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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!

Still pondering last year

First snow and bitter cold made a sharp crease between this year and the last one. We busy ourselves with resolution making, hoping, planning, and acting for a better year (or an even better year for those who had a stellar 2010). But last year cast a long shadow, and in it is pause for reflection on its lessons.

Whatever last year held, it took us closer to our destination. This year will take us closer still, even when it doesn't make much sense in our own busy plottings. As we step into another new beginning, here's a blessing for the journey from the great John O'Donohue:

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Of oak trees, cell phones, and waste culture

cell phones, Verizon, waste, lumber in your own front yard, fixing things, throwing things away

Some friends and I are experimenting with tossing ten items a day. It's a great way to start to bring more space -- and clarity -- into our lives. And sharing with each other our lists of tossed items is entertaining and provocative, sometimes touching.

I'm thinking you can learn more by what people toss than what they display.

Some days we find ourselves tossing from the refrigerator: freezer burned veggies, that jar of curry sauce you never finished, the lurking science experiments. One day I thawed mystery packets from the freezer and had an odd but pleasing dinner of soup and baba ganoush. Eaten is better than tossed, and heating the soup killed anything that might be waiting to kill me. As to the eggplant, I remembered when I stashed it, so it was a safe enough bet.

After a few weeks of tossing tens, you become much more aware of how much ridiculous stuff most of us hang onto, how much redundance there is in it. And you start to see it everywhere.

Speaking of ridiculous stuff and tossing it, this rant will now move to electronics. Been a bad week here for those. My daughter's cell phone glass shattered, and she found it was not insured. This is the scam the electronics industry uses to save itself the trouble of creating quality, reliable products. They don't stand behind them, they don't service them. Instead, you and I pay extra for insurance. It's a gamble on things going wrong, which you might as well count on.

And the 3-month-old cell phone goes into the landfill if you don't find someone on the Net who might replace a simple piece of glass for $89, no guarantees.

Santa sent me a  handset for my cell phone. Red, it looks like the handsets of yore. You plug it into the jack and you hold it in your hand. You can actually hear, talk, and do dishes with the thing pinched between head and shoulder, the way your mama did. And did I mention it looks really cool, in a funny retro sort of way?

However, the jack didn't fit my phone, so I went on a quest to find an adapter. The manufacturer offered one that cost twice what the handset cost. Google and son Geo found the fix for a mere $1.98. But when it arrived, I could hear the person I called; they couldn't hear me.

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Will you join the Revolution?

Revolution, One Life to Live, Transformation, Soap Opera

Apparently, there's gonna be a Revolution in daytime TV. The established order, venerable soap opera One Life to Live, is being usurped by a reality TV show to "help women navigate transformations extending to nutrition, mental health, medical issues and style."

What's revolutionary about yet another reality show with Ty Pennington, Tim Gunn, and a team of "superheroes of hope," you may ask, as I certainly do.

Well, not only will they revolutionize women's lives through the various forms of dress and living room fashion therapy, but they will also help us lose weight, firm up, visit gynecologists, and improve the mental issues that led us to be fat, flabby, and unfashionable in the first place.

"It starts a movement of everybody wanting to improve their life," according to the show's producer, JD Roth.

I guess nobody's ever thought about that before, and especially not women. . .Could have fooled me. Could have fooled the publishers of lady magazines, who think that women think about nothing but  improving their bodies, their lives, and their recipe collections.

Now, transformation's a big thing. It's not just Oprah's penchant for putting us in bras and $200 jeans that actually fit and high end haircuts with great color, although those can make us look better. That's temporary change.  Transformation's something deep and profound, something that can't be reversed. Like when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

Or when someone, even a woman, takes charge of her place in the world, her peace of mind and spirit, her behavior toward others --and perhaps not just inside her living room.

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Power lines issue is pivotal for Wauwatosa

Preserve our Parkway, transmission lines, Wauwatosa Community Development Committee, Wauwatosa, environment, ATC, PSC

All around the country, people are waking up to find towers, boxes, and other energy-related structures in their backyards. Or in the case of people like our Walnut Street neighbors, in their front yards. Or in the case of people who live along parks and parkways like the Underwood Creek Parkway as I do, right there on the land that has been paid for by taxpayers and preserved for all to enjoy.

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