Saturday, July 2, 2022

Saturday, July 2, 2022, MN

While watering the perennial garden the other night, I spotted the prettiest teal blue dragonfly - it was iridescent and a color that I’ve never seen before. Unfortunately, it was flitting around too quickly to capture an image.

Patrick had surgery to repair his severed Achille’s tendon on Monday and all went well for him. Now he will be hobbling around on crutches for the next six weeks followed by physical therapy and he may be able to walk again with a boot.  He has decided to not shave during his recovery and he was looking pretty grizzly. It will be interesting to see how long his beard becomes.

I don’t have a lot to write about this week, as I have stuck pretty close to home - going for long walks in the neighborhood, taking care of the potted flowers, watching the Netflix series “Inventing Anna” and working on stitching cards.

I am at Ben’s house for the next week, keeping Yoshi company.  They had intentions of being on the road by 10:00 but I got a text at 10:30 saying they hadn’t started loading the van yet and I was already on my way here. It was noon when they pulled out.  We had a light rain for a couple of hours, so Yoshi and I walked when it cleared up and then it was perfect for enjoying the patio and back yard.

I’ve also picked them up as a new cleaning client, so I’m doing a test run this week.  Stripping the beds and remaking them has already taken an hour. I’m thinking it will be a 4-hour job every two weeks.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Monday, June 27, 2022, MN

My sweet Mother, Ruth Marion Peckham Ursino would be 100 years old today and she has been gone for 58 years. It is sad that she wasn’t able to see her children grow up and become the good people that they are - and never to meet her grandchildren.  You are truly missed, Mom!

Camille called me Saturday afternoon to see if she could have a sleepover, so Ben brought her here about 1:00 and we hung out for a bit and had some goodies from DQ.  She and I played Monopoly and Pass the Pigs, had Mac N Cheese for dinner, did makeup, went for a walk, watched “You vs Wild” on Netflix and told each other mystery stories at bedtime.  The next morning after breakfast, we walked the Nine Mile Creek Trail for a bit before going shopping at Target, Kohls, and Old Navy.  Jill and Norah came by later in the afternoon to get her.




Saturday, June 25, 2022

Saturday, June 25, 2022, MN

This week has been rather a bummer when it comes to family news. First, Pat’s Achille’s tendon is definitely severed with a gap of about 1.5” and he will have surgery on Monday to repair. Surgery will be followed with six weeks off his feet followed by physical therapy - his entire summer off his feet. The good thing about all of this is that it is covered by Workmen’s Comp and his boss is totally understanding about the whole thing. Pat is not a happy camper as this is his first on the job injury and he has never had any previous broken bones or surgeries.  

Second is that my car wouldn’t start on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. Both times, I had my roadside assistance come out and I was able to get it into a repair shop on Wednesday - it needed an alternator.  It was ready for pickup on Thursday afternoon and it took $800 to get it out of the shop.  My Uber ride to pick up the car was in a Tesla that included quite the conversation with the driver about energy conservation.

On Wednesday, I got the terrible news that my cousin Jo was in the hospital with Covid and that she has been diagnosed with Leukemia. That just sucks as her life has been so full of getting knocked down and picking herself back up - like nobody else I have known. She has an incredible drive to make life interesting and fun, with so many friends around the world to enjoy it with.  My hope is for her to continue to enjoy her life with her family and friends.

Yesterday afternoon was fun, I was able to see the girl’s performance after their week in “Stages” camp. The performance was like a musical and each age group did parts from three movies or musicals.  The point of the camp was for them to experience music (projecting their voices) and dance and to gain confidence to perform on a theater stage.  They had a lot to learn in those four days and they really pulled it off - everyone had a part to say and they all performed together during the dances. Of course, I felt proud.  Although several of their school and neighbor friends were in the camp, they all made some new friends too.

Norah and Camille, as cats - second and third from left


Charlotte as a ‘Newsy’ - second from right.  She said that her big smile wasn’t because she was happy, it was because she was nervous.






Sunday, June 19, 2022

Sunday, June 19, 2022, MN

It’s been a busy week - the days fly by so quickly.  I helped out with Food Shelf on Wednesday and sweet corn and beets were available, so when I got back home I roasted the beets and made pickled beets and cooked the corn and cut it off the husk and froze it. Some of the food items we get are close or just past the expiration date, so they have to be used or preserved right away. 

I got a few extra items this week, so when I let Ben know I had some for him, he told me about Norah’s soccer game. I met him and the girls st Pearl Park and her team, Malawi won 7 to 5 against Cameroon.  She has improved a lot and is a real team player. Go Norah!

I got to see Shirley’s new salon on Thursday when I went for a haircut - she has just moved in and isn’t completely settled yet, but it is very nice and the location is good too.  I went to a few garage sales on my way back home.

I walked with Deb on her usual evening route that goes around the Dwan Golf Course - it is a really pretty walk that is about two miles.

Judy called to see if I was interested in going to the farmer’s market yesterday, so we got there about 10:15 and had a sweet treat for breakfast and browsed the flower and produce stands. I got romaine lettuce and asparagus and Judy bought lettuce.  I also got a call Friday night from Nancy who was looking for a ride to the bank on Saturday, so I took her when I got back from the market.  After dropping her off, I got a few groceries at Cub.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Thursday, June 16, 2022, MN, WI

It’s been a long, long time. I guess that nothing real exciting happened last week, although on Thursday evening, I ended up taking Charlotte to her swimming class, and that came about because I wanted to see how they are doing and she needed to get there by 5:15. She came home from school crying because another girl hit her in the face with a pencil case and she didn’t want to go to swimming because that girl would be there too.  Her parents talked her through it and she went and had a good time. Her swimming skills have improved a lot and I could really see the difference between her and Camille who is just starting out.  Norah is also becoming a strong swimmer but she wasn’t interested in being on the swim team.  Charlotte and I stopped at Wendy’s for chicken nuggets and then DQ for ice cream.

On Friday morning, I headed to Wisconsin for a weekend of visiting.  My first stop was at Pat and Roger’s house where we enjoyed their front porch and an Old Fashioned in the afternoon.  They chose the Wood Lake Supper Club in Westfield for fish fry and the lake perch that I had was delicious. And another Old Fashioned.



After dinner, we stopped at Pat’s niece’s family business - The Lakeview Campground and Bar that is down the road from their house.  Rhonda and Craig bought it as their retirement project and it has been long neglected, so they are working hard to get it all back up and running.  The bar is in great shape now and they are slowly bring the campsites up to code and cleaning it all out. The setting is nice, on Buffalo Lake.

On Saturday morning after a nice walk with Patty, I headed to Stoughton to Pat and Tracey’s house.  They are both under the weather - Pat injured his heel at work and was gimping around with a boot on his left leg. He sees an orthopedic specialist today to determine the damage and thinks that the Achilles’ tendon is probably ruptured or torn.  Tracey went in for an MRI to check the status of a tumor that she has had for a long time - the tumor hasn’t changed at all, but they determined that she had a stroke a couple of days before the MRI. She had no visible signs and fortunately, learned of some blockage and got medication to dissolve the plaque so she doesn’t have another. She was all freaked out by that.



On Sunday, I saw lots of cousins at Wanda’s 90.5 birthday party. She recently got a diagnosis of Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer, has elected no treatment, and didn’t want a birthday party but was up for seeing everyone at a picnic.  The turnout was great and she dropped her head and cried when we all sang Happy Birthday to her.  I learned that she sang and played guitar and stand-up base for the Goose Island Ramblers, a local Madison polka band, starting when she was only 16.  Mike and I followed that band back in the mid-80s and later on, they went on to record their tradition folk and polka music for the Smithsonian Institute.

Back to the party - it was so nice to see so many extended family members in one place. There were lots of kids playing, a few well behaved dogs, and great food and conversation.  This is Wanda’s family - she is so fortunate to still have all of her children living.

Back row: Tom, Debby, Diane, Dick, Donna, Dawn
Front row:  Cathy, Wanda, Theresa


I went to see Mike’s brother Tom and his wife Karen on Monday and had a really nice visit with them.  We sat on their covered porch and had sandwiches from Fraboni’s and watched the sky turn gray off in the west.  Violent storms passed through and did lots of wind and hail damage to parts of Madison, but missed Monona.  Some areas were out of power until the next day (temps rose up to 97° on Tuesday). 

I met Jonnie and Dawn at Sugar and Spice for breakfast Tuesday morning and we had a nice chat.  I had hoped to get another of Bill Amundson’s rosemalled yard signs on the walk back to Dawn’s but he wasn’t open for business.  I hung out with Pat and Tracey until it was time to go to Culver’s to meet up with classmates - they gather there the 2nd Tuesday of each month and I just happened to be able to make it this time.  It was nice to see the few who showed up - especially Patty, Susan, and Judy.  

And then I hit the road, heading back home.  The drive was uneventful and I was back in my apartment by 8:00 pm - about a 5-hour drive.  It really isn’t a bad drive - just a bit monotonous. It was a nice visit back home to lovely Stoughton and always good to spend time with people who I love and miss being around.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Sunday, June 5, 2022, MN

It’s been over a week since I’ve had anything to write about other than how large and empty my apartment feels these days.  Until Friday, there really wasn’t much to write about as I have been trying to find new routines in my day. I’ve walked, visited with friend and neighbors, had lunch with Mavis and Mary from The Winslow, shopped, cleaned, and done some gardening.

Camille had a sleepover with me on Friday night, so I went to meet them after school and she was anxious to leave, so we quickly packed her bag and headed out.  Her big news tonight was that she made the Novice I Swim Team at the Y and will start practicing for upcoming swim meets this winter. Charlotte has now advanced to Novice II class.  Norah wasn’t interested in trying out for the swim team. Camille’s priority was a stop at Dollar Tree for gum and candy before going to my place.  After dinner, we walked to the Dairy Queen only to find that the lobby was closed and only the Drive Thru was open.  A friendly gal in line offered to get our order at the window and she also refused to take any money for our Dilly Bars.  That was a perfect lesson in paying it forward for Camille. She was quite confused as to why the lady would pay for our ice cream and wouldn’t take any money for it.

Another ‘pay it forward’ kind of thing happened on our walk back home. For some reason that I couldn’t figure out, a neighbor, Johnny, was struggling trying to get two motorized wheelchairs back home from shopping.  He was pushing one for a ways, then coming back and pushing the other, although he has trouble with his legs and was having difficulty walking.  I offered to push one back to our building and he was able to manage the other.  This was another lesson for Camille in how to help a neighbor in distress.

I had a couple of things planned for Saturday morning, so we had to get up by 7:00 am in order to meet My Fruit Truck https://www.myfruittruck.com/  that was delivering a truckload of fresh Georgia Peaches and Pecans to our area.  They deliver fresh fruit straight from growers to communities throughout the US and I wanted to check it out and to get some to share with Ben’s family.  From there, we went to Creekside Community Center for a plant exchange and picked up a few Canna Lilies for the gardens here at Penelope and also Camille and I got some succulents for indoors.

We had breakfast and then walked to the playground at Westwood Elementary School where we swung and climbed and Camille cartwheeled for an hour. We met Ben at the gymnastics school and he and I stayed and watched. They have both improved so much during the spring session. 






Friday, May 27, 2022

Friday, May 27, 2022, MN

Thank God I have a whole package of giant pee pads and lots of baby wipes on hand. I lined Frisco’s bed and tucked him in last night and I heard him moving around a bit at 3:30 and found that he had peed, so I cleaned him up, changed the pad and tucked him back in. He was still sound asleep at 8:30 this morning.  Same thing - cleaned him up and changed the pad under him. He has no objection to me picking him up and carrying him (he has never liked to be carried) and his legs are giving him no support - he immediately collapses from a standing position. He doesn’t appear to be in pain or anxious, as he has eaten and taken treats and water and he is not panting.

I was able to get an appointment with the Vet for x-rays but the person I spoke with seemed to think that since he has tested positive for Lyme disease (it can lay dormant in the body) in the past and his symptoms kind of sound like that - if that rings true, he could be treated with antibiotics.  She is going to discuss that with the vet when she comes in and we will see how that goes.

When the Vet checked Frisco out, she determined that it probably wasn’t Lyme disease as that causes some weakness me stiffness in joints but not total collapse or loss of control. Her thoughts then focused on general weakness internally - the heart murmur, possible kidney failure, and his age. X-rays and blood tests could be run to determine what is going on, but my focus has always been that he have quality of life.   So I decided that today was the day to put him to rest.  I know that he wasn’t comfortable being unable to walk on his own and he put his total trust in me and allowed me to carry him everywhere for the last two days. He died at 12:30 this afternoon, I was right by his side and reassuring him what a good a dog he is and how much I love him.

That little dog was loved by so many people and they are coming out of the woodwork to let me know.  I tried to collect my thoughts this afternoon and this is what I came up with - subject to future editing.


Fifteen and a half years with this little guy have left a mark on me that I will never forget. He is the first little dog that we ever had and he stole my heart immediately.  His job was to keep Mike moving, but he and I ended up to be the best of walking buddies.  He has comforted me through hard times and been by my side in all of our travels.  He made friends with lots of people and their pets - had the best of manners and was allowed in homes of family and friends who weren’t really that fond of dogs.


He lived up to the many names that he had through the years; Scruffy, Dude, Frisco, Frisky, Buddy, Frisky-butt, Osama Bin Frisco, Muttley, Dog, etc. 


Since the day that he rescued us from Wonder Dog Rescue in San Francisco in 2007, he has been:


🐾  A constant traveling companion

🐾 By my side through thick and thin

🐾 The best friend I could ever have and friend to many others

🐾 Loved me unconditionally


I will miss:


🐾 His sniffing under the bathroom door to check that I am ok

🐾 Being my shadow whenever I left the room

🐾 Sleeping next to my bed

🐾 ’The stare’ to let me know that he needed or wanted something

🐾 Picking the goodies out of his food before eating the kibble

🐾 Making sure that he got a treat after every trip outdoors or a nail trim or ear cleaning

🐾 The endless supply of blonde hairs that marked where he had been

🐾 His messy blonde Mohawk

🐾.   His watching over me from corners

🐾 My walking and hiking companion 

🐾 His eagerness to be friends with everyone, as long as they weren’t in the Pit Bull family or 

             were small critters that moved quickly


 I have been blessed with fifteen and a half years of his company.


I went to be with Jill and the girls tonight and it helped me to dry the tears for a while.  Of course, they are hoping that I get another pet. Charlotte went for a sleepover with her friend Betsy, and I asked what they would be doing at the sleepover and her reply was “the usual sleepover stuff; watch romance movies that are rated PG13, eat lots of junk food, and stay up until midnight”.  She posed for a photo with her sullen look and her big girl suitcase that I bought her for their Mexico trip  - my 10 year old teenage Granddaughter.