Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday, June 30 - The Remember Mike Party

The big day has arrived and a busy, busy one it was.  The sky was blue and stayed that way all day long, a light breeze was blowing, it was going to be a perfect day to celebrate the life of a man who never liked being out in the rain. Pat and I loaded up the car and headed for Lake Farm Park.  Ben, Pat and Roger, and Jonnie came early to help us get set up, then Tom and Karen arrived with the beer and Bob and Penny arrived with the food.  We were ready just in time.

It was 4 hours of nonstop talking and greeting folks that we hadn't seen in a long time.  There was a steady stream of family and extended families, childhood friends, classmates, neighbors, co-workers, camping friends, kids, and dogs -  over 100 people that showed up throughout the afternoon to help us celebrate Mike's life.  What a guy - he sure touched a lot of folks - and we won't stop loving and missing him - ever.

Roger and his brother, Gary, were busy making Old Fashioned cocktails - one of Mike's favorites.  Tom, Pat, and Ben made a toast to Mike and then Tom sent off 2 rockets that flew about 1/2 mile into the clear blue sky.  People enjoyed watching the slideshow and looking at pictures and conversations were full of stories and memories.  By the end of the party, the beer and lemonade were gone and most of the food was consumed - just as I had hoped for.  We cleaned up, loaded up, and headed to Glass Nickel Pizza, since none of us had much of a chance to eat - we were to busy talking.

It was a wonderful afternoon.  Many thanks to all of you who helped out and showed up.  It meant so much to all of us.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday, June 29 - WI

Today started with a trip to Wyocena to see Mom.  She was happy to see us but it is hard to tell if she knows us any more.  Regardless, we talked as if she did and we got her outdoors for a walk around the building to see several flower gardens and the lake.

We dropped Ben off at his friend, Mike's house and headed back to Stoughton to get a little nap in.  Tonight, Bob and Penny joined us and we had dinner at Alchemy in Madison, on the east side, not too far from where we used to live - it was familiar and comfortable to all of us.  Dinner was yummy.  From there, we walked a few blocks down Atwood Avenue to the Harmony Bar and had a beer.

None of us really felt like going home, so we headed to Stoughton where a classmate of mine was playing acoustic guitar at the Pour House.  As we pulled into Stoughton, we saw a flurry of activity - blue flashing lights were everywhere - it was an OWI check point and there must have been a dozen cop cars right inside the city limit.  They didn't bother me or Bob who was right behind me, but my heart was thumping just the same.  They were everywhere downtown too, so Penny and I only drank water while we listened to Brett's first set.  He was good, but a bit loud for the small building we were in.  We all made it back home without getting stopped and breathed a big sigh of relief.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday, June 28.

Stoughton had city-wide garage sales today, so Pat and I went to a few this morning.  I only bought a book of children's sweater patterns.  Not that I will have much time to work on anything like that for a while.  I brought the sweater that I'm making for Charlotte with me and haven't even touched it except to show it to a couple of people.

We headed to Milwaukee to pick Ben up from his flight.  It was great to see him and we caught up on the latest news.  Later on, we met Bob and Penny, who had just arrived from Kansas City, at Toby's for a traditional Wisconsin Fish fry.  Bob and Penny really enjoyed the atmosphere - it was quite different from the chain restaurants in their area.   We had a drink and a toast to Mike and lots of great conversation.  The place was so crowded, that we left right after dinner and went to Tully's in Monona for another drink before heading home.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday, June 27 - WI

Happy Birthday to my nephew, Aaron.  And also to my Mom who would be 91 years old today.  She was a sweet woman and got never got to see her family grow to what we are today - and I feel cheated at times that I didn't have that mother-daughter relationship later in life.  Well, that's life.

Pat, Frisco, and I took a nice, 3-mile hike along the Yahara River Trail this morning.  It was really nice, but wet and soggy in spots.  The plants are lush and we could identify a few wildflowers along the trail.  Frisco had a ball too.

When we got back home, I went shopping for the last few items that I need for Sunday.  I think I am ready - maybe not emotionally, but materially.

Dawn called this evening to see if I was interested in having wine and desserts with her friends, aka The Stitch N Bitch Girls.  I went and was so glad I did.  I had met several of these ladies before as one has a swimming pool and I've gone there with Dawn a couple of times.  The food, wine, and conversations were great and the setting was absolutely gorgeous - an old farmhouse at the end of a long, country road, with gorgeous views of good old Wisconsin countryside.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday, June 26 - WI

We have been busy.  On Monday, we went to Madison to several grocery stores and Costco to check out their party trays for Sunday's gathering.  We also went to Lake Farm Park where I have a shelter reserved.  The shelter is nice and has everything we will need - now, if only the weather cooperates for us.  From there, we stopped at Mike's brother Tom's house for a visit with him and Karen and to make more plans and to see the easel they borrowed from the Senior Center to hold the photo board.  Frisco and Tara had a good time playing together.

Pat had some errands to run on Tuesday, so I stayed home and got my house cleaning fix - a way that I can help pay for my keep.

Each of the last 3 mornings, we have woke up to pouring rain and the rain gauge showed 2.5 inches, 3 inches, and 3 inch, respectively.  On Wednesday morning, sllof our iPhones went off with a flash flood warning from the National Weather Service.  There was a pond in the back of the yard with 2 ducks swimming in it.  There also was water seeping into the basement and Pat spent the morning sucking it up with the wet vac as fast as it came in.

I went to Wyocena to see Mom again and she was really distant today.  I showed her the slide show from Mike's memorial and expected that she would recognize some of the people in the photos, but she didn't know any of them.  Even when I reminded her or told her about what was going on in the photo, she drew a blank.  It is sad to me, but she seems to be content and in good health.

I stopped at South Towne and had lunch with Pat H on my way home.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday, June 23 - WI

I drove up to Pardeeville and spent an hour or so with Mom this morning.  She seemed to recognize me because her face lit up when she saw me.  We went and sat outdoors on the patio and she enjoyed watching the birds and feeling the breeze.  Our conversations are very limited, it was mostly about Frisco - the one name she kept remembering.  At one point, she said to me, "there's only the 3 of us left now", so I think she is aware that Mike and Dan are gone.  It was a beautiful summer day with a nice breeze and the humidity wasn't too bad.

I stopped for a chat with Pat and Roger on my way back to Stoughton.  It was great to see them again!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday, June 22 - WI

Another busy day.  Jonnie and Diane picked me up and we headed to Madison to be part of the wedding celebration of my cousin, Theresa and her partner, Laura who tied the knot back in January.  I got to see a few cousins and lots of 2nd cousins that I rarely get to see.  The food was good and the band sounded great but we had to leave to get to another party.

The second was a birthday party for my cousin Fran, who turned 88 years old today.  She is a young 88, sharp as a whip and in pretty good health.  Her 3 grandchildren were there with their 12 children ranging in at from 9 months to 8 years, so there was lots of activity going on there.  Those parents were really busy, but they all are great at it and have darling families.

It was a nice day of catching up with folks and I was exhausted when I got back home.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday, June 21 - WI

I drove the last part of my trip yesterday, arriving at Pat's house just before 4:00.  It was in eventful and I am so thankful for that.  The worst part was lots of construction all the way through Iowa, Cedar Rapids, and Dubuque - but even that wasn't real bad.

I got to Pat's and got settled in.  It is warm and humid and they are all complaining. I'll keep it. Frisco was quite happy to run free in the back yard.  The garden is looking good and it won't be long before the berries are ripe.  I hope it happens before I leave.

We went to Madison to check out Costco, Copps, and Woodmans for party trays for next Sunday - guess we will just stick to the Pick n Save in Stoughton, as they all seem to be about the same.  After that, we met Tracey at Smokey John's BBQ for lunch.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday, June 19 - MO

Wednesday, June 19.  Humidity is the word of the day - something I have not felt in a long, long time.  My drive to Kansas City was eeeeeeasy, only 3 hours and I pulled up in front of Stadium View apartments (Rita and Denny's business).  It was great to feel their hugs again.  Rita and I left to go have some lunch after dropping Frisco and my stuff off at her house in Blue Springs.

We both decided that a nap sounded good, but then Aaron showed up and started trimming the shrubs outside my window so I went out and had a nice chat with him and then he joined us for dinner later.  My niece, Brittany heard that I was here and just happened to be on our side of town, so she stopped by for a hug.  Again, it was nice to see her too.

I decided to stay another night because I just couldn't stand the thought of another day in the car.  That gave Rita and I a chance to go check out Cockrell Mercantile, a great little historic village that has been turned into shops filled with kitchen and cooking stuff - I usually go there whenever I visit.