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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

The art of aging (gracefully)

Aging, Fluff

One of the Google Alerts I get daily on the subject “aging” offered this tasty tidbit: “The Art of Aging.” Who could resist? I clicked the link.

The article was about cheese. But might there be some lessons in aging cheese for aging people? After looking at The Nibble and Whey to Go! On The Art of Aging (Gracefully), I’m ready to say yes.

Author Stephanie Zonis writes:

“When I mentioned to a friend that I was writing an article on aged cheeses, she shuddered, adding that she couldn’t stand 'strong, stinky, old cheeses.' Hold on, there! There are some very strong, sharp, er, particularly aromatic aged cheeses, but they’re not all like that, not by any means. . .”

“Cheeses are either fresh or aged. Fresh cheeses are generally mild and soft in texture. . . creamy and somewhat bland. . .Aged cheeses are. . . multi-textured. One of the great things about (them) is their range in flavors. . . some are sweeter. . . beautifully complex.”

“The aging process is also known as ripening, maturing, or affinage.” (That’s French for “refining.”)

Here’s a point I can identify with:

“Without a good rind, a cheese will lose too much moisture during refining.” I don’t know about you, but my own refinement has involved a distinct loss of moisture.

The cheesemaker’s solution? Wash the exterior periodically with brine, oil, brand, whey, beer, cider, or wine. While the article didn't mention it, I've had some good cheeses that applied the wine internally as well.

The paths of people and cheese diverge when it comes to ripening, though. Cheeses do best in dark caves: people don’t.

One last lesson: You just can't judge a cheese by its appearance. Its beauty lies in its deeper essence.

A version of this entry appeared in my other blog, Aging Maven, as well.

"Insignificant impact:" raw sewage in Underwood Creek

Environment, Underwood Creek

When a sewer pipe broke behind Underwood School last Thursday, spilling 9,000 gallons from the toilets of Brookfield, Elm Grove, West Allis, and Wauwatosa into the creek, no one seemed much concerned.

It wasn't a violation because it wasn't a rain-induced overflow. And since it would have "insignificant impact" on the Menomonee River into which it flows, it was no big deal.

According to the Journal Sentinel, "Little harm was done to the environment. . . Underwood Creek is lined with concrete in that area so there would have been no impact on fish or other aquatic life."

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What gives us meaning


 3:30 am. I lie in bed unable to sleep. The wind outside is strong, and I am worried. I think wrestling thoughts about bills, weatherstripping, the website I maintain, but mostly about my mother.

She called me earlier in the evening, agitated, to insist that I write her obituary. She wants to make sure I don't say too much--a concern readers of this blog will understand--or things she wouldn't want said.

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Most people can get on board with this county budget item

Politics, Transportation

As we sat in the  Milwaukee County Finance and Audit Committee meeting today, the intern turned and asked me "Aren't they supposed to be listening?"

She'd never been to a county committee meeting before, and I think she was both fascinated and horrified. There were long periods of dull and mostly inaudible reports followed by a stretch of great political theater. That was the part for which we had come.

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Tosa pops up at lunch with the County Executive

Community, Politics

After spending Thursday with the County Board Audit and Finance Committee in hopes of overriding the county executive's transit budget, it seemed a little odd to spend the lunch hour today with Scott Walker.

The event was a leader's lunch sponsored by the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee and hosted by the Milwaukee Center for Independence. Walker discussed transit, mental health, and the parks. Then he took questions from the audience. The first was about the Bucks--a way to touch on enhancing trade relations with China.

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The problem with leaves

Walking the dog

When we moved to Tosa 16 years ago, I couldn't wait for fall and the chance to rake -- and burn -- leaves.

That thrill didn't last long. We couldn't burn leaves for all sorts of good reasons. And once the little kids stopped delighting in jumping in the leaf mountains and became old enough to refuse to rake them, the pleasure became a chore.

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No budget, no harm?

health and human services, Wisconsin state budget

Today, Governor Doyle announced that "a possible shutdown would occur in the 'next month or two' without a budget deal. Pressed for details, Doyle would only say he would not totally shutdown the prison system. He instead laid out what he said were the possible impacts of no budget deal," according to budget blog.

But it won't take a month or two for people to start feeling pain. Despite claims that no one's being harmed by the lack of a state budget and gleeful statements about saving money during the morass, the costs of delay are building.

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New tardy policy: help or punishment?


 In today's NOW:

Parents whose children are habitually late to school face being ticketed $172 for allowing tardiness, as part of the Wauwatosa School District's efforts to improve attendance rates. Go to story

Before I shift into cranky mode, let me say this: it’s really important for kids to be on time for school, and for people of all ages to be on time, especially if there is a whisper of a chance of inconveniencing others. Tardiness is a bad habit, and it disrupts classroom functioning.

But nowhere in the article “Better on time than late”  does it make clear what reducing tardies has to do with improving attendance rates. Last I checked, kids who were tardy still attended school. It’s absences and truancies that affect attendance rates.

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Time for an "Ecumenical Council" in Tosa?


 If you stop in at the Town Square, you'll find more than one discussion clearly dividing members of one church against members of another.

 I'm talking about the Church of Global Warming versus the Church of Free Enterprise. I wish I could claim credit for that idea, but it belongs to conservative columnist Cal Thomas, who says they are both cults. And "Cultists," he reminds us, "never allow contrary evidence to challenge their beliefs."

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To see this Milwaukee news, go to Myanmar

Politics, Spirituality

Yesterday daughter Liz and I spent a couple hours on the lakefront. But we weren't there to watch the kites. We were there to join an interfaith community's silent demonstration against the violence and repression in Myanmar.

Joining the Buddhist Peace Fellowship of Milwaukee were Quakers, Unitarian Universalists, the whole gamut of Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Jews, believers in peace but not God -- and a few Tosans, too.

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Open letter to the MMSD: this dog's for hire

County Grounds, Walking the dog

Dear MMSD,

I'm not exactly sure if I'm addressing this to the right entity. Like so many Tosans, I'm a little fuzzy about who exactly is responsible for the Twin Craters on either side of Swan Boulevard.

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Oh, grow UP!

Grow up!, Media

Network TV has finally done what nothing else has done before: it made me decide to grow up.
The epiphany happened last night while watching ABC’s show Private Practice. And the moment of clarity? Realizing that I’m just not stupid enough to watch this junk anymore.

The segment, titled “In which Addison gets a showerhead,” was an exploration of various problems in “Lady Town.”

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Doesn't seem the same


The moon in the nearly bare walnut trees looked Halloweeny enough. But other than that, today didn't feel like Halloween.

It's the first year my kids didn't go out, costumed, in any capacity. Both worked during the trick-or-treat period.

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In just 15 seconds: TosaNOW news briefing



It’s really, really tiresome to create and spread the news the old-fashioned way. Find facts, check facts; conduct interviews, conduct more interviews. Analyze all that stuff to figure out what it means. Schedule meetings.

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