Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I guess pumpkins don't like warm weather. Dale said we did them too early, but I thought it would work.
Hey, but now it looks REALLY scary, huh? (say yes please!)

Tune In-Turn On-Have a Duff

Ahhh....eighteen wonderful years!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Only in Wisconsin

I'm back from 5 days in the motherland where I attended my niece Allyson's wedding. I had a wonderful time as did everyone else.
Whenever I go back, I'm reminded just how much that alcohol consumption is a way of life there. These folks are professionals!
One of the things that really blows my mind is that the health club my family belongs to HAS A BAR IN IT!
So there you are...just did your 40 minute cardio blaster and mmmmm....I think I'll have a BEER!
I never want to hear another word about "you California nut-jobs out there in la-la land".

Now that we are back, work commences at a feverish pace on the yard haunt. Last weekend we should have put it up but were gone...so we race against the darkness the next few days putting it together after work. Check out the site!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Brett!

Let's celebrate with some TDs......'k?

Today is my mom's birthday too. She was always so tickled that she and Brett shared the same day.

I leave this morning for (another) trip to Wisconsin. It is for my niece Ally's wedding.

Dale wants to bring back a bagful of fall leaves to use in the yard haunt. We'll see how TSA handles that one.

Monday, October 8, 2007

OK, it's fall

Maybe it has someting to do with the changing of the seasons or that the yard chores seem to be less urgent. Or maybe because it is finally less nuts at work. Whatever the reason, I got the cooking bug back. My favorite pasttime has been on the back burner so to speak, for most of the summer.
The Packer game was on at 5pm instead of 10am, so I really had a lot of time to make stuff.
On Sundays I usually prepare two meals. One is usually a soup or casserole that I can take for lunch during the week. Then I make something for dinner as well.
Mushrooms were on sale, so I made cream of mushroom soup.
Since fall was in the air I made green chile stew. Well, the calendar says fall, but we had SantaAnas so it was like 85 and so dry you could feel the moisture just being sucked out of your skin. I'm glad I used the crock pot.

I roasted the chiles the night before (when I made burgers on the grill).

Right before we sat down to eat and watch the game, I popped in an apple crisp which we ate during half-time.

The food was really great...I wish I could say the same about the game. boo hoo hoo =(

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My Coney Island Experience

While I was in Wisconsin, my dad and I made a side trip up to Sheboygan to the Kohler Art Center to check out the "Sublime Spaces and Visionary Worlds" exhibit. This is basically a show about crazy people that transform their houses/farms/environment into their version of reality. I really like this sort of thing and whenever I travel, I try to seek out these peculiar people of vision. A few years ago, I lived next door to a couple (they are in their sixties, at least) who transformed their home into a cross between "The Wizard of Oz" and an undersea realm. They are the nicest people......just a little out there.

Anyway, the show was good, but as it usually happens on road trips...we got hungry. That is another thing I like to do when I travel--eat. Most of the time I have some plan or research to go on, but this time I was winging it. So we just sort of cruised downtown Sheboygan seeing what there was. I'm pretty much a sucker for old-timey neon signs, so when I spotted this one I had Dad pull over and we checked it out. My rationale here is--if the sign is so old, they must have been around for a while, so how bad could the food be? If it was crap, they would have gone out of business long ago, huh?

It was a typical small-town diner--burgers, fries, sandwiches, pork chop dinners. You know.
Dale had been going on about Coney Island hot dogs after his trip to Michigan this spring. Detroit is the birthplace of the Coney Island, but I guess they are popular throughout the Midwest. So when I saw it on the menu, I thought, why not?

The dog was tasty. The mellowness of the chili was offset by the tanginess of the mustard and the sharpness of the onions. The fries were nice and hot. It came with a cole slaw that was unlike any slaw I have had. More like chopped, pickled cabbage. Sort of like the one you get in Chinese restaurants, except instead of ginger it had caraway or fennel. It was really good, I could have had another portion for sure. Dad had a BLT and a really nice cup of beef barley soup. Really meaty flavor and nice and thick.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Birthday Sputnik!

Sputnik and me.......both vintage 1957!
I am a space-age kid!
"Yuri........phone working again"

The Beer Hunter

A little artifact I came across on my trip to Wisconsin. I had heard about these cans earlier and was happy to get the opportunity to see one in person. No, I did not sample the beer in question....I was doing wine that day. However, I WAS weaned on Miller products, so I know it is good stuff.

The blaze-orange cans will be available during the fall hunting season in a "limited market".... meaning, as I read somewhere else, "look for it in Green Bay, not L.A." Dang.

I'm a little torn on this one. On the one hand, it IS a pretty clever marketing device. But then again, do we really NEED to reinforce the bond between excessive alcohol consumption and hunting? Oh wait......they added a line..."enjoy after the hunt". Which I am SO sure everyone will make a note of.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

All In The Family

Last week I travelled to my hometown of Milwaukee to attend a family reunion. This was sort of a new thing for us. Other than funerals and weddings, the last time we all got together was 40 years ago--Cousin Jim's farewell before joining the Marines and also to show the movies and slides of our multi-family trip to Expo67 in Montreal--an event we still talk about.

This group is my dad's branch of the family tree. Gramma and Grampa had four kids, and those kids produced 22 kids (two of the families had eight kids each!)....after that, I stop counting. So, yeah, there are a lot of us. A good Catholic family.

Sadly, in the last year we lost two cousins very suddenly. And an aunt. The year before, it was my mom. After the last funeral, someone had the brilliant idea to have a party to celebrate just us being a family. A time we could all be together under happier circumstances. All summer long, the emails were flying across the country....where should it be?, what should we eat?, t-shirts, bumperstickers, budgets. Should we rent Port-a-Potties? What should the theme be? (Some one offered "big mouths, big hearts, big noses...and no ass").

We also had some "guests of honor" attend all the way from Montreal, Quebec. Our "northern" cousin has been organizing reunions for the whole North American branch of our family for about 35 years or so. They happen every four years in Sorel, Quebec. It is always a good time and I love meeting all the distant relatives and learning about our family's origins. It was really special to have him and his wife attend our party here.

The party was an incredible success. The weather was perfect. I think we had 100 people there. Only one first cousin couldn't make it and just a few second cousins were absent. It was just so awesome to be around the family....the amount of love there was like another dimension...unbelievable! At times like this, I really start to question my sanity on why I don't live closer. The next party is already being planned--I can't wait! Also, 2008 will be another trip to Sorel.

The Ancestors were mostly lumberjacks (and they were OK!) in northern Wisconsin. As a young bride, my gramma was a cook in a logging camp. No wonder she could cook so well.

It wouldn't be a party without some sausages!

In addition to the awesome-est garage, Cousin Doug has a very nice collection of crucifixes. You never know when an army of vampires will show up.

Cousin Ally made some wonderful cookies. I think she said she used Gramma's recipe.

My contribution was a "Los Muertoes" altar. I made the table cover and set it up. Guests brought photos and mementoes of those who have passed on.

Just a few of the nationalities we represent.

Monday, October 1, 2007


The Packers had another great game yesterday. The guys are looking pretty good and things look like they are gelling.
Brett passed the Marino record and the numbers will continue to pile up.