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  • Writer's pictureJessy Tolkan

Snow Squalls & Soaking in the last days on Friess Lake...DAY 92

I am a very proud WISCONSINITE, have you noticed? Nearly every introduction I've ever made in my life begins with...My name is Jessy and I'm from WISCAAAANSIN (said in a perfect SE Wisconsin accent). With that Wisconsin pride comes a confidence and toughness in dealing with all the types of weather one can contend with, in particular battling WINTER. There was at least 8 inches of snow on the ground the day I took my drivers test on my 16th birthday, I walked up the famous UW-Madison Bascom hill in sub-zero temperatures more times that I can count, and yet this die-hard Wisconsin girl met a winter weather element for the very first time this past Friday, THE SNOW SQUALL!

We had just finished a lovely evening eating in yet another outdoor, heated greenhouse in Milwaukee's hip Bayview neighborhood, and Raj I were headed back to Friess Lake on the highway. Raj said, what's a SNOW SQUALL? I was driving, and barely listening, but his phone had just alerted him to that the fact that in a matter of minutes there would be a severe Snow Squall hitting the exact place we were driving. This matched a digital billboard he'd seen saying the same thing. Being the know-it-all that I am (not a flattering quality), I proceeded to tell Raj he didn't know what he was talking about, and that his phone was certainly set to DC weather alerts, because there wasn't a drop of snow or rain to be seen. 45 seconds later, seemingly out of no where, there was ZERO visibility in front of us, snow was pouring from the sky at a rate I'd never seen in my life, probably 2 inches of snow fell in 20 minutes - and the heaviest winds I'd ever felt...I thought the car was going to blow away. We were about 3.5 miles from our exit from the highway, and I cannot tell you how we even made it there. Every car put on their hazard lights, and slowed to a crawl. We could barely make out there was an exit to take, as semis severed next to us. IT WAS SO DAMN SCARY! Thus, I know intimately understand what a SNOW SQUALL is, and very happy to say I lived to tell the story. Raj took over driving from the highway exit, down the 6 miles of country road to our house - equally terrifying! Of course, as we pulled into our driveway, all was calm, and the Squall had gone to sleep. QUITE THE EVENTFUL FRIDAY NIGHT! Here are my very cute parents in our super cool Greenhouse at Cafe Central before the SQUALL, and the delicious Tahini Cheesecake too.

Health Update:

I took advantage of this holiday and day off of work to get checked out today. Truthfully I was supposed to go tomorrow (I always go on Tuesdays), but this KLUTZ had a tiny accident over the weekend that required some more urgent attention. For the 2nd time during this Bone Marrow Transplant recovery I had a little rendezvous with a burn, and thus the burn specialists at the hospital. This time instead of a grease burn, it was more a hot water scald caused by me trying to carry too many things to the TV room on Saturday night. Skip the next photo if burns gross you out. I personally think it made quite the beautiful design, and considering the burn specialists say it will heal, but likely scar, I figure I should get used to it :)

However, it was ALL good news after the burn specialist today...

  • I've broken 900 in the white blood cell count, officially 908 as of today

  • Platelets are close to entering "NORMAL range"

  • I have the full green light to go OUT to dinner in a restaurant (private room on Saturday night to eat dinner with my Dad for his 70th birthday)!

  • The Dr. advised me to scratch my shopping itch BEFORE Milwaukee ends its mask mandate in a few days - so I treated myself to a little shopping at Anthropologie this afternoon :).

  • The insulin shots are working, the FreeStyle Libre blood glucose monitor has helped the Dr's get a much better sense of how to control the diabetes, and we are on track to getting this under control!

  • To demonstrate my belief that I will pass 1000, and the Dr. will be ok with me FLYING back to DC with a N95 mask on - I booked the flight I'd had on hold for days. -in the Dr.'s office today for March 12th!!! Fingers and toes continued to be crossed, that I cross 1000 white bloods, do not do anything else stupid like burn myself or cause any other set-backs, and this girl is headed back EAST!!!

What's Entertaining Us:

  • Oscar Nominated Short-Live Action films...RUN to go see these. Be prepared to have your heart ripped out several times, and also to see some of the very best film and story telling of the years. In particular ON MY MIND was a heart-breaker, and so beautiful, and made me cry lots, but kind of in a beautiful way.

  • Oscar Nominated short docs - ALSO incredible, have way through them...QUEEN OF BASKETBALL is WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW

  • Next up: Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts...

I've never been so on top of my Oscar nominations watching...More than 1 month to go and I'm on pace to finish 1 month early, there really are silver linings to 100 days in isolation.

What I'm grateful for:

  • Wedding planning - Some people find this overwhelming, or tedious, or stressful...I LOVE IT! I love that its about the future, I love that its about love, and even though Hindus and Jews do weddings pretty differently, and there is some intense stuff to figure out - I LOVE LOVE LOVE planning an event that will so many people we love together (even though I wish we could have a limitless guest list, because that's the stressful part for sure!).

  • Walks on this beautiful FROZEN FRIESS lake. Watching the sunset, seeing the aftermath of the Snow Squall in because snowy patterns, finding little Hearts buried in the ice, seeing kiddos ice-skating...Its pretty damn beautiful, and a part of this whole Lake House experience I never really contemplated until this Winter.

  • Cooking...Raj and I have really gotten into such a fun rhythm of cooking together - and I love recreating our restaurant favorites at home. Last night featured my take on Milwaukee's best pizza place - Zaffiros. We copied their salad (pretty damn well), and didn't come close on the quality of the pizza.

If plans stay on track, Raj heads home a week from Thursday, and I head home 2 weeks from Saturday. Raj will go first to make sure our house is all set and safe, and free of renovation debris for my safe return (HE IS THE BEST). So its time to start savoring these last moments...I will not miss the restrictions of this time away, or the many many weeks of feeling so icky, or the weekly trips to the Dr, but there will be lots to miss - in particular living at a slower pace, and just having so much time to focus on being HEALTHY! We will have to take those best practices with us for sure!

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Elizabeth McKeon
Elizabeth McKeon
Feb 23, 2022

A very different version of "feel the burn", eh? Sorry to see that Jess. My one firm recommendation is to use ointments with onion skin as an ingredient, which has some science behind it for healing burns. Or, if you want to go back to the good old Slavic country roots of my Polish relatives, boil a vat of onion skins (skin only) and the soak the liquid in washcloths or gauze that you place over the wound for hours at a time. You have to alternate letting it breathe and wrapping it up (and of course if there is any puncture to the skin then keep it unwrapped first until it seals.


Sam Dorman
Sam Dorman
Feb 22, 2022

Hahaha, I love that Raj was getting squall alerts on his phone and you were unimpressed, hilarious. Not that I would know a squall from my elbow. Tons of exciting health news in this one, how great. This is my favorite show right now, easy.

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