Monday Bacon: Bill

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Gratuitous picture of my Pilots.

Years ago, like, 34 years ago I was in High School. Yup, I’m old as dirt. I went to HS in suburban Minneapolis in Brooklyn Park called Park Center. We were the Pirates and while I just made sure they hadn’t changed their mascot for fear of offending Pirates, I found on the wiki page that the motto of my former High School is, “Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate.” I’ve literally never heard that but to be fair I didn’t pay attention much in H.S.

During the three years of time served at Park Center, we remained in the same homeroom with the same homeroom teacher. I have no idea if this is normal, once I was released I stopped thinking anything about my days incarcerated. (Can you tell yet that I wasn’t a fan of High School?) Our homeroom teacher was Mr. Sturges. He was one of the football coaches and kinda bad ass so I was fine with the situation. I remember two or three of my fellow inmates, one named Tom (super nice guy I would talk to here and there) and one named Bill (super nice guy I didn’t talk to much at all.)

Today’s story is about Bill. See, since we were stuck together for three years on a school day daily basis there were times we’d visit with each other. I was probably more of a listener but again, don’t remember. I DO remember that from one of the first weeks of the 10th grade when we started our sentence, Bill shared that he was going to go into the Air Force and be a fighter pilot. Geez, that’s cool. I had an idea that I wanted to be a flight attendant and though I kept it to myself, felt a bit of a kinship with Bill over our mutual interest in flying while recognizing my path was very different.

Fast forward three years into the mid-winter of our senior year and I came into homeroom with the usual desire to be anywhere else than school and noticed a dark atmosphere in the classroom. Has that ever happened to you? You walk into a room completely oblivious to others in the world and suddenly you know you’ve stepped into somber energy without knowing why?  Well, in homeroom, that day was somber.

I looked over at Mr. Sturges and he kind of shook his head in a “don’t ask” way and then I noticed that nice guy Bill was very sad. Like, death in the family sad. He wasn’t crying but you could tell he’d been crying. Whatever was happening, it was a bad day. Finally, the bell rang, Mr. Sturges went to close our door (something that happened rarely) and looked over at Bill one last time who slightly nodded his head and gave Mr. S that he could share what was happening.

Seriously, as someone who goes to worst case scenario in a flash, it was terrifying. Mr. Sturges seriously and solemnly (so basically super serious) announced that Bill had just found out that he was ineligible for entrance into the Air Force because of a physical limitation (I believe it was his eyesight but I can’t remember exactly so am going to be vague and say physical limitation.) That as a homeroom where we’ve been together for two and a half years, can we give him some support and do our best to quash rumors if we hear them. Bascially, get Bill’s back.

Well, ya, sure. That’s easy. But I let that somberness stay with me a bit that day. See, I knew how it felt to have dreams crushed. I took it seriously. It’s a huge bummer. Bill had been talking for over two years that this was his dream and plan and suddenly it’s over. That. Sucks.

So, Bill couldn’t join the Air Force in a function he had planned on because he was physically unable to fit the parameters the Air Force had set for their pilots. He couldn’t play. Again, that totally sucks.

And now here we are, with a “Bill” situation in women’s athletics. See, men who no longer want to live as men and wish to change their identity to women AND wish to continue to compete in sports that have meant so much to them in their male past without the somber ‘Mr. Sturges’ conversation that this can’t be because the physical parameters are not compatible. SO, what do we do? We say, ‘well okay, have at it.’ We don’t say, “WHoaaaaaa there partner, we better look at this with thought and foresight as to what that means for the girls and women who have already filled these athletic classes to make sure your desire to live as a woman and compete in a women’s class even though you have spent time as a boy who’s gone through puberty or outright as a man in sport is the right thing to do!” Nope, that didn’t happen.

The IOC opened Pandora’s box by saying, “Well, ya, ok go ahead.” Instead of playing the big bad role of Bill’s U.S. Air Force and reminding these men that they are men and inserting them into a women’s class would be HUGELY unfair and we better make sure we’re on the right side of things here, the IOC just said, “fuck women’s athletics. We don’t really care anyway and really just want to avoid the bad publicity of a lawsuit or the impression that we are intolerant or transphobic. All we’re doing is sacrificing women, carry on!”

So for the last 10 years we have been hearing about boys and men taking girls and women’s state high school titles; world titles; accolades that belong to women now going to men, and even college scholarships to women’s teams even though other than hair and makeup and possibly a breast implant surgery, they live biologically as a man.

Oh well, it’s just women’s sports. We’re supposed to be good little girls and just move aside because people who choose to live outside their biological setting don’t want to sacrifice their desire to compete. In fact, quite the opposite. They (those doing it, not the general transgender population) have no problem expecting girls and women to sacrifice OUR hopes and dreams tied up in sport. Nope. Fall in line or beware of the Transsport lobby that will quickly go after you in the press, social media, and anywhere else they can.

Now you’re the enemy and if you DARE speak out against men competing in women’s classes. You will be called names; you will be attacked on social media as not being smart enough to understand that there is actually no advantage for men competing in women’s classes, along with other various amounts of fun.

Well, some of you have actually met me and understand how I roll. That being, I give no shits. Men competing in women’s sports classes is wrong. It is unfair. It is cheating. It demolishes a fair playing field that is the Olympic spirit:

The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

Fair play. It is one of the foundations of the Olympic movement. Fair play. We can go back over 8 years with modern day advanced drug testing to see if someone cheated in a former Olympics to ensure fair play was achieved and yet we allow boys and men who’s testosterone levels ENSURE that fair play is not allowed to compete in Women’s classes. We recognize World Records and even, god help me, award Top Female Athlete accolades to a male.

Fuck. Me.

**as an aside, I creeped on my former high school classmate’s social media and saw that he DID serve 24 years in the Air Force so whatever physical limitation he initially had to deal with was fixed. It’s too bad it’s not that easy in the transgender world of sports. We can’t Lasikvision the physical advances of puberty out of a male. Sorry.

So congratulations to the nice guy in my homeroom named Bill who got to live out his dream after all and serve our country in the process. Unfortunately, there are girls and women around our country who don’t get to live their dream. But that’s okay right? It’s only women’s sport.

I don’t see any point in playing the game if you don’t win, do you?

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

 

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401K

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Our Plan A to makes our dreams come true is to win the lottery. The problem? We forget to buy tickets and just go to work.

I was in my 20’s when I landed my first job with a 401k employer match. In fact, it was a really good match and I took advantage of it. My understanding it all resembled how I understand the Cloud but still, I took advantage of it. I didn’t think of it much. I was too busy grinding to make a life for me and my twins.

I was a night shift front desk operator for a company that made computer suspension parts. I worked 3-on-2-off days just like production but instead of their 6am-6pm hours, I worked 7:45pm-7:45am to cover shift changes and be cheery when the rest of the world arrived between seven and eight a.m. Sometimes my evenings included straightening up the conference rooms and if I were super lucky, there were meetings held that included food so I got some snacks to munch on throughout the night (I recently read an article on how many restaurant workers actually eat off the plates of customers who’ve left food when they bring them back to the kitchen. Didn’t gross me out at all, been there.)

Over the seven years I worked at Hutchinson Technology, I grinded my way up to a very sweet production planning position that I was incredibly proud of. It also gave me 7 years of experience working with Engineers. Ever worked with a bunch of Engineers? Then you get me. They’re a handful. I married one too so jokes on me. (Not really, but actually some days,  ya.)

In one of my planning jobs, we overhauled and implemented our shop stock system and it was 9 months of lots of hours and no overtime paid out. So I’d bank my hours and take off here and there on Friday afternoons but mostly those hours just hung out on a piece of paper.

At some point, our department hired a middle manager (just what companies need right? More middle management to really tie the room together.) Well, Bob (srsly, his name was Bob) looked at that piece of paper of my OT hours and quickly told me that I would only be allowed to take an hour or two off that time off per month and he’ll let me know when that will change.

Uhhhhhhh, you can imagine how that went. See, I had invested that time in making sure the company was successful. Our deal was that I could take that time off when I wanted to assuming that it wouldn’t jeopardize the project. I had spent weekends at work with my toddler twins hauling their little activity boxes around and worked while they sat quietly and played (one Monday when I came in my boss asked if I’d brought the Z’s in with me that weekend while I worked. I got pretty nervous and asked if they’d bothered a few others who were there working and she said quite the opposite, my co-workers couldn’t believe how quiet they were. Score one for mom and her activity boxes.)

The point of all that is, I’d invested in seeing this project turn over without drama and I’d succeeded in doing that. So when it came time for Bob to sign off on a Friday afternoon so I could take my Z’s fishing and he turned it down, well, that didn’t go over as well as he thought it would. Truth be told, Bob didn’t last long. Not my fault, things were a little too fast paced and he was near enough retirement that when he was encouraged to be done with working he jumped on it.

How I work is this, I’ll invest myself in things I believe in. I didn’t invest myself into High School. Barf. I hated it. I’m kinda surprised I graduated. I mean, I went and everything, most days. But I hated it. I hated most of the people; the games; the teachers; the school work, everything. So what I do, sign up for four more years in Nebraska. I earned a stellar student loan and a few friends I still have. Yeah me.

I’ve held jobs I invest myself in and some I haven’t. My Taco Bell career lasted two days. I just couldn’t. My Mills Fleet Farm career lasted nearly five years during high school and college and I actually loved it. Still do. The Mills family has sold the name and we have a shiny new Fleet Farm west of us and I’ve been there at least five times. Still love it. I mean, you can buy MRE’s; Carhartt; a gun; a Mickey Mouse blow up Christmas dealio, and some candy. What’s not to love?

I’ve invested myself to work hard for some people and some people I quickly told to fuck themselves (some took longer.) Once I realize that everything I’m investing into their success isn’t reciprocated, well…

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You know how this goes, yes?

I’ve been lectured by some people who are so fast to throw me under the bus that I kind of stare in amazement at their audacity to reality. Because at some point (hopefully), we understand that our investment in beliefs or people really aren’t serving us well anymore.

I call it growth. Or self preservation. Take your pick.

Fast forward to modern times. I’ve thought a lot about investing these last couple of days and I’ve come to a few conclusions. Mostly, I’m probably pretty selfish when it comes to things I invest in. And I’m okay with that. I invest in my marriage, first and foremost. Some days that requires a lot. The deposits seem to add up and when I go to make a withdrawal, I get an **account overdrawn** notice.  Truth be told, that probably happens to Matt too. Some days there’s a whole 100 bucks in the account and some days we’re down to a penny. That’s okay. If we do get overdrawn, it’s time to step back and figure out how we’re going to get to at least zero so we don’t have to close the account. Then we do, at least, so far we have. We make sure we don’t allow certain penalties into our marriage account; cheating (physical or emotional), disrespect, scary fighting. Rules to ensure we never step out on a ledge that we can’t get off of.

I, obviously, invest in my training. One of the more humbling realities these last few weeks is that I’m not in fighting shape like I was a few months ago and now I have a new coach whom I have so much respect for but feel like a big dufus because I’m missing so many lifts (at least I was. I’m responding quite well and coming back but still, humbling.) See, what I told him initially was that I was a hard worker. But when I’m missing weights that were warm up weights last year at this time, I’m embarrassed. I’m not showing all the years and hours of hard work that I’ve invested in to being a top performer in my class. (I will. Stand by.) When it comes time again to start throwing (it’ll be a while) I’ll invest in that training also. Physically and mentally, I invest in being the absolute best I can be.

I invest in people. Now here I’m just as selective as I am in my training or my marriage. I know we’ve all invested in people who have let us down. Those who we’ve continued to invest in long after the health of the relationship had passed. I still do it today, not as much, but I get annoyed when I don’t part ways with an unhealthy person sooner. The people I invest in are stellar. They vary in activities; likes and dislikes, and interests. But at the end of the day, they are some of the best people on the planet. My investing in these people make my life a joyful and fairly stress free one. I am always honored when others I respect and love invest their time in us. Years spent making memories together because they find value in this friendship also. That always means the world to me and especially poignant now because our next few weeks is scheduled to be filled with these people. Yeah life!

I also invest in ideals. Principals. Values. While I would categorically not consider myself to be religious, I do believe in God and his teachings. I believe in a moral compass that is built not just in Christianity but also in Buddhism and just downright hippy shit that the famous Coke commercial embodied back in the 70’s. I believe in other’s rights to have different beliefs and will mostly try to find some respect in their investment of those opposing views.

Basically, I understand being invested in something. I live it. I respect it. I work with it all the time. I walk my talk every day in my investments with very little worry. I’m confident that in nearly all cases, I’m on the right track. This is why I can’t fault those who have opposing views, because I believe they’re doing the exact same thing.

But (yup, there’s a but all up in this bitch), at what point do we look at our investments and say, Whoaaaaa there Nelly, you and I’s gots to part ways (that’s my cowboy speak of the post.) Because like I’ve said, we’ve all learned that we’ve invested in the wrong people or situations. Totally normal.

For example, there is an entire class of private High School students in Kentucky (in all honesty, I believe the public school system should be taken apart and vouchers given for education. What a fucking mess of a cash cow the American public school system is. Abolish it and give choice a chance) who have found themselves smack dab in the middle of a controversy of investments. See, some people invested their time and beliefs in the “fact” that these students had shown disrespect to a Native American veteran. But then, when evidence showed otherwise, those who had already invested so much time and energy into hating these kids couldn’t/wouldn’t back off their hatred because they’d already invested too much. Suddenly, adults are calling for some of these High School boys to be beaten; raped, and even killed. Because they are white and were wearing a hat that those same people say represent hate yet the only one’s displaying hate and racism were those people. I mean, really?

You are really so invested in what you THOUGHT was happening that you can’t back up and see objectively what the fuck you’re saying? THIS is your America?

Look, we all make mistakes. We all misjudge at some point and have to come back around and say, ‘oh boy, I screwed the pooch on that one. Mybad.’ That’s okay. That’s growth. When we start judging a group of people based solely on the color of their skin and what they’re wearing, well, geez haven’t we moved on from that yet?

If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.

Ronald Reagan

 

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The Disney Ending

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It’s not in me to watch Mulan again. Her constant need for her father’s approval hits too close to home. She got her Disney ending because, well, she’s a fucking Disney character. Duh.

I have watched three former President’s funerals. Well, two and I listened to one today here and there while in a dentist’s chair. My first was President Reagan’s. I watched from a hotel room while the kids and I were on our way back from Texas and stopped midway which means probably somewhere in bumfuk Kansas. I’m not gonna lie, I cried. See, I had lost my Grandmother to Alzheimer’s and could relate to Nancy Reagan’s pain as if she were my Grandpa and their love story was playing over the CNN to relive all over again.

It was tough to watch. It was also so beautiful in how much love was shown and I’m glad I got to see it. After all, a former President being honored is a special thing. Loved them or hated  them, they served our country in the largest way possible and have earned the ceremony that will ensue.

Just two years later, I watched the coverage of President Ford being laid to rest. Now this one hit a little closer to home. See, I’m a big fan of his son, Steve. I dunno, I always thought it was cool that a President’s son wanted to be an actor. The movies I saw him in always had him playing a part of authority and he seemed like the strong, stoic guy who we all look to in times of trouble.

Which made it all the more remarkable when the cameras would pan over to he and his brothers during their father’s funeral and Mr. Stoic was a blubbering mess. He wore his emotions out there for all to see. His dad died. And he was sad.

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photo credit: Alex Brandon

Fast forward to today and President Bush’s (1) funeral. As I said, I was sitting in a dentist chair and got some spotty reception on my XM Radio so listened to some of the service but pretty much missed it. I’ve watch snippets here on the internet and it looks like it was very special. Trump’s sitting next to Obama’s. Kudos to the Bush clan for setting the very strict boundary that there will be no Trump bashing at this funeral and also for sitting the Obama’s next to the Trump’s. In my opinion, it was a good reminder to both to be cordial, if only for a couple of hours.

Of course, the remarks by President Bush (2) that he got to tell his father that he loved him and that he was a wonderful father got a response of “I love you too” from his father whose words were the last spoken on earth made me cry. (In general I hate crying, not because I don’t believe it’s a very valid release of emotions but because too many people use it in battle. Nope. If I’m crying it’s because one of my dog’s died or something was sad enough or beautiful enough to cry over.) President Bush crying over the loss of his father was worthy of a cry.

Oh if it were so simple. See, I don’t have that relationship with my father. In fact, I haven’t talked to him in over ten years. Nor have I talked to my mother or my sister. I stayed in contact with my brother up until he and his wife showed their true colors in loud enough fashion for me to pay attention when I had the chance to have a healthy reunion with my birth daughter and their determination to insert themselves right into the middle of it fucked it all up. Anyways.

See, I didn’t get that wonderful Disney father/daughter relationship. That wasn’t in the cards. I had a nice one for a while but then I was 13 and forced he and my mother to face the fact that I had been raped and molested for years by my brother and everything changed. I did that. I ruined the pretty little facade we had to the outside world and brought a dirty secret out in the open that had to be dealt with. The day the abuse came out was the last day my father hugged me, like, really hugged me. After that it was a tolerant side hug. Never more. Never again.

I was sad about that for a long time. That sadness probably came out as anger ’cause, ya know, anger worked for me. It took a very long time to understand that when parents put their jobs and life positions in front of your being raped and molested for years in their home, well, they’re kinda shitty people. It took too long to understand that a fourth grader wasn’t supposed to be responsible for fucking up family unity, that’s on them. And they didn’t.

No Disney ending for me.

But something happened when I realized that I needed to stop seeing myself through their eyes. I broke free. I flourished. I lived. I had success, in fact, I had a lot of success. Did I still mess up? Yuppers. Lots. I slowly learned; however; that the little self destruction that I allowed to creep into my life because of my past started to fuck up my future and at some point that became unacceptable. Now sure, I wish I’d picked up THAT little realization when I was about 20 years younger but better late then never!

Another wonderful thing started to happen. The more honest I really am brought out real friendships. Friendships based on reality because you see, very few of us get those Disney endings. So few that I don’t have one current friendship where the other half of us lives a Disney life. We’ve all walked through some shit that’s caused pain that we’ve had to deal with. Some more than others. Many far, far worse than mine.

I’ve had goodbye drinks with friend’s who’ve lost a parent and that was the end of their Disney dream. No happy endings for them. Just the sad past of a lost parent whose time on earth came to an end long after the relationship died. At some point (assuming I’ll outlive them), I’ll have the same. The end of that past dream that my dad’s face would light up when I walked into a room and give me a big hug. (Years ago my cousin in Seattle was very pregnant with her son, their first. We were hanging out at Auntie’s house and my Uncle came in from outside. He hadn’t realized that Denise had arrived and when he walked in the side door, his face LIT up and he gave her a big squeeze and asked how baby was feeling that day. It was truly one of the most beautiful interactions between father and daughter I’d ever seen and even writing this now makes me tear up. But not out of sadness, out of sheer joy that my cousin gets to experience that kind of love.)

See, somewhere in time when I stopped trying to fix the unfixable, I also got a chance to see with open eyes so much love around me. And I have SO MUCH LOVE! Literally everywhere I look, I have love. Even today, as I was driving to the dentist, nervous as shit (I have an unhealthy fear of the dentist which is why my teeth are so massively fucked up and now I need fillings and extractions and implants and hopefully by summer I’ll have an amazing smile again. Before then, I have pain and probably some time with huge holes in my munchers. Sad me) I drove by a local Starbucks that had a dog laying on a bench outside with it’s face plastered to the window watching for their human. I mean, COME ON!! I smiled and appreciated the respite from fear. I mean, it came back once I walked into the office but at least I saw a cool as shit dog showing love to their person.

I’ve also realized that, while I won’t have that Disney ending, I can try to be the parent I wished I’d had. Do I fail, yup! Lots. But I DO try to fail in ways that aren’t relationship ending. Where the stubborness we all possess (where’d THAT come from?) allow us to coexist even in tough times. I’ve gone periods of time where I didn’t have my daughter or her twin in my everyday life and it was horrible. It was scary. So very scary. But we got through it and I’m so very thankful we did.

I also have come to understand that the more love you share, the more you receive. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean you live your life in some fucking bubble where you aren’t realistic about the dangers and threats around you. But that love that you didn’t get from the person you needed it most? You can do that for someone else. Yup, it’s not the same. But it’s honest and pure and in some cases, I have been so very fortunate to receive back so much more than the little I give. I am amazed at the absolutely awesome people who are in my life. 10 years ago I never would have believed that ALL the people I/We allow in are so incredible in their own truths that Disney never could have come up with this!

That’s the lesson. Some people get their Disney endings, some don’t. If you don’t, look elsewhere, it’s there. Looking in from the outside, it amazes me how many grown adults are still holding out for that elusive Disney happiness only to continue to make themselves miserable in the process. I ache for them. I just want to scream, ‘BE HAPPY!’ Gawds, choose happiness. Be happy for others when they DO get their Disney ending. That’s a good thing. People you love getting good things in life is a good thing.

While there is a part of me that can be sad for the younger President Bush who is just starting his grieving, I can be so very happy that he and dad had that relationship where his father’s last words were, “I love you too.”

Children are our second chance to have a great parent-child relationship.

Dr. Laura

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Welcome to MKE

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The Milwaukee Museum of Art, aka The Calatrava (named after the architect) is a piece of art itself and is stationed at the very east end of downtown Milwaukee. I haven’t been there yet. Nor have I been to the Veterans Museum next to it. Maybe 2019.

Next week, an estimated 600 of the top Weightlifters in America will gather in my little adopted home town so I thought it may be helpful to give suggestions on where to go and where not to go; which sites to see (dude, miss the Bronze Fonz and you’ll be sorry), and hopefully helpful hints to not be carjacked or freeze your cinnamon balls off along the shores of Lake Michigan.

First off, I guess I’ll give a little disclaimer. I’ve only lived here 7 years and there’s a lot I haven’t seen (like the MKE Museum of Art or the Veterans museum, duh.) Also, these are my opinions. If you’re from Milwaukee and don’t like them, suck it. My blog. I love that you’re all coming here so I get to watch three days straight of awesome weightlifting (some sessions will include my Team SAW teammates, yeah Team SAW) without more than a 10 minute drive. See, everywhere you go in Milwaukee takes about 10 minutes to get there. Oh sure, it may be 12 minutes or even 18 minutes but it’ll feel like 10.  That is, unless there’s a shooting road rage incident on the 43 curve which is kinda likely these days.

See, MKE patrons love their road rage. Are really quite good at it. I’ve had a grown man in a truck halfway hanging out of his window screaming at me while flipping me two birds because I didn’t blow through a red light like he wanted me to (which begs the question, was there a third hand driving the truck?) I dunno, I try not to ask those questions. Merging along the highways is a personal attack which must be defended at all costs so good luck with that. Of course then there’s the awesome new trend of shooting at people along the 43 corridor which runs north and south on the west end of downtown.

I’m sure you’ll be fine though.

The downtown MKE section of town is actually very easy to maneuver. It’s small and filled with lots to do and the local cheeseheads aren’t bothered at all by this thing called winter so you’ll see walkers all over. Including the panhandlers who tend to focus on Wisconsin Ave where the venue is located. Look, we all like to think we’re helping out when we donate to a panhandler but really, please don’t. Panhandlers of MKE can make up to $700 a day and actually can become quite aggressive. Not so much fun for us locals. Because of this, depending on where you’re staying and if there are vacant buildings along your path, please consider taking the 4 minute Uber/Lyft ride back to your hotel. Especially if you’re a female…and alone. Please.

The last little bit of black light we need to shine on the ‘rent by the hour hotel carpeting’ is the little fact that MKE is the carjack capital of America. Not. Even. Kidding. If you DO have your car or a rental, please do not keep any valuables in your car. Please do not, for one second even if filling up your gas tank, leave an unlocked and running car unattended. Just. Don’t.

Now on to the fun stuff. First, food (food is always first with us.) We do not have a fancy Whole Foods downtown but there is a Metro Market on the East Side and if it’s like ours here in Wauwatosa (just West of Milwaukee) you’ll be fine. There is also a Sendiks 2go on the campus of Marquette which is just West of you. The Metro Market will be larger and a little more convenient since you don’t have to deal with a small campus with lots of lights and entitled little shitheads running around. There is also the Milwaukee Public Market just south of downtown in the 3rd Ward. You can even hop on The HOP which is the new streetcar which is a colossal waste of money and has already cost the city and county (aka, us) millions of dollars in lawsuits for injuries to cyclists along the route but hey, have at it. Just be warned, the Public Market is a miniature version of what you would expect in Seattle so if you want true groceries, stick with Metro Market.

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The HOP has been running for a couple of weeks now and is a straight shot from the 3rd ward to the East Side. I highly recommend it because my taxes are paying for it. You’re welcome.

*An honorable mention goes to Glorioso’s Italian Market. If you’re keto, you’ll cream your jeans for this place. If you’re not, you’ll still love it. Also on the East Side.

As you can tell, MKE is split up in so many miniature sections that I have no idea what most places are called. I now know that the Metro Market is on the East Side which in reality is about a mile and a half or so from the Milwaukee Center. The 3rd Ward is south of the MKE Center and has lots of fun eats and shops. If you’re from anywhere with good BBQ, don’t go to the Smoke Shack. The $25 they’re asking for 3 ounces of brisket will enrage you to the point of wanting to lecture the rude waitress on REAL BRISKET and how much it should really cost. Oh, that’s just me? Anyways. We don’t often go to the 3rd Ward but just south of that (like, a couple of streets away) is Walkers Point and we DO do (doodoo) that area.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Downtown. I need to preface this next section with an explanation of all that is good and holy for Milwaukeean’s (totally a word.) Cheese curds; Brats/Sausage, and Friday Fish Fry. The best place to get all 3 is Lakefront Brewery. If you go on a Friday night, you get polka. Not even kidding. Don’t worry if you don’t drink, they have soda’s and water and you still get to enjoy the German style beer hall and eat the best deep fried cheese curds in Wisconsin. Other places probably have deep fried cheese curds and fish fry, dunno, I don’t go to other places.  Lakefront is technically in the Riverwest section of town which is just west of the Milwaukee River that flows through town and on the North part of downtown.

**This is a good place to discuss where not to get lost. The North side of downtown. Stay off North Ave and Capitol Ave. If you need your Wendy’s fix, you’ll have to drive a little more west of me to get it and I highly recommend you come around the freeway. Basically, just skip it.

Water street has the best sausage houses in town (yes, it’s a sausage house. Get’cher mind out of the gutter Perv, they serve brats. Duh.) If you’re looking for some nightlife, Water street is also one option. My 20’somethings enjoy the EastSide a little better with a little less pretense and cheaper.

As much as I seem to be bagging on my adoptive city, I’ll tell ya what, we do food right. You just really can’t do wrong. We love tacos at Laughing Taco and Ice Cream and Purple Door. We love small plates at The Rumpus Room and La Merenda. Milwaukeean’s love their Custard and Burgers but I don’t so I have no idea where you should go for that. Downtown also has the Safehouse. It is a spy themed restaurant that will require a password to get in. If you don’t know the password, the ‘M’ host will have you act out a quick mission for entry. Don’t even ask, I don’t know the password. I do; however; know where the lever (say it like this, “leeever”) is to get in but I’m not telling. I’m a bitch that way. It’s pretty fun and the food is fine. Either before or after the Safehouse, you need to walk around the corner and pay homage to the Bronze Fonze.

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Did you even think I was kidding?

Just go get your picture taken here. Sure, it’s silly but then you have a picture with the Bronze Fonz and do you even think you’re life is complete without it?

Now, if you’re feeling VERY adventurous, I highly recommend heading both south and west. South to Bayview and West to Wauwatosa (hey, I live there!) First, Bayview. This is another one of our fav hang outs. A very very naughty cheat night is The Vanguard. Made from scratch brats and sausages with toppings that include cheese curds (duh) or even macaroni and cheese. The best part besides the food? They play old Wrastling videos all night so you can be entertained by Mean Gene Okerland and his motley crew. We haven’t gone in a while because I haven’t been good enough for a good cheat but it’s perfect for after lifting. The main street in Bayview is Kinnickinnic (also known as KK) and there are lots of fun places to eat. Bayview is super hippy dippy and fun. We love it over there.

And while East Tosa doesn’t have as much as Bayview, we do have the best donuts in town at Cranky Al’s. Again, if you’re venturing to East Tosa, please take the 94 West freeway. Do not cut through Lisbon or North. Anyways, Cranky’s is a Milwaukee institution. When Alton Brown comes to town, he goes to Cranky’s. This past October, Matt and I flew to Texas through Minneapolis where we picked up the Ozman so he could have fun with his bestie. On the way to the airport, we stopped at Cranky’s and grabbed a bag of donuts for Oz and were rewarded with a huge smile. It’s one of the only things he asks for. When Oz was much younger, we met Cranky at Costco. When Matt told Oz that it was the actual Cranky, I thought he was going to cry. The absolute respect and reverence he showed was pretty lulz. I’ll be bringing boxes of Cranky’s to the meet.  For friends.

Two other stops are McBobs and Ono Kine Grindz. McBobs has the best corned beef you will ever have. They have a burger named The Highlander which is a half pound beef added to a half pound of corned beef. Matt has ate 3 in one sitting when he was still competing with Champions League. He was pretty sick afterwards but was eating my leftovers about an hour later. They have other food too and McBob’s is technically in Milwaukee but it’s worth the 10 minute drive. I guarantee it!

Also, if you’ve been to Hawaii and miss the food, you need to come over to Ono Kine Grindz. When Matt and I started dating, Ono’s was just getting up and running. Matt told me there’s a Hawaiian food joint open a block away from his house and I was all, “Ya, I don’t think so” but then, ya, I was wrong. David and Guy will warm your tummy with authentic food and Poke and warm your heart with aloha. Also, they have a market so you can take some chocolate covered mac nuts home. Really.

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OKG in East Tosa is worth the 10 minute drive. SO worth the 10 minute drive!

Misc:

Of course in Milwaukee there’s Harley Davidson. If you’re into bikes, take a tour of the museum. We’ve gone a few times and I love it. They have an amazing gift shop and restaurant.

Also, new this year on the grounds of the brand new Milwaukee Bucks arena is a Christmaskindlmarket. I went the first weekend it opened at it was an absolute blast! I did a bunch of Christmas shopping and had amazing hot cocoa cocoa (geez, now I want hot cocoa.)

The best pizza in Milwaukee is Ned’s closer to the airport. Another Milwaukee institution.

In conclusion, Milwaukee is just like any other city. We have great food and bevvies; some crime; and some cold this time of year. Be smart and you’ll be fine. I want to wish all the lifters white lights; the judges little reason to turn down a lift; the friends and families success to your loved ones, and joyous coaches celebrations.

Wayne Campbell: So, do you… come to Milwaukee often?
Alice Cooper: Well, I’m a regular visitor here, but Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers began visiting here in the late 16th century.
Pete: Hey, isn’t “Milwaukee” an Indian name?
Alice Cooper: Yes, Pete, it is. In fact , it’s pronounced “mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land.”
Wayne Campbell: I was not aware of that.

Wayne’s World

 

 

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