Friends Share

Good friends share good recipes. Here’s one of our favorites, Zesty Vegetable Enchiladas. Hope you enjoy them. Have a recipe you’d like to share with me?

 Zesty Vegetable Enchiladas

1 1/3 cups water
½ cup dry lentils
¼ teaspoon salt
8 – 6 inch flour tortillas
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoon chili powder or ground cumin
6 oz. Monterey Jack cheese w/ Jalapeno peppers, shredded
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise & sliced
1 – 14 ½ oz. can chunky chili stewed tomatoes.
(note, I prefer to use a jar of medium salsa instead of the stewed tomatoes).

In medium saucepan – combine water, lentils & salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, simmer 20 min. or till tender. Drain w/ cold water. Set aside.

Meanwhile wrap tortillas and heat them for 10 minutes in oven heated to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 quart rectanglar baking dish with nonstick coating.

In a large skillet, stir-fry carrots & chili powder in hot oil about 2 minutes. Add zucchini, stir fry for 2-3 minutes or till crsisp-tender. (Add oil if/as necessary). Remove from heat. Stir in lentils, ½ of undrained stewed tomatoes (or salsa), and ½ of cheese.

Spoon veggie mixture onto tortillas, dividing evenly. Roll up tortillas, place seam side down in prepared dish. Cover w/ foil. Bake 8 min. Uncover and bake 7 – 12 min. or till heated through & tortillas are crisp.

In small saucepan heat remaining tomatoes, spoon over enchiladas. Top w/ remaining cheese; bake 1 min. or till melted.

Nutrition information (each):

473 cal.
20g. fat, 38 mg. chol.
22 g. protein
53 g. carbo,
7g. fiber,
762 mg. sodium.


54% calcium
34% iron,
117% vit. A,
35% vit.c,
18% thiamine,
29% riboflavin,
20% niacin

But It’s A Dry Heat

As mentioned a few entries ago, I’m traveling for work again, this time I’m in Phoenix, AZ. They say the heat is tolerable because it’s a dry heat. Frankly, coming from Wisconsin, temperatures in the 70s to low 80s are tolerable in March, even if it wasn’t dry. This trip I’m lucky to be able to spend a little time with our dear friends Pat and Robin who moved here in retirement when they’re not traveling. They picked me up early Monday morning for a quick hike in the South Mountain Park then got me back to the hotel in time to clean up and get to my first conference session.

The weather was perfect, the companions great and I took a few photos, which you can see here on my Picasa site or here on Google+ I bought a new tool for this hike. If you’ve ever done any hiking with a camera (other than a point and shoot) hanging around your neck, you know it gets heavy and uncomfortable. I found a pair of backpack camera straps on (not an affiliate link, I get nothing if you click through other than the satisfaction of knowing I helped you find a great product) and they work very well! The camera’s weight was borne by the backpack straps on my shoulders and offset by the weight of my hydration backpack. I hardly knew the camera was there.

Pat and Robin are both looking and doing great. I’m happy to say that I was able to keep up with them no problem and never got winded even though my maximum heart rate on the hike hit 174 (average 142, and over 600 calories burned according to my heart rate monitor). About halfway along our hike, Pat asked me if I still enjoyed geocaching. Hey, wake up! I’ve got the app loaded on my phone, let’s see if there are any here. Well, I’ll be darned, GC10KPG Kiwanna City View was about 54 meters away. We all smiled and said “that’s no coincidence, that’s a sign and we’re going geocaching”! It wasn’t a difficult find but I was careful to check all the rock crevices for scorpions and snakes before scrambling to the find. Below is the time/distance/elevation graph of our hike.

This afternoon I gave a presentation on using personal mobile devices in the workplace which went over very well. Tomorrow after the conference, I’m having dinner with Pat and Robin before flying home Thursday.

Until next time, peace be with you!

Its a Matter of Perspective

Last night, Wisconsin got wallopped with a few inches of heavy wet snow. About 30,000 customers of the local utility were out of power. My sister noted that this was the first time in 14 years of living in their current home that the power has gone out, and made the best of it with romantic candles and a toasty warm fire place.

After Matt helped me clear the driveway, I headed out into the yard and beyond with my camera. I had a few objectives, one being to try out a new lens I bought recently. Its a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens. It is used to take close up (1:1 to 5:1) images. I confirmed that it is impossible to shoot this lens freehand and very difficult to shoot it on a monopod. Next time, I’ll take a tripod.

Ice and snow clinging to trees made a great subject for the new lens. I also wanted to get a bit of exercise, so I walked a stretch of the Ice Age National trail that runs through Hartland. Its a favorite place of mine…one that I should visit more often. Apparently I was the second person who thought it would be a great place to walk today.

Like these photos? You can see more from my morning in my Picasa album or on Google+

Have a perspective you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below, or on my photo album. Thanks, and have a great day!


I Believe

The beliefs below were sent to me by Kirk Weisler, a friend who helps me stay motivated each and every day. For more information about how, see the link at the bottom. But first, enjoy!

I Believe

I believe- that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I believe- that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I believe- that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I believe- that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe- that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe- that you can keep going long after you can’t.

I believe- that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe- that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe- that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I believe- that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe- that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe- that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe- that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe- that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I believe- that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I believe- that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I believe- that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others.  Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe- that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I believe- that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe- that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I believe- that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I believe- that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally . different.

I believe- that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

I believe- that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you you will find the strength to help.

I believe- that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe- that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.  (even if you get them for 90 years)

I believe it’s important to keep believing

I (Steve) believe you need to know more about Kirk Weisler…

Kirk provides a free service he calls “Thought for the Day” or T4D. Sometimes you get what you pay for. In this case, free means “priceless” not “worthless”. You can visit his site at your convenience to get a shot of inspiration. Or you can sign up to receive each installment via email as soon as it is available. You can also follow Kirk on twitter. However you meet Kirk, your life will be enriched!


Potawatomi Area Council’s newest Eagle Scout

Eagle is the highest rank advancement in Scouting. Since 1912, over 2 million scouts have earned the rank of Eagle. This represents, however, less than 5% of all scouts. Today, Matt Kaarolek became the newest Eagle Scout in Potawatomi Area Council (Waukesha, WI).

To earn the rank of Eagle, Matt progressed through the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life. He has earned over 21 merit badges including; First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Camping, Family Life, Personal Management, Emergency Preparedness and Swimming. He served a minimum of six months in a leadership position while a Life Scout. He planned, developed and lead a service project for the community. He took part in a Scoutmaster conference. And, today, he passed his Eagle Board of Review.

While a Scout, Matt has gone on numerous events, outings and campouts including High Adventure camps at the Florida National Sea Base, Northern Tier Canoe Base and this summer will travel to Philmont Scout Ranch to complete the Triple Crown of Scouting. Matt is a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, a national service organization within the Boy Scouts of America and has worked at a local scout camp for two summers and will be on staff there again this summer. Matt has also been accepted to work on staff at the 2013 National BSA Jamboree, opening the newest national high adventure base at The Summit in West Virginia. He’ll be working in the extreme mountain biking area. What an exciting opportunity!

Scouting has been good for Matt, and Matt has been good for Scouting! His mom Teresa and I are extremely proud of his accomplishments! Obviously this experience hasn’t happened by accident and I wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to the primary leaders who have worked with Matt over the years including:

  • Greg Bomberg, Pack 294 Cubmaster
  • Lisa Murray, Pack 294 Den Leader (Wolves, Bears, and Webelos)
  • Trace Stoller, Troop 24 Scoutmaster
  • Lisa Murray, Troop 24 Scoutmaster
  • Rob Wucki, Troop 24 Assistant Scoutmaster & Eagle mentor
  • Assistant Scoutmasters, Troop 24 Committee Members and Scout parents who helped with our programs

Traveling for Work


This has been a busy spring, with me traveling approximately every two weeks for work. Columbus, OH. Miami, FL. Las Vegas, NV (now), Phoenix, AZ and Washington DC coming up. I’m not a gambler, and walking is good exercise, so I’ve been walking the strip with my camera in the evening.

Here’s a link to some of the photos I’ve taken. Let me know what you think!

Timing in Miami was such that I was not able to visit my Uncle Ernie. Hopefully next time. Timing in Phoenix will allow me to have dinner with dear friends Pat and Robin Hafey.

Traveling for work isn’t the same as traveling for pleasure, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t try to make it as pleasurable as possible!

New and Improved

Some of you may be wondering what happened to the web site. I recently converted the old, hand-coded html site into a WordPress blog format. The posts you see with a date prior to today’s were copied here from my old Blogger site. I’ll leave that up for a while and add a pointer here in case anyone is following it.

Hopefully the easier-to-update site will get more frequent updates. Let me know what you think.

Hanging On

Last tree that still has leaves

Every neighborhood has one…

Well, first some perspective on my neighborhood. My niece and nephews think I live “out in the boonies”. It doesn’t seem remote at all compared to some of the places I’ve visited. Yet it is a world away from city life as many know it. Each weekday morning I drop my son off at school by 7am and head to work. I could easily hop on the Interstate, first US16 then I94 for the ten mile trip to my office. Most mornings, however, I choose the rural roads. I find the slower pace and the great scenery – I drive through two small towns, past Pewaukee lake beach, fields, woods and wetlands, and the road undulates over and around the terminal remnants of the last glacier to pass through – to be a great way to get to work in a relaxed mood. Its not that I dislike commuting on the interstate with a few thousand of my closest commuting friends, its just that I like the scenic drive more.

So, the commute is part of my neighborhood. And, the pace of the commute gives me plenty of time to notice things in the neighborhood. Like the tree. Every neighborhood has a tree that hangs on to its leaves, in splendid color, long past when all the other trees have let go. Sometimes, I wonder if it is the same tree each year. Unfortunately I’m getting to the point where things like that don’t really stick in my memory. Other times I wonder why. Haven’t all of the trees been exposed to the same wind, rain, cold and shorter days? What makes that one hold on so tight? Is the tree hanging on to the leaves or are the leaves clinging to the tree?

I recently had the opportunity to change roles at work, and with the new role came a new office. Being energy conservation minded, I was careful to sort and toss things that didn’t need to move before moving them to avoid handling them multiple times – pack, move, unpack. I have to admit I was amazed at the number of things; reports, files, CDs, conference binders, etc. that I had no desire to move. Why then, had I hung on to them in my old office? Surely they weren’t clinging to me.

As we look at the neighborhoods of our lives, most of us can probably find some things that we’re hanging on to. Maybe it is a box in the basement that has never been unpacked following the move from our last house 11 years ago. Maybe it is those record albums that I might get transferred to CDs someday. Maybe its an eating habit that isn’t as healthy as it should be. Maybe its a recreational or entertainment activity that wastes precious time which could be spent in more positive ways. Perhaps you’re battling an addictive behavior, or stuck in an abusive relationship. Sometimes letting go is hard, even when we know its the right thing to do.

Is now the time to stop hanging on?

Outlive Your Life

For the past month, the morning show hosts of the radio station I listen to most while commuting have had a daily segment with Max Lucado. They’ve been discussing his book, “Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference”. This is not a review of the book, there are plenty of those on This is, rather, a reflection on a few gifts I have received – things which will long outlive the giver.

Last weekend, I rode a portion of the Elroy-Sparta bike trail ( some of the Scouts from BSA Troop 24 in Hartland, WI. They’re in better shape and rode many more miles than I, but we had a great time doing it. Purchased by the State of Wisconsin in 1966 for $12,000, The Elroy-Sparta was the first conversion of an abandoned railway to a recreational trail in the nation. I’ve visited this trail, with beautiful scenery, cool damp tunnels, and friendly faces, many times, with family, friends and scouts. Likewise I have enjoyed the Sugar River trail, the Glacier Drumlin trail, the Bugline trail and the Lake Country trail closeer to home and the Paul Bunyan trail in MN. Why? Because my Dad introduced the family to these trails many years ago as a relatively inexpensive way to see cool places while getting a little exercise and enjoying nature!

This morning, my wife referenced a copy of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, pointing out some fabulous photos of “The Ledge” and how we should put it on our bucket list. I knew in an instant the reference must be about the Niagra Escarpment. As I read the article, I smiled as I recalled the portions of the ledge I’ve already visited – Cave Point and Eagle Cave in Door County; Ledge Park in Dodge County; Lime Kiln Park in Cedarburg and countless rock outcroppings in the Kettle Moraine overlooking scenic vistas along twisty roads and hilly trails. How did I know of these things? Of course, my Dad introduced and reintroduced me to them years ago and I have done the same for my children and my friends.

Tonight, my brother will take his sons and other scouts from their troop to Devils Lake. Along the way they’ll probably cross the Wisconsin River via the ferry at Merrimac. While the foot bridges haven’t yet been rebuilt from the 2008 flood damage, they might hike into Parfrey’s Glen nearby. They may have started conditioning earlier this year with a hike along the Root River trail, as I have dozens of times. How do I know of these things? Yes, Dad’s influence again.

Camping. Hiking. Biking. Canoeing. Scouts. Ping-pong. Church. Family. Friends. Driving down random roads and finding wonders like Kitchi t kippi springs ( and always having a camera to capture some of the memories to rekindle the magic when it begins to fade and blur with time. These are but a few of the many things my Dad has done to outlive his life and help enrich the lives of others.

Thanks Dad, for making a difference! I hope and pray that I will be able to outlive my life in ways you are outliving yours!

Memorial Day – The Reason For The Season

We all may celebrate Memorial Day in different ways, thankful for a long weekend which includes a paid weekday away from our normal work routine. No matter what your traditions, please consider taking some time to ponder “The Reason For The Season”, an opportunity to remember the sacrifices made by those who have served in the military and their families. Some ideas for things to do this weekend, in addition to, or instead of, picnics and parties, include:

Go to a parade or cemetery service in your community.

  • If you see a current soldier or a veteran in uniform, look them in the eye and thank them.
  • Watch a related movie (e.g., Saving Pvt Ryan, We Were Soldiers, Band of Brothers, The War Tapes, etc.) and discuss it with someone
  • Display the American Flag and a POW/MIA flag if you have one
  • Spend some time in quiet reflection on all of the freedoms we enjoy and the tremendous sacrifices made to defend them

Have a great Memorial Day Holiday, and THANK YOU to those of you who have served in the military and/or sacrificed to support others who have served.