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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

"Chooseday's" Nov. 2nd ballot picks

Elections, Politics, WISCONSIN

Watch this and see if you don't agree, "Those voices don't speak for the rest of us".

As JT Harris asked the crowd of about 150 people waiting to see US Senate candidate Ron Johnson at the Waukesha County Republican Headquaters Monday night, How many of you are asking God for one more chance to turn this around? My hand shot up as did most in the room.

Then JT asked, How many have been to a Tea Party? Again, hands waved in the air.

How many have been to a Town Hall? The room was full of upraised hands.

It was pretty obvious that this crowd didn't believe the voices of the Liberal Progressives featured in the above clip spoke for them.

I believe the majority of voters tomorrow will vote to "turn this around", but one never knows until the last ballot is counted.

As I mentioned, I already cast my votes, all on the Republican side of the ballot, and voted Yes on the Transportation Fund Advisory Referendum.

Why are they all Republican? Because the Republicans are Pro-Life. They are also fiscally conservative, against wasteful spending on trains, want to reverse ObamaCare, are pro business and pro voter ID, and are more inclined to adhere to the US name just a few reasons.

My Sept. 7th Primary Ballot Picks post goes into more detail on why I chose the candidates I picked. Posts relating to each race will be listed below the individual race; generic ones are listed at the bottom of the post.

Here is the list of my ballot picks for Nov. 2 in the order they appear on the ballot.

Governor & Lt. Governor: Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch

For shame, Tom Barrett, Scott Walker SUPPORTS Stem Cell research!
Walker rally made political hay, ad gained national attention
Lt. Gov. candidate Rebecca Kleefisch on Fox & Friends
How is Barrett "knee deep" in sewer water yet squeaky clean? JournoList?

Attorney General: JB Van Hollen

Secretary of State: David D. King I heard David King speak at the April 15th Madison Tea Party.

State Treasurer: Kurt W. Schuller

United States Senator: Ron Johnson As one of the many who encouraged Ron to enter the race back in early April, he is everything I had hoped he would be as a person and more. It is gratifying to see him run such a fine tuned campaign.

Need a reason to vote Ron Johnson? Ask Michelle Obama
Ron Johnson, Feingold virtually tied in poll" November can't come fast enough!
Ron Johnson enters US Senate race
Ron Johnson would be my ideal candidate
Run, Johnson, Neumann, Grothman, Kanavas, Leibham, RUN! Spare us from Leinenkugel

Sen. Feingold turned deaf ear to 97.5% at Listening Session

Representative in Congress District 5: F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. As Congressman Sensenbrenner mentioned at the Ron Johnson rally Monday night, When a nation goes off course, the people are there to right it. Today's Tea Party movement is a good example of the people rising up to right the ship.

State Senator District 5: Leah Vukmir Leah Vukmir has been a solid conservative voice in the Assembly, soon she will be in the State Senate!

What a whopper! "Jim Sullivan supports law enforcement, Vukmir does not" Unbelievable

How sickening. Jim Sullivan & supporters slam Leah Vukmir with untrue attacks
Wisconsin Assembly Update: Working night & day The RTA was dealt a severe blow by Rep. Leah Vukmir
Senator Jim Sullivan's Town Hall.....GRILLING! OUCH!

Representative to the Assembly District 14: Dale Kooyenga Since Dale is running unopposed, CONGRATULATIONS is in order. Cast your vote for him anyway; he will be another solid conservative voice in Madison.

Wisconsin 14th Assembly Forum tonight in Tosa with Kooyenga...

Sheriff: Daniel Trawicki

Also on November's ballot, a Transportation Fund Advisory Referendum
Dem signs conspicuously absent from known supporting households
Wisconsin's primary is 3 weeks away, who are you voting for?

Another local source for candidate info would be Randy's Picks for 2010 Nov. 2 Elections.

Do vote early in the day if you are able. Sometimes long lines develop near closing time. According to election law, under normal conditions, unless you are in line at 8pm, you will not be permitted to vote.

City of Brookfield residents in District 7, remember you now vote outside your district at St. Luke's Catholic Church on Greenfield Ave. and Davidson Road.

Tomorrow morning I am off to do some poll watching in the heart of Milwaukee. I will be interested in seeing how turnout compares there with what I am used to in Brookfield.

Tomorrow evening it's the Country Springs Hotel for me to watch the election results and hear the speechifying. It is going to be a l-o-n-g but exciting day..


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The Walker, Johnson & Vukmir win was my political Triple Crown!

Conservatives, Elections, United States, WISCONSIN

It isn't often I have had a night like Tuesday night; all 3 of my major candidates won. It was rather like winning the Triple Crown!

In horse racing, the Triple Crown is considered to be a great accomplishment: it is one horse winning 3 important races.

My political Triple Crown was having all 3 of my candidate choices win their individual race for Wisconsin Governor, United States Senator, and State Senator!

In addition to my trio of winners, there were sure thing winners such as Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and unopposed 14th Assembly Representative Dale Kooyenga. That means for the first time that I can remember, most of my representatives are true Conservatives!

The faithful were gathered at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee, watching election returns on the big screen, while we waited for Governor elect Scott Walker to show up. As they called each Republican gain from all those national races for Governor, U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and our statewide races for State Senate and Assembly, the crowd grew more excited. It was wonderful, way too hot and crowded, but wonderful just the same.

We all cheered when Ron Johnson was projected to be the winner of the U.S. Senate race. Since Johnson and Walker's numbers were much the same all evening, there was little doubt of the outcome of the Governor's race.

Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch warmed up the crowd, and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner spoke too. Finally, it was the moment we all had been waiting for.

The crowd went wild when soon to be Governor Scott Walker came out. After a Happy Birthday serenade and him quipping this would be a tough birthday to top, he got serious and said, "First of all, I want to thank God. Not for this victory but for His grace to all of us..." The crowd heartily agreed. He also introduced the new slogan that would mark the Walker administration: Wisconsin is Open For Business.

The crowd thinned out a bit after that but the 3rd race of my Triple Crown still was not decided. While Scott Walker and Ron Johnson were ahead all evening, Leah Vukmir's returns seemed to take forever to come in. The first ones were worrisome, showing Sullivan at 61% and Vukmir at 39%, though I couldn't imagine that ever happening! (Closer scrutiny revealed only 8% of the vote was in--it must have all been from Milwaukee County.)

There was also a problem with some ballots in one district in Brookfield--the Vukmir/Sullivan race wasn't included. The problem was resolved but not before 20 voters had already cast their ballots without the 5th District State Senate race on it. Thankfully, those votes were not needed, and by the end of the evening, Leah Vukmir had won with 54% of the vote to Jim Sullivan's 45%.

For comparative number crunching from the vote totals I was able to find*, Leah Vukmir received 36,852 votes to Sullivan's 33,702, for a total of 70,554 votes. Back in 2006, Sullivan received 36,148 to Tom Reynolds' 33,686 for a total 69,834 votes. So this election had a higher turnout of 726 voters. (Make that 746 if those Brookfield ballots had had the State Senate race on them?) Vukmir's margin was higher too with her earning 3,150 more votes than her opponent Sullivan. Compare that to Sullivan's 2006 margin of 2,462 votes over Reynolds. So Leah Vukmir's win was 688 votes stronger than Sullivan's 2006 victory where he captured 50.6% of the vote.

Our nation and state still have a long way to go to reversing our debt load, reducing the size of government, and restoring our liberty, but at least the first step of that journey has been taken.

Just be aware, we cannot go back to business as usual, ignoring what goes on in Madison and Washington D.C. As I often say, a Constitutional Republic does not run on autopilot! Going to a Tea Party, calling your Congressman, or going to a Town Hall is not a one time thing. It is up to us to keep those we elect accountable to us. But for now, I am breathing a sigh of relief and as JT Harris said on Monday, I'm thanking God for this one more chance to turn this around.

*Some sources quote the percentages as being 52% - 48%, which works out with the vote totals presented here. Other sources state the percentages as 54% to 45 or 46% with no vote totals. Regardless, Vukmir won!

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Save the herbs

Gardening, Living well on less $

Last year, I decided I would try to save a few herb plants over the winter in the house.

My experiment was 2 fold: to have some fresh herbs over the winter months and to save the price of buying the plants again the next summer.

So I dug up the plants from my garden and plunked them into a 3 Cup container. (Larger would have been better.)

Outside of placing them in a sunny location (east exposure) and watering occasionally, that was the extent of the tender loving care I gave them.

While they didn't exactly thrive, they did survive. The photo was taken last spring just before putting them back in the garden. They also supplied me with fresh rosemary and the occasional spearmint leaves. The creeping thyme I found did not need to be wintered in the house; it survived outside just fine.

This year I brought in the rosemary and mint again, and I will try a pot of parsley too.

My other gardening experiment this year will be to move a parsley patch close to my back door and cover with a translucent plastic bin when the temperatures head to the teens and lower. Between the warmth radiating from the south side of the house and the hardiness of parsley, I should have fresh parsley for Thanksgiving stuffing and other culinary delights all winter long.

So what do you have to lose? The weather should still hold for today and tomorrow. Get out the trowel and save those herbs!


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It's Veterans Day, say thank you to a soldier today

History, Veterans, United States, War, Holidays

Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside "to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans." So today, if you know a Veteran, be sure to say thank you for your service. I also think it appropriate to say thank you to those currently serving their country.

The USO offers a very easy way to express your thanks today up until Thanksgiving. All you have to do is click the link and send a message. You can designate who you want it to go to: active duty, veteran, family, etc. (They wouldn't mind a donation to the USO too.)

For people of my vintage and older, Veterans Day used to be known as Armistice Day and was celebrated on November 11th to mark the day World War I ended in 1918.

The website gives a great history of the holiday along with an explanation of the purpose of Memorial Day. There is a lot of confusion regarding the Armistice Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

In a nutshell, Armistice Day was a day "dedicated to the cause of world peace" and to honor those who served in WWI. Then in 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a day to honor vets of all wars. However, the purpose of Memorial Day was to honor those "who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle". Deceased veterans who died as a result of natural causes are to be remembered on Veterans Day, as evidenced by the field of flags at many cemeteries.

So THANK YOU, Veterans, your service to our country is appreciated.

Past Veteran's Day Posts: Thank you, Veterans, for the final salute
Thank you and God bless you Veterans and enlisted troops Includes movie picks
My Favorite Marine--Thank You Veterans!


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Video of rescued baby hummingbird has to make you smile!

Just for fun!, Nature


If you need a lift today, watch this enchanting home video of a young man and baby hummingbird that survived an attack. It will make you smile. The song playing in the background is "Better Together".

Hummingbirds are remarkable little animals. I always enjoy watching them when they visit my flower garden at home. Maybe my fascination is genetic? My dad used to spend hours watching and filming hummingbirds when my parents went camping.

When my husband and I camped at  Wyalusing State Park in 2009 (near the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers in Wisconsin), we enjoyed watching the hummers swarm around the feeders and flowers at the ranger station . But their group of hummingbird diners can't compare with the number of hummers in the following video.

This video is of people hand feeding the birds in Alaska at the Saltery Lodge.

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Learning to live without "man's best friend"

Family, Pets

Ten years ago, just before the 2000 election, we did something I never thought we would ever do...we became dog owners. My husband had dogs as a child and a cat when we were first married but never wanted to have a pet again--he didn't want to go through the heartbreak at the end of their short lives. I was not a dog person and had become allergic to cats, so pets were not on my bucket list either.

Our resolve quickly weakened, however, when our son started hinting he wanted a pet. (The popular TV show Wishbone and movie My Dog Skip, along with a field trip to the Wisconsin Humane Society added fuel to his pet passion fire.)

Maybe a dog would be a good companion for him, since he was an only child. We set aside all of our reasons for not wanting to own a dog, the nuisance, the expense, the work, and the heartbreak at the end, to give our child something he wanted so badly. We reluctantly agreed. And yes, we did get the usual promises that he would walk, feed, let the dog out, and clean up the yard, knowing full well they were just promises. (Just ask any mom who usually ends up doing all those tasks.)

The search was on.

Our son immediately started scouring the Internet for adoptable dogs. The price-tag for a purebred was out of the question; this dog would come from the humane society. Soon we were bombarded with an assortment of pooch profiles.

The first dog came from the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha. He was a 7 year old Silky/Yorkie mix charmer named Willie. We all fell in love immediately. Willie came home with us and seemed to fit right in. As time went on, however, our charming Dr. Jekyll turned into an evil, growling Mr. Hyde. We got pet counseling but it was too little too late; he bit my husband and drew blood. Hardly the pet you want for a young boy, and we knew we couldn't trust the dog again. Willie had to be returned and by law was destroyed. We were devastated. (We later found out H.A.W.S. didn't tell us of the problems at his former home that led to his surrender in the first place.)

Now we were approaching Christmas--not exactly the time to be getting a new dog. I kept assuring my son that God willing, we would find the right dog. Just pray and be patient.

Four days after Christmas, our son showed us a new dog profile. This one was at a rescue house in Aurora, Illinois. She was a 2 year old Westie we named Zoe, who also turned out to be a disaster. We soon found out she hated men. She hated boys. She only loved me! Hardly the right dog for our son. Two weeks later she went back to Aurora.

I still believed and assured my son that the right dog was out there, if we were patient. My son really didn't buy that but shortly after Zoe, the call came from the Wisconsin Humane Society. We have a Maltese mix young male dog here that meets your pet profile preferences. Since you are first on our list, when can you come in?

We had filled out a preference card with them back in November. Now they were calling because they had a dog who met our requirements: small and hypo-allergenic.

Come in? My son and I can be there now!

I still remember seeing "Walter" for the first time. (Walter was the name they assigned to him. We later found out he was a stray, so his real name was unknown.) He was in a small glass fronted room and ran up to the window to greet us. We could see he liked to play with stuffed animals. They let my son and I into the room and he promptly jumped up on us and wanted to play. He seemed very friendly. This one might be the one.

Unlike H.A.W.S., where you had to wait a day or two for adoption, the W.H.S. wanted you to make the adoption decision on the spot. We called up Dad and he came to meet Walter too. This one seemed right. Third time is a charm? And that is how we got Walter. Also unlike the other 2 adoption agencies, W.H.S. does extensive personality testing*. They don't adopt out problem dogs.

We brought him home trying to think of a better name for our new scruffy, white, dust mop of a dog than Walter! The first thing he did when he came in our home was mark the refrigerator 2 times. (We were told to expect that since he was 1 or 2 years old and was just neutered.) The next thing he did was run around the living room; he zipped around like he was running in the Kentucky Derby. So in a way, our dog named himself, with a little help from Dad, who suggested we call him Zipper because of it.  His zippin' became his trademark.

Zipper was 13 pounds of friendly, and he loved everyone. He fit right in. His behavior in many ways was like that of our former 16 pound cat. In fact, we sometimes referred to him as a "dat", part dog and part cat. His size was perfect--small enough to pick up, large enough not to worry about. He was scruffy enough to not be considered a girly dog. Everyone he met loved him. Because of his size, people mistakenly thought he was a puppy. He was a hit when I would bring him to the Assisted Living home my dad stayed at. Walter certainly lived up to the Humane Society's personality assessment:* Life of the Party.

Our perennial puppy loved car rides, adored any drive through that gave treats, went camping with us, and sometimes went shopping with us. If you took a nap or were not feeling well, there he was at your side. Toast and pizza were 2 favorite foods, though he would eat most anything. We called him our omnivore. He sometimes got pesty when it was bedtime. It wasn't enough that we opened the door to our bedroom, no, he wanted company. Being part Maltese, he rarely barked. He did however sneeze when he wanted your attention. We think he had a touch of Terrier in him too as he was a terrorist when it came to destroying stuffed dog toys. He was smart too. Often he would pick up your gloves or socks and bring them to you, feigning he was going to chew them. That was his way of saying, give me my toy. He was loved.

About a year ago, we noticed he was having some stomach issues. Perhaps it was a bit too much turkey at Thanksgiving? I started him on some probiotics and that seemed to right the problem. Then at his annual checkup last February at our Holistic Vet, Silver Spring Animal Wellness Clinic, his blood work came back showing the dreaded news: he either had liver cancer or a hepatitis type infection. We started him on some herbs and supplements known to help enhance liver function.

He seemed to be doing pretty well with his supplements. His quality of life was good and he still acted like the eternal puppy when he wasn't napping. But as the summer drew to a close, we could see he was losing weight--three pounds is a lot to lose for a little 13 pound dog. He also seemed to get chilled easily, so we put his sweater on even in the house. One sure sign things weren't right was seeing him sit quietly next to a stuffed animal, like it was a friend, instead of shredding it.

Then he gave us a scare in late October with a G.I. crisis that fortunately passed fairly quickly, but we knew it was time. He rallied enough, thanks to Pepto-Bismol, to have a few okay days and one great last hurrah that included walking down our street on a glorious fall day, marking all his favorite places, rambling through the woods, and eating all the things he wasn't supposed to eat because of his liver problems.

It has been a little over 2 weeks since we had to say our final goodbyes to our pet pooch. We had him put down just before the 2010 mid term elections. So almost to the day, our 10 years of dog ownership came to an end. I am still not a dog person, but I loved our Zipper.

If you have had pets you understand how strange life is without them. Sometimes it is in a good way for our dog was not perfect. He had a bad habit of chewing on fleecy things like blankets and fleece throws. You could not leave a fleece jacket within his reach, for example, unless you wanted it to be customized with ventilation holes. Doors to rooms he might decide to mark can now be left open. Foods like pizza can be left unattended on the coffee table without fear of him helping himself.

But as I prepare dinner, I still find myself peeling an extra carrot for him. When we come home there is no one jumping up to greet us. At bedtime we find we miss that happy jingle of his dog tags as he ran up the stairs after us. We have his collar with tags hanging by our kitchen door. Sometimes it jingles from an air current; sometimes we give it a jingle for old time's sake. But whatever the reason, the tinkling sound evokes all the fond memories of life with Zip. He truly was the life of our party.

Past Post: My dog got mail!

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Important: Call Gov. Elect Walker: No High Speed Rail! UPDATE

Alert, TAXES, Transportation, WISCONSIN

Weigh in, become part of the public record against High Speed Rail. Call Governor Elect Scott Walker's Transition Office and register your sentiments on the train. This is important because it could help with diverting the $810 million train money to go toward Wisconsin road projects instead.

The phone number is: 608-261-9200. Call until you reach a live person.

This may take some effort as they have very few phone lines going to this government office, but make the call. The issue is too important to leave any doubt as to where you stand.

Lobbyist groups are staging pro train rallies this weekend.

Siemans would be one such participant. They have a lot at stake here since they make trains. (The photo left was taken at the Orlando airport.)

Wisconsin cannot afford high speed rail now and it certainly cannot afford to replace it all in 15 years according to Federal safety mandates, so make that call!

H/T Vicki McKenna today, end of 1st hour.

UPDATE: I called about 10 times this morning but always got a busy signal, voice mail, or leave a return phone number message. Then I tried again this afternoon at 3:10pm and got through right away. I stated I wanted to go on the public record of being strongly opposed to high speed rail and as requested, gave my name and email address to the woman in the office. She said they will continue taking calls on this as long as people call. That means in the days, weeks, and months ahead. So make that call!

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What's on your Thanksgiving menu? & Recipes

Family, Holidays, Good food / recipes

Recipe links below

The turkey is the star of our Thanksgiving table, if you ask my husband. I like it too, but I don't have the same devotion to the bird that he does. If I just made a BIG turkey, lots of mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, fresh cranberry salad, and pie, my menfolk would consider the meal perfect.
But for my sister and I, it is the other things that make the meal complete. We love tossed salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing and a vegetable such as fresh green beans or fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with browned butter*. These are must haves in our book. (She usually brings the salad and veggies.)

Baked-in-their-skins yams are on the nice to have list. I just cut the ends off to let the steam out and toss on the oven rack at 350 degrees until tender. Sometimes I might serve pickled beets or a sweet pickle of some sort to act like a taste-bud punctuation mark.

In other words, we like vegetables that taste like vegetables. No pistachio pudding/fruit salad or green bean casserole or sweet potatoes with marshmallows for us. (If those items are on your must have list, great. I just figure we consume enough calories at this meal, I rather save my appetite and capacity for important things like the main course and pie!)

Every family has their standbys and favorites that make their Thanksgiving meal complete, and I would like to hear about your traditions.

But let's not forget that whatever is on our menu, Thanksgiving is a day to gather together with loved ones and give thanks to God for his blessings.


Thankfulness is the soil in which joy thrives

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Physicist Dr. Don DeYoung discusses Design From Nature Tuesday, 7:15pm

Creation Science / Intelligent Design, Special events, Religion, Truth

Most of us know that the inspiration for Velcro came from the common burdock plant's annoying stick-to-you seed pods, but few of us realize nature inspires many innovations for man.

Discovery of Design: Searching Out the Creator’s Secrets is the subject (and title of his book) of November's Creation Science Society of Milwaukee meeting, presented by Physicist Dr. Donald DeYoung.

His talk will be held on Tuesday, November 30th, 7:15 PM, at Grace Bible Church, 2643 South 117th Street, West Allis, Wisconsin, (414) 541-4252 (Across from Nathan Hale High School sports fields on 117th, just north of Cleveland Avenue.) It is free and open to the general public. Dr. DeYoung will also discuss Astronomy and Creation that night.

From the Creations Science Society of Milwaukee:


President of Creation Research Society to discuss
borrowing design from nature


What do dog paws, geckos, giraffes, horse bones and penguin eyes have in common?

They’ve all been the inspiration behind products that we take for granted today, according to physicist Donald DeYoung, Ph.D. – products ranging from shoe soles, adhesives and antigravity spacesuits to construction materials and sunglasses.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, says Dr. DeYoung, who is a professor, author and current president of the Creation Research Society (CRS), a 1700-member international group that funds research and publishes a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The fact is, the designs of nature are so perfect for their purpose that they have inspired countless innovations over the years.

This phenomenon is one of the topics Dr. DeYoung will present to the Creation Science Society of Milwaukee. ...For this part of his talk, he will draw from his fascinating book Discovery of Design: Searching Out the Creator’s Secrets

I found this interesting, "They say that if you’re looking for a scholar to debate a creationist, don’t bother asking the Physics Department – physicists tend to side with Creation Science."

Dr. Donald DeYoung chairs the Science and Mathematics Department of Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana.

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Sunday and Monday, January 30th and 31st when Ken Ham and Jason Lyle from Answers in Genesis come to Brookside Baptist Church in Brookfield to hold an Answers in Genesis Conference in our area. .

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