Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Could this be Sir jack's ship?

A few months ago, our friend Sir Jack, had his ship stolen by some ruthless ping-guins!!

Then, a mysterious piece of his ship shows up in the mail this week.

Sir Jack asked me to take a look around the beach today. As I stared out at the blue water...something caught my eye. I ran down to the beach to get a closer look. What is that floating in the water?
Could this be a piece of the ship? What are they up to? The mystery continues......

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Police and Elvis Costello Videos as promised!


If you missed my blog about the Police Concert....please scroll down to the next blog :)

These videos are each 15-30 seconds long, so they are pretty short, and blurry (sorry). You might even get to hear me and some friends in one of them LOL (Prob not me though since I was too busy taking the videos to talk) You can't video something, drink a beer, and talk at the same time. Or can you.....

Here is what I could upload of the Elvis Costello part of the concert....



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Here, Sting comes on stage to belt out a tune with Elvis Costello


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The Police start with my FAVOURITE song, "Message in a bottle" I got to dancing in this video (and some of the others)...so I am sorry for all the shaking.



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And here's a few more of my favourite songs.....



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Gotta love "Wrapped around my finger" ( I know I do)



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I had a few more to put up, but I guess this will do for now LOL

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rocking out at the Police concert....is that a Minxie doppleganger I see??

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of attending the greatest concert ever with Elvis Costello and The Police! I grew up listening to my dad playing their records, and "jamming" to the music. I never thought in a million years that I would EVER get to see them perform live. When my friend, Donna, first asked me way back in March if I would like to go.....it was an immediate YES! Without hesitation! Seeing both Elvis Costello, and The Police, live and in concert was something that I could not pass up!
German Fest was going on at the Summerfest grounds when we arrived there last night, so of course we had to stop in for some good old fashioned Bratwurst. It was so humid that my pants were sticking to me, and I swear I made them grow 3 extra sizes....they were NOT that big when I put them on!! After we had our fill, we headed up to the Marcus Amphetheatre to watch Elvis Costello perfom. We arrived a bit too late, and only got to listen to 2 songs. Bummer for us. What we did see was wonderful! He was getting everyone on their feet....singing the songs, and just plain old rockin' out! I went down to the concert with 3 of my friends....Donna, Jeff, and Christine. As Elvis was singing his last song, we headed up to the grass area to get a beer, and take some photos. The crowd started screaming, and I swung around at an all too familiar, and soothing sound.....Sting had come on stage to sing with Elvis, and belt out a wail so long that I thought the man was gonna keel over, and pass out. Only Sting can sing like that! I quickly turned on my camera, and video taped all 20 seconds that I could. Elvis was on stage for about an hour, before saying goodnight.
Now one thing I had forgotten about going to concerts is the atmosphere. Let me tell you it was packed full of energy! Not an empty seat in the house as far as I could see. The air smelled like a mixture of beer, and cigs, and everywhere I went I was butted up against someone else. Now if you know me well, I don't like to be touched by a bunch of strangers. I really hate it when some grabs the back of my neck, even if it is a joke. (I have a lot of friends who enjoy pranking me, by sticking a pen on my neck, and watching me freak out LOL.) So being stuck in a place with thousands of people in hot, humid weather can make me a bit cranky. However, nothing was going to spoil my fun that night! So I stood there with my friends, spilling beer on people (on accident), snapping pictures, yelling at the top of my lungs, and having a blast!
Once the stage had been prepared for The Police, the lights went out, reggae music started paying, and on they came. First up on the bracket was my FAVORITE song, "Message in a Bottle". I freaked out, and started jumping around like an idiot! A beer in one hand, and camera in the other. I feel kinda bad because I got so excited that I spilt some on a girl in front of me. (Sorry person in front of me)
THE POLICE WERE AMAZING! It is the ONLY band I have heard that still sounds the same today, as they did back then. Every note, every syllable, every rythmic key....all the same, and it was an awe-inspiring sight for me to see. Sting's voice is just incredible.
Sting looked GOOD! My friends and I just added him to our "list"....I am sure I don't need to explain that one...right?
They played one great song after another. I can't remember when I have had such a great time! I got a little giddy when they started singing "Wrapped Around my Finger", since that was the first song I EVER remember listening to. I kept thinking about how my dad would have loved to see this show. It brought back a lot of memories of when I was younger. My sister used to run around the room yelling that song, as she showed everyone her finger. Not that middle finger....just any finger.....then she would tie things around her finger, and start singing away! I have to admit...I did that too!
Needless to say that the beer had kicked in for my friends, and it was time for a bathroom break. I headed down to buy a t-shirt, and get a beer. As we were standing there getting our shirts, I missed one of my favourite songs... "Roxanne". I was a bit bummed, but at least I could hear it. The Police really know how to put on a show! In 3 weeks, I hear (now keep in mind this could be untrue) that all the equipment, including the drums, will be auctioned on ebay. If that is true, I know a few people who are going to battle it out for those drums!

Here are some pics, andI was able to take for you guys! I will upload some video once I figure out how to do it LOL....It seems that not only does the computer NOT want to upload my Public Enemies Video...but my My Police videos as well. I must be doing something wrong! Any suggestions???



The gang runs in to an old friend!

Here is me...rockin' the Police shirt on a HUMID Wisconsin night!


As far as the Minxie Doppleganger goes.....


For those of you who don't know what a doppleganger is....it is someone's twin. I use that word all the time, and from what I have heard today.....I understand a certain someone uses that word as well....who may have seen my friend Christine the Doppleganger! And if that is the case....then she may have seen me too!


I have known this person for about a year. Her name is Christine, and she is a friend of Donna, who came with us last night. I first met her at a halloween party when she was dressed up as a pirate. When I first met Minxie online, I thought it was Christine. They truly look the same, sans the blue eyes, in person. They even talk basically the same. I showed Christine a picture of Minxie, and she thought they looked alike as well. I screamed " She is your Doppleganger!" To which I had to explain what that was LOL

I thought I would leave it up to you guys...do you think that they look alike...or not? Sorry but the pics aren't exactly positioned the way I wanted them.


This is Christine... This is Minxie......
















Thursday, July 24, 2008

Getting back my inspiration at the WI State Fair!

I've always had a passion for writing. Throughout my entire life, I have been a dreamer. Always watching, laughing, smiling, and thinking. Thinking about ways to write down the experiences that I have had, and how I could make those experiences interesting enough for others to want to read. I have written 4 books, and they lay still upon a shelf in my office. Why you ask? I am not sure. Perhaps it is because I can't seem to find the satisfaction in them, that I want others to feel. If I don't enjoy them, then I am sure others will not as well. Then again, maybe it is because I cannot find the right way to end the tales, or perfect my characters enough for the world to see. So I succomb to the dreaded writer's block. It has been that way for some time now, and until today, I did not see that relenting in anyway. Now I do not consider myself a writer that could stand up to the reflections of say Hans Christian Anderson, or the numerous amazing authors I have had the privledge of reading. I do, however, share their passion and excitement for wanting to bring thoughts and ideas to life for others to enjoy.





It all started this morning, as I sat sipping my coffee on the sofa, going over my recipes for the Wisconsin State Fair. I began to realize that in many ways, cooking is like writing. They both take a great deal of effort, and once the product is completed, you should feel a sense of relief, and accomplishment. If I could feel that way about cooking, why couldn't I feel that way about my writing? I used to feel that way about my stories, but latley I have felt dissapointed in the way I chose to present the characters to the world. I let that feeling slip from my mind, as I hurried about the house gathering up my breads and jam. It was already 10am when I left the house, and I only had one hour to make it to the fair in time. No problem, I thought to myself. Little did I know, that there was a huge accident on the freeway, and traffic was backed up for miles. So there I sat, at a stand still, on I-94 on a hot mid summer day. I was frustrated, and worried that all my baked goods would start to go bad in the car. Then, almost as if "someone" was hearing my thoughts, traffic started to move. I decided to pull off the freeway, and take some side streets instead. I saw this car pass me on the left, and pull right in front of me. I should have laid on the horn, but all I could do was smile. My friend Minxie says to look for the signs, and this was a big one! Just as suddenly as my frustration came, it quickly lifted at the sight of this car. I am sure many of you know why.
Once I reached the fair, I was in high spirits! I took my number, and waited to be called so that I could hand in my 4 entries of the day. They were pumpkin bread, white bread, scones, and strawberry jam. After my number was called, I reparked my car, and came inside to meet with my mother. The room was bustling with eager exhibitors awaiting their turn to show off the items they had taken so long to create. Afgans, and quilts of all shapes and colors hung from the rafters within the horticultural building. The magnificent assorment of textiles was truly something to be seen, and they had been judged the week prior. Today was reserved for pies, cookies, breads, salsas, and an allotment of multiple creations. I obliged some of my friends with a run to McDonalds. Everyone was hungry, looking at the tasty arrangements of foods which lay before us. It is a very hard thing to witness such mouth watering creations, and not be able to eat one morsel.
The aroma of freshly baked breads, scrumptious cookies, and envigorating salsa lingered in the air as I arrived back at the fair. Everyone dove right into their "not so good for you" lunch. The judges arrived on the scene just minutes before all the excitement began. Food was hurried back and forth to all the judges, and the crowd sat patiently as each category was judged one by one. After each class was judged, the winners (1st-4th place) were announced across the loud speaker, which in turn was met with cheers and applause from the crowd of on lookers.




It was taking a long time for them to get to my entries, and since I was dying of thirst, I decided to take a look around the fair grounds for some water. Have you ever wondered what the state fair looks like before the crowds pile in for some summer fun? Well, let me tell you, I was intruiged. The grounds were full of life everywhere I went. At one point, I thought I might run into some trouble, and hid behind a pilar under the Milwaukee Mile Race Track. The bleachers were empty, and the tents were all set up for the array of vendors that would soon occupy the space.













What I didn't expect to hear, or see, was race cars! That's right....race cars! As I stood there, under the bleachers, the loud and furious sounds of engines swept by me, peeking my curiosity. Sadly, I could not see very well from where I was standing, so I let my imagination take me away. That is the exact moment when I realized....I still had it in me. The ability to imagine myself in a far off place, to put myself in someone else's shoes, to take my experiences and relive them through writing.

The sun was beating down upon me, as I walked further into the state fair. Out of no where, one of the workers came up to me and told me about a vendor on the other side of the fairgrounds that was open for business. So off I went in search again for some water. It was futile to try and use the various water fountains that I passed, since they hardly worked. I reached Mr Ed's Chuckwagon, and ordered a brat (my weakness) for my mum and I to share, and a bottle of water. At that point, I would have settled for a beer, but the water was like heaven to me!

I made it back to the fair just in time to see my pumpkin bread disqualified, as I knew it would be. It had not turned out as well as I had hoped. My mood began to shift once more into frustration. I had worked so hard to make all these things for someone else, and I should have been making them for me. Just like I should have been writing for me, not for someone else. All was not lost though. My white bread was up on the judges table, along with 7 others. I grabbed my copy of the Public Enemies book I had brought with me, and buried myself within its pages. I did not want to see my poor bread suffer the same fate as the one before it. But to my surprise, 4th place! Not bad.

Next up came the Strawberry Jam. My history of jam making in this category has not gone down very well. Needless to say, I have NEVER placed at all at the state fair with my strawberry jam. I watched, nervously, as the judge surveryed all 8 participants jars, and pushed mine off to the side. I thought, oh no....here we go again....another year at the fair...another year of not being placed. I turned to a friend of mine, and repeated what I said last year. "I will never enter this category ever again. It is always jam packed full of people, and I am always the first one to be discarded." To which she agreed, and that was one of the reasons she did not enter the strawberry jam category either. Then all of a sudden the judge was at the microphone......1st place for me! I could NOT believe it! I wanted to jump, to scream, to take back the words I had uttered not moments before. I had beaten my mum, her friend, and all the other people in that class. My hope was restored, and my mind began racing with the tales that I would tell my friends when I got home. My mum looked at me with that look that only a mum can give you. The one that says I am proud of you, without even having to say a word. I too, was proud of her. She had recieved the Berry Growers Association award for her cherry pie, and countless other ribbons, and places, for her various jams and jellies.

I needed a bit of fresh air, so I once again strolled outside to enjoy the sunshine. I walked up and down the fair. I snapped a few photos, and rested on a picnic table near some pink petunias. I closed my eyes, and let the sun wash over me. I felt peaceful, and calm, not like the past few days when all I felt was frustration. I thought about the words that were so eloquently written by our fellow Captain Jack a few days ago on his blog. I understood completly how he feels about having writer's block. Sitting there on the bench, I realized that all I needed was the inspiration to start writing my ideas down. Even if they are just that....ideas. Some of the best novels in history have come from a single idea. It is that one spark of that single idea that can arrise the passion within the soul. Whether it be the smile of a child, the sounds of a passing car, or sitting on a picnic bench staring up at the sun.

I had been at the fair for 9 hours now, and my scones were next up on the table. I saw 21 entries in this class, and thought I had no chance. I had been disheartened when the same scones had not placed at the county fair last week, and even more so when I saw how many people had entered into the scone category at the state fair. One by one, I saw the scones pass by me on their way to the dreaded "rejection" table. Now, I don't like to use that word since no one should feel rejected if you tried your best, but still...there it was...staring me in the face like a bad dream. I nervously stared at each plate as they went by, but mine was not there. I grasped my mum's arm, and hung on for dear life. She, in turn, did the same to me. We were both as anxious as each other since we were both in the scone class. More and more plates passed us, as we watched helpless. Then the judge came up to the microphone. 2nd place for my mum, and 4th for me! Again, I couldn't believe it. Now you may think 4th place is not very high, but considering it came 4th out of 21 entries....that's pretty good...and I was happy.

After that, I went over to the photography board. I had entered 2 photos of my dogs, and my friend. I should have entered the pics of Columbus, but alas....I did not. Next year however, they will be entered. Neither of my photos had won, so I quickly gathered them up, and headed off to take some photos of the empty fairgrounds.



This is what the Horticultural Building looks like before everything is added



The famous Lions Corn Roasting booth! I hear it is their 50th anniversary at the fair!



So what bands are playing this year?




And this sign says it all....a French Booth (Thinking of Johnny when I was there LOL) that makes Cheese Curds!!!

When I left the fair, I felt that accomplishment that I have been needing for so long. I may not have placed as high as I would have liked, and I may not have won with all my entries, but I found something much more valuable. I found the inner artist that has been laying dormant for so long. At the end of the day, I finally understood that it did not matter to me what other's thought about my stories, just as long as I enjoyed them. As I said cooking is like writing. You hope that other's will enjoy what you create, but all in all....it is the creator that truly has to appreciate what they are doing, and be satisfied with the result. I will not go as far as saying that my writer's block is cured, but it is on the mend. In the words of my friend The Captain, "They tell writers to find some medium in which to put words even when in the grips of a writer's meltdown, and putting anything down at all helps to reestablish your connection with words." That is why I decided it was time to take a simple idea, and try to focus on getting some of that connection back that I have missed for so long. I found inspiration through my friends, writing on the blog, and just taking a moment to stand still and think. The next thing I need to work on, is my spelling!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chandi the dancing dog!

Being an animal lover, it was hard not to smile at the videos my friend sent me. Here are 2 for you to take a look at. This is Chandi, the dancing dog, and his friend, Tina Humphrey's at the Cruft Show in England. They must have had to work VERY hard to get this down pat! It is the best dancing I have seen by far.....especially since there is a dog involved! Enjoy you guys! BTW - they are a little long, but worth the watch!! Chandi was adopted by Tina at the dog pound....truly inspiring!

The first video is up beat, and I LOVED it!!






This video is just AMAZING! The music made me all teary eyed. It is a beautiful slow dance with Tina and Chandi. They truly are wonderful together!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

A surprise at the fair!

First off, I want to say thanks to Shakes who brightened my most ever hectic week with a HILLARIOUS video of me, Minxie, Evan, JD, and JJ. Check it out at http://shaken-but.blogspot.com/

Now, onto the fair. I had very high hopes of being able to go to the Waukesha County Fair this weekend, but things were not shaping up well at all. First it was raining, then I had prior commitments, and to top it all off...I spent both Friday and Saturday...well....how should I say it....ummmm...."incapacitated". However, at 4pm this afternoon I got to finally attend the fair with my mum and hubby. I got the surprise of my life! Not only did I get 21 ribbons for my food, photos, and pottery, plus a reserve champion ribbon for my bread......but when I got there, I saw that I had also won the Red Star Yeast Award for my wheat bread!!! I couldn't believe it!


We had a GREAT time at the fair! I had so much food...including fries, corndogs, mini donuts, funnel cake, and 5 bottles of water! It was VERY HOT!! We played a few games, looked at the animals, and I even got to pet some stingrays! They are so slimy, but cool!



There were all sorts of events going on from Clog dancers, to Monster truck rides, camel rides, water balloon wars (which no one would do with me), and my FAVOURTIE......Pig races!!! The cloggers were dressed in 1920-1930's outfits. It took me back to the days of the Public Enemies filming!










Here are the Pig Races.....they had 3 separate races. 1st one was the little boy pigs, and Arnold SchwatzenHOGGER won! The 2nd one was the little girls, and although my favourite one didn't win, I still love her. Her name is Lindsay LoHAM. The last one was for the "foriegn" pigs from across the world, but I really think that they were made up LOL. I didn't see who won that one.















It was pretty funny...and they even had names of places that they came from....I giggled at AmsterHAM. LOL

Then there was this booth......I was curious....but didn't take the "test"

To top it all off, Hootie and the Blowfish were performing FOR FREE at the fair! Now, I have never been a huge Hootie fan, but they were still nice to watch. It was even better when I learned that the band had asked people to bring pencils, paper, and other school supplies instead of paying money to see the show. All of the school items will be donated to the Waukesha School District! How cool is that!



And what Wisconsin Fair would be complete without a visit to the Milk Booth?! Oh yes, I partook in a few glasses. All 3 flavours....original, strawberry, and chocolate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Columbus Photos win at the county fair!

This is my 4th year entering in the Waukesha County Fair. Even though I am exhausted, I still enjoyed every minute of it. My mum got me interested in doing baking and canning, and also photography. We even took a pottery class together, and entered some of our things. This year, I decided to do a bit more than normal. I entered 38 items into the fair. 21 of those items recieved prizes (although not as high up as I would have liked LOL). However, I did recieve my very FIRST Reserve Champion award for my wheat bread, so I am VERY pleased with that!
The judges were pretty tough this year, and some of the categories were very large, especially in photography. When Public Enemies was filming in Columbus, I decided to take some black and white photographs of the streets, and the judge must have liked them! I entered 3 separate pictures of various parts of Columbus, and each of them won something. Even though I wish I would have won first place (hee hee), I got 2 seconds, and a 4th for the pictures. Even some of the crowd commented on how nice the town looks.

I had a couple "flops" with my baking, including : Chocolate Chips Cookies, Scones, and Cloverleaf rolls. They didn't place at all. I was a bit bummed out, but you can't win them all. :)
Here is the list of what I won today at the County Fair:

Pumpkin Bread - 4th Ceramic Swirl Plate - 2nd
Banana Bread - 4th Ceramic Square Bowl - 2nd
Strawberry Jam - 4th Ceramic Rounded Bowl - 2nd
Applesauce - 3rd Ceramic Etched Plate - 1st
White Bread - 2nd
Apple Butter - 2nd
Dehydrated Fruit Mix - 2nd
Dehydrated Apples - 1st
Wheat Bread - 1st + Reserve Champion

Photos
Columbus Street View - 4th
Sunset small view - 4th
Sunset Large view - 4th
Little boy with glasses - 4th
Little boy on drums - 3rd
Columbus Street Signs - 2nd
Columbus Street Corner - 2nd
Series of 3 photos of bridge - 1st

Next up....STATE FAIR.....judging is tomorrow for photos, and next week Thursday for the foods. I entered 2 photos, but I will have to wait till next week to find out if I won or not.

Here are some pics from the fair:

It's canning time!

A line up of some bakery waiting to be judged







My poor old scones...they didn't win, but they should have! They were Orange Cranberry!







My winning wheat bread! 1st place, PLUS Reserve Champion!!





Once the food has been judged, some of it is cut up for everyone to enjoy!



The animal Photo that did NOT win....how can you not love this pic?






One of my Columbus pics that won!



I will try to put up the other two pictures of Columbus that won as soon as I can get my computer working right. It just won't let me upload them for some reason.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My family's introduction to Public Enemies, and our great 4th of July!

My family must think I am crazy. In fact I KNOW that they think I am crazy. When I stop to tell them all the wonderful times I have had meeting Johnny Depp, and seeing the Public Enemies filming, they look at me in disbelief. HOWEVER, tonight I think that has changed for some of them. We had a grand celebration here at my house for Independence Day. During which, I decided to bust out my Public Enemies home made slide show/video. ( Which will be put up in a few days on my blog) At first, they all looked at it with a puzzled expression on their faces, but then that changed into something all too familiar to me. They had the Depp Effect. As we watched the video, I explained to them about the different locations, the actors, and the story about John Dillinger. They seemed very intruiged by it all. It was nice to share it with them, and get their stamp of approval on the video. They really liked it! So that made me happy, and also more "gung ho" about putting it out there for others to see. So fingers crossed that I can get it uploaded for you all!

We had a great afternoon, with lots of yummy food, and some really REALLY bad fireworks! Let me explain that.....I have never bought fireworks in my life, and it is illegal to shoot them off where I live. So when I walked into Kmart to pick up some paper towels today, I saw a rack of fireworks sitting on the cash register. I thought, why would they sell them knowing it was illegal to shoot them off? Well, I soon found out. What I had purchsed was nothing more than smoke bombs, and some pretty bad ones at that. All they did was a poof of smoke, and that was it! My husband (bless his soul) shouts : "Nothing you buy from Kmart is going to explode!" I laughed hysterically at that! The main attraction of the afternoon was this little python snake thing that you light, and it grows. OMG!! Can you believe that? Thats what I bought. I was mortified, as I had wanted to shoot off some huge fireworks (regardless of if I shouldn't) and I bought a fake snake. Even the little snaps that you smack on the ground didn't work. DON"T EVER SEND ME AGAIN TO GET FIREWORKS!!! LOL I will never hear the end of this.
It was fun to introduce my grandad to an American ice cream truck. He bought everyone an ice cream who wanted one. It was very sweet. We also got a cake for Gina, Sean's mom, to celebrate her wedding a few days ago. The groom was unable to attend the festivities as he was working. I did make them a video of the wedding, which I hope they liked. Also my friend Donna came with her hubbie and son. I ADORE that kid!!
As darkness set in, we decided to actually go and see some fireworks at the Waukesha Expo Center. We parked at the Local Humane Society, and my friend Cassie and I, set out a picnic blanket to lay on. The bugs were just awful!! We had no bug spray on either. A friend of ours, Captain Ron, was making popcorn for everyone, and once the fireworks started, I went snapping away with my camera. I have never gotten a pic of a firework before, and I wanted to try. "Put that thing away....it's abnoxious!" Cassie kept saying. Again, mortified.

Here are some pics from today:
Having fun with my family and friends!
My friend Cassie and I
Here we are!
My sister and her Boyfriend Matt
My grandad meets the ice cream man, and buys everyone a little treat!
Sean's mom gets a congratulations cake! She got married a few days ago!
The man of the hour.....Colton!
Get ready for some AMAZING "fireworks" purchased by yours truly!
Werent those AMAZING????? LOL
Captain Ron makes us popcorn as we wait for the REAL fireworks to begin!
By the way - I only got 2 semi ok fireworks pictures. Hey, it was my first time!