Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I got my annual flu shot yesterday and then picked up some sandwiches and had lunch followed by a nice walk with Ben. We don’t get much time to spend one on one and it was so nice. The girls are settled into their new school routine and are loving it - the parents are also loving that they can work from home without interruption. Home schooling is done on Fridays.

Walking is always an enjoyable experience for Tom and I and we like to see different trails every now and then. There are so many options around here and we take advantage of them. Today, we walked along Godfrey Parkway that connects with Minnehaha Parkway, on the west side of the river.  We followed a path that intersected with the main trail and it led us through a forest along the river and a couple of steep gorges. We learned that it is the oldest trail in Minneapolis’ park system. It was beautiful and we both really enjoyed this walk.

It’s no wonder that Minneapolis and St Paul parks are in the nation’s top three as rated by America’s Trust For Public Land. Washington DC falls in between.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

It has been another week of getting out for walks, doing a bit of shopping, watching Longmire and Schitts Creek on Netflix, and preparing for our upcoming move. The apartment is starting to show it with boxes staged here and there and everywhere. Last Sunday, I replied to a post on Facebook Marketplace and picked up about 15 moving boxes and packing materials. A good find - the ultimate recycling - I will do the same when I am finished with them.

It has been a cool, cloudy, and sometimes rainy week. Nighttime temps have dropped as low as 42 degrees and daytime temps have been in the low 60s. There is definitely a feeling of fall in the air.

Tuesday was the first day of school for the grandkids - they started at a new school for this year - a public charter school that is offering both in-person and virtual classes. Classroom sizes are small - 14 in Norah and Camille’s class and only 12 in Charlotte’s. They have adjusted well and seem to like everything about it. Hopefully, after there are some solutions to this COVID-19 thing, they can get back to their regular public schools in their district.

Yesterday, we met up with Pat and Roger at Great River Bluffs State Park just south of Winona, MN. We had each picked up some lunch at KFC and sat at a picnic table, ate our lunch and caught up on the news before heading out to walk some of the trails. Other than the two trails that went to a North and South overlook, they were poorly marked and we had trouble finding one of the loop trails. Eventually, we stumbled on a nice trail and had a good walk and talk. It was a cool and cloudy day but we still had a good time hanging out together, as always. I sure do miss being around Patty, but then 2020 has been the year for NOT being around friends. It has been the year for NOT doing a lot of things - especially being around friends and family in person.

We watched the girls this afternoon so Ben and Jill could get away by themselves for a few hours. We fixed tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and got some resistance because the sandwiches weren’t quite like what they are used to - we were generous with the cheese and it dripped over the edges of the bread. They resolved to eat it anyway just so they would get to have dessert.

We took a walk to the Lake Harriet Upper school campus so they could play on the playground a bit before it got dark out. Back at home, we had root beer floats, tuned in a movie, and all was quiet in the house - except for the crunching sounds made by popcorn until Ben and Jill got back home. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

Charlotte’s 9th birthday was on Wednesday and they had planned to celebrate by taking her and 2 friends boating and swimming and then a family gathering in the evening. Unfortunately, plans had to be canceled because Norah came down with a cough on Tuesday and had to be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined until the results were in - she was NEGATIVE on Thursday.

I took Charlotte shopping to choose her birthday gift on Monday and she only wanted to go to Target and get accessories for her American Girl dolls - she chose a dog house for her toy Corgi and a pet parrot in a cage. She was not interested in shopping for shoes or clothing at all. We also stopped at the Galaxy Drive-in for lunch where our food was delivered to the car and the tray connected to the window on the drivers side. 

The family celebrated on their own on Wednesday but shared some great pictures with me.

Thursday was my day to hang out with Camille, so we took a long walk to the gas station so she could choose a treat - life savers. It was fun.

Tom and I went on another state park adventure today - to Minneopa State Park near Mankato. The park was established in 1905 and is the 3rd oldest in the state and has some nice waterfalls, a herd of bison, a historic windmill, a campground, and some nice trails.  We first walked to see the waterfalls and were quite impressed with the fast moving water rushing over the rocks - the upper falls is about a 10 food drop and the lower falls are narrower and drop 40 feet.

We then drove through the bison range and the herd was all bedded down and we didn’t get a good view.  On the way back, a few had started to move around, so I was able to get a decent photo.

The next stop was the historic Seppman Windmill, an impressive old stone structure.

Lastly, we walked the Minnesota River Bluff Trail for about 2 miles and really started to poop out by the end.

A stop at Rounder’s Pub and Grill in downtown Mankato provided out dinner and a beer so we had energy to get back home, about an hour and a half drive.

I saw these 2 great political yard signs this week:

Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

We had a great afternoon biking the Brown’s Creek State Trail and the Loop Trail out of Stillwater. The best thing about it was the rented E-bikes from Mike’s Rentals:

Not only did these bikes have continuous assist while pedaling, they had different levels of assist for hills and they also had a pedal to help you off to a quick start after a stop, before you could catch up with the pedaling. We chose a great day, as last night’s rains cooled things down a bit.  

This is a kaleidoscope sculpture along the Brown’s Creek Trail.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Another week has past and I haven’t written a thing. The only highlight was a family gathering to celebrate Jill’s birthday with cake and ice cream at their house on Thursday. We had a nice chat with Lois and Dennis too.

I had follow-up appointments with the dermatologist and ophthalmologist. The stitches on my forehead were removed and I received the first injections of steroid along the hairline that will, hopefully, prevent any spread of the hair loss. I will need to see a dermatologist in Arizona for quarterly injections.  I had a good checkup with Dr Sanderson, got a new prescription for a closeup correction, and headed straight to Costco to order glasses.  The process of taking glasses off and on is driving me nuts.

The Democratic Convention was held this week and Joe Biden Is the nominee for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President. They will be getting my vote.

Sunday was Mike’s 73rd birthday and I had conversations with both of my sons, on the phone for an hour and 45 minutes with Pat, much of it about the upcoming elections. Unconsciously, I am overcome with sadness and grief on these days and end up feeling sluggish and moving around the house.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I did no writing over the weekend, but I do have a Sunday event to write about.  We decided to do some exploring, so we headed for Taylor’s Falls and Interstate State Park to explore. The first indication that this might not be a good idea came when we pulled into the parking lot near the Visitor’s Center and saw the “Park Full” sign posted.  This lot gives you access to the Pothole Trail which was our destination. We drove back about a mile to the parking lot where we could access the River Trail that would get us to the Pothole Trail. I wouldn’t say that the trail was crowded, but we did have to move to the side many times to let others go by.  We probably should have opted to return on a different day to visit but since we were there, we took the rough, rocky, and hilly hike along the St Croix River, stopping at a few scenic overlooks. We didn’t make it to the Pothole Trail, as we are not accustomed to this type of hiking lately - most of our walks are on flat ground. It kind of felt like we were hiking back in Arizona.

I just had to post this one of Frisco, he was focused on what Tom had to say to him.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thursday, August 13, 2020

I had a follow-up appointment with the dermatologist regarding the Alopecia on my forehead and it was a disappointing one. The doctor felt like the appearance had changed and he didn’t want to go ahead with his original treatment plan (steroid injections) without seeing what is happening under the skin, so he took a biopsy and will then determine the treatment plan.  I now have a large scab and 2 stitches in addition to a bald spot on my forehead.

Yesterday, I got a call from Patrick with bad news. Tracey’s brother, Guy, was found dead in his apartment, probably from liver failure due to alcohol poisoning. He is another example of a great guy who struggled his entire adult life with alcoholism.  He and Tracey were very close and this is going to be real tough on her. My heart goes out to the family.

Guy Johnson unexpectedly passed away at the age of 49. He is survived by his parents William D.L Johnson and Donna Johnson (Currie), his sister Tracey Johnson, Pat Bridge and nephew Rhys Whitehead, his sister Dana Stadler (Johnson), brother in law Justin Stadler, nephew Gavin Stadler and niece Ava Stadler. Guy was very close with his aunt's Carolyn Culp and Diane Wiggen. Guy loved his large extended family and lifelong friends.
  Guy was a curious child who was high energy and full of life. He loved tinker toys and taking things apart to see how they worked. He was artistically talented and was chosen as one of ten kids from his entire elementary school to work on a large mural that was so beautiful it was displayed in the school for a decade. 
  Guy was an active teen. Due in part to his curiosity he learned the basics of car repair from his father and kept all of his cars running throughout life. He enjoyed working with mechanical things and loved computers, video games, movies, reading, camping, swimming and bike riding. 
  As an adult Guy entered the military and served in the army. He was based in Oklahoma and excelled on the rifle range. Guy loved to travel and was able to see almost the entire US as well as some European countries. 
  Guy was quick with a joke and had an great sense of humor. He laughed easily and often. Guy was more than one thing, one interest, one interaction and will be remembered and loved for the sum of his life. He will be greatly missed as he shared so much of his life with his family and friends.
Details of a celebration of life will be posted when arrangements have been made.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Monday, August 10, 2020

Today was fun! I bought tickets for another Monday Madness Mississippi River boat ride, this time with the granddaughters. After promising their parents to be cautious about COVID protection, we were allowed. We got to their house and stocked up on snacks, they put shoes on (but wanted flip-flops and sandals), got a seat added to the van, and headed out - arriving in plenty of time to check-in and board the boat. This time, there were more people and we took two connected riverboats, one pushed by another.  They were happy to get potato chips and lemonade for a snack, were interested in walking around and checking out the boats, and standing on the upper deck in the front of the boat. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Friday, August 7, 2020

Where has another week gone? Again, we fill our days and before we know it, we’re making dinner and settling in for the night. We continue to get decent walks in every day, taking different routes in order to not get bored.

I went to Ben’s Wednesday afternoon and hung up with girls for a while. They had already been on an outing with Ben so we just played with Zootopia characters and Barbies. I’m going to pack as many hangouts in as possible for the next two months.

I also learned that my cousin Jonnie’s granddaughter has had a tragic end to her life when I saw the following go fund me account on Facebook:

At age 23 Jaidyn Teubert dealt with personal struggles for years but for the last 18 months she had worked hard to straighten her life out and we were all so proud of her. She was clean, had a good job, her handsome son Alex and baby Greyson due in 3 months. On Sunday August 2nd she had a cardiac episode that shocked us all. Baby Greyson died from the initial episode. Jaidyn was ambulanced to Stoughton hospital and then taken by med flight to Madison where she remained in a coma. The doctors in Madison stated that she had at least 3 cardiac episodes that they could tell and verified that she was still CLEAN. On August 4th the doctors gave the devastating news that Jaidyn could not breathe on her own. Her parents (Troy & Shellie) went up to say their goodbye's to her.  They have not only lost a grandson they didn't get to meet but also their daughter. I set this up to help them pay for the medical/funeral expenses for Jaidyn and baby Greyson and to also be able to set up an account for Alexavier, Jaidyn's 6 year old son.

I’ve been in touch with Jonnie and her family is struggling with this reality. Dang, it is so sad.

Tom and I took a walk along the trail that is bordered by Mill Street and the Mississippi River near downtown St Paul. We were fortunate to be able to watch the Mary Kay Cavarra Barge ship reposition it’s place on the river.

We walked under the High Bridge and the Wabash Street Bridge on our 2.5 mile walk, including a stretch where there were several metal bird sculptures that were pretty cool.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Saturday, August 1, 2020

I had my post-op checkup yesterday morning, drove there myself because I was feeling confident that my vision was good. Tom patiently rode along. At one point, a white SUV cut in front of me and I was amazed at how bright the white actually was. I got a good response from the doctor and thanked him - he replied that it was fun for him - he felt so good when he was able to help people and improve their vision. 

Today was a great day. We met up with Ben and his girls (Jill had other things going on) at Hidden Falls Park and we hiked the trail along the river and past the Eagle’s nest, through the woods, then to the falls where the girls climbed around on the rocks and cooled down in the rocky ravine. After that, we setup chairs and the hammock and hung out until about 3:00. The girls had fun in the hammock, we had snacks, and played a few games. It was great to see them after 6-weeks.

Funny how hard it is to get both of these girls to look at me at the same time.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Well, today was the day for cataract surgery on my right eye and all went well. I came home and slept for 2.5 hours and woke up feeling good - no irritation in the eye, although it is still quite dilated. We just got back from a walk and my vision was quite good with only sunglasses and it should improve as the days go by.  We saw this momma turkey and her six little ones in a nearby field.

I was a bit concerned about Frisco yesterday. After clipping his nails and giving him a bath, all was well until I invited him up on the bed for a nap. He seemed a bit anxious, going from side to side and tried to jump up twice and couldn’t make it - so I picked him up and put him on the bed. I was petting him and noticed that he was trembling and his entire body was shaking - it was very visible and I could feel him shaking. He didn’t appear to be uncomfortable but he kept looking at me. It went on for what seemed like a long time, but was maybe only 2-3 minutes. I then asked if he wanted a treat and he leaped off the bed and ran into the kitchen, so I gave him a treat and then he bounded back onto the bed like nothing happened.  I’m thinking it was a seizure of some sort and I will be keeping close tabs on him to see if it happens again. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Sunday, July 27, 2020

We sure picked a hot weekend to social distance in Pat’s back yard, but we were able to find shady spots with a slight breeze blowing and were able to get some good visits in. We spent a few hours together early in the day, then went back to the hotel for naps, then had dinner and visited for a few hours in the evening. It was wonderful to have a face to face visit again. Unfortunately, our cameras never came out.

This afternoon, we went for a social distanced visit to see Jonnie’s completed small house. It is so cute and the 550 square feet of living space is plenty for her.

We also managed to get walks in the morning and evening. Tonight, it was during a light rain and the sun peeked out of the clouds and gave us a beautiful rainbow in the eastern sky. My pics didn’t turn out real good.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020

We dropped Frisco off at Lucky Dog Pet Resort this morning and headed to Stoughton for a much needed visit with Patrick - it’s been since last September that we have seen each other.  The drive was uneventful and we made a few stops to kill some time before meeting up with Pat and Roger at Cimaroli’s in Portage for fish fry, Old Fashioneds and some much needed conversation with great friends. We sat on the patio and it was pretty warm out there but the umbrella over the table kept us in the shade for most of the time. There wasn’t a lot of social distancing going on in the bar and dining room, so I felt glad that we chose the patio. The weather is supposed to be in the low 90s this weekend - we picked a good one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

My eye is healing and getting better every day. My vision sucks with one good and one bad eye and corrections in my glasses that don’t work with the good eye. I picked up a pair of cheap sunglasses and some readers (a little too strong), so I am now alternating between 3 different pairs of glasses. It won’t be long and I will be celebrating improved vision and a prescription that works for reading.

We decided that we were due for a road trip and headed to New Ulm today, a small quaint town of German heritage about 100 miles west of St Paul.  

Our first stop was Schell’s Brewery, founded in 1860 by August Schell. It is the second oldest family-owned brewery in America and the oldest one in Minnesota. We sampled a flight of four beers at the Rathskeller patio and walked through the gardens that surround the family’s mansion. All of the buildings are closed except the small museum and gift shop.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday, July 17, 2020

I had my cataract surgery on my left eye yesterday morning and all went well. It was a pretty painless procedure with a few minor discomforts. We took a long nap when we got back home, as the night before was pretty restless for both of us. My follow-up appointment is late this morning, so we shall see how the experts feel that it went.

Another first for me this week was a COVID-19 test on Tuesday, prior to having the eye surgery. That was painless too - the nurse gave me a vial of saline solution to swish around in my mouth while she timed me, then I gargled it while she timed me, then I spit that into a tube. She then swabbed my nose and out that in the same tube and told me I was free to leave and that no news was good news. I never heard anything back, so I am free of the dreaded virus.

Speaking of the dreaded virus - the numbers keep climbing and beating all previous records. Many states are shutting down public options that were recently opened up and many are also mandating the wearing of masks. Of course, there are some states and some individuals that absolutely feel that it is their right to choose and refuse. My only hope is that they are the ones that get it but unfortunately, they will be spreading it like wildfire.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020.

Tom booked seats for us for a Monday Madness boat ride on the Anson Northrup Riverboat along the Mississippi River today. We boarded the boat and found that they were practicing social distancing with tables and seats spread a safe distance apart. Most of the tables had people at them, but we still felt comfortable with the number of folks on the boat.  Our ride was very relaxing and scenic with some interesting tidbits of history along the way. It lasted about 90 minutes and was quite enjoyable. 


We took a different route on our walk tonight and went through a nearby apartment complex called Sibley Manor. As we were walking along, a couple of kids approached us and wanted to pet Frisco but it seemed like they were being cautioned by their mothers. When I said it was ok for them to meet Frisco, about 10 kids approached and took turns petting him. He was in heaven and I think he really did some good things for the kids too. He kind of pranced when he walked away. We might just have to go back there occasionally since they all enjoyed it so much.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Friday, July 10, 2020

The news in our country is so negative and depressing. The Coronavirus is still ravaging and the daily cases have topped at a record breaking 59-60,000 per day, with 136,000 deaths. The President is pushing to open schools everywhere and is saying he will block funding if they don’t. Minnesota is doing well with leveling off and most counties and cities are now requiring masks in every public building.

As far as our ridiculous President, a new tell-all book written by his niece has just been released and he tried to block it but didn’t succeed. He has been ordered to release his financial information (that has only taken most of his term), he commuted the sentence of one of his cronies, Roger Stone from going to prison - he was convicted of lying to Congress about interference in the 2016 election.

Tom and I continue our search for apartments and may have found just the one today - The 
Henderson Senior Apartments in Shakopee, although there is a list and no apartments are available. We will have to make some accommodating arrangements in the meantime - not sure if that will be extending my current lease, going month-to-month, or just packing my stuff into storage again until something opens up. The prices of apartments have increased by over $100 in the last year. I just got my increase notice from River Crossing and the rent is up $55 and garage up $15. It is ridiculous for those of us on fixed incomes.

Yesterday, I had my pre-op appointment with my doctor, in preparation for my cataract surgery. I also had blood work done for my upcoming annual checkup and a hygiene appointment at the dentist. Its seems like I’m going to the doctor a lot lately. I am kind of dreading the COVID test and surgery next week.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The hot days lately (low 90s with humidity) have shortened our daily walks although we still get close to 3 miles in each day. We didn’t do much on 4th of July, took Frisco for an early walk to avoid fireworks, then Tom and I walked along the river in hopes of seeing fireworks on the horizon. We got to chatting with a guy and walked with hm for quite a while. He was a Vietnam Vet, so we thanked him for his service and that opened the door and he told us of his experiences, his wife’s bad health and how he wouldn’t be able to care for her much longer, and how his family is protecting them from COVID. I guess he really needed to talk and we let him. We stood at the overlook and watched fireworks in the distance and got a good look at the full moon. There was an eclipse of the moon tonight too, but we didn’t wait around to see it.  I was expecting there to be many more people with the same idea, but there were only a few.  

My photos didn’t turn out so great, but here they are anyway.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Friday, July 3, 2020

Where did this week go? Our only walk that took us out of the neighborhood was the far eastern section of the trail at Crosby Farm Park. We have gotten little walking in the last 2 days as the temps have been in the 90s with pretty high humidity.

Today, I got another haircut, this time at Ulta Beauty in Eagan.  It had gotten so long that I couldn’t wait for my next appointment that would have to be canceled anyway since I am having my cataract surgery that day. 

The COVID-19 cases have exploded in the US since things started to open a few weeks ago. My Granddaughters went to horse camp last week, so I have not been near them all week - who knows if they had been exposed. Some states have had daily increases of 5,000+ cases.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Saturday, June 27, 2020

I got a text from Rita this morning reminding me that Mom would be 98 years old today and the sad thing is that she has been gone for 56 of them. I don’t remember much about her but I can’t help but think that my sisters and I have some of her qualities. If that is so, she was a good gal. Happpy Birthday, Ruth Marion Peckham Ursino!

I had an appointment with an eye surgeon on Thursday to determine if my cataracts should be removed. He felt that my vision would improve greatly by having the surgery, so I got that all scheduled to have the left eye done on July 18 and the right eye done on July 30. Once that all heals, I will schedule another appointment to have my eyelids tucked, as they are also affecting my vision.

Tom and I have had a busy week that included some shopping, some housekeeping, lots of walks, and some projects.  The big project was getting the seats on two of my antique dining chairs reinforced. We put our heads together and came up with a plan that wouldn’t take away from the appearance or integrity of the chairs - the seats are embossed leather and were sagging in the middle because of the wood weakening and breaking.  At Home Depot, we found all of the materials that we needed at a price of less than $12, we borrowed a drill from Ben and a saw from his neighbor, Kevin and tackled the project on Friday. They turned out so nice and will be around for another 100 years.



We made fathead pizza for dinner, a keto crust made from mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, almond flour, and an egg. It was crispy and tasty!

We’re always looking for new places to walk and explore, so today, we drove to Fort Snelling State Park (about 5 miles away) and hiked the trail around Pike Island that is in between the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. The trail was nice and shaded and there weren’t a lot of other people around. The only downside was the sound of planes flying overhead from the nearby MSP airport.  The real plus is that we haven’t had a problem with bugs at all this summer - not even a mosquito to swat. Knock on wood. I’m not complaining one bit.

I love the gnarly knots on this tree.