Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

I guess I should backtrack to Christmas Eve when I loaded up gifts and headed to Ben’s house. The girls were so excited that they were sitting in the front window waiting for me and Granny and Papa to arrive. This is the first indoor family gathering that we have had since the summer when COVID numbers came down and things were opening up. Jill made her Grandma Quinn’s Mulligan Stew and blueberry muffins for dinner and we snacked on veggies and cookies leading up to dinner. After dinner, we played a game of spoons - a card game where the cards are passed around the table quickly and the goal is to get 4 of a kind. The first person to get 4 of a kind grabs a spoon (there is 1 less than the number of players) and everyone else goes for a spoon too. The loser is the one left without a spoon.

The girls were so excited for gift opening, mostly for their own gifts but for those that they gave too.  I got my annual photo album, a nice woodland scented candle, and a snow globe that Charlotte made for me.  They were happy with their gifts from me (slippers, headbands, and a craft) and especially the bathrobes that they each got.

Christmas Day meant making my traditional Cranberry Cake with Hot Butter Sauce for dessert and also scalloped potatoes for dinner, then I headed back to Ben’s. Santa had come, and they had breakfast all cleaned up and the girls were busy playing with their toys.  We played Barbie’s and got some brine shrimp going that Charlotte could look at through her new microscope.  They got tired of playing indoors and bundled up and headed outside to try out their new hats, gators, snow goggles and sled.

We had gotten about seven inches of snow on top of rain, then ice, and high winds on the 23rd and that made for some slow travel getting to and from Ben’s house.  

I have spent the last 3 days working on a puzzle that Lois game me last spring. Once I get started, I can’t leave it alone. I finished it today.

I got a call from Rita this morning letting me know that Rene had a heart attack yesterday, after experiencing heartburn and pain in her neck and underarm over the weekend, was taken by ambulance from Warsaw to Overland Park, and had surgery this morning to put a stent in her artery that almost fully blocked.  I got a text from her earlier this afternoon to say she was ok. Dang, the news didn’t really surprise me, but I sure hope that she is okay and able to resume her normal activities.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Birthday to my sweet sister, Rita! We had a video call with my siblings last night and sang happy birthday to her then. That was as first for us and it turned out to be a fun and enjoyable conversation. The Ursino’s tend to all talk over each other, so we tried real hard to keep that from happening, but it did, of course. Still, it was so nice to ‘see’ everyone again.

Penny & Bob, Me, Randy, Mike & Rene, Rita & Denny

This has been the week for catching up with distant friends, as I heard from Rosemary, Leslie, and Arlene and also had a nice, long Google Duo chat with Tom.

I went to Ben’s on Monday afternoon and walked to the park with the girls. They were getting cabin fever being cooped up in the house and Ben and Jill were struggling to work. We had a nice time, playing tag and exploring the ice on the shore of Lake Harriet, throwing sticks and challenging each other to get the stick to slide the farthest. Camille won that one, then her hands were freezing, so we headed back home.  Charlotte tripped and fell, blaming it on Norah, and scraped her knee. Norah felt bad and let her lean on her on the way back home.

I made a batch of fudge earlier in the week to share with the family and the next morning as I was putting walnuts in my oatmeal, I realized that they were not Gluten Free, so I packed up that batch and set it down in the lobby near the mailboxes for the residents to enjoy. It wasn’t long and it had disappeared. 

The decision has finally been made that we will gather as a family, including Jill’s parents for Christmas Eve and Day dinners and gift exchanges, but will not have sleepovers as we have in the past. So I placed my last grocery order at Cub and picked it up on Tuesday night, so I will have ingredients to make scalloped potatoes and Cranberry cake for dinner on Christmas Day and another batch of fudge - this time with Gluten Free Almonds. The problem with nuts is that many are processed in plants that also process wheat products, thus there could be residue on the equipment.

Winter arrived yesterday when we went from a rainy 44 degrees to steady drops in temperature and blizzard conditions through the day. For quite a while, the snow was blowing sideways straight out of the north. I’m not sure how much snow we actually got but because of the high winds, there are a lot of bare areas. It is -2 degrees this morning and wind chills are expected to be in the -35 degree range. Frisco took care of business in no time this morning.  I feel fortunate that most of December has been mild with no snow and above average temperatures.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Today’s highlight was an invitation to meet Ben, Charlotte, and Yoshi at Battle Creek Dog Park for an afternoon walk. It even looked like we would have some sunshine, but by the time we hit the trail the clouds had covered up the sun.  Regardless, the 38 degrees made it pleasant and the park is very nice. As I expected, Frisco wandered way up ahead of me and refused to come when I called him. Of course, he was hooked to the leash when I caught up to him once again, after having to scurry down an hill to catch up to him. Later on, Ben and Charlotte had to chase after Yoshi but he is doing really good about staying nearby - the constant rewards are helping.

I spent the morning on FaceTime conversations with Bob and Penny and with Randy and I’m working to setup a Ursino video meetup for Wednesday evening. We shall see how that goes, but it would be nice to ‘see’ everyone again.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Saturday, December 19, 2020

I was able to finish up my Christmas gifts and got my cards mailed today (finally).  I made slippers and head warmers for the girls and they would have been done a lot sooner if it weren’t for the yarn that I chose.  It is a soft, colorful 5-ply yarn that had varied thicknesses and was very difficult to work with because the stitches were hard to see and to count. Regardless, they turned out well and this is the result.

So now everything is wrapped and ready to go.  I still don’t know if we will be having an in-person gathering and I will be fine with whatever Ben and Jill decide to do.  As much as I want to get together, I also realize the risk in doing so. I have been in a couple of stores and probably more exposed than they have been.

My Christmas Corner

Fran’s obituary came out this week and I thought I would post it here. I have thought of her so much lately and will miss getting her Christmas card.

Stoughton- Frances R. Ganshert, age 95, passed away on Friday, December 11, 2020.  Fran was born June 22, 1925, the eldest child of Eleanor and Frank Muetz. She met Francis Ganshert in 1947 and married him 6 months later on October 4, in Madison WI. They bought their only home in Stoughton that same year, she resided there until health issues sent her to assisted living. It is there that she passed away peacefully on December 11th.

Fran loved her family deeply and spent her life caring for all of them. Over her early years of marriage, it was not unusual to find any number of her siblings and their families residing with them. There was no such thing as in-laws, as once you married into the family you, and also your family, were treated as her own. 

She loved the holidays and hosted them all with her fabulous cooking and baking. She was known to have an array of cookies in her cookie jars. She loved to quilt, and gifted family and friends with her all hand sewn quilts. In her time at Azura, she enjoyed reading and read over 365 books until her eyesight failed and then she listened to 1,228 audio books.

Fran was proceded in death by her husband Fran, daughter Susie, and son Larry. Her parents Eleanor and Frank Muetz, siblings Jimmy, Joyce, Frankie, Jackie, Dean, Donald and Duke. She is survived by her son Larrys wife Sue, her daughter Mary (Steve) Thayer, son Jim (Lori) Ganshert., grandchildren Erin (Joe), Chad (Katie), Amy (Jason), and Eric, 11 Great Grandchildren, and 1 Great – Great Grandson, also her sister Jonnie and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Due to COVID, a private funeral will be held for her immediate family on December 26, 2020. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. 

Special thanks to the Azura staff, and to all of her doctors at SSM Health for their loving care over the years.

Speaking of Christmas cards, people are confused about my address, are just not sending them or the post office is overwhelmed this year. There have been warnings on the news that there are huge bottlenecks due to the high numbers of online orders being made this year due to COVID-19. Also, just this week, two manufacturers have had vaccinations approved by the FDA massive shipments are going out to nursing home staff and residents and also to health care workers. It’s going to take a long time, but I sure hope it makes a difference. The last few weeks have been devastating with high numbers of cases and deaths.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

What do I write about when all I really am doing is staying home and finding little ways to pass the time of day - morning coffee that now lasts about an hour and a half, walks with Frisco, indoor fitness workouts, house cleaning (although it doesn’t really get dirty), watch a movie now and then, chat with someone on the phone, shop online, some crochet projects. Gee the list is pretty long - what have I got to complain about?

The temperatures have been above average and other than a little bit of snow last week, it hasn’t been bad. That is with the exception of not seeing the sun shine for several days. Just a little bit each day makes it so much more tolerable.

My sweet cousin, godmother, and namesake, Francis Rose Ganshert, passed away last Friday, December 11 at 95 years of age, She was the eldest first cousin on my Mom’s side of the family. I have so many fond memories of her - so much of my childhood was spent at their large 2-story house on Franklin Street in Stoughton, as it was always the gathering place for kids and the attitude was that there is always room at the table for one more - or two or three. Our cousins were our best friends and we were together a lot, the schoolyard across the street was the place to play. Fran and her husband, Fran always had time for others, be it their Children, Grandchildren, Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces, Nephews, Neighbors, Friends - it didn’t matter, they were there.  

Fran spent her last years in a small apartment in an assisted living facility and she was in fair physical shape and excellent mental shape until a couple of weeks before she passed.  My last conversation with her was about a month ago and she was cheerful and sharp, aware of life around her. Again, COVID has taken a toll, as her family was no longer able to have in-person visits, nor could they take her for outings.  The last time I visited was in July and I could only talk to her on a phone from outside a window.  She will be missed by many.

First Cousins, Carole, Jonnie, Me, and Fran at her 94th Birthday Party

I have always loved this picture of Fran and my Mom (playing dress-up).
They were nieces and best of friends.

Another great photo, two old ladies laughing about how they got to be 90 years old.

I was hungry for chili on Monday, so I made a big pot and set aside some to take to Ben’s family on 
Tuesday when I pick up an Amazon order that I had sent to their home. I had also planned to make a pot of Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup to take to them on Tuesday, so that was my activity for that day. We had a short visit in the back yard and let the dogs play for a bit. That soup was so delicious - I will definitely make it again!

So I decided to hang some pictures on the walls and that led to learning about some moving damage. The first was done by me when I dropped and broke a plaster garden girl figurine that I bought when I was going to Master Gardener classes in Madison back in 1995. She fell out of my hand as I was unwrapping her.  I’m sad.  

Then, as I was unpacking some smaller items, I pulled out a small decorative plate and found it broken. The one next to it was also broken, but the third of the set was unscathed. This explained the tear on the side of the box under the handle - it must have slipped out of someone’s hand a fell. The sad thing is that these were personalized gifts from our friend and life insurance agent, Doug Klagos, commemorating our marriage and the birth of each of our children. Ben’s plate survived and I will do my best to glue the other two back together.

The recent news is encouraging with the release of vaccinations for COVID-19 and the beginning of distribution to those at highest risk first and then trickling down to the general public. It’s going to take months, but I’m feeling good that it is now available.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Monday, December 7, 2020

My parents were married on this date in 1946, they would be celebrating 74 years of marriage today.

It was a busy week, as I continue to settle into my apartment. I now have most of the boxes unpacked and gone through and have found a place for most things that I want out.  I haven’t hung any pictures yet, but did buy (on marketplace) a couple of metal sunburst sculptures for the kitchen wall.  In this apartment, the bedroom has a lot more space than the living room, especially since I still have my round oak table and chairs that now seem way too big for the space they are in. I’m not sure if I’m ready to part with any of them.

The weather here has been great for December, with temps up in the 40’s, so Frisco and I have checked out a couple of parks where we can get a good walk in every now and then. The sidewalks around the immediate area are few and far between, although there is a large sports complex two blocks away that has walking paths around it - at least a mile’s worth.

My evening have been occupied with a project that I started last summer - miniature woodland animals made from felt - cut, stitched, stuffed, and tucked into a leaf pillow.  Mine didn’t turn out quite like the photo that sparked my interest, but they are still very cute.  They will be gifts for the girls for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas - I got my tree up and a wreath hung on the door, but I sure can’t get my head around gifts for my loved ones and the clock is ticking.

Yesterday morning, I made a large pot of 15 Bean Soup, so I could share it with Ben and family.  Later in the afternoon, I met up with them at the Minnehaha Dog Park, so we could all walk and Yoshi could socialize. He is 4-months old now and is doing well as far as sticking close by, but is still timid with the larger dogs. Everyone loves him and wants to greet him.  The girls just love walking along the rivers here, as there are lots of fallen trees for them to climb on.  This is the only photo that I got.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Thursday, December 3, 2020

I have been busy getting settled in once again. My apartment is very nice, about 200 sf smaller than the last one. The only negatives that I have found so far are that the kitchen cabinets are not as deep or wide as the last place and all of the shelving in the closets are too high for me.  The grounds are nice and walkable with two doggie stations for cleanup.

Last Sunday, I returned the rental car and Ben picked me up and drove me to Shakopee to get my car. It wouldn’t start, so we had to go to O’Reilly’s for jumper cables (not a bad thing to carry in the car) and got it started. All is well with my Zippy little RAV4.

I picked up the U-haul truck next door to the storage unit and Dustin and his helper met me there on Monday morning and committed to having the move completed in 2-hours. They had the truck loaded in half an hour, the drive to St Paul took half and hour, and they had everything moved in within an hour. Way to go, Dustin! The sad thing is that he knows me and my stuff pretty well after moving me for the fourth time.

I met with the manager, Lisa, to go over the lease and sign a few papers that didn’t get signed previously and gave me a tour of the building.

I then returned the truck and came home to start unpacking. And that is what I’ve been doing ever since.  As of last night, there are 3 boxes to empty in the kitchen (fancy dishes and stuff), 2 bins in the bedroom, and pictures to hang. All is well.