Monthly Archives: December 2006

Weird Weather

Click for Larger ImageWhile it is true that we managed to eke out a white Christmas thanks to one fairly lucky snowstorm, if you are a fan of winter you can’t be liking this one so far. And to my mind today was the worst. I hate 35 degrees and rain any day, but on New Year’s Eve? Yuck. And it wasn’t just a sprinkle either, it rained.

And the forecast for the coming week is worse (if you like winter that is). Temperatures in the 40s in January? At least the sun will be out for the next couple of days, so that is some consolation.

I did head up to Rib Mountain today and the hardy souls there were skiing. Skiing in the rain and fog. You have to be a real die hard to be out there in those conditions. And speaking of die hards, I also saw people out fishing on the ice on Lake Wausau. Even driving their cars out there! That seems completely nuts to me, but I am not the ice fishing type. We will see how much ice is left at the end of this week.

Click for Larger ImageI guess it is global warming (even the Bush Administration has thrown in the towel on this one) combined with El Nino. The joke up this way used to be something like, “Wausau has 2 seasons, winter and six months of bad skiing.” But when the skiing is bad at New Years, you have to wonder. But I do think this would be a bad time to invest in a snowmobile dealership.

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Sledding Time!

Click for larger imageTook the kids out to Pleasant View Park (12th Street and almost Townline Road) and was delighted to see that it was overflowing with kids, even if they were on field trip from the Woodson YMCA. Everyone was having a really good time.

I have been told that this hill used to be the city’s ski hill, like Sylvan Hill is now with a tow rope and everything. There is no tow rope there now, but it is lighted for your night time sledding enjoyment. Sylvan Hill is now a tubing hill with tube rentals and a tow rope and everything. You can still sled on the American Legion Golf course side of things if you are a just find a hill and slide down it kind of person.

If you have a favorite sledding place, why not drop it in the comment box?

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Friday Dudley: December 29, 2006

Well here is the final Friday Dudley of the year. What is it about bad weather that gets these guys up on the roof? It was just below freezing with dense fog when this was taken. I guess soon, I will have to find some way to take pictures inside the building as the exterior will soon be finished and won’t change at all.

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Snowpeople

There’s no people like snow people, I know…

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After the wet sloppy snow a crop of snow people appeared. Here are a few of them.

And here is their queen and it’s creator, Christine.

All the originals, and more can be found on the Flickr page.

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A New Christmas Tradition

Unfortunately I thought of this about 10 years too late for my own use, but hopefully some of you might find it a good idea. Or maybe some of you already do this sort of thing, I hope so.

The kids were getting ready for Santa’s visit, finishing up their letters to him and discussing what kind of cookies to leave. I was looking around the house, despairing over the amount of stuff we already had, and not looking forward to adding more. And then it hit me. Why not leave toys for Santa?

It occured to me that a wonderful tradition would be for the kids to leave toys for Santa, not junky broken ones, but ones they have outgrown or inhabit the back of the closet. The idea would be that Santa takes such toys back to the North Pole, cleans them up and brings them back for other children to love and play with them. I would not say that Santa brings those toys to “poor children” because, of course, Santa brings toys to all children. Or at least I hope that he does.

I think that sending toys back to Santa gives a very nice message to kids about both sharing and recycling. I wish I could figure out some way to convince my kids that this is part of what Santa does. Maybe you can convince yours.

And speaking of Santa and the poor, I wanted to note the passing of James Brown. James Brown was one of the giants of the music industry, easily up there with Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and the Beatles. And one of my very favorite songs of his was “Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto.” A heartfelt plea for social justice in a clever song with a danceable beat, James Brown in a nutshell. May he rest in peace.

p.s. I fell way behind in updating the CW360, but just posted a week’s worth of pictures there.  You could check them out.

Thank You so Much Wausau

Eds Note: Dino dropped by with this year end summary…

To my Dear Wausau,

I wanted to take the time to say thank you. This has been quite possibly the best two years of my life, and I think a lot of it has to do with this great city, and all the wonderful people in it. Just today I was given a few great examples of the good and the bad, and I want to thank you all. We live in a beautiful place, a place that teaches me great lessons each and every day, a place that sticks it out with me and teaches me great big lessons that it takes a long time for me to understand and often find myself fighting, we live in a city that accepts people and their ups and downs and does not ever let anyone get too far along, we live in a city full of such promise it is possible to stand in front of City Hall and just sort of smell opportunity and really good people.

I wanted to take some time and hit my personal highlights. I know for the most part my writing tends to be of an increasingly personal voice each and every time I sit down to write, but my professor in college told me that it is the only voice that matters, that my eyes are the only eyes that see my world, and that poets are the unofficial legislators of the universe…writers give divinity to things when we write about them…and these things might not be divine, but they sure are special to me.

1. Evolutions in Design. Go on, tell me I am advertising. Then you walk in the door, and you smell the flowers, and meet the designers, and then the owners, and you tell me that this is not an amazing place. I have a personal connection to the place, and have known the design staff for a while, and I can say in all honesty that they are actually good people. Creative people. People that seek inspiration, and seek to celebrate creativity. They have personal relationships, and they pay attention to the people that are their customers. An example, I am a big fan of giving my mother flowers. I like to do it often, and the people at EID are where I go. I take the time to walk in, and walk through that wonderful maze of wonder, and I get to the counter to be greeted by someone who knows the place they are working in is amazing, and they know my name. I can simply say, I would like you to send some flowers to my mom. They tend to ask how much, and I pay. Then for fun they ask me what I want, and I just say, Angela knows. And the thing is, Angela does know. This designer who handles thousands of arrangement a week, knows what MY mother likes, and she knows what each mother likes when she sees the name on a tag. Not just mine, and not just Angela. Each of those designers knows each of our mothers and what they want.

2. Dwellers. I bought all of my Christmas presents at Dwellers this year. All of them. The cool thing is the staff. In contrast to many other retail outlets in the area, the guys and girls at Dwellers know everything about the things they are selling, the industries they are a part of, and what makes sense. The owner is quick to point out the industry problems, and the items that come from it…told me about a silly product that they sell. At the same time, the owner, Jason, and I talk a long time about shared history in skateboarding, and Jason finds the perfect skate video for this old guy to watch just to get my blood up. Then the big haired kid behind the counter, just awesome. Takes the time to talk to each person, to give them the stoke of whatever it is they are buying, to pass along that energy that he feels for the stuff in the store. Even the mom buying something she does not understand for her son, the guy with the big hair tells her that she is making a good choice, that it is a good product, that she is giving her son something he will be happy to get, and the mom is grateful for the words of the big haired kid. Jason and the staff at Dwellers are a big family. A big welcoming family in this town.

3. Ed Gale. Now we take a turn huh? Have you ever met Ed…or seen a City Council Meeting. It had never happened for me either, but my friend Pat got me to go, and now I am addicted. From what I understand Ed has been on the council for a while, and he takes it pretty seriously. He can be gruff, and fast with people, but he also can be rather mentoring, and guiding new people along in the process. From what I can tell he is a man who stands up for his beliefs, and is not afraid to voice them, and he is also a supporter of all voices, and supports each of them.

4. Jim Rosenberg. I tend to think of Jim as our only rock star politician. I also think he brings a chair from home to the city council meetings, as he looks really comfortable. Like Gale, Rosenberg is willing to put it out there. As a matter of fact I think he is the only City Council member posting on the forum at the Wausau Daily Herald. Rosenberg is seen as a real advocate for the city, and from the times I have spoken to him (not often) he is an actual happy guy.

5. Inner Sleeve Records. What can I say? Mike is an independent record store.

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White Christmas!

Perhaps we need to be somewhat careful of what we ask for! Just days after the weather forecast seemed to indicate that a white Christmas was pretty much out of the question, a humdinger of a storm dumps a foot of snow on us. And dump it really did. The stuff came down like concrete. The first flakes were as big as a dinner plate, and then wet heavy snow fell for the next 12 hours or so.Click for Larger Image

The snow caused the usual car accidents, but also somewhat unusual power outages. According to the Herald, some 10,000 homes lost power for some amount of time. Here on the east side, our power went out at about 10 pm and was not restored until 7 am. It seems that perhaps we were at the long end of the scale, but talking to people around noon today, I heard there were places that were still without electricity.

But even with that, all in all we really dodged a couple of bullets. Our first piece of luck, thought it did not feel lucky at the time, was that the first part of the storm came down as rain. According to the weather service, we got almost two inches of rain (!) before the change over to snow. Had that come down as snow we might have gotten anywhere between six inches and two feet of addtional snow. Shoveling this morning was hard enough thanks!

Our second piece of luck is that the storm system did not pull down arctic air behind it. The night our power was off, the low temperature was about 31 degrees, which meant the temperature in the house only dropped into the 50s and was in no danger of freezing. Near zero temperatures could have been truly dangerous for many people without power, rather than just an inconvenience.

Click for Larger ImageEven though the predicted high temperature tomorrow is around 40 degrees, I am going to guess that a complete melt off is not possible, especially when all the slush freezes solid tonight. So, it looks like we will meet the Weather Service definition of a white Christmas, with at least one inch of snow on the ground Monday morning at 6 am. All things considered, I can live with that.

I hope all of you survived the big storm and have a very happy holiday week coming up.