Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May and is a day to remember ancestors, family members, loved ones, friends, and neighbors who have given the ultimate sacrifice: dying in wars. Initially known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

Memorial Day is now celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. It is also customary for the president or vice-president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.

Now the battle hymns are playing, report of shots not far away
No prayer, no promise, no hand of God could save their souls that April day
Tell their wives that they fought bravely as they lay them in their graves

As the train pulled in the station and the families gathered ‘round
You could hear the first car echo with a loud triumphant sound
But the last car it was silent, they listened close but they couldn’t hear
It was laden down with coffins, that didn't speak and couldn’t cheer

From  “Broken Hymns” by Dropkick Murphys

The reason we observe the Memorial Day holiday is to pay tribute to those who have passed on while preserving the peace for our nation, so that we can enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty. Thank you, each and every one of you.

I would also like to take a moment to honor some of my family and friends that have passed on – people that I think of frequently.

I will miss the guys that I worked with at Koos – Larry, Cecil, Jesse, Ziggy and Gary. They were all part of a very special fraternity.

Kathy and Karen were two wonderful ladies that were taken from this world much too early. I was blessed to be have been their friend while they were still with us.

Uncle Dino and Uncle Jimmy were two of the kindest people that I ever had the honor of knowing. I will never forget sobbing outside of Holy Rosary Church after Uncle Jimmy’s funeral while hugging his son David.

Dad and Uncle Dino
On the Matrisch side of my family, there is Grandma ‘Trisch, Uncle Eddie, Uncle Wayne and his son Davie. My cousin Davie was a kind soul that also left this earth tragically at a young age. They are gone but will never be forgotten.

Members of the Vagnoni clan that are no longer with us are Grandma and Grandma ‘Noni, Auntie Bay and my cousin John Dean. It’s hard to describe how closely knit the Vagnoni family is. It is a true blessing to be part of it.

Growing up, John Dean was like my third brother. We played, fought and got in trouble together. Twice we unwittingly attempted to burn down the family “cottage” at Camp Lake. Fortunately, we were unsuccessful. Unfortunately he is no longer here to laugh about those days.

I have fond memories of all these precious people. They each played a role in my life, some more than others. They are all missed very dearly, but none quite as much as the most beautiful man I ever knew – my Dad. I can’t put into words how much I miss him. It hurts too much when I try. I love you so much, Dad.
Dear God, please remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; may you bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence.
Have a happy and blessed Memorial Day and please remember why we celebrate this holiday. Until next time…from the booth.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Debate Rages On

Today is the Friday before Memorial Day, a day that traditionally marks the kickoff to summer. There are rumors that the weather might even begin to cooperate. Maybe. Something that coincides with summertime is the drive-in and in Kenosha that means Big Star and The Spot. We are fortunate to have not one, but two ‘50s style burger drive-ins to choose from and everyone seems to have their favorites. 

This was evidenced in a blog poll that I conducted recently, with Big Star garnering one more vote than The Spot. The small margin of victory tells me that the debate rages on. Which is Kenosha’s favorite drive-in?

First of all let’s make it clear that there is a definite difference between a drive-in and a fast food restaurant. There are fast food joints all over America. In fact they are all over the world. You would be hard pressed to go anywhere and not find a McDonalds, Burger King or KFC. But go to those same places and try to find a Big Star or The Spot. It’s just not going to happen.

Fast food is fast food, no matter where you are. A Whopper is a Whopper and a Big Mac is a Big Mac, whether you are in Kenosha, Wisconsin or London, England. But a Big Star double-cheeseburger is unique to our fair city, as are those at the Spot. 

We are fortunate to have two one-of-a-kind drive-in restaurants to choose from. But which do you prefer?

Having a rough time making up your mind? It used to be a lot tougher. Back in the ‘70s there were at least five drive-ins to choose from. Besides The Spot and Big Star, there was also A&W, Chat ‘n’ Chew and the legendary Fon Tan Blu. Each had it’s own distinct style and menu. And each featured things that stick out in my memory.

A&W was on Roosevelt Road and 30th Avenue. It has since become Andy’s Drive-in. It has become more of a sit-down establishment, although they will provide service to your car if you leave your headlights on.

Back in the day Andy’s was strictly a drive-in that featured carhops. I remember driving by and reading the daily special posted on the tall roadside sign. You couldn’t beat a one-dollar pizza burger.

Located on 52nd Street and 40th Avenue was Chat ‘n’ Chew. I don’t quite recall when it went out of business but I do remember the fragrant aroma that the small building exuded. The smell was different from any that of the other drive-ins. Like the other drive-ins, it stayed open late.

I fondly recall working at Burger King, closing up and heading over to the “Chew” with the gang after we got done. Its focal point was an enormous billboard that doubled as a menu.

Another Kenosha landmark sat kitty corner from Holy Rosary church, the Fon Tan Blu. The oddly shaped blue building was a destination spot for softball players who had spent the night enjoying adult beverages after their game.

It was not uncommon to have your burger or “Soakie” prepared by none other then Kenosha’s premiere double-play combination, Nick Perrine and Dick Laba. Mama Perrine’s Italian Bombers were second to none. Fon Tan Blu is sorely missed.

Alas, venerable institutions like Chat ‘n’ Chew and Fon Tan Blu no longer grace our hometown. In my humble opinion, with all due respect to Andy’s, Kenosha only has two true drive-ins. The Spot and Big Star are the two remaining survivors. And both have their loyal legion of supporters. Which of the two do you prefer? They both have their pros and cons.

The biggest difference between the two is the hours of operation. Big Star is “Closed for the Season” from Labor Day until March. While on the south side of town the carhops at The Spot have donned their long johns and are waiting on cars into the wee hours of the frigid morning.

Big Star’ normal hours of operation are 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM. Their cross-town rival opens at the same time, but stays open until 3:00 AM during the week and 3:30 AM on Friday and Saturday. Perhaps Big Star subscribes to the theory that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, or in this case, the taste buds.

Both of the popular eateries are located on busy thoroughfares. The Spot at the intersection of 75th Street and 22nd Avenue, while Big Star is directly across from Time Warner Cable on Washington Road.

Because of the traffic, coupled with their popularity, getting in and out of the parking lots can be a bit dicey at either of the drive-ins. But their scrumptious food makes it well worth the hassle.

Both Big Star and The Spot are known for their flavorful root beer and make it available in various sizes all the way up to gallon jugs. The only drawback to the tasty beverage is the swarms of bees that it attracts during the summertime. I think the carhops should be eligible for hazard pay during bee season.

Another delight that each of the two carry is ice cream. The Spot currently features six different “hand-packed” flavors with Big Star offering soft serve cones of the vanilla, chocolate and twist varieties. If you enjoy rich and creamy ice cream, The Spot is for you, but be prepared to pay for the frozen treat.

The menus are similar at both restaurants, offering burgers, fish, chicken, etc. The burgers come in an array of sizes with Big Star tempting your appetite with a half-pounder. 

It should be noted both places have steak sandwiches on the menu. Having enjoyed both, I must report that Big Star’s is closer to an actual piece of steak, while Spot’s is more like Salisbury steak. Advantage to Big Star on the steak sandwich.

Another thing that is offered on both menus is a grilled cheese sandwich. Big Star’s is very tasty and cut on the diagonal, just like mom used to do. On the other hand, the last time I had a grilled cheese at The Spot, it was made on a hamburger bun! Maybe it has changed since then, but a hamburger bun for a grilled cheese sandwich? Please!

The last menu item that I will comment on is the double-cheeseburger, a standard that any good drive-in can be judged on. This is a tough one for me. They both have their own special qualities. Both get very high grades in my book.

The Spot Drive-In
The freshness of the ingredients that make up a Spot double-cheeseburger is second to none. The meat appears to have been ground and formed into a patty moments before hitting the grill. 

If you like your onions grilled, you will love the ample amount slathered on this sandwich. The only downside to this taste delight is that too much of the cheese sticks to the wrapper! But I am nitpicking. The Spot double-cheeseburger is outstanding.

Big Star Drive-In
Big Star’s double-cheeseburger is no slouch either. It too draws rave reviews for its unparalleled taste. There truly is nothing like a Big Star double-cheeseburger. The simple reason is the cheese! Some call it a cheese sauce, or Cheese Whiz, but I have heard from reliable sources that it is actually Velveeta. 

Whatever it is, it’s good! And packaging the yummy sandwich in a Styrofoam container solves the oozing cheese problem. You just wait for it to cool and dig it out with your finger.

Well, there you have it. I guess you want to know which double-cheeseburger I prefer. I guess it matters on how much money I have in my pocket or how hungry I am. You see, the thing is, a double-cheeseburger at The Spot will run you about twice as much as its counterpart at Big Star. But they are both great and quite unique to Kenosha.

After much consternation and more taste tests than I care to admit to, I give the edge to The Spot’s double-cheeseburger. While it is still a bit pricier, the quality of ingredients is superior to that of Big Star’s. As the old adage goes, “You get what you pay for.”

I probably didn’t do much to help to solve the Kenosha drive-in great debate. I presented some pros and cons and, honestly, I enjoy them both. Quite a bit.

Whether you are a fan of Big Star or The Spot, summertime is (supposedly) on the way, so go out and enjoy one of Kenosha’s outstanding drive-ins. You won’t be disappointed no matter which one you chose.

Maybe in the future I will discuss a subject that I am qualified as an expert – Kenosha pizza. Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Arno Was On Fire!

On what was a steamy and humid day, I thought that it would be nice to treat you to another tale of the Koos Inc. icon, Arno Schubert. To help jog your memory, here’s the quick thumbnail sketch of Mr. Schubert. As I wrote previously in “Arno: A Koos Legend”, he was a cantankerous old German who weighed in at about 230 pounds and stood 6’2”. His unkept hair was reddish-brown as was his scraggly beard and uneven moustache.

The man was legendary at Koos and stories of this unbelievable man have become quite popular on this blog. I have been waiting for just the right time to share this particular memory. The hot weather we are experiencing made it the perfect time because this Arno Anecdote is hot. In fact, he was on fire!

In the blog, “My First Labor Day”, I mentioned that Koos Inc. featured no running water. Most guys simply stepped to the nearest open dock door to relieve themselves. If you wanted to use an actual restroom you had to maneuver through the entire plant, walk down a long flight of stairs and go outside across the yard to the “Jap Shack”.

The reason there was no running water in the antiquated structure was because at that time there was, for the most part, no heat. There were only two areas in the old building that had any heat – the shipping dock office and a small room that housed a Hayssen packaging machine.

Unless you were operating the Hayssen machine or were going through orders in the shipping dock office, you had to deal with the temperature. If it was 10° outside, it wasn’t any warmer inside, so you dressed accordingly. Layer upon layer of coveralls, heavy sweatshirts, flannels and parkas, along with heavy boots were the necessary attire. Anything to stay warm.

Needless to say, the crew at Koos Inc. was a sight to behold during the winter of 1975. But no individual was more colorful than that crusty Kraut, Arno Schubert. Topping a multitude of layers was his trademark bulky, cream-colored turtleneck sweater that had weird brown stains all over it. Completing the resplendent ensemble was a bright orange snowmobile suit that had seen better days.

Due to the lack of heat in the rest of the plant, the shipping dock office and Hayssen machine room were very desirable places to be. On especially bitter days, guys would find any excuse they could to spend time in either place.

Because it was slightly larger, the shipping dock office was the popular place to go to get warm, particularly at break time. The body heat generated by six or seven people jammed in the small office during a ten-minute break often made it feel hot. In fact, one time it was so hot that Arno was on fire! 


Perhaps I should explain what led to this combustible situation. On this particular afternoon, the temperature was below 0°, so there was a mad dash to the shipping dock office for two o’clock break.

Included were such Koos luminaries as Munk Ekern, Jim Weber, Danny Fliess, Chuck Huck, Harry Leipzig, Butch Krienke, myself and of course, the irascible Arno. Except for Huck, we were all rather large men so the quarters were more cramped than usual and therefore very warm. 

But that wasn’t why Arno was on fire.

Because it got so cold inside Koos, often times the forklifts were difficult to get started. It was common practice to spray starting fluid into the forklift’s carburetor, especially in the morning. A few squirts and the forklift would typically start right up. 

Very flammable stuff that starting fluid. It should be, it had ether in it. Did I mention that the cans of starting fluid were stored in the shipping dock office? Well they were. 

So on this bitterly cold day there were eight large bundled up human beings, five of whom were smoking, crammed in a six-foot by twelve-foot room when Arno decided to have some fun with the starting fluid.

Hey, I never said Arno was a rocket scientist.

To entertain himself, the foul-mouthed German sprayed a small amount of starting fluid on the arm of Chuck Huck’s jacket and lit it with his cigarette lighter, producing a small blue flame. Chuck slapped the flame out and asked Arno if he was out of his mind.

Silly question, Chuck.

Arno continued playing his little game of pyrotechnics getting similar responses. While most of us were getting annoyed with Arno’s antics, Danny Fliess was up to some no good of his own. As Emeril Lagasse used to say, Danny “kicked it up a notch”.

Danny was soaking the leg of Arno’s bright orange snowmobile suit. When I say soak, I mean he was marinating it. Everybody except Arno was aware of what was going on. He was oblivious to Danny’s incendiary chicanery.
When he had sufficiently doused Arno with the combustible liquid, he signaled to the rest of us to head for the door of the office. As we scrambled to get out of harm’s way, Danny tossed a match onto Arno.

The startled Arno’s snowmobile suit burst into brilliant flames. Arno was on fire!

The rest of us stood outside of the shipping dock office with our mouths open, not quite believing what had just happened. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or just get the hell out of there. But I wasn’t leaving until I saw what the fiery Arno was going to do.

Did he rush out of the office, drop to the warehouse floor and roll in an attempt to extinguish the blaze? Nope. What took place next was arguably the stupidest thing I had witnessed in my eighteen years of existence.

Rather than try to put out the flames that were engulfing him, Arno ran after Danny with a can of starting fluid while cursing at the top of his lungs. Using his lighter to ignite it, he was utilizing the can like a small flamethrower. Remember, Arno was immersed in a fireball while doing this insane, not to mention hazardous, act.

Did I mention that I never said Arno was a rocket scientist? Well, he wasn’t, but that’s what makes reminiscing about him so much fun. This really did happen. Honest.

I hope that you enjoyed this Arno Anecdote. If you would like to read more about Arno Schubert and his hijinks, click on either Arno or Schubert in the Labels section below this blog.

Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NBA Stays In Wisconsin

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the Milwaukee Bucks needing a new arena. Evidently the 23-year-old Bradley Center is antiquated and no longer measures in what is the rarified air of the NBA. There has even been talk of continuing the controversial “Miller Park” tax in an effort to build a new home for the Bucks. I honestly don’t see this happening. Things are looking kind of dicey at 1001 North Fourth Street in Milwaukee.

Even though I am not a big fan of the “Association”, I would hate to see Wisconsin lose its franchise. In order to prevent this unfortunate occurrence from taking place, some thing has to happen fairly quickly

As luck would have it, Bucks owner, Senator Kohl, heard about my recent stint as the Sports Czar and asked for my assistance. Of course I agreed to help the state in its crucial time of need. However, I warned the good Senator that desperate times call for desperate measures. 

He told me to work my magic.

So that’s what did. I immediately moved the team from Milwaukee to Oconomowoc. Oconomowoc is a city in Waukesha County. The name was derived from Coo-no-mo-wauk, the Potawatomi term for “waterfall”. The population was 12,382 at the 2000 census. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.2 square miles, where 6.7 square miles of it is land and 0.5 square miles of it (6.81%) is water.

This was obviously the perfect location for Wisconsin’s NBA franchise. Of course the team would no longer be called the Bucks. The new name would be the Oconomowoc Waterfalls.

Senator Kohl was so pleased with the wisdom of this decision that he agreed to finance a new 25,000-seat state-of-the-art arena. He told me that now that he is retiring, he was planning on taking a more active role in the team, so the timing was perfect.

I received a special dispensation from Commissioner David Stern allowing me to restock the Waterfalls’ roster with players having more of a Wisconsin sound to their names. This was done to show my appreciation to the Senator and also to honor the residents of the state.

Of course this is all contingent on the NBA getting it’s labor issues taken care of.

Here is your 2011-12 Oconomowoc Waterfalls roster:

Head Coach: Cudahy Shabbaz
Assistant Coach: Kenosha Davis
Assistant Coach: Platteville Smith

13  Kaukauna Brooks             G         6-5      215
17  Wauwatosa Collins           F         6-10    230
55  Waukesha Davis               F         6-8      235
28  Kewaunee Ford                F         6-9      240
21  Sheboygan Holland          G         6-3      200
  4  De Pere Jackson              G         6-1      190
36  La Crosse Johnson            F         6-8      220
10  Minocqua Jones               C         6-10     260
33  Eau Claire Watkins           G         6-1      195
14  Juneau McMillan              F          6-7      225
23  Muskego Rivers                F          6-11    235
42  Fon du Lac Robinson        F          6-9      250
44  Viroqua Thompson           G         5-11    185
00  Racine Washington           F         6-9      235
32  Menasha White                G         6-4      210
18  Sturtevant Williams         C          7-1     250

This new team in this new location has almost renewed my interest in the NBA. Almost. To be honest, I’m still not sure if the playoffs end before or after the Major League Baseball’s All-Star game. At least Wisconsin gets to keep its basketball team.

Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It’s Over!

Boston Rob Depositing $1,100,000
Last night, after 39 days and 14 episodes, Survivor: Redemption Island came to a grinding halt. The Finale and Reunion Show, although satisfying, featured very few surprises, despite the efforts of the production crew. Any self-respecting Survivor Geek had to have “Boston” Rob Mariano pegged as the odds on favorite to emerge victorious. 

Those who didn’t realize this have not been paying attention during the previous 22 seasons of the award-winning reality show. It was crystal clear to me that Rob’s mob was going to vote off Andrea in the first Tribal Council and Ashley in the second. Then it was all over but the crying.

Thinking back, I can’t recall a season where so many of the Tribal Councils were no-brainers; the outcomes were always blatantly obvious. Executive Producer Mark Burnett had his people doing their best to disguise what was going to happen, but the results were always inevitable.

Here is a recap of who was eliminated and when:

18. Francesca Hogi on March 2
17. Russell Hantz on March 9
16. Kristina Kell on March 16
15. Krista Klumpp on March 23
14. Stephanie Valencia on March 30
13. Sarita White on April 6
12. David Murphy on April 20 – Jury
11. Julie Wolfe on April 27 – Jury
10. Steve Wright on May 4 – Jury
 9. Ralph (the Furry Farmer) Kiser on May 11 – Jury
 8. Grant Mattos on May 15 – Jury
 7. Matt Elrod on May 15 – Jury
 6. Mike Chiesl on May 15 – Jury
 5. Andrea Boehlke on May 15 – Jury
 4. Ashley Underwood on May 15 – Jury
 3. Natalie Tenerelli – Finalist
 2. Phillip (Special Agent) Sheppard – Finalist
 1. “Boston” Rob Mariano – Sole Survivor

The most enjoyable part of the 3-hour extravaganza was the final Tribal Council where members of the jury had the opportunity to interrogate the three finalists.

Here the highlights of what the jurors had to say:

Andrea attacked Special Agent Phil and basically said he was weird. She then accused Natalie of being too close to Boston Rob in a creepy way. The Valley Girl from Wisconsin was angry.

Ashley continued the attack on the Special Agent and Natalie. However, unlike Andrea, she also went after Boston Rob. She wasn’t liking anyone at that particular moment.

Grant was kind of boring but also pursued the line of questioning concerning the relationship between Natalie and Boston Rob. I think it was at this point that Natalie turned to Boston Rob and said that she didn’t mean to be creepy. Touching.

When the Furry Farmer finished telling Natalie that she couldn’t do anything without Boston Rob, he starting playfully joking with Special Agent Phil. I sensed a budding bromance.

Matt cut into Boston Rob pretty viciously using some fairly large words. I had forgotten that he was a pre-med student. I was very impressed.

Julie announced that she didn’t respect any of the three, particularly Natalie. She stressed that Natalie’s mother should be ashamed of her. At some point Special Agent Phil began cursing at Julie. It got somewhat heated.

When it was Mike’s turn, he talked about how the game had changed him, bringing him closer to God. He then asked the three finalists how the game had changed them. Boston Rob thought for a minute and said that he now realizes that this is the last time he will play this game. Special Agent Phil said he had become aware of how blessed he was. Some pretty deep stuff. Then Natalie said she learned how to camp. Okay…

Steve congratulated Natalie and Boston Rob. He then made it very clear that he still had hard feelings towards the Special Agent because of the racial accusations he made back on day 25.

The attorney in David came out when, instead of addressing the final three, he addressed the jury. He said Boston Rob played the best strategic game Survivor had ever seen, that there should be no question when it came to voting for the winner. He said Special Agent Phil shouldn’t even be considered, while Natalie got by the whole time riding on Rob’s coattails.

David emphasized to the jury that Boston Rob totally controlled everyone’s thoughts and actions, blindsided each and every one of them, and that although his game was somewhat deceiving, it was “brilliant.”

After that dissertation, there was no doubt as to who was going to be voted the Sole Survivor. And that’s exactly what happened at the Reunion Show. Boston Rob and wife Ambah had $1,000,000 to help feed their two little bambinos.

Oops, better make that $1,100,000. I almost forgot that he also won the Sprint Player people’s choice vote and an additional $100,000. I guess that when it rains it pours.

Survivor: Redemption Island Reunion Show
Random Notes and Observations:

It was nice that the “tribute to those who went before us” segment was omitted this season. What a waste of time that is. Good move.

It was good to see Russell Hantz congratulate Boston Rob during the Reunion Show. He always was a class act.

Despite the fact that he never turns his Special Agent persona off, it was great that Phil offered an apology to Steve and shook his hand.

Host Jeff Probst usually makes a point to talk to each contestant during the Reunion Show. He did not do that last night.

I am not even going to dignify David’s lame ass marriage proposal by mentioning it. Crap, I just did.

Those who cleaned up nicely for the Reunion Show were Ashley, Mike and Matt. Especially Ashley. Yes, indeed!

Those who really didn’t were Andrea, Grant and Boston Rob. Unless it was a “style”, Andrea had a lot of her roots showing. Grant went for the Brawny Man look. As far as Boston Rob goes, can you say Guido?

Oh well, with $1,100,000, I guess he will be able to buy plenty of t-shirts, gold chains and product for his hair. He earned it. Way to go Mariano, you finally did it.

Before you click away, make sure you vote for your favorite baseball team in my new poll just to the right of the blog. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Artist Friend

Most people in the world get paid for the time and effort they put into doing something. There is no reason that artists can’t be paid in this way. Unfortunately there are many people that have a real problem understanding this concept. They just can’t bring themselves to paying for art, whether it is a painting, sculpture, writing or music. 

It boggles my mind that some people feel entitled to enjoy the benefits of another person’s hard work without compensating them for it. Fortunately for my artist friend, Julie Schuler, I am not one of those people. 

I first met Julie through facebook because we both share a fondness for the late, great Charles Nelson Reilly. Soon we found that we both blogged and were also involved in writing books. She is responsible for making me aware of Blurb, the company that I used to publish my book, “Some Kenosha Softball”.

Last year I commissioned Julie to do a painting commemorating the 50th wedding anniversary of my grandparents, Enrico and Ermalinda Vagnoni. The painting was a Christmas gift and was created using a forty-year-old photograph. The piece proudly hangs in the living room of my dear mother.

 I was so pleased with this portrait that I commissioned Julie to do another one for me. This one was from another family picture that dated back to the same period. It is a photo of my brothers, sister, cousin and myself engaged in some horseplay at our “cottage” at Camp Lake.

Julie is a very talented and interesting lady. Not only does she paint, she also does embroidery, knits, and writes. She is truly a Renaissance woman. You can get your hands on her work several different ways.

Julie has her own “shop” on the e-commerce website, Etsy. She has paintings, prints, needlework, knitting, chainmaille jewelry and various unique accessories available. Here is the link to that website:

If you would like to commission Julie to do a custom portrait, check out her portraiture blog. It has several examples of her work and a list of what she charges for her work. Here is that link:

As I said before, Julie is a writer. She has published two books using Blurb, “On A Windy Night” and “The Holiday Story”. I own a copy of both of them. If you are interested in them, here is the link:

One final way to see this talented person’s work is on her blog site, “My Good Babushka”. That link is:

I hope that you take the time to check out Julie’s work and maybe even purchase something from this gifted person. Just remember, art, in any form, is work and the artist deserves to be compensated for their efforts. Please support the arts. Until next time…from the booth.