Monday Bacon: Homerun Hitters

INNSBRUCK, AUS - 1976:  Dorothy Hamill skates on right skate with both arms posed above her head and left leg back during the Winter Olympics skating competition in 1976 in Innsbruck,  Austria. Dorothy Hamill wins the gold medel for the USA in the Womes Figure skating competition. (Photo by Tony Duffy/Getty Images)

INNSBRUCK, AUS – 1976: Dorothy Hamill skates on right skate with both arms posed above her head and left leg back during the Winter Olympics skating competition in 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria. Dorothy Hamill wins the gold medel for the USA in the Womes Figure skating competition. (Photo by Tony Duffy/Getty Images)

In my opinion, I grew up in an incredible age of athletic performances. While the big sports (NFL, NHL, NBA) were very popular, amateur athletics was still very big. Every Saturday I’d be glued to the television for Wide World of Sports. The Olympics were (still are mostly) my favorite. I’d watch the beauty of Dorthy Hamill or the power and strength of young Nadia Comaneci,


and sit in awed wonder at how these people can be so damn GREAT at their sport. Because even though I could ice skate, I couldn’t skate like Hamill. I could do okay in gymnastics, but not anywhere near what a top gymnast could do. Since then, I’ve always loved watching others display their talents. Whether it’s sport, or art, or acting, or cooking, or writing. Doesn’t matter. A well written television ad is appreciated (happens rarely these days. I recently saw a DQ ad where two adults chased each other with plastic spoons and tried to emulate a sword fight with them. I guess some DQ Exec said, “Fine, fuck it. We don’t care.)


I love to watch others hit their versions of homeruns. Seeing Kristi Scott throw a 28# WOB 20′. That was amazing. Watching Tomasz Majewski throw a shot putt. Big Z hitting a +500 pound Log clean and press. Anything really. Which brings us to this past weekend.

As many of you know, my husband and I really like food. I won’t say “all food” because that’s stupid. But we’ve had some pretty amazing food around the world and Matt’s experienced 20 times the amount that I have. I’ve written about my favorite meals here. I had recently read in a local publication that the restaurant Ardent’s chef, Justin Carlisle was up for a James Beard award. Bingo. We just found our dinner spot for the Anniversary night out. Even better is that it’s so close to the Opera that we had tickets for.

And we had the best meal of our lives. Hands down.


To be able to partake in someone else’s brilliance, in our small way, is something short of magical. Now, I’m not a food writer. I don’t know how to use all of the buzzwords to make food sound as if it’s being described by Hemingway. But it was beautiful; and so amazingly full of flavor in every single delicious bite. At one point, I told Chef Carlisle that each course was like a best friend and I didn’t want to see it go. Without skipping a beat he says, “but when you’re done you get to meet  a NEW best friend!” He gets it. Cool.

But it wasn’t just the food. The bottle of Spanish Red we shared was one of the best bottles of wine I’ve ever had. We found a bottle the next day from the same winery and I will say, it’s my new favorite. Each dish brought to our table was presented with care no matter who ran it out. Each employee is vested in this food. It means something for them to make sure we’re enjoying it.


Each shawl that is over each chair is made by the Chef’s mother. That he comes from Sparta makes me think of Terry Smith’s mom quilting us our throwing prizes for the LaCrosse Games and how special they are to each of us.

At one point, we realized that we were already late for the first act of the opera. Oh well. We went ahead and ordered another savory course and just enjoyed. I am so thankful for the opportunity to enjoy this meal. It was an experience. One I hope to enjoy again sometime soon. Heh.


Matt & Chef Carlisle.

Moving on (reluctantly.) A few months ago, one of my clients asked if I’d like to use some tickets to the Opera that he and his girlfriend couldn’t. I looked it up, The Elixir of Love is a romantic comedy and thought to myself, “what better way to celebrate year one of marriage.” Again, it was just a hop and a skip away from Ardent and had we known where to park, we maybe would have made the last couple of minutes of Act I. But probably not.

So we grabbed a drink and waited for the intermission. OH! The way they serve up Opera drinks here in Milwaukee?


Roadie style. Duh. Because as classy as the Opera is? It’s still Milwaukee YO!

And again, we were able to enjoy the gifts of others. The singing, the orchestra (the bartenders;) At one point in the music the Bassoonists stole the show and I just sat back, closed my eyes, and took it all in.

I can’t categorize the evening. It was so beyond what we were hoping for and hopefully a good representation of marriage, year 1 going forward to year 2.

And I’m just so thankful.

Genius is talent set on fire by courage. 

Henry Van Dyke

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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