Saturday, December 14, 2019

Saturday, December 14, 209, MN

After getting the kids off to school on the bus, Lois and I decided to go check out an estate sale in St Paul. We stopped by my apartment so I could search for an Amazon box that was delivered on Wednesday (I didn’t find it before I left) and so she could see my apartment. I picked up some library books that were due and then we headed to the sale. The house was a Tudor style home built in 1927 that had thick plaster walls, huge wooden beams, and rustic heavy wood doors. The house had been sold and the owners were getting rid of the last of their items. I only bought a book but saw several things that I liked, although the prices were much higher than most estate sales.

Friday night is movie night, so it was low key and relaxing. I went to bed right after the kids were tucked in.

Today has been a whirlwind, although we did get to sleep in a bit and didn’t have to be moving until 10:30. We packed lunches and snacks and hats, gloves, and snow pants for ski class and headed out for Camille and Norah’s gymnastics class. After that, they got into their ski clothes, ate their lunches as we headed for the Hyland Hills Ski Resort.  It was difficult to pick out our girls amongst all of the others on the slopes, but we did manage to spot them now and then. I am impressed with their sense of balance and none of them are afraid.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019, MN

Well, now I have almost 2 weeks of catching up to do. Where have I been and what have I done?

The big news is that I have landed a job!  Several weeks ago, while at the local CVS, I noticed a sign that they were hiring pharmacy technicians. I applied and immediately got calls from 2 stores in nearby towns, but I really am only interested in the one store that is about a mile from my home and is in a tiny little Target store, so not a huge pharmacy and it has no drive-up window - small and close to home. So...I was picking up a prescription last week and saw the sign still up. So I asked the technician if they were still looking for help. She spoke with the pharmacist and he came out to talk with me, asked if I had time for a brief interview, pulled up my application and resume and I was hired on the spot. I felt good knowing that this little old lady could still pull off an interview and still had what it takes to land a job. I was hired to work up to 20 hours a week with a weekend day every two weeks. The little store is closed on all holidays.

Last week was spent registering with the State Board of Pharmacy, getting my high school transcript, providing a sample for a drug screen, having the background check done, and ordering uniforms.  My orientation is scheduled for December 28 and that will be followed by the pharmacy technician certification and on the job training. I’m kind of looking forward to the interaction with customers and learning something new, and of course, the paychecks will help replenish my savings account.

I’ve also been trying to get organized for Christmas, doing some store shopping, some online shopping and working on some elf hats for the girls. 

This week, Wednesday through Sunday, I am doing the Granny Nanny thing with Jill’s parents at their home while they are in San Francisco for Ben’s annual Christmas Party and to connect with friends. I hope they have some time to relax and just hanging out with adults will be so nice for them.

Last night, we had dinner ready for the girls when they got home and than I took Charlotte to her gymnastics class. It’s a whirlwind around here in the morning - they have their checklists for making sure they do all of their steps in getting ready for school and then Dennis scurried them out the door to the bus stop - it was almost 20 minutes late.

I had my first shoveling, cleaning snow off my car, and driving in the snow experience in 17 years and it wasn’t bad. My Arizona RAV4 handled it just fine and got me where I was going safely today.

It was another after school scurry, and when the girls got home from school, we had Lois’ homemade chicken noodle soup and salad for dinner, then headed out to the YMCA for some free swim followed by swim classes.  They are all doing so well - improving their skills and just love the water.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Saturday, November 30, 2019, MO, MN

I had conversations with both of my sons on Thanksgiving morning and then celebrated the holiday with my siblings and their families at Amber and Joel’s home in Lee’s Summit. The kids are growing up so much and I got to meet little Oliver, the son of Ashley and Chase for the first time - he is going to be 2 in February.  Amber and Joel’s home is beautiful and it was all decorated for Christmas. I didn’t get photos, so I’m hoping that others send me theirs.

 Oliver, Brittany (background), Lincoln, Rita, Barley, Olivia, Stella

Ashley and Oliver

Rene gave her usual Thanksgiving blessing and and dinner was served. Everything was so tasty and everyone made a contribution.

I had planned to head to Springfield to see Randy and Julie and their families, but I learned that most of their kids were gone for the holiday and Julie had a weekend commitment, so the plan was changed and Randy decided to come and visit us on Friday. We had a quiet, relaxing evening watching Dolly Parton’s 50th Anniversary at the Grand Ole Opry.

My sweet sis, Rita and I watching Dolly

I went to Bob’s and hung out with him and Randy on Friday morning and then later in the afternoon, we all went to Stella and Josh’s house to hang out for a bit and to see their home - she had most of her decorations up, all but the Christmas Tree that they had just gotten that morning. And then we topped off the day with dinner at Texas Roadhouse.

Randy and I

Stella, Rita, Penny, and I

Josh, Barley, and Randy

Because Randy came for a visit on Friday and the weather forecast for MN (a wintry mix for late afternoon and snow on Sunday), I decided to head back home on Saturday. That was a wise decision as I traveled through a light, misty rain and dense clouds the entire drive. North of Des Moines, I hit heavier rain and high winds. The farther north I drove, the more snow there was in the fields. Just south of the cities, the rain became more icy but the roads were still clear and then when I turned off on my exit, it was snow and the roads were covered from Tuesday and Wednesday’s snowfall. I patted myself on the back for timing the drive perfectly.

My last gas stop at Clear Lake, IA

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019, MO

Since my last post, I started preparing for my trip to Kansas City to celebrate Thanksgiving with my siblings and their families.  

Ben invited me to join them for dinner Sunday night, so after doing my chores and Ben doing his, I headed over there in the afternoon. I helped Charlotte make some doll clothes and then we had an enjoyable taco dinner. After dinner, the girls put on a performance of their gymnastics skills. They get more and more coordinated and skilled as they practice.

After seeing the weather forecast for the route that I would take to KC, I decided to leave on Monday morning instead of Tuesday. I was on the road by 8am and arrived at Rita’s at 3:20. The trip was uneventful except for a crash in I-80 going through Des Moines, I avoided the backup by getting off the freeway and taking some city streets to get past the backup. It was cloudy all through Minnesota and Iowa, but sunny and warmed to 62 in Missouri.

It felt good to get to Rita’s and get settled in. We had a nice dinner, a few beers, and lots of talking through the evening.

Yesterday was busy - I went and had coffee with Bob, then he took me to see the lake house on Lake Lotawana that his daughters bought last summer and then we had a brief visit with his mother-in-law, Norma. And then we met Amber and Lincoln at Jack Stacks for lunch and then Bob and I were both ready for a nap or just to relax. I had to get back to Rita’s to let Frisco out. In the evening, we went to Aaron’s so I could see his new house, then he and Olivia joined us for dinner at Applebee’s. I certainly didn’t need any more food but had a light option.

Aaron dropped Olivia off at Rita’s this morning and she spent most of her time with Frisco, playing with toys, brushing and walking him. She is a true dog lover.

We hung out and took it easy today. I went for a nice walk through the neighborhood and got to enjoy some sunshine for a bit.  

Bob joined us this evening for pizza and we watched the movie “Peanut Butter Falcon”. A nice evening!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019, MN

It’s been a warmer but  cloudy week and I’ve been able to get some good walks in.  In addition to the outdoor walks, I’ve been doing the aerobic fitness walks from videos, so I am getting my 2-3 miles of walking in each day.

I took a ride to Costco in Eagan on Tuesday and switched phone plans from Credo Mobile to T-Mobile. They have a plan for seniors that costs $55/month with an unlimited talk, text, and data plan, and if you sign up for auto pay, you get another $5/month discount. There were no additional fees,no contract, and by purchasing at Costco, I get a $125 Costco gift card. So...I think I did well by making $125 and by saving about $24 a month on my cell phone.

And today I went to the hair salon at Graham Place (the 62+ building across the street). I met Lynn and her dog Penny, a sweet and pretty Doberman, and Peggy (the nail technician) there and several other residents who just stopped by to chat - it is quite the social place.  Lynn invited me to Happy Hour tomorrow so I can meet a few people. And I feel like I got a good haircut! Life is good!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019, MN

I had plans to babysit for the girls on Saturday night, so I spent some time getting prepared for them to do a felt craft - making woodland animal Christmas ornaments. I cut out all of the pieces, so they could add the faces and ribbons, and glue them all together. I already had a good supply of felt on hand, but of course, not all of the colors needed.  That led to a trip to Hobby Lobby one afternoon.

Our weather turned a little warmer with some light snow on the ground this morning and peaking out at almost 50 degrees yesterday. That made for some decent walks and reducing the number of layers for a few days - quite welcome! 

My apartment building has a complimentary car wash, so I took advantage the other day and gave the RAV4 a much needed bath. The car wash is complete with hot and cold water and a vacuum cleaner. It was nice to be able to wash the salt from the roads off and I’ll be able to do that throughout the winter too.

I had a nice time with the girls last night. We did our craft project and watched a movie s when they were ready for bed, I was too. Charlotte sleep with me and had her nose in a book for quite a while and would have continued if I hadn’t enforced the lights out rule. She is such a sweety, I felt her reach out and touch my back and give me a little kiss before she drifted off.

Our Christmas Ornament Project

Here are the latest school photos - Charlotte, Camille, and Norah

This morning was relaxing and laid back, the adults having coffee and the kids working on an art project. Before I left, Ben and I took a nice walk with Frisco. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, MN

After a little dusting of snow on Sunday evening, an Arctic cold front came through here and it was 18 degrees Monday morning when I walked Frisco. I’m thankful that I bought a nice warm jacket to keep me toasty inside - the only thing that bothered me was my legs. I guess I may have to bring out the inner layer. Frisco wasn’t phased by the cold - he still took his good old time sniffing every little scent out there.

I stayed home and worked on a craft project, an experiment for possible future gifts. That kept me busy and inside, except for a few brief potty breaks with Frisco.  I did manage to walk the halls on all four floors of my building and did four flights of stairs up and down. That turned out to be about half a mile.

I had a phone interview for the Online Shopper job that I applied for at Lund’s and Byerly’s - a grocery store that is only about a mile from me. All went well and I am scheduled for an in-person interview on Thursday.

Yesterday morning, it was only 9 degrees out - it made me think that there should be a way to insulate the part of my glasses that touches my face. Fortunately, there was no wind, but that changed as the day went on and the temps warmed up to above 20 degrees.  I needed to get out and about, so what did I do? I went shopping. 

We got some snow this morning and it was actually pretty nice out there. It made me remember the comforting silence of a snowfall, and it has warmed to around 30 degrees, so it was nice. Fortunately, I didn’t have to be out there driving in it.

I worked on some getting prepared for making some felt woodland animal Christmas ornaments with the girls on Saturday when I have a sleepover with them. I cut out patterns and pieces with the material that I had on hand. Of course, I need to pick up a few things to complete the project. I think they will have fun with it.  

I’ve had the TV on most of the day, kind of listening to the testimonies in the first day the public is allowed to hear the impeachment testimonies. The President is suspected of getting help from the Ukrainian government to find dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and he withheld aid to them unless they came through.  From what I saw, there were no breaks and it went on for hours. I felt kind of bad for all involved. That is intense for all involved. This is going to go on for some time.