Sunday, May 30, 2010


Yesterday, I went to Burlington, to check out what's the hoopla about their legendary festival, ChocolateFest. When I got there, I was amazed by the sheer amount of people there. For a small town, they sure could cram them in. And the chocolate...Everywhere! never saw so much chocolate in my life! They had baking contests, sculpting and judging.

To understand the meaning behind the festival is to understand Burlington. Burlington is a small city about 35 miles west of me with a population of about 11,000 people. The city reminds me of northern Wisconsin in a way. Small and quiet. It's famous for not only the birthplace of Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo, but for being the headquarters for Nestlie's Chocolate. Yup, that where your Crunch Bars, 100,000 Grand, and Quik chocolate milk come from!

Here's some photos from the festival....

Willie Wonka...I think...

A chocolate bake off

Yup, these are edible....


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thinking About Summerfest

I was just looking over the Summerfest lineup for this year, trying to decide what bands to see. The line up is starting to fill up and it's worth getting stoked up for sure! MANY cool bands are going to be there! What's even cooler is I got the entire duration of Summerfest off from work!

I probably won't be the there every night, but for sure, I'll be there on July 3rd to see Rush. I've already got tickets to see them. For some of the headlining acts I'm interested in, I can wait for last minute deals on lawn seats.

The lineup isn't complete yet, but here is a list of what I'm interested in seeing...

Thursday June 24:
Sheryl Crow-Miller Lite Oasis
Night Ranger-M&I Classic Rock Stage

Friday June 25:
Tom Petty with ZZ Top-Marcus Amphitheater
Jeff Beck-Harley Davidson Roadhouse

Saturday June 26:
Tom Petty with ZZ Top-Macus Amphitheater
Savoy Brown-M&I Classic Rock Stage
Uriah Heep-M&I Classic Rock Stage

Sunday June 27:
BB King-M&I Classic Rock Stage
Robert Randolph and the Family Band-Briggs and Stratton's Big Backyard

Monday June 28:
Eric Clapton with Roger Daltrey-Marcus Amphitheater
Blue Oyster Cult-M&I Classic Rock Stage

Tuesday June 29:
.38 Special-Briggs and Stratton's Big Backyard

Wednesday June 30:
Moody Blues-M&I Classic Rock Stage

Thursday July 1
Santana with Steve Winwood-Marcus Amphitheater

Friday July 2
Scorpions-Harley Davidson Roadhouse
Yes-M&I Classic Rock Stage

Saturday July 3
Rush-Marcus Amphitheater
Counting Crows-Harley Davidson Roadhouse
Peter Frampton-M&I Classic Rock Stage

Sunday July 4
Nothing really

Nothing, except for going to see Rush, is set in stone yet. Some plans are may be taking shape. It depends on many things...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Working Overtime

God, I'm so tired these days. I've working a lot overtime, doing ten hour shifts from 4:00 AM till 2:30 PM. It's starting to get exhausting. Feeling like I'm not getting much of a life.

I don't mind working overtime sometimes, but when it cuts into whatever social or leisure time I have can be kind of annoying. On top of that, I find myself taking more naps.

Can't complain too much, at least, I've got a job. Oh well...a man gotta do what a man gotta do...

Yeah, I work Saturday too....

Monday, May 17, 2010

River Bend

Yesterday, with the weather being so nice and mild, I decided to take a nice long walk through the woods at River Bend. River Bend is a nature reserve on the outskirts of my city. The trails at places were broken and rather muddy I managed to find my way through. I saw some cardinals, chickadees, orioles, robins, a hawk, squirrels and some deer tracks. Even heard some woodpeckers in the woods. I brought along my camera to take a few pictures.


The Root River

A trail in the woods

A young Red-tailed hawk


Sunday, May 16, 2010

RIP Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio, whose soaring vocals, poetic lyrics and mythic tales of a never-ending struggle between good and evil broke new ground in heavy metal, died this morning, according to a statement from his wife and manager. He was 67.

Ronnie James Dio rose to fame in 1975 fronting Rainbow with guitarist Richie Blackmore from Deep Purple, bringing tunes like "Stargazer", "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Long Live Rock and Roll" to life.

In 1980, Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath. Reviving the band, they released the critically acclaimed Heaven and Hell album. That time spent with the band was short lived.

In 1982, Dio formed his own band, Dio with former Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice. There they released some more excellent material such as "Holy Diver", "Rainbow in the Dark" and "The Last in Line"

Since then, Dio returned to Black Sabbath two more times before renaming it Heaven and Hell.

Last summer he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and was receiving treatment in Houston. He seemed to be doing better. Until this morning when I heard this.

His wife and manager Wendy Dio, released this statement-"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cancer in a Nutshell -- With Update

A few weeks ago, I had gotten a message from a friend whom I haven't seen nor heard of in 25 years. We immediately reconnected as good friends. As we talked and laughed, reminiscing old times, she had revealed out to me that she had terminal cancer. She has less than 18 months. I was shocked!

As she was telling me her story, I became amazed. Yes, amazed. I was amazed by the fact her strong will is there! Instead of letting this terrible condition bring her down, she chooses to live her life to the fullest! She is full of smiles and laughter. Her spirit is inspiring, infecting those around her with smiles!

This is her story:

As someone who is battling cancer, you see life through whole new out look. You understand that most people don’t understand the struggles. But yet you push on that everything is ok. Some do see when a health struggle like a heart attack hits their lives, they understand the struggle. I also understand that some have it worse then yourself. Knowing this, my struggle is not was worse then person before me.

My cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (head and neck) stage 4. Terminal

So what is my point of view? Well, I look at life and the irony of it. But now the choice is which side will I look at? Honestly you can’t look one and not see the other, but I try to look more toward the positive.

Some of the positives of being a 44 year old female, is most of my friends are going through menopause. I hear them complain about their systems and some of their joys. Yet I don’t have to worry about, a right of path age that will be lost or missed?

Still looking fresh and young, but not worrying about buy expensive cosmetics. I still like taking walks, exercising, and eat right. But do enjoy the some of the naught pleasures of life.

I can choose how and where I am going to die. If you are a car accident, you don’t have that choice.

Some of the negative is not seeing my two children approaching middle school, having their first crush, first date, prom, high school and college graduations, weddings, grandchildren. Even thou I will miss these very important mile stones in their lives, I can rest assure that I place some of the life lesson seeds in their young minds.

Life lessons on the important of manners, dreams, goals, education, and loving family and friends.

I have been brave and honest with my kids about this nasty evil that has came into our lives and the people who effects also. So I do share my enjoyment, my happiness, and my pride in them during theirs and our good times and bad times, well lesson learned and water under the bridge. There is good in today and there will be tomorrow.

It is not their job to become little adults. Thank you God for the blessing of family and friends to help these two precious souls navigate through life’s good and evil.

I want to thank my friend for her inspiration and a lesson learned in life. My heart and prayers goes out to her. Her condition may be terminal, but in my mind, she's a survivor....

UPDATE My friend, Brandie, emailed me with a new message. UPDATE

Thanks Drew!
There is one thing that I forgot to mention in my writing, and that is this cancer is starting to hit more women my age. Yes this was considered a man's cancer, so there is no real research on how this cancer and treatments effect women.
Plus, because this a fast growing cancer, and life expectancy is only less then two years, the hopes for a cure or even remission is not in the cards for me. But I do pray that a cure can be found for the next woman, and she can live a long life.
Brandie C. the author of "Cancer in a nutshell"

Monday, May 10, 2010

Some Lyrics Going Through My Head....

Are you wanting inspiration
You spill your secrets on me
Then you tell me with a whisper
Of things that will never be.


Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don't be late
Take a rest as a friend
As an old


And he talks to the river of lost love and dedication
And silent replies that swirl invitation
Flow dark and troubled to an oily sea
A grim intimation of what is to be

There's an unceasing wind that blows through this night
And there's dust in my eyes, that blinds my sight
And silence that speaks so much louder than words,
Of promises broken

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the great mothers out there! Don't know we could have done it without you! You ladies ROCK!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

JTI Spring Gathering

Here we are, all gathered again. The JTI Springtime Gathering. This time to honor Beejay coming up from Florida to introduce her beau, Mr. Dan. Many of us came out and had a good time. Had a couple of drinks, good tacos and shared a few laughs.

Lizardmom, her husband, and their daughter-Froglover, showed me their ideas for the future of the best of Racine posts. SER cracked some good jokes. kkdither was all smiles and laughs. Orbs Corbs and I chatted about family. Dog Addicts and her husband talked up a storm! Mr. Dan got Beejay blushing with pride about the fun they had...All in all I had a great time! I love these guys! Yes, Mr. Dan looks great in a sombrero!

BTW, where was Madame Zoltar?