Monday, July 31, 2023

Monday, July 31, 2023 - MN

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

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

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Saturday, July 29, 2023 - MN

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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

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

Silly girls!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 21, 2023

Friday, July 21, 2023 - MN

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Tuesday, July 18, 2023 - MN, WI

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 - MN

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

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

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

Friday, July 7, 2023

Friday, July 7, 2023 - MN

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Sunday, July 2, 2023 - MN

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

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

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

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

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

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