Monday, March 31, 2014

Alaina Elizabeth

My niece Payton and her finance welcomed Alaina Elizabeth into the world last November, so she is almost 3 months old now.  It took me that long to finish a couple of little knitting projects for her.
A small blanket to be used when she is in the car seat, and a little stocking cap.
I never know how big a little kid's head is so I was thinking this cap might be used next winter.
But, I was wrong.
Payton sent me this snapshot on Sunday.
Alaina wore her hat outside when Mom took her on a walk.
Looks like this will be a Spring hat!
Isn't Alaina just so cute!?!
Life is Good.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A trip to the big city

 Most everything I need is right here in Rice Lake, but as I needed to make appointments for eye exam and a consult with a Dermatologist, I planned to make a day trip to Eau Claire.  It isn't very often that I get to Eau Claire to shop and I was looking forward to the day.

Thursday afternoon, a storm rolled in  and dumped some snow, it was pretty and the roads got slick right away, I was worried about my trip to Eau Claire.
March snow coating the maple trees

 Luckily, when I got up Friday morning, it was sunny and bright.
This red squirrel was busy plowing snow to get to the seeds below.
So, by the time I left my driveway, the roads were once again clear and dry, yay!
My first appointment wasn't until afternoon, 
and I was delighted to be able to meet nephew Andrew for lunch to start my day.
Captain Johansen and his aunt
I enjoyed visiting with Andy and catching up on the news about Alyxis and Michelle.  I'm always impressed with what good parents Andy and Michelle are.  Alyxis is a good student and an active girl, but of course, she is also becoming a teenagerJ.  

After lunch, I headed off to my appointments and shopping.  It's funny to think how often I shopped at Target when I lived in Arvada, it was my grocery store.  Until Friday, I probably had not been into a Target in over a year, so it made for a fun day.  I found some grocery items that I don't find here and of course, as is usual at Target, I filled the cart with items that I probably don't really need.  
Oh well.
Life is Good.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It just plain makes me sad

Deer just can't seem to stay off the roads.  
I've grown accustomed to seeing roadkill along our roads and I've had some close calls as well.  When the deer cause a near accident, it's easy to swear at them.  Dead deer along the road are so common, that it doesn't really even register anymore.  But, having said that, I do love seeing deer in the wild.

So, on Wednesday, when I looked out my living room window, and saw a deer standing in my neighbor's driveway, I was delighted.  The deer was just moseying along, checking the ground for anything to eat.
Of course, I grabbed my camera, and headed to the front door to get a better look in hopes of getting a good photo or two.
Once I zoomed in on the deer, I wasn't excited anymore and was instantly sad.
It is obvious that this deer has had an encounter with a moving vehicle.
One side has a huge flap of skin missing and abrasions to the legs, the other side of the deer's head has injuries, likely from hitting the pavement.

I'm not sure if an animal can recover from injuries like this.
At least the deer was walking and I suppose that gives me some hope that the injuries may not be life threatening.
Last evening, on my way home, I drove past the area where I had seen the deer and I could see it laying down, hunkered in for the night.
This morning I called my local DNR Wildlife Biologist to ask for guidance.
What I guess I already knew, was confirmed.  
If possible, the deer should be left alone and let Mother Nature decide its fate.
If the deer is laying down incapacitated, the DNR will step in.
The Wildlife Biologist was very helpful and kind and I appreciated his counsel.
Later on I saw the deer up walking and nibbling on pine tree branches, so for now, it is doing okay.
Right now, it is snowing like crazy, at least 3 inches of new snow is on the ground, I hope he's hunkered down in his bed.  I'll keep an eye out for him and see how he progresses.  And I'll call the DNR if I think it is the right thing to do,
but for now, I'll just worry.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Midsummer's Night Dream

Friday night I went to see a youth production at the Northern Star Theater Company here in Rice Lake.
I think I've been to this theater about 8 +/- times since I moved here, and every production has been unique and entertaining.  This Shakespearean play was one of the best.  The set was cleverly set down the center of the theater with King's palace at one end, forest in the center, and home of the Fairy Queen at the far end.  The audience was seated on both sides of this set.
The fun started when I was met at the door by my usher / fairy, who, complete with wings, escorted me to my seat.  Once the production started, I was part of the fun story of love, trickery, fairy queen and her staff, and a troupe of actors who get caught up in the foolery of A Midsummer's Night Dream.
Impressive was the amount of Shakespearean dialogue that these young actors had mastered.
Their delivery left me sad when it was over, I wanted the play to go on and on.
Well done!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Second day of Spring?

It looks like a snow globe outside, I'm tempted to plug in my outside Christmas lights again.  The big flakes of snow swirling around are very pretty, but come on!  it is the second day of Spring!

My finch sack hangs on a hook that swivels around so I can refill it, sometimes it moves a little in the wind and gets a little too close to the platform bird feeder.
Once that happens, it is reachable from a sitting position for both birds and other hungry critters.
Today, this guy thought he needed better access to the seeds and I caught him just minutes before he ripped a hole in the mesh.
Little bandit!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Planting = Spring?

I decided to help Spring along by planting a few seeds in the house.
Lois told me that her Mom, Florence, used to plant the seeds on St. Patrick's Day.
Florence was a good gardener woman so I figured that was good advice.
I planted lavender, poppies and cherry tomatoes.
Nothing scientific about my plantings, just some dirt in some pots and some seeds.
Now we hope for the best.
I'm also having to banish the cats from the guest bedroom now because they would likely think these pots should be dumped off the window sill.
We'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A visit with two nice girls

Sunday, my nephew Ryan called and asked if I had time for a visit from his daughters in the afternoon.  It worked into my day nicely, so we made a plan.
Elliana and Milena arrived about 3:30 pm and I think they talked steady until after 5 pm.  They are very nice girls and friendly and fun to chat with.  When they got bored talking, they pulled out their colored pencils and tablet and spent some time drawing.
 It was fun to have the girls here, we'll have to do it again soon.
When Ryan and Camilla came to pick up the girls, they delivered a delightful St. Patrick's Day treat to me, straight from the bakers at The Norske Nook.
Hard on the Weight Watchers points, but worth the sacrifice!
So, two nice girls & one yummy cookie,
Life is Good!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


A couple of weeks ago, friends P & C and I attended an unusual concert in Barron at the Community Center.  It was my first visit to this theater and it is a nice venue for such a small town.
The performers were Baladino, a musical group from Israel.
Three men and one woman who came to share their culture with local school kids and gave a concert to the public as a bonus.  It was fun to hear of their impression of winter in Wisconsin as the hosts had taken them cross country skiing & snowmobiling.  It was cute to hear them talk about the cold and how worried they were about coming here and how once they were here they had to buy more socks and gloves and scarves.
I chuckled when they said that they had never had to wear pants over their pants before.
There were many grade school aged kids at the concert and it was obvious that they had formed an admiration and bond for these Israeli performers during their time together.
Before the concert, as we waited to be seated in the theater, I overheard one little boy tell his Mom "I have been waiting all day for this!  I can't wait to get their autograph."
Baladino - the story behind the music made it even more enjoyable
I wasn't sure I would like this music until they played their first note.
The music has a mournful sound and is very soothing.
The lead vocalist had a voice that I'll never forget.
I downloaded their album to my phone and have been listening to it at night while I read.
I was happy to see these people being welcomed here in Northern Wisconsin, it's important for us to remember that not every person who has middle eastern features is a bad person.  Sometimes the news really skews our opinions of others, and frankly, in this area, there are limited opportunities for exposure to diversity in thought and culture.
This experience was priceless.
Last weekend, P & C and I headed to Eau Claire to hear the Chippewa Valley Symphony.
We took the opportunity to have a wonderful dinner out at Fuji.
I love sushi, and it was delish!

When we arrived at the State Theater, the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony members were playing in small groups in the lobby while we waited for entrance to the theater.

There was also an art show in the gallery of work done by 3rd graders.
It was some clay, some textile and some collage, and all very interesting.
Finally, we were seated in the theater and then had an enjoyable evening listening to Russian composer music played by the Chippewa Valley Symphony, a piano and symphony piece played by a young woman who had won a youth musician contest and finally two pieces by the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony.
It was a long concert with many interesting pieces played by very accomplished performers.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I'm a sucker

Recently, I saw this item up for auction on eBay.
I'm not sure of the date of this photograph / postcard, but I have seen the same penmanship on other vintage postcards that I have won on eBay auctions.
I'm no good with cars, but I would guess this to be a photo from the later '20s.
I'm just guessing, and as you can see, I am a sucker for all things Lucky.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Airport = no owl

I've been looking around for one of the snowy owls that many of my birder friends are seeing.  
So far, no luck.  
 Some birders have noticed Snowy Owls hanging around airports in their region.
On Thursday, I had a little time on my hands, so I took a drive past the airport,
Yes, we have an airport.
It might even be an international airport, 
it wouldn't be a stretch to think there is traffic in and out of Rice Lake to Canada.

So, I saw the airport, but sadly, no owl.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Getting Out

This is the 6th winter that I have lived in Wisconsin, but it is the first winter that I have not been back and forth to Luck a few times.  On Monday, I headed over for the first time since Thanksgiving.
I set a new printer for Ryan and Camilla and then tried to set up a home network for Gus and Lois & did some visiting with the relies. 
I was tickled to get to see the Ice Castle, of course with this cold weather, 
it is not in jeopardy of melting too soon.
Built by volunteers from lake ice.  Beauty!
Great nephew Jens was hanging out with Grandma Lolo, he's getting to be such a big boy and also talking a little.  I bet it's hard to say much when you have 4 older siblings who do the talking for you.
He got my name right away, which of course made me smile.
He entertained himself playing with trucks and singing & talking to himself.
 Lois and I were visiting in the kitchen and it was sweet listening to Jens talking and singing as he played.
Add caption

Pretzels are always a good treat at Grandma Lolo's.

What can I say...cute!

Jens was playing with trucks on the old toy box.
 Years ago, when Kyle was a little boy, his Grandpa Wally (my Dad) built a nice toy box for Gus's family and Glenn's family.  
The toy-box is still used at Gus and Lois's and makes a pretty nice place for trucks to roll.
I love that Jens is not afraid of the camera.

He's a happy little boy.
I was busy at Ryan and Cam's and forgot to pull out my camera and get some photos of the girls there.
I'm planning on making the trek over to Luck again next week, it's time to get out of the house more often.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


It is a shiny, Sunday morning in Northern Wisconsin. 
-14° when I woke up.
Blue sky and bright sun; the combination seems to make for a sparkly and shiny morning.

Barley loves to find a sunny spot to lounge and today the living room has a abundance of sun beams.

Happy sunny Sunday.

Wanda Johansen
from my Note II


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