Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Yesterday, we decided to take a little road trip today, so we were up early this morning and on the road by 9ish, heading north to Itasca State Park to see the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It was a long drive but we had nothing better to do and the scenery was pretty and the sky was blue and we had gas in the car and we don’t mind long drives.

The River actually starts in Lake Itasca and flows right out of the lake to form the River and it is hard to tell which is which except for a small rock dam between the two.  It was a busy place with lots of people stepping over the rocks, wading in the river, or kayaking.


Lake Itasca on the left and the Mighty Mississippi on the right.


This is it! It will continue on for 2,320 miles and empty into the Gulf of Mexico


We hiked a path along the lake to a replica of the Wegman Store. The Wegman family homesteaded here and had a cabin next to their store.


We took a different route back and stopped at the Cabin Creek Saloon and Eatery in Little Falls on our way. I had a Grain Belt Nordeast Amber Lager that I really liked and the chicken special that came with 2 pieces of chicken, coleslaw, roasted green beans and Mac and Cheese. I only tasted the Mac and Cheese and brought it home for another meal. Everything was very tasty. Tom enjoyed his Frisco Burger too.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019,

A week? Nothing to write about? Guess not. We have done our usual walks, trying to get at least 2 miles in every day and Frisco trots along with us most times. We vary the walk each day, sometimes going east along the cemetery and somethimes through it other days we go west along River Street, then cross over broadway to the path that goes by Otter Creek Park. When we go that route, I usually let Frisco get in the creek and he wades up to his belly and laps up the cool water. One day we drove to Montisippi Park and walked the trails around there. This morning, we went east on River Street to West Bridge Park, parked the car and walked the trail east as far as it went, passing the beautiful gardens at East Bridge Park.

Tom and I kind of went in opposite ways this week, running errands and shopping. On Thursday, I drove to my storage unit in Bloomington to assess the situation there, added a few bins of stuff that I have been carrying in the trailer or in my car, and got my bike that I dropped off at Ben’s house. I think it will be a good next bike for Charlotte, although she might need one just a bit smaller before she can ride mine. I don’t see myself going for bike rides in my new neighborhood and I won’t have a place to store it, so this should work out well.

I still haven’t gotten the final word from River Crossing that the apartment is mine although they have cashed my deposit check. I have made arrangements for a truck and movers for October 1 but am still hoping that I might be able to get in before then. If not, September will be a travel month for me and I will go visit some of the folks that I have missed over the last couple of years.

As we sat outside last night, I noticed the big fluffy clouds overhead, so we walked to the river and sat on the deck - such a peaceful place to hang out.  This was the view.


Today was Frisco’s grooming day. I cleaned his ears, brushed his teeth, clipped his nails (with Tom’s help), gave him a bath and a good brushing, and shoved his monthly heartworm pill down his throat. He should have been treated with Frontline too, but I had run out. I’ll have to make a trip to Costco one of these days.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Sunday, August 11, 2019, MN

I have been missing my son Ben lately (Pat too, but he is too far away), so we came up with a time to hang out for a while today. Tom peeled apples and I put together one of my favorite dessert recipes, Apple Crumble to take with us. I chose this recipe because I love any dessert made with fruit and this one can be made Gluten Free and calls for only 1/2 cup of brown sugar as a sweetener. Needless to say, it was a big hit, especially when it as topped off with a scoop of ice cream.

Ben made another delicious dinner, bun cha, one that he and Jill had for the first time on their vacation to Vietnam. It was unusual but so tasty and flavorful. He was in prep mode when we arrived at 2:30 and we ate around 5:00. It seems that is what we do best, hang out while Ben is prepping for dinner - whatever works is what I always say. The bun cha is a salad with a base of rice noodles, topped with butter lettuce, chopped mint, and Cilantro and served with a meatball made of pork, grilled, and stirred in a sauce made of fish sauce, lime, and garlic. He also made a hot sauce with some very spicy peppers. It was so simple and so flavorful. A real treat.

We had fun with the kids - they have all become friendly with Tom and his playful, teasing ways.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019, M

Last night was another night of poor sleep. It seems that I have been having many friends them lately. This is kind f sad, as recently, I have talked about how nice it has been to actually sleep for 9-12 hours without even getting up for a potty break. Ever since I decided to move into an apartment in St. Paul, I have had several of these nights of restless sleep. Last night, I think I went through my entire 5 x 10 storage unit, deciding that several items might be passed on to my sons, taking an inventory of items that will fit in my new apartment, and coming up with a list of items that I will be needing once I get moved. This is not good, as I would prefer to get a good night of sleep.

There seems to be no regret on the part of either Tom or I, as we have both been going through our plans for our next transitions and discussing them as we go along. 

Today has been kind of a dark day, as we have had the threat of rain throughout the day, the skies have been gray and the temps have dripped into the mid 60s. 

As I write, our neighbors across the street and behind us are partying, a regular Saturday night activity at this park. There are lots of folks from Texas and Louisiana here who are working on replacing gas pipelines in nearby Buffalo. The men are good hard working folks who like to cut loose on the weekends (sometimes they don’t make it to the weekend).  

Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019, MN

I have a new great niece! Maren June Wall was born yesterday in Springfield, MO. She and Mom are doing great!

Grandma Julie is loving her already!


Grandpa Randy is entertaining Big Brother Jax


It felt good to have an easy, lazy day - it’s amazing how much the activity of having a 5 year old can tire us out these days. We did get a nice 2-hour walk in, I tried to nap but couldn’t sleep, and then I saw that there was a concert in the park this evening in Buffalo, a small town about 10 miles south of here.

Sturges Park is on the shore of Buffalo Lake and the area around the amphitheater was full of folks in lawn chairs and sitting on blankets. “White Sidewalls” provided an hour and a half on lively music from the 50’s, all tunes that we recognized and the band was good and quite entertaining. The humidity has dropped and the temps have been in the low 80s, so it was a perfect night to sit and listen to music. In fact, the breeze was cool and we both ended up wearing jackets.




Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Wednesday, August 7, 2019, MN

It’s not bad enough that I have several days to go back and remember, but after typing for 30 minutes, I lost my entry and have to start over again. So...not much to write about the weekend other than a few garage sales on Saturday and grocery shopping on Sunday to prepare for Norah’s visit. She was scheduled for Camp Kici-Yapi this week but because of her fractured arm and cast she was not able to go.

I went to pick her up on Monday morning and we headed out on a walk to Otter Creek where we let her walk around in the creek. I went in too and the water was just a bit over my ankles but it felt refreshing and Frisco sure liked it. She chose the wrong shoes and ended up with a blister on her heel and had to walk home barefooted - no problem for her at all.






The rest of the day, we played game, had lots of snacks, watched the Mississippi River flow by, and played at the playground. It was late when we got to bed but sleep came quickly.

Yesterday morning, Norah got involved in an experiment after finding and collecting some feathers on our walk. I cut off a water bottle and she put some water in the bottom and layered it with cut up feathers, seeds from Plantain, chopped flowers from my Vinca plant, some soft weeds from the ground, white clover flowers, and topped with her feathers. She then made a sign that said “BIRDS ONLY-BLUE JAY” and she arranged the concoction and a birds nest that I had found on top of the sign. The experiment was to see if it exploded overnight.





We went to the Community Center Pool this afternoon for a while, a very nice facility, but she got cold and was ready to come back home. At bedtime that night, she read to me from her “Mercy Watson To The Rescue” chapter book - her reading skills are improving a lot and she is able to sound out most words on her own. We were all tired and aimed for a more normal bedtime.

I had an appointment at River Crossing apartments to sign some compliance paperwork for my Section 42 rent credit benefits, so we got Norah back home by 1:00. I met with Diana and got to see the apartment again. Margaret has been there since 2005 and is packing on her things for her next move. I like the apartment, the layout, and I feel good about my decision. We filled out the paperwork, I have a few things to send her before she has all of the information and verifications that she needs and I should have approval by Monday. She did tell me there was no problem with my qualifying.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019, MN

We spent yesterday being lazy, sleeping in until almost 9:00, recovering from a busy few days. Boy, I am out of shape for entertaining little ones and set in my lazy, do whatever I feel like doing when I feel like doing it. The good life, for sure.  We did manage to get a good walk in though.

Frisco had me up during the night again with upset stomach. After the third time of taking him out, I laid in bed thinking about what could be going on. I have been getting his dog food at Tractor Supply and picked up a couple of cans of their store brand food to add to his regular diet. Perhaps there is something in it that upsets his stomach. I’ve been feeding him Natural Balance ever since we got him and he does well on it.  So I ran out and got him some Science Diet Sensitive Stomach formula and that seemed to do the trick.

After a nice walk at Montisippi Park, we took a drive to St. Cloud just to check it out. The city wasn’t too impressive but we did stumble on a Rollie’s Redneck and Longneck Bar and Grill. It is famed as the best country music bar around and has had several celebrities perform, including Dale Watson. Unfortunately, we were there late afternoon and there was no music happening except the juke box. Tom had an Arizona burger that he said was delicious and I had the brisket dinner - all was good. We also checked out a couple of RV parks and found that Rivers Edge in Becker to be very nice with spacious sites and nice looking facilities. It is about 13 miles west of Monticello.