Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019, WI

This morning on my walk, I noticed this lone goose who must have been a sentry, as he was squeaking at what appeared to be nothing. He wasn’t both by Frisco and I at all.  At that same place by the Mill Pond, I looked ahead toward the cemetery and this was my view. I love this walk.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Wednesday, September 11, 2019, WI

Today has been a day of remembering the tragic events of 2001 when the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 43 were struck by terrorists and so many people lost their lives. Also on that day, Ben was returning to the US on a flight from a vacation to Japan. His flight left Tokyo that morning and then after the towers were hit, the US closed airports and were redirecting flights to Canada and other countries. Mike spent hours on the phone with the FCC and the airline for reassurance that he was on the plane and ok. His flight was diverted from Los Angeles to San Francisco (where he lived) and was escorted by US Air Force F-16 planes - the only international flight that was allowed to land after airports were closed. It was such a relief to us when we heard that he was safe.

I’ve been walking with Dawn through the streets of Stoughton in the mornings, something I truly enjoy. It just gives me a feeling of connection and familiarity.

I just love the Weeping Willow trees along the Yahara River.

I took a drive to see the building progress at Jonnie’s small home (550 sf) outside of town. The walls and roof are up and a few windows are installed. I can’t wait to see how cute it will be when it’s finished.  Dang, I forgot to take any photos - next time.

I went to West Allis today to visit with Leslie (a friendship that goes back to about 1972 when she married Mike’s friend Tom Reinhart), haven’t seen her in 3 years and it was nice to see her home again (we have met in between in the past) and we had a nice lunch and glass of wine while catching up.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday, September 8, 2019, WI

Sharon and I did some shopping this afternoon and I walked with Frisco while she mowed the lawn. We both took naps and then met Pat and Rog at the Hitching Post for a tasty fish fry and an Old Fashioned.  After dinner, we went to the fairgrounds and met up with her friend, Kathy. 

The traveling Vietnam wall was there, so I paid my respects to classmates Mike Mulcahy and Larry Bender and to Mike’s friend Paul Gerlach. It breaks my heart to see the names of so many young guys who lost their lives in that useless war.

Chris Kroeze, a singer songwriter from Barron, WI who had been on ‘The Voice’ was doing a benefit show so we got tickets and went. It was pretty good and I enjoyed a night of entertainment, even got a dance in with Kathy.

We got up a bit early on Saturday morning and headed to the Flea Market in Princeton. We covered all of the vendors and were both walking out of there empty handed but spotted the Pampered Chef booth and we both bought a trinket there.  Back at Sharon’s house, I packed up the car and headed back to Stoughton.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Thursday, September 5, 2019, WI

After a good walk around Veteran’s Park and the cemetery this morning, I got ready to head north to Portage to spend the next couple of days with my sister-in-law Sharon. It has been 3 years since we took a road trip together and only a few short visits since then, so it’s time to reconnect.  We sat outside catching up on the family news and making plans for the next 2 days.

Our first decision was to go to Cimaroli’s for dinner. So after two of their delicious $3.25 Old Fashioneds, we both chose their specialty flat iron steak and it definitely met up to its claim to fame. We stopped for a bottle of Kahlua and had Kahlua and Cream as an after dinner drink when we got back home.

The Packers are on the TV and I am on my iPad, feeling quite mellow and stuffed.

Here’s the view of the countryside sunset from Portage this evening.

My gracious hostess and great long-time friend, Sharon.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Wednesday, September 4, 2019, WI

Happy 8th Birthday to my sweet Granddaughter, Charlotte on Monday. Her request for her birthday party was to have a surprise birthday party, so her parents made that happen. She called me on FaceTime to thank me for the roller blades that I got her and also to tell me that her party was a big success. 

Pat and I were headed to Sun Prairie to Costco that morning when we learned that it was closed for the holiday, so we went to Pick N Save and got some salmon, broccoli and cauliflower for dinner. We spent the day hanging around and enjoying the beautiful weather.

I walked with Dawn yesterday morning and this morning, we walked to Sugar and Spice to meet Jonnie for breakfast.  We had plenty to talk about, sitting in the booth for 2 hours until the lunch crowd started showing up.  

I went to visit with my cousin Fran this afternoon and she was surprised and happy to see me and we had a nice visit. Her granddaughter, Erin joined us for a while. It’s always good to see Fran, she was a huge part of my childhood and is now the eldest of our family members.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sunday, September 1, 2019, MI, WI

After getting up and having breakfast this morning, I said goodbye and headed south to Stoughton. I noticed quite a bit of leaf color along the roadsides reminding me that fall is on the way.  I had stopped at Culver’s in Wausau for a short break when Pat Hooverson called. Since I was going right by their place and they were going to be home, I stopped by for a hug and a short chat. 

I made it to Stoughton by about 4:00 and it sure is good to see Pat and Tracey again and to settle in at the Shady Rest for a couple of weeks visit.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Saturday, August 30, 2019, MN, MI

Back on Wednesday, I went to River Crossing and met with Dianna to sign the lease on the apartment and go over some questions I had and to clarify how things will go on moving day. It took at least an hour, but all is settled.

I then went to Ben’s house and played with the kids a bit, had a nice chat with Ben and Jill and then joined them for another delicious dinner. This time it was rice topped with chopped avocado, scallion, cucumber and salmon and a soy based sauce. I didn’t stick around too long as I wanted to get back before dark and the drive home went quickly.

Tom had been busy while I was gone, he replaced the faucet on the bathroom sink after we discovered a small leak the other day.  It’s a good thing that we had to pull a lot of things out while searching for something and found the floor to be a big wet.

We had a nice walk on Thursday morning, and while Tom ran errands, I packed the rest of my stuff and loaded it in my car.

We had decided earlier to splurge and have a nice steak dinner together, so when Tom got home we went to Von Hansen’s Meat Market and bought a steak and I got some sausage and cheese to take with me to Wisconsin. We also picked up some broccoli and mushrooms to have with it. Dinner turned out to be very nice. We toasted to the good and not so good times that we have had together and for what might come in the future for us. It is sad to be parting but we both have some personal goals to fulfill and will see what that means for us in the future.

I was ready to take off by 8:00 on Friday morning, had a long and sad hug with Tom and took off. I headed for Mass City, MI to visit my old friends, Carol and Richard at their getaway in the UP, about a 6-hour drive.  It was nice to see them again and their friends Tom and Jean joined us for dinner. I learned a lot about the UP lifestyle, much of it revolves around winter activities such as snowmobiling which is what brought Richard to buy the place.

On Saturday morning, we headed out for some sightseeing, drove through Houghton and Hancock, then up to the shore of Lake Superior and the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and Museum, stopping along the way to see Jacob’s Falls.

                                 This shows the annual snow levels.

Jacob’s Falls

                                                   Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
The view from the top of the lighthouse.

Our next stop was at the Bear Belly Bar and Grill at Lac LaBelle for lunch. I have definitely been eating way too much food. We stopped on the way home at the Peterson’s Fish Market in Hancock and I bought some of their specialty smoked Lake Superior Whitefish.

With lots of miles behind us, we headed home and relaxed and Carol and I took Frisco for a nice, long walk while Richard puttered around with projects in his garage.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019, M.n

Monday was rainy all day long but we did manage to get a good walk in before the sky opened up. Being cooped up in this small space is very limiting. I did some cleaning, made tuna salad, went through the cupboards and packed away some of my stuff. Later in the afternoon I went to Petsmart and Marshall’s. When I walked into Petsmart it was cool and raining and when I came out 10 minutes later, the sun was shining and steam was rolling off the parking lot.  Strange.

There was a threat of severe weather in the forecast for today but it was a pretty morning and we had no problem with our morning walk.  After that, we loaded up the laundry and headed for the laundromat.  There was an elderly couple there who had never used a laundromat before and they were friendly and eager to talk.  The poor woman was so crippled up from Osteoporosis, her back curved so severely that she could never lie flat on her back and she was missing several teeth.  Her husband was small and also was crippled on one arm - he did most of the work. After they left and took their stuff to their truck, he came back in and offered me some apples that he had picked from a tree of his.  I agreed to take a few but didn’t really need the whole box, but he insisted that I take it. It was starting to rain a bit when I walked with him to his truck and just as I turned to head back to the building it started to hail, fairly small 1/2” pellets were bouncing all around on the pavement.  Tom and I sampled the apples that were soft and not perfect and after one bite we decided to leave the box in the laundromat for others to use if they chose to. 

After laundry, we went to Walmart to pick up a few items and then stopped at Papa Murphy’s for one of their $10 Tuesday pizzas. After putting away the laundry and making the bed, we had our pizza and then headed out for another walk with Frisco. This time, we got caught in the rain but made it home before we got too soaked.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday, August 25, 2010, MN

I got my new windshield yesterday at Safelite Auto Glass in Maple Grove.  All went well and I was out of there in just a little more than an hour without paying a dime. Good deal. I am hearing a bit of wind noise and I realized that they didn’t replace it with one that had the shading along the top, so I will have to decided how important that is to me and what I want to do about it.  

Tom and I decided to go to Applebee’s for dinner tonight and we had the 2 for $22 deal - he chose the riblets and I chose the baby back ribs. All were good choices.

Earlier in the week, Tom suggested that we see a movie over the weekend, so today we went to the St. Michael Theater and saw “Peanut Butter Falcon”, an excellent drama/comedy about a relationship that develops between a down and outer and a young guy with Down’s Syndrome who escapes from a nursing home.  We got a few good laughs and both found it to be a good movie - well worth seeing and a good choice.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019, MN

Today would be Mike’s 72nd birthday and I spent time talking with both of my sons, remembering him through pictures and they led to sparking other memories, and then I toasted his birthday with a couple of Old Fashioneds in the evening.  This photo was taken about a month and a half before he passed away. He sure looks like a healthy guy in this photo.

This has been a week of long walks, little projects, a bit of shopping, and hanging around. There is a slight feeling of fall in the air with daytime temperatures in the mid-70s and nights dropping into the 50s (great for sleeping).

I spent a lot of time on Monday and Tuesday trying to get approval from Progressive Insurance to get my windshield replaced. I found it to be a ridiculous experience, since Arizona auto insurers allow up to 3 windshield replacements a year because of dust damage, no questions asked. I had to prove that there was at least one chip that might spread but the other chips and dings didn’t seem to matter, although they were blinding as I drove into the sun. I finally got the ok and have an appointment setup for tomorrow.

I have finally gotten approval on the apartment and will go there to sign papers next Wednesday. I also learned that I cannot move in any earlier than October 1, so I will make arrangements accordingly. I already have a truck reserved and movers arranged for that day.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Yesterday, we decided to take a little road trip today, so we were up early this morning and on the road by 9ish, heading north to Itasca State Park to see the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It was a long drive but we had nothing better to do and the scenery was pretty and the sky was blue and we had gas in the car and we don’t mind long drives.

The River actually starts in Lake Itasca and flows right out of the lake to form the River and it is hard to tell which is which except for a small rock dam between the two.  It was a busy place with lots of people stepping over the rocks, wading in the river, or kayaking.

Lake Itasca on the left and the Mighty Mississippi on the right.

This is it! It will continue on for 2,320 miles and empty into the Gulf of Mexico

We hiked a path along the lake to a replica of the Wegman Store. The Wegman family homesteaded here and had a cabin next to their store.

We took a different route back and stopped at the Cabin Creek Saloon and Eatery in Little Falls on our way. I had a Grain Belt Nordeast Amber Lager that I really liked and the chicken special that came with 2 pieces of chicken, coleslaw, roasted green beans and Mac and Cheese. I only tasted the Mac and Cheese and brought it home for another meal. Everything was very tasty. Tom enjoyed his Frisco Burger too.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019,

A week? Nothing to write about? Guess not. We have done our usual walks, trying to get at least 2 miles in every day and Frisco trots along with us most times. We vary the walk each day, sometimes going east along the cemetery and somethimes through it other days we go west along River Street, then cross over broadway to the path that goes by Otter Creek Park. When we go that route, I usually let Frisco get in the creek and he wades up to his belly and laps up the cool water. One day we drove to Montisippi Park and walked the trails around there. This morning, we went east on River Street to West Bridge Park, parked the car and walked the trail east as far as it went, passing the beautiful gardens at East Bridge Park.

Tom and I kind of went in opposite ways this week, running errands and shopping. On Thursday, I drove to my storage unit in Bloomington to assess the situation there, added a few bins of stuff that I have been carrying in the trailer or in my car, and got my bike that I dropped off at Ben’s house. I think it will be a good next bike for Charlotte, although she might need one just a bit smaller before she can ride mine. I don’t see myself going for bike rides in my new neighborhood and I won’t have a place to store it, so this should work out well.

I still haven’t gotten the final word from River Crossing that the apartment is mine although they have cashed my deposit check. I have made arrangements for a truck and movers for October 1 but am still hoping that I might be able to get in before then. If not, September will be a travel month for me and I will go visit some of the folks that I have missed over the last couple of years.

As we sat outside last night, I noticed the big fluffy clouds overhead, so we walked to the river and sat on the deck - such a peaceful place to hang out.  This was the view.

Today was Frisco’s grooming day. I cleaned his ears, brushed his teeth, clipped his nails (with Tom’s help), gave him a bath and a good brushing, and shoved his monthly heartworm pill down his throat. He should have been treated with Frontline too, but I had run out. I’ll have to make a trip to Costco one of these days.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Sunday, August 11, 2019, MN

I have been missing my son Ben lately (Pat too, but he is too far away), so we came up with a time to hang out for a while today. Tom peeled apples and I put together one of my favorite dessert recipes, Apple Crumble to take with us. I chose this recipe because I love any dessert made with fruit and this one can be made Gluten Free and calls for only 1/2 cup of brown sugar as a sweetener. Needless to say, it was a big hit, especially when it as topped off with a scoop of ice cream.

Ben made another delicious dinner, bun cha, one that he and Jill had for the first time on their vacation to Vietnam. It was unusual but so tasty and flavorful. He was in prep mode when we arrived at 2:30 and we ate around 5:00. It seems that is what we do best, hang out while Ben is prepping for dinner - whatever works is what I always say. The bun cha is a salad with a base of rice noodles, topped with butter lettuce, chopped mint, and Cilantro and served with a meatball made of pork, grilled, and stirred in a sauce made of fish sauce, lime, and garlic. He also made a hot sauce with some very spicy peppers. It was so simple and so flavorful. A real treat.

We had fun with the kids - they have all become friendly with Tom and his playful, teasing ways.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019, M

Last night was another night of poor sleep. It seems that I have been having many friends them lately. This is kind f sad, as recently, I have talked about how nice it has been to actually sleep for 9-12 hours without even getting up for a potty break. Ever since I decided to move into an apartment in St. Paul, I have had several of these nights of restless sleep. Last night, I think I went through my entire 5 x 10 storage unit, deciding that several items might be passed on to my sons, taking an inventory of items that will fit in my new apartment, and coming up with a list of items that I will be needing once I get moved. This is not good, as I would prefer to get a good night of sleep.

There seems to be no regret on the part of either Tom or I, as we have both been going through our plans for our next transitions and discussing them as we go along. 

Today has been kind of a dark day, as we have had the threat of rain throughout the day, the skies have been gray and the temps have dripped into the mid 60s. 

As I write, our neighbors across the street and behind us are partying, a regular Saturday night activity at this park. There are lots of folks from Texas and Louisiana here who are working on replacing gas pipelines in nearby Buffalo. The men are good hard working folks who like to cut loose on the weekends (sometimes they don’t make it to the weekend).  

Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019, MN

I have a new great niece! Maren June Wall was born yesterday in Springfield, MO. She and Mom are doing great!

Grandma Julie is loving her already!

Grandpa Randy is entertaining Big Brother Jax

It felt good to have an easy, lazy day - it’s amazing how much the activity of having a 5 year old can tire us out these days. We did get a nice 2-hour walk in, I tried to nap but couldn’t sleep, and then I saw that there was a concert in the park this evening in Buffalo, a small town about 10 miles south of here.

Sturges Park is on the shore of Buffalo Lake and the area around the amphitheater was full of folks in lawn chairs and sitting on blankets. “White Sidewalls” provided an hour and a half on lively music from the 50’s, all tunes that we recognized and the band was good and quite entertaining. The humidity has dropped and the temps have been in the low 80s, so it was a perfect night to sit and listen to music. In fact, the breeze was cool and we both ended up wearing jackets.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Wednesday, August 7, 2019, MN

It’s not bad enough that I have several days to go back and remember, but after typing for 30 minutes, I lost my entry and have to start over again. So...not much to write about the weekend other than a few garage sales on Saturday and grocery shopping on Sunday to prepare for Norah’s visit. She was scheduled for Camp Kici-Yapi this week but because of her fractured arm and cast she was not able to go.

I went to pick her up on Monday morning and we headed out on a walk to Otter Creek where we let her walk around in the creek. I went in too and the water was just a bit over my ankles but it felt refreshing and Frisco sure liked it. She chose the wrong shoes and ended up with a blister on her heel and had to walk home barefooted - no problem for her at all.

The rest of the day, we played game, had lots of snacks, watched the Mississippi River flow by, and played at the playground. It was late when we got to bed but sleep came quickly.

Yesterday morning, Norah got involved in an experiment after finding and collecting some feathers on our walk. I cut off a water bottle and she put some water in the bottom and layered it with cut up feathers, seeds from Plantain, chopped flowers from my Vinca plant, some soft weeds from the ground, white clover flowers, and topped with her feathers. She then made a sign that said “BIRDS ONLY-BLUE JAY” and she arranged the concoction and a birds nest that I had found on top of the sign. The experiment was to see if it exploded overnight.

We went to the Community Center Pool this afternoon for a while, a very nice facility, but she got cold and was ready to come back home. At bedtime that night, she read to me from her “Mercy Watson To The Rescue” chapter book - her reading skills are improving a lot and she is able to sound out most words on her own. We were all tired and aimed for a more normal bedtime.

I had an appointment at River Crossing apartments to sign some compliance paperwork for my Section 42 rent credit benefits, so we got Norah back home by 1:00. I met with Diana and got to see the apartment again. Margaret has been there since 2005 and is packing on her things for her next move. I like the apartment, the layout, and I feel good about my decision. We filled out the paperwork, I have a few things to send her before she has all of the information and verifications that she needs and I should have approval by Monday. She did tell me there was no problem with my qualifying.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019, MN

We spent yesterday being lazy, sleeping in until almost 9:00, recovering from a busy few days. Boy, I am out of shape for entertaining little ones and set in my lazy, do whatever I feel like doing when I feel like doing it. The good life, for sure.  We did manage to get a good walk in though.

Frisco had me up during the night again with upset stomach. After the third time of taking him out, I laid in bed thinking about what could be going on. I have been getting his dog food at Tractor Supply and picked up a couple of cans of their store brand food to add to his regular diet. Perhaps there is something in it that upsets his stomach. I’ve been feeding him Natural Balance ever since we got him and he does well on it.  So I ran out and got him some Science Diet Sensitive Stomach formula and that seemed to do the trick.

After a nice walk at Montisippi Park, we took a drive to St. Cloud just to check it out. The city wasn’t too impressive but we did stumble on a Rollie’s Redneck and Longneck Bar and Grill. It is famed as the best country music bar around and has had several celebrities perform, including Dale Watson. Unfortunately, we were there late afternoon and there was no music happening except the juke box. Tom had an Arizona burger that he said was delicious and I had the brisket dinner - all was good. We also checked out a couple of RV parks and found that Rivers Edge in Becker to be very nice with spacious sites and nice looking facilities. It is about 13 miles west of Monticello.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019, MN

It’s the last day of July and I was just reading about the black moon tonight - the second new moon of the month - although it doesn’t appear any different, it is a rare occasion.

I haven’t written since last week Thursday so I have some catching up to do.  I went to some garage sales on Friday morning and Tom and I had fish fry at the Villa in Albertville that night. Last year, I had a delicious and very large serving of grilled lemon crusted Walleye there and I was hoping for a similar experience. Not quite, this time. My serving was about half the size although it was quite good and my cocktail was weak and Tom’s cod was a bit on the greasy side.

Sunday was quite interesting. Those of you who know me well, know that I have been feeling unsettled lately and Tom and I have talked quite a bit about the differences in how the near future should be for us. His interest is to travel and visit areas that he hasn’t been before and I have been feeling the need to get settled here in Minnesota, reunite with my personal possessions, and ive been feeling tired of traveling for quite some time now. I have been researching apartments for months, actually years - ever since I first decided to sell my house and relocate to this area about three years ago. I found one this week that I am interested in, will be available soon, and fits my budget. So we drove around several complexes on Sunday before actually seeing the apartment that is available at River Crossing in St. Paul (my first choice). It is part of the same complex but in the building next to Graham Place, a senior facility that has been high on my list for the last two years.  After seeing the apartment, I made a deposit and locked myself in. A credit check and personal reference still need to be completed before I know for sure that it is mine and then I will prepare to move in on October 1. Tom will continue his RVing lifestyle when he heads back south after Labor Day and we will see about doing some trips together in the future.  

This is going to be another huge adjustment in my life, but I am ready to face it just as I was two years ago before Tom and I started our relationship. Since our future goals are so different, we will see how things go from here. In the meantime, we will spend the month of August together here in Monticello and then set off on our own.

After seeing the apartment, we picked Charlotte up and she came home with us to spend the next three nights. Monday was kind of a cool day, so we walked to a nearby neighborhood park with a huge spiderweb for climbing on, then along the path to Otter Creek Park where she and Frisco checked out the creek. That evening at the playground here in the park, she met Mattie and the two of them hit it off and had lots of fun together - much more fun than us adults were. Although she sure has been enjoying Tom’s teasing sense of humor and playfulness.

We took Charlotte to the Space Alien Grill in Albertville, a place we thought she might like and had been considering checking out. She thought it was creepy - she loved the ceiling with the solar system but didn’t like the aliens that were on display - thought they were scary. She also did like the pizza, eating all but one slice of a 7” cheese pizza but didn’t like the Raspberry Iced Tea as it was too sweet, so she had my water and I had the tea (it was way too sweet). Another thing she liked was the Arcade and when we went to play games, their computer system was down and we had to nix that plan.

Monday night was rough for Frisco and I. He was having intestinal issues and I was up every half hour - eight times during the night - to let him out. I restricted his food throughout the next day and gave him a light dinner. He slept a lot during the day and I was wishing that I could. It was an early to bed night and we all slept well through the night. I wonder what’s going on with him? He went through a bout of this last spring.

Yesterday was much warmer so we went swimming at Bertram Lake Beach in the afternoon. Charlotte had some play time with Mattie in the morning and Tom and I enjoyed the short break. She hoped to play together again in the evening, but Mattie wasn’t home, so it was Grandma Rose and her at the playground and searching for goose feathers. We all played a card game of Memory and then went to bed and read.

Today, we went to visit the Oliver Kelley Farmstead in Elk River, a historic living history farm that was interactive. Farmers dressed in period clothing demonstrated how things were done in the 1860s. Charlotte got to lay on a straw bed, pump water, feed chickens, slice cucumbers, taste Swiss Chard from the garden, and pet several animals. She said she really enjoyed it.

We dropped her back home, I got a much needed haircut from Jill, and Tom and I tried to beat the rush hour traffic back to Monticello - not real successful, as it took us 1.25 hours. Can you believe that it was a quiet, slow-paced evening and an early to bed night for us?

Charlotte has really matured over the last year, was very cooperative and polite, interested in playing games, was much more independent as far as getting ready for the day and for bed, didn’t whine and beg for treats, and didn’t have to be reminded as much to do what she was asked. My little girl is almost 8 years old, getting tall and long legged.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thursday, July 25, 2019, WI, MN

After coffee and a delicious breakfast of fruit and McChandler sandwiches (English muffin, ham, egg, and cheese), we headed back home to Minnesota.  We took the quicker route this time, mostly freeway, through Wausau, Chippewa Falls, and Minneapolis and headed straight for Ben’s to get Frisco. He adapted well, ate good, got lots of walks - Charlotte is experienced enough to walk him by herself - and had a good time. We didn’t hang out as Ben was working, the kids all had things going on and we wanted to beat the traffic.

We were both a bit tired after a few days of activity, so it was an early to bed night for us.

This morning, I had an appointment to have my eyes checked at Costco and got good news - no Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, or Retina detachment - only a slight change in vision and a cataract that might need surgery in a year or so. health checkups are done for the year and no changes are necessary. THAT is a good feeling for this 71 year old woman. Yippee!

We just got back from a 2.5 mile walk - much needed, since we haven’t walked in the last 2 days.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Tuesday, July 23, 2019, WI

After a leisurely morning and a tasty breakfast of fruit and Amish rolls that we bought at the Flea Market, we packed up to go for a boat ride. We put in at the city boat dock in Eagle River and traveled through several lakes in the Eagle River Chain of Lakes. It’s always fun to look at the homes and boat houses and have a relaxing boat ride.

We docked at Sweetwaters for a late lunch/early dinner and a cocktail before finishing up the boat ride. The service was lacking a bit and it took a long time to get served, but the food was delicious.

We relaxed on the porch, talked, and watched Mama Deer and her fawn stroll through the yard. Sue and I took a walk down the road, saw some more deer, and had a nice walk and talk.

We had a snack and played some Farkel before saying goodnight and going off to bed.  What a nice few days this has been at the Chandler’s Shady Rest - a serene and quiet woodland retreat.

Monday, July 22, 2019, WI, MN

Backtracking again. Last Saturday afternoon, we went to Ben’s house to drop Frisco off and to have a visit (they are dog sitting for a few days). It had been a busy morning for them, as Charlotte had a sleepover on Friday night and the twins had a birthday party in the morning. The kids were all a bit tired and cranky at first, but once Tom started playing with them, they cheered right up and had lots of fun.

Ben made burgers, Jill made potato salad and I mixed up a fruit salad. It was fun and a good visit. We left Frisco there and headed back to Monticello before dark so we could get in a brisk walk before retiring.

Our neighbors and friends were hanging out, drinking beer and making a bit of noise, so we had to run the fan in order to block out the noise.

On Sunday morning, we took off by 9am, heading toward Jim and Sue’s house in St. Germain, WI. We had a 5-hour drive ahead of us and got turned around a bit only a few miles into the drive, so that slowed us down a bit. Even with a few stops along the way, we made it in 5.5 hours. Along the way, there was a lot of evidence of storm and tornado activity from Friday night and Saturday morning. As I write this, there are still power outages and the news is reporting 16 or more tornadoes that touched down.

It sure was nice to see Jim and Sue again - there is never a shortage of things to talk and joke about. They fixed ribs and grilled potatoes for dinner, we took a nice walk, and went to bed fairly early.

I fixed breakfast of fruit and biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then we headed into town to the flea market - a very big one with a nice variety of stuff for sale. We bought maple syrup, cheese, soap and a ‘miracle’ cleaning cloth. 

Shannon Lake was next on the list for a hike around the lake. The temps were cool and it was a nice hike.

We had a couple of hours to rest before going to meet up with Sue and Ron, friends of theirs at Mar-Li’s. We had actually met them at Viking Village in Stoughton last summer and it was fun talking with them, learning that we had some things in common like people we had worked with or knew through the years. They came over to the house after dinner and we talked and laughed some more.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wednesday, July 17, 2019, MN

The only thing worth writing about yesterday was a very nice 2-mile hike at Montissippi County Park. It was a beautiful morning and the walk was peaceful and enjoyable. We both took naps in the afternoon and did a bit of grocery shopping late in the afternoon. Tom had ordered a replacement slide window for our screen door, delivered to Walmart. When he installed it, he learned that it didn’t fit quite right, leaving a 1/2” gap that the buggies could get through. Will have to return it and do some more research to find a replacement that fits.

We got another nice 2-mile walk in this morning through the neighborhood. As we walked through Otter Creek Park, we stopped to let Frisco get a little drink and a soak in the clear water of the creek.

This afternoon, I had appointments for a mammogram and a bone density test at the Park Nicollet 
Clinic in Maple Grove. Again, I am impressed with the system, appointments are on time and everyone has been friendly, efficient, and professional. I have only one more appointment, next week, and that is with the optometrist. Checkups will be done.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday, July 15, 2019, MN

Wow! This day flew by and was busy, busy, busy! Well, our day’s activity doesn’t start until 11 or so when we take Frisco out for his 2nd walk and we usually try to make it a good one - at least a couple of miles. 

After that, we loaded up the laundry and headed to the laundromat.  All went well until we loaded into a dryer that was not working and lost our first $.75. I called the number that was posted and was told that they would refund the money by mail. Is it worth it? Damn right it is. We finished, folded, took it home and put it away.

I let Frisco out and then Tom and I took off for a drive and a few stops along US-10 and the towns of Big Lake, Elk River, and Anoka. Tom was out of reading materials, so our first stop was at a thrift store in Big Lake - a nice little shop with very reasonable prices. Our next stop was at the Tractor Supply store in Elk River where we filled our propane tank and stocked up on dog food.  Tom has researched and found Tractor Supply to have the best prices on propane and this one was $.20 less than what they were saying online.  Still heading east, about 14 miles down the road is a Costco where I scheduled an appointment to have my eyes checked and we bought one of their broasted chickens (a deliciously great deal for $4.99) and a case of water.

On our way back home, the skies darkened and we heard a weather warning on the radio for severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, and possible hail for our area. We made it home safely and found that many of the sites in our park have lakefront property. I mixed a drink, fed Frisco, cut up the chicken, served up some salad and enjoyed every bite.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday, July 14, 2019, MN

Happy Birthday to my sweet niece, Monica!

This is another instance of having to backtrack and try to remember the past four days.  So I’ll start off with Friday. Frisco got the tube removed from his ear this morning and it looks good. The vet told me that the surgery appeared to be successful but there still appeared to be some infection in the ear canal. The antibiotic regimen will continue for another 10-day cycle and the cone can come off.

I went to Ben’s for a sleepover - a good way to hang out with the family. Norah got to sleep with me this time - she got the first turn because she missed out on her 2nd turn when I left a day early from my visit in February. I got there in time to walk over to get the twins after school, give them snacks and read for a bit, then played outdoors until Ben got off work. Their reading skills have improved so much in the past few months. They are sounding out words and are able to read some of the beginner books well.

Norah and Camille - a bit tired after a day at school.

Ben fixed flank steak tacos and rice and Jill made a tasty Guacamole. After dinner, I played with Charlotte until Camille and Norah finished showers and then Norah and I read a story and I tucked her in. I hung out with Ben for a while before retiring for the night myself.

On Saturday morning, Norah and I got ready for the day and then we walked Frisco around the block, actually Norah walked Frisco the whole time. She did great and I told her that she did so well that she could be a pro when she got a bit older, but she said she wouldn’t want to because of the poop pickup part.  When we got back, Jill and Charlotte were getting ready to walk around the lake, so I changed my shoes and went with them. Charlotte is growing up so much. We had great conversations and she clipped right along the entire 2.8-mile walk.

Ben had a tasty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and blueberry pancakes ready for us when we got home. I hung around until about noon, then headed back home to Monticello.

Tom and I went to Beef O’Brady’s for dinner and then walked to the Community Center to listen to music in the parking lot. It is Monticello Riverfest weekend and this was one of many events going on. We heard Terry DuBois who did the first (very long) set and then we were tired of sitting and drinking beer by the time the headliner, The Fabulous Armadillos, started. We listed to a few of their tunes and then headed home. I guess we should have started a bit later than we did.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019, MN

More rain. Just as I settle down to be outside. The ground is still wet and there are puddles everywhere. I get the feeling that we will be dodging raindrops the whole summer.

We went for a nice, long walk this morning at Montisippi County Park, about a mile from our RV Park. The morning was a cool 67 degrees with a light wind - perfect.

I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned this afternoon at Southside Dental here in Monticello. This is the first visit to a dentist in years because I didn’t have insurance, so my hygiene appointments have been at colleges where they have been free. It’s a good thing I haven’t had any issues. Today’s hygienist told me that my teeth are in excellent shape and should be for years to come. Guess I’ve done something right.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019, MN

I was up early and out of the house by 8:30 this morning, heading for my annual health physical. I am impressed with the Park Nicollet Clinics. A week ago, when I went in for blood work, I had the results by the end of the day. Today, I waited 5 minutes to be called in and Kristin, Dr Milburn’s assistant remembered me, was thorough, and professional.  Dr Milburn arrived shortly after and spent almost an hour with me. She reviewed my health history, medications and supplements, blood work, asked me of my concerns, did a physical checkup and then went over any changes for the future. I need to get a bone density and mammogram done and then I will be finished with health care for the next year. I didn’t feel rushed and I told her before leaving how impressed I was with my treatment.

Yesterday was a hang around the house day with the exception of a trip to the grocery store to stock up on produce.

I got word from Dawn this afternoon that my cousin Donna passed away this morning. She was 89 years old and has deteriorated over the past year. I knew it was coming, but am still saddened. She was always a positive influence in my life and loved by many. I had a nice visit with her last summer when Jonnie and I went to visit her.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2029, MN

There was nothing on the agenda for today, so we decided to drive to the south of Minneapolis to check out some future RV park options. The drive was a total of 290 miles, took about 7 hours and we stopped at eight places, and crossed six of them off the list.  One was on an island of the Mississippi near Red Wing and was under a huge bridge and surrounded by green, murky water, one was a parking lot at Treasure Island Casino, and the rest were mostly seasonal, tightly packed places, pricey, or didn’t have full hookups. The two that we would consider are Camp Faribo in Faribault and the Cannon Falls Campground (pricey, but it could work).  All of them were about the same distance from Ben’s house.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Saturday, July 6, 2029, MN

OK, I have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to catch up on. Have I written how good it feels to be settled? 

On Wednesday, we got our picnic table positioned where we want it on our site, swept the pad and rolled out the rug, washed the road dirt off of the windows, and took walks to become familiar with our surroundings. The neighborhood is quite nice, a typical midwestern neat and tidy community with large green lawns, mature trees, and the beautiful Mississippi River rolling by. The road leading to the RV Park takes us along a well-kep cemetery with huge Oak trees and then through a mobile home park where the homes are older but well cared for. The RV park has about 85 sites in which about half of the residents are working folks. Our immediate neighbors behind us and across the street have children and right behind us are two kids and three huge dogs, the man of-the-house is off working during the day and consuming large amounts of beer at night. Not every night, but it seems to be a regular thing - not noisy or rowdy - just working folks lifestyle. There are quite a few Trump flags flying and trucks with flags and stickers - guess we will have to keep our mouths shut. 

Once the rain stopped on the 4th, we were able to get outside and the planned, although delayed, 4th of July parade went through. We grilled some bratwurst, had some adult beverages, and had a low-key celebration.

I got up Friday morning and headed for the Park Nicollet Clinic in Rogers to have my blood work done in preparation for my annual physical next week. After that, I stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast and coffee and did some shopping at Target.

This afternoon, we took a drive to check out a couple of area parks.  Nearby, Montissippi County Park has some nice looking hiking trails and about 15 miles from here, the Bertram Chain of Lakes Park has about everything you would want in a park; hiking trails, swimming beach, and a YMCA Camp that is well equipped for youth activities. We came across a beautiful swimming pool that is equipped with water features and a slide, so we stopped to talk with the manager and learned that it is open to the public on the weekends.  It looks like a good possibility for the grandkids.

We took one of the hikes and ended up walking abut 2.6 miles - a very nice hike on a spectacular day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019, MN

Our first day in this park and we walked around to check it all out. Like I said before, it will feel good to be settled for a couple of months. Here is our the view of the river that is a short distance from our site.

Tom wanted to get gas in his car and we had to make a stop at the grocery store, so we checked out Monticello a bit. It seems like a nice town of about 13,000 and it has all of the shopping options that we are used to having. I’m sure we will do more discovering while we are here.

We went to Ben’s this afternoon for a reunion with him and his family plus Jill’s parents Lois and Dennis. The girls were happy to see us and I sure was happy to see them again.  Their shyness wore off quickly and the were giggling and  wrestling with Tom. We all had a nice visit and Dennis cooked Walleye from his latest fishing trip - a delightful treat!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Monday, July 1, 2019, MN

We reached the final stop on this approximately 7,000 mile journey to Minnesota where we will stay for the next two months at River Terrace RV Park in Monticello. Our route took us through 13 states with stops in many towns and lots of interesting places. We connected with former neighbors and a classmate. The weather was less than desirable for much of the trip but it rarely stopped us from doing and seeing what we wanted.

River Terrace is located on the Mississippi River and is a small part of a large mobile home community. The cost is $540/month including water, sewer, electric , and WiFi - quite affordable. The down side is the location - 45 miles from Ben’s house, but it was all we could find.

We got parked and hooked up in the rain. It will be so nice to get dried out again.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sunday, June 30, 2019, WI

We were hooked up and on the road by 10:30 this morning, heading for our last stop before our destination where we will stay for the next two months. Pat stopped by for a brief chat and a hug before we left. 

We got as far as DeForest and the sky started to look dark and scary and then the wind picked up and the rain started to fall hard and heavy. At one point, I felt like I might have been hydroplaning - scary. A lot of cars were pulled over on the side of the road, many with their four-ways flashing. The rest areas were overflowing but we continued on, slowing to 25 mph at times, for about 30 miles. Visibility was awful.  

Just before the storm hit.

My Tree. I have been fond of this tree since 1969 and watch for it every time I travel this stretch of road. It is just north of the rest area at Mauston.

We arrived at the KOA at Hilton/Alma Center, a very nice park where we got a full hookup pull through site of the night. Once settled, we got hit with some more heavy rain. When that slowed down, we took a drive to check out the towns, each with populations of 400-500 - so not much happinging on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Saturday, June 29, 2019, WI

What a nice day! We just haven’t had much time to spend with Pat other than for meals which have been great. The hottest day of the season so far and we decided to go for a hike on the Yahara River Trail at Lake Farm Park. I have been wanting to check out the campground there to see if it might be a possible future consideration - probably not because the sights are tight, all out in the open, and they have electric only hookups.  

We managed a 3-mile hike to the lake and back to where the car was parked. When we got back to Pat’s house, he cooked up some brats and Tracey made roasted broccoli and cauliflower and a chopped salad. All was yummy and we had some fun conversation.

Pat’s Hollyhocks

My sweet eldest son, Pat

One more stop at the grocery store to stock up on Johnsonville Summer Sausage (it just doesn’t get much better than that) and a few veggies and we were back home. I already bought a case of Spotted Cow. We took naps and enjoyed the AC of the trailer.

Friday, June 28, 2019, WI

Yesterday was a hanging out with family kind of day. We met Jonnie and Dawn at the Coffee Cup for breakfast and had a nice 2-hour chat. After that we had a propane tank to fill and groceries to stock up on and somehow that manages to take us a long time and it was 2:00 by the time we got back home.

I had dinner at Dawn’s and her sister Theresa and her wife Laura joined us. We had a glass of Prosecco and caught up on family before dinner. She made a Palestinian layered chicken with yogurt and chickpeas and flatbread, a tasty salad, and pumpkin cake with lemon icing. Dawn is an excellent cook and dinners with her are always lots of fun. When I got back home, I realized that I left my phone at her house, so turned around and went back to get it. Just can’t live without a phone these days.

We woke up to thunderstorms this morning and it poured for quite a while. Our priority for today was laundry, so we stopped to see if it was in use after our morning walk and someone was just starting a load. Almost an hour later, we checked again and that persons laundry was still in the washer. They only have two and that is what we needed, so we went into town to the laundromat and were out of there in an hour.

I went to hang out with Pat and Tracey for a while and stopped at the end of the drive to Viking Village to take a photo of the beautiful entrance.  The owner, Sherry, sees this as her front yard and goes to great lengths to make sure it is well cared for.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wednesday, June 26, 2019, WI

Yesterday was just another day with the exception of having Pat and Tracey over for dinner in the evening. We grilled some sausages; Mild Italian and Hot Italian and Chorizo and had roasted asparagus and a cucumber tomato salad. It was a great dinner and we had lots of good conversation.

Today was quite eventful. After getting breakfast and Frisco’s walks out of the way, we headed toward Devil’s Lake via the Merrimac Ferry. It had been a long time since I had taken that drive and I enjoyed it just as much this time. The ferry is a cable ferry that crosses the Wisconsin River and connects WI-113. It operates 24 hours a day when the river isn’t frozen and carries up to 1200 cars a day, 15 cars at a time.

We stopped at Parfrey’s Glen but learned that the daily pass fee for out-of-state guests was $16.  So we just headed for the south entrance to Devil’s Lake, as we had a hike planned there. I remembered from a past visit (about 8 years ago) that this park is one of the few that allows the National Park Pass, and that rule still stands, so it didn’t cost us a penny to get in.

We had decided to take one of the East Bluff Trails, but the descriptions were a bit deceiving. The park ranger suggested that we take the Balanced Rock Trail for .4 mile to the East Bluff Trail and that was a 500’ climb up the rocky steps to the top of the bluff. At that point, we decided to head straight east  for .3 mile to the Potholes Trail for .3 miles, and then the Grottos Trail for the last .3 mile. All of these trails except the East Bluff Trail were considered difficult and we said over and over that we’re too old for this kind of hiking any more.  We stopped often for breaks. This short distance (about 1.3 miles) took us about 2.5 hours. Most of it was either climbing rough rocky stairs up or climbing them back down. We saw only a very small part of the park but the views that we saw from up top were beautiful.

We did some shopping at Costco and Dollar Tree on the way back home and stopped at Monk’s Bar and Grill for dinner on the way home.