Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Eve - A family gathering

Heather and Kyle invited all the Johansens to their house for a Christmas Eve gathering.  Ruby started the day with a swollen knee, so she started her day with a trip to the doctor.  (On Christmas Day we learned that Ruby has Lymes so she is being medicated for it now.)
Ruby relaxing on the couch
When a girl feels bad on Christmas Eve, she needs her Grandma.
Stella was dressed in a pretty black frock.
Heather and Angie
Aaron, Larry, Gus
The 'kid's table'  Jack, Emily, Gage, Megan Elliana, Nick, Zac
Camilla, Harry, Jack, Emily, Gage
Gus, Lois, Stella, Heather, Megan, Elliana, Kyle, Milena, Lora, Anders, Wanda, Zach,
Aaron, Emily, Owen, Ryan, Nick, Larry, Lois, Kris
Then a special visit from Santa Claus was a big surprise for all.
Santa came to see if there were good boys and girls at this house.
Ruby wasn't too sure about Santa
Owen was very interested in Santa and Ruby decided she could sit on his knee.
Santa talked Lora into sitting on his lap (winky-winky) and Anders too.
Owen had lots to say to old Santa
It was a fun evening of family and food and laughing and games and fun.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve - A Pageant

I spent Christmas Eve with Gus & Lois and their families.  It was a nice gathering at Kyle's house with lots of great food and drink and laughter and family time.
Emily had worked very hard to put together a Christmas Pageant and all my great nieces and nephews had a part.  Getting her cousins to practice and then perform was much like herding cats and I think she did a really nice job.  Emily had planned for Baby Drew to be the Baby Jesus, so this was also a tribute to his memory.
Jack was a shepherd emcee
Angels getting organized
Angels had a reading part

Anders and Owen were Wise Men
Owen liked the fact that his Wise Man brought a sword
Emily worked so hard on costumes and script and directing the performance
A choir of Angels
The performance was a bit chaotic but nicely done nonetheless.
More on Christmas Eve tomorrow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Birthday Slips By

Another birthday has slipped by.  
It was a nice day, quiet, but with many cards, phone calls and greetings via the internet.  
Very nice indeed.

Birthdays are big fun,
when you are one.

The bigger the numbers, the smaller the celebration,
As the years mount up, seems less reason for elation.

One thing that was great, all the mail that I got,
With so many greetings, I felt like a big shot.

Thanks to all who sent a greeting or card,
It makes creeping closer to 60 not quite as hard.

wjo 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

My 57th Christmas Eve

I hope this Christmas Eve finds you in good spirit and good health.  
As I plan for a day with family in Luck, I leave you with my Christmas Ode, 
and a few pictures of my Christmas decorations this year.

Ode to Christmas 2010

Hello again, another year has gone,
Like most others, it was mostly a good one.
My Life (and health) is Good,
Yay! for that, knock on wood.
If you read my blog, this will be nothing new,
But for the others, I’ll be brief and tell a story or two.
Trips to Colorado this year, numbered three,
In those visits there were many friends, which I got to see.
One trip planned just to visit, another planned without much time,
Laila’s emergency surgery prompted a quick flight on a dime.
Her recovery went well; I spent time with her while she rested,
The surgery result a good one, her patience a bit tested.
Back in May for a week, good visit with friendly faces,
Laila and I even spent an afternoon (or 2) at the pony races.
A couple of nights in Laila’s penthouse place,
Was fun and I always like to picture folks in their space.
Dad and Ev back to Wisconsin from their down South travels,
Made for good visits & Dad’s tools in the Barrens to unravel.
The weather in Wisconsin really socked it to us this year,
The worst was a hailstorm in July, much damage around here.
So, summer days were spent enjoying Andy’s company,
As he repaired, replaced and did little jobs by the many.
The hail wiped out the roof, some siding, tomatoes, flowers and such,
Took the many of the leaves too, so this fall, the clean up just wasn’t much.
At the end of the summer we moved all Dad’s equipment to Rice Lake,
A little more organizing and a nice workshop will take shape.
As always, a trip to the Seabee reunion, was planned for a September weekend,
But a bout with pneumonia kept me home on the couch, just a greeting I had to send.
My bird feeders have been busy; I’ve enjoyed learning to know,
The bird’s marks and their habits, while they munch on the chow.
Finding my way around Wisconsin and taking photographs for fun,
Keeps me active and gives my blog a story to be spun.
The winter weather has continued where those summer storms left off,
Twenty inches of snow last Saturday, okay, we now have enough!
Now here we are with the holidays soon to be here,
Again to celebrate with family, it is nice to be near.
Please keep in touch, my email is the same (,
Or if you are on Facebook, I’m there too (all the time-some folks claim).
Or check out my blog ( if you have time,
There I just write stories about my Rice Lake life, not this silly kind of rhyme.

May you find Peace during these holidays, and in the New Year.
And now a few photos of my Christmas Decorations, 
sometimes the world looks pretty when it is just a little out of focus.

My little tree in the living room.
Angel on top
Deck door
Flag and Danish Wimpler 
Front Door Decorations
Snowflake on front entry
Front entry decorations
Let there be Peace on Earth

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm the one with the W on my shirt

Last night I went over to Luck to watch the Luck Cardinals play the Ellsworth Panthers.  It was a close game and Luck won.  After the game, Kyle hosted pizza at his house.  Alec and Cole were nice enough to pose for a picture with me.  Nice young men and great basketball players.  They are Kyle's nephews so they are my great nephews by in law.  That's a stretch, but I'll claim it anyway.
Cole Mortel, me, Alec Mortel

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Big and beautiful? Or kinda ugly?

On Wednesday morning, I was headed to the kitchen to make the coffee when I noticed this big buy at the suet feeder in the back yard.  I had only seen a Pileated Woodpecker once before and that was in Glenn's yard in Spring Valley.  
This one is a female, the male has red stripes down his neck but those are black on the female.  
I'll be sure to keep the suet feeder full to see if I can get her to come back again.
As big as a crow almost.
She is an impressive bird, but I'm not sure I think she is very pretty.  
If she keeps coming here, my suet budget will be blown.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A New Day

The service for Drew yesterday was very moving and intensely emotional.  It was a wonderful gathering of family and friends who wanted to show their support and concern for Angie, Aaron and family.
On my drive to Luck Wednesday morning, I passed this huge blue spruce tree, which is decorated each year for Christmas.  
It was so beautiful, I had to stop and take a quick photograph.  
It reminded me that the holiday season is about joy and hope, and while we grieve for Drew, we start each new day with a glimmer of hope and eventually joy.
Hwy 48 just West of Rice Lake

Monday, December 13, 2010

12.12.2010 ~ The Saddest Day Ever

Many of you knew that my niece Angie was expecting her 4th baby this week.  On Saturday, she noticed that the baby had not moved for a couple of hours, so they went to the hospital.  An ultra sound confirmed that there was no longer a heart beat.  As you can imagine this was devastating news.

Angie's Mom, Lois, and Angie's best friend, Julie, headed to the hospital at about midnight Saturday night to join Aaron and Angie.

My great nephew was born at 5:02 a.m. on Sunday, December 12, 2010.  He was named Drew Kirk Chivers, 8lb 8oz. As far as I know, there was no apparent sign of why he was stillborn.   Angie and Aaron's other children got to the hospital Sunday morning to spend time with Aaron and Angie & Drew.  Angie's best friend, Julie, who was there at the hospital all night, is a professional photographer.  Her photos of Drew and family will be precious.

Angie went home from the hospital on Sunday afternoon.   A memorial service for Drew Kirk Chivers is planned for Wednesday, @ 11am at The Frederic Free Church.

My heart is broken for Angie, Aaron, Emily, Megan and Owen.  Their extended family is sadder than words can ever say.

In honor of Drew and his family, please take a 'moment of silence'.  

I will be observing a few days of silence on my blog postings.

Rest in Peace sweet Drew,
Love, Great Aunt Wanda

Obituary Link
Drew Kirk Chivers
December 12, 2010-December 12, 2010

Struggling to understand 'why', I searched the internet and read about these events. One statistic that I saw said that 1 out of 115 pregnancies end this way, and most of the time, there is no apparent reason.  The quote was that this happening is 'as random as raindrops', and often there is no real cause found.  Almost always, nothing that the mother could or could not have done would have made a difference.  It also said that having pictures of the baby is so very important for the healing process.  While it may sound morbid to some, this article said that it is important for the family to have something to remember the baby must be the most awful feeling to be leaving the hospital without a baby and with no joy, after all those months of anticipation.  Hopefully photographs will help with the healing.  

The link below is for Faith's Lodge, Angie and Aaron hope to go there as it is a wonderful healing experience.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The guys didn't lie

Those weathermen did not miss it on today's forecast. We already have about 6inches of snow at 8:30 a.m. and it is still snowing and blowing. Looks like a good day to be snowed in!
1pm update
I got the first layer of about 10-12 inches of snow off the driveway.  It's piling up pretty good and drifting too.

The view from front door
The snow was deeper than the snowblower bite in places.
Looks like about 12 inches just on the handrail.

I had swept the steps down to bare wood, but by the time I was done snowblowing and shoveling (about 2 hours) it had filled back.

I'll be heading out again soon to clear the driveway again.
Another 2 hours with the snow blower and the driveway is cleared again.
Still snowing at 6pm and blowing too, more to do in the morning I am sure.
Hard to get a decent picture in a blizzard, and only using my blackberry, my real camera is not designed for blizzard use.  You get the idea.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Laila!

Today is Laila's birthday.
I had fun making this little video via the internet to greet her for her birthday.

Laila in her (antique) jumpy seat.
Here is a second homemade movie wishing Laila a Happy Birthday.
Thursday evening update:  Laila missed a step today and fell.  She broke the fibula bone in her leg up high near the knee.  Guess she won't soon forget this birthday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A quick visit to Luck

I took a drive to Luck Tuesday afternoon, saw the most fantastic sunset on the photos, I was driving you know.  Stopped at my friend Bruce's and delivered an item that he had won in an eBay auction.  
Then dropped in on Kyle and family as the Christmas tree was under decoration.  
I had such fun watching the chaos.
It even looks really nice naked
Jack helped Kyle get the lights on the tree.
A tree this tall takes some special tools to put on the lights.
Jack, Gage, Stella and Ruby
Jack, Gage, Stella & Ruby
Ruby and Stella in the bat cave (toy room).
Miss Ruby
Miss Ruby - check out those shoes (2 going on 20?)
Miss Stella - more fabulous shoes
 It is no big deal to drive at night now with snow in the ditches, the deer can't hide anymore.  
I had a good drive home, am listening to a great book on tape and the miles just fly by.  
I made a quick stop in Cumberland to take this picture of a tree made of lights on Main Street.  
Very pretty.
Main Street Cumberland, WI

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bird Feeder Upgrade

Part of the online cyber Monday was a sale on the National Wildlife Federation website.  
I got 2 new feeders at 30% off.   
So, we have one that is cutsie.  
The other is a nice upgrade to the platform feeder in that it now has a roof.  
The birds are getting used to the new feeders and I'm hoping that they will all be back tomorrow to enjoy the new 'trough'.
Looks like a giant pine cone and has little scoops for the bird seed.
I'm going to try to melt some suet and pour into the scoops.
A roof will sure be nice on those snowy days.
The backyard had a gathering of crows this afternoon.  
When one of those huge crows goes after the bird seed, it disappears pretty quickly.
He must measure about 10 inches from branch to top of his head.  The little pine siskins that are around now measure about 2 inches in height.   The bird kingdom embraces diversity.

This guy is a hairy woodpecker, but his mark is a little pale.  Maybe a juvenile?


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