Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tis the season

My life is filled with basketball right now.  From now until March, one or two nights a week, I'll be on the bleachers, camera in hand.  I have watched Jack and Gage play ball for 9 years since moving to Wisconsin and this year, to see them both start on Varsity, is a special treat.
Jack, a senior
Gage, a sophomore


I hope they are enjoying this year of playing as teammates as much as I am.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Middle School Music

On Monday evening, I drove over to Luck to attend the Middle School Holiday Concert.
I'm not sure if all middle school students are required to participate in either band or choir, but I'm guessing that might be the case as there were a large number of kids involved and the auditorium was full with extra chairs being set up to accommodate the crowd.
Megan played percussion in the band and Stella played the clarinet.  Stella also sang in the choir.  It was an enjoyable evening. 

A few photos from after the concert.
Grandma Lois with Stella and Megan

Great Aunt Wanda, Megan, Grandma Lois

Grandma Lois, Stella, Great Aunt Lois, Great Aunt Wanda

I have a lot of respect for teachers who take on music at the elementary and middle school level.  I also think it is a so important for kids to be exposed to learning about music at those ages as it can inspire a life long love for music.  I know it did for me.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Stuff that happens

When I retired from Coors, I was promised health insurance until I turned 65 and knew that then I would have to transition to Medicare for my health care.  This seemed like it was so faarrr awwwaay, but guess what, it has happened!  On December 1st, I became the proud owner of Medicare card.  Coors sent me a nice registered letter greeting to be sure I knew they were kindly showing me the door and after much research, I found a the medicare option that I hope will work well for me.
Next week is my Welcome to Medicare exam with my doctor.
Ah, well, time flies as they say.
Just 16 more days and then, 
When I get to the gym for a basketball game, I always look to see where the designated 'visitor' section is so I can sit with other fans from my home team.
Last Friday night was my first visit to the new Unity gymnasium.
I wanted to set across from our bench so that most of my photos would have our kids & fans in the background, so opted to sit in the "Visitor Student" section.

But, the Unity fans evidently are not aware of these postings.
Before long, I was sitting with all fans of the opponents.
This is not such a big deal, but why don't they want to sit behind or across from their own team?
This has happened a number of times to me, I'm usually early to the gym, so don't have a chance to scope out where the 'enemy' is sitting.
One time, at a tournament game, I even got a little mouthy with a fan from anther team.
Janice, my cohort in basketball crime, might have nudged me on a little and by the end of the game, I wasn't exactly a charming representative of the Luck Cardinals community.
I behaved better on Friday night, but did manage to make one snide remark to one of the Unity Fans.
Such drama....


Most schools run a 50/50 raffle at the basketball games.
Half the money goes to some school related need and the other half goes home in the pocket of the lucky winner.  Many fans, both home and visitors, participate in this fundraiser each game.
On Friday night, when they called the name of the lucky winner of the 50/50, 
it was none other than Jude Johansen.
As you can see, he was completely pumped to run across the court and accept his fistful of winnings.

That's a happy little boy.

For added fun, Aunt Lois bought some bean bags and then had Kyle toss it for her.
So, when her name was called as the big winner, it was cute.

Two Lois's in our family.
One is my sister in law, who was Lois Skow before she married Gus and became Lois Johansen.
The other, Lois is married to Lois Johansen's brother, Larry Skow, so she is now Lois Skow.
It can be very confusing.
Lois Skow and I are great aunts to all the Johansen & Chivers kids, so I just call her Aunt Lois.
Lois Johansen is grandma LoJo to the Johansen & Chivers kids.
Anyway, something that is not confusing
 is the fun that Jude had gathering up the bean bags after the toss.

He make me happy.
After the disappointing loss, I stopped over at Kyle & Heather's house for a little afterglow before driving home in the snow.
It's kind of nice to let everyone else get off the road, that way I can take my time and enjoy the drive.
Jude was busy playing with some 'guys' and I sat next to him and talked him into this selfie.

I love spending time with this sweet boy.
So, when I get shook up about people sitting in the wrong seats, 
health care costs that are what they are
or other minor infractions that cause angst,
I just need a little time with Jude's Joy.

Life is good.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Well I guess it's time for winter. 

Although I have to say, the mild November  weather was welcome and much appreciated. But it's time the ground gets covered with a layer of insulation and now that has happened.
  It was a strange storm for December that came through, moving quickly; very hard rain with thunder and lightning followed by flash freeze, wind and snow. 

The next morning was beautiful. I do think we will be trying to get rid of that layer of ice for most of the rest of the winter, but a few sunny days could help with that problem. 
No matter, it's time for snow and cold so that we can turn the corner and get back to Spring and green grass.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

From strings to horns

Saturday night I had tickets to the Chippewa Valley Jazz Orchestra, 
Horns for the Holidays.

I love this orchestra and always enjoy their programming.
It was quite a switch from the previous evening's student performance, 
and I loved them both, in their own way.

The CVJO performs at The State Theater in Eau Claire.  

This is a historic building in downtown.

Over the past several years, Eau Claire has been doing renovation in their downtown and through a huge project called 'the confluence' there is to be a new performing arts center.
So, this is our last season in the old State.  
I really love this old art deco theater.
I always get box seat tickets in the balcony 
and when I am lucky enough, the first row is my favorite.
I'll miss these seats.

But, the building is old, the roof leaks and there are other problems, 
so the new arts center will be a good thing.

Downtown Eau Claire is starting to have more and more going on.
I'm looking forward to what entertainment the new project brings for me to enjoy.

It was a great start to the holiday season.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Music of the season

Friday night was the concert of the Luck Area String Ensemble.
Great niece Milena has been playing the violin for a number of years now, I'll guess it is about 5.
After Dad died, we had his violin refurbished and since then, she has been making music on Dad's 100 year old violin.  It's always emotional for me to see her play and I know how much it thrilled Dad that she was taking lessons, if only he could see her play his old violin.

This concert was Christmas music.  The variety of serious and playful made for a wonderful concert.
My personal favorite was Carol of the Bells.
Strings really make that song.

 I snapped a few photos of Milena as she was waiting for the conductor to take the podium.

After the show, Great Aunt Lois and I talked Milena into a photo with us.
 Dad was probably with us in spirit, I know my holiday spirit got a boost just listening to Milena and the rest of the string players as they played their concert.

I'm already looking forward to the next time I get to hear them play.

Spring will be here before we know it.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Something new, and wine too

Learning new skills is supposed to help keep a brain healthy.  Last night, friend Carol and I, took a class to make a holiday sign.  It was really an interesting stenciling technique.  The class was at The Potter's Shed in Shell Lake, so we made an outing of it and had dinner at the Lakeview Bar & Grill beforehand.  A couple of big margaritas and we were ready to go!

We started with a nice pine board that had a hanger attached on the back.
Then we painted or stained it with the color of your choice.

Our stencil was precut, you can't see it in this photo, 
but this blue film has a laser cut design in it.

 The next step was to remove the film for all the parts that were to be painted.
This took some time for Carol's intricate design, but mine was pretty simple.

The next step was to apply the stencil to the wood.
This was a two part step which involved a layer of contact paper to hold the fine lines in place.

I guess I forgot to take a photo of my design once it was applied to the board.
This is how Carol's looked.

Now the painting began.
Using the colors of your choice.

This was the original pattern, I changed the background color.

Well, it didn't look like much at this stage, 
but we had to wait for our paint to dry for the big reveal.
Carol's trees in the drying room.

There were several designs to choose from and then each could be customized.
Here are the many waiting to dry.

Once dry, the big reveal as the stencil is peeled off.

I was delighted with my sign.
It's a fun way to capture my start in Wisconsin and I sure have planted a lot of trees.
And I thought it was a nod to the old Red Sled that I drove for years.

Some touch up was needed after the stencil was removed, on mine as well.
But mostly it was done.

 We had fun making our signs.
Did I mention there was a glass or two of wine and some cheese and crackers included?
A very fun evening.

Some of the students had already gone when we took the group photo.
You can see the variety of designs and color choices.
What a hoot!


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