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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!

True confessions: doing the math

It isn't easy, job hunt, math

I'm not proud of this, but when it comes to math facts, I'm a little shaky. Especially with the 7, 8, and 9 times multiplication tables.

"New Math" was being tested in my grade school during those critical years. The theory was that understanding the ideas behind math operations was more important than rote memorization. So those flash cards and drills became semi-optional. You can tell exactly when the teachers changed their methods that year: right after we'd memorized the 6s.

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Greed'll get you: racketeering in Wauwatosa

CSMC, Economy, Wauwatosa

Last March I wrote a very chirpy little bit about Central States Mortgage Company (CSMC) and their then-CEO Richard Jungen. CSMC, the largest mortgage company in Milwaukee, is headquartered in the Fairview Building on North Avenue. The real estate market was starting to wobble, and I wanted to know how this prominent local business--my mortgage originator--was doing.

So I interviewed Jungen, who said all was well: "In business there's a saying: if you can't win by being good, be lucky. I guess I've been lucky. We've been blessed with great partners in the credit unions and with working in the Midwest where housing prices never went crazy."

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Let's talk about sex

It isn't easy, Kids, Sex education

Neighboring New Berlin's high school drama of deceit and sexual predation via Facebook has the whole nation abuzz. A male student posed as a girl (or girls) in that online community, convincing boys he knew to send naked pictures of themselves. Then, using threats to expose those pictures, he blackmailed the boys into sex acts. The whole thing seems to have gone on for some time, until one boy stepped forward to protect his younger brother. I'm sure you've heard all about it.

It seems that many are seeing Facebook, the online networking community, as the root of the problem. After all, one of the requirements for doing something is opportunity, and Facebook certainly opens some doors there.

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Catalog porn makes me feel old and cranky

catalog soft porn, Kids, Sex education

This entry contains quoted language that may offend some people. If you're one, you may want to stop reading now.

The latest Urban Outfitters catalog arrived in the mail, and I opened it with trepidation. The compelling, beautifully photographed shots of sullen anorexic girls have been making me uncomfortable for some time, and I wondered what I'd encounter.

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Weren't computers supposed to make things easier?

computers, It's not easy

It has taken $99 and more hours than I care to admit, but I've finally gotten a transcript from my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Or so I think: I've filled out the forms and clicked the button and printed off a confirmation notice. The scripts should be in the mail by Monday, as I've paid a hefty expediting fee.

The journey has taken a couple days, starting with hunting down my student ID number, back from the days when they were chisled on stone tablets in the Bursar's office.

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Turning away business on a Friday night

Food, village, Wauwatosa

Friend Susan and I were ravenous and looking forward to trying the Firefly tonight. So we were glad when we walked in and saw at least six empty tables. The couple before us, also without reservations, was seated right away, so things looked promising.

But I should have paid attention to the hostess's failure to make eye contact with us. After she'd seated the other two, we'd expected a greeting. None was forthcoming.

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Impluse purchase

Fluff, Kids

I almost never spend money on anything but essentials these days. And I'm absolutely not interested in collectibles. But today, while wandering the aisles at HOBO looking for a bathroom vanity, I found something that tickled my fancy. And along with the $1.99 I spent for blue painters tape, I plunked down $14. 95 for a cookie jar. 


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Hating, humor, and the stimulus bill

New York Post cartoon, Obama, political cartoons, Politics

Wednesday the New York Post published a cartoon that's drawing lots of outrage. From the Reverend Al Sharpton to the Huffington Post, people are saying that portraying President Obama as a chimpanzee, and an assassinated one at that, is ugly and racist.

The cartoon follows. But in case you've been in a no-news lock-down (and really, that's a good idea), you've heard the story of Travis, chimp resident of toney Stamford, Connecticut, who went berserk over his owner's friend's new hair style and attempted to remove it. Police officers shot Travis to end his rampage, which was a lot more serious than I made it sound.

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In each other we trust

 kilmark outsmarting scarcity with creativitiy

difference between networking types

Grandma's spaghetti

Food, Mom

I grew up in a neighborhood rich with Sicilian families, which meant I grew up eating very well. Mom was a fabulous cook too, but inclined more toward baking. Still, when it comes time to make spaghetti, it's Mom's recipe I use.

Nephew Casey makes it all the time for his young family. He made it last week, and Mitch, the middle child (age 4) said he needed to get a ladder before dinner started.

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Branding people

branding, job hunt, personal branding

The displacement of more than a half million workers a week is one of those huge, sweeping social trends that carries along whole populations. However, we can't bear to look at it closely. We distance ourselves from it with abstractions or numbers even while it is washing over. I want to put a human face on unemployment while I'm bobbing along, sometimes above, sometimes under water.


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What's in a name: branding the Hart Park playing fields

branding, Jill Didier, naming rights, Wauwatosa

I'm much more than a consumer. I'm a citizen. I care about history, tradition, the particularity of  place, civic responsibility, and the separation of government and commercial "speech." And that's why I'm leery about naming rights at Hart Park.

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Leff's and the city

Development, Leff's Lucky Town, Wauwatosa

The other night I decided not to infiltrate a "blog and grog" event at Sprizzo's in Waukesha and attended a Wauwatosa Community Development Committee meeting instead. I was there at 8 pm for the Hart Park athletic fields naming rights discussion that didn't start until after 10.


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