Monday, March 27, 2023

Monday, March 27, 2023, MN, WI

For a change of pace, I have lots to write about today. I just got back home from a visit to Wisconsin and I packed a lot of activity into a few days. My neighbor, Deb watched Frisco, so I didn’t have to deal with his car sickness and having to fit him into my busy days.  I started out on Thursday morning.   and met up with the Bridge family, Tom, Karen, and Sharon at Buck & Honey’s in Monona. 

The restaurant occupies the land that was once the Inland Lakes Boat works, Mike’s maternal grandparent’s fiberglass boat building facility. Some of the decor reflects that business, in fact, I used the rest room and as I turned to flush, there on the wall was a photo of Mike’s Mom, her parents and brother.

People rave about the place and I think the decor and atmosphere is really cool, but I thought the food was bland, as did Karen.  We had some great conversation and it was so nice to catch up with them - our visits have been too few and too far apart.

I then headed to Dawn’s Bed and Breakfast where I got settled in and then Pat stopped by for a hug on his way home from work - what a guy! Dawn and I went to Cheeser’s Wine Bar for the wine tasting and had a sampling of five wines that were paired with Girl Scout Cookies.  What fun! After that, we went back home and had beef stew (her Mom’s recipe) and we talked and talked and had more wine.

Day 2, Friday started with a walk to Sunshine Restaurant for a breakfast meetup with Jonnie.  She was so funny - she had a senior moment and she couldn’t find her phone, she went out and checked her truck and there it was on the seat but her truck was locked and the keys were in it.  She called her son to come help her get into the truck, but then as we were eating our breakfast, she reached into her jacket pocket and found the keys. We all got a good laugh out of that.  After walking back to Dawn’s, we walked downtown to city hall so she could drop off her voting ballot.

I hung out with Susan that afternoon and we had a very nice visit and I left her house with an assortment of fancy yarns - will have to come up with a plan for using them.  I sure am praying that she gets good results this week after having a scan to check on how her chemotherapy affected the cancer. Then I was off to Pat and Tracey’s house for the rest of the evening.  We got fish fry from Culver’s for dinner and the walleye dinner was excellent! 

What a surprise Saturday morning when we woke up to 10” of new snow on the ground. I had checked the forecast before leaving home on Thursday and they were calling for a dusting to 2” at that time. I guess they were wrong on that one! Once a path was shoveled and the roads were plowed,it all melted from those surfaces.  Pat had to drive to Madison to check the tent at his worksite (it’s still too cold for plastering) and remove the snow so it wouldn’t cave in. I took a nap while he was gone.  We made yummy tuna melts for late lunch/early dinner and they really hit the spot.

Sunday started with coffee with Pat and was followed by breakfast at the Squirrel’s Nest in McFarland, as they are said to have the best walleye breakfast around, complete with yummy Bloody Mary’s - what a way to start the day - we needed naps after that. 

My Sister Cousin Girlfriend and I 

I met up with classmate and friend, Doug, at BBG’s for a beer and to catch up on the last year’s events. It’s always nice to have a friendly chat with him.

One last stop at Pat’s and then I was back at Dawn’s.  Her friend Paul came over for dinner and we watched a couple of British murder mysteries. And then it was off to bed for a good nights sleep before the long drive back home.  It really is a piece of cake drive, mostly freeway and decent roads, it’s just long.

Joey was all wiggly and happy when he saw me. He and Deb got along just fine and I’m happy to have that resource close by.  Tom and I had a nice, long phone chat and caught up on the events of our lives.  It was an early to bed night.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Friday, March 17, 2023, MN

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!  All these years, I thought I was part Irish because my Dad told me that his mother came from Ireland.  That may be so, but I don’t think she was Irish, as there are no Irish ancestors that show up in my DNA. Perhaps her family moved from another country to Ireland before she was born?.? Who knows, but I’m wearing the green today - just because - I love their music and dance.

Winter - it just doesn’t want to leave us this year.  We are now in the Top 10 snowiest winters in history with about 80” that have fallen since December.  And I’m sick and tired of it, as are just about everyone I know.  We have had a few little tastes of spring with some days near 40 degrees so folks around here have some hope.  We are now looking at a few days in the 20s.

I am tentatively planning a trip to Stoughton next week - have my room reserved at Dawn’s Bed & Breakfast but will have to see what the weather brings.  

I have made a couple of crochet pillow covers over the last couple of weeks and I think they both turned out nice,although I’m contemplating adding a border to the blue one.

Joey is doing really well with his training, he is truly driven by treats, but I had to put the no bark collar back on him the other day, as he is not nice when he meets some of my male neighbors, especially Chris.  Chris hasn’t even approached Joey, but there must be something about his stature or his voice that sets Joey off.  Last night, Joey slipped out of my apartment and ran crazy through the hallway, only stopping to stand and bark at Chris. I finally caught up with him, and carried him back to my apartment.  I think he might scurry out, thinking that I'm leaving and he wants to go too.  I’m afraid Chris might complain, so I warned our manager this morning.

Today is ‘give Joey a haircut day’, so I’m signing off. We did the bath yesterday and I started on his face. He is now medicated and calm, so we shall see how it goes.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Tuesday, March 7, 2023, MN

A whole week! But today is the first day in the last week that I have actually done anything worth writing about. And a busy one it was, starting with a nice conversation with my old friend Leslie before having to get Joey out for a walk so I could to my haircut appointment on time.  Shirley and I always have the greatest conversations and it’s fun to hear about her life stories.  

I got back home just in time to make it to my monthly art class and this one was an unusual activity, one that I have never done before - making paper.  It all started with a big tub of pulp that was made by Genevieve for the class.   Bits of shredded paper from her recycle bin was kept in a bucket full of water overnight, then she ran it through a blender.  The process started with a rectangle shaped form with screens that was dipped into the bucket of pulp so the screen ended up with a thick layer of soggy, wet paper pulp. We then added interesting dried flower petals and leaves, sparkles, silk and mohair threads, and even some flower seeds (the paper can be put on the dirt so the seeds can sprout) to the wet pulp on the screen, covered it with a cloth and blotted it with sponges to remove the excess water - leaving a thick layer of textured paper that was then peeled from the screen and dried with a heat gun.  We each made 4-5 sheets of paper.  Here are mine - I’m not sure what I will do with them, but will find some use.

Genevieve also brought us the clay birds that we made in the last class. She took them to her studio and fired them in the kiln, then mounted them on a piece of log.  Here’s mine - I think he turned out really cute.

Her classes are enjoyable and I find it fun and interesting to learn new things - not like I need a bunch of trinkets sitting around, nor do I have a lot of room for trinkets, but I do keep them around for a while - some are useful.

Tonight, we had our first Dog Obedience class and boy do I feel proud of Joey - I think he earned an A+.  He was well behaved and picked right up on all of the exercises that they had us do in class. Maybe some of our book learning and practice at home prior to the class has helped with that - and the fact that he is definitely treat driven also helps.  We have lots of work to do and a few handouts to read before class next week, but I feel we are definitely making some progress. He also seems to be a lot more relaxed - maybe he was thinking that his job was be a little ‘pain in the neck’ and to keep me entertained.  We will keep it up and one day I hope to have a well behaved little guy that I can take with me when travel and visit with family and friends.  I may just want to get back into taking road trips.

We had more snow, about 4.5” last week, but it was wet, heavy stuff that didn’t stick to the roads but piled up and what we already have.  They are saying that this is the 12th snowiest winter in history and that we had over 70” since December.  More is predicted later this week. Do I need to say that I’m getting real tired of it? I’m just trying to take it in stride and not to let it bother me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, MN

I don’t have a lot to write about over the weekend.  The weather was descent and I was able to get out for a walk several days, although we’ve had rain and warm days and that is followed by icy walking surfaces.  I moved my car and Tim’s car to the street on Friday so our lot could be cleaned out on Saturday. That is a real pain in the butt, but necessary.

I went to an estate sale on Friday but found a sign on the door that the sale was rescheduled.  I also went to one on Saturday and it just amazes me that people live in such huge homes. This was a 5-bedroom house in Mendota Heights and was full of beautiful furniture - nothing for me. I’m kind of looking for a small chair for my living room, found a nice one, but I’m no longer interested in antiques.  I walked out of there with a few books by local authors.  

Yesterday was Tom’s 74th birthday (we are the same age for two months) and we had a nice chat over coffee in the morning. 

I helped a friend out yesterday by taking her to an orthopedic appointment after she fell and broke her hip during the big January snowstorm that we had.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thursday, February 23, 2023, MN

This week brought another two-day Snowmageddon to the Midwest, well actually all the way across the country from the west coast.  We ended up with about 14”.  Several women from my building showed up to help clean the snow off cars and to shovel pathways to the drivers doors and behind the tires so they can be backed out. We thought a good name for us would be Snow Angels.  After the last cleanup, I lounged in a hot bath and took a short nap.

I left my apartment to get a picture of the parking lot and Joey apparently snuck out with me and I wasn’t aware of it.  When I was in the tub I heard him barking but thought he was under my bed. When it continued, I got up and found him at the door.  Later on, I learned from Leslie that he had pooped on the floor in front of her apartment (probably anxiety) and then heard that he wasn’t very friendly with Ted.

He’s been kind of anxious since yesterday when I bought a bark collar for him.  I did this to correct his bad habit of demanding barking, where he stands facing me, kicks his hind legs and barks - wanting attention, play, or food.  From all that I’ve read, the best way to correct the behavior is to ignore it.  I’ve left the room, walked away, turned away, and tried to ignore it but it’s almost impossible to ignore. So, I’m going to try the bark collar.

Good news from Rita this week! The cancer tumors in her lung can be treated with radiation and do not require surgical removal. Yay! I’m so happy with the news and the outlook!

Before I even put it on him, he became quiet and clingy (has he been through this before)? And once I did put it on him, he laid next to me and was really subdued.  In the evening, he did bark and it signaled and he immediately ran under the couch and stayed there the rest of the night.  He’s also been under the bed a lot. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Sunday, February 19, 2023, MN

It’s another week to reflect and decide on what exciting events in my life were worth writing about.  Was it the residents meeting that had much better attendance than those held in the past, that wasn’t real productive although many topics were covered? They did provide donuts which is probably why attendance was so good.  Was it the fact that Karen monopolized the conversation for over half an hour on her belief that the pond on our property is contaminated because a cat was found dead there on the day that she moved into her apartment six years ago? Management tried to reassure her that the County and city monitor retention ponds and just because a cat was found dead there six years ago doesn’t mean that it is contamined. She wasn’t happy and got up, gathered her stuff and walked out.  Sometimes I just have to shake my head at old people.

Monday was the 10th anniversary of Mike’s passing and I had conversations with both of my sons and took the time to look at photo albums and reflect on the years that we had together.  I got a heartfelt ‘thinking of you today’ text from Patty first thing in the morning and my reply was that it seemed like yesterday but in reality was ten years of yesterdays. I look back in wonder at who I would be today if I hadn’t had the stable influence of him and his family.

And then there was Valentines Day, and Ben’s 46th birthday.  He had the day off, but it was full of appointments and I was at their house cleaning, so other than the birthday cake that I made for him, we didn’t celebrate together.

Our temps have been kind of a roller coaster this week but Joey and I have gotten out for walks.  One day, I clamped on my Yak Trax (there is still a thick layer of ice on the sidewalks and the edges of the roads).  I noticed the many different sounds that were coming from my steps that were hitting different depths of ice, sometimes slushy, slurry sound and other times crisp crinkling sounds.  It’s too bad that I didn’t try to record it.  No, I wasn’t stoned either. 

Yesterday was full of happy and sad moments.  The sad news was that I learned that it was confirmed that Rita has lung cancer and will be facing surgery to remove one tumor and radiation to tackle two others.  This didn’t come as a complete surprise as they have been monitoring a spot on her lung for many years and there have been changes recently.  It is in an early stage, so her prospects of favorable results seem very possible.  

The happy was that I went to St Paul to visit with my cousin Dawn who is visiting her long time friend, Randy Sabien.  It turns out that their friendship has turned into a relationship that has gone from annual checks to see how she is doing to frequent meetups.  Randy is a musician who plays many instruments but mostly the fiddle and Mike and I saw him perform many times back in the 90s.  We had a great visit and I watched several of his You Tube videos when I got back home.  I’m so happy for them both.

I finally explored the walking trail at Marsh Lake Park, it’s been on my list of places to check out for a long time and it proved to be well worth it.  The trail is covered with a very thick layer of wood chips and it’s about a mile long through the woods and along a small marshy area. There were a lot of trees cut down and I learned from another walker that they are clearing out the invasive Buckthorn and the Ash trees that are infested by the Emerald Ash Borer. Even though there were a lot of trees cut, it seems there will still be lots of nice ones along the trail. It sure is nice to find these great natural spaces right in the middle of the city.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Sunday, February 12, 2023, MN

I just heard from the family that they are on their way back home. I’ll hang out for a couple more hours, take the dogs for a walk, and then be on my way back home too.  I took the dogs to the Carver County off leash dog park this morning near Victoria - such a pretty walk through the woods - even in the small dog area.  The two dog parks that are closest to me are in industrial areas, so not real pretty. It’s another beautiful sunny day and it’s close to 40° and everyone is loving it.  As you can see - we still have lots of snow on the ground, lots of icy driveways, and it will take a long time for this to melt down.  I think there is some rain in the forecast later in the week.

Yesterday while having a chat on the phone with Patrick, I looked out the window to see four squirrels hanging (literally) on the sunny, east facing side of the trunk of a huge Oak tree.  Two were facing upward and two were facing downward.  They hung like that for quite a while before scattering. I guess they were just enjoying the sunshine.