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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The end of National Volunteer Week and Donate Life Month began early for me with a 6:30 a.m. appointment Saturday for a dual red donation at BloodCenter of Wisconsin on Springdale. I was concerned that after four months with the appointment I may not be able to keep it. I was trying to shake a cold I'd caught the week before, and was also asked if I could work Saturday morning.
Alas, Carroll University's academic year is coming to a close. This has been a great year for many wonderful concerts, and lectures, free and open to the public. I thought we'd seen the last of the performances last weekend when the four scheduled (one Friday, two Saturday and one Sunday) hinted at a grand finale for a year I never wanted to see end.
Music is in the ear of the beholder. There's a lot I wouldn't consider "music," not to say others wouldn't enjoy it. If I find a song I encounter or am subjected to that is too loud or distasteful I either leave, turn it down or turn the channel. If I can do neither I just cringe and try to tune it out.
As if I needed another reason to get outside after working indoors all day.
Sad to see Laurel Walker's last column today. We first met a few years back when I suggested she do a story on the area near my boyhood home. Pebble Creek, a cold water trout stream, ran through it. Now, Meadowbrook Road runs through it. Though the area has changed considerably and is no longer farmed, much of the creek and floodplain is protected from development and still in a natural state.
Summerfest's 45th year is in the history books. Was waiting until today to go when everyone could get in free between noon and three. The weather was great today, finally cooled off and was quite bearable. Never did make it though. Didn't see anyone playing I had to see. There's always another year.
Everything seemed so new and different. I don't recall ever visiting the Lakefront Festival of Arts before. I was blown away by the creativity.
Made it down for Friday's unveiling and first Friday Night Live of the year. Almost all businesses were open and most were busy, which was good to see. The crowd wasn't nearly as large as the Harley anniversary event, but then again beer wasn't allowed in the streets. Just as well. The weather turned cool and wet, was 51 degrees by the time I left, and hot drinks were the preferred beverage.
Three "Racing Gibbys," or whatever you want to call them, made the rounds during Monday's Memorial Day Parade. They were handing out fliers for this weekend's GuitarTown festivities and generating interest. I noticed the one most similar to a Les Paul Gibson is left-handed. Les was a righty.
GuitarTown unveiling is this week. I'm still encountering lots of Waukesha citizens who know nothing, or next to nothing, about it even though it's been in the news for months. There's probably not too much that can be done about that now, if they don't follow Waukesha news... Maybe they'll see the sculptures around Downtown in the coming months, but it does reinforce my belief that at least one of the ten foot guitars should be placed closer to one of the main roads bypassing downtown, North Street or St. Paul, to draw interest and for more visibility.
Thanks to Toyota, was able to squeeze into the nearest spot to Waukesha Civic Theater's rear entrance when the rest of parking lot was filled. Thanks to front row seats was literally ten feet from the action, and with Miss Saigon there is a lot of action.
I tagged along for the ride as Waukesha artist Tom Noll said goodbye to the baby he has fed and nurtured these last several months. "The Founder" has kept him awake many late nights, but it was time to turn him loose and trust you've raised him right.
I've kept a masterpiece concealed in my pocket nearly every day for the last 13 years. SwissChamp has been called Victorinox's flagship model and the daddy of Swiss Army knives, but I call it by far the handiest, most reliable and well-made tool kit I'll ever own.
The Les Paul of Waukesha artists, Tom Noll, has condensed 200 painstaking hours of work into two minutes of sheer enjoyment. It's mysteriously coreographed to appear his pace picks up when the tempo speeds up. Perfect accompaniment for a perfect accomplishment.
As the photos emerge of GuitarTown playable guitars and sculptures I am in awe. I can't believe the quality, variety and creativity Waukesha is getting. My original fear was "what if we get some clunkers we'll have to look at for the next couple years, and all this effort wasted?" I clearly underestimated the talent of local artists and organizers for putting the best of them together.
Happy Easter and Chag Pesach Sameach! Am wishing you a holiday as nice as this great spring weather.
Ten days to winter's end. Today's weather was a perfect 10. This post is about 10 ten things, and it's been 10 days since my last post.
There's been no shortage of controversy to stir up emotion lately... recalls, street closure, mayoral antics... Interesting Sound Off in Thursday's Freeman. Makes me want to sound off myself.
A couple days after Les died two and a half years ago I posted a photo of what I felt his monument should look like. It wasn't a suggestion he be laid to rest in Meier Festival Park where the photo was taken though.
I added many of my Janboree photos in a short video. I felt the weekend went great thanks to the many sponsors, volunteers, organizers, ice carvers. . . not to mention the cold and snow. Thankfully we had enough snow for sledding and snowshoeing and cold for skating, because everyone was really getting out and enjoying it.
It's hard to not appreciate the mild winter we've been having while out biking or walking the blog. I'm rarely ever ready for snow, so thinking positive and hoping this will stick around a while. It's so much easier to drive in it and shovel it when there isn't any.
I applaud you! The week following one of our most thankful holidays held plenty of opportunity to practice what is preached.
Sue Baker's letter to the Freeman after Les' memorial dedication reminded me that there is a really great website for the Les Paul Foundation on which she serves. My first thought was "hey, the Les Paul Google Doodle is still available," and I started playing with that. In preparation for this post I took another look at the site and "hey, the entire dedication is on video!" If you have any interest at all you should take a peek.
Several news items caught my eye last week. The series is over now, but I thoroughly enjoyed John Schoenknecht's Freeman columns on the County Fair. I especially enjoyed reading about ballooning at the fair and had no idea it went as far back as 1880!
Titles are often the hardest part. It doesn't help when the one I want to use is taken. I was going to call this one blogstipation to reflect the two weeks I haven't written but someone had already thought of it first. I've been busy with work and play and regret not blogging more frequently, mainly because now there's almost too much to write about.
What a pleasure it is to visit Milwaukee's lakefront on a beautiful August morning for the largest outdoor mass in America followed by a day enjoying America's largest Irish music and culture festival.
The weather wasn't perfect for the inaugural Waterford Hot Air Balloon Festival . . . but pretty darn close to it! Besides a little rain Saturday morning which kept most, but not all balloons grounded, the conditions were ideal.
I had 112 decibels of pride for my son's graduation. Sorry if you temporarily lost your hearing.
It's pretty much been left to the discretion of Waukesha Police whether to close Main Street, Clinton, South, Broadway, etc. for live music in Waukesha. The weather was nice for the first Freeman Friday Night Live of the year and music lovers came. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, didn't appear to be any trouble. What I noticed most were the families with small children. I'm having a hard time picturing as many baby strollers and toddlers if they would've had to negotiate crowded sidewalks.
Thought I'd do a little biking before groceries Saturday. I'd just read about a short ride through Waukesha with the president of Carroll U, his wife, Mayor Scrima and others for a Ride with the President. They were pedalling through the historic McCall Street area, a side of town I don't get to nearly enough, to raise awareness and encourage use of alternative transportation. I didn't leave early enough.
Was invited to try a new restaurant last night for a friend's birthday. Stir Crazy is an Asian restaurant bordering Brookfield Square on the north at Bluemound. Had a bit of a wait due to the time of day and them not taking reservations, though twas a good time to meet the folks and friends. For my selection I chose the Market Bar. Market Bar is like a salad bar for the wok. You first order a protein and select rice or noodles at the table and receive two bowls. You fill one of the bowls with vegetables, legumes and fruit and the other with sauce. Hand the bowls to a wok chef and they cook it up with the protein right in front of you while you wait. I had shrimp, garlic ginger sauce and brown rice and my wok was delicious and filling without being too hot or spicy. I didn't do anything for St. Pat's day, so I washed it all down with a couple bottles of Guinness.
Nine hot air balloons got together for a Sunday afternoon of winter flight before the Packer playoff game. Enjoyed a little tailgate chili and met up with friends I hadn't seen in months. It was a very good day.
Hope everyone had at least as good a Thanksgiving as us. Enjoyed the succulent Butterball we received free from Pick 'N Save by redeeming our Turkey Perks. Family were here to share it with us. It was a good day.
The weather was great for Waukesha's 48th annual Christmas Parade. As a matter of fact everything was great. It was well worth missing a Packer / Viking game. It was only yesterday I signed up to wear a costume in the parade. Good thing too, may have chickened out if I had too much time to think it over.
We've had a week to console ourselves over the loss of our pet. Thanks to all that emailed and comforted us. He was but a poor dog, but he was one of God's creatures and a member of our family.
I thought the morning's rain and cooler temps may keep away more than just the wasps. After years of good weather for Retzer's Apple Harvest Festival I wondered if this would be the one time few would show up. Fortunately word has gotten around in the last 24 years of the festival and they came. They came before it officially opened. They came while it was still raining and, long after the parking field was muddy, they came. They brought cloth bags and picked up free recycling bins to carry their fresh apples home in.
I saw many familiar faces while manning the WPR booth at Waukesha Art Fest yesterday. I greeted them at the booth or spotted them from a distance. The clouds parted, the sun came out, had as much fun as last year.
There was plenty of good craic going on last Sunday in the Cultural Tent at Irish Fest. It was the 30th anniversary of Irish Fest so I thought I'd help out for once. I volunteered four hours at the Shamrock Club's table signing up new members and selling Shamrock Club 50th Anniversary pins.
Funny thing about letting the blog do the leading; he doesn't always look both ways or use the crosswalk. Don't even talk to me about the shortest distance . . . apparently you've got to cover a lot of territory to pick up a story's scent trail.
Never do I recall a larger Freeman Friday Night Live crowd, and never have I seen more boomers on Broadway, than two days ago for El Rey and the NightBeats at the Rockin' on Broadway stage. The closed street allowed for more seating, dancing and socializing. Thank goodness that the couple drops of rain earlier didn't send the band indoors, because I have no idea where they would have gone.
Very humid takin' the blog for a walk tonight. Had a good vantage point for sunset up by the University.
This is a copy of the email I sent Ken Walter with WindDancer Balloon Promotions four years ago, Saturday, 6/17/2006.
Don't know if you got email I sent using my Roadrunner account because I have such bad luck using it but I'm interested in helping out . I heard about the need for a flight crew in Waukesha This Week! and I'm available if needed. Let me know.
I joined the Friends of Vernon Marsh and the DNR for a nice canoe trip down the Fox River through the marsh today. From 10:00 in the morning till 1:00 this afternoon we enjoyed overcast yet cool, dry and calm weather for this first river outing of the Friends group. The DNR provided seaworthy matching canoes and a way for us to get back to our vehicles. Saw or heard a few of the more common birds, and some not so common ones. Saw snowy egrets, yellow-headed blackbirds and a cormorant, among others.
The 40th annual Earth Day is Thursday, a good time to spend a couple seconds thinking about the environment we share.
I don't know why someone would choose opening day of the Brewer game over his job, but a guy from work did just that. He'd purchased the ticket but didn't adhere to the conditions to get the day off. He had a choice to keep his job. He chose the game. What I didn't know is he had to sell his ticket because he needed the money. Ironic.
It's not that I don't love each one of you, it's just that I wouldn't come right out and say it like this. By using quotation marks in the title I'm able to avoid any emotional connection.
Once again the entertainment was spectacular at the Irish Cultural Heritage Center's Milwaukee Irish Parade Afterparty. For one thin dollar I was treated to some of the best Irish entertainment this side of the Mississippi. Have yet to see the parade though, billed as the largest parade of any kind in the state and the first Irish parade to be held outside the original 13 colonies. The parade was started in 1843, before even Milwaukee was a city and Wisconsin a state.
The name of one of the many great bands at JanBoree Jam said it all. I loved i Had Fun, but Colour, On My Way and Lifeline Called Comet all earned my applause. High Five Heroes earned more than a high five... I ordered one of their soon to be released CDs. Nine bands for eight bucks? What a deal! I really can't say enough about the talent and energy we experienced at North H.S. Saturday night.
The Sound of Music opened on Broadway 50 years ago this month at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. I didn't quite realize, until adulthood, the impact the story had on my parents. I guess my mom, also a mother of eight, pulled inspiration from Maria Von Trapp. Years ago, while Maria was still alive, we stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. The mountainous area reminded the family of the Austrian countryside they left behind. I visited a stone chappel on a hill above the resort that the kids had erected, and the gravesite of a few family members located close to the lodge. My mom wrote to Maria while we were there... and Maria responded. It was a good trip.
A funny thing happened on the way to work this morning: a detour to crew.
And I thought last weekend was sweet. Just one summer weekend to go and it keeps getting better and better.
Hoping you were able to pick up your Friendship cake before they were all sold out. Today is International Friendship Day, the 74th annual.
Had a reunion to go to last night. Didn't feel like I put in my best effort on the committee, was reluctant to go by myself and slow to leave the house. Ten minutes after I should've left, Rod called to go ballooning in the a.m. and wondered if I could crew.
Got more miles per cup of coffee this weekend, but not exactly by choice.
It's been three years since the beginning of WaukeshaNOW and this blog. There's still plenty going on to share. The enjoyment I get from writing hasn't receeded, and as long the computer is working, and I still have the time, I'd like to continue.
Thirty years ago my class was the first to go all four years through the new Waukesha North High School. For at least the last twelve I'd been looking forward to this weekend; graduation weekend at North; the day son graduates from the same school Mom and Dad attended.
The paper said there was a charity breakfast at the Eagles Club for $3.75, and a pancake breakfast at Linden Grove, same time, for $5.00.
I love shopping at Char's Hallmark. There's a fair selection of cards, though in a different economy it has been better. It's extremely rare if I'm not pleasantly greeted at the door. (On occasion, I'll try to sneak in without the greeting just to see if I can.)
The literature for Waukesha County Park System's 39th Earth Week initial event was pretty specific: Participants must provide their own canoe. Problem was, I still didn't have a seaworthy craft. The last time I was in one was the day I totalled it last year.
There's three things I look forward to at 5:00 in the morning, but it's rare I'm given the choice of all three at once.
If you're looking for Easter around the neighborhood, chances are you're not going to find decorated Easter trees or lights around the eaves. We've been lucky, so far, in avoiding the overcommercialization of a more important church holiday than Christmas. This is one celebration still looked forward to and anticipated, not dreaded.
I had no plans for Thursday when I first took it as a vacation day three months ago. I knew the kids were off school and that was enough. Later I learned there were a few things going on at the colleges that day.
I caught our moon waxing Venus tonight around 8:00. The young moon was only 8.89% full tonight, 15.95% full Saturday. It waxes it's way up to full by March 10th.
Visited the highest point in Waukesha County yesterday. I have the Lapham Peaktures to prove it. I wasn't there very long, just enough to put my state park sticker to one last use, but enjoyed a nice walk on the Ice Age Trail. Also had to see what the weather was like atop the 45 foot observation tower. Cold. Very, very CccccCold.
My confirmation group and I helped out with a Special Olympics Bowling Tournament at AMF Lanes on Northview Rd. in Waukesha Saturday. I'd never helped with this annual event before but people in our group had. They said what a great time it is and how much fun we'd have. But I really didn't expect it to be as much fun as it was.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." Meister Eckhart.
A little snow cloud passed over Waukesha around 2:30 this afternoon. I couldn't believe it. More peletized than flaky because it was well above freezing, but definitely snow and not hail or sleet. It was white but not solid. It didn't stick or last long and was soon replaced by light rain, but it made me wonder. Are we in for a long winter?
The Wisconsin Balloon Group's annual picnic was Saturday afternoon, and I was invited.
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.
It's the Olympics of TV watching and I've seen so much I'm starting to cramp up. After sprinting up the dial from 4 to 27 to 34 and 46, I do a triple-back salto to 27 then nearly dislocate my thumb trying to avoid a commercial. When the final results are in, I learn I could've placed if only I'd vaulted over to channel 73.
Spent several hours at Pewaukee Lake yesterday. With the no wake law still in force it's unusually quiet, and if my canoe didn't still have gaping holes in it... So we fish from shore. Very peaceful watching the regatta of around 50 sailboats. Later in the day was Taste of Lake Country and fireworks, but that's another story.
A fellow blogger passed away a week ago today. He was born and died in June... with eighty years in between. He led a very interesting and full life, spoke many languages and had friends around the world.
The theater was packed - even the $500.00 seats appeared to be sold out. The Pabst is absolutely beautiful and, even though it's older than Les, he'd never played there before Saturday. The stage had a relaxed and comfortable feel to it. Several people sat at pub tables and chairs around the perimeter giving the setting a jazz club atmosphere. The tuxedoed gentlemen falling off his stool just added to the realism of the bar scene.
The weather cleared in time for an enjoyable Father's Day though rain dampened Flag Day and graduation day celebrations Saturday. Congratulations to all grads and dads!
Ever notice how much the phone sounds like the alarm clock when it rings at 5 a.m.? Me either. But the phone did ring this morning and I was very happy. It meant my newest niece was born into the world today. A little early but healthy.
Yesterday was almost perfect; the weather sunny and calm, many things are in bloom, not too hot or cold and no bugs. This is a great time to welcome the birds that were away for so long. There's cute baby bunnies hopping around the yard lately, and there's just a couple huge bees busily polinating around the house.
I had to attend UWW's String Ensemble and University Chorus Spring Concert Friday. The price was right, (free) it was easy to get to, and it's the last concert of this school year. Though the audience could have been larger for this great performance, those in attendence were appreciative and enthusiastic.
I was enjoying a quiet walk in the woods at Retzer Nature Center today. It felt good to slow down and notice things that were buried under snow not that long ago. So many shades of green... It would have been a lot quieter had it not been for the howling wind and squeeks of bending trees rubbing against one another. I had stopped to listen to all the sounds and moments later heard something unexpected. A dead pine tree came crashing down in the area I had just come from.
I have to compare yesterday's crane count to fishing. Sometimes you don't see any, but the day is never wasted. Plus, a bad day of crane counting is still better than a good day at work.
I share this machine with two teenagers and a cat, so that could explain why I haven't been doing a lot of writing lately. Fortunately, Pepi just stays put where it's warm atop the monitor, or I'd still be waiting. Now that I have the time though, thought I'd talk about what I did last weekend.
One of my favorite downtown stores reopened yesterday after a several week closure due to water leaks. The closure made me realize how dependent I am on Plowshare for unique gifts. When I tried to find the right gift at the next best thing, a store in Westbrook Shopping Center, I found that they had closed a while ago.
I thought The Wizard of Oz was required viewing for every American. Thought we all had to see it at least three times by the 8th grade. The person you'd think would have been one to have seen it most, the director and producer of Waukesha North's current production, Nathan Berish, hadn't seen it at all until he began work on this musical.
First of all, I'd like to say thank you for reading my blog and for the feedback. I really appreciate having this excuse to get out and be more involved in the community I love. This is good writing practice, you give me that opportunity, and I thank you.
One of my favorite stores is one that everyone in Waukesha should be aware of. Plowshare Gifts, at the corner of Grand Ave. and Main in Downtown Waukesha, is a fair trade gift shop. Everything in the store is made by craftsmen in developing countries. People normally paid pennies for their labor are guaranteed a living wage and access to health care and education through the fair trade program.
My parish, St. Williams, 440 N. Moreland, will be the place to be this Saturday, and I won't be there.
Within the last week and a half I walked, drove, rode a bike and chased a hot air balloon to the University of Wisconsin Waukesha.