I’m a pretty lucky kid. I have a sister who kicks ass, but I was also born into a crazy, huge mess of a family. I think sometimes there are special people in your life that you know are going to stick by you no matter what and the best part for me is, we’re both best friends and family .. so I mean, I guess they’re kinda stuck with me. Today is my cousin Lynn’s birthday and I just wanted to take the time to write about how awesome she is. If you don’t know her, you’re really missing out because she’s definitely one super special person.
It started out, well.. that we were cousins, duh. But we both have sisters and they are really close in age, so they would walk to school together, leaving little old me in the dust. Instead of me feeling like the baby of the group (which I am anyway) Lynn and I would walk to school together every morning .. and boy did I feel cool. She would always let me cross in the middle of the block instead of waiting to get to the crossing guard – super ultra badass for a kindergartner.
As we grew up, Lynn has always been there for me and made sure I was included with all of the older kids even though I was probably the pesky little cousin. She let me come to her 16th birthday and play flour power, watch scary movies but my all time favorite was watching Vegas Vacation on repeat. I eventually got old and moved away to college, which sometimes seems like you live in your own little bubble.. but it didn’t matter, she still came to visit me (even in WAUKESHA!)
After graduation, I contemplated moving away but there’s always been this thing in Milwaukee I didn’t want to get away from.. my family. I know they’d love me no matter what, but the truth of it is, I love being around them. Until I was older, I never realized that not everyone in the world sees their family 3-4 times a week and that it wasn’t common practice to just stop in at your aunt’s house and be invited to stay for dinner or to chat for hours in the kitchen. I don’t really care what anyone thinks about me being a “homebody” or how lame it is that I moved back to my comfort zone when I graduated college because these people love me and always will.
So here’s to you Lynnie. You’ve always been one of the most compassionate, sweetest, lovable people I know and you always will be my best friend. Love you!
You know what I’m really bad at? Waiting for other people. I hate it. If I could be Atlas and put the weight of the world on my shoulders, I would do it. Alas, there are so many things that I can’t do or don’t know how and I need to rely on others to help carry some of that weight sometimes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no martyr and I definitely don’t know it all, but sometimes I wish I did. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day to do all of the things that run through my crazy little brain constantly.
Travel. Volunteer. Work. Start a business. Get in shape. Bake more. Cook more. An endless list of things on my “to-do” radar. Seriously, an endless list. I have calendar upon calendar, post it notes in every sweater, jean, legging, purse.. pretty much anywhere a small piece of paper can be stuck — you’ll find one. Doing laundry is a real hassle when you constantly have reminder notes in your pockets and allergies which results in 1000 tissues up your sleeve like an old woman. Anyway, as usual, here I am getting side tracked.
I’ve decided to enact a few new initiatives in my life to try to somehow on Earth get all of these things finished.
1. Wake up earlier. This. will. be. the. death. of. me. Hardest task on my list for sure. No joke. I value my sleep like none other. However, I could get so many more things accomplished before work, which would result in a much easier and less hectic life for me.
2. Waking up earlier means spending more quality time with the love of my life… Weiner dog. Seriously, love this little guy. If it ever gets nice out again, although it seems to be eternal winter (snow.. in April!?) we are going to start going for walks. I can be a morning person.. I hope.
3. Volunteer at least once a week. I’ve become a caring companion volunteer for a hospice center, and this is really close to my heart and I’m working really hard to pay forward all of the support people gave me when I was going through rough times, but honestly, I’ll never be able to repay all of the things people have done for me.
4. Make coffee drinks at home every morning. I know, I know.. You’re probably like whaaa? this girl be crazy and what does this have to do with anything. Well, lemme tell ya. If I have to get up earlier, I might as well start my day off right and instead of spending $4.00 a day on mochas, I’ll learn how to make them at home. Chocolate and espresso.. yes, please!
5. Don’t skip any opportunities to spend time with the people I love. I do this one as best as I can already, but I just want to make sure it’s on my list to keep it up.. forever. Friends and family are the bread and butter that keep me going, so I want to make sure that I cherish them as much as I can and have no regrets about wishing I spent more time with them.
Ugh, so sappy.. I know. I vommed a little in my mouth reading my own post. Where the shit is the sentimental-ness coming from.. Anywho, here I go again on my own.. going down the only road I’ve ever known.. oh wait, that’s Whitesnake lyrics. How did those sneak into this post? I definitely should’ve been around in the 80s.
So pretty much everybody I’ve ever met takes some sort of pride in where they are from. Unless they are from Cudahy, then I discount their opinion immediately. I digress. There are nostalgic qualities about everyone’s hometown that take you back to that place in an instant. Whether it’s seeing a kid fall off of their bike and remembering that time you told your dad not to let go and he did, resulting in a tumble through a thorn-bush or seeing high schoolers smoking cigarettes like gangbusters behind a 7/11 and thinking about how you used to be those kids, badasses (obviously). As you get older and these funny things just become passing moments in time that bring a smile to your face, you grow up and sometimes realize life isn’t as cool as it was back then.. unless you’re me.
After college, and 4 years of living in a weird, uptight community better known as Wauke$ha, I decided to move back to my hometown. I was really nervous at first, thinking I would feel like a kid again and instead of just having those fleeting moments, I would feel like I was right back in that place and regret not doing bigger things in my life.. and all I have to say now is, that was stupid.
Having grown up in Bay View, I never would have guessed that one day, it would be the trendy place to live. Knowing your neighbors, having polite conversations with strangers and hanging out at all the local shops and restaurants are all things that I thought happened in everyone’s neighborhoods. After being gone for 4 years and moving back (let’s be honest, I never REALLY left), I realized why this town is so special. It’s the people – a community that can barely be matched by any other.
So to keep in true Nickie fashion, here is a list of why my hometown is better than yours:
1. On any given night of the week, there is live band playing somewhere within 5 blocks of your house. Whether it be alternative, rockabilly, funk or soul bands — there is always some to go see.
2. New, local restaurants open all the time. Now, I know everyone loooooves Applebee’s but seriously, try somewhere local — it will change your life. Whether it’s brunch at The Palomino, appetizers at Odd Duck, a pulled pork sandwich from Honeypie or homemade chips and bleu cheese from LuLu’s, if you just try it, I swear you’ll never want to eat at a chain restaurant again.
3. All summer long you have something to do on Tuesday nights and Friday nights.
Chill on the Hill is the best, because you can pack up a picnic and go hang out in the park for a few hours, pet some stranger’s dogs, drink beer – it’s all around awesome.
Fish Fry & A Flick is obviously cool as fuck — mostly because they show adult movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Lion King, but I would much rather see Zoolander, Pulp Fiction and my all time favorite Dark Side of Oz (if you don’t know what that means, google it. immediately. like yesterday.)
4. There are various murals and mostly importantly, Pabst Blue Ribbon murals scattered about the neighborhood. I really don’t need to say much about this one, except who doesn’t want to see pink elephants drunk on the side of a building.
5. Our community takes every chance it can to hold festivals, block parties and other various awesome get-togethers. Bay View Bash, Sausage Fest, The Water Frolic Parade (not the actual water frolics, fuck that) and many more. The best part about each of these, is that they do it in true, snarky, jackass style.
6. Well, my family is from here – so that automatically makes it awesome. If you follow my blog, you either already think I’m cool or probably resent me, but real life.. you’re still reading it so you definitely secretly love me. And if you think I’m funny (I can have dreams too you know), you’ve never met my family. You know how everyone says that, well.. I really mean it. They are some of the most down-to-earth awesome people you’ll ever come across and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.. orrrrr it’d have to be something comparable to a pink, sparkly t-rex wearing a bowtie laying in a field of money trees.
It’s like my town is the smartass, underdog who was always cool but just needed a little love and now it’s a growing community with some really rad, game-changer type of people living here. I can’t wait to see what happens next.