Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25 - 31, 2014, WI

Monday, August 25.  Big storms are rolling through here right now and there are flash flood warnings for areas all around us.  Some have been severe, with thunder and lightening, large puddles forming, and our power was out for about 45 minutes. Frisco is NOT happy.   There is rain in the forecast every day this week - I don't like being cooped up indoors.

Pat came home from work early today, in severe pain, because he tweaked his back this morning.  It's not good for a mother to see her son feeling so bad.  I hope it is short lived.

Tuesday, August 26.  The weather has improved - especially after 11:00.  The morning started out gray and dreary once more and I even got rained on while on my morning walk - not a soaker, thankfully.  I gave the trailer a good vacuuming, so I feel like I accomplished something today.  

The afternoon was beautiful! I walked over to Dawn's to wish her a Happy Birthday and we sat out on the patio chatting for a while.

Pat was able to get in to see his chiropractor this morning.  He is on a frequent icing and hopefully it heals quickly.

Tom and Karen treated me to a very fine dinner tonight at the Tornado Steakhouse in downtown Madison - one of their favorite places.  I had a Cosmolitan at the bar before dinner and a Mixed 
Green salad, the Peppercorn tenderloin and Pitty Pan Squash for dinner.  The atmosphere, service, and company made for a very enjoyable evening.

Thursday, August 28.  Yesterday, I spent the morning pruning Dawn's Dogwood shrubs in the front of her house.  They are way overgrown, bending forward, and blocking the air circulation to the porch.  She has been unable to tend to them because of her health, and they really need some work, so I volunteered to help her out.  After cleaning out the fern in front of the shrubs (they are past their prime at this time of year), I tackled the Dogwood and about 10 wheelbarrow loads (hauled and dumped by Rich, thankfully) later, I had the east side of the porch done.  The west side will wait until another day - and I will be taking regular doses of Advil for a couple of days.

This is on one of the routes I take on my morning walks - the sun was just coming out after some good rains during the night.  I think it is very pretty.

Today, I ran errands - with the exception of a stop at AAA for a campground directory, this means that I went shopping.  I did find the power unit that I need for the GPS at Best Buy and I made stops at about 8 other stores in search of a rug for the trailer entrance.  I finally found what I wanted at my last stop, Camping World.

Frisco got a much needed bath when I got back home.

Saturday, August 30.  Yesterday, Pat was finally feeling a little better and wanted to get out of the house, so we went to Costco and then to one of his favorite restaurants, Ella's Deli in Madison for lunch.  It is a Madison landmark with animated characters that move overhead on wires, make music, or entertain in some mechanical way.  It is probably the best Jewish deli in Madison but it is also a great ice cream/dessert shop.

I met Pat and Roger later in the afternoon and we went to The Owl's Nest in Poynette for fish fry where we were joined by Gary and Susie.  We had an enjoyable visit over Old Fashioneds at the bar and then a delicious family style fish fry.

This afternoon, Tracey and I went to her sister's annual Stadler Cook Off - a party where guests bring dishes in the Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, and Dessert categories that are judged by 2 judges in each category and then by popular vote.  The 1st Place winner's dish was Smoked Pheasant (it got my vote), Appetizer was a Reuben Dip, Side Dish was called Lazy Sushi, and dessert was a triple layered chocolate cake.  My entry was an appetizer called Drunken Grapes (red and green grapes soaked in Amaretto) - not a winner, although I will definitely make them again.  It was a good time and I got to see several members of Tracey's family - all in one place.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 18 - 24, 2014, WI

Tuesday, August 19.  Today is my oldest son's 45th birthday and doesn't that make me feel old.  My gift to him was a fancy pants dinner of filet mignon with mushroom sauce, garlic-rosemary accordion potatoes, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, wine, and German chocolate cake with ice cream.  It's been a busy day of cooking but it felt good to do it.  I had the best of intentions to take photos and once again, the opportunity got away from me.

I slipped and fell in the produce department of the grocery store this afternoon.  I came down on my left knee, scraped the big toe, and feel kind of stiff and sore but I think I'm fine.  Regardless, I filled out an accident report just in case.

Frisco escaped the fenced in yard twice today - we can't figure out exactly where he is getting out but there are a couple of possibilities, so Pat is going to make some repairs.  He hasn't traveled far which is a good thing.

Thursday, August 21.  I spent most of the day yesterday reading "Velva Jean Learns to Drive", by Jennifer Niven.  About half way through the book, I became immersed and couldn't put it down.  I tried to finish it last night but couldn't keep my eyes open.  

Early this morning, a light rain pattering my roof, Frisco was moving around and sitting at the door - he had to go out.  So I got my umbrella out if the car and took him for a walk - and, yes, he had business to take care of.  What a good little guy - he's usually so patient and waits to go out at least an hour after I get up.

As soon as I got back from that early morning walk, I dove into that book and finished it.  I haven't read a book that I just couldn't put down in a long, long time.  It was a story about a young girl coming of age in the gold-mining, moon-shining mountains of Appalachia who finds the courage to follow her own dreams.  An excellent story!  

The location of the story brought back memories of several times that we traveled along the Blue Ridge Parkway (it is being built by the CCC in this book), both in our Miata and our motorhome, and also a drive with Pat and Roger and the Badgerland Miata Club where we drove the Tail of the Dragon (an 11-mile stretch of road with 318 curves) to Deal's Gap (also mentioned in this book) and stayed in a cabin near the Fontana Dam in North Carolina.

I went to see Tom and Karen this morning and took Frisco so he could play with Tara.  The rain held off for a little while and the dogs were able to romp around the back yard.  Karen had just gotten a new Samsung tablet, so I helped her out with some of the apps and setup.  I hadn't even gotten out of Monona on my way home when the torrential rains started and didn't let up until after I got back home.  I sat in the car in the parking lot at the grocery store, waiting for it to let up.

I spent the afternoon on the phone with customer service people after finding out that a medical bill got rejected by my insurance company because my ID number changed way back on 1/1/14.  I just received my updated cards with new ID# when I got to Stoughton - the paperwork was dated 6/13/14.      Needless to say, there were several claims between 1/1 and 6/13 that were processed under the old ID#, so there may be future problems too.  The person I spoke with at my insurance company assured me that she would let me know how they will be handling those claims and she also contacted the billing folks for the medical bill I had problems with. Hopefully it will all be taken care of behind the scenes and I won't have to be concerned, although I do plan to keep a close eye on the situation.  That is one of the problems with being away from home and having your mail forwarded to you - there is quite a delay.

Friday, August 22.  Nothing to write, but just had to post this photo taken in Pat's yard.

Saturday, August 23.  Today, I am remembering and missing Mike on his 67th birthday and Jill's brother, Casey on his 37th birthday.  And I have been in a funk all day.  The gray, pea soup kind of humid weather is not helping at all. I made one of Mike's favorite dishes for dinner tonight, Mrs. Gumtow's casserole and we had a nice dinner.

I spotted this definite sign of fall on my morning walk.

Sunday, August 24.  Today was a much better day.  It's another of those muggy, foggy kind of mornings but I still enjoy my morning walks through the neighborhoods of Stoughton.  My favorite has become one that takes me along the Mill Pond and dam, around Riverside Cemetary, then past the community gardens and back home again.  I never tire of seeing the mature hardwood trees, nicely manicured and landscaped lawns, and the multi-colored Victorian homes with their gingerbread and welcoming porches.  It gives me a comfortable, homey feeling.

I met my cousin JoAnne in Baraboo this afternoon and we went to see Dr. Evermore's Forevertron - a massive metal sculpture of a ship that will carry him to the heavens when he dies.  I actually met and had a conversation with Lady Eleanor and learned that he is in a Nursing Home but still designs some of the works that are now assembled by his sons.   Here is a link to learn more about this man and his creations. You will have to cut and paste as I can't figure out how to insert a link.

    Jo and I with one of the big birds.


More cool birds.

We had an enjoyable time together - walked around the Square, checked out some art at the market, and had a nice lunch.

When I got back home, Tracey's Godmother Caroline, brought hot dogs, potato salad, beans, and brownies for Pat's birthday gift and we had a nice time hanging out and talking.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 11 - 17, 2014, WI

Tuesday, August 12.  I did little or nothing on Monday, recovering from my week with the little ones. I did go see Marion for a haircut and stopped for a few groceries so I could fix my Lime Chicken tacos for dinner for the family.

This morning, I slept in until 8:00, it had cooled way down in the 50s during the night and I was snuggled under the warm blanket. I headed to the DMV to see if I could get a temporary title for my trailer.  I just happened to grab the wrong envelope and got there without the title.  Grrrr!   Guess I'll try again tomorrow morning.

I did do some shopping at a few stores near East Towne but didn't buy anything.  

It is the 2nd Tuesday of the month and I met with several of my classmates at Culver's this afternoon and we had another nice turnout of about ten.  I saw 3 gals that weren't at the last one and one who I haven't seen since high school.  The conversation was full of talk of families, travels, Stoughton, other classmates, construction (yes, this is the land of 2 seasons - winter and construction), and toward the end, the loss of husbands (3 of us lost our husbands in the last year and a half).  We are all doing about the same - trying to maintain, thankful for our networks of support from family and friends.

Wednesday, August 13.  My stop at the DMV was successful this morning and I walked out of there with a temporary plate that is good until 11/11/14.  No more worrying about that.

I then headed to Sheboygan, where I will spend the next 3 days with my old friend, Carol.  The drive was enjoyable, full of memories (and even a few tears), of the many trips we made through the years to hang out with great friends.  Mike and Carol's ex-husband became friends in the Navy - we haven't seen Mike for years but have kept in contact with Carol.  The countryside is beautiful, so green, through the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine area of Wisconsin, an area where two glaciers collided, creating a moraine (an accumulation of boulders, stones and debris left by the receding glaciers) and kettles where pockets of ice were trapped and are now small lakes or ponds.

I made it to Carol's house and we spent the evening talking nonstop.

Thursday, August 14.  We went for a nice walk with Frisco this morning.  It turns out that I have to keep him tied up near me because he has chased and tormented Carol's cats, Barney and Clyde relentlessly.  They have both been in hiding since we got here and Frisco will not stop trying to find them.

We went for a drive around Sheboygan this morning, worked on a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night painting and then went for dinner at a landmark restaurant called Gosse's with Carol's Mom, Cynthia this evening.  She is one "on the ball" 88-year old woman.  We had an enjoyable conversation about Sheboygan history, the recent local elections, women in politics, and she was happy to learn that I was a fellow Democrat.

Friday, August 15.  This morning we headed to Bookworm Gardens, a beautiful garden with displays that are based on children's books.  The assortment of plants in both sunny and shady areas, beautiful water features, an abundance of books and reading nooks were just delightful.  I really enjoyed the place and kept thinking about how much Charlotte would like it too.

One of the cute reading nooks at Bookworm Gardens

The Three Little Pigs

From there, we headed to the John Michael Kohler Art Center where we saw a display of pieces that were related to industry and art, mostly sculptures, many that were made of porcelain and steel.

This retro phone is made of porcelain and was about a yard wide.

We are near Kohler, ya know.

After a nice lunch on the patio of the Mucky Duck with a view of the Sheboygan River, we walked the river walk out to the lighthouse on Lake Michigan.  It is a beautiful day and or is so nice to be with such a great friend.

This evening, Carol's son Matt and daughter Nikki, her boyfriend Steve, and children David and 
Jennifer came by to say hello and we had a nice chat.  It is nice to touch base with them every once in a while.  It has been since 2006 that I've seen Matt and Nikki.

Carol fixed a nice dinner of meatloaf, potatoes, and veggies and after dinner we tackled the puzzle again.

Sunday, August 17.  Another front came through during the night, brought light rain with it and lower temps.  There was still a mist in the air when I walked Frisco, enough that I had to wear a light raincoat - first time for that in a long, long time.  Pat and I went to Madison to Mounds Pet Store this morning and both of us bought treats and toys for our pets.  We hung around the rest of the day until this evening when we met Tracey's Aunt Diane and Uncle Al at The Maple Tree in McFarland for dinner.  We had a great time with lots of good conversation.  My dinner choice was walleye again - just have to get my fill while I'm here.  Needless to say, it was delicious!

A beautiful Moonflower in Pat's yard.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 4 - 10, 2013, MN

Wednesday, August 6.  My body is so tired and achy - I'm not used to climbing stairs and lifting babies - it seems like a hundred times during the day.  The twins are on the move constantly and have to be redirected from the dogs, the bathroom, the stairway (yes, it has a gate), did I say the dogs, the stove, the glass patio door, the dogs.  

Last night Ruby and Frisco got into it again - this time over some smelly thing under the deck that 
Ruby wanted all to herself, but it happens so fast that we don't know whether it was starte by Frisco or her.  Because of this, we afraid to let the kids get too close to either of them.

The neighborhood had a block party last night, so we got to meet some of the neighbors.  We couldn't stay long as it was getting to be bedtime and Lois and Dennis brought Charlotte home from her sleepover.  I was tired and went straight to bed and Ben headed out for a run.

Sunday, August 10.  Whew!  What a week!  Ben and I decided that our attempts and suggestions to get CC to use the potty were not helping at all.  She has had several accidents and doesn't want to be bothered, she is now holding it for long periods of time.  We agreed that we would not say a word, stick to the routine of trying in the morning, at nap time, and again in the evening.  It worked!  She did not have any accidents for the last 3 days.

CC loves her Popsicle.

Jill got back home on Thursday evening and I didn't see her until Friday morning as I went to bed shortly after CC went to sleep and Ben and Jill stopped for a drink before coming home.  

We all walked to Brueggers for bagels on Saturday morning and I stayed with the twins while the rest of the family did some much needed shopping after breakfast.  Ben fixed a yummy curry dish for dinner and we sat out on the sun porch and enjoyed a beer and some good conversation after the kids were all asleep.  As you can tell by reading this, there aren't many opportunities for that.

I left Ben and Jill's after breakfast this morning, heading back to Pat's house.  I was so drowsy during the first 2 hours of the drive, I had to pull over and get coffee, a rest area to clo my eyes and walk around to keep me awake.  Once I hit Eau Claire, the traffic heading south all the way to Madison was awful and it was no longer hard to stay awake.  

It was nice to get back to the the quiet life at Pat and Tracey's house.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 1 - 3, 2014, MN

Sunday, August 3.  Jill headed to SF on Friday evening and will be gone until next Thursday evening.  Ben and I are on our own, except that Lois and Dennis ar taking Charlotte for a sleepover on Sunday and Monday nights.  

Camille woke up sick again on Saturday morning with a fever of 102+, so Ben took her to the doctor and she must have some viral thing as the fever is too high to be related to teething.  She was real clingy all day and definitely not feeling good.  That made for a bit of a challenge, it was good that it wasn't a work day.  Charlotte was kept entertained by playing in the water for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

The twins and Ben all slept in this morning and Camille was feeling much better, waking up with a big, happy smile.  After breakfast, we headed to the Linden Hills Farmer's Market, about a 6 block walk with all 3 kids and the 2 dogs. I had a weak moment and bought a jar of veggie juice for $8.00 and although it was tasty, it wasn't worth that much money.  We picked up some veggies for tonight's dinner and some muffins and scones for a snack at the playground on our way back home.  It was a long walk but CC was a trooper, tiring only in the last block.  Naps for her seem to be a thing of the past and she has been resisting even having a quiet time in the afternoon.  I've seen a couple of good tantrums, but all is good once she gets over them.

Ben's pasta with veggie creation was yummy tonight and after the twins went to bed, we sat out on the sun porch and drank a beer - it was nice to be able to have some one on one time and some good conversation.

The patio door is a fascinating place!