Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 29 - 31, 2017, MN

Tuesday, May 30.  Lois was babysitting for Ben and Jill today, so I offered to go along with her to take Norah and Camille to the zoo.  Charlotte was invited but preferred to go to school to be with her friends.  That might be a good thing because we had a hard enough time keeping up with the 2 of them.  On the ride to the zoo, I was asking Norah if she remembered going there with me last summer and seeing the dinosaurs. Camille piped up and said that dinosaurs are extinct, so I had to clarify and tell her that they were models of dinosaurs.  They surprise me with their knowledge and ability to express it these days.  It was a good time until they got all crazy and running around after lunch - that period when they are tired, but don't want to settle in.

I kind of felt under the weather the last 2 days, sinuses, allergies, or a cold coming on.  Yesterday was a cold and windy day, perfect for hanging out at home and getting ready for my upcoming road trip to Memphis and Nashville with Sharon.  I did laundry, started packing and getting organized.  Frisco got a bath and I attempted to trim his nails - got the front ones done but couldn't get near the back. I'll have to start taking him to a clinic for his nail grooming - don't know what came over him because he used to let me do it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22 - 28, 2017, MN

Monday, May 22. It sure is nice to wake up to a sunny day and the nice breeze out there will help to dry things out again.

It took me several hours today to take care of the necessary changes to my car and rv insurance, household contents insurance, cancelling the previous coverage and then setting up online access to all of these policies.  I am feeling relieved that this project is now behind me and the cost difference in very insignificant.

By the time I got all of this done, it was time for another nice walk with Frisco.  I did some cleanup of my entryway and thought I might plant a few annuals that I got last week but the ground and soil in pots is still way too wet.  I had a nice chat with the neighbor next door, Sally.

Wednesday, May 24.  I planted some marigolds and zinnias in pots around my porch this afternoon and helped Elizabeth with some cleanup in the back yard.  She had a nice variety of perennials but the weeds are taking over and I'm a bit compulsive about that, so I've been tackling the weeds and I don't even mind it.  I sure can't spend hours gardening like I did 20 years ago.

Ben asked if I could pick up Norah and Camille from school today, as Jill had a work commitment.  No problem, they are happy to see me and we had fun making beaded jewelry and playing salesperson.  An hour with no conflicts makes for a great time hanging out with them. Jill made cauliflower cheese soup for dinner and it was yummy.

Sunday, May 28.  Reconstructing the happenings of the last four days is feeling a bit challenging right now.  I know that my days were filled and some of it was meaningful so I'm really thing to come up with something  to put down in writing.

Ahh, here we go.  The most meaningful event of the week was that I was invited to go to Charlotte's performance at school on Thursday. She has been singing her songs and talking with excitement about the Magic Show that they were doing, not revealing a lot of information because it was going to be a surprise for the parents and grandparents.  She was wearing her fancy dress, looking so cute with her hair in braids and was one of three who did the introductions and she played the violin in three numbers.  The finale was the best, they sang "Hey, Lolly, Lolly" and introduced each of the students with a cute poem about them.  She is growing up and will be on to kindergarten in public school next fall.

After that, I had an appointment at Costco to get my tires rotated and have the air pressure warning light on the dash reset.  It has been on since I got to the higher elevations of New Mexico on my trip to MN, a month ago.  It turns out that the tire with the low pressure was the spare tire.

Today, the whole family worked on Ben and Jill's front landscaping and finally got the plants that were bought on Mother's Day in the ground.  It was a major project, removing some of the old plants and moving them to places where they would look better and perform better and amending the soil and planting new stuff.  Mostly, my job was playing and keeping the kids entertained.  My plan was to take them to a playground, but Norah and Camille were cranky and doing the pushing, shoving thing so I really didn't feel like I could manage them.  They got past that and had fun just riding their trikes back and forth on the sidewalk.  The project turned out nice.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 15 - 21, 2017, MN

KWednesday, May 17. Happy Syttende Mai to all my Stoughton friends, whether you are Norwegian or, as I describe myself after living there for so many years, Norwegian-by-proxy.  I have many fond and some not-so fond (too much beer consumed) memories of this celebration through the years. 

I met Lois at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Monday morning and it just happened to be a free admission day. We did the 3-mile circle tour and enjoyed every minute of it, including getting lost in the maze.  We both agreed that we need to take the kids there one of these days - it would be a good adventure for us all.

I toured another senior apartment complex this week, Summit Place in Eden Prairie and i found it to be very nice, but a little farther than I would want to be from Ben's house, a bigger complex than I would like, and on the high end of my budget. So I think I will keep my plan as it is and wait for an opening in one of the 3 complexes that I have already applied, been approved and am just waiting for a unit to open up.

This afternoon, I went to Ben's, picked Charlotte up from school, had dinner with them and then got a haircut from Jill.  It was nice to have some one-on-one time with her and we went over our summer calendars to make sure they have coverage for the kids during school closings and to come up with some possible dates that I can go camping with the kids.

They played together so nicely - for a while. 😏

When I got back home, I heard the sound of running water going through pipes, but couldn't find any flooding in the apartment.  I called the landlady and learned that there are not 1 but 2 submersible pumps that are directing rain water away from the house.  They are doing their jobs, but I have the background sound of running water and the pumps turning on and off regularly.  Earlier in the evening, I had received several flash flood warnings from my weather app and we have had many bursts of heavy rain this evening.  So...I have the sound of running water in my apartment - it didn't bother me through the night because I could close some doors so it couldn't be heard in my bedroom, but sitting in the living room, the sound is constant.  I hope things dry out here before too long.

Saturday, May 20.  I'm tired of the rain. It all started on Wednesday and hasn't stopped except for a few brief breaks. An this morning, the temps dropped into the mid-30s. And the submersible pump continues to go off and on and the sound of running water continues.

Pat and Roger got here yesterday afternoon, as they were coming to the area for a relative's memorial service this afternoon.  We took the dogs for a nice walk and then went over to Ben's house, then picked Charlotte up after school and hung out with them and had dinner together.  They hadn't seen the family for 3 years and once the kids got over being shy, they had a lot of fun together. 

When Pat and Rog got back from their family commitment, we went to Burger Jones for a delicious burger and a Farm Girl beer from a nearby Stillwater, MN brewery, a nice place in a short distance from my house.

Sunday, May 21.  We were up bright and early this morning. Pat and Rog headed back to WI and I headed went to Ben's house to go to Lake Phalen to do the MN Brain Tumor Walk in memory of Casey and in honor of my dear friend, Chuck who has been undergoing treatment for the last year.  Our team raised $562.00 ($250 were donations from my friends and family). 

The rain has slowed to a mist and it looked like it would be with us the entire time.  When we arrived and got registered, we were on the route around the lake, our team was one of the last to take off and we were definitely one of the slowest and last to cross the finish line.  Charlotte walked the entire distance and Camille and Norah needed a little help but were quite the troopers and did most of it themselves.  We crossed the finish line at 1 hour and 32 minutes and were thankful that the cheerleaders were still there to welcome us.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

May 8 - 14, 2017, MN

Tuesday, May 9. The last 2 days have been a quest to find the perfect mattress and I found one, it actually fit in the back of my car when I put the back seats down. I love that car and that is just one more reason for it.  Ben came over after the kids were in bed, delivering the bed frame was used for the granny-nanny dining room conversion in their San Francisco apartment when the twins were born. Back then, Lois and I took turns helping them out, alternating every 6 weeks.  Ben and I reminisced about those days and all of the effort it took to get through them.  Their dedication and diligence to their family has manifested in 3 wonderful little girls.

My walks through the neighborhood are so enjoyable, watching spring transition away from winter and toward summer.  Right now, the tulips are fading and the Bleeding Hearts, Lilacs are in bloom and many of perennials are peeking out of the ground.  The lilac perfume is filling the air. I met the lady across the street and she delivered a large bunch of lilacs so I have a vase of them on the counter. My landlady is an avid gardener but is trying to hold back from doing too much as it is still a bit early for this zone and there is still a chance for frost.  Because my apartment is in the basement, I don't have the best of views, but right now, I'm looking at the curly heads of fern opening up on the north facing window.

Thursday, May 11.  Whew! I have had a busy couple of days. Yesterday was all about getting my bed together.  The granny-nanny bed was minus a set of slats since they were used on one of the twin's beds. That meant another trip to Ikea. On my way there, I stopped at Menards to get a keyed lock for the entrance door to my apartment.  The entry door to the house has a deadbolt but Ben was kind of pushing the issue and the landlady agreed to reimburse the cost.

I got my bed together and then got into hanging pictures and art.  It really is feeling like home now that I have some familiar objects on the walls.  Leslie called and we had a nice, long chat.

Today's project was to go to the storage lot, hook up the camper and take it to a dump station so I could get the black and gray tanks flushed good.  I wasn't able to do it the day that I arrived here, as it was only 38 degrees and way to cold to be handling the hoses.  I did some other cleanup while I was there and it is tucked away and ready for the next camping trip. Charlotte has asked me every time I've seen her, if we are going camping this summer.

When I got back home, I had several projects going at once; laundry, finishing putting up pictures, walking Frisco, run the vacuum, and getting a chicken roasting in the oven. It is smelling so good in here right now and I'm relaxing with a glass of wine while I wait for dinner to be ready.  The only thing missing is someone to share it with.

Saturday, May 13. Happy 63rd Birthday to my brother, Rick. I just got off the phone with him and life is good there for him in Springfield, MO.  

I was called on to pick up the grandkids from school on Friday, so I packed a snack and surprised them at school and then, with a stop at a playground before we went home.  The plan was to have them choose a number between 1 and 10. Charlotte chose 5, Camille 4, and Norah 9 - and then, at the last minute Charlotte decided to change her number to 2.  When I told them that my number was 6, she got all upset and wanted to go back to her original choice.  And then they came up with a solution together - w would go to a new playground of my choice hat they had never been to before.  Weber playground is right near my house and they had a great time - most of all, they liked the snack.

This morning, I watched Norah and Camille while Ben and Charlotte did the grocery shopping.  We did art projects and walked to the school playground for a while.  Now, this is exactly how I pictured my life in Minneapolis would be like - involved with the family, but having my own place and my own space.

This afternoon, I was on the quest for a new pair of walking shoes.  I went to my favorite shoe store, DSW but was unable to find just what I had in mind.  As I was heading back home, I passed a shoe store in a strip mall and stopped there and found a pair.  Yay! Now, I just have to get them broken in before the 5K Brain Tumor Walk that I am doing next weekend.

I had another quiet evening at home, mixed a Vodka Tonic, turned on the tube and vegged out.  

Sunday, May 14. Happy Mother's Day to all of the Moms out there.  Here is mine, taken when I was a baby.  I feel like I am a lot like her and, in spite of only having her around for my first 16 years, she was monumental in making me the person that I am today.  

What a nice day, starting with a great conversation with Pat.  I'm so looking forward to seeing him and Tracey in a couple of weeks.

Mother's Day was full, the first one that I have spent with family in many years. Ben and the family picked me up around 10:00 and we headed to Chaska to spend the day with Jill's parents.  We met them at the Mustard Seed garden center where we helped Jill choose some landscape plants for the front of her house.  Lois and I both have a lot of experience and then we talked with Andrea and came up with a plan.  

Ben and Dennis hung out at the playground and petting zoo with the kids and they had as much fun as we did looking at plants.  It was a warm day, way above 80 degrees.

When we got back to their home use, we just hung out on the screen porch and had a beer while the kids took naps. The girls played in the sprinkler when they woke up and had great fun doing that.  The giggles were plentiful!

Ben was the chef for the day, and Dennis helped out with the grilling. He made Chicken Satay (Asian marinated and grilled), Coconut Rice, fruit salad, and Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.  Yummy stuff!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 1 - 7, 2017, MN

Tuesday, May 2. There was a quirk in the plan at U-Haul on Monday when I went to pick up the UBOX for unloading - it was not at the location where I was told it would be and it wasn't available for pickup that day at the other location either. I was able to reschedule the crew for unloading until today, so I  proceeded to clean the apartment - not that it really needed it, but I like to start fresh with my own dirt.  It was probably a good thing that the move didn't take place Monday, as the weather was crappy - cold and rainy and maybe even a bit of snow flurry activity.

I picked up the UBOX this morning and it's a good thing that I checked to make sure it was mine, because they had it on the trailer with the door facing the tongue and my car - that would have made for some difficult unloading. A fork lift operator had to switch it around and I was off - through the busy streets and freeways of Minneapolis.  The crew showed up on time, unloaded it and I took it back this afternoon.  Thank God I don't have to do that for a while - next time, it will be movers, but not me.  Now I'm sitting here with way more stuff than I have room for. I'll figure it out.

Thursday, May 4.  May the 4th Be With You!  I'm sitting here listening to the piano lessons going on upstairs. It is not unpleasant at all. This place does have some strange sounds going on - like a sump pump turning on and off (I'm already starting to block that out) and the sound of water running through a pipe right in my living room - it must be from the pump?

I still don't have the TV hooked up, haven't figured it out yet - kind of waiting for Ben to get over here. The pile of stuff to go to his house keeps growing and there are many family items that he might want, since he was in SF when we liquidated Mike's parents stuff and our home when we downsized. I have learned that I've kept way too many things that I will never have room for in my next apartment - the senior apartment that is only about 550 square feet. And here I've thought that I had kept it pretty simple.

And then there are things that I can't find.  What did I do with the Flea and Tick prevention for Frisco? I must have left it in the camper? I do have to get over there and get that thing cleaned up from the 1,800 mile road trip.  And where are all of my cool refrigerator magnets? And my printer paper?

The landlady seems ok. She definitely has some cool plants in her garden. The back yard is all garden and paved patio. She had a nice lattice fence built last fall and has a plan for a nice walkway.  I can visualize it looking pretty good at some time, but right now it is kind of messy.  It is still early spring here and plants are just starting to come up.  Many haven't even leafed out yet.

Frisco and I have been walking the neighborhood and getting to know our way around.  The grade school that Charlotte will attend in the fall is only 2 blocks to the east of me.  There are many playgrounds within just a few blocks.  Across the street is a huge woods that borders a small lake and has paths going through it - they connect with a huge park with playground and ball diamond, and grassy, open space.

I spotted this huge gorilla metal sculpture in a yard today, just a few blocks from my house.

Trader Joe's and Target are not far away - I managed to spend lots of money there yesterday, no surprises though.  I'm feeling good about this - just physically beat up from the work.  Right now, it's sipping on wine and writing.

Sunday, May 7. Back on Friday, I found the nearby hardware store and Costco - a double rum, since I got things on Ben and Jills list too.  When I dropped off the stuff at Ben's, he was just getting ready to go pick Norah up from school, as she was suspected of having conjunctivitis (pink eye) and had to be taken to the doctor-leaving the with a dilemma on after school pickup for Charlotte and Camille.  He had Charlotte covered so I agreed to get Camille. Grandma Rose to the rescue! Just one of the ways that I was hoping to be able to help out while I am here.

I invited them over for dinner on Saturday and when they got here, they were so appreciative and we had a great evening.  The kids have grown up just enough that they don't have to be watched constantly so we were able to actually have some good conversation.  Norah and Camille got a little carried away and spilled my water bottle (I left it on the nightstand) on the bed, so I had to put all of the bedding in the dryer before I went to bed. All in all, it was a fun night and I was also able to get rid of a few things that I hauled with me for Ben.

And today, after a nice, relaxing morning, I headed over to pick CC up to go to IKEA to look for curtains for my living/dining room. Ben said that the first three no she said this morning was if she could have a play date with me today.  It melts my heart! She is a GREAT shopper- stayed close to me, looked at things but not all grabby and touchy, enthusiastic about things that she thought would look great in my apartment, not begging for goodies and she lasted an hour and a half. Before stopping at a playground for a while, we stopped and had a quesadilla at a little taqueria.

My reward after moving rocks.

I was also impressed when she knew that we were close to Wood Lake Trails and on the road that went to the zoo and where we camped last year.

When we got back to their house, the project for the day was going on. Jill and her Mom had been busy all afternoon removing the salmon colored rocks from the landscaping on the front of the house. Jill had been wanting to get that done for 2 years but she had helpers today and we got it done.  I think there will be some tired joints But tonight, but the improvement is noticeable before the mulch is even down.