Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wednesday, April 17, 2024, MN

 Ive got a lot of writing to do to catch up on my trip to Stoughton. The drive down was uneventful with some rain between Owatonna and Rochester. I had the road to myself for the stretch between La crosse and Tomah with the exception of a few cars that were traveling about 90 mph and passed me.  The countryside got greener and greener as I traveled south and I always love that stretch of road through the driftless area.

My first stop was to visit Tracey and she was happy to see me and I felt the same. I am happy that the stroke didn’t have too severe an effect on her speech and memory. She has a long way to go to recover some use of her left side - her arm is useless, although with concentration she can get it her arm and fingers to move. The stroke affects the connection between her brain and her limbs and that is where she needs the most therapy.  She is getting speech, occupational, and physical therapy and also visits from a psychiatrist.  The goal is to release her from the rehab hospital on May 1, but I’m still not sure if that will be to another longer term rehab facility or back home. She has a long way to go and will need help at home.

I spent time with her every day that I was there and a couple of times, Pat and I went together.  On the weekend, I walked to Pat’s to have coffee with him, helped him with some household chores, cooked Mrs Gumtow’s casserole (one of Mike’s favorites) for dinner on Sunday, and squeezed in as many visits as I could.

Jonnie, Dawn, Mary, Erin, and I met up for breakfast at the Cozy Nuk (former Sugar and Spice) and made some plans for our June 8 family reunion. It was nice to see them all again. 

On Monday, after visiting with Tracey, I stopped by Tom and Karen’s house for a visit. The weather has been so nice that we got to be outdoors on the porch and it’s always nice to see them. From there, I went to Middleton to meet up with Pat and Roger and their family for dinner at Tanner’s. They just got back from Arizona two weeks ago and hadn’t seen them yet. Because the weather was so nice, we got to sit outdoors on the patio for dinner and had a nice chat. I then followed them to their home in Packwaukee and spent the night. 

Patty is working at a day care, so she was up and out of the house early. I walked with Roger and Louie before heading out. Rainy, windy weather was predicted for the afternoon and I wanted to avoid some of it. I had a light and steady rain from Black River Falls all of the way home and the wind was at my back, so the driving wasn’t too bad, but I was happy to get back home.

Joey did just fine with Ben and family and I’m happy that worked out so we can take care of each others dogs when needed. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Wednesday, April 10, 2024, MN

 The weather was crappy for the last two days of my stay at Ben’s.  I had hoped to get back to Minnewashta park for a walk but ended up just going around the neighborhood.  As we were walking by a house, a large brown dog came charging out at us and, of course, Joey went ballistic and kept antagonizing the dog.  The owner was right there, but she couldn’t get him to stop for quite a while. Eventually she did and no harm was done other that a lot of growling and barking but it was still scary. 

I’ve been working on a felted cat project for Tracey who is a cat lover and asked Pat if I would be bringing her one of my fuzzy creations. So - in hopes of cheering her up a big, I made this silly guy (left) and the image I used as a guide on the right. I hope it makes her laugh.



I came back home on Monday afternoon, a couple of hours before the family got back, as I didn’t want to leave Yoshi alone for too long.  It was nice to get back home - for a couple of days - as I will leave for Wisconsin on Thursday morning.  The big news on Monday was the total eclipse of the sun although it was cloudy and we didn’t get to see any of it.  The path was quite a bit to the south and east so we would have only been able to see about 75% of it anyway.  This is a photo by Peter Herman Landscape Photography, an artist that I follow on Facebook.  The country was crazy about it and many cities and small towns along the path we’re expecting large numbers of people for the viewing. 


Camille called me Monday night and gave me a play be play description of their time at the water park in Mexico.  She also shared photos of her and Norah with their hair braided and then what she looked like after taking the braids out.  Cute!





I had my annual eye checkup yesterday, helped two residents with their rent rebate forms, took Joey to the vet for a nail trim, and gave him a little trim (face and legs) on my own.  We finally have a sunny day.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Saturday, April 8, 2024, MN

 What a week! After snow, high winds, and gray skies, we finally got a beautiful sunny day yesterday. Walks with the two dogs have been interesting - the leashes are constantly getting tangled as they both want to go in different directions and smell different smells.  They are getting along just great and Yoshi is so funny in the morning.  After he gets his food and potty out of the way, he heads right up to make sure Joey doesn’t sleep in.  Then he disappears to one of the girl’s beds again.  

Being here is like a vacation and I see why the family calls it the tree house.  The view from every window looks out at trees and nature.  The dogs started to bark the other day and there was a flock of turkeys in the yard.  One came up on the porch and pulled branches out of a planter, scattered dirt and made a big mess. 


I heard from Pat on Wednesday that Tracey had taken 15 steps that day and he was so excited about that.  This morning I learn there has been a setback and she couldn’t even stand up on Thursday, her blood pressure dropped and they took her to the ER yesterday with suspected internal bleeding.  And while all this was happening, nobody even called Pat to let him know - he learned about it when he stopped after work.  So today he has to empty her room at the rehab and the process starts all over again,  it is not a good situation.   I will be heading down there next Thursday, hoping that things have improved for Tracey.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Monday, April 1, 2024, MN

 Happy 57th Anniversary to Rita and Denny! Wow! That is quite the longevity.

Tracey was moved from the hospital to a rehab facility a week ago. There has been some progress but not a lot. Yesterday when I talked with Pat he told me that he and her parents are meeting with the team of professionals tomorrow to decide if she is responding to their treatment enough to be able to become independent enough that she could go home in a couple of weeks.  Pat feels that it will not be good news and that she may have to be institutionalized for the rest of her life.  The people in their family who can help out are extremely limited physically and the fact that she has not been in good health for a long time is definitely working against her now.  

Last week was busy and the weather wasn’t very nice, although we had sunny days it was cold and windy.  The sunshine helped to melt most of the snow.  We had an added food shelf delivery on Thursday and it was a shared event with Building 2. This is some of the volunteers and an example of our setup.

Ellen, Cindy, Ted, Marie, Maureen, and Judy



Ellen & Judy making things look nice.



Jill called on Thursday evening to ask if I was interested in meeting Lois and the twins at the Children’s Theater to see Alice in Wonderland.  Charlotte had a fever and couldn’t go and Jill wanted to stay home with her. Ben has been out of town for work. So I quick changed my clothes, put some makeup on, and headed for the theater.  The production was so well done - the costumes were incredible and the sets were so well done. It was a really fun show and I’m glad I got to see it, but sad that Jill and Charlotte couldn’t.

I was headed for their house at 8:00 on Friday morning as I was taking the girls to the Science Museum. Charlotte still didn’t feel good, so she stayed home. We spent the afternoon checking out the exhibits and then so the “Pandas” movie in the Omnitheater.  By the time we left the museum, Ben’s flight was just getting in from Las Vegas, so we swung by the airport to pick him up on the way back home. It was a fun afternoon but I was tired, so I just dropped them off and headed back home.



 Deb had kept Joey for the day and they had just come back from a long walk, so he was very settled when I got home.  It is so nice to have her willing to watch him every now and then.

I had planned to do some felt bunnies for the girls but on Saturday it just seemed like too big of a task, so I decided that they would get cards with $10 each. While I was folding the bills, I realized that I could make them look like a $100 bill if I folded them just right - so that was a little bit of a joke that I played on them. We originally planned to have Easter brunch and an Easter egg hunt at Lois and Dennis’ house but their yard still snow covered and very wet so the plan was changed.  I met Ben and his family at Olivia’s for breakfast. It was nice and they had a busy day getting ready for their Mexico vacation (heading to the airport at 3:30 am for a 6:30 flight today. 

I got to their house at 8:30 and will be spending the week here with Yoshi.


Sunday, March 24, 2024

Sunday, March 24, 2024, MN

 Dang, it’s been eleven days since I’ve written anything and a lot has been happening.  Most important is that my daughter-in-law Tracey had a stroke last Saturday and has been hospitalized since then.  It affected the left side of her body with some paralysis and loss of peripheral vision. A bit of progress has been made in the last few days and I got to talk wit her yesterday. She sounded positive and ready to work toward recovery. It looks like she will be transported to a rehab facility tomorrow and will probably be there for 2-3 weeks. 

I considered making a quick trip to Stoughton but Pat would rather have me come down when she gets back home and will need some assistance.  He is working on getting a network together to help out while he is at work. Right now, my plan is to head down there on the 10th or 11th of April. 

Winter is back this week and we saw a few inches of snow on Friday morning but it was mostly gone by the evening. Today and tomorrow are predicted to get some possible heavy snow, up to 10” or so.  

Ben and I met up yesterday and walked around Staring Lake with the dogs.  I so enjoy these walks because it’s about the only time we get any one on one time to talk and that is a convenient half-way between our homes.  I wanted to see him as he is heading to Las Vegas today for a work trip. After the walk, I stopped by their house to see the kids and Jill. She gave me a box full of hair products from one of her salons and I will donate to some of my friends here at Penelope.

I spotted this cute little snow capped bird nest on our walk.





I had a real scare on Friday when I switched my phone service from T-Mobile to Xfinity as they were offering a pretty incredible price for both - $40/month.  Everything was done and my new service was activated. I hung up with the technician and went to make a phone call and it didn’t work.  I looked at my iPad and saw an email that said my phone number had been canceled and would be put back in service for other customers.  PANIC! I got in the car and headed for the nearest xfinity store and was helped right away.  The first thing the guy said was “don’t worry, your phone number isn’t canceled”. So he got my problem resolved although it took a while and he had to get someone involved who had more experience. All is good now and I still have the phone number that I got back in 2005 in San Francisco (I think I’m attached to it).



Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Wednesday, March 13, 2024, MN

 It’s been another active week around here.  Back on Sunday afternoon, I took a box of 50 Easter cards for Hospice to the grandkids for them to help assemble.  It is a project that they like to do and they have fun putting their own little artistic embellishments on them and I think the volunteer effort is a good thing for them to do.   I didn’t stick around for long, as they had chores and projects to work on but we did have a nice visit.

I went to the Sportz Page for dinner on Monday with Elaine and Joann and it was nice to connect with them again. We probably haven’t hung out since January - not sure why but I guess we were all going in different directions.

There was a Service Coordinator meeting in my building yesterday and I don’t think I will go again. The same five grumpy complainers attended and they didn’t have a positive thing to say about anything. I’ve been avoiding them and I’ve said that I would distance myself but I like to stay informed. I guess I will speak with Maureen directly for information. 

Deb and I went to Harrison Park and met up with our former Service Coordinator, Mary, who retired last November. We walked the trail and then found a picnic table and sat for a nice visit. It was good to see Mary again and to learn that she is enjoying her retirement - imagine that!

I had to get up early this morning and scramble to my follow-up cardiology appointment.  The echocardiogram that I had last week showed a 5% improvement in the pumping action (ejection function) of my heart - a result of the new medications that I am taking.  It is now pretty close to the normal range and I don’t have to have it checked again for six months.  The condition is called cardiomyopathy and if left untreated can result in heart failure.  I’m feeling pretty good that a few little pills can keep it working and keep me living the lifestyle I want.

As I pulled into my parking spot at the clinic, I spotted a large flock of Tundra Swans flying northward. Woo Hoo! I also spotted a Red Wing Blackbird and heard a Robin off in the distance recently. Spring is just around the corner.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Friday, March 8, 2024, MN

 Another busy week for me and I am ready for a slow down. I couldn’t even watch President Biden’s State of the Union address last night because I was too tired. How did our congressmen and women get to be so rude with the opposing party?  The sneers, grimaces, and heckles really disturb me and it disgusts me that they can’t behave at a professional level and show respect for the president, regardless of their party.  Anyway, I knew that I could get the information the next morning, so I went to bed.

Norah and Camille had a sleepover with me last Sunday, as they didn’t have school on Monday.  We made creamy pasta for dinner Sunday evening and then watched old episodes of Young Sheldon.  It was Camille’s turn to sleep on the couch and we all read for a bit before drifting off to sleep.

I had planned to take them to the Science or Children’s Museum on Monday, but all of the museums are closed on Mondays. Dang!  So we headed to Mall of America (not my favorite place) and to the Aquarium.  When we left there, we walked around the amusement park as they were trying to decide which ride they might want to go on and they spotted the climbing wall.  That was an option that Ben had suggested and they were all up for it.  It was a bit pricey but I knew that we would get our moneys worth by doing it and they stayed engaged and loved it for the full hour.  Of course, everything is a competition with those two and it was either a race to the top or who could get to the bottom first.  Funny girls.





Joey had a 6-month checkup on Tuesday morning and all looks good with him except that he is about 2 pounds overweight and I need to cut back on the people food and treats.  

I had art class with Genevieve that afternoon and we did an Easter needle felting project.  Here is my outcome from that session.


Last week when I stopped at one of my favorite thrift shops, Assistance League in Richfield, I purchased the little ceramic basket.  When I was checking out, the gals admired it and I told them what I was doing with it.  One of the gals, Kristy, told me that she had gotten into felting, purchased a lot of supplies and then didn’t like the craft because she poked her fingers too much. She asked if I would like her supplies - of course I would and I gave her my contact information.  So I got a text from her this week and will head to the store to pick it up later this morning.  I’m excited to see what she is passing on to me.

Wednesday was food shelf day and I did my volunteer duties in the morning and did some grocery shopping and food prep for Thursday lunch.  I also took Joey to the hockey rink to play - my little fence gate worked well and we spent about a half hour running around, chasing the ball (not returning it) and playing.

I had to get up early yesterday morning to make it to a 8:00 Echocardiogram appointment (a follow up procedure after starting a new heart medication a couple of weeks ago.  I will see the cardiologist again on the 13th.

Randy Sabien invited me to a show that he was doing at the Sidekick Theater and offered tickets. It was the same performers who did the Christmas show that I went to with the addition of a base player who looked a lot like Hank Williams Jr. So Deb and I went and sat in the balcony and enjoyed the show of great performers playing country music hits from before the 1980s. There was some real talent up on the stage and the show was fun to see.  After the show, Randy followed us to my apartment and we had Spicy Baked Shrimp, beet salad, breadsticks and apple cranberry crumble for dessert while we chatted about lots of different topics.  Feeding him lunch was the least I could do after he generously gave me tickets to the show.


 It was a very nice afternoon and I was tired and lazy the rest of the day.  I didn't even stay up to watch the State of the Union address.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sunday, March 3, 2024, MN

 This last week has been full of birthdays - every day except Thursday and Friday. My dear friend Mary (76), cousin Jonnie (74), friend Tom (75), niece Olivia (14) and niece Stella (50).  Happy Birthday to them all.  I sang Happy Birthday to Jonnie and she told me not to quit my day job. Tom and I had a long 2-hour conversation and text greetings were sent to others.

I cleaned at Ben and Jill’s house and anxiously awaited the news that Patty made it safely to the ground after her first ever tandem skydive in Arizona on Leap Day. What a brave and adventurous woman she is.  All is good and she will be around for a while yet.  Yay!

We had a little cold spell this week and it went from a record breaking 65° on Monday to 20° on Tuesday, then it shot back up to the mid 40s again on Wednesday.  It has been so strange this winter with all but two days in February that were well above average temperatures.  The silver maple trees are budding out quickly and the grass gets greener every day. It is 44° already this morning and they say we could see 70 today.

Charlotte had a swim meet this weekend and I went to watch her take first place in the 50 yard backstroke.  She competes in the 50 yard freestyle today but I am going to watch the streaming video from home. It is a 30-minute drive there, parking lot is jammed full, and the spectator area is packed and it always seems like she swims in the farthest lane from where we watch - so the streaming video makes sense to me.

I have been pondering a way to block off the entrance to the hockey rink in the park near me so I can let Joey run free.  I stopped at the hardware store and bought a length of 4-foot plastic fence and some wood garden stakes. I think it will work but I need to come up with a way to keep it upright on the existing fence that the city will not notice.  So that challenge kept me from sleeping last night.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saturday, February 24, 2024, MN

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet niece, Brittany! 

This has turned out to be a pretty busy week although there wasn’t much on the calendar when it started.  

I met with the Stampin Up group on Monday afternoon and we always have such a fun time making a couple of cards and laughing and telling stories.  They are a fun group of women to hang out with.

Deb invited me to Starbucks for a coffee on Tuesday morning, so we picked up coffees and headed to a sunny bench along the 9 Mile Creek and sat there and enjoyed a good chat, the warm (sort of) sunshine, and the beautiful sounds of the water flowing through the creek. There is still a bit of snow on the ground but it should all disappear this week.

I helped Elaine with her Renters Rebate form in the afternoon and we ended up chatting for over an hour. It’s been a while since we have hung out and will hopefully make it out for a dinner next week. 

Wednesday started with a follow-up visit to the Cardiologist and I was hoping to be released from their care. NOT! Apparently there is enough of a significant decline in the left heart muscle that is causing it to pump at a lower rate than the right side. For now, the treatment is another prescription medicine, a blood test next week followed by another echocardiogram and a follow-up visit.  The goal is to get both sides of the heart pumping at the same rate.  If this medicine doesn’t do it, there is another that I am pretty resistant to taking (has a long list of side effects and a very high copay) and the possibility of needing a pacemaker.  This doesn’t really upset me as I feel like it is what it is, considering my age and that it hasn’t slowed me down at all - all I want is to be able to keep on keeping on and if this is what it takes, I’ll do it. I feel confident with the Cardiologist (she seems like just a kid), but she was thorough and patient and willing to answer questions in a way that I could understand. 

I got back home just in time to help out with the Food Truck distribution and then the cleanup.

I helped three residents with their Renters Rebate form on Thursday morning and that is all who have signed up so far.  Each time, it only takes about 20 minutes and I’m glad that I am able to help.  I can’t believe how little income some people have to live on - they are sure fortunate to be here and have such a nice apartment.  I feel good about my situation and I just love my living space.

Not much was going on Thursday and Friday. Today, I’m off to watch Camille and Norah play in a basketball tournament.  Their games have become a lot more fun to watch as they gain skills and have become more aggressive, and the pace of the games has picked up.   So I just got home and they ended up playing three games - they lost the first game by one basket, they won the 2nd game 14 to 12 in overtime (first a 2 minute game and then the first basket wins), and they lost the third game by 7 points.  The sidelines were crazy today and they seemed to feed of the support. They all played well and hard. It was an exciting afternoon and I am tired and have a scratchy throat from all of the cheering.

Weatherwise - there are some 60° predictions in the forecast.  Nice!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sunday, February 18, 2024, MN

 The cold spell broke and the thermometer will be creeping upwards again.  Joey and I didn’t do a lot of walking the last two days, as the wind was horrible, making it feel like 10°. 


I made three trips to Chanhassen this week - to clean for Ben and Jill on Thursday, to celebrate Ben’s birthday on Friday, and to watch the twins play basketball yesterday.  


I made lasagna and lemon poppyseed cake for his birthday and Lois and Dennis joined us - she made a yummy salad to go with the lasagna. We had a nice visit. Ben told me that he was asked just this week what his favorite cake was and he told them lemon with a light glaze.  I guess I made a good call on the birthday cake.


Minnesota gives a renters rebate for lower income folks and our previous Service Coordinator would help those who had trouble filling out the forms.  The current gal is unable to do it, so I volunteered to help out.  It is a short form that takes about 15-20 minutes to fill out and then, come September a nice little deposit is made to your bank account (about $550 for me this year). I have done two so far and have another 4-5 signed up.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday, February 16, 2024, MN

 Happy 47th Birthday to Ben! What a guy he has turned out to be! A wonderful, gentle, involved parent to their three beautiful girls, a loving and caring father, a good brother to Pat, and an attentive son to me.  Mike and I did something right and it seems he has the best of our good qualities.  I’m proud of him every day.


We finally had a taste of winter yesterday when the area was hit with about 6” of beautiful white snow.  The view from my window is so pretty. It all happened during the night so when I went out in the morning the roads were already plowed and the parking lot at my building was cleared.  The day was sunny so that made it look so pretty.  They are forecasting a dip in temps to the 20s for a day and then heading back up to 30s and 40s.  I’ll take this kind of spring-like winter any day.


I had been hearing a strange noise coming from the front passenger side of my car and it got worse, so I took it to the garage so the mechanic could take a listen.  He was going to ride with me but once I started it up, he just opened the hood and there it was - the water pump.  While performing the inspection, they also found the serpentine belt to be worn, so that had to be replaced too - all to the tune of $1200.  The good thing was they didn’t charge me for a loaner car.  I was a little concerned about driving it to Ben’s for my cleaning job but I took the slow route and it handled very well on the snow covered back roads.  




Monday, February 12, 2024

Monday, February 12, 2024, MN

 It was fun to spend some time with Charlotte on Saturday morning.  After her swim practice, we went to Original House of Pancakes for breakfast and she loaded up on carbs with Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  I ordered the Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry sauce - the only item I ever have from their menu because there are a very few restaurants that offer them.  Our dear friend Tom Rinehart introduced us to Swedish pancakes way back in 1973 on our first camping trip to the land in Richland Center.  After breakfast we strolled through the Minnetonka General Store that has so many interesting and fun things to see.  Charlotte spotted a section with Taylor Swift (her favorite star these days) and got a coaster and a sticker.


I had such a fun afternoon.  My neighbor, Cathy, invited me to join her and some of her friends (Heidi, Karen, Susie, and Vince) to go to the Basilica of St Mary in downtown Minneapolis and see the Minnesota Sinfonia perform.  The music was beautiful, with a guest peformer, Inna Faliks, a world renowned pianist. 

After the concert, we went to Wakame, an Asian Bistro and had a glass of wine and shared several items from the menu. This is the first cultural experience I have had in ages - and the first time in a church and the first classical concert in ages too.  It sure felt nice to hang out with a group of gals (plus one guy) and have lots of good conversation.  I’m looking forward to getting to know them better and seeing them all again - many thanks to Cathy for inviting me.

And then I watched the Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.  So happy that the Chiefs won (their third) with a final score of 27-22, with their last touchdown in the last 5 seconds of the game during overtime.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Saturday, February 10, 2024, MN

 It has been a good week with plenty of time to be active and plenty of time to rest and relax, read, and do crafty stuff - just how I like to structure my life these days.  


I had a follow-up visit with my general practitioner and we went over my recent episode.  She did say that I do have some plaque buildup in my arteries but there was not enough that a stent was necessary (75-90%) and that the pain could have been from inflammation in the area if the esophagus.  The plan of action is to take an acid reducer to see if that makes a difference, so another medication gets added to the regimen.  I have a follow up with the cardiologist and an echocardiogram later in the month and that should take care of follow-ups.


I dropped Joey off at doggy day care and then met Cathy at Kruse Markit for breakfast on Thursday. She had a gift card and invited me to share it. It was a nice place and it feels good to have another friend who likes to do that sort of thing.  After that, I went to StevenBe to get some more colors of felting wool and did some thrift store shopping before picking Joey up again.  She invited me to join her and some friends for an afternoon of culture at the Basilica to hear the Minnesota Chamber Orchestra and then have late lunch/early dinner at an Asian Bistro.  Sounds like fun to me.  


Weather - we have had lovely days on the 40s and 50s but have now turned to more winter-like temperatures in the 30s.  We did get some much needed precipitation this week in the form of rain.  The big news yesterday was that a tornado touched down near Stoughton (closer to Evansville) and did quite a bit of damage to trees and property.  They had a 65° day, followed by the record breaking February storm that brought tornadoes to the area.  Strange.


Ben called yesterday morning to see if I wanted to meet him at Staring Lake for a morning walk.  I can’t turn down an opportunity to hang out with him, so we had a nice hour long walk with the dogs and then stopped for a coffee at Smith 1877, a great historic home turned into coffee shop in Eden Prairie.  


As soon as I finish my coffee here, I will take Joey out for a potty walk and then head over to watch Charlotte swim and then take her out to breakfast.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she has been up to lately.  

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Sunday, February 4, 2024, MN

 The mild temperatures around here have gotten me outdoors a lot more this week and Joey and I have gotten some good walks in.  He does so well on the leash when I use the Easy Walk halter but he does not like it one bit. If he sees me with it in my hand, he will hide under the couch, so I have to be sneaky about getting it on him.  I don’t know if he knows that it restricts his want to tug on the leash or if he just doesn’t like having it out over his head.  Who knows?


I saw the ophthalmologist this week for a follow-up to my extreme dry eye issue that has continued for the last couple of years - I have lived with pretty constant irritation, especially if there is any air movement whatsoever.  His diagnosis - reduce screen time and try not taking antihistamines (been taking those daily for years too). So here I sit on my iPad - it’s going to be rough to cut my screen time in half. Or more.  The last three days, I have done well with it.


I cleaned at Ben and Jill’s on Thursday and the strength exercises and stretches that I started a few weeks ago is sure helping with that.  Advil also helps but I recovered more quickly this time - guess I better keep that up.


I took my car in for an oil change and battery replacement on Friday and also had them run a diagnostic test to see what was causing the noise I had been hearing.  Nothing was found and my car got a clean bill of health - maybe the sound was always there and I hadn’t paid attention to it. Who knows? 


These are my latest felting projects - valentines.  The hanging one is for Ben’s family and the frog for Pat and Tracey. I think he is adorable!




The sun is shining and I couldn’t spend another hour in this apartment, so I headed out for a drive along the rural back roads , heading for Monticello to see if I could spot some Trumpeter Swans.  I saw a few off in the distance at various lakes along the drive, three of them flew over my car, but there were none to be seen at Swan Park.  I guess there are plenty of other resources for them with the mild winter we have had.  Regardless, I enjoyed the drive and we got a nice walk in at a local park.


Monday, January 29, 2024

Monday, January 29, 2024, MN

 The sun is shining for the first time in many days and it gave me a bright and happy feeling just as soon as I opened the blinds and sat down with my coffee. I’m looking forward to my morning walk once Joey drags himself out of bed.  He usually stays in bed for quite a while after I get up and then he falls asleep next to me while I read the news,  I really like that about him because I like the quiet morning solitude before getting moving.


The last three days have been recovery mode, I guess, as I was feeling exhausted from my ordeal on Wednesday.  I feel like I did the right thing but also am confused as to what was really going on and it hasn’t shown its ugliness since then.  


I’ve been working on some needle felting projects and this is the latest.  Guess I better make another bird to go with it.  I’m also working on some valentines. I was running out of a few colors, so I drove to the StevenBe Yarn shop yesterday.  That is an incredible store with absolutely beautiful materials for anything related to fiber.  Genevieve told me about it and I’m thankful for that. It’s an experience just going through the two floors of the incredible colorful and friendly place.  There is a large, ell stocked area of colorful wool for felting and it is sold by the ounce - so nice to know what you are getting rather than taking a chance on buying it online.


I got an email from Rudy this morning, thanking me for my empathy and letting me know that they put Sonja to rest on Friday.  He says that he is fine, with lots of loving family and friends to help him through this and adjust to the emptiness.  




Thursday, January 25, 2024

Thursday, January 25, 2024, MN

 What a turn of events the last two days.  I woke up at 3 am yesterday with a very uncomfortable pressure pain in my chest, especially when taking deep breaths, and also indigestion.  I sat and contemplated what was going on for a few minutes and decided it might be something serious, so I called 911, grabbed my ‘to go’ bag, unlocked the door, put Joey in his crate and waited. I got a ride to Methodist Hospital ER in an ambulance where Ben met me and I spent the rest of the day getting poked and prodded and tested to figure out what was going on - symptoms were typical of blockage of arteries.  I had chest X-ray, Covid, RSV, and Flu tests, EKG, Ultrasound of heart, and angiogram, and several doses of nitroglycerin. A heart attack and blockage of arteries have been ruled out but I’m still confused about the pain with deep breaths and that it dissipated with nitroglycerin. 

I was admitted for observation and crashed once I hit the bed in spite of the person in the next bed who was loud, needy, and her tv and lights were on all night long but I was able to sleep through most of it.   She is an impatient, demanding, sometimes rude, and grumpy lady.


The cardiologist visit this morning informed me that the pumping action of the muscle of the left side of the heart is weakened (can be age related) and an additional medication should help that. Follow-ups are scheduled a few weeks out with cardiologist and general practitioner.  The next step is to investigate the esophagus and intestine because the pressure pain from those areas is similar to that of heart attacks.  Deep breaths are still painful.  What a day!


Monday, January 22, 2024

Monday, January 22, 2024, MN

After all of the years that I have been a plant lover, have had a few Orchids, this is the first time I have ever had one rebloom.  I keep it on the north facing windowsill and it never gets at direct sunlight, I fertilize it with my regular houseplant fertilizer, and it gets one ice cube every 3-4 days - but it must be happy there.



Saturday, January 20, 2024

Saturday, January 20, 2023, MN

 It’s been a cold, cold week (lows between 0 and 10°) with very short walks with Joey.  We’ve attempted to go around my building complex a few times but he ends up with cold feet and I have to carry him back inside.  The forecast for next week is looking much better, heading back to the 30s.  I’ve been sticking close to home with the exception of a haircut on Monday, Charlotte’s 6th Grade Choir concert on Tuesday, and volunteering for food truck on Wednesday.  Yesterday, I had enough of feeling cooped up, so I dropped Joey off at doggy day care and did some shopping and stopped for a taco at Taco John’s.


This ad came up in my Facebook feed this morning and it brought back some memories.  We had one of these back in the early 70s while living at Grandma Bridge’s house on Dayton Street in Madison.  One memory is of a trip to KC and we took my Dad along.  On the way back home, we hauled a heavy wooden antique hide-a-bed that Bob was storing for us, it was opened up in the back of van (where Pat and my Dad rode). The van overheated just past Dodgeville & my Dad plugged the leak in the hose with Pat’s gum and we made it back home safely.  In those days, a trip to KC took us 10 hours to drive as there were no interstate highways yet.



It was a chili kind of day, so after a little nap this afternoon, I made a pot of chili and invited Deb up to join me.  We always have a good time chatting and find plenty of topics to cover.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Saturday, January 13, 2024, MN

 Well, there has been a strange turn of events.  Ramona, whose home I just cleaned on Thursday passed away today.  She was in great shape on Thursday and I was looking forward to repeat visits and learning more about her and hearing her stories.  Sad news.  I guess you just never know.


Winter is here.  The forecast is for -25° chill factors for the next few days, so Joey and I will be taking short walks.  He really needs some running, so this morning I took him to the library, shut the doors and played ball for a few minutes.  He’s really good about returning the ball if I have a handful of treats or another ball to relay.  I dug out his jacket and he doesn’t like it at all, thinks he’s being punished.  Too bad.


I went to want Norah and Camille play basketball this morning.  They have really improved, and played hard and good defense, but they lost 32 to 12.  Camille got two of the baskets. 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Thursday, January 9, 2024, MN

 As I was heading for my walk with Joey this morning, it was about 17° out but the sun was shining and that made a big difference.  I heard some chirping, so glanced up into the crabapple tree next to the sidewalk and it was full of Cedar Waxwings. I was really surprised to see them this late into winter, as they usually pass through in the fall on their migration to warmer areas.  I guess they are confused with the warm fall-like weather we have been having. I hope they make it to somewhere warm before long, as the weather is turning quickly.


I started my new cleaning job for Ramona (the first Ramona I have ever met) and all went well. She is a sweet 93-year-old who is sharp mentally but has some physical challenges.  A daughter lives with her but works full-time, so doesn’t keep up with the housework. Ramona also has personal care, nursing care, and another gal who does errands and other jobs around her house, so she is well cared for.


I noticed this great carving on a tree stump on my way to Ramona’s house, so when I headed back home I had to stop and take a photo.  I also spotted these two deer peeking through the trees at me - so nice to see this right here in the city of Bloomington.






Monday, January 8, 2024

Monday, January 8, 2024, MN

One day a few weeks ago, as I was looking for something on a past blog post, I realized that instead of a photo, there was a blank square with a ? in its place.  I did some research, sent a question to Google support, asked my son and still couldn’t figure out what was causing this.  I looked back even farther and found that it all started in March of 2023.  Finally, last week, I learned what the issue was - Google no longer supports the photo addition part of the app (BlogTouch) that I was using for my updates. I learned this because I actually got a reply to a follow-up message to Blogger support.  What this all means is that I now have to write my posts on the actual Blogger website and not use the app. I also need to go back and manually upload all of the photos again and that will be a big job. It is how I used to do the posts, but since my laptop computer died, I use only my iPad and the app was easier to navigate. Enough of techie issues.


Last week was pretty slow paced. I didn’t have a lot going on.  I decided to give my bathroom a good cleaning, so took everything off the walls and started to scrub.  I accidentally pulled the pull cord on the wall, immediately shut it off, expecting that it would cancel the call to the fire department. NOT.  It wasn’t long and there was a loud knock on my door and I opened it to find 3 firemen there to check on me.  I felt embarrassed and apologized - they said that it happens all of the time.


I helped out with the food truck on Wednesday and the great thing that we got was frozen blueberries. They are big and beautiful and there were some leftover so I was able to get a couple of bags for Ben’s family.  A few weeks ago, we got frozen apples and I didn’t know what to do with them, so I made some yummy applesauce.  We also got frozen strawberries, big, beautiful strawberries, so I made jam from them yesterday.  I didn’t realize how much sugar it took to make jam but it is equal amounts of sugar and fruit plus the pectin.  I may have to find a low sugar method if I do it again.


 A gal who helps out one of my neighbors asked if I was interested in a house cleaning  job for one of her clients, so I went to meet Ramona last week and I took on another house cleaning job starting on Thursday.  I’m in good physical shape yet, so why not?  She lives just a couple of miles from me, her house is already clean - needs a touch-up every two weeks and she seems like a very nice woman.  

I finished another needle felted bird project this week.  These two are going to Randy.  I’ve just got to have something to do with my hands in the evening, rather than sitting and playing games on my iPad, so this one is keeping my interest for now.



Thursday, January 4, 2024

Thursday, January 4, 2024, MN

This year started out slow and lazy and then I had a nice long walk with Joey in the morning.  I took a one-hour nap in the afternoon and then stayed on the bed for another hour, reading and browsing the internet.  Dinner was even lazy - leftovers from the night before.

I got my new crown on Tuesday and it is feeling very good and comfortable.  I’m really happy with Dr. Brar and hope that my new insurance enables me to keep going there for my hygiene appointments.

The food truck came yesterday and I helped out with that.  When I got back home, the new coat that I ordered from Land’s End arrived (I used the gift card that I got from Pat for Christmas) but it wasn’t the same as the one that I tried on at the store - it was  below the knee and I didn’t need it to be that long). So I took it back to the store and got a different one.  Good thing, as I apparently didn’t use the sale code and paid more for it than they were selling them for at the store,   I think this is the nicest an warmest winter coat that I’ve ever had ad the price was right - marked down from $239 to $84. Amazing!  And thanks to my dear son, Pat!

The last time the food truck was here, we got a large bag of frozen apples.  I didn’t know what to do with them, but last night I cooked them down into applesauce. Boy, did that turn out nice and yummy.