Sunday, December 31, 2023

Sunday, December 31, 2023, MN

This week has been sad, with the news of the loss of two good friends.  Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I took one look at my iPad, noticed an email from Rudy and learned that Sonja had passed away.  She was 93 and had been suffering from arthritis pain in her joints for years, but she kept busy and did all that she could do.  We met in 2003, while living in Ocala, FL when Mike had his computer repair business going, he went to their home in Dunnellon to help Rudy with his computer.  They hit it off and wanted to meet me, so they invited us to a lovely 7 course meal at their home and we drank and ate and talked and drank and ate and talked and became the best of friends.  In 2006, they invited us to visit them in Switzerland and hosted us on our first trip to Europe and it couldn’t have been a better time.  They arranged all of our transportation, hotels, and sightseeing within Switzerland, and trips by train to Paris, France, and Florence, Italy and to Titisee, Germany in the Black Forest. We met all of their lovely families.  I’m feeling sad at her loss and will miss her, even though we have been separated by long distances.

We were last together in 2016 when I met them at their timeshare in Pinetop, AZ.  I had a trip scheduled to visit them in Florida in 2019 when Covid hit and had to cancel my plans.  They sold their home in Dunnellon in 2021 and have not traveled to the US since then, as Rudy’s vision is deteriorating and Sonja has had difficulty with her hips and joints.  I have many fond memories of our times together and appreciate the friendship that we had.

My friend Marta, from Bend, Oregon passed away on the 16th from dementia.  She and I met while walking our dogs outside Marin Park when we babysat for Charlotte during her first six months of life.  Marta was an avid hiker and knew of so many beautiful places in the north bay to hike and we always managed to have good conversation and have stayed in touch since then.  She and Kerry stopped for a visit two years ago when they were passing through here.  

It has been a week of warm days and long walks because of it.  One of the days was bright and sunny but most have been cloudy.  We got about an inch of snow last night and the forecast is for more wintry weather.  December turned out to be the warmest in history with above average temps all month long.

Camille reached out yesterday and asked if she could have a sleepover, so I met her and Ben at Staring Lake yesterday for a walk around the lake. I always enjoy my walks with Ben that give us a chance to talk.  Camille came back home with me after our walk.  Of course, a trip to my house usually means a stop at the dollar store where she was hoping to get some stick-on nails but they were out.  We played Uno and still haven’t finished it, as it went on and on and on.  It’s 8:30 am and she and Joey are still asleep.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Tuesday, December 26, 2023, MN

Well, I survived another Christmas - not only survived but enjoyed.  The holidays are so much more relaxing these days as the girls are getting older and this year, all of us adults noticed the difference. 
After dinner on Christmas Eve, we played a dice game for our ugly sock exchange.  It was fun and we all ended up with a unique pair of socks.  During our gift exchange, the girls were more excited for all of us to see the gifts that they gave, rather than the focus being on them unwrapping.  That came, but there was much more excitement over giving this year and they were more willing to wait while others were opening gifts.  And the gifts they gave were thoughtful.  There was much trying on and modeling of the clothes that they received. 

Home from Christmas mass. Camille didn’t feel good so stayed home in her PJs.

Sock exchange

They liked the miniatures I made of the favorite stuffies, Bootsie & PupPup.

Christmas morning, they actually slept in until almost 7:30 and then quietly gathered to empty their stockings, sorted out the gifts under the tree from Santa and then waited for the adults to get up and get some coffee before opening - and then they drifted off to play with their stuff.  Charlotte’s PlayStation game of Minecraft and new controllers kept them occupied a good part of Christmas Day. We started a game of monopoly, then interest in that went away after having a snack and some of us played a few games of bowling on the PlayStation and others played board games.  Dinner was ham, scalloped potatoes, roasted green beans and asparagus and topped off with my Cranberry Cake with Hot Butter Sauce.

Christmas morning, waiting to open Santa’s gifts.

I didn’t get home until after 9:00 and was ready for the quiet and comfort of my little apartment once again

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Saturday, December 23, 2023, MN

Another week in December with no snow and very comfortable above average temperatures.  This morning, I’m looking out the window at a foggy start to the day. It is strange to think that we had at least a foot of snow on the ground last year and temps in the low 10s on Christmas - I will take this over that any day.

My Stampin Up group had our annual holiday luncheon on Monday in the great room at Pat’s apartment complex.  It is one of the upscale senior housing complexes and a very beautiful facility.  Nancy made a tasty chicken hot dish (Wisconsinites call them casseroles, but you will be corrected if you call them that here in Minnesota), and we had veggies, bread, a fruit salad, and dessert.  We then proceeded do our monthly project and this time it was a cute Christmas ornament that was quite complex, took some review of a video, and turned out nice.  It was a fun afternoon with a great group of gals.

I guess Ronnie & Diane were not aware of their photo being taken. Beautiful table though.

I cleaned at Ben’s house on Tuesday and thanks to Deb for keeping Joey, I was able to take a nap when I got back home.  Unfortunately, although I was tired and ready for bed early, I couldn’t go to sleep for a long time.

I helped out with the food truck on Wednesday and just as we were getting ready, the EMT’s arrived and transported Betty (our most senior resident who is 98 year old) to the hospital. We learned on Thursday afternoon that she had passed away.  She was a sweet, sharp minded lady who still managed to come to most of our functions and to get to church and bible study every week.  She will be missed.

I finished up my shopping and wrapping on Thursday. I still need to make the packages pretty, but they are wrapped.  I also got the fudge made that is always requested by the girls.  My contribution to Christmas dinner will be my Cranberry Cake with Hot Butter Sauce, a tradition for us.  I finally found a gluten free version that is just like the one I made years ago.  

I offered to take interested residents for a ride to see the neighborhood Christmas lights on Wednesday evening and got eight people to sign up, so I made three trips that took about a half-hour each.  I think I brought a few smiles to folks who don’t get out much any more and it made me feel good.  There are some very beautiful light displays - my favorite is the yard with every evergreen tree dressed in red lights. It would be even more beautiful if the lights were reflected in snow. 

I must have had some intestinal bug on Thursday night because stomach cramps kept me awake most of the night.  The last time I was up was at 4:00, so needless to say, I was dragging butt yesterday.  Norah wanted to come for a sleepover, so I picked her up in the morning and we made a stop at Trader Joe’s for a few groceries before coming home.  

We made these pretty paper stars, I took a nap, and Norah watched a show on my iPad.  We walked to the park and let Joey run around in the pickle ball courts.  Back home, we made pizza for dinner and then watched ‘Home Alone 3’.  It was cute and gave us both some good laughs.  Norah said that her throat was sore, so I gave her a little honey with lemon to soothe it and we were in bed and asleep shortly after 9:00. 

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Sunday, December 16, 2023, MN

It wasn’t much fun, but I got a new crown on Thursday.  This was the first dental work that I have had done in over twenty years, so I asked the dentist to be gentle and there was very little discomfort both during and after the procedure.  At first, my insurance denied coverage, so I sent a letter and when I heard back, they were going to cover all but the buildup portion, about $400, so I’m happy with that. Maybe I can go another twenty without needing any dental work. Fingers crossed.

I got my Christmas cards written and mailed this week and had just a couple of packages to send out.  A neighbor told me about the convenience of the post office at the nearby Bloomington Drug store - that made it really easy to do and I avoided the long lines at the post office.  It seems like the staff at the post office is always grumpy, so this experience was quite nice. 

I took Joey to the vet to have his nails trimmed on Friday and they were successful,but he screamed the whole time.  The technician said that he didn’t fight, but he sure did yell. Now, if I could only get him to let me or Mary do it would be so nice.  Since we managed to get that done, I took him to play ball at the dog park.  Speaking of dog park - there is a note on the gate that said the city is considering discontinuing that location. I guess I need to send a message to the parks department or mayor.

Yesterday was cookie baking day at the Bridge’s house.  Their kitchen is so big that six of us could be working comfortably and having the double oven was nice. Camille and I teamed up to make Butterballs, Charlotte and Granny made peanut butter balls and the kiss cookies, Jill and Norah worked on cutout cookies. We also rotated and helped each other out. I’m happy that the girls are still wearing the aprons that I made them a few years ago.  They won’t fit for much longer.

I’m feeling bad that Joey had to be home alone again, so since I’m going to be gone a good part of today (taking the girls to Circus Juventas in St Paul), Monday (Stampin Up holiday luncheon) and Tuesday (house cleaning for Ben & Jill) too, I enlisted Deb to hang out with him today and Tuesday.  She is always willing and he knows her well, but I feel bad. 

The Circus Juventas (youth) performances were excellent and captured the attention of all four of us.  The girls were enthralled, trying to take it all in, as there was so much going on, it was hard to stay focused on any one activity.  I would describe the show as a colorful, high energy performance of extreme gymnastics, ballet, and trapeze activities.  The costumes were incredible. My understanding is that this is a place where children can get an education in circus acts.  I really enjoyed it and I think the girls did too.

I watched Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday celebration on CBS tonight and the lineup was absolutely excellent, bringing back memories of the many concerts that we went to, my favorite songs and many of my favorite musicians and singers.  The hard part was getting through all of the ads nd I always have a problem with that. Willie did great and he brought tears to my eyes a few times. It will be a sad, sad day when he dies, but like he sings “I’m Gonna Live Forever” and another that never made it to the charts “Still is Still Moving to Me”- his music will live on forever.  Yea Willie!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Wednesday, December 13, 2023, MN

I feel bad - poor little Joey is completely stressed right now.  The Veterinary technician was here tonight and I restrained him while she tried to trim his nails.  He was having absolutely nothing to do with it and cried out in agony and fought me every minute.  She was able to get one foot done, but that was it.  If any of my neighbors heard, they would think that is was torturing him.  I don’t know what has happened to the poor guy in his past life, but he just can’t get past the trauma of the nail trim.  He is patient with me as far as grooming, trimming the hair around his feet, and even letting me mess with them, but as soon as I try to restrain him and the clippers come out, that is the end of his tolerance. 

It’s been a busy week with a haircut and some shopping on Monday, our community holiday party yesterday, and some shopping with Deb today.  We also took a drive tonight after the pet nail trims were done.  Our drive to see holiday lights wasn’t quite as nice as last year when we had over a foot of snow on the ground and the lights reflected off the snow was very pretty.

I also wanted to take a drive in hopes or spotting a shooting star, as it is the time of the Gemenid meteor showers.  The sky wasn’t dark enough and we didn’t drive far enough away from the city to be able to see any.  

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Saturday, December 9, 2023, MN

It’s been a busy week with something going on every day. Me and two other residents that volunteer for the food shelf program met with our new Service Coordinator, Maureen, to walk through the process and then on Wednesday, she got to dive right in and help out.  All went well, although she is concerned that we might not be meeting the needs of all residents, so I think she will be putting out some additional communications.  It is a great program and if you only get milk and eggs every two weeks, it is well worth it.

On Tuesday, Mavis came to my apartment, Eileen joined us, and we had a nice brunch of broccoli cheddar quiche and fruit slices before heading over to the Masonic Sidekick Theater to see the Honky 
Tonk Holiday show that Randy Sabien is playing in.  The show was colorful, lively, interactive, and fun.  They performed several old familiar country Christmas tunes and a couple that Randy wrote - there was some real talent in the show and we all met Randy after the show to say hello.  He sure is a nice guy.

Yesterday, my day started with an appointment to get my Covid booster and then I was off to the Verizon store with the intentions of upgrading my devices (they are running good deals) and switch to their home internet.  I ended up with just the internet, as the devices may have been free, but the monthly cost was much more that what I currently pay, so I stuck with T-mobile for my phone and iPad.  

When I got back home from my errands, I met up with a few neighbors to assemble Cards for a Cause and we put together 137 Christmas cards for hospice patients.  It is always an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Sunday, December 3, 2023, MN

Last Thursday was cleaning day at Ben & Jill’s house and thanks to my good friend Deb, who took Joey for a nice walk, I was able to come home and take a short nap when I finished.  I assembled the lasagna that I will be having for dinner tomorrow night when my good friends Carol and Richard arrive for a visit. I made the sauce on Wednesday.  

Carol and Richard arrived early Friday afternoon and we proceeded to catch up on the family news since the last time we were together, August of 2022 at their place in Michigan.  Ben hadn’t seen them since Mike’s memorial and he and Norah and Camille joined us for dinner.  The best compliment a cook can have is when people go for seconds and we cleaned up the pan - there is enough remaining for one meal for me.  We had a great visit and they all left about 8:30 - I did the dishes and went straight to bed.

Yesterday, Deb kept Joey for me so I could spend the day with my friends.  I met them at their hotel and we walked to Mall of America, doing the rounds of all three floors. The crowds increased as the time went on. We ended up spending about three hours there, stopping in a few shops, having a bite for lunch, and walking, walking, walking - about 13,000 steps worth of walking.

In the evening, we went to Burnsville to meet their friend Jim for dinner and had a fun time.  The waitress had an incredible funny sense of humor and we had lots of laughs and great conversation.  

Just a few minutes ago, I got my dishes from Friday night put away - that doesn’t happen often in Rose’s world - but the busy weekend was so worth it.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Tuesday, November 28, 2023, MN

Last week brought lots of calls and text messages from family and friends and several calls to family with birthday and Thanksgiving wishes.  Since our family Thanksgiving was going to be on Saturday, I invited my neighbor, Beverly to join me.  I made a yummy casserole with the leftover Turkey that I had, mashed potatoes, carrots - she was so thankful to have a home cooked meal and someone to share it with.   

Thanksgiving dinner with Ben and Jill’s family was on Saturday at Lois and Dennis’ house.  It was so nice to see Dennis feeling better and able to join in with the family.  He had some surgery on Wednesday to open his nasal passages to be able to breathe better and has been feeling better since.  Dinner was delicious and it was fun hanging out with all of them.  

We had a little bit of snow that day but barely a dusting.  Camille requested a sleepover at my house and that ended up to be her and Charlotte. Norah spent the night with Granny and Papa.  We did crafts and then watched a movie, “Leo” that Charlotte was glued to it but thought it was a little to kiddish for her.  

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thursday, November 23, 2023, MN

Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this blog.  It turned into kind of a rant, but I couldn’t find places to break it up into paragraphs. There are so many things in this life that I’m thankful for - especially that I have lived for 75 years, a mostly healthy life surrounded by people I love and who love me back.  I’m sorry for the loss of so many loved ones, especially mother, who made a huge impression on the first 16 years of my life and my husband of 44 years - but I’m thankful for the life we had together and the two sons we raised and watched grow into wonderful men and the families that they have shared with me.  I’m thankful for my siblings and their families, cousins galore and so many friends that I rarely travel anywhere that I can’t connect with someone who means a lot to me.  Experiences! Way too many to write about, but a descent education, the love of reading good books, travels throughout the US and one memorial trip to Europe, endless walks in beautiful and not so beautiful places.  The many pets that have been part of my life - dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, lizards, fish - for someone who grew up terrified of dogs, I learned that there was nothing to fear and only the companionship and joy that they bring.  I value that I am a creative, caring and giving person - I feel great when I can give small tokens and share with others.  Nature - I’m so thankful to have been able to visit so many beautiful places; mountains, deserts, beaches, forests, countries, states and cities - main streets and country road.  The many lovely homes that I’ve had in many different towns. The joys of getting a glimpse of wildlife every now and then, even if it’s just a squirrel or bird perched on a branch outside my window. Speaking of windows, I’m thankful to have a comfortable and safe place to live with a lovely view out my windows. And the joys of food and the comfort it brings and even the expanded waistline that I have because of the food that I love. I’m thankful that I haven’t had a lot of suffering on my life, although there has been tragedy, I have been able to cope and move on - the good in my life far outweighs the bad.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Sunday, November 19, 2023, MN

The week was pretty uneventful but I did have art class on Tuesday and we did a real fun project - felted wool birds.  One gal made a cute owl, a couple did a Christmas bird that was white with red berries, Genevieve finished a cardinal that she had started and I did a little Chickadee.  I enjoy those classes a lot and really appreciate being able to learn new things.  I started another little felting project again yesterday.

The weather has been beautiful, up in the 60s this week except for Thursday when it dipped down into the low 40s with high winds.  It’s back up there the last couple of days and I’ve really enjoyed my morning walks. Of course, it will become more wintry this next week but we still have no snow in the forecast.

I went to Willy McCoy’s for dinner with Elaine and Joann on Thursday night and came home and had a nice long phone conversation with Tom.

Judy and I went to the annual Christmas bazaar at the Masonic hall on Friday and then to an estate sale in Lakeville and a stop at Hobby Lobby before heading back home.  

I started a felting project yesterday afternoon and when I broke my needle, I had to go to get some more.  I ended up with the last one that was on the shelf at JoAnn’s so I could continue my project.  I stopped at the dog park with Joey on the way home and he got to run and play with a really nice Lab mix.  He was careful not to trample my little guy and even let Joey grab the ball a few times.  He really needs to burn off energy every now and then and this converted hockey rink is a good place for it.

Since it was such a beautiful day yesterday, Joann and I decided to fill the urns at the front of the building with winter stuff.  She volunteers to collect and cash in the aluminum cans at our building, so she offered to use some of that money for artificial greens.  I had picked up a bunch of red twig dogwood branches and some berries and Judy had some birch logs that we could use.  The planters turned out very nice and I’ve gotten several compliments from residents. The pumpkins that were in the planters got donated to the wildlife that visit the pond on the property.

Last summer, Pat gave me a sheepskin that he got from his boss who raises sheep.  I had told him I might want one for the seat in my car for the winter.  The hair was really matted and stained, so I took it in and had it cleaned at a rug cleaning company.  They did a beautiful job, so when I got it back last week, it was clean but was still very matted and you could see grass and stick particles near the skin.  I started to brush it and it took a lot of work to get down to the skin and remove the debris, but it was looking pretty good so I kept on brushing a little bit each day until I had it all brushed.  The hair was about 4” long. So this morning, I decided to give it a haircut.  I started cutting with a scissors, tried the hair clipper that I use on Joey but it didn’t work, so I went back to using the scissors.  Cutting, brushing, and keeping it up until it was done - I’m happy with the result and have it next to the bed as a rug for now.  My efforts made a difference, although I’m not sure that I will be using it in my car.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Tuesday, November 14, 2023, MN

Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Patty! It’s been a long time since we have chatted and to call her is on my list of things to do today.

The last time the food truck came to our building, we got turkeys.  I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving, so I cooked it on Saturday and invited Ben and family to join me for dinner on Sunday.  I cooked the dessert, maple dilled carrots, and mashed potatoes and gravy on Sunday and had everything in the oven, ready for dinner when they got here.  It was crowded but I was able to get all six of us at the dinner table and it all worked out well.  I can’t believe that it has taken me two years of living here before having them over for dinner.  It was so appreciated by Ben and Jill that they didn’t have one more night of food preparation and just trying to come up with ideas for a meal.  The girls were great - they hung out on my bed and played with the few Barbie dolls that I have.  Cleanup was easy because Ben did the dishes for me.  It was a great afternoon!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Friday, November 10, 2023, MN

Last night was a  very restless night for sleep.  My mind just wouldn’t relax and rest.  It’s a good thing that I have nothing going on today, so I can get a nap.  One thing I kept thinking of was Jill’s dad.  I was able to talk with her yesterday when I was there for my cleaning job.  He got back home on Wednesday but started to bleed and they couldn’t stop it, so he had to go back to the hospital.  She said that his nose is badly broken and that his entire face is black & purple, all of the way down his neck and much of the bleeding is inside his nose.  In addition to that, his skin bruises terribly with just a slight bump due to the medications that he takes and the chemotherapy for his bone cancer.  I just couldn’t get the images of his hurt face out of my mind - I sure hope his body can fight this horrible attack.

Good news this week is that my niece, Ali’s husband James has returned home from ten months of duty in Africa with the National Guard.  I was able to watch the troops get off the plane at the airport and then there was a video of him going to Jax’s school to surprise him.  That sure brought tears to my eyes. I’m so happy that they are reunited and can get back to normal family living.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Monday, November 6, 2023, MN

I guess there hasn’t been a lot to write about in the last week.  The pace was pretty slow for me. I helped out with the food truck on Wednesday and took Mary, the vet tech to several apartments where people had signed up to have their pet’s nails trimmed.  They are all so tolerant, nothing like little terror Joey who fights like crazy.  She was able to clip all but about 4 claws and I said I would try to get them.  Last night, he was so relaxed and I reached over to the bin and grabbed the nail clipper and he immediately went into defense mode.  I keep messing with his feel and nails, but he knows exactly what the clipper is for.

Jill’s dad, Dennis, had a bad fall in the shower on Friday when he started to feel dizzy and tried to get to a safe place. He fell flat on his face, broke his nose, and they had a hard time getting the bleeding to stop, as he is on many medications and having problems with extreme bruising.  

On Saturday, I took Norah to gymnastics (Camille is wearing a boot for a toe injury and couldn’t participate) on Saturday, then to her friends house for a play date and then I met Ben at the Edina middle school aquatics center where Charlotte is competing in a swim meet.  We watched her first heat (50 meter freestyle) where she took 3rd place and improved her time by about 30 seconds.  After that, there was a long break between heats, so Ben and I went and had a coffee.  It was nice to spend some time with him and to help with carting kids around so Jill could go be with her dad. I was able to see the rest of her events on YouTube, as they were streaming them live.  She took another 3rd, a 4th, and came in last on a couple of 200 meter events that she had never done before - a respectable outcome in my mind, but she probably wasn’t real happy with her performance.

Yesterday, Deb, Judy, Ann, and I went to the VFW to hear some music and to see Deb’s friend Mike the drummer. It was a blues jam and the music was great - it felt good to go out, listen to good music and have a beer with friends.

I also learned yesterday that my cousin Carole had a heart attack, got a couple of stents, and is doing well with her recovery.  She is 80 years old and remembered that her Dad had a heart attack at 80 too.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Saturday, October 28, 2023, MN

I look out my window this morning and see bare branches on most of the trees.  It is still dark when I have been waking up around 7:00.  My thermometer reads 28° - the coldest it has been since late April - and now we face the winter months.  I guess I will be wearing my winter jacket when I walk later on this morning.  I’ve changed out my closet from summer to winter, leaving a few in between shirts handy.  My snow boots are still packed away, although they say we might wake up to some white on the ground tomorrow morning.  It will be a cold Halloween for the kids.  

A cold Halloween prediction reminds me of 1976 when I was pregnant with Ben - it was so cold when we took Pat out trick or treating that I wore a long mutton fur coat that kept me toasty warm all winter.  

This week was a much more manageable pace, although I had something going on most days, I was able to get afternoon naps in too.  I had my annual mammogram screening and got the negative results back the same day - good news!  I met Mavis for lunch on Tuesday, a cold and rainy day but perfect for a bowl of soup and sandwich while looking out the window at the nasty weather. It was nice to see her again - I think it had been since May.  We bought tickets to see ‘A Honky Tonk Holiday’ show at the Masonic Theater - Randy Sabien is playing in it.  

I made a big pot of Chicken Wild Rice soup for dinner on Wednesday and took some to Ben’s family when I cleaned for them on Thursday.  It was yummy and the feedback that I got from them was good too - especially the fact that they didn’t have to think of something to cook for dinner and didn’t have to prepare something was a treat.  While cleaning, Yoshi started to bark and when I looked out the window, three deer were running along the back fence and escaping to the woods through an opening in the fence. Thanks to Yoshi, I saw some wildlife.  Deb walked Joey so I was able to take a much needed nap when I got back home.

I had good conversations with most of my siblings this week, funny how time goes by and then all of a sudden I’m missing them and need to hear how things are.  Bob started it off when he called me on Tuesday.

Joey’s crooked smile makes me laugh.

Our maintenance man, James, called a meeting yesterday and I was hoping to learn that it was not a retirement announcement.  He called residents together to let us know that he has been recognized by Corporate for his twenty years of service at this building - since shortly after it was built in 2002.  He is not ready to retire but his other news was not so good - he has cancer and is facing a surgery to remove the tumor but  there are lots of questions remaining about his long term options.  He called on residents to pull together during his absence and to help out as much as possible, since we are still way understaffed and way over budget since the lightening strike last May caused so much damage.  

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Saturday, October 21, 2023, MN

When I got back home on Monday, I was looking forward to an uneventful week but it ended up being busy, busy, busy with three trips to Ben’s house and selling the canoe, helping out with the food truck, and an afternoon with the grandkids.  For their birthday this year, I booked a session at Genevieve’s Art Studio for Thursday afternoon.  We all did a glass fusing project and they really got into using the different tools and selecting the materials for their projects.  Camille and Norah both made Christmas gifts and Charlotte made something for her room. They all enjoyed the afternoon and said they would like to do it again.   I will post pictures when I get them back after being fired.

After our art class, we stopped at a pumpkin patch and I let them pick out pumpkins.  I ended up saving $12, as the person at the checkout kept ringing them up wrong and after three tries, I just gave up on it and accepted what she charged me.  It’s pretty bad when the customer tries to pay the correct amount and even with a calculator, she could ring up 6 items correctly.

I volunteered to help my friend Deb to move her sister into an apartment in our building yesterday.  Lisa has been living in a rented room at a friend’s home in North Minneapolis.   Deb’s daughter Chelsea had a truck and they originally thought they could do it all in in that but it was a good thing we had my car.  She had a lot of stuff but we got most of it moved and now all she has to do is go back there and do some cleanup.  I went to bed early, feeling exhausted, but sleep would not come until 1:30 this morning.  Dang!

Joey and I walked the nature path behind the ice garden today and it was a beautiful walk.

Such a beautiful space right in the middle of the city.

Lots of colors and a few flowers that are holding on.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Wednesday, October 18, 2023, MN

Ben and I said goodbye to Mike’s beautiful Loonworks 88-001 ‘My Pal’ canoe today. We sold it to a local guy who is familiar with Tom’s canoes and will be doing a restoration project on it at the Wooden Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner, WI where several of Tom’s canoes reside as well as much of his workshop and tools.  I feel that Dave appreciates its beautiful craftsmanship and he says he will keep it until he can no longer paddle and will then donate it to the museum.  I feel pretty good about the deal that I made - was asking $2,000 and he offered me $1,200 which I was seriously considering.  Then, after I got home, I got a call from him with an additional, creative, offer.  His budget to repair it is $1,000 and the guy that will restore it with him gave him a good faith estimate of $200 for parts and since it is a project they will do together will not charge him for labor.  Dave offered to give me the remaining balance of whatever is left over after repairs, so he will have the resources to cover the cost of repairs and I could end up pretty close to my original asking price. Sounds like a win, win for all concerned.

I thought it would be an emotional experience, but I feel happy that it will be with someone who appreciates the beauty and will actually use it.  I’m not feeling any regrets.

Mike designed the logo and it was found on hats, t-shirts and his canoes.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Monday, October 16, 2023, WI, MN

Whew! What a whirlwind trip this has been.  I’m glad I added a few days onto the trip this time but I still feel it wasn’t enough.  It has been a visit for connecting with family and friends and I love it.  I helped Dawn with making another batch of salsa to use up all of the rest of the tomatoes that she bought. I think she ended up with another 20 half-pints.  This batch was a spicy one and it ended up having just enough of a bite to make it enjoyable.  I am heading home with about a dozen jars of her canned goodies and some herbs and veggies too.

I hung out with Pat and Tracey on Friday night and then went over there for coffee on Saturday morning.  Pat had a list of items to get at Costco, so we took a trip to the store in Fitchburg.  I left there later in the afternoon so I could get ready for another dinner engagement.  This time, with cousins since Jeff was in town from Colorado, so it was he and his gal friend Terry, Jim G, Jonnie, Dawn, Mary & Steve, and Erin & Joe and me at the Green Lantern.  Dinner and drinks were delicious, as was the great laughter and conversation.

I had coffee with Pat and Tracey again Sunday morning and hung out until I had to get ready to meet up with my brother-in-law Dan’s family. Becky & Ron (now empty nesters, as both daughters are out of college now), Rachel & Rob & their daughter Reanna (a senior), Chad & Becky & their son Cody (also a senior), Sharon & me.  It has been at least 5 years since I have seen many of them and their families have gone from kids to young, almost adults.  We had a very nice time. 

Rachael, Rob, Me, Sharon, Ron, Becky, Chad, Becky

Reanna, Me, and Cody

When I got back to Dawn’s house, her sister Theresa was there, so there was more visiting going on.  When she left, I went to Pat’s house and had a delicious pork and sauerkraut dinner with them.  I said my goodbyes and left shortly after dinner, so Pat could settle in and get to bed early for work Monday morning.

Dawn and I got up, I took a walk, then we loaded up the car and headed to the Twin Cities.  She drove the first half of the trip, then a stop at a rest area where we walked the path the a scenic overlook and had a little lunch, then I drove the last half and dropped her off at Randy’s house in St Paul. I watched for ‘my tree’, a majestic white pine that has been a special landmark for me since 1968 when I admired it on my first trip to Mike’s parents cabin near Necedah.  It is getting weaker every time I see it and I don’t look forward to the day when it just topples over and is no longer there for me.  

My Favorite Tree Ever

The fall colors were gorgeous once we got north of Black River Falls.

When I got back home, I learned that Judy had sold 11 of the 20 Christmas cards that I made at the New Hope Church Holiday Bazaar.  It sounds like she did well with the ornaments that she makes too.  While I was getting the cards ready for the sale, matching them with envelopes, etc., I decided that I should have some type of signature on them. When I couldn’t find a rose in my stamp collection, I carved one on a wine cork and used that.  It’s cute.  

Friday, October 13, 2023

Friday, October 13, 2023, WI

I left home Sunday morning and headed to Pat and Roger’s. It was an easy drive with light traffic. I was hoping to see some fall color but there wasn’t a lot, a little bit near the cities and then a bit near Black River Falls.  I got to their house and they were in the process of burning branches that Roger had trimmed from the trees, so I got my gloves out of the car and helped. We were able to get rid of the whole pile and they were happy for the help and wouldn’t have to attack it another day.  We had dinner, some cocktails, and watched football.

Patty worked on Monday (she works at a day care with babies) and then later in the afternoon we met my sister-in-law Sharon at the Hitching Post for senior night dinner. One of their specials was pork roast and sauerkraut and it was delicious.  

We were off to Stoughton on Tuesday, to meet up with classmates at Culver’s. Before that, we stopped in McFarland and had breakfast with Pat’s sister Sandy, her sister-in-law Carol, and her son AJ and it was nice seeing those folks again.  Pat, Joey and I walked along Babcock Park before heading to Stoughton.  I had enough time to get settled in at Dawn’s before the meetup.  It was nice to see classmates Susan, Pat, Linda, Pam, Virginia, and Bonnie again and we found endless topics to talk about.

Dawn and I went to Fahrenheit 365, a local bar, for a drink and salad for dinner. We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding II and cracked up laughing - what a fun movie. 

Wednesday was salsa making day for Dawn, so after a nice walk with Joey, we put on aprons and began chopping the 30# of tomatoes that she had waiting.  I did the chopping while she ran them through the food processor and got them cooking. I wasn’t able to help with cutting the onions and peppers because my eyes have been so sensitive, but there were plenty of other things to do.  She ended up with 24 pints and some tomatoes left over for a smaller and more spicy batch.

I picked up quesadillas at El Rio Grande and spent the evening with Pat and Tracey - always good to see them. Joey was fascinated with the cats (maybe I should say obsessed) and he and Cass had a stare down from across the room. I was back at Dawn’s by 8ish, tired and ready for bed before 10.

Yesterday, I went to Madison and picked up my sister Rita who is here for Denny’s 60th class reunion and we spent the afternoon together. We drove around all of the homes that we lived in in Stoughton, stopped by the cemetery, and then met cousins Jonnie, Mary, Dawn, and Erin for lunch.  We talked and talked and brought back lots of memories from our childhood.  We all decided it was time for another Peckham reunion so set a date for next June and will see if it all comes together. 

Dawn and I went to wine tasting at Cheeser’s and then made chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner to share with her friends Jeff and Pam.  Such a nice evening!  Pam wanted to get a picture of her and I so she could share it with her sister Carol who was a coworker of mine back at Covance.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Wednesday, October 4, 2023, MN

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, although there hasn’t been a whole lot going on around here. We welcomed October with near record breaking temperatures as the last three days have been close to 90°.  Historically, we have had more 90° days this year than ever before in history.  Things started to change now, the high today is 67° and it’s all going downhill from here - there is no threat of frost yet.  I’m kind of looking forward to my drive to Wisconsin on Sunday and then back again a week later. The fall colors should be beautiful and will make the drive much more enjoyable.  Also, Dawn is riding back with me and she will spend some time in St Paul with Randy.

I hung out with the grandkids after school last Tuesday as Jill was still at her conference.  Camille and I worked on a finger knitting project that she had but we ended up not finishing it - I had trouble figuring it out and will have to review the video in order to finish it.  I was there again yesterday after school (Ben is at a conference this week) and we finished it.  

I went to the twins’ soccer game on Saturday and they lost but played real hard.  It was hot sitting there in the hot, humid sunny day - had to be hot for them.

I helped out with the food truck this morning and got to see lots of smiling faces.

Between walking with Joey, working on my stitched Christmas cards and my daily naps seem to fill up the days.  I have made about 35 cards so far - 25 of them are going to the church holiday sale on the 14th - I hope they go over well and sell. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Saturday, September 23, 2023, MN

Fifty-six years ago on this day, Mike and I got engaged. The romantic setting was in his 1958 Chevy, parked in the driveway of the Starr School, when I was living with my Aunt Eleanor, Uncle Frank, and cousins Jackie & Jonnie (guess we needed a bit of privacy).  I was in a glum mood after work, probably thinking about him taking off for active duty with the Navy but I brightened up with his proposal.  Of course, we had to go to Monona to announce it to his parents and to Rita’s house to let her know and then I was able to flash that beautiful diamond to let my friends know the good news. 

Last Sunday I got the dent removed from my car.  I went with the guy who said he could do it for $100 - he came and removed the bumper, took it to his home and got the dent out, then returned and put it back on my car.  It’s not 100% but it looks much better than it did and that is all that I was hoping for.  My poor Toyota is pretty beat up with a few scratches and small dents, pocked paint on the hood, but still no rust and it should keep me on the road for a good while yet.

Before & After

I met with the Stampin Up girls on Monday afternoon and we had a small group but a fun time making three different cards. Diane brought a Pear Pie for dessert and it was so yummy - I don’t believe that I have ever had it before, but for me - any dessert with fruit in it makes my day, much preferred over anything chocolate.

Tuesday was art class with Genevieve and we did some acrylic painting. I don’t feel that I’m very good at it, so will probably put my projects in the donation box, but it was fun to do.

Wednesday was another busy day with helping out with food shelf in the morning, running errands in the afternoon, and going apartment to apartment with Mary, the Vet Tech who comes to do our pet nail trims.  The service she provides is so appreciated and we all look forward to her visits every six weeks.  

Thursday was cleaning day at Ben and Jill’s house and thanks to Deb who takes Joey out for a walk while I’m gone, I can come home and relax, take a little nap, and recover. On those days, I usually get about 12,000 steps, 4.5 miles, and about 10 flights of stairs. I’ve improved my efficiency and am able to limit the number of times that I go up or down stairs. 

I had the strangest thing happen during the night.  I was tossing and turning, not sleeping very well, but I woke up with the strangest sensation - both legs from the knee down were HOT and I mean HOT - and it dissipated after about five minutes.  I don’t have a clue what was going on, but I noted it on the calendar and will see if it was just a freaky occurrence or an indicator of something more serious.  

Jill had to go to a conference Friday afternoon, and school got out early for Camille and Norah, so I went to meet them and hang out for the afternoon.  The Cards for a Cause group was meeting at my building, so I took card with me to do with the girls.  They like doing that project and I think they feel good about doing it. Charlotte helped when she got home and we ended up making  about 40 cards.  Ben took Charlotte to swim practice, so I stuck around until about 7:30.  

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.

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.