Monday, August 12, 2019

Sunda, 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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019, MN

It’s the last day of July and I was just reading about the black moon tonight - the second new moon of the month - although it doesn’t appear any different, it is a rare occasion.


I haven’t written since last week Thursday so I have some catching up to do.  I went to some garage sales on Friday morning and Tom and I had fish fry at the Villa in Albertville that night. Last year, I had a delicious and very large serving of grilled lemon crusted Walleye there and I was hoping for a similar experience. Not quite, this time. My serving was about half the size although it was quite good and my cocktail was weak and Tom’s cod was a bit on the greasy side.


Sunday was quite interesting. Those of you who know me well, know that I have been feeling unsettled lately and Tom and I have talked quite a bit about the differences in how the near future should be for us. His interest is to travel and visit areas that he hasn’t been before and I have been feeling the need to get settled here in Minnesota, reunite with my personal possessions, and ive been feeling tired of traveling for quite some time now. I have been researching apartments for months, actually years - ever since I first decided to sell my house and relocate to this area about three years ago. I found one this week that I am interested in, will be available soon, and fits my budget. So we drove around several complexes on Sunday before actually seeing the apartment that is available at River Crossing in St. Paul (my first choice). It is part of the same complex but in the building next to Graham Place, a senior facility that has been high on my list for the last two years.  After seeing the apartment, I made a deposit and locked myself in. A credit check and personal reference still need to be completed before I know for sure that it is mine and then I will prepare to move in on October 1. Tom will continue his RVing lifestyle when he heads back south after Labor Day and we will see about doing some trips together in the future.  


This is going to be another huge adjustment in my life, but I am ready to face it just as I was two years ago before Tom and I started our relationship. Since our future goals are so different, we will see how things go from here. In the meantime, we will spend the month of August together here in Monticello and then set off on our own.


After seeing the apartment, we picked Charlotte up and she came home with us to spend the next three nights. Monday was kind of a cool day, so we walked to a nearby neighborhood park with a huge spiderweb for climbing on, then along the path to Otter Creek Park where she and Frisco checked out the creek. That evening at the playground here in the park, she met Mattie and the two of them hit it off and had lots of fun together - much more fun than us adults were. Although she sure has been enjoying Tom’s teasing sense of humor and playfulness.


We took Charlotte to the Space Alien Grill in Albertville, a place we thought she might like and had been considering checking out. She thought it was creepy - she loved the ceiling with the solar system but didn’t like the aliens that were on display - thought they were scary. She also did like the pizza, eating all but one slice of a 7” cheese pizza but didn’t like the Raspberry Iced Tea as it was too sweet, so she had my water and I had the tea (it was way too sweet). Another thing she liked was the Arcade and when we went to play games, their computer system was down and we had to nix that plan.


Monday night was rough for Frisco and I. He was having intestinal issues and I was up every half hour - eight times during the night - to let him out. I restricted his food throughout the next day and gave him a light dinner. He slept a lot during the day and I was wishing that I could. It was an early to bed night and we all slept well through the night. I wonder what’s going on with him? He went through a bout of this last spring.


Yesterday was much warmer so we went swimming at Bertram Lake Beach in the afternoon. Charlotte had some play time with Mattie in the morning and Tom and I enjoyed the short break. She hoped to play together again in the evening, but Mattie wasn’t home, so it was Grandma Rose and her at the playground and searching for goose feathers. We all played a card game of Memory and then went to bed and read.


Today, we went to visit the Oliver Kelley Farmstead in Elk River, a historic living history farm that was interactive. Farmers dressed in period clothing demonstrated how things were done in the 1860s. Charlotte got to lay on a straw bed, pump water, feed chickens, slice cucumbers, taste Swiss Chard from the garden, and pet several animals. She said she really enjoyed it.



We dropped her back home, I got a much needed haircut from Jill, and Tom and I tried to beat the rush hour traffic back to Monticello - not real successful, as it took us 1.25 hours. Can you believe that it was a quiet, slow-paced evening and an early to bed night for us?


Charlotte has really matured over the last year, was very cooperative and polite, interested in playing games, was much more independent as far as getting ready for the day and for bed, didn’t whine and beg for treats, and didn’t have to be reminded as much to do what she was asked. My little girl is almost 8 years old, getting tall and long legged.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thursday, July 25, 2019, WI, MN

After coffee and a delicious breakfast of fruit and McChandler sandwiches (English muffin, ham, egg, and cheese), we headed back home to Minnesota.  We took the quicker route this time, mostly freeway, through Wausau, Chippewa Falls, and Minneapolis and headed straight for Ben’s to get Frisco. He adapted well, ate good, got lots of walks - Charlotte is experienced enough to walk him by herself - and had a good time. We didn’t hang out as Ben was working, the kids all had things going on and we wanted to beat the traffic.

We were both a bit tired after a few days of activity, so it was an early to bed night for us.

This morning, I had an appointment to have my eyes checked at Costco and got good news - no Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, or Retina detachment - only a slight change in vision and a cataract that might need surgery in a year or so. So...my health checkups are done for the year and no changes are necessary. THAT is a good feeling for this 71 year old woman. Yippee!

We just got back from a 2.5 mile walk - much needed, since we haven’t walked in the last 2 days.