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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.

Out with the old and in with the....nothing. (At least for a while!)


I have no idea why, but nothing is as metaphorically cleansing to me as taking down the Christmas decorations. I am here today to say that I am cleansed of Christmas.


Contrary to what I may have led you to believe, I do indeed love Christmas. It’s true that I have issues with when it begins and ends, but I like it.


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Fallen Soldier’s Words Add Tears to Morning Coffee


Like many people, it takes me a while to wake up in the morning. I usually sit here in my house, bleary-eyed, at least until I’ve worked my way through a cup and a half of java and several sections of the morning Journal Sentinel. This Monday, something made me wake up much earlier than usual and I had hardly made it past the front page. Suffice it to say, it moved me to tears.


I’m talking about Mike Nichols’ column about Army Major Andy Olmsted, whose parents live in Cedarburg. Apparently, Andy wrote a letter that a friend was supposed to post on a website in the event of his death. Unfortunately, his letter was posted, which means that Andy was killed in Iraq.


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Playoff Fever Inspires Song


Like many people throughout Wisconsin, we’ve definitely got Packer playoff fever in our house. It’s been a few years since we’ve even wanted to think about NFL football in January. (On a side note, thankfully, the NFL hasn’t yet ruled that thinking about football requires a license, although, in his defense, Roger Goodell is just getting started at his commissioner job. Give him time to figure that out.)


In any case, Saturday is the big playoff game between the Packers and the Seahawks and in anticipation of that, a friend of ours from Green Bay, Randy Stary, has written a song called “Rock to the Big Game.” (We’re not going to say the “SB” words here!) You can listen to the song here.


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Our Unexpected Angel

Packers, Personal

Saturday night, as I stood there at Lambeau Field and watched a magical, mythical snowstorm swirl while an unlikely Packer team came from behind to destroy their opponent, I had one thought: “Thank you, Andrew. This was so much fun.”


Allow me to share a story with you.


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Shot Through the Heart - Musings of a Dejected Fan

Packers, Weather

I was one of the 72,000+ who stood outside Sunday night and had their heart broken.


Yes, it was very cold, but no it wasn’t horrible. (The weather, not the game.) Being a mom forces me to hyper-prepare. The extra coats, long underwear, hats, hand-warmers and tights that seemed like overkill pre-game, were blessedly welcome mid-game.


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Mother Nature's Big Tease


This is it. The weather that makes or breaks Wisconsinites. It’s not just the temperature. Sure, it’s 4 below zero with negative double digit wind chill. It’s the whole kit and caboodle.


It’s not the beautiful, fluffy snowflakes that start in late November and make us think Christmasy thoughts.


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