Michelle's Musings

Thu
09
Apr
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Essential Meeting?

Several citizens, none of whom wanted to publicly be named in the paper, have contacted me in the past week concerning the decision of the Plan Commission to hold a public hearing to discuss future projects at the Middleton Airport/Morey Field. 

Since no one wanted to have their name printed in the paper, I have decided it is best to address these concerns and the process I have been going through to get information on the topic.

First, let me say, I think it is odd for a board or a commission to hold a public hearing for something that is not under deadline or time sensitive. This was my thought when I saw the plan commission scheduling public hearings at their meeting last week as if nothing in our world had changed. 

I first received an email on the matter by a resident who questioned all of the hearings, but specifically that for the airport improvements. Then the next day I received a phone call about the matter, and finally another email. 

Fri
03
Apr
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2020

Oh, 2020, I had such high hopes for you. A new decade. A leap year. A census year. A Presidential Election.

But then Australia caught on fire. I am not especially spiritual, but it did seem like some foreboding sign that 2020 may not be all I had hoped it would be. The constant barrage of photos of crying koala bears, forest aflame and rescue efforts filled my social media feeds. 

Then in late February we really started hearing about the COVID-19 outbreak, in my opinion, when the federal government could no longer keep it from us. 

Wed
25
Mar
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Meltdown

I didn’t really want to go to Colorado when I left on March 11, but I had to go out and take care of some things at our house near the Royal Gorge.

When I got to the airport the lot was super full, and I had a hard time finding a place to park. 

I was incredibly apprehensive flying out, and took as many precautions as possible. I had a mask, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in my bag. Like some deranged germaphobe, I put on the mask and wiped down all of the plastic surfaces in my area as well as the seat belt.

Washing my hands for 20 seconds at a time was not a problem because of my paranoia about getting COVID-19. I stood at the sink in the restroom at Dane County Regional Airport, silently judging those that barely got five seconds into their handwashing before heading for the hand drier.

Fri
13
Mar
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Ethics Complaint

Several people have asked me why we did not report the name of the city employee involved in a recent ethics complaint. I have also gotten the question of why we did not release information from the complaint. Since I have fielded so many calls and emails about the coverage in the Middleton Review, I decided to address it here. 

First, I want to say that we have known about the complaint since it was filed on Dec. 20, 2019. In addition, we have had a copy of the complaint since that time, and we knew the name of the employee accused of the violation. Why didn’t we write about those things, you ask? It’s quite simple; an attorney advised against it.

Because this is considered an employee disciplinary measure, the attorney told me that we could be sued for publicly naming the employee. In addition, the document was leaked to me and the person who leaked it refused to be used as a source in a story.

Sat
07
Mar
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Sick? Stay Home

Every time someone near me coughs, I give them the side eye and slowly back away because of the possibility that they have Coronavirus.

I should put a disclaimer on that statement–I back away from anyone who is coughing and hacking because I don’t know where you have been, who you have seen or what you might be carrying with you. It’s not just Coronavirus that I am trying to avoid, but all sicknesses.

I sell vintage jewelry on eBay as a hobby, mostly to fund my own jewelry addiction, so I frequent a lot of antique stores, thrift stores and secondhand shops. Last week the woman behind the counter at one of the shops  was about to cough a lung up as I reluctantly handed her my debt card to ring up my purchases. I watched as she coughed for what seemed like 10 minutes into her hand while my card was in the machine. She pulled it out, smiled at me and asked, “Do you need a receipt?”

“No,” I thought, “But I need some soap and water.”

Mon
03
Feb
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Bifocals

I feel like I have been pretty much rolling with the changes of getting older. Of course, sometimes I lament about the lines that continue to deepen on my face, or maybe I express my discontent in my neck resembling a turkey snood. A gray hair here and there is not so bad and easy enough to remove. For the most part I have accepted, even embraced, those things, but this latest rite of passage into old age is most disturbing–bifocals.

Fri
24
Jan
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Fais Do-Do

I went to a two day fais do-do (pronounced fay doh-doh) last weekend. What is a fais do-do, you ask? It means party in Cajun, and I have to say, the Cajuns really know how to throw a fais do-do. 

The party was in honor of my husband’s class reunion, along with a couple of other years, which they had dubbed the “Mega Reunion.” The school he went to is called Midland High School and it serves several small communities deep in the Louisiana bayou. 

The party began on Friday night with a trip to the basketball Homecoming game. One of his schoolmates has a party bus and a small group of folks gathered to take the bus a short distance to the school. 

In my younger years I would work on a party bus as a bartender from time to time when my boss would rent a big tour bus to take on casino trips. It was luxurious and new with cushy seats, air conditioning and a fold down counter that we would use to make drinks.

Fri
03
Jan
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New Year's

The holiday season has always been one of my favorite times of year for three reasons–generosity, happiness and revelry. What’s not to like about two months of eating, drinking, family, presents and kindness. It starts with a feast on Thanksgiving and culminates with a giant party to say goodbye to the old, and hello to the new. It is the season of beginnings and endings.

I remember the first time I begged to stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop. I was nine at the time and convinced my grandma to let me invite my two best friends, Dawn and Bertha to come and celebrate the new year. 

It is the first New Year’s Eve party I would throw. I made sure that we were stocked up on snacks–cheese and crackers, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies that I made earlier in the day, and of course a can of red Hi-C that I poured into a decanter to serve in some tiny wine glasses I had found at a garage sale with my Aunt Shirley. 

Thu
26
Dec
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Voter Suppression

Voter suppression can take on many forms.

Last week in a story about Max Prestigiacomo running for Madison City Council, voter suppression came up because of Wisconsin voter ID laws, which make it difficult for students to cast votes. That is because many students retain the ID or driver’s license in their hometown when they go to school out of state, and Wisconsin requires that you have a Wisconsin ID.

The district Max is running in is mostly students at UW-Madison. This has contributed to lower student voter turnout in the past. And one of the things that he said he would like to see is voting rights for anyone in the City of Madison over 18.

Just days after I wrote the story about Max, a judge in Port Washington also did his best to suppress voting. The circuit court judge, Paul Malloy ordered that more than 230,000 voters be removed from the state’s registered voter list, according a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Fri
13
Dec
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Wish Book

We would lie on the green, high-low, shag carpet and pore over the JC Penney Christmas Wish Book, my cousin, Angie, and I, not a care in the world, scheming what to ask for from Santa. I can still remember the prickly feel of the synthetic fibers on my elbows as we propped ourselves in front of the cozy, wood-burning stove. 

We had a system down, I, being older, came up with the plan to more efficiently express our need for items in the inch-and-a-half thick book. The smell of ink from its freshly printed pages emanating from the catalog. 

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