Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

David and the Leprechaun
Thanksgiving 2007

Click on the slide show to see the album larger

My Thanksgiving proved to be very fun and interesting. Judy took a trip to San Fransisco, so I had my first Thanksgiving to mys
elf in 32 years. So I was off to my sister Anne's house right after work on Wed where I spent the night. I was surprised by the weather on the way down because it suddenly started to snow. I found I could only see a short distance in front of me. The highway of course was really busy because of the holiday and I was giving thought to stopping and waiting out the temporary blizzard. About the time I was looking for a place to stop, suddenly it stopped snowing and the weather was only cold, windy and miserable. So, I pressed on. The snow proved to be interesting because sometime during the evening someone suggested that we build a snow man. So, we all put on our coats and went out to build a snowman. Most of the work was done by the women (no comments needed here) as they dragged snow off anything that it accumulated on, they developed a neat snowman that was about three feet high. Yes, a leprechaun snowman!

It was then off to an exciting game of "balde
rdash". I was teamed up with my sister and we ended up winning the game. Yeah team!

I then went to bed and was wakened by a bunch of noise in the downstairs. At first it sounded to me like just banter, but I came to realize that it sounded serious. My niece was walking into the kitchen when she found that there was a man trying to breaking into the kitchen window. She got a pretty good description though. He was short with
a cap and he was Mexican, Asian or white. (OK, that may be a bit thin!) He ran away when she started screaming "He was looking right at me, he was looking right at me". The police were called and as they searched the area I commenced to fall asleep on the couch. By that time it was way past my bedtime, so most of the conversation from then on is a blur. I think this guy should be on the "stupid criminal" list trying to crawl into a window where there are people walking around and three people sitting in front of an open window watching TV. Maybe the guy was just hungry? I am convinced he was just after my bottle of "3 Moose" wine.

Our Thanksgiving day was great made even greater by a Packer win over Detroit. Jeremiah and Katie joined me on Thanksgiving day, so the whole family was there except for Judy.

I have included some pictures on my site which can be accessed here. There are no pictures of the burglar. I
was going to do a drawing of him, but I was stumped how to make up a Mexican, Asian white guy with a cap.

It was a wonderful day full of love and food. Thanks to everyone who did the work to make for a great meal and wonderful time!

Picture as below.

Our Leprechaun snowman

Friday, October 26, 2007

Belize, the relaxing part

In every trip, even a mission trip, you need to take some time to relax. So, MaryJo and I did just that. We took the last two days of your trip on San Pedro Island.

It was lots of fun although very short. The weather was sunny and warm, windy and wet, cloudy and calm, and almost every other extreme each day. It could be cloudy one minute and burning sunny the next. If you do not like the weather, just wait a while and it changes. Actually, it was refreshing. The frequent rains made it cool down a great deal.

We had some great food and an abundance of drinks called "panty rippers". They kind of taste like a pineapple drink with not much kick to them. But, they were refreshing. We thought picking up a bottle of wine would make things inexpensive, but the cost of wine at the store was about 6 times what it costs here. A cheap bottle of wine was about $30.00. Too much for my taste.

We did spend a day out snorkeling. That was an awesome experience and I recommend it to any one. We hired a guy named "Biggs" who took us to a nature preserve over the top of a coral

reef. The coral was absolutely beautiful. The only other place I had snorkeled was in Mexico. This was so much more beautiful. The fish were astounding, although I was a bit nervous about getting in the water when we had sharks swimming all around the boat.

But, our guide jumped into the middle of them and showed us that they just swim away. Well, I was pretty convinced, but I was feeling pretty stupid as I propelled myself overboard!

I was glad I had however, because the scenery was spatacular. I was sorry I did not have an underwater camera with me. There were some beautiful fish there not to mention the brightly colored coral. It was a tiring but well worth while experience. If I went there again, it would be high on the list to things to do!

We also found some great places to eat on the island. We did one night out on the town and Mary Jo dressed to kill. I was feeling pretty special walking the island with the best looking girl around! Not only was the company great, but the meal was outstanding.

Although it was short, it was a fun stop on the way home. I certainly did not want anyone to think that it was just all work!

That is all for now.


Friday, October 12, 2007


I am back from Belize! I just returned (well, a week ago) from a trip to Belize. My sister talked me into heading down there to work with the Hillside Medical Clinic. I took pictures and video and prepared a presentation for the fund raiser in WI. Yes, Hillside in Belize was started in WI! Here is some information about Hillside.

HHCI’s Hillside clinic is located in Eldridgeville, a small village four miles north of Punta Gorda, the capital of Toledo District in southern Belize. The district is home to approximately 26,000 people, from of a variety of ethnicities, including two Mayan groups (Mopan and Kek’chi), Garifuna, Creole, East Indian, and Hispanic. The Toledo District is by far the poorest and least developed district of Belize, with a poverty rate of 79% and a high unemployment rate. It is also the most rural part of Belize, with 81% of residents living outside urban areas. Many of the district’s residents live in very small, remote villages, accessed either via unpaved roads or by foot; some of these villages do not yet have electricity or safe potable water.

Hillside Clinic: The clinic is a concrete structure with three examination rooms, an office, and pharmacy space. It operates at the Eldrigeville location three mornings and one evening a week. Clinic hours are scheduled to coincide with the operation of the regional market in Punta Gorda, enabling villagers to reach the clinic site on the village buses that pass near the clinic on their way to market. Additionally, villagers who have traveled into town on early buses, as well as residents of Punta Gorda, can also use a shuttle service provided by Hillside, which runs from Punta Gorda’s central square to the clinic location in Eldridgeville.

Mobile Clinics: Several times a week, mobile clinics are conducted to remote villages throughout the Toledo District. Presently HHCI provides regularly scheduled mobile clinics to more than a dozen villages that have been chosen in consultation with the Ministry of Health. These villages are accessed via unpaved roads during all seasons in a tropical rain forest environment, necessitating the use of four-wheel drive vehicles to transport staff and supplies to the sites. Some of these villages are more easily accessed via waterways. Upon reaching the villages, the team operates in Ministry of Health outstations. Once weekly, the Hillside team is joined by Ministry of Health officials, who use the opportunity to join us is conducting the immunization and well mother-child programs

Home Visits: In addition to its outreach work in rural areas of the district, HHCI also operates a home visit program to reach Punta Gorda residents who are not easily able to access a health clinic. This program was the first of its kind in the district and has become an integral component of health care delivery for the area. The need for this service is reflected in the continued increase in the number of patients served.

Hillside offers learning opportunities in a variety of settings and situations. The freestanding clinic meets the needs of local residents and villagers who leave their own homes as early as 3:30 AM on the market buses in order to come to Hillside. Additionally, mobile clinics are operated in coordination with the Belizean Ministry of Health twice a week into remote Garifuna, Creole and Mayan villages. A growing home visitation program in Southern Belize provides care to the homebound. Approximately seventy patients are visited in their homes each week. Finally, community education programs are offered for village healthcare workers and the community at large. Students/Residents participate in all of these components. Guidance for the education program is provided by the Stateside HHCI educational committee along with the Hillside physician, nurse administrator, and other clinic staff.

While at Hillside, the students/residents are exposed to a variety of cross cultural experiences as they work with the Maya, Garifuna, Creole, East Indian and other Belizean cultures. They learn to evaluate patients while working through language barriers and cultural differences. Confidence is gained in evaluation skills as participants are required to make diagnoses and treatment plans without the reassurance of diagnostic tools they may be accustomed to. Many participants report gaining a much greater awareness of the barriers to medical care that are incipient in impoverished communities as they participate in home visits in areas where 79% of the population is living below the poverty line. Most return home with a greater appreciation of the healthcare and basic living needs of the medically underserved in their own home countries.

Below was the staff of students when I was at the clinic. All were from the UK and all were exceptional. They will be great doctors!

Students/residents at Hillside participate in the program for a one month elective. During that time, they are involved in many aspects of the operation of the clinic as they work closely with the clinic medical and support staff. The clinic is closed on weekends so that students have the opportunity to take side trips in the unique Central American country of Belize or into neighboring Guatemala. Participants normally find that the month passes quickly as they take advantage of the learning and cultural opportunities.

All of the activities in which students/residents participate are aimed at improving the health status of the population served as well as establishing long term relationships with local health care providers and educators at all levels. Through these varied activities, participants will gain an appreciation of how medicine and health promotion are conducted in a developing environment, representing a large segment of the world’s population. Concurrently, participants will gain an understanding and appreciation of the unique cultures of Belize and of the unique medical conditions encountered in the tropics.

I went down with my niece Mary Jo who is a marketing person. She was an awesome help to me in every way. She also was pleasant to be around which made the trip a delight.

OK, enough babbling on for me. Just watch the video below and you will get a taste of what Belize is like from the eyes for a medical person! Or, you can click on the slide show below to be taken to the photo album. Enjoy!

Until Soon!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Great Lakes Fishing

There is a reason they call the Great Lakes great, the fishing in great! In two mornings fishing with Rick Reimer out of the Sheboygan Harbor, I have learned why people are attracted to the lake. The scenery is really beautiful and the fishing is great! Sheboygan has done a great job at imporving the harbor. There are condos popping up all along the river. The river looks much cleaner then it did when I was a child growing up in Sheboygan. Nice job Sheboygan.

Fishing with Captain Rick was a true pleasure. He really knows his stuff when it comes to fishing. Watching him work the rigs and set lines makes me wonder how long it would take me to do all of that on my own. It is a true talent that make time on the water with him a pleasure.

My first time out I took Jeremiah with me. He loved it and did a great job pulling in two huge King Salmons. I just know they are going to be great on the grill!

The second time out we choose a much cooler day. Rich brought Wendy from work to enjoy the fishing on the lake. It was one of those fall days with puffy white clouds in the sky and a slight breeze. the lake was calm and the fishing was adequate. We managed to pull in a couple of nice fish topping off the day with some great lunch at Jumes Restaurant.

If you get a chance to hit the water with Rick, do not miss the opportunity! It pays to fish with a pro.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Josh Groban and Company

I was given a really pleasant surprise this month when my daughter called and asked what I was doing during the evening. She had obtained some free tickets to see Josh Groban in Milwaukee. I was very excited about this since Judy and I had tried to get tickets in the past and found them sold out. I quickly accepted and I was off to see Josh Groban with Judy and Katie, my daughter.

We got there early with plans to have some dinner at a favorite restaurant, however the Bradley Center is too far from out spot. So, we tried to get in close to the Groban site but found that everything was booked up except for a small tavern serving sandwiches. The place looked clean and comfortable so we dove in and ordered a burger each.

We got to the concert with time to spare finding our seats in the "nose bleed" section, but in a good position to see all the action. Josh Groban was everything I expected and more. He captivated the audience with his magical voice and emotional music! It appeared that everyone was pleased about the concert. His back up is wonderful and talented. There are some great surprises during the show including an outstanding violinist named Lucia Micarelli. She was absolutely outstanding! I was so impressed with the way she moved every muscle in her body to play her violin. I do not think I have ever seen anyone play an instrument with more emotion and connectedness then Lucia Micarelli. Most impressive to me was her playing of the music Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. It was so exciting to watch her play this piece that I looked it up on youtube! You can watch it here. Just cut and paste the below link to your browser.

There are lots of other pieces on youtube for you to enjoy. It will be worth your time.

I know, I started talking about Josh Groban and sidetracked into Lucia Micarelli! Well, that is what impressed me most that night. So, there you have it!

In conclusion, if you have a chance to see a Josh Groban concert, jump at it. It will be well worth your time!

Lucia Micarelli

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Experimental Aircraft Association-Oshkosh, WI

(Click of the slide show to see larger photos)

I only found enough time to spend two days at the EAA conference this year, but they were two great days. If you have never been there, you are missing a great event. This conference is for both pilots and those who do not fly but have an interest in aviation.

Events and things to do are, well, endless! There is no other word for it. There are programs for kids, adults and pilots. Pilots can attend seminars and receive credit for their work. The programs presented are awesome and interesting even if you are not a pilot.

EAA also presents the opportunity to meet other pilots and talk to "super pilots" who make a living flying upside down and doing things that appear crazy to the non-flying public. You can also take classes in building airplanes and talk to people who have built their own.

There is a huge campground surrounding the airshow. Thousands of people camp on the grounds and spend the entire week at EAA. I am fortunate to have a friend who spends the week at the camp ground and also keeps a liberal supply of "refreshments" to be enjoyed by the string of guest who stop by during the week. He keeps the refreshments in a full sized casket which he turned into a cooler. This makes for interesting conversation. At one point while I was at his camp site we were visited by a couple of guys who had built a motorized couch. So, suddenly there is a full sized living room couch with two guys sitting comfortably on it rolling past the camp site. Yes, pilots can be inventive. Or, perhaps they just have too much time on their hands!

The EAA grounds is a feast for anyone who loves to look at airplanes or watch them fly. There is airplanes that are brand new, or those that are from as far back as World War 2. There is almost every configuration of airplane you can imagine. You can get a close up look and sometimes talk to the pilots. You will be surprised at how anxious they are to tell you all about their airplane.

The one thing I always find inadequate at EAA is the food. It seems that every vendor on the grounds has the same mushy burger for greatly over inflated price. I would think that the visitors would be better served by allowing local service organizations to put up a booth and sell something that tastes close to food. But, bearing that in mind I save a lot of money by packing a lunch in my bag to avoid the tasteless food offered on the grounds.

The air show itself is non-stop all day and full of wonderful information and sights. The prepared air show generally runs from about 3:00 in the afternoon until 6:00 in the evening. The show is packed with excitement and action from beginning to end! You can find a comfortable seat along the flight line under a wing for the shade if you are early, or you can just stand where the sights are the best if you get there late. Either way, your senses will be filled with information through the entire program. The sky will be full of activity, the ground will shake and you will find yourself with your hands over your ears to block out the noise of screaming airplane engines and a smile the length of your arm on your face.

If you plan of traveling to EAA, be sure to think of room and board well in advance. Hotels within a hundred miles and further will be booked. There is a housing authority that you can use to find housing in local residences.

You will find EAA to worthwhile adventure!


(To see larger photos click on the slide show. You will be taken to a new page)

This year I was honored with the opportunity to help out on the photo team at Lifest. Lifest is a huge Christian music festival in Oshkosh, WI. Last year because of scheduling I was only able to attend one day. It was a thrill to be present for four of five days.

If you enjoy Christian music, Lifest is the place to be. There are thousands of people who come to watch the big named Christian artists. There is no drinking on the grounds, but plenty of food, games and fun. I never walked across the "downtown" area without seeing crowds of people lined up for food. I was happy planning on making it a health food week until I stumbled upon a booth put up by "Cinders" of Appleton. They make the best steak sandwiches available and I quickly found that what they were serving at the festival was every bit as good as the restaurant!

There were also many games for kids to get involved in. There was a special "kids place" where the imagination was allowed to wander. There was basketball and other games for teens and adults as well.

Worship services are available on Sunday. There is a large worship service at the main stage, or small services several places thoughout the grounds. This year there was a Catholic Mass held in one of the buildings. Prayer tents and dedication room are avaiable at all times.

Lifest was an amazing time and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys music! See you next summer!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Elroy Sparta Bike Trail

Judy and I put the Goldwing aside and headed out to the Elroy Sparta Bike Trail. We picked a perfect day with great sun but not too humid. Our choice was to stop at Kendal and pick up a driver who then dropped us at Sparta. He then takes our car back to Kendal and we can just bike straight there without going two directions. That leaves us about 30 miles of bike trail to cover. My memory of course failed me and we actually took the route where you are going up a 3% grade most of the way. The best way to ride is from Kendal to Sparta. Oh well, hopefully I will remember next time.

If you have not done the Elroy Sparta Trail, I suggest you try it. It is really a breathtaking ride with a very well kept trail and lots of things to see along the way. There are three old rail road tunnels on the route which it is prudent to walk your bike through. Below is a picture of Judy and I just be fore going through "The long creepy tunnel"!

One of the highlights for us is to stop in Wilton and have lunch at "Gina's Pies are square. It is an awesome restaurant with lots of good food choices, and of course some killer pies which are really square. Here is a picture of the restaurant. Note the painting of the woman on the wall. That is Gina. Shortly after taking this picture the place was filled with bikers anxious for lunch. If you do the trail, I recommend that you take the time to stop at Gina's place.

On the trail we met a couple from Arkansas. I do not know if they were lost or just on a ride! ;-) Anyway, we engaged them to take our picture and we took theirs in turn. So, here it is for the world to see.

The whole trip including stops took us about 5 hours. It can be done quicker, but then what would the fun be? Just for your information, there is a really good bike store at the trail head in Sparta in case you have problems. You will find lots of equipment and nice people too. You will find that it is a great way to spend the day. Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2007

House Boat Vacation

Another chapter in my life! Something new indeed. I have been taking about renting a house boat and playing on the river for years, and finally Judy and I did just that. We had driven to Fremont and checked out the "Party Doll Marina" to see what it was like and found the prices to be fair all things considered. So, we took off on a three day trip up the Wolf River. We chose to rent a "six sleeper" pictured to the left. It is really a nicely kept well maintained boat with plenty of room inside and full kitchen facilities. We even had a microwave oven! If you choose the 10 sleeper you also get a TV and central air conditioning. Judy and I felt that we could only sleep in so many beds over the course of 2.5 days, so the six was plenty for us.

The owner of the marina took me out in the boat and gave me some lessons in operating it. The boat operation is pretty simple if you just keep in mind that it is not a speed boat and it turns from the rear. So, it takes a little planning, but is is very easy to steer and all of the equipment on the boat worked. I was a little concerned about sleeping on a boat, but actaully I found it pretty southing and very quiet.

Our first day we went up river, picked up bait and stopped at a little place called the "Gala Resort" for lunch. Their place is worth the stop. Very enjoyable and good food too. The wonderful thing about the river is that you can pull off into a series of lakes all along the river and fish or just take a swim. Our first stop was on Partridge Lake. We tried our hand at fishing but had no luck. I found that fishing on the boat was pretty much fun as you can just head to the back of the boat and wash you hand in the sink! That took getting used to! If the fishing gets boring, just pull up and chair at the kitchen table for some coffee.
There is plenty of room on a front deck and a rear deck on the boat. Both decks come with seating and the front deck also has a patio table with chairs. There is also a gas grill on the front of the boat for cooking your meals.

Once we started fishing on the river our luck changed and we were pulling in all kinds of catfish and bass. The fish were pretty cooperative and we usually found some action where ever we were fishing.
Just cruising slowly up the river was fun in itself. There is so much to see it is amazing. There is wildlife you just do not see every day including Pelicans. I did not know there are pelicans in Wisconsin, but there are. Much of our time was spent just chugging up the river enjoying the views. Driving the boat is not labor intensive, so it is pretty relaxing to just cruise and look around. Judy found her spot on the front deck with her coffee and newspaper.

We only had one rain storm while we were out on the river. We had pulled onto Partridge Lake to have supper when we got hit. It was a pretty heavy rain but we were dry and comfortable in the boat. We managed to cook some pork chops and have nice dinner while the rain beat down outside the boat.

The houseboat trip was a wonderful experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to do something new. The sunsets are also awesome! Here is a sample

At any rate, if you have ever thought about renting a houseboat, do not wait. Do it. You will love it!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jeremiah State Patrol Graduation

On Thursday and Friday, June 14th and 15th we were honored with the privilege to attend the activities of the WI State Patrol Graduation. Jeremiah graduated with 39 other troopers who were assigned around the state in positions of Troopers or Inspectors.

The night stated off with a banquet at which Jeremiah was presented an award for being number one in the class. He was presented with the Superintendent’s Award. At the banquet I was honored to meet some of his class mates and their families. I was impressed with the quality of the young men and women who were in the graduating class. Each one looks as committed and dedicated to the State Patrol mission as well as law enforcement in general. I was equally impressed with the professionalism of the leadership who appeared at the banquet. I could not help but be a bit jealous at the new adventures and challenges that Jeremiah will face in his new career. He has some awesome job opportunities and a line up of professionals to work with. With that and a committed, supportive family, what more could he ask for!

On Friday we attended the actual graduation ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison. I watched chocking back some emotions as the class marched in to take their seat calling out cadence they had created. The entire group of people stood by eyes bugging out and jaws hanging loose at the professional appearance of their sons and daughters who put on a very impressive performance.

I buzzed around the room taking as many pictures as I could to memorialize the moment. I do not really think any number of pictures or video could ever replace the honor of being present and seeing the graduation in person.

The special Speaker was Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson. Laughter exploded throughout the crowd as the Chief Justice attempted to get the Troopers to face her so she could swear them in. She commented "Please face me" to which the Troopers ignored and continued to hold their attention status staring straight ahead. With some help from Major Price, the Chief Justice finally barked out the command "face right" at which time the Troopers faced her to be sworn in.

After the ceremony I stood back and watched as Jeremiah's Mother pinned his badge on his shirt for the first time. He also gave his sister Katie and his girlfriend Heather the opportunity to pin the badge on as well.

The entire event left lumps in the throats of many of the family members and a memory that will never fade.

What you will see in the graduation pictures is the faces of happy Troopers and families as the kudos and awards are handed out. What you will not see is just what it took for these 40 people to get where they are at just this moment. You will not see the sweat and tears and the hours of study and the sacrifice and preparation. You will not see the frustration as they faced challenges that they have never before experienced in their lives. You will only get a glimpse of the amount of work that was done to have the privilege to "screw on" the trooper's hat and pin on the badge. These forty people put fear behind them and accepted the challenge of a lifetime. Now, they have finished and their success is melded into their character. We will all benefit by the existence of people of this great character.

"... the big courageous acts of life are those one never hears of and only suspects from having been through like experience. It takes real courage to do battle in the unspectacular task. We always listen for the applause of our co-workers. He is courageous who plods on, unlettered and unknown.... In the last analysis it is this courage, developing between man and his limitations, that brings success." Alice Foote MacDougall

To see more pictures of the graduation, follow the below link.

Jeremiah's Graduation Pictures

Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 18, 2007

A day on the river

We took a great ride up the river from Lake Winnebago all the way to Fremont. At Freemont we found this great little resort and stopped for a beer. What a happy, fun place. I believe it was called the gala resort of Fremont.

The river itself offers a surprising amount of activity and fun things to do. There are house boats, speed boats, sail boats, fishing boats and lots of great places along the shore to stop if you choose.

After spending our day on the river enjoying the scenery, we stopped in Winneconne to have dinner. We ate at a nice restaurant called Baggers located right on Main Street. What a great meal they served.

After floating around on the river for about eight hours, we all arrived back in Oshkosh exhausted. It was a lovely day and I recommend it if you get the chance.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Judy's Flower Garden

One thing that is always exciting around our house is the coming of summer and the blooming of our garden. Years back Judy decided that the lawn was too much so she chopped it out in back and front and put in flower gardens. The pictures below represent only a small part of the beautiful garden that has come out of her efforts. Each year something new is added or grows without us knowing about it. Sometimes I think all she needs is a larger garden to really show off her wonderful ability to make a garden shine.

The photos below are only an example of the flowers that have popped up for the summer. Sitting on the deck is a treat for anyone surrounded by the "garden delights" and the sound of water from the fountains she has put in. It must be a delight for the birds and bees to flitter about enjoying the assortment of flowers and foliage that are growing in our yard.

The only thing I do not like is the chimes that hang in the trees. I have at times been known to deploy a bit of duct tape to silence the constant clang of the chimes. But, I am usually able to ignore them and enjoy the beauty and peace in my own yard!

Be sure to select "older posts" at the end of this page to see all the flowers I have posted. You can also click on them to see them full sized.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007