Monday, July 16, 2018

July 16 - 22, 2018, MN

Sunday, July 15.  On Friday evening, we went to dinner at Fiesta Cancun Bar and Grill in downtown Maple Grove. It was a celebration of our 9 months together.  Unfortunately, I can only say that dinner was ok - every entree was flavorless and we kept adding sauces and seasonings to perk it up a bit.  The servings were generous and ingredients were fresh but nothing had any flavor.  I kept thinking that the food was designed for midwesterners brought up on bland food - not me - I wanted some spice! Needless to say, I will never return.  I also wanted to leave comments on their website but there was no option for that. Also, reviews on Yelp were all favorable, so I thought mine would just be overlooked anyway. 

Ben and the family were tent camping at Baker Park this weekend so we drove over

there on Saturday morning and hung out for a while. We walked to the beach but Tom and I didn't bring suits so couldn't venture in the water and we had Frisco with us and he wasn't allowed on the beach, so we had to sit back from the beach with him.  According to Ben, their first attempt improved after the first night and they plan to do it again.

Sunday was wash and wax day for my Toyota, it was badly needed and looks so nice now.

  This guy crawled through our site this afternoon.

Thursday, July 19.  The trouble with a gap in days between writing is having to reconstruct the previous day's events.  This week, my focus has been on medical - my annual Medicare checkup was on Tuesday and I had a good, thorough discussion with my new doctor on my medications, questions, and concerns. All is good and no follow-up is needed except for getting the new 2-part shingles vaccination, Zoster Shingrix that is out on the market. Apparently, it is in high demand and they were out of it. She said it is supposed to be 90+% effective and I will definitely be following up on that - I do not want to get the dreaded shingles.

I spent the afternoon at the dental hygienist yesterday at the Herzing Dental College Clinic - the only reason the appointments take the afternoon is that a student is doing the work under supervision of an instructor.  They are thorough checkups including cancer screening of the neck and jaws, blood pressure and pulse check, reviews of health history and a cleaning/polishing/fluoride treatment - all for $18 and well worth the 3-hour commitment.

After my appointment, I headed to Ben's house to pick up Norah for a 2-night sleepover. She was excited and had all of her stuff ready and packed. It was after 6:00 when we got back home, so we only had a short time to play at the playground after dinner, but it was fun.  Even though her eyes kept closing, she still wanted to return to the playground before bedtime.  After a shower and stories, she drifted off to sleep.

Today, we had planned to go see an interactive musical show for kids at the town center, but the rainy weather changed that plan.  The bandshell is right next to the library, so we picked up a bunch of books and a couple of movies and headed back home.  We did a walkabout (she rode her bike) in between rain showers. Now, it is cold and gloomy outside and she is napping.

Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9 - 15, 2018, MN

Thursday, July 12.  Most of the week has been very typical for us, except for an early morning visit to the lab for blood work in preparation for my upcoming annual checkup and a little bit of shopping therapy.

Last night, Tom and I went to the Maple Grove Town Green to see a Billy Joel Tribute band.  We were unsure of what to expect so got there a few minutes after the band started and were unable to find a seat on the lawn where we could actually see the band.  There was no problem with hearing them. It was a beautiful night for a concert in the park. We left a few minutes early in order to avoid the traffic rush after the show - good thing, as it started to pour down rain just after we got to the car.

This morning, in spite of the temps being near 90 degrees and high humidity, we headed to the Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, about 11 miles north of here.  The reserve is part of the Three Rivers Park District, an area that covers 27,000 acres of parks and trails with 25 different areas for recreation.  We hiked about 3 miles along unpaved trails and roughly mowed paths through forest and prairie lands.  The flies and mosquitoes were thick when we first started out, so we both doused ourselves and our clothes with 100% DEET - I know, it's nasty stuff but it is effective and allowed us to finish the hike.  Neither of us could wait to get in the shower when we got back home - we were hot, sweaty, and covered with insect repellant.  Frisco was a trooper but I know it tired him out - the humidity must really affect him - I've never seen him pant as much as he did on this hike. Perhaps it was a bit too long for him.

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2 - 8, 2018, MN

Sunday, July 8.  I just realized that I haven't written anything this whole week and there isn't a whole lot to write about.  Then again, there is:

On Friday morning, I headed over to Lois' house, as she had the grandkids overnight and we were taking them to the beach today.  The Lake Ann beach in Chaska is very nice with a long, wide, grassy area that provided plenty of shade and picnic tables and a long, wide beach with clean, soft sand and shallow, clean water.  We had lots of fun building castles and romping around in the water.

When we got back to the house, Norah and Camille took naps and Lois, Charlotte, and I relaxed on the porch. I hung there around until Ben got arrived to pick the girls up.

Back at home, Tom and I went to Luann Chin for dinner and it was ok - pretty typical for an Asian fast food restaurant.

Saturday was another full day when Ben and the girls joined us for the afternoon here at the KOA.  We walked, they rode their bikes, colored, ate snacks, and were fascinated by the trailer. Norah and Camille wanted to take naps but had a hard time going to sleep, they eventually succeeded, and we sat around talking and coloring.  When we asked Tom to join us, he said he was ok with reading but when Charlotte said "Pleeeeese" he joined us - and I think he had fun doing it.

Last night we went to the Hamel Rodeo, a local event just down the road from where we are staying.  We saw several of the usual Rodeo events like steer roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, and bull riding with some clownish entertainment and and some trick riding by The One Armed Bandit in between - an enjoyable evening doing something a bit out  of the ordinary.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 1, 2018, MN

Sunday, July 1.  After hooking up between rainfalls yesterday and last minute chores this morning, we pulled out and headed northwest to our campsite at the KOA in Maple Grove, MN where we will be spending the next 2 months.  Half of the drive was through rain and at times, pouring down rain and some high winds too.  Other than that, it was an easy 4-hour drive.  Just before we arrived, they received 3.5 inches of rain, so there are puddles everywhere.  Our site isn't bad, kind of muddy and the electric/water hookups are on the wrong side of the RV.  That is certainly an inconvenience and we will have to buy a 30amp extension.

Just down the road is Mama G's Bar and Grill and we headed there for a bite to eat and a beer.  There was music and volleyball on the patio but we decided to eat indoors where it was a bit more quiet - are we getting older or what?

Monday, June 25, 2018

June 25 - 30, 2018, WI

Tuesday, June 27.  We did some touring yesterday as I wanted to show Tom around to a few Wisconsin originals and we started out with a stop at Fosdal's Bakery in Stoughton for one of their famous chocolate donuts (I chose a fruit bar) and we were hoping for a breakfast sandwich but they only had lunch sandwiches, so we walked up to the Koffee Kup for breakfast.  You can't get more Stoughton than that. 

Tom suggested a visit to the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, so we headed in that direction and he got to experience driving the Beltline in Madison (not bad when it's not rush hour).  The museum was interesting, we sampled several and bought a few too.  The next stop was to be Capital Brewery but they were closed on Mondays, so we headed toward Wollersheim Winery, but drove past that to Dr. Evermore's sculpture garden.  We strolled the grounds to view the Forevertron (a space ship like sculpture that is to beam him up to the heavens when he dies), musical instrument insects, and all of the other incredible creations the man has made from scrap metal objects during his lifetime.  I learned from his daughter that they are working on a Netflix movie and that there is an "Evermor" TV show, but I haven't checked it out yet.

And then, we went to the winery where we strolled the beautiful grounds, sampled a few wines and then walked over to the distillery and sampled the Rye whiskey and the Absinthe.  We missed the rush hour traffic on the way home, thankfully. It was a full and fun day and we were both thankful to have each other to explore with - it's not much fun doing those things on your own.

This morning, I had an appointment to have my transmission flushed and brakes checked at Conant's.  While they had the car, Tom and I took care of some chores and checked out a few shops in Stoughton. At TSC, we filled a propane tank, at Cheezers we bought cheese. I had hoped to take Chocolate cheese back to the kids but it was not Gluten free, so that plan was nixed. We drove to Badgerland campground and Kegonsa State Park and checked them out, but VV is probably the best deal for us in the future.

It was a rainy day off and on and when we went to Pat's for dinner, it poured for a couple of hours straight.  We did have a nice visit, though, and Dawn joined us for a while.  When we left, it was goodbye for a couple of months, as we will head back this way in the fall before we go back to the southwest again.

Wednesday, June 27.  We had a bag full of laundry, so took care of that this morning and walked in between showers.  No breakfast, as we wanted to have lunch at Sonny's (it has a new name but looks the same) in Stoughton. Our sandwiches were tasty. 

Back at the trailer, we started to tidy up and get ready to roll again in the morning.  It was beautiful out and we sat and enjoyed the evening. This park is quite pretty and most of the week there have been no neighbors.

Friday, June 29.  Hookup for departure went well yesterday morning except for a little glitch with the connector for trailer lights, but Tom was able to get it cleared up - for he problem was moisture or dirt.  We were on the road by 10ish and only had 125 miles to go to the Pine View campground in Fort McCoy, an easy drive with one stop at the rest area north of Wisconsin Dells.

Our site is very nice with plenty of shade. It's going to be a hot few days as temps are expected to get up in the upper 90s with high humidity. There is an occupied site to the right of us and across the street, but plenty of Woods separating us.  We took a walk and sat around the campsite - too hot for a fire.

Today was fun - a leisurely wake up, a nice, long walk and then a trip to the Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin, Warrens - a small township of 350+ people that swells to 100,000 in the fall when they celebrate the annual Cranberry Festival.  We stopped at the Discovery Center and learned a lot when we went through the nice little informative museum and checked out the beautiful collection of antique cranberry glass (not made in this area, but the name fits). And then we shopped, leaving there with 2 jellies, some potpourri, and a bottle of cranberry moonshine (not distilled in WI).  

Back home, we sampled that moonshine and it has a bite - the bottle is filled with cranberries and they have a bite too - it is definitely sipping stuff.  There wasn't much else to do, so we went and took a dip in the cold, clear water of the little lake that is fed by the LaCrosse River.  It didn't take long to cool down.

I grilled pork chops and potatoes for dinner while Tom cut up some salad.  We ate, cleaned up, and headed to the Tomah-Sparta Speedway for an evening of modified, sportsman, stock car, and super cup races topped off with fireworks.  I don't remember the last time I saw a race and it was a fun thing to do.


Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18 - 24, 2018, WI

Tuesday, June 19.  I've been busy getting together with family.  Yesterday morning, a long walk with Dawn and most of our conversation was about Rich's last few months leading up to his death.  After our walk, we talked with Katie and played with her little guy, Henry.

I met Tom, Karen, Sharon, Becky, and Lizzie for lunch at Erin's Snug Irish Pub in Madison and we celebrated Tom's birthday, I think it might be his 67th.  Unfortunately, he is not in the best of health, had multiple bypasses earlier this year, had surgery for a blockage in his leg 2 years ago, and is facing surgery in the other leg now.  It's always nice to be with family and it was good to see everyone.

Tracey made a yummy chicken recipe tonight - chicken breast halved and stuffed with garlic, spinach, and provolone cheese. I'll have to make it one of these days.

This morning, Dawn and I met Jonnie at Sugar and Spice for breakfast and we talked and talked on so many subjects - mostly health if you can imagine that.  We also reminisced about family and shared memories of our aunts and grandmother.

Sunday, June 24.  Pat's work got rained out so I got to spend the day with him again on Wednesday. We got things ready for a garage sale that they are having over the weekend and watched some tv and also took a drive around the lake to check the high water levels.  The news is full of reports that the levels are at a 100-year high, and we found that to be true.  Piers are under water, as are some picnic tables and walkways.

   The box on top of the pole in the center of the picture is a grill.

I was on pins and needles Thursday morning in anticipation of Tom's arrival.  By 2:00, I got his text and headed right over to Viking Village RV Park where we will be for the next week.  It was wonderful to feel his hug and sit and talk again - that is, once he got all setup in the rain.  We went in town to Deek's Pub for a beer and burger - just like old times.

Other than grocery shopping and walking the trail along Viking Park, the highlights of the weekend were Fran's 93rd birthday party at Erin and Joe's house where Tom got to meet my cousins in her family.  He was welcomed with open arms and fit right in - we had a good time there.  After that, we went to Pat and Tracey's and he met them and was welcomed. Pat cooked brats and beans and I brought coleslaw and we had a great visit and dinner.

  We found this little guy on one of our walks.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

June 11 - 17, 2018, MN, WI

Wednesday, June 13.  I misread the clock this morning and got up at 5:45 instead of 6:45, so I'm sitting here having coffee and enjoying the morning sounds of squirrels chattering, cardinals whistling, and the hum of traffic as people hustle off to work.

The family finished loading the van and headed off on their road trip to Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon and I have had the house to myself.  I've been busy doing a few chores that they weren't able to get done before they left, like cleaning out the refrigerator, giving the lawn and garden a good soaking, and writing up instructions for the neighbor girls to keep up with the watering while they are gone.

I was planning to take my bike in to have the locked brake checked but ran out of time, so I took it back to my storage unit in hopes that it might be a project that Tom and I can do together.  I'm sure there is a You Tube video out that that can guide us through the process.

Charlotte and I visited the rose garden, rock gardens, and bird sanctuary yesterday and had a fun time.  I turned the camera over to her and this is what she did.

Saturday, June 16.  After washing my bedding and doing some cleanup at the house this morning, I got on the road, heading south to Montello where I spent the night at Pat and Roger's house.  As always, it was wonderful to see them again.  We took a couple of nice walks with the dogs, had Old Fashions on the front porch, a nice dinner and lots of good conversation. They took me to Frannie's Cafe (formerly Maggie Mae's) in Oxford for a tasty breakfast on Friday morning. And then I headed south again.

Next stop was to see Sharon in Portage.  I didn't call ahead but when I drove by and saw her garage door open, I knew she was home. We had a nice chat and I hung out for an hour or so before taking familiar back roads to Stoughton.  I drove past the nursing home in Wyocena where Mom spent her last 8 years, then past Covance, where I spent the last 25 of my working years, then on to Pat's house in Stoughton.  

Tracey and I had a great visit and then when Pat got home from work, the 3 of us had pizza and lots of good conversation.

Pat and I worked in his flower beds for a while this morning but it started getting hot, so we took a break.  90 degrees and 71% humidity was feeling pretty hot.  We dug up some huge hosta plants, divided them, and put them along the fence.  We also transplanted a Bleeding Heart and Stella d'Oro lilies from the front garden to the back where the hosta was removed.

When Pat took a nap, I went for a ride out to see my old home on Starr School Rd, then past the house where I grew up on Hamilton Street, and then to see my cousin, Fran.  Lucky for me, my cousin Ken and his wife, Gerda were there too, so we all had a good chat and caught up on the last year's events.  When I left there, I went to the cemetery to visit Mom, Dad, and Rocco's grave.  The hosta plants had gotten so big that they were covering Mom and Dad's headstone, so I got a gardening tool out of my car and cut them back.

Tonight, after dinner, we watched a couple of episodes of the latest season of "The Ranch"