Saturday, January 23, 2021

Friday, January 22, 2021

The days run on and not much happens but night falls and I wonder where the day went. I’m usually able to stay busy, sometimes getting a nap in to fill a gap. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the phone this week, catching up with family and friends and I managed to work out in the recently reopened fitness room one day. There was nobody else in there, masks are required, and there are sanitizing wipes to be used when you are finished with the equipment.  That is really a difficult thing for me to do, I would much rather turn on a fitness video and do a workout in my own apartment.

I watched the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and they pulled it off without riots and protests - there were 25,000 troops guarding the area, streets blocked off, and walls built to protect the White House. There were riots and protests in many other parts of the country. I got a little bit teary when Kamala Harris arrived, quite a big deal to me to have the first woman Vice President, the first person of color be the Vice President, and I look forward to seeing how that team does. President Biden started off on that same day by reversing several of the executive orders that Trump had signed.

I got a new couch with chaise this weeks - long story.  I was heading for the elevator when I saw a neighbor wrestling this couch out her door and into the hallway. I offered my help and that started a conversation. She had just bought this couch in November but has replaced it and was giving it away free. There was a catch though. There are two small burn holes in the seat, so I asked how that could be when this is strict a non-smoking facility and I was told that a friend who spent the night did it - who knows. It doesn’t smell like cigarettes, nor did her apartment, but she kind of did - you know how it is when you pass a smoker and you can smell the residue.  Anyway, I took the couch and started to research ways to repair the burn holes and I proceeded to set it up in my now crowded apartment, giving it a complete vacuum and wipe it down with a damp cloth.

So then it was necessary to get rid of the other furniture that I had, so I put a poster on the wall in the lobby and it was gone in two days. I like that!

I made a pot of Creamy Wild Rice with Chicken soup for myself and to share with the family, delivered it and spent the afternoon with the girls on Thursday.  Since the weather is expected to turn much colder, we started out by walking to Beard’s Plaisance where they played on the swings and playground. It didn’t matter that the ground was icy and slippery, they had lots of fun. It got a bit dramatic when they were all thirsty and we hadn’t taken and water with us. We made it back home and they all scrambled to get drinks of water. We then played a game of Spoons, ate snacks, they dressed up in Mommy’s fancy dresses, and we all built Lego beach houses - interesting to see the differences in interpretations. 

I rented and watched the movie “Yellow Rose” last night, a story about a Filipina teenager who has to decide whether to stay with her family (sent back to Manila by ICE) or to leave Texas to become a country music singer.  She is encouraged by Dale Watson who also acts, directs, and writes the song track.  I heard about it a couple of years ago, it was recently released, and I finally got around to watching it. I don’t think it is blockbuster material, but I enjoyed it, especially since I am such a big fan of Dale Watson.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wednesday, January 13, 2020

Another ‘what a day’ to write about. The House of Representatives has voted to impeach Donald Trump for insurrection leading to the violence last week at the Capitol, for the second time during his term, it now goes to the senate.  Information is coming out that several of the extremists who stormed the Capitol last week have been arrested and we are now hearing rumors that it could have been an inside job - meaning that some congress members are suspected of aiding it. The National Capitol and state capitols are gearing up with troops in place, expecting possible violence next week for the inauguration on the 20th.  The Trumpers still believe that the election was fraudulent and was stolen from them - the numbers don’t say that at all, he lost by a sizable number of votes. 

I tried a new recipe today, Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole, doubled it up and took it to Ben and Jill for dinner. I think it was great, will be interesting to hear the family’s feedback. 

Frisco and I got a couple of good walks in this week, as temps have been back up above freezing and we have seen the sunshine a few days.  While walking a stretch of the River to River trail today, I stopped to chat with a man who gave me some information on the trails and also answered my question about what is going on a block away where I have seen some construction going on.  The good news is that the trail is going to connect right across the street behind the library and they are putting a tunnel under Robert Street which is a very busy 4-lane neighborhood street. Also, the construction is a new Hy-Vee going in on the property that was the Thousand Oaks Golf Course that was failing - the privately owned company sold the property recently.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2020

What a day yesterday was - most important in my life is my brother Randy’s birthday and I started the day by sending him birthday wishes.

As far as America - it is the day that the Congress meets in a joint session to formally count the Electoral College votes for the newly elected President. Biden won with 306 votes to Trump’s 232 votes and today, Congress tallies the votes as submitted by the states.  The problem is that Trump still believes that he won the election, that it was rigged in favor of the Democrats and several Republicans have said that they will challenge the tally of several states, which causes a lengthy delay in which both parties argue and then vote again.  While this was going on, large numbers of protesters were swarming the Capitol and some very violently, breaking windows and doors and forcing their way into the building.  The Congressmen and women were ushered off to a safe place while the violent looters had access to the building, waving confederate flags and looting.  Eventually, DC police, FBI, and the National Guard got control of the situation and a curfew was put in place to get control of the crowds. Later that night, Congress was able to meet and tallied the votes in favor of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  Trump is accused of inciting the violence and for encouraging it.

What happens next will be interesting as many are calling to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office or to impeach him. The inauguration is scheduled for the 20th of January.

I have started a routine that might help me lose a few pounds. I am doing intermittent fasting where I eat normally for a day, then fasting until dinner time on the next day. We shall see how things work out.  I have also been good about doing the fitness walk videos and taking walks with Frisco.

We have had several days of freezing fog (I had never heard of that before) and it is just beautiful, especially when the sun comes out and the trees are just sparkling and beautiful.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year to ALL and let’s hope there is some success with regard to reducing COVID-19 - a drop in cases and deaths and vaccinations distributed to all who are willing to get them.

I usually take my Christmas decorations down on New Year’s Day but since I had plans to be with 
Ben and his family that day, I took them down on New Year’s Eve instead. I left the apartment to pick up some drapery panels and rods from someone on Marketplace and stopped at Applebee’s and picked up a BBQ rib dinner for my New Year’s Eve meal. And then I talked on the phone and connected with family and friends, basically for the rest of the day and night. I didn’t make it until midnight, headed for bed about 10:00 instead.

I learned this morning that Rene was released and was going back home this morning, she is quite tired but feeling much better and is going to be okay.

The ‘hang the drapes’ project took me all morning, as nothing ever goes smoothly. The first challenge was that the window is 94” wide and there wasn’t a good place to put the center supporting bracket. I ended up mounting it to the valence for the window shade with Command tape and then wiring it to the heating vent in the ceiling for extra reinforcement. I’ve had really good luck with Command tape in the past, so am hoping this will be sufficient. The next challenge was the drapes were a bit too short, so the fix was to take out the hem and restitch, making them just the right length.

I had a nice afternoon with Ben and the family, as we gathered in their back yard around a campfire. We managed to stay relatively warm for 2.5 hours and had some good conversation, a nice way to start the new year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

I guess I should backtrack to Christmas Eve when I loaded up gifts and headed to Ben’s house. The girls were so excited that they were sitting in the front window waiting for me and Granny and Papa to arrive. This is the first indoor family gathering that we have had since the summer when COVID numbers came down and things were opening up. Jill made her Grandma Quinn’s Mulligan Stew and blueberry muffins for dinner and we snacked on veggies and cookies leading up to dinner. After dinner, we played a game of spoons - a card game where the cards are passed around the table quickly and the goal is to get 4 of a kind. The first person to get 4 of a kind grabs a spoon (there is 1 less than the number of players) and everyone else goes for a spoon too. The loser is the one left without a spoon.

The girls were so excited for gift opening, mostly for their own gifts but for those that they gave too.  I got my annual photo album, a nice woodland scented candle, and a snow globe that Charlotte made for me.  They were happy with their gifts from me (slippers, headbands, and a craft) and especially the bathrobes that they each got.

Christmas Day meant making my traditional Cranberry Cake with Hot Butter Sauce for dessert and also scalloped potatoes for dinner, then I headed back to Ben’s. Santa had come, and they had breakfast all cleaned up and the girls were busy playing with their toys.  We played Barbie’s and got some brine shrimp going that Charlotte could look at through her new microscope.  They got tired of playing indoors and bundled up and headed outside to try out their new hats, gators, snow goggles and sled.

We had gotten about seven inches of snow on top of rain, then ice, and high winds on the 23rd and that made for some slow travel getting to and from Ben’s house.  

I have spent the last 3 days working on a puzzle that Lois game me last spring. Once I get started, I can’t leave it alone. I finished it today.

I got a call from Rita this morning letting me know that Rene had a heart attack yesterday, after experiencing heartburn and pain in her neck and underarm over the weekend, was taken by ambulance from Warsaw to Overland Park, and had surgery this morning to put a stent in her artery that almost fully blocked.  I got a text from her earlier this afternoon to say she was ok. Dang, the news didn’t really surprise me, but I sure hope that she is okay and able to resume her normal activities.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Birthday to my sweet sister, Rita! We had a video call with my siblings last night and sang happy birthday to her then. That was as first for us and it turned out to be a fun and enjoyable conversation. The Ursino’s tend to all talk over each other, so we tried real hard to keep that from happening, but it did, of course. Still, it was so nice to ‘see’ everyone again.

Penny & Bob, Me, Randy, Mike & Rene, Rita & Denny

This has been the week for catching up with distant friends, as I heard from Rosemary, Leslie, and Arlene and also had a nice, long Google Duo chat with Tom.

I went to Ben’s on Monday afternoon and walked to the park with the girls. They were getting cabin fever being cooped up in the house and Ben and Jill were struggling to work. We had a nice time, playing tag and exploring the ice on the shore of Lake Harriet, throwing sticks and challenging each other to get the stick to slide the farthest. Camille won that one, then her hands were freezing, so we headed back home.  Charlotte tripped and fell, blaming it on Norah, and scraped her knee. Norah felt bad and let her lean on her on the way back home.

I made a batch of fudge earlier in the week to share with the family and the next morning as I was putting walnuts in my oatmeal, I realized that they were not Gluten Free, so I packed up that batch and set it down in the lobby near the mailboxes for the residents to enjoy. It wasn’t long and it had disappeared. 

The decision has finally been made that we will gather as a family, including Jill’s parents for Christmas Eve and Day dinners and gift exchanges, but will not have sleepovers as we have in the past. So I placed my last grocery order at Cub and picked it up on Tuesday night, so I will have ingredients to make scalloped potatoes and Cranberry cake for dinner on Christmas Day and another batch of fudge - this time with Gluten Free Almonds. The problem with nuts is that many are processed in plants that also process wheat products, thus there could be residue on the equipment.

Winter arrived yesterday when we went from a rainy 44 degrees to steady drops in temperature and blizzard conditions through the day. For quite a while, the snow was blowing sideways straight out of the north. I’m not sure how much snow we actually got but because of the high winds, there are a lot of bare areas. It is -2 degrees this morning and wind chills are expected to be in the -35 degree range. Frisco took care of business in no time this morning.  I feel fortunate that most of December has been mild with no snow and above average temperatures.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Today’s highlight was an invitation to meet Ben, Charlotte, and Yoshi at Battle Creek Dog Park for an afternoon walk. It even looked like we would have some sunshine, but by the time we hit the trail the clouds had covered up the sun.  Regardless, the 38 degrees made it pleasant and the park is very nice. As I expected, Frisco wandered way up ahead of me and refused to come when I called him. Of course, he was hooked to the leash when I caught up to him once again, after having to scurry down an hill to catch up to him. Later on, Ben and Charlotte had to chase after Yoshi but he is doing really good about staying nearby - the constant rewards are helping.

I spent the morning on FaceTime conversations with Bob and Penny and with Randy and I’m working to setup a Ursino video meetup for Wednesday evening. We shall see how that goes, but it would be nice to ‘see’ everyone again.