Thursday, April 29, 2021

Wednesday, April 29, 2021

We got a late start yesterday and headed to Kaposia Landing for our walk around noon.  There are paved pathways going in a large circle around the park, about a third of it along the Mississippi River. There were barges lined up on both sides of the river and we saw a tugboat pushing two barges while we walked. It looks like a staging area to me - not sure if the are empty or full.

The Swallows were flitting around, protecting their recently built nest in nesting boxes along the trail.

I got a text from Ben this morning, showing me Charlotte’s green hair for Crazy Hair Day and also her latest big girl development - she got her ears pierced.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Happy Birthday to Me! What a nice day it was, with Tom being here, calls, cards, texts, video calls, and Facebook wishes from friends and family!  We got off to a late start and had a nice breakfast before heading to Harriet Island and walking the trails from there to the Lilydale Trail system on the east side of the Mississippi River.  It was a very nice walk and managed to dodge the raindrops for most of the walk but it started to rain pretty hard as we headed toward home.

After short naps, Tom treated me to a lovely birthday dinner at Chili’s.  I had been hungry for the steak with roasted avocado ever since having it in Colorado Springs when we celebrated Joyce’s birthday a few years ago.  It was just as good this time as the last time. 

It was a lovely day and a great way to start my next trip around the Sun!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Our days have been filled, mostly with walks but we have also done some shopping to prepare for a birthday gathering with Ben and family.  What started out as a simple plan to meet up in a park turned into having brats and hot dogs and birthday cake in the club room here in my apartment building after I learned that I could reserve the room for our use.  The weather was not nice so I’m glad that we had made a contingency plan and it was a great place to gather. Jill’s parents joined us too.  The girls were happy to see Tom again, they seem to thrive on his teasing ways.

We also had the use of the game room, so we played pool and shuffleboard and then someone got the monopoly board out and we played that for a while. Ben cooked the brats and hot dogs and we had chips and coleslaw with them, followed by the “Happy Birthday” song and carrot cake that Ben made (my request) and ice cream. 

It sure feels good to be able to have gatherings again after our abstinence over the last year.

I attended a Resident’s Advocate Group meeting Sunday evening and learned some things about this place that I wasn’t aware of. Primarily, people are upset because many of the amenities here are not as originally advertised such as: gated community (not), security on staff (not), handicapped access, an unconcerned manager, and many other safety and security issues.  There have been several cars broken into and the latest - a catalytic converter stolen from a car in the garage. They have been requesting changes and haven’t gotten resolutions from corporate or management, have sent many letters and made contacts, even to the Mayor and nothing has been done. Now, a petition will be drafted, signed by as many residents as possible, and distributed to anyone and everyone who could help - even the local TV stations, if necessary.  

We shall see what the outcome is.  A recent letter from the manager said that security patrols will begin on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Happy Birthday to my sweet Sister-in-Law, Penny! 

Sunday was a nice day, so Tom and I drove to Thompson County Park and then walked the Simon’s Ravine trail east toward the Mississippi River. We didn’t make it all of the way to the river but will do that portion of the trail another day.  While we were out walking, I got a text message from Jim and Sue who were out hiking in Arizona. They sent some pictures of the desert plants so I in turn sent them pics of what we were seeing. Even though our trees and shrubs are just getting started, it was more green here.  Here are some photos taken on our walk.

The temperatures dropped down to the upper 30s and 40s and we are experiencing winter like weather again. Regardless, we have bundled and layered up and gone for our daily walks

Today, we drove to Black River Falls and met Pat and Roger at the Wright Place Saloon for lunch. It was a 2-hour drive for each of us and a good place to meet in the middle.  Lunch was great, conversation was great, and after lunch we had a great hike on the Castle Mound Hiking 
Trail that winds through the Black River State Forest.  The trail goes through an area that was affected by the retreat of the glaciers. Over time, weather and erosion formed unique sandstone features that added lots of interest to the walk.

And my dear friend gave me this early birthday gift - the sign above the TV.

We rented and watched Tom Hanks’ latest movie tonight, “News of the World”, a story about a Civil War Veteran who is delivering a young girl to relatives, after being captured and held for several years by Kiowa Indians.  I felt is was done well and it held our interest right through to the end.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday, April 17, 2021

I picked Tom up at the airport Thursday evening - sure was nice to see him again next feel his warm hugs! Needless to say, we talked and talked and talked Thursday night like we hadn’t in ages, although we have long talks frequently - being in person makes it so much better.

After a nice long walk to Thompson County Park yesterday, he and I walked to Walmart, Wells Fargo, and stopped at Dunham’s Bar and Grill for a burger and beer. I’ve driven by there many times and wondered about it - just a bar with lots of pool tables, pull tabs and pretty loud after work crowd. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Yesterday was recovery day for me, a rainy day that gave me an excuse for not leaving the house except for short walks with Frisco.

I had a nice Duo conversation with Tom in the evening and we talked about his upcoming trip here on Thursday.  While we were chatting, our conversation was interrupted by an Amber Alert announcing a curfew from 7pm until 8am the next morning. After we hung up, I learned that there was another police shooting in the cities yesterday - another young, black man was shot and killed by a female cop in Brooklyn Center. She mistakenly drew her gun instead of a stun gun and realized immediately the severity of her error.  Again, people are protesting and making their statements.

Ben offered to share the Tortilla Soup that he made, so we arranged to meet up for a walk and I brought home soup and several ingredients to add to it - cheese, tortilla chips, cilantro, and avocado.  Tasty stuff!  I sure do enjoy our walks, they give us an opportunity to have some good, one-on-one conversation. Today, we had a bit of sleet and snow flurries - a chilly 37° day. Brrrrrr!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday, April 11, 2021

We managed to get a decent walk in Thursday morning before the rain started and the rain continued all through until Sunday.

I stopped to visit with my cousin Jo in Montello, as she is recovering from some serious surgery to remove cancer in her jawbone and reconstruct it.  All is going well with their recovery but it is going to be a long road for her including six weeks of radiation therapy.  We had a nice visit but I didn’t stay too long and she needs her rest.

From there, I went to Dawn’s and had a couple of hours to chat with her before I went to see Pat and Tracey for a bit. We had short visits on Thursday and Friday evenings and I spent all day with them on Saturday. It was a rainy day, so we mostly just sat and talked, had some dinner, and watched the movie Jumanji.  

Dawn invited Jonnie to join us for dinner on Friday night and made chicken pot pie and wedge salad. She is such a great cook. We had some great conversation with lots of childhood memories and catching up on our families.

I had coffee with Pat this morning before starting my trip back home. I stopped in Portage and visited with my sister-in-law Sharon for a while before the long stretch back to St Paul.  It was a very nice trip and I’m glad that I shortened the number of days as I’m not used to the drive nor the activity. It was a good break-in for an active summer.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

I had originally planned to head to Wisconsin on Monday, but after having so much activity the previous four days, I decided to leave on Tuesday instead. I had several errands to run, laundry to do, and just wanted some down time on Monday.  After vacuuming and cleaning up after the girl’s sleepovers, Mavis and I walked to Thompson County Park and got a bit over two miles in - not a bad way to start a nice, warm, spring day! I then ran my errands.

She and I had talked about having an adult beverage on the patio in the afternoon, so we joined a few other folks about 4:00 and had some good conversation. It felt good to socialize a bit!

I got on the road and headed for Pat and Roger’s house at about 7:30, wanting to make it by 11:00 because Pat had a surprise lunch arranged. Well, my GPS was telling me that my ETA was more like 11:30 so I called to get more information and learned that lunch was in Monona. There was no way I could get to her house in time for us both to make it to Monona. So I headed straight there and was the first to arrive at Red Robin and learned that it was closed for lunch. Pat arrived and then the surprise - classmates Judy and Linda and their friend Carol. Our next choice was Buck n Honey’s but they were closed too. Nick’s family diner was open so we had a nice lunch and lots of good conversation.

Back to Hoovey’s house, it was a nice evening full of walking, taking, drinking, and eating. It is so darned nice to be able to be together again, now that we are fully vaccinated.

This morning, Pat had some painting to do, so I split and replanted several of her houseplants. One of them, a jade plant that I had given Pat years ago is coming home with me. The old saying “what goes around comes around” came into play today.

We went to Cimaroli’s tonight and met with some of Roger’s siblings to celebrate Bobby’s birthday and Susie’s and mine too.  Of course I had a couple of their $3 Old Fashions that just can’t be beat.  I opted for Broiled Walleye and salad for my dinner - it was great!

Patty and I, Best of Friends

The Hooverson Clan

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday. And what a beautiful day it was, spent at Lois and Dennis’ house. The predictions were for 75° and sunshine but I think we actually hit 80.  

The girls were coloring eggs when I got there and when they finished that, it was time for the Easter Egg hunt - with a bit more of a challenge this year since they are all getting older.  Jill hid 12 pieces to a puzzle along with the eggs and they had to find all 12 pieces, put the puzzle together and then answer the 4 riddles that were written on the puzzle.  Then, they had to take the first letter of each of the answers, unscramble those letters, and that gave them the location of the golden egg was.  Inside the golden egg was a $5 bill for each, a bracelet, a fancy eraser, and a pack of gum.

We had a delicious dinner of ham, cheesy potatoes, fruits salad (my contribution), an asparagus tart, and lemon bars for dessert (Jill’s contribution).  It was so nice to sit around outdoors and have some great conversation, play some bocce ball, and just enjoy being together and being outdoors.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Saturday, April 3, 2021

We did the switcheroo yesterday afternoon and Charlotte was packed and ready to come to my house. We had pizza for dinner and watched Spy Kids 3 on her request, although she told me after we started it that she had already seen it twice. I’m a bit surprised that she didn’t have the entire script in her memory.

When we went to bed, she was non-stop talking for quite a while and when I reminded her of one of our tickle torture events on a former camping trip, that whole episode was repeated.  It makes me giggle as I write this.

I was happy when she walked out wearing the sweater that I made her this morning.  Her major interests right now is anything related to video or iPad and it was a challenge to keep her interested in one on one activities. We went for a walk this morning after breakfast but there was an Easter egg hunt going on in the park and she didn’t feel comfortable being around that many people - very concerned with distancing, so we went back home. We filled the day with games, nail polishing, modeling clay, the fitness room, a trip to Culver’s for ice cream, and plenty of snacks.

                                    Charlotte’s Bat 

Have I mentioned how exhausted I am?  And how good a glass of wine is tasting right now?  In spite of that, it was soooo worth it to be around those girls again.  The last year of restrictions has been very difficult and I was feeling out of touch as far as their learning and development. I now feel kind of like I was able to catch up and reconnect a bit these last few days.  Their personalities are all so different, but yet there is a lot of a likeness too.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Friday, April 2, 2021

It has been quite a week of activity, starting on Wednesday when I spent the first full day, post-COVID vaccine, maskless, with my granddaughters.  The morning started with quite a bit of conflict between the three of them but improved greatly as the day went on.  We worked out, played games, did some Easter crafts, had lunch, and it was fun, yet exhausting.  The Easter craft was to make stained glass eggs with tissue paper sandwiched between layers of clear Contact paper and some that were fluffy. I thought they turned out nice!

I had finished the summer sweater that I was making for Charlotte (on her request) and was able to bring it to her.  She loved it!

Now, Norah and Camille have out in requests too.

Since we can be together again and I and all of them were excited to do sleepovers again, I have had one of them with me for the last three nights, starting with Camille on Wednesday night.  We watched a movie, had popcorn, played games, did Legos, played at the playground, applied makeup to each other and then it was time for the switchers. Norah was next and Grandma is getting more tired.

When I took Norah home this afternoon and Charlotte was ready and raring to go.  Before we got back to my apartment, we stopped at the battery store to get new batteries for the watches that I gave them - ones that I had in my stuff that I won’t ever wear again.

Did I say that Grandma is tired?