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…


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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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Recently, I had a discussion with a Canadian lifting friend after she Twittered that America is a Shithole. I Twittered back that I love my country and she countered with something along the lines of, “You can still love your country and be ashamed of it.”

In general, I don’t shame. I hate the word quite honestly most likely due to the fact that I heard it a lot growing up. I remember dating a man when my twins were younger who grabbed Zac and said he was so ashamed of him for some type of behavior that while probably wasn’t awesome, was still toddler appropriate (toddlers can be dicks…change my mind.)  That happened once. And only once.

I have felt ashamed in life. Gawds know I deserved to feel ashamed. I’ve had moments of complete failure as a compassionate human being. I have had moments of complete failure as a mother and even with apologies, I’ll take those failures to my grave. There is no amount of external feedback that can make me feel worse than what I do to myself when I know I’ve fucked up. I don’t live on others shame meter, I have my own and anyone who knows me well understands that the standards I hold myself to are far more intense than what can come at me in a Twitter conversation.

That said, I do not feel shame for something I didn’t do. As hard as I can be on myself, I can be equally dismissive when people try to lay their shit at my feet and expect me to take it on. Nope. NoNoNo. Not gonna happen. Sorry not sorry. Because of that, it’s likely I can come off as cold or uncaring. Remember that time I said sorry not sorry? Yeah, same. I wasted way too many years of my young life worrying about what others thought (which is categorically different, by the way, than not caring about how my actions actually affect others. Fucking duh) to worry now. Besides that, so many people are void of logic and reason that I’d be playing the part of a pinball if I even tried to follow what others are caring about in a particular moment of a particular day. (Morals and values, try it sometime. They don’t tend to change so people know exactly what to expect.)

So here’s how this works, if President Trump tweets something, I don’t care. I don’t follow him. I don’t have an agonizing emotional reaction. Doesn’t affect me in any way whatsoever. If the current Administration enacts policy that I disagree with to the point that I feel strongly about it, I’ll write to Senator Ron Johnson (Tammy Baldwin is pretty busy with her cronies in California so I won’t bother her. Besides, if she throws Veterans under the bus, what the hell is she going to do for me?) I may tweet about it but I’m pretty busy on the Tweets following Minnesota sports teams that I can’t watch locally. That’s it.

Secondly, I love my country. I am a proud American. I’ve kind of felt like an outsider here in heavy liberal ‘Tosa where I’m bombarded with all the ways I should be put out by Trump and his nazi deplorables (uhhhh, I’m one I guess) but last month the hubs, Ozman, and I went to Texas for a wedding. The instant we left the airport (I’d still prefer to head out the North entrance instead of driving all around Ft. Worth to get back to the road heading to Wichita Falls but had we done that I’d have missed what I’m writing about here) it was clear that we were in the land of proud Americans and proud Texans. I rolled down the window and just took in the fresh smell of patriotism.

Texas sized American and Texas flags flying big and boldly. I tell ya what, there is something about Texans that I love (being one and all y’all) that I lost sight of when my Texas experience shortly turned so sour and unhealthy that I realized I’d just bunched up the whole ball of shit in my head and forgot about the good stuff of being Texan. To be in an entire state where folks (generally) seem to love their country was good for my soul. A little re-setting of standing as a proud American.

Anyways, back to the Shithole comment from my lovely Canadian friend. Now, I am not going to deny that America has shithole neighborhoods. I’ve seen some of them; have been lost in some of them; and live in a city where we’re close enough to one that we feel it’s crime spilling over to our driveway. Do I feel ashamed of those neighborhoods? Uhhhhh, no. Why would I? Am I disappointed they exist, uhhhh ya, I’m not a complete bitch. Do I blame Trump for them?Uhhhhhh, no, why would I? (My main argument to those who are outraged on a daily basis of Trump is that local politicians wield far more power over their daily lives than Washington, in general. Go be outraged at your city hall.)

Is America a shithole as a whole? I don’t know, I mean, I don’t believe that to be truthful but there could actually be people here who believe it so I don’t know if my opinion is more better than theirs, just different. Both of us could probably find a bunch of “facts” to argue on the internet for days. But I can’t do that, I’m busy loving my life with my hot hunky husband and my children and friends.

Shame. Back to the part where she wanted me to feel ashamed of my country. First off, why? I mean, really, who cares what I think or feel. Especially on the internet. Why? What have I done to feel ashamed about? I do support border control (at all costs really) and fully comprehend that puts me on the “other side” of an argument. So what? Is that enough to change what someone is having for lunch today? Gawds I doubt it. Why does someone else want me to feel shame for something? I can’t even get my head around that one.

And OHBYTHEWAY, addressing the giant bald eagle in the room, uhhhh, dude; you live in Canada. You, of course, can have the opinion that America is a shithole and then go right back to watching your CBC to see how your PM is embarrassing you around the world that particular day. I have been so curious these last two years why some Canadians have such intense hatred for Donald  Trump. Especially in regards to immigration and border control (Dear Cunucks: your border agents are some of the biggest assholes I’ve ever had to deal with while traveling in my life. I blame Trudeau. Heh, but not really.)

I’m okay with someone having an opinion about America, kind of the point of America in the first place. Yes? What I will react to (albeit 7 weeks later) is telling me I should feel ashamed of my country. For me, that crosses a line of decency among friendly acquaintances. Disagreement is fine, telling someone how to feel is manipulative and hateful. Those are two traits I don’t allow into my  life (ask any relative in Minnesota.) Telling me I should feel ashamed of my country ends that friendly acquaintance. Not because I disagree with you (I do that all the time and still manage to live a happy life) but because when you turn into someone who tried to virtue signal bully me, well, you’ll get the same result as Lynda and Pastor John (and a few asshole bosses in my past) got, silence. You’re out. I’m too busy over here surrounding myself with awesome people who are comfortable in disagreement without telling me how I should feel because their opinion is superior and the final say in life.

My son, Oscar, has already delay-enlisted in the US Army. He’s been sworn in (three times actually. He’s like the token swearing in kid who will jump at every chance to participate in a ceremony that means so much to him. Also, I’ve missed every swearing in. Bad mom) and has taken this job specifically because he wants to serve his country.  I did that. I instilled a love of country to my son. Good mom. All three of my children voted this year for the first time ever because they can and they all saw how important it was. I know it sounds as if I’m bragging about that because I am. I am proud as fuck of them and their rights to be a part of this democratic republic. One of our local elections came down to 21 votes and three came from this house (that is until our election official miraculously found an extra two boxes of votes and the other guy one. Funny how that happened all over Wisconsin and the country this year.)

I’m not going to be ashamed of America. Ever. Even if you want me to be.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Thomas Jefferson 

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