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Broken yet beautiful.
Broken yet beautiful.


I spend a lot of time subtly reinforcing our family values to my kids, mostly big picture stuff like the significance of honesty, peace and art. This weekend, however, I had an unexpected teaching moment, and I got to introduce a concept to my son that’s not on the A-list of family values, but delivers an interesting and important message.

During a frantic cleaning session -- one of my famous feng shui freak outs -- I broke a small drinking glass on the bathroom floor. It cracked into about eight large shards, and my 7-year-old was fascinated by the sound, the shatter and the appearance. He crouched down and looked at the sharp clear pieces like he was observing a bug on a leaf in the garden.

"Be careful," I said, going into robotic mom mode. "Don’t cut yourself!"

"It looks really cool," he said. "Like the kaleidoscope."

I was already running for the broom and dust pan, but I stopped, turned around and went back into the bathroom. I asked him if he had heard the words "wabi-sabi," and he said no.

"It’s Japanese. It means sometimes things that are broken are still beautiful," I said. He looked at me, then blinked slowly which made me think he was really thinking about the concept.

I had never thought about "wabi-sabi" as something I wanted to teach my sons, but suddenly, I was glad to mention it, especially if they are perfectionists filled with expectation like so many of us.

Thanks to my busy, cross-it-off-the-list life, I probably miss many moments like this. Hence, I was glad to have been present enough to catch this opportunity, and I hope I learned from it.

Nessun Dorma is non-smoking until 10 p.m.
Nessun Dorma is non-smoking until 10 p.m.

Rapid review: Nessun Dorma

October is the third annual Dining Month on All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2009."

Nessun Dorma
2778 N. Weil St., (414) 264-8466

Riverwest’s Nessun Dorma is cozy, inviting, urban and affordable with a medium-sized menu featuring foodie-approved appetizers, soups, sandwiches and nightly specials. Nessun features an extensive selection of wine, beer and liquor.

Menu: Italian-nouveau.

Price: Inexpensive.

When to go: Any night is a fine time for Nessun Dorma. It works as the setting for a special occasion or as a place to grab a quick bite.

Dress: Nessun Dorma is a quaint neighborhood place, so most patrons dress casually. You would not feel out of place, however, wearing something a little dressier.

Don't miss: Tuesday nights feature $2 pints of Riverwest Stein. Also, the formaggio sandwich is a favorite for many Nessun diners.

Parking: Street parking only.  

Any thoughts on the Canon Rebel?
Any thoughts on the Canon Rebel?

Camera shopping blues

I am in the process of researching decent cameras. I am done with the $250 point-and-shoot digital camera and want to upgrade to something that takes better photos. In a nutshell, I want affordable, easy-to-use and high quality.

So, what am I looking for?

I really despise researching items, whether it’s cars, washing machines or cameras. I wish someone could just tell me what I want and where to sign and be done with it. In the meantime, I slog through reviews and Web sites and eBay postings.

So, readers, what your thoughts are on the $500-$1,000 camera? Should I go with a Nikon? A Canon? Definitely an SLR or not necessarily?

Ugh. All of this, just to say "cheese."

Coa's sleek stalls.
Coa's sleek stalls.

Another lovely loo

It has been more than seven years since I posted an article listing my favorite public restrooms, but to this day, I do not frequent a bar or restaurant without checking out the washroom, regardless of whether or not I truly have to go.

Last night, a group of friends and I checked out the new Mexican restaurant, Coa, 5750 N. Port Washington Rd., and after the second margarita, el nature called. I was already a fan of the restaurant’s contemporary lounge-y decor, so not surprisingly, I found myself extremely impressed with the OCD-clean and perfectly lit restroom.

However, my favorite aspect of Coa’s powder room is the frosted glass that allows you to see silhouettes in the stalls, but not a single detail more than shadow. It’s just plain sassy, but in a tasteful way.

Overall, I enjoyed my evening at Coa. The bacon-and-cherry-salsa-filled tacos and traditional margaritas made with tequila and lime juice created a unique (and tipsy) Mexican dining experience. Hence, the sweet bathrooms were the proverbial icing on the cake, or more appropriately stated, the sugar on the rim of a strawberry margarita.