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.