Monday, June 25, 2018

June 25 - 30, 2018, WI

Tuesday, June 27.  We did some touring yesterday as I wanted to show Tom around to a few Wisconsin originals and we started out with a stop at Fosdal's Bakery in Stoughton for one of their famous chocolate donuts (I chose a fruit bar) and we were hoping for a breakfast sandwich but they only had lunch sandwiches, so we walked up to the Koffee Kup for breakfast.  You can't get more Stoughton than that. 

Tom suggested a visit to the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, so we headed in that direction and he got to experience driving the Beltline in Madison (not bad when it's not rush hour).  The museum was interesting, we sampled several and bought a few too.  The next stop was to be Capital Brewery but they were closed on Mondays, so we headed toward Wollersheim Winery, but drove past that to Dr. Evermore's sculpture garden.  We strolled the grounds to view the Forevertron (a space ship like sculpture that is to beam him up to the heavens when he dies), musical instrument insects, and all of the other incredible creations the man has made from scrap metal objects during his lifetime.  I learned from his daughter that they are working on a Netflix movie and that there is an "Evermor" TV show, but I haven't checked it out yet.

And then, we went to the winery where we strolled the beautiful grounds, sampled a few wines and then walked over to the distillery and sampled the Rye whiskey and the Absinthe.  We missed the rush hour traffic on the way home, thankfully. It was a full and fun day and we were both thankful to have each other to explore with - it's not much fun doing those things on your own.

This morning, I had an appointment to have my transmission flushed and brakes checked at Conant's.  While they had the car, Tom and I took care of some chores and checked out a few shops in Stoughton. At TSC, we filled a propane tank, at Cheezers we bought cheese. I had hoped to take Chocolate cheese back to the kids but it was not Gluten free, so that plan was nixed. We drove to Badgerland campground and Kegonsa State Park and checked them out, but VV is probably the best deal for us in the future.

It was a rainy day off and on and when we went to Pat's for dinner, it poured for a couple of hours straight.  We did have a nice visit, though, and Dawn joined us for a while.  When we left, it was goodbye for a couple of months, as we will head back this way in the fall before we go back to the southwest again.

Wednesday, June 27.  We had a bag full of laundry, so took care of that this morning and walked in between showers.  No breakfast, as we wanted to have lunch at Sonny's (it has a new name but looks the same) in Stoughton. Our sandwiches were tasty. 

Back at the trailer, we started to tidy up and get ready to roll again in the morning.  It was beautiful out and we sat and enjoyed the evening. This park is quite pretty and most of the week there have been no neighbors.

Friday, June 29.  Hookup for departure went well yesterday morning except for a little glitch with the connector for trailer lights, but Tom was able to get it cleared up - for he problem was moisture or dirt.  We were on the road by 10ish and only had 125 miles to go to the Pine View campground in Fort McCoy, an easy drive with one stop at the rest area north of Wisconsin Dells.

Our site is very nice with plenty of shade. It's going to be a hot few days as temps are expected to get up in the upper 90s with high humidity. There is an occupied site to the right of us and across the street, but plenty of Woods separating us.  We took a walk and sat around the campsite - too hot for a fire.

Today was fun - a leisurely wake up, a nice, long walk and then a trip to the Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin, Warrens - a small township of 350+ people that swells to 100,000 in the fall when they celebrate the annual Cranberry Festival.  We stopped at the Discovery Center and learned a lot when we went through the nice little informative museum and checked out the beautiful collection of antique cranberry glass (not made in this area, but the name fits). And then we shopped, leaving there with 2 jellies, some potpourri, and a bottle of cranberry moonshine (not distilled in WI).  

Back home, we sampled that moonshine and it has a bite - the bottle is filled with cranberries and they have a bite too - it is definitely sipping stuff.  There wasn't much else to do, so we went and took a dip in the cold, clear water of the little lake that is fed by the LaCrosse River.  It didn't take long to cool down.

I grilled pork chops and potatoes for dinner while Tom cut up some salad.  We ate, cleaned up, and headed to the Tomah-Sparta Speedway for an evening of modified, sportsman, stock car, and super cup races topped off with fireworks.  I don't remember the last time I saw a race and it was a fun thing to do.


Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18 - 24, 2018, WI

Tuesday, June 19.  I've been busy getting together with family.  Yesterday morning, a long walk with Dawn and most of our conversation was about Rich's last few months leading up to his death.  After our walk, we talked with Katie and played with her little guy, Henry.

I met Tom, Karen, Sharon, Becky, and Lizzie for lunch at Erin's Snug Irish Pub in Madison and we celebrated Tom's birthday, I think it might be his 67th.  Unfortunately, he is not in the best of health, had multiple bypasses earlier this year, had surgery for a blockage in his leg 2 years ago, and is facing surgery in the other leg now.  It's always nice to be with family and it was good to see everyone.

Tracey made a yummy chicken recipe tonight - chicken breast halved and stuffed with garlic, spinach, and provolone cheese. I'll have to make it one of these days.

This morning, Dawn and I met Jonnie at Sugar and Spice for breakfast and we talked and talked on so many subjects - mostly health if you can imagine that.  We also reminisced about family and shared memories of our aunts and grandmother.

Sunday, June 24.  Pat's work got rained out so I got to spend the day with him again on Wednesday. We got things ready for a garage sale that they are having over the weekend and watched some tv and also took a drive around the lake to check the high water levels.  The news is full of reports that the levels are at a 100-year high, and we found that to be true.  Piers are under water, as are some picnic tables and walkways.

   The box on top of the pole in the center of the picture is a grill.

I was on pins and needles Thursday morning in anticipation of Tom's arrival.  By 2:00, I got his text and headed right over to Viking Village RV Park where we will be for the next week.  It was wonderful to feel his hug and sit and talk again - that is, once he got all setup in the rain.  We went in town to Deek's Pub for a beer and burger - just like old times.

Other than grocery shopping and walking the trail along Viking Park, the highlights of the weekend were Fran's 93rd birthday party at Erin and Joe's house where Tom got to meet my cousins in her family.  He was welcomed with open arms and fit right in - we had a good time there.  After that, we went to Pat and Tracey's and he met them and was welcomed. Pat cooked brats and beans and I brought coleslaw and we had a great visit and dinner.

  We found this little guy on one of our walks.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

June 11 - 17, 2018, MN, WI

Wednesday, June 13.  I misread the clock this morning and got up at 5:45 instead of 6:45, so I'm sitting here having coffee and enjoying the morning sounds of squirrels chattering, cardinals whistling, and the hum of traffic as people hustle off to work.

The family finished loading the van and headed off on their road trip to Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon and I have had the house to myself.  I've been busy doing a few chores that they weren't able to get done before they left, like cleaning out the refrigerator, giving the lawn and garden a good soaking, and writing up instructions for the neighbor girls to keep up with the watering while they are gone.

I was planning to take my bike in to have the locked brake checked but ran out of time, so I took it back to my storage unit in hopes that it might be a project that Tom and I can do together.  I'm sure there is a You Tube video out that that can guide us through the process.

Charlotte and I visited the rose garden, rock gardens, and bird sanctuary yesterday and had a fun time.  I turned the camera over to her and this is what she did.

Saturday, June 16.  After washing my bedding and doing some cleanup at the house this morning, I got on the road, heading south to Montello where I spent the night at Pat and Roger's house.  As always, it was wonderful to see them again.  We took a couple of nice walks with the dogs, had Old Fashions on the front porch, a nice dinner and lots of good conversation. They took me to Frannie's Cafe (formerly Maggie Mae's) in Oxford for a tasty breakfast on Friday morning. And then I headed south again.

Next stop was to see Sharon in Portage.  I didn't call ahead but when I drove by and saw her garage door open, I knew she was home. We had a nice chat and I hung out for an hour or so before taking familiar back roads to Stoughton.  I drove past the nursing home in Wyocena where Mom spent her last 8 years, then past Covance, where I spent the last 25 of my working years, then on to Pat's house in Stoughton.  

Tracey and I had a great visit and then when Pat got home from work, the 3 of us had pizza and lots of good conversation.

Pat and I worked in his flower beds for a while this morning but it started getting hot, so we took a break.  90 degrees and 71% humidity was feeling pretty hot.  We dug up some huge hosta plants, divided them, and put them along the fence.  We also transplanted a Bleeding Heart and Stella d'Oro lilies from the front garden to the back where the hosta was removed.

When Pat took a nap, I went for a ride out to see my old home on Starr School Rd, then past the house where I grew up on Hamilton Street, and then to see my cousin, Fran.  Lucky for me, my cousin Ken and his wife, Gerda were there too, so we all had a good chat and caught up on the last year's events.  When I left there, I went to the cemetery to visit Mom, Dad, and Rocco's grave.  The hosta plants had gotten so big that they were covering Mom and Dad's headstone, so I got a gardening tool out of my car and cut them back.

Tonight, after dinner, we watched a couple of episodes of the latest season of "The Ranch"

Thursday, June 7, 2018

June 4 - 10, 2018, MN

Ï    Last swim classes of the season for these girls.


    Norah and Camille

Monday, June 4. Rich Bogen, a very good friend and the husband of my cousin, Dawn, passed away on this morning. His cancer was stage 4 by the time it was diagnosed in January and he struggled with the effects of chemotherapy and pain ever since. My heart aches for what he and his family have gone through and may he rest In peace and his family cope with their grief. His obituary follows:

STOUGHTON—Rich Bogen passed away on June, 4 2018, with his wife, Dawn, and daughters, Adriane and Kate, and his car parts by his side. Rich left us for his next grand adventure, after surviving just shy of 40 years of marriage to Dawn. He grew up in N.Y. on Long Island, driving his big brother Michael crazy about cars, ham radio and all things electronic.

Although there was much more for Rich to see and do, the life he lived was full of wonderful adventures. Whether he was hitchhiking across the U.S., backpacking through the Grand Canyon, watching Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock, or playing the piano in one of his many bands, he was always busy. Outnumbered by women in the house he could often be found hiding in the basement playing on his ham radio.

Then he discovered his next love, British sports cars, restorations, drives, car clubs, car shows and fixing cars took up much of his time. Rich dragged Dawn around the U.S. and Canada for the last 20 years to car shows, where he continued to add photos to his ever expanding collection. Photos his family will enjoy for generations to come.

For his piece of mind, he asked to be told in his final moments, that 45 had been impeached, in which he grinned and peacefully passed.

As per Rich’s wishes, there will not be a funeral or burial service. A celebration of his life will be held on Aug. 25, 2018, at EAST SIDE PARK in Stoughton, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Please bring a dish to pass, your instruments, and a sense of humor. Please pass the information on to all who knew Rich.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the musical, car or amateur radio group of your choice.


This morning when Ben looked out the bathroom window, he spotted a fox with a rabbit in its mouth, he opened the back door and scared the fox, it dropped the half eaten rabbit in the alley and took off, missing out on breakfast. Fortunately, the trash pickup is today, so it wasn't a problem to dispose of it.

Other than a bit of shopping, helping out with kids, and some household chores, I haven't done a lot this week.

Thursday, June 7.  Tom reminded me in a text today that it was 1 month ago that we left Mesa. And I sure didn't make it too far into that trip, did I?  Well, regrets will get you nowhere, so I am not walking that path.  I realize that I have a good, patient, loving, and caring man in my life and I need to make the best of it.

Got kids?  It is a constant in this household and everything revolves around them.  I, fortunately, can step back and have some space when I need it.  Today, just when all was going well, I was playing with Norah in the back yard, Ben was done with work and was in the kitchen preparing dinner when Charlotte started freaking out, crying, coughing, and choking, but able to tell him what happened.  It turns out that she accidentally swallowed a penny that she had in her mouth - why? Who knows?  Daddy to the rescue - he calls the nurse hotline and learns to give her small amounts of water, then bread to force the penny to her stomach (no problem with it passing through) and that works and he is able to get her calmed down.  After that, all she wanted to do was to lay down on the couch and she quickly fell asleep.

Ben got back to dinner prep, Jill got home from her long day of work, and we had a yummy pasta and salad dinner.  Whew! I was ready for a short walk with Frisco followed by a glass of wine.

This morning when Ben looked out the bathroom window, he spotted a fox with a rabbit in its mouth, he opened the back door and scared the fox, it dropped the half eaten rabbit in the alley and took off, missing out on breakfast. Fortunately, the trash pickup is today, so it wasn't a problem to dispose of it.

Charlottes last day of school was Friday and they had a picnic in the park with lots of fun games and activities, ice cream and a food truck lunch. We went to help her celebrate and I got to meet her teacher who is retiring after 41 years.

Sunday, June10. Yesterday morning, Camille and I were walking Frisco when she spotted the fox crossing the street.  We watched as it went into the year of the house on the corner, peed, and then headed west across the next street.  It's pretty rough looking, been foraging for a while.

I heard from Tom yesterday that he was broke down on the side of the road about an hour from Texarkana, AR, with a broken heater hose and lost all of the fluid out of the radiator.  While on the phone with his roadside assistance folks, a friendly guy who was mowing his lawn came to his rescue.  The cut the hose and reclamped it and he gave him a gallon of antifreeze and water to get him back on the road, and he wouldn't take a dime for it, just told Tom to help some other unfortunate person along the way.  Things like that sure do restore your faith in humanity. I've always believed that most people are good folks and would help when needed.  It was definitely a good outcome for Tomnd I was glad to hear it.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

June 1 - 3, 2018, MN

Sunday, June 3.  Here we are, at the beginning of another month.  I have a trip to Stoughton planned and will spend a few days with Pat and Tracey before meeting up with Tom there.  We'll spend a week there and I can show him around my old stomping grounds, and he can meet me son, Pat. I'm looking forward to it.

Norah stayed home from school on Friday, as her tummy was sick and she was running a fever.  She and I cuddled, read stories, played doctor, and napped a good part of the day.  

Camille had a sleepover with me on Friday night and Charlotte shared my bed on Saturday night.  It's so fun to have that one on one time, reading and story telling are their favorite bedtime activities.

Yesterday was a rainy day, but we managed to get walks and some outdoor activities in.  Dennis and Ben built a raised bed garden and Jill, Lois and I shopped for plants - if you know me, that's an activity that I love to do. So many choices to make.

Today was busy, with everyone pitching in to clean the house, doing laundry, food prep,  planting the veggie garden, and a bit of shopping in preparation for dinner guests. Camille and Norah's friend, Georgia, and her parents came over and we had a nice visit and a great dinner.  The kids all had fun running and playing in the back yard.