a Fail-safe Dessert
The quickest way to make a fail-safe dessert is to put that recipe
book away and instead head over to your favorite market. At least thatís
the way chef and restaurateur Sandy DíAmato does it.
"Go there first and see whatís fresh and in season,"
says DíAmato, owner of Milwaukeeís Sanford, Harlequin Bakery and
Coquette Cafe. "If you look at a fail-safe recipe, thereís
usually something inherently good about it ó like a fresh apple pie
ó and what you want to do is find ingredients that are inherently
His suggestion for this summerís fail-safe recipe: Capitalize on
freshness. "Go to the market and pick up the best looking fruit
or berries," he says. "Toss the berries with a little sugar;
if you want to make things interesting, add a little vanilla and make
it vanilla sugar."
He suggests pairing the berries with a nice pound cake or scones
and then topping them with a quintessential dollop of fresh whipped
cream. "With a pinch of sugar, of course," he says.
Find Your Zen
The first step in finding your zen is knowing what it is. According
to Trish Washburn, owner of Soleli Lune Yoga Center, zen is a place, a
state of being and a goal.
"Zen is a direct, experiential realization through
meditation and dharma practice Ö in essence, it is taking what we
have experienced and learning from it so we become a better person; a
kinder, more compassionate individual full of thanksgiving and
graciousness," she says. "It is the process of
self-excavation to discover or uncover who we authentically are and
were made to be."
Not any easy concept for an American mind to grasp. So start with
this: "We are to take our life symbolically and think
of each moment as a learning experience," says Washburn. "It
is an understanding of our habitual patterns and reactions and
learning to stop them, change direction, and expose the falsehoods so
that we are able to see the truth of ourself, our life and the world
we live in. It is seeing the world in a different, nonreactive
and more loving way."
Certain spiritual and physical practices can help you achieve this.
"There are specific practices that one might employ such as
certain meditation disciplines: walking meditation, vipassana
meditation, walking a labyrinth or the like," she
says. "We may choose to sit quietly and meditate or take up
a yoga class. Each of us will find certain ways work
better than others."
Make Fido Stop Barking
Your dog has become a private and public irritant. How to stop the
incessant woofs? Give him a little more direction, says Amy Ammen of
Amiable Dog Training, Milwaukee.
"Most people are stymied when the dog misbehaves," Ammen
says, and the pup picks up on that confusion. What you need is an
Hereís the drill: Briskly point the pooch in the opposite
direction of whatever heís barking at and enforce the
"sit" command. Do it again. Do it again. Do it again. Do it
again. Do it again. Redo. Youíre refocusing his attention on you,
exactly where it needs to be.
Like a Roller Girl
Think you can roll with the big girls? Itís all about balance and
positioning, says The Mechanic, No. 600cc with the Crazy Eights, an
all-girl roller girl team in Milwaukee.
"If you stand up straight, youíre giving yourself an avenue
to be annihilated and trounced by the other team," she says.
"You never stand up straight as a blocker either."
The key is to think like a boxer, with a hunched-over posture and
bent knees. "Youíre much more stable that way," says The
Mechanic. "It gives you a much better sense of balance for your
Feeling confident yet? Itís time for a body block. "First of
all, youíll want to keep your arms in because the use of an elbow is
a foul, and you donít want that," she says. "When youíre
ready to block, get in your roller girl pose, use your legs as a
spring and use your entire body for a good, hard hit ó you really
want to block Ďthroughí the other person."
Tell a Joke
Thereís a reason itís called a "punch line." Itís
supposed to be a surprise.
If your joke isnít working, start playing with the setup, says
Bob Orvis, player/coach/dad at Milwaukeeís ComedySportz. Most jokes
are about seven sentences, he notes, so try rearranging the sentences
leading up to the laugh.
Or use a standard format, such as:
One-hundred-eighty-five (blanks) walk into a bar. Bartender says,
"Sorry, we donít serve (blanks.) (Blanks) say, "(punch
Hereís how it works: 185 bras walk into a bar. Bartender says,
"Sorry, we donít serve bras." Bras say, "But we
brought our own cups!"
Get to the punch line quickly, Orvis says, and remember, if your
audience is looking for a laugh, youíre halfway there.
At 78, George Jaeger believes heís got this one figured out.
"The only way to live forever is to live one day at a time and
enjoy it," says Jaeger, who lives at the Village at Manor Park in
West Allis. "I just keep myself busy."
After retiring from Allen-Bradley, where he worked as a laboratory
technician operating an electron microscope, Jaeger took up a few
hobbies. Among them ó photography, rock polishing, collecting pocket
knives, painting, carving, playing Wii games with his 7-year-old twin
grandsons and his favorite pastime, "chasing my wife" of 50
years. "In order to live 100 years, live one day at a time,"
Jaeger says. "Donít mess with tomorrow, because tomorrow may
Put Your Best Chest Forward
With not a single good reason to be walking around with a poorly
fitting bra ó though an estimated 90 percent of women out there do
ó Amy Zuelsdorf, director of sales and marketing for Allure Intimate
Apparel in Mequon, can give two reasons for putting your best chest
"A properly fitted bra will help your clothing fit
better," she says. "Itís also more slimming and can
sometimes help women who have back pain by providing more breast
So how do you find a properly fitting bra? Zuelsdorf and the Allure
staff do start with a standard measurement, but only as a starting
point. From there, they go to the style and shape of each bra.
"They fit differently on every woman," she notes.
"Sizes do vary from bra to bra and from manufacturer to
manufacturer. Itís good to work with a fitter who knows what is out
As a final tip: Never get attached to one bra size. "It
changes throughout your lifetime," she notes.
When youíre not traveling alone, pack some of your underwear in
your companionís bags, advises Mary Ryan of East Town Travel,
Milwaukee. A change of clothes as well. If your luggage is lost or
delayed, at least youíll have something to wear. Ryanís rule of
thumb: Take twice as much money as you think youíll need and half as
many clothes. Finally, invest in a large bag. Stuff it with your
camera, medications ó anything you canít survive without ó and
something to do when your plane is stuck on the tarmac.
Survive a Tornado
Storm chasers aside, the average person encountering a tornado has
one goal in mind: Getting out of the way safely.
According to Mike Westendorf, meteorologist/director of operations
for Innovative Weather at UW-Milwaukee, public warnings about
impending bad weather would hopefully drive you toward a safe place.
"But if you were outside, you would probably hear and feel the
winds pick up significantly," he says. "Many tornado
survivors talk about tornadoes sounding like a fleet of trucks or a
train, but by the time you hear that sound, you had better be under
As for cover, Westendorf suggests a basement, if possible under a
staircase or work bench should the upper levels of the house cave in.
"Being below ground is important so that the winds blow over the
top of you, not through you," he says. "If you donít have
a basement, getting into an interior room or closet on the lowest
level of the home is the next best place." If youíre outside,
seek out a low-lying culvert or ditch.
Places to avoid? Cars, mobile homes, shopping malls and big-box
retailer buildings. "Bridge overpasses are NOT good places to
be," he says.
Grow a Rose
Even if your green thumb looks a little brown around the edges, one
of natureís sweetest-smelling flowers can grace your yard this
"Shrub roses are a good choice for beginners because they make
it through our winters with minimal winter protection," says
Maggie Barr, president of the Milwaukee Rose Society.
She suggests starting with a trip to a local, reputable nursery to
select a rose bush. Not only do the plants tend to be healthier, the
staff will offer their expertise gratis. "Plant in a spot with at
least six hours of sunlight, preferably in the morning," says
Barr. "Dig your planting hole at least twice as big the pot in
width and depth. Plant the graft 2 inches below soil level."
Amend the soil with coarse sand and organic matter, like compost or
aged manure. With that, the most difficult part is complete. Barr
suggests fertilizing on the three major summer holidays and giving
your new roses a healthy drink of water on a regular basis.
Perfect the Art of Text Messaging
Even if you donít LOL on a regular basis, text messaging is the
way to communicate, says Caroline Radaj, a Hartland resident and
sophomore at UW-Madison.
"Itís how I connect with people," she says, estimating
that she sends about 100 text messages a day. "Thereís a huge
generation gap about text messaging, but thatís the way people my
She says the act of texting has come a long way since she sent her
first message in sixth grade with a limit of 160 characters per
message. "Itís much different now," she says. "But itís
still not fun to text a novel."
Ironically, her advice could fit in a text message: Keep it short
and sweet. Abbreviations and acronyms are still acceptable, though the
technology in some phones will try to correct them. "I have an
iPhone, and if I try to use an acronym, it will Ďfixí it on
me," she says.
As for speed, the best way to become an adept texter is simple.
"Just keep texting," she says. "Youíll get better and
faster with the more text messages you send."
And youíll also impress the younger people in your life, who will
find your abilities 2G2BT, KWIM?
a Wine List
Donít be afraid to ask for help, says Jessica Bell, owner of the
Midwest Wine School and contributor to the "Wisconsin Foodie"
"Nobody knows it all and anyone who acts like they do is just
trying to cover up some insecurities," Bell says.
If asking for help is out of the question, develop a strategy.
Decide what kind of grape you like, from what region, such as a pinot
noir from New Zealand. Have an idea of what youíre willing to pay.
Now, Bell says, you can look at any wine list and narrow it down to
the bottles that fit your description.
While some things might not actually help you win a marathon, they
certainly canít hurt. Two-time Lakefront Marathon winner Corina
Canitz has a long history of running recreationally, and during the
last few years has followed a training schedule to prepare herself.
But beyond that, sometimes itís just a random color that carries
her over the finish line. "One of the things that Iíll do is
pick a color ó say blue ó and keep running toward something that
color," she says of the mind games she uses during a marathon.
"Once I get there, Iíll find something new and run toward
Often itís your mass of gray matter that decides how well youíll
do. "If mentally your headís not in it, it doesnít matter how
much training youíve done," says Canitz.
And once youíre in the marathon ó itís not over until itís
over. The first time Canitz won the Lakefront Marathon, it was in the
middle of an autumn heat wave. Last year, sheíd spent most of the
race in third. "Two girls passed me at about mile seven,"
she remembers. "They were about 20 years younger than me, and I
made the decision not to join them. As it turned out, I caught up to
them around mile 21 and they were both walking at that point. Theyíd
raced each other out, and I ended up winning."
Land a Promotion/Get Fired Gracefully
Whatís the first thing you can do to set yourself up for a
promotion? "You need to have the mindset that you really want
it," says Staci Eggert-Dziedzic, marketing manager for WOW
Workforce Development Centers. "There are a lot of people who are
content to just go to work and do what they do, and thatís fine, but
those arenít the kind of workers who normally get promoted. You need
to be able to show a history of doing extra things, of taking on extra
projects," she says.
On the flip side, what happens if the organizationís future doesnít
include you? Get your ducks in order, including written confirmation
of any noncompete agreements, contracts and severance. "And donít
talk down the company ... That company could end up giving you another
chance or rehiring you as a consultant down the road."
Tie a Bowtie
Tim Ryan, owner of Harleys: The Store for Men in Shorewood, says itís
"literally the same knot as tying your shoe." The challenge
is to do it on a manís neck and, looking in a mirror, do it in
Start with one side a little longer than the other. Cross the
longer end across the shorter end to make a loop. The secret: Make
sure the loop fits snugly against your neck.
Double up the shorter end and place it across the collar points.
Hold the front loop and drop the long end down over the front. Holding
the loop, pull the hanging end behind the loop. Push the resulting
loop through the knot in the channel behind the front loop. Tweak by
pulling the doubled ends, just like a shoelace. "Real men know
how to tie a bow tie," Ryan says.
Take a Punch
Oscar Medina, owner of Medina Boxing Club, which will soon be
moving from Waukesha to Miller Park Way in Milwaukee, says youíve
got to know how to fade.
"You lean back; they call it fading out," Medina says.
"It takes the full front of the blow away from the punch. And if
itís coming wide, gloves go to the side."
Use those gloves to block the oncoming blow. They act like a
cushion between you and your opponent. The best position, according to
Medina, is to block and then fade.
Most boxers are conditioned to take hits and take some punishment
by going to the gym and building up a tolerance during "give and
If this doesnít work, he notes, an ice pack will take down the
a Curve Ball
The best advice about curve balls, says Milwaukee Brewers hitting
coach Dale Sveum, is to just lay off it.
But if you canít resist temptation, take it from the pro ó get
under that thing.
"Hit the bottom of it, not the top of it," Sveum says.
Easier said than done. The steeper your swing, the harder itís
going to be to slam the ball on the sweet spot.
If the curve ball pitcherís a righty, bat lefty. And vice versa.
The best curve ball hitters in the league, Sveum says, are two guys
named Ramirez ó Aramis Ramirez of the Chicago Cubs and Manny Ramirez
of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Watch íem and learn.