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.

Winter Wondering

Community, Fun, Weather

As I stepped outside this morning to let Millie the wonder dog (who could take on Marley or Bolt any day) do her biz-ness, it occurred to me that life in Wisconsin is somewhat like the directions on a shampoo bottle. You know how Head and Shoulders tells you to “lather, rinse, repeat”? Well, here in the land of cheese, we “sleep, shovel, repeat.”

This line of thinking made me think about the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and what slogan they’ve conjured up to describe and promote life in our fair state. A quick internet search uncovered the answer. Are you ready? Drumroll please…..

Wisconsin Originals.

Yeah, that was my reaction too. The campaign features noted Wisconsin natives Bonnie Blair and Ko-Thi Dance founder Ferne Caulker talking about how our state inspires them. OK, I get it, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t come close to the infamous “Escape to Wisconsin,” (not to be confused with “Escape from Wisconsin.”)

Still, it’s better than the former “Stay Just a Little Bit Longer,” “Wisconsin - You’re Among Friends” or the 2005 slogan “Life’s Good.” (Um, could you possibly be more vague?)

I think the best-conceived travel slogans should do two things - give a nod to something unique about the state and say something positive that can’t be said about any other state. One of the best and most well-known tourism slogans is “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Of course it’s a reference to the naughty side of that city, but it’s memorable and targeted. Not sure that “Wisconsin Originals” will really have the same effect.

So all of this slogan-izing made me wonder if we couldn’t come up with something a little more reality-based - maybe even a tiny bit gritty? I’m going to take a crack at it, but then I invite you, my ever-clever readers to join in on the fun.

Here goes:

“Come for the Snow, Stay for the Shoveling”
“Please Pass the Salt!”
“It’s Not for Sissies Anymore”
“Nothing Beats the Smell of Snowblowers in the Morning.”
“Nine Months of Hell for Three Months of Gorgeous.”
“Wisconsinites - The Fat, The Proud, The Frozen.”
“No Toll Booths and No Senate Seats for Sale.”

Alright, that’s enough from me. Chime in and share your wit and wisdom. (That is, in between trips outside to shovel and plow.)

The Weather's Fine on Facebook

Fun, The Online World, Weather

Well, the weather outside is seems frightful, and yet somehow rather beautiful, especially if you don’t have to be anywhere. I don’t know about at your house, but everyone here is safe at home, hunkered down, watching the storm. I feel so lucky. Almost all of my friends are also home. Schools are closed and many kids are thrilled to be starting their Christmas vacations a day early. Bonus!


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The Tiny Trouble With Tosa

Nature, Things that bug me, Traffic, Weather

The other night, during the Winter 2008-2009 Inaugural Traffic Snarl, I was bluntly reminded of one of the very few issues I have with Wauwatosa.


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Tosa's Two Toughest Finds

Nature, Tosa Business, Weather

Pssst. Hey - yeah, you. Wanna buy a can of bug spray?


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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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Spring Tease


What’s bugging you more? Dirty snow like this…

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Things that bug me, Weather

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Winter's Lament - The Big Whine

Fun, Weather

I can’t stand this winter, not one moment more.

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Mother Nature's Big Tease


This is it. The weather that makes or breaks Wisconsinites. It’s not just the temperature. Sure, it’s 4 below zero with negative double digit wind chill. It’s the whole kit and caboodle.


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Shot Through the Heart - Musings of a Dejected Fan

Packers, Weather

I was one of the 72,000+ who stood outside Sunday night and had their heart broken.


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Parkway Musings

Nature, Neighborhood, Weather


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