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August, 2009
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August 24 - 31, 2009, De Forest, WI
Monday, August 24. Already, it is the last week of August and we have been here for almost a month. Time sure does fly. Today was an R and R day for us. We took our good old time getting ready for the day. Frisco and I had a nice, long walk - it was a beautiful summer morning in Wisconsin, bringing back memories of how nice the summers really are around here. But then comes winter and we no longer want to experience that kind of weather.

We drove to Madison this afternoon to run a few errands and do some shopping, but other than that it was pretty laid-back. We fixed some Salmon on the grill for dinner.

Tuesday, August 25. We met Mom at her eye doctor appointment in Portage this morning where we got great news - her eye is healing as it should after her surgery and she will need new glasses because of the improvement in her vision. It really does seem like she mentions more items that she sees although I don't think that she realizes the change. It sure is sad to see how the dementia seems to be taking over - she is totally confused whenever a change takes place; why am I here?, what is a cataract?, where am I?, how old am I?, why am I here? Fortunately, she is good natured most of the time and still has quite a sense of humor. After her appointment, the taxi took her back to Wyocena and we followed, staying with her until lunch time. There, the questions continued; where am I?, why am I here?, how long have I been in this wheelchair? It is sooooo sad.

Saturday, August 29. Guess I've been slacking on the journal writing this week. It's been busy as usual but not a lot to write about. On Thursday afternoon, we went to visit Mom and had a nice time with her. The home has a computer set up for residents, so we showed her pictures of our travels and that helped to pass the time and gave us some things to talk about. From there, we headed to Portage and spent the evening with Dan and Sharon, having a great time and a great dinner with them.

Yesterday, Mike spent a good part of the day with Roger, cleaning up his computer that was full of trojan viruses. I went to some garage sales but ended up doing a lot more driving than shopping. In the evening, Pat and Roger picked us up and we headed to the Northside Inn near Columbus for fish fry. There, we met up with Rogers' brother Jim (one of the 10 that we have never met before), his sister Bobbi and her husband Dick, his sister Bev and her husband Jim, and his brother Gary and his wife Susie. They are all great people that meet regularly at various places for Friday Night fish fry, a popular Wisconsin activity. We had lots of good conversation, excellent Old Fashioneds, and a delicious Blue Gill dinner.

I just had to stock up on groceries today, so I went to Trader Joe's in Madison. It is only a 13 mile drive, but you have to go right through downtown Madison to get there, so it's not a real convenient place to shop. The drive through familiar neighborhoods brings back lots of memories of our early life together. We have a lot of favorite items that we like to buy at Trader Joe's and it wasn't long before my cart was loaded and $130 later, I was out the door.

The weather has changed drastically in the last day, it is in the 50s, gray, cloudy, and quite windy. The little heater has been taken out of storage and I put the electric blanket back on the bed - just in case we need it. If it doesn't climb above 60 degrees during the daytime, it's got to drop below 50 at night - and that is cool for us.

Sunday, August 30. It was real chilly this morning when I got up, so I turned the furnace on - imagine that - having to add heat in August, but then it is Wisconsin. We are starting to see signs of fall, a couple of Maple trees in Dan's neighborhood were already bright orange and yellow and many of it's leaves had fallen to the ground. The air has that crisp, fall feel to it at times too.

As we were showing Mom some of our photos last week, I realized that it was easy to forget where the picture was taken. This morning, I started putting descriptions on them - that will be a huge undertaking and is going to take a long time.

We spent the day with Pat and his family today. We played several games on the Wii - bowling, golf, boxing, and pool - lots of laughs and great fun. Pat cooked a turkey on the Weber smoker, along with some salmon and squash and Tracey made a green bean casserole. What a delicious dinner and we had lots of leftovers for sandwiches next week.

Monday, August 31. It was a chilly 53 degrees this morning when I woke up, but it makes for a beautiful brisk morning walk. Yesterday, Mike replaced the shower head as it was broken and we were only getting a straight-line of water out of it, making it hard to even rinse off good. This morning, it was so nice to have plenty of water and pressure, making for a very relaxing start to the day.

That was probably a good thing, as we both had dentist appointments later this morning. We went to the dentist we had for many years when we lived here. It was nice to see him again and we both knew that we were in good hands. I had just a standard cleaning and exam. Mike wasn't so lucky. He had already had his teeth cleaned at a previous visit and needed some additional work; a filling repaired, preparation for a crown, and a tooth pulled. The dentist said he probably wouldn't miss it but if it becomes a problem, we may consider a trip to Mexico for an implant.

He wasn't feeling real great when we got back home, so it was a low-key afternoon.

Time to turn the page on the calendar again.
August 17 - 23, 2009, De Forest, WI
Tuesday, August 18. We have 6 birthdays to celebrate this week, it will be busy!

I've really messed up, twice in the last 2 days. Yesterday, I had an appointment for a mammogram at 1:00 and showed up at 11:00. Fortunately, they were able to work me in so I didn't have to return later. Today, I showed up for a dental appointment at 11:00 and the appointment was at 10:00. Guess I'm going to have to pay more attention and not rely on a memory that I only think is working well. How Frustrating!

After my appointment yesterday, I did some shopping at Costco in Middleton, then since I had to go right past my cousin Donna's house, I stopped to chat. I ended up being there for 3 hours, we were having such a nice time.

Back home, Mike fixed a delicious dinner of meatloaf and sweet potatoes cooked on the grill and fresh local corn.

Wednesday, August 19. Our first-born son, Pat, celebrates his 40th birthday today and that brings back memories of what life was like back then for our family. We were carefree hippies, still teenagers, living in a small apartment on the east side of Madison. We took our new parenthood seriously and raised a wonderful son that we are proud of and he seems to like us too. You just can't wish for more than that, other than a longer, healthy life for him. He had to work an odd schedule today, so we have to wait to celebrate on another day.

We spent the day doing laundry, cleaning the house, reading, napping, and preparing food for dinner tonight. Mike cooked bacon on the Holland grill (it turns out wonderful and keeps all of the mess outdoors) and I made a carrot salad. Pat and Roger joined us for Old Fashioned's and BLTs, carrot salad, and cantaloupe. We had a great visit, lots of laughs, and the usual good time we have whenever we get together.

Thursday, August 20 Happy Birthday, Mom! Happy Birthday, Jill! We met up with Dan and Sharon and Tom and Karen at Mom's around 3:30 this afternoon to celebrate her birthday. She was napping when Mike and I arrived and had a hard time waking up. It was one of those days when she was upset about where she is and why she has to be there.

When Tom and Karen arrived with their Airedale, Tiller, she and the resident dog, PeeWee got into a fight, PeeWee ended up hurt and was taken to Madison for observation. That was a distraction, so they didn't get to visit with Mom much. We had some birthday cake and ice cream and then it was dinner time for Mom, so we all left. It really didn't turn out so good. As we've done in the past, it was a little too much activity for her, we ended up being there for such a short time and she was upset when we left. I think it would have been better for Mom if each couple visited separately and had more intimate visits. I felt bad when we left.

Friday, August 21. Happy Birthday, Rachael! We made up for yesterday's disappointing visit with Mom today. She was having a good day, was happy to see us, and the rain stopped long enough so that we were able to sit outdoors and visit. I took her a fresh tomato that she loved and Frisco sat on her lap which made her real happy - "what's not to love?". It was a short but very pleasant time. There was no news about PeeWee because the vet took her to his Madison clinic and she wasn't back yet.

Pat and Roger picked us up this evening and we went to Rex's Inkeeper in Waunakee for fish fry. We met Rogers' brother Gary and his wife Susie there - it's always nice to see them and we had a great time and great fish fry. After dinner, we listed to the band "The Corvettes", playing lots of oldies - I even got Mike out on the dance floor once.

Saturday, August 22. Today, we celebrated Pat's birthday. They came up to our house and hung around for a good part of the afternoon before we all headed to Ella's Deli and Ice Cream Parlor in Madison where we met up with Tracey's family for sandwiches and ice cream. Ella's has been a favorite in Madison for years, in fact, we celebrated one of Pat's childhood birthdays there - a long, long time ago when he was 7 or 8 years old. It is a colorful place with mechanical characters entertaining you from the ceilings and walls and they have some of the best ice cream treats around. We had lots of fun.

We left there and headed for Steve and Nancy's house on the east side of Madison - they invited us because our mutual friends, Tom and Leslie from Milwaukee would be in town for a visit. We have been friends with Tom since about 1972, so it was great to see them again. For years, a group of friends met at an annual 4th of July camp-out at their land in Richland Center but we haven't made it to that event for several years. We had a great visit, sitting around a campfire in the back yard. It's always so nice to visit with old friends, usually seeming like it was only yesterday when we were together last.

Sunday, August 23. Happy Birthday, Mike! The day started early, as Pat, Mike, and Justin were going to Rockford for an air show - we had to be at Pat's house by 8:30. Pat's YouTube video of the Rockford Air Show I hung out with Tracey and Savana. Other than a short visit with my cousin, Fran and a trip to Walmart and the cemetery where Mom, Dad, and Rocco are buried, we didn't do much. I did some weeding and pruning of Pat's flower beds, so I did get some gardening time in.

The guys had a great time watching airplanes all afternoon - they were full of stories, videos, and photos when they got back. Hopefully, I can get Mike to write a little blurb for the website.
August 10 - 16, 2009, De Forest, WI
Tuesday, August 11. Our day started at 5:45 when the alarm went off. By 6:15, we were headed to Portage to meet up with Dan at the hospital where Mom was having cataract surgery. She certainly needed our moral support, as she was quite confused and not able to understand why she was having the surgery. All went well, but we continuously reminded her not to try to touch her eye or remove the patch over it. We stuck around until she got settled back in and are all hoping that the staff where she lives is able to keep a close enough eye on her this evening.

While at the hospital, I got a call from my brother Randy in Springfield, MO. He had just heard from the University of Wisconsin police that another brother, Rick (has been homeless in Madison for over 10 years) approached them for help. Recently, he has seen several people he knows die from tragic circumstances, all related to alcoholism. The police were ready to put him on a bus to Springfield. Randy expressed an interest in helping out, but wanted to explore available resources in Springfield, so he asked them to not take any action until he called them back. After a couple of hours, he returned the call to the police, only to learn that they had already put him on a bus to Springfield and that he should arrive sometime tomorrow morning.

I understand the stress involved in dealing with something like that - I had been involved while living here in Madison. I was feeling stressed and only dealing with it on the phone. When I got home, I made several phone calls to other siblings and to try to locate resources that might be available. I didn't have a lot of luck, although a later conversation with Randy indicated he might have found something. For now, we can only hope that he arrives in Springfield.

Wednesday, August 12. Rick made it to Springfield this morning, I just got off the phone with Randy and they were having breakfast, will hear more details later.

After a much needed haircut with Marion, my stylist for many years now, I felt so much better. My last cut was mid-June and it was much needed, every day was becoming a bad-hair day. It was good to see Marion again and catch up on her family news.

When I got back home, Mike and I headed up to see how Mom was doing today. She had a follow-up appointment this morning, Dan met her there, and the prognosis is great - she is healing well, the patch is off, she has her own glasses on, and doesn't remember a thing about yesterday. All is well. We had a nice visit - she told us some stories about her childhood and what a great guy her grandfather was. It's kind of nice when her memory works and she can dig back in the archives and pull out some memories.

I also got good news from Randy this afternoon. After meeting Rick at the bus station, they talked and then proceeded to get him some needed essentials, and then into a treatment program. He was 100% willing to participate in the program and didn't want to inconvenience Randy, but was so thankful that he was willing to be involved. He is in a 30-day treatment program with the possibility of continued treatment for up to 9 months after that. I am so thankful that this didn't have a bad outcome and we can hope for the best. Several phone calls with updates to Rene, Rita, and Ron kept me busy for a few hours, but I am so relieved. I was looking forward to the possibility of seeing Rick while here in Wisconsin, but I guess I will have to wait until October when we get to Missouri now.

Friday, August 14.Yesterday was spent at home; doing laundry, vacuuming the house and car (Frisco hair mostly), and washing the car. Pat stopped by after work and we had some grilled chicken for dinner. After dinner, Rachael and the kids stopped by for a short visit.

We didn't do a lot today, I went to a few garage sales this morning but that's about it. Later this afternoon, we met Tom and Karen at Paison's, a well-known establishment in downtown Madison for as long as I can remember. We had a table with a beautiful view of Lake Monona and enjoyed a drink and a great dinner. It was a beautiful evening, so after dinner, we took a stroll up to Monona Terrace, a rooftop patio atop the Frank Lloyd Wright designed building on the edge of the lake. Great food, great company, and a beautiful summer evening - can't get much better than that.

Saturday, August 15. My cousin Wanda's family had a reunion today at Vilas Park. The setting was perfect, underneath large shade trees between Lake Wingra and a lagoon. A nice breeze kept us cool on an otherwise hot afternoon. Wanda and Dick had 8 children, and now there are 14 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, most of them were there today. In addition, my cousin Donna, her husband Joe, and their son Pepo (Joe) and his family were there. It was wonderful to see all of them in one place and have such a great afternoon of visiting. It will be an annual event on the 3rd weekend in August, so we will have to make it again in the future.

Back home, Roger stopped by on his way home from a picnic and we had a nice talk with him. We took Frisco for a walk and then settled in to watch the latest Mickey Rourke movie, Killshot, another typically sleazy movie for him.

Sunday, August 16. The morning flew right by with a nice walk and a couple of long phone conversations. Then we headed to Stoughton to spend the afternoon with Pat. We left Frisco at his house and then went to my brother, Ron's. Pat and Mike were planning to shoot their 22s at the range behind Ron's house. I spent an hour or so doing Computer 101 training with Ron. I gave him my old Toshiba laptop so he can learn some new technology. That all went well and I'm hoping that he gets some good use out of it. When we finished, we walked up the hill to the range and took a few turns shooting at targets.

Pat cooked some good Wisconsin bratwurst for dinner - yum! yum! All day long the weather threatened to dump on us but we only saw a few sprinkles.
August 4 - 9, 2009, De Forest, WI
Tuesday, August 4. Neither of us wanted to leave this quiet, serene park this morning, although we were also anxious to get back "home" to Wisconsin. The trip was uneventful, and beautiful as we got closer to the Mississippi River. There is something about the rolling hills, green fields, acres of forests, and wandering rivers of Wisconsin that give you the "at home" kind of feeling.

By 1:30, we were back at the Madison KOA and settled into our site. When Pat got off work, he joined us and it was so nice to feel a great big hug from him again. We had some dinner and sat around talking until it was almost dark. We sure look forward to spending lots of time with him in the next couple of months.

In the last year, we have driven 6,651 miles, starting and ending at this spot. We now wonder if we will ever be content staying in one place again. We continue to think about establishing a "home base" where we can get our stuff out of storage and plant ourselves for several months. Where is that place? is a question we keep asking ourselves. As long as we are healthy and happy, we will continue to be nomadic.

Wednesday, August 5. Before going to bed last night, Mike checked his phone and there was a message from his brother, Dan, that the place where Mom lives wants to move her to the dementia wing. Mike was pretty upset and he didn't get to talk with Dan, so he didn't have any more information than that.

When we got there this afternoon, she had already been moved. We talked with the Director and learned the reasons behind it; she was withdrawing to her room and wasn't interacting and she was getting disoriented, wandering and unable to find her room. The wing where she is now has only 13 rooms and they all face a central area where they eat, have activities, and socialize, and 2 nice patios where she can get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air. She will get much more attention now and the staff was all friendly and welcoming. She doesn't see real well any more, so Mike got pretty close to her before she recognized him, but she was so happy to see us. We had a great visit, sitting on the patio and then walking around the property, enjoying the beautiful day. Dan and Sharon joined us later in the afternoon and we got her pictures up and her clothes organized. I will have to go through her closet on my next visit, as she has more clothes than her closet will hold.

This evening, we met our dear friends, Pat and Roger at Toby's Supper Cluba longtime establishment known for their steaks and fish) for dinner. I had been telling her that we wouldn't be in town until the 10th and I even held off on updating the website for a couple of days so we could surprise her tonight on her birthday. She was definitely surprised and we had a great time. Shortly after we got there, as we sat at the bar waiting for our table, I recognized Mike's brother Tom and his wife, Karen standing at the other side of the bar - so we got to chat with them for a while too. Dinner was delicious, you just can't beat Toby's Lake Perch dinner - yum! yum! A year goes by and in just a day and a half, we get to see lots of family and friends - how nice! Welcome home!

Thursday, August 6. The laundry and vacuuming got done today but that is it. After being on the move so much lately, it felt good to have an R and R day; reading, relaxing, a couple of phone conversations, and a good nap.

Friday, August 7. After my walk and shower this morning, I headed out to see if I could find some garage sales and to pick up a few groceries. My first stop was at the ATM for cash and the machine ate my debit card, saying it was expired. That shows how unobservant we are because I checked Mike's card when I got home and sure enough, they expired 07/2009. A quick call to Marty in Florida (our mail service), she informed me that a new card was there and she will get it in the mail for us. In the meantime, I will have to ask Pat or Tracey to cash a check for us. Needless to say, I didn't get to any garage sales because I had no cash - not only that, it started to rain.

The rain made it a great opportunity to relax, read and take a nap, we sure wouldn't be doing any outdoor activities today. I tried to update the website this morning and couldn't get to it. Ben was working on moving it to a new server last night and although all indicators to him were that everything went well, it doesn't work today. He will work on it this weekend to fix the problem.

Later in the afternoon we headed to Stoughton to meet up with Pat and Tracey and go to Barber's Bay for their Friday night fish fry. We both opted for the Lake Perch, but I don't think that's what we got because the pieces were too large (I think this happened the last time we were at Barbers too). Lake perch is a tiny fish, the filets are usually in the 3-4 inch range but this was 7-8 inches. It was good but not as good as what we had at Tobys on Wednesday. It's funny how you become accustomed to doing certain activities and really miss it when you can't. It's not like it is something that has to be done.

Saturday, August 8. I awoke to a good old midwest thunderstorm this morning; thunder, lightening and a hard, steady rain hitting the rooftop. I was able to doze off again for a short while but not for long, it was much more interesting to get up and watch the weather. There just isn't a lot of active weather down south. Frisco has to get as close to us as possible when he hears the thunder, that means on our pillows and touching us both. The weather turned from low humidity and mid 70s the last few days to
mid 80s and high humidity. Hot, hot, hot! It might just be the dog days of summer.

I made a zucchini bread this morning with a round zucchini from Pat's garden. He has planted several heirloom varieties of vegetables in his raised-bed garden this year. It tastes like any other zucchini I've ever had, but the shape is round instead of long, and it has a mottled green pattern instead of solid green.

We headed to Stoughton early this afternoon and spent the day with Pat and Tracey. Pat fixed sausage with peppers and onions on the grill and it was delicious. It was a nice afternoon.

Sunday, August 9. It was another great day of catching up on the last year with family. It started this morning when my cousin JoAnne and her husband Ray stopped by for coffee. We had a very nice, although short visit, as they were on their way to celebrate her daughter's 43rd birthday.

We then headed north to Wyocena and spent an hour or so with Mom before going to Dan's in Portage. Dad and Sharon had their 2 granddaughters, Elizabeth (age 7) and Reanna (age 3) for the weekend and they were busy riding their bikes. Both of the girl's parents came to pick them up, so we got to spend the afternoon with Ron and Becky and Rob, Rachael, and Ryan (age 2) too. As usual, we had a wonderful meal of grilled chicken, sweet corn, salad, and Sharon's homemade banana cream pie and peach cobbler. It felt like old times, being with our family. The kids really add to the fun, there's always something to laugh about. I thought it was kind of cute, Reanna came up and asked me "how come it took you so long to get here?" She must have remembered us from last year.
Austin, MN to De Forest, WI, 225 miles
Monday, August 3, 2009, Austin, MN
The GPS took us on an interesting path today, starting on US-14 for the 30 miles and then on state and county roads from there, so we really got a picture of this part of Minnesota. It is much like where we spent most of our lives in southern Wisconsin, rolling hills, thick hardwood forests, corn and soybean fields, and cattle farms.

We pulled in at the Oakwoods Trails Campground ($28/day), a small 20-site park and we are the only ones here. I believe it is the nicest park that we have been in. The park is only about 5 years old and they recently put in bathrooms and showers and electric and water hookups to the sites. We aren't totally level, but can definitely make do for one night. Frisco and I took a walk around the park and spotted chickadees, red-headed woodpeckers, and even Eastern Bluebirds. The owner just stopped by to see if we got settled in or needed anything.. How nice!

The reason we stopped in Austin was to look up an old friend and co-worker of Mike's from Oscar Mayer. The last time we saw Gary was about 15 years ago at Clear Lake, IA for the Buddy Holly Reunion. Tonight, we got to meet his fiance, Susan - Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Susan fixed us a yummy midwest dinner of chicken and dumplings with fresh corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers on the side. We talked for several hours and had a fun time with lots of stories and laughs.

Mankato to Austin, MN, 75 miles
August 1 - 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1. Lois picked me up this morning and we headed to the Mankato Farmer's Market. It wasn't huge but had a great selection of local produce, baked goods (sold out), some meats, and lots of beautiful cut flowers. I stocked up on onions, cabbage, green beans, and tomatoes. I also bought some greeting cards made with a technique that I've never seen before. The artist calls them scan-ography. She takes actual flowers and scans them on her scanner, then enhances the colors to make them really stand out against a black background, then adds a short description. Check out A Glimpse of Glory.

Later in the afternoon, they came over to join us for dinner and Casey was with them. It was so nice to see him again too. We made a dinner of grilled pork tenderloin, green beans, and coleslaw and Lois contributed chocolate chip cookies and key lime pie for dessert. We had a nice time just sitting around talking and telling stories. It was another great day!

Sunday, August 2. Our day started at Lois and Dennis' house late this morning and Casey and Dennis cooked a delicious lunch of grilled walleye with a mango salsa and fruit salad - quite tasty and entirely healthy. After a nice visit, Casey had to head back to Minneapolis.

The four of us headed into downtown Mankato to see the memorial to the largest mass execution in U.S. history where 38 Dakota Indians were hanged by the government. This was the result of trials during the U.S. Dakota Conflict of 1862. A statue of a buffalo made from a 67-ton block of local Kasota limestone stands at the site. It symbolizes the spiritual survival of the Dakota People and honors the Dakota heritage of this area.

From there, we drove to St. Peter where we visited the Treaty Site Historical Center, a small but very nice museum that represents the history of the area. We also walked the trails that led through a native prairie of the Traverse des Sioux Historic Site. In 1851 a treaty was signed that altered the future of the territory that soon became Minnesota. It was a shallow crossing of the Minnesota River used by Indians and travelers. The treaty with the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of the Dakota Indians opened millions of acres to land-hungry settlers and speculators.

Our last stop was at the Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream, a great way to top off an excellent weekend with Lois, Dennis, and Casey. The next time we meet will be in San Francisco to welcome our grandson to our families - we will all have huge smiles on our faces, as we do each time he is brought up in conversation.

Created on 08/02/2009 08:28 AM by bridge
Updated on 08/31/2009 06:32 PM by bridge
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