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Takin' the Blog for a Walk

Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.

Email Brien at howlinblog@yahoo.com.

Guitar Heroes

1) sound of music

One of the more interesting discoveries in Waukesha this weekend was a group set up and playing decent tunes outside Martha Merrill's. The idea of Guitars For Vets started just a year ago when Dan Van Buskirk, a Vietnam Vet with PTSD, related his relief and the healing he felt from music to Patrick, his guitar teacher. In a rather short period of time, through donations and sponsors, this incredible organization now provides six guitar lessons and a guitar to U.S. Military Vets who've suffered trauma and are receiving treatment through the VA system. They are currently working with VA centers in Milwaukee, Madison and Tomah but hope to expand to the Midwest and around the country by next year.

This is taking off so fast because there was nothing else like it and it is helping. Veterans are happier and some are requiring less medication. Picking up a new skill gives them something to practice and improve at. It has tangible results with the possibility they'll maybe share their joy with others. It's "meditation in motion." It's full circle: a vet with PTSD plays music and teaches other vets to play as therapy for himself. The student learns a new skill and enjoys theraputic benefits of music. The new student brings joy to others by performing.

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my banner says "thank you"

1) sound of music, 8) my favorite things

 

If I could hang a banner from an overpass it would read "Thank You". I'd want to show appreciation to the tens of thousands of Harley riders who joined in the celebration of the 105th making it a huge success, and making many businesses in Waukesha very happy.

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Brien Lee turns 18 today!

It's Brien Lee's 18th birthday today. My oldest son is now a man.

Happy birthday Bri. You're a good kid and we love you.

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a series of fortunate events

helping

It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling so I'll tell the story.

Bought a set of cargo straps at Walmart Monday to replace the ones claimed by the Fox in April. 

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the fuzzy line between form and function

festival

The Nineteenth Annual Waukesha Art Fest couldn't have had a better weekend. The weather was as gorgeous as some of the works. With cool temps and a breeze it was perfect bike riding weather, so Schwinn and I swerved our way past multiple potholes to see what was going on in Cutler Park yesterday. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the variety. Forty artists from Wisconsin, and one each from Florida and Illinois. Eleven diverse areas of creativity; glass, fiber, painting, etc. Much of what we saw was useful as well as beautiful. The copper ornamental garden sprinklers of Jerry Ross - nice to look at while an attempt was made to bring back the trampled grass at Cutler Park. The plaque with nicely-lettered, thoughtful poetry that's also a picture frame. Clothing as art and, of course, ceramics - nice to display on a shelf, but also fun to use as bowls, candle holders, etc.

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shower time for Swiss swine

Thanks to a new 175 page animal rights law in Switzerland pigs now have a legal right to shower and freshen up after getting muddy. What about privacy? Will they have individual stalls along with their choice of scented beauty bars? Next time this law comes up for review maybe someone could suggest aromatherapy and bubbles in the bathwater.

I'm not making this up; Fishermen can no longer use live bait or practice catch and release in Switzerland either. I suppose the worms would feel too much pain when the bluegill bites into it.

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runnin' on red

St. William

My oldest says people in Waukesha sure run a lot of red lights. I said that's nothing compared to Milwaukee.

A co-worker recently purchased a beautiful new 2008 car after years of mechanical problems with their old one. This morning he told the story of getting hit last night on the way home from work. A woman ran a red and clipped the front of the car on his side. His wife was driving. The woman didn't think police should be called but a witness from a nearby auto dealership suggested they do it anyway.

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apple pie anyone?

festival, helping, Retzer

I'll be selling apple pie slices from 9:00 to noon next Saturday the 20th at Retzer Nature Center's 22nd Annual Apple Harvest Festival, and you're invited to buy some. Keep me busy.

Last year the weather was great and a good crowd turned out for this applicious event. There will be all sorts of crafts for kids, horse drawn hayrides, planetarium show, over 50 varieties of apples and cider.  A couple of concerts are lined up: Folk group Apple Jam from 11:00 to 1:00 and Celtic ensemble Tairis from 2:30 to 4:30. There also will be Johnny Appleseed, scarecrows, essay and apple pie judging and a silent auction.

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defending your right to make a difference

helping, politics

I spent 16 hours in a library a week ago and didn't pick up a single book... For you.

I was a Fourth District poll worker from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. A long day, but worth it. Getting in practice for November 4th, where the hours are going to be even longer and could even be slightly busier.

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a golden delicious Saturday for Retzer's festival

8) my favorite things, festival, helping, Retzer

The weather was Prima. Thousands of happy people came to Retzer Nature Center to celebrate the apple harvest with a Royal Gala... or a Honey Crisp, Cortland or Molly's Delicious.

We started the day by slicing hundreds of apple pies and crisps, and had people asking for it before we were done at 9:00 a.m.. After that it was a steady stream of customers, which soon stretched out the door and down the hall. I felt the prices were very fair for what they got, and happily took their money until I was relieved as cashier around 1:00. 

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Hotel's finally open!

The boutique hotel is open. A little late for Harley's 105th, but getting the tax credits and rehabbing a 100+ year old building took more than planned. Parking has been tight the last few months but the wait's finally over.

On my short tour this morning I was impressed by all the old, restored, recycled and reused items in the hotel. The pool table from the 1800s is beautiful. Bar tables with used gears for the base, chairs recycled from an architectural school. An apothecary cabinet, old toys, a cathedral's window. Most impressive is how well the elements of the building were incorporated into the hotel's theme. Even the building's porticos lended their design to the hotel's insignia. Sliding doors and dock doors were refinished and prominent, as is brickwork and wood floors. 300 to 400 year old hemlock beams were saved as-is or remade into furniture. 

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The Great Spirit's money problems

let us pray

I've been to the Congregation of the Great Spirit a couple times since I documented my first visit here almost two years ago. I think about them every time I'm running late for mass, which is 9 times out of 10, because their service doesn't begin until everyone gets there. Something mine should consider.

A national radio report on the Congregation this morning interested me because one of my short-term goals is to get there again, soon. We're told the Congregation is the nation's first Catholic parish to combine Native American traditions with Roman Catholic ceremony; hard to believe when you consider the Catholic missionary work in this country going back hundreds of years.

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