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. Bob dressed in his ‘holier than thou’ shirt just for me.

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 restaurants 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 her to let her know that his daughter Kristin, her husband Mike and their 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 to 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.  

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday, May 21, 2023, MN

We were all signed up and ready to do the MN Brain Tumor 5K walk today in Stillwater when we realized that the route was entirely along the track at the high school. We made the call to do the walk on our own and Ben found a route around Christmas Lake, so we did that this morning in memory of Casey and several other friends whom I have lost over the years due to brain tumors.  It was a beautiful day and we had a fun time. It was the first hilly and the longest walk I have done this season. Joey was a real trooper too.

We saw Babe the Blue Ox on our route.

Team Casey

My girls. Charlotte stayed home to rest and to preserve her energy for her swim meet this afternoon.

I went back home and took a little nap, then did my laundry before heading to the U of M Aquatics Center to watch Charlotte swim in two of the three heats that she competed in today.  She took a 4th in the 50 meter backstroke and 1st in the 50 meter breast stroke. Yay, Charlotte!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Saturday, May 20, 2023, WI, MN

We did go to the Long Branch Saloon in Germania for their roasted chicken special and dinner was my treat. I can’t believe we got a round of drinks for $9 and 3 dinner specials for $31.  The locals sure know about the place, as it was quite busy.

I headed back home on Thursday morning and headed north on WI-35 at LaCrosse to take in the sites along the Great River Road. Just getting through Onalaska and Holmen took a while and I crossed over the Mississippi when I got to Winona and took the Minnesota side of the river.  We stopped for a walk along Lake Pepin in Lake City.  Once I got near St Paul, the sky opened up with pretty heavy rain and I drove through a very long stretch of construction just before St Paul.  I was thinking that I hope I remember that I have ‘been there and done that’ and don’t find the need to take the long, scenic route again in the future.  It added a good 45 minutes to my drive back home.

Shortly after our stop in Lake City, I started having stomach cramps and feeling extreme indigestion. That continued into the night with added feelings of fever off and on.  I ended up having to reschedule my cleaning job with Ben and Jill and stayed home to recover on Friday.  I managed to accomplish two things yesterday - a walk around the neighborhood and giving Joey a bath.  I’m feeling better this morning and have been able to have coffee, so I think I’m mostly mended.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Wednesday, May 17, 2023, MN, WI

It rained most of the days of Friday and Saturday and finally cleared up on Sunday afternoon. Ben’s family went to the Twins vs Cubs game on Saturday and Charlotte’s 5th grade class got to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th Inning Stretch. Jill sent me the video so I could see it. Cute!

I met Ben and his family and the Quinn’s for Mother’s Day brunch at Olivia’s Cafe in Burnsville on Sunday morning.  Jill chose Olivia’s because their entire menu is gluten free and the twins were able to choose whatever they wanted for breakfast. I ordered the special that was tomato basil benedict, 1/4 strawberry waffle, collard greens, and a cranberry mimosa.  The food was delicious and we had a lovely time.  

I had considered going over to their house later in the afternoon but never did make it. I got busy with filling the car up with gas, then doing laundry and getting organized for my Monday travel to visit Patty and Roger.

I headed out at about 8:30 Monday morning and the drive was uneventful. The countryside is now fully green with splatters of color in the flowering trees on the hillsides.  I never get tired of that drive between St Charles, MN and LaCrosse, WI and the Mississippi River valley.  I got to the Hoovey’s house and we had a beer while enjoying the beautiful porch and yard.  Pat and I walked the dogs and then we had a yummy steak dinner and sat around talking until bedtime. 

We have been seeing Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Turkey, and even a pair of Baltimore Orioles while sitting on the porch and just enjoying the view.

Yesterday, Pat and I ran errands, did some shopping and met up with AJ for lunch at the Hubbard Street Diner in Middleton.  He was working on a basement remodel job nearby and needed a little help with cleanup on the project, so Pat and I cleaned up the construction mess in the beautiful bathroom that he built, one of the bedrooms, and the floors in the family room. As we were leaving, the homeowner, Matt got home and was really happy with the job we did. AJ has done a beautiful job and it was so nice to see him again.

While in Middleton, we browsed around the Goodwill store, looking for something that Pat could use for a birdbath.  She has a base but not a bowl.  We found a large round porcelain serving bowl and and a similar small one that we thought might work. Then, a stop at Menards to get some heavy duty glue.  This is what we came up with.

We met Roger at Cimaroli’s for an Old Fashion and some delicious crab dip and toast. Tonight we are going to the Long Branch Saloon for their fried chicken special.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Thursday, May 11, 2023, MN

I picked the girls up after Spanish class on Tuesday afternoon and planned to take Norah straight to her tutor session at a different school but she didn’t have her backpack with her. We had to go to their house, she grabbed her backpack, and we headed to her tutor class. I went back to the house and then Charlotte had to be at the same school at 5:15 for swimming practice and Norah had to be picked up at 5:15 d someone had to go back there at 6:15 to get Charlotte.  Whew! Once a week I can deal with it although I will be road tripping and unable to help out on the next few Tuesdays.   

I dropped my car off at Eric’s Wednesday morning for front brakes, got a loaner car, and went back home to get started on Joey’s grooming. I gave him some Trazodone to calm him down and then gave him a bath.  We went for a walk so he could dry good and then about 45 minutes after taking the pill, we started the haircut process. He was pretty good about it but can only take getting pestered for about an hour.  Then, last night was nail trim clinic and Mary came by and did the trimming on 4 cats and 1 dog, then when it was Joey’s turn, he was having none of it. He fought and gave me a nice scratch on the arm and we gave up on it.  He was due for a rabies vaccine and a renewal of heart worm and flea/tick treatment today, so I had them take care of it at the vet. 

It was an expensive week with the car costing about $500 and Joey’s bill of close to $200. It’s a good think I’ve still got my cleaning job!

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Saturday, May 6, 2023, MN

It’s been quite the busy week and the highlight was a visit from Brittany on Wednesday and Thursday. She was in town for her work but had no meetings scheduled for Thursday. When she arrived, we had some dinner and then headed right to Excelsior to watch Norah and Camille’s first soccer game of the season. Their team won, but I’m not sure how - there has been only one practice and they all need some coaching and practice.  Back at their house, we chatted until about 10:00 and headed back home.  

Thursday was a beautiful spring day and we met Ben at Punch Pizza for lunch before doing some thrift store shopping. Brittany found a few things to stuff in her suitcase for her trip back home.  We just sat around talking and watching TV before I couldn’t stay awake any longer.  I had my cleaning job yesterday, so I left before she did.  It was such a pleasure to have her around and my little apartment didn’t seem cramped at all. 

Today was low key, except for some product returns that I had to make and a stop at a local garden center just to admire all of the beautiful flowers and to think about planting up the pots at my building.  

Joey and I were just hanging out when a thunderstorm rolled through the area and a bolt of lightening flashed and the thunder roared so loudly that it shook the building.  Shortly after that, the smoke alarm in my apartment started going off and didn’t quit.  As I was walking around the building, I noticed a few other apartments with alarms going off.  The manager got here right away and a technician from the alarm system company did some troubleshooting and removed it so the apartment would be quiet. The whole issue will require additional trouble shooting on Monday.  There are two other alarms in my apartment, so I should be ok for a couple of days. The lightening strike also affected the security system at the entrance, so the manager or another staff member has to stay here to monitor the front door and to keep the building secure.  I later learned that lightening actually struck the highest superficial point of the building and affected the fire panel systems, so the Fire Department was her and cleared the building but we are on “test mode” until they can figure it all out and get the fire panel system back to normal.  What a night!