Sunday, November 29, 2009
I decided to 'put up' the tree this afternoon. This was not too tough since all I really had to do was pull it out of the closet and plug it in. I'll probably add a few ornaments, but want to give the kitties a chance to get used to just the tree first.
This tree is just the right size for me and it always amazes me how a few colored lights make a room look so festive. Barley seems to think the tree is okay, and the Christmas cat rug a good place for her to lay while she watches. She spends countless hours watching the birds out the deck door. There are two bird feeders in the back yard, one is right on the railing of the deck, so she has much to keep an eye on.
It was a surprise when I opened the blinds this morning. I was not expecting snow, after making it through the whole month of November without snow, I had been tricked into forgetting that we usually have snow this month.
The view out my living room window this morning
Andy left to return to Iraq this morning. We expect he will be back for good near the end of January and we are counting the days.
Andy on send off day last February
I hope before too long all of our troops can be back home with their families.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
For you Non-Wisconsin dwellers, this month has been the annual HUNT. It starts with bow season and goes through the weekend after Thanksgiving. For many it is a time to gather at The Shack (every cabin becomes a Shack during this week of the year) with other hunters for plenty of good food, card games, cold beverages and hunting of the deer. It is common to see people dressed from head to toe in blaze orange, and NOT just in the woods. It seems to be a kind of badge of honor to dress in the orange and be out around town. Also not uncommon is the site of a deer carcass in the trunk of a car, in back of a pickup truck, or hanging from a tree in the yard (altho this year it is too warm to hang the deer).
The Johansens are hunters. Here are a couple of pictures of successful hunters, but Gus, Kyle, and Ryan also bagged animals this year. I don't know why I said 'bagged', they don't put them in a bag...they do end up in freezer paper though.
Kris shot this big guy with his bow.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Lora & Anders and Annie stopped for a quick visit in Rice Lake today.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Gage will turn 8 and Megan will turn 6 on Thanksgiving Day, and we will celebrate our thankfulness for family and friends.
Kyle seems to have made friends with the WCCO team, so this clip was on the 10 p.m. news Tuesday.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
On Saturday morning, I was packed and headed for Wisconsin Dells. It was a very foggy morning, so my departure was delayed for an hour to be a safer driver.
Once the fog lifted a little, I had a very pleasant drive to The Dells. It is about a 3.5 hour trip.
Andy is home from Iraq on leave for 2 weeks, I was invited to join him, Michelle & Alyxis at their timeshare at Wisconsin Dells for the night.
We had lots of fun, what a fabulous family vacation spot. Indoor water park that is beyond imagination if you have not been there. Lots of opportunities for adult beverages while you watch the frolicking in the many swimming pools.
After our pool fun, we headed for a haunted house and then to the old time photos.
We ended the evening back in their room with pizza and dominoes. My first time playing with 'the bones', and it was big fun.
Of course, I had to try the goggles
It was so great to see Andy and this was really my first chance to spend family time with him, Michelle and Alyxis.
Life is Good!
Friday, November 20, 2009
I left Rice Lake on Tuesday, 11/10. Gus and Lois drove me to Albert Lea, MN to meet Dad & Ev. After a good lunch at the TA Travel Center Restaurant, I headed to Belmond with Dad & Ev. We needed to finish the packing of their car in preparation for leaving the next morning for Texas. Of course, we had to stop all activity to watch DWTS too.
Wednesday morning we got on the road heading South. Our first stop was Des Moines to visit Aunt Johanne & Uncle Thorvald and Uncle Chris. We had lunch at the apartments where Johanne & Thorvald live, then went back to their apartment for some visit time. It was late afternoon when we got back in the car, so we spent the night not too many miles down the road at Betheny, MO.
Okay, Thursday was the first full day of driving. We fooled around on some state highways, made a couple of mistakes when we thought the GPS was wrong, and generally made pretty bad time. But, we had coffee at J&J's diner in some little town in MO that was quite the unique spot, not necessarily in a good way. The local farmers were sitting around having coffee in their overalls. The waitress needs a good dental program, and the bathroom was pretty frightening! But, we had our coffee and enjoyed the 'local color'. The locals were friendly, even though we were 'strangers'. We spent the night in Wichita, KA.
Friday we headed towards Oklahoma City. We planned to see the National Memorial, and I am very glad we did. The museum was very well done and I was very touched by many of the displays from the part of the building that was preserved as it was the day of the explosion, the room of photographs of all the victims, the live recordings of news during the aftermath, as well as the small displays of keys, coffee mugs, shoes, etc. that were found in the rubble. The reflection pool and memorial chairs were also impressive.
The time of the explosion is at one end of the reflection pool.
One of the gates at the reflection pool.
Dad and Ev were glad to sit down after walking all the way through the museum. We all got some steps that day.
It was hard to imagine the devastation that Tim McVey, et al, caused on that day.
Each chair bears the name of a victim.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is well done. I know I felt bad when this happened in Oklahoma City, but after having visited this Museum / Memorial, I know...
I did not feel bad enough.
Friday evening we arrived at my cousin Barb's house in Fort Worth, TX. Barb and Larry have a beautiful home and graciously invited us to come and stay 2 nights. We enjoyed the view and sitting by the pool.
Larry was explaining the landscaping to Dad.
This is a sweet spot, with waterfall into the pool and full kitchen pool house.
The view from the upper deck.
Sunday we headed for Rockport. It was another full day of driving but we arrived during daylight. We unloaded most of the essentials into the folks' winter home at Surfside Inn & Suites, had a happy hour and then ate pizza for supper.
Their motel is located on Little Bay in Rockport, TX
Monday was a nice day, I was in shorts and tee shirt and it was a very nice day. We were all pretty worn out from the drive, so we took it pretty easy. Dad & Ev had lots of organizing to do in their room so I did the grocery run to H.E.B. (I've nicknamed it HeeBeeJeebies). Surfside is a nice enough place, my room was pretty inexpensive, and the it was very quiet as most of the snowbirds won't arrive until December. We made sure to watch DWTS.
The warm climate wildlife is pretty.
This little sandpiper was lame on one leg, but got around just fine.
The fishing business is good here.
There is something charming about living on the water.
Tuesday we took a drive around town and then out to see John & Fay, some friends of Dad & Ev's who are from the UP. They are living in an RV park in a sweet spot. On the way back we had lunch at the folks' favorite spot, Maria's Vallarta Cantina. Good fajitas. We had a little happy hour in the evening and then watched DWTS before having some leftovers for supper.
Little Bay out in front of Surfside is a pretty spot with some large houses on the opposite side.
Dad is relaxing in the 'dining room'.
Ev is working on the Blackberry is the 'living room'.
Wednesday I flew to MPLS from Corpus Christi. Gus and Lois picked me up at the airport, we stopped for dinner on the way home and I stayed overnight at their house. Lois ran me over to Rice Lake on Thursday morning. I am tired and happy to be back home, but the trip with the folks was fun. They are doing very well adapting to their new cellphone / Blackberry. Dad is wearing shorts again, they are happy to be South for the winter.
Life is Good.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Tuesday morning Gus and Lois are coming to Rice Lake to pick me up and drive me to Albert Lea. Dad and Ev will meet us there for lunch at the big Trail TA Travel Stop on I35. I'll go home with the folks, finish packing up their van and then Wednesday morning we still start our travels towards Texas, with our final destination Rockport, TX.
Wednesday noon we will be with Aunt Johanne (Dad's sister) & Uncle Thorvald and my Uncle Chris (Dad's brother) in Des Moines.
Here is a picture of Dad and his siblings from more than 60 years ago.
Back: Johanne, Christian
Front: Ane Marie, Halvdan, Valdemar
We don't know exactly where we will end up on Wednesday night. We plan to stop in Oklahoma City and visit the National Memorial. Who knows what else we will want to stop and see along the way. My cousin Barb lives in Dallas, and we are planning on staying there Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday night we plan to arrive at the folks' winter home, Surfside Inn & Suites.
I will stay for 3 nights in Rockport, hopefully soak up a little sun and then fly home to Minneapolis.
Now,what about the Blackberry. Dad & Ev share a cell phone plan with me and their phone was eligible for an upgrade. So, they agreed that they would give a Blackberry a try. This will give them the opportunity to get email no matter where they are, and I am hoping to teach them about text messaging as well.
So, Dad (who will be 88 in April) will be using a Blackberry by the end of the week!
This will work out to be a perfect chance to make this work. Ev will be riding and can be emailing and texting and learning about the Blackberry, while I am right there driving. I got them the exact model I have so that might make it easier.
We did have to change their email address to gmail as hotmail doesn't work quite as easy with a Blackberry (at least according to what I read on the web).
No plans for blog updates while I am gone, I'm not taking my laptop and am not sure if I can do blog updates from my iTouch. So, I'll be back on the 19th with news of our big adventure.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
I left Rice Lake Thursday morning early and headed for Baldwin. I stopped at Dana's for coffee and a visit with Great Nephews Jackson and Jake.
Jake was feeling pretty puny, poor little guy.
Jackson was busy with his Star Wars 'guys'. He's all about the good guys and the bad guys!
From Baldwin, I headed to Spring Valley. After a quick stop at Glenn's, I headed to Kaija & Mike's to see Great Nieces Charli, Milli & Wynni. We had a fabulous afternoon at the swing set. It is the best medicine to listen to little girls giggle!
Later in the afternoon, I headed to Durand to stay overnight with Kris and Lora & Great Nephew Anders. Anders is getting to be so good at independent play.
Anders loves his books and likes to sit on a lap and look at a book.
He still needs Dad to help getting his shoes on though.
So, can you sit like this?
It was a very fun road trip!
I am home again in Rice Lake tonight and now am beginning the count down to departure for the Texas trip with Mom & Dad. I am tickled that I got a good dose of the 'greats' before leaving.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The Sand Castle
I took a drive Up North to our cabin in Gordon, WI this afternoon. Just a quick walk through to make sure we are set for winter weather.
It was nice to see the wood pile that Gus and his friends made while they were there hunting.
Also a nice improvement to have a sink drain to the outside now. I know this is such an exciting picture for you blog readers, but it beats the old 'slop' bucket so it made me happy to see this improvement!
As I was leaving the cabin, I caught this sunset.
The sky to the West was very pretty as I was driving down Sand Road.
Thanks to Craig and Mary Jo for a fun visit and yummy loose hamburger sandwich supper and apple pie. Delicious and great company. It's nice to have friends in the neighborhood!
I made the whole trip up and back and only saw 1 deer. I don't mind seeing them as long as they stay off my the hood of my car!