Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve Sprained Ankle

Unfortunately, when I arrived in Belmond, Iowa on Sunday evening, I managed to slip on some ice and sprain my ankle.  I was unloading my car, using the handicap ramp.  Iowa ice got me.  I was able to limp in and settle my belongings in the hospitality suite but that was all.  I knew before going to bed that I would not be able to drive the next day.  Lucky that Glenn and Kathy were staying overnight in Albert Lea, so I called them and asked that they pick up Dad and Ev, and possibly me, to drive in Des Moines for Uncle Chris's funeral.

After a sleepless night, and being able to just barely move the three steps to the bathroom, I knew I could not go to Des Moines.

Well I can't tell you how disappointed and sad I am that I missed the service for Uncle Chris.  It was such a dumb deal, ice on the handicap ramp, slipped and my food slammed down hard, but lucky it didn't twist or roll.  I could put very very little weight on it until afternoon so coming to Des Moines was impossible.  I sat with ice on it all morning.   I was able to walk a little bit very slowly by afternoon and managed to drive home last evening.  One of the very worst/miserable days of my lifetime to be sure.  I was very glad to get home safely and get my foot up with ice bag. 

Good riddance 2012, welcome 2013.  I hope you bring good luck.

So, on a lighter note, as I was driving into Belmond on the 30th (BSA - before sprained ankle) I took a couple of shots.
Main street Belmond is really decked out for the holidays, trees along the roof line on both sides of main street.

The sunset was a beauty, looked like the sky was on fire.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A little trapper

I got these pictures from Kris yesterday of Anders on a trapping trip.  
I want them in the blog book, so will share them today.

He is his father's son.
Thanks for sending these pictures Kris!

Uncle Chris by Wanda Johansen

Chris and Elsie were always in my life, as long as I can remember.  They lived in Iowa when I was a little girl, but it was always good news when they were expected to visit in West Denmark.  They truly were the Aunt and Uncle that every kid wants.  Fun loving, always bringing the best sweets, especially Aunt Elsie’s famous chocolate chip cookies, and took time with the little kids that we were.

For some of my youth, I would only really see the Iowa relatives at the weddings of my cousins, where Elsie and Johanne would be busy in the preparations and wedding day activities.  They were ‘the aunts’ who took care of everything.

Once I was living in Colorado, I would stop in Des Moines on my travels to and from Wisconsin, usually (but not always) spending the night at their house.  Sometimes, much to the dismay of both my aunts, I would motor on after stopping for a short visit over coffee.  Aunt Jo would really worry, and always tried to talk me into staying until morning, but perhaps I have some of that stubborn Dane that many talk about.  In the days when I would stop in Des Moines to stay the night, Uncle Chris was still making wine.  If I had a glass or two of his wine, the decision was made that I had to stay.  His wine packed a punch.  It was always very tasty though and someday I hope to try my hand at duplicating a few of his recipes.

Some years ago, I got a call from Chris and Elsie that they were camping near Estes Park in Colorado and they wondered if I would be able to come for a visit.  As luck would have it, I had the next 4 days off from working at Coors, so packed up my sleeping bag and headed to join them.  The camper was brand new and had plenty of room for me to stay.  There was a problem with the drain on the ice box on the camper, it wanted to drain out onto the floor, so I got under the camper and Uncle Chris was in the camper, and between us we were able to feed the drain tube down the hole where it belonged and it fixed the problem.  Uncle Chris praised me for a long time over being able to help fix that problem.  It was a very fun visit.  There was a parade in town, so Uncle and I went to watch while Elsie was shopping with her sister in law.  (I think it was Don and Carol who were staying at a cabin in the area.)  Uncle Chris was quick to point out one of the entries in the parade that was a rowdy group of Mountain Men.  He thought I might be interested in one of those guys for a spouse, ha.  After the parade, we thought we should see if we would see those Mountain Men again, so we slipped into The Wheel Bar for a beer or two.  I think we caught heck from Aunt Elsie for that, but I enjoyed the fun time with Uncle.   Uncle and I also hiked up to Emerald Lake during that camping trip.  Once at the top of the trail, we ran into some people from France.  Somehow the conversation went that Uncle Chris had served in Europe and these people thanked him profusely for all that he had done to help them during those war years.  It made a real impression on his niece.

One year, I went on a train trip with Chris & Elsie and Dad & Ev to California.  They took the train to Denver and stayed a couple of days and then we continued on to the West Coast for a visit with Gary and Maru and also Bobby & Carole.  It was a fun trip and we laughed so much over silly stuff.  One big joke got to be splitting the check at lunch and whether I might owe Elsie 49 cents over a senior discount.  We got a lot of mileage out of that, and many laughs over the years remembering the silliness of it all.

One of the stories that Uncle Chris told me about farming in Wisconsin can still make me chuckle.  He talked about how the cows had to spend the entire winter in the barn in those days.  It must be made them pretty stir crazy, don’t you think?  So, when the weather would finally get nice enough to let them out, Uncle told Aunt Elsie to come and watch, and when the cows got out into the pasture, they literally kicked up their heels and sprang around for joy.  It is an image in my mind of pure joy and I can vividly imagine both Chris and Elsie getting a very good laugh out of the escapades of those cows.

After Aunt Elsie was gone, it happened that Uncle Chris’s Army Timberwolves convention was to be in Arlington, VA and Dad’s Navy Seabee reunion was to be in Youngstown, OH.  So, a plan was hatched, that I would drive us all to both reunions and we would have a scenic trip through the country on our way there and back.  The 4 of us had a very fun trip.   Uncle Chris contributed a box of tomatoes to the food supply and we continued to eat his tomatoes for most of our 2 week trip.  Our lunches were mostly picnics in some park along the way.  Uncle Chris and I shared a room to save on expenses, so we had plenty of visit time.  It was the trip of a lifetime for me, to share that time with both Dad & Ev and Uncle Chris.  In DC, getting around was somewhat challenging, but in those days, Uncle Chris carried a cane, so he got preferential treatment from the bus drives and the like.  Since I was his escort, I too got some prime seating on the bus.  Dad & Ev were not so lucky.  Of course once out of sight of the bus driver, Uncle Chris’s cane didn’t touch the ground much, it was held parallel to the ground and helped with balance while he hoofed it down the sidewalk.  We had many a laugh on that trip and I have a photo album that documents our stops along the way.  It was my first introduction to the Timberwolves.  This is a group of men who served their country during WWII and many of whom held the utmost respect for my Uncle who had been a leader and a hero in their combat time together.

Uncle Chris leaves us with a legacy as well.  He spent much time writing about his memories as a kid, his service time, West Denmark as well as other topics.  I was his typist for some of his writings and I was honored to do it.  He had the gift of writing that seems to come from the Henriksen genetic pool.  He wrote much as he talked and it was always a joy to read his latest work.  These writings live on, and leave us with a part of him that will last for many generations to come.  It was always in my mind to get his work put into a book for publication for the cousins and others, now I need to move that up my to-do list.

The last time I saw Uncle Chris was on my Dad’s 90th birthday.  I drove Dad and Ev to Des Moines and we had coffee with Uncle, Aunt Johanne and Uncle Thorvald, Mary Riber, Nancy and Pat O’Keefe and Gary.  It was a good day for Uncle, he was clear about who we were and the ‘adults’ had quite a discussion about West Denmark in the days when there was some conflict in the congregation.  I enjoyed hearing them talk of this and was amazed at how well they all, but especially Uncle Chris, remembered the events of those days long ago.  We left him that day with a smile and it is how I always think of Uncle Chris.  He was generous with his good spirit and smiles.  

I was lucky and proud to be his niece.  

Chris and Elsie were some very special people on this earth, how lucky heaven is to have them there together again now.

Wanda Johansen
December 29, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Obituary for My Uncle Chris

Christian Arne Johansen came into this world in the middle of a Wisconsin blizzard in the small village of West Denmark. He was one of five children of Ansgar and Frederikke Johansen. He was preceded by the passing of brother Halvden and sister Ann Marie; and is survived by Valdemar (Wally) Johansen and Johanne Hansen as well as first cousins Kris Henriksen and Ellen Copeland.

Christian left Wisconsin as a teenager to work in the fields and barns of the Dakotas and California. He found himself in Solvang and Santa Clara, California working as a farm hand and among other things he attended the 1939 World's Fair in San Francisco. He attended Grand View College for a brief Winter course and found his way back out to California when the bombs started dropping on Pearl Harbor.
PFC Christian A Johansen was inducted into the US Army at Polk County Wisconsin and served with the 104th Infantry Division, K Company with distinction earning two Bronze Stars, a Presidential Citation, and Marksman Designation and was awarded his Sargent's stripes in field promotion while in combat in Europe. After meeting the Russians at the Rhine, Christian returned home and was able to join his brother Wally, who served as a Seabee at Iwo Jima, at home in Wisconsin for two weeks of leave. Later that year Christian was discharged from San Lois Obispo California. Christian remained an active member of "The National Timberwolf Association" attending many annual reunions until the last one in 2010. He maintained lifelong relationships with his war buddies.
Christian met the love of his life, Elsie Olsen, married, started farming in 1948, and a family in 1949. They moved to Iowa in 1954 and then to Des Moines, Elsie's home town, in 1958. Christian worked at Olsen Egg and then Plainsdale Eggs until his retirement. He was an active member of Luther Memorial Church and always treasured his roots in the Danish Lutheran traditions. Christian is survived by four children, Marilyn Coates, Robert Johansen, Gary Johansen and Janet Hockey. He also is survived by grandchildren Brent, Christian, Aaron, Leif, Rachel, Steffi, Karl, Timothy, Sarah, Amanda, Olivia and David as well as great grandchildren Angelique and Noah. He lost dear Elsie to cancer in 1996 after caring for her for over two years.
Christian was a member of the Highland Park VFW, the National Timberwolf Association and the Iowa Democratic Party. He loved gardening, camping, traveling and for a time, wine making. Most importantly, where ever he went, he was charming, winning friends everywhere with a smile and a quick wit. 
Funeral Celebrations will be held at 10:30 AM Monday, December 31 at Luther Memorial Church, 1201 Grandview Ave. Visitation will be held from 2 to 6 PM Sunday at Hamilton's Funeral Home, 605 Lyon Street in the East Village. 
Let us all learn to laugh in our pain and know that it is good to gather around our stories and then part in love carrying this life forward into our own.
Happy New Year and please remember to Love all of our Veterans
Memorials may be directed to Luther Memorial Church or to Hospice of Central Iowa.
Online condolences may be expressed at

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crazy Birthday Facts

I turned 60 on December 27th.  It seems odd that I can be 60 when it seems such a short time ago I was waiting to turn 21.  The day was a good one.  I had phone calls from the family and then spent the afternoon playing Bridge in Cameron.  After a good day at cards, I won $1.25, we all went out to dinner at The Country Inn, a supper club just North of Rice Lake.  Carolyn C., Carol D., Carol K., Shirley H., Aggie C. and Lois S.  It was a delightful group and we laughed much during the meal.  So, now I am part of the 60-69 group when I check those boxes on questionnaires!  Seems crazy to think about.  Owell, 60 is just a number I guess, but it does seem like a BIG number.   
27 December 1952 - A list of facts that no one really cares about.
Your date of conception was on or about 5 April 1952 which was a Saturday.
You were born on a Saturday
under the astrological sign Capricorn.
Your Life path number is 11.

Your fortune cookie reads:
It doesn't matter. Who is without a flaw?

Life Path Compatibility:
You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 2, 4, 8, 11 & 22.
You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 3 & 6.
You may or may not get along well with those with the Life Path number 9.
You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 1, 5 & 7.

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2434373.5.
The golden number for 1952 is 15.
The epact number for 1952 is 3.
The year 1952 was a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 1/27/1952 and ending 2/13/1953.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Dragon.

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Goose; your plant is Bramble.

You were born in the Egyptian month of Famenoth, the third month of the season of Poret (Emergence - Fertile soil).

Your date of birth on the Hebrew calendar is 9 Tevet 5713.
Or if you were born after sundown then the date is 10 Tevet 5713.
The Mayan Calendar long count date of your birthday is which is
12 baktun 16 katun 19 tun 2 uinal 9 kin
The Hijra (Islamic Calendar) date of your birth is Saturday, 9 Rabi'u'th-Thani 1372 (1372-4-9).
The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 13 April 1952.
The date of Orthodox Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 20 April 1952.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 27 February 1952.
The date of Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday) in the year of your birth was Sunday 1 June 1952.
The date of Whisuntide in the year of your birth was Sunday 8 June 1952.
The date of Rosh Hashanah in the year of your birth was Saturday, 20 September 1952.
The date of Passover in the year of your birth was Thursday, 10 April 1952.
The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 26 February 1952.

As of 12/29/2012 12:22:09 PM EST
You are 60 years old.
You are 720 months old.
You are 3,131 weeks old.
You are 21,917 days old.
You are 526,020 hours old.
You are 31,561,222 minutes old.
You are 1,893,673,329 seconds old.

Celebrities who share your birthday:
Heather O'Rourke (1975)G‚rard Depardieu (1948)Cokie Roberts (1943)
John Amos (1939)Oscar Levant (1906)Marlene Dietrich (1901)
Sydney Greenstreet (1879)Louis Pasteur (1822)

Top songs of 1952
You Belong to Me by Jo StaffordWheel of Fortune by Kay Starr
I Went to Your Wedding by Patti PageAuf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart by Vera Lynn
Kiss of Fire by Georgia GibbsWhy Don't You Believe Me by Joni James
Blue Tango by Leroy AndersonHalf As Much by Rosemary Clooney
Glow-Worm by Mills BrothersSlow Poke by Pee Wee King

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 8.57808219178082 years old. (You old hound dog, you!)

Your lucky day is Saturday.
Your lucky number is 8.
Your ruling planet(s) is Saturn & Uranus.
Your lucky dates are 8th, 17th, 26th.
Your opposition sign is Cancer.
Your opposition number(s) is 2 & 7.
Today is not one of your lucky days!
There are 363 days till your next birthday
on which your cake will have 61 candles.

Those 61 candles produce 61 BTUs,
or 15,372 calories of heat (that's only 15.3720 food Calories!) .
You can boil 6.97 US ounces of water with that many candles.  
In 1952 there were approximately 3.6 million births in the US.
In 1952 the US population was approximately 150,697,361 people, 50.7 persons per square mile.
In 1952 in the US there were approximately 1,667,231 marriages (11.1%) and 385,144 divorces (2.6%)
In 1952 in the US there were approximately 1,452,000 deaths (9.6 per 1000)
In the US a new person is born approximately every 8 seconds.
In the US one person dies approximately every 12 seconds.

In 1952 the population of Australia was approximately 8,739,569.
In 1952 there were approximately 201,650 births in Australia.
In 1952 in Australia there were approximately 74,172 marriages and 7,042 divorces.
In 1952 in Australia there were approximately 81,597 deaths.

Your birth flower is POINSETTIA

Your birthstone is Blue Zircon

The Mystical properties of Blue Zircon
Zircon helps one be more at peace with oneself.
Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)
Blue Topaz, Ruby, Lapis Lazuli

Your birth tree is
Apple Tree, the LoveOf slight build, lots of charm, appeal and attraction, pleasant aura, flirtatious, adventurous, sensitive, always in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, scientific talents, lives for today, a carefree philosopher with imagination.
and 4 days have passed since Christmas 2012!
There are 9 days till Orthodox Christmas!

The moon's phase on the day you were born was waxing gibbous. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christian Arne Johansen

My uncle, Christian Arne Johansen passed away today, 12/26/2012,  in Des Moines, Iowa. He and Elsie were steady attendees at the West Denmark family camp in its early years, and he continued to come for many years after Elsie was gone.  He would have been 93 next month.  He loved his Danish roots and West Denmark.  He was a decorated WWII hero, an Army Timberwolf.  Uncle made wine for many years and I always loved having a glass or two with him.  I stayed many nights at their home in Des Moines on my trips to and from Wisconsin while living in Colorado.  He and Elsie traveled the entire country with a tent camper.  I remember one time when they were camping near Estes Park, Colorado and I joined them for 3 nights.  We hiked and even slipped into The Wheel Bar for a beer.   We enjoyed many good visits at Gus and Lois's in Wisconsin.  
After Elsie was gone, I drove Uncle, Dad and Ev to the East coast.  We toured DC and saw many sights along the way.  It was the trip of a lifetime for me.
Uncle never hesitated to share his democratic views.  He was a writer and shared many stories with us about his youth, service years and memories of West Denmark.
I will miss him, he was my Dad's brother and friend.  He was my favorite Uncle.  I am sad for the loss but glad for Uncle's life and legacy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ode to 2012

December 25, 2012

I thought this year’s Ode might be for the birds,                                                               
Didn’t think I could come up with many happy words.

So, I delayed and waited and still no cards have been sent,
Looks like December just came and went.

But then I got some really great news about Dad,
It made me realize what a really great year I had had.

The past 4 months, Dad’s heart has struggled with rhythm,
Making for many ambulance rides and hospital visits for him.

But as of this week, his heart is in normal rhythm, for his body not such a load,
So, it is time for me to put my mind to work writing this Merry Christmas Ode.

January was cold, as Wisconsin winters should be,
Most of my outings involved basketball played by great nephews to see.

February, yes more basketball and photographing the many birds who come to feed,
I was even published by The Leader when I captured a picture of a black bear, exciting indeed.

Glenn’s team won the alumni basketball tourney as part of Luck’s Winter Carnival,
He was the oldest player, something which amazed us all.

March was more bball and if you can believe it, I flew to Las Vegas with Ev & Dad,
Celebrating Dad’s 90th birthday was the order of the day, what a fabulous trip we had.

Meeting nephews Andy and Dana and their beautiful wives,
It was a trip for all of us to remember for all our lives.

Much laughing over an airport mishap in Des Moines started it all,
After 4 days in Vegas Baby, memories & stories we all will recall.

Before the last day of March, Glenn’s dock was launched at Big Moon,
An early spring for sure, it made Wisconsin-ites swoon.

April was perfect spring photography fun and watching my tulips and daffys bloom,
And attending a piano recital and dance recitals where great nieces performed in darling costume.

May was spent on yard work and gardening and enjoying time in the yard during the day,
And at night seeing raccoon and black bear busy messing with bird feeders, much to my dismay.

But living in the country comes with its own challenges and rewards,
Wild animals were here first I guess, but how many times will they tip the feeders, good Lord!

Watching great niece Jordyn play high school baseball was such a treat for me,
She’s a real savvy player and I wished there would have been more games to see.

Bird watching, photography & a few birthday parties too, all kept me busy in June,
I am also still taking piano lessons and learning to play a few familiar tunes.

Dad and Ev arrived at the beginning of July, a couple of months they planned to spend,
We enjoyed the summer together, Dad working in the wood workshop, hours on end.

They helped supervise as I had many of my trees trimmed and the dead elms taken down,
And also enjoyed watching as 4 new 12 foot fir trees were planted, a busy time all around.

A weekend baseball tournament brought great nephew Gage to stay, along with Eli, his friend,
Watching many games in the hot sun and taking many photos, wishing this July heat would end.

It looked good for my tomatoes though, the warm weather helping the plants to get huge,
But before long that dreaded blight started in, and in the end many ‘maters I had to purge.

Building friendships through playing the game Bridge has been a real treat,
And a two night get-a-way to a cabin Up North to “just play cards” was hard to beat.

A small landscaping project got done, which made me smile, as I did not have to lift a finger,
New large rocks added; old small rocks replaced and done so quickly, the workers didn’t linger.

August came along and Anders’ birthday was to be celebrated at Kris and Lora’s place,
So off to Alma, Wisconsin we went, Dad and Ev anxious to see their new space.

Maybe I should have noticed on that drive across Wisconsin, but I was unaware,
Dad was short of breath and tired, and soon his health would give us a scare.

September 1st it was planned for the Johansen clan to gather for a day in Rice Lake,
A reunion of 35 – 40 cousins and family, for lunch 15 pounds of Barbeques I did make.

But about 3am Dad having pain breathing, a call to 911 and an ambulance ride to Lakeview,
Off to the hospital starting quite a journey for Dad, his heart in Atrial Fibrillation and his lungs holding fluid required serious medical attention…hard to rhyme about this kind of news.

Dad spent time in ICU, a week at rehab and finally home with health care coming to the house,
Nurses, PT, OT; for sure this house was not ‘quiet as a mouse’.

At the end October I drove the folks back to their Iowa apartment home, got them unloaded and set,
Dad was feeling good, we all needed our space, and winter was coming to the North you can bet.

His health going through highs and lows, many ER visits and for all of us much worry,
I decided to go down for a visit, just 3 days (turned into 11), to see if I could help
and I was not sorry.

By the time I arrived, Dad was back in the hospital, again his heart rate to fast,
The Cardiologists working to find the best medicine to slow his heart and make it last.

And finally this week, the Christmas gift we all had hoped for, a normal heart beat,
For Dad this means feeling great and getting stronger…the new year to greet.

So, a week ago I thought writing a Christmas letter would be for the birds,
But now I see what a gift I have been given, to spend time with Dad and Ev and help them when I could and for all of that, my gratefulness is hard to put into words.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Family Photos

Thanks to Lois Skow, I have photographs from Christmas Eve of the family gathering that I missed.  
Lois is always so thoughtful to send out the photos quickly after the event.  Thanks so much.
Couch:  Zack, Nick, Lois, Larry, Heather, Kyle, Jens, Ralph, Stella, Lois, Gage, Emily, Lora, Ivan, Angie
Behind the Couch:  Harold, Aaron, Kris
On the Floor:  Camilla, Ryan, Ruby on Elliana's lap, Anders, Owen, Megan, Milena, Jack

Ivan, Santa, Kyle & Jens
Gage, Elliana, Megan, Stella, Santa, Jack, Anders, Milena, Ruby, Owen

Merry Christmas Eve

I was invited to come to Luck and stay at Kyle's on the 23rd, Lille Jule Aften.  This morning I am hanging out with his 5 kiddos.  It is a beautiful morning, very sunny and bright.
This little boy, Jens Henry Valdemar is also very sunny and bright this fine Christmas Eve morning.

I hope you all have a great holiday filled with smiles as big as this one!


Little Christmas Eve

The plan for Christmas was to go over to Luck on Christmas Eve for afternoon church and then spend the evening with the Luck Johansens at Kyle's house.  On the afternoon of the 23rd, I got  text from Kyle inviting me come over a day early 'for various reasons'.  I was just relaxing enjoying Little Christmas Eve at my house, so decided I would make the trip.  It worked out that I could bring Jack home from Rice Lake where he had spent the weekend with a friend.
Heather also asked me to stop at Herbergers and pick up a tablecloth for her.  I have to admit I was grumbling about this stop at the mall but then Kyle sent me this text.
Ruby just said, "I'm glad aunt Wanda is coming today, because I didn't want to wait to see her until tomorrow. " true story.
So, the stop at the store went very much easier than I anticipated and the visit with Jack in the car was also time well spent.
Once in Luck, it was fun to see the 5 Johansen kids at Kyle's and how excited they were about Christmas.
As usual, their tree is huge and beautiful and surrounded by presents.
After a sleep over, the next morning was busy with Kyle and Heather scurrying off to work
 and the rest of us lounging around in our jammies.
I was the baby sitter for the morning, it was easy duty as everyone was pretty laid back.
Stella had been sick to her stomach during the night, so she was on the couch taking it very easy.
Ruby was busy showing me this and that.
Jack slept in, as I am sure he had had a very busy weekend.
Gage and I were playing Scrabble on the iPads.  Silly to sit next to each other on the couch and play a game via the internet, but it was fun.
Jens is changing so fast, getting to be such a big boy.
Jens Henry Valdemar....Happy about Cheerios

Big Butternut was frozen, but the snow had blown off the ice in places.  A little early to be out there too.
Kyle gave Jens his first pear in the evening of 12/23/2012, and as you can see, he really enjoyed it and really got into it.
Yummy pear!

How much can I get in my mouth of this yummy pear

This yummy pear juice works good as a hair gel

This ymmy pear juice is good for my complexion too

I love this yummy pear sticky juice!
So, after a busy Christmas Eve morning of preparing for the large family group who would arrive after church, everyone got ready to head to church.
Just about then, I got a bad belly and felt like I was getting sick.
So, after saying a quick good bye as the family headed off to church, I packed up and headed back to Rice Lake.  It worked out that I did not get as sick as Stella, but spent about 12 hours in bed sleeping.
So, it was a very quiet Christmas Eve for me.
I am happy that I had Little Christmas Eve with Kyle and family.
It was very fun.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This man has rhythm!

Yesterday when the visiting nurse was taking Dad's pulse, she noticed that it was regular and normal.
His heart has gone back into a normal sinus rhythm!
The cardiologist had hoped that the new medication would help his heart return to normal, but we were all very surprised to hear that it had really happened.
What a wonderful Christmas gift!
When I was in Iowa earlier this month, Ev showed me this old photo, so I brought it home so I could scan it.
He doesn't really look much different today, just white hair and a few miles.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A little Christmas in Hayward

On Friday night before Christmas, Carol and Pete and I took a drive to Hayward.  We had heard that the main street buildings were well lit for the holiday and we thought it would be a fun outing.
We spent a little time shopping on main street and then the lights came on.  I'm not sure I've ever seen buildings covered with lights like this.  It was very festive.

These pictures with my cellphone are not the greatest, but you get the idea.
Pete had his new camera along and took this picture of Carol and I.
She has her Hollywood Glam look on, I did not, ha.
We ended our outing with dinner at The Original Famous Daves which is about 10 miles out of Hayward.
I loved it; the food and service was great and the place was a classic Up North spot.
I will go back.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A nice snow

We had about 4 inches of nice fluffy snow overnight.  It took me about an hour to push the snow off the driveway and it really felt good to be out in the winter weather.
 When we planted this blue spruce in the backyard this summer, I knew I was going to love seeing it there during the winter, and today it is decorated just perfectly.
The bird feeders were busy today, and the Redpolls have arrived.
Very exciting to see these beauties.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thank you note from Alyxis

You all know how I love getting thank you notes from the kids.  This one tickled me from Alyxis.
I think she is excited to be 11.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It is easy to be proud of these kids

There are good news items most days within this big family of ours.  Too often they go under the radar, but this past week, great niece Emily got a well deserved bit of recognition in the local newspaper for being the young student that we love.
Way to go Emily, keep being you!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Shoveling a week after the storm

My cold is some better and since the temp is in the high thirties, I knew I had to work on driveway. Plus, I did not want to just sit and dwell on the terrible news in Connecticut. This isn't up to my usual standards for snow removal, but at least there is pavement showing now. And some melting so maybe tomorrow I can finish with the ice chopper on my tire marks.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I got stuck

I headed to Iowa for a 3 day visit and ended up staying 11 days.  Kind of like Gilligan and the group who went on the 3 hour tour, eh?
My plan was to leave here Sunday forenoon and head to Iowa for a visit, but early in wee hours Ev called to say that Dad was in the ambulance being transferred from the ER in Belmond to the larger hospital in Mason City, IA.  His heart rate was very high and he was feeling pain when he took a breath.  
Obviously, I could not get there fast so decided to try to sleep a bit longer and then go as planned.  Of course, the sleeping part didn't happen and after not too much trying, I got up and packed and left for Iowa.
I arrived at the hospital in mid afternoon.  Dad was doing okay but heart rate was still not in control.  It took 3 nights in the hospital and a new heart drug before that happened.  I think too many cooks were in the kitchen on Dad's heart medicines, but once the right 'cocktail' of medicines was found, once again he felt better and his heart rate and blood pressure were under control.  He is still in atrial fib, no change there.
Thankfully, the doctor wanted him to have some rehab but the hospital in Belmond, blocks from their apartment, agreed to take Dad so I drove him there.  After 5 days there, he was stronger and well enough to go home again.  I hung around for two more days and then headed home myself.
More later on all of this, but for now it is good to know that Dad is feeling good again, getting out walking and sleeping good too.
I brought home a wicked cold, so have been slow to blog, and still recovering, so will catch this all up later.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Belmond has a very nice hospital

The hospital here has been open for less than a year.  Very pretty and comforting.
Here are a few snaps.
Pretty darn nice for hospital living.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday in Belmond

Today Dad is doing really great.  Lots of walking in the hallways and the medication is controlling his heart rate and pressure.
I made a trip to Mason City to dispose of a bunch of medications that the folks no longer need. The Hy Vee pharmacy will take them for proper disposal.  The weather changed and the drive home was foggy.  The downtown Belmond lights looked extra pretty.
For a change is scenery, Dad walked down to the family room with Ev and I and we watched a public tv show Five By Design.  I took a couple of pictures. Dad loves to wear shirts and it is so warm in the hospital he is comfy wearing them here. Funny.
Now it is time for the Badger game vs. Nebraska for the trip to the Rose Bowl.  Go Badgers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dad's heart is busy

I was planning on a visit to Iowa this week but did not plan on Dad being in the hospital.
His heart rate got way too high and he went to the ER early Sunday Morning.
Then he was transferred to Mercy Hospital in Mason City, about 40 miles NE of Belmond.
Today he is during in a chair and the heart rate seems to be regulated.  Waiting for advice from the doctors as to what is next.
As with most cases I think, the care giver gets overwhelmed, so today Ev is home recharging her batteries while I am here at the hospital with Dad.  Once Dad is home again she will be on duty fulltime.

Wanda from my Android

Friday, November 23, 2012

First snow brings the birds back

This morning the ground is covered with about 2 or 3 inches of new snow, the first of the winter really.  As soon as I opened my eyes this morning, before I even got out of bed, I could see there were cardinals at the bird feeder in the backyard.  I also saw several little birds flitting around, and once I got out in the living room I was happy to see these infrequent visitors.
 The Tufted Titmouse is always fun to see at the feeder.
I am not sure what it is about these little birds, maybe because they are not often seen this far North, maybe it is their big eye, or maybe it is the lovely chestnut color under the wing, but not matter, I love seeing the Tufted Titmouse.

But the Titmouse was not alone.
I love diversity!
The male cardinal did not seem to mind that the gold finches were grabbing a snack with him.
The white breasted nuthatch is not nearly as social, normally he runs off the other birds at the feeder.
This chickadee stopped for a drink, too cold for a bath though.

The juncos do not normally come to the feeder, but this guy was scratching to see if any seeds were under the new snow.

This downy woodpecker was busy at the suet
And soon this hairy woodpecker took his place.  
Mrs. Cardinal stopped by
I rarely get Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal in a photo together and this downy woodpecker was keeping his distance.
I am not a shopper, so no early morning trips to the stores for me.  I think this is a good day to work on laundry and practice piano and maybe make a batch of cookies.
It feels like winter.
Just as I was about to post this entry, another pretty guy made a feeder stop.
I rarely get any photos of the jays as they are quite skittish, but this morning they were good subjects on the window feeder.
One jay showed up and I snapped a quick picture (through the window of course)

Then another joined in the snacking.  What pretty tail feathers they have.
I always love to see the bright blue flash of the jay against the winter landscape.
There was a house finch that stopped by too, I did not get a good photo, and it looked like he had an eye disease which concerns me as one of the dangers of the co-mingling at the feeder is that it could spread to others.


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