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.