Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019, M.n

I spent most of the day yesterday working on a sewing project - can’t mention it here or it would give away my Christmas gift secret. I had fun doing it - it’s been long time since I’ve had the space to get out the sewing machine, ironing board, and spread out a pattern.  I started right after my late morning walk with Frisco and it 4:30pm before I was putting stuff away. Good times!

Today was spent preparing for the family to join me for dinner. I had a yearning for Ham and Bean Soup and that really shouldn’t take up that much time but it seems like I was at it all day. For dessert, I made homemade chocolate pudding using one of Martha Stewart’s recipes.  I feel like you just can’t go wrong with her recipes and this one proved to be quite good too. It was a bit of a pain to make since it had to be whisked from the dry ingredients (sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch) through adding 2.5 cups of milk very gradually and then all through the cooking process, bringing to a slow boil, and then  during the 1 minute of thickening. It was worth it though - everyone loved it!

I was a little worried about them all making it home on the snowy, slippery roads but they are pros and had no problems. There wasn’t much but the roads looked pretty slick. And now I am slitting back, drinking the last glass of wine from the bottle. Dinner was a success, it was fun having the family here to join me, and now I’m tired and ready for bed. Life is good.

The little busy bodies - always crafty and creative.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019, MN

It has been quite wintry around here this week. One morning, I walked on snow covered sidewalks, another was a cold and windy 24 degrees.  It does seem like there is much less wind early in the morning when I first walk Frisco (usually around 8am) and again around 8pm in the evening. I have managed to get out and about most days though, with a decent walk a few hours after our first. 

I have applied for a few part-time jobs at the grocery store, Target, the community that I live in, posted house-cleaning signs on the bulletin boards and community web portal.  We shall see. It seems like everywhere you go these days, there are help wanted signs posted. I would much prefer to have a few housecleaning jobs than to work in retail.

I finally dug out my collection of hand blown glass balls and found a way to display them in my living room window.  Check it out. It feels good to be reconnected.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Sunday, November 3, 2019, MN

Here I am writing about another week that has just flown by - not that I am so busy, it’s just that time moves so quickly these days.  

After checking my mail frequently, my CenturyLink modem showed up on Thursday, just before I had to leave to see the grandkid’s Halloween costumes. The service wasn’t scheduled to start until 5pm, so that wasn’t a real big deal.  There was quite a bit of excitement at the house - Granny and Poppa were there and they were trying to get the kids to eat something healthy before layering up for trick or treating - it is only 32 degrees out there.  Once in costume, they met up at a neighbor’s house, then the kids paraded through the nearby alley and then the door to door trick or treating commenced. The Grandparents stayed back and passed out candy at the house. 


When I got back home, I proceeded to get my internet hooked up and all went well with that. It wasn’t long and most of my devices were connected - with a nice, fast speed. I’m good now.

Around 2:15am on Friday morning, I woke to the sound of six gunshots going off - it sounded like it was right nearby and it was. I lay there waiting for the sound of emergency vehicles and just a few minutes later, the police and fire department were there. Just below my apartment, the police had the entry to the building across from me taped off and there were cop cars and police everywhere.  The news the next morning informed me that a man driving a black SUV was shot in the head as he pulled into the parking lot and the car continued to roll all through the lot and came to rest next to one of the patios at Graham Place. The female passenger in the car was shot in the leg and was taken to the hospital. They were not residents of this complex and the police feel that it was not a random shooting. The police knocked on my door later that afternoon to see if I heard or saw anything that could help with the investigation.  Highland Park Shooting

I was supposed to meet a former co-worker for lunch again this week, but she is having some construction projects done at her home and canceled. Maybe next week... 

I went to a couple of estate sales this weekend, bought and exchanged 2 hand-held shower heads (neither of them made enough of a difference), so why change? I also rearranged the living room to try to cut down on the glare of the window on the TV and I think I finally got the cozy feeling that I’ve been wanting.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019, MN

It was more of the same on Friday and Saturday, when it comes to getting internet. More promises were made by various people at Upstream and Access Media 3 (installers) followed by no shows. I have now spent 3.5 days at my apartment waiting for someone to show up, so I will call on Monday to request a refund if the $75 that I already paid them and I contacted CenturyLink to go with their service - it costs twice as much but will hopefully be more reliable. 

I picked Norah up yesterday afternoon for a sleepover and we had a really nice time. We made some No-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars, had her favorite cheesy pasta for dinner, she had a shower, played games and read stories, took Frisco for his nightly walk, and turned it early.  This morning, we walked Frisco first thing and then had breakfast, played dominos and then went for a walk through the woods and along the river at Crosby Farm Park. I will post photos if I ever get internet again. 

She wanted to go back home, so that’s what we did. Ben was in the middle of making chili for dinner and Norah went straight up to her room for a nap. Later on when she got up, she had a fever of 103 - didn’t show any signs of being ill before that, so it must have come on quickly or perhaps that is why she wanted to go home right away.

The chili was yummy and we had the oatmeal bars for desert and then I headed back home. It was a good and busy weekend.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019, MN

The focus here over the last 2 days was in getting my internet hooked up. When I called to make the original arrangements, it was going to be a wait of 10 days before a technician could get here.  Had the previous tenant in this apartment had internet service, it could have been set up remotely but since she didn’t, a technician was necessary and the cost was $45 more than a remote install.  

An appointment was scheduled for the 9am to 1pm window.  When nobody showed up by 1pm, I called to check and learned that I was on the schedule, they were a little late.  By 6pm, I was convinced of a no-show, called and a follow-up was underway. A technical called a while later and assured me that someone would be here in the morning.  

This morning, a technician called around 9:30 to say he would be here by 11. That was a good thing, since I had an appointment at Costco for new tires at 2pm. Eleven came and no-show, 12:00 came and no-show, and 1:00 came and no-show. This sucks!  I got through to the call center and expressed my disappointment and asked for supervisor intervention and told them they have one more opportunity - 3 strikes, they are out. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

My Costco tire install went well and their customer service more than made up for my earlier experience with Upstream internet.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, MN

A week and a half is a long break from updates and now to remember back to the highlights is a challenge.

On Friday, the 11th I packed a bag and went to have a sleepover with Ben and the girls. Jill went to visit her Grandma in Iowa and Saturday’s calendar of events for the girls had some overlaps with soccer, play dates, and gymnastics. Norah wasn’t feel well and threw up several times (Ben was feeling like she had somehow eaten gluten, as she is quite sensitive) so we weren’t sure how she would be the next day. We had the usual relaxing pizza and movie night - a slow pace because the kids are glued to the TV and Ben and I could have conversation and enjoy a beer.

We woke up in the morning to snow covered rooftops and a dusting on plants and bushes, so soccer was the first cancellation, then Norah’s invitation with a friend, followed by a kindergarten gathering in the park. So, gymnastics was it - way more manageable than the original plan.

Last week, the new loveseat that I ordered from Amazon arrived in a huge box delivered by UPS. It was hard to imagine a large piece of furniture fitting in that box. I proceeded to read the directions and assemble and it all came together in about 2 hours - there were no missing parts and the directions were clear. I’m impressed, although the quality isn’t top notch, it will be just fine for me. I arranged and rearranged many times before settling in.

The REALLY BIG highlight of last week was when I went to Costco to get new tires. The Michelin’s that I have now were warrantied for 90,000 miles and I have less than 40,000 on them, so they gave me a mileage warranty credit. The cost of the tires was $679 minus a mileage credit of $293, minus a Michelin credit of $110 (for a set of 4 tires), minus the cost of installation (warranty work), equaling $294 cost to me. I was shocked but certainly pleased that Michelin stands by their warranty and I will have good, safe tires for driving on wintry roads.

From there, I went to Ikea to shop for a new duvet cover for my bed and some accessories to go with it.  I also did some Facebook Marketplace shopping a picked up a couple of bar stools ($25) and bookshelves ($35), so the place is filling up and it is time to stop bringing in stuff - I have most everything that I need now.

I was able to get outdoors and go for some nice walks in both directions along the Mississippi River, the walking and biking path is about 3 blocks from where I live.  We also went to Hidden Falls Regional Park on Sunday for a nice walk. We never did see the falls, as the trail to them is closed due to high water.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Friday, October 11, 2019, MN

I just got back from Frisco’s potty walk and it is 37 degrees with snow flurries in the air. It’s the beginning of things to come - for the next 6 months. I think I’m prepared but we shall see in a while - either way I will suck it up and keep on keeping on.

The last week has involved getting more settled, hanging a few pictures, ordering a loveseat for delivery next week. I am now in the process of getting my WIFI setup - just waiting for a call back.

We celebrated Camille and Norah’s 6th birthday on Sunday - first they had a party with friends at an art venue. Jill was a bit upset as the person in charge was late and she was waiting on a busy street with 10 little rambunctious girls and only her and Ben to keep them corralled. When she did show up, she was unprepared and unorganized and the face painter managed to cover their faces with ghouls characters rather than the pretty images you see more often.

I have managed to do a Walk Away the Pounds workout 3 days this week and since the weather was really nice, I got some good walks in - I found a great walking path along the Mississippi River that is easy to get to and a nice walk along a quiet street - only sharing the path with other walkers and bicyclists.  This is at the Two River overlook where the Minnesota River becomes part of the Mississippi River.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019, MN

What a week! I helped the family with projects over the weekend, taking Charlotte to gymnastics on Saturday and doing some shopping with her.  Sunday was a hang around the house day for all of us, playing with the kids and trying to keep them entertained. Jill made her Grandma Quinn’s Mulligan Stew and an Apple Crumble for dessert and enough of both to share with a neighbor who recently had surgery (much appreciated I am sure).

On Monday I had an appointment to pay my rent and security deposit and to get the keys to my new apartment.  They had just finished painting and installing the new carpet and it was scheduled for a final cleaning before I was to move in the next day.

Tuesday went just as planned. Dustin and AJ showed up on time, the truck was ready and they efficiently and timely got it loaded up.  Exactly three hours later, everything was in my apartment and I paid them and sent them on their way, then took the truck back to Cubesmart. I was surprised when filling it up with gas and the pump didn’t stop - I stopped pumping at $15. I guess the previous person neglected to fill it up, so they refunded me $5. I settled up (I owed them for 4 days rent) and was on my way back to Ben’s to get Frisco. I picked up a Papa Murphy's pizza on the way home and got started with unpacking and assembling my bed - first things first. 

And the last three days have involved unpacking and getting settled.  I am really happy with the space, have felt comfortable walking around the complex, and I’m ok with my view - a nice tree covered hillside off to the North, but mostly I see the fourth floor of the apartment across from me and above that, the sky - mostly cloudy the last few days.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019, MN

This week has been a flurry of activity. Jill is really trying hard to get the kids into a routine and to be responsible for getting themselves ready for school and they are really catching on although they need lots of reminders now, sometimes I hear the parents say the same thing 5 or 6 times. I just kind of stay in the background and let it all happen. I have been walking them to the bus stop and meeting them after school.

In between, I’ve been trying to tie up loose ends for my upcoming move; address changes, getting renters insurance, follow ups with movers, truck rental, getting keys, etc.  I was unable to reach anybody at Cubesmart Storage by phone to confirm the use of their truck that I had reserved, so I drove over there yesterday. Their records showed the truck available in the afternoon and I had specifically reserved it for the morning and confirmed that in a phone call a couple of weeks ago. Grrrr! They said they would contact the am person to see if their schedule was flexible but when I didn’t hear back from them by this afternoon and I wasn’t able to reach them by phone - again - I drove there again. While I was there, they called the am person who said they would be willing to switch to the afternoon - so I now have the truck reserved for the am and can stick to my original plan. The movers are lined up and all is set - for now.

Today was Dragon Dash at the girls’ school - an annual fund raiser for the school.  Two tracks were set up on the playground, a lot of cheering, stretching, the National Anthem was sung, and encouragement given and they were off. First, we watched Charlotte’s class of 2nd graders run at least 35 laps and we later learned that they exceeded their goals. She is on the right.

When they finished, the kindergarteners came out, were cheered on and were off and running - they too exceeded their goals. It was so cute when Norah’s class came out, she spotted Camille in the line with her class and they reached out to high five each other. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Sunday, September 22, 2019, WI, MN

It was raining when we got up this morning, so we had to wait for it to slow down before getting the dogs out for their walk. I loaded up my car and followed Pat and Rog to the Hitching Post in Portage for breakfast. We said our goodbyes and I headed down the road to Ben’s house in Minneapolis.

The drive was uneventful with a bit of light rain but it wasn’t too bad. I stopped several times and then took a fairly long break in St. Charles, MN, just west of La Crosse. I was getting so sleepy that I just had to pull over and rest for a bit.  I found a great little city park that just happened to be next to a dog park.  I rested my eyes and then let Frisco run around a bit, we walked a bit, then I was ready to hit the road again.

It was great to see the family again and we had another great dinner together. The conversation at the dinner table updated me on the latest family news and how school is going for the girls. Everyone pitched in to clean up the dinner dishes and then we had cookies and milk for dessert. I’m impressed with the skills they have all learned since I saw them last - setting the table, pouring the water, serving themselves, taking part in the conversation, and then the cleanup.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019, WI

I got up early (5:30) Thursday morning to get a good hug and to say goodbye to Pat before he left for work, then went back to bed for a while. Once I did get up, I walked with Dawn, had some coffee, and packed the car for my trip to Pat and Roger’s house in Montello, then said goodbye to Tracey. I stopped at Woodmans to stock up on Wisconsin beer and just couldn’t resist buying a bottle of Dripping Springs Vodka - an Austin, TX brand that I discovered when wintering in Rockport and Port Aransas.

Pat and I took a nice walk with the dogs, then we had cocktails on the porch and then a pork chop, red potatoes and salad dinner. 

Friday was hanging out, walks with the dogs, and then meeting some former coworkers of mine, Beth and Bill, at the Owl’s Nest. It turned out that Bill and Roger knew each other and had plenty to talk about. The fish fry and Old Fashioneds were excellent, as usual and the company was great. It had probably been at least 8 years since we had seen each other.

Today was busy, as the only time that my cousin Jo had available to connect was at 11:00 and we met at Neil’s Wine House in Portage - a great old Victorian house that had been converted to a restaurant with a huge deck surrounding 2 sides of the building. We sat outside and had some lunch and a nice catchup conversation with Jo.

Later in the afternoon, we went to the River’s Edge in Montello and met up with another coworker of mine, Connie and her husband Bill who had moved to Florida and then recently back to Wisconsin since I had last seen them at Mike’s Memorial Party in July of 2013. Old friends are so easy to talk to, laugh with, and to enjoy each other’s company. It was great seeing them again.

Back home, we had another great dinner of beef roast, carrots, and salad. We walked the dogs and then played 4 rounds of Farkle.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019, WI

I’ve been winding down my visits these last few days here at Pat’s. After walking with Dawn yesterday morning, I saw Fran and we had a nice chat. I had told Rita that I would check in on her friend Sharon at Skaalen Home but it was lunch time when I left Fran and that would not be a good time to see Sharon either. 

Dawn and I saw this great spider web on our walk.

I drove to Walmart in Monona to see if I could get an oil change but they were short staffed and it would be a 3-hour wait before I could get in. So I headed back to Stoughton and got an oil change at Valvoline. With the $15 coupon I found, it only cost $10 more than Walmart.

I then stopped to visit Sharon for a little while and texted Rita to let her know that I was remembered and she looked good. Rita sometimes has difficulty reaching her so I’m glad that I could help her out.

This morning, Dawn, Jonnie, and I had breakfast together at Coffee Cup, then we headed out to check on the progress of her little house (16x28’ plus the 8x28’) porch. Her sons call it the Chicken Coop because an old hen is going to be living there. They are moving right along - the roof is on and a door and windows are installed. 

I just couldn’t resist taking this photo of Kowroo, he’s such a good looking guy with a sweet personality.

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.