Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sunday, March 3, 2024, MN

 This last week has been full of birthdays - every day except Thursday and Friday. My dear friend Mary (76), cousin Jonnie (74), friend Tom (75), niece Olivia (14) and niece Stella (50).  Happy Birthday to them all.  I sang Happy Birthday to Jonnie and she told me not to quit my day job. Tom and I had a long 2-hour conversation and text greetings were sent to others.

I cleaned at Ben and Jill’s house and anxiously awaited the news that Patty made it safely to the ground after her first ever tandem skydive in Arizona on Leap Day. What a brave and adventurous woman she is.  All is good and she will be around for a while yet.  Yay!

We had a little cold spell this week and it went from a record breaking 65° on Monday to 20° on Tuesday, then it shot back up to the mid 40s again on Wednesday.  It has been so strange this winter with all but two days in February that were well above average temperatures.  The silver maple trees are budding out quickly and the grass gets greener every day. It is 44° already this morning and they say we could see 70 today.

Charlotte had a swim meet this weekend and I went to watch her take first place in the 50 yard backstroke.  She competes in the 50 yard freestyle today but I am going to watch the streaming video from home. It is a 30-minute drive there, parking lot is jammed full, and the spectator area is packed and it always seems like she swims in the farthest lane from where we watch - so the streaming video makes sense to me.

I have been pondering a way to block off the entrance to the hockey rink in the park near me so I can let Joey run free.  I stopped at the hardware store and bought a length of 4-foot plastic fence and some wood garden stakes. I think it will work but I need to come up with a way to keep it upright on the existing fence that the city will not notice.  So that challenge kept me from sleeping last night.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saturday, February 24, 2024, MN

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet niece, Brittany! 

This has turned out to be a pretty busy week although there wasn’t much on the calendar when it started.  

I met with the Stampin Up group on Monday afternoon and we always have such a fun time making a couple of cards and laughing and telling stories.  They are a fun group of women to hang out with.

Deb invited me to Starbucks for a coffee on Tuesday morning, so we picked up coffees and headed to a sunny bench along the 9 Mile Creek and sat there and enjoyed a good chat, the warm (sort of) sunshine, and the beautiful sounds of the water flowing through the creek. There is still a bit of snow on the ground but it should all disappear this week.

I helped Elaine with her Renters Rebate form in the afternoon and we ended up chatting for over an hour. It’s been a while since we have hung out and will hopefully make it out for a dinner next week. 

Wednesday started with a follow-up visit to the Cardiologist and I was hoping to be released from their care. NOT! Apparently there is enough of a significant decline in the left heart muscle that is causing it to pump at a lower rate than the right side. For now, the treatment is another prescription medicine, a blood test next week followed by another echocardiogram and a follow-up visit.  The goal is to get both sides of the heart pumping at the same rate.  If this medicine doesn’t do it, there is another that I am pretty resistant to taking (has a long list of side effects and a very high copay) and the possibility of needing a pacemaker.  This doesn’t really upset me as I feel like it is what it is, considering my age and that it hasn’t slowed me down at all - all I want is to be able to keep on keeping on and if this is what it takes, I’ll do it. I feel confident with the Cardiologist (she seems like just a kid), but she was thorough and patient and willing to answer questions in a way that I could understand. 

I got back home just in time to help out with the Food Truck distribution and then the cleanup.

I helped three residents with their Renters Rebate form on Thursday morning and that is all who have signed up so far.  Each time, it only takes about 20 minutes and I’m glad that I am able to help.  I can’t believe how little income some people have to live on - they are sure fortunate to be here and have such a nice apartment.  I feel good about my situation and I just love my living space.

Not much was going on Thursday and Friday. Today, I’m off to watch Camille and Norah play in a basketball tournament.  Their games have become a lot more fun to watch as they gain skills and have become more aggressive, and the pace of the games has picked up.   So I just got home and they ended up playing three games - they lost the first game by one basket, they won the 2nd game 14 to 12 in overtime (first a 2 minute game and then the first basket wins), and they lost the third game by 7 points.  The sidelines were crazy today and they seemed to feed of the support. They all played well and hard. It was an exciting afternoon and I am tired and have a scratchy throat from all of the cheering.

Weatherwise - there are some 60° predictions in the forecast.  Nice!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sunday, February 18, 2024, MN

 The cold spell broke and the thermometer will be creeping upwards again.  Joey and I didn’t do a lot of walking the last two days, as the wind was horrible, making it feel like 10°. 


I made three trips to Chanhassen this week - to clean for Ben and Jill on Thursday, to celebrate Ben’s birthday on Friday, and to watch the twins play basketball yesterday.  


I made lasagna and lemon poppyseed cake for his birthday and Lois and Dennis joined us - she made a yummy salad to go with the lasagna. We had a nice visit. Ben told me that he was asked just this week what his favorite cake was and he told them lemon with a light glaze.  I guess I made a good call on the birthday cake.


Minnesota gives a renters rebate for lower income folks and our previous Service Coordinator would help those who had trouble filling out the forms.  The current gal is unable to do it, so I volunteered to help out.  It is a short form that takes about 15-20 minutes to fill out and then, come September a nice little deposit is made to your bank account (about $550 for me this year). I have done two so far and have another 4-5 signed up.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday, February 16, 2024, MN

 Happy 47th Birthday to Ben! What a guy he has turned out to be! A wonderful, gentle, involved parent to their three beautiful girls, a loving and caring father, a good brother to Pat, and an attentive son to me.  Mike and I did something right and it seems he has the best of our good qualities.  I’m proud of him every day.


We finally had a taste of winter yesterday when the area was hit with about 6” of beautiful white snow.  The view from my window is so pretty. It all happened during the night so when I went out in the morning the roads were already plowed and the parking lot at my building was cleared.  The day was sunny so that made it look so pretty.  They are forecasting a dip in temps to the 20s for a day and then heading back up to 30s and 40s.  I’ll take this kind of spring-like winter any day.


I had been hearing a strange noise coming from the front passenger side of my car and it got worse, so I took it to the garage so the mechanic could take a listen.  He was going to ride with me but once I started it up, he just opened the hood and there it was - the water pump.  While performing the inspection, they also found the serpentine belt to be worn, so that had to be replaced too - all to the tune of $1200.  The good thing was they didn’t charge me for a loaner car.  I was a little concerned about driving it to Ben’s for my cleaning job but I took the slow route and it handled very well on the snow covered back roads.  




Monday, February 12, 2024

Monday, February 12, 2024, MN

 It was fun to spend some time with Charlotte on Saturday morning.  After her swim practice, we went to Original House of Pancakes for breakfast and she loaded up on carbs with Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  I ordered the Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry sauce - the only item I ever have from their menu because there are a very few restaurants that offer them.  Our dear friend Tom Rinehart introduced us to Swedish pancakes way back in 1973 on our first camping trip to the land in Richland Center.  After breakfast we strolled through the Minnetonka General Store that has so many interesting and fun things to see.  Charlotte spotted a section with Taylor Swift (her favorite star these days) and got a coaster and a sticker.


I had such a fun afternoon.  My neighbor, Cathy, invited me to join her and some of her friends (Heidi, Karen, Susie, and Vince) to go to the Basilica of St Mary in downtown Minneapolis and see the Minnesota Sinfonia perform.  The music was beautiful, with a guest peformer, Inna Faliks, a world renowned pianist. 

After the concert, we went to Wakame, an Asian Bistro and had a glass of wine and shared several items from the menu. This is the first cultural experience I have had in ages - and the first time in a church and the first classical concert in ages too.  It sure felt nice to hang out with a group of gals (plus one guy) and have lots of good conversation.  I’m looking forward to getting to know them better and seeing them all again - many thanks to Cathy for inviting me.

And then I watched the Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.  So happy that the Chiefs won (their third) with a final score of 27-22, with their last touchdown in the last 5 seconds of the game during overtime.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Saturday, February 10, 2024, MN

 It has been a good week with plenty of time to be active and plenty of time to rest and relax, read, and do crafty stuff - just how I like to structure my life these days.  


I had a follow-up visit with my general practitioner and we went over my recent episode.  She did say that I do have some plaque buildup in my arteries but there was not enough that a stent was necessary (75-90%) and that the pain could have been from inflammation in the area if the esophagus.  The plan of action is to take an acid reducer to see if that makes a difference, so another medication gets added to the regimen.  I have a follow up with the cardiologist and an echocardiogram later in the month and that should take care of follow-ups.


I dropped Joey off at doggy day care and then met Cathy at Kruse Markit for breakfast on Thursday. She had a gift card and invited me to share it. It was a nice place and it feels good to have another friend who likes to do that sort of thing.  After that, I went to StevenBe to get some more colors of felting wool and did some thrift store shopping before picking Joey up again.  She invited me to join her and some friends for an afternoon of culture at the Basilica to hear the Minnesota Chamber Orchestra and then have late lunch/early dinner at an Asian Bistro.  Sounds like fun to me.  


Weather - we have had lovely days on the 40s and 50s but have now turned to more winter-like temperatures in the 30s.  We did get some much needed precipitation this week in the form of rain.  The big news yesterday was that a tornado touched down near Stoughton (closer to Evansville) and did quite a bit of damage to trees and property.  They had a 65° day, followed by the record breaking February storm that brought tornadoes to the area.  Strange.


Ben called yesterday morning to see if I wanted to meet him at Staring Lake for a morning walk.  I can’t turn down an opportunity to hang out with him, so we had a nice hour long walk with the dogs and then stopped for a coffee at Smith 1877, a great historic home turned into coffee shop in Eden Prairie.  


As soon as I finish my coffee here, I will take Joey out for a potty walk and then head over to watch Charlotte swim and then take her out to breakfast.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she has been up to lately.  

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Sunday, February 4, 2024, MN

 The mild temperatures around here have gotten me outdoors a lot more this week and Joey and I have gotten some good walks in.  He does so well on the leash when I use the Easy Walk halter but he does not like it one bit. If he sees me with it in my hand, he will hide under the couch, so I have to be sneaky about getting it on him.  I don’t know if he knows that it restricts his want to tug on the leash or if he just doesn’t like having it out over his head.  Who knows?


I saw the ophthalmologist this week for a follow-up to my extreme dry eye issue that has continued for the last couple of years - I have lived with pretty constant irritation, especially if there is any air movement whatsoever.  His diagnosis - reduce screen time and try not taking antihistamines (been taking those daily for years too). So here I sit on my iPad - it’s going to be rough to cut my screen time in half. Or more.  The last three days, I have done well with it.


I cleaned at Ben and Jill’s on Thursday and the strength exercises and stretches that I started a few weeks ago is sure helping with that.  Advil also helps but I recovered more quickly this time - guess I better keep that up.


I took my car in for an oil change and battery replacement on Friday and also had them run a diagnostic test to see what was causing the noise I had been hearing.  Nothing was found and my car got a clean bill of health - maybe the sound was always there and I hadn’t paid attention to it. Who knows? 


These are my latest felting projects - valentines.  The hanging one is for Ben’s family and the frog for Pat and Tracey. I think he is adorable!




The sun is shining and I couldn’t spend another hour in this apartment, so I headed out for a drive along the rural back roads , heading for Monticello to see if I could spot some Trumpeter Swans.  I saw a few off in the distance at various lakes along the drive, three of them flew over my car, but there were none to be seen at Swan Park.  I guess there are plenty of other resources for them with the mild winter we have had.  Regardless, I enjoyed the drive and we got a nice walk in at a local park.