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West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

The Oohs and Ahhs Have It

Community, Fun, Kids, Things that bug me, Tosans

There’s a brief but interesting discussion on the Tosa Town Square about watching fireworks on TV. This is something that fascinates me, for no good reason except that I have a strong opinion on the topic.


Here’s the thing: I love fireworks. I love TV. (Sad, but true.) So, you would think that combining two of my favorite things would make a new thing that I would like even better. Not so much.


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Summerfest - Scene and Herd

Community, Fun, Things that bug me

It’s not perfect, but I think Summerfest is one of the very best tourist draws to our city. Based on the amount of Cubs and Bears apparel I saw wandering the grounds, lots of folks agree. I have always been a huge fan of Summerfest. Growing up in and around Chicago, Summerfest was one of my first introductions to the city of Milwaukee. After moving here, I fondly remember being pregnant and sitting on the rickety wooden plank benches of the old main stage watching Stevie Ray Vaughan. I’ve never been one to dance on picnic tables but I’ve almost always enjoyed my ‘Fest experiences.


Here are some of my random Summerfest musings:


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Time Warner and the Tenth Circle

Things that bug me

“Due to unusually high call volume, you have waited longer than we would have liked. Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold for the next available customer service representative. “ 

As I began writing this, I was on hold for 25 minutes with Time Warner. The irony is that I was calling about my high-speed internet service, which doesn’t seem to be very high speed at all.


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Brett Favre and the Perfect Storm

Sports, Things that bug me

I have heard that retirement, like many major changes in life, is tough. One day you’re an important cog in the wheel. The next, you’re spending your mornings at Walgreens waiting for your prescriptions, at a time of day when you used to be in meetings.


My father and my late father-in-law spent decades on their careers. And although their jobs took different paths (my dad in marketing and my father-in-law in medicine), they had one thing in common. They dreaded retirement. How would they define themselves without a job title? They eventually figured it out, but it took years.


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Ooh La La! Bonjour, Le Reve!

Restaurants, Tosa Business

“This is GREAT. Let’s come here every Wednesday!”


That was an unsolicited pre-review that one of my lunch companions exclaimed when we visited Tosa’s new Le Reve Patisserie & Café the other day. And that was even before we got our food!


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