Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday, November 29, 2021, MN

Friday and Saturday were really lazy days for me. I even got two naps in on Friday. I’ve also been waking up with a stiff and aching lower back that used to clear up with my first short walk in the morning, but it has been lingering lately. It takes coffee, stretches, sometimes heat to loosen up before I feel like moving about. 

Yesterday, after my Sunday morning video chat with Tom, and a nice walk with Frisco, I got a call from Ben and he asked if I wanted to meet up for a walk. He was taking Norah (her quarantine is over) to gymnastics and would be in the area.  So, I met him and we walked over to the 9-Mile Creek Trail and had some good conversation and exercise.  We took a little side trail that was dirt and I tripped over a stump in the path and came down on my knees and hands. All is good, no injuries, but definitely bruising and stiffness - in addition to the lower back issues. Grrrrrrr!

I spent a lot of time this morning trying to get my printer to work correctly. It has faded blue streaks through every document that I print, so I went through the cleaning and adjustment settings several times, changed all of the inks, and it still won’t disappear.  I really do use it a lot, so I hope I can get it fixed.

I had a whole turkey carcass left over, so I set about making Turkey and Wild Rice soup today. While it was simmering on the stove, it gave a nice and pleasant odor to the apartment. When it was done, I had at least 14 cups of soup. Since Jill and Ben offered me Turkey soup last Friday, I didn’t even ask them. I froze a couple of containers and will distribute the rest to some of my neighbors later today. I’m sure it will be much appreciated, since most people here don’t do much cooking any more.  I still love having ‘from scratch’ meals and I hope I never get past that.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Friday, November 26, 2021, MN

Happy Birthday to Tracey yesterday and Happy 69th Birthday to my sister Rene! I was only 4 years old when Rene was born but I remember Mom coming home from the hospital with my new sister and a large family gathering with aunts and uncles and cousins for Thanksgiving shortly after that. We lived in a little cottage on Lake Kegonsa, across from the golf course. Rene and I talked on Wednesday and life is good for them and for me - she was excited that Mike’s daughters and their grandkids were coming for a visit today. 

Last Saturday, after updating my journal, I learned from Ben that Charlotte was confirmed with Covid. She doesn’t have any symptoms. The good thing is that Ben has vacation all week and the girls only have 2 days of remote school.  Another good thing is that their home is large enough that they can keep everyone separate and distanced through this ordeal - hopefully the rest of the family won’t get it.

We saw another transition in the weather this week when we had a couple of days warming up to the 50s and then a cold wind from Canada blew through and chilled the night time air to the teens, warming up to the low 20s during the day. Brrrr - not much outdoor walking was done.

It turned out to be another Thanksgiving away from family and seeing each other on video only.  I spent a large part of the day on the phone.  In the two years that we have been dealing with Covid, this is the only time that I have known anyone personally who got it. Nearly everyone I have talked with knows of someone. The numbers are skyrocketing and there are all of these people going to huge events and traveling by air. What a mess!

I really wanted to cook a turkey, so I ended up with a 16 pounder. I roasted it to within an hour of being done, carved it, and Ben came and picked up their half and dropped off pumpkin pie and wild rice dressing. I also cooked the cranberries and roasted vegetables and Kathy (my neighbor) brought stuffing, potatoes, and champagne and joined me for dinner.  We had some great conversation and enjoyed having dinner together.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Saturday, November 20, 2021, MN

Jill’s 96 year old Grandmother passed away last week and Ben asked if I could stay at their house with Yoshi (I’m not allowed to have guest pets at my apartment) when they go to the funeral in Iowa. No problem! Then on Thursday, he called to tell me that Norah tested positive for Covid in at at-home test, so to make sure, the entire family went in for a test and she was the only one.  Since I had been with Norah and Camille last weekend, I made an appointment and went in for a test that afternoon and got my results last night - negative! I’m am one happy Grandma! So…they cancelled their plans to go to Grandma’s funeral and have rearranged their sleeping space and prepared the house for distance learning on Monday and Tuesday while they are under quarantine, hoping that the rest of the family doesn’t get it. So far, so good.

In hopes of shedding a few pounds, I have been on a Detoxification program for a week now and am down 4.5 pounds. I haven’t missed so many of those things that I thought I found satisfying - sugar, meat, breads and pasta, or alcohol and I’ve stuck to doing my 15 minute aerobic workouts every day. Kind of amazing and I question why it took me so long to get inspired to drop a few pounds.  The intent of this 14-day program of eating vegetables and fruits only is to alkalize the body which helps to clear the liver, kidney, and bowel to improve function and get your body into burning fat. We shall see. All I know for sure is that my waistline kept expanding little by little, my clothes weren’t fitting, I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, and I just wasn’t feeling good about my body.

We had some wintry weather this week. If it weren’t for the high winds most days, it would have been really nice, as the daily temps were in the 40s. I didn’t do a whole lot of outdoor walking this week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Tuesday, November 16, 2021, MN

The grandkids got their Covid shots last Friday and were feeling tired and had sore arms, so they didn’t go to Gymnastics on Saturday but had a ‘hang around the house in your PJ’s’ kind of day. While they were messing u the house, Ben and Jill worked on getting rid of the leaves in the yard, putting down grass seed, and getting the garage ready for winter. They asked if I could come over to hang out with Camille and Norah on Sunday, as Charlotte had a swim meet and Jill had to work, so I offered to pick them up on Saturday afternoon and have a sleepover with them.  Charlotte had a sleepover at a friend’s house, so Jill and Ben got to have a rare evening alone together.

It was a quiet evening, as both were really tired. We had some dinner and watched a movie and went to bed.  They even slept in until 9:00 on Sunday morning.  Then, after breakfast and a walk, we spent the afternoon doing crafts. They both wanted to make something for their teachers, so they made a tissue paper star, a heart, a rainbow, and a soccer ball by wrapping small squares of tissue paper around a pencil eraser, dipping it in glue, and sticking it to the paper shape that they had drawn. Camille made one for her teacher and Norah ended up making three - one for her teacher, her art teacher her PE teacher, and she took the materials home to make one for the music teacher.

Camille’s Star

Norah’s Rainbow, Heart, and Soccer Ball

We also made Thanksgiving Turkeys


Charlotte did well at her swim meet  and got a first place in 50 lap breast stroke and 50 lap freestyle. She also came really close in one other match.

I spent a bit of time yesterday making phone calls to auto repair shops about the brakes on my car. I have two appointments today for inspections. I’m crossing my fingers that it isn’t too expensive.  My first appointment was at Eric’s Repair Shop, just a mile from home, and I was pretty impressed the minute I walked in the door. 
Their customer service was great, the shops was clean and they got me in right on time. Eric himself did the inspection and called me into the garage to show me what was going on. My front brakes are fine and have another 2 years of life to them, but the rear brake pads and rotors are shot. He also sent me photos of of each wheel that showed exactly what was going on. His price to fix was competitive with other information I had gotten from the dealers and one other shop and he could fix it today, so I gave him the okay and took one of his rental cars home. $540 later, it was all done and I got my car back. Considering that the last time I had brake work done was about 70,000 miles ago in 2015 and the fact that the car hasn’t needed any other work, I am good with that price. I love my Toyota!




Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday, November 12, 2021, MN

I got some very happy news from Monica on Monday when I learned that Logan James was born. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces and is 21.5” long. Mom and baby are doing well and I’m so happy for Monica and Loren and their new baby.


Grandma Nan and Baby Logan


Well, our weather turned this week and became much more wintry - the temps have dropped, some rain turned to light snow, and most of the leaves came down yesterday in the high winds.  Ben and Jill have been working on clearing their yard of leaves for the last week or so, as the Maples decide to drop their leaves all at once.  Ben told me yesterday that he cleared the sidewalks and alley of leaves, as the street sweeper was coming by. It left the curbs, walkways, and alley clean - and then the winds came and the next morning it looked as if it had never been done.

Genevieve was here on Tuesday for another art class. She comes once a month to conduct a class, provides all of the materials and her guidance. This time we made some greeting cards. She is such a character and brings lots of entertainment, her skills, and laughter to the group. I showed her the stitching cards that I have been making and she was impressed and encouraged me to make them to sell at craft sales.  We shall see, as for now, all that I make are designated for the holidays. I hesitate to mass produce anything, as I tend to get bored of one craft and move on to another quite frequently.

My stitched card and the two that I made in class.


Judy was also impressed with the stitched cards and wanted to learn how to make them, so she came over on Wednesday night and I gave her a lesson and we had a nice chat while doing it.

I started my first house cleaning job yesterday, for a gal who lives across the street at Applewood Pointe.  After 2.5 hours of cleaning, I was started to feel the effects physically and also getting real tired. Leading up to this point, I have been stretching and lifting weights to help my upper body and strengthen my arms. I’m sure it helped, but I was tired and hurting when I got home.  Betty was happy with the job that I did and texted me that she might have two more referrals for me. I would like to take on no more than four jobs - just enough to keep me busy and give me some extra cash.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Monday, November 8, 2021, MN

In a phone conversation with Patty yesterday, I was reminded that I hadn’t updated my journal yet this week, so here I am in reconstruction mode once again.

Frisco and I walked the Nine Mile Creek trail on Wednesday afternoon, it was a beautiful day and that walk is so enjoyable with the sound of water cascading over rocks, birds flitting about, and squirrels chattering in the trees. I even saw ET along the path.



I offered to make some soup for dinner for the family on Thursday when I learned that there were some scheduling issues with after school and evening activities. Ben had asked if I could take Camille to her swim class and when I realized that the girls didn’t have school on Friday, I offered to have her spend the night. They had already made arrangements for the twins to spend the night at Granny and Poppa’s house, so that meant that Charlotte would come home with me after her swim team practice. Charlotte had science club after school, so Jill picked her up just in time to have a snack, change her clothes, and get to the YMCA for swimming.  Then Jill and Norah waited with me until Camille’s class was done, then she drove them to G& P’s and I waited for Charlotte and she came home with me. Whew! She is becoming quite the strong swimmer and will be participating next weekend in a tournament. Dang, they are sure growing up!

We had a nice time together and I let her sleep in on Friday morning, she got up at about 10:00. I think she appreciated having some lazy, hanging out time with me.  


We took Frisco for a nice walk and stopped at the Pet store to get him some dog food.  They were both mesmerized by the Guinea Pig activity until Frisco started to bark and I had to turn him away.  After lunch, we went for ice cream, then shopping at Joanne Fabric and to the Bakken Museum after that, and then I dropped her off and went back home - tired and ready for some ‘me’ time again.


I walked with Kathy yesterday morning and again this morning - we got about 3.25 miles in both days.  It is nice to have someone to talk to while walking - the steps pile up and before you know it, you have walked for over an hour.

Tom made a trip to Blythe to do the Cancer Walk with his sister Geri this weekend, as she is celebrating ten years of being cancer free. We usually have a video chat on Sunday morning, but did it this morning instead. It’s always good to see him and we usually find plenty to talk about.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday, October 31, 2021, MN

My week has been a busy one, with something going on most days, starting with Tuesday when I was able to get my flu and COVID booster shots.  I’m not sure hey my brain was telling me that I had to wait to get the Moderna booster when my vaccine card showed that I had the Pfizer vaccine. The clinic in Bloomington that I went to for the flu shot was only giving the Moderna vaccine and they are not yet following the CDC guideline that says they can be mixed, so I ended up having to go to another clinic on Chanhasen to get the Pfizer booster. I had no side effects other than a sore arm for a couple of days.

Jill had to take Charlotte to a dentist appointment after school on Wednesday, so I went with Ben and met Norah and Camille at the bus and hung out with them after school.  Before going there, I prepared a sheet pan dinner of Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple, Peppers, and Broccoli and I made some Peanut Butter cookies for dessert.  It was nice to hang out, do some homework, play card games, and have dinner with the family.

It have watched the two birch trees outside my window drop most of their leaves this week, as we have seen some nights get down in the 30s but the days have been beautiful and I have gotten some nice walks in. I awoke to frost on the ground on Saturday morning.

Monday Morning

Sunday Morning


Mavis, Mary and I went out to dinner Thursday night to DiGideo’s Restaurant for some delicious Italian food.  The place has been around since the 1930s and was was founded by Joe “Kid Bullets” DeGidio, a successful bootlegger during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. At one point he operated 12 stills in the St. Paul area. “Kid Bullets” parlayed his bootlegging profits and opened DeGidio’s Royal Bar at this same location when prohibition ended in 1933.  It was a favorite watering hole for many of the most notorious mob figures during Saint Paul’s famous gangster era.  Today, it remains owned and operated by “Kid Bullets” grandchildren as a family restaurant serving fine Italian food at reasonable prices.  We had a very enjoyable dinner and great conversation.

Ben and I have been meeting up on Saturday morning when the girls have Gymnastics class. Today, they were going to a birthday party instead, so I fixed breakfast for us and we had a nice, quiet visit over coffee and breakfast.

Last night, our community had Halloween party pot luck, the first event in a long, long time with a turnout of about 20 people, most of whom I have met before.  The club room was decorated nicely and there was a decent spread of food - chili, cheese, my cornbread muffins, potato salad and cake.  Some were in costume. The big surprise was that our mailman, Neil, showed up and he is a cheerful and fun guy to be around. He has been mailman here for so long that he has developed friendships with some of the folks. It was a nice, enjoyable gathering and I helped with the cleanup.