Sunday, April 28, 2024

Sunday, April 28, 2024, MN

 The days leading up to my birthday have been very good and I have stayed busy, getting nice walks in the morning to start my day out right. Friday was a bit rainy but it was a soft rain, so it didn’t keep me from walking.  It was also much needed rain and we are getting more of it today.

The exception to the ‘very good’ news is that Tracey will not be going home on the first of May but will be transferred to another facility for additional therapy.  She is still at the point where she needs two people to assist her in many tasks and needs to get where only one person can assist, but she has to be able to do most of the work herself. Her right side has to be strong enough to be able to support the left side that doesn’t work very well.  I was planning to go there on the 8th to help her at home but might just be going for another visit.

I met the family at Hola Arepa on Friday evening and had a lovely dinner and toasted my birthday with a margarita. They brought me a bouquet of gorgeous tulips and a diffuser with very pretty scent (because I told Ben that my new neighbor across the hall is a smoker and I can smell it every time I go out my door).  

Charlotte had very good news that she was quite proud of - she got a perfect score on the recent MCA test (the standard academics test used here) and her teacher told her she was the only child she has known to get a perfect score.  That kid will definitely go places in this world. And she has a sweet, kind heart to go with it.  

I got lots of birthday wishes in the form of cards, texts, and phone calls throughout the day. Like my son Pat said, my birthday feels like “yesterday” with the exception of all of the attention and good wishes.  I met up with Ben later in the afternoon to hang out, as all of his girls were at sleepovers and Jill had dinner plans with friends.  We went for a long walk through the Carver Regional Park and it was our lucky day for seeing wildlife.  We saw Great Blue Herons, a couple of Barred Owls, Trumpeter Swans, Turkeys, Osprey (one flew over us with a fish in its talons), and a few deer. Ben found several ticks on Yoshi - I didn’t find any on Joey - yet. 

We picked up Indian food from Bombay Pizza Kitchen and a bottle of wine for dinner. The Butter Masala pizza with chicken was very interesting and tasty and we had a Samosa to go with it.  I can’t say it’s my first Indian food, but it has been so long that I don’t remember what I ate previously.  It was full of flavor and a teeny bit of spice, but very tasty.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tuesday, April 23, 2024, MN

 I invited Cathy over on Saturday evening to watch the movie, “Moving On” with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlinson. It was a good story and fun to have someone to share the laughs with.  

Camille called me earlier in the day to see if I wanted to hang out. Since I already had plans for that evening, Jill dropped her off on Sunday morning and we spent the afternoon together.  She wanted to make a clay pinch pot. I had some clay but it was very dry and not workable, so we went to Joann Fabrics and got some new stuff.  When we finished that project, we had some lunch and then took Joey for a walk and stopped at the park for a bit.  I took a half-hour rest while she watched a show and then we played a few games of Farkle before Jill picked her up.  It was a fun afternoon and makes me feel so good when they want to hang out with me.

The perennial garden here at Penelope is starting to awaken, so I organized a meeting with interested residents to get some input on what everyone’s expectations are and their willingness to help with maintenance. I kind of feel that the job would be more manageable if we work together rather than several people doing their own thing.  I put up a notice but have had to change the date several times, so we shall see how many actually show up on Friday.

Yesterday, Deb and I made two trips to the Bloomington Maintenance Yard and filled five bags of wood chips on each trip. We distributed them on the muddy ground behind and next to the maintenance shed on our property.  The area is mainly used by smokers but it is also the access to the resident’s garden shed and an extension of the perennial gardens.  It looks so much better than it did.

Today was bath and haircut day for Joey. He is such a good boy about it and we got 90% of him done.  I left the table set up and will tackle it again tomorrow for the finishing touches (legs, tummy, and feet).

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wednesday, April 17, 2024, MN, WI

 I’ve 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.