Thursday, January 3, 2008

Wisconsin Welcome -- Success!

Only a short post today (and probably for the next few days) due to the impending nuptials of my dear friends Brooke and Craig.

Tonight I hosted Brooke's low-key bachelorette party. An interesting task, as I am originally friends with Craig and only have gotten to know Brooke through their relationship. Also, she is not from Milwaukee, so I've just been organizing with a bunch of email addresses.

Everything went swimmingly though and I think everyone had a fun time. We had apps and wine at my house, I even opened a good bottle from my trip to Sonoma a couple of years ago. We then went to Buckley's for dinner, and many of the guests fawned to me about how they loved the great "neighborhood joint." We met up with the bachelor gang at Hotel Metro for cocktails and the party looked to continue further into the evening. Too bad I have to work tomorrow!

All in all though, it was great showing off my neighborhood to a bunch of first-time Milwaukee visitors.


At my friend Michelle's suggestion I am going to start posting what makes Wisconsin so great that I've lived here 10 years. But I probably will start that after the wedding of the century is over.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 Seems Pretty Much the Same as Yesterday

Even though I woke up in time this morning, I didn't have it in my to go Polar Bearing at noon. Maybe next year.

I watched part of the Badger loss to Tennessee, fulfilling my College Bowl viewing requirement for this year (somehow I just can't be into bowls anymore with all the corporate naming rights, I think hearing about the "Chick-Fil-A" Bowl was the clincher in that sentiment.)

Forcing myself to continue the social mood of the year, I took the Route 30 to North Ave. and then the Route 21 out to my friend Jackie's party near 81st and North. I have to say, North Ave. is one of the places that's really changed in the 10 years I've been here. It's nice to see the improvements made around the MLK intersection, as well as around the 3500 block. I sincerely hope within less than the next 10 years, the area in between benefits from similar revitalization.

Clearly there are areas on that strip still a little sketch. Including the intersection of around 30th and North where a crazy climbed on the front of the bus and stared at the driver in a mime-ish fashion. Man, those drivers really have the patience of saints. I think most people would have switched on the wipers. It was one of those uniting moments amongst passengers though as everyone sort of looked at each other, sharing a mutual uncomfortable laugh at the "nutter." The driver ignored him until he got bored, dismounted and saluted the bus. Happy New Year dude.

Jackie's party (once I figured out what house it was -- not wanting to make the mistake of knocking on the wrong door, I called Kim who came outside to wave me in the right direction), was fabulous as usual and I made quite the fabulous Bloody Mary from the "build-your-own" bar.

Great to see everyone today though and learn that a low-key New Year seemed to be the prevailing theme. Glad I'm not the only dork out there.

Ringin' in My 10th Year in America's Dairyland

Formerly, I judged my entire year based on the general mood one night: New Year's Eve. Have an insanely fun NYE, have a crazy adventurous year. Chill NYE = Chill Year. God forbid you have an all-out crappy New Year's. Fortunately I think I've filed this measurement system in my backlog of superstitions along with holding my breath when passing a graveyard and freaking out on Friday the 13th . I still foresee 2008 witnessing me avoiding walking under ladders and throwing salt over my left shoulder when I spill it. A girl's gotta have something to believe in.

At any rate, my New Year's was definitely the most chill it's been since probably, oh, 10 years ago. How apropos! I actually planned that way so I could launch the blog. I wasn't a PR major for nothing. Kidding, seriously.

A few weeks ago, I decided that 2007 should not end without me hosting at least one "small gathering" at my not-so-new-any-more apartment. A procrastinator at heart, this party occurred on December 31. A "small" gathering it was indeed, with just six people including yours truly. So excited was I on my half day yesterday to play hostess with the mostess, I prepared food for about 60. No worries, I am hosting a "low-key" bachelorette party on Thursday and will be able to repurpose most of the fare into further deliciousness. Regardless, it is always worth spending one's Christmas money on gourmet cheeses. Just having them in the fridge makes me feel all sorts of classy.

Plus, my dear ol' dad, gave me a membership to the Wisconsin Athletic Club for my birthday, so those cheeses are totally fine if I have to devour them myself.

All in all, my menu, even though only lightly nibbled upon (arriving at 9:30, my guests had eaten dinner beforehand-- not I, I'd spent the afternoon and evening cleaning against the clock (or shoving everything else in my bedroom)), was a hit. In addition to the cheese plate (Jarlsburg Swiss, Drunken Goat, Purple Haze (lavender-infused chevre) and New York Sharp Cheddar) served with a combination of gourmet (and not so gourmet--bagel chips look pretty fancy though) crackers, I served chocolate fondue with an assortment of fruits and pound cake; "white" pizza (cream cheese, mozzarella, chicken, artichokes and mushrooms); stuffed mushrooms; and a variety of chips and dip (I busted out my sombrero salsa dish--always a huge hit!).

Music choices consisted of my "Best of 2007" Albums Mix in the dining room and my '60s World Records (Italy! Hawaii! (we had a toast to Don Ho when "Tiny Bubbles" came on) Mexico!) collection in the living room. We switched gears with some Culture Club at midnight.

After ringing in midnight with a moderately-priced champagne toast, and attempting to watch the subdued downtown fireworks on my back porch, some of us headed over to Buckley's for a night cap. I was in bed before the West Coast New Year even happened.

My lameness caused me not to take advantage of two things that make Milwaukee one of the best places to celebrate the New Year: Miller Free Rides and bars not having to close.

But with a minimum of four weddings this year, I don't think 2008 will be lacking in celebration. It's good to start it off with "pacing" in mind.

Another blog...but why?

2008, as we all know, will usher in many important events. (Hopefully) a regime change for the United States, the Beijing Olympics and my 10th year living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To mark the occasion of the latter, I've begun this blog. This is one part New Year's Resolution (write more!) and another part testament to what I half-jokingly refer to as my ten-year anthropological experiment. I'll also try to comment on relevant local issues here as well, since I feel ten years in a place warrants a girl to share some opinions about it.

Growing up (mostly) in the Pacific Northwest and then moving to Wisconsin to begin one's "adulthood," is like being raised by hippie parents and for some reason (perhaps a tragic spin dancing incident) foisted upon stoic, yet loving, "Old Country" grandparents who attempt to shape your impending formative years. It's definitely sitcom potential, and with the writer's strike continuing, perhaps I'll be able to amuse some folks who have "Milwaukee" and "follies" set in their Google Blog Alerts.

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