Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, MN

I don’t have a lot to write about over the weekend.  The weather was descent and I was able to get out for a walk several days, although we’ve had rain and warm days and that is followed by icy walking surfaces.  I moved my car and Tim’s car to the street on Friday so our lot could be cleaned out on Saturday. That is a real pain in the butt, but necessary.

I went to an estate sale on Friday but found a sign on the door that the sale was rescheduled.  I also went to one on Saturday and it just amazes me that people live in such huge homes. This was a 5-bedroom house in Mendota Heights and was full of beautiful furniture - nothing for me. I’m kind of looking for a small chair for my living room, found a nice one, but I’m no longer interested in antiques.  I walked out of there with a few books by local authors.  

Yesterday was Tom’s 74th birthday (we are the same age for two months) and we had a nice chat over coffee in the morning. 

I helped a friend out yesterday by taking her to an orthopedic appointment after she fell and broke her hip during the big January snowstorm that we had.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thursday, February 23, 2023, MN

This week brought another two-day Snowmageddon to the Midwest, well actually all the way across the country from the west coast.  We ended up with about 14”.  Several women from my building showed up to help clean the snow off cars and to shovel pathways to the drivers doors and behind the tires so they can be backed out. We thought a good name for us would be Snow Angels.  After the last cleanup, I lounged in a hot bath and took a short nap.

I left my apartment to get a picture of the parking lot and Joey apparently snuck out with me and I wasn’t aware of it.  When I was in the tub I heard him barking but thought he was under my bed. When it continued, I got up and found him at the door.  Later on, I learned from Leslie that he had pooped on the floor in front of her apartment (probably anxiety) and then heard that he wasn’t very friendly with Ted.

He’s been kind of anxious since yesterday when I bought a bark collar for him.  I did this to correct his bad habit of demanding barking, where he stands facing me, kicks his hind legs and barks - wanting attention, play, or food.  From all that I’ve read, the best way to correct the behavior is to ignore it.  I’ve left the room, walked away, turned away, and tried to ignore it but it’s almost impossible to ignore. So, I’m going to try the bark collar.

Good news from Rita this week! The cancer tumors in her lung can be treated with radiation and do not require surgical removal. Yay! I’m so happy with the news and the outlook!

Before I even put it on him, he became quiet and clingy (has he been through this before)? And once I did put it on him, he laid next to me and was really subdued.  In the evening, he did bark and it signaled and he immediately ran under the couch and stayed there the rest of the night.  He’s also been under the bed a lot. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Sunday, February 19, 2023, MN

It’s another week to reflect and decide on what exciting events in my life were worth writing about.  Was it the residents meeting that had much better attendance than those held in the past, that wasn’t real productive although many topics were covered? They did provide donuts which is probably why attendance was so good.  Was it the fact that Karen monopolized the conversation for over half an hour on her belief that the pond on our property is contaminated because a cat was found dead there on the day that she moved into her apartment six years ago? Management tried to reassure her that the County and city monitor retention ponds and just because a cat was found dead there six years ago doesn’t mean that it is contamined. She wasn’t happy and got up, gathered her stuff and walked out.  Sometimes I just have to shake my head at old people.

Monday was the 10th anniversary of Mike’s passing and I had conversations with both of my sons and took the time to look at photo albums and reflect on the years that we had together.  I got a heartfelt ‘thinking of you today’ text from Patty first thing in the morning and my reply was that it seemed like yesterday but in reality was ten years of yesterdays. I look back in wonder at who I would be today if I hadn’t had the stable influence of him and his family.

And then there was Valentines Day, and Ben’s 46th birthday.  He had the day off, but it was full of appointments and I was at their house cleaning, so other than the birthday cake that I made for him, we didn’t celebrate together.

Our temps have been kind of a roller coaster this week but Joey and I have gotten out for walks.  One day, I clamped on my Yak Trax (there is still a thick layer of ice on the sidewalks and the edges of the roads).  I noticed the many different sounds that were coming from my steps that were hitting different depths of ice, sometimes slushy, slurry sound and other times crisp crinkling sounds.  It’s too bad that I didn’t try to record it.  No, I wasn’t stoned either. 

Yesterday was full of happy and sad moments.  The sad news was that I learned that it was confirmed that Rita has lung cancer and will be facing surgery to remove one tumor and radiation to tackle two others.  This didn’t come as a complete surprise as they have been monitoring a spot on her lung for many years and there have been changes recently.  It is in an early stage, so her prospects of favorable results seem very possible.  

The happy was that I went to St Paul to visit with my cousin Dawn who is visiting her long time friend, Randy Sabien.  It turns out that their friendship has turned into a relationship that has gone from annual checks to see how she is doing to frequent meetups.  Randy is a musician who plays many instruments but mostly the fiddle and Mike and I saw him perform many times back in the 90s.  We had a great visit and I watched several of his You Tube videos when I got back home.  I’m so happy for them both.

I finally explored the walking trail at Marsh Lake Park, it’s been on my list of places to check out for a long time and it proved to be well worth it.  The trail is covered with a very thick layer of wood chips and it’s about a mile long through the woods and along a small marshy area. There were a lot of trees cut down and I learned from another walker that they are clearing out the invasive Buckthorn and the Ash trees that are infested by the Emerald Ash Borer. Even though there were a lot of trees cut, it seems there will still be lots of nice ones along the trail. It sure is nice to find these great natural spaces right in the middle of the city.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Sunday, February 12, 2023, MN

I just heard from the family that they are on their way back home. I’ll hang out for a couple more hours, take the dogs for a walk, and then be on my way back home too.  I took the dogs to the Carver County off leash dog park this morning near Victoria - such a pretty walk through the woods - even in the small dog area.  The two dog parks that are closest to me are in industrial areas, so not real pretty. It’s another beautiful sunny day and it’s close to 40° and everyone is loving it.  As you can see - we still have lots of snow on the ground, lots of icy driveways, and it will take a long time for this to melt down.  I think there is some rain in the forecast later in the week.

Yesterday while having a chat on the phone with Patrick, I looked out the window to see four squirrels hanging (literally) on the sunny, east facing side of the trunk of a huge Oak tree.  Two were facing upward and two were facing downward.  They hung like that for quite a while before scattering. I guess they were just enjoying the sunshine.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Friday, February 10, 2023, MN

I’m sitting here in Ben and Jill’s family room, looking out the huge windows into the woods, watching the squirrels running and playing - they sure have been active.  I’m not sure what breed they are, but the color is reddish and they are real small. I’m here for the weekend, watching Yoshi and enjoying the views and the wide open spaces while the family is off to Lutsen for a weekend of skiiing.  We just got back from a 40 minute walk in the 27° sunshine and I’m looking forward to much warmer temps on the weekend.

I made a chicken and rice hot dish to share the family on Tuesday evening, then picked the girls up after school.  They did their homework and then we proceeded to work on their Valentines boxes.  They are using the ones they have used for the past several years, but wanted to update them a bit.  I brought along some valentines paper that I just bought, some ribbon and bling, and we wrapped the tops in red paper and they decorated.  They all turned out real cute! Charlotte is all about the Axolotyl (a Mexican Salamander) these days, so her box was decorated with them. 

I finished making their valentines before I left home this morning, added an origami heart made with a $5 bill to each envelope and set them on their boxes with a note, “Do Not Open 
Until February 14”.  Instead of stitching cards, this time I did watercolors. Here’s how they turned out.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Sunday, February 5, 2023, MN

I went to watch the twins win their first basketball game yesterday, 18 to 12.  They both made baskets and both got fouled - at least they were engaged and trying.  Its to see how they have improved week after week and this game, to see them do their victory dances at the end of the game. 

They wanted to come home with me for a sleepover, so we all had a nice dinner together and then Norah and Camille and I got home about 8 and pretty much headed right to bed.  We had to get moving right away this morning in order to get to Charlotte’s swim meet on time.  She competed in three events, got a fifth place for the 100 meter breast stroke but was exhausted when it came time for the 200 meter backstroke, just 15 minutes later and placed last.  She had such a sad and defeated look on her face and was crying when she came up the stairs and that made me just want to cry too.  I guess that’s just a hard part of life when you have to learn to accept your failures along with your wins.

Joey and I got nice outdoor walks in the last two days and boy does that feel good.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Friday, February 3, 2023, MN

Yay, it’s February, the shortest month of the year that always seems like the longest. Then again, it seemed like January would never end. The week has been cold except for Wednesday that reached a high of 23° and that seemed so warm compared to what we have had. Today takes another dip with a high expected to be 4° but then they say we will warm up to the 30s starting tomorrow.

Yesterday was a rough one for Joey as he was in his crate for six hours while I cleaned Ben’s house, then I was exhausted when I got home and felt like being a slug, but he all of this cooped up energy needing to get out.  We came in from a walk and as I was changing my clothes, I turned around and saw him pooping on the floor. I blame this on myself as much as him (too cold to find a good spot) and me for not being persistent in taking him to all of the good spots.  Several days we have had to come inside to warm up and then head right back out again.  Now, today, I need to steam clean the carpet so the scent doesn’t hang around.

Speaking of cleaning Ben’s house - it gives me over 10,000 steps, 5.5 miles of walking, and 11 flights of stairs climbed. A total of 16 flights for the day, including those in my building since our elevator is down again.  On Wednesday when we had the food truck, I helped those on 2nd and third floors to get their groceries to their apartments - making for 11 flights climbed that day.  My unintentional workout.

I’m not sure how the weekend will pan out, but Charlotte competes in a swim meet that I would like to see and the twins play basketball.  Poor Joey will be crated again but I’ll make sure to play with him a lot today so he gets enough exercise.

I had two appointments earlier in the week - one to give a saliva sample to the clinic so I could participate in a DNA study that they are conducting to create a health database. The results are going to be interesting to me and I also hope they help to develop new medical treatments.  

My second appointment was to purchase a prepaid cremation plan so my sons don’t have to worry about it when I die.  I have no plans to do that soon, but this has been on the back burner for a long time and I finally made the appointment and took care of it.  Thanks to Susie Hooverson for giving me some much needed guidance about what to look for to get the best protection for when the time comes.