Thursday, March 30, 2017


I could not resist this beautiful plant when I was grocery shopping today at Aldi's. My cats don't really like me to have house plants as they think they are meant to be chewed on or knocked over, so we'll see how long this one lasts. But for $4.99, I I didn't really think I was risking enough money to worry about those bad behaviors. I'm enjoying seeing such a pretty flower in the kitchen and I'm ready for spring.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I saw it, they found it

The Beginning

So this is kind of a long story, but Monday night, 3.27.2017,  I was reading the news on WEAU 13's page on Facebook. There was an article about a piece of artwork that had been stolen in downtown Eau Claire off of Barstow Street. They have a variety of artwork pieces down there on each corner and most are for sale but in the meantime, they are on display. The piece that was being reported on as being stolen was a large metal sphere with cutouts of farm scenes in it and it was called a Farm Fireball.  I think the idea is like a fire pit only  a 3D ball.  There was a picture of the item in the article I was reading and it's so weird, because I instantly recognized it. 

On my way to the Kris Kristofferson concert in Eau Claire on Thursday night, 3.23.2017, I saw an SUV like vehicle, with a rack on the back, with that steel ball cut out thing on it.  I'm sure. The vehicle turned left, across the road in front of me, into a service entrance at Banbury place which is the old Uniroyal plant. 

The more I looked at the picture in the news article the more I was positive that that's what I saw because when this vehicle turned in, it crossed in front of me and I thought "what is that thing it looks like a cool big Steel globe with cutouts". 

So after talking it over with brother Glenn, I decided to call the non-emergency number of the Eau Claire police and tell them what I saw, because according to this article, that item was stolen either Wednesday night or Thursday morning and I saw it Thursday night about 7:20pm.

Isn't that so crazy? I'm hoping that the weak information that I gave them of a time frame and where I saw it and what kind of the vehicle it was on will help them find it.  It'll be interesting to see what happens.  The Officer Johnson was very polite and appreciative that I took time to call. 

The Ending

So, tonight, Tuesday 3.28.2017, I saw on the news that they found the missing sculpture at Banberry Place.  A security guard found it, so I'm not sure if my tip helped or not, but I was right. They found it exactly where I said I saw it.

I called the police back tonight and asked if my tip helped but the Officer Johnson was busy, so I'll probably never know for sure. I do have the satisfaction of knowing I was right and I tried to help.


Saturday, March 25, 2017


I took a drive over to Luck today to deliver the last batch of basketball photos to Jack & Gage and the rest of the Cardinal team.  On the way I saw these swans hanging around in a puddle in a corn field.  I love these big birds and never tire of seeing them and taking their picture.

This group didn't seem to mind me sitting in the card snapping photos.
I stayed until another car pulled into the gravel roadway and then I moved along.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Just got to my seat at The State Theater in Eau Claire.  
A sold out show by Kris Kristofferson.  Only one mic stand on the stage.  
Looks like it should be great music, I read that he does these acoustical shows now.  
He's 80 years old and still singing.  
I hope it is because he loves it but I suspect music downloads cut into the income of these artists. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


This morning I saw the first American Robin of 2017.  It's always nice to see the birds return each Spring.  the Johansens say that you have to go to Dairy Queen when you see the first Robin of the year, so I'm off to keep the tradition.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A day for Uncle Dale

Wanda, Roche, John, Cindy, LeAnna, Paul, Faye, Janie
We had a very good day in Winona, Minnesota yesterday.  The service for Uncle Dale was nice, a good lunch by the church ladies, and a bit chilly at the graveside.  Dale is the uncle of my best friends Roche & LeAnna.  He was my good friend.  He passed away on March 6th after a brief illness.  

After the graveside service, 8 of us, 7 cousin's and me, took a trolley ride around Winona.  Uncle Dale had wanted to do that and it was planned for us the gather in May and take this ride with Dale . So, the wife of one of the cousins got it organized on the spur of the moment.  It was a 2 hour historical & scenic city tour including a trip up on a bluff to a scenic overlook.   
The  driver was a local character with no front teeth but a pleasing delivery.  The ride gave us all more time to chit chat and it was interesting & fun.  When we were done with the trolley ride, it was supper time, so we 8 went to eat and spent more time visiting.

So we had a really great day, all for Uncle Dale.
 I got home to Rice Lake at about 10pm.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Basketball Wrap

A rough loss last night in Sectional Final Play 
left our Cardinals with no more games to play this season.

The Cardinals lost to the McDonell Macks in a game played at Spooner, WI

The McDonell Macks, a private school in a community of 13,718 folks, versus the LHS Cardinals, a public school in Luck, WI, population 1,100, not really an even matchup.  
But, this isn't new.  
Every year, one of the small public schools runs up against one of these private schools with similar enrollment numbers to compete in our division, but a selection process for their students.  
Fair? No it is not.  
And, as with most of these contests, 
an difficult ending to a great season by the public school teams.

Having said that, The Luck Cardinals are Sectional Runners-up and that is no small feat.  
Only a handful of times in the history of our school has a team made it this far.  
Certainly, it was unexpected this year as the team has no 'star' player, no big man to feed the ball to but rather an athletic team of competitors who work as a team.  
So, I'm proud of these kids.  
They showed us something.

They played while other teams were watching.
Cardinal Pride!
Go Cardinals!

Jack had such a great season.
8th in assists per game out of all the players in the state.
It takes work and practice to achieve results like this.
Nice going Jack!

Friday, March 10, 2017

And it's another win

As the kids lined up for the national anthem last night the gymnasium in Superior, WI got real quiet and that was the last time it was quiet until the game ended. 

It was tournament play with a house full of fans
and two pep bands
and folks that came ready to cheer!

Our boys played a solid game against a team that had a taller guy in the middle and some pretty outstanding outside shooters. It was a thriller, although Luck was ahead the whole game, the team from Mellen kept on coming back. 

Halftime score was Luck 33 Mellen 25
Final score Luck 62 Mellen 45

Now the Cardinals play for Sectional Championship  
 and the coveted trip to the State Basketball Tournament. 

Saturday night, Spooner Wisconsin High School.  

Good Luck Cardinals!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Gotta get the tickets

I had to run over to Luck and back today to pre-buy the tickets for Thursday night's tournament game.  I grabbed my camera as I went out the door, and I'm glad I did.  I did not bring the 400mm lens, which was a mistake, I'll get smarter as time goes on, I hope.
There is quite a bit of road kill around now that the snow has melted and the eagles are migrating.  It's a good time of year to get out and about and see what you can see.

It made the drive over well worth the time.
Plus, now I have our tickets for Thursday night's big game against the Mellen Granite Diggers!
(I thought for sure they would be the eagles.)

Go Cardinals!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Regional Champions

The Luck Cardinals out played the Drummond Lumberjacks on Saturday night in Ashland, WI.

A very long drive for the Luck fans, but worth it in the end.
It was a close game, with our largest lead just over 10 and a spread of 3 within the last seconds of the game.  Nerves and excitement nearly got the best of me.

I'm proud of how our boys play.  They are good sports, play hard & smart and got the win.

Division 5, Regional Champions
Luck Cardinals

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Luck Wins! Luck Wins!

Oh boy, this was a barnburner.
The South Shore Cardinals vs the Luck Cardinals
Game 2, Regional Basketball Tournaments, Division 5
One and done, there are no do-overs.

Before the game

Go-Jo's were there first (lucky Cole came along to take our photo)

The Luck boys jumped out to a 10+ lead, 
so we all relaxed a little, but then...South Shore came back.

With about 4 minutes left in the game, we had a tied score.
Several of the Luck Cardinals were in foul trouble.
It got very tense.

But then our beloved Luck boys got it together and pulled ahead.
There were several fouls near the end of the game,
Jack made 11 of 12 free-throws, the difference in the score.

After the game, the fans hated to leave.

But, the work is not done.

Regional Championship 
7:00 p.m.
Luck Cardinals at the Drummond Lumberjacks

The game will be played in Ashland, WI, so the Luck folks have an almost 3 hour drive, one way.
But we will all be there, the gym will be rockin'!

Go Cardinals!

Friday, March 3, 2017


Tournament games are so fun.  Bigger crowds, more on the line and a generally electric atmosphere.
The first round often pits the low seed against the high seed, so some of those games are run aways, as was Tuesday night in Luck.  Luck boys beat Shell Lake by a wide margin and move on to the next round on Friday night against a South Shore team that will give them a run for their money.

I am getting a little more used to the Nikon, here are a few of my photos.
Gage goes for the pick

Gage shoots the 3 and makes it.

Jack on defense.
I love this shot, the ref in the shot and the expressions, anyway, it's one of my favorite.
I've been deleting files off my external hard drive to make room for more photos.  So far, I have deleted about 15,000 images that didn't make the editing cut.  So, I must have taken about 20,000.
Crazy, but fun.
Go Cardinals!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What a night!

The Luck Cardinals won their tournament game against Shell Lake moving them to Game 2 of the Regional Tournament played on Friday night against South Shore.
Jack on defense

Gage readies to shoot the 3

Shot is on its way.
 Then there were the shirts.  Heather started a movement, almost by accident.  She ordered shirts for the family for Rare Disease Awareness Day with special words on the back about our Jude.  Then she offered the shirts on Facebook.  250+ shirts later, 
the crowd was a black out with Polymicrogyria shirts!
This is one amazing community.

Jude's shirt said "I'm Jude"
Here he is with his Mom and Larry (photographer) looking at a book of photos of Jude playing basketball after one of the games.  He always wants to get down on the court with the other kids.  I've been lucky to catch a few snaps of him.

Top row = Johansen / Mortel row
Great Aunt Lois Skow, Grandma Janice Olson, Mom Heather, Aunt Jessica Mortel
Warm ups by the Luck Cardinal team.

Introduction of the starting 5

After the game, Jude posed for a bunch of photos.
Big Brothers Gage & Jack with Jude

Lining up the team for a big group photo.

Jude is in the middle of this huddle, they said he held up the #1 finger for the boys.

Jude's brother Jens doesn't cut Jude any slack on the court.
Here he is coming for the ball.

Once he got a chance, Jude took off to the locker-room with the ball.

As the gym finally emptied, Jude kept working on his dribbling.

Finally big brother Jack had to convince him that it was time to put the ball away and head for home.


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