Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday, January 23, 2022, MN

It’s been a cold, cold week around here with the exception of Tuesday when we saw close to 40° and lots of the snow melted and cleared the roads and sidewalks.  Frisco and I were able to get two decent walks in on Sunday and Monday.

I spent Tuesday and Thursday with the girls, helping out with distance learning.  Granny Lois was there on Wednesday and Friday.  This week went much better than last, as the teacher has a defined schedule and the girls understand the rules and expectations.  Also, their parents had some serious talks with them about respectful behaviors with their grandparents.  Charlotte is involved with classes most of the day and is usually studying independently downstairs.  She only needs reminders to stay on task - takes advantage of breaks to play games.  They all do that - they would easily spend every non-school moment playing games and watching shows on their devices.  One of the changes that I made was to spend one-on-one ‘special’ time with the twins during breaks and that helped to keep things separated and calm and from getting crazy in their play. Camille and I did a sewing project and Norah and I did an electrical project.

I’ve started to get ready for my upcoming trip to Arizona, setting things aside that I don’t want to forget and making a ‘to do’ list.  It will be so nice to see Tom again, to enjoy some sunshine and warmer temperatures, to meet baby Logan, the newest addition to the family, and to reconnect with Arizona friends.  I am not looking forward to the travel part of it.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday, January 16, 2022, MN

We had a couple of days with temps above 30°, so Frisco and I were able to get some decent walks in.  It always feels good to get some fresh air and move the body.

I had a surprise FaceTime conversation with Mike’s long-time friend, Jim on Friday morning. It’s been at least a year since we have talked and it was nice to catch up with him again. Funny how distance and separation don’t even come into play with some people, and it feels like you haven’t even been apart.

I offered to help Ben out after school on Thursday, to take Charlotte to her swim class, and then spend the day with the girls on Friday, as they are having remote school for the next two weeks.  It was snowing pretty good when I drove to their house and predicted to get 3-6”.  Charlotte was able to go skiing with a friend in the morning, so she did her schoolwork when she got back home.  The twins were right on task when they were on their zoom calls with their classes, but they were pretty naughty when they had free time and recess - fighting with each other and pushing the boundaries and not being very respectful of me. I got pretty stressed and Ben certainly wasn’t happy with their behavior, so we talked about it at dinner and nobody got to watch a movie, the twins had to take their showers right after dinner and also had to go to bed early.  

By the time Charlotte (she is spending the weekend with me) and I went back to my apartment, we had about 5” of snow on the ground. The roads were pretty slick, but I took city streets and didn’t have any issues with my trusty RAV4.  Charlotte and I went to bed early, had some reading time, and lights were out before 9pm.

Covid cases are higher right now than they were a year ago - thus the remote schooling) and it is mostly the new variant, Omicron that isn’t as severe as previous variants and people are getting it right and left.  Our country is still not at herd immunity which is 70% of the population vaccinated or has immunity from having the virus.  Many people won’t get vaccinated because they don’t believe in the science behind the vaccines or don’t trust the CDC. The hospitals are full of unvaccinated people, making it difficult for any others to even get the medical care that they might need right now. It is a sad, sad situation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Tuesday, January 11, 2022, MN

After writing yesterday, I did some research on having the cord repaired and getting a replacement hose for my 30+ year old Oreck handheld vacuum and there was a store that carried the hose nearby. I could only find the hose plus fixtures online - I really don’t need the fixtures.  When I got to the store, I learned that it would cost me $35 for the hose plus a minimum of $25 for the cord repair. They had a sale on the newest Simplicity (same manufacturer as Oreck) handheld that had some features that my old one didn’t have - so I bought the thing.  I will no longer need to use the handheld for getting dog hair off the couch and the upright for the carpets and it takes up a lot less space.  It is smaller, has better suction than the old one and has a set of mini attachments that can be used for computers and small spaces that I thought was kind of cool.

My car got a bath today - the first in weeks. The weather forecast called for temps above freezing for the next few days, so I jumped on the opportunity. I called the car wash before going and they assured me that they blow air into the locks and hinges to prevent them from freezing. So I popped for the $18 car wash that included the underbody wash and a complete dry off. I watched to see the process and I didn’t see anyone using an air hose, so I mentioned it to the guys that were drying my car and they did it.  I also squirted some de-icer in them when I got back home.  It looks so nice!

Frisco and I got a nice walk in this morning and I lucked out when I spotted a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers flitting around in a nearby tree.  They are impressive birds. It felt good to get outside and breathe in the fresh air.

This afternoon was the monthly art class with Genevieve, who brings us such interesting projects to work on and learn about.  Today, we used a process called Cuerda Seca to make a design on a clay tile that can be used as a coaster or just as a decoration.  The Cuerda Seca is a glaze that is mixed with wax and is used to outline the design, then the empty areas are painted with a colored glaze and they don’t overrun or mix with the Cuerda Seca. Once they are painted, she takes them to her shop and fires it in her kiln, then returns them to us.  

An example of Cuerda Seca

We talked quite a bit about the benefits that art and learning new things has on the brain and helps the memory.  Again, I am surprised that so few people take advantage of this great benefit we have to living here. There were only five people in the class again today.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Monday, January 10, 2022, MN

I met up with Mavis on Tuesday and we went to Burger Moe’s for their lunch special - burger, fries, and beverage for $9.95. Their burgers are so good and generous serving of nice and crunchy French fries (I had them for 2 other meals during the week) and the conversation was great.  We took advantage of a day with decent temps (still not warm enough to wash my filthy car), as they were going to drop the next day and stick around for a while. And they did - we saw our first below zero temps for the year and the wind chills were in the -25 to 30° range. Brief walks were the order of the days.

Ben had a business trip this week, so I offered to help Jill out with getting kids to and from school on Friday, and activities on Thursday evening.  It was so cold Thursday night that the twins’ skiing was cancelled and Charlotte didn’t want to venture out to swimming. I spent the night on Thursday and Friday, drove the twins to school on Friday morning (Charlotte wanted to walk with her friends) and met them at the bus stop in the afternoon.  We had movie night Friday night.

Pat is finally over the Covid and ready for work again. Tracey is now under the weather with it.  

After my Sunday morning video chat with Tom, Ben came over for our Weekly coffee meetup - always so nice to have an uninterrupted chat with him.  

I took my neighbor Louise to Walmart for groceries. Her usual ride didn’t work out, so she asked me.  You sure can tell that there are staffing shortages these days, that Walmart was a mess and lots of shelves were not stocked. I will have to go to the meat market later this week, as it was slim pickings in the meat counters and I also wonder where they source their meats.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Sunday, January 2, 2022, MN

And it is a cold, cold beginning of the New Year where we have dropped below zero for the first time since last January.  I left the house today for the first time in three days and the thermometer in my car said it was -9° when I headed to the grocery store this morning.  As I was coming back home, I spotted a deer in the front yard of a home just 3 blocks from where I live. There was no way I could get to my phone to snap a picture, with gloves on my hands and the phone buried in my jacket pocket. 

I went to the store because I decided to use up a can of pumpkin that I had in the cupboard to make a pumpkin bread. It turned out that I was missing an ingredient, so I headed to the store.  The bread turned out great, but I had no intention of keeping it around.  It sure made my apartment smell good.

I have been staying in touch with Patrick and his experience with Covid 19 has been a roller coaster. He was feeling on the upswing on Day 4 but then today, Day 5 he is back to feeling fatigued, headachy and generally lousy.  He has not developed respiratory issues, thankfully.  He is fortunate to have had the last week off with pay and his boss is giving them an extra two days. I’m not sure if he will be able to go back then.

A few residents gathered in the community room on New Year’s Eve to celebrate our ‘aliveness’ and a few of us ended up playing WII bowling - I didn’t do too bad either, finishing with a score of 143.  When I got back to my apartment, I took Frisco out for his final (brief) walk and then had a nice video chat with Tom.  I didn’t make it until midnight, went to bed about 10:30.

Penny, Elaine, Sheila, Cindy, Betty (longest resident), Me
Karen (chief decorator, photographer, and gardener)

Ben came over this afternoon to hang out while the twins were at Gymnastics and he brought bagels to have with the coffee I had brewed.  I just love the one-on-one chats we get to have every now and then.  The pumpkin bread went home with him. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Wednesday, December 29, 2021, MN

I met Ben and the girls at the theater this morning and we saw the movie, “Sing 2”. We all thought it was a great kids movie but I couldn’t believe the awful condition of the theater - leftover trash in my cup holder, the floors hadn’t been cleaned, and it just had a trashy feel to it - probably another example of staffing shortages. I offered to pay for popcorn and water since Ben bought the tickets (1 bottle of water for the girls to share + 2 regular popcorns = $23). GULP!  The twins wanted to come over to my house after the movie, so we drew pictures and they ate (it’s what they do best these days).

I heard from Pat and his Covid symptoms have gotten a little worse on Day 3 - headache and real tired. A coworker who also has it cannot stop coughing and has lost his sense of taste. My fingers are crossed and I’m praying that he overcomes this without it getting worse. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Monday, December 27, 2021, MN

According to my dear friend and avid follower, Pat - I have been remiss and my journal has not been updated in well over a week, so here you go Pat.  There’s always plenty of ‘life’ going on, nothing exciting but since this is a journal of life events, I will try to reconstruct.

Last week was a busy one, the week before Christmas and finishing up on last minute activities.  I met Mavis for lunch on Monday at the Yankee Tavern so we could exchange gifts and catch up. That is a convenient meet-up place and I had a delicious burger.  

The grandkids were out of school and parents were still working, so Camille and Norah had a sleepover on Tuesday night and Charlotte on Wednesday night.  She and I went grocery shopping on Thursday so I would have what I needed for Christmas. We kept busy with crafts, making fudge, eating, watching movies and other shows and games.  I just love having them over, but am ready for quiet when it’s time for them to go back home.

This is one of the projects that Charlotte and I worked on. On a past visit, she bought fabric at JoAnne with the intention of making a dress. She designed and measured the dress, had it all marked out on the fabric - wanting it to look like the Aphrodite character in one of the books she has been reading.  I didn’t make many modifications other than increasing seam allowances and it turned out just like she intended.

I was quite surprised when I got a text message Thursday night from my old friend, Elaine, who reached out to see if I was still around and doing ok. We met back in 2007 while working at San Francisco RV park in Pacifica, CA - Mike and Gail worked together doing maintenance and Elaine and I worked in the office. Both couples were there to be close to sons who lived in San Francisco.  We became friends and hung out quite a bit, doing some siteseeing on our off days, going for walks, and having meals together. When that gig was over, Mike and I continued to travel around the US and they moved back to Southern California and settled in El Cahon. Gail had developed Alzheimer’s and Elaine took care of him until he passed away in 2020.  I last saw them in 2015 when I took a road trip with the Hoovey’s to San Diego. It was so nice that she reached out and I’m sure we will stay in touch after this.

Ben’s family, Jill’s parents, and I all decided that we should test for Covid before gathering for Christmas and we all tested negative that morning. I spent a good part of the day on Friday cooking and on the phone with Christmas wishes. I offered to make my traditional Cranberry Cake with Hot Butter Sauce for dessert on Christmas Day and also Chili for Christmas Eve.  I’m just such a klutz these days and managed to spill at least 2 servings of chili on the kitchen floor as I was preparing to load up my car.  I then wondered if there would be enough servings, so I added a few ingredients and some additional seasoning and we ended up with just enough to go around.  While cleaning up that mess, I managed to spill Chili all over my bathroom rug and bath mat and misplaced my car keys. Grrrrrr! The keys were later found in my overnight bag - they must have dropped when I was scrambling to recover the hot pan of Chili.

Christmas Eve day was in the mid-40s and dropped down to a high of 23° for Christmas Day.  The holiday events were enjoyable and everyone had fun opening their gifts. It was so nice to see Lois and Dennis again - the poor guy has gone through the loss of his 94 year old mother, a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma cancer, the start of a treatment regimen and a 5-day hospitalization with Covid-19 complications.  He is feeling much better these days and we all felt so fortunate to be able to gather together.

This morning, I was saddened to hear that Patrick has tested positive for Covid after a night of chills and fever. I pray that he doesn’t get severe symptoms and doesn’t spread it to others.

The news lately is all about the massive numbers of Covid cases that are leaving hospitals overflowing and a shortage of tests, unusual December weather (horrible tornado damage in KY and TN and MN had 7 tornadoes touch down last week - the first in history), and today, there were over 1200 flight cancellations due to staff shortages because of Covid, leaving holiday travelers stranded in airports. When will it end?

Yesterday, we warmed up into the 30s and had some rain, that was followed by about 2.5” of snow topped with more rain/sleet that caused a crunchy layer on top of the snow, slick conditions and a challenge to scrape the ice off of the car this afternoon. There is more snow coming and temps will be dipping down under 10° in the forecast for this week. Brrrrr!