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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.

A sad letter to Drew's

Community, Kids, Neighborhood, Reminiscing, Tosa Business

Dear Drew’s:

Say it ain’t so! I heard the news today – oh boy. I can’t tell you how sad I am to hear that you’ll be closing your doors in January. And it’s not just me. When I drove carpool this morning, my daughter and her friend mourned the future loss of one of their favorite local retailers. Yes, that’s right – even teens adore you. We parents can’t get that kind of love.


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The Mix Means Monotony

The other day, November 1st to be exact, I was picking up my daughter from school at night. I flipped around several radio stations, ending up at 99.1 WMYX. They started playing Kenny Rogers’ version of Mary Did You Know.


“Hmmm...,” I thought to myself. “I thought this was a Christmas song. I must be wrong.”


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Driving Home a Point


Along with my drab obsession with things that are too soon Christmasy, I’ve also recently taken a keen interest in driving. This is primarily because we have a fledgling driver in our house. What this means is that my knuckles are white, my right calf is sore from slamming down on my imaginary brake pedal and I’m frequently subjected to "driving criticism."


A typical ride in my car with my teen as a passenger sounds like this:


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I Heart Tosa

Community, Kids, Neighborhood, Restaurants, Tosa Business

Once in a while, I encounter a few things that remind me why I love Tosa. Sometimes it’s something small, sometimes funny, sometimes a little sad. Here are a few:


Can there be a more fun bakery experience than Cranky Al’s? If I have overnight guests or need to entertain with breakfast or brunch food, Cranky’s is a sure bet. I stopped in over the weekend and there was Al, greeting every guest. “Whaddya want?!” he playfully teased. I walked out with a giant box of donuts and a big smile – a bargain, if you ask me.


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What to Do With All That Blue

City services, Fun

Now that our brand-spankin’ new recycling program is about to debut, some of us will be left with a few extra Tosa Blue Recycling Bags. The question is, what to do with these high-priced, indestructible, indigo sacks?


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All Things Christmas

City services, Fun

OK, fine! It’s time – go ahead and bask in the glow of holiday excess! Listen to Christmas music 24 hours a day. Sleep to the sounds of WMYX. Soak it in and indulge.


In fact, despite my recently revealed Scrooginess, I’ll share with you several of my favorite things during the Christmas season. Maybe you won't think I’m completely green with Grinch-i-tude:


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The Guy With the Chair on His Head

Community, Fun

A couple of years ago, I joined The Milwaukee Art Museum. After gazing at, admiring and falling in love with Calatrava-designed wing, I decided it was important to support this local treasure. Although I probably only go there once or twice a year (shhh, don’t tell my husband), I like to know that I have a stunningly beautiful destination to bring out-of-town guests. It never fails to impress.


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