If you live in Wisconsin, it's been a rough few months in social media. It's been my experience that both sides of our political landscape have been attacking each other with great vigor and very little maturity. You may recall that I'm a frequent Facebook user, but comments that I've seen (again, from BOTH sides) have made Facebook not much fun at all. Twitter isn't much better. I'd like to suggest that everyone be more respectful of each other, listen for a change and stop with the infantile name-calling...but I know that will fall on deaf ears.
Instead, I'm going to share with you a breath of fresh air that puts it all in great perspective for me. Enjoy and don't forget to vote on Tuesday April 5th.
Sometimes, the only thing you can say is "what she said!"
In looking for a sample ballot for the Tuesday, April 5, election (not so easy to find), I ran across an editorial by Journal Sentinel community columnist and fellow Tosan Annette Mertens. The crux:
If you don't know who's running, don't vote. Don't guess. Don't disrespect the lives of those who fought and died for this privilege by taking voting so lightly as to choose a candidate at random or just because he happens to belong to a certain party.
There are two crucial positions to fill, County Executive and Supreme Court Justice, and we are saturated with misinformation about the candidates, most of it from third party advertisers. If all you know is from ads, sensational chain emails, and robocalls, don't vote.
Oh: and here, in all its badly scanned splendor, is the sample ballot, just in time. That, too, deserves a little more care if this democracy is as important as we say it is.
A couple of weekends ago I was sorting through all manner of stuff I've collected over the years. I like to think of it as my self-treatment plan of my pack rat syndrome. I was determined to finally stow it away properly. Things from the years in Germany in one trunk. Boy Scout and Camp St. Michael stuff in another. Brewers stuff and Packer's stuff in their own bins.
Why is it that we save all of the routine, the collectible and arcane?
I've been going to musicals at Tosa East for about 14 years, and every year I ask myself, Where do all these talented kids come from? The answer came to me during last night's production of Phantom of the Opera: Tosa East surely must have its own opera ghost who is coaching the kids on the sly.
For years there have been rumors of a ghost named Fitz Fitzsimmons living on the all-but-abandoned third floor of the school; he's listed in each production's crew credits for good luck. I'm just beginning to realize his role in vocal coaching. Of course, Director/Producer Tom Thaney and Vocal Musical Director Wendy Traeger deserve some credit for recognizing and nurturing the seemingly endless supply of talent at the school too.
***St. Bernard Parish School will close its doors in June 2011, and a new school (Wauwatosa Catholic), a joint venture between Pius X Parish and St. Bernard Parish will open in Fall of 2011.*** To thank the faculty on April 1, parents and families treated the faculty and staff to luncheon to show their appreciation.
Many other special events will continue to take place as this historic school year winds down & the 100th Anniversary of St. Bernard Parish winds up! Below is a note of thanks published in the April 7 "Eagle Review" Newsletter. STAY TUNED!
A plan to convert warehouses in Wauwatosa's Burleigh Triangle area into new stores won praise from the city Plan Commission Monday night, but also drew concerns over a lack of office space in the development plan.
Chicago-based HSA Commercial Real Estate Inc. is proposing the development, called The Mayfair Collection, for 69 acres east of Highway 45 and north of W. Burleigh St.
I fumbled my way out of bed the other day at 4 AM.
Turning-on the coffee I assembled exactly two peanut butter sandwiches (with lettuce and mayonnaise), one hard-cooked egg, an orange and a bottle of water. Filling a small thermos with steaming joe I stuffed the flask, my breakfast and lunch along with a book into my backpack. Grabbing my trusty Mossberg turkey gun and a couple of shells I headed out in the dark. The previous afternoon I had stashed a duffel with decoys in a blind.
On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, the Wauwatosa Common Council will hold a special meeting to decide whether to ratify contracts that the City administration has negotiated with three unions representing City workers.
In ordinary times, this would attract little attention. These are not ordinary times.
Every spring for the last three years I've started my own vegetable and herb seeds indoors. This year, I spent about half of the last day of March mixing growing media, prepping flats, and planting seeds. Two flats of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce are now growing in my cold basement under lights. Eight flats of tomatoes, eggplant, basil, peppers, and other heat-loving plants are in a mini-greenhouse that sits in front of my eastern-facing sliding glass doors in the kitchen.
In about one week I’m going to plant two more flats of seeds: pumpkins and sunflowers. I start these large, fast-growing plants indoors, even though the package directions say to sow them outside after the last frost. Why? I’ve heard slightly older sunflower seedlings, for example, don't taste as good to rabbits when they are a little less tender. By starting them indoors, away from hungry herbivores, and then transplanting them after the last frost, the critters tend to leave them alone.
The seed starter mix I use is based on the following recipe, inspired by Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl:
Combine equal parts of:
- peat moss OR shredded coconut fiber (I alternated between the two – both retain moisture; peat moss provides nutrition)
- vermiculite (ground up mica; expands and holds moisture)
I filled a five-gallon bucket with this recipe; at the end I threw in about a quart of worm compost. According to You Grow Girl, seeds don't need fertilizer until they've sprouted their second set of leaves (the first set of "true leaves"). A peat-vermiculite-perlite mix doesn't contain much nutrition for plants; it is ideal for seed starting because it is light and friable, but once the energy contained in the seeds is used up by the sprouting process, plant nutrients will need to be added by way of fertilizer and/or soil amendment. Hence the addition of worm compost: adding compost gives seedlings a little food in case they need it before I get around to adding extra nutrition.
My 10-year-old daughter and I filled paper-based egg cartons I've saved over the last year with our homemade seed starter mix. We planted seeds in each carton and then placed the cartons in plastic flats.
I water by filling the bottom of the flats and letting the cardboard egg cartons soak up the liquid. This is preferable to watering from the top, which can be disruptive to the plants.
Seedlings are a joy, but they require work. Each morning I check on them – I make sure they are constantly moist and turn them toward the light if they are leaning too much. I keep a look out for mold in the greenhouse, which can grow if it becomes too humid inside. I thin out weaker plants. This allows selected seedlings to grow stronger, as they won’t have to compete as much for soil nutrition. (One tip I picked up somewhere along the way is to thin seedlings with scissors. Cutting off unwanted seedlings at the base of their stems, instead of pulling them up by the roots, can be less disruptive to the roots of the seedlings you want to keep).
Soon the seedlings will be far too large for the little egg-shaped pots in which they are currently stretching out their roots. So around the time I plant my pumpkin and sunflower seeds I will also transplant my other seedlings into larger pots – anything from reused 4” pots from old plant purchases to repurposed plastic food containers with drainage holes poked in the bottom. My biggest problem at transplant time will be figuring out how to make room for the bigger pots. Space in the mini-greenhouse is limited, so I will have to choose the strongest seedlings and discard the rest. It is so hard for me, though, to destroy viable seedlings, so I typically end up saving way more of them than I should. I squeeze extras into a second greenhouse I put up in my dining room window.
In early May it will be time to harden off my tender babies: when the danger of frost has passed, I will give my seedlings time to adjust to the wind and sun outdoors by placing them in a shady spot for a few hours each day. Then I’ll bring them in at night. This will continue for a few days, until they are strong enough to be planted outdoors.
Why do gardeners go to all this trouble to keep these tender baby plants alive indoors? Part of it is frugality: a packet of seeds costs only a couple bucks; from one seed packet you can conceivably end up with dozens of plants that would be far more expensive if purchased as seedlings. But there’s much more to this process than saving money. After all, time is money, isn’t it? Nurturing seedlings does require an investment of time.
So it’s really not just about saving money – not for me, anyway. What started as an exercise in frugality has become a worthy spiritual endeavor. As seeds grow, I am able to observe and participate in the mystery of life. I nurture and serve these tiny, vulnerable creatures; they will eventually come to serve and sustain me when I harvest and consume their fruits. In their death they will bring forth new life when the remnants of their fruits are composted and used as food for a new generation of plants.
This process is precious and sacred, and I enjoy every second of it.
Please check out this gem for anyone who may be looking for a reasonably priced starter home in Tosa. 1507 Alice Street has extensive gardens and a lot that is 220 feet deep! It was featured as a Secret Gardens of Wauwatosa one year and an article appeared in one of the JS Communication's magazines
Great memories of bringing Andrew (oldest) home from the hospital. Well loved, updated and maintained home on great dead end street. Easy access to the Village and all WSD public schools!
Great juju in this house. 3 young couples I know had babies soon after moving in and one TE family had 6 kids living in this 4 bedroom home.