Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Wednesday, August 31, 2022, MN

I picked Norah and Camille up at the Quinn’s house on Monday morning for a sleepover.   Also, we were meeting up with my friend Diane and four of her granddaughters at Fireman’s Park so my girls could meet her girls and have some play time.  I’ve got to hand it to Diane for taking on such a big task - her girls are ages 7, 6, 4, and 2 plus she had her dog Bella with her. We played at the playground, at the splash pad, they walked Joey on the boardwalk, had lunch, and the option to swim (her girls loved it, mine thought it was too cold).  It was a fun time.

When we got back to my apartment, we spent the rest of the day just hanging out, having dinner and watching a movie before settling in for the night.  They are perfectly content to watch a show while I take a much needed, short nap.

I let them sleep in Tuesday morning and they didn’t get up until almost 10 am.  I wanted to take Joey to Petsmart and see how he reacted in the grooming area.  Same behavior as Sunday - he wouldn’t let a groomer near him and tried to snap at her when she reached out to touch him.  Now, I’m starting to think that it is the place that sets him off - so any tables and several dogs at different stages of grooming.  I made another appointment for the 8th and will see if we can make a few visits there to help him get more comfortable.  Fingers crossed.  The girls loved checking out all of the animals and decided they would try to convince their parents to let them have a Guinea Pig or Hamster.  Good luck.

They just love going to the Dollar Tree, so we did that and they loaded up on candy and a toy to take home to Yoshi.  After some playtime at the school playground, we drove out to the new house (it is theirs as of today) and then went to have dinner at the Quinn’s.  It was a short but sweet visit, as I had offered to swing by the Sheridan Ave house to shut the lights out and close the drapes (there was a showing today).
The New House

I met Ben at the Sheridan house this morning and we had some lunch and then proceeded to pack up the kitchen cabinets and the food, bathroom stuff, and cleaning supplies and loaded it into the van for their first night at the new house.  Their furniture remains at this house for showings and they have air beds setup in the bedrooms.  While there, we also gave the grass and outdoor plants a good watering.

I talked with Pat this morning and he is still working on recovery from his surgery.  He was excited to say that he was able to walk with his own shoes on today for the first time (he has been wearing a boot for many weeks now), although it was pretty painful.  Part of his therapy is to walk with his shoe on an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and he will see the surgeon again next week. Hopefully, he can start back to work with light duty after that.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday, August 28, 2022, MN

I picked Charlotte up from a sleepover at her friends house on Friday and we got to have a sleepover together.  We walked to the Pet Store so I could get Joey a Kong toy to entertain him.  After his walk, we headed to the outlet mall to shop for a birthday gift for Charlotte.  We put Joey in his crate and he started yapping as soon as the door was closed, so we waited a bit and it stopped after about 5 minutes - a behavior that I will have to work on.  Neither of us were very impressed with the mall - it was messy and not much that she was interested in, so I told her I would get her a gift card from Target.  She did get some earrings at Claire’s.  Jill picked her up yesterday morning, as they were going to the State Fair to see a concert that night.  This is how she got herself ready in the morning (not sure if the makeup is parent approved - I have a feeling that it will be redone).  I think it’s a bit much for an (almost) 11 year-old.  The shirt cracked me up - Ben has held onto it for at least 25 years.

Joey has been coughing quite a bit, so I called and the clinic was able to get him in to be checked for Kennel Cough. It is a mild case - no treatment necessary but I need to keep him away from other dogs for now. He has no other issues, so I’m glad I got him in and we can start with a clean slate.  Every day he becomes more settled with his new lifestyle.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Saturday, August 27, 2022, MN

Wow! I have lots to write about this weekend - some good, some very sad.  The sad first. My sweet cousin JoAnne passed away early Thursday morning.  It is sad that we had a great weekend together back in May and we did not speak to each other since then.  It was only a couple of weeks later that she texted me with the news of her Leukemia diagnosis and she wasn’t up to talking, but open to texting.  So we communicated via text for a few weeks, then the only communication was with her daughter Stacy and then I learned that she was in hospice and only had a few days to a week to live.  So the good about Jo is that she loved life to the max - a life that was full of ups and downs but she has a beautiful, loving family and lots of friends, she traveled a lot, lived overseas for a while and loved to have fun. She was game for any adventure. Rest In Peace, dear Jo - I’m really gonna miss you.

The good thing that happened on the 24th was that I adopted my new four legged companion, a 15#, 1.5 year old Yorkie/Shih Tzu (aka Shorkie) and I gave him the name of Joey - in memory and in honor of cousin Jo. She would love it!  So Tuesday evening, I was perusing the pet rescue sites and expanded my search out to 100 miles and the little guy (Coco) popped up on the Hawk Creek Humane Society in Willmar’s website.  On Wednesday morning, I called them right away, they told me there hadn’t been any interest and I decided to take the 2-hour drive to go and meet him. He was very timid and a matted mess, but eased over to me cautiously and it was instant love.  The only thing I know about his background is that he came from a household with lots of kids and lots of dogs and very little structure.  Other than vomiting in the car on the way back home, he was calm and restful and well behaved at Petsmart where we stopped to get food and treats. Neither of us slept well that first night, but once I got a crate from Ben, we both got good night’s sleep and he doesn’t mind the crate until I walk out the door (will have to work on that behavior).  We are bonding, learning some new ground rules, meeting neighbors and family and settling in.  He is a sweet little guy and I think we will both be happy together.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Saturday, August 20, 2022, MN

I helped out with the Food Truck on Wednesday and they were short of drivers this week, so they arrived a bit later than usual.  After that, I had volunteered to help Ben out by driving his van that was loaded with junk for the dump, but he called to say that long waits are expected there and he would come up with an alternate plan.  I had gotten some extra produce from the food truck, so I dropped that off at their house anyway.

I got the urge to bake cookies on Thursday night and the batch of “Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies” was so large that I set aside a container to deliver to the family and still had enough to share with several of my neighbors.  They are yummy!

Patrick turned 53 today - dang, that is hard to believe that I have a son that old.  He and I had a very nice, long conversation on the phone.  Hopefully, I will make it down there in he next few weeks.

Jill and Ben’s house went on the market yesterday and they are all staying at her parent’s house, so I delivered the cookies there and Ben and I went and had coffee. My fingers, toes, legs and hairs are crossed that they get a good offer quickly and put those worries behind them and move on.

This morning, I went to a Humane Society event to see what they had, hoping that there might be some small dogs who weren’t listed on their website. Nope.  I guess I’ll just have to check the site daily, as they said they get posted each morning.  I’m thinking that I will have to give up on a rescue group as an option for a dog for me, as their dogs are really pricey, most in the $300-500 range with very specific requirements for companion animals and fenced yards.  It really closes the door for me and lots of other seniors who would give loving homes but have limited funds.  I’m not giving up, but will have to be patient and hope for word of a dog with a private adoption.  It sucks!

I’ve gotten bad news on three of my cousins this week and I can’t stop thinking of them.  I learned that Wanda is in rehab after a stroke a couple of weeks ago and will not be able to return to her home. Kenny is suspected to have had a stroke while at their condo in Florida, but I haven’t gotten any updates since then.  JoAnne is under hospice care with a very short prognosis after learning that she has leukemia just a few weeks ago.  Her sister Carole is there with her and said she still has funny things to say, but is getting weaker every day.  I feel so sad about all of them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Tuesday, August 16, 2022, MN

I had a fun and creative experience last night when I was asked if I wanted to be involved in assembling wedding invitations for the daughter of our Assistant Manager.  Cynthia and her partner Stefanie are getting married in October and they are having a huge wedding.  Several of her friends and about six residents showed up to help. There was an assembly line for the invitations that had about eight different parts to put together and also an assembly line for the pretty light-up wands that will be waved to the couple when they leave the reception.  We added flowing ribbons and bells.  It was fun and there will probably be another meet-up scheduled to finish the wands - we did about half of them last night.  I will be sure to get photos the next time around.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sunday, August 14, 2022, MN, MI

Bob and Penny headed back home on Thursday. I sure appreciate that they came up for a visit and I really enjoyed their company.

I heard from Ben on Friday that they were heading back home and would arrive later in the evening. After my morning walk with Yoshi, I did a batch of laundry, touched up on the sinks and floors and took a nice nap in the afternoon. I loaded my car and headed back home about 8:00 after taking Yoshi for an evening walk.  He is such a good boy.

My neighbors Deb and Judy and I went to the VFW again on Sunday. This time the music was rhythm and blues and there was some really good talent to enjoy. We also said hello to Deb’s friend Mike who was there drumming again.  A couple of hours was enough and it just feels good to get out and enjoy the music in an environment that is comfortable and safe.

I met with the Stampin Up group on Monday afternoon and we celebrated the birthdays of Pat and Diane and made two very pretty cards, a Holiday card and a Thank You card.  I reached out to the leader for some suggestions on how to embellish the stitched cards that I currently make and she had some good suggestions.

Tuesday was a busy day from morning to night.  I took my car to Costco in the morning to have the tires rotated and checked out - all is good there.  In the afternoon, I made a (sort of pretty) little mosaic bird at the monthly art class with Genevieve. It is always a good time and it’s fun to learn something new.

After art class, I headed off to Linden Hills Park to pick up the girls after camp.  I brought some snacks with me as they had a tight schedule and I had to get Charlotte to her to swim team at the YMCA by 5:15, then Jill fed the twins and dropped Camille off for her swim team before heading to a work meeting. When Ben got off work, he came to pick them up and we had a small window of time to visit before Camille finished and then I came back home.

On Thursday afternoon, I loaded up my car and headed to Mass City, MI for a weekend with Carol and Richard who I haven’t seen since 2019.  It was a very scenic six-hour drive that took me through Wisconsin to Wausau, then north through Merrill, Rhinelander, and Eagle River before crossing into Michigan and getting to Mass City.  I arrived about ten minutes after they did and then we talked until midnight before going to bed.  

Friday was a busy day with a drive through Houghton and on through a tunnel of forest trees and outcroppings of deep, gray rock and views of sparkling lakes along the route to Copper HarborWe drove to a scenic overlook on Brockway Mountain and got a good view of Copper Harbor,  a quaint little town with a population of 125, known as the Gateway to Isle Royale National Park.

Carole and I at the scenic overlook.

On the way back home, we stopped at Quincy’s in Dollar Bay for lunch. They wanted to take me by the Gay Bar (the bar in the small community of Gay) but the road was blocked for construction.  

Their friends Jean and Tom came over for dinner and we had an evening of good conversation and I learned a lot about what life is like here in this part of the country.  Life here centers around the outdoors - forests and lakes, cabins, hunting, fishing, saunas, ATVs, and snowmobiling.  Around here, the busiest time of the year is the winter with swarms of people coming in to take advantage of the snow and the high quality trails. And that is what drove Richard to buy the place up here and he absolutely loves Michigan and I can see why - it is beautiful country.

Jean talked about her neighbor Patsy and thought that she was from Bloomington. A few text messages back and forth confirmed that she doesn’t live too far from me and would be interested in getting to know me.  What a small world it is!

Sunday was another day of sightseeing when we took a drive to the Lake of the Clouds scenic overlook and then hiked in to see several waterfalls in the Porcupine Mountain State Park along Presque Isle Road. 
Lake of the Clouds

Carol and Richard at the Waterfalls

A Sampling of the Beautiful Waterfalls

Before heading back home, we stopped at Jean and Tom’s cabin on Lake Gogebic and they invited their neighbors, Patsy and Charlie over so Patsy and I could meet.  Jean served some delicious, fresh out of the oven Oatmeal Butterscotch cookies to us.  Patsy and I talked a bit and decided to meet up some day for coffee and get to know each other better. It will be nice to have a friend who lives outside my community. 

We stopped at Tieg’s Bar, a Mass City landmark, for dinner and I had a delicious Queso and Jalapeño Burger and a Keweenaw (spelled kee-we-naw) Red Jacket Amber beer.  Both were yummy.

I was on the road this morning by 9 am, ready for the long six-hour drive back home.  It was uneventful and I decided that I have now seen the scenic routes and will just hit the highways in the future in hopes of shortening the drive.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Thursday, August 4, 2022, MN

Last week on Wednesday, I drove to Spooner, WI to meet up with my good friends Jim and Sue. We had a very nice lunch with a lot of catching up to do and it was so nice to hang out with them again.  It has been a year since we last saw each other and a lot of changes have occurred in both of our lives - all is good and families are all healthy.

We went to the Wooden Canoe Museum and had a really nice docent who showed us around and I was even able to share some Tom MacKenzie stories with him and we all learned a bit about how canoes are built.  I was able to leave some brochures listing our canoe for sale and hope that we get some bites from it.  After that, we strolled the streets of downtown Spooner, did a little shopping and bought some yummy bread at the local bakery.

The red canoe is Tom’s building form and the cabinet is from his workshop.

Judy and I went to Pam’s (card making friend) garage sale (she is moving to Phoenix) on Friday and the only thing I bought was a beautiful set of bathroom towels and Judy loaded up on a few things, filling up the back of my car.

I packed up and headed to Ben’s house on Saturday afternoon to spend the next week house and dog sitting again while they spend with week with her parents at a cabin up north.  Big news! They bought a new house in Chanhassen and will be moving before the girls start school on September 6. I can’t wait to see it in person.  It’s going to be a whirlwind of a month!

My neighbor Deb invited me to go with her to the VFW on Sunday afternoon, as her friend Mike was going to be playing drums during the jam session.  The music was very enjoyable and it felt good to be out at a bar with a friend and Mike was a nice guy to chat with during his breaks.

I spent Monday doing my housecleaning and I wasn’t able to save any time - it’s a big house and it took me five hours to do the whole house, split in two days.

Bob and Penny got here about 6:30 on Tuesday evening and we enjoyed catching up and sharing the Mom’s goulash that I made for dinner. We watched Jeff Dunham’s comedy show and got some laughs before going to bed.  Penny brought me some goodies from her gardens: kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapeño peppers - yummy stuff!

We walked around Lake Harriet Wednesday morning, then took a drive to see Ben and Jill’s new house and had some lunch at Maynard’s in Excelsior - of course Bob and I both had walleye sandwiches.

And then tonight we went to the Hilltop in Edina and had walleye again - this time it was pan fried and served with asparagus and rice.  Yummy!It’s another very nice place and I will consider taking visitors there in the future.  

This morning, we walked along the lake but Penny was the only one who went all the way around. She met up with us at the Bread and Pickle just sitting at a table and enjoying the view.  When we got back home we all showered, had breakfast, and they packed up and headed back to Kansas City. It was so nice to have them visit at Bridge’s Bed and Breakfast and I’m so thankful that Ben and Jill allow me to have guests at their home.