Friday, December 30, 2022

Friday, December 30, 2022, MN

What a lovely day today has been.  I had Norah and Camille overnight last night so Jill and Ben could have a break and a dinner together. We had planned to do some crafts but by the time we got through dinner, it was too late to get started or we wouldn’t have time to watch a movie (the priority these days).  We snuggled in and watched “Hotel Transylvania 3” - one that I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did.  We settled in for bed and all slept until 8:00 this morning.

The plan for today was to return the outfits that I gave the girls for Christmas (didn’t fit) and to choose a replacement.  They ended up getting pictures for their bedroom at Hobby Lobby and a gift card for Charlotte.  I took them home and then we all (except Charlotte who needed some quiet time after several nights of sleepovers with friends) went to the Carver County Off-Leash Dog Park.  What a beautiful area near Victoria, MN, just west of Chanhassen.  Joey had a blast and ran steadily for almost 40 minutes.  

Back at their house, we played a game of Blokus, one of the games the girls got for Christmas.

I’m now settled into my living room, Joey is crashed, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Wednesday, December 28, 2022, MN

I started to write yesterday, but got interrupted by an impatient dog.  With the latest cold weather, he hasn’t gotten a lot of exercise other than playtime.  Let’s see how it goes today, although he has just dropped his tug toy at my feet. Problem solved - he just got a bully stick to focus on. 

Ben dropped Camille off last Friday afternoon for a sleepover and we had fun setting up the Right/Left Christmas game to play on Christmas Eve, we did a little watercolor painting, had pizza, and watched the movie “Slumberland”. Camille had seen it before, but she thought it would be one that I would like too.

On Saturday, we baked the Cranberry Cake and Hot Butter Sauce for our Christmas Dessert and found plenty to stay busy with until it was time to head to their house. Charlotte kept calling to see when we would be there, anxious for the Christmas Eve activities to begin. The last thing that Camille wanted to do here was for us to do each other’s makeup and she drew a really cute picture of the different makeup options. 

Jill made her Grandma Quinn’s Mulligan stew and blueberry muffins for Christmas Eve dinner and then we proceeded to open gifts until the girls just wanted to play with the ones they had, so we went downstairs and watched the latest version of “The Grinch”.  This year the girls could shop at their school for gifts for their family members and they really put some thought into the gifts that they chose. They were so excited and had to keep the secret since early November. I got a pretty scented hand sanitizer from Charlotte, Mini Lip Balms from Norah and a fancy cocktail ring with a blue stone from Camille.

Christmas PJs and gifts: smart watches, slippers, shoes, hat, computer glasses, and 
comfy lounging hoodie.

At 6:30 on Christmas morning, I heard Norah and Camille run downstairs to check their stocking, then they came up to wake Charlotte and that was the end of sleep that morning.  Jill and Ben got up and sat at the top of the stairs listening for a bit and when they went downstairs I heard Camille questioning why Santa used their wrapping paper and maybe Ben and Jill were really Santa?  Ben handled it well, asking Camille if Santa really had time to wrap all of those gifts - maybe he needed some help from Mom & Dad - and that it might just all be part of the magic of Christmas.  She gave up on the topic.

We unwrapped the rest of the gifts and then had a nice breakfast of German Pancakes, bacon and fruit. They are lucky kids and so fortunate to have the loving and caring parents that they do but I sometimes feel like it would be nice to cut back a bit.  Christmas was very decadent.

We spent the afternoon playing with gifts, prepping for dinner, doing a puzzle, watching football, and enjoying the time together.  Dinner was excellent - beef tenderloin, baked potato, sautéed Brussels sprouts, dilled carrots, and the cranberry cake with hot butter sauce for dessert.  By then, I was ready to head back home to my quiet little apartment.  It was a nice Christmas and I’m happy that it is over.

Yesterday, I got up and took down my Christmas decorations and rearranged my living room.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Monday, December 19, 2022, MN

I’m feeling sad since hearing yesterday that I have lost two more friends.  My friend Sue told me that her sister-in-law Barb (former classmate and roommate of mine) passed away last Friday. Barb suffered a type of brain tumor that accelerated dementia for her and she has been in a care facility for the last few years.  It is funny how these things happen as the day before, I was looking for a picture frame and the bin that it was in just happened to have the newspaper announcement from her and Pat’s wedding sitting right on top of all of the other mementos that I have kept all through the years. I glanced at it, didn’t read it, but it’s appearance came back to me today.  I also have a photo of Mike and I that was taken at their wedding shortly after we met on my shelf - it just got a new frame a couple of weeks ago.

While looking on the website of the Madison Newspapers for Barb’s obituary, I stumbled on the obituary of Mary Frahm, a friend from back in the 1980s when I belonged to the Madison Business Women’s Association. Mary was the local chapter President at the time and through the years, she groomed me to become the Secretary for a couple of years and eventually the President for two years.  We had an annual fundraiser, sponsoring a holiday craft show in McFarland to raise money for college students who would be future business women in the community and we met on a monthly basis and had guest speakers from local professional women.  I also worked with Mary’s mother 
Shirley and her sister Janelle and Mike and I purchased flooring materials from her business, Bisbee’s Flooring through the years.  She was very active in many community events and was a beautiful, kind, caring, fun-loving person who had an unforgettable personality. Dang, it is so sad.

I was invited to join Jill, Lois, and the girls in the first annual Christmas cookie baking day yesterday and we had a marathon. Jill and Norah made cutout sugar cookies, Camille and Lois made Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, Charlotte and I made Mexican Wedding Cookies (Snowdrops), and Jill made Spritz cookies. It was lots of fun and we had plenty of space in their beautiful new kitchen to have three teams preparing at once.

Ya gotta include a silly picture.

I ran a couple of errands today in hopes of getting everything I need for Christmas out of the way and got home and realized that I forgot to get coffee - number one on my list.  Dang it!  Then tonight on the weather report, they are saying that a big storm with snow and high winds is heading our way again.  That means I will be getting coffee and gas tomorrow so I don’t have to worry about it. I may have Grandkids here for sleepovers on Thursday and Friday as they are on winter break and Mom and Dad are still working.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Thursday, December 15, 2022, MN

Well, we are sure to have a white Christmas this year. After about five days of rain and temps in the mid-30s, we are getting dumped on and are expecting 5-8” over the next couple of days. It sure is pretty though.

It’s been a busy week starting with our Stampin Up group’s annual Holiday Party that was held at Pat’s community room at Amira (an upscale senior apartment complex).  We had a yummy lunch followed by a Zoom call with our leader Carrie (Portland, OR) and Pam who lives in Phoenix. Carrie gave us a secret Christmas project to work on and this is how mine turned out. It is a 12x12 picture that can be framed.

On Tuesday evening, the Daughters of Penelope (the philanthropic group who owns our building) put on a very nice Holiday Party with Greek food, yummy cookies & cupcakes, a visit from a very humorous Santa, and singing of Christmas Carols accompanied by Dave who was playing the organ.  It was nice to see people dressed up a bit and to enjoy some good conversation.

I took Joey to the dog park yesterday but we only stayed about 10 minutes as he grew tired of the dog who kept pestering him and the grounds were slushy and hard to move around in.

Mary, a local Vet Technician came here last evening and she and I went door to door clipping pet’s nails.  There are 13 pet owners in our building and 10 signed up for her service at $12 each and all are happy and she was happy to have the opportunity.  We will schedule another clinic in about 8 weeks.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sunday, December 11, 2022, MN

Lying in bed this morning, thinking of the day it was on the calendar, I remembered that it is the anniversary of my cousin Fran’s passing, just two years ago.  After my morning shower and sitting down with my first cup of coffee, I opened my iPad and learned that my friend Carol’s Mom passed away early this morning.  It wasn’t unexpected news, but sad news just the same.

When I cleaned Ben and Jill’s home on Thursday, I learned that Norah had gotten sick and thrown up during the night and Jill thought that she might have been exposed to gluten and wondered if it might have been from an ingredient in the potatoes that I brought for dinner on Tuesday. Sure enough, it was the Campbell’s cream soups that I added (they contain wheat flour for thickening) and just that small amount made Norah get sick.  She really liked the potatoes and even went back for a second serving.  Dang, I feel like the bad Grandma. 

I ventured out yesterday to the Bloomington indoor farmer’s market and finished my Christmas shopping. The entire community center was filled with vendors and their crafts, a few peddlers of late season produce, meats and cheese, baked goods, and a few serving hot dogs and warm goodies to eat right there.  

I wrapped the gifts and put them under the tree last night, but I still haven’t come up with an idea for Pat and Tracey.  I also finished up with my Christmas cards and got them in the mail this week.

This is what my car windows looked like on Thursday morning.  I love the pattern!

Joey and I went for a walk along the 9-Mile Creek Trail this afternoon and it was beautiful but the walk is still treacherous.  They plow the paved portion, but the snow is compacted and almost to the slushy point with our warm 34° day, but still quite slippery.  The one mile that walked is probably equal to 3 miles on a dry pavement.  Still, it’s nice to be outdoors.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Thursday, December 8, 2022, MN

I have been back to feeling normal for three days now and it sure is nice.  It’s been a pretty busy week too. I helped Judy turn out about 75 Christmas Cards last Friday for the Cards for a Cause hospice group.  She puts in a lot of effort to make these beautiful cards - each card comes in a set of card, insert, all of the decorative papers and cutouts to make it look cute, all stuffed in the envelope.  All we do, is put it all together with our own little personal touch. They may have the same components but none of them look just alike.  

I really got my dates mixed up thinking that the holiday lunch for the Stampin Up group was on Monday when I thawed out my potatoes and got the Sesame Street Potato Recipe going. It was only when I was getting my cards together for each person in the group when I realized that meeting isn’t until the 12th.  I baked the potatoes and put them in the freezer for next week and took the other pan with me to Ben’s on Tuesday afternoon for dinner.  

It was nice to see the family again on Tuesday, as it’s been 2 weeks now. Everyone but Jill is fully recovered from the crud we all had. Jill is still on the recovery roller coaster - she feels back to normal one day and then has another setback.

I had an Amazon package to return, so I did some shopping on Monday and was able to finish my shopping for the girls.  The girls department was so picked over but I finally came up with a gift - now let’s hope they like it.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Saturday, December 3, 2022, MN

Influenza Type A hit the Minnesota Bridge and Quinn families hard this week, affecting everyone but Charlotte who was able to go to school and her regular activities.  Norah was hit especially hard, having temps of 103° for several days.  They finally got back to school yesterday after being down for a full week.  My days have gone like this:

Day 1 - tickle in throat
Day 2 - tickle in throat & tightness in chest, feeling fatigued
Day 3 - same as Day 2
Day 4 - same as Days 2 & 3, but starting to feel better, less fatigued
Day 5 - almost back to normal but wait…started sneezing and having loose cough
Day 6 - today - constant sneezing and coughing

We got hit with an 8” snowfall on Tuesday. It started about 6am and quit about 5pm.  It was hard to clean off my car on Wednesday with my breathing issues but thanks to a relief inhaler, I got through it.  When I took Joey out for a walk, several neighbors were cleaning off their cars and Steve told me that I shouldn’t put it off until later, as the wet snow would freeze when the temps dropped and it would be much harder to clear off.  It was nice to see neighbors helping other neighbors get their cars cleaned off.  The parking lot had to be cleared on Thursday when the cleanup crew came in.  They do a really good job of keeping the lot and walkways cleared.  

Friday was nice and Joey and I were able to take a nice walk through the neighborhood.  Needless to say, he has been a bit squirrelly when we have been cooped up in the house.