Thursday, July 29, 2021

Thursday, July 29, 2021

When I stepped outside this afternoon for Frisco’s potty break, I couldn’t believe the sky. It is filled with smoke from wildfires in Canada, so thick that it looks like fog, smells like smoke, and is irritating to the eyes.  When the sun started to go down, it was just a very faint light in the western sky. According to the weather forecasters, it will be with us again tomorrow and possibly worse.

Camp dropoffs and pickups with the girls went well this week. Wednesday was to be the last soccer night for them, so I decided to fix dinner, as it is always a hustle to eat and get out of the house on time. I made Chicken salad wraps with celery, cranberries, and pecans.  Charlotte helped with rolling up the wraps and shucking the corn.  

Tennis camp in the morning was canceled, so we went to Veterans Park instead, then after getting back home from afternoon camp, we learned there would be no soccer due to excessive heat and humidity. Too bad, it was their last game and there won’t be a makeup game later.

By this morning, I only had two boxes left to empty and I got that taken care of.  I now need to find a home for the empty boxes and wrapping materials and then I will be able to organize the entry closet. I will probably start hanging pictures in the next day or so.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Hi Patty! I thought I’d better get a post done before your Sunday morning reading.  It was a busy week with the girls, with the move, and some great socializing too.

The girls had an interesting camp adventure this week, called Adventures in Cardboard. It was a mythical live action game played at French Regional Park in Plymouth, I would describe it as a kid scaled Renaissance Fair. My job was after-camp pickup and they were exhausted by the time I picked them up. They also had soccer on Monday and Wednesday. I went to the game on Wednesday and got to see Camille get a goal, Charlotte came close, and Norah did a great job playing Defense. Come Friday (their movie night), I’m sure that is all they had the energy to do.

I can’t help but think how fortunate those kids are to have so many fun learning experiences. They will be well balanced, hopefully.

This is the camp castle - embellished more each day,

Charlotte & Riley, heading to after camp meeting. This is first day, after making swords and shields.  Sorry, it’s not the best photo but you get the gist.

This is the end-of-day meetup where  a recap of wins and losses was discussed (Charlotte is between the two counselors.

Thursday, after a morning walk with Mavis and Frisco, sadly our last in this neighborhood,l I loaded my car with plants and food, using the fold-up wagon than Mary loaned to me. I then headed to Penelope 35 apartments where I met with the assistant manager and signed the lease, paid the rent for July, and paid the deposits. It turned out that I did not have to pay a deposit for Frisco ($300) because he can be considered an assistance animal. What a deal - of course, he assists with my mental health and keeps me getting my daily 10,000 steps in.

Edie and Steve suggested that we go to Mancini’s Chop house for a going away dinner and Mavis volunteered to be the designated driver.  What a treat! The restaurant has been family owned and operated for 40 years and the decor is probably much like it was when they first opened - a Las Vegas themed supper club.  The meal was delicious (Mavis and I ordered the Parmesan Crusted Walleye and Steve and Edie had the Petite Sirloin), complemented with a Cosmopolitan to soften the edges.  It was a very nice dinner experience with lots of good conversation.

Friday was moving day and it didn’t start out too smoothly. I got to the place to pickup the U-haul truck and it was secured by a fence - not to be opened until 10:00 am. I had the movers lined up for 9:00 am.  A call to U-haul and their excellent customer service, led me to another nearby location where a truck was available. I was able to pick it up and get back to my apartment where the movers would meet me at the new time of 10:00.

Alex and Shawn were efficient but not quite as efficient as previous moves with the company owner, Dustin.  They didn’t have all of the cool, efficient carts and wheeled boxes, so it was mostly muscle.  Regardless, they worked hard and had the truck loaded in about 1.5 hours.  I headed to Bloomington with the truck and they stopped for lunch (my treat) and met me there, then they loaded it all into my new apartment.  All in all, it was a 4-hour job. I later learned that they broke a wall sconce that I will be charged for, and then will try to collect the money from Dustin.

I got a decent night of sleep and proceeded to empty boxes again today, making pretty good progress.

I LOVE the view from my windows that overlook Old Shakopee Road (mostly auto traffic) but with a beautiful tree filled garden between me and the road.  I even saw squirrels playing and Cardinals flitting around. I think I’m going to like it here. People have greeted me in a friendly way and welcomed me to the community.  My apartment is a little dated (the building is 20 years old) but has plenty of cabinet and closet space, new flooring and paint.  I don’t miss the roar of the refrigeration condensers or the semi-trailer trucks across the street from my apartment at The Winslow at all.

This is the view from my place on the sofa.  I love it!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Friday, July 16, 2021

I can’t believe I have so much stuff! I’ve really downsized through the years but looking at the stack of boxes in my bedroom (and I’m not finished) makes me think I still have way too much stuff.

I did after camp pickups with the girls on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week and they were tired and dirty when they got off the bus.  The twins had horse camp and Charlotte had sailing camp. I had planned to go to soccer with them on Wednesday evening, but it rained a good part of the day, so no soccer. I did stay and have dinner with them and it was so nice to sit around the table and have good conversation with the family. 

I finished Camille’s sweater while she was gone on vacation and I was able to give it to her on Monday. She loved it and I think it turned out really cute.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Friday, July 9, 2021

A week has passed and I haven’t written. It’s been a quiet week, the family is on vacation, so I have not been involved with after camp pickups. My activities have mostly been involving my upcoming move - packing, changing addresses, etc.

I celebrated the 4th of July at Brian (Mavis’ son) and Curtis’s home for a good old summertime cookout with burgers, brats, potato salad, coleslaw, and sweet corn topped off with a Bundt cake that had red, white, and blue sprinkles on it. Their friends Michael and Patty and Michael’s service dog, Hubert also came and we had some great conversation. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon. Fireworks have gone off for the last 3-4 nights during I could see some of the higher ones from my bedroom windows. Just a few was plenty for me.

On Monday evening, Mavis, Brian, Mary and I had a very pleasant ride on the Padelford Riverboat cruise on the Mississippi. They have a Monday Madness special for $10 per person and it is well worth it.

There was a farewell party here at the Winslow for the head maintenance guy, Omar, who is moving on to bigger and better opportunities. He is a very nice guy, responding quickly to work orders and keeps the place in good shape. I wish him well.

This morning, Mavis and I parked at the Concord Street trailhead and walked the footbridge over the highway to access the trails at Kaposia Landing Park. Along the river, we were able to watch a tugboat guiding nine huge barges through the open bridge. It’s amazing how they can control those heavy loads. 

The trailhead is marked with this beautiful metal sculpture.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Friday, July 2, 2020

Where did this week go? It’s been a good one. I did after camp pickup for the girls and that was a piece of cake, as they were tired after having full days of peddling, paddling, fishing, and swimming. In fact, on Wednesday, they peddled 26 miles. Amazing! The most I ever rode a bike was 32 miles in a day, on the Elroy-Sparta Trail in Wisconsin - and I was in my 50s. 

I fixed dinner for them that night and shortly after getting home from camp and eating dinner, we were headed off to soccer.  Needless to say, they weren’t really into it, but Norah came really close to getting a goal and Charlotte made a great pass to the teammate who got the only goal for their team. 

Mavis invited Mary and I for dinner Thursday night and we had a really nice time; we enjoyed a glass of wine, ate a nice summery meal, and had lots and lots of conversation.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I took my Westminster chime clock and a couple of other antiques to the Touch of Home Antique/Consignment shop to be sold. I had attempted to sell them on marketplace without success, so this is the next best alternative. I would like to consider this downsizing, but I usually manage to buy something to take its place. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Not much went on yesterday except for a few garage sales in the morning.  I also started to pack, putting some things that won’t be used in boxes. Doing a little each day will make for a much easier move.

I had taken some ground beef out of the freezer and decided to make a pot of goulash. Since there was so much of it, I invited Mavis to join me for dinner and then we watched a movie together - a nice way to spend a Saturday night.

She and I went shopping at the outlet mall this afternoon and when I got back home, I had a message from Nan and Dale, who are passing through southern Minnesota in their motor home, on their way to Wisconsin. So I packed up a few cans of Spotted Cow beer and the remaining Goulash and Frisco and I headed to Albert Lea for a visit.  It sure was nice to see them again, to see their motor home, and talk about their recent adventures. I’m happy for them.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021

It’s been a busy week, as I committed to do camp drop offs, pickups, and lunch with the girls on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. All went well and they were well behaved and burning lots of energy. They all had tennis camp in the morning and Camille and Norah had American Girl tea party camp and Charlotte had Hip Hop Dance Camp in the afternoon.

Jill did pickup on Wednesday afternoon and I came home and took a nap. Mavis and I went to watch the girls play soccer in the evening. It was fun and I got to see them each get a goal.

Mavis and I were planning on going to go to the Fireside for fish fry tonight, but even better, we got invited to Doug and Linda’s apartment for fish fry.  It turned out that there were ten of us who got to enjoy the meal.  They are into fishing and we were treated to crappie and sunfish that they caught. It was lightly battered and delicious. What a nice evening spent talking about food, pets, travels, and personal stories.  

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

I left home by 8:00 am on Friday morning, heading for Stoughton to attend the Celebration of my eldest cousin, Fran’s life.  She passed on December 11, 2020 at the age of 94 and she was strong in mind, but weak in body and suffered a stroke that caused her decline. Everyone believes that her isolation from Covid19 was a factor.

Fran was my Mother's best friend, my  Godmother and my namesake, Frances Rose.  I have nothing but fond memories of her, as one of the best examples of my life, a woman who would welcome anyone to her home with open arms. There was always enough room at her table for one or a few more, and always enough food. She made some of the best cookies and her Special K bars were to die for. I have two of the many quilts she made and others are with all of her family members. You never needed to call ahead to visit - just open the door and call out “is anyone home?”. Not only was she Godmother to me, but to all of my siblings and many of my cousins. Fran was high on my list and I never visited Stoughton without including a visit to her.  She is missed by so many!

Fran and her husband, Fran, bought their home right after they married in 1947 and they lived there until her health would no longer allow her to stay there. Like I said previously, they were the ultimate example of how to be a good person and to treat everyone with fairness and to help others whenever you can.

The event was an enjoyable connection of family and the sharing of stories and memories of Fran. 

Back row: Me and Jonnie
Front row: Kenny, Gerta, JoAnne, and Rita

I also enjoyed spending time with Pat and Tracey and Dawn.  A whirlwind trip, but very enjoyable.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

I didn’t do much over the weekend other than enjoy being back home, getting caught up on phone calls, getting back into a walking routine with Mavis, and stocking up on produce and a few other groceries.

Monday was a full day. First on my ‘to do’ list was to meet with the manager here at the Winslow to pay my rent penalty (they are allowing me to break my lease early) and to see if she would drop the charges for the last half of November that they say I was given free as a concession. I did sign my lease on November 19 but didn’t move in until the 27th and I was told that they wouldn’t charge me for those days, as they were out of the office for the Thanksgiving holiday.  After showing her that there was nothing on my lease stating I would pay for part of November, she agreed and dropped those charges - $385 that I don’t have to pay her makes me happy.

Next was to go to my new apartment building, Penelope 35, and sign the necessary papers and give her my financial information.  I also got to see my new apartment and I’m happy with the new flooring and with the location. My views are park-like, with lots of trees and are far enough from the street that I can hardly see it and I have convenient access to the exterior door leading to the parking lot and dog walking area.  I have a good feeling about this move.

Mavis and I went to Easter Lutheran Church and picked up groceries this afternoon, from the Fare for All group. There are several package options and I got the mini meat and product option for $25 and this is what was included: ground beef, ground turkey, pork tenderloin, frozen battered chicken breast, brats,  celery, carrots, onions, potato’s, radishes, lemon, peppers and complimentary frozen cheesecake. Many of the products are grown locally. I don’t think I could have walked out of the grocery store with that much at that price.  They have weekly pickups at various places throughout the cities.

After unloading our stuff at home, Mavis, Mary, and I went to the Fireside for dinner, a neighborhood bar and restaurant - thanks for the treat, Mavis! One of the specials was meatloaf and I’m glad I chose it - it was delicious! We sat there and talked for a couple of hours and had such a nice time. We went to Mavis’s for an after dinner drink and talked some more.  It was such a nice evening!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Friday, June 11, 2021

We decided to go for a walk early this morning while it was still cool out and before I left. It turned out to be a walk of less than a mile, as Frisco was sluggish and not very interested - I think it was because of the humidity. When we got back to the trailer, I decided to pack it up and head out rather than to attempt another walk.

My trip back home was uneventful and it took six hours and forty-five minutes with several short stops. My fuel stop at Clear Lake, IA was strange. The first pump wasn’t working, so I moved to another and that wasn’t working. Finally, another customer informed me that they were out of Regular gas but had plenty of the high test stuff that was $.30 more per gallon.  I went ahead and filled up, deciding that my car might benefit from some premium gas. It sure has been dependable - yes, I just knocked on wood.

It feels good to be back home. My apartment was 88° when I got here, so the AC has been running hard ever since. I got unloaded and unpacked and am relaxing and planning on an early bedtime.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Yesterday morning, Tom and I picked Julie up at her house and we went to Lake Springfield for a hike. It was hot and humid, but a bit cooler in the shady spots along the trail. We met and chatted with a couple of friendly women along the way - one with a cute little rescue dog and the other with some gardening experience and she identified a plant that we were curious about.

Tom wanted to wash the crud off his truck and fill up with gas so he wouldn’t have to worry about it while he was pulling the trailer. When we got back to our site, I took mine out and got it filled up and ready.  While Tom was hooking up and cleaning the tanks, I packed the things that I wouldn’t be needing any more on the trip.

We met Randy and Julie at the Brickyard Brewery for dinner and had a good beer and a really good chat. 

This morning, Randy came over for a final hug and we took a little walk and were on the road by 10:30 with a 4-hour drive ahead of us, in a direct northwest direction - a beautiful drive through the Missouri countryside. We stopped to stretch just outside Clinton and then for gas near Higginsville. The day was beautiful, but pretty hot and humid and we arrived at 2:30. It is a brand new park with nice full hookup sites that all have covered picnic tables and fire pits.  

It’s a beautiful park!
The RV Park’s website gave a warning with alternate routes for RV’s, as there is a narrow and old railroad bridge on the south side of the park and it could not accommodate an RV. We went a few miles out of our way on narrow country roads to approach from the north. Once we saw the bridge, we could understand, although the sign on the bridge said the limit was 12,000 tons.  It was rickety and has a log base that we could hear rattle every time a vehicle went over it.

This is our campsite after dark. Can you spot Frisco?

I am ready to head back home, a 2+ week vacation is enough for me these days. Tom and I have done some fun things and I’ve been able to connect with family that I haven’t seen since pre-COVID times. Life is good!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

This morning’s news from the Chevy dealer was that the issue with Tom’s Tahoe is the rear differential and they could have it done by Friday afternoon, and would cost in the $2,000 range.  We started to make some alternate plans, most importantly to see if Tom could stay in our current site until Monday, as it is very difficult to find places for the weekend. Annalise, the manager was very accommodating and let us know that staying here would be no problem. I would stick with the original plan and depart on Thursday - not sure if I would drive the entire 9.5 hours in one day or spend the night somewhere in between.

After going for a walk, we went to Walmart so Tom could stock up on some groceries, as he wouldn’t have transportation for a few days.  Randy and Julie both volunteered to help him with rides if he needed it.

We went to Julie’s house later in the afternoon, as she was babysitting for their granddaughter, Maren who is one and a half and I haven’t met her yet. Thanks to Facebook, I get frequent updates and photos from her Mom, Ali. We had fun playing for a while and then her Ali and her big brother Jax and Randy arrived and we played and chatted. Julie surprised us with a pan of lasagna and warm bread in the oven and a wilted lettuce salad ready for us. And brownies to top it off.  What a treat! It was fun to be around little ones again too.

Shortly after we arrived at Julie’s, Tom got a text from the garage saying that they were able to pull some strings, get the needed parts in time, and it would be ready by the end of the day. Woo hoo! We can now carry on with our original plan and head north to Lawson, MO on Thursday where Tom will stay put through the weekend and I will head north to get back home.  

                       Maren was smiling for the camera.  

                                                                                                                   Randy and his grandson Jax.

   She wanted Tom to pick her up and he danced with her - she loved it!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Monday, June 8, 2021

Randy swung by and picked us up at 9:30 yesterday morning and we were on the road heading for an afternoon at Mike and Rene’s near Warsaw.  Along the way, Randy told us about seeing a herd of Camel along the road in the past and sure enough, we spotted a couple of them off in the distance and realized that they were offering rides.  We did a U-turn and went back to check it out.  The owner had been working with camels since he was sixteen years old and they actually have a herd of eighteen but were only working two of them today. Their plan is to start a petting zoo and offer rides on several different animals.  We took a short ride on Dean - a gentle giant - an unexpected adventure and I’m glad that I did it.

We arrived at Rene and Mike’s and I got a long-missed hug from my younger sister. It sure is good to see her and Mike.  We had some good conversation, a couple of beers, the guys shot Randy’s black powder cannon, took a jaunt to the lake until it threatened to rain, and then had some lunch in Mike’s shop where we were protected from that rain.  The afternoon went quick and it was soon time to say goodbye and head on back to Springfield.

Today was an active one - starting with laundry this morning and then Tom was able to get an appointment to have his truck checked out, so in between loads, we dropped it off at a mechanic that Randy and Julie recommended. Back at the trailer, I decided that I hadn’t had a chance to see Julie (she was out of town over the weekend) yet so I texted and learned that she was just hanging out at home. When I got there, I also got to have a bonus visit with their daughter, Lanae. Life is good!

Tom called to let me know that he learned that the truck’s problem is in the differential and they couldn’t do the job, so he had to pick it up and take it to the local Chevy dealer.  I picked him up, we picked the truck up and then took it to Reliable Chevrolet where they can take a look at it tomorrow. We play the wait and see game again.  We were both kind of tired and sick of running, so we picked up some chicken and stayed home, took a nice walk and enjoyed the quiet of our site.

Mavis, this one’s for you! Our site at Ozark Highlands.

Ticks - have I mentioned how many of those little blood sucking pests I have found on me and Frisco (his are dead)? I picked at least 10+ off me in Oklahoma, found a few when we were in Arkansas, and have  also found a few on me here in Missouri. Tom had to pull one off my butt cheek today and then I found another behind my knee when I was visiting with Julie and Lanae. I have also picked up a few Chiggers along the way. What is it that they like about me? Every day I have checked Frisco and shaken his bed and I’ve found several dead ones on there.  Too bad humans can’t be treated for the creepy critters - in my book - the only good tick is a dead tick.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Saturday, June 5, 2021

There we no hurry to be on the road early Friday morning, as we only had a two hour trek to Springfield, MO and we arrived at our campsite by 1:30 and checked in at the Ozark Highlands Mobile and RV Park, a place where Mike and I had stayed many times.  Our site is great - right next to a covered pavilion, the laundry and a restroom.  The pool is right across the street.

Randy came by on his new Indian motorcycle and I finally got a Randy hug after not seeing him for almost three years.  It was nice visiting and catching up with him and we walked over to Freddy’s for a burger.

Today, he and Tom worked on Tom’s controller for his trailer brakes and got that all fixed. There is one more issue that Tom has to deal with next week - a sound in his truck that may be something to be concerned about. Randy has connections, so let’s hope that works out.

Because of Tom’s truck issues, we decided to take a drive up to see Rene and Mike tomorrow. They are in Warsaw, about an hour and a half from here.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Thursday, June 3, 2021 was another fun day! The weather was predicted to be nice - sunny, warm, and dry, so we decided it would be a good day to sightsee from the trolley. The Blue Route trolley picked us up and took us to the downtown transit station. We walked the streets of downtown, checked out some of the historic buildings, strolled through some of the shops and had a cocktail and some lunch at The Eureka Grill. We chose the first item on their list of specials - the Pimiento Cheese Spread with Bread and Butter Pickles and crackers - a strange choice that turned out to be delicious and quite satisfying.

We then got back on the Red Trolley that took us to the main transit station and transferred to the Blue Trolley to take us back toward our RV park, but got off at the Keel’s Winery for some sampling and a relaxing glass of wine. It was only a short wait for the Trolley again and it dropped us off at the Kettle RV Park. It was a nice day of exploring Eureka Springs, such a quaint town and a nice destination, but I’m ready to move on - a few hours of shopping is enough for me.

Pizza delivery from Pizza Hut was dinner and we got to sit at the picnic  table and enjoy dinner at our pretty site. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Since we only have two days here in Eureka Springs and it is still cloudy with the chance of a thunderstorm, we decided to do some hiking today and some driving.  First, we drove down the Passion Play road to the site of the event center where a cast of 150+ actors and dozens of animals perform in an outdoor drama that brings the Bible to life. It is a huge attraction and shows are held on weekends only right now, so we parked and walked around to see the giant statue of Christ of the Ozark.

From there, we turned onto Magnetic Road and stopped at the Magnetic Spring, one of 16 in the area, and walked around and tasted the water. We even filled a bottle to take with us, all I can say is that it had a bit of flavor, unlike the filtered and bottled water that we drink.  Legend has it that back in the day, the spring water could turn any metal piece magnetic and it was also known to cure a range of illnesses including addictions. 

Back on the road, we headed west on Highway 62 that took us to Lake Leatherwood City Park, a huge park with lots of hiking and biking trails.  Many of the structures in the park were built in the 1920s by the WPA. This guy greeted us at the park’s entrance.

We walked the Beacham Trail along the western edge of the lake to the dam, about 2.5 miles round trip.  Most of the trail was gravel and led us to the dam (it was closed) and since they have had so much rain around here, there was water running along and across the trail in many places. It was a nice hike and Frisco was a trooper except for going uphill on the return trip.

You can walk across the dam, it was closed today.

This guy watched us from a safe distance.

The last item on the agenda today was to drive to Black Bass Lake where we walked the Sycamore Trail to the dam again and found another spring along the way. The path was lined with beautiful wildflowers in many places.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Since Tom had everything hooked up and disconnected, we were ready to roll this morning.  It had been raining most of the day on Monday, so he took advantage of the dry periods, not knowing what it would be like this morning.  We had a short walk and some breakfast and headed out about 10:00 am with only 190 miles to go to Eureka Springs, AR.

At the first rest stop, we pulled in, so Tom could check his trailer brakes, as the light on the controller was not coming on or was real dim and he could feel that he didn’t have trailer brakes. There was no fix so we drove on, aware and cautious of the fact. I also noticed that a patch of the side wall on the front of the trailer had pulled away, so he put a couple of screws in it to hold it, covered with duct tape and that has been added to the list of things to fix later.

On we went, and had another short delay when GPS took us on a tour of Fayetteville while looking for a Pilot station.  No problem.  Once we got off the interstate, the two-way roads were decent and there wasn’t much traffic.  There also weren’t real good views of the countryside because of the rain. We found the Kettle Campground and it is a very nice place with sites nestled in the woods, clean and well cared for facilities and it is a stopping point for the trolley (the suggested travel method for visiting the town and for tours, due to limited parking and streets full of tourists.

Once settled and we had a bit of a walk, we headed to town in my car and drove the historic loop and learned just why they recommend using the trolley system.  Both of us were hungry for fried chicken and had dinner at Myrtie Mae’s and we were not disappointed.