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Give(rs) and take(rs)


Once upon a time, a little girl was informed that relationships are give and take.  She was also told that there was a prince, white horse and castle on the horizon.  Just like all other "once upon a times", this relationship was just a fairy tale, which rarely, if ever, come true.
Givers are few and far between.  We are instructed that it is better to give than receive, yet the writer of that fable was, and probably will always be, an imaginary enemy.  
It feels wonderful to help others IN NEED.  Yet, when it comes to helping others NOT in need, it eventually causes us to become disgruntled and feeling used.
Givers are genuine, kind and compassionate.  Some have the financial means to assist others in their time of need.  Others give their time and talents to ensure others are gaining in the wealth of independence.  Whatever the cause, a giver will always do what it takes to ensure the well being of others.
Takers are very similar to givers.  They receive joy out of taking, not just little, but much.    It is second hand nature to put their hand out for little or nothing.  They have absolutely no qualms about doing so; it is just the way it is.
Taking is a learned behavior.  It is instilled by individuals who are raising a society of self-indulgent children.  When parents fail to say no, set boundaries and limit gifts, there will eventually be hell to pay.
Ever notice a 2 year old throwing a fit in a store?  What is the reaction of some parents?  I would say that 50% will stop the tantrum with discipline and the other half will attempt to bribe the child with a toy, candy bar or item of their choice to prevent the behavior from continuing.  This child is groomed at a very young age that there is a payoff for every outburst and scream.  These children become takers and will do whatever it takes to torture their parents into a “yes”.  
With that said, how would one know if he or she is a genuine giver or a genuine taker?  
Givers receive joy from assisting others.  They volunteer, listen and give of themselves regarding financial, mental or emotional.  They are do-gooders and feel completely comfortable doing so.  Givers have pride, the kind of pride that avoids them falling into the “woe is me” trap.  They feel uncomfortable asking for favors, assistance or freebies.  Most would rather fix it themselves or pay a contractor rather than pick up the phone to ask a friend or family member for help.  If and when they do ask for a favor, they are a-ok with hearing the word “no” because they understand that other’s lives are just as busy.  
Takers are similar yet opposite as well.  They are pleasant, kind and wonderful.  They befriend as many as individuals as possible “just in case”.  They listen, embrace and do whatever it takes to get in your good graces.  Once in, it’s an open door policy to your time, talents and money.  
Takers, on the other hand, will not take no for an answer.  They don’t understand when you don’t have time, energy or money.  The concept of you having a job, school, family or surgery is insufficient compared to the fact they need a ride, loan or bail-out.    They will jump from family member to friend knowing they will eventually receive a final answer of “yes”.  They will beg, plead and use grandchildren against their own parents.  They will pit mother against daughter, father against son and spread rumors like wildfire. 
If you are a giver, and want to figure out how to spot a taker, learn how to say the word NO (with authority).  If the response of the taker is, “Why not, just one more time, come on, you’ve said yes before”, you know that you’ve hit the jackpot.  The minute a giver says no to a taker or sets a boundary, chances are the taker will eventually move onto their next victim and forgo your relationship altogether.
Relationships should never include more than honesty, listening, embracing, time and love.  Each person should be completely independent from one another regarding finances, housing, vehicle use and cell phones.  There should never be an imbalance of one doing for another.  As an example, if your friend needs a ride, feel free to give her one.  If you call her up for one in the future and she says no, not just once, but over a period of time, you have scored yet another taker.   Take heed, learn from it and proceed with caution.
That said, pay attention to your friends and family members.  Surround yourself with others who are givers and you will never be alone.  They will prove themselves to be at your side in your time of need.  And that, my friend, is the greatest gift of all. 

Back To The Dirt

garden, outdoor activity, yard, fun

Gardening of all types is a life-long passion of mine.  In my past I was a Master Gardener with the UW Extension office, have done extensive landscaping projects of my own, plus I draw an occasional landscape plan, and give tons of free advice.

Ever since I was a little girl helping my dad while we weeded and planted flowers and veggies, I’ve loved to get out there and play in the dirt.  Recently I lived in a condo for a few years where I had very small flower beds to play around in, and I’ve really been missing having a yard.  I’ve felt so disconnected from it during the time I was living in my condo.  So… I just purchased a home here and am so excited to have a yard again! 

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Paradise Theater building in West Allis back on sale block

West Allis, Retail

The Paradise Theater building, in West Allis, is being listed for sale--just months after it was sold to an investment group led by the wife of the former owner of a Wauwatosa cinema.

The building, at 6217-6301 W. Greenfield Ave., was sold in June to Paradise LLC, according to documents filed with the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds.

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We're still here!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know it has been a while since we posted a new blog, but we are back and roaring to go! Thanks for reading!
Occasionally one of our community theater people "makes it big" and branches out into the paying sector of performing. Ruth Caves, one of our board members, recently had lightning strike her in just such a way.
She was chosen to become one of the actor/ models represented by a Minnesota  agency working in Wisconsin.

This will hopefully open up opportunities for commercial and print exposure as well as a chance to appear in an upcoming TV pilot dealing with "extreme vacations"!
Not one to burn her bridges before she crosses them Ruth will continue to pursue acting / crewing opportunities in local theater groups, just to give her something to do in her "spare time. Thank goodness, because I am directing West Allis' Players spring show, "On Golden Pond" as well as our summer musical, "The King and I" and she has already agreed to be my stage manager. Congrats on your signing with the agency, but we hope you do not leave us too soon!
By the way, I am quite delighted to announce that my partner in this blog, Steve Makovec, will be my Assistant Director for The King and I. We hope you plan on visiting Siam, circa 1862 this summer! 

To My "On The South Side" Readers

garden, So. Milwaukee, St. Francis, Oak Creek, Cudahy

To the readers of my "On the South Side" blog - I haven't disappeared, I'm just moving to the Greenfield and West Allis NOW websites and changing my topic to gardening.  It has been a pleasure writing my blog for you these past four years!  I hope I have helped you all find fun things to do.  Now it's on to my next project - creating a beautiful yard.


Thanks and Happy reading!

To Whom This May Concern,

     According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 information posted on, the state of Wisconsin was granted $141,056,206 to be spent on 297 projects within seven congressional districts. Continually focus is on influencing areas of the budget, which will encourage partnerships / building alliances with people and resource centers to increase jobs in our state. Given the large price tags per district listed below, how will the balance of these funds be allocated and to what projects? Thus far, how have these funds been dispersed? Who has been overseeing them to make sure they are being used for the purposes intended? 

ARRA Project Funding by Congressional District

District # of Projects Investment Rank*
2nd 199 $96,564,110
$736,423 259
4th 23 $10,524,985 129
5th 67 $32,636,372
6th 2
$220,432 306
7th 2
$343,060 296
8th 1
$30,824 336
State Total 297 $141,056,206 17

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Thank You American Veterans!

Last week my husband and I had the honor to volunteer with the DC ground crew to welcome and thank the Wisconsin WWII veterans who flew to Washington to see the WWII Memorial, Iwo Jima, Arlington Cemetery and other monuments and memorials. This was an incredible experience for us.
These brave men and women, now well in their  80s and even into their 90s, are brought to DC courtesy of The Stars and Stripes Honor Flights, a Milwaukee-based contingent of this nationwide group. The veterans travel to DC free of charge on a one-day touring odyssey. They are accompanied by a guardian -- either a family member or friend or another volunteer -- someone at least one generation younger, who pays $500 to cover costs. The Stars and Stripes charters a Delta plane and provides wheelchairs and physical assistance to those who need it on this day.
Our "job" was to wave American flags and give words of thanks and welcome to these heroes. You have no idea how thrilled these vets are to get such a warm reception. We also had a group of high school cheerleaders from a Virginia school to provide rousing encouragements, as well as local firefighters to help with the physical challenges some vets had as they deplaned.
These men (there was only one woman that we saw) were so cute. They happily accepted hugs from the cheerleaders and many stopped the line to pose for photos with these girls. It was really windy on the tarmac and I asked one veteran how he was going to keep warm. He said "Like this" and gave me a warm hug. On their flight home, each vet hears "Mail Call" and receives a packet of letters, cards, etc., from family, friends and local dignitaries. Mitchell Airport was also filled with welcoming family and even strangers who stopped to cheer them on.
I am the daughter, daughter-in-law and wife of a military veteran and basically got involved with this group to honor my dad, who did not live long enough to see the WWII Memorial completed. I hope many others reading this will be so moved. Stars and Stripes depends on donations as no one connected with the group gets paid in any way. If you would like information on this group -- signing up a WWII veteran to make the trip, to volunteer -- or to make a financial contribution, visit
And don't forget to thank every veteran you see for what we have today -- our lives and our freedom.  

Late Season Golf Discounts

Beginning Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 all golfers pay the following rates every day of the week:

Brown Deer  9 Holes - $13.00              18 Holes - $25.00

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Balloon Theory...

Within my circle of friends, many are at the age of retirement.  I have been to a few parties as a way of saying, “Thanks for being there for me, hope I was there for you”.

Upon entering an office recently, I found a “Congrats” balloon in the corner.  It had been in the party room of a recent retiree and had been overlooked.  Someone asked if I wanted it, and I said, “Sure, I’ll put it up by my desk”.  Little did I know the impact one balloon would make.

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High Speed Rail

 I'd appreciate some feedback/discussion on the pros/cons of High Speed Rail.  Would it be good for our area?  Why/Why Not?  Do you think there would be enough people using it?  Do you think it will provide for more jobs over the long term?    I don't know if there are "hard facts" on what percentage of the population would use this train system.  I tend to think that the funds, if we are allowed to keep them, could be put to better use and still produce jobs.   Thanks.

Thanksgiving Holiday Results in Altered Refuse and Recycling Collection

refuse collection, recycling collection, holidays

*Our offices are closed and there will be no refuse or recycling collection on Thursday, November 25, and Friday, November 26.

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A Day to Honor Veterans of All Wars

Sullivan, Veterans Day, Madison Veterans Council, Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard, Pledge of Allegiance, Star Spangled Banner, Armistice Day, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, President Woodrow Wilson

Sacrifice, dedication, integrity—these are values that were on proud display this morning in the Capitol Rotunda, as part of the annual Veterans Day program presented by the Madison Veterans Council.

The hundreds of us who were in attendance had the honor of witnessing the presentation of our nation’s colors led by the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard, and joining proudly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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3rd place is really 2nd, if you don't acknowledge 1st

D-Day finally approached on Sunday, November 14th.  After obsessing for five weeks, it was finally time to put my chili - which I really did name "(Sponsor's Name Here)'s Non-Internet Chili" - to the test in the Taylor & Dunn's 3rd Annual Cool Beans Chili Cook-off.

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A Fall Favorite - Ornamental Kale

garden, yard, Fall, annual

As Fall brings freezing temps at night, annuals have all but disappeared, but that doesn't mean that your garden has to stop showing off.  There are some cold temperature hardy plants that provide beautiful color and interesting shapes during this season.  Ornamental kale is one of my favorites. 

With a heart of pinks, purples, and whites surrounded by curley leaves, ornamental kale is just getting started.  It will survive these frosty nights just fine and looks great next to your mums and fall asters.

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A Taste of Hawaii.....

If you have ever been to Hawaii and have had some of their traditional dishes you know that here on the "Mainland" it has been difficult to obtain some of those tasty morsels.
Well I say not anymore!!!. I found Ono Kine Grindz in Wauwatosa.  A charming Hawaiian grocery and deli on North Avenue in Wauwatosa brings to Wisconsin some of the best products the Aloha State has to offer.
The store’s name is an example of Pidgin , Hawaii’s common language: “Ono” means “tasty” or “delicious.” “Da Kine” is the keystone of Pidgin ,it can mean anything the listener will understand what is meant from the context of the sentence. “Grindz” is another word for good food. And Ono Kine Grindz definitely lives up to its name.

The Ono Kine Grindz shelves are stocked with wonderful Kona coffees, tea sugars , rice , Hawaiian salt , and some wonderful crackers, Saloon Pilot Crackers one of my favorites.The coolers are filled with manapua  (steamed bun filled with pork), Portuguese sausages  (which is wonderful with rice and eggs for breakfast ), Kalua pig (s
hredded roasted pork), Laulau (beef, pork and fish wrapped in a taro leaf) and of course POI a staple of Hawaii.
So if you are like me and need a little taste of Hawaii -- especially as we head into another Wisconsin winter -- you need to check out Ono Kine Grindz.The store is located at 7215 W. North Avenue. Aloha!!!


Gift-more Holidays

What would your children do if there were no gifts under the tree this year?  Who would feel worse, you or them?  Would anyone cry, rebel or retreat to their rooms to sleep off the depression and shock?  Would there be a protest of sorts, children holding signs, marching in a circle, “Santa does not live here”?   How guilty would you feel if you could not afford a single present this year?

With the holidays fast approaching, Black Friday right around the corner, what’s a parent to do?  The same thing as the year prior or grow some and set a limit regarding gifts?  

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Making Miracles

Children's Miracle Network, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Disney, Speedway, Thanksgiving, miracles

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Disney World. It wasn't necessarily a trip we would have selected for ourselves - we don't particularly enjoy crowds, buses, flying on airplanes, screaming children, or $15 hamburgers. But we wanted the experience of having seen what all the Disney fuss was about.

The perfect opportunity arose this year, courtesy of Children's Miracle Network. Hubby works for Speedway and the company has raised millions of dollars for the charity over the years. My husband's store raised so much themselves that he won a trip for two to Disney to celebrate with Children's Miracle Network and other corporate sponsors. This little charity that began with Marie Osmond and John Schneider (yep, Bo Duke) has grown into a network of support for 170 hospitals around the U.S. and the world. In the past 27 years, they have raised nearly $4 billion dollars for the network hospitals to provide life changing care for children.

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Christmas Past and Present

 I understand that all the sales and stores open on Thanksgiving Day and/or opening really early or really late may be a great opportunity for people to find great bargains.  If you enjoy it, the more power to you.  I do not.  I'd rather hit the sales after Christmas (a few days after).  To me, the stress of dealing with crowds and some not so nice shoppers defeats the purpose of finding a deal.  I shop for gifts all year round.  My husband and I have lived simply and frugally for quite a few years now and it helps keep the stress level down.  We give homemade gifts, meaningful gifts and our time to friends and family.  And, that's not saying we feel everyone should do as we do.  Each and everyone one of us deals with the holidays in their own way.  Hopefully, each of us, individually, can make the holiday time special for ourselves as well as those around us.

Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day for me and my family (in the old days) meant going by grandma and grandpa's house for a great German feast.  The children sat at the "kid's table" in the kitchen and the adults sat in the dining room at the "adult table".  As the number of grandchildren grew, so did the size of the tables.  After the big meal, the women cleaned off the dining room table and met in the kitchen to wash and dry the dishes (there were no "fancy" dishwashers back then).   When that was done, most of the adults would again sit down at the dining room table to play sheepshead.  By that time, the younger kids were ready for naps.  The older kids either went outside to play or played a board game.  

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Frosty Fable at the Domes

annual, arts, community, events, fun, garden, holiday, music, parks

Experience the Mitchell Horticultural Conservatory under a holiday transformation, replete with hundreds of glistening crimson poinsettias and a beautifully decorated tree. Relish five concerts in December as part of the “Music Under Glass” winter series.

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Very slow moving Lightning Round

If we get a snowstorm tomorrow, people will complain that it would be too early in the season for it.  But really, December 1st is a prime day for snow.

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