Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 24 - 30, MN

Tuesday, August 25.  The week has been busy but right now, the house is quiet and I'm catching up on writing.  Much of our attention is going to preparing for Charlotte's birthday party on Saturday, there will be 7 of her friends here.  Jill made the cake and cupcakes yesterday and we have been coming up with a story line for a scavenger hunt.

Our trip to the zoo this morning was cold - like 52 degrees cold and there was a chilly wind too.  Naturally, it didn't bother the kids at all.

Last night I tried a recipe for Make-ahead Egg Muffins and they were a big hit at breakfast this morning.  Along with the eggs, they had broccoli, ham, and cheese.

This morning, Jill's work day, I drove to the Minnesota Landscape Botanical Gardens and Lois met me there.  We spent the morning at the learning center and the children's playground and they all had a ball with plenty to keep them busy and entertained and, maybe, even some education in there too.

Norah's comment when she climbed up here was "big".

Thursday, August 27.  Some intestinal bug hit me on Tuesday, right after we got home from the meeting Lois at the arboretum with the kids.  Thankfully, it didn't happen then and I have been functioning, but took it easy most of the afternoon and evening on Wednesday.  It started with extreme stomach cramps, then a bout of the big D, body aches, and some fever too, and these symptoms continued off and on.  By tonight, I was feeling like that was the end of it and I'm hoping that I wake up feeling good tomorrow.

Charlotte and I went to Minnehaha Falls yesterday, as Jill had an event with the twins to attend.  The falls are gorgeous and she really enjoyed the playground, where she met a boy named Louie who was her age and they hung out the whole time we were there, both doing things they normally wouldn't choose to do.

We have been busy preparing for the big birthday party and I have made paper flowers and a flag and banners to decorate the playhouse and the back yard for the big day.  Jill wrote a story about some lost rings and the girls will have to hunt for the keys that open the box that contains the rings - a very nice story and such a clever idea.  It's going to be lots of fun!

Saturday, August 29.  Congratulations to my niece, Ashley and her fiancĂ© Chase who are getting married today in Kansas City.  I had the best of intentions of attending the event but then the last few weeks I just couldn't stand the thought of another 1,000 miles of driving and only for a few days.  Also, my only reason for staying in the Midwest to long is because I wanted to be here for my granddaughters birthdays and Charlotte's was celebrated today.  I also missed my niece, Monica's bridal shower in Monona today but hopefully, I will be able to attend her wedding in Arizona in October.

Charlotte was so excited when she saw how the house was decorated for her party this morning.  Dennis and Ben took the kids for bagels while Lois, Jill, and I did the final decorations on the patio and playhouse.  I took the twins for a stroller ride for the first half hour of the party when the guests were arriving and then they were kept busy by Ava, a 9-year old sister of one of CC's friends.  The party activities were decorating tiaras and magic wands, then Jill read the fairy tale about Saraphina and the lost jewels which led to the girls finding the 8 keys that opened the box that held the treasures, sparkly shiny rings for them all.  Then the dress up clothes and accessories kept them busy until it was time for some lunch and the gorgeous and delicious coconut cake that she requested.  It was a 2-hour whirlwind but everyone had lots of fun and our little CC was one very happy little girl.

We relaxed in the back yard all afternoon, had a couple of beers, and a delicious dinner with the family.

Sunday, August 30.  Another nice day, this one was spent with adults.  I headed to Stillwater to see Bruce and Janna and they just happened to be spending the day boating on the St. Croix River and I was invited to join the fun.  I met them at their home that is next to the marina where their boat is stored, we got it loaded up, hooked up and launched.  Their friend and neighbor, Maureen met us at the dock and joined in.

North of Stillwater, the St. Croix is part of the National Scenic Waterway Program, so it is protected from development and it is beautiful, clean, with nice beaches and some gorgeous rocky cliffs along the shores.  Thirteen miles to the south, in Prescott, it joins the Mississippi River.  There wasn't a lot of traffic but picked up later in the afternoon.  Many Eagles were spotted and we also saw Great Blue Herons and a Peregrine Falcon.

On our return, we picked up 3 more of their friends and continued the ride for another hour, this time heading south where we could see the progress that was being made on the construction of a new bridge that will connect with Wisconsin, replacing the old Stillwater bridge (will be used for recreation purposes).  It is massive and expected the to be completed by fall of 2016.

It was a very enjoyable day, always good to connect with people that we met on our RV travels.

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17 - 23, 2015, MN

Monday, August 17.  Boy, did I sleep good last night!  I woke up pretty early but certainly got enough rest.  Many thanks to Jim and Sue for the wonderful hospitality and great company!  

It was a short drive today, only 2 hours to Ben and Jill's house.  It was great to see them all again.  They had unfortunate news that on their return home yesterday from a family vacation, her parents discovered terrible water damage to their home from a malfunctioning refrigerator water line.  Furniture, new carpet, cabinets, the ceiling are all destroyed.  Their home was to be sold and closed this week on Friday and the buyers have decided to stick with their plan and to have the repairs done.  They close on their new home tomorrow.  I feel awful for them - not what you want to see when you return home from a vacation.

Wednesday, August 19.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY ELDEST SON, PAT.   Boy, are you getting old!  This is something that I knew was going to happen but I never really pictured how it would look today.  Now, it kind of makes me feel old too, after all, 1969 was a long, long, time ago.

Today, Charlotte and I headed out to Baker Park Reserve to camp for a couple of nights.  We were supposed to go yesterday but it was cold and rainy and they were willing to change my arrival date.  It has been very cool today also, with rain every now and then but not since we arrived here.  I love this place, the sites back up to woods, have plenty of space and lots of areas to explore and hike.  There are lots of folks in the tent loops, but the RV loops are wide open.  A very nice man helped to guide me into my site and he said "I'm really proud of your for doing this on your own, most women wouldn't even try it."  That was a nice compliment and these days, I hardly think twice about going solo.

We had a little snack and then headed for the playground where it got crazy on the tire swing.  Dinner and bedtime were shortly after and we talked and laughed and read and giggled until almost 10:00.  We had pasta for dinner and Charlotte got silly and started eating it with her hands, it was sticking to her face and she got the giggles so hard that she couldn't quit laughing.  Grandma had to be grandma and put a stop to it before it became a big mess.

She is into Sasquatch these days and we both got scared thinking that he was in the woods and might get inside our camper.  I assured her that Sasquatch is also a friendly guy and she let him (that would be me) brush her hair when it needs it.  What a vivid imagination!

My little camper girl, just waiting for me to get set up.

Thursday, August 20.  We slept in until 8:30 and decided that we wouldn't even make the bed today.  She can reach the counter for eating a little easier with the couch made into a bed.  Our morning walkabout led to the beach where we remembered that dogs weren't allowed, so Frisco had to be tied to a picnic table while we played.  We also started working on our scavenger hunt, where we checked off several items on the list of things that we had to find.  Our real beach time came later on when it warmed up a bit (still too chilly and windy for swimming).  Charlotte spotted a White Pelican on the lake and I remember them from Rockport, Texas and I knew they migrated to the north but had never seen one here.  I was talking with a man who told me that last fall, while they were camping here, a flock of about 1,000 of them flew over the campground.

She never tires of getting buried in the sand.  The small pile on the left, with the stick in the middle is her shoes.

Sunday, August 23.  Today marks Mike's 68th birthday and also Jill's brother, Casey's 38th birthday and they are both gone from us.  It is sad that we can't celebrate these evens together any more.

Yesterday was a busy day too.  While Ben's family all went to a birthday party, I ran some errands to pick up some necessaries and also shopped just to shop.  When the little ones got up from their naps, we piled in the van and headed to Lois and Dennis' new home, about a 25 minute drive from here.  Jill took lasagna and Caesar salad for dinner.  The house is very contemporary with a beautiful lawn and is surrounded by woods and prairie of the nature preserve.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 10 - 16, 2015, WI

Wednesday, August 12.  Yesterday was busy, especially with connecting with people.  It started with a 3-mile walk along the Yahara River trail with my Stoughton walking partner, Dawn.  When I got back home, I had to hurry to take a shower so I could meet Tom and Karen at the Wayfair in Monona for lunch.  This is a new restaurant on the lower level of a new condo building that sits on the shore of what I've always known as Mud Lake - where the Yahara River runs between Lakes Monona and Waubesa.  The views would be beautiful if it weren't for the Beltline bridge going right across the water at that point.  There aren't a lot of building places in Monona, as they have been land locked for years, although there's a revitalization project going on along the waterfront.  My spinach salad and Bloody Mary was yummy and the company was great, as always.  I finished lunch just in time to get back to Stoughton to meet up with classmates - a monthly gathering that takes place at Culvers.  The turnout was small but we had a nice chat anyways.  Back at Pat's house, I got the car hooked up to the trailer, then visited with Savana a bit, and then Tracey treated me to pizza for dinner.  And that was the last night of this visit to Stoughton, I leave in the morning and head to northern Wisconsin for a weekend with old friends.

I took off about 7:45 this morning but stopped to take a few cuttings of Dawn's sedum, a plant that Jill really likes and Dawn has 4 different varieties and was willing to share.  I will have a propagation project to do when I get back to their house on Monday and they should have several new plants to put in the ground next spring.

My next stop was at Camping World to dump my holding tanks before heading north a place where you can empty for free (thanks Pat for heads up).  I got to Pat and Roger's house by 9:00, as scheduled and we headed for Tomahawk to spend the night at the Terrace View Campground, a small Mom and Pop operation that is quite rustic and very old school.  They don't even have 30 amp power at the sites, we had to use our adapters and settle for 110 and it cost $5 extra if you run your AC.  It was also only $15 bucks for the night, so no complaints were heard. Pat rode with me (she rides with Hoovey's all the time) and we did have the excitement of seeing a Bald Eagle land on the ground not far from us - what a majestic creature!

We took the short walk to Muskellunge Lake to check out the scenery and later in the evening, Pat and I walked down there again to see the sunset, but there were too many curves in the lake and there wasn't much to see as the trees blocked the view.  It feels good to be in the north woods again.

Friday, August 14.  We checked in at Jim and Sue's Heavenly Forest Resort yesterday and got settled in our spots before getting the grand tour of their new home.  Wow, this is a gorgeous place!  The craftsmanship in the maple cabinets and trim sets it apart from others.

It wasn't long and it was happy hour, so we headed to the Honey Bear for a Bloody Mary (one of those salads in a drink kind) and a bite to eat and to catch up on the latest news.

In the evening, we had a steady stream of deer coming in for corn, a whole family with Doe, Bucks, and a fawn.  Very entertaining!  Dinner was yummy - Pat brought BBQ, Sue made beans and dessert and I roasted sweet corn.

After a great breakfast this morning, we headed to Shannon Lake to hike the trail around the lake.  What a great way to start the day!

When we got back, we showered and then went in to Minocqua to the Northwoods Wildlife Center where we saw birds that had been injured and brought to the center to recover and, hopefully,  be placed back in the woods.  Those that we saw were unable to survive on their own so they are permanent residents and have the job of providing education to local schools and camps.  We saw a Bald Eagle,  Cooper's hawk, several owls, turtles and snakes, and baby birds being fed with a dropper and cleaned off with a q-tip.  

Back home, Jim beat us all at a game of Farkel and he ended up about $3.00 richer than when he started.  And then we headed to Knocker's where we met up with one of our classmates from Stoughton, Jim, who we usually only see at reunions but stay in touch via Facebook.  It was a fun evening and we sat out on the porch talking until bedtime - a full day of fun.

Saturday, August 15.  Today's hike was a nature trail along Trout Lake, about a 20 minute drive to get there, but the hike through the woods was worth it.  It brought back memories of a family camping trip way back about 1980.  We got the cutest photo of Ben on that trip - standing knee high in the lake and it looks like he is a midget.  I also remembered the terrible storms that we met on the way up there and feeling like the canoe on the rooftop was going to become a sail and carry us away.  We were advised by the camp host that dogs were not allowed on the nature trail but then she kindly told us a way to go where the "no dogs" signs couldn't be seen.  Both of them had fun chasing squirrels up trees - they are so funny!  Frisco can really jump high!

After getting cleaned up, we headed to Eagle River to the Petroleum Museum - one man's very extensive collection of anything related to cars, gas stations, advertising, and photos of those things too.  It was very nice and the guy was friendly and fun to talk with.

We then headed for the Tribute Brewery and Jim met us there for a beer and more lively conversation, then we headed to his house on the Wisconsin River where we sat out on his porch and had another beer and more great conversation.  On the way back home, us girls got the giggles and laughed so hard that we cried.  We had a wonderful dinner, more talk, and another nice evening walk down the road.

Sunday, August 16.  Jim fixed breakfast for us this morning and then we hugged Pat and Roger goodbye and they headed back home.  Jim, Sue, Me and Frisco went and walked one of the nearby snowmobile trails (they are everywhere in this country) and we had to keep making noise so we wouldn't sneak up on any bears.  We did see some turkeys but no bears, thank God!

When we got back, I hooked up, said my goodbyes, and headed west to one of my membership parks, The St. Croix River Resort, for the night.  The drive took me through the Nicolet/Chequamegon National Forest and along the Flambeau and St. Croix Rivers with very few towns along the way.  I watched a Bald Eagle swoop down in front of me and perch on a tree stump and then saw a Ring-necked Pheasant scoot across the road.  A good day for spotting wildlife.

The layout of this park is interesting.  There are small driveways along the road that lead to a 
cul-de-sac and each one has 6 sites on it.  I didn't like the water hookup as it was located in between 2 sites and shared - my site was on the left and my hookup is on the left side of the trailer, so I had to run the hose under the trailer to reach the faucet.  I also had a little trouble with the faucet leaking and had to get the maintenance guy to come by - he tightened it and I wonder if I will be able to get it off in the morning.

I cleaned my holding tanks out and did my laundry before settling in for dinner and a quiet evening by myself.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 3 - 9, 2015, Wi

 Wednesday, August 5.  Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Pat!  The numbe keeps getting higher and that is a good thing.

My week has been nice so far, starting with morning walks with Dawn.  We have headed east, west and done the Yahara River walk, each time getting in at least 2 miles.  During the days, I have visited with Fran, cleaned the trailer, and done some shopping yesterday with Tracey.  She found the dress that I bought for Ashley's wedding and I'm thankful that is over.  It felt good to get her out of the house, ass she is still suffering from the migraines, but adding activities to her day like water exercise and some cooking and is spending less time in her dark bedroom - I think the intensity is decreasing and her vision has improved a bit.

A cold front came through here on Sunday night and the days have been in the low 80s with night dropping down in the 60s.  Perfect summer weather.

Sunday, August 9.  I wasn't feeling so good when I went to bed last night, so I checked my blood pressure and found that it has been going up since I changed medications about 2 weeks ago.  I checked again this morning and it had gone up even more, so I decided to go to Urgent Care and be checked out.  The doctor there wasn't real alarmed with the numbers and agreed with me that it might just be the medication, so he gave me a prescription to increase it a little bit and also gave me assurance that I'm ok and I didn't need to be alarmed.  You just never know.

This evening, I met up with several old friends from Milwaukee at the North Shore Inn on Lake Koshkonong.  They had a pool going on where you pay $3.00 for a number on a board and you get $300.00 if your number is called.  Guess who the lucky one was?  Me!!!!  I was informed that the winner usually buys a round of drinks for those who played, so I left there with an extra $240.  Yee Ha!
We had a wonderful time, the first that I have seen Leslie since she lost her husband, Tom, in January.
    Chris, Linda, me, Nancy, Jane, and Leslie

Monday, August 3, 2015

August, 1 - 2, 2015, WI

Sunday, August 2.  Yesterday, Pat and I did some shopping in the morning and then made 3 batches of Raspberry jam from berries that he had harvested and froze.  We made a batch of plain, one with lemon to make it slightly tart, and one with half raspberry and half cherries.  By nighttime, we weren't 100% sure that it had jelled but by the next morning realized that it all worked out as it should. This morning we sampled when I made bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast.  Yummy!

Today was a lazy day.  For some reason, I didn't feel real good in the morning, so I got off to a late start.  I set out to walk with Frisco around 9:30 but Tracey's Dad stopped by and we chatted for an hour or so.  By the time I got Frisco walked it was hot and humid and it just got worse throughout the day.  A front is moving through, so we had some pretty good winds but no rain and it is much needed around here.

I was headed to Culvers for an ice cream this afternoon when Savana came by, so we waited for her friend Colin and then the 3 of went for ice cream.  Later in the afternoon, they came back and she made us dinner - an Asian tamarind soup that was really tasty.  The girl is growing up!