Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Birchler Family Christmas

Ethel and Keith, Peter and Nickolas, and Ellen had a great time. Many thanks to hostess and host, Margie and George! Here's a SMALL sampling of some of the fun ...

Lions' fans observed the end of a perfect season (0-16) while others enjoyed reading and talking.

The childcare specialists! :-)

Happy couples!

Any seat will do ...


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Zane on TV

For those who have access to Fox Sports Detroit, the Canton Chiefs Varsity hockey team will be featured on Michigan High School Sports Hammer Time at 6:30 pm Wednesday, December 10 with highlights from their 8-5 win over South Lyon High School Monday night. Though he gave up 5 goals, word has it (unfortunately, neither Laurie nor I were in attendance) that Zane played remarkably, with many fantastic stops among 40+ saves. So far this year, the Chiefs are 6-0-1, with their only blemish being a triple overtime tie against Salem High School in the Salem Thanksgiving Tournament. High School overtimes are 8 minutes long, so that was 69 minutes of play (45 regular plus 24 OT) to a thrilling tie. Zane's record is 4-0-1. Next up, Michael's alma mater, Livonia Stevenson, on Friday, December 12. Zane is going to scout them tonight in their game against Trenton.

Go Chiefs!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

Hi Family,

We had a lovely Thanksgiving at the Madre's house yesterday. Here are some pics:

(You can double click to get to larger pics...with my amusing captions...)

Also, the Surprise Engagement Party was fun - way to keep a secret everyone!

Love to you all and see you at X-mas,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Can !!!!!

Hi Family!

Jason and I went to the OBAMA Rally last night in Grant Park. It was AMAZING!

Here are some pics:

My best pic:

And watch the speech here:

Gretchen & Jason !

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yeah - It's Political

Hello Family,

OK. So, you can probably guess that I am voting for Barack Obama in the upcoming election. It's probably no surprise to you. And honestly, I don't know whether you will choose Obama or McCain. However, a friend of mine wrote this succinct article and I thought it worth sharing.


What If...
By Oona Kersey


Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin, what if things were switched around?.....think about it. Would the country's collective point of view be different?

Ponder the following:
What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Educational Background:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cu m Laude

Joseph Biden:
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)vs.

John McCain:
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester

North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho -=2 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

This just in . . .

Hi Family,

Here's some interesting news from Chicago . . .




Gretchen & Jason

Sunday, July 27, 2008

John has become such a comedian in his less-old age!  I think the P-Fogg should audition him to see if he can hit all the notes in "Mr. Fantasy".  It's no longer easy at 58!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Janine Jam Pix

Might be time for a new Paisley Fogg singer if it pains David that much to hit the high notes!

Janine's graduation party

Hi, Family.
The photos tell the story - we all had fun!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Essexville Birchler update

Looking forward to seeing most of you this weekend at Janine's graduation bash. We made a trip to California last month for a "Clauss" wedding celebration - Cathy and Bill's daughter Sarah married Charles Hastings. As you can see from the photo, even Nickolas was able to join us. We added a little mini-vacation after the weekend of festivities, enjoying a trip to the Monterey aquarium, the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and a trip to the big city for the young adults while "Mimi" and "Papa" babysat for Nickolas.
As for other news - Ellen has applied to return to school at ... MSU ... for her speech pathology degree. She's burned out on retail at Macy's in spite of the nice discounts. Brian has finished his degree and will be teaching at a Salt Lake City high school which is conveniently located four miles from his home. He will be teaching Algebra, a remedial Math "Lab" and a Pre-Calc class. Peter was made manager of his Troy store and is working harder than ever in addition to continuing to gig wherever and whenever. Ethel has accepted a position at our local ISD career center as instructor for the new PT/OT/Sports Medicine program beginning this fall. Keith continues to deal with a lot of stress at his office and gets occasional breaks gigging with Paisley Fogg. Looking forward to lots of updates on BirchTales!

Plymouth Update

First.... again a big thanks to Gretchen for creating emails to let us know when someone posts. I think this will jump-start Birchtales to significant increased usage.

This is the week from hell. Laurie and Bryn are in St. Louis for the USSSA 11U fastpitch Central Region World Series. There are teams from 11 states, as far north as Michigan, as far south as Kentucky, and as far west as Oklahoma and Nebraska. Their games start July 15 and could go through Saturday. They will most likely be able to stop by St. Charles on the way home, either Friday or Saturday. A couple weeks ago, her team played "Where's Bryn" as she played every position except pitcher in one game.

Vaughn is playing in the USSSA 14U Regional World Series in Battle Creek. Lost today and play once tomorrow and at least once Wednesday. After that, they have to win to advance. The majority of teams are from Michigan. He has been playing 3rd base, SS, and 2nd base this season as they are missing one of their infielders due to injury. He'd like to play centerfield more, but he's need on the diamond. He's also the third string catcher.

Meanwhile, Zane leaves Wednesday for Angola, IN for a tournament with his 16U team. I have no idea who they are playing. We haven't seen a lot of his tournaments this summer. Unfortunately, he's not playing a lot. Not sure why, since in two of his last three at bats he has tripled off the wall at 375 feet and hit an inside the park home over the centerfielder's head to 380 feet. He pitches occasionally, using a sidearm motion that he developed with his coaches last winter. His ball moves a lot but he is still working on consistency.

Off to hockey - Zane plays on Mondays with the Canton High summer team. He'll be the main goalie this season as a senior since the other goalie from the last two years graduated. At least he can drive himself now as we bought a 2002 Subaru Forrester for a third car.

Looking forward to other family posts. I'll have more time to add other things later this week I hope.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Birchtales Update!!!

Hi Family,

OK. So most of you are remiss in publishing to Birchtales. Shame on you! Are you are afraid of "it" (the technology that is)? Do you need help? Do you want to email your family update to me and I will post it for you? Let me know - we can have a training session at Janine's party! Complete with photos of family action as it occurs!

Also, I can alert you when someone publishes to the blog. This will be sort of like the updates Grandpa would send out. When someone publishes to Birchtales, you will get an email from my work email address. The email subject line will be "FW: [Birchtales] Subject of post" and the content will be the post. This way, you don't have to remember to go look at Birchtales all the time - since you will get a message when a new post is posted.

In fact, you are getting this message because I posted this on Birchtales! (If you want to be removed from the list, send me an email and let me know what email address you want me to

Love to you all - I hope to see most of you at Janine's party!


PS: Go post to Birchtales!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Birchler Memory Lane

Hi Family,

I have been spending a lot of time recently in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. So, I took a trip down a Birchler memory lane . . .

I started at 100th and Ruby

and saw THE house (the most favorite Birchler living abode of all time)

and also the famous BARN

I chatted with Grandma while I was there and so discovered Madison Elementary, where Carol went to kindergarden

And down the block, Divine Saviour . . . where none of the girls went (but Marion Street dead ends into DSHA . . . different spelling, but coinkydinky me thinks)

Then, a quick trip to Capitol and 92nd for St. Margaret Mary school

and church

I hope you've enjoyed this brief trip down memory lane ... I certainly enjoyed exploring the old haunt!

Grandma's 81st

This is a late posting, but I have a few good pictures from Babs and my visit for Grandma's 81st back in May. Yeah, May. This is late, I know.
Here are some lovely mini-calla lillies I found at Whole Foods, which are standing up thusly due to a cool flower holder thingy that Carol found. Gma said these lasted more than 2 weeks. Crazy.

And here's a picture of us three crazies. We spent a lot of time giggling on the visit, per usual.

And here's a picture of Nicholas! Gma babysat on the day Mom and I left, so we got to see Peter briefly and Nicholas a bit too.

Love to all,