Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February 19 - 25, 2018, AZ

Monday, February 19.  The weather is supposed to be snowy and is under a winter snow advisory.  Wouldn't you know, it's my travel and I'm a bit uneasy, although I know that people around here take it all in stride.  I made a reservation for an Uber pickup at 3:00, just in case - my flight is at 6:00.

Ben and I took Charlotte to "the Works", a kids discovery museum with lots of blocks and things to build, silly mirrors and stuff like that. She had lots of fun. We stopped for lunch at Broder's Cucina, just a couple of blocks from their house, for and my meatball sandwich was yummy.

I said my goodbyes and my Uber driver showed up right on time and got me to the airport in plenty of time. I was all checked in ahead of time, so getting throughnsecurity was no problem.  I no more sat down and looked up at the screen to see my flight was delayed a half hour and then shortly after that, another half hour.  When we finally boarded, we sat on the tarmac for another hour while the plane was de-iced - three times. My plane landed at 11:00 and Tom was right there to pick me up. It sure was nice to see him again!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 11 - 18, 2018, MN

Monday, February 12.  I had 2 brief walks this morning, taking the kids to school and bus stop. Damn, it's cold!  Zero degrees is damned frigid cold.  Jill loaned me one of her coats and and I was wearing hat and gloves, but my face felt stiff and frozen, then my knees and feet started feeling real cold, and this was just walking Norah and Camille to their school, only 2 blocks away.

Tonight was the scramble to get them all to swimming lessons and back home and tucked into bed.  Jill fed the kids quesadillas and oranges in the car on the way there and they got bananas on the way home.  It was testing night and Camille and Norah moved up to the next level but Charlotte needs to improve her skills a bit more before she moves on.  She loves the water but it is all a matter of coordination with her. We were eating nachos for dinner at 8:30 and it wasn't long after that when I went to bed.

Tuesday, February 13.  Well, it's been 5 years since Mike passed away and I got my cry in this afternoon.  Damn, it wasn't supposed to be like this.  I'm going to look at photos and bring back memories of the years we had together.  I feel good that I have been able to move on and make the most of my life and I am in a happy place - I know that he would want that for me.  And now - I'll get on with the rest of my life.

I used Ben's van to run some errands today - the DMV for updated license, tags for the trailer, pick up a prescription, and get some things at the grocery store. The temps have risen to 30 today but it still felt cold because of the wind.  A high of 40 is expected tomorrow.

Thursday, February 15.  Well, we survived the anniversary of Mike's death and celebrated by having a conversation with Pat, receiving 60+ posts to his photo on Facebook, and watching the slide show of his life story that we shared at his memorial service.

The girls were all excited about Valentine's Day and came home from school with boxes full of them and Charlotte's was full of candy.  I add a pot of Zuppa Tuscana for dinner and it went over well, but not quite as well as the last time I made it.  That might have a bit to do with the candy that they ate after school.

Ben took the day off today, he actually has the next 5 days off, and once we got the kids all off to school, he and I headed to Rustica Bakery for a coffee and pastry.  Our destination was the Frederick R Weisman Art Museum on the U of M campus.  The building itself is unusual, a stainless steel and brick building designed by architect Frank Gehry. The paintings on display were made by local artists and there was a gallery with works depicting "Vanishing Ice" that made me feel sad, knowing that global warming is real and this brought it all home.  There was also an exhibit of photos of Prince and a few of his personal items.

From there, we headed to the Foxtone Music Company where a very friendly guy named Wes talked with us for a long time about creating electronic music and sound waves and the equipment used to create it.  Much of it was way over my head, but I found it to be interesting and it's a topic that Ben has a lot of interest in.

After that, we went to Minnehaha Falls so I could see them in their frozen state.  The weather has been in the 30-40 degree range yesterday and today, so there was water moving but the Falls themselves were all ice.

   Charlotte's new bob hairstyle.

Friday, February 16.  Happy 41st Birthday to my youngest son, Ben. He and Charlotte both had the day off, so we were able to spend it together. I let him sleep in and got up early to do his morning chores, like make Norah and Camille's lunches and breakfast, get the coffee going for Jill and I, and empty the dishwasher. Jill dropped the girls off at schooled once Ben got up, we headed to Rose Street Patisserie for a yummy pastry and coffee.

Our next stop was the Bakken museum, the world's only library and museum devoted to medical electricity. I learned a bit about the condition in my heart called a left bundle branch block, the part of the heart that controls the electrical signals that tell it to beat.  There were several hands-on displays that demonstrated how electricity worked and some that generated a slight shock.  There was a Frankenstein's Laboratory display that featured the author, Mary Shelley and an animated version of her telling her story, plus several other interactive displays.  Charlotte also like the Ben Franklin Laboratory. We played a cool Mind Game where two people tried to get a ball through a tube by using brain waves.  My brain was way too active to have much control and Charlotte and Ben both beat me at it.  It made me think that I should work on some relaxation techniques.

They hired a babysitter for tonight so Ben, Jill, and I could go for it for a nice dinner and it was truly enjoyable.  It has been so long since we have been able to do that.  We started at Salut for an Old Fashioned to toast Ben's birthday and in memory of Mike, then headed to Book Club Restaurant for dinner.  We shared a plate of Mussels for an appetizer andI had the steak salad that was a generous serving of assorted vegetables, pickled green beans, a nice hunk of Blue Cheese, and a tasty vinaigrette dressing.  For dessert, we shared a bread pudding.  It was such a nice evening.

Saturday, February 17.  Norah, Charlotte and I teamed up and made my Apple Oat Crisp for Ben's birthday party this morning.  After Charlotte's gymnastics class, we hung out at home for the rest of the day, working on art projects and party decorations.  

I learned from Rita that my latest great-nephew was born in Kansas City, the first son of my niece Ashley and Cher husband Chase. I haven't gotten any other details yet.

Ben made a yummy dinner of spicy shrimp, rice, and roasted broccoli and then we had the apple crisp and ice cream for dinner.  And then the party started!  The party ball (strobe lights) was turned on and the dance music turned up and we all danced and had a balloon fight. What fun!

Sunday, February 18.  Ben and the family went to an indoor water park and I opted to stay home and do my laundry and get organized for my trip back home. It was kind of nice to have quiet time.  We spent the rest of the day hanging out at home and taking it easy.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 1 - 9, 2018, AZ and MN

There hasn't been a whole lot to write about lately so again, I'm just going to hit the highlights.

Sunday, February 2.  We watched the Super Bowl with Jim and Sue at their new and beautiful motor home.  Sue made ham sandwiches and I made baked beans and we had a good time.

Tuesday, February 6. A Highlands Happy Hour bus trip to Casa de Juana - a very nice Mexican restaurant on Southern and Dobson in Mesa.  The decor was bright and cheerful and the food was delicious.  A couple of people went ahead in their cars, and learned that a reservation for 33 people (9 from our park and the rest from Monte Vista) had just been called in a half hour before they got there.  The staff quickly set up a room for us and our server, Steve, did an excellent job of taking our orders and serving us.  I have a feeling that he got some good tips that evening.

Thursday, February 8.  We picked Jim and Sue up and headed it to Meridian Road to hike a trail on the east side of Usery Mountain.  We chose the County Line, Spillway, and Meridian Loop trails for a 3.3 mile hike. And a very enjoyable one it was, with warm and comfortable temperatures and really good company.

The rest of the day was spent preparing for my trip to Minnesota tomorrow.

Friday, February 9.  I was up, packed, Frisco walked, and ready to leave home by 10:15 when Tom took me to the airport.  Check-in, security, the wait and the flight all went smoothly and I was picked up at the airport by Ben and the girls.  We had a typical Friday night at the Bridge household with pizza and an evening of watching the Olympics Opening Ceremonies and a few of the skating events.  Ben and I stayed up and talked until almost 11:00 - so good to be reunited!

Saturday, February 10.  Ben and I were off to take Norah and Camille to gymnastics this morning and it was fun watching them go through all of the moves in the class. Their favorite is 'the pit' that is filled with soft, cushions and the just worked on maintaining balance.  Because the followed the coach's instructions and cooperated with getting in and out of the car, they were rewarded with a trip to one of the very few gluten free bakeries in the area, called Sift.  Ben and I each had a very yummy Lemon Poppyseed Muffin and the girls had chocolate donuts with sprinkles and they lovingly ate every bit of them.

I watched the girls tonight so Ben and Jill could go out on the town and enjoy a concert.  We watched the Disney movie, "Moana".  Bedtime was a bit of a disaster - Norah kept getting out of bed with a multitude of excuses and Camille got up because she said 

Norah woke her up.  It was almost 9:00 before I was able to get in the shower.  By then, I was exhausted and went to bed myself.

Sunday, March 11.  It was another very active day, but the morning got off to a much slower start.  Charlotte had ice skating class and we all went with he so Norah and Camille could get some time on the ice too.  I was tempted to put on skates but didn't want to risk breaking any of my almost 70-year old bones. Charlotte is really learning a lot and her coordination is improving so much.  Talk about cold - 9 degrees and we were standing on ice.  The coat Jill loaned me to wear and the long underwear layer really kept me toasty warm, but my feet turned to ice shortly after we arrived.  The days have been sunny and bright, but they sure are cold.  The ice rink and warming house brought back many memories of my childhood, skating with family and friends at St. Ann's near my home in Stoughton.

After the twin's nap, we headed to St. Louis Park to Punch Fun and Sports for a game of bowling, my first since an evening with Ben and Jill back in 2007 in Pacifica, California.  Jill was the high scorer and Grandma Rose came in as the low scorer.  It just happened to be a place that served Gluten Free choices, so we had dinner there too.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January 29-31, 2018, AZ

Wednesday, January 31.  Tom set the alarm for 6:00 this morning so we could check out the Super Blue Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse this morning.  At that time, it was a dark orange color and not quite as big as we thought it would be.  He went back to bed and I took the opportunity to walk Frisco and watch it for a while and it became very dark with hardly any light showing at all.  I was expecting to see more light or to see the moon dropping on the horizon but by 7:00, it was gone.

Friday, January 26, 2018

January 21 - 28, 2018, AZ

IWe Friday, January, 26.  It's been a long time since I've written anything in his journal and trying to backtrack is difficult.  Last week, Tom and Ron signed a contract for Ron to purchase his house and a tentative closing date is set for May 1.  Ron and Louisa cam be by to look at the house back in November, gave Tom an offer that he wasn't willing to accept, and then came back with another offer that he did accept with some adjustments.  Tom and I came up with a Purchase Agreement and Ron made a good deposit and the agreement was signed.  

So now, Tom and I are trying to come up with a plan for the summer.  Right now, we're thinking of it being an exploring of options, visiting with family, and making sure that we are compatible and want to continue on together.  For now, life is good and I'm hoping it continues.  We definitely have our differences but have been able to work through them.

On Sunday, my good friends, Susan and Dean arrived for a few day's stay in Scottsdale.  I had 3 cleaning jobs on Monday and Tuesday but managed to get together with them on Monday afternoon and Tuesday evening to hang out.  It's always nice to connect with old friends.  We met at Rula Bula on Mill Avenue, Tempe on Tuesday night for a good dinner and conversation and Roger and Dean enjoyed a cigar out on the patio.

Wednesday morning, Tom and I loaded up the Wildweed (my nickname for his Wildwood travel trailer) and were on the road by 10:30, heading for Roper Lake State Park and a few days of camping.  Our site #33, is a very nice pull-through and the park and Trails are well kept and the facilities are clean and tidy.  We don't have a view of the lake, but can see it from the north end of our site.

   Hacienda Loop, Site #33

     Roper Lake

    Bloody Mary's, snacks, and planning

On Thursday, we hung out in the park, took a long hike on the trails surrounding the park, checked out the visitor center and the mineral spring hot tub, had a nice campfire and passed the day away like that.

Today, Friday, we took a drive along Highway 366 to Mt. Graham, about a 20 mile drive through the Coronado National Forest.  We made a few stops at campgrounds and hiking trails but it was cold and windy and there was snow on the ground too.  The campsites are mostly for tents, are quite secluded and,  for now, unoccupied. About 18 miles in, the road was blocked and we couldn't go any further and had to turn back.  The road was out and back anyway - we just had a to turn back earlier than we expected.  There was lots of evidence of the Frye fire that went through here last July. 

   The Fry Fire Closures

     The end of the trail.

Burned out trees in the forest.

Saturday, January 27.  We decided to take a drive along the Tanque Road today, toBowie, AZ.  Not far from the turn-off from SR-191, the road became dirt and we tried to follow it on the Gazeteer.  We saw a sign that said it was 20 miles to the Hot Well Dunes and we finally came upon a few campsites, a Riparian area, and 3 hot well springs - nothing else for miles and miles, as far as the eye could see.  The camp sites are on BLM land and went for $3/day (half that for seniors with the national park pass).  Neither of us would have any reason to return or to ever want to stay there. The rest of the way to Bowie was paved road.  There was NOTHING in Bowie.

We headed back north and took SR 266 to the west to Bonita and Fort Grant (both looked like there might be little settlements.  Fort Grant, once a historic site is now closed to the public and is now a State Prison.  There is nothing but an elementary school at Bonita - nothing else.  We explored a few camp sites along the road as we headed back to Roper Lake, all very primitive with rough road accessing them.  Again, NOTHING we would come back here for.

We had a beer at C&C Bar before heading back to our campsite, also stopping to see if we could extend for a night but our site was already reserved, so we will return to Mesa as originally planned.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

January 1 - 7, 2018, AZ

OSaturday , January 6, 2018.  Happy Birthday, Randy!  It's hard to believe my younger brother is 61 years old today.  Makes me feel old.

It's been a good week, with only one work day.  On that day, I took on two more cleaning jobs for Carl in the near future - one is just before Tom and I head out for our next camping trip to Roper Lake State Park.

On Wednesday, we headed to downtown Phoenix to meet Tom's sister, Geri, her granddaughter, Allee and her great grandson, Josiah at the Children's museum.  When we got to the parking lot, Tom got a text from Geri that she forgot about the time difference between CA and AZ and she would be arriving an hour later.  We strolled around Heritage Square, stopped and had some coffee and got back to the parking lot just as she pulled in.  It was nice to meet them and nice to be around a kid again.  Josiah had lots of fun and we had fun watching him have fun.  We had lunch together, a little more exploring and then said our goodbyes before heading back home.

     Tom and Geri

   Josiah and Alee

I got the minutes for the last HCC meeting typed and distributed, my last duties as Secretary and then met with Delores, who is taking my place.  I passed off my notebook and keys and gave her some training on the duties.  

Tom had an appointment Friday morning and I went to a few garage sales and an estate sale.  In the afternoon, I met Janice at the clubhouse and gave her some training on the job of keeping the supply room stocked.  Another Highlands job delegated and I am once more retired - from those responsibilities anyway.

While watching TV tonight, I got a call from Jacki B's daughter, who is here to help her get settled in an assisted living home - she has been on the decline since late summer and just can't stay in her hands me any more.  She asked me to clean Jacki's house to get it ready for real estate agent to show it, so I'll be doing that on Sunday (already have 3 jobs scheduled this week). In just a week, they have emptied the house and got it on the market and got Jacki settled in at Arbor Rose.

Tom and I went to McDowell Mountain Regional Park today and hiked the Scenic Trail, it ended up being a 4.1 mile hike.  A beautiful day - not too warm because of the light clouds in the sky.  The trail was pretty easy without a lot of steep climbs and the trail wasn't too rocky.  Frisco got a bit tired, but recovered after a rest and a snack and water.  He usually isn't too interested in drinking water while we're hiking.  A great day.

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25 - 31, 2017, AZ

Wednesday, December 27.  Christmas Day on Monday was very nice and relaxing.  The temps got up to the low 70s and it was quite pleasant for our morning walk with Frisco.  Tom went to visit an old friend who he hadn't seen in a long time for a couple of hours.  I designated the time as 'ME' time and lounged in a tub of hot water and soaked away the time.

When Tom got back, we headed to Nan and Dale's house to celebrate and have dinner with them.  Dale's son, Dylan and his fiancé Hayley, Monica and Loren and Loren's Mom, Lindsay and her SO, Ned also joined us.  Before dinner, we played a round of "Cards Against Humanity", a rather raunchy but fun game.


Dinner was yummy - ham, potatoes, maple dill carrots, green bean casserole, Monica's homemade croissants, and Loren's Creme Brûlée.  Delicious!  Afterwards, it was gift opening time - kind of wished I would have left before that started - mostly a family thing.   All in all, it was a good day!

Sunday, December 31.  Well here it is, the last day of 2017 and overall the year has been quite good for me.  A lot of changes occurred but I have adjusted well to the instability - moving to an apartment in Minneapolis, moving out of that apartment again, starting a partnership relationship with Tom and making some decisions about our future together.

The week was pretty low key - I worked on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tom and I went out for tacos at Sharkeys on Tuesday and we met up with Pat and Roger and Chris and Norm for fish at Simpletons on Friday night.

We checked out an estate sale in Scottsdale on Saturday and when that was kind of a bust, we went to Mesa Marketplace and strolled through the rows and rows of booths stuffed with Chinese knockoffs, kitchen gadgets, shoes, luggage, rugs, and lots of other stuff.  We bought a couple of small things but mostly just browsed.

Tonight was the New Years Eve party at the clubhouse that had a quite small group of folks, the smallest at an event that I've been to for quite a while. Several of my friends didn't come and that might have made a difference, but it was still a really good time.  We toasted the New York New Years at 10:00 and again at midnight for the Arizona New Years.  The group of revelers got smaller as the night went on, but we endured.  Virgil played lots of good dance tunes and we had a really nice time. Happy New Year!