Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

It's spring! Time for Midwest Gaming Classic at Brookfield's Sheraton Hotel - March 23 & 24

Brookfield, Just for fun!, Special events

Billy Mitchel - 2004*  
Broke world record!
Although the weather isn't exactly springlike, the calender says it's time for that annual springtime treat for gamers, the Midwest Gaming Classic! What's a Midwest Gaming Classic? Why, its "the largest all-encompassing electronic gaming trade show in the Midwest:"

This year, it will again be held at the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel, at 375 South Moorland Rd., just south of Brookfield Square and north of I-94.

The 2013 event runs from Saturday, March 23, from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday, from 10am to 5pm. Check their Event Guide for the schedule. Tickets are $35 for the entire weekend or $30 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday. Children 10 and under get in free with a paying adult. There are pinball and video arcade games to play--all set on free play, pinball and video arcade machines, accessories and parts to purchase, and fun to be had!

Don't feel like playing non-stop? Attend a Panel or Presentation. Billy Mitchel will be returning to present Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and High Scores at noon on Sunday. And unlike Mitchel's last visit, in 2004 when Mitchel publicly broke the record on my son's Donkey Kong machine, my hubby will have his Sharpie ready for an autograph!

*Photos are from the Midwest Gaming Classic archives.

Past Posts:
Midwest Gaming Classic at Brookfield's Sheraton Hotel - March 27 & 28, 2010
Play pinball and arcade games at the Midwest Gaming Classic

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Come out and play at the Midwest Gaming Classic, March 26 & 27

Brookfield, Family, Just for fun!, Special events

It's that time of year again, the Midwest Gaming Classic comes to Brookfield's Sheraton Hotel, 375 South Moorland Road this weekend. Pay one fee and play all day: $20 Admission on Saturday, March 26th, 10am - 8pm, and $10 Admission on Family Day, Sunday, March 27th, 10am - 5pm. Children 12 and under are FREE if accompanied by an adult with paid admission.

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Midwest Classic. Billed as "The largest all-encompassing electronics gaming trade show", it has grown quite a bit since its early days.  They are also offering a bus tour to the Stern Pinball factory in Illinois for $95 on Friday, March 25th. (Stern is the last of the pinball manufacturers in the US.)

There are tournaments, $5,000 in prizes, speakers, vendors, 100s of games to play, vintage games and computers museum section, and games to purchase. If it plugs in and has buttons, it probably will be at the Classic! The weather this weekend returns to the low 30s, so I would think attendance would be up. Check out the Event Guide for specifics.

Have fun!

Past Posts: Midwest Gaming Classic weekend, play pinball, arcade games & more!
Play pinball and arcade games at Midwest Gaming Classic .

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Don't laugh, this is serious, Rand Paul is pro-choice on toilets!

Going Green, Conservatives, Product safety, Just for fun!, Legislation

I think we could all use a little comic relief, so when I saw this caption on the Drudge Report, I had to snicker: Paul wants government hands off his toilet.

That's right. Newly elected Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky (Rep. Ron Paul's son) asked, "If the federal government can support abortion rights, why can't it also support light bulb choice."

I don't mean to diminish the serious side of Rand's inquiry, but it is a good question.

If you have shopped for incandescent light bulbs lately, you probably noticed that some higher wattage models are becoming scarce. (My personal favorite is the 150w large white globe bulb. It gives a nice even bright light for open ceiling fixtures, and because of its large size, the filament doesn't overheat--it lasts a long time. I can only find them at my trusty Elliot's Ace Hardware store.)

The article went on to suggest it was better not to "get [Paul] started about his toilet".

Rand Paul said, “'Light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets, you name it. You can’t go around your house without being told what to buy. You restrict my purchases. You don’t care about my choices. You don’t care about the consumer.''' (I would add phosphate dish-washing detergent to that list--you know, the kind that actually works.)

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Shades of Mr. Popper's Penguins, meet Lala

Just for fun!, Family, Movies & Books, Pets, Weather

On a snowy day like today, wouldn't it be nice to have someone go to the store for you? Check this out.

As a child, I enjoyed reading Mr. Popper's Penguins. As a mother, I enjoyed reading it again to my son. The story held up well over the years; he thought it was a real hit too. (It is available at the Brookfield Library.) But never in my wildest dreams did I think anyone would ever have a penguin for a house pet! Yet there he is on YouTube.

Unlike Mr. Popper, who kept Captain Cook (his pet penguin) in a freezer, the Japanese family seems to have an air conditioned porch for their pet. I hope you caught that the family gave Lala his freedom after they rescued him and nursed him back to health, but he chose to stay with them. Don't you love his backpack?

By the way, the story of Mr. Popper's Penguins makes it to the big screen this summer, starring Jim Carrey. (Though I am not a Jim Carrey fan, I do like penguins.) The story has been changed some in that this Mr. Popper is a single businessman who inherits several penguins. Hope the movie version maintains the charm of the book. The preview pictures look cute.

In the meantime, stay warm.

Mr. Popper's Penguins book review

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Love that lasts a lifetime, still holding hands at 90

Family, Holidays, Just for fun!

Today is Valentine's Day, a day that celebrates LOVE.

It is also a day that makes retailers happy if they happen to sell greeting cards, candy, flowers or jewelry! While those items might help show how much you care on February 14th, the other 364 days are equally, if not more, important.

Shortly after Christmas, I was privileged to witness a very dear couple (my aunt and uncle--both 90 years old) silently express their love for each other after nearly 65 years of marriage. My uncle was in the hospital and not expected to recover; my aunt was sitting next to him holding his hand. Our family was visiting.

There seemed to be something going on between them beyond just hand holding, which was touching in itself. They were playing the squeeze game: One party squeezes 4 times, the other answers with 3 squeezes, the reply is 2 squeezes, followed by a long squeeze answer.

Don't you know this? my aunt asked. We were clueless. No, we said. She joked Oh, you young people don't know everything and explained they had been doing this game for years--even before they were married.

This is the game:
Person 1 squeezes 4X, this asks the question, Do you love me?
The other person, Person 2, squeezes 3X in reply, Yes I do.
Then Person 1 squeezes 2X again to ask, How much?
The final answer from Person 2 comes in the form of 1 l-o-n-g, firm squeeze to say, THIS much.

They sat there and exchanged squeezes for quite some time as we chatted about the fun times we all had together.

The game was just a silly little thing, but it was special for them. I'm glad we were there to witness it. Their game showed that telling each other they loved each other was as normal for them as breathing.

You could tell the nurses thought they were a special couple too. One asked the secret to their nearly 65 years of marriage. Auntie said, Well, we put the Lord first, we're committed to each other--to being married... we love each other.

The book of Proverbs says, A friend loves at all times. And they have loved through good times and bad, through the ups and downs of marriage, a son's serious car accident and hospitalization, a granddaughters long recovery after being struck by lightening, 2 great grandchildren in neonatal ICU, my uncle's and their son's cancer, and financially challenging times. You know, life.

This dear couple would have been married 65 years this February, shortly before Valentine's Day. Unfortunately they didn't make that date; my uncle died the morning after our visit. But their love still lives on and will for eternity.

Be sure those you love know it today, and next time you hold hands with your sweetheart, maybe you want to introduce the squeeze game. XXXX, XXX, XX, X!

On Valentine's Day, Share the Word About the Benefits of Marriage.

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Yippee! Packers overcome obstacles to win Super Bowl

Just for fun!, WISCONSIN, Special events

Who would have thought that the team that lost earlier this season to Detroit and only got in the playoffs via the wild card, would go on to win the Super Bowl? What a year it has been for our Packers. And then the Super Bowl game itself had a few obstacles. Greg Jennings sums up the game nicely.

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No shadow of a doubt? Our groundhog predicts early spring

Just for fun!, TRAVEL, Weather

As my husband and I manned the snow blowers in the driveway last night, I did think this blizzard's silver lining might be that the groundhog would NOT see his shadow Wednesday morning.

Sure enough, Wynter, the Milwaukee County Zoo groundhog did NOT see her shadow this morning! Instead, she frolicked around in the snow a bit before going back into her den. Other groundhogs predicted the same--an early spring. I am all for that!

I couldn't help notice some other winter wonderland frolickers this morning. The kids down the street were literally diving head first into the snow banks, along with their pet Golden Retriever. Glad someone is enjoying the white stuff.

Me? I am thinking warm thoughts by planning a southern New Mexico and Arizona vacation. This will be new territory for us, and of course we want to see it all. Editing is never my strong suit: So many National Parks and little time.

Feel free to share your must see southern New Mexico and Arizona sites.

In the meantime, I hope our groundhog is right and we have an early spring.

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Brr, it's cold. It's also skating season at Brookfield parks

Just for fun!, Musing, Brookfield

The temperatures have dropped and that means Brookfield's skating ponds are OPEN! I noticed the park department swept off a spot on Kinsey Park's pond and posted the sign for skating. For my neighborhood, this is a relatively new amenity.

When I was a child, Kinsey Park pond was a popular skating spot during the winter months. Our park system even provided gas heat in the warming house! (Warming house/picnic shelter is pictured at left. Open doorways were closed off during the winter months.) Those were the good ole days.

I don't recall the shelter being closed off since we moved here in the late 1980s, but they did still allow skating. At least until the fateful day when the snow sweeper machine fell through the ice!

Many of us in the neighborhood felt the weather had been a little too warm to be driving on the ice at that time, but alas, because of the accident, the pond was deemed unsafe for skating from then on.

But last February I noticed a parks department worker sweeping off the pond again and a new sign: Skating Pond OPEN. So I asked what changed their minds? He said they did some studies* and found the pond's ice was stable enough to support skating again. Great.

So this weekend, maybe you and your kids might want to grab the skates and hit the ice? Have fun.

*The City of Brookfield has done several storm water projects in our neighborhood and with Kinsey Pond. In years past, it was thought there was too much drainage water flowing into and out of the pond, under the ice. This is why they thought the ice was unstable. I believe there were some changes made since the sewer projects, and so that is no longer the case. Last winter was the first time I noticed the pond was OPEN for skating in a l-o-n-g time.

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Last chance! See M&I Seiff toy Chrismas display, Today - Jan. 3rd

Just for fun!, Holidays, Special events


Looking for a delightful diversion this weekend? How about visiting The Enchanted Forest at the M&I Bank downtown Milwaukee? Best of all it is free!

Every year the M&I Bank creates a unique winter wonderland, right in its downtown lobby, with a special theme. The display features its extensive collection of Steiff stuffed animals, all sporting imaginative costumes against a backdrop of real Christmas trees and scenery. You are free to walk around and through the exhibit on the pathways provided, but don't touch the animals.

This year the theme is The Enchanted Forest. Each stuffed Steiff toy dons its colorful custom made costume to go along with the theme, complete with fairy wings. It really must be seen to be appreciated.

I stopped in today because sadly, this may be the last year for the Steiff Christmas display. The M&I is in the process of being sold to a Canadian bank, and so the future for the Steiffs is in doubt.

But there is still time to see these adorable animals. Hours are:
  • New Year's Day 9am - 4pm
  • Sunday, January 2nd 9am - 4pm
  • Monday, January 3rd 9am - 5pm
After Monday, it is all over, so do take the time to stop in if you can. I have seen a number of these in the past, but this one was my favorite.

Happy New Year!

M&I Bank Lobby
770 North Water Street (Corner of Water and Wells)

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Just for fun: What if 1st Christmas were today?

Just for fun!, Holidays, Religion

Need to take a break from the pressures of preparing for Christmas? Take a look at this clever video of the events recorded in Luke 2:1-14 and Matthew 2:1-12, put into the context of today's technology. It sure made me smile.

Note that in the Bible, the Magi did NOT go to the stable in Bethlehem (after all, you have to account for travel time!), but they did go to Mary and Joseph's home in Bethlehem when Jesus was a toddler. The Bible says in Matthew 2: 11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

This Christmas, you might want to use this convenient web-page of the Christmas story found in the Bible--its arranged by topic. They also have some ideas for making Christ the center of your Christmas.

OK, break-time is over. Back to work!

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Rare total lunar eclipse tonight begins at 12:33am

Just for fun!, Special events, Weather

Tonight we have a rare occurrence: A Total Lunar Eclipse that Coincides with the Winter Solstice! The last one occurred in 1638. And we are fortunate enough to see the whole thing... that is if the clouds will part and you are a night owl.

In our area, it begins at 12:33am tonight, will swallow the moon at 1:41am, and have the deepest red color at 2:17am, according to

I'll probably be up doing Christmas prep so I am going to set my kitchen timer as a reminder. I hope the clouds will cooperate.

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A St. Nick morning surprise

History, Family, Just for fun!, Holidays

In my childhood days, I would have raced downstairs on this morning to check my St. Nick stocking. These days, I often remember the day with a little treat for my family, even though we are all adults.

Somehow, St. Nick always forgets ;-) my stocking, but this morning, I found a very pleasant surprise in my email in-box that put me in the Christmas spirit. Here it is:

"This flash mob was organized by to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!" The clip information stated there were over 100 participants in the production. This would be one of the few times I wish I had been shopping!

Happy St. Nicholas Day and Merry Christmas

Do you celebrate St. Nick on Dec. 6th? It's very Milwaukee

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Video of rescued baby hummingbird has to make you smile!

Just for fun!, Nature

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Attack of the Giant Tomato Plants

Gardening, Just for fun!, Interesting idea

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Who ate my dill?

Just for fun!, Nature, Gardening

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The "Cheap Date" - dinner & movie under $14

Family, Brookfield, Living well on less $, Just for fun!, Movies & Books

Last Friday night, my husband and I went on a cheap date. We had had a busy week getting our kitchen emptied out for the floor re-finishers, so cooking was out of the question. We were both too tired to go out for dinner at one of our favorite places like Singha Thai,* but we did need to eat dinner.

How about going to that new Asian place at Brookfield Marketplace?, I asked.  That seemed to click. The Asian Chef, the latest addition to Brookfield Marketplace on Greenfield Ave, east of Moorland Rd., just moved in a few weeks ago and so far, is getting rave reviews--at least from us and some of our neighbors.

Asian Chef offers a wide variety of choices and even lets you choose white or brown rice. The cost/value quotient seems right too. You can get a very adequate lunch or dinner for $4.75. (Some choices are more.) Since there really wasn't a good place to eat amid our chaos at home, we chose to dine in.

After our tasty dinner we went over to the Pick 'n Save to see if they had one of those Red Box movie rental for a $1 kiosks. Yes, they did. We picked out Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. That proved to be a winner too. It was a great story of South Africa during their early post apartheid days in 1995. Freeman plays President Nelson Mandela; Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the nation's Rugby star. Mandela uses the country's nearly all white Rugby team to unite the country.

The closeup shots of the Rugby games were reason enough to watch this movie. (Yikes, they make American football players look like wimps!) But watching a segregated nation come together was the real story. Invictus was inspiring.

Spoiler alert: My favorite scene was when the underdog South African team played New Zealand, the favorite, in the World Cup. New Zealand attributed their success to the Maori war dance that they did just prior to every game. It was very intimidating. In contrast, the South African team got on their knees on the field and thanked God for their win. It was one of those good vs. evil moments.

Rating: Invictus was rated PG-13. There was only 1 F-bomb that I heard, and it was said with a rather thick accent. There was one scene where Damon and his wife are shown in an embrace and they fall onto a bed in a hotel room. The audience doesn't see them on the bed though. So as movies go, it is pretty tame. Check out what Common Sense media has to say about the movie if you are unsure your teens should watch.

So that was our cheap date. Sometimes simple is simply perfect!

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Target Store at Plan Commission tonight, 4K Tuesday, Bike Race Friday

Education, City of Brookfield, Elmbrook, 4-K, Development, Special events, TAXES, Just for fun!

Alderman Lisa Mellone sent me the notice on the Target Store and Bike Race. A reader alerted me to the discussion of 4K at Elmbrook's School Board meeting.

Quebecor Target Store Project, Brookfield Plan Commission, 6pm tonight

"A concept review of the proposed Target Store development on the old Quebecor site is scheduled for this Monday, July 12th, 6pm in Council Chambers at City Hall. At this point the applicant is seeking feedback from the Plan Commission on the proposal at their meeting. "

This project has changed considerably from the former mixed use project, of housing and smaller retail, that fell through for the Quebecor site in 2007.

Even the original Ryan Cos proposal had a senior housing possibility, but that has changed too--at least from Ryan's perspective. JSOnline: Plan for new Brookfield Target on Blue Mound Road advance: "Ryan executives considered including senior apartments as part of the development. But that was dropped in favor of doing just retail, along with some expanded green space along the portions of the site that border N. Columbia Blvd. and Krueger Park... ...The green space would likely be donated to the city, the plan said."

Since Ryan Cos'. plan calls for a Target Store with grocery and a few other retail stores-- no housing--the City will have to revisit the plan to approve of the site being solely retail to move it forward.

Elmbrook School Board Meeting
, Tuesday, July 13, 6pm at Central Administrative Offices

The Enrollment Management Study Team will give a report on their findings. (Item 3A on Agenda) Suggestions include ADDING 4K, closing a school and ADDING 4K, and more. With the new school funding changes (not favorable to Elmbrook), I am sure we want to keep an eye on these suggestions!

School Funding Plan Could Hurt

State Schools Chief Proposes Revamp of Funding System

Cycling Classic Bike Race, July 16th, City of Brookfield Civic Center

This looks like fun. On Friday, July 16th, Brookfield's Civic Center roads will be closed to serve as the track for several bike races during the day! Events start at 9:30am and the last race begins at 5:45pm.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau was looking for volunteers to serve as race marshals. If you are interested in helping, contact Nancy Justman at 262-789-0220 or

Additional information can be found at International Cycling Classic

Well, it is back to the grindstone for me, or more specifically, sanding Spackle in my kitchen.

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"Summertime and the livin' is easy" ...make that busy

Just for fun!, Musing, Constitution, Legislation, Media/ Talk radio

Today is the first day of summer according to the calendar, though most of us have been in summer mode for weeks now. I am already having that summer is slipping away feeling.

I know I shouldn't be panicking about it. At least my 14 or so tomato plants are growing nicely, the pole beans popped up over the weekend (I was late on planting those), and my perennial bed is growing like a jungle.

Sadly, I don't have time to beat the flowers back into submission, because today I start ripping the tile off my kitchen back splash. That leads to Spackle-fest to restore the damaged area. (I love Red Devil ONETIME Lightweight Spackling Compound for the final few coats. It is much finer and feathers out nicely.) After that I must wash the remaining walls and ceiling and prep for painting by repairing the cracks, holes, and dings. Finally, the actual painting with Sherwin-Williams oil base paint. (I love that stuff; it wears like iron. Do wear a professional respirator though.) That little project should keep me busy for weeks!

We still haven't committed 100% to a summer road trip vacation. If we go, it will probably be to Yellowstone. Part of me wants to take my grandmother's advice, which is, go while you can. The other part of me is hesitant for a variety of reasons. Fiddlee-dee-dee, I'll think about that tomorrow. Right now I need to find my chisel and start popping tiles off the wall.

How about you? Any great travel plans or projects planned for the summer?

Of course I am still watching some national and local issues. The is always a good source. is a bit out there but interesting--especially on the BP oil spill.

Government control of the Internet by the FTC (tax and regulate internet, govt. funding of newspapers) and FCC (access) and DHS (controlling actual information) is something that should concern us all. There is an actual bill, sponsored by Lieberman, brewing in the Senate on this.

...But right now, I have to take off my political hat for my painter's hat. Happy summer!

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Sat. June 12: 'Volksfest' celebrates all things Volkswagen at Concours Motors

Just for fun!, Family, Free, Special events, Transportation, WISCONSIN

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Song of the Pond

Just for fun!, Nature, , Brookfield

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Midwest Gaming Classic at Brookfield's Sheraton Hotel - March 27 & 28

Brookfield, Family, Just for fun!, Special events

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Musing about the eve of Y2K and Y2K+10

Just for fun!, Musing, Holidays, Movies & Books

Ten years ago, New Year's Eve was celebrated with a bit of apprehension because of Y2K. I know I wondered if the lights would stay on, or more importantly, if the heat would stay on! Would the technological fabric of our lives would hold together or unravel?

My old Girl Scout motto, Be Prepared, prompted me to do just that: be prepared for what might come. We had our emergency light, heat, water, and food sources in the ready, just in case. Thankfully, nothing happened. Whether we went off grid for a national emergency or just a weather related reason, as we did a few weeks ago, we learned it is good to be ready.

Since our house had a fireplace, we invited my dad and sister to our house New Year's Eve 1999 for a movie marathon. (Well, at least until midnight, if the power went off.) We watched home movies that spanned 40 years, from our childhood days on up to my son's toddler days, and ate all manner of junk food. We had fun.

Thankfully, there was no technology failure and no need for concern. Our movie marathon continued past midnight.

This New Year's Eve, I find myself thinking concern over Y2K was the good ole days!

In 1999, our economy wasn't in the mess it is in today. We also weren't poised to take over the private health insurance industry with an unconstitutionally mandated government system. There was no war on terror, at least not on our soil, as most of us thought the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was more of a fluke.

This New Year's Eve, one thing remains the same as New Year's Eve 1999: the movie marathon. We've done it every year since Y2K. We have upgraded to showing DVD's with a projector on a big screen in the living room though.

This year's picks: The latest Star Trek, the 4th Indiana Jones, G-Force, and maybe Night at the Museum 2. There might also be a home movie or 2 for nostalgia's sake.

Let the junk food and festivities begin!

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So glad to be back on the grid!

Just for fun!, Musing, Weather

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday morning we were into hour 12 of being without electricity. The previous night, the power flicked 3 times and then went off around 9pm, right in the middle of cookie baking. At least I had just finished baking one batch and hadn't started another.

We did the usual scramble for flashlights and candles and then decided we might as well turn in for the night.

I did pick up our corded phone to call in to WE Energies. Oops, we have VOIP, no phone! Got out the cell phone and made the call, only to hear a long explanation how 16,000 homes were out of power and they would be repairing as quickly as safely possible. I did not listen to the entire message because it seemed to just drone on about the crisis and didn't have an option to report an outage.

We slept OK because we keep our bedroom rather chilly anyway. The next morning I had to attend to the number one concern: COFFEE. Fortunately I had some ground already so I made a makeshift cup atop of our propane single burner rig. Ahhh, now I felt ready to face the day.

Called WE Energies again. This time I got a new message of 25,000 people out of power...they were calling in private contractors to help restore power... etc. etc. Again, I did not wait until the end, because cell phone battery life was a concern.

Second item of business was to make friends with the snow-blower. I got out my detailed instructions and prayed it would start easily for me on a slow pull start. It did! (It has electric start, but that was not an option.)

Called WE Energies after doing most of the driveway. This time they were down to 9,000 people out of power and estimates were restoration by noon for Milwaukee County and, gasp, midnight for Waukesha. Argh.

While I was searching for something to eat without opening the refrigerator, I noticed the dog was shivering in the house. Put his sweater on. Had an interesting lunch of walnuts, rye bread, and an apple.

Went back outside for shovel clean-up and hauled some wood in for a fire. The temperature was supposed to drop later; I figured I better be prepared.

Finished the snow clean up and came in. I happily found some ground decaf coffee for a second cup! Got the fire going and threw in 2 foil wrapped potatoes for supper.

After that, I called my sister, who volunteered to try to call WE Energies again for me. She actually listened to the entire message, this one included information about Kenosha County, and found there was an opportunity to report an outage at the very end of the message. She reported ours and then called me back to report they were now saying power might no be restored until noon Thursday!

Oh-oh, I better get more wood in, I thought, if we had another day to go without heat.

My other half came home around 6pm. He called WE Energies and on the first ring, got a live body!!! After relaying the events of our outage, which indicated a re-closer trip (like circuit breaker on the transformer) was the likely culprit. He told the worker that it probably only needed resetting. (Our neighborhood has had trouble with it before.)

Ate a dinner of canned beef stew and our fireplace baked potatoes amid a table full of lit candles. Not bad. (I am still in my coat, boots, and headband from shoveling. It was bulky but warm.)

Somewhere around 7:30pm, the lights came back on! Yippee!!! The furnace and refrigerator kicked in; we were back to business as usual. I promptly turned the oven on; the cookie marathon must go on!

There is nothing like a power outage to make one appreciate the conveniences we all take for granted. We live with more conveniences than Henry the 8th ever had!

I often think of Laura Ingalls in her book, The Long Winter (inspired by her life), when I start feeling sorry for myself when dealing with the cold and snow. In her book, Laura and her sister Mary had to twist up sticks of hay non-stop to keep the fire going, because they ran out of firewood. Food was also very short. They nearly died during that winter.

I also think of Abraham Lincoln, who read by firelight. You really have to want to read to do that. I couldn't manage it even with a table full of candles.

How about the wonders of hot, running water? A hot shower is a blessing I have appreciated ever since the specter of Y2K threatened that basic part of every day life in America.

Our 22 hours without power reminded me that I could be better prepared to deal with power outages. Keeping food that is ready to eat, or with minimal cooking, water, candles, lamp oil, fire wood or duraflame logs, and propane lanterns (they throw a fair amount of heat), stoves and heaters are things we all should have on hand.

We managed pretty well for our 22 hour ordeal, if you don't count all the times I flicked on the light switches to no avail. Can't say I want to repeat it though!

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Do you celebrate St. Nick on Dec. 6th? It's very Milwaukee

Just for fun!, History, Family, Holidays

Did you grow up celebrating St. Nicholas' Day? If so, you know to hang your stocking by the chimney on the eve of Dec. 5th!

St. Nicholas or St. Nick is relatively unknown in most of the United States. He was a Christian Bishop living in the Roman Empire in the early 300s AD. The holiday is a German custom and very much part of being a Milwaukeean.

When I was a little girl, we didn't celebrate Santa on Christmas morning, but we did enjoy hanging a clean sock up on the eve of Dec. 5th. Since we didn't have a fire place. we improvised by hanging our socks on the drawer handles of the mahogany knee hole desk. Hey, it kind of looked like a fire place!

It was always fun the next morning to see what mom and dad put into our stockings. Sometimes we would get a stuffed animal; sometimes golden foiled chocolate coins*--those were always intriguing. Once they forgot all about St. Nick until we hung up our socks. That year we got bags of home-popped popcorn, a pack of gum? and some quarters.

Why the chocolate coins? If you know the St. Nicholas story, you would know that he was said to have thrown money through an open window of a poor family's home, during the night. The family was poor and had no dowry money for their 3 daughters. Having no dowry back then meant they probably wouldn't marry, which also meant they would be sold as slaves or go into the oldest profession. The money was said to have landed on their socks and shoes drying by the hearth. It is interesting to me that he did this secretly--no pompous show of his generosity.

In remembering St. Nicholas' Day, oranges or apples often were given. They were to represent the gold St. Nick gave. That is why an orange frequently was put into the toe of a Christmas or St. Nick stocking. (Oranges used to be pricey fruit before the days of improved transportation and considered a real treat.)

I kept the St. Nick tradition alive with my son too. Unlike Santa's visit, which occurs on Christmas Eve, St. Nick occurs early in the month. There is no confusion for children as to where St. Nick fits into the nativity story. (It is rather like celebrating George Washington's birthday with cherry pie.) St. Nicholas Day is a just-for-fun holiday commemorating a real person, who was known for his kindness and good work. No need for all the tall tales, deceit, and subterfuge about how St. Nick is omniscient or makes it all around the world in one night delivering presents to good boys and girls.

No, St. Nicks can be celebrated and enjoyed in the full light of the truth and used to illustrate an important biblical truth that it is more blessed to give than receive. In fact, you could incorporate a secret good deed for a needy family as part of your celebration with your children.

Giving, rather than receiving, after all, is a message we all need to remember every day of the year.

Have a happy St. Nicholas Day!

St. Nick's Day Can be a Nice Little Surprise Milwaukee Journal, 1999 - Lots of nostalgia about Winkies and Drews Variety stores. (I still love to visit Winkies in Whitefish Bay!)

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Hey, I'm back in!

Just for fun!, Holidays

Thanksgiving is considered the perfect holiday at our house. On a very superficial level, it is because I live with 2 turkey hounds! (3 turkey hounds if you include the dog.) They never get sick of turkey. In fact, we ran out on Monday, but thanks to a good friend who donated her leftovers, my guys are happily back in turkey sandwiches.  Thanksgiving is also a holiday that is rather casual and there are no gifts involved. Perfect.

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Have you seen "Where's George"?

Just for fun!

Where's George? George who?

Why, George Washington! George Washington on the face of the U.S. dollar.

I received one of these specially stamped dollars in change at Yellowstone National Park this summer on August 22nd. Having never seen or heard of Where's George before, I said to my son, What is this? He knew. (How is it they always know?)

He explained that you can go to the Where's George? website and enter the serial number and find out where the dollar has all been.

I did that with mine and found this: "Stamped on 8/20/09 in Eagle, Idaho. My oldest son and I spent it on 8/21/09 to get gas at a Chevron Station in Twin Falls, Idaho, while on a weekend road trip to Utah Olymipc Park in Park City, Utah!"

That meant it traveled from Park City, Utah to Yellowstone in just one day. I wrote how, when, and where I got my George when I registered mine. The website will notify me of the bill's travels via email. Tracking it's travels seems a fun thing to do.

Other denominations can be tracked as well, on up to Ben on the $100 bill. Where's George used to sell rubber stamps to neatly mark the bills. They must have stopped doing that, so people are just marking them themselves. (I wouldn't mark any, but I will keep track of the one I found. If you look at the frequently asked questions, it basically explains this isn't considered defacement as long as it is done neatly and doesn't render the bill unusable.)

So, where do you think George will show up next?

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A peach of a year... literally!

Just for fun!, Gardening, Food, Living well on less $, Weather

Blog post with more photos

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Cheer up, still 2 weeks of summer left

Just for fun!, Weather

We certainly had glorious weather for Labor Day weekend, didn't we? It was especially notable because our summer so far has been less than stellar. Hope you did something outside.

People tend to think that just because the kids went back to school, the summer is over. But if you look at the calendar the official first day of fall does not begin for 2 more weeks. I plan to enjoy every day still in summer mode.

This isn't a new pattern; even when I homeschooled, our first day of school was not until the first day of fall on September 22nd. I figured, why waste all those beautiful days starting school before summer ended? (FYI: If you don't take 2 weeks off for Christmas and a week for spring break, you can get all the hours in and still finish by early May. Homeschools don't have all those early release days either.)

I am going to do my best to enjoy these last 2 weeks of summer to the fullest. Hey, I just had my first garden grown tomato and mayo sandwich! Mmm-Mmm. Hopefully there will be more to come. Then it's time start on my next favorite season: autumn.

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My Mulberry marathon continues

Just for fun!, Gardening, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

For full photo version see brookfield7

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Pond full of fun

Just for fun!, Nature

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In honor of State Fair, try a cream puff recipe!

Just for fun!, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

Cream puffs usually top the list of must have food treats at the State Fair. In case you didn't get your fill, why not make your own? They are not  difficult to make, plus you can make them yourself for a fracton of the State Fair price

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My day at the Wisconsin State Fair w/photos

Just for fun!, Special events, WISCONSIN

Posting with embeded photos on Brookfield7.

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Sometimes you just need a good laugh, watch this

Just for fun!

Take a break from growing deficits and the prospect of single payer Obamacare and watch Extreme Shepherding. It is truly remarkable when you consider how dumb sheep are.

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My tomatoes not happy with chilly July

Just for fun!, Musing, Gardening, Weather

My, oh my, we had a chilly July. We only went above our average high of 85 degrees to hit a sweltering 86, according to once and 3 times if you use AccuWeather. Out of the 31 days in July, only 4-6 were above the average low of 63 degrees, depending on which source you use. That is pretty chilly.

The chart on was rather interesting for Milwaukee. It shows the highs, lows, records, etc. all in easy to compare columns. Neither nor AccuWeather show the high of 94 degrees on July 27 this year as JSOnline reported though. But we really don't need the charts to tell us this July has been cool, our gardens and number of blankets on the bed tell us that.

Milwaukee's all time high was 105 in 1934. In fact, the 1930s look like a hot decade. The next record high was 103 in 1995. I knew that without looking at the chart; that was the summer we remodeled and literally had half our house open to the elements. Yup, that means living with NO air conditioning and lots of mosquitoes. Believe it or not, you do get used to the heat. The mercury topped 105 at our house.

Most of us have not had our air conditioning on for much this summer, which is a plus when it comes time to pay our WE Energies bills. But the tomato plants in my garden are not so happy with all these good sleeping, cool nights!

Today I did find one tiny tomato that had fallen off the plant and had started turning a dull orange. It is a new variety to me called a berry tomato and is shaped much like a small strawberry. That berry tomato was my first inkling of anything ripening in my garden.

Any of you gardeners out there have tomatoes ripening? Do let me know if yours are maturing. I would like to think someone is enjoying a tomato mayonnaise sandwich out there. After all, it is summer.

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The Spam Museum celebrates all things pork

Interesting places, Just for fun!, TRAVEL

No, this isn't a commentary on Obama's $timulus bill that we just found out included $20.5 million dollars worth of pork and ham purchases. Instead, I am talking about the REAL Spam capitol of the world located in Austin, Minnesota, home of Hormel's SPAM MUSEUM.

Yes, there really is a SPAM MUSEUM! Although it is not a destination in itself, it certainly is a fun drive-by attraction. Located just off I-90, it is easy to find and well worth the hour or two visit.

We happened upon it several years ago* on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park. There it was in all it's glory, complete with bronze statue of a farmer and 2 pigs.

Attractions include a computer Q & A Cafe of Spam facts. (Photo) They cleverly placed the computer controls on breakfast plates of Spam and eggs! Just roll the egg yolk track ball and click the butter pat to select the answer. The facts appear on the specials of the day menu. Cute.

Historical exhibits include a few full sized scenes of WW2 camps, complete with soldiers. After all, Spam was a major component of a soldier's chow, as my dad would refer to military dining fare. (Surprisingly, he still enjoyed the occasional meal of baked Spam when we were growing up.)

There is a Monty Python section, with wacky clips from the show--evidently Spam was a popular topic of the program. On the more serious side, there is a Spam movie and lots of  interactive things for kids to do too.

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Of Skunk Cabbages, streambanks, and summer reading fun

Family, Just for fun!, City of Brookfield, Library, Nature

(More photos on Brookfield7)

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Ahoy Kids, there be Buried Treasure in Brookfield!

Just for fun!, Family, Special events

That's right. For children going into K4 through 6th grades this fall, there be Buried Treasure to be found in Brookfield. Actually, Buried Treasure is the theme of this summer's Vacation Bible School at Brookside Baptist Church next week, July 13 - 17th, 6:25 - 8:30pm.

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Guess who turned 50 this year? How about a party?

Just for fun!, Special events

Barbie, the eternal 20-something fashion doll born in 1959, turned 50 this year. Although Barbie made her debut in March of 1959, the celebrations seem to be continual. (You can tell the baby boom is aging when our toys hit the big 50!)

This week, Barbie collectors and fans are meeting in Washington DC for the National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention's Fiftieth Anniversary Gala party. A friend of mine is there right now celebrating everything Barbie. It sounded like fun.

That got me to thinking...if you have daughters and are looking for something fun to do this summer, why not hold your own Barbie 50th Birthday party?

Invite a few friends over for lunch and don't forget to invite the Barbies too. If it is barbecue / picnic fare, then guests and Barbies dress for that. If your gathering is more like high tea, then the girls and Barbies could don their best. Maybe they could try to dress alike?

Moms could come too--maybe some still have their Barbies--then you could do Barbie Through the Decades.

Barbie is somewhat controversial in some circles, but I really enjoyed mine. I still remember the excitement on the day my sister and I went to the downtown Boston Store to purchase our dolls. The price was $3.00! The outfits in the little catalog/magazine ran $1.00 to $6.00. Most were in the $2.00 - $3.50 range. They were beautifully made.

My sister and I would play Barbies together and with our friends from about 4th grade through Jr. High. Mattel didn't have the Barbie Dream House back then. Instead, we used our imagination and whatever we could find to simulate a house, etc.

Although I was just a child, I was enamored by the attention to detail in the clothing construction and accessories. Pictured are my 2 favorite Barbie outfits: the casual outfit featured real cork mule sandals and blue jeans with top stitching and a zipper fly, the coat and dress ensemble included a purse with comb and brass compact. The compact, the size of an aspirin, was monogrammed with a B and opened to reveal a mirror and powder puff. (Wish I knew where that went!)

I noticed that I have something in common with both Barbie dolls. When I dressed them up for their photos today, I had a hard time getting their pants and dress zippers zipped! Could it be Barbie is suffering from middle age spread too?

Have fun.

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Making room for Heirloom Tomatoes

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

This will be my 3rd year planting heirloom tomatoes. If you have not tried any, make room for 1 or 2 this year. Their flavor is spectacular and their color and shape fun. I don't think you will be disappointed.

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Paper or Plastic? Neither? But what do you do with garbage?

Follow the money, Government / Bureaucracy, Going Green, TAXES, Just for fun!

More photos posted on Brookfield7

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Being "stubborn as a mule" can be a good thing

Conservatives, Just for fun!, Legislation, National Parks, President Obama

Or I could title this post: Of MULES AND MEN

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Genetic engineering gone awry? Take a look; it's funny!

Food, Gardening, Just for fun!

If you have ever grown a vegetable garden, you know that sometimes the carrots or potatoes grow in some unusual shapes. I have harvested anatomically correct boy carrots or potatoes that looked like aliens. But I have never encountered produce that resembled the female form. That is until now.

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Midwest Gaming Classic weekend, play pinball, arcade games & more!

Just for fun!, Special events

It's that time of year again, The Midwest Gaming Classic comes to Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc this Saturday, March 21st, 10am to 8pm, and Sunday, March 22nd, 10am to 5pm. This year attendees have a chance to win a PLAYSTATION 3 or tickets to Six Flags Great America. Check out Midwest's website for details on the Gaming Classic weekend.

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I thank me very much

Holidays, Just for fun!, President Obama

Remember when Flip Wilson used to say, "The devil made me do it"?

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"Live like you mean it?" No, SPEND like you mean it!

Government / Bureaucracy, Just for fun!, WISCONSIN

 By now you have heard of Wisconsin's new slogan: Live like you mean it. Besides the point that what in the world does that mean?, I have to ask, what did the committee do to earn their $50,000 to create that profundity?

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It's St. Patrick's Day, time to take down Christmas wreaths

Holidays, Just for fun!

Today is St. Patrick's Day!

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Sights and sounds of spring: did you see 'red'?

Just for fun!, Nature, Weather

Most people's spirits are lifted when the sun shines and the temperatures head upward. Seems we are in for a few nice days--at last!

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Wow! Now that is a good, cheap pizza

Good food / recipes, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I cannot remember when we started the tradition of having frozen pizza on a Saturday night at our house. It may date back to when my husband and I were first married in the late 1970s. It is a tradition that has stuck over the years though. The brand may have changed, but menu has stayed the same. (I joke it is against my religion to cook on the weekend.)

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Treasure Hunt! Be sure to leave a map

Just for fun!, THE ECONOMY

 socks rather than stocks

Fantasy State Budget Reports

Interesting idea, Just for fun!, TAXES


No wonder Democrats don't mind raising taxes. They don't pay 'em!

Just for fun!, Politics, TAXES

In case you did not catch this one, from the land of Truth is stranger than fiction or You can't make this stuff up, another Obama Cabinet pick confirmation was stalled yesterday.

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Even MAD magazine has Obama on the cover!

Just for fun!, President Obama

Seems like President Obama's picture is on the front page of nearly every paper and magazine these days. In the pre-inaugural paper, one girl I know exclaimed, his picture is even in the food section!

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Yearning for the dog days of summer on a 3 dog night

History, Just for fun!, Weather

The temperature is dropping again. On cold days like today, I am happy when our little dog plants himself at my feet during the day or sits on my lap. He is nice and warm. Better yet is when he dives under the covers at night and snuggles in. One little 13 pound pooch can generate a fair amount of heat! That made me think of the phrase, 3 dog night.  

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1st sign of spring--a gardening catalog!

Gardening, Interesting places, Just for fun!, WISCONSIN

One of the sure signs of spring are the gardening catalogs that arrive in my mailbox. I received the first yesterday, and what a beauty! It was from Klehm's Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery in Avalon, Wisconsin.

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More trivia:Tardiness of oath costs Obama 1st status

Just for fun!, President Obama


7 flick picks for cold winter nights

Just for fun!, Movies & Books, Weather

Here are a few of my favorite winter themed movies. Most are based on true stories; some are pure fluff.  I obtained many of them from the library*. They all make me glad I am snuggled up on the couch under an afghan instead of being out in the elements!

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Fantasy weather forecasts

Interesting idea, Just for fun!, Weather

Some people are obsessed with the weather. They are glued to the Weather Channel and hang on every word of the local meteorologist. Instead of reporting real news, as every snow storm or cold snap approaches, network and local news stations hype endless stories featuring newscasters shivering outside, show you how to layer clothing, or instruct you to carry a snow shovel in your car.

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Yearning for dog days of summer on a 3 dog night

History, Just for fun!, Weather

On cold days like today, I am happy when our little dog plants himself at my feet during the day or sits on my lap. He is nice and warm. Better yet is when he dives under the covers at night and snuggles in. One little 13 pound pooch can generate a fair amount of heat! That made me think of the phrase, 3 dog night.  

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Biscotti Nocciole Cioccolato (hazelnut, chocolate cookies)

Good food / recipes, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

It is no secret; I love coffee! And what goes better with coffee than a good cookie? Biscotti, of course!

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Wish list for 2009

Just for fun!

If you could have anything you wanted for next year, what would it be? (Besides world peace, etc.)

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This is funny!

Just for fun!, Movies & Books

I don't watch network TV shows anymore, but I love to watch movies. They make mundane, household tasks like folding laundry, ironing, changing the bed, etc. more enjoyable. The TV and VCR in my kitchen get a real workout during my cookie marathons too.

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Cookie marathon nearly finished, 2 hurdles to go

Helping others, Holidays, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

For as long as I can remember, baking cookies has always been a part of celebrating Christmas. My mom would let my sister and I help, even though that meant the task would take longer and the kitchen be messier. It is a cherished memory. 

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Snow is a novelty for some in Houston, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama & here

Just for fun!, Weather

On Wednesday, Surprise flurries warm Houston hearts Fluffy flakes bring delight to some, consternation to others--and tie a 64-year-old record:

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Penzeys: Herbs & Spice and everything nice

City of Brookfield, Good food / recipes, Interesting places, Just for fun!

If you love to cook or know someone who does, stop in at Penzeys herb and spice shop. They recently relocated from the Town of Brookfield to the east side of the Brookfield Fashion Center on Bluemound Road.

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New segment of Greenway Corridor at Mary Knoll Park

City of Brookfield, Just for fun!, TAXES

If you use Sunnyslope Road, you may have noticed some construction going on in the woods south of Mary Knoll Park at Kinsey Park Drive.

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Penzeys spice & herb shop now in Brookfield Fashion Center

Interesting places, Just for fun!, Living well on less $


What, me worry? (About recession)

Just for fun!, THE ECONOMY

I don't go to shopping at malls* very often for several reasons: 1. I can never find the style or item I need, and if I can, it is too expensive. 2. Watching people buy frivolous, overpriced stuff makes me want to leave. 3. Often, they are too crowded. But every 4 weeks or so, I do make a pilgrimage to Mayfair's Alterra coffee stand for my 5# bag of whole bean Sumatra coffee.

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SPAM making a comeback?

Just for fun!, THE ECONOMY Spam Turns Serious and Homel Turns Out More Nov 14

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Fun fall project

Just for fun!, Nature

Here is a fun project that you might want to try: Give oak leaves the Midas touch!

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Free baking demos at Brookfield Suites Friday, Nov. 14

Education, Free, Good food / recipes, Just for fun!

This Friday at Brookfield Suites Hotel on 1200 S. Moorland Road , The King Arthur Flour company will offer 2 baking classes. Did I mention it was FREE?

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Which candidate would you invite for coffee? Sarah, meet Silvia

Elections, Just for fun!, McCain 2008, Obama 2008, Politics

Governor Palin returned to her home state, Alaska, after the convention. In watching interviews with the locals, it was pretty hard to miss that they all call her "Sarah." (She does enjoy a 68 to 80% approval rating.)

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Unique handmade gifts at Holiday Marketplace annual sale: Oct. 24th & 25th

Just for fun!, Special events

Two very talented ladies hold a wonderful sale every October in a home in my neighborhood.

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Unique, handmade gifts: Holiday Marketplace annual sale Oct. 24th & 25th

Just for fun!, Special events

Two very talented ladies hold a wonderful sale every October in a home in my neighborhood.

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asks, Want a TV section?

Alert, Just for fun!

Most people I know are thoroughly disgusted with the Milwaukee Journal's liberal bias. One woman canceled her paper after the Journal failed to quote Governor Palin accurately in a was her last straw.

Now the paper asks, do you still want to receive the TV Cue section on Sundays?

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It's Puffball mushroom season again

Food, Gardening, Just for fun!, Nature

There was a buzz of excitement amongst the adults in my aunt and uncle's Brookfield home, as they laid their treasures on the kitchen counter. The grownups had just returned from a mushroom hunting expedition at Kinsey Park and the 2 neighboring homes and had struck pay dirt.

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New twist on Reagan's "I'm from the help"

Government / Bureaucracy, Just for fun!

One of my favorite Ronald Reagan quotes is, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

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Food fight!

Food, Just for fun!


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Beautiful day? Try lunch up on the roof garden

Good food / recipes, Interesting places, Just for fun!

Last July my high school girlfriends and I lunched at an interesting restaurant in Shorewood, the ANABA TEA ROOM.

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"Osama" on one N.Y. county's ballots, no kidding

Elections, Just for fun!, Obama 2008

It's the old typo problem again. Barack 'Osama" on Rensselaer County ballots! Hundreds of the absentee ballots were mailed out in that county.

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Elm Grove's Sendik's Fall Extravaganza Oct. 9-15th

Just for fun!

Here is something fun to do this weekend...stop in at the Balistreri Sendik's stores and celebrate fall!

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Comic Relief: ABC's Match-o-Matic on Obama & McCain

Elections, Just for fun!, McCain 2008, Obama 2008, Politics

Between the voter fraud issue and yesterday's stock market, sometimes a body needs a little comic relief!

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It's Puffball mushroom season

Interesting idea, Just for fun!, Nature

There was a buzz of excitement amongst the adults in my aunt and uncle's Brookfield home, as they laid their treasures on the kitchen counter. They had just returned from a mushroom hunting expedition at Kinsey Park and the 2 neighboring homes and had struck pay dirt.

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Short trips: Out and about in West Bend

Just for fun!, Short trips, TRAVEL

The weather promises to be beautiful this weekend. How about a short trip to the north?

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Shorewood native David Zucker's movie American Carol, opens Oct. 3

Just for fun!, Movies & Books

I went to school with the Zucker brothers. Jerry was in my class; David was 2, maybe 3 years ahead. Although I really did not know them, I remember they were funny even back then.

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The debate about the debate tonight

Elections, Just for fun!, McCain 2008, Obama 2008

The question of the day is, will Sen. John McCain go to the debate tonight? (UPDATE: Yes)

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Rumors persist that Biden will step down and Hillary step in

Elections, H. Clinton 2008, Just for fun!, Obama 2008

The rumor mill is churning out that Sen. Joe Biden will step aside for medical reasons* and that Sen. Hillary Clinton step in as VP. Never mind that her husband just said yesterday that Hillary never wanted to be Vice President.

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Start planning now: Free admission to Disney theme parks & free Disney dollars

Free, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

Around this time of year, I usually start thinking of vacation destinations for the coming year. How about this one?

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Bloggers of the world unite (OK, of Metro Milwaukee)

Blogging, Just for fun!

Last night about 40 of my fellow MyCommunityNOW bloggers and I met at the Journal Sentinel building downtown for a bloggers' meeting. Although I have been blogging on BrookfieldNOW since Feb. of 2007, this was my first meeting. 

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Totally silly: Vote for cat and dog that most resembles Presidential candidates

Elections, Just for fun!

And now for a little comic relief. Remind my pet (heart worm medication email reminder) presents a Presidential candidate lookalike poll.

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Brookfield has Green Herons too

Birds, Just for fun!, Nature

One of the things I love about living in our City in the Countryside is the variety of wildlife here. Last year, it was not unusual to see a Red Fox or the entire Red Fox family out and about in our neighborhood. This year I saw a coyote in my back yard.

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Have a Harley? Love bikes? Stop in at HOT TOPPERS

Interesting places, Just for fun!, Special events

They come from all over the country; people from all walks of life--from Rich Urban BikerS (RUBS) to hardcore bikers. The one thing they have in common is that they love their machines. Customizing is part of the love affair. I snapped this picture near Sturgis, South Dakota early in August. Many bikers, just like this couple, are coming to the Milwaukee area for the 105th anniversary celebration of Harley-Davidson. (Yes, that is a coffin shaped trailer.)

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Email tags and a bumper sticker

Elections, Just for fun!

You see a lot of bumper stickers on cars. Some are quite funny; some cruel. This one isn't a bumper sticker yet, but I suspect I will see it: I thought it was a clever play on a campaign slogan. (It was an email post script tag.)

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*Happiness is a trailer and a hitch, or fun times at the recycling center

City of Brookfield, Gardening, Going Green, Just for fun!

One of the first things we purchased when we moved here was a utility trailer. What do we need that for? I asked my husband. He said we would need to to haul brush to the dump. (Back then we still called it the dump.) He did use it for that purpose...a lot.

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Happiness is a homegrown tomato

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

It sure took long enough. I planted earlier than other years, and my tomato plants looked great. Yet those green tomatoes just would not ripen!

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*Out and about in West Bend

Just for fun!, Short trips

My sister and I recently took a little jaunt to West Bend. Our mission was to visit the Museum of Wisconsin Art and hopefully do a little digging into some background information on Wisconsin artist Francesco Spicuzza.

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Typically, gas prices are lower in August than May

Energy, Just for fun!, Living well on less $, National Parks, THE ECONOMY, TRAVEL

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Kids, how about a little Medieval Mahem next week? It's free!

Just for fun!, Religion, Special events

If you are a child, 4 years old through 6th grade, you are invited to Brookside Baptist Church's Vacation Bible School next week.

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Back to the real world from 1969

Just for fun!

I just spent a delightful 4 days with 7 of my high school girlfriends over the 4th of July holiday. You could call it a mini-class reunion. I highly recommended it!

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Silvia & Rocky Make My Day AND Save Me Money

Just for fun!, Living well on less $

Meet our kitchen dynamic duo: Silvia, on the left, and Rocky, on the right. They both make our day begin! (They were named by their manufacturer, Rancilio, not us. We do refer to them by name though.)

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"All You Do Is Sit Back and Collect the Rent," Right Mayor Speaker?

Just for fun!, Mayor Speaker, Unintended consequences

Ah, the joys of rental property. Most people's perception is that you just sit back and collect the rent. Maybe that is what our Mayor Jeff Speaker thought when he ventured into the landlord business? I don't think he is thinking that now. From the article:

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"For Your Convenience" Packaging Shrinks, But Not Price

Just for fun!, Living well on less $, THE ECONOMY, Truth

Before we breezed out of town last weekend, I purchased some Edy's Slow Churned Ice Cream in what formerly was the half gallon size and tossed it in the basement freezer. (I know ice cream has not been 1/2 gallon for years. It is actually 7 cups.)

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Segway Becomes More Attractive

Energy, Innovation, Just for fun!, THE ECONOMY

Remember the billboards that said IT was coming in 2001? The IT was the Segway, a "two-wheeled self-balancing vehicle that runs on a rechargeable battery." Although Steve Jobs and others "predicted it would change the way people lived," the IT came and at the time, it wowed the public about as much as the Edsel.

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Oops, "Clinton, Osama meet to discuss unity" boo boo?

Elections, H. Clinton 2008, Just for fun!, Obama 2008

What's in a name? Plenty.

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Wow! What a rain and other musings

Just for fun!, Unintended consequences, Water

It has been a while since we had a rain like this morning's. Guess I won't be gardening today. But that is OK, we needed the rain.

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Have Mayapples, Will Travel

Free, Gardening, Just for fun!

One of the great things about gardening is that there are usually plants to share with others. If a specimen is doing well, invariably there will come a time when it needs dividing or thinning. Sometimes a particular plant does a little too well and spreads itself to places you don't want it. That is when your garden clean up can be another gardener's boon.

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Tuesday is Coffee Bargain Day at Alterra

Free, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

Today is Tuesday, and I must make my monthly pilgrimage to Alterra coffee at Mayfair Mall. (It is usually the only reason I venture over to Mayfair!)

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Heirloom Tomatoes, Everything Old Is New Again?

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I actually got my tomato plants into the soil yesterday! That is a record for me--usually I don't get them it until the first week in June. I am pleased with my accomplishment. :)

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Yippee! 2 peach blossoms so far

Birds, Gardening, Just for fun!

On a  glorious day like today, there are few things I like better than an afternoon out in the yard. I just finished my Dr. Death duties (Weed B Gone and Round-Up*) and now I am ready for a little digging time in the flower bed.

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Bike to Work Week

Going Green, Just for fun!

I heard this morning that one gas station in the Milwaukee area hit $4.00/gallon for gasoline this morning. What better time for the 2008 Bike to Work Week?

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Happy Earth Day?

Going Green, Holidays, Just for fun!

Today is Earth Day, a day our family holds in special regard--in a tongue in cheek way.

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Sendik's Anniversary Party: Lots of samples and prizes

Good food / recipes, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I just got back from a trip to the Elm Grove Sendik's. Wow, lots of tasty samples, good deals, and drawings for prizes.

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Cougar shot in Chicago area!

City of Brookfield, Just for fun!, National Parks

Last spring, at the Mary Knoll Weed Out, I was talking with Gary Majeskie (Brookfield Park & Rec.-Forestry) about reports of an alleged cougar siting along I-94. We both thought it pretty unlikely, yet a cougar is a rather unique looking animal. Some people easily confuse a wolf with a German Shepherd or coyote, but a cougar is too large to confuse with a domestic cat and does not resemble a canine.

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Play pinball and arcade games this weekend at Midwest Gaming Classic

Just for fun!, Special events

(THIS is LAST year's, 2008's post. I was adding some pictures and it somehow reposted for 2009)

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Unofficial road report: bad! Church report: check first

Just for fun!

I slept in this morning. Ahhh :) Knowing the snow was coming and we had some DVDs that must go back to the Elm Grove Library, I was about to throw on some boots and zip over there before the roads got too terrible.

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This guy's days are numbered

Holidays, Just for fun!

Today is the first day of spring! Finally!

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Happy St. Patrick's Day

History, Holidays, Just for fun!

Poor Saint Patrick. Almost everything we associate with the holiday today has little to do with the real Saint Patrick.

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Happy Middle Name Pride Day

Holidays, Just for fun!

I am not making this up. Today is Middle Name Pride Day.  

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Easter egg tree countdown

Family, Holidays, Just for fun!

When my son was young, we dyed eggs for Easter. Oh my, what chaos! But he had so much fun, how could I say no? My sister would come over and join in the festivities (and mess). Our favorite dyes were those oily swirl type paints.

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Fring Spever

Just for fun!

Today gave me just a little taste of spring.

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Happy Leap Year

Holidays, Just for fun!

Today is February 29th, a leap year. My son mentioned a classmate of his told him he had a leap year birthday. Poor kid, in actual Feb. 29th birthdays, today is this young man's 5th birthday. It could have been worse though. Had he been born a century earlier, he would have had only 4 actual Feb. 29th birthdays. How would that be possible for a 20 year old? Ask Pope Gregory.

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Must have been the right 12 people

Development, Just for fun!, Mayor Speaker

Fellow blogger Janet Wintersberger recently echoed my sentiments that the Plan Commission rarely seems to listen to resident comments regarding development.

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Help is on the way?

Just for fun!

I saw this semi today loaded with snow plows. Does this mean it has been such a rough winter that reinforcements were needed? I think we can safely say that the plowing crews are just as sick of this winter as we are!

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Remembering the Big Chills

Just for fun!

I just got back from church and lunch out, and now I am glad to be back home. My, it's cold out there! But when I think of past cold snaps I've experienced, today's weather pales in comparison.

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Just for fun: Amazing ballet like you have never seen

Just for fun!

A friend sent me this link to some truly amazing dancing. I have never seen anything like it in all my days at Milwaukee Ballet.

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First snow day, ever!

Just for fun!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,

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