OnMilwaukee sheds some light on a gloomy year

For many, the past 12 months have been a pile of hot trash – even though 2021 was supposed to put out the dumpster fire, otherwise known as the year 2020.

And yet, the OnMilwaukee staff found a few treasures in the trash, including parenting milestones, a marriage proposal, happy campers, and a very grateful turkey day.

Compiling these positive experiences reminds us that maybe, just maybe, 2022 could be a year of recycled products rather than waste. Let’s drink to that.

Nick barth
chief technology officer

My favorite memory of the year is the organization of Thanksgiving. Our anniversary is approaching and while the first two years of our marriage did not go quite as we had imagined, my wife and I achieved one thing we had planned – we bought a house this summer.

Thanksgiving was a last minute affair. My dad brought the legacy table we needed to sit everyone down just an hour before we sat down, we realized two days earlier that we didn’t have enough plates or silverware for everyone; there was a lot in the air that could have gone sideways. Thanks to the flexibility of the family, nothing happened. The meal sort of arrived at the right time with the new table set and ready. Her dad and mine were about to watch me carve the turkey, both beaming with pride as I trained her. I sat at the end of my own table – in my own house! – and cried as I toasted the love of the family and thanked for the chance I have to live this one life.

Stephanie Bennett
Senior account manager

A year’s success in years gone by was always based on keeping all the balls in the air. This year I have done it and there have been many, and this different year from previous years has given me something that I had not yet experienced, namely to face the emotions born of the realization that my daughter will go to college in less than a year. . I had to deal with all the scary thoughts that sometimes created sleepless nights, wondering if she would be safe, mentally healthy, making new friends, etc. Was she ready? Was I ready to let her go? I loosened the parenting ropes this year as a kind of training run, but really because I needed it. The result has been wonderful. Abby and I made many memories as we traveled to visit half a dozen college campuses. I piled up as much advice on the world as I could think of whenever I had the chance. The real success that came out of this year was really the realization of why I am juggling all the balls in the air. I raised my daughter as an adult and what a great adult she turned out to be. I couldn’t be prouder.

Lori Fredrich
Senior Food and Restaurant Editor

There are undoubtedly a few personal victories that I could celebrate as we move forward towards the end of 2021. But, strangely enough, this is actually a work-related company that stands out as a blinding bright spot in the world. during a year which (like so many others) put both good and bad on my proverbial table. For almost nine months, I had the privilege of participating in one of the most rewarding projects I have ever helped complete: “The Wisconsin Restaurant Cookbook”.


I have never hesitated to express my appreciation for the hard working people in the restaurant industry, who all give so much back to their communities. So working on a project that was built expressly to give back to the industry was, in and of itself, a rewarding experience. But it wasn’t just the satisfaction of helping to create a cookbook that funded 19 restaurant grants, nor the responses we received from grant recipients (although so many of them did. cry of joy). It was the joy to work with a truly exceptional team of individuals, who all cared about the project as much as I did and who contributed with truly inspiring energy. It is the generosity of the restaurateurs who eagerly submitted recipes and photos for the book; the journalists and news channels who supported the effort and helped us get the word out; and the generous donors who purchased the cookbook and donated funds that helped us reach our goal. Looking back on the year, it is for this community of helpers that I am truly grateful. Thank you to all of you. You really made my year.

Jason mcdowell
Creative director

Despite some successes in the ongoing war on the pandemic, 2021 has continued to be difficult and at times confusing. My first success of the year was producing and distributing a board game that I had worked on for years. It had been launched in 2020, but production did not end until February of the following year. Getting this game into the hands of players all over the world, including Brazil, Thailand, Australia and Europe, has been extremely satisfying.
At the end of the year, I led my first cyclocross race, called Hill Bill. The work leading up to it was the most stressful thing I have ever done and I didn’t think I would make it through to the end but the result made me want to start over except bigger and better .


Lynn macnaught
OnMilwaukee Consultant

I thought I had to think long and hard to find something good to happen in 2021. It has been a difficult year as it seemed like a majority of the things I was trying to accomplish kept going wrong. Thinking back on all the difficulties, I realized that they were first world problems. For example: problems with construction projects on my house – but I have a house; a bad fall ending in a broken nose – but I was healed and I am alive; nonstop car problems – but I have a car and I had the knowledge and tools to fix them. I think the best thing that happened to me in 2021 was that I rediscovered the prospect… and my sidewalk turned out pretty darn good.

Matt Mueller
Pop Culture Editor / Film Critic

2021 was definitely an improvement over last year, although only because 2020 lowered the bar so low that it was underground and closer to the Earth’s core than to the surface. But yes, 2021 was better – and then some. The Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA Finals. We were able to go to safe places and see people again, including Returning Movies, Summerfest, and my beloved Mueller / Miller Boys Baseball Trip. Giannis’ knee did not explode against the Atlanta Hawks, allowing the Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA Finals. My father announced his well-deserved retirement. I witnessed a Championship victory parade through the streets of my hometown, because MY GOD THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS WON THE NBA FINAL!

mat engagedX

You would think it would be impossible for anything to overtake The Block or The Valley Oop as the biggest moment of 2021. Still, the best was saved for last because earlier this month on a beach in Hawaii , I had the enormous and humiliating honor to ask the love of my life for her hand in marriage. Incredibly, with gratitude, she said yes. It was a moment that not only made my year but also all the years that will follow. So yes, 2021? Big fan. Just a warning, though: We met during a global pandemic and got engaged as storms – including a blizzard warning – hit Hawaii, so if that pattern continues, our wedding day could be here. ‘apocalypse. Our apologies in advance. Save this date!

Molly Snyder
Editor-in-chief and editor

After a few years without camping, we put our 1980 VW Bus back on the road. It needs a lot of mechanical work so we couldn’t go too far, but we had two wonderful dune-filled camping trips this summer to Kohler-Andrae State Parks and Harrington Beach. It was also our first time camping with our chihuahuas, neither of whom really enjoy the outdoors (I mean, they don’t like to pee outside when it’s windy), but they were surprisingly not overly obnoxious and looked adorable next to the campfire in their matching flannel vests.


Bobby tanzilo
Editor-in-chief and editor

I love traveling more than almost anything and the past two years have been terrible for that starting with a canceled family trip to Greece in April 2020. The positives this year have come when I was able to take various combinations of the family on short trips to discover Kansas City, Cleveland, Des Moines, Muskegon and Chicago. I was also able to visit Columbus and Nashville myself, so all of those little trips were really the highlight of the year for me.

Andy Tarnoff

John Lennon sang on “I’ve Got A Feeling” (yes, I’m obsessed with the new documentary “Get Back”), “Everyone had a rough year / Everyone had a great time”. In my case, he was right: it was both. In October, we celebrated my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah… an event I feared would happen. With the Delta variant in full swing, the stage she had worked so hard on for five years. But we did stipulate that everyone present was fully immunized and masked during the ceremony, and the party that evening was an extended in-person event with plenty of outside opportunities – and the weather stood up beautifully. This meant that some friends and relatives couldn’t attend and had to watch online, but we were convinced we were doing it the right way. In the end, it was a beautiful testimony from a thriving teenager in the face of adversity, and for that I am extremely grateful. Everyone came and left in good health, and my daughter learned a few real-life lessons about what it’s like to become an adult in Judaism – lessons I was never forced to take. count in 1987. Just look at this proud daddy.

mara baht mitzvah
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