Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Tuesday, August 16, 2022, MN

I had a fun and creative experience last night when I was asked if I wanted to be involved in assembling wedding invitations for the daughter of our Assistant Manager.  Cynthia and her partner Stefanie are getting married in October and they are having a huge wedding.  Several of her friends and about six residents showed up to help. There was an assembly line for the invitations that had about eight different parts to put together and also an assembly line for the pretty light-up wands that will be waved to the couple when they leave the reception.  We added flowing ribbons and bells.  It was fun and there will probably be another meet-up scheduled to finish the wands - we did about half of them last night.  I will be sure to get photos the next time around.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sunday, August 14, 2022, MN, MI

Bob and Penny headed back home on Thursday. I sure appreciate that they came up for a visit and I really enjoyed their company.

I heard from Ben on Friday that they were heading back home and would arrive later in the evening. After my morning walk with Yoshi, I did a batch of laundry, touched up on the sinks and floors and took a nice nap in the afternoon. I loaded my car and headed back home about 8:00 after taking Yoshi for an evening walk.  He is such a good boy.

My neighbors Deb and Judy and I went to the VFW again on Sunday. This time the music was rhythm and blues and there was some really good talent to enjoy. We also said hello to Deb’s friend Mike who was there drumming again.  A couple of hours was enough and it just feels good to get out and enjoy the music in an environment that is comfortable and safe.

I met with the Stampin Up group on Monday afternoon and we celebrated the birthdays of Pat and Diane and made two very pretty cards, a Holiday card and a Thank You card.  I reached out to the leader for some suggestions on how to embellish the stitched cards that I currently make and she had some good suggestions.

Tuesday was a busy day from morning to night.  I took my car to Costco in the morning to have the tires rotated and checked out - all is good there.  In the afternoon, I made a (sort of pretty) little mosaic bird at the monthly art class with Genevieve. It is always a good time and it’s fun to learn something new.

After art class, I headed off to Linden Hills Park to pick up the girls after camp.  I brought some snacks with me as they had a tight schedule and I had to get Charlotte to her to swim team at the YMCA by 5:15, then Jill fed the twins and dropped Camille off for her swim team before heading to a work meeting. When Ben got off work, he came to pick them up and we had a small window of time to visit before Camille finished and then I came back home.

On Thursday afternoon, I loaded up my car and headed to Mass City, MI for a weekend with Carol and Richard who I haven’t seen since 2019.  It was a very scenic six-hour drive that took me through Wisconsin to Wausau, then north through Merrill, Rhinelander, and Eagle River before crossing into Michigan and getting to Mass City.  I arrived about ten minutes after they did and then we talked until midnight before going to bed.  

Friday was a busy day with a drive through Houghton and on through a tunnel of forest trees and outcroppings of deep, gray rock and views of sparkling lakes along the route to Copper HarborWe drove to a scenic overlook on Brockway Mountain and got a good view of Copper Harbor,  a quaint little town with a population of 125, known as the Gateway to Isle Royale National Park.

Carole and I at the scenic overlook.

On the way back home, we stopped at Quincy’s in Dollar Bay for lunch. They wanted to take me by the Gay Bar (the bar in the small community of Gay) but the road was blocked for construction.  

Their friends Jean and Tom came over for dinner and we had an evening of good conversation and I learned a lot about what life is like here in this part of the country.  Life here centers around the outdoors - forests and lakes, cabins, hunting, fishing, saunas, ATVs, and snowmobiling.  Around here, the busiest time of the year is the winter with swarms of people coming in to take advantage of the snow and the high quality trails. And that is what drove Richard to buy the place up here and he absolutely loves Michigan and I can see why - it is beautiful country.

Jean talked about her neighbor Patsy and thought that she was from Bloomington. A few text messages back and forth confirmed that she doesn’t live too far from me and would be interested in getting to know me.  What a small world it is!

Sunday was another day of sightseeing when we took a drive to the Lake of the Clouds scenic overlook and then hiked in to see several waterfalls in the Porcupine Mountain State Park along Presque Isle Road. 
Lake of the Clouds

Carol and Richard at the Waterfalls

A Sampling of the Beautiful Waterfalls

Before heading back home, we stopped at Jean and Tom’s cabin on Lake Gogebic and they invited their neighbors, Patsy and Charlie over so Patsy and I could meet.  Jean served some delicious, fresh out of the oven Oatmeal Butterscotch cookies to us.  Patsy and I talked a bit and decided to meet up some day for coffee and get to know each other better. It will be nice to have a friend who lives outside my community. 

We stopped at Tieg’s Bar, a Mass City landmark, for dinner and I had a delicious Queso and Jalapeño Burger and a Keweenaw (spelled kee-we-naw) Red Jacket Amber beer.  Both were yummy.

I was on the road this morning by 9 am, ready for the long six-hour drive back home.  It was uneventful and I decided that I have now seen the scenic routes and will just hit the highways in the future in hopes of shortening the drive.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Thursday, August 4, 2022, MN

Last week on Wednesday, I drove to Spooner, WI to meet up with my good friends Jim and Sue. We had a very nice lunch with a lot of catching up to do and it was so nice to hang out with them again.  It has been a year since we last saw each other and a lot of changes have occurred in both of our lives - all is good and families are all healthy.

We went to the Wooden Canoe Museum and had a really nice docent who showed us around and I was even able to share some Tom MacKenzie stories with him and we all learned a bit about how canoes are built.  I was able to leave some brochures listing our canoe for sale and hope that we get some bites from it.  After that, we strolled the streets of downtown Spooner, did a little shopping and bought some yummy bread at the local bakery.

The red canoe is Tom’s building form and the cabinet is from his workshop.

Judy and I went to Pam’s (card making friend) garage sale (she is moving to Phoenix) on Friday and the only thing I bought was a beautiful set of bathroom towels and Judy loaded up on a few things, filling up the back of my car.

I packed up and headed to Ben’s house on Saturday afternoon to spend the next week house and dog sitting again while they spend with week with her parents at a cabin up north.  Big news! They bought a new house in Chanhassen and will be moving before the girls start school on September 6. I can’t wait to see it in person.  It’s going to be a whirlwind of a month!

My neighbor Deb invited me to go with her to the VFW on Sunday afternoon, as her friend Mike was going to be playing drums during the jam session.  The music was very enjoyable and it felt good to be out at a bar with a friend and Mike was a nice guy to chat with during his breaks.

I spent Monday doing my housecleaning and I wasn’t able to save any time - it’s a big house and it took me five hours to do the whole house, split in two days.

Bob and Penny got here about 6:30 on Tuesday evening and we enjoyed catching up and sharing the Mom’s goulash that I made for dinner. We watched Jeff Dunham’s comedy show and got some laughs before going to bed.  Penny brought me some goodies from her gardens: kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapeño peppers - yummy stuff!

We walked around Lake Harriet Wednesday morning, then took a drive to see Ben and Jill’s new house and had some lunch at Maynard’s in Excelsior - of course Bob and I both had walleye sandwiches.

And then tonight we went to the Hilltop in Edina and had walleye again - this time it was pan fried and served with asparagus and rice.  Yummy!It’s another very nice place and I will consider taking visitors there in the future.  

This morning, we walked along the lake but Penny was the only one who went all the way around. She met up with us at the Bread and Pickle just sitting at a table and enjoying the view.  When we got back home we all showered, had breakfast, and they packed up and headed back to Kansas City. It was so nice to have them visit at Bridge’s Bed and Breakfast and I’m so thankful that Ben and Jill allow me to have guests at their home.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Thursday, July 28, 2022, MN, WI

Well, where has this week gone? It seems like I have been busy but when I look back, only three of the last five have anything to write about.  We had an Introduction to Tai Chi presentation on Monday afternoon and Ellen was such a sweet person. She gave us an overview of the ancient practice, a few forms to work on at home, and access to her website videos and encouraged us to practice for improved balance and oxygen levels, and calm and peaceful nights of sleep. I should have taken her advice, and Monday night did not give me good sleep. I went to sleep just fine but was awake an hour later, then once I finally got to sleep after 2 am, I didn’t wake up until almost 8. 

It’s been another week since I started this post, so catch up on the next post.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday, July 22, 2022, MN

My roommate, Charlotte and I had a pretty good week together starting last Friday until Wednesday.  We did nothing except get a few groceries on Saturday as I was out of produce and snacks (those girls eat constantly). The two previous weeks for her were full of activity so we just hung out and took it easy that day.  The rest of the time we took walks, played games, used our iPads and watched movies most evenings.  

She was so excited to go to “Adventures in Cardboard” camp on Monday morning, saying that it was better than Christmas and Birthdays.  According to the reviews on their website, it is considered to be one of the best summer camps in the cities. She was not excited to go to Swim Team on Tuesday, was full of resistance but cooperated and said that she really did enjoy it once she got going - a real plus was that she made friends with the newest teammate and they were kind of pushing each other to swim faster and stronger.

Images from their website.

Ben did the drop off for the twins on Wednesday morning, so I brought all of her clothes and she went back home that night after camp.  I’ve got to say, it was nice to have my space to myself again.

I’ve been attending “Stampin Up” meetings once a month and this week I learned that Pam, who is moving to Arizona was having an online auction for her household items this week. I have never been done this before, but I checked it out and started to bid on a tall ladder shelf unit that she had.  For most of the week, I was the high bidder but toward the end, there was some back and forth but I ended up getting it for $26.  I’ve been watching for one to come up on Marketplace for a while and saw one this morning for $100. I think I got a good deal.  I picked it up yesterday, got it setup and have already sold the one that I was getting rid of - basically made an exchange and got it for free.  I love it!

Deb and I went to the Normandale Lake Bandshell last night and saw a good country music band. The park is beautiful and it was a very nice night.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Friday, July 15, 2022, MN, WI, MN

When I last wrote, I was still staying at Ben’s house.  He called Friday afternoon to let me know that they were packing up and heading back home.  I washed the bedding and touched up the house so it would be spotless when they got home.  After taking Yoshi for his nightly walk, I came back home about 9:00.  I just love my little apartment and my own bed, so it felt good to be home again.

The dreaded Covid keeps going through my family with Camille testing positive on Monday evening followed by Norah on Thursday.  Charlotte has been off to Horse Camp all week, so she hasn’t come down with it, nor is she aware that she might have been exposed.  Jill picked her up from camp this afternoon, tested her and found that she is still negative, so she will be staying with me for a few days to help her avoid getting it.  She doesn’t want to miss the Adventures on Cardboard camp that she is signed up for next week.

I loaded up my car and headed to LaCrosse at about 10 am on Tuesday morning and took the scenic route along the Mississippi River through Red Wing, Wabasha, and Winona on the drive down there and met Pat and Susan at the Grand Stay Hotel - we pulled in about 5 minutes apart.  The hotel is just a couple of blocks from the downtown area and Riverfront Park, so a very nice location to be.  

We sat around talking, then walked through the beautiful Friendship Garden and Riverfront Park.  Downtown, we stumbled on Buzzard Billy’s where we sat out on the sidewalk patio and had dinner.  The menu had a lot of Cajun items and I had the Shrimp Creole that was quite tasty.  Pat wanted to stop at Festival Foods for some wine and I just happened to see a bottle of Dripping Springs Vodka on the shelf, so of course I had to buy it - just for old times sake (our days in Rockport, TX).  Back at the hotel, we sat out on the patio and enjoyed the evening until it started to rain.

We really wanted to take the Trolley ride on Wednesday, but we learned that it was only running on the weekends, so we did some shopping, took a drive to French Island to River Rats Bar and Grill for a bit of lunch and a tasty Bloody Mary, and went back to the hotel for a nap.  That evening, we walked to La Crosse Distillery for dinner on the outdoor patio and we learned from some passers-by that the City Band was playing at the bandshell at Riverfront Park, so we headed there before going home.  The theme for the concert was “America’s Road-trip” and it was a beautiful evening to sit outside and enjoy the music.

On Thursday morning, we walked through the Friendship Garden to get to where the La Crosse Queen Riverboat was docked and then had a very nice ride up and down the river to see the sights and to learn about the history of the area.  Back at the hotel, we took naps, then Pat and I walked to Subway to get sandwiches to eat before heading back to Riverfront Park for another night of music.  We heard a great Country Band for the first hour and left halfway through the set of the next band - it was way too loud with lots of long guitar solos and we couldn’t hear the lyrics.

Riverside Park and the Friendship Garden in La Crosse

My Good Friends, Pat and Susan on the La Crosse Queen

This morning, we were packed up and on the road heading for home by 9 am.  It was stormy when we woke up, but cleared before we left.  My drive was a nice 2.5 hour trek through beautiful Minnesota farm land and Rochester.

When I got back home, my neighbor delivered the last project that we did at Art class with Genevieve.  This is the result of my clay poppy.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Friday, July 8, 2022, MN

Pat and Roger got here about 1:00 on Wednesday and we sat out on the patio, had a drink and talked - and talked - and talked some more. We took the dogs for a walk and they got along well - ran around and played ball in the yard.  Pat asked if I was interested in going shopping with her to find a dress for her Granddaughter Taylor’s upcoming wedding. We walked to the Nu Look Consignment shop a few blocks away and she found a beautiful dress that was marked down 75% and also found a cute pair of dressy sandals.  A big win and a great deal too!

We had pork chops and roasted veggies for dinner, walked the dogs and watched the “Patsy and Loretta” movie before retiring for the night.  

I took them over to see my apartment and then we did a little bit of shopping yesterday morning.  I had never been and they were interested in going to the Nordic Ware factory store and Roger was in the market for new walking shoes, so a stop at Schuler’s was beneficial for him. He found a great pair of $145 shoes marked down to just $40 - another great find!

They had reached out to an old friend, Sharon, who lives in Coon Rapids to see if she was interested in meeting up.  She was excited to hear from them and came over in the afternoon.  It had been a long time since the last meetup with her and we had a lot of talking to do.  Mike and I met her and her ex-husband while vacationing with Pat and Rog in Las Vegas years ago and we met up there off and on for the next few years, so it was a nice reunion for all of us.  We mostly just hung out and caught up on all of the news - especially Sharon’s recovery from a serious neck injury resulting from a car accident that she had in February.  She has just recently been able to be out of a neck brace. 

Sharon, Pat and I went to the Lake Harriet bandshell and listened to some nice, relaxing folk music for a while.

Jasper Lepak Group