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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!

Life changing

This and that, Walking the dog

 No, this is no diatribe on resolutions for the new year. I just want to share a couple things that can change your life, at least for the next couple of months. It really helps to get outside in winter, and if you've got the right gear, it becomes do-able.

  • Ice traction devices (cleats). Strap these babies on your shoes or boots and you can walk anywhere. Stable Icers are the creme de la creme of strap on crampons to keep you on your feet and off your butt this winter. They cost nearly $50, but they last, and you can replace the little spikey things should they drop out.

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Racism, crime, and Wauwatosa

Mayfair Mall, Race, Wauwatosa

 Until the next incident, the latest outcropping of violence at Mayfair Mall has this community--and others, thanks to the viral progression of online video--abuzz.

If you've been in a coma and haven't heard about it, a bunch of  young guys, all or nearly all of them black, got in a heated argument and brawl while doing after-Christmas shopping (or mall-lingering) on December 26.  The bone of contention? Basketball. Their fist-fighting rolled into a nearby store, Wet Seal, and seriously messed up the merchandise. A lot of people who saw it were, of course, frightened and upset. The police came, three of those involved were arrested, and fines or tickets were issued. At least one of the participants expressed remorse while explaining that he was trying to protect a friend.

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Too bad Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't hot

Aging, Beauty, It isn't easy, Oprah

One of my fondest childhood memories is sick days. My mom would give me fresh pajamas--in winter, warmed in front of the fireplace if it happened to be going or in the dryer if it wasn't--and tuck me in. She'd bring the radio into my room. This being in ancient times, not every room had one of those. And I'd spend the day dozing in and out of soap operas and advertisements.

So when I was sick the other day, I fell into old habits. I tucked myself into the couch and turned on the television. There, at least during the daytime, you wouldn't really know that the world around us is in crisis.

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Heinemann's, RIP

Economy, Heinemann's, Wauwatosa

 Last night the kids and I had our only winter break restaurant meal at Juniper 61. I'd just spent $700 on car brakes, so it was one of those "what's another 40 bucks?" kind of indulgences. Enchanted by the tempura green beans, they began talking about opening a restaurant of their own. "Of course, you need a theme, a gimmick," said one. That, good food and service, enough operating capital, plenty customers, and lots of luck, I thought.

"Did you know all the Heinemann's restaurants closed the other day?" I asked. "Oh, no," they said, with some genuine sadness.

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You want to raise my interest rate to WHAT?!

Economy

One of my credit card companies just announced, and rather imperiously if you ask me, that they are raising my interest rate to prime plus 26.7%. This is more than double the current APR.

Can you say "usury"? 

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The cycle of dreams

Community, Schwartz Bookstores

This morning, the house is strangely silent. The dishes are washed, finally, and the sports pages lie unread. The kids have gone back to school, and I am alone again with my thoughts and these headlines: Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops to close and, anticipating the inauguration of a new president, Sights and sounds of hope

One dream comes to an end. Another set of dreams begins. It's always that way, but some days we notice more. And noticing can be painful. The collapse of corporate giants hasn't moved me to anything but anger. This brings me to tears.

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With hope and virtue

job hunt, Obama inauguration

I thought I'd be writing more about the job hunt, telling amusing stories and being cheerful and upbeat.

But I haven't because it has been a thin and sobering experience. The job disappeared in August, a month 84,000 other Americans lost their jobs. That month, USA Today said 2 million jobs had been lost in the previous year. The math is stark: 1 million fewer jobs in 2008 than in 2007, and 1 million more people competing for the jobs that exist. And that's just the jobs and people on the official rolls.

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Beauty tips from the far side

Aging, Beauty, Fluff

Unlike most women I know, I'm blessed with an overly good opinion of how I look.

That said, it's been a long time since I've stopped to admire my reflection in windows and mirrors. At some point, you get resigned to being an obviously formerly semi-attractive woman. Then one day, you realize you are that person, minus the obviously part.

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Bacon's back

Food, Health, Oprah

Yesterday, while deconstructing the terrible diet habits of alarmingly obese teenagers, Oprah blessed bacon.

Maybe not Oprah, but David Zinczenko, one of the beautiful lean and healthy men who advise her (and the rest of America) in these matters. The seal of approval was really a preference for pig bacon over turkey bacon: both have the same number of calories, but the turkey stuff is wicked salty, saltier than its pork counterpart.

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Dilbert gets it right

Dilbert, job hunt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, newspapers

Yesterday's Dilbert in the Journal Sentinel really got it right.

Dogbert:

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