Saturday, October 1, 2022

Saturday, October 1, 2022, MN

It’s been a busy week, but nothing real special going on.  My car got a much needed oil change on Tuesday - the warning light came on just two days before I was heading out to Wisconsin.  I called Eric’s Repair (my go to mechanic) and he suggested that I stop by for a check before heading out and all was well with that.  I feel I have a place that I can depend on and trust now. My oil change only cost me $51, compared to $80+ at some of the drive-up places.

A Physical Therapy appointment for my Achilles Tendonosis ended up with good results - a series of stretching exercises that I can do at home and no follow-up is necessary.  I went in with absolutely no symptoms and after doing the stretches, it is painful to walk when I first start out.  Go figure.  

I met Ben at his old house on Thursday evening and helped him with some final cleanup and check to make sure everything is out of there. We then stopped at Red Cow - it was sure nice to spend some time with him.  Their closing was yesterday and all went well with that.  On to the next phase of their lives.

Joey is continually getting used to his surroundings and learning some behavior modifications and a few tricks too.  He is getting better at the standard commands - sit, down, stay, and no bites - and we are past the aggressive meal-time behaviors.  I took him to a nearby park where they have installed temporary gates at a broom ball rink for dogs to run during the summer months.  We were the only ones there, so he didn’t get to run around with other dogs but he fetched a ball a few times and even brought it back to me.  He is still pretty needy when I’m on the couch, wanting to be on my lap and be touched constantly and I’m working on freeing up my hands for crafty projects in the evenings. I think we are going to be good buds.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Monday, September 26, 2022, MN, WI

Last week on Tuesday morning, I headed out for Wisconsin with my first stop in Packwaukee to spend a couple of nights with Pat and Roger.  I always say “when in Rome, do as the Roman’s do” so we were up and out for our walks before 7:00 am each morning.  In the past, this was my routine but not lately and I really felt an appreciation for the quiet, crisp morning once I got out there and got moving.  This morning, I am back to my old habits of hanging out, having coffee, and then going out for a walk.  Joey hasn’t even gotten off the bed yet and I’ve already had two cups of coffee.

I can’t say that the trip there was uneventful because when I stopped the first time and decided to top off my gas tank (gas in WI is about $.20 less than MN), I opened the door and Joey had thrown up on the driver’s seat.  Of course, his seat was protected with a pee pad but he had to do it on the unprotected seat. Grrrrrrr! I cleaned it up and headed down the road, but that is all I could smell and it was so loud with the windows open, I stopped on LaCrosse and found a pet store and bought some Nature’s Miracle to clean it better and then at Pat’s house, I cleaned it some more. All is good now and he made it the entire trip back home without getting sick.

It was so nice to hang out with Pat and Roger again.  On Wednesday, we went to Princeton and walked around the Main Street, stopping at the Amish store and a few other shops and then to a beautiful apple orchard.  The Dahlias in their gardens were absolutely gorgeous and we learned from the owner that the growing process is quite extensive - digging up in the fall, sorting by color, drying out, cleaning the bulbs, then planting again in the spring, and regular deadheading - and she felt it was all worth the effort and we certainly appreciated the beauty.



That night, we went to the Long Branch Saloon in Germania for dinner - you would really need to know the area to find this place, as it was off the beaten path but jam packed with folks who came for the chicken dinner special.  It was special - starting with $3.00 old fashions and then crisp and moist chicken served with yummy mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of veggies.  The place really [email protected] you a feel for rural small town Wisconsin.



On Thursday morning, I headed to Stoughton for the next few days.  I stayed at Dawn’s house, but stopped to see Pat and Tracey first.  It has been way too long (since June) and it was so nice to feel their hugs and just to hang out.  I stayed until about 7:30, then went to Dawns and spent the evening with her.  We went to see her Mom on Wednesday morning. Wanda is in her end of life stage, in her home but under 24/7 care by Hospice nurses and her children. She was very tired after a bath and bed change, she knew who I was but wasn’t talking at all.  All I could do was tell her I loved her and hold her hand for a bit.  It is so sad, but she is ready to go.  I spent the rest of the day with Pat.

On Saturday morning, Pat and I prepared the meat for the slow cooker for our Birrea Bowl dinner that night and then I went back to Dawn’s to get ready to go to my cousin Jo’s Celebration of Life in Janesville. Dawn, Jonnie, Mary, and I all drove together to O’Riley & Connor’s Irish Pub (one of Jo’s favorite places).  Many had her favorite cocktail, a Lemondrop Martini, and toasted to her and whatever connection we had. It was attended by all of her family and lots of friends and that is exactly what she was all about her entire life.  It was upbeat but also very emotional and I am going to miss our periodic chats and getting together whenever we could.  She and her dog Buster are in the urn together and will be buried near her parents in Janesville.



I joined Pat and Tracey for dinner when we got back home.  I went to bed thinking that five days was plenty and since I had planned to only be with Pat for part of the day (he heads back to work part-time on Monday since his surgery in June), I decided to head back home on Sunday. That is exactly what I did the last time I was there. Five days of activity was plenty and I was ready for the long drive to be back home.



Sunday, September 18, 2022

Sunday, September 18, 2022, MN

It’s been ten days since I’ve written and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.  There’s not much to write about last weekend, so I’ll just skip past that and on to this week that was quite eventful.  I met with the Stampin Up group on Monday afternoon and Pat brought a delicious Peach Cake and Cinnamon Ice Cream for the Hostess Treat.  I also received some items that I had ordered and immediately knew that the stamp pads were going to be useless to me.  One was way too large and the other was a duplicate of some that I was just given by Judy - so I have dealt with out distributor to get them exchanged and my credit used.  We made some cute cards this time, so don’t be surprised if one of these is in your mailbox one day.



Our building manager asked me if I was interested in helping her plant some Mums in the planters in front of our building, so Tuesday morning she and I pulled out some of the Petunias and declining summery plants and replaced them with the Mums - a nice project to work on.

I made a couple of trips to Ben and Jill’s Minneapolis home and packed up books and wall art and cleaned out the kitchen cabinets for them this week. The movers came yesterday and they emptied the house, garage, and got the trampoline from the back yard. I offered to do the final cleaning but it will have to wait until I get back from Stoughton on the 26th.

I had an appointment to see an Orthopedic Doctor on Thursday to check my Achilles Tendon that is large and sticks out for the back of my heel.  I learned that it is Tendonosis - a condition that is slightly worse than Tendonitis, but I am not at risk for further injury to the Achilles’ tendon.  The tissue surrounding the tendon has micro-tears and can usually be treated with a therapy called Graston and I will need to start on therapy when I get home from Stoughton. 

Joey had an appointment for a booster vaccine on Friday and I had his nails trimmed, so all is good with him.  After his appointment, I headed over to get Camille and Norah for a sleepover, so they would be out of the way for the movers.  We had Hot Dogs and Mac-n-Cheese for dinner, went for a walk and watched The Minions 2 movie before going to bed.  Everyone went right to sleep and had a good night’s sleep.

Yesterday, we were on the move, starting with the Farmer’s Market so I could stock up on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Apples - ‘tis the season. We also went to an art fair and a stop at one of their favorite stores - Hobby Lobby.  When we got back, we walked to the school playground and had a makeup session back at home.  





After a short rest for me and some screen time for them, we headed out to the Mpls house to pickup a forgotten item, made a stop at Brasa to get takeout food for dinner, and out to the fully furnished new house for our first family gathering for dinner including all three grandparents and some relaxing time on the beautiful deck.  Whew! What a week!


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Thursday, September 8, 2022, MN

Over the weekend, I learned just why Joey may have been given up and taken to the Humane Society. It seems that he may have been fed people food - by hand and possibly at the table.  Every time I sit down at the table, eating or not, he stands back, jumps, barks, and tries to grab my hands to chew and lick on them.  I have taken to keeping him on the leash that gives me more control and I’m able to stop the undesired behaviors.  He is much calmer when on the leash and has no problem with the crate and is calm when he comes out of it.  He is definitely going to take some work to teach him the most important commands like sit, down, stay, off, and definitely no.  

My granddaughters started at their new school on Tuesday and so far the report from Ben have been positive.  There is some talk of ‘making friends’ and there has been no resistance to going.  They met some neighbors over the weekend and learned a bit more about their new neighborhood - some walking and biking paths and a way to get to downtown Excelsior.

First Day of School

This morning, Joey also showed some undesirable behavior when we met Karen in the hall and she calmly put her hand out to him and he barked and snapped at her.  He did the same to the apartment manager when I got back home and came in through the lobby.  This is not acceptable and I’m going to have to learn how to break it.  

We walked the Nine Mile Creek trail for a couple of miles this morning.  Already there are a few signs of fall’s approach, as some leaves are turning and starting to fall off the trees.  There was a fall-like feeling in the breeze.



I was able to get in to see the Dermatologist this week, as I discovered two more spots of hair loss on top of my head.  Again, it is the autoimmune Alopecia that is attacking my hair follicles, and was treated with several steroid injections at each site with a follow-up appointment scheduled for December.  

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Saturday, September 3, 2022, MN

The busy week continues but I think today might be a lazy day at home for me - I am so ready to not have a day full of activity.  I love my family and I’m not complaining, but they sure do wear me out some times.

Ben dropped the twins off on Thursday morning and I fixed them a good breakfast of blueberry pancakes, bacon, and peaches before we headed to the zoo.  It’s been a year since we went and the last time was kind of a bust as it was still Covid times and they were understaffed, concessions were all closed, and there wasn’t much animal activity.  Today was a different story and there was plenty of activity and Norah was really into taking photos and they were both into playing on the playgrounds.  I still get nervous when they are out of sight, but I tried to tell myself that there was only one way out and I could just let them run and play, but my years of caring for kids wouldn’t let me do that.  I had to at least keep them in my view from a distance.  It was a fun day and after a few hours, the zoo was enough for all of us. We went back to my apartment before meeting up with Jill who was doing pickup duty with Charlotte at Bakken Camp.




I’ve decided that I am going to be Joey’s groomer, have been watching videos on You Tube, and have ordered the necessary supplies and tools (the cost of a one-time groomer). Today might just be the day and I need to remember to take before and after photos.  

This afternoon was the Big Show for Charlotte and the kids that attended Camp Innovation at the Bakken Museumand family is invited to see them present their inventions.  The  students participate in games, work on group problem-solving challenges, learn about electricity and circuits, take part in hands-on safety training with the tools in the makerspace, engage in activities to inspire creativity, and put together daily take-home, science-based magic tricks. Students work with camp staff to create their own original creations utilizing the Bakken Museum's invention process: think it, make it, improve it, show it.

Charlotte and Charli

Piemon, a character from her role-playing video game of Genshin Impact. Her crown has a switch that turns on a light on her crown.  The light changes color.


We had a birthday party for her at the new house with pizza, cake, and ice cream. It’s hard to believe this kid has now been with us for 11 years.  She has a sweet personality, is very generous with her hugs, can be testy at times and is full of interest for reading, gaming, and hanging out with her besties.  I look forward to seeing what her future is like.




She got Nintendo for her birthday (for the family to share).


My First Attempt







Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Wednesday, August 31, 2022, MN

I picked Norah and Camille up at the Quinn’s house on Monday morning for a sleepover.   Also, we were meeting up with my friend Diane and four of her granddaughters at Fireman’s Park so my girls could meet her girls and have some play time.  I’ve got to hand it to Diane for taking on such a big task - her girls are ages 7, 6, 4, and 2 plus she had her dog Bella with her. We played at the playground, at the splash pad, they walked Joey on the boardwalk, had lunch, and the option to swim (her girls loved it, mine thought it was too cold).  It was a fun time.




When we got back to my apartment, we spent the rest of the day just hanging out, having dinner and watching a movie before settling in for the night.  They are perfectly content to watch a show while I take a much needed, short nap.

I let them sleep in Tuesday morning and they didn’t get up until almost 10 am.  I wanted to take Joey to Petsmart and see how he reacted in the grooming area.  Same behavior as Sunday - he wouldn’t let a groomer near him and tried to snap at her when she reached out to touch him.  Now, I’m starting to think that it is the place that sets him off - so any tables and several dogs at different stages of grooming.  I made another appointment for the 8th and will see if we can make a few visits there to help him get more comfortable.  Fingers crossed.  The girls loved checking out all of the animals and decided they would try to convince their parents to let them have a Guinea Pig or Hamster.  Good luck.


They just love going to the Dollar Tree, so we did that and they loaded up on candy and a toy to take home to Yoshi.  After some playtime at the school playground, we drove out to the new house (it is theirs as of today) and then went to have dinner at the Quinn’s.  It was a short but sweet visit, as I had offered to swing by the Sheridan Ave house to shut the lights out and close the drapes (there was a showing today).
The New House


I met Ben at the Sheridan house this morning and we had some lunch and then proceeded to pack up the kitchen cabinets and the food, bathroom stuff, and cleaning supplies and loaded it into the van for their first night at the new house.  Their furniture remains at this house for showings and they have air beds setup in the bedrooms.  While there, we also gave the grass and outdoor plants a good watering.

I talked with Pat this morning and he is still working on recovery from his surgery.  He was excited to say that he was able to walk with his own shoes on today for the first time (he has been wearing a boot for many weeks now), although it was pretty painful.  Part of his therapy is to walk with his shoe on an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and he will see the surgeon again next week. Hopefully, he can start back to work with light duty after that.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday, August 28, 2022, MN

I picked Charlotte up from a sleepover at her friends house on Friday and we got to have a sleepover together.  We walked to the Pet Store so I could get Joey a Kong toy to entertain him.  After his walk, we headed to the outlet mall to shop for a birthday gift for Charlotte.  We put Joey in his crate and he started yapping as soon as the door was closed, so we waited a bit and it stopped after about 5 minutes - a behavior that I will have to work on.  Neither of us were very impressed with the mall - it was messy and not much that she was interested in, so I told her I would get her a gift card from Target.  She did get some earrings at Claire’s.  Jill picked her up yesterday morning, as they were going to the State Fair to see a concert that night.  This is how she got herself ready in the morning (not sure if the makeup is parent approved - I have a feeling that it will be redone).  I think it’s a bit much for an (almost) 11 year-old.  The shirt cracked me up - Ben has held onto it for at least 25 years.




Joey has been coughing quite a bit, so I called and the clinic was able to get him in to be checked for Kennel Cough. It is a mild case - no treatment necessary but I need to keep him away from other dogs for now. He has no other issues, so I’m glad I got him in and we can start with a clean slate.  Every day he becomes more settled with his new lifestyle.