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.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday, June 22, 2020

Over breakfast this morning, we decided to take a drive and to access a trail that we haven’t walked before. There are so many to choose from. We learned that the Gateway Trail goes for 18 miles from North St Paul to a county park north of Stillwater and the Browns Creek Trail meets up with it. We set off for the Browns Creek Trail but the directions we got from another hiker led us to the Gateway Trail which we walked for 1.5 miles, turned around and hiked back. Again, Frisco was a trooper. I spied a turtle on the trail and he explored it for a bit, then Tom moved it to safer grounds. We also saw a deer run across the trail and I remembered that when you see one, there are probably others with it. Sure enough there were two others waiting to get across the trail but we were in their way. Just as the doe was approaching the trail, Frisco leaped and barked, sending them both back to hiding.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Yesterday was a busy day for us, with lots of activity. We got two miles of walking in the morning. When we got back, I headed to North St Paul to an estate sale. If I were into sewing quilts, it would have been a motherload because there were boxes full of fabrics and notions.  I walked away with nothing but a good experience of scrounging through other people’s stuff.

On my way home, I got a call from Ben who wanted to bring the girls over to go for a walk along the River with us. They enjoyed exploring the shoreline, skipping stone, climbing trees, swinging from vines, and they even found baby toads. This picture was taken in front of a small cave on the ridge above the trail.

Tom and I made steak fajitas for dinner and they were really tasty. 

Today has been rainy, so we have been pretty grounded all day. When we did go out for a walk, it was lightly raining and turned heavier, so we went back inside. Shortly after, there was a downpour that could be heard on the roof.

A few weeks ago when I was looking for projects to do, Jill told me that the girls needed aprons as they had outgrown theirs. I searched for fabric on JoAnn Fabric and all of the cool designs that I picked out were out of stock or you had to buy multiples of two or more yards.  The thought came home in the middle of the night, that the vintage tablecloths that I had might make cute aprons. So I found a pattern on Pinterest and this is the result of my efforts.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020

Yesterday started with breakfast at the Highland Grill at the corner of Cleveland Ave and Ford Parkway. We chose a picnic table on the sidewalk and ate our breakfast as traffic went by. We were just finishing when we felt a few drops of rain, hurried to get under cover, paid our bill and headed for the car - just as the rain came to an end. I chose a delicious breakfast that I had never had before - a sweet potato hash with sausage. It had sweet potato, carmelized onion, kale, sweet red pepper, and spicy sausage, topped with an egg and some yummy guacamole. There was enough that I had the leftovers for dinner and a little bit for breakfast this morning.

We then went to the Walmart in Bloomington to pick up a few things. Tom had read that they had a liquor store, but there was none. Again, it was a disappointing store with a DIY cart sanitation system, few people wearing masks, filthy checkout aisles, and a slow, unfriendly checkout person and filthy floors.  The last time we went to a Walmart - in Inver Grove Heights, we were disappointed to learn they didn’t have a produce or meat department - what? Zoning? COVID? I don’t have a clue.

This morning, we decided to do something a bit different for our walk and we headed across the river to the historic sites at Mendota for a self-guided walking tour. There is a series of historic buildings just west of MN-13 in the little town with a population of 128. We saw the Sibley House, a limestone building that was headquarters for a fur trade company and built in 1838, the Cold House (storage for furs), and the Wash House (also a summer kitchen). It is currently the caretaker’s house.

Sibley House

Cold House

The Jean Baptiste Faribault house was the home of Mr.Faribault, a fur trader.

A short distance from those buildings, we came upon the old railroad bridge. The road under the bridge led to the river and what was once the Fort Snelling ferry.

This was an interesting looking log along the path by the river.

According to the map that we had, there were a few other historic sites along the Main Street, and some were just that - a site that no longer has a building on it, or the building has been replaced.  We did find the original jail building still in tact, built in 1915.

We headed back to the car and drove up the hill when I spotted another historic marker, so followed the sign that led to St. Peter’s Church - a beautiful sandstone building that was built in 1853, it is the oldest continuously operated church in Minnesota.  In the back of the church was a quiet, serene garden.

While at the church, we got to talking with a gal who recommended that we go see the Acacia Park 
Cemetery and the Native American memorial on Pilot Knob (the location of the 1815 Treaty of Mendota) and was also a major hilltop marker used for navigation along the river. The city of Minneapolis is in the distance.

Then it was nap time.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I found a cute duplex listed for rent on Craig’s List and we drove by the other day to check it out - a nice neighborhood, well kept yard and has all that we are looking for. Unfortunately, I am now thinking it might be a scam, as I have been unable to get answers to the questions that I’ve asked and it seems strange to me.  After some strange back and forth emails, and some arrangements that we couldn’t agree with, I ended the communications and have heard nothing since. Oh, well.

I spotted this pretty seed head on our walk along Shepard Road this morning,

I spent time with Camille and Norah this afternoon. My intentions were to go to the Rose and perennial gardens near Lake Harriet, with a stop at the beach for a cool down there and back. The girls rode their scooters and were good about following the rules - go ahead to the next bench and wait for me.  When we got to the beach, it was not crowded (still trying to social distance as much as possible), so I let them swim and we ended up staying there the entire time. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday, June 14, 2020

We spent quite a bit of time this week driving around and looking at apartment complexes that we might be interested in. Our list of 22 possibles has now been narrowed down to 9 contenders and we will make appointments to see them in person and to learn more about them. We need to be prepared to make a decision to stay here or to move on by July 30 in order to comply with the terms of my lease. Little by little, we will get there.

We’ve also taken walks every day and mostly along the river trails - we both certainly appreciate that part of living here in St Paul.

Today, we decided to take a drive to visit waterfalls in Hastings and Cannon Falls and the only covered bridge remaining in Minnesota at Zumbrota.  In Hastings, we visited Vermillion Falls and walked along the river on paths that took us to Old Mill Park and the remains of the first flour mill in the state.  The falls were dammed from the Vermillion River and The Ardent Mills Flour Mill was built on one side of the river and is still is in operation today.

Vermillion Falls

The walls of this walk bridge are covered in locks.

From Hastings, we headed south on US-53, then MN-20 to Cannon Falls, located right in the center of town in a beautiful city park.  After viewing the falls, we walked along Main Street in hopes of finding a watering hole, but restaurants required reservations or their patios were in full sun, so we moved on.

We found this adorable bench made of driftwood along the path to the falls.

And a couples photo op.

Cannon Falls

Heading south again on US-52, through 20-miles of Minnesota farmland, we arrived in Zumbrota and found the Guilty Goose that had outdoor seating and welcomed dogs, we sat and enjoyed a beer and a beef jerky before heading to the park to see the covered bridge.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Oh Boy, it’s been another week and I haven’t written.  It’s been a good week too.

Last Sunday, after two weeks of self-quarantine, we were invited to Ben and Jill’s for dinner and I baked a Coconut Rhubarb Cake, a favorite recipe from years past. I just happened to get a mixed message and Headed for Lois and Dennis’ house, making an assumption based on previous distanced gatherings With the family. We surprised Lois and Dennis when we showed up and then realized that we had come to the wrong house.

When we got to Ben’s house, he was frustrated with a toilet install project, so Tom helped him and they got it installed.  Then, while relaxing on the patio and Jill was telling about her frustration with a chipmunk trapped in the egress window well and the dead mole down there, Tom took it in his own hands and did a rescue and cleanup - what a guy! The girls were happy to see him again and they picked on him and teased him, messed with his hair and wanted him to carry them around and play with them.

 He sure has patience with those little girls - what a guy!

We’ve gotten some good walks in this week, did some grocery shopping one day, and we drove around yesterday looking at apartment complexes in Burnsville and Apple Valley. Out of 8 places we looked at, there are now 2 at the top of our list. 

Instead of screen time with the Grand-girls today, I walked and they roller-bladed around Lake Harriet. They were proud of the fact that they did it twice yesterday - a total of 6 miles on those little legs and were willing to do it again. We stopped along the way for snacks and they climbed trees, found a tree fort and the fairy house. Other than a little bit of bickering, they were greats days I survived it!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

I had an appointment with a dermatologist on Wednesday afternoon to determine why I have lost hair in a spot along my forehead, a heart shape spot about 1/2” x 1”.  It turns out to be a rare condition called Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia where the body’s immune system reacts to an inflammation at the hair follicle and kills it, leaving a scar behind. It is most common in post menopausal women and the doctor says he only sees it once or twice a year. It progresses slowly but it has to be stopped. I don’t want to lose any more hair. Treatment is a topical steroid for 6-8 weeks, then a follow-up to see if that worked. If not, a possible biopsy and steroid injection. He also ran blood tests that were negative for Lupus. Just another freaky thing on this path through life. Hopefully the treatment works right away.

This morning, we went back to Hidden Falls, determined to find out if there actually are waterfalls. We walked a loop trail and were beginning to doubt that they existed, but found another trail that actually led to the falls. The trail into the ravine was dark from the dense canopy of trees, the ground was moist from last nights rainfall, and a small stream paralleled the path. The park dates back to 1887, when it was selected by Horace Cleveland, a nationally known landscape architect and park planner, as one of four major park sites for the City of Saint Paul. Except for the use of a portion of the land as a tree nursery, no improvement was made in Hidden Falls Park until 1936-37, when the WPA carried out an extensive improvement program on the site. Featured in the park was a small spring-fed waterfall from which the park got its name.  There was evidence of the construction done by the WPA, in the form of stone walls, a large cistern, and stone stairs leading up the stone wall to street level.

When we got back to the parking lot, we decided to follow the path along the river where we were told last Sunday that there was an Eagle’s nest there. We spotted an eagle sitting on a large branch over the trail because a man stood there looking at it.  That led to spotting the nearby, very large nest in a crook of a huge cottonwood tree. I took photos but they didn’t turn out because of the bright sky and shadows cast by the trees.  What a nice adventure we had today.

The next highlight of the day was that I got a haircut. Salons were allowed to open up at 25% capacity last week and Lynn had a cancellation, so she was able to get me in this afternoon. Every precaution was taken, as I had to be masked, sign in, have my temperature taken, and sit down in a freshly sanitized chair.  Now I wish I would have taken before and after photos since my hair had grown so long - almost to my shoulders, but it feels good to be styled shorter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The protests fueled by George Floyd’s murder by cop continue, although the violence has been avoided the last few days. The Twin Cities has seen 7000 troops brought in to help stop the destruction of property and looting. Curfews have been in place and enforced. Hundreds of people have been arrested for curfew violations. Protests are also being conducted in many cities throughout the US.

Yesterday, we went for a hike on the trails around Lebanon Hills Regional Park, a little over 2 miles. Social distancing is still observed and the people we met up with on the trails were respectful. Some of the trails have even been designated as one-way loops to reduce passing on the trails - not observed by all, imagine that.

We spent the morning driving around and looking at apartment complexes that we have researched in the past. Our list of seven for today has been reduced to 2, possible 3 for consideration. We will read reviews and talk to management to ask some questions.

And all of this goes on as our communities start to open up after being closed for the last 2 months. Tom and I went to Yankee Tavern this afternoon where they are serving on the patio only with tables 6+ feet apart, reduced capacity, and an area of the parking lot designated for dining. We had a drink and a meal and it sure felt good to be out and about and have a meal at a restaurant away from home.