Saturday, September 16, 2023

Saturday, September 16, 2023, MN

It has been a week of appointments for me, for Joey, and for my car.  I dropped Joey off on Monday morning (they use a drop-off system and work them into their schedule) for his annual checkup, then headed to Costco to have my tires rotated.  All is good with that and they have about 30,000 miles left on them and that will take me to 200,000 miles on the car, so I will probably be looking a a new one at that point.  While I was waiting, I got a call from the Vet to let me know that everything checked out with Joey and he is in good shape.  

When I left Costco, I went to a body shop called Dent Heads and had my bumper looked at - they said it would be more extensive than what they would do, so referred me to Bloomington Auto Body.  The estimate I got from them was for $1200.  Dang!  I have now gotten estimates for $100, $500, and $1200.  The guy who quoted $100 is going to come to my house tomorrow, remove the bumper, take it to his home and work out the dent and plastic weld the  split and then return to put it back on. I’m going that route - it’s got to look better than it does now.  

My annual checkup was on Wednesday and I walked out of there feeling kind of bad.  My thyroid level is off again, meaning a slight adjustment to my medication - not a real big deal.  My blood pressure was high and after several attempts, even keeping the cuff on for 7 minutes and getting additional reads, it was still high.  So that means an increase in the dose of my medication, monitoring with daily checks, and follow-ups - not too serious, but a hassle.

Of real concern to me was the issue of constant dry, irritated eyes - no matter how slight the breeze, even the movement from walking, causes them to water and this has been going on for a long, long time - in spite of following recommended treatment routines.  She suggested I reach out to the ophthalmologist again and request a prescription - done and that turns out to be a $47/month expense. I’m not jumping the gun, but it seems like relief after using it twice on the first day.  We shall see and I feel it would be so worth the $$$ to not have to constantly squint, blink, and wipe my eyes.

We started to feel some cool, fall-like weather this week when we went from the 90s to a high of only 66° and night time temps near 50°.  I went through my closet and packed away some of my summery stuff and I put the down comforter back on my bead.  It’s still way too early to get out winter stuff, although I saw a few people out with down jackets on.

I’ve been working on stitching cards a lot. Judy has invited me to share her table at the neighborhood church bazaar next month, so I took her up on it and have been busy stitching away. I had 25 stitched, so got busy yesterday with assembling and creating the cards that I will take. That is a long process, as it means deciding on a design, cutting paper, and putting them together.  Here are a few examples:


Saturday, September 9, 2023

Saturday, September 9, 2023, MN

Way back last Sunday, I had a nice long conversation with Tom - it had been almost 3 months since we last talked so we had a bit of catching up to do.  I also had a chat with my Mesa neighbor Arlene and it’s always nice to connect with her. 

We had a short but sweet family gathering for cake and ice cream to celebrate Charlotte’s 12th birthday on Monday afternoon.  She is so sweet - dressed in her Taylor Swift sweatshirt and growing up way too fast.  I couldn’t help but remember her first birthday celebration at a San Francisco park. Ben and Jill were scrambling to get ready for the first day of school, so we only hung out for about an hour.  Charlotte starts 6th grade and the twins start 4th grade.  

I had my blood work for my upcoming annual physical on Tuesday morning and I had the results in 
MyChart by that afternoon - it doesn’t seem like much has changed although my thyroid numbers are low again. I’m hoping that doesn’t affect the medication that I take because that usually results in frequent checks and manipulating the dose. 

Tuesday also marked the 8-year anniversary of my brother Ray’s death at the hands of a heinous killer.  It is such a difficult memory but I have to think of the times in his life that were good his children.

Wednesday was food shelf day and that took up a couple of hours.  It is rewarding to see so many residents and get to have little snippets of conversation.  

Thursday was cleaning day at Ben’s house and he was on a work call the entire time except to give me a quick hug and about a 5-minute chat.  I finished in record time and took 12,000 steps, walked 5.5 miles, and climbed 12 flights of stairs that day.  No wonder I need a nap when I get back home and thanks to Deb for walking Joey while I’m gone, I can do that. 

Yesterday was grocery shopping day and it included a stop at Von Hansons to stock up on protein - pork chops, chicken, bacon, and a nice steak to have for dinner last night.  They have these griller sirloins that are just yummy.

We have now gone from excessive heat days to a high of 66° on Wednesday with night temps in the 50s.  I have a feeling that fall will come fast, as the drought will cause the trees to turn color and drop quickly.  The colors might not be as vibrant this year either.  There is still very little rain in the forecast for the next week or so.  

I took Camille and Norah to their soccer game this afternoon, as Jill and Ben will be with Charlotte and her school friends for a bowling birthday party.  I debated whether to take Joey or leave him at home, but taking him won out.  He got sick and threw up in the car on the way to their house but he was such a good boy at the soccer field and had lots of fun with Yoshi when we got back home.  Camille has a foot injury (the trash can fell on her ankle) so she didn’t play but Norah had two ‘almost’ goals and several really good long passes. Their team lost 3-2.

They are both grounded this week (for not listening and following rules) and it made for such a nice time together, as they weren’t looking for sweets and could have no screen time - so they played outside, played with the dogs, and played a game of Trouble with me.  

Friday, September 1, 2023

Sunday, September 3, 2023, WI

Camille spent the night with me last Tuesday and we went to the Minnesota River National Refuge in hopes of going through the nature center and gallery but once again, we got there on a day that it wasn’t open.  The butterfly people were there and we got to catch, tag, and release Monarch butterflies.  Camille caught six of them - four escaped and a male and a female were tagged.  We can now check the website to see if they made it all of the way to Mexico on their migration.

I got  back to Stoughton Thursday afternoon and my first stop was to have some lunch and a margarita with Doug at La Cantina and we had some good conversation and a few laughs. From there, I went to Dawn’s and got settled in. After chatting for a bit, we headed to Cheeser’s for the wine tasting. We tried some California wines - a white blend, a Pinot Grigio, a Cabernet and a other red blend - and chatted non stop.  And then we went to listen to music at the gazebo where we met up with Paul, Pam, and Jeff.  Back at Dawns after the music for dessert and then she and I ended up talking late into the night.  Yes, I was feeling a little bit foggy from the wine the next morning..

Nan, Monica and Logan picked me up this morning and we headed out to the cemetery where we split the hosta plants by Mom, Dad, and Rocco’s graves and we buried some of Rick’s ashes in the hole in front of their graves.  And then we went to Mandt Park and put the rest of his ashes in the Yahara River.  A cloud of ash was floating in the current and then turned and traveled in a circle back toward where we stood on the shore, before it dissipated and disappeared.  Monica said that was very typical of her Dad, as his goodbyes were always long goodbyes.  It was emotional but we all felt like it was the right thing to do - he is back in his old stomping grounds.

Oops! Windy day and bad hair.

It was so nice to see Monica, Logan, and Nan again.  Once Logan was no longer shy around me and learned my name, he kept pointing to me and saying “Aunt Rose”.  That just made my heart happy.  He is so smart - knows how to count to 15, knows all of the colors and shapes, and he’s not quite two years old.  We had such a nice visit.

Yesterday was Charlotte’s 12th birthday and she and her Mom joined two other friends (who also have birthdays right around this time) and their Moms at a cabin to celebrate. We will get together for family celebration tomorrow.  

I hung out with Pat most of the day, starting with coffee in the morning, then a drive to Madison for a couple of errands, we drove around to see if we could spot Russ in the area where he usually hangs out (no luck there), and we picked up Smoky Jon’s BBQ for dinner.  What a treat - we had ribs, brisket and their spicy corn - all was very yummy.  

After coffee and a short visit this morning, I went back to Dawn’s to load up and she had breakfast ready for me and a bag of goodies from her garden.  What a gal!  I met Pat and Roger at the Iron Skillet outside of Portage for breakfast - not like I needed anything, so I had some fruit. I got back on the road and made it back home by 3:30.  Joey was excited and happy to see me and is now sleeping on the couch next to me.  I love that I can leave him behind and it is not traumatic.

I hate to say it but there were definite signs of fall on the drive.  There were spots of color in the trees, the sumac is red in many places, and the roadsides were filled with goldenrod.  I even saw a flock of White Pelicans flying south.  It certainly doesn’t help that we have been in drought conditions most of the summer. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Saturday, August 26, 2023 - MN

My Stampin Up group of friends had our summer picnic on Monday and after a delicious lunch, I taught them how to do a paper embroidery card.  There were mixed feelings - some liked the process and requested copies of patterns and others might not ever do it again.  I’ve been working on getting some Christmas cards ready for later in the year. 

Happy 76th Birthday to Mike last Wednesday - it’s too bad that the last 11 birthdays have been celebrated from wherever you are in the universe.  And also to Casey - such a great guy - who suffered through 
so many health tragedies including nine cancers in his 29 years, but he still managed to have a smile on his face and to keep on moving forward.  He would be celebrating his 46th birthday today.

I heard from my niece Monica that she and her son Logan and mom Nan are coming to Wisconsin for a visit next week and they will be scattering Rick’s ashes.  I checked with Dawn and there is a room available at her bed and breakfast, so - I’m making another trip there on Thursday.  I sure have been on the move this summer, but I just can’t pass up seeing Monica and Logan again.  We will meet up on Friday.

I’m finishing up my week at Ben and Jill’s. Just finished the laundry and final cleanup and have my stuff together, so will head home in a bit.  

My view from the deck.

The weather this week has gone from nice to Hot and Humid and now today feels like a fall day out there.  It’s a cool 70° with a nice breeze.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 - MN, WI

Charlotte and I headed towards Wabasha on Monday morning in hopes of finding some interesting things to see and do.  The kids of today are different from years ago in that they are accustomed to keeping from boredom by being on devices rather than looking out the window to see what they can see or count cows or barns or play the alphabet game.  So she missed out on seeing some of the beautiful views that I saw along Hwy 35 on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.  So I let her have her screen time while in the car.  It was a rainy day, so we planned to do most of our sightseeing indoors.

We stopped along the way and read the historical markers and learned about geological features and the Indian maiden who jumped off a cliff rather than be married to the man that her parents chose for her at Maiden Rock.  The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin was our first stop and it was very interesting to learn about where she was born, her early childhood years and what their life was like on the Wisconsin woods.  Charlotte remembered so many things from the books but she felt that Norah and Camille would probably enjoy it more - she has grown up a bit since reading those books.

We continued down the east side of the river and crossed over at Wabasha where we stopped at the National Eagle Center to learn more about the majestic birds.  There are three of them that live at the center and the museum I informed us of their habitat.  The center offers tours of nesting grounds and observation but we just saw the museum.

We were hungry, so Charlotte chose Beth’s Cafe in Nelson, Wi for lunch, so we crossed the river and had a nice lunch at Beth’s, then stopped at the gift shop next to the restaurant.  We just couldn’t go by the Nelson Creamery, so stopped there for a yummy ice cream cone.  We were both thinking that it was time head to our motel to check it out, so our next stop was the Alaska Lodge in Lake City.  I had reserved a room with a jacuzzi and we were both ready to try it out.  The room was very nice and had a small balcony overlooking Lake Pepin.  It was gray and dreary but we saw eagles and gulls flying on the currents and White Pelicans bobbing on the rough water of the lake.  Every once in a while, a huge barge would float by.  We had dinner at Big Bear Pizza, watched a movie, and went to sleep.

The Red Wing Diner was our breakfast destination and we spent some time at a few shops in Red Wing. We were headed to the Red Wing Pottery but the GPS lead us astray - there is construction everywhere - and we had to head toward home so we would be on time for Genevieve’s art class.  We made clay wall pockets and Charlotte kind of rushed through hers - I think she was anxious to get back to a game on the iPad.  We had a nice walk with Joey in the evening, watched a movie, and went to bed.

Joey had a nice and relaxing time with Deb.

I learned from neighbors at art class that the new manager who was supposed to start on Monday had a medical emergency and will not be working here.  So we continue on without a manager.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Sunday, August 13, 2023, MN

Most of the week has been spent right here at home other than a bit of shopping and stops at a few yard sales.  I spent the afternoon with the girls on Wednesday as they only had camp in the morning. This week, they were at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for a Harry Potter Camp.  They were having lots of fun when I arrived for pickup and seem to really enjoy it.  

Charlotte is getting a little burned out from camps, so Jill took her out of the one for next week and she will be hanging out with me Monday - Wednesday.  We are going on a road trip to the Mississippi River and exploring Red Wing, Lake City, and Wabasha.

I’ve been doing a lot of weeding along the foundation of our building this week. I just got sick and tired of looking at the crabgrass growing there and the appearance of neglect.  So little by little, I have cleaned it up and it looks so much nicer now.  Our new manager, Steve, starts tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what his approach to managing the facility is.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Sunday, August 6, 2023 - MN

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Patty yesterday! 

After Randy left on Tuesday morning, I had a haircut appointment and then it was getting ready for a National Night Out hot dog cookout here at Penelope.  Joann and I decided to get it going after our events were canceled by our manager who quit.  I dug out my Coleman camp stove and grilled the hotdogs and we had a potluck gathering with about 13 residents.  It was nice, but it always ends up being just a few people who get involved and do all of the work - that’s me and a couple of others.  It makes me feel good because any little extras are always well received.  Many of these folks rarely leave the building.

Wednesday was food shelf in the morning and pet nail trims in the evening.  Joey is still the only really naughty pet - the cats are cooperative and he is a little shit.  This is my setup and he still fought like crazy.  It’s a good thing Mary is experienced and willing to deal with him. He is great with me trimming him but when it comes to clipping the nails, he gets in fighting mode.  Sometimes I wonder what his life was like before me or is it just his personality.  

I’m still recovering from my bout with bronchitis but getting better every day.  The weather folks on the news are calling this “the summer if fires” as we keep having days with poor air quality because of smoke coming in from Canadian wildfires.  It is sure having an effect on me.