Tomorrow being November first (ooh, only 38 minutes away!), I deem it a good day for beginnings.

Thus I will begin the following:

  • NaNoWriMo

  • The Next 500 Mile Journey to Nowhere

  • The final stitches on my latest crochet project ;)

Tune in tomorrow for an update on all of these beginnings, including the next person to be added to my inspiration list and the new friends who gave me his name.

Playing in my head: Daydream Believer performed by The Monkees

It's time!

Less than an hour away!!!

Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Participant



Make no mistake about it!

Quick! Go here and read what he said about me before it disappears!


What I've been up to...

I want you to have a peek at what I've been so busy working on this weekend. :)

Everyone, meet Keith's Grandma, Dorothy Steidley. And don't forget to go see the additional things she has over here, too.

Dorothy Steidley - Artist...

Bump! Think Pink!

Finally for today, October has nearly come to a close, but please consider heading over to The Breast Cancer Site once per day between now and the end of the month to help them reach their goal. If you click the pink button once you get there, your click will be funding free mammograms for women in need, and during the month of October, each click is tripled!



Missing my little buddy a lot these days...

click to embiggen


State Field Show Results...

I would be remiss if I never went back and celebrated the band's victory because of the tragedy that occured afterward... and so

Champs again!
Thursday, October 20, 2005

By Phil Pfuehler, Editor

For the first time since 2000 - five long years - the high school Marching Wildcats brought back the top trophy for best overall performance during statewide competition Saturday at the UW-Whitewater campus.

"It was a great time to peak when you're at state," said band co-director Joe Coughlin. "We're excited. I'd love to bring home many more of these trophies."

The Marching Wildcats have won top state honors many, many times since 1985.

They were consecutive state champs from 1987-1992 and again from 1998-2000.

This is the first state championship for Coughlin and the band's other co-director, Bryan Jaeckel.

Coughlin and Jaeckel saw their students have a very successful fall competition, with a number of top finishes, both for overall performance and in various categories.

Saturday's score of 90.25 at Whitewater, however, was the band's highest all year.

"The goal is to keep improving, and that's what the students did," Coughlin said. "That turned it into a fantastic season."

Despite the competitive environment, Coughlin said the River Falls band conducted itself in a friendly, respectful way toward other high school bands.

"Our focus has never been on the victories," he said. "Our aim is to work hard, keep getting better each week, and to show commitment and teamwork. If the results go our way, wonderful."

Aside from the top overall ranking, the Wildcats also earned "best" honors Saturday for: Visual Presentation; Color Guard; and Percussion.

The band has 125 members - 82 winds, 26 percussionists and 17 color guards.

Jubilation turned bittersweet Sunday when local staff, parents and band members learned of a fatal bus accident involving another competing marching band from Chippewa Falls.

One of the returning Chippewa Falls buses crashed into a semi-trailer truck that had jackknifed across I-94 near Osseo. Many were injured and several people died. Among the dead was the school's longtime band director, 48-year-old Douglas Greenhalgh.

River Falls band directors Coughlin and Jaeckel both have connections to Chippewa Falls High School and Greenhalgh.

Coughlin attended high school there, was a band student and later served as a band director assistant while enrolled at UW-Eau Claire. Jaeckel was a student-teacher under Greenhalgh band's program.

"It's still hard to believe what happened," Coughlin said Tuesday. "(Greenhalgh) was a pretty good friend and a mentor. He was a very compassionate and energetic man."

Coughlin said Greenhalgh was the last person he talked to as the River Falls group left Whitewater Saturday night.

"He congratulated me in the parking lot and said great show," Coughlin said. "Then we shook hands and hugged."

Coughlin encouraged people to give to an endowment fund that was set up to benefit the Chippewa Falls High School music department.

"This will offer some lasting help," Coughlin said of the special fund.

Checks can be made out to "Community Foundation of Chippewa County." They can be mailed to or dropped off at the River Falls High School, 818 Cemetery Road, in care of Coughlin or Jaeckel.

The teachers will collect all donations and send them to the endowment fund in Chippewa Falls.


Let's hear it for the band!
Thursday, October 20, 2005

By Editorial staff of The River Falls Journal

This high school activity doesn't often make front-page news, but students who perform in the River Falls High School marching band have a tradition of not only furnishing great halftime entertainment at football games, but also phenomenal success in statewide competition.

Of course most of you know the Marching Wildcats took first in Saturday's state tournament. But did you know that a Marching Wildcat team has claimed a state title in 13 of the past 20 years?

Talk about an awesome tradition!

Even before Saturday, the Marching Wildcats were on a roll with this string of achievements, including:

  • Sept. 10, Champlin, Minn.: First place for the band and the "outstanding" (top) award for the color guard.
  • Sept. 24, Irondale, Minn.: First place for the band; outstanding awards for percussion and color guard.
  • Oct. 2, Merrill: Another first place for the band, and top awards for percussionists and color guard.
  • Oct. 8, Chippewa Falls: Band comes away with second place award.
  • Oct. 9, Menomonie: Band takes another first; percussionists return with an outstanding award.

The Marching Wildcat band is directed by Joe Coughlin and Bryan Jaeckel. Band students deserve high praise for their energy, stamina and musical flair, and for the fine way they represent the River Falls community throughout Wisconsin.

To show support for the band - and for the entire instrumental music program with its various bands - consider attending an indoor concert, dinner and auction Saturday, Nov. 5, at the high school gym and commons, beginning at 5 p.m. Merchants or individuals wishing to donate items for the auction can call Tim Iehl at ###-####.

Latest collage...

click to embiggen...


She makes me smile...

Okay, so I said I was done for the day. Indulge me. Sometimes a mother can't help herself.

That's my girl

Bowling for kitties...

Found over at Silly Old Bear's place this evening...

A little Halloween fun for all of you to waste some more time at your computer tonight when the insomnia sets in. For me, that usually hits a few days after the three day migraine, so I won't have that until the weekend, probably...

Come on back here and post your top score and put my little 149 to shame.

Keri loves Chachi???

Your 80s Heartthrob Is

Scott Baio


A meme from KatieK

What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life?

1. Going home on the last day of my junior or senior year (pity I can't remember which it was now) when I was supposed to go off to see a movie with a bunch of the girls and thinking it would be so much more fun if I had a "buzz" on - isn't this what the cool kids were doing, after all? (I was so not one of the cool kids and had no idea what I was doing as will soon be shown) so I found a bottle of dry gin in the liquor cabinet, got out a large glass and filled it with ice and poured myself a tall one. It was the most digusting thing I've ever had to drink and I was hugging the porcelain goddess within an hour after finishing the whole thing and unable to move for the rest of the night. No movie for me. I don't think I wanted to go very badly or something. Perhaps it was the subject matter - it was one of the Porky's flicks.

2. Playing softball while drinking beer. I ended up going up to bat, actually hitting the ball and while my head began to run like the wind, my feet didn't know what the devil was happening and about halfway to the plate (first base) I landed in the dirt and still have the scars to show for it.

3. Driving after drinking (after softball).

So you see boys and girls, all stupidity in my life occurred when alcohol was involved! Even the ones that I didn't mention! And so, alcohol plays a very small (shall we say nonexistant?) role in my life now! I'm not going to preach to you all not to drink, I'm simply saying that it doesn't work in my world because I frequently get stupid if I have the things around me that allow me to get that way...

At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?
Me myself and I. Outside of that, I suppose Keli does as her schedule has a wee bit of influence on mine.

If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick five people to dine with, who would you pick?

In no particular order: KathyK, Katie, Trudi, KathyC, Beanie, KathyHowe, and Jen. Seven, I know, but we can squeeze in another couple of chairs. Again, I stole this whole idea from genius Katie. See her answers for the explanation...

If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

1. I wish somebody with a big old wad of money, a huge amount of vision and a generous creative soul would knock on Keith's door and tell him, finish your degree and get thee to a college of your choice and teach, man!

2. I wish somebody would hurry up and invent the Particle Redistributor. According to this, every particle in your house is assigned to a place. You push the button and everything goes back to its assigned place. Heavenly. Hurry up! (stolen from Katie because she is a genius.)

3. That Keli would gain some serious self-esteem and belief in her abilities... She has talent, strength and brains that far outreach me. I only wish she believed in herself more.

Name two things you regret your city not having... I'm having difficulty deciding what "my city" is. Okay - I'm situating myself in the city that Keli is going to school. That makes it very easy.

1. Decent coffee houses that have evening hours and good seating out of traffic flow and privacy. There is no where in my city that Marge and I can go to write and that I like to go have coffee and do NaNo writing. I have to go up to my old home town for this and then I find an abundance of great coffee houses.

2. Decent restaraunts with vegetarian choices and hours. Even chain places but a few good mom and pop or ethnic places would be fabbo.

...and two things people should avoid.

1. migraines

2. pessimism

Name one thing that has changed your life:



You all are so very good at tagging yourselves; have at it! Let me know


Freeze Frame!

Girls at the theaterWe had Girls' Night on Saturday this past week. It was a celebration of getting through the ACT again for Keli, and it was also a visit to the local theater in order to watch our own little thespian performing in Robin Hood... Erin

(Recognize the hat, Jean?) I may have had to get up early on a Saturday morning to take Kel to her testing site, but it was well worth it, don't you think?

Thanks for the input on the comments section being hard to read/write because of colors. I made some changes. Hope it's better. Smooches.

Playing in my head: Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof


Final farewell...

Endowment Fund started by Kel's band director...

Just want to post one final bit of info about the Chi-Hi tragedy.

Kel and I went to the visitation night before last to pay our respects to the Greenhalgh family and there is a bit online now about that and about the funeral that took place yesterday so I thought I'd post links here to those sites. Tom Arneberg has done an awesome job keeping everything up to date on his website and writing tributes, etc. He has also posted photos from the events for those friends and family who were unable to attend either of the unforgetable tributes.

Visitation (FYI, the song the choir sang that Tom mentions in the third paragraph was "For Good" from Wicked and it brought us all to tears... It was perfect.)


Thanks for indulging me this week on this very sad but relevant subject.


Last week's Girls' Night

First of all, those of you that wanted to play along with the October 3 Meme, I've done nearly all of them, just check out the comments where I finally got around to filling in the answers. Scroll down to your own requests because I edited the comments and answered them right on your requests. Thought that would be better than nearly doubling the number of comments already in there.

And before I forget, Angry Alien Productions has added a couple of movies to their base since the last time I mentioned them. The Bunnies are now starring in Highlander and War of the Worlds. Check them out! And with Halloween fast approaching, it's always fun to revisit their vast collection of spooky bunny movies, too. Help them out with their bandwidth while you are there by making a donation or buying something from their store.

Finally, in an attempt to catch up with things around here, and to honor a request from my niece who wants to see a few Girls' Night photos... (after pouring through the shots that Erin took, I see why she wants them on here - Thanks hon, you got some great shots of Aunt Keri... ;) ) Ya'll are gonna love these. As soon as I can get the flickr uploader working I'll get them on here. Stay tuned.

Picture of concentrationLast week we girls got together and put together a few jack-o-lantern sweets having many laughs at the time.

Erin makes Jack-o-Lanterns

We then had a few wicked double solitare tournaments.

And by wicked? I guess I mean I was wicked... heh. Don't let it give you nightmares. This was me getting a litte manic in my quest for a win. Which I didn't do. All evening.

Wanna Win?

As you can see, it didn't take any of the rest of them much to beat me... They calmly chatted on their phones. Keli coasted to victory in her games against me...

Or had consultations with each other... also very calmly.Calm Conversations

Gadget girl

These were the highlights. Wish I had gotten a few more snapshots of the candy pumpkin making, though.

OMG - this was a couple of days of MAJOR frustration with dial-up. I cannot believe how long it took me to get these photos online.

Playing in my head: For Good from Wicked


Chi-Hi updates...

Just wanted to put some updated links on here in case I'm getting any hits from RF band people to get to the Chi-Hi sites...

Main Info site for Chi-Hi updates
Guestbook for the Chi-Hi band
Scholarship Fund info in memory of the Greenhalgh family

Every time the Marching Cardinals flowed out onto the field in competition, I caught my breath because they are a huge band. And our kids always erupt in applause and cheers since they are big fans and friends.

Keli told me yesterday that she and Kels are just glad they are seniors so they don't have to go back to CF for field shows. It would be too difficult because they would be constantly looking for Mr. Greenhalgh. He was one of their biggest cheerleaders, always giving them a big peptalk, standing on the sidelines all through their performance pumping his fist in the air and clapping and yelling for them, even when his own band was set to go on soon. This was how he was at State last Saturday, too.

She grabbed what cash she had available and stuffed it in her pocket on the way out the door for school today. Said they're putting together a pool to add to the scholarship fund and she wanted to add what she could. There are a couple of busloads of band kids heading up to the memorial service tonight. It's going to be a tough one, I think.


a heart as big as they come...

Later we will celebrate our children's performance at state. All we can do now is mourn our dear friends from Chippewa Falls and send prayers for the families and friends of the deceased and for those still recovering from the accident.

Special memorial column about Doug Greenhalgh by Tom Arneberg.

Bus carrying students from band competition crashes, five dead

Schoch: "This is a real tragedy for our school"

Band Director, Wife, Granddaughter Among Bus Crash Victims
Mr. and Mrs. Greenhalgh

photo of Mr. and Mrs. Greenhalgh from KARE 11 website.

For any of the RF band people who might be stopping by, there is a Chippewa update site being maintained here.

Records Show Truck Driver Had License Suspended

Six people remain in the hospital in critical but stable condition. They have all had surgery and are all improving. They include one 6th-grade girl from Chippewa Falls, one high school student, three chaperones, and one teacher, Brian Collicott. Brian is the band director for grades 9-10. He had surgery on his ankle, and suffers a broken arm, broken leg, spinal injuries, and multple fractures. More surgery is scheduled; he'll be in the hospital for "quite some time." (from the CFMA info site)(Updated 6:45 am Monday 10/17...)

Mon, 10/17/05, 3:30pm -- Cassie Gast is the 6th-grade girl who is in Gillette Children's Hospital. She will probably be there for 3-4 weeks because her pelvis is broken in two places. She might be able to have visitors in a week. In the meantime, check out her journal and guestbook. (from the CFMA info site)

Mon, 10/17/05, 4:26pm -- Good news -- Jessi McIlquham is able to respond by writing notes -- and the notes had some humor in them! I just created a guestbook for Jessi -- feel free to view and sign. (from the CFMA info site)



Tonight was Keli's last performance at a football game and now? It's State weekend!

It is state competition weekend, which means I'm off again, but when I return I'll have answers for everyone who has commented that they wanted me to do the Meme from *gulp* October 3, new posts, new photos, and updates on where I've been the past couple of weeks... And yes, I've even finished the latest 500 miles, so I'll update the mileage, too! Stay tuned, and thanks for sticking around! See you Monday!

The soloists jamming during the final football game...Here is a photo from the final football game. The seniors get to be a little silly. They are the ones in the pink capes. :) Keli is on the right in this group of five soloists... Now on to that final State Competition!

Today's miles:
Total so far:
Still to go for goal:

Playing in my head: Collide by Howie Day


finally getting answers

Some of you who have been reading my blog a while may remember my running for a local family who lost a son to a horrible unsolved murder a few years ago.

Well, it looks like they are finally getting some answers to the question of who shot their son. It will not provide them closure, because I don't believe people ever really receive that in the case of a violent death such as this, and they will not have much peace because of the circumstances, but they will not have to live in fear.

CNN Bulletin

One more meme...

Meme from Therapeutic Writer and Katie...

Leave your name and...
1. I'll respond with something random about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle with you in.
4. I'll try to say something that only makes sense to you and me.
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on your journal. You MUST.

But don't expect it to happen quickly. I need a little time to ponder because I'm not a fast-on-my-feet thinker.

Whoa - I'm just getting started on my first one and am realizing how tough this will be on my memory-challenged mind! A great exercise! :)

Playing in my head: Blackbird the Beatles version because I've never heard the Sarah M. version :( (this is for Trudi)

weekend update

We had two field show competitions over the weekend halfway across the state...

Our results:

First place trophies for division - 2
Best color guard - 2
Best percussion - 1
Esprit de corps - 1

And our scores at each of the competitions were higher than any of the other bands no matter their division! Our kids rocked!

More photos to come, in the meantime you can see some here.

Playing in my head: Competition music what else?


past life...

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Lazy Warrior.

Where You Lived: Thailand.

How You Died: Dysentery.

Playing in my head: Funeral for a Friend by Elton John