Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I got my annual flu shot yesterday and then picked up some sandwiches and had lunch followed by a nice walk with Ben. We don’t get much time to spend one on one and it was so nice. The girls are settled into their new school routine and are loving it - the parents are also loving that they can work from home without interruption. Home schooling is done on Fridays.

Walking is always an enjoyable experience for Tom and I and we like to see different trails every now and then. There are so many options around here and we take advantage of them. Today, we walked along Godfrey Parkway that connects with Minnehaha Parkway, on the west side of the river.  We followed a path that intersected with the main trail and it led us through a forest along the river and a couple of steep gorges. We learned that it is the oldest trail in Minneapolis’ park system. It was beautiful and we both really enjoyed this walk.

It’s no wonder that Minneapolis and St Paul parks are in the nation’s top three as rated by America’s Trust For Public Land. Washington DC falls in between.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

It has been another week of getting out for walks, doing a bit of shopping, watching Longmire and Schitts Creek on Netflix, and preparing for our upcoming move. The apartment is starting to show it with boxes staged here and there and everywhere. Last Sunday, I replied to a post on Facebook Marketplace and picked up about 15 moving boxes and packing materials. A good find - the ultimate recycling - I will do the same when I am finished with them.

It has been a cool, cloudy, and sometimes rainy week. Nighttime temps have dropped as low as 42 degrees and daytime temps have been in the low 60s. There is definitely a feeling of fall in the air.

Tuesday was the first day of school for the grandkids - they started at a new school for this year - a public charter school that is offering both in-person and virtual classes. Classroom sizes are small - 14 in Norah and Camille’s class and only 12 in Charlotte’s. They have adjusted well and seem to like everything about it. Hopefully, after there are some solutions to this COVID-19 thing, they can get back to their regular public schools in their district.

Yesterday, we met up with Pat and Roger at Great River Bluffs State Park just south of Winona, MN. We had each picked up some lunch at KFC and sat at a picnic table, ate our lunch and caught up on the news before heading out to walk some of the trails. Other than the two trails that went to a North and South overlook, they were poorly marked and we had trouble finding one of the loop trails. Eventually, we stumbled on a nice trail and had a good walk and talk. It was a cool and cloudy day but we still had a good time hanging out together, as always. I sure do miss being around Patty, but then 2020 has been the year for NOT being around friends. It has been the year for NOT doing a lot of things - especially being around friends and family in person.

We watched the girls this afternoon so Ben and Jill could get away by themselves for a few hours. We fixed tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and got some resistance because the sandwiches weren’t quite like what they are used to - we were generous with the cheese and it dripped over the edges of the bread. They resolved to eat it anyway just so they would get to have dessert.

We took a walk to the Lake Harriet Upper school campus so they could play on the playground a bit before it got dark out. Back at home, we had root beer floats, tuned in a movie, and all was quiet in the house - except for the crunching sounds made by popcorn until Ben and Jill got back home. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

Charlotte’s 9th birthday was on Wednesday and they had planned to celebrate by taking her and 2 friends boating and swimming and then a family gathering in the evening. Unfortunately, plans had to be canceled because Norah came down with a cough on Tuesday and had to be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined until the results were in - she was NEGATIVE on Thursday.

I took Charlotte shopping to choose her birthday gift on Monday and she only wanted to go to Target and get accessories for her American Girl dolls - she chose a dog house for her toy Corgi and a pet parrot in a cage. She was not interested in shopping for shoes or clothing at all. We also stopped at the Galaxy Drive-in for lunch where our food was delivered to the car and the tray connected to the window on the drivers side. 

The family celebrated on their own on Wednesday but shared some great pictures with me.

Thursday was my day to hang out with Camille, so we took a long walk to the gas station so she could choose a treat - life savers. It was fun.

Tom and I went on another state park adventure today - to Minneopa State Park near Mankato. The park was established in 1905 and is the 3rd oldest in the state and has some nice waterfalls, a herd of bison, a historic windmill, a campground, and some nice trails.  We first walked to see the waterfalls and were quite impressed with the fast moving water rushing over the rocks - the upper falls is about a 10 food drop and the lower falls are narrower and drop 40 feet.

We then drove through the bison range and the herd was all bedded down and we didn’t get a good view.  On the way back, a few had started to move around, so I was able to get a decent photo.

The next stop was the historic Seppman Windmill, an impressive old stone structure.

Lastly, we walked the Minnesota River Bluff Trail for about 2 miles and really started to poop out by the end.

A stop at Rounder’s Pub and Grill in downtown Mankato provided out dinner and a beer so we had energy to get back home, about an hour and a half drive.

I saw these 2 great political yard signs this week:

Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

We had a great afternoon biking the Brown’s Creek State Trail and the Loop Trail out of Stillwater. The best thing about it was the rented E-bikes from Mike’s Rentals:

Not only did these bikes have continuous assist while pedaling, they had different levels of assist for hills and they also had a pedal to help you off to a quick start after a stop, before you could catch up with the pedaling. We chose a great day, as last night’s rains cooled things down a bit.  

This is a kaleidoscope sculpture along the Brown’s Creek Trail.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Another week has past and I haven’t written a thing. The only highlight was a family gathering to celebrate Jill’s birthday with cake and ice cream at their house on Thursday. We had a nice chat with Lois and Dennis too.

I had follow-up appointments with the dermatologist and ophthalmologist. The stitches on my forehead were removed and I received the first injections of steroid along the hairline that will, hopefully, prevent any spread of the hair loss. I will need to see a dermatologist in Arizona for quarterly injections.  I had a good checkup with Dr Sanderson, got a new prescription for a closeup correction, and headed straight to Costco to order glasses.  The process of taking glasses off and on is driving me nuts.

The Democratic Convention was held this week and Joe Biden Is the nominee for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President. They will be getting my vote.

Sunday was Mike’s 73rd birthday and I had conversations with both of my sons, on the phone for an hour and 45 minutes with Pat, much of it about the upcoming elections. Unconsciously, I am overcome with sadness and grief on these days and end up feeling sluggish and moving around the house.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I did no writing over the weekend, but I do have a Sunday event to write about.  We decided to do some exploring, so we headed for Taylor’s Falls and Interstate State Park to explore. The first indication that this might not be a good idea came when we pulled into the parking lot near the Visitor’s Center and saw the “Park Full” sign posted.  This lot gives you access to the Pothole Trail which was our destination. We drove back about a mile to the parking lot where we could access the River Trail that would get us to the Pothole Trail. I wouldn’t say that the trail was crowded, but we did have to move to the side many times to let others go by.  We probably should have opted to return on a different day to visit but since we were there, we took the rough, rocky, and hilly hike along the St Croix River, stopping at a few scenic overlooks. We didn’t make it to the Pothole Trail, as we are not accustomed to this type of hiking lately - most of our walks are on flat ground. It kind of felt like we were hiking back in Arizona.

I just had to post this one of Frisco, he was focused on what Tom had to say to him.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thursday, August 13, 2020

I had a follow-up appointment with the dermatologist regarding the Alopecia on my forehead and it was a disappointing one. The doctor felt like the appearance had changed and he didn’t want to go ahead with his original treatment plan (steroid injections) without seeing what is happening under the skin, so he took a biopsy and will then determine the treatment plan.  I now have a large scab and 2 stitches in addition to a bald spot on my forehead.

Yesterday, I got a call from Patrick with bad news. Tracey’s brother, Guy, was found dead in his apartment, probably from liver failure due to alcohol poisoning. He is another example of a great guy who struggled his entire adult life with alcoholism.  He and Tracey were very close and this is going to be real tough on her. My heart goes out to the family.

Guy Johnson unexpectedly passed away at the age of 49. He is survived by his parents William D.L Johnson and Donna Johnson (Currie), his sister Tracey Johnson, Pat Bridge and nephew Rhys Whitehead, his sister Dana Stadler (Johnson), brother in law Justin Stadler, nephew Gavin Stadler and niece Ava Stadler. Guy was very close with his aunt's Carolyn Culp and Diane Wiggen. Guy loved his large extended family and lifelong friends.
  Guy was a curious child who was high energy and full of life. He loved tinker toys and taking things apart to see how they worked. He was artistically talented and was chosen as one of ten kids from his entire elementary school to work on a large mural that was so beautiful it was displayed in the school for a decade. 
  Guy was an active teen. Due in part to his curiosity he learned the basics of car repair from his father and kept all of his cars running throughout life. He enjoyed working with mechanical things and loved computers, video games, movies, reading, camping, swimming and bike riding. 
  As an adult Guy entered the military and served in the army. He was based in Oklahoma and excelled on the rifle range. Guy loved to travel and was able to see almost the entire US as well as some European countries. 
  Guy was quick with a joke and had an great sense of humor. He laughed easily and often. Guy was more than one thing, one interest, one interaction and will be remembered and loved for the sum of his life. He will be greatly missed as he shared so much of his life with his family and friends.
Details of a celebration of life will be posted when arrangements have been made.