Saturday, September 16, 2023

Saturday, September 16, 2023, MN

It has been a week of appointments for me, for Joey, and for my car.  I dropped Joey off on Monday morning (they use a drop-off system and work them into their schedule) for his annual checkup, then headed to Costco to have my tires rotated.  All is good with that and they have about 30,000 miles left on them and that will take me to 200,000 miles on the car, so I will probably be looking a a new one at that point.  While I was waiting, I got a call from the Vet to let me know that everything checked out with Joey and he is in good shape.  

When I left Costco, I went to a body shop called Dent Heads and had my bumper looked at - they said it would be more extensive than what they would do, so referred me to Bloomington Auto Body.  The estimate I got from them was for $1200.  Dang!  I have now gotten estimates for $100, $500, and $1200.  The guy who quoted $100 is going to come to my house tomorrow, remove the bumper, take it to his home and work out the dent and plastic weld the  split and then return to put it back on. I’m going that route - it’s got to look better than it does now.  

My annual checkup was on Wednesday and I walked out of there feeling kind of bad.  My thyroid level is off again, meaning a slight adjustment to my medication - not a real big deal.  My blood pressure was high and after several attempts, even keeping the cuff on for 7 minutes and getting additional reads, it was still high.  So that means an increase in the dose of my medication, monitoring with daily checks, and follow-ups - not too serious, but a hassle.

Of real concern to me was the issue of constant dry, irritated eyes - no matter how slight the breeze, even the movement from walking, causes them to water and this has been going on for a long, long time - in spite of following recommended treatment routines.  She suggested I reach out to the ophthalmologist again and request a prescription - done and that turns out to be a $47/month expense. I’m not jumping the gun, but it seems like relief after using it twice on the first day.  We shall see and I feel it would be so worth the $$$ to not have to constantly squint, blink, and wipe my eyes.

We started to feel some cool, fall-like weather this week when we went from the 90s to a high of only 66° and night time temps near 50°.  I went through my closet and packed away some of my summery stuff and I put the down comforter back on my bead.  It’s still way too early to get out winter stuff, although I saw a few people out with down jackets on.

I’ve been working on stitching cards a lot. Judy has invited me to share her table at the neighborhood church bazaar next month, so I took her up on it and have been busy stitching away. I had 25 stitched, so got busy yesterday with assembling and creating the cards that I will take. That is a long process, as it means deciding on a design, cutting paper, and putting them together.  Here are a few examples:


Saturday, September 9, 2023

Saturday, September 9, 2023, MN

Way back last Sunday, I had a nice long conversation with Tom - it had been almost 3 months since we last talked so we had a bit of catching up to do.  I also had a chat with my Mesa neighbor Arlene and it’s always nice to connect with her. 

We had a short but sweet family gathering for cake and ice cream to celebrate Charlotte’s 12th birthday on Monday afternoon.  She is so sweet - dressed in her Taylor Swift sweatshirt and growing up way too fast.  I couldn’t help but remember her first birthday celebration at a San Francisco park. Ben and Jill were scrambling to get ready for the first day of school, so we only hung out for about an hour.  Charlotte starts 6th grade and the twins start 4th grade.  

I had my blood work for my upcoming annual physical on Tuesday morning and I had the results in 
MyChart by that afternoon - it doesn’t seem like much has changed although my thyroid numbers are low again. I’m hoping that doesn’t affect the medication that I take because that usually results in frequent checks and manipulating the dose. 

Tuesday also marked the 8-year anniversary of my brother Ray’s death at the hands of a heinous killer.  It is such a difficult memory but I have to think of the times in his life that were good his children.

Wednesday was food shelf day and that took up a couple of hours.  It is rewarding to see so many residents and get to have little snippets of conversation.  

Thursday was cleaning day at Ben’s house and he was on a work call the entire time except to give me a quick hug and about a 5-minute chat.  I finished in record time and took 12,000 steps, walked 5.5 miles, and climbed 12 flights of stairs that day.  No wonder I need a nap when I get back home and thanks to Deb for walking Joey while I’m gone, I can do that. 

Yesterday was grocery shopping day and it included a stop at Von Hansons to stock up on protein - pork chops, chicken, bacon, and a nice steak to have for dinner last night.  They have these griller sirloins that are just yummy.

We have now gone from excessive heat days to a high of 66° on Wednesday with night temps in the 50s.  I have a feeling that fall will come fast, as the drought will cause the trees to turn color and drop quickly.  The colors might not be as vibrant this year either.  There is still very little rain in the forecast for the next week or so.  

I took Camille and Norah to their soccer game this afternoon, as Jill and Ben will be with Charlotte and her school friends for a bowling birthday party.  I debated whether to take Joey or leave him at home, but taking him won out.  He got sick and threw up in the car on the way to their house but he was such a good boy at the soccer field and had lots of fun with Yoshi when we got back home.  Camille has a foot injury (the trash can fell on her ankle) so she didn’t play but Norah had two ‘almost’ goals and several really good long passes. Their team lost 3-2.

They are both grounded this week (for not listening and following rules) and it made for such a nice time together, as they weren’t looking for sweets and could have no screen time - so they played outside, played with the dogs, and played a game of Trouble with me.  

Friday, September 1, 2023

Sunday, September 3, 2023, WI

Camille spent the night with me last Tuesday and we went to the Minnesota River National Refuge in hopes of going through the nature center and gallery but once again, we got there on a day that it wasn’t open.  The butterfly people were there and we got to catch, tag, and release Monarch butterflies.  Camille caught six of them - four escaped and a male and a female were tagged.  We can now check the website to see if they made it all of the way to Mexico on their migration.

I got  back to Stoughton Thursday afternoon and my first stop was to have some lunch and a margarita with Doug at La Cantina and we had some good conversation and a few laughs. From there, I went to Dawn’s and got settled in. After chatting for a bit, we headed to Cheeser’s for the wine tasting. We tried some California wines - a white blend, a Pinot Grigio, a Cabernet and a other red blend - and chatted non stop.  And then we went to listen to music at the gazebo where we met up with Paul, Pam, and Jeff.  Back at Dawns after the music for dessert and then she and I ended up talking late into the night.  Yes, I was feeling a little bit foggy from the wine the next morning..

Nan, Monica and Logan picked me up this morning and we headed out to the cemetery where we split the hosta plants by Mom, Dad, and Rocco’s graves and we buried some of Rick’s ashes in the hole in front of their graves.  And then we went to Mandt Park and put the rest of his ashes in the Yahara River.  A cloud of ash was floating in the current and then turned and traveled in a circle back toward where we stood on the shore, before it dissipated and disappeared.  Monica said that was very typical of her Dad, as his goodbyes were always long goodbyes.  It was emotional but we all felt like it was the right thing to do - he is back in his old stomping grounds.

Oops! Windy day and bad hair.

It was so nice to see Monica, Logan, and Nan again.  Once Logan was no longer shy around me and learned my name, he kept pointing to me and saying “Aunt Rose”.  That just made my heart happy.  He is so smart - knows how to count to 15, knows all of the colors and shapes, and he’s not quite two years old.  We had such a nice visit.

Yesterday was Charlotte’s 12th birthday and she and her Mom joined two other friends (who also have birthdays right around this time) and their Moms at a cabin to celebrate. We will get together for family celebration tomorrow.  

I hung out with Pat most of the day, starting with coffee in the morning, then a drive to Madison for a couple of errands, we drove around to see if we could spot Russ in the area where he usually hangs out (no luck there), and we picked up Smoky Jon’s BBQ for dinner.  What a treat - we had ribs, brisket and their spicy corn - all was very yummy.  

After coffee and a short visit this morning, I went back to Dawn’s to load up and she had breakfast ready for me and a bag of goodies from her garden.  What a gal!  I met Pat and Roger at the Iron Skillet outside of Portage for breakfast - not like I needed anything, so I had some fruit. I got back on the road and made it back home by 3:30.  Joey was excited and happy to see me and is now sleeping on the couch next to me.  I love that I can leave him behind and it is not traumatic.

I hate to say it but there were definite signs of fall on the drive.  There were spots of color in the trees, the sumac is red in many places, and the roadsides were filled with goldenrod.  I even saw a flock of White Pelicans flying south.  It certainly doesn’t help that we have been in drought conditions most of the summer. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Saturday, August 26, 2023 - MN

My Stampin Up group of friends had our summer picnic on Monday and after a delicious lunch, I taught them how to do a paper embroidery card.  There were mixed feelings - some liked the process and requested copies of patterns and others might not ever do it again.  I’ve been working on getting some Christmas cards ready for later in the year. 

Happy 76th Birthday to Mike last Wednesday - it’s too bad that the last 11 birthdays have been celebrated from wherever you are in the universe.  And also to Casey - such a great guy - who suffered through 
so many health tragedies including nine cancers in his 29 years, but he still managed to have a smile on his face and to keep on moving forward.  He would be celebrating his 46th birthday today.

I heard from my niece Monica that she and her son Logan and mom Nan are coming to Wisconsin for a visit next week and they will be scattering Rick’s ashes.  I checked with Dawn and there is a room available at her bed and breakfast, so - I’m making another trip there on Thursday.  I sure have been on the move this summer, but I just can’t pass up seeing Monica and Logan again.  We will meet up on Friday.

I’m finishing up my week at Ben and Jill’s. Just finished the laundry and final cleanup and have my stuff together, so will head home in a bit.  

My view from the deck.

The weather this week has gone from nice to Hot and Humid and now today feels like a fall day out there.  It’s a cool 70° with a nice breeze.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 - MN, WI

Charlotte and I headed towards Wabasha on Monday morning in hopes of finding some interesting things to see and do.  The kids of today are different from years ago in that they are accustomed to keeping from boredom by being on devices rather than looking out the window to see what they can see or count cows or barns or play the alphabet game.  So she missed out on seeing some of the beautiful views that I saw along Hwy 35 on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.  So I let her have her screen time while in the car.  It was a rainy day, so we planned to do most of our sightseeing indoors.

We stopped along the way and read the historical markers and learned about geological features and the Indian maiden who jumped off a cliff rather than be married to the man that her parents chose for her at Maiden Rock.  The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin was our first stop and it was very interesting to learn about where she was born, her early childhood years and what their life was like on the Wisconsin woods.  Charlotte remembered so many things from the books but she felt that Norah and Camille would probably enjoy it more - she has grown up a bit since reading those books.

We continued down the east side of the river and crossed over at Wabasha where we stopped at the National Eagle Center to learn more about the majestic birds.  There are three of them that live at the center and the museum I informed us of their habitat.  The center offers tours of nesting grounds and observation but we just saw the museum.

We were hungry, so Charlotte chose Beth’s Cafe in Nelson, Wi for lunch, so we crossed the river and had a nice lunch at Beth’s, then stopped at the gift shop next to the restaurant.  We just couldn’t go by the Nelson Creamery, so stopped there for a yummy ice cream cone.  We were both thinking that it was time head to our motel to check it out, so our next stop was the Alaska Lodge in Lake City.  I had reserved a room with a jacuzzi and we were both ready to try it out.  The room was very nice and had a small balcony overlooking Lake Pepin.  It was gray and dreary but we saw eagles and gulls flying on the currents and White Pelicans bobbing on the rough water of the lake.  Every once in a while, a huge barge would float by.  We had dinner at Big Bear Pizza, watched a movie, and went to sleep.

The Red Wing Diner was our breakfast destination and we spent some time at a few shops in Red Wing. We were headed to the Red Wing Pottery but the GPS lead us astray - there is construction everywhere - and we had to head toward home so we would be on time for Genevieve’s art class.  We made clay wall pockets and Charlotte kind of rushed through hers - I think she was anxious to get back to a game on the iPad.  We had a nice walk with Joey in the evening, watched a movie, and went to bed.

Joey had a nice and relaxing time with Deb.

I learned from neighbors at art class that the new manager who was supposed to start on Monday had a medical emergency and will not be working here.  So we continue on without a manager.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Sunday, August 13, 2023, MN

Most of the week has been spent right here at home other than a bit of shopping and stops at a few yard sales.  I spent the afternoon with the girls on Wednesday as they only had camp in the morning. This week, they were at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for a Harry Potter Camp.  They were having lots of fun when I arrived for pickup and seem to really enjoy it.  

Charlotte is getting a little burned out from camps, so Jill took her out of the one for next week and she will be hanging out with me Monday - Wednesday.  We are going on a road trip to the Mississippi River and exploring Red Wing, Lake City, and Wabasha.

I’ve been doing a lot of weeding along the foundation of our building this week. I just got sick and tired of looking at the crabgrass growing there and the appearance of neglect.  So little by little, I have cleaned it up and it looks so much nicer now.  Our new manager, Steve, starts tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what his approach to managing the facility is.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Sunday, August 6, 2023 - MN

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Patty yesterday! 

After Randy left on Tuesday morning, I had a haircut appointment and then it was getting ready for a National Night Out hot dog cookout here at Penelope.  Joann and I decided to get it going after our events were canceled by our manager who quit.  I dug out my Coleman camp stove and grilled the hotdogs and we had a potluck gathering with about 13 residents.  It was nice, but it always ends up being just a few people who get involved and do all of the work - that’s me and a couple of others.  It makes me feel good because any little extras are always well received.  Many of these folks rarely leave the building.

Wednesday was food shelf in the morning and pet nail trims in the evening.  Joey is still the only really naughty pet - the cats are cooperative and he is a little shit.  This is my setup and he still fought like crazy.  It’s a good thing Mary is experienced and willing to deal with him. He is great with me trimming him but when it comes to clipping the nails, he gets in fighting mode.  Sometimes I wonder what his life was like before me or is it just his personality.  

I’m still recovering from my bout with bronchitis but getting better every day.  The weather folks on the news are calling this “the summer if fires” as we keep having days with poor air quality because of smoke coming in from Canadian wildfires.  It is sure having an effect on me.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Monday, July 31, 2023 - MN

My guest arrived yesterday about 2:15 pm and I feel happy that he decided to take a detour and come my way.  We had a little lunch, took a nap and then I gave him a little tour of the neighborhood and we walked along the 9 Mile Creek for a bit. After that, we had some dinner and watched the “80 For Brady” movie that was kind of fun.

This morning after a leisurely wake up, some coffee and a bite to eat, we did a little bit of sightseeing. We drove by Ben’s old house and then took the Minnehaha Parkway to the waterfalls, then stopped at the Lock and Dam #1 and checked that all out.  Our next stop was at the overlook where the Minnesota River meets the Mississippi River.  And now we’re are back at my apartment, had some lunch and are getting close to nap time again. We’re going to Ben’s house for dinner tonight.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Saturday, July 29, 2023 - MN

So ever since we had the days of poor air quality, I have experienced tightness in my chest but it really got bad over the last couple of days.  After taking Mucinex for a couple of days to loosen things up and feeling no relief or maybe even a bit worse, I headed in to urgent care this morning.  I reserved a place in line (online) and then went to the Park Nicollet Clinic in Burnsville and was able to get right in.  They were friendly and efficient and after an exam and chest x-ray, I learned that I have bronchitis and will be on a 5-day regimen of Prednisone.  That should take care of it quickly.  It’s a good thing because my brother Randy is coming tomorrow for a two day visit.  Yay!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Tuesday & Wednesday,July 25-26, 2023 - MN

I picked Camille and Norah up yesterday at 10:00 am and we headed south to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park where we had tickets to tour Mystery Cave.  Even though I allowed an extra hour, we stopped for gas and got in construction traffic for at least 30 minutes and arrived late for our tour.  They were just getting started, so we were able to catch up with the rest of the group and see the entire tour.  It was only about a 1/2 mile of walk into the cave but it was interesting and we learned a lot.  Much of the walls were formed from calcium deposits, it is in its original state (no roofs added) and extends for about 13 miles.  One takeaway was: a cave is just a canyon with a roof - a canyon is a cave without a roof.  Makes sense.  We had a nice picnic on the grounds after our tour.  I had hoped to go to the Forestville living history museum but the bridge is washed out and you can’t access it. 

Silly girls!

Before heading to our B & B, we stopped at the Spring Valley Swimming Pool to burn up some energy.  They are both really good swimmers and spent most of the time in the 11’ deep part of the pool and jumped off the diving board many times.  

And then we headed to the small town of Wykoff (population 425) and to the historic jail house where we were spending the night.  The city has turned the 1913 building into a B&B. It is original with thick stone walls, steel doors, has two rooms - one with a 2-bunk jail cell.  They have added on a bathroom and modern conveniences such as lighting, AC, TV, internet, comfy beds, and a nice patio.  

The girls suggested walking tacos for dinner and we realized that I forgot to bring the cheese, so we walked to the little convenience store and they didn’t have any either - cheeseless tacos. We sat out on the patio and had our tacos and walked back to the little store for dessert.  There weren’t a lot of GF options, so they had popsicles while playing in the park behind the jail house.  We watched America’s Got Talent and went to bed.  They were afraid that they would fall out of the bunks, so we all started out in the queen sized bed, but then I ended up sleeping in the bottom bunk of the jail cell. Now I can say that I’ve slept in a jail cell (it was NOT an item on my bucket list).  Wykoff has done an excellent job of restoring this historic building and bringing some extra tourist income to the town.  The area is beautiful - part of the driftless area with lots of hills, valleys, rock formations, and the Root River.

Our destination for Tuesday was the Olmsted county fair at Rochester.  It was the first day of the fair, so the rides and games were not opening until 6pm. Dang it! We spent three hours in the animal and 4H displays and eating.  

They had gymnastics that night, so it was another full day for us.  Norah was missing her family, so she had several FaceTime chats with Jill, shed a few tears but I was able to comfort her so she setting in for the night.

We spent the afternoon at the Fireman’s Park pool on Wednesday afternoon and they even talked me into getting in the water with them.  It was refreshing and we had fun playing.  I enjoyed the quiet solitude of my little apartment after taking them back home.  I love being around them, but by the 3rd day, my patience runs thin and I’m getting tired. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Friday, July 21, 2023 - MN

What a day yesterday was.  For some reason, it seems that the night before I go to Ben’s for my cleaning job, I am unable to sleep.  This happened Wednesday night and there was no alcohol (sometimes affects my sleep) or anxiety involved and I was tired and ready for rest when I went to bed.  I know it was after 12:30 am when I finally drifted off and the alarm was set for 6:30 - I was fully awake at 5:30. 

Cleaning went well and since Deb was watching Joey and I had other things going on in Ben’s neighborhood, I took a short nap and a shower when finished.  I then went to pick Charlotte up at her Inventor’s Camp.  As we were leaving, I rear ended the car in front of me.  I’m not sure what happened - I was either not completely stopped or I accelerated before she was completely out of the intersection but whatever, I was distracted and not focusing on what was going on around me.  Thankfully, it was just a fender bender and nobody was hurt.Most of the damage was to my car and even that isn’t bad. 

Her car.

I have filed a claim and now I wait until hearing from an agent. The person I hit has been very calm and is not too stressed - I’m thankful for that.

Randy Sabien (Dawn’s guy friend) played a show at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior that night, so Ben and I went and had dinner with Dawn and Randy and watched the excellent and very entertaining show.  It was him and a guitar player plus a guest mandolin player and a singer.  What fun! Ben and I have been meaning to see a show together and this happened to be right close to home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Tuesday, July 18, 2023 - MN, WI

I headed out for Stoughton last Wednesday and hit rain once I got to Owatonna, about 50 miles south of the Twin Cities and I drove through rain the entire distance.  I made a stop in Reedsburg to visit with Rosemary (my brother Rocco’s ex-wife) and her husband Robert.  I still talk with Rosemary at least a couple of times a year and a recent conversation made me want to see her in person.  Robert’s health is declining from ALS, although he is in good spirits and healthy other than his lower body not functioning very well.  He gets around in a scooter but needs assistance for most daily activities.  We had a very nice visit and it was good to see them.  

Back on the road, I kind of regretted that I didn’t get off the freeway as the traffic was heavy and so was the rain.  I get uncomfortable when I’m on the road in a bunch of semi trucks that make it even more difficult with the spray that comes off their tires.  

It was good to see Pat and Tracey and I hung out for a while before heading to Dawn’s house to get settled in.  She and I had dinner and wine - a bit too much - and didn’t get to bed until 11:00 and didn’t sleep very well.  A nice walk in the morning got me feeling much better.  Other than having breakfast with Jonnie and lunch with Susan and Judy, I mostly spent my time with Pat and Tracey and Dawn.  I didn’t even do my usual drive around Stoughton until Sunday afternoon and the drive included a stop at the cemetery to visit Mom, Dad, and Rocco’s graves.

There was a hazardous air quality warning in effect for three of the days I was there and it definitely had an effect on me this time.  My throat has been scratchy, eyes itching, and sinus pressure that made me uncomfortable.  The rain that they got really helped to clear things up though.  The cause of the poor air quality lingering fires in Canada and now we may see it from northern California.

Dawn rode back with me and I dropped her off at Randy’s house.  It sure was nice to share the drive and have the company on the return trip.  We will get together on Thursday, as Randy is playing at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior (Ben’s neighborhood) and he plans to join us.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 - MN

I helped Genevieve out on Friday and Monday this last week and finished mulching her back yard gardens.  It sure looks nice and should be a bit easier to keep up and maintain.

Ben and his family got back home and the girls are in Cardboard Camp this week.  Since I had told Jill that I could help out with pickups, I am doing that on Monday and Tuesday this week.  They just love it and are tired, dirty, and smelly when I pick them up.  When we got back to their house, they played with the neighbor girls, as they are trying to get as much time in before they leave on August 1 to live in Spain for the next year.  How nice is that? And I wonder where do young couples get all of their money to be able to do that?

Joey got a haircut again on Saturday and the preliminary work that I did on Friday was hilarious.  The gal that does the nail trimming at my building suggested that we try a hammock the next time she cuts his nails because he fights the restraint so much. So I rigged a hammock from a fabric grocery bag and hung him from the shower curtain, just to see if it would work. It did!  I was able to trim his feet and lower legs and some of his face while he was hanging there. He didn’t like it but he was still, so I ordered one on Amazon and I’m going to try to finish up the job this morning.  It’s too bad that I didn’t get a picture of him, but I didn’t want to leave him hanging there while I went to fetch it.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Friday, July 7, 2023 - MN

I’m finally back at my own little apartment after another nonstop busy day, starting with a 2-hour shift putting mulch down at Genevieve’s yard.  She already has put down about 60 bags and we still have quite a bit of area to cover.  It should help with keeping the moisture in and the weeds down and the real perk is that it looks so nice.

Pat and Roger got to Ben’s house on Monday afternoon and we had a really nice time, sharing meals and cocktails, relaxing Farkel games on the deck, taking walks, watching movies, a bit of shopping and dining, and lots and lots of talking.  That is - Pat and I did lots of talking - Roger was pretty quiet.  It is always nice to be with those guys and we all appreciate Ben and Jill’s willingness to share their beautiful home.

I got a call from Rita this afternoon and her follow-up on her radiation treatments went well - all looks good. She will go in for scans every three months, but things look really good.  Denny is not faring so well.  He had an episode last week that put him in the hospital for a few days.  It turned out to be A-fib and will need some follow-up testing to be sure and to figure out how to treat it.  That is on top of some serious back and shoulder issues that he is getting cortisone shots to relieve the pain.  Fingers are crossed that all goes well for him and he can get back to feeling normal again.

I can’t believe that I didn’t take any photos.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Sunday, July 2, 2023 - MN

Another page on the calendar has flipped and we are now in July.  The 90° days of summer continue with very little rain.  Drought conditions are evident everywhere.  The poor birch tree outside my window is suffering and I’m sure it is on its way out. Several branches have broken off, all are leaning toward my window and the trunk gets blacker every day.  Someone told me that birch trees are suffering from some kind of affliction and the drought conditions sure haven’t helped.

I had a haircut appointment on Thursday afternoon, so I opted to run errands before it.  My first stop was a Costco for gas and I realized that I had left my wallet on the counter at home, so back I went to fetch it and still had time to get everything done.  I got gas and coffee at Costco, took returns to Kohls and Sierra, made a stop at the bank for quarters for laundry, and still had 15 minutes to shop and browse at Turnstyle, and then to my appointment with Shirley.

I saw an orthopedic doctor this week for the ‘catch’ and painful shoulder that I have had for the last six weeks.  The X-ray showed no damage to the bones, a bit of arthritis, and nothing else.  I opted for the least invasive approach to getting it back in shape and that means physical therapy at home, icing it, and taking anti-inflammatory medications.  If I’m unable to do the exercise, I can get a cortisone shot that would help me to be able to do them, but I will wait and see.  It hasn’t really stopped me from doing much, but is painful when I move in certain ways.

I helped Genevieve with garden maintenance on Saturday and Sunday mornings and things are looking pretty good there.  She would like me to come every couple of weeks, just to keep the weeds down and plants looking good, so I now have another part-time job.

Ben’s family left for their annual 4th of July cabin trip to Wisconsin and offered their house to me once again, this time Yoshi was able to be with them.  I am heading over there this afternoon and Pat and Roger will join me tomorrow for a few days.  It is my week to clean and I will spread that out over the time I am there.  My fingers are crossed that someone will be interested in seeing the canoe while I’m there - I updated the listing and dropped the price a bit.

Speaking of the 4th of July, a friend of the Reinhart’s posted a photo of his pastel painting of ‘The Land’ in Richland Center on Facebook last week and it reminded me of the many years we camped there in the past - 25 years with only a couple missed and just a few scattered after that. This scene reminds me of what it was like after dinner - small pockets of conversation here and there over after dinner cocktails - a few are enjoying the campfire at the fire pit, there is music in the background, scrabble games at the picnic table, and gathering for fireworks. It is such a beautiful setting and I have many good memories of the times we had there with our circle of Milwaukee friends.  That family was always so generous with their vacation places and willing to share the land and their Lake Michigan vacation home.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Sunday, June 25, 2023 - MN

So last Saturday, we had our Father’s Day celebration because Jill’s dad was leaving on a fishing trip the next next morning. Ben made a large batch of BBQ ribs and Lois brought potato salad and Waldorf salad and we all hung out on the deck.  It was a fun afternoon and the food was delicious, and it was a beautiful day.  Charlotte was proud of her pink bucket hat and she was getting ready for a week of overnight camp.  They love wearing Uncle Casey’s t-shirts.

I did my laundry and cleaning on Sunday, as the next week was gonna be a busy one, starting with a residents meeting on Monday morning.  We had a guest speaker to inform us of how the local recycling works - with a review of what can and cannot be recycled.  I learned a lot and a few of the takeaways were that the caps should be left on plastic bottles, aluminum cans should not be crushed, and anything that is smaller than your fist should not be put in the recycling.  If I’m doubt, throw it out.  

The Stampin Up group met in the afternoon and we each made two cards, had lots of good conversation, and had apple pie a La mode, courtesy of Pat.  We decided that I would teach everyone how to do the stitching cards when we meet in August.  

Ben dropped Norah and Camille off after their soccer practice on Monday night and they were with me until Wednesday afternoon.  I was hoping to take them to the museum and art gallery at the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, but we got mixed messages online and they weren’t open. We came back home and walked to the school playground.  They are still little monkeys and love to climb and test their agility.  Did I mention that they eat constantly - we were forever cleaning up after food prep and doing dishes.  They are good about helping out.

I had to spend a couple of hours on Wednesday morning helping out at the food shelf, so I left them alone to eat breakfast and get ready for the day.  I came up to check on them and there was stuff all over and they weren’t ready.  It was a little better when I finished, but by then Joey had gotten into some packaging and chewed their dental wax (for braces) containers up.  You can’t leave anything around, as he will grab it and chew it up.  Lesson learned, I hope. 

We went to the beach at Fireman’s Park in Chaska in the afternoon and I sat in the shade and read while they played at the playground and swam.  It was a nice way to wrap up their stay and they had to be home for a soccer game later that afternoon.  

I wasn’t able to stay to watch the soccer game as it was the night of our pet nail trim clinic at Penelope.  Again, Joey was the only naughty pet and he fought and resisted, so Mary was only able to get all but 2 nails clipped.  He was definitely being a devil dog and it makes me wonder why he is so resistant to being restrained. He is good when I groom him and I was able to clip the remaining nails the next morning, so I think it’s going to be my job from now on.

I was supposed to clean Jill and Ben’s house on Thursday, but they offered me to take a break and do it on Friday, so  I took them up on the offer and had a nice, relaxing day at home.

Yesterday was a soccer tournament for Camille and Norah and they won both of their last two games of the season.  The ‘Stars’ team was undefeated for the season and they got medals after the game.  Neither of them got goals but they sure did try and both had ‘almost’ goals where the ball bumped the frame of the goal.  

Friday, June 16, 2023

Saturday, June 16, 2023 - MN

This week started out with a blank calendar and the days filled up with activities.  I found a recipe for No Churn Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream and tried it out last Sunday.  It turned out really nice so I invited Deb up for a bowl on Sunday night.  I wanted to share it with the family, so I picked the girls up after camp on Tuesday afternoon and we went back to their house and had ice cream cones and I hung out and had dinner with them all it on the deck.  The ice cream was a big hit.

I learned the sad news that our manager, Nikki, is leaving her job.  I certainly don’t blame her, as I feel that many folks didn’t like her from the get-go.  She is a high energy person and did a lot of positive things for this place, but so many residents can’t handle the changes that she made. Little things like relocating bulletin boards and having quarterly resident meetings rather than monthly meetings.  Her job was high stress because of major breakdowns and people not being able to understand setbacks that she had that were out of her control (delays in scheduling contractors, parts not being available, having to work within a budget, and working within corporate requirements).  I thought she was a fresh breath of air around here and will miss her friendly greetings whenever I saw her.  It is strange to live in a place like this where people my age act like they are already in a nursing home.

I turned out to be the only person attending Genevieve’s art class on Tuesday so I got a private lesson.  We made clay prep bowls and my idea was to make three nesting bowls.  We talked about her gardens quite a bit and I offered to take a look and give some advice on plant choices and pruning.  So I went to her house on Friday and we took a tour of her yard and gardens and I came up with a few suggestions.  We then sat on her patio and had a very nice salad for lunch and then she went with me to an estate sale that I was planning to go to.  I will be helping her with some pruning and a little bit of planting this morning.

I was so hungry for barbecue ribs, that I bought a rack at the store and gave them a good coating of dry rub seasoning and baked them for dinner last night, along with baked beans and coleslaw and strawberry shortcake for dessert.  I invited Deb and Cathy to join me and we had some great conversation for a couple of hours.  

Joey got a bath on Wednesday and a haircut yesterday.  I decided to try the haircut without giving him any calming medication and it worked out just fine.  He is really sensitive about having his legs and face cut but as long as I do those areas in short bursts, it works out.  I got the job done in an hour and have a few areas to touch up. I keep scissors and brush nearby so whenever he is relaxed and sitting near me, I do small areas at a time.

We have gotten air quality warnings almost daily this week due to warm temps and air currents bringing smoke from Canadian wildfires our way.  My eyes have really bothered me and although the daytime temps have been very comfortable, I have had the AC running most of the last week.  It was so bad on Wednesday that many activities were cancelled, including the twins’ soccer game on Wednesday night.

I spent a couple of hours with Genevieve his morning, pruning some shrubs and cleaning out some garden beds. She showed me this cool garden sculpture that she made and we cut all of the damaged branches off a cedar tree that the deer had attacked and used the trunk as a support for her sculpture.  I think it turned out great and we both really liked it.  I will be going back to help out again in a week or so.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Saturday, June 10, 2023, MN

It’s been a busy, busy week and I was hoping for quiet relaxing days.  There has been stuff going on here at my building like the monthly birthday party and the food shelf that I volunteer at.  

Pat and Ben offered to cover the cost of having a ceiling fan installed in my bedroom as a birthday gift.  I had the electrician install it on Tuesday afternoon and I think it has made it more comfortable for sleeping. 

 The twins had a soccer game on Wednesday night and it was nice to see them again. Their team is on a roll and they haven’t lost a game yet.  Norah was really going for the goals and came really close once but not quite close enough.

I cleaned house for Ben and Jill on Thursday and, thanks to Deb for walking Joey in the afternoon, I was able to come home and have a little nap.

I finally got around to getting a few groceries on Friday and I made a stop at the garden center to get a few colorful annuals to put in the perennial garden. 

Today is Lois’s birthday and I was invited to join the family to have dinner and celebrate with them this afternoon.  Ben grilled red peppers, broccoli, and asparagus and that was served with a bowl of pasta Alfredo and it was absolutely delicious.  It was a lovely afternoon.

We finally got some rain and I’m hoping it was enough to make a difference. We have had a long dry spell and there isn’t any more rain in the forecast for the next week.  It actually cooled down and is about 65° now at 9:30.  I will be leaving my windows open tonight.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Monday, June 5, 2023 - IA, MN (Home, Sweet, Home)

It was a slow, relaxing start to the day and after coffee, reading the news, and a walk around the park, I packed up and headed out at about 9:00.  It was an easy, uneventful drive with light traffic most of the way and I pulled into my parking lot at 1:00.  It feels so good to be back in my apartment.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Sunday, June 4, 2023, MO, IA

The time has come to head back home.  My goal of having one on one time with each of my siblings has worked out so well and the fact that I got to see some of my nieces and nephews and their kids was the icing on the cake.  The trip wasn’t stressful at all - just great visits with each and every one.

My plan for a good night of sleep didn’t pan out so well - it took until after midnight to get to sleep and I was awake again at 6:00 this morning.  I packed up and started the trek back home at about 8:45 this morning.  There was about a 10-mile stretch south of Sedalia where the road and all along the sides of the road was covered with grasshoppers that were flitting around, popping, and bouncing off my car. The drive was good but by the time I got to Bethany, MO, I was feeling so tired and needing a break, but just when you are looking for a rest area there isn’t one for miles.  I stopped at Lamoni, IA and rested for a bit and made it to my little KOA cabin west of Des Moines by about 3:15.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Saturday, June 3, 2023, MO

I packed up and moved on to Lake of the Ozarks to visit with Rita and Denny for a couple of days.  We sat out on the deck and watched boats go by and caught up on all of the recent news. Then we went to JB Hooks for appetizers. Denny was really disappointed in the sliders that he got. The buns were burnt black and he said it was the worst food that he had ever had there.  Rita’s fish was delicious and my Reuben rolls were pretty tasty too.  And then we hung out on the deck some more and watched a Great Blue Heron fishing from the roof of the dock and from the sea wall, several ducks, a family of geese and even a hawk that landed in the treetops. It’s such a relaxing a beautiful setting and I’m happy to be welcomed for a visit.

Shortly after I went to bed, I heard some fireworks going off and it scared Joey, so I put him in his crate and once it got quiet, I opened the door but he stayed in there all night long.

We lounged around, enjoying the beautiful views of the lake. Fortunately, it was a slow weekend at the lake and boat traffic was light.  Later in the afternoon, we went into Osage Beach and had some late lunch at Tucker’s Shuckers Oyster Bar, ate on the upper deck and people watched. I had fish tacos that were excellent.  More lounging on the deck, talking and lake watching.  

I found this in Rita’s photo album, it dates back to 1991.

I went to bed about 9:30 in hopes of getting a good night of sleep.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Thursday, May 1, 2023, MO

Randy spent all day yesterday cooking spaghetti and meatballs for dinner with his family and I got to see all of them except Ali’s husband James who is serving in the National Guard in Africa right now. We had a lovely dinner (the spaghetti was yummy) and played games with the little ones and took pictures after dinner.  Maren is only 3 years old and she sang the entire “I’m Proud to be an American” song to us and had the sweetest before dinner prayer.

Back row: Ali, Julie, Randy, Me, and Ryan. 
Front: Maren, Jax, Joey, and Lanae

This morning, Randy and I walked at a small park near his home and then I fixed us some scrambled eggs for breakfast when we got back home.  We were talking about how to spend the day and I suggested a motorcycle ride and he and Ryan were both up for it.  It sure felt good to feel the rumble of Randy's bike on the road and the wind blowing through our hair as we rode some of the hilly, winding roads near his home.  We even stopped at a couple of garage sales.

We all took naps when we got back home and then Randy and I went to see Sunny Sweeney at the Southbound Bar and Grill in the evening.  It has been ages since I saw a live music concert and the opening act wasn’t the greatest but Sunny’s show was very entertaining and enjoyable.  Thanks to Randy for taking me on a date - it was lots of fun!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 - MN, IA, MO

Last Tuesday, the 23rd, I packed up and got ready for my trip to Missouri (this is my visit siblings for one on one time trip) and left right after my haircut appointment and was on the road by about 2:00 pm and traveled as far as the KOA in West Des Moines where I had a little cabin rented for the night.  I have stayed at this campground many times in the past, as it was a convenient stopping location when I was pulling my little trailer.  It’s a beautiful, well cared for park and I enjoyed my stay there.

After a walk and loading the car on Wednesday morning, I headed off to Bob and Penny’s house.  Dang, it felt good to get their hugs.  We had a lovely time conversing and having cocktails and a yummy steak dinner with fresh salad greens from Penny’s beautiful garden. 

On Thursday, after a nice walk, we took a drive to the little town of Windsor, about 40 miles west of their house and stopped for lunch at a little Mexican restaurant along the way.  It is an area with several Amish farms where plants and flowers are sold. We also stopped at a store where grains, seasonings, pies, and other goodies are sold and I bought some corn meal and jelly to take home with me.  None of us were very hungry later that evening, so we had salad and pie for dinner.

Friday was the day to spend time with my brother Ron at his apartment, but we did go out for a nice breakfast too.  He had just had his living room painted and new carpet installed, so I helped him to hang some pictures and get it back to normal.  We also spent some time looking through the old family album that I brought with me and that brought back lots of memories and we had a really nice talk.

Penny made Shrimp Boil for dinner Saturday night and we gathered at Amber and Ashley’s lake house with their kids and families. She had the shrimp shipped from Padre Island (where they spend the winter and feast on seafood) and they borrowed a huge cooker for it. It was yummy and there wasn’t much left of it. What a fun evening connecting with their family.

Chase & Sullivan, Lincoln & Amber
Me & Penny
Harlow & Oliver

It was on to visit the next sibling, Rene, at her home near Warsaw on Sunday.  Mike wanted to treat us to barbecue for dinner, so Rene and I headed into town in her new used Mercedes SUV that she wanted to show off.  The BBQ place was closed, so that plan was nixed.  While we were in town, Mike called he to let her know that his daughter Kristin, her husband Mike and daughters Abby and Ellie were stopping by.  I don’t think I had seen Kristin since before Rene and Mike were married, so it was nice yo see her and to meet her family. They stuck around until almost 9 pm.

Mike, Kristin, Abby & Ellie, Me and Mike

Rene has been having sciatica problems, so she has been laid up for a while. I offered to help her out, so I dug up her flower bed and planted a couple of Rose bushes, two tomato plants, and some flower seeds for her.  We then started to burn a stack of cardboard boxes that had piled up in their garage (some needed to be cut up and she hadn’t been able to do the bending required).  We also gathered up several containers of aluminum cans that she hauled up to her neighbors for recycling.  After our chores were done, I took a shower and then we all sat around their yard and enjoyed the setting.  We had a nice dinner of brats, spinach salad, and lemon poppyseed bread that I had brought along.

Tuesday morning was the day to move south to Springfield where I would spend a couple of days with Randy and his family.  I didn’t get out of there until almost noon, as Rene had things to show me and we hadn’t gone through the old family photo album.  We said our goodbyes and I was off down the road again.

I got to Randy’s house, one that I hadn’t seen before, as he and Julie are separated now and living individually.  It’s a lovely house in a quiet neighborhood and he has it set up very nicely.  We did some grocery shopping as he has invited his family for spaghetti dinner on Wednesday evening.  We had sandwiches for dinner and watched the movie, “Peanut Butter Falcon”, one that I never get tired of watching.

I met up with Julie and Lanae this morning for a nice walk on a paved trail through a nice little park.