Friday, November 29, 2013

To be continued

It's been a busy couple of weeks with a trip to Alma to spend a day at Anders' school and having friend, Roche, visit from Colorado for a week.  Add in a rotten chest cold and my blogging has been delayed.  
I did manage to get my Christmas Village set up this week, and as you can see a large cat is causing havoc for the villagers.

Barley frightens the villagers

More to come soon with photos and story about the had over the last couple of weeks.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A visitor from the West

Roche and I have been friends for over 40 years.  She has only visited my home in RL for lunch once when she drove up with her Mom for a short visit.  We have a mutual friend who is assistant coaching the Loyola (Chicago) Women's Basketball Team and I had noticed that Loyola would be playing the Minnesota Gopher girls in MPLS in November, so we hatched a plan.  Roche flew in on Friday, 11/22 and I picked her up at the airport in MN.  A long drive home, but time to visit and catch up.  That evening we met my Rice Lake friends, Carol & Pete, at The Elks for fish fry.  It was fun to have new friends and old friend all together.
The weather was cold but the roads were good, so on Saturday, we took a drive up to the Sandcastle.  It was opening weekend of the 9 day rifle deer hunting season, so there were hunters at the cabin.
Dana, Andy, Rochelle, Glenn & Wanda
Thanks to Alyxis for taking our picture for us!
I had made a couple of orange scarves for us to wear so we would be safe from the hunters!
We stayed long enough to chat a bit and use the outhouse and then headed back to Rice Lake.
Back in Rice Lake we stopped in at a shoe close out sale and each picked up 3 new pairs of shoes for a bargain!  Then we had some dinner and headed home.
By this time, I had started to have a full blown chest cold and was feeling a little puny.
Sunday, we hung out at my house, watched football, ate snacks and visited, although when I woke up that morning, I had almost no voice, so I whispered most everything I wanted to say.
Monday we took a drive over to Glenn's lake cabin and picked up our Sandcastle generator and instant water heater.  Roche got the tour of the cabins!
While we watched Monday Night Football, I put up my Christmas Village and tree.
Little brewery village up and running.
Tuesday, we headed to MPLS, stopping for lunch in Baldwin and then checking into a hotel close to the Mall of America.  That night we went to see the women play basketball at William's Arena.
The usher was more than happy to snap our photo.
We were all decked out in Loyola colors (which also happen to be Gopher colors).

Team intros...head coach Sheryl Swoopes and assistant coach Jeanine Wasielewski

Assistant coach Was with head coach Swoopes

It was very fun to see Jeanine and to see her doing something she is so passionate about, even though was a tough loss for the Loyola girls and one of their starters got injured.

Tuesday night in the hotel I was a mess, coughing all night, but the next day we headed over to the Mall of America to look around.  Just before we went, through the magic of Facebook, we hatched a plan to meet one of Roche's college roommates for lunch.
So, we hung out at the mall for a bit.
 These LEGO displays are amazing.
My great nephew Jackson loves LEGOS and I hear he has been to this store more than once.

The PEEPS store was amazing.
Pretty crazy how many flavors and colors were available.

We ate lunch at Bubba Gump's with Lynn.  Roche & Lynn had been college roommates at Eau Claire.
I had met Lynn once briefly, it was a nice lunch and since my voice was gone, I mostly just listened.

 I ordered a cocktail for medicinal purposes, and got to keep the glass.

Our plan had been to stay overnight again Wednesday night, Roche's brother Paul would join us, and then the 3 of us planned to go to the Nuggets vs. Timberwolves game on Wednesday night.
I couldn't make it.  I felt awful and decided to head home while it was still light.
Roche and Paul went to the basketbasll game and then flew to Denver the next morning to spend Thanksgiving in Colorado.
I was home in my jammies and cold medicine and hot tea, with no voice, for Thanksgiving.

It was great to have Roche here, it's a shame I felt so crappy but she put up with me 
and we made the best of it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Special Person day at school with Anders

Anders is in 'B 4 Kindergarten' at Alma.  His Mom and Dad needed a little help with getting him picked up from school on a Tuesday and then it was Special Person day on Wednesday, so I got invited to participate. I picked Anders up from day care on Tuesday afternoon.  It was a nice day and I wanted to check out Reick's Landing to see if the swans were there.  
We were lucky and Anders was patient as I snapped a bunch of swan photos.

Anders was in favor of stopping at Reick's Landing as there is a good playground at that park.
 Anders patiently looked for the birds
But then it was time to head to the playground!

He did not want me to push him on the swing, he can get going on his own now.

He did want me to spin the merry go round.

 Anders is so fearless now, I suppose that is good and bad, but it made me nervous.

 The ladder up to the top of this big slide was no problem for Anders,

I was nervous, of course.

Getting ready to speed down.
It's good to be a kid.
He made many trips up and down the slide.
 After lots of fun at the park, we headed for home.
Anders has a new checkerboard and has recently learned how to play, so he challenged me to a couple of games.  He won one and I won one.  
 I brought Anders a coloring book, so he spent a little time coloring.
It's fun to see how his skills improve.
Analyzing which color to use.

The next day was a big day at school for Anders.
Each of the kids had a Special Person visiting the classroom.
We helped the kids with a craft project.
Anders and his fall wreath project.

Anders and his pal Will talking it over.

B-4 Class roster

The door to Anders' classroom.

Anders and I in the gym during free time.
It was snowing and raining so we could not be outside.
I had to take this picture of Greta, she loves to curl up in the recliner.
Before I left for home, I made another run past Reick's and took a snapshot of some geese coming in.
A fun trip and visit to Alma!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Door Prize

Laila and I were chatting about what is going to happen to all our 'stuff' when we are gone.  With no kids, our belongings will have to find a home.  About the same time of that discussion, I was working on my first 'yellow brick road' quilt for the guest room.  We decided that the good stuff could be given away at our funeral as door prizes.  Each attendee would get a ticket and at the end of the ceremony, stuff could be given away as the tickets were drawn out of a hat.  So, we started calling this quilt the door prize quilt.  And now it is done, including matching shams.
"Yellow brick road" pattern quilt and shams get the official Cat Housekeeping Stamp of Approval

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The end of the 2013 theater season

This week, Carol & Pete and I enjoyed the last play of the 2013 season at Northern Star Theater Company here in Rice Lake.  The production was Escanaba In Da Moonlight.  A light-hearted, sometimes slapstick, parody of life in the deer camps of Upper Michigan.  The small cast of characters acted out the comic rituals that are not too far from reality this time of year.
I was surprised by the number of patrons who arrived for the play dressed in their camouflage and blaze orange hunting apparel.  It seems that those who have seen this performance before take delight in dressing the part.  Not all were dressed in drab hunting wear though.   This performance was a dinner / theater format, and sharing our table were three women who really were dolled up.
These three were really having fun.  They are all Red Hat Women too, and dripping in sparkles!
The story in this play might not be humorous to those who have never been Up North.  But for this local crowd, it hit the funny bone.

The plot takes place in the Soady Deer Shack
The accents of the actors were reminiscent of Fargo but on steroids.
In case you are not a local, a glossary was provided to the audience.
Understanding these technical terms makes for more laughing during the play.
So, we ended the 2013 season with a laugh.
I am looking forward to the NSTC 2014 season which will include performances of The Sound of Music, Les Misérables, Mash, A Midsummer's Night Dream and Barefoot in the Park.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Head count

Any day, there will be a new baby in our family.  
Payton Ann will be having her first, my second great great.  
Kaija is due in January with her fifth, my 24th great.  

Kyle and Heather recently announced, via the attached photo, that #6 is arriving at their house in April. So that got me to thinking.  What exactly is the current head count?

    • 2 brothers, 1 sister = 3
    • 5 nephews, 3 nieces= 8
    • 23 great nieces and nephews, with two more greats on the way = 25
    • 2 step great nephews
    • Drew and Sprout, sweet great nephew twins who are in heaven.
    • 1 great great nephew with another great great arriving soon = 2

Add in a few cats and dogs, 
Life is Good!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Harp? No; Clean up? Yes; Remembering? Yes

I've been planning to take harp lessons after attending an introductory free lesson some weeks ago.  Kaija loaned me her beautiful harp, I started working on tuning it, broke a string and tried to replace the string, got sick of all of that and decided I needed to make up my mind to either commit or give up.  In this case, at least for now, I've decided to give up.  I can see that the tuning and messing with strings on the harp, are not my thing.  I love the piano and how easy it is to sit and play with no prep.  So, I have cancelled my harp lesson and, for now, don't plan to pursue it.
Today my lawn guys showed up to do the fall clean up.  I am happy that they got here before it snowed, although a lot of leaves have blown to my neighbor's yards while I was waiting for them to arrive.
Before and after the fall clean up.
Somehow, riding in the car, or working in the yard, I've managed to strain something in my knee.  It's not so bad that I can't walk but I can tell it needs rest and heat to get better.  What better excuse than that to spend a couple of days at home, heat on knee, taking anti-inflammatory medications and watching hours of TV.
Since it is nearly the 50 year anniversary of the death of President Kennedy, there is lots of programming on TV about his life.  Today I watched a two part PBS program, JFK, chronicling the life of Kennedy, both political and personal.  Last night I watched a made for TV movie called Killing Kennedy starring Rob Lowe as Kennedy.  This focused on the assassination.  These shows stir up emotions and remembrances of a young girl in Wisconsin, hearing the news at school and watching the funeral on TV.  What might have been had he lived will never be known, but the impact he made both while he lived and by how he died will never be forgotten.

(By the way, the knee is improving.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's that time of year

November in Wisconsin means either camouflage clothing or blaze orange coats.  The deer are in big demand.  Nephew Kris has been a lover of hunting & trapping since he was just a little guy.  Now, he has his own little guy and guess what, the tradition continues.
Lora sent me this photo the other evening, as you can see, the fall harvest is in full swing for Kris and Anders.
Anders holding up the muskrats that he and his dad, Kris, has trapped.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Road trip and mini reunion

I spent a couple of days in Iowa visiting my folks last week.  
It was great to see Dad looking so good, stronger and perkier than ever.
On Friday, we went to Des Moines for Dad to have an audiology appointment at the VA.  After a hearing test and reprogramming of his hearing aids, we headed for coffee with Aunt Johanne and Uncle Thorvald & Mary Riber.  Just by luck, we were also able to have a visit with cousins Barb, Gary & Denis and Nancy.  

On Saturday morning, we spent some time practicing with the new toy that I had brought to Dad and Ev.  They have a Samsung Galaxy Tablet now, which is better for looking at photos, emails and Facebook.
Before I left, they were getting the hang of using it and enjoying the bright and bigger screen.
I took an alternate route home to avoid Minneapolis / St. Paul.
My path headed East out of Albert Lea, North at Eyota, and I crossed the river at Wabasha.  It is tricky to get home when you have the Mississippi River to cross, so choosing the bridge influences the travel plan.
I liked this route, and I got home faster than usual, which was nice.
I did see an amazing sunset along the way.
It was spectacular in color.

As the sun slipped away, it looked like a red ball.
I am hoping winter is kind this year so I can get back to Iowa in December for another visit.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

First of many

We had a pretty snowfall overnight, this morning the tree branches are coated with a bit of snow and the evergreens are all dressed up.
I saw on my calendar that the first snow of 2012 was the 11/6/12. 
Mother Nature is pretty consistent sometimes.
Already starting to melt as the sun is coming on strong

A pretty spray of droplets

The pumpkin turkey looks a little chilly.

A nice cover on the lawn, but the driveway was clear so no shoveling.

Blue spruce all dressed up.


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