West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

How Motherhood Defined Me

Kids, Elder Care, Family

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Lives Touched - Andrew's Story

Kids, Parenting, Personal, Reminiscing

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First do no harm - a call for a culture of kindness

Personal, Hope, Kids, Neighborhood

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Thankfulness for a special love

Kids, Parenting, Personal

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Special Blessings

Personal, Kids

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Confessions of a non-Tiger Mother

Kids, Books, Parenting

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It takes a special village...

Kids, Personal, Community

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The Empty Nest - What to Expect When They Leave

Kids, Personal, Reminiscing

“Mom, Mom, MOMMMMMMMMM!!!”

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How Toy Story 3 Came to Define my Summer

Kids, Personal

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The College Instruction Manual for High School Graduates

Personal, Kids, School

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Bleeding hearts and the obsolescence of motherhood

Personal, Kids

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Kids, Things that bug me

I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that the “aught” generation is also the “passive communication” generation. They prefer to interact with each other via digital devices – cell phones, computers, etc. I’m finally getting used to my kids texting their friends to get answers to questions instead of calling them. And I’ll admit, I get more information and less attitude and eye rolling from my kids via text messages. Sigh.

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Acceptance - The College Application Game

Kids, Personal, School

Like many families across the nation, we’re in the midst of playing the game I call “Acceptance.” Participants in the game are high school seniors and their parents. It’s an exciting game fraught with highs and lows. Basically, the game consists of opening the mailbox every day with a mixture of excitement and dread. Sometimes the mailbox is electronic, but nevertheless, everyone waits to find out: Was I accepted by the college of my choice? Did I get the scholarship that I want/deserve/need?

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Feeling chilly? Why not get All Shook Up?!

Kids, Fun, Community, Tosans

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If you give a kid a can of paint...

Personal, Kids, Tosa Business

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Honk!...for a good time!

Kids, Fun, Tosans

Have you and your kids hit the mid-summer hum-drums? Need something to do but have very little cash to spend? This coming weekend, head over to Divine Savior Holy Angels High School (DSHA) for their Community Theatre Works Production of Honk! The Musical Tale of the Ugly Duckling.

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Melancholy Mom

Reminiscing, Technology, Kids

Today’s new moms have it pretty good. I was at a baby shower recently and was amazed by the incredible new inventions (the Pee-pee Teepee), conveniences (the Diaper Genie) and designer diaper bags. (My diaper bag looked like ugly luggage.) Plus, new moms have the internet and sites like Milwaukee Moms, which I can only assume is a lifesaver when you’re hunkered down alone with a colicky baby.

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Lent, The A-Word and the Big Smudge

Community, Kids, Religion, Reminiscing

I’m not usually one to wear my religion on my sleeve. However, today, Ash Wednesday, like many others, I’m wearing it on my head. Because of this, I couldn’t resist writing a blogpost with some random faith-based thoughts.


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Making Music (and More) in Record Time

Fun, Kids, The Online World, Tosans

This week, in dorm rooms and college apartments and basements and all across the world, really, music (and more) is being made in record time. Four years ago, two industrious (and perhaps a little bored?) college students created a challenge for themselves and their friends: Make a record in exactly one week. That’s right, one week to create a concept, write songs and record an album. These students have done this four years in a row and the results have been impressive. 

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The Wiz at DSHA!

Fun, Kids, Theater

Would you like to go to see live theater this weekend, but have a limited budget? Here’s an idea: Go see the Divine Savior Holy Angels production of “The Wiz”! It’s family fun that’s truly affordable!

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Trash Talk

City services, Kids


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The Oohs and Ahhs Have It

Community, Fun, Kids, Things that bug me, Tosans

There’s a brief but interesting discussion on the Tosa Town Square about watching fireworks on TV. This is something that fascinates me, for no good reason except that I have a strong opinion on the topic.


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Summer with a Side of Service

Community, Kids, Tosans

Teens these days. They’re so, so, so…willing to sacrifice their time and comfort and….gasp...even their cell phones to do something for other people.


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The Crazy Things Those Tosa College Kids Do

Fun, Kids, Personal, Tosans

So...I know this college kid from Tosa. And he’s doing a project this summer. No, he’s not painting the house or fixing a car. He’s creating a musical.


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March Kinda Makes Me Mad

Kids, Sports, Weather

They call this time of year March Madness, and that, I love. If you give me a choice, I will always choose college basketball over the NBA.


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I Heart Tosa

Community, Kids, Neighborhood, Restaurants, Tosa Business

Once in a while, I encounter a few things that remind me why I love Tosa. Sometimes it’s something small, sometimes funny, sometimes a little sad. Here are a few:


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A sad letter to Drew's

Community, Kids, Neighborhood, Reminiscing, Tosa Business

Dear Drew’s:

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Things That Millie is Wondering

City services, Fun, Halloween, Kids, Neighborhood, Restaurants, Tosa Business, Traffic


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