Monday, August 20. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dear daughter-in-law, Jill and to my 'best mother-in-law ever', Jane Bridge - may she Rest In Peace. I am so fortunate that my husband's family welcomed me with open arms and became my family - there was never any doubt through the years, we were family in every way. Also, when Ben chose
Jill to be his life partner, there was always a connection there - with her, her parents, and her brother Casey who shared a birthday with Mike. I am very fortunate and appreciative.
Today was 'take care of business' day; I got my Shingrix (the latest, greatest shingles vaccine) shot, and my car got an oil change and tire rotation. In between, we walked and took it easy.
Tonight, as it was too cool to sit outside, we binge-watched more of "The Ranch" - we are only on Series 3 of 5. It keeps our interest.
Thursday, August 23. We dropped Frisco off at Ben & Jill's yesterday afternoon as he will be spending the weekend with them while we go to Stoughton for Rich Bogen's memorial party. Ben made tacos for dinner. The girl's were tired after a long day at camp, so they were off to bed right after dinner.
Mike would be celebrating his 71st birthday today and I watched his memorial video and brought back lots of good memories.
It was strange this morning, not having a little dog forcing me to get up and get him up for a walk first thing. So I did the opposite and sat around in my pjs, sipping on coffee until I felt like getting dressed and moving - kind of a luxury, although I do miss the little guy. We were finally moving by about 11:00 when Tom and I decided to go for a hike at Springbrook Nature Center where we had attempted to hike last week but learned that dogs weren't allowed.
We walked the outer loop trail and stopped at a few overlooks to observe a Snowy Egret and lots of turtles and Monarch butterflies. It was a cool day and really enjoyed the light breeze that managed to keep the bugs away.
Back home, we got organized for tomorrow's road trip, then went to Mama G's for dinner. We both ordered the fish and chips and I though the fish was way over-cooked. It was still an enjoyable getaway.
Friday, August 24. It was pouring out this morning, so we delayed our departure by about half an hour. When it slowed down, I was loading the car and managed to dump my entire travel mug of coffee into my purse. Back inside I went and emptied the contents onto towels to dry, dug out another purse to take with me, spread my $$$ on a towel on the seat if the car, and we finally took off around 10:00. The traffic was awful and then heavy rains slowed us down. Then Tom noticed that the tire pressure warning light was on, so I searched for a Costco and pulled in to have the tires checked. All checked out ok but the light is still on.
The 4-hour (ideal conditions) trip to Stoughton took us 6 hours with potty stops, rain slow downs, and an awful accident near New Lisbon. We had dinner with Pat and Tracey at El Rio Grande, the best Mexican food that we have had since leaving Mesa.
Saturday, August 25. We are in Stoughton this weekend to attend the Rich Bogen Memorial Party but had some free time this morning, so we walked through some of Stoughton's neighborhoods, drove through Viking Village to choose some possible sites for our next visit, checked out the overflowing banks of the Yahara River (the Madison area got 15" of rain in one day last week), stopped to visit Mom and Dad's and Rocco's graves, and picked up brownies from the bakery.
And then Tom got introduced to my cousins and their extended families from my Aunt Vern's (my mother's sister) side of the family. My sister, Rita and her husband were there, as was Pat and Tracey, and cousins from my Aunt Eleanor and Aunt Virginia's families (also Mom's sisters). And then there were friends of Dawn and Rich's that I have met through the years. The 'Memory' table was nicely done, covering Rich's many interests through the years, the food selection was wonderful, and you can't ask for much better company. Rich was truly loved by so many and will be missed.
We were tired and not hungry at all this evening, took another much needed walk, and relaxed for the rest of the night.
Sunday, August 26. We met Pat for breakfast at Sugar and Spice, then loaded the car and headed north again. The drive was uneventful and took us an hour less time to get to Ben's house. We had a gathering there to celebrate the August, September, and October birthdays - Jill's on 8/20, Mike and Casey in heaven on 8/23, Charlotte on 9/2, Norah and Camille on 10/7, and Dennis on 10/17.
Chef Ben made pork tacos and rice pilaf for dinner and strawberries with whipped cream for dessert. We played and had a beer and lots of good conversation. And then it was time to say goodnight - a long day for all of us. I got extra hugs as it won't be long and we will head back south for the winter.