Happy 2020!
It feels like January 73rd, doesn’t it? January was a tough month – the holidays are over, winter is here, it’s still dark, and I attended the funerals of two people who died too young. I hope February is brighter. But until then, here are the photos from January… 90% Sadie, as per usual.

New Years Day with Sadie – she’s the sweetest part of all my years.
Sunshine on January 1
A beautiful sunrise and my obsession with Baby Yoda continues!
Legal beagle happy hour.
Paislee; and Sadie being extra snuggly when I was sad because dogs are perfect and they know
Working on some winter Saturdays
Annual trip to the Dells for the NAELA conference
Two days of all things elder law and special needs… and ice cream!
Always a sad day when the Christmas tree comes down.
I had a good hair day.
The most beautiful snowfall… winter can occasionally be wonderful ;-)
Went to see some friends perform at Oshkosh on Broadway
I made funfetti cupcakes and wore my sweater that reminds me of funfetti. I’m cool.
Happy hour with Cindy! And that eyelash filter on Instagram is making me want false eyelashes!!
My sweet dad got me some stamps featuring two things I love: dinosaurs and Ellsworth Kelly; also note the selfie in front of the Ellsworth Kelly print in my office :)


December: the month of doing ALL THE THINGS.  With Thanksgiving being so late this year, it seems like the time between Turkey Day and Christmas just flew by.  And it didn’t help that I was gone to Chicago and New York for a few of those weekends.  Here are the photos from my month – all was merry and bright.

Gracie HATES Sadie, which cracks me up.  I appreciate her pettiness.
A trip to Milwaukee for a work seminar brought Dunks and Sendik’s.  I miss Milwaukee!
I got the most precious and wonderful gift from Bethany – an embroidered SADIE! I cried.
Home sweet home.
Trip to GB with Michelle to see the lights and eat carbs at the Olive Garden.
My favorite cookies from Caramel Crisp; my sweet dad bought me 12 of them.
The best and most thoughtful Christmas card from Andrea – BABY YODA!
Astrology is a hoot… and whoa, accurate sometimes.
They are obsessed with each other.
Qualley Christmas + dogsitting Gibbs.
Festive! And those Tupperware cups?  Barb gave those to me — they were the cups we used as kids.  Seems silly but I am extremely sentimental and it makes my heart ache.
Time to bake!
Went to see the lights on Menominee Drive and Cty Rd A!
The best morning sky of the year; plus, you know, more Sadie.
Christmas Eve
Sadie wanted in on the brandy slush.
Dogs, white Christmas lights, and home – what could be better?
Christmas Day was foggy and we started it by watching the Hangover – our tradition since 2009!
Santa was good to me this year.
The post-Christmas week of weirdness.
Gingerbread party time! Our last one — because the girls have grown up.
Some spooky (yet awesome) decorations in my neighborhood.
2019 is winding down.  Do you like my retro Magic Kingdom castle sticker?  Again, I’m sentimental and nostalgic.
My last photo of 2019.  I had just finished shoveling/snow blowing.  The cloudy skies broke and the setting sun was shining on my neighbors’ yellow house.

I hope that whoever reads this blog has a healthy, safe, and peaceful 2020.

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End of 2019.

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
Traveled somewhere almost every month of the year.  It was a BUSY but awesome year.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Some of my resolutions from 2018 I kept (read more books, drink less soda) and some I did not (revive my baking blog, exercise more).  My only two resolutions for 2019 are to bake/cook more and to exercise more.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends had babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the US — but daaaamn, I traveled to a lot of places this year!

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?
Less anxiety, more exercise, and a happier personal life.

7. What date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Not sure; I don’t think anything super notable happened to me this year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Had a good year at work.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My complete and total failure to exercise regularly.  I’m usually pretty good about it but I fell off the wagon hard in 2019.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, other than my usual headaches/migraines.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Every year I made a photobook on Shutterfly;  so that’s always my favorite annual purchase.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My momma – who is also my boss. I’m grateful for her patience, understanding, perspective, humor, friendship, and open-mindedness.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Any and all politicians.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Amazon.  Let’s be real.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
All of my trips — I love traveling.  And I also get really, really, really excited about planning new trips!  I should have been a travel agent.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2019?
Anything by Lizzo!!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?: Happier because I didn’t spend any more time in a bad relationship.
ii. thinner or fatter?: A little fatter (thanks, holidays!!)
iii. richer or poorer?: Same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worry. But I’m a worrier. It’s in my DNA.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my parents in Oshkosh.

21. What was your favorite TV program?
Schitt’s Creek!!

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
It’s a waste of energy to hate people.

23. What was the best book you read?
I do a whole separate post about my books of the year — and I read 56 of them this year!

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

25. What did you want and get?
Lots of safe, happy, and healthy vacations.

26. What did you want and not get?
Mr. Right.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
I can’t even remember what movie(s) I saw in the theater this year.  Hmmm.  Toy Story 4 was cute, but I wouldn’t call it my favorite.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35 and was in Oshkosh. Just had dinner with the fam. It’s unexciting when your b-day falls on a Wednesday!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not sure. I had a pretty nice year.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?
Talbots. All the Talbots. Because Talbots = the lady lawyer uniform.
Also, the “Cozy Desert Sweatshirt” from Aerie has been LIFE CHANGING.

31. What kept you sane?
My mom.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Lizzo!! (can you tell I’m a big fan?)

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
There are too many to list. TOO. MANY.

34. Who did you miss?
All of my friends who live far away.  Which is nearly all of them.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I’m not sure!

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019:
Life is really unpredictable.  Live it up.  Take the vacation.  Eat and drink good things.  Wear your favorite dress.  Don’t waste time in a situation that isn’t serving you or making you happy.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Why men great ’til they gotta be great?”

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Books of 2019.

I read 56 books in 2019, which is a lot compared to my 14 of 2018.  One of my 2019 resolutions was to read more and that I did.  Usually I do a photo college of the book covers, but for 56 books?  Aww hell no, that’s too much time/effort.  But here’s my list; favorites are in bold.

  1. The Secret Language of Color by Joann Eckstut
  2. Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life by Haider Warraich
  3. This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps
  4. Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar
  5. Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky
  6. The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Haidt
  7. All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey by Betsy Mason
  8. Spying on Whales: The Past Present and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures by Nick Pyenson
  9. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  10. The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job by John Tamny
  11. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister
  12. And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis
  13. Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Bush
  14. I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Sarah Stewart Holland
  15. On This Date: Discovering America One Day at a Time by Carl Cannon
  16. A Brief History of Everyone Who Has Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes by Adam Rutherford
  17. Tropical Attire Encouraged by Alison Rosen
  18. Alexander McQueen: Blood Beneath the Skin by Andrew Wilson
  19. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
  20. Addicted to Americana: Celebrating Classic & Kitschy American Life & Style by Charles Phoenix
  21. Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
  22. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  23. On Color by David Scott Kastan
  24. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
  25. The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live by Heather B. Armstrong
  26. Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
  27. Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward by Gemma Hartley
  28. Jewels: A Secret History by Victoria Finlay
  29. Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America by Chris Arnade
  30. A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
  31. Molokai by Alan Brennert
  32. Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb
  33. The Heartland: An American History by Kristin Hoganson
  34. Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently by David Ludwig
  35. When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua Mezrich
  36. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
  37. Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson
  38. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  39. Everything Below the Waist: Why Healthcare Needs a Feminist Revolution by Jennifer Block
  40. Am I Overthinking This? Over-Answering Life’s Questions in 101 Charts by Michelle Rial
  41. The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina — Separating the Myth from the Medicine by Jennifer Gunter
  42. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  43. The Lost World by Michael Crichton
  44. Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood by Rose George
  45. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
  46. All That You Leave Behind: A Memoir by Erin Lee Carr
  47. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell
  48. Over The Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness
  49. Naturally Tan by Tan France
  50. American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts by Chris McGreal
  51. When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People by Jeanine Gaffigan
  52. Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong
  53. Do You Mind if I Cancel? (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti
  54. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
  55. Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
  56. Me by Elton John
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New York City

December 2019
Where We Stayed:  The Hilton Times Square

My Dad has always wanted to see New York City at Christmastime, so we made it happen this year!  We got free airfare and hotel through points accumulations (yay!) and had mostly good weather (I always get nervous traveling in the winter). Here’s the bullet points of what we did, what we ate, and how things went!

  • We stayed at the Hilton in Times Square.  I loathe Times Square, but our stay was entirely free because my dad accumulates Hilton points on one of his credit cards — so yay for free!  I tried to book us at a Hilton outside of Times Square but everything was booked; it’s a busy time to visit New York!
  • We took a 5-something-am flight out of Milwaukee to New York and honestly, I hope to never do that again.  It made all of us a little cranky (especially my dad!) and it didn’t get the trip going on the right foot, ya know?
  • Upon arriving we visited the Bryant Park Holiday Shops (cute!) and I had some mozzarella sticks (I’m like a moth to a flame to melty cheese). I felt better because… cheese.  But my dad was still grouchy, so I decided to branch out on my own.  I walked around, took the train down to the East Village, had some pizza, looked at colorful murals, and just introverted for a while (in a city with people everywhere – ha).
  • We had dinner at STK Midtown, which was good but pricey (though what else can you expect while in New York?). After dinner, I branched off yet again and went to look at the Christmas decorations and tree at Rockefeller Center (so pretty at night!).
  • The next day, Thursday, was our NBC day.  We got up early, took a cab to Rockefeller Center, and watched some of the Today Show.  Really cool to see it in person and to see how it all works.  We then grabbed a late breakfast of Starbucks, walked around, did a little shopping, had lunch at the Rock Center Cafe, then took a tour of NBC Studios.  The tour was alright — it was neat to see the Saturday Night Live and the Nightly News sets.
  • The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is magnificent. Though Denny didn’t agree.  He thought it would be “bigger and more impressive” – I can’t make this stuff up!
  • Thursday evening we went to see the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular and it was, well, spectacular. I didn’t know what to expect (other than legs and kicking!) and I’m not really a show person, but I absolutely loved it.  It’s a completely impressive and charming Christmas experience!
  • The next day, Friday, we all slept in (bless).  I went out to get bagels (Best Bagel & Coffee is so damn good!) and cookies and other assorted carbohydrates.  We took a cab downtown to visit the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, as well as the Oculus.  The 9/11 Museum was, as you can imagine, gut-wrenching.  Very well done.
  • It was raining cats and dogs, so we took the subway back up to Times Square, scooted back to our hotel, and ordered pizza for dinner.  Mmm pizza.
  • The next day we headed home to Wisconsin.  Another “fun” family vacation ;)

Bryant Park skating rink.
These were so good! The Big Mozz!
Murals/street art/whatever you want to call it, I love it.
Blondie! The area was under construction otherwise I would have gotten closer for a better pic.
Hearts and heart.
More hearts. I love hearts.
Though this Mickey Mouse art was my favorite.
Big Gay Ice Cream is always a treat!  No, really, it’s amazing soft-serve.
Had some delicious pizza at Village Square Pizza. Look. At. Those. Pepperonis!
View from our hotel window.
I appreciate a good neon sign.
The inside of STK Midtown; and a most festive fire station.
The Frozen 2-themed light show at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Seriously, so pretty.Good morning.
She really is the World’s Best Boss.
FAO Schweetz!
Rockettes! We weren’t supposed to take photos…but…of course I did.
Lego Rockefeller Center!
The decorations outside of Fox News.
Is ice cream a big seller on cold winter nights?
Best bagel place everrrr!
Me + momma; rainbow food is the best food (see also:  I am basic)
Schmackary’s was tasty!
This was taken right across the street from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Rainy day. Which I did not LOVE.
But also, don’t be unrealistic and know your own limitations.
I wore that pink that specifically so that they could always find me in a crowd (I know my way around New York, they don’t) – it worked!
Isn’t the Oculus beautiful?
I didn’t take photos at the 9/11 Museum because I think it’s… insensitive and a little tacky to do that. But I did take this photo in the lobby area.
Isn’t this cuuuuuute? Saw it on the side of a train car.
Bye, New York.  See ya next time!*
*Though I don’t think you could pay Denny to return!

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