill and the library in Cairo as I had books to return! I was SO glad to get home!

They gave me the above  card to carry because I will be radioactive for 5 days - and told me to especially stay away from children and pregnant women. I made a quick stop in the dollar store, making sure there were no kids and then came home. All the way home all I could  think of was the song I'm Radioactive by the Firm - I know there is another song  called Radioactive by Imagine Dragons, but its The Firm I remember playing in the car all the time. Thought you younger folk might like to give it a listen - you gotta love the clothes and hair of the time! 

That's it till next week when I get to have a CAT scan of my lungs - there are sure a lot of hoops to jump through for this, but better they are informed than not.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Kidney Cancer

Well, this surely is not how I wanted to start the new year, but trouble is no respecter of persons.

Back in October I went to a pain management clinic to try to do something about chronic sciatica. I had a cruise coming up and I didn't want to deal with the pain anymore. One of the things the doctor there ordered was an MRI of my back so he could see where my pain was emanating from. I went back a week later and he mentioned that a few cysts showed up on my kidneys and I should probably go see my primary care doctor to have an ultrasound done. I almost blew it off, but  decided it would be smarter to see my doc, who ordered the ultrasound and it showed not only cysts, but that the right kidney was enlarged. She referred me to a Urologist. I have to say that I really liked him the moment I met him. He was thorough about my health background and we also talked about my family. He ordered a CT scan with dye to get a better view of what was going on. He wasn't concerned at all and said to enjoy the Christmas holiday, then get the scan and come back in the beginning of the new year.  I got my scan done Jan 2 and had an appointment for the results on Jan 4.  I don't know about how hospitals and doctors work where you live, but here all my docs are connected to one hospital which assigns you a patient portal online to keep up with your visits and results of your lab/xrays etc. I decided to look at mine the next afternoon and saw that yes I did have hydronephrosis (water) of the right kidney, but that they found cancer in the left kidney. I printed it out and took it upstairs to read to my husband, and while I didn't cry, I did notice a funny shift in my voice as I got to the part about renal cell cancer. Who expects something like that? I know I sure didn't. I don't think I've ever met someone with kidney cancer. Apparently the type I have been diagnosed with is fairly rare - of course! I have to say though, that I don't feel any deep fear, haven't cried, just feel at peace - that may change as time goes on, but for now, I am good.

The next day I went to see the doctor and he was so sweet. He saw me coming in and called me over to a computer he was looking at. He explained the hydronephrosis was caused by a stone and possibly something I was born with but that the left kidney is the one he wanted to talk to me about. I told him I had read the report and then he showed me the area. We went into his office and he told me I was the first thing he thought of in the morning thinking how am I going to tell this lovely lady that I found cancer when it wasn't even expected. I am the kind of person that just wants the facts so I can deal with them, so he drew some pictures to explain that he wasn't sure if the blockage in the right kidney was caused by the stone rolling around or something else, but at any rate, before we can concentrate on the left kidney, we have to make sure the right kidney is working well. So his plan is to operate on that one first and make sure its working properly and then do a partial removal of the left kidney. It does appear it hasn't spread into the lymph nodes which is good and he thinks it is Stage 1, which, if you are getting a cancer diagnosis is about the best it can be. You can see the dark area here that is the problem

It is what he called a serendipitous finding - when you find something you weren't looking for on an xray looking for something in a different area. Most people don't get diagnosed till they are Stage IV because there are no markers for it. I had no symptoms, my lab work was perfect. There was nothing to even hint at this. I wrote a letter to my pain management doc to let him know and he called a few days later. He said he was so sorry how it turned out, he has never had anyone have this result, but now he said he will be careful to say that it is best to get it done, because of how it turned out for maybe I will end up helping some people down the line.

So, that's it in a nutshell, prayers of course are welcomed and I will be keeping this updated as  things go on. I figure if someone happens upon this who is dealing with the same thing, maybe my journey can help them on theirs. God bless!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Roman Holiday

I have looked online to see if there is a similar recipe called Roman Holiday, but they are different from the one I know. My grandmother made this during the depression but used ketchup in place of the sauce - I can't imagine what that tasted like! My mother changed it to this recipe and our family loved it

Roman Holiday
1 lb ground beef
1 pkg large elbow macaroni
 2 large cans Spaghetti sauce
American cheese

 Brown ground beef and drain. While it is cooking, make your macaroni so it is ready when the ground beef is finished. Mix Spaghetti sauce, ground beef and macaroni together and layer in 4 qt casserole the mix and slices of American cheese, the mix and another layer of American cheese. Place in 350 degree oven for half hour or until hot and cheese is melted.

You would be surprised how good this is - the American cheese is always a surprise to people and it changes the taste from something made with mozzarella to something with a bit of zing to it. My daughters change it up a little more by making it with mushrooms.

I changed it a little by making my own spaghetti sauce:

1- 28 oz. can of tomato puree
1-28 oz. can of crushed tomato
1-28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef cooked and drained
1 lb sweet Italian Sausage (uncooked)
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Oregano
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
1/4 tsp Onion Powder (you can use onion, I just hate the texture of it!)

1 lb medium elbow macaroni or medium size shells
 8 slices American cheese

Put everything except the macaroni and American cheese into crock-pot and cook on low for 6 hours. (You can also cook it on the stove for several hours if you prefer) The sausage will cook well and lend its flavor to the sauce.)

Cook your macaroni and mix it with the sauce. Layer it into large 4 qt bowl or 13x9 pan. After first layer cover with sliced cheese (you may need a few more slices for the pan) and cover with another layer of sauce and cheese.

This easily feeds a family of 6 with left overs for lunch. I half it and use a 2 qt bowl and it makes two dinners and some left for lunch for the two of us

I always make it when we are expecting a large crowd and everyone loves it - Served with some salad and garlic bread gives  you a good meal!