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.