Dengue: Uninvited and Unwanted, Came to our House

Well I finally got dengue, I knew the chances were good, the numbers for Manabi were high but we hoped that we had taken all the precautions necessary to avoid these mosquito borne diseases.  We were wrong and I am now part of the growing statistic for the disease here in Ecuador.

My symptoms: first for about three days prior to the first big symptoms I had this awful feeling that I had bad breath, had not changed toothpastes, or eaten anything different but my mouth taste/odor was not right.  On Tuesday I had this headache pain right about my left eye…a sharp pain that lasted only a few seconds, it happened a few times and it was gone so I basically forgot about it. Early morning Wednesday after 1am I got up with the chills and a fever, had a terrible headache and pain in my eyes. I got up added another blanket and attempted to sleep.  Early the next morning I felt even worse, could hardly get out of bed, but assumed it was some sort of flu and was going to ride it out.  After sleeping on and off during the day on Wednesday, Joe was taking my temperature which stayed around 100-101 all day, he gave me Tylenol and as much water as I would drink.  I finally gave in and called my friend Eva around 6:30 pm to call Dra. Christina for me.  Dra. Christina arrived within 30 minutes, along with mi amiga Eva as my translator, and assessed my symptoms and diagnosed dengue…She gave me three shots, two in the backside and one in my arm, left a prescription for three items to get and to start taking 2 Tylenol every 6 hours starting the next morning…Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest.  Within 10 seconds after the first shot I could feel the difference and the headache started to dissipate.  No chills or measurable fever during the night.

Woke Thursday morning feeling beat up but with only a slight headache, tired and a slight fever.  Several things can happen over the next week or so – I can get a rash over my body, get the chills and fever back, and watch it doesn’t progress to something worse.

I guess the reason for writing this is to let folks know that it is not easily going to go away by itself.  As soon as you feel any of these symptoms go to your local clinic, call your general practitioner and please DO NOT TAKE any ibuprofen type products……..

We are pretty proactive people and when it comes to dengue, hemorrhagic fever from dengue, zika and chikungunya we take what I consider good precautions. Our yard is kept neat and all low hanging branches, bushes and flowers are kept cut back. We use Detan repellent every day, Joe fumigates the yard and house for mosquitoes every week and we walk around with cans of spray when we are outside.  We rake up leaves each morning and have no standing water around.  I do attempt to water early mornings so that the topsoil is not wet during the night hours. But none of those precautions help with this one mosquito. I could have been bitten while taking my morning walk but again I put on Detan before I leave the house, I could have been bitten at a local restaurant on Saturday night while out for dinner but again I wore Detan or I could have been bitten in my own home or yard where I always use Detan.

Everyday seemed to have a different symptom, first the headaches and eye sensitivity, next the fever and chills, next just sweats, total exhaustion, sick to stomach with diarrhea, after 12 days I finally feel back to my normal self.

Joe did get fresh papaya leaves from a producing tree and put them through the juicer added lemon juice and sugar and I drank that three times a day towards the end.  this was advice from a friend in Panama. I do think it helped.  World, look out. I’m back!!

Recovering our Couch

About a year ago Joe and I purchased a couch in Portoviejo. It needed to be love seat size because our salon is not very wide. It was expensive at over $600 and we had to pay for delivery as well.  After just a few short months the leather type material started to flake off.  We would find it clinging to our arms, legs and clothing as well as all over the floors in the house. What a pain!

IMG_3000It really looked crappy and covering it with a throw made it even crappier.  I remembered that Patricia McKinsey had introduced me to a man in Charapoto that recovered the cushions from her patio. I had my neighbor and friend Helena Zambrano, David’s wife, take me over to help with the translation and to pick out the new covering.  He agreed to recover the couch for $250. and would be completed by August 15th.  Today it was delivered way early and we have our couch back and it is beautiful and it is RED.

IMG_3018What a professional job.

Vendor Part 10: Jimmy – Pan Man in the Morning, Sweet Treats Man in the Afternoons

IMG_3016Almost every morning early around 6:30 am Jimmy comes by on his bike carrying this mornings fresh-from-the-oven rolls. 10 cents apiece for a great start to your morning.

Then some afternoons he comes by, today it was around 3:30 pm, with that same basket filled this time with sweet treats.  These are 15 cents.

IMG_3015Some of today’s choices were chocolate sweet rolls, a lovely sandwich cookie with a dulce de leche filling, a corn type muffin, a filled sweet roll with what I think is guayaba (guava) filling.  We have our favorites but honestly any one of them will pacify the sweet tooth in all of us.


What I Know of Love

LoveThere is this young couple, both working full-time jobs, with full-time responsibilities including two children nearing college age, a home with I’m sure a mortgage and all the expenses that go with an urban lifestyle.  The husband had a younger sister who has special needs.  The younger sister had lived with her parents until the mother was placed in a nursing home.  At this point the young woman was placed in an assisted living facility.  It was not the best of circumstances for the young woman and she was not flourishing. This is where my story really begins.

Our family has been blessed with some really wonderful people. For the past six or so years my brother John and his wife Lisa and their two children Alex and Anna have virtually adopted our youngest sister Lori Ann. They brought her into their home and family and have given her a life abundant with love, filled with great friends and more happiness than any one person could want in a lifetime.  She vacations with my sisters Linda and Debbie in NE Pennsylvania as well as our oldest sister Janice in Atlanta, GA.  She has been blessed with wonderful supportive people in her life.

13709916_10209989187073154_1583716706292228426_nThis is Lori Ann with John celebrating her 48th birthday.  Tons of laughs, tons of giggles and tons of love.

Below are some pictures that will show just how much love, compassion and understanding Lori Ann receives.

2011-12-16_08-23-53_505 2011-12-31_19-07-35_676 2011-12-31_22-30-41_957 2011-12-31_23-36-23_966 2012-01-13_17-01-14_255 5139_10208280756643461_5223943163352022739_n 13223_10202818013491487_4452031075442170138_n 14016_10201999733274993_7089564566787325912_n 16068_837731369571487_2202411366143951784_n 18427_10206427020741222_676708665489008883_n 67325_10201937827967399_2993244550749759940_n 68958_10201729466078482_1699083954391955332_n 246922_327700760653282_160951199_n 264297_1604712137784_8111087_n 296680_155614731195220_816442831_n 300011_269474333063498_732795_n 300172_269478033063128_5402922_n 309306_269471926397072_5852509_n 309586_269472253063706_8087518_n 313075_269479363062995_5840514_n 314109_269472726396992_414393_n 314763_269468779730720_2100865_n 377108_347724498571133_802274859_n 377503_2134065811295_1818999280_n 383731_10101928658704384_1795199343_n 385456_326710060752352_1859420272_n 386452_2156515332519_554040203_n 386993_326711030752255_279770237_n 388568_2134073971499_135689194_n 395045_348807135129536_154125787_n 399414_326306354126056_1928080226_n 400854_10101928658225344_1735536719_n 401840_2253065222301_1306652885_n 402458_10101928658270254_1955556373_n 405323_4547361327944_508675558_n 406364_347725648571018_1231846858_n 409736_2134080491662_975573548_n 423487_326306504126041_1132804807_n 426994_328699337220091_1811294196_n 430699_368949803115269_194803038_n 456408_2741743282852_1323368416_o 464222_2892403889273_282715851_o 475180_2892408409386_1459284346_o 527027_326306117459413_1738950839_n 527129_326929317397093_1445134553_n 530056_326710474085644_594893185_n 536207_251647524925273_845619820_n 536859_325998254156866_1322573929_n 540406_445985782078337_290785999_n 552120_326306624126029_1605270081_n 553369_326930114063680_63177574_n 557082_656147324395514_2027162818_n 574721_328699630553395_363465665_n 576104_328698843886807_2071395477_n 576394_2818607884144_1004293192_n 577991_533314640012117_1089548500_n 941467_617556518254595_1990738777_n 970450_611923425484571_2019087067_n 971059_611739115503002_418856346_n 994944_685335904812704_1895692323_n 1070016_633850733291840_417926250_n 1150220_644647332213226_898357695_n 1157737_643546478989978_1440384944_n 1234079_494085944014762_1512775996_n 1236608_494085480681475_60393701_n 1377971_682891345054445_2038274373_n 1378045_678007942212167_2115422022_n 1380491_678007978878830_23324119_n 1380700_679290628747850_615672857_n 1385194_10202278053141088_105318515_n 1441529_709965382347041_1538380167_n 1456539_10202496386771020_6523679540167408830_n 1507797_716677468343180_1742947744_n 1512612_716677901676470_302885309_n 1526593_716677178343209_2126536038_n 1800190_10201937854888072_1485251564449649614_n 1958277_10204483523248190_91375961702070100_n 10313501_10201099638293181_1212763019360877798_n 10325200_10201100005822369_3251063420111549286_n 10346641_10201099637893171_2083391322864465448_n 10367741_10203700298060080_5002520209345760892_n 10407076_10202496391691143_5488081805614139340_n 10461394_10201999732874983_8038840377704988925_n 10463013_10201391903879638_6264528550526154179_n 10478201_918387084854650_5657214115101813147_n 10580048_837731549571469_8359620138055777306_n 10612635_4567727167403_1662617788395825084_n 10659234_10201999735195041_6757517399328563093_n 10702236_10201937827487387_5565161134040788642_n 10712739_10200449751762519_4134359511906473022_n 10849987_10202128049522819_288500392585305748_n 10933860_10202802984155763_8823818684972552507_n 10945574_10202496389571090_6546917685727089532_n 11069934_10202708299708711_7484386054843931739_n 11107735_10206427021021229_4311228373073051072_n 11181297_10203498323618815_7473077309731918679_n 11694992_10207254383264768_3237053932825486362_n 11866361_10203498324378834_2947441596312858471_n 11888048_10203498323898822_6105146992740880585_n 11904719_10203498323178804_5226192528795996906_n 12196225_10205366613788862_5365884694347000843_n 12278815_10208126396824562_4734373489815632848_n 12642590_10208599286526509_4294504981683159721_n 12985378_10209280209349154_6575514342505053292_n 13406968_821387614661177_2082527860464619895_n Alex's prom photo with gals Anna and Lori Ann Easter 2015 FullSizeRender IMG_0251 IMG_0252 IMG_1014 IMG_1313 IMG_6344 IMG_6354 IMG_6357 IMG00033-20111012-1458 index Lori & Peter Lori Ann 2 Pitt 4.2015 Lori Ann 4.2012 Lori Ann 6.4.2016 Lori Ann 7.17.2016 Lori Ann 2012 Lori Ann at Janice;s Lori Ann Atlanta 2012 Lori Ann catching some rays 2012 Lori Ann the bathing beauty Lori Ann the gunglass queen Lori Ann w Peter and Janice Lori Ann with Linda 2014 Lori&Doris (2) Lori, Janice & Peter Lori-Halloween dance 003 photo (1) photo (3) photo (4) photo (5) photo (6) photo (7) photo (8) photo (9) photo (10) photo(1) photo(2) photo(3) photo(10) photo(11) photo(13) photo Upper Uwchlan-20111011-00080 Uwchlan-20111009-00076 Uwchlan-20111217-00197What a great life. Lori Ann’s life is full due to the love of her brother John and his family.  She has a job, tons of friends, many social activities and so much love.

It’s all about the love ……


Vendor Part 9: Torta, Torta, Torta

IMG_2954 Yet another vendor that comes around occasionally, delivers these beautiful chocolate or vanilla cakes.  They are probably a 6″ or 7″ cake for, you will not believe this, $1.50.  It is a really nice cake for $1.50. The chocolate one I purchased had a very thin white icing, it was not too sweet yet it really hit the spot for an afternoon snack. You can see it did not take us long to cut into it.

Vendor Part 8: Donicio AKA the Whistler

Donicio comes by on his motorbike every day. He has this high-pitched whistle so you know exactly who is driving by, plus his motorbike is pretty loud. Obviously his whistle is why I call him the Whistler. Today he had fresh cilantro, choclo, lemons, long beans, green peppers, tomatoes and an assortment of fresh beans.  I assume he has a farm as the items change daily, are of limited quantity and all are fresh fresh fresh.

IMG_3010He was fascinated when he saw the picture I had taken of him. Sometime this week I will print a picture out for him and when I stop him again I will give him his photo.


Kofta Kabobs and Tzatziki Sauce Come To San Clemente

Another great recipe to use with the Pita Bread recipe from a few days ago are kofta kabobs with tzatziki sauce.  Most recipes for the kabobs I have seen and my original recipe were made with lamb.  Because we cannot find lamb very easily here I have modified my original recipe to use part ground pork and part ground beef. It worked well and tastes great.

Kafta Kabobs

  • 2/3 pounds ground pork (needs a good bit of fat)
  • 1 1/3 pounds of ground beef
  • 4 stems of parsley or cilantro *
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped *
  • 3 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and chopped *
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Small pinch of clove
  • Small bunch of mint leaves, very finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • dash of chili flakes to taste

*Note: if you are grinding your own pork and beef add the onion, garlic and cilantro to the grinder, it just makes it so much faster and then it will be blended completely into the meats.

Roast the cumin, coriander and clove in a frying pan until they release their aroma, about 1 minute.  Cool slightly and grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.  Add all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl mixing well and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Shape the meat into a 6 inch tube shape like a sausage.  Gently cook for 3 minutes on a side, the meat will flatten out a bit but continue to cook until all sides have taken on a nice brown color and are a bit crispy.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 medium cucumber peeled, seeded and grated – then squeeze out excess liquid
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup thick yogurt or Kefir
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated fine
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • for garnish, chopped dill or cilantro and a dash of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with garnish and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make your pita bread (or use rolls) and place one kabob in the center of the pita and liberally cover with tzatziki sauce.  You can also use hummus or hummus and tzatziki together for yet another taste sensation… Beyond Yummy!!!!