Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday Funnies

Nature can present some unusual images; as proof, here's a few of my sightings.

Does this look like a devil tree or Batman? (thanks, Rita). It was seen on a snowshoe trail in North Conway, NH, this past winter.
Not quite sure about this plant face, which almost looked like a duck. It was seen in the garden near the mill apartments
This massive tree looked as if it had very large feet. It was seen on our recent visit to Newport, RI. 
And, since this is the month of all things mysterious and creepy, how about this root hand?
Keep looking around. You never know what you might see.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
A rainy and cool forecast in Nashua, NH

Tropical Storm Ophelia is spreading heavy rain, strong wind gusts, high surf, and coastal flooding along the Eastern Seaboard this weekend, including our home state of NJ and along the Virginia Eastern Shore our former home. We hope everyone will be safe.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Medically Speaking

My blog posts usually are confined to posts about road adventures, family, occasional recipes, and a lot of funny sights, avoiding hot topics like politics, religion, current events.

Since we returned home from our recent travels abroad, there's been a fair amount of catching up to do — unpacking, household chores and some purging and drop-offs to local thrift stores.

That said, some of the most important things we've been doing involve healthcare.

Most fellow bloggers reading this post will already much about topics mentioned here, so there won't be a lot of medical info. Much more extensive information is available online. 

Also, the purpose of this post is not to persuade anyone to participate in any of the procedures or vaccinations mentioned herein. 

Those decisions are strictly your ownas they should be. Everyone should do what he/she feels most comfortable with for their own well being.

These medical procedures are what we've done in the past couple of weeks.

Screening mammogram: As any female can attest, this procedure can be uncomfortable 😟, but at least brief. After telling myself I was done with it since reaching age 74 this year, I reversed that decision. Many sources recommend screening mammograms every other year from ages 40 to 74. New guidelines do not include recommendations for women after age 74, as there is limited data on whether mammograms save lives in that age group. 

My re-thinking that previous decision was the result of losing two female friends, Linda and April, within the past four months. Both had been previously diagnosed with breast cancer, which returned and was especially aggressive for both. 

Prostate Exam: This is the male equivalent of an uncomfortable procedure (no details here). Grenville went for an exam this week. The American Cancer Society recommends men start cancer screenings at age 50. Screening is generally not recommended in men over 75 as potential benefits are outweighed by the risks in this population.
2023 is the first fall and winter virus season where vaccines are available for 3 viruses deemed responsible for most hospitalizations – COVID-19, RSV, flu.
RSV Vaccine: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that can cause mild, cold-like symptoms. While most people recover in a week or two, RSV can be serious especially for infants and older adults, more likely to develop severe symptoms that need hospitalization. 

There's no maximum age for getting an RSV vaccination. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends adults 60 and older can receive a single dose of the vaccine. This will provide protection against RSV disease in adults 60 years and older for at least two winter seasons, when RSV normally circulates.

Updated Covid: Here we go again. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against potentially serious outbreaks this fall and winter. Updated vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are available now in many retail pharmacies. In most cases there is no charge.

Returning from our recent trip abroad, several group members posted on a messaging app that they'd been infected with COVID symptoms, some more severe than others. Since we're traveling out of the country (again) in a few weeks having as much protection as possible is never a bad thing.

Flu Shot:  All persons aged 6 months of age and older, with rare exception, are recommended to get the annual influenza (flu) vaccination every season appropriate for their age and health status. September and October are the recommended best times for most to get vaccinated. More information can be found online at the CDC and other websites.

This week, I completed the RSV and COVID vaccinations and will get the flu shot within a couple of weeks. We have Medicare and supplemental medical insurance. There was no cost for any of these procedures or/vaccinations.

As stated earlier, every medical decision is a personal one to make yourself or with input from your medical professional. Personally, we hope that everyone stays healthy and takes advantage of all preventative measures available. (Our screening results were thankfully negative. The vaccines may produce soreness at the injection site, usually upper arm.)

Friday, September 15, 2023

Friday Funnies

This post is a follow-up to my previous one as it concerns travel.
(Thanks for all your comments on that post.)

I'm currently researching carry-on backpacks as one will be needed for our next big (another far-away) adventure. While, I wasn't expecting to increase my luggage, one of the pieces bought for the Amalfi, Italy, trip won't work the next time. These 2 pieces of bright-colored, lightweight American Tourister luggage were my checked and carry-on bag. The smaller bag wasn't convenient to carry up and down stairs and aisles of the air bus.

Wy won't the carryon work? For this upcoming trip, a smaller, portable carry-on is required as there's a lot of motor coach travel (details later). Measurements given by the tour company are similar to a carry-on backpack.

Of course, Amazon has endless choices and I've been checking online travel articles for suggestions. I came across this May 2023 article, The 15 Most Stylish Travel Backpacks for Women in 2023, on the Woman's Day website. Since my price range is $50 and under, imagine my surprise at the cost shown for the No. 4 best selling choice 😲.
At the very least it seemed that a trip should be included with this purchase! Of course, an error was made somewhere along the line. Amazingly, there's been no corection in the months since.
A clicking on the link to the company's website showed the correct price.
But, even at a savings of $9,702, this backpack will not be included in my purchase decision.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Hope that you will be safe and dry from any effects of Hurricane Lee
A chance of some rain expected in Nashua, NH

Thursday, September 14, 2023

We're Back Home

And, it's good to be here in Nashua, NH.

Yes, we've been away, but definitely not on the road this time as ← this was our primary mode of transport.

Future posts will contain more details. This one has some trip highlights.

The Aer Lingus flights were wonderful with no delays or weather issues. This is a Dublin-based airline, but Ireland was not our destination. Instead, we went to the Amalfi Coast of Italy by way of Dublin and Naples.

The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline in southern Italy overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Salerno. It's located south of the Sorrentine Peninsula and north of the Cilentan Coast and consists of 13 villages often called the 13 Pearls of the Amalfi and most centered on tourism. The most popular are Amalfi, Positano and Ravello, all of which we visited on this trip. 

Our trip was a belated anniversary gift to us, replacing one scheduled 3 years ago, not by plane, but a train ride across the Canadian Rockies. When the pandemic caused cancellation, the Rocky Mountaineer rail company balked at returning the deposit and offered a 10% premium for a future trip. We declined, filed a complaint with the credit card company used for the booking, and received the refund. We will never re-book that trip. There's plenty more world to explore.

Svetlana Yanushkevich
Our group included 20 fellow travelers mostly from around NH as well as several from other states, FL, NJ and VT as the group included family members.  Called the Amalfi Coast Wine and Gastronomy Tour, the trip was organized by Svetlana Yanushkevich, owner of WineNot in downtown Nashua. She's a wine expert with an MS degree in viticulture and a PhD in agriculture. Over the past 12 years, Svetlana has planned similar tours to Portugal, Spain and France focusing on wine and foods of the countries. We may take one in September 2024 to Tuscany, Italy, to celebrate our 25th anniversary🥂.

This was our first trip abroad — together in over 50 years. My earlier one was a group trip; Grenville traveled courtesy of his Uncle Sam.
Grenville &myself on board Aer Lingus awaiting takeoff from Logan Airport, Boston
Our journey started at Logan Airport in Boston with a 6+hour plane flight that ended in Dublin.
From there, we boarded an airbus. This smaller aircraft is used to transport passengers shorter distances and usually holds about 180 people. We were shuttled out to the airport tarmac and walked up stairs to board the aircraft, not enjoyable when transporting a carry-on bag. The 3-hour flight ended in Naples from here we had a 90-minute ride to our Amalfi hotel. 
Exterior and interior (lobby) views of Hotel Bellevue, Amalfi, Italy
Amalfi is a town in a dramatic natural setting below steep cliffs on Italy’s southwest coast. It was the center of a powerful maritime republic between the 9th and 11th centuries. Our family-operated accommodation, Hotel Bellevue, was located 0.62 mi (1km) from the center of historic Amalfi town. It's a 3-minute walk to a beach area. However, to get there, you had to descend some 400 steps and then back up again. (We did not go, but group members shared these figures.) We quickly learned that getting anywhere in Amalfi always involved walking uphill, downhill and by way of many steps. 
Sunrise view from our hotel balcony
Our room had a balcony from which we could see panoramic sea views of the Amalfi Coast. The morning sunrise very quickly became my favorite view. We had a week of rain-free days and mid-80 temperatures, thus escaping the 90-degree heat wave in Nashua🥵.
Views of Amalfi Town from our hotel balcony; lemons along the coast
The Amalfi Coast is renowned for its production of limoncello liqueur, made from Amalfi lemons (sfusato amalfitano in Italian). The lemons are known for their elongated, tapered shape, much larger than those in our local supermarkets. They are grown in terraced gardens all along the coastline as the coast has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. The only land route to the Amalfi Coast is the 25-mile (40 km) long Amalfi Drive (Strada Statale 163) which runs along the coast from Vietri sul Mare in the east to Positano in the west.
The Piazza del Duomo is the main square in Amalfi Town, many gelaterias here
It's an understatement to say that the town of Amalfi is a very popular destination. It started attracting upper-class Europeans in the 18th century, when it was a frequent stopover on Grand Tours. Since then, the Amalfi Coast's natural beauty, picturesque landscapes, colorful villages and cuisine have made it  a popular destination with the nickname the Divina Costiera (Divine Coast). Amalfi's streets ooze lemon: scented soaps, embroidered aprons, bottles of limoncello are in everywhere. Gelaterias are all around and Nutella is a featured flavor. This brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread, manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero, was first introduced in 1964. 
Amalfi Cathedral, interior and exterior views  
It was well worth the effort to contend with the ever-present crowds for a close-up look at the Amalfi Cathedral (Duomo di Amalfi; Cattedrale di Sant'Andrea). It's in the main square, the Piazza del Duomo, and 62 steps, wide and steep, lead to the main doors. This medieval Roman Catholic cathedral is dedicated to the Apostle St Andrew whose relics are kept in the cathedral's crypt. (A future post will include more photos and details on this magnificent structure which dominates the town center.)
In no particular order, here's a few collages of the activities and events we participated in during the week-long trip. These included several winery visits, outdoor dining on restaurant terraces, a walk through the ruins of Pompeii, a boat ride to Marina di Praia, and a group meal prepared by everyone and then shared. 
Future posts will include more about the trip which was a wonderful experience, aside from all the uphills and downhills. Within the course of 1 week, we had so many fun times with people met for the first time; perhaps we will reunite on a future trip. This was certainly one of the best anniversary gifts we've ever given ourselves! For those who may wonder about souvenir buying, I bought nothing; Grenville purchased two t-shirts. The trip and photo memories are souvenirs.

We returned home last weekend and have spent time this week recovering from colds and catching up on household chores, not to mention downloading images from both my cell phone and camera. Rather than order (many) prints to insert in a photo album, I plan to upload images to an online photo site and order a photo book. If anyone has any recommendations or suggestions on a preferred site, please share in a comment.

Blog reading has fallen behind as no tablet or computer came on the trip. I'm hoping to catch up on your recent blog posts within the next few days as we wait out any effects from Hurricane Lee. A mostly rain event is anticipated here in the city of Nashua, NH.

Our thoughts and prayers for safety go to those in the projected path of this latest hurricane.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Falling for Autumn

It's the first of September today, which meant that it was time for the autumn decorations to re-appear outside our apartment entry. (I was tired of looking at summer ones about now.)
All of these decos were purchased over the past several years from the local Dollar Tree store back when they actually cost $1. Today, of course, these would cost a bit more at $1.25. The scarecrows, pumpkins wall hangings will stay around with the permanent penguin and frog until holiday and snowman decos appear in future months.

At the rate this year seems to be rushing by, that won't be too long. Here's an eye-opener: 
From today, Sept 1 to Dec 31— there's 122  days or 17 weeks, 3 days left in 2023.

We're thankful that several blogger FL friends and family were safe during the recent storm; but sad to read about those who did fare as well, especially in GA. Also, our condolences to the family of a friend who passed away from that sinister disease beginning with the letter "C."

This weekend, we're off on a new adventure that is not a road trip. Accordingly, blog reading and posting will be on hiatus for  a short time.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Hug those close to you  &  ♥️ them; life is short