December 15, 2008

Hungarian Wursts for dinner

Last night, we had hand-made hungarian wurst (sausage) that Todd and his dad, Frank cranked out yesterday. The flavor was great and the freshness of same day wurst was a joy. In addition, we made potatoes au gratin and served our only harvest of brussels sprouts from this year's garden. I learned from the 2009 Farmer's Almanac that as the sprouts grow on the stalk to strip the leaves under the sprouts to force them to grow bigger. We'll have to try that next year.

The best Chocolate Cake - EVER

OMG - Raine, our resident baker, made a Devil's Food Layer Cake with Peppermint frosting for a family gathering this weekend. It was the absolute best chocolate cake I have ever had. Similar to a flourless cake but with lots of white and dark chocolate layers. The recipe is from the December issue of Bon Appetit - Here's the link, if you'd like to try it!

December 9, 2008

Decorated the tree last night and had lots of "help" from the dogs. Pictured with Teiko and Cita is our new foster dog, Paris. She is an absolute sweetheart. Not sure if we'll be able to give her up for adoption..... What a great temperament - probably better than our dogs. Could we just trade?

December 3, 2008

Not Paris, France, but Paris the GSD

We've accepted our next mission of German Shepherd Dog fostering. I present our new rescue dog, Paris.

Paris is currently in lock-up in Waukesha County. Looking at this sweet girl in a kennel cage- I want to drive there right now and break her out, take her home, give her lots of love and attention.
Alas, it will be Saturday before I can break her free as she has to start treatment for heartworms. And she has a mess of them. Her recovery period will be several weeks and then she'll be as good as new and heartworm negative!
She is at the humane society in part because her human owners broke-up and neither wanted her or her brother anymore. Just wasn't convienent to the single lifestyle.
This is so damn ridiculous and cruel. Dogs are not DISPOSABLE! At least now, Paris has a chance to recover and find a home where she'll be loved until her last day.

November 29, 2008

Fritz has left the building

Yay! Fritz left this morning for his forever home. His new family came to get him this morning. Fritz was his excited self and put on quite a show trying to impress them all.

To play such a small part, to take a dog into our home and give him a safe haven and then help him find his forever family. It feels pretty damn good.

And to know that only three weeks ago, Fritz was scheduled to be put to sleep as there was no more room at the shelter. And that only through the cooperation of several volunteers across two states, where we able to give this guy a second chance. Aside from a few chewed up beanie babies and kitchen utensils, this dog was a dream to get to know and take care of.

I did get a little teary as I said good bye to my friend this morning. But boy, I know he's going to have a great life with his new Mom, Dad and sister. That makes it worth it!

We'll take a little break, as I'm sure Teiko could use it, but there are already other dogs needing a safe home. Our next foster may be young white german shepherd from Milwaukee. Snow as he is so aptly called needs a quieter place than the shelter to really come out of his shell and become adoptable.

November 24, 2008

First snow of the winter

Yay! The first snow fall of the season. The trees were absolutely beautiful this morning coated in snow. I'm sure it will be melted by the time I get home, but what a winter wonderland today. The pups had a good romp in the backyard, racing, skidding and rolling in the snow.

November 17, 2008

Fritz is in the house

Went to Janesville yesterday to pick up Fritz, our new foster dog and to transport a very weak but recovering 12 week GSD-Mixed pup to his foster home in McFarland. The arrival home did not go as planned with the meeting of my dogs. Teiko immediately got his hackles up and was pretty pissed that I'd bring another male into his house. There was lots of growling, body bumping and "Hear me roar" statements by Teiko. Fritz looked a little overwhelmed and was totally submissive. Cita was uber friendly and sided with the pup immediately. As the evening wore on, Teiko seemed to settle in with the new dog and all three of them fell asleep at my feet. Fritz is really a sweet dog and we worked on the "sit" all day and he is getting it very well. I had a pocket full of tasty treats and he knows already, when I call him (he get a treat) and then when he sits he gets another one. He will make a great companion - he's dog and human friendly. Right now, all three dogs follow me where ever I go And all get treats when we "practice the sit" (because my dogs don't get treats everytime they sit....) so it is kind of funny that they will all sit together and my GSD will tolerate the young Fritz when there is food.
This morning at 5:30 am, Fritz woke us all up to go outside. Imagine my surprise when Teiko started playing with Fritz. It was totally different this morning. Here are a couple of shots of the pups playing at my feet. Trust me, this is totally supervised play, but both dogs are now finding some common ground and are becoming much more social with one another (this is mostly Teiko, Fritz will be anyone's friend....) The "fierce" photo above was from one of the pup's play sessions this morning. They were have a great time with one another aside from the one-inch fangs of Teiko.........

November 12, 2008

Fritz - our first foster pup

This is Fritz, formally known as Sir Wags Alot who I wrote about before. Fritz is currently in Illinois but will be making the trip to Madison on Sunday where he will live with us until a "forever" home is found for this sweet guy. Here's his bio on the rescue site of which we have just started volunteering as foster parents -

Fritz will have a busy first week as we'll get him in to the vet for surgery and up to date on shots as well as get use to another new home.

Isn't he the cutest thing? That look just says, "Hey, wanna play?" I think Teiko will have a good time with this new friend.

November 11, 2008

Summer is gone in Wisconsin

When I left for Mexico 11 days ago, the temperatures were near 70 degrees. The rose bushes were in their final burst of flowers. I didn't want to cut them back because they were so beautiful.

The sudden cold snap that hit last week, froze the roses in their bloom. I took this picture this morning. There were about 50 blooms on the bushes and all were frozen and frost covered.

I'll be putting the rose bushes to bed this weekend. That will be fun as the temp is expected to hover around freezing with sleet and snow expected.

What a trip!

Back to the cold reality of Wisconsin Winters (24 degrees this morning during the pups' walk) But yesterday, I enjoyed one more day of 80 degrees in Mexico city.

For a 10 day trip, we saw so much and yet had a relaxing time. My Spanish came in fits and starts. I successfully spoke our way through most of the country with only a few hitches. It's definitely a good thing to be able to speak the language of Mexico because you can learn so much more about the places you visit, the people you meet, the foods you eat, and the sites you see.
We spent the beginning of our trip in Mexico City for the first three days. This was during the Day of the Dead celebrations (La Dia del Muerto). Above is the mosaic-tiled building at the University where our friend Lenny is working. One night the students put on a huge celebration with floats, displays and music.Then it was off to the silver city of Taxco for a relaxing three day stay which included some silver purchases as you can imagine.
We then headed south to Acapulco which was way too hot and humid for me. It was 90 degrees with about 100% humidity - Yech. The ocean was beautiful. (The picture above is the sunset in Acapulco on Thursday) However, I found the city of Acapulco very disorganized, gritty and not very driver friendly. We actually stayed about 10 km northwest in a village called Pie de la Cuesta. Very quaint, but not fully recovered from the 1997 hurricane that destroyed many of the hotels and other businesses.

We then drove back up Highway 95 to Tepotzlan, the site of an ancient temple 1300 feet up a sheer cliff, which our friends, Lenny and Laura decided we needed to climb. The basically vertical 1 mile hike to the temple was worth it in the end, but I sure grumbled about it all the way up.
Finally, we landed back in Mexico City on Sunday for a relaxing evening before the flight back home on Monday.

Mexico is an amazing country with so much history, culture, personality and energy. I would definitely recommend a trip into the interior of the country and not just a beach vacation to gain true insight into a wonderful place. And a few Spanish lessons would go along way in making your trip more fulfilling.

All in all, a fantastic trip. Double click on the image below to see some more photos.

November 3, 2008

We're in Mexico City - Yay!

It's been an action-packed few days here in Mexico City. From the displays at the University for the Dia del Muertos (day of the dead) to sight seeing at the Zocolo (historic city center) where the cathedral and congress buildings are to the Museum of National Anthopology (pictured is the Aztec Goddess, Coatlicue as seen at the museum) We have seen so much.

Today we are headed to Taxco, the silver city and will then make a loop around Mexico City to see a few pre-historic sites.

Hasta la vista!

October 30, 2008

Updates to the life of Rylee

Lots happening on the home front. Just a quick update.

1. Beatons - the boys were able to close up the sauna haus with a tyvek covering and add temporary windows last weekend. We may actually be able to work inside the building the winter. We'll see.

2. Todd and I are heading to Mexico City and Acapulco for 12 days. Yay! We leave tomorrow morning at 6am. We'll visit our friend Lenny and his new baby. And then head for the beach.

3. I'm so glad the election is almost here. I'm optimistic that my man Obama will be our next president. I'll be toasting to that next tuesday from an Acapulco beach!

4. Below is a photo of Sir Wag Alot. He will be coming to live with us on November 12 for an undetermined amount of time. Why us? As the newest volunteer foster parents for German Shepherd Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin, Todd and I have agreed to foster Sir Wags until his forever home is found.
What we know about this beautiful dog, is that he's about 9 months old, friendly and is a shelter favorite. Unfortunately, his time was up at the shelter and no one claimed him or adopted him. So he was scheduled to be euthanized at an Illinois Shelter this Saturday. Though the hard work of volunteers at GSRAWs - Sir Wags will be transported to a temporary foster home in Racine until we can take him on November 12.

So, until I return from Mexico - this will probably be my last post - unless I can figure out how to do it from my mobile phone with Wi-FI access....

October 25, 2008

Due to popular demand, I had added another photo with the Katte dog in the photo! - Please note that I worked the photoshop magic to have all dogs looking at the camera at one time. I challenge anyone to make three dogs look at the camera at once....

Teiko says Vote!

Teiko and Cita agree on one thing! And that's Obama!!!!

St. Louis

St. Louis is a great town. I love the architecture of the reviving downtown. And of course the Gateway Arch. With so many things that you see as a kid and then revisit years later, the size is often smaller or diminished. Not so with the Arch. It is still a massive structure and is an amazing feat of engineering. I took this picture about a year ago, when we went to St. Louis for the NCAA Frozen Four tournement.

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October 20, 2008

Why I'm voting for Barack Obama

I've been voting in presidential elections since 1984, when as an 18-year college student, I was inspired by the historic nomination of Geraldine Ferraro as the Democratice Vice President nominee. (Mondale was all right...) I saw the dawning of an energized and enlightened country, I saw hope for the young and idealistic - like all those 60s people I had learned about in school.

In 1984, I volunteered for the Mondale/Ferraro campaign, I called voters, I knocked on doors, I rallied. But to no avail. Reagan won the election in a landslide and it's been bushies and clinton ever since.

As I "grew up" I became less inspired with each subsequent presidential election. To the point, I just never was excited, connected or committed. I also never volunteered, nor gave money, nor did I ever endorsed a presidential candidate.

That changed this year. For the first time in almost 25 years, I am excited about this presidental election. And more importantly, I'm engaged. I volunteer, I give money to this candidate, I hand out really cute Obama pins! I want the man to be president for so many reasons. And I can sum it up in five words:

Integrity, Honesty, Hope, Promise and Change.

Now some of you, may not agree with the words or the order, but this is what I believe our country needs in its leader right now. And I believe as so many other Americans do that Obama has these.

So finally, I get to be excited about a presidential candidate again. And that feels very good!

The last big push at Beatons

When we started the build out of the Sauna Haus in August, we really didn't know how it would end. Would we get it closed in before winter? Would we have enough time?

Well, as you can see from the above photos, we started with the foundation posts and beams in the end or August and have a closed in building at the end of October! This was all completed during eight weekends with lots of great help from our friends. Yay!!!

And this weekend was no different. On Saturday, with the help of Bonnie, Ryann, Raine, Matt and Taylor, Todd, Eric and I were able to completely close up the building, insulated the timbers, dig the water drain and get the boats out of the lake.

Click on the album below to see all the great work that was completed this weekend! (plus some cute photos of the pups....)

Beatons - October 17 2008 - Last Push

October 16, 2008

Autumn is nearing its end in Wisconsin

Well it sure doesn't look like this anymore up north. This photo was taken three weeks ago and already the color is down and the leaves have fallen. I just love the reflection of the leaves in the lake.

October 15, 2008

The last Debate

Progressive (and smart) radio personalility Ed Schultz and his Where America Comes to Talk radio show will be in town tonight to record a townhall meeting after the final debate between Obama and that old guy.

Todd, Deb and I have tickets and will be leaving shortly to get a good seat for the debate and radio show. Listen to Ed's show and maybe you'll hear us dissecting the latest debate on national radio!!!!

October 14, 2008

Vote Early and vote often....

Okay, not the often part.

A group of us headed over to the City Clerk's office yesterday to cast our vote for the presidential election.

In Wisconsin you can place an absentee vote almost up to election day. And it was easy! Since I'm already a registered voter, it took only a matter of seconds to get my ballot, mark my candidate, seal the envelope and watch it placed in the big metal voter box. Easy Peasy!

What was heartening, was the line we saw at the City building. There was a steady stream of like-minded voters casting their votes early.

If you want to avoid election day lines - as they are predicting record turn outs, head to your city clerks office today! There are different rules for voter registration in every state (and city) but just remember - as a U.S. Citizen - your voice and vote count. Don't let them take it away!

The website - helps you determine how and where to vote in the U.S. It's a great tool!

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