St. Sebastian’s Photo Shoot


St. Sebastian’s in Milwaukee might be the most beautiful old church in the area. The lighting, however, is not ideal for taking photos of wiggly elementary school students! I had IMG_9381my annual Honors Mass photo day at the church and school, and after adopting a few new tricks of the trade, I think I got the best results yet. I can’t share all of their smiling faces online, so you will have to take my word for it.


I used to shoot in Aperture Priority mode at St. Seb’s, but with a little more practice in days before the photo shoot, I went with Manual mode, and I am happy with outcome.



Don’t Miss Open Doors Milwaukee 2

I would be remiss if I didn’t create a post about this year’s Doors Open Milwaukee! They have added sites and extended hours so that you can see even more.

If you missed this event last year, I encourage you to pick out a few locations that interest you, and learn more about Milwaukee. Don’t forget, it is totally free! There are lots of locations that will interest kids of all ages, especially some of the locations that my family visited last year!

Last year, we visited the top of the U.S. Bank building and took in the view. (I still catch myself calling it the First Wisconsin Building.) The observation deck is usually not open to the public, so this is was a great opportunity to take in a 360 degree view of the city.

We also visited the Pilot House at Discovery World and “Wisconsin’s flagship,” the Denis Sullivan.  Again, this was FREE! We found ourselves mesmerized by the unusual site of multiple waterspouts on Lake Michigan. The crew of the Denis Sullivan had never seen so many waterspouts on the lake at one time. Some of them had never seen a waterspout on Lake Michigan at all. While I can’t promise waterspouts, I can promise that it is worth it put this stop on your list.

The complete list of locations for 2012 has not been disclosed yet, but check the web site: to plan your visit! We did not have much time to visit more of the sites last year because of soccer games and other obligations, but there are several spots I hope to visit this year. Milwaukee City Hall, Milwaukee Art Museum, Great Lakes Distillery, Milwaukee Theatre, Pabst Theater, and several Milwaukee River Bridge Houses are a few destinations on my list. I love to explore old churches, and there are several on the list. Churches not your thing? How about American System-Built Home Model B-1, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as an early prefab model? Is there a building in the downtown area that you are curious about? This might be your opportunity to learn more!

When Does it Make Sense to PDF?

The other day, I received an email with a Microsoft Word document attached. It was from my child’s school. I was able to decipher that the document was a permission slip for an upcoming field trip, but where?  When? How? The Word document looked like this when I opened it (click on the image to enlarge. Names have been removed to protect the innocent.)

To be fair, the document was part of a special project that some students were working on. The students were probably “getting fancy” and using some fonts that are not available on my computer.  That being said, it is a good illustration of the problem:  Word is not always the best vehicle for transferring your information to multiple recipients.

You spend time creating a document (a letter, a flyer, etc.) You take time and care to make sure that everything looks just right. You add photos, change the font, and format it until it looks perfect. You send it out to the person in the office next to you and, maybe, when they open it on their computer it still looks perfect. Keep in mind, if that person in your office opens it, most likely they have the same version of Word and the same fonts available on their computer that you do. The risk comes when you send it to people outside your office, people with different versions of Word (2007, 2010, or even Mac or Windows!) In the example above, the fonts are probably the biggest problem. When I open the file, my computer tries to find the font that was used, and when it can’t, my machine substitutes a different font. When you are dealing with PC fonts on a Mac computer, and vice versa, the substitution fails and you get gibberish. Sometimes, the substitution is semi-successful and you get a readable document, but the formatting you took great care in perfecting is messed up. Plus, you should keep in mind that when you send out a Word document, recipients can change anything they want. So what can you do?

The best solution is to convert your Word document to a PDF. PDF stand for “Portable Document Format.” It is the best way to send a document to multiple recipients so that it is most likely to arrive in the condition that you intend.

How? In my version of Word, Control or Command P brings up the Print dialog box. In the lower left corner, I have an option to PDF. I also have the option to choose Adobe PDF as my printer. (I realize that not everyone has the software.) On my other computer, under the file menu I have options to “save and send” as a PDF. Hopefully, one of these options will help you. If not, there are many places online to get help with your version of Word.

What if, as in the case of the permission slip example above, your document is meant to be used as a form that the recipient will fill out and return to you? We want to save trees! If you are trying to “go green,”  what is the point of emailing a PDF that the recipient has to print so that they can fill it out? In this case, you have to go a step further and invest in the software ($45 to $130.) There are several software programs out there for making PDFs. Adobe Acrobat is the most common one. Whatever software you invest in, make sure you have the ability to “create fillable forms.” Learn how to use the software to create forms, and you are green!

Bottom line: If you are sending multiple people a file and you do not want them to edit it, PDF it.





Doors Open Milwaukee

Did you hear about DOORS OPEN MILWAUKEE?
DOORS OPEN Milwaukee

“DOORS OPEN MILWAUKEE will open 100 downtown sites for you to explore, some will have guides and some you will be free to explore on your own.

September 24th & 25th, 2011, you will have the opportunity to see some wonderful buildings free-of-charge to the public –buildings that hold hidden treasures and special stories – from churches to office buildings, theaters to work sites, museums to hotels, clubs to universities; all sites of historic, architectural, cultural, or commercial interest. It’s like getting a free backstage pass to areas you seldom see – from U.S. Bank’s 41st floor observation deck to Bradley Center locker rooms, from behind the curtains at the Pabst Theater to an up-close look at the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility to see how Milorganite is made. ”  -from

No one could see all there is to see in one weekend, but fear not, they are hoping to make this an annual event.