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First one on the block!

James family, West Allis

ADOPTED Are you looking at me?

Betsey is wondering why you haven't visited her yet!
She's not only charming, but this 3-year-old Beagle has chocolate brown eyes that will warm your heart. Naturally curious, Betsey is really starting to blossom after spending many years in the largest breeding facility in Wisconsin with thousands of other dogs. She likes to investigate everything from fallen autumn leaves to interesting textures in the dirt and grass. To Betsey, everything is a new phenomenon worthy of serious study!  Oh, and she loves to cuddle after a nice walk in the woods, especially on a warm lap!  Interested?  See her and all the dogs at www.wihumane.org/animals/dogs.

Election day

2008 Presidential Race, Bradley Center, Miller Park, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nostalga, State Fair, West Allis

I voted this morning at Wilson Elementary School on 88th & Orchard.  I got in line at 6:40 AM and was about 30th in line.  By the time 7:00 rolled around there must have been 150 people in line.  I got out of there by 7:15, and the line was even longer than it was at 7:00.

I was 12th in Ward 20, I told the lady my name, and she wrote a "12" next to my name.  Then she found the page for the other book guy and waited for him to also write "12" next to my name.  God bless the election workers, but this elderly gentleman should have been nowhere near an area where speed would have been an asset.  I'm not trying to be mean, but his fingers weren't turning the pages well, and his hand was shaking when writing the "12" next to my name.  Notwithstanding the old guy trying to help America vote, but neither of these two did anything to check my address, nor did they hide the book from me.  As these two were getting their "12"s straight, I could have easily - easily - taken mental note of other people's last names and gotten back in line to vote.  I am sure they wouldn't have recognized me.  I also could have come back later when recognization would have been even more remote.

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PAID SICK DAYS!!!

Alright folks, normally my blogs are usually on the serious side.  I finally have decided to break on through to the other side. 

Those of us who work full time are at work more than we are at home.  If you work 8am until 5pm your typical day goes as such.  You probably wake up at 7am unless you have children.  Then you start around 6am.  You get the kids/yourself ready and head out the door.  Sometimes you travel up to an hour to get to work.  You work 9 hours and then head home.  Another hour (and a half if you have to pick up the kids) and you get home.  Rush to make dinner, do homework, family time, check emails and then get ready for bed.  Kiss and hugs and time for bed.  Goodnight John-boy, goodnight Jim-Bob, goodnight Mary-Ellen... 

Now, let me ask this.  Who was the wonderful soul who ever came up with full time as a 9 hour workday?  Why can't full time be closer to 6 hours?  Do you not think we as Americans would have an improved quality of life if we had equal time with our families and in our workplaces?  I mean, honestly, how many of us work full time and wonder where the time goes.  Do you not wish for a moment (or two) that you had more time with your children?  How about those whom have sacrificed their entire lives only to be "downsized" within an hour.   Maybe employers should realize that we are worth a couple of paid sick days per year.  Due to the economy, most folks are working more hours for less pay just to have a job.   Employers are taking full advantage of us knowing that for every job opening, there are at least 500 people vying for the position.  They know that in order to feed our families, we are willing to lower our expectations and will "take what we can get".  No wonder we are getting sick.  Stress is the greatest cause of illness within any individual and it's on the rise.

I can honestly admit, I was so excited to see a line to cast my vote to paid sick time.  In previous companies I have worked for, we had what they called PTO, which was "paid time off".  What this meant was that you were allowed 40 hours per year you worked for a company. So, after 2 years, I had gathered 80 hours and the allowed you to take PTO as you wished.   Most of the time, they "suggested" you request your PTO in advance.  So, what happens when you are sick?  It's not really something you can plan ahead for, right?  Well, it's been awhile since I worked with the PTO company, but I thought we could use this blog to our advantage. 

We all know how strict employers are going to be when this law goes into effect.  I am sure they are going to require doctor's notes, proof of prescriptions and things of that sort.  Yet, how do we get around this?  Suppose you aren't feeling up to par, but not bad enough to visit your doctor.  Let's say you catch the flu and we all know that it takes a couple of days to get back to 80%. 

I think it's time we all pitch in and come up with some fantastic "ideas" for sick days.  Yep, you heard me.  It's time we come together as a nation and help each other out.  Even if we didn't agree on who to vote for, the least we can do is assist one another in this area. 

I am sure more than one of us has already used the "relative who has passed away" excuse to get out of work.  Yet, if we are going to call in "sick", I am calling in the troops.  I am asking those of us who may have "fibbed" to get out of work to comment below for the best excuses ever.   Let's work together so we can get the much needed time off, regardless if we are sick or not.  How about let's say we use an "I am just sick and tired of going to work" excuse.   Or, "After 10 years of service I deserve a day off" excuse. 

I will begin folks.  I will give you an example.  One night, 5 years ago, (notice, I said FIVE years ago), I spent some much needed time with some friends.  We wrapped things up around 2:30am at a friends home and I knew I was pushing it.  Needless to say, after dropping off a girlfriend, I got to sleep at 3:30am and set my alarm for 7:15am.  I knew I would be cutting it close, but felt if I took a cold shower, I would be good to go.  I wake up at 7:15am and hit snooze.  I couldn't do it.  I felt as if I had been hit by the 4 hour sleep truck.  I called in sick.  My excuse was that "my daughter had passed on the flu to myself and I hadn't gotten any sleep".  Not original, but it worked. 

Ok folks, I 'fessed up. so now it's your turn.  The more the merrier.  I would love to hear your ideas about "sick" days.  Let's ban together and help each other out.  Trust me, you may need one of these sooner than later.. 

Join me at the Hunter Widows Fall Open House

"Hunter Widows" Fall Open House

Sunday, November 23

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LATEST GREATEST!

So folks, everyone is wondering how we got into the most recent mess regarding the economy. With employees losing their jobs left and right, everyone is finally feeling the pinch of less income.

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Thank you, Veterans

Barack Obama, James family, Patriotism

I did not choose to serve in the Armed Forces.  I want to thank those who risked their lives so I didn't have to; those who risked their lives to protect my right NOT to serve.

During the 1980 Presidential election, I was 12 years old and understandably not into politics.  I do remember that Ronald Reagan was being portrayed as a warmonger who would lead us to a nuclear war with the Soviets - not particulary a comforting thought to a pre-teen.  I also remember that in March of 1986 (the month I turned 18) Reagan had ordered maneuvers past Mohammar Qadaffi's "Line of Death" bay off of Libya.  In April, after the US bombed Tripoli and Qadaffi was neutralized, I learned that sometimes military force is needed.  I also learned about international terrorism.  And I learned that I wasn't one to stamp it out. 

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Behind the Scenes

These months -- the time between the end of October and the middle of February -- are the longest our group endures between productions. We are working behind the scenes, of course, but until we start auditions for our Agatha Christie mystery, "A Murder is Announced," it seems we keep a rather low profile.
 
Many of us are keeping busy elsewhere.
 
One of our board members, Mary Beth Topf will be holding open auditions for Godspell. Auditions will be held on Monday November 17th and Tuesday November 18 at 7pm, in the church basement hall at Saint Matthias Catholic Parish  9306 W Beloit Rd Milwaukee, WI 53227 phone 414-321-0893.
 Only one audition session is needed. Actors ages 12 and up are needed--- no experience necessary. No preparation needed. Auditioners will be taught a short song excerpt from the show and will learn a dance combination. Just come ready to have fun. 
 
Another board member, Ruth Caves, is appearing in the Waukesha Civic comedy classic, "The Philadelphia Story."  Playing now through November 23rd at Waukesha Civic Theatre 264 West Main Street, Waukesha, WI 53186 . We did this show a number of years ago and it is one of my all-time favorites. Check the Waukesha Civic web site for more information on show dates and times.
 
And yet another board member, Scott Girmscheid , is directing West Allis Central High School's production of "Li'l Abner." That's not a show that has been done recently and well worth the price of admission. Performances begin November 14th through November 22nd. Check the WestAllisNow more information on show dates and times.
 
We are also close to the date of our first Children's Series shows. We will be presenting "Hansel and Gretel" performed by Wauwatosa Teen Troupe on December 7. More details on these shows in an upcoming blog.
 
As for our board, we are deciding on our summer musical and as soon as our choice has been made, we will let you know.
 

DON'T QUIT!

As usual, I like to blog about controversial issues. This time is no different. I am sure anyone who watches television or listens to the radio has heard the recent story. The State of Nebraska recently revised a law to state that parents were allowed to abandon their “children”, ages 17 and under, to a local hospital, no questions asked.

This particular law is considered a “Save Haven” law. What I found regarding this law is as follows: “Safe haven laws typically allow for a parent or guardian to relinquish parental rights anonymously without risking prosecution for abandonment or neglect. However, each state's laws read differently when it comes to safe haven laws.”

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Teaching Our Kids

parenting, Parks system, respect, responsibility, safety lessons for children

 

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Minute by minute - The Amazing Race

James family, NFL, Other blogs, Television

I really hate reality shows.  Most are pretty very lame, with constant back biting, lying, and non-existant-but-dammit-we're-gonna-tell-you-anyhow storylines.  Considering a show like Stupidvivor, they take over 100 hours of footage of multiple contestants, and edit down to a 46-minute story.  That is NOT reality.  That is a serial protrayed by underpaid, non-union actors.

But I digress.

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Abyssianian Guinea Pig

Carlos is no ordinary small animal. He's a fluffy, cute-as-a-button, 10-week-old Abyssinian Guinea Pig!  This handsome little guy is one of many amazing small animals currently available for adoption at WHS.  See sweet gerbils, rabbits, mice, parakeets, hamsters, rats and even chinchillas at WHS today.  Live in a small apartment?  Allergic to cats? Don't have time to walk a dog every day?  Consider a more petite pal like Carlos. Sure to keep your lap warm in the winter, a guinea pig like Carlos will also warm your heart. Visit www.wihumane.org/smallanimals to learn more about Carlos and his buddies.

Interesting Idea for Recycling

Ewaste, Recycle Bank, recycling

On Good Morning America, Sam, the Weatherman, does a feature called "Just One Thing". This feature gives ideas on making our earth greener. The feature this week had to do with recycling. I really thought it was a great idea and that maybe West Allis's city fathers could take a look at it. Right now, its predominately on the east coast, but who's to say they couldn't come to the Midwest. This new to me idea is called RecycleBank.com. Their website is www.recyclebank.com  Check it out.

As the recycle system here in West Allis works now, newspapers go into paper bags and the other recyclables must go into the blue bags. Using the RecycleBank system, all the recyclables go into a city supplied container. These containers have a Radio Frequency ID chip in each one that is connected to a card. All recyclables go into the container. When its picked up, the truck scans the chip, the contents are weighed and accredited to the owners card. Their website did NOT give the initial cost for the special containers or the cost for the special equipment on the pick up trucks.

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WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?

As Thanksgiving Day soon approaches, many thoughts run through my mind.  As we all know, Thanksgiving started hundreds of years ago and I am sure pictures float through your mind.  From what I researched, history states it as such:  "Our national holiday really stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag to celebrate the colony's first successful harvest."

Yet, today we celebrate for many different reasons.  One, of course, would be tradition.  I am sure all of us look forward to a feast of turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes.  Getting together with family, sitting around the table.  After a couple of hours, everyone is relaxing from those delicious turkey enzymes which seem to stem from the alcohol family. 

I recall my our family get togethers.  Grandpa would carve the turkey.  He did this for many years and eventually passed on the electric blade.  Grandma's home was always warm and full of love.  I do remember one time, that I will never forget.  I was in front of my Uncle Tim.  I love the dark meat on the bird.  I just find it to be more tender and tasty.  I do not recall how much I took, but to this day he insists I cleared the entire platter of dark meat.  He states he will never stand behind me in line again.  I dispute him every time, but I believe this has become somewhat of a joke between us. 

I wonder how many of us take time to reflect on the true meaning of "thanks" giving.  Although we are years past celebrating a certain harvest, I wonder today if most people, like myself, overlook the reason for this season.  Sure, I can admit that I look forward to another day off of work.  Hey, if Thanksgiving falls on a Friday, you have a three day weekend, right?  I am more than thankful for time off. 

Yet, I wonder how many of us really take time to make a mental list of what we are most thankful for.  Sure, I can write the same list as you.  Family, health, home, job, car, food, clothing, just to name a few.  But, if you dig deeper, and think back within the past couple of years, is there something greater you may be missing? 

I know for myself, I am thankful for my heart.  The main reason is because approximately four years ago I was stricken with an irregular heartbeat and was admitted to the hospital.  It took 4 days until they found the right medication.  At that time I was told by my doctor I would be on medication for the rest of my life.  Due to this particular medication, I may never be able to have children again. 

Because of the above situation, I am thankful for my children.  I hate to say "what if", but let's use it this one time.  What if I had become sick earlier in my life and had never had the opportunity to have my daughters?  As I look around, and see so many women who are unable to conceive, I wonder... Why me?  Why was I chosen to have two healthy amazing children?   I am in awe of the fact I have been given the opportunity to bring life into this world. 

I am thankful for my health.  Despite my health situation, my health in general is overall pretty good.  Being able to see, walk, touch, feel, taste, smile, hug are gifts some will never experience.  I think in general that sometimes I take these gifts for granted.  I wonder sometimes what it would be like if one of these were taken from me.  I really don't know how to answer that honestly.  I recall in high school I had a friend who was deaf.  I asked her, "If you had the chance to hear, would you?"  You know what she replied, she stated, "This is all I have ever known, and I would not change it for the world."

I am thankful for the fact I have a roof over my head and food in my belly.  Even I admit, when those commercials come on, I have a strong urge to change the channel.  You know, those particular commercials where you see starving children sitting in a mess of a village.  No running water, walls for protection.  Could you ever imagine?  Could you imagine being a mother wondering how you plan on feeding yourself and your children?  How about the families that sell their son or daughter for $100 in order to survive another year?   I could not imagine the heartache of a mother who believes it is the only way.   To not know if you will ever see your child alive again, or if they are being harmed. 

As I ponder these thoughts, I am brought back to the fact that I have so much to be thankful for.  To be able to give and receive love.  To make a difference in the world around me.  To be able to smile and show my emotions.  To hear every word of gratitude being spoken by my children and friends.  To know that I am loved unconditionally despite. To be able to write and hopefully, make a difference in the lives of others.  Yet, most of all, to have faith in something so much greater than myself.  

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

This week's Professional Bowlers Association stop in Vernon Hills, IL

Bowling, PBA Tour

Since the PBA schedule does not include a stop in Milwaukee this year, the next best thing is the closest stop, this being in Vernon Hills, IL this week. 

This week, I will provide updates on the Tour Qualifying Round (for non-exempt players) on Wednesday and the 14-game qualifying round on Thursday.  I will also be attending the round-robin match play on Friday, as well as the TV Finals on Sunday, and will blog about my experiences shortly thereafter.

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PBA CLR Carmen Salvino Scorpion Championship

Bowling, PBA Tour

Doesn't roll off the tongue quite like the Midas Open, does it?

The format for this week's tournament is as follows...

  • Today (Wednesday), 100 bowlers are competing in the seven-game Tour Qualifying Round (TQR).  Each week, there are 64 "exempt" bowlers.  Those bowlers are the ones that begin a 14-game qualifying round on Thursday.  However, there are only about 58 exempt bowlers.  The six bowlers (five professionals and one amateur) with the highest pinfall in the TQR earn a spot in the exempt field.  Of the 100 bowlers, four are from Wisconsin:  PBA members Eric Fritton and Dave Beres from Waukesha, PBA member Lennie Boresch from Kenosha and amateur Scott Radtke from Milwaukee.  As I type this, six of the seven games have been completed, and it is unlikely that our local boys will advance.
  • Tomorrow (Thursday), the 64 exempt players bowl seven games in the morning, and another seven games in the evening.  Greenfield's Chad Kloss is one of the 58 exempt players and is in this group.  After the 14 games on Thursday, the 32 men with the highest pinfall will advance to round-robin match play on Friday. 
  • Also tomorrow, 16 exempt women will bowl 14 games of qualifying, and the 10 women with the highest pinfall will also advance to bowl Friday.
  • On Friday morning, the 32 men each bowl nine games (each game against a different assigned opponent).  For winning a game, each bowler gets 30 bonus pins added to his total.  After completion of the nine games, the top 16 men advance to the evening block.
  • On Friday evening, the top 16 men and top 10 women bowl another nine games of match play (also with the 30 pin bonus for winning a match.  Upon completion, the top four men and top two women advance to Sunday's TV broadcast.
  • On Sunday, the four men bowl the stepladder finals to determine the $25,000 winner.  Upon completion of that, the two women bowl a match paying $10,000 to the winner.

Thanks Is All a Part of Giving, Not Receiving

     As we head into the hussle and bussle of the holiday season, it is a good time to reflect on where we have been over the past year, where we are now, and where we would like to improve in the future. Some of us have driven the curvy road. Some of us have been able to take the straight road. Some of us have taken the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. No matter which road you have been on or decide to travel, it is important for all of us to remember giving of yourself is the best thanks anyone can receive. 

     Being a part of the West Allis Charities is a constant reminder of what I have and the gifts I have to give. What do I have? I have a network of volunteers, who surround me as friends and have become an extended family. Each day we meet and talk about how to be progressive with the organization, it always winds up on a personal level after all the business of the day is taken care of. Sharing the events of the day / week (outside of the Charities' business) or laughing, just because we can, and it feels good.

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As Promised...

Alright folks, as you all know, I love to write.  When I was a young girl, I used to write poems.  I believe most of them were heartfelt, especially since they were usually written before, during and after a break-up.  Oh, if puppy love were only so easy in today's world.

Yesterday, I went to our school put luck Thanksgiving dinner.  I heard a young girl speak.  She sounded so much like myself as a teenage girl.  She stood up to thank her teachers for encouraging her to write her poems.  I talked with her after the meal and promised her that if she shared one with me, one of her favorites, I would post it here. Drum roll please......

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Match play for the Pro Bowlers today

Bowling, PBA Tour

I am about to head to Vernon Hills to watch the match play round begin (11:00 AM CST) but I wanted to give a quick update on yesterday's results.

Greenfield's Chad Kloss finished his 14 games of qualifying with a 239.14 average, good for 6th place.  Ken Simard of Greenville, SC led qualifying with a 250.00 average, and the cut (32nd place) was a 228.36 from Mitch Beasley of Puyallup, WA.

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PBA Update - The Steve Jaros Story

Bowling, My-Sugar-Na, PBA Tour

This was going to be titled "Live by the Position Round, Die by the Position Round:  The Steve Jaros Story".  But without mentioning the PBA in the title, nobody would know who Steve Jaros is.  But if you are reading this, you must be interested in the PBA; if not, the Hit-O-Meter has already counted your visit (and I thank you).  Now that you're here, set a spell and read a great story.

As mentioned here, in the PBA CRL Carmen Salvino Scorpion Championship in Vernon Hills, IL, all 64 exempt players bowled 14 games, cut to the top 32, bowled nine match play games (with each match winner awarded 30 bonus pins) cutting the field to 16, then bowled nine more match play games before cutting to the top four for the TV finals to be shown live on ESPN on Sunday afternoon. 

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