This journal got its start back in 2005 when we started full-timing in a motorhome and traveling around the country, visiting with family and friends and seeing the sights of America. The focus has changed through the years as we became more stationary and no longer travel by motorhome. Since October of 2018, it is the story of the journey of Tom and I and me flying solo again. To view entries before June of 2013, go to http://archive.bridgeccs.com
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
August 29 - 31, 2016, MN
Tuesday, August 30. Another week is upon us. Jill arranged for Camille to spend a day and night with Grannie yesterday, and I couldn't believe how nice it was to only have 2 kids in the mix. Norah and I went on o the zoo in the morning buti should have left a lot sooner, we ended up only having 1.5 hours there. Many of the animals were hidden from us, we did go through the dinosaur exhibit but she was afraid of the noises they made (my granddaughters are all wary of loud noises). On the way back to the parking lot, we stopped at the carousel so she could ride the blue frog.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
August 22 - 28, 2016, MN
Thursday, August 25. I knew this was going to be a bit hectic and it has. I had all 3 girls on Monday and Wednesday and we even succeeded in having outings to the park and I managed to get them all in the van, buckled up and they stayed near me while walking and at the park. Charlotte has been a bit help, especially by setting a good example and then Norah and Camille are just interested in being like her.
Tina (the Nanny) spent her last day with them on Tuesday, so I went to see a few subsidized apartment buildings. The first two were about a 15 minute drive but both have 20-24 month waiting lists and the changeover isn't real quick, like 15 a year. I attempted to visit a senior community with garden homes but my GPS led me astray, I drove 20 miles too far and never did find the place. A couple of places were in construction zones and I didn't feel like stopping there, although I probably should another time. They were also in a very busy part of Edina near the Southdale Mall and would be convenient to shopping, but I'm not sure I really care that much about that. The last place that I stopped at was discouraging, as it appeared to be more for assisted living type arrangements, like 80-90 year olds.
I think I'm going to just focus on the neighborhoods that I would like to be in and maybe use a rental management resource.
Charlotte went to spend the night with Granny and Papa, so I have been in demand a little bit less. I took them for special treats this morning - an ice cream cone. Both chose blue and I'm not Ben sure what the flavor is, just blue.
We are preparing for Charlotte's 5th birthday party tomorrow (her actual birthday falls on Labor Day weekend). It will be held at an art studio, all of the guests will paint a picture on a canvas and take it home with them when they leave. It should be a fun time.
The sentencing trial for Travis Standlee, the slug who murdered my brother, Ray, is scheduled for Monday and he is facing 50 years. I spent some time this afternoon writing an impact statement to be read at the hearing. It is always difficult to lose a family member, but the way that Ray died was brutal and I hope the man gets all 50 years of the sentence. He goes on trial in October for the death of Sharon Mead, murdered just 6 days after he killed Ray, a day after he was let out of jail because they didn't feel like they had sufficient evidence. He deserves another 50 years for her murder.
Saturday, August 27. Birthday party day for my little birdie girl. She is all about the birds the days, her favorite is the Peacock and the theme is definitely birds. We went to
and 10 of her friends were invited. They started by choosing a canvas, getting a painting lesson and making their own creation. That was followed by snacks and cupcakes and dress up.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
August 15 - 21, 2016, WI, MN
Wednesday, August 17. My week has been busy, running errands and seeing some folks one more time before I leave Stoughton next Sunday. On Monday, I headed up to Pat and Roger's house, loaded a few bins and boxes in my car, and followed Pat to their new home near Montello. The inspector was there today, so the house was open and I could see the inside. It is cute as can be, has a beautiful lot with nice, tall trees, and will be a comfortable home for them.
On Tuesday, I went downtown and scheduled a haircut appointment for Friday, shopped for food and treats for Frisco, and stopped to see my cousin, Fran. We had a great visit. I also ran to the grocery store to get a few things and just as I was parking my car back at Pat's house, my friend Judy called and asked "are you coming"? Here I had forgotten that I had arranged to meet her for lunch, so I did a u-turn and scurried to the restaurant where I had a very nice visit with her and Virginia.
Today, I went with Tracey, Donna, and Caroline to Oconomowoc for some shopping at some of Donna's favorite places; Stein's Garden Center, K-Mart (I'm not a fan), Ben Franklin, and a book store. I got a few gifts for the grandkid's but that is about it. On our way back home, we stopped at the outlet mall in Johnson Creek and I tried to find another pair of walking shoes like I have now - they had a few, but they were hot pink or hot orange, so I walked away empty handed. Naturally, I just love a shoe style that has been discontinued - guess I will shop online for a new pair.
We had lunch at Maxim's Old Depot Inn, an old railroad station, that took you back a few years with the photos and banners on the walls. Lunch was delicious and the company was fun too.
This evening, Tracey and I chopped veggies while Pat prepped for the canning process and we put up another 6 cans of salsa and 2 quarts of tomatoes. It will be great for them to have yummy garden veggies during the winter.
Friday, August 19. Happy 47th Birthday to my oldest son, Pat!
I spent the morning yesterday finishing up my research on apartment complexes that I want to check out when I get to Minneapolis. The list has 6 possibilities. Wouldn't you know that my first choice place is the farthest away, but still only a 20 minute drive to the south and the next 2 choices are the most pricey. These are all large complexes that are age restricted and have some amenities that are similar to what I have now. I have not ruled out the possibility of a small flat or duplex near Ben's neighborhood.
We had some pretty serious storms during the night and I slept right through them. I just love it when I'm in a good sleeping pattern. Frisco got walked in the pouring rain this morning and neither of us liked it very much.
I made lasagna and Caesar salad for dinner, broke out the bottle of wine that I bought in Michigan (not a very good one) and then we had my favorite apple crumble for dessert. Tracey's folks stopped over to wish Pat a happy birthday and stayed around for a nice visit. Pat ended up getting rained out at work this morning, so he got the day off on his birthday too.
Saturday, August 20. Happy Birthday to my daughter-in-law, Jill and my mother-in-law, Jane who would be 98 today - I love and miss you, Mom.
We all walked to Mandt Park this morning for the annual Coffee Break Fest and car show and I was glad to see several of my cousins from the Ganshert family. I thought I would be seeing them at a birthday party this afternoon but I had the dates mixed up and that event is tomorrow. I really wanted to get to see Larry and he was right at the entrance when we walked in. I bought a souvenir coffee mug and sampled some different brews, chatted with a few folks, and then it started to rain so we high tailed it home.
I got my laundry done, cleaned up the trailer a bit, got beer to deliver to Ben and to take with me to AZ, and got things in the car organized and ready for the trip to Minnesota tomorrow. It was a good day.
Sunday, August 21. Naturally, on a day that I want to be alert and focused, I didn't get much sleep the night before. Grrrrr. I last looked at the clock at 11:30, was up at 3:00, then awake again at 5:30 this morning.
I had coffee with Pat, then hooked up, said my goodbyes, and was on the road by 8:30. My first stop was the state park to empty all of the tanks, then to McFarland to fill up on gas and get some breakfast and then I was headed north. I took the Garmin's suggested route that took me through Eau Claire and right through downtown St. Paul and that was a big mistake. There was lots of construction on I94, a detour at the exit that I wanted to take, I was rerouted way south near the airport and Mall of America and then I finally got on the right road that took me to Ben's. In the past, I have taken I90 through LaCrosse and Rochester and come in from the south - a much easier way to go and the route I will take in the future.
It was great to see the kids again. Charlotte had me making critters out of play dough in no time at all, then when Norah and Camille woke from their naps, we all made whales and islands for them to swim near. We had dinner in the patio and then bath and bedtime that stretched way close to 9:00.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
August 9 - 14, 2016, WI
Thursday, August 11. It has been another busy week in Wisconsin, evidenced by my lack of writing. I have continued my walks with Dawn in the morning. The early days of the week were comfortable, without a lot of humidity, but come Thursday, the conditions became pretty sticky.
I met up with classmates at Culvers on Tuesday afternoon. Pat, who has been cleaning out her house for a move, brought along solo photos from our freshman and senior years - they brought on a contest of who's who and remember who this is? Lots of laughs too.
On Wednesday morning after our walk, Pat and I canned 7 quarts of tomatoes that were ripe and ready to be canned.
When we finished that, he, Dawn, and I walked to Main Street to watch the half-sized replica of the Vietnam Wall come through Stoughton, escorted by bikers from the American Legion. It is on its way to a 3 day event to honor Vietnam Veterans.
I then headed to Portage to spend the next 2 nights with my sister-in-law, Sharon. She invited her and Dan's kids and their facilities to join us for dinner, so I could see everyone at one time. We had a great visit and it was nice to see them all - the kids are getting so big!
Sharon and I
This morning, I went to Westfield to see my cousin, Jo and her new apartment. Her friend, Joyce invited us to breakfast and her friend, Susan (who came to Arizona with Jo last spring) joined us. Joyce made good old southern biscuits and gravy and fried green tomatoes for breakfast. We had a great visit and lots of lively discussion.
Heading back to Sharon's house, I drove the county roads to Montello so I could drive past and see Pat and Roger's new home. It's a very nice log home situated on a pretty lot with lots of nice evergreens, a peaceful setting. They will be happy there.
Tonight, Sharon, Becky, Elizabeth, and I went to Endeavor to play Bingo. I got lucky and got a $5 concession prize when I was buying my cards. Then, I won one of the $20 games. A good night of fun.
Sunday, August 14. After helping Pat and Roger with their garage sale this morning (pretty steady rain, so few customers), I headed back to Stoughton.
Yesterday afternoon, Pat, Tracey, and I met Guy and Al at the Operation Badger Base event in Madison. I found the names of 2 of my classmates, Mike Mulcahy and Larry Bender and Mike's friend, Paul Gerlach on the wall. In addition, they had photos of all those from Wisconsin who were killed in action. Such a shame that +58,000 of our young men were lost in that senseless war. I also saw one of Mike's friends from Oscar Mayer there, hadn't seen him since Mike retired.
Strange, this morning I woke up to someone saying to me, "good morning, darling". It was so real that I sat up, looked around, and opened the shades to look out the window. Maybe Mike is with me today because later on, I had to hook up the trailer to take it to the dump station at the state park. On my way home, our song, Patsy Cline's "Sweet Dreams", came on the radio. I love it when that happens.
Monday, August 1, 2016
August 1-8, 2016, WI
Monday, August 1. What a pleasant afternoon today. Last week when Rene, Jonnie, Dawn and I were together, we decided to try to get some of our other cousins together, so we gathered in Middleton this afternoon for a late lunch. Ken and Gerda, Fran, Donna, and Wanda joined us at the Craftsman brewery and we sat and talked for 3 hours. It had been several years since Rene had seen many of them, so she was really delighted and Ken was happy that he got to be there with his harem. All are first cousins except Dawn and Wanda (Wanda was married to my cousin Dick and Dawn is her daughter). It was a truly enjoyable time, so glad it all worked out.
Fran and Jonnie, the only survivors (oldest and youngest) of the Muetz family.
Gerda and Ken
Rene and I
Dawn and Donna
Thursday, August 4. In some ways, it has been a busy week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Pat and I canned 15 pints of salsa. I walked - feeling better about going out by myself again. That attack set me back and instilled fear in me, but I'm much more aware of my surroundings and I've been carrying pepper spray along with me (thanks, Tracey). I can't believe how many dogs I see off leash or on leash but not under the owners control. I was given the last of the vet bill money from the person whose dog attacked Frisco. I also shopped for birthday gifts for my granddaughters.
In other ways, it has been a lazy week - taking naps and lounging around, even watching a movie in the middle of the day. The humidity has been high again and it sure seems to drain the energy right out of you and makes you want to stay inside in the AC. It also took a while to recover from last week's 3 nights out in a row, I am out of shape on that front.
Tonight, Dawn and I met Chris and Norm at Country Corners to hear Frank and Bob playing old time country music. Pat and Roger were going to join us but didn't make it. Mike and I were regulars there for many years and were loyal followers of the house band. Their song selection and sound is just as it was back in the nineties.
Friday, August 5. Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Pat. You are now as old as I am. We celebrated at Naugti-gal with her son AJ and several of her in-laws whom I have come to know through the years. It was an enjoyable evening of conversation, food, and drink. The place has gone to the dumps as far as service and cocktails are concerned. I was looking forward to having an Old Fashioned, but what I got was a poor excuse for it. Several others complained about their weak and watered-down drinks. Our dinner order was messed up and one person didn't get his meal until several of us were finished eating. And then, they rushed us away from our table so they could accommodate the next group that was waiting for a table. Because of that, 4 of the 11 of us got free drinks - strange. Why only 4? I wouldn't have taken another drink if offered, since I had heard on the news that they were having OWI checkpoints in Stoughton and Oregon tonight and I'm not willing to take a chance on getting busted for that.
AJ brought sweet corn from his Dad's farm to share with all of us and I came home with a couple dozen ears of some of the best corn around. Yummy dinner tomorrow night.
Saturday, August 6. Pat and I drove out to Verona this morning so he could get the lay of the land and know where to report to his job site on Monday. He will be working at Epic, a huge corporation that employs more than 9,000 people. Pat will be working on the fifth phase of expansion where five new buildings are going up. It is a healthcare software company that provides compute systems to doctors, hospitals and clinics for about 60% of that market. A huge campus with unique building structures, the size of a small town. It was pretty amazing to see after hearing people talking about it for years.
Pat's job site, they do the exterior plaster portion.
When we got back home, he, Tracey, and I walked to the new Norwegian Heritage Center, Livreise (Life's Journey) in downtown Stoughton. It is a beautiful building honoring the history and experience of the immigrants that settled in this area. The exhibits are nicely displayed and there are several multi-media displays, cultural stations, and digital story books about personal experiences. A very nice contribution to the city.
Sunday, August 7. The only plan that I had for today was to blanch and cook the remaining sweet corn that we got from AJ and then I got a text from Leslie asking if I wanted to meet her for lunch somewhere between Stoughton and West Allis. It took seconds to reply and we came up with a plan to meet at Hering's Sand Bar on Rock Lake in Lake Mills. It is a rather dumpy old bar but the patio is great - on the beach, surrounded by the city park with lots of activity going on. The boat landing had vehicles lined up and ready to launch or bring in boats or jet skies, the beach was full of families and kids, folks arriving on bicycles, and we sat in the shade of a big oak tree and took it all in.
On my way back home, along the scenic county roads of southern Wisconsin, I came through the small village of Utica. The village swelled with folks attending the annual Utica fest that consists of a craft fair, tractor pull and most important around here, the beer tent. Cars were lined up on both sides of the road for a mile before and after the fairgrounds. I was just fine with passing through - the dust was flying and the music blaring.
Tracey made pizzas for dinner tonight - an assortment of 4 different toppings from meaty to veggie - delicious!
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