Thursday, January 27, 2022

Thursday, January 27, 2022, MN

In just a few days, I will be typing AZ in that date line up above this section and that will continue for the next month. I’m thinking that this is good timing, as I looked at the future weather reports for February and March and I will be missing a cold wintry month and coming back to mostly above freezing temps (still cold) and inching toward the spring equinox.  

The sad thing about this trip is leaving Frisco behind but I am confident that he is in good hands and will get lots of loving from the family. I’m thinking it will bother me much more than it does him.

The girls are still having distance learning this week, so the Grannies have been playing the role of teacher’s assistant again - Lois on Monday, Tuesday this week and me on Wednesday and Thursday. Now that they have the rules and routine down, it is so much more enjoyable but still exhausting.  Yesterday, I left there at about 5:00 pm and I was in bed by 7:30, probably asleep before 8:00 - sleeping through the night until 6:30 this morning. WOW! I love it!

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday, January 23, 2022, MN

It’s been a cold, cold week around here with the exception of Tuesday when we saw close to 40° and lots of the snow melted and cleared the roads and sidewalks.  Frisco and I were able to get two decent walks in on Sunday and Monday.

I spent Tuesday and Thursday with the girls, helping out with distance learning.  Granny Lois was there on Wednesday and Friday.  This week went much better than last, as the teacher has a defined schedule and the girls understand the rules and expectations.  Also, their parents had some serious talks with them about respectful behaviors with their grandparents.  Charlotte is involved with classes most of the day and is usually studying independently downstairs.  She only needs reminders to stay on task - takes advantage of breaks to play games.  They all do that - they would easily spend every non-school moment playing games and watching shows on their devices.  One of the changes that I made was to spend one-on-one ‘special’ time with the twins during breaks and that helped to keep things separated and calm and from getting crazy in their play. Camille and I did a sewing project and Norah and I did an electrical project.

I’ve started to get ready for my upcoming trip to Arizona, setting things aside that I don’t want to forget and making a ‘to do’ list.  It will be so nice to see Tom again, to enjoy some sunshine and warmer temperatures, to meet baby Logan, the newest addition to the family, and to reconnect with Arizona friends.  I am not looking forward to the travel part of it.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday, January 16, 2022, MN

We had a couple of days with temps above 30°, so Frisco and I were able to get some decent walks in.  It always feels good to get some fresh air and move the body.

I had a surprise FaceTime conversation with Mike’s long-time friend, Jim on Friday morning. It’s been at least a year since we have talked and it was nice to catch up with him again. Funny how distance and separation don’t even come into play with some people, and it feels like you haven’t even been apart.

I offered to help Ben out after school on Thursday, to take Charlotte to her swim class, and then spend the day with the girls on Friday, as they are having remote school for the next two weeks.  It was snowing pretty good when I drove to their house and predicted to get 3-6”.  Charlotte was able to go skiing with a friend in the morning, so she did her schoolwork when she got back home.  The twins were right on task when they were on their zoom calls with their classes, but they were pretty naughty when they had free time and recess - fighting with each other and pushing the boundaries and not being very respectful of me. I got pretty stressed and Ben certainly wasn’t happy with their behavior, so we talked about it at dinner and nobody got to watch a movie, the twins had to take their showers right after dinner and also had to go to bed early.  

By the time Charlotte (she is spending the weekend with me) and I went back to my apartment, we had about 5” of snow on the ground. The roads were pretty slick, but I took city streets and didn’t have any issues with my trusty RAV4.  Charlotte and I went to bed early, had some reading time, and lights were out before 9pm.

Covid cases are higher right now than they were a year ago - thus the remote schooling) and it is mostly the new variant, Omicron that isn’t as severe as previous variants and people are getting it right and left.  Our country is still not at herd immunity which is 70% of the population vaccinated or has immunity from having the virus.  Many people won’t get vaccinated because they don’t believe in the science behind the vaccines or don’t trust the CDC. The hospitals are full of unvaccinated people, making it difficult for any others to even get the medical care that they might need right now. It is a sad, sad situation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Tuesday, January 11, 2022, MN

After writing yesterday, I did some research on having the cord repaired and getting a replacement hose for my 30+ year old Oreck handheld vacuum and there was a store that carried the hose nearby. I could only find the hose plus fixtures online - I really don’t need the fixtures.  When I got to the store, I learned that it would cost me $35 for the hose plus a minimum of $25 for the cord repair. They had a sale on the newest Simplicity (same manufacturer as Oreck) handheld that had some features that my old one didn’t have - so I bought the thing.  I will no longer need to use the handheld for getting dog hair off the couch and the upright for the carpets and it takes up a lot less space.  It is smaller, has better suction than the old one and has a set of mini attachments that can be used for computers and small spaces that I thought was kind of cool.

My car got a bath today - the first in weeks. The weather forecast called for temps above freezing for the next few days, so I jumped on the opportunity. I called the car wash before going and they assured me that they blow air into the locks and hinges to prevent them from freezing. So I popped for the $18 car wash that included the underbody wash and a complete dry off. I watched to see the process and I didn’t see anyone using an air hose, so I mentioned it to the guys that were drying my car and they did it.  I also squirted some de-icer in them when I got back home.  It looks so nice!

Frisco and I got a nice walk in this morning and I lucked out when I spotted a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers flitting around in a nearby tree.  They are impressive birds. It felt good to get outside and breathe in the fresh air.

This afternoon was the monthly art class with Genevieve, who brings us such interesting projects to work on and learn about.  Today, we used a process called Cuerda Seca to make a design on a clay tile that can be used as a coaster or just as a decoration.  The Cuerda Seca is a glaze that is mixed with wax and is used to outline the design, then the empty areas are painted with a colored glaze and they don’t overrun or mix with the Cuerda Seca. Once they are painted, she takes them to her shop and fires it in her kiln, then returns them to us.  

An example of Cuerda Seca

We talked quite a bit about the benefits that art and learning new things has on the brain and helps the memory.  Again, I am surprised that so few people take advantage of this great benefit we have to living here. There were only five people in the class again today.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Monday, January 10, 2022, MN

I met up with Mavis on Tuesday and we went to Burger Moe’s for their lunch special - burger, fries, and beverage for $9.95. Their burgers are so good and generous serving of nice and crunchy French fries (I had them for 2 other meals during the week) and the conversation was great.  We took advantage of a day with decent temps (still not warm enough to wash my filthy car), as they were going to drop the next day and stick around for a while. And they did - we saw our first below zero temps for the year and the wind chills were in the -25 to 30° range. Brief walks were the order of the days.

Ben had a business trip this week, so I offered to help Jill out with getting kids to and from school on Friday, and activities on Thursday evening.  It was so cold Thursday night that the twins’ skiing was cancelled and Charlotte didn’t want to venture out to swimming. I spent the night on Thursday and Friday, drove the twins to school on Friday morning (Charlotte wanted to walk with her friends) and met them at the bus stop in the afternoon.  We had movie night Friday night.

Pat is finally over the Covid and ready for work again. Tracey is now under the weather with it.  

After my Sunday morning video chat with Tom, Ben came over for our Weekly coffee meetup - always so nice to have an uninterrupted chat with him.  

I took my neighbor Louise to Walmart for groceries. Her usual ride didn’t work out, so she asked me.  You sure can tell that there are staffing shortages these days, that Walmart was a mess and lots of shelves were not stocked. I will have to go to the meat market later this week, as it was slim pickings in the meat counters and I also wonder where they source their meats.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Sunday, January 2, 2022, MN

And it is a cold, cold beginning of the New Year where we have dropped below zero for the first time since last January.  I left the house today for the first time in three days and the thermometer in my car said it was -9° when I headed to the grocery store this morning.  As I was coming back home, I spotted a deer in the front yard of a home just 3 blocks from where I live. There was no way I could get to my phone to snap a picture, with gloves on my hands and the phone buried in my jacket pocket. 

I went to the store because I decided to use up a can of pumpkin that I had in the cupboard to make a pumpkin bread. It turned out that I was missing an ingredient, so I headed to the store.  The bread turned out great, but I had no intention of keeping it around.  It sure made my apartment smell good.

I have been staying in touch with Patrick and his experience with Covid 19 has been a roller coaster. He was feeling on the upswing on Day 4 but then today, Day 5 he is back to feeling fatigued, headachy and generally lousy.  He has not developed respiratory issues, thankfully.  He is fortunate to have had the last week off with pay and his boss is giving them an extra two days. I’m not sure if he will be able to go back then.

A few residents gathered in the community room on New Year’s Eve to celebrate our ‘aliveness’ and a few of us ended up playing WII bowling - I didn’t do too bad either, finishing with a score of 143.  When I got back to my apartment, I took Frisco out for his final (brief) walk and then had a nice video chat with Tom.  I didn’t make it until midnight, went to bed about 10:30.

Penny, Elaine, Sheila, Cindy, Betty (longest resident), Me
Karen (chief decorator, photographer, and gardener)

Ben came over this afternoon to hang out while the twins were at Gymnastics and he brought bagels to have with the coffee I had brewed.  I just love the one-on-one chats we get to have every now and then.  The pumpkin bread went home with him.