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2020-The Year in Review-Pandemic


I don’t have to tell you this year has been difficult. January began normally enough, I got four blogs written.

We were in Woodstock for Groundhog Day February 2nd and had a good time. Still normal yet but began to see the pandemic in the news, still mostly China.

Soon after this, everything began to change for my family. My Mom went into the hospital February 5th. My Dad was now alone at home, and we went shopping and helped him out with errands. Mom was released to a nursing facility about a week later to rehab. it didn’t work real well since we didn’t yet know what the real cause of her difficulties were yet. The worst news was yet to come though. On Feb 27, I got a call from Mom, my Dad had passed away. He had not answered the phone in two days. The landlord of their apartment had to break in to open it. It was discovered he had passed in his sleep on Feb. 25. My brother spent the night there while the coroner came and transported him to Gunderson Funeral Home. We were all in shock about his and are still grieving. Dec. 26 would have been their 56th Anniversary.

The next step was emptying out their apartment of 36 years, since Mom was no longer able to live there. My brother and I, as well as other family members and some friends helped out in this enormous task. We worked from March until September when we finally finished. Thanks to everyone who helped! Mom moved from the first nursing facility she was at to a new one in early December which is a better fit for her needs.

Between March and September, when we were not at the apartment working, we found a few occasions to get away for awhile for our own mental health. We had to be careful during the pandemic though, we always wear masks when out in public and with our family group. We took two previously scheduled trips. We were ready to cancel at anytime but found the risk level to be low enough. Here is the chart showing when our trips were.

Our first was our Door County/Washington Island trip from July 16-23. it also happened to be the same week Comet Neowise was at it’s closest point to Earth. I got fantastic photos of it from Schoolhouse Beach. Also the Milky from West Harbor.

We also picked the right time to see the lavender in full bloom. There are TWO lavender farms on Washington Island. Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm and Shop and Historic Island Dairy Lavender.

Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm and Shop
Historic Island Dairy Lavender

We stayed at Steffen’s Cedar Lodge, we recommend coming here if you plan on spending the night on the island. We stayed in the lower level of this lodge building.

Our 2nd trip was our fall color tour from September 21-25. We stayed at Skyview Lodge and Supper Club in Presque Isle, a community that borders to UP of Michigan. Former owners of the lodge, Rick and Christine Strand, told us of fun places to see the best colors. We did most of our sightseeing in the UP of Michigan. We had not been in the UP for 4 years, and only the eastern side. This time, we saw part of the western side. We explored Wolf Mountain, Copper Peak and the Porcupine Mountains Lake of the Clouds.

View from Wolf Mountain Overlook

After this, we went to Copper Peak ski jump to ride up to the top. This is the view from the top of the ski jump. There was smoke haze from the wildfires out west.

View from copper Peak ski jump
Copper Peak ski jump

I had wanted to see Lake of the Clouds since our last visit to the UP in 2016. It did not disappoint!

We had a great time on both trips and enjoyed connecting with the locals. More details later when the blog posts are written about these two trips.

When we got back, we returned to staying mostly at home except for caring for my Mom’s needs. Our family had got for Mom a GrandPad to help her with video calls and video appointments. It has a been a big help.

On October 10, my family gathered together to have a memorial for my Dad at the nursing facility where she lived first. We talked about good memories of had of my father to help give us closure. It did help. We went to park property her facility owns and met under this gazebo with a view of a small lake.

Al and I spent Thanksgiving at home alone. Not as fun but much safer. We had a group Zoom call to Mom to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving. I took a picture of us with our feast for two with a bit of photoshopping.

On December 2nd, Mom moved to a new place that was a better match for her needs. My brother, Al and I, and a friend of the family helped pack up things the day before. We moved her in successfully and she’s happy there.

Since the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train was not running this year, we found other fun things to do to celebrate. On December 3 I went to a house in Fitchburg to see a lighted Holiday show. Enjoy this video I made of this house comprised of the holiday seasons 2017-2020.

December 4th, we made the trip to Montello to see their tree lighting ceremony. So much fun, and we made a new friend there. See the ceremony below.

Not to be outdone, we went to Oconomowoc for their Holly Jolly Christmas Parade. Join in the fun here.

On December 14, I went to the University Avenue Tree Lights. We had just had a 6-inch snowfall and the trees were georgeous!

We had one last excursion before Christmas on December 19. We went to Sip & Purr Cat Cafe in Milwaukee for the first time this year and enjoyed seeing the cats again. At dusk we went back to Candy Cane Lane in West Allis, it had been 5 years since our last trip there. So many beautiful houses and selfie opportunities!

We wrapped up the holiday season with an in-person 1/2 hour visit with my Mom on Christmas Eve morning, with a barrier between us 😦 Better than nothing though.

At the end of the year, we always count how many communities we visited during the year. We were rather surprised to see we visited 42 places. it would not have been that many if we didn’t take those trips.

Well everyone, we are ready to kick this year to the curb. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1!

Beaver Dam Lake Days 2017


2nd Weekend in July

7-8-17

The water-loving people of Beaver Dam celebrate  every summer during their Lake Days festival. There is an $8 cover charge to enter the park, cost covers seeing the music and most of the other entertainment.  There is also a small carnival as well.

There were so many activities to do here all day long, and fireworks in the evening to close out the festival on Saturday night.

During the day, we enjoyed watching the Beaverland Must-Skis Water Ski Show Team. 

This was our first water ski show so we were not sure what to expect. I wish I chose a different vantage point to get the video though.  See the show here.

You could also take a ride in a large canoe, help paddle it too.

Enjoy the firework show at the conclusion of the festival, what a great day!

 

Mad City Ski Team-Entertaining Madison Since 1963!


Memorial Day Weekend Through Labor Day Weekend

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The Mad City Ski Team formed in 1963 and perform on Sunday nights at Law Park all summer long. We finally started going there in 2017 and realized how much fun we have been missing! They arrive early in the afternoon and set up camp, there is so much to get ready by 5 PM!

It’s important to get there early if you want to get a bleacher seat, otherwise you can bring your own chairs and blankets to sit on. Since I am getting video with two cameras, I get there by 4 to set up.  Parking is available in the Monona Terrace ramp, some in the parking lot to the left of the park. I usually park on Williamson and walk over from there.

Metcalfe’s Market also has a concession so you can get food there too, part of the proceeds supports the ski team. They are a major sponsor of the team and of course put on the World’s Largest Brat Fest every Memorial day weekend.

Before the main show begins, the Junior members of the ski team get a chance to demonstrate their skills from 5:15 to 5:45 PM. Some are as young as 4 or 5.

6:00 PM begins the Competition Team show. There is a different theme every year. In 2017 it was the Grinch, 2018 Alice in Wonderland, and in 2019 it was the Wizard of OZ.  If you can get there early enough in the afternoon, you can get a group photo of the team.

It’s 6 PM and it’s time for the show to begin! The MC is Adam Schaller of the Burish Group. His daughter Anika plays the main character of each show. In Alice in Wonderland she was Alice. In the Wizard of Oz she played Dorothy. Quite the talent, and she also goes out with the team to perform as well.

Let’s enjoy the shows. Below is the 2017 show.

2018

2019

During intermission, be sure to put some money in the bucket as the skiers go through the crowd. It’s much appreciated and you can get a program book too!

We are looking forward to the next season, join us at Law Park next summer for some great entertainment on Lake Monona in Madison, WI!

 

Bald Eagle Watching Days in Prairie du Sac


Third Weekend in January

1-14-12, 1-19-19, 1-18-2020

This is the first festival of the year for us. The Ferry Bluff Eagle Council is the main sponsor of this exciting event. We went for the first time in 2012, then came back in 2019 and 2020. This event is free to the public, donations are gratefully accepted! The base of operations is at the River Arts Center.

River Arts Center, Sauk Prairie High School
105 Ninth Avenue
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578

The festival includes presentations by authorities in eagle care, a bus tour to eagle watching sites in town. Inside there are exhibits from many agencies.

You can even get an eagle hat!

We took the bus tour and had a great time! We learned a lot about Eagles from the tour guide on board. We stopped at 3 sites,the view across from Eagle Island.

Eagle lookout platform

Regal Eagle

We also stopped at the dam and the VFW park. See the video of the tour.

After the tour we went down the the VFW again to see Marge Gibson release an eagle back into the wild. There were many people there to see it, so beautiful!

After the eagle release we came back and saw a Birds of Prey presentation put on by the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee. See it here.

1-18-2020

We were able to return this year.  We didn’t do the bus tour since we did that last year. We stayed at the center and attended two presentations. The first one was the Birds of Prey presentation by the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. All these birds are imprinted on people and no longer “wild”.  L-R Barn Owl, Turkey Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Red Tailed Hawk, and Bald Eagle.

Our second one was by David Stokes, educator and naturalist.

Laughing With Animals

Have a great day learning about eagles at Bald Eagle Watching Days!