Friday, June 28, 2019

A couple of things...

I finished the heavy meds on Friday, June 21. I didn't feel great but figured it would take a few days to get the meds out of my system. On Sunday, June 23, I went into anaphylactic shock about 6 am. The good part is that I lived to tell about it. The bad part - I lost a few days to sickness but at least that is all behind me now. I'm a little tired but I finally feel good. 

We are getting ready for the second and I think last trip of the summer. We leave on Monday for Virginia. We are meeting our oldest son and his family at a house where we've all stayed before. I can't wait to see everyone!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Measured in Friends - it was a Fantastic Trip!

A journey is best measured  in friends 
rather than miles. 
-Tim Cahill

It is nice to be home although things are a little crazy as is normal after a long trip. 

Our water leak is resolved. About 40 years ago, Ray's dad re-plumbed our house. He evidently did not glue one side of one connector. Yesterday when Ray turned the water on, it leaked for the very first time! It's now been glued and no harm was done.

I did spend some stolen moments in the sewing room today - in between things I had to do. It was wonderful! 

I wanted to include this one last post about our Jasper, Alberta, trip. Quite often, the news is full of bad things that people do. We know that there are lots of good people too. We think we've met some on our travels  This post is mainly for us so we remember.

We met some delightful people - some new friends!

First, our wonderful hosts - 
  • Cory and Robin in Rochester, MN.
  • Kathy in Fargo, ND.
  • Jason, an oil field worker, and his family including a new baby and a cute little girl, in Minot, ND. 
  • Corinne in Regina, SK. Although we did not meet in person, she was so helpful in our planning.
  • Wendy and Don who prepared a wonderful breakfast for us in Lloydminster, SK.
  • Mary and Neil - Neil grew up in Jasper and I think his grandfather settled in the original Jasper from Scotland; Mary spiffed up our home each day. They were interesting to talk with.
  • Shy in Canmore, AB. We did not meet Shy in person but she was in contact and made sure we were happy and left no stone unturned.
  • Jennifer and Jeff, who just last year in Columbia Falls, MT, at age 69,  received the highest, level 3 rating for a ski instructor. 
  • Jane in Bozeman, MT, was another host we didn't get to meet in person. Jane was really on top of things and always text me before I had the chance to ask a question.
  • Tammy in Sheridan, WY, who showed us a beautiful old, renovated house and who insisted we walk in the park and have ice cream.
  • Doug and Denise in Nemo, SD, who cleared a space to get our car out of the impending weather and gave us homemade cookies.
  • Danielle in Kadoka, SD. Although we didn't meet in person, Danielle went above and beyond to accommodate us early. We were hoping to arrive a couple of hours early and do lots of laundry, Danielle made it happen.
  • Clay and Kathy in Spirit Lake, IA, who were so welcoming, gave us breakfast foods, and invited us to stay longer when I had the allergy problems. They continued to check on me daily until I was totally out of the woods.
  • Matthew and Joy in Spooner, WI. Matt just retired and we finally got to meet them half way through our 8 days there. They insisted on cooking for us one evening; we had a fantastic spaghetti dinner, a fun boat ride, and a very enjoyable evening.

And some other new friends we met along the way -
  • The fellow that did sculptures with bicycle parts and his cute little dog Lucy in Rochester, MN.
  • The lady that owned the Norwegian village and gave us a tour in Minot, ND.
  • The three teenage waitresses at Fresh and Sweet in Regina, SK. They were so interested in us because we were Americans.
  • The three ladies at Regina Floral Conservatory; they wanted to be sure we enjoyed our time in Regina.
  • The three Northern Ireland Medical Students we met at Medicine Lake, AB. 
  • Dillon and Anna from the Edmonton, AB area. We hiked with them on the Old Fort Trail when there was a bear in the area. Dillon thought it was so neat to talk with Americans at length.
  • Jan and Ashley, the mother and daughter from Chicago.
  • The workers at Patricia Street Deli in Jasper who chatted and laughed with us like we were regular customers and visited every day. We felt like we were at Cheers where everyone knows your name.
  • Our Filipino friends from California, New York, and New Jersey, with whom we shared the viewing of an avalanche.
  • The fellow from Yorkshire, England, that walked with us in Canmore one day. He was visiting his daughter who lived in Canmore.
  • The workers at Sugar Pine Quilt Company that found the fabric I wanted (it was packed for a show) and told us where to eat lunch.
  • The two guys at the bike shop in Canmore that became our impromptu tour guides.
  • The front desk people in Canmore at Solara that answered all of my strange questions.
  • Abby, her brother and parents whom we met on our Lake Minnewanka boat trip near Banff.
  • The couple we met from London, England when we were at the red chairs near Norquay ski area in Banff.
  • The waitress/bartender and the chef/BBQ master at Home Ranch Bottoms Polebridge, MT.
  • The two people working for the University of Montana in Glacier National Park. They were doing some study on trail usage. She was from Russia and a student; he was from the area and had just graduated.
  • The two flaggers we met near East Glacier.
  • The young lady forester traveling alone in Glacier National Park.
  • The girl from Alberta with the blond pigtails and her mom who was eating strawberries. They greeted us like long lost relatives.
  • The fabric store co-owner in Sheridan who kept offering me discounts. She gave me 25% off fabric when I emptied a bolt and a great discount on rulers.
  • Aaron and Erin at The Carriage House Theater in Sheridan, WY. He has a cabin in Spooner, WI; she spends time in Chetek, WI.
  • The little boy and girl and mother from Wisconsin that I met in Spearfish. I was talking with the girl and the little boy wanted to talk with me too. They were on a camping trip with a pop-up tent and were so excited to tell me of their camping experiences.
  • The lady working in Custer State Park that was eating her lunch outside and told us where to find the buffalo.
  • The lady at the Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, SD, who shared so much about the statue Dignity, including the different colors at night. She also showed me some original ideas she was working on for a quilt.
  • The professional, caring, health care workers at Lakes Regional Healthcare ER and Lewis Family Drug store.
And we met an old friend - 

  • We ran into a high school classmate and a friend of hers when we were having lunch in Hayward. WI.

We enjoyed time with relatives who are definitely old friends! It was wonderful to see each of them.

We traveled 6167 miles and we collected many, many friends. I'm glad we could recall a few of them here.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

We have arrived home

We wander for distraction 
but we travel for fulfillment. 
-Hilaire Belloc

We are home! 

For the last week or so, we have been staying at Black Dog Inn just northeast of Spooner, WI. It was a small place that served us well. The only problem was the Internet connection but it was the best they could get. I finally started using my phone as a hotspot and things worked well. We were in the middle of the woods and it was very quiet and peaceful. Our hosts were fantastic. One evening they invited us for a delicious spaghetti dinner and a boat ride. There was some wildlife in the area and we enjoyed seeing a young black bear. We had a great stay!

Spooner, WI is just a few miles north of Shell Lake, WI, where two of my brothers live, one with his lovely wife. We enjoyed being able to spend some time with them each day.  

Yesterday we hiked at Hunt Hill Sanctuary near Sarona, WI. We didn't see much wildlife but we did find a few wildflowers.

Here are a few photos.
Sunset on Spooner Lake

My brother Jim and Ray. I took photo from the top deck of treehouse.

Treehouse from Shell Lake.  Some tree limbs were removed this week.
There was a grass airport close to our rental; the runway crossed the road

There was a grass airport close to our rental

A real party boat!

We ran into a high school classmate one day while we were eating lunch in Hayward, WI!

Spooner Lake

Spooner Lake

Spooner Lake
Near our rental

at Hunt Hill Sanctuary

at Hunt Hill Sanctuary

at Hunt Hill Sanctuary

at Hunt Hill Sanctuary

at Hunt Hill Sanctuary

at Hunt Hill Sanctuary

at Hunt Hill Sanctuary

Ray and SIL Sam on Shell Lake

My brother Jim aka tour guide on Shell Lake

My brother Tom on Shell Lake

We got home a couple of hours ago. Ray turned on the water and we have a leak! So the water went off and the plumber was called. Plumber is here now. Hopefully nothing major is wrong.

We've had a wonderful trip and feel blessed and fulfilled that we get to travel as we do. It looks like we'll be leaving again in about 10 days. We'll be heading east.

Health update: The great thing is that I never did go into anaphylactic shock. The medicine has some weird side effects that I'm dealing with. #OneMoreDayofMeds #TimeToSayI'mOK

Friday, June 14, 2019

Wisconsin Time

Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. 
Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, 
and appreciate where you are at this moment 
instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.
~Mandy Hale

We are enjoying our time with some members of my family in Wisconsin.

First, let me share some pictures of my oldest brother and his wife's tree house. Here is the first floor porch;

the first floor inside sleeping area;

the stairway to the second floor of the treehouse;

the second floor - the ceiling is lower to stay within code;

the second floor front wall and door leading to the deck;

the second floor deck.

This is the treehouse from my next-oldest brother's yard, 3 houses away.

One of our grandsons (Guitar Man) attended the Shell Lake Arts Center Guitar workshop this week. 

Our grandson and his dad stayed with my next oldest brother and was a commuter student to the camp. He spent most evenings fishing with his dad and his great-uncle. Last night we all enjoyed Guitar Man's FishFry and helped eat all of the fish these guys caught.

We took a few pictures after dinner but were in some shadows so they aren't the best.

Us with youngest son and Guitar Man
My 3 brothers, Ray, and one sister-in-law
Guitar Man
Cleaning his first fish
Today we enjoyed the final concert of the week for the Guitar Workshop. In addition to group songs, all of the musicians had solos and one of Guitar Man's was a medley of 5 songs including one of his original compositions. #ProudGrandparents

Now people are dispersing. We'll stay in the area with my oldest brother and his wife and my next oldest brother - they all live here - for a few more days. By noon tomorrow, everyone else will already be home or headed that way. 

Health update - I'm hanging in there. I really dislike the meds and the feel-good/not-so-feel-good days. I'm hoping a little more rest tonight and tomorrow will help. At least there's been no anaphylaxis. #Only7MoreDaysWithMeds 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Better Day!

In Spirit Lake, we stayed at Cottage by the Pond. It was another gorgeous place and the hosts went above and beyond. We hope to get back one day to enjoy their property since we never got the chance to even take one walk there.

Thank you for the comments, the emails, and the texts about my health. I am doing better. I did not have any anaphylaxis last night. The Benadryl let me sleep until about 2 am. I've been awake since then but have been able to rest. 

We are now in Wisconsin and have spent a little time with family. We have a small Airbnb rental on Spooner Lake and my brothers' homes are about 20 minutes away on Shell Lake. They both have other family staying with them right now - one has my youngest brother and the other has our youngest son and his oldest son (Guitar Man).

We took a walk on this property tonight and saw a beautiful sunset.

Tomorrow we will spend most of the day with family. Hopefully we can help my sister-in-law with a couple of projects. Her husband is my oldest brother; he is a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran, an Agent Orange survivor. Tomorrow night we are going to Guitar Man's Fishfry. It's a family thing for the people here and an aunt who will arrive tomorrow. It will be fun. Tomorrow is also our 49th Anniversary - I'm not sure how that happened! Can we really be that old?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

And then...

Never let the things you want 
make you forget the things you have. 

The day started off with us being lazy. We finally got moving and went to the Okoboji Summer Theater and bought tickets for tonight's musical, Honky Tonk Angels. Then we headed to the Motor Inn Jeep Dealer to get the jeep serviced. While there, we asked where to get lunch and Okoboji Store was suggested.

At Okoboji Store, I explained to the waiter that I have a severe allergy to broccoli. He assured me there was no broccoli in the place. Being my normal self, I mentioned my allergy at least two more times questioning different dishes. Each time I was assured they were safe to eat. I seldom ask for any changes in my dishes because the most important thing is that my food not touch broccoli even indirectly.

We had a wonderful lunch. We shared delicious fish tacos made with fried bluegills and four sides - fries, homemade chips, charred cauliflower with a cherry glaze, and coleslaw. Everything was excellent. While eating the coleslaw, I found a piece of a stem, I asked Ray what it was. He tasted it and said he didn't think it was broccoli (he doesn't remember what it tastes like either). When the server returned, I asked about the coleslaw. He said it was fine and a girl server reiterated that it was made with the normal cabbage and carrots. I asked him to check. He came back and was apologetic that yes, I had been eating broccoli. I'm sorry to yell but WHY DIDN'T HE CHECK IN THE KITCHEN BEFORE IT HIT OUR TABLE? My goodness, I asked at least 3 times.

My choices were to wait for the delayed anaphylaxis to hit or try to be proactive. When I experience anaphylactic shock, it is not pretty. I loose about 9 pounds of body fluids in about 20 minutes and then I am extremely tired and worn out for a few days. 

We headed to the ER. I am still upset in the picture that I have to go through this because a person did NOT do his job. All he had to do was ask the chef. 

About 25 years ago, the only other time I knew I had come into contact with broccoli, I was proactive. It didn't go well - I was sick for most of two months because the poisons weren't completely out of my system. Today was a hard decision but I'm not sure at age 70 that I'll survive going into shock - it's very hard on the body and a doctor once told me this is likely the way I'll die someday. 

My ER experience was quite different this time - I had shots and an IV with meds. I had Epinephrine to treat the immediate concern, Benadryl to treat long term through the night, Prednisone to treat longer term  with heavy doses for another 10 days, and Decadron, an inhibitor. The ER doctor (DR. Ojiaku), my nurse Jeremy, and my paramedic Ryan (I think) were fantastic. There were also a couple other nurses in and out - all were so kind. And my paramedic gave me one of those warm blankets - that's big points in my book. When the immediate concerns were finally over and the normal stuff then taken care of, Jeremy sat down and talked for a few minutes. He knows our host.

The ER doctor gave me the choice of staying overnight or going home. He says I know my body better than anyone. I chose home; my better half is a former EMT so I'm in good hands. We are within 5 minutes of the hospital and can call an ambulance if needed. The doctor says he feels quite sure that I will not have the reaction, that we have done everything possible to take care of the shock. I pray he is right.

So I've had a long nap, I ate a light dinner, I'm writing this, I have a slight headache, both of my arms ache from the needles,  and my stomach feels strange. We did not go to the musical - we gifted the tickets to our hosts. I'll be in bed early. 

Any ideas how I can get servers to listen? Some are so good and others just don't care. The guy today cost us our one day in Spirit Lake/Okojobi. We didn't have big plans but we did want to see/do some things. We missed the summer theater and are out the ticket money. After Ray asked, the restaurant discounted our meal. The time was not right to question anything as we needed to get to the ER. A letter will be sent to the restaurant. Compensation for what today cost me in $$ would be nice but much more important, people need to take food allergies seriously. If I had anaphylaxis instead of delayed anaphylaxis, the results of the day could be very different.

So the blessing of my day - I/We met some incredible healthcare people and a very nice, caring pharmacist. I have a great home to spent the night. Our hosts are getting to see a show that they'll enjoy. Our hosts just messaged that our current home is available for a few days if we need to stay, at no cost! And most of all, I have Ray by my side. There are lots of people in this world that do care, thank goodness. 

I'm nervous about tonight but I have faith and enough Benadryl in my system that I should get some sleep. Tomorrow we hope to head to Wisconsin.

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Day of Highlights

We travel not to escape life, 
but for life not to escape us.

We started the day in Kadoka, SD, under sunny skies. We drove Interstate 90 most of the day. 

Highlight #1:
As we drove by South Dakota's Original 1880 town, we saw a camel! Yes, it was real. We didn't stop but it was fun to see. It took me by surprise so I didn't get a photo.

Highlight #2:
We did stop in Chamberlain, SD, at The Quilt Shop.

I have fabric for a new quilt. The orange/yellow fabric will be used with the turquoise for a quilt. The dream catcher fabric will probably be the backing. The other piece in the lower left hand corner will be used with leftover pieces for a second quilt.

Highlight #3:
We went on to the Visitor/Information Center of Chamberlain to see Dignity. This gorgeous stainless steel sculpture is 50 feet tall and 32 feet wide. You can read much more here and here or just do an Internet search. The statue is beautiful especially when the sun shines through the quilt.

The back really shows the quilt.

The owner at the quilt shop was very friendly and told us a lot about Dignity. She also told us how the colors change at night. This photo taken at night is from the shop's Facebook page.

We arrived at our Airbnb in Spirit Lake, Iowa. After moving in, we headed to Spencer, Iowa, to meet some family.

Highlight #4:
Seeing our niece Carli and her children Mady and Spencer, was the best highlight of our day - we haven't seen them in 4 years, much too long. We had a delicious meal at Sports Page and a great visit. We hope to see them again later this summer and hopefully husband/dad Bruce can join us too. 

We took a few selfies but this might be the best! 

This is our view from our front window tonight. 

We will be happy here for a couple of nights. Ray has an appointment tomorrow to get the oil changed in the jeep and the rest of the day is still open. We are back on Central Standard Daylight Savings Time so we need a day or two to adjust.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Badlands National Park

The whole object of travel 
is not to set foot on foreign land; 
it is at last to set foot on one’s own country 
as a foreign land. 
                     - G.K. Chesterton

We got up to a sunny skies and 36 degrees. After packing, we headed east. Just down Nemo Road, we saw this waterwheel. We haven't seen it before although we've obviously passed it a couple of times. This time we saw it and turned around so we could get photos.

Traveling on...

We stopped at Wall Drug in Wall, SD. It is always an experience. The streets were full at 10:30 am but we found a parking place right in front! We probably spent an hour wandering the shops.

We continued on and drove the loop through Badlands National Park. The scenery is so different from anywhere else.


The sky was gathering more clouds and you can see the sun on some of the rocks while the rest are shaded.

Thankfully, we didn't see any rattlers.

At times, the formations reminded me of sand sculptures.

We stopped for lunch at Badlands Cedar Pass Lodge. The concessionaire is still Forever Resorts. We worked for Forever Resorts in 2005 and 2006 in Rocky Mountain National Park. We got an update and found that they still are a great company and treat their employees well.

The last time we ate at Cedar Pass in 2006, we had Indian tacos - tacos with Angus and buffalo served on fry bread. It was too much for me to eat so today I ordered a salad and asked if I could get a side of fry bread. Ray did the same. Then lunch arrived. That is a lot of fry bread! We must remember to ask the size of things.

The dip was blueberry pie filling, I think. The bread with the dip was so good - and I should have taken a picture of our salads; they were also delicious and so pretty. And yes, I ate almost all of my fry bread. Ray finished his. The table next to us - parents and 2 preteen boys - had one order of fry bread for the 4 of them. We talked with them as we left. When they ordered, they asked the waitress what we were eating and decided to try some. (It wasn't on the menu.) Of course, they could see a serving size.

As we left the Lodge, it was sprinkling. We never were in a downpour but off in the distance, we could see rain. We kept some dark clouds for a while.

As we left the Park, the terrain changed to be relatively flat. We headed to our Airbnb rental for the evening in the tiny town of Kadoka. We are about half way done with our laundry and enjoying a great Internet connection.

Tomorrow we will go on to Iowa. We are meeting some family for dinner and are anxious to see everyone.


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