Summertime Fun in MKE

Hello readers!  I hope your summer is going well, whether you’re staying busy or are able to relax a bit!  Me, for the most part I’m staying around Milwaukee due to work, but that doesn’t mean I’m not able to spend a little down time in my hometown.  So here are a few of my favorite things to do in Milwaukee in the summertime.

Summerfest: For those of you who haven’t heard of Summerfest, it’s an 11 day music festival hosted on the lakefront here in Milwaukee.  According to the Summerfest website, they host over 800 (yes, you read that right) bands, and tickets to get in are only $17 unless you see a band in the amphitheater.  I’ve seen some pretty awesome concerts over the past few years, including Imagine Dragons, The Neighbourhood, and GroupLove, all on free stages.  This year I did splurge and I saw Linkin Park at the amphitheater, but it was well worth it!

The Domes: Now, I will admit it took me 19 years to get around to going to the Domes, but better late than never right?  The Domes are, you guessed it, three dome shaped buildings that are full of flowers and plants.  Michele’ and I spent probably a little over an hour exploring the three different themed areas, and since we had college ID’s, it was only $5 to get in.

Milwaukee Art Museum: If you were a grade school/middle school/high school art class at any school within a 20 mile radius from Milwaukee, you took a field trip to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  But that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t worth a visit for non-school related purposes.  There have been some pretty cool exhibits there, and a few of their permanent exhibits are fun no matter how many times you’ve been there.  My personal favorite: the chair exhibit which features a myriad of different styles of chairs which yes, you can sit on.

State Fair: Well technically this is in West Allis, this is one my most looked forward to activities every summer.  And how can it not?  The food alone is reason to spend a day here.  There’s chocolate covered bacon, cookie dough on a stick, and not to mention the famous Wisconsin Cream Puffs.  There’s also looking at the very cute farm animals, which even though is a little smelly, they’re just so cute!  For people who like rides, the Midway offers ride for all ages.  Me, I just like walking around and going where my eyes take me, whether it be into the horticultural building or into the Expo Center to see what vendors are here this year.

Milwaukee has a lot to offer.  There are so many different neighborhoods and so many different things to do, that sometimes just exploring is the way to go.  I hope if anyone comes to Milwaukee in the summertime you take a look into some of these things to do and maybe explore a little for yourself too.  Enjoy your summer in your hometown readers!

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My Surgery Struggle

Holy crap. It’s been five months since I had surgery. This post has been a long time coming, and so has the re-start of our blog.  We got a little busy there at the end of the year but now we’re back and we’re college sophomores!  Let’s kick it off!

Back in February of 2014 I was finishing my basketball season and I jumped up for a rebound and landed badly.  My left knee popped and felt all wrong. We went to the clinic and the doctor told us it was patellar tendonitis.  Looking back now, she should have ordered an MRI because:

a. popping is a huge indicator of ACL tears

b. an MRI is the only definite way to diagnose a tear

c. basketball is the highest risk sport for girls to tear their ACL

I did physical therapy for about two months and got back into sports where I found the popping had come back.  It would happen periodically, swell up, and then go away after a few days. There was nothing I could do. But on October 23rd it popped out again while I was at school.  Only this time I wasn’t playing a sport, it just buckled.  I started panicking because I knew this time was worse and I had to take the trains home.  It’s a wonder I made it without crutches.

Mom scheduled me an appointment at the sports clinic again and we saw the same doctor.  This time she ordered an MRI, but I didn’t get the results until after I was back at school.  Both my meniscus and ACL were torn, the kicker being that there was none of the regular bruising that comes with an ACL tear so they concluded I’d torn it months earlier.

While waiting to see the surgeon I slowly weened myself off the crutches because, let me tell you, they are a super b%^&$ on campus.  The surgeon explained that my meniscus was sandwiched between my knee bones and putting weight on it was doing more damage so crutches were a necessity.  There were two extra horrible things about that fact:

a. There’s nothing you can do to replace a meniscus if it’s shot

b. Why the heck did my first doctor not tell me that when she read the MRI?

I immediately got back on crutches (ugh) and scheduled surgery for November 23rd. Two days before the operation I found a sore on my leg that required antibiotics and which prohibited me from having the surgery for at least three weeks.

At that point I had to push it to December 19th and crutch around for the rest of the semester, which was really the worst part. So I finished my exams and sat at home, following all the pre-surgery instructions. When we still hadn’t gotten a call about my assigned time mom called and asked.  They said, “You’re not on the roster.”

To which my mother replied, “That’s a bunch of boo-hockey. Why not?”

Claiming we didn’t turn in the necessary forms, they omitted us from the schedule.  The screwy thing about that is how my mother specifically asked what we needed to do and the nurse said, “We can take care of it all.”

Being too late to argue about it, we just rescheduled. Again. At first they said I couldn’t come in until January 7th, which was a problem since I was supposed to be back at school by then, but mom managed to finagle them into December 29th (phew).  Even then I had to miss my first week of school, which put me pretty far behind.

But the 29th came and I FINALLY got surgery!

me

Now I have two screws in my leg. I spent a week in a machine that moved my knee for me and another month on crutches (totalling over 3 months in all). Now, entering into June, I’m five months post-surgery and going strong.  I’m still in physical therapy for another month or two, but I’m okay with that.  Rehab is a lot of work, but it’s taught me numerous valuable lessons and provided a starting line for some exciting personal developments.  What developments, you ask?  I’ll tell you next time.

Mich out.

I Killed Tula…?

It all happened so quickly.
It was Saturday the 17th when I bought my betta fish “Tula” (after the main character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Before leaving for the pet store I’d already set up her tank with water (duh), pebbles and a bamboo plant. We got home, set her in the tank, fed her some nasty-looking fish food and placed her near some light.
Five hours later my brother noticed her lack of movement.
Time of death: 8:12 p.m.

tula dead
Time of rebirth: 11:00 a.m. the next day.
As my mom was taking Tula out of the tank, the fish went wild (because, you know, it was out of water)
It turns out that I just have a really lazy fish.

tula live

Dear Dad,

I am so angry at you.

I’m angry at you for all the things you said to me and all the things you never said to me.  I know Honesty is the best policy but sometimes I just needed to hear, “I’m proud of you.”

I’m angry at you for not being my hero.

I’m angry at you for making me grow up too fast, for treating me like a child but expecting me not to mess up like one.

I’m technically an adult now and I spent a lot of years pretending I didn’t need you, but I do. And I’m sorry if I never told you that.  I think I convinced myself I didn’t.

No matter how many times I tell people, “I’m okay.  With all his health problems we’ve kind of just been waiting for this” that doesn’t change the fact that the first thing I said when mom told me you died was, “You’re kidding.”  When she said no, I looked at Marshall and asked, “Is she kidding?”  But death is never kidding and I keep realizing that over and over at the most random and inconvenient times.

I’m angry at you for having Christmas presents for everyone in your closet.

I’m angry at you for leaving everything you have to Marshall and I, a fact which everyone won’t stop reminding us of.  “You were his pride and joy.  All of it’s yours.  You get to decide what we do with it.”  But you had so much shit a part of me just wants to burn it all because that would mean not having to face all the memories you collected.

They won’t stop calling. “How are you? How are you? How are you?” I’d be better if you hadn’t had a lock box with a crumpled poem I wrote when I was nine that you saved from the trash.  I’d be better if your calendar hadn’t been marked “Michy’s coming home” for the day after you died.  I’d be a whole lot better if your voice-mail from two months ago hadn’t been so different than the one from two weeks ago, because in the second one it sounds like you’re dying.

I’m angry at you for usually being the reason I cried, but also for being the person I wanted to impress the most.  It meant something when you told me I’d done a good job because you didn’t hand those out for free.

And I’m angry at you for taking almost all of my eighteen years to realize your mistakes.  I had to move to college three hours away before you owned up to your part in our broken relationship.  And when you wrote that stupid five page letter about all the good times we’d had it was almost enough to forgive everything else.  So I’m angry at you for apologizing, but more angry at you for not apologizing sooner.  For that reason I’m angry at God, because it’s a little sadistic of him to take you now, right when everything was about to change.

We used to run football patterns in your driveway for hours. You bought me my own box of cereal for your house and didn’t get angry when I ate out of yours every time.  When you got sick the first time, you would give me and Marshall money so we could run across the alley to the A&W to get dinner and we felt like grown ups.  When my knee surgery got cancelled the first time you let me cry to you.  When it got rescheduled you said you’d be there.

I’m angry at you for lying.  I’m having surgery Monday and you promised you’d be there.  You were the one who passed your knee problems on to my brother and I so I knew you would understand the frustration.  You would be there to take care of me.  For the first time in my whole life I felt like you could be something my mom couldn’t.  You even marked it on your calendar.

I’m 18 but I’m just a kid. And you had no right to leave me.

Winter Isn’t the Enemy

When people hear me say I hate summer their eyes do that bug-out-of-your-face thing you see in cartoons.  I get it, I’m the minority not the majority, but there are other people who love winter too! For example, my roommate, which is pretty lucky since we have to agree on the temperature of our room. All I can say is that the window is always open and at night it gets cold enough to keep my water bottle chilled.

I’m here to convince all you non-believers that winter isn’t so bad and that it has more to offer than just the pretty white snow.  Being from Wisconsin, and right next to the lake, no less, the Table and I get some of the worst winters there are.  If you don’t know what lake effect snow is, you’re really missing out.  It’s a beast.  Here are my reasons for loving the weather from November to March:

1. Let’s start with the obvious one: snow.

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Here are a few pictures from the winter they cancelled school on six different occasions.  The first one is of my brother peeking through a tunnel we dug on the hood of a car.  The red thing in the second one is our car.  When we opened the garage door that’s how high the snow was.  The third one has the criss-cross imprint of our fence.  We moved the fence and the snow just stayed there because it was so heavy. You can see me in the background and it was almost higher than my waist.

car snow  garage snow  fence snow

When I was little I loved to play in the snow and if I still had a pair of snow pants that fit me I would lay in it and just look at the sky.  Even if you hate everything else about winter, you can’t deny that snow is beautiful.

2. Hats, mittens, and scarves.

Besides the fact that they’re super cute, hats are so fun to wear.  I’ll admit I often wear them around the house just for fun. And I say mittens because I don’t like gloves.  The way they separate my fingers feels like they’re making them colder not warmer.  Below is a picture of a scarf I wove that I’m particularly proud of. The scarf is laying on the next item of my list.

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3. blankets, slippers, and sweatshirts.

The blanket above is special to me because I got it in North Dakota the first time on a mission trip which I now do annually.  Don’t you guys just love curling up inside with a blanket and a movie?

4. Hot Chocolate

I’m one of those people who can eat ice cream year round, but hot chocolate is seasonal.  I don’t like coffee but that can count too.  A warm drink is just ten times better when it’s cold out and you can feel it warming up your insides.  Doesn’t this picture look like it could be a Starbucks add?

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5. Seeing my breath and letting the tips of my ears get red.

I once heard someone compare seeing your breath to feeling like a dragon which I thought was funny, but I think it’s more like seeing my life.  This is evidence that I am alive, and every part of my body is buzzing with the cold.  And then you go inside and press your palms to your ears and you can feel them thaw.  I love that.

6. But one of my favorite parts is the smell.

I could go one forever with this list: ice skating, snow days, icicles, but I always get most excited by the smell that tells me winter is coming. It’s not so much a distinct smell as it is just crisp air.  When you breathe is deeply and it smells cold and fresh.  That’s one of my favorite parts.  So for all you winter haters I hope there’s at least one thing on this list that convinced you to hate the season maybe just 1% less.  Now it’s your turn to convince me why I should like summer.

No Matter The Distance

Being a group of girls, it’s only natural that boys pop up in conversations.  Three members of the Table are in steady and adorable relationships–including myself.  (Almost a year and a half in fact.) While some have the privilege of living a mere 15ish minutes from her boyfriend, some of us have to deal with being miles, hours, states apart.  While most people respond with a skeptic “well, if you think you can make it work…,” having the support of each other, friends, and family makes it a lot easier.  Believe it or not, a serious relationship can exist when you live in different states.  Here are some things I do that help ease the intimidation of a LDR (long distance relationship).

His name is Peter.

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We met during the summer before senior year.  We have now been dating for almost a year and a half.  I used to see him almost every day.  Now we’re off at college.  He attends Viterbo University in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.  I attend Iowa Sate University in Ames, Iowa. That is about a four hour drive.  It’s not too bad but it is long distance.  How do we make it work?

I’m sure you’ve heard it before: communication is the key to any and all relationships.  This is especially true for a LDR and definitely during college.  My boyfriend and I text each other every single day.  Even a simple “Good morning” and “Sweet dreams” can be enough sometimes.  Obviously that cannot be the only communication between a couple.  Make time to really have conversations, much like what would happen in person.

I'm crazy.  and also blonde now.

I’m crazy. and also blonde now.

Also Skype.  Lots of Skype.  Without physically seeing the other’s face, your relationship can turn into one of those fictional online ones; both people hiding behind a keyboard.  Using Skype (or Facetime or Chat or what not) to connect a face with his or her words can reconnect the human part of the relationship.  You can even go on dates with Skype!  Each of you grab a mocha from the cafe downstairs and–voila–instant coffee date. Although, for me, it’s more like: me stuffing my face with pasta or chocolate and him reviewing notes while his neighbor vacuums his roommates desk.  Close enough.

Something that I do is trick myself into thinking that he’s actually nearby.  Since neither of us have cars and we’re both (kind of) swamped with school, it’s easy to make up reasons why the other wouldn’t be able to swing by real quick.  The amount of stories we could tell about each others’ college life makes it seem like we were together when it happened. And of course reminiscing about times when we actually were together is nice, too.

Here's a shpt from his senior prom. (We went to our "brother" school)  I made that dress myself :)

Here’s a shot from his senior prom. (He went to our “brother” school) I made that dress myself 🙂

People always assume that LDRs fall apart tragically.  Some peers tell me horror stories of older siblings who were crushed by a relationship that was not meant to go long distance.  (Now that I’m in one, I wonder how the heck things can fall apart like I’ve been told.)  Sure I questioned if it was the right thing to do.  Initially, I figured taking a break for college would be easy.  That way we could both focus on school and not be afraid to “meet new people.”  But the closer we grew, the more I realized a break was not an option.  Neither of us want even to think about this relationship ending.  With LDRs, it’s essential that trust, support, and dedication form a triple threat.  If doubt creeps its way in at all, the whole thing can crumble.  So I don’t doubt.  I can honestly say that I cannot imagine myself with anyone else. Nor can I imagine myself single (even though I was for like, 17 years…).  Peter and I put faith in each other and know that the other will always be there no matter what.

So ignore all the haters.  If you think your relationship can withstand distance, go for it.  It’s not as scary as it seems.  Remember that it might take some adjusting and communication is vital.  With enough faith and support a LDR can be a breeze, no matter the distance.  If you believe in something, it’ll happen.

-Frankie :-*

Here are some cute pictures.  It’s actually pretty rare to find photos of us together so these are basically all off them. That’s what happens when you live for the moment, not for the documentation of it.
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#HolidayCardProject

Even though Thanksgiving has yet to come, we can all start spreading holiday cheer to brighten up someone’s day!  For those of you creative deviants, you might already know about this but non-deviants can participate, too.  The Holiday Card Project is an event where people all over the world create holiday cards for people in hospitals over the festive season.  The recipients of these cards range from young to old with mild to terminal illnesses and injuries.  We want to share our holiday spirit with them and because of this wide range of patients, it is asked that messages stay away from things like “get well soon” or “hope you feel better” since it might not be applicable to the recipient.  You can either make a card yourself (8.5″x11″ paper folded twice, grade school style) or purchase a card and embellish it with your flare. You can totally send more than one card but keep in mind quality vs quantity.  There’s an amazing feeling that comes with receiving a well thought out gift.  When you’re ready to send your cards, send them to this address:

deviantART, Inc.
Holiday Card Project
7095 Hollywood Blvd., #788
Hollywood, CA 90028
U.S.A.

All cards must be postmarked by DECEMBER 17TH.

Take pictures and use #HolidayCardProject to show the world all of your holiday joy!  Now, get crafty!

Dear DSHA: An Overdue Thank-You Note to My High School

As you guys know we all went to high school together. This is one of our fellow classmate’s stellar descriptions of what it was like.

The Little Things are Big

Dear DSHA,

Ever since I was little, my parents taught me to write a thank-you note for every gift I receive. Therefore, I figure that since I’ve received four years worth of gifts from you, it’s about time you receive a thank you from me. I have so much to be grateful for, after all.

Thank you for the handshake. As weird as that may sound to anyone unfamiliar with the unofficial 5th quality of a DSHA graduate, it really has come in handy (pun intended). From my first day on campus, I was taught that a firm handshake was the first step to achieving that confident and capable status for which we all strived. In fact, that handshake has helped to make many memorable first impressions since starting college and I have gotten an innumerable amount of comments from people about how firm my handshake is. Obviously, I…

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Baby, it’s Cold Outside…

On Monday, November 10th, Minnesota had its first snowfall! Everything is now covered in white and winter has officially begun. Cue the Northface jackets, hats, gloves, the Timberlands and the UGGs…I kid you not, they are everywhere. Anyway, the entire campus looks beautiful, making it easier to bear the bitter temperatures and the slippery pavement (please say a little prayer for me…ice and clumsiness don’t go well together).

You have not lived until you have experienced a true Midwestern winter. It’s not just about how much better the taste of coffee and hot cocoa is. Nor is it only about numb fingers, pink faces and visible exhales. It’s that and more. It’s also about all the things you get to do because of winter. Suddenly, baking becomes a ritual, snowmen and sledding are the joys of life, the feeling of Christmas strengthens everyday (I saw some workers starting to put up lights already!), and the possibility of a snow day (or a cold day) is never too farfetched of an idea. Don’t get me wrong, the cold isn’t always the best, but we Midwesterners take pride in our ability to withstand the low temperatures.

It’s funny really, I’m not usually so in love with winter. Maybe I’m liking it so much because he does too…

To Meat or Not To Meat.

Once upon a time, I was, like most people and the rest of my family, an omnivore. As of the day I’m writing this, I have been a vegetarian for 3 years, 6 months, and 20 days. But who’s counting. (I used a website to figure that out btw.) When I decided to become a vegetarian, it was a cold, rainy night in Valparaiso, Indiana. My family and I went out to dinner, and I decided to get a steak at a semi-sketchy restaurant. Which was mistake number one. I was casually eating said steak when I cut into a piece and saw a vein that was literally as thick as a pencil. It was very gnarly and as a 15 year old, it was quite traumatizing. In that very moment, I thought to myself “nope. Never again, Anissa.” And, henceforth, I have not eaten meat.

A lot of people told me that it would be difficult to be a vegetarian in the dining halls and that I would probably start eating meat again. Honestly, I think they were just trying to scare me. Although, okay, I must admit, I’m a pescetarian. Which really just means that I eat seafood too. I do happen to be very picky about my seafood, and the idea of mass-produced dining hall seafood is pretty much the opposite of appealing. I just say I’m a vegetarian because I never feel like explaining myself. More often than not, I pick the vegetarian option anyway. Eventually I’ll probably just be a vegetarian, but for right now, while other people cook for me, I’ll concede with occasional seafood.

And really, there are tons of vegetarian options. I can’t tell you how much tofu I’ve consumed here. Which is definitely not a bad thing. A girl’s gotta get her protein somehow. Plus, if you’ve already committed to not eating burgers, it’s not going to be too hard not to have them. Especially since you don’t have to cook anything. Just pick from the many choices that your dining hall most definitely has. For example, for lunch I usually have a salad of some sort with tons of different veggies, balsamic vinegar, and spices, and if I feel like I need some protein, I’ll toss a bit of salmon in there, too. Tofu and beans are also always an option for a protein boost if I don’t want seafood.

I’m sure there are cons to not eating meat. But I really haven’t run into many. Maybe 1 time out of 10 there isn’t something that I really want to eat at a restaurant. Those instances are few and far between though.

Not that I’m trying to push the vegetarian/pescetarian “agenda” but it’s much easier to be healthy when a lot of the greasy stuff isn’t an option. Besides pizza. You can never go wrong with a slice of cheese pizza, honestly. And animals! Have you ever seen a baby pig or a baby cow? If not, you’re missing out. They don’t want to be eaten! Granted, fish probably don’t want to be eaten either, but I’m working on that.

So try vegetarianism or pescetarianism for a week. Or maybe two. Or maybe forever. At any rate as Sir Paul McCartney once said “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”