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 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 quickly 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 not much for delegating, but she 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, so 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 the family 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 rainfall 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, June 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 beautiful 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!