Michelle's Musings

Thu
21
May
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Masks

Now that businesses are starting to open back up in areas of the state, I want to ask you all to wear a mask in public.

I have been wearing a mask in public, for the most part, since March 18, the day I flew back from Colorado. No one was wearing a mask then. People looked at me strange and laughed at me, but I didn’t care. I was getting on a packed airplane for over three hours with strangers, some of whom were coughing and sneezing.

I see wearing a mask as a safety precaution. Not much different than wearing a condom to prevent HIV/AIDS. Before anyone has a hissy fit about my comparison, think about it. Most of you would not have sex with a stranger and not use a condom, so why would you want to have an unprotected respiratory exchange with someone who may be carrying the disease and not know.

Fri
08
May
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Protest

I have opted to only show photos with factual information on pages 8-9 and write about the stay at home protest, deemed the “Wisconsin Freedom Rally,” in my column because I know that I cannot be objective and not insert my opinion in a news story on this matter. Instead I have decided to just tell everyone what I saw and how it felt. As a woman. As an American. As some who values science and medicine. As someone who is logical (mostly). As someone who has empathy. As a journalist. As someone who risked exposure to COVID-19.

I was apprehensive about going to cover this protest at the state capitol because I has been social distancing and believe what health officials are telling us about the virus. I wear a mask in public and take precautions to prevent spreading coronavirus. I know that we are all at risk of catching the virus and that now it is thought the vast majority of people are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

Wed
15
Apr
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Red Coat & Army Jacket

Red Coat & Army Jacket

I feel, for the most part, I am a pretty observant person. I notice my environment and I am always assessing everything around me. I see the faces of the homeless, I compliment people on their clothes and generally am able to describe the setting I’m in at a later date.

Lately one of the things I have been watching every day is my neighbors conducting a sword fight with what looks like metal vacuum cleaner tubes. They play out these makeshift swordfights daily, and their back yard is directly adjacent to ours. 

I first saw the pair, who look for be mid-teens, when I was standing over the sink washing dishes about two-and-a-half weeks ago. It seems I have been in that very spot a lot lately, what with the constant cooking going on during the pandemic. I have named them “Red Coat” and “Army Jacket” for their preferred attire during these bouts. 

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.

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