Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday, October 31, 2021, MN

My week has been a busy one, with something going on most days, starting with Tuesday when I was able to get my flu and COVID booster shots.  I’m not sure hey my brain was telling me that I had to wait to get the Moderna booster when my vaccine card showed that I had the Pfizer vaccine. The clinic in Bloomington that I went to for the flu shot was only giving the Moderna vaccine and they are not yet following the CDC guideline that says they can be mixed, so I ended up having to go to another clinic on Chanhasen to get the Pfizer booster. I had no side effects other than a sore arm for a couple of days.

Jill had to take Charlotte to a dentist appointment after school on Wednesday, so I went with Ben and met Norah and Camille at the bus and hung out with them after school.  Before going there, I prepared a sheet pan dinner of Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple, Peppers, and Broccoli and I made some Peanut Butter cookies for dessert.  It was nice to hang out, do some homework, play card games, and have dinner with the family.

It have watched the two birch trees outside my window drop most of their leaves this week, as we have seen some nights get down in the 30s but the days have been beautiful and I have gotten some nice walks in. I awoke to frost on the ground on Saturday morning.

Monday Morning

Sunday Morning

Mavis, Mary and I went out to dinner Thursday night to DiGideo’s Restaurant for some delicious Italian food.  The place has been around since the 1930s and was was founded by Joe “Kid Bullets” DeGidio, a successful bootlegger during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. At one point he operated 12 stills in the St. Paul area. “Kid Bullets” parlayed his bootlegging profits and opened DeGidio’s Royal Bar at this same location when prohibition ended in 1933.  It was a favorite watering hole for many of the most notorious mob figures during Saint Paul’s famous gangster era.  Today, it remains owned and operated by “Kid Bullets” grandchildren as a family restaurant serving fine Italian food at reasonable prices.  We had a very enjoyable dinner and great conversation.

Ben and I have been meeting up on Saturday morning when the girls have Gymnastics class. Today, they were going to a birthday party instead, so I fixed breakfast for us and we had a nice, quiet visit over coffee and breakfast.

Last night, our community had Halloween party pot luck, the first event in a long, long time with a turnout of about 20 people, most of whom I have met before.  The club room was decorated nicely and there was a decent spread of food - chili, cheese, my cornbread muffins, potato salad and cake.  Some were in costume. The big surprise was that our mailman, Neil, showed up and he is a cheerful and fun guy to be around. He has been mailman here for so long that he has developed friendships with some of the folks. It was a nice, enjoyable gathering and I helped with the cleanup.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021

I guess Monday morning is the new time for updates to this journal. And now to reconstruct the week - it should be fairly easy as there hasn’t been a lot going on - I will touch on the highlights.  

I stayed at Ben and Jill’s house on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the girls were out of school and they took them to Great Wolf Lodge and Waterpark and I had volunteered to stay with Yoshi. Tuesday was beautiful, so while the dogs were hanging out in the back yard, I gave my car a deep cleaning, using the shop vac on the inside and then giving the outside a good bath too.  I also took advantage of the washer and dryer and did my laundry. I timed our Wednesday walk just right as it was warm and sunny when we walked and then it turned cold and rainy - looks like we have had the last of our warm, above average temperatures for this year.  

I had to take a picture of this yard that is across the street from Lake Harriet.

It was time for my 6-month follow-up appointment with the Dermatologist for the Alopecia on my forehead and I learned that the hair loss is stopped and I can quit coming in periodically and no longer have to treat it unless it starts up again.  I was happy with that news.

I spent a lot of time waiting and a lot of time on the phone on Friday morning with my health insurance benefit provider to choose a new health insurance plan that includes some dental coverage and was quite happy with the outcome of that conversation. I am sticking with a Humana Medicare Advantage plan, but am changing from an HMO to a PPO plan that includes more dental coverage and has a $0 premium.  Yay! I can check that off my To Do list.

Frisco and I went over to see Mavis on Friday and we visited, then walked the new trail and tunnel that has been under construction all summer and found it to be a very nice walk - there is no graffiti on the tunnel yet and we wondered how long it will be like that. We then went to the Fireside for some lunch and since it was nice and cool outside, Frisco waited for us in the car.

I’ve been thinking about a way to raise some money to increase my savings account and decided that a seasonal job might be right for me. I filled out an application at Costco and got a call back by the end of the day, learning that the seasonal jobs are part-time, pay $17/hour, and end mid-January. I have an appointment for an interview on Monday.

Then, that night while walking Frisco, I had a conversation with Betty who lives across the street in a condo and I mentioned to her that I had given my name to their manager in case anyone was looking for someone to do house cleaning and she said that she personally was interested and might know of a few others that would be interested. So - she will talk with her friends at happy hour on Monday and I may end up picking up a few cleaning jobs instead. I would much prefer going that route as it means fewer hours, less distance to drive, something that could continue through the year, and cash payments. My fingers are crossed.

I met up with Ben on Saturday and we shopped at the Farmers Market, walked, and had some nice conversation.

My Sunday project was to treat the lower cabinets in my kitchen with Liquid Gold, as some of the finish has worn off and some were looking pretty bad. I tested a small area to see if the Liquid Gold worked and it seemed to do a good job, so I treated them all and it made a nice improvement.  I have been a fan of that product for many years.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monday, October 18, 2021, MN

A cold spell has caused me to go through winter clothing and reorganize my closet this week. Other than needing a couple of pairs of wool socks, I am in good shape for the long, cold winter.

I had a first-time haircut appointment Thursday afternoon with Shirley and I really like her. She did a great job on my hair and we found lots of very interesting topics to talk about. I will definitely be seeing her again. It’s not that I wasn’t happy with the haircuts that I had been getting from Jeanell but she is almost 20 miles away from me now.  Shirley’s salon is within walking distance.

Kathy (lives in my building) and I got to talking last week and since we both enjoy walking, we met up on Sunday morning and walked and talked for 3.5 miles. I had well over 10,000 steps in by the time we got back home. It is so nice to have someone to walk with - it just makes it go so quickly.

Lois called me yesterday morning to see if I was interested in joining them and Ben’s family to celebrate Dennis’ birthday. It was a beautiful fall day and I wasn’t about to turn down an invitation to be around people, especially family. It was a great afternoon that included a walk to a nearby playground, sitting around a campfire, and having some great chili, cornbread, and apple crisp for dinner.

When I got back home, I walked Frisco and then Tom and I had a very nice Duo video chat. He is back home in Apache Junction, getting settled in and reconnecting with friends and family. We had an enjoyable visit - to be continued next week.

By the end of the day, I had walked seven miles and had almost 17,000 steps in for the day. I was tired and ready for bed early.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Monday, October 11, 2021, MN

After making a batch of chili yesterday and some Happy Birthday Brownies for Roger, I headed out this afternoon to meet up with them at Rochester KOA. I feel like it is always nice to not have to cook dinner after a day’s drive. They have started their trek to Arizona where they will be spending the winter and I really wanted to see them again before the spring rolls around. We had a very nice visit for a few hours and then I headed back home again.  Happy Trails, you guys!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Sunday, October 11, 2021, MN

We had our family celebration of Camille and Norah’s 8th birthday today and it is so great to see what kind, loving, talented and appreciative girls they are becoming. They both designed their birthday cakes and baked them with the help of Mom and Dad and they decorated them by themselves.  Norah’s request was for a Chocolate Caramel Monkey Face cake and Camille’s was for a Tie-dye Rainbow Cake.  Here are the results:

We hung around, opened gifts and managed to get some good family photos. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Saturday, October 9, 2021, MN

Life is good! As I walked Frisco this morning, not fully awake, with my head in the clouds, a Bald Eagle took off from the treetops and flew right over my head. What a beautiful, graceful bird! A great way to start the day.

Our weather for the last few weeks has been unseasonably warm and beautiful with temps in the mid to upper 70s.  It looks like today might be the last we see for a while, as we will be dropping below 70 for the first time in a long time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Wednesday, October 6, 2021, MN, WI

Way back on Saturday morning, I met Ben and Charlotte when the twins were dropped off for their Gymnastics classes. Charlotte had already been to swimming, so there she was with a wet back and butt because she forgot to bring underwear with her.  She was feeling a bit cold, so I gave her my raincoat and that did the trick.  We walked over to the farmer’s market and sampled a few things, picked up a few items (apples, corn, and eggs for me - carrots, apples, and honey sticks for Ben), and grabbed a hot dog for Charlotte before we had to get back to pick up Norah and Camille.

On Wednesday morning, I picked Mavis up and we headed out on a road trip in hopes of finding some brilliant fall colors, some places to shop and some good eats. The colors were not quite as brilliant as we had hoped but we did see some scattered patches. 

In Osceola, we parked along the street and checked out a few shops and the waterfalls, then stopped at The Watershed Cafe for a tasty brunch.  After leaving there, we went to Interstate State Park on the Minnesota side of the St Croix River and walked some of the trails around the Potholes.  The park has over 200 potholes of various sizes, all were formed when the powerful water and sand from the St Croix River swirled and formed the potholes, the deepest one is 60-feet deep but there are many that are quite small.

I ‘borrowed’ this photo from the website-hope it’s ok.

Trees really do grow out of rocks. Amazing!

A friendly passerby offered to take a photo of us.

From there, we headed south on MN95 that ran along the St Croix River. It is along that stretch that we saw the most color.  I spotted a sculpture garden alongside the road and had to do a U-turn and go back to check it out. It is a place that I might want to stop at another time, as we just didn’t feel like doing that much walking.

It was just a short driver farther south to the sweet town of Stillwater. We found a place to park and checked out a few shops before heading back home. It was a very nice day in good company.