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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween at HIgh Cliff State Park

I am finally catching up here and going to write about last weekend. 

Once a year, the Friends of High Cliff State Park put on a "Halloween Campground Walk".  High Cliff State Park is located near Appleton WI on the NE shore of Lake Winnebago.  This is our sixth year attending this event.  We have to reserve campsites a year in advance as soon as they become available.  112 campsites in the park, and they go quick!

Now... understand this it's not ONLY the campers who celebrate Halloween in the park, tons and tons of local people from the surrounding community come!  Last year it was over 5,000 people came to the park.  
(on edit) The count from this year was

It is quite the event, and we have been coming for the last six years, as I said. On top of it, my birthday is on Halloween, so it is a time for getting together with all of our kids and grandkids to celebrate that as well.  So we reserve a double family campsite for any of our kids who join us to spend the weekend.  

It has been a very warm strange autumn, and the weather was forecast to be in the 70's! How unusual for this time of year in Wisconsin. In contrast, as I write this, we had below freezing temps last night, more in keeping with normal Wisconsin October temps. 

The colors were absolutely gorgeous already, in spite of not having a hard freeze yet. We were missing some of the deep reds and oranges of the hardwoods, but plenty of yellows and golds were scattered along the cliff.  The cliff is part of the Niagara Escarpment, and the park is built on the site of an old lime mining operation, with a historical kiln still on the grounds.  Steve retired from the park in January, but still comes back to volunteer and help with last minute emergency repairs...  (the state never hired anyone yet to take his place, so the two rangers and park superintendent are doing the best they can without him on the payroll) 

The sun was shining and the blue skies made a great backdrop
to the fall colors in the park. 

This is my favorite spot on the park, 
I stopped in the car to snap this pic as we were heading into the campground.
This path is along a rock wall from a long-ago farmstead. 

We drove in early on Thursday morning after stopping to replenish our propane supply at a local dealer. The motorhome needs to be driven to a propane filling station as it takes a large bulk tank connection like on home tanks.  We make an appointment to get filled, as many propane dealers have their guys out in delivery trucks and not hanging around the office to fill us.  When we lived in Oconto, we had the delivery guy fill our rig when he was filling our house tank in the yard.

I drove ahead in the car, as the park is only 15 miles from home.  I was able to snap this pic of Steve driving in the rig through the colorful trees up to our double family campsite.

We got all set up and leveled and ready in our side of the campground. But later on Friday morning, Steve decided to turn the rig around to face outwards.  Because the sites we had reserved were non-electric sites, we were allowed to run the generator for just this weekend in the park. (otherwise generators are not allowed in state parks unless it is for medical emergency purposes).  The generator in our rig is very quiet, and runs on propane. It is located at the back of the motorhome, and the exhaust pipe goes right out the back. That would be facing the road with all the kids and our chairs and candy distribution center.  LOL .... so turning it around later was a good idea.

Here is the rig now turned around the site and all of our decorations strung out among the trees. We had a lot of light-up items to run off the generator... and also we ran a cord over to our son's side of the double campsite to illuminate their decorations as well as keep their camper battery charged up. They could charge their cell phones and run their lights and heater without worry for four days while we kept recharging them to 100% on their single battery.  Our rig has 4 batteries and solar on the roof, so we are fine even without running the generator.

Here is our son and daughter's side of the campsite and their decorations too.  It was so nice to have a double site for enough room for all of our family to attend. There is overflow parking nearby for vehicles and we can have an open space for handing out candy near the road.

Thursday and Friday were a lot of fun, but I could feel myself "fading fast" into illness.  I had picked up some kind of bug, and my stomach was giving me fits. Since I suffer from complications of a digestion surgery after my work accident, my ability to fight off flu bugs is compounded by not being able to handle stomach ailments...  I usually end up in the ER in the middle of the night, getting a lidocaine cocktail and an IV with morphine to get though it.  I kid you not.  And I could feel it coming.... oh no! 

About midnight Friday, I couldn't take it anymore. I had Steve haul me back into town to get some other emergency prescription meds I had at home to try. If that didn't do it, I would be needing a trip to the ER.  I was soooo upset that I was missing out on my Halloween Celebration with my grandkids! That hurt worse than any stomach problems.  It was breaking my heart! 

I laid on the floor in the bathroom writhing in pain, and hoping that it would pass and I could get up again.  Steve stayed with me until 9 or 10 am the next day. I was finally able to rest in bed peacefully, so he left me at the house and he returned to the park. 

He took over all the food prep I had planned to do myself. He was my hero!  He did up the big crock pot of chili, heated up the bucket of the calico beans, grilled the brats and hot dogs, set out the go-withs and the set-ups.  He had everything done for the family visitors and most of all, he held down the fort for making the weekend great for the grandkids.

I laid at home in bed until about 3pm. I was still feeling miserable, but half assed enough to get up and look at my phone.  OH my ... it was breaking my heart to see all the pics the kids were sending to me!!!!  The grandkids were all dressed up in their costumes and the candy was piled up in the tub (the first of many batches---- we go through over $100.00 worth of candy as well as all the extra bags our kids bring to contribute to the bucket) 

Our youngest daughter Heather and husband Jesse texted and said both Whitney and Jameson were under the weather and would not be able to attend as well. Awwwww this was really turning out to be a crappy weekend full of illness!  
How disheartening! 

The parents were sending me pics to my phone so I wouldn't feel so left out.

The boys were full of the dickens,
and I am sure full of pre-Halloween candy as well.


Who can resist little Claire, 1 year old, 
as a tiny monkey in her wagon? 

That was it... I couldn't take it any longer.

I HAD to get up, 
and get dressed 
and get in the car 
and GO back to the park!  

I drove slowly through the throngs of people all parked in all areas of the park.  The nice rangers who know me, let me through with the car to slowly wind my way into the campground about 3:30 pm.  The roads are already blocked off to any new traffic, but registered campers can get through if they are careful.  It took me almost half an hour to get into the first road of the campground to our sites on 14-15.  AHhhhhhhh   Steve set me up a lawn chair so I could just sit and watch and enjoy.

The grandgirls helped me dress Finney and Binney in their costumes too.
They are a referee and a not too cheery cheerleader! 


Soon the throngs of costumed trick or treaters came down the roads...
wave after wave of trick or treaters were moving along from site to site. 

It was so much fun to watch.... 
and so many polite kids taking just one piece of candy.

Grand nephew Matt had a BLAST handing out candy and 
scaring people in his ghoulish costume:

We even set out a cauldron of doggie biscuits 
as many people walk around with their pets as well.

Finney and Binney enjoyed watching the people and dogs
 from the safety of their lawn chair next to me.

What fun.. people walked past for four hours, collecting candy
and parading in their costumes. 

I was totally exhausted, and worn out but sat in my chair and snapped pictures.  I was joyful and thankful that I still got to attend the event.  Steve was my hero and took care of everything that I normally did.  Oh, our son Dan also got to try out his new grill that his wife Heather bought him... it had a battery operated rotating device to keep the grill moving over the fire.

The trick or treaters went on well after dark, up to 8 pm, with a few stragglers after that as well. We didn't run out of candy (we learned that after our first year to take MORE than enough and we could use the excess at home the following week).   I was worn out, but the guys sat up playing cribbage at the picnic table.  Matt and Steve skunked Dan and Waylen.  LOL 

Some people were getting lost on the paths in the woods, trying to find the parking lots down at the end of the trails.  They ended up coming back through our campsite to walk on the road instead. We were lit up as a beacon in the woods for the stragglers trying to get to their cars.

Our gandkids were slowly coming down off their sugar highs... and stripped off their costumes to sit around the campfire.  I made it for about an hour longer with stories, laughter and family time.  I was so thankful that I got to come, but I was fading fast.

So were the grandgirls Chelsea and Allegra.....

I hobbled off to my bed in the motorhome, comforted in knowing that my family had a fun event after all and I was able to attend.  I took my meds and went to sleep, with visions of fun and frivolity dancing in my head from a great day.  I felt bad that little Jameson and Whitney missed out.  Knowing he was sooo excited about his new knight helmet and costume he was going to wear this year. (we later made arrangements for them to come visit me the next weekend)

I made a promise to the grandkids at the campsite. In the morning, no matter what time, they could get up and come over to our motorhome for their favorite little boxes of cereal.  They were all sleeping in Dan and Heather's camper: 4 adults, 4 sugared up kids, 1 toddler in a crib and a big ole dog! 

We woke up about 6 am and I was feeling a bit better.  As soon as we turned on a light in our motorhome, quick as a wink over came three of the grandkids!  They had been waiting for us to get up so they could come over as planned. awwwwwwwwww  It was still dark out, but they zoomed over in their jammies to come to our place.

It has been kinda a tradition to bring along the little boxes of cereal for tiding them over until we made a bigger breakfast once the adults get up. (my Grandma Kafehl used to buy those for us kids too).  We found some cartoons on the tv, and they were happy to hang out with us for the morning.  We have plenty of battery power to run the inverter to run the tv, as well as the lights in the early morning hours. The last thing you want to do is fire up a generator to watch cartoons at 6 am! LOL

Little baby Claire woke up, so her parents brought her over to the motorhome as well.  She was so busy playing with our little Cup-O's on the blanket on the floor, while the kids were enjoying their cartoons.  My life felt more complete, now that I got to have them all come to my camper.  It's a thing that brings joy to my heart, and I hope it is creating memories they will carry with them for a lifetime.

Clayton, the last grandkid to get up, also came over to join in.  We do not have any slides in our motorhome, so the floor space is a bit limited. But the kids are small and do not take up a lot of space.  Finnegan learns to hang out and watch for spilled cereal bits (no milk) and finds spots to scoot around the others out of the way.  Binney hides out on her little bed under the dash, and is happy to watch from her "safe spot" as the kids giggle, watch tv, play or color.

Once we knew the grownups were getting up, it was time to start our "Breakfast Bake" casseroles. Now that I have an oven in our rig it is easy to bake two big pans at one time.
 (see blog posts: New Oven Part One  and New Oven Part Two )

The girls were eager to help, as love to crack all the eggs and put together the pans to bake breakfast for everyone in one fell swoop.

also we used ham instead of bacon or sausage.

It was starting to drizzle outside, and the weather forecast was calling for rain all day long. Steve and Waylen went out and quickly took down all of the halloween decorations.  They packed them all quickly into the car to be sorted out later.  We were going to decorate our house for the upcoming week, so it didn't matter much how it was packed away.  But they packed away some of Heather and Dan's decorations that had to be taken back out before they left. The guys cleaned up the campsite while I kept the kids inside the motorhome high and dry.  

Soon everyone ate and Dan and Heather got their trailer road worthy. Steve had helped adjust their hitch as Dan got a new truck recently.  It was good to go, and they were able to head on out before the downpour started. 

I was totally worn out and exhausted by the time they all pulled out of the campground. As the rain was coming down, all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep again. We had planned to stay two extra days, as Steve was going to help volunteer with the draining and blowing out of the water system of the park, a rather complicated process. He could tell I was drained and fading fast again.  He pulled an executive decision and said let's just go home instead. He can drive back to the park the next day to help them out.  

Steve, that kind soul, unloaded the rig of all the extra food and dirty clothes.  I didn't have to do a thing but rest.  What a guy! 

Soon I was back at home, in my own warm bed, with happy smile on my face for not missing out on another Halloween Celebration at High Cliff.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Topless Woman Escapes Florida Hospital!

Topless woman escapes Florida Hospital ---- 
complete story on news at 5

Hahaha actually, they were ready to release mom from the hospital Tuesday morning. When she went to get dressed from her bag of clothing from the ER visit 9 days before, her top was missing! Nowhere to be found!

I kind of suspect that when they moved her from the ER to the cardiac unit, that her shirt was cut off, to get better access for ER testing and she just was unaware of it.

The nurses let her borrow a gown to go home in and she tucked it into her shorts so it looked like a top.

I have no idea what it looked like from the back side???

Yup, they kicked her out! After many days of tests and not finding any new sources of internal bleeding, they were finally able to treat her heart condition. The edema swelling has gone down and her red blood cell count has come up so she is getting oxygenated blood. She is now on blood thinners and has to be careful, but at least she is not bleeding internally anymore. No new heart episodes or requiring any more nitro under the tongue. They unhooked her from all the machines and said it was time to goooooooo.

Her next medical situation, (once this heart is stabilized) is to address the spinal stenosis she was diagnosed with a few weeks ago. She can barely walk and is in pain.  The hip joint is fine, as she had a MRI done and then a CT scan.  That is when they told her it is spinal stenosis.

Spinal stenosis can put pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves within the spine. It commonly occurs in the neck and lower back. The condition is often caused by age-related wear and tear. Symptoms, if they occur, include pain, numbness, muscle weakness, and impaired bladder or bowel control. Treatment includes medication, physical therapy, and possibly surgery.

The doctors tried treating her first with pain pills and that didn't help, now they are considering a shot. That needs to be pre-approved and she has been chasing around clinics and insurance company approval phone calls trying to get that set up. If the injection does not work for the spinal stenosis, her next step for that will be surgery as well.

She was very happy to get carted home by her loving husband Lyle. Their dogs absolutely missed her so much and we're happy to see her come home. One of the first thing she did was get on the computer to let us know she was home safe and sound. then her next things to do was to get some good fresh vegetables and groceries into the house. After 9 days of Lyle being worried sick, and not eating anything, I am sure they needed more than a few things to restock the fridge and cabinets. She is trying to walk with a walker and get up and about. We wish her well and hope for a speedy recovery.


Over the weekend, we had two other nice things happen. The first was a totally delightful visit with my weaving buddy Juanita and her friend Don. They live 140 miles away so we met in the middle. It was our birthday meeting together!

We sat and gabbed for 3 hours and totally monopolized a table in a little cafe. The waitress was very understanding and let us stay and gab as late as we wanted to. It is always so nice spending time with her and we pick up right where we left off. We communicate daily on the internet but it's so nice to get together in person from time to time as well and get some good hugs.


On Sunday, we headed up to Oconto for our youngest Granddaughter's FIRST BIRTHDAY!


This is the sweet little preemie baby that was born one year ago. It was heart-wrenching to see her go through everything she had to endure to become a healthy sweet little angel that she is today.

Erin and Waylen had the house decorated up for a T-Rex birthday party. All of our children and grandchildren arrived for a fun afternoon.

While there, I had each of the grandchildren record a special message for their Great-grandmother Rita in the hospital. I sent them all via text to their cell phone. Isn't technology wonderful?

 The two youngest grandtots, 
Claire 1 and Whitney 2 

The older GrandGirls
Allegra and Chelsea, both 7

and the Three GrandBoys
Mason 7, Jameson 9 and Clayton 7

It is so good to see them all gathered around my old dining room table. Family celebrations with laughter, good fun and love are so warming to the heart.  Just look at the joy of little Claire getting her Happy Birthday Song from everyone.  I think Clayton is worried about which T-rex cookie he is going to get?

Erin and Waylen and kids with their little birthday girl

The kids had a blast running around, creating a ruckus, playing, fighting, and nibbling on all the food. The grown-ups tried to watch the Packer game. We were completely devastated to see Aaron Rodgers go down with a broken collarbone. It sure changes the outlook for the season for the Packers. We hope the new quarterbacks Hundley and Callahan waiting in the wings will do just as good with the rest of the team. Now that everybody else is getting healthy and back on the field, it hurts to lose our Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season.

Little Claire got to open a bunch of presents, with the help of Mommy and Daddy. It was so cute to watch her, and she was more interested in the cards than the presents!!??  She kept turning the pages like a book and wanted more cards. She LOVES story books.

This is her new sleeping bag that I embroidered for her...
 it's to come for sleepovers in Grandma and Grandpa's camper? 
plus new sweats and a telephone to call home and say she is having a GREAT time! 

It's hard to believe that she is one-year-old already. She is most likely our last littlest grandchild we will have--- as I think all of our children are done adding to their families. We have to enjoy and cherish each of these passing years. These grandkids are all growing up so fast. Where does the time go?

We said our goodbyes to all of our grandkids and headed on home.

But we are so looking forward to this upcoming weekend. It's our big weekend at High Cliff State Park for their Halloween Celebration! All of our children and grandchildren will be there for the event. Including our nephew and his family. All of the campsites are decorated up to the max and usually four to five thousand people come through the park. Our son Dan and wife Heather with kids are camping next to us on a double family site.  Then the other kids and grandkids will join us on Saturday.  They can all help us decorate our campsites.

We go through an awful lot of candy, but it's worth it to see all the happy children trick-or-treating in a safe environment. We even put out a dish of dog biscuits for the dogs that get to walk by with the trick-or-treaters. We have costumes for both Finney and Binney to wear as well. They close off the campground to vehicle traffic, so it is safe for a constant parade of costumed kids and families and fun going past our campsite.

Traditionally campers decorate their campsites for the Halloween Holiday at High Cliff State Park. The Family Campground roads are closed to motor vehicles from 4-8 p.m. Parking is available along the road entering the campground, as well as the Horse/Bike Trail and Indian Mounds Trail lots. The Friends of High Cliff will have concessions available adjacent to campground shower building from about noon to 7 p.m. Be sure to bring your flashlights for walking in the dark! A vehicle admission sticker is required to enter the park.


I have been such a bundled up mess of nerves the last 9 days over Mom, that now my blood pressure can finally go back down and I can get some things done around the house. I have been cranking some socks for orders and need to get more done for my Etsy store inventory. With this beautiful fall weather that we are experiencing, I don't even feel like staying inside and working.

Steve and I got some yard work done, and pulled out plants in advance before they all meltdown to mush from any upcoming frost. It's easier to clean it up in the fall than to try and do it in the spring.

I have to call now and arrange an appointment to go fill our propane tank on the motorhome. It's a huge tank that needs a fill from a propane station or a home delivery truck, it is not small portable tanks like on camping trailers. There is a place in the nearby town of Stockbridge that will fill us if we call ahead and make an appointment. There isn't always a guy on duty to do a fill, so that is why we need to arrange in advance.  The propane place is on the way to the park tomorrow, so we can get it done on the way.

Although the weather is supposed to be warm this weekend, we are going to top off the propane tank so it's ready for any winter trips we decide to take.

Stay tuned.....  
 perhaps an escape to the desert is in our future?