Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Like my Grandparents wrote on a Christmas card to my parents many years ago...
thanks for the old year.
Here's to a great 2012.

Wrap up

As I enjoy this last day of the year, 
I wanted to note that my blog has had over 24,000 views and more than 77 countries have visited as well.  
Not sure if all that data was collected in 2011, but fun to think about just the same.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I always feel badly about the nice photo Christmas cards people send, they get looked at a few times and then they end up stored away.
This year I decided to scan those from the family and put them in the blog, that way they will be in the blog book for this year.

For Christmas I got pictures from Gage & Jack.

and Anders.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Birthday Eagle

My Aunt Johanne suggested that I do something just for me on my birthday, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I should take my camera and go find some photographs.  I headed off to Luck to do an errand and then had in mind to continue North to Grantsburg to Crex Meadows to see what was what.  About 7 miles East of Luck on Hwy 48 I noticed this big guy sitting on a rather low branch.  He cooperated and allowed me to get out of my car and walk close to the tree.  He was a beautiful fella.
Next to all the nice cards I got in the mail, greetings on Facebook and hugs from great nephews & great nieces, he was a most special birthday prize.

One Facebook friend called this one The Money Shot.

Bye Now!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Eve and The Day

Now that I am planning on binding my blogs into a book each year, 
I want to be sure I capture all the significant events of the year, 
for both the family, and me.  
So, indulge me as I document the Christmas gathering of 2011.  
This is gonna be a long one...

I was invited to join the Luck Johansens at Kyle & Heather's home on Christmas Eve for light meal, dice game and family fellowship. 
When I got up Christmas Eve morning, I was feeling kind of lazy and dragging around the house putting together everything I wanted to take with to Luck.
Then the mailman brought a nice note from my Dad.
This is such a delightful thank-you that I decided to include it in my blog, 
not to blow my own horn, 
but because it was a very nice note from my Dad.  
It's very personal, but heck, this is my personal blog.
The gift of appreciation is the nicest Christmas gift 
About midday, I was getting myself organized and starting to think, ugh...if I could only just stay home...
then my cell phone rang.  It was Kyle's number but his son Jack was on the phone. 
 Jack told me that his little sister, Stella, had wanted to call me 
and invite me to have a sleep over at their house that night after Christmas.
Well, that call made my day, 
and gave me the boost to get excited again about packing up and heading off to Luck.

It was Christmas Eve and a beautiful day

I loaded up my car and got on my way.

Headed west to be with family for the Christmas Eve

Adult cold beverages, behind I did not leave.

Silver bullets from Golden and Angry Minnows from Hayward

All were loaded into the car before I headed Westward.

A Merry Christmas Eve was about to unfold
Memories to be made; and stories to be told.

Kyle and Heather had made plans to have their baby boy, Jens, baptized during the Christmas Eve service at Luck Lutheran Church.  So, my plan was to be in Luck early to be sure I would get a good seat in case I wanted to take a few photos.   So, after making a stop to pick up a few last minute items at Menard's (camera batteries for me, sour cream and an American flag for Kyle), I headed off to Luck.  
About 2 miles out of town I realized that my overnight bag was still at home, so...U Turn.
Finally on my way, I was still in good shape to be at the church early, whew.

Two babies were baptized on this Christmas Eve.

 From where I was sitting, it was hard to get a good shot of Jens.
 Alec and Cole Mortel are the godparents for Jens.
 Jens was a good baby during the ceremony

 Happy Pastor Ralph with the babies

Getting ready for a family photo, Ruby needed a prephoto nap.
Alec Mortel, Heather, Ruby, Kyle, Cole Mortel
Gage, Stella, Jens Henry Valdemar, Jack

Great grandma Virginia Olson, Heather and a sleepy Jens
After a very nice candlelight service that included the baptisms, we all headed off to Kyle's house.
There was delicious food:  bite sized pork ribs, baked potatoes, salads, shrimp, chips, dips and yummy sweets too numerous to list.
Of course there were festive beverages as well.
Lois and Larry always come prepared to take the group photo.
Aaron, Angie, Harry, Kyle
Lora, Gus, Lois, Ruby, Heather, Jens, Lois, Jack, Owen, Larry, Ryan
Gage, Wanda, Emily, Milena, Megan, Elliana, Stella, Anders, Kris
Thanks Larry and Lois for this photo!

Great Niece Emily had planned and organized all the little ones to present the play, 
Charlie Brown's Christmas.
Jack was Charlie Brown, Owen was Woodstock, the other kids had the roles of all Charlie Brown's pals.
Emily was the director & narrator.

 Anders was Snoopy
It was a very nice production and we enjoyed it very much.

After the play, we moved on to a dice game with presents to steal and swap.
The kids enjoy this a bunch and everyone ends up with a little gift.
Before it was all over, I played my piano song, There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays.
I am happy that I did, maybe I'll have 2 songs for next year.
Kyle took a run at Silent Night on his Grandpa Elmer's Concertina too.

As the evening went on, the kids wore down, parents loaded up their families to head home and eventually the house was peaceful again.
I headed up to bed and in getting ready, I noticed that the upstairs toilet was plugged, so before I went to bed, I plunged away and mopped up the mess.  
(I didn't really want to wake up Kyle so figured this could wait until morning.)
When I got up in the morning, the kids were already looking in their stockings and checking out what Santa had left for them.  This is nice family time and I am appreciative that Kyle & Heather include me.
Soon, the boys headed upstairs to watch a new movie.  Heather and Jens were on the couch so Jens could eat, I had my coffee and was sitting next to Stella while she played on my iPod.  Ruby was sitting next to her Mom.  I was thinking how nice and peaceful the morning was and we were just chatting about nothing in particular, when suddenly, Ruby projectile puked.
So much for peace.
As Heather quickly handed Jens off to Stella and headed to the bathroom, I ran for the kitchen to grab towels for clean up, and Kyle scooped up Ruby and headed for the bathtub.
Once we got through the shock, we started to figure out how to clean the couch cushion (especially since more company was coming for the afternoon).
I gathered up the cushion cover and wet towels and headed for the washing machine.
Much to my surprise, standing in the laundry room was none other than Santa himself.
"Did I come at a bad time?"
I'm not sure how many kids have had Santa show up during their 'after puking bath', but Ruby did.
Ruby looked kind of amazed when she saw Santa walk in.
Santa had a new Barbie doll for little Ruby Anna
Stella might have had an idea about who this Santa was, but then again....maybe it really is Santa?
Jens Henry Valdemar liked his time with Santa Uncle Kris
Jack (on Ruby's new pink motorcycle that Santa brought, Stella, Gage, Santa & Ruby
 Okay, off Santa went to his next stop and
I decided it was time to pack up and get on my way home.
Not only did I not want to catch the flu bug, but also Kyle & Heather had chores to do before their next round of entertaining.
Just before I left I remembered, "Oh Yeah, Kyle, the upstairs toilet isn't working."
Merry Christmas.
I made a quick stop at Gus & Lois's to see what Anders was up to.
 Anders told me all about how Santa had been to visit him before I got there.
He knew that Santa's Elves had probably made the toys.

 And finally, I headed East to Rice Lake.
I spent the rest of the day reading, relaxing and playing Scrabble & Words With Friends on my iPad.
We had a nice Christmas Day gift of another Green Bay Packer win in the evening.
Merry Christmas Wisconsin!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to my blog readers

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.

I hope that you will have a very Merry Christmas.

Wanda’s Ode to 2011

If you read my blog, you can skip ahead,
Get some rest, go early to bed.
But for those who might think it fun to hear,
I will recap a little about 2011, a pretty good year.

We started it with a Super Bowl win for the Packers,
A big thrill that made many Wisconsinites go crackers.
Basketball started and many trips were made West,
To watch 4th, 5th grade and high schoolers play their best.

I also made some college games, a cousin’s daughter played, her senior year,
Women’s college basketball is a thrill, sad to see end, I even shed a tear.
Grade school, high school and college, I loved their passion for hoops,
My blog was full of updates; it was fun posting the scoops.

While not all their tournament dreams could come true,
They gave their best, that much I knew.

The winter was long, the snow deep, temperatures low,
I couldn’t wait for it to end, started thinking about seeds to sow.
And so sew I did, but not the gardening kind,
Making aprons out of used men’s shirts, fun and fine.

One last big storm in March dumped on us, but it melted fast,
I went to get the mail, slipped, fell and ended up in a cast.

So for 8 long weeks, I managed with my left arm in a sling,
For chores around the house, I needed help, even for the simplest thing.
I felt sorry for myself some days, but others enjoyed the time reading,
My travel was a bit limited but going many places, I wasn’t really needing.

It all turned out fine, by the end I was getting along just great,
My garden got planted, did some sewing and finally got back to a normal state.
It forced me to take time to appreciate my health and all that I have been given,
And to be mindful that others face great challenges yet continue to be driven.

And then Spring sprung, and I was delighted,
To see tulips popping up, almost 200 sighted.
Stone steps to the garden were built by my nephew Mark,
My lower yard now looking like a very nice park.

My backyard began to be a busy place, sometimes out of sight,
My trail cam catching raccoons on film, almost every night.
Summer went fast; trips to Luck, the Sandcastle cabin, and Big Moon Lake,
Finding people, flowers, animals and birds for photographs to take.

Dad and Ev arrived for a 6 week visit and the fun began,
The garage turned cabinet shop got busy, Dad was running Johansen Cabinetry again.
He made a sewing desk for Ev to be installed in Iowa digs,
And bear resistant bird feeders for my yard, those bears are such pigs.

Dad & Ev & I took a short trip to Upper Michigan to see friends,
I loved the area, more and more trees around every bend.
4th of July was at Glenn’s Big Moon cottage with many of the Johansen clan,
Kids swimmin’ in the lake, burgers on the grill & visiting was all in the plan.

A fresh baby name Bryce to Kaija and Mike was born,
His sisters so proud, a little brother they the can adore.

I am happy to note, one item on my to-do list, piano lessons I began,
The teacher quite patient and my progress slower than what was in my plan.
But now at the end of the year, I am quite pleased to play a few tunes,
It’s harder than I expected but progress is steady, practicing filling many afternoons.

My ‘Other Mother’ Betty passed away in August, she was my friend,
Her daughters my best pals and a celebration of life for her I did attend.
Though the occasion was sad, it was time well spent with The Rosenows,
Visiting with many of Betty’s family and friends, and meeting many I did not know.

More good news, Heather & Kyle welcomed a sweet little baby,
Number 5 for them, Jens Henry Valdemar, a big name? maybe.

Dad and Ev returned in October, in Iowa the last weeks of summer they had spent,
Now back in Wisconsin to house sit for me so Out-West I went.
I spent a little time with Laila, so nice to see my Colorado pals,
Even had time to play Bridge with the gals.

Home again in time for a Johansen gathering at a local motel,
All Dad’s descendants there except for 2, amazing and really swell.
Laila a surprise guest; Glenn & Kathy planned it all,
The kids in the pool, lots of good food, a great family gathering for the Fall.

Dad joined the Johansen guys at the cabin Up North for The Hunt,
The first weekend included a foot of snow dumped by a storm front.
The second weekend better weather, but both weekends filled with fun,
Playing cards, visiting, napping, watching football, who cares if they fired a gun.

Back to Iowa the folks went and so now I am back to living alone,
They are settled back into their apartment and getting used to their new phone.
So they can check their email, receive photos and sometimes talk, a smart phone,
They were game for the challenge even though learning to use it might make them groan.

That’s enough, o-my two pages, what was I thinking,
From reading all this your eyes are probably blinking.

As we close the year, I wish you good cheer,
I continue to appreciate my life here.
Many good days is my wish for you,
Have a Merry Christmas and a great 2012 too.


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