So what do new kids in South Milwaukee do on New Year's Eve?
We're not party-hearty types. The club scene and the pub scene aren't our thing. We do like to socialize, though, and traditionally stay up to welcome in the New Year with a champagne toast, whether home alone or with friends.
A reader asked me to visit the Carleton Grange Pub so I did, not only once, but twice in the last week. I took my mom and son last Sunday for lunch, and was surprised to find that they have a special Sunday brunch menu from 10 - 2 pm. It's not a buffet (a refreshing treat), its a special menu with neat choices - all with an English flair - or English fare - to be more specific. The next time I went was for dinner. Both times the food was very good with some unique choices on the menu. What I enjoyed the most was the 16 different beers on tap - and my favorite, Smithwick's, was available. Another thing I enjoyed was that both times I was there they had live music. The Sunday brunch had a jazz duo and the Saturday night dinner featured a blues duo. They were not loud and they made for perfect background music so that you could talk while listening to them.
The decor was very nice with lots of wood, plenty of tables, a long bar with TV screens tuned to sports, a fireplace, and a small game room. It really did look like an english pub inside. On Saturday night we were seated at a table for two in front of the fireplace, very romantic. Both times the waitress was very attentive and the service was fast. Prices are typical, a little more than a burger joint, but not as expensive as a steak house. And that is exactly what this pub is, a nice place to relax that's not fancy, but a lot nicer than your local corner bar.
Every Sunday, I get an e-mail from Walgreens about current sales. Normally, I ignore e-mails from stores concerning sales because:
1. Outside of grocery shopping, I rarely have time to shop at a real store.
2. Unless I see the word "free" or "half price", I don't pay attention.
3. I have way too much junk e-mail to ever, ever, ever read them all.
However, since there are several Walgreens stores within a few miles from our house, I do read their e-mails. And I regularly use their web site.
It was a toe-tapping, hand-clapping, head-bobbing time with the Garlic Mustard Pickers last night at the Fixx Coffee House in St. Francis.
Twenty-plus Fixx patrons braved a rainy night and sacrificed (or DVO-ed) the BCS national college championship football game between Ohio State and Louisiana State on TV to hear the South Milwaukee-based
Celtic band play Irish jigs and reels, slow airs, military ditties and rousing, audience-participation bar songs.
Fiddler Bobbie Groth regaled the group with tales of the songs’ background/meaning. Her husband, Don Lawson, played a hammered dulcimer and a recorder and led the singing – until his voice gave out. Bassist Mark Wooldrage, who also plays a penny whistle, took over vocals while Don relieved him on the bass. Such versatility!
Other band members include guitarist LaVerne Dietzel, violinist Debbie Wilhelm, her husband, Joe, a one-man percussion/rhythm section, and flutist Pam Uhrig.
The Fixx furnishings of tiled tables and natural-wood Windsor Arrowback chairs surrounding a conversation pit of dark leather sofas added to the ambience. Fixx coffee, other beverages and yummie baked goodies completed the experience.
Those who missed this enjoyable evening will have another opportunity when the band plays the Fixx again on Feb. 4, which is the first Monday of the month, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Hello faithful readers! Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a great start. So far this year, I have done 9-mile, 7-mile and 8.75 mile runs. Now I am taking a couple days off to rest. My running addiction is in full swing for 2008!
Did you know there is a new movie coming out about the Marathon? I just found out about it today. The movie features two professional runners and four amateur runners training for the Chicago Marathon.
According to the Trust for Public Land, a national center concerned with conserving land for people, here is how the Milwaukee County Park System stacks up to other large metropolitan park systems in a number of areas.
I'm not talking looks, here. And this has nothing to do with bark or bite. Nope, it’s her nose for bargains.
She can sniff ‘em out like a blood hound. She dogs newspaper supplements and other advertisements for sales, and uses coupons to the max. She has actually been known to leave a store with a cart full of items and more money in her wallet than when she went in. That’s right, by combining coupons with double-coupon days and store specials and promotions there have been times when store ended up owing her money.
Sometimes, after the kids go to bed, my husband and I play the PlayStation 2 game Jeopardy. My husband sits at the couch, controller in hand, ready to select the answer to the question. I sit at the computer, keyboard in hand, ready to search for and yell the answer from across the room.
We are masters at this game! Playing the game this way has:
Caused us to win and WIN WELL every time.
Taught me to type at the speed of light.
Turned us into the future champions of the real Jeopardy game show (with, of course, my husband at the controls and me in a Bluetooth headset in his ear).
I would like to urge everyone to read the article "Privatizing County Services is Just a Path Toward Lower-Paid Jobs" by Gerry Broderick in Sunday's Journal Sentinel Crossroads section. You can read it online by clicking the following address.
Jake is a treasured dog among the staff and volunteer dog walkers at the Wisconsin Humane Society. He always greets you with a huge smile, like you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to him. A bad day at work or school is quickly cured by his cheerful demeanor and eagerness to entertain you. Jake LOVES to go for walks and play in the snow, regardless of the temperature. He is an active, silly boy who thinks independently yet cherishes the companionship of humans.
Jake is a 2 ½ year old Labrador Retriever/Newfoundland mix. He’s been called a “goofy newfie” on more than one occasion. He enjoys the pursuit of tennis balls and proudly demonstrates his ability to catch balls mid-air. This seventy pound dog is also very affectionate and loving; after a good bout of exercise, Jake adores getting tummy rubs and ear scratches. Jake will undoubtedly bring great joy into someone’s life.
Does he sound like a good match for you? Check him out at www.wihumane.org or call 414-ANIMALS for adoption information.
Jake, like many dogs, barrels through snow piles with glee and is entranced by snow falling from the sky. However, all dog guardians should be aware that cold weather can be very dangerous for dogs. From frostbite and cracked paws to antifreeze and sidewalk salt, winter can pose many threats to your dog’s safety. Check out cold weather safety tips at the WHS web site.
This past week has been hectic because I was finishing up a class. Now that I have a few free weeks I can get back to reporting on some great places to try out.
Yesterday I stopped with my mom for lunch at the Charcoal Grill on 27th and just south of Puetz. I've never been in one before and was surprised to see the butcher there. The menu has a lot to choose from but the food we got was just OK. My mom got the Italian burger and I got a chicken breast sandwich. I did see that they have 2 good options on the menu for a light lunch - one was for soup, salad, and a small bread loaf, and the other was for soup, cheese pieces, apple slices, and a small loaf of bread. I'd like to try one of those the next time I go there.
Have a question, complaint, comment or suggestion about Grant Park and/or its facilities, services, safety and/or security?
Thursday night is your chance.
My Mom's group of friends (whom I have dubbed the Senior Sleuths) lunched at Sheridan's last week. This is their report:
Thursday was a ridiculously cold night to go out, but 27 folks did just that. We showed up at the Grant Park Wil-O-Way community building – 18 degrees above zero, down to 13 an hour later (maybe not all that cold for old timers, but brrrrr weather for this new kid and my husband – for a State-of-the-Park forum with a panel of nine municipal and county officials and community servants.
The good news so far as I was concerned is a park-ranger program scheduled to begin in May, which will assist law enforcement agencies with minor infractions, such as leash-law violations.
Cudahy Mayor Ryan McCue spoke about a proposal that’s been bandied about to raise revenue for the County that involves selling off public land to private developers. So for a one-time infusion of cash the County would ensure that the public would forever lose one or more baguettes of what has been termed the County’s crown jewel – its park system. And what would happen to that former public land? Most likely it would be paved over, become the site of high-rise condos or strip malls with yet more unleased store fronts, and enjoyed by or used to the benefit of an elite few.
County Supervisor Pat Jursik said funding the County's "jewel" is not discretionary. Referring to the Great Lakes region – the five Great Lakes and surrounding land masses, which she said comprises the world’s fifth largest economy – as the Fresh Coast (as in East Coast, West Coast, Fresh Coast with its fresh-water coast line), Jursik said the value of the parks goes far beyond just serving as static green space. They provide natural habitats, recreational areas and contribute substantially to local and regional economies. They must, she said, be protected.
Parks Director Sue Black discussed the great foresight of the generation responsible for developing the county park system, which would be used and enjoyed for generations to come – including ours. Black talked about the vision that led to the creation of this “jewel” by people in the depths of the Great Depression, when so many people were a whole lot worse off than most of us are today, and the stick that’s being poked in the eye of that vision. In the past 30 years, since the mid-1970s, the workforce responsible for park maintenance, protection and repair has been reduced from 1,100 employees to just 260 today.
The loss of those 840-employee positions has meant more than just a 76.4 percent reduction in man- and womanpower, Jim Goulee, executive director of The Park People of Milwaukee County, said. It represents “a humongous chunk of knowledge.”
I recently spoke with Don Lawson about some of his views regarding our County Parks. Don and I have known each other for several years, having first met when our sons were in Boy Scout Troop 252 together. Don is a big supporter of the Parks and has been actively involved in picking Garlic Mustard in Grant Park.
According to Don, "I liked your recent column arguing against privatization of the parks. Here's my take on the issue."
The first church festival is in MAY! The first event at the Summerfest grounds is June 1! It seems way too far away to me. This is depressing. If you are anything like me, the long winter is measured by how many more weeks there are until spring! With the cold and short days, all I want to do is stay indoors, curl up on the couch, and veg out. BUT that isn't good for us, we need to stay active through winter. Besides the exercise you'll be getting, it will change your attitude and mood for the better. Now is the time to do all those things you don't have time to do when the weather is good. Go to the museum, take in a sports game, see a movie, go to a play. Summer is for outdoor activities, but winter is for all the great indoor stuff to do.
Sports: Milwaukee Bucks - now until April - http://www.bucks.com/, Marquette Basketball - now through March - http://www.gomarquette.com/, UW-Milwaukee Panthers - now through March - http://www.uwmpanthers.com/, Milwaukee Admirals - now through April - http://www.milwaukeeadmirals.com/, Milwaukee Wave - now to April - http://www.milwaukeewave.com/, Pettit National Ice Center - events and public skating year round - http://www.thepettit.com/.
The Garlic Mustard Pickers have released their spring schedule. Mark your calendars!
Monday, February 4th: A "First Monday" performance at Fixx Coffee House, just north of Carleton Grange Pub at the far north end of Packard Ave in St. Francis. Music starts sometime around 7:20 or 7:30. Admission is free, but don't forget to "rent your chair" by buying one of the great drinks, soups, etc. at Fixx. The lineup of tunes is mostly instrumentals, and the songs are about love and courtship (thinking of Valentine's Day).
There is lots of news to report this week.
First, the Cudahy Historical Society General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 19th at 7 pm at the Cudahy Depot (4557 S. Kinnickinnic Ave). Victor Venus, retired St. Francis Police Chief, will talk about the Venus Family of Cudahy. For more info, call (414) 899-0813.