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Some End of the Year Thoughts

by on December 25th, 2015

2015 was a sort of crappy year for me.  Some of you know I lost a job that I loved for a nonprofit that I served for a while, and I decided to take a little bit of time off to gather my head.  I took a great opportunity, a bump in responsibility and title, and that went off the rails.  But, over all, I feel a lot better on this Christmas morning.  I thought I would hit up a list of some of my favorite things, places, and people this year.

In no particular order.

  • Keene Winters. This is an obvious front of mind choice, but if you have been paying attention to the City Council for the past couple of years, you know that Keene is dancing to a new drumbeat.  Look, I am not sure if his ideas are valid or good, or sometimes even legal, but I know that he clearly is willing to try something new.  The status quo has changed and it is fun to watch people struggle with this agent of change.
    • The subcategory in this regard, is the exciting way that the Wausau Daily Herald has decided to take the gloves off with the Tipple Administration. For a while Tipple got a lot of “He is a good guy trying his best” slack, but that seems to be over and they are more than willing to be critical of this highly ineffectual (who thought I would say feckless) Mayor.
  • The Wausau Daily Herald. If you paid attention, the local daily newspaper went through a massive change in 2015 when its parent company Gannett went through a massive change.  I think the changes have been great.  The piece on Athens football was amazing.  The work being done over a long period of time by Keith Uhlig on this soldier is really cool.  Sure, the loss of the local editorial board is hard to swallow, but the world changes and we just have to accept it.  I am stoked on the stuff that they are doing.
  • Athletic Park. Holy crap when did this happen?  I did not have any idea that it was going to be like that.  It is so much better now than it has ever been.
  • The Glass Hat. I think if you enter a bar, and there are bicycles inside the bar, and locked to a bike rack outside the bar, you are doing something right.
  • Cool non Public figures. I am not sure how to do this, but there are some cool people deserving a shout out.
    • Laura Scudiere. I was on the board at Bridge Clinic for 6 years, and my time ended in 2015.  I had never seen someone manage, improve, and stay true to a vision like Laura did.  She is leaving Bridge and going to do something else amazing, on a bigger scale.  Making the world a better place.
    • Young Candidates. There are young people running for local and state office all over central Wisconsin in both parties, and I think that is amazing.  I am partial to Katie Rosenberg, because of her commitment to the library, but there are others.
    • The Chef at Thrive Foodery. I had a negative experience there on my birthday last week, and the Chef was super responsive and replied to my email in a cool way.  If you just opened a restaurant, and it is the holidays, I imagine you are busy.  Taking the time to respond was a cool move.
    • Randy at Evolutions. I took my niece there for the first time a few days ago.  She is 6.  I have known Randy for about 100 years, since they first opened actually.  He stopped what he was doing, gave me a big old friend hug, and then spent time talking to my niece in a way that made her feel like the most important person in the world.  Randy is the coolest.
    • Mark Craig. My friend Mark has had a rough couple of years, but he has never waivered in his positivity and commitment.  I am so proud to call him my friend.
  • The Marathon County Public Library. I believe reading is a revolutionary act.  I believe that librarians are the tip of the spear in the war to save America.  More than that, SPOT, the guy who produced the Black Flag records came to the library and did a public event.  HE MADE THE BLACK FLAG RECORDS and was in Wausau.
  • Central Board Shop. Another niece related entry.  I bought her he first skateboard of her life (she is 5), and took her to the shop to get it set up properly.  Teen boys are not the most shall we say, appropriate things for 5-year-old girls.  Lots of stupid acting out.  But, the owner was super cool to my niece, and ALL the guys in the shop were amazingly respectful of the little kid in the room.  I was thrilled.  So was she.
  • Pepper Tuna at Shanghai Grille in Weston. My friend Jim Carlson got me addicted.
  • Going back to the Dentist. I had a root canal over the last couple of weeks.  It had been 15 years since I was at the dentist as I am deathly afraid.  I went to Dr. Nick Bretl at the Weston Family Dental Clinic, and it was a positive experience.  Dentists are not bad.
  • The Weston Dog Park. Being unemployed, with a whippet mix for a dog, I needed a place and I found it in our 40-acre park.  I am there EVERY day, most days twice.  It is my social life.

So it has been a great year.  Sure, there have been amazing bungles, whether it be our Rep. Dave Heaton blowing press releases, or Thomas Street coming in a lot over budget, or Hadley Office Supplies closing up shop (Mark and Deb, thank you for a literal lifetime of friendship and support, they knew my folks BEFORE I was born I have been told), or the strange brilliance of J Gumbos…. Central Wisconsin is a fascinating place to watch.  I am excited to see what it brings my way next.

Hope you are well.

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