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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

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It's now 50 cents to make a pay phone call.
It's now 50 cents to make a pay phone call.

When was the last time you used a pay phone?

Years ago, my grandma told me she used to carry a dime in her bra, just in case she needed to make an emergency call. I remember dropping a quarter into my shoe a few times as kid, just in case I needed to make a call from a pay phone.

Needless to say, now that most people have cell phones, the pay phone is basically a dinosaur with a dial tone. That said, last night I tried to remember when I last used a pay phone and, although I have vague memories of using one at various malls, I really can't  remember. So I asked my husband when he last used a pay phone, and he couldn't remember, either.

I do, however, remember the frustration of trying to look up a number in the pay phone phonebook, and the page I needed was torn out. In 1994, I remember using them a lot in England -- you know, the iconic red phone booth -- which was right before the cell phone craze hit the United States.

At the end of 2007, according to my genius friend, Wikipedia, AT&T sold all of its pay phones. Regardless, public telephones remain a vital form of communication for a portion of the population, even though I really don't see many around anymore.

Although now that I wrote this blog, I'll probably see them everywhere.

Green Bay, anyone?
Green Bay, anyone?

Could you live in Green Bay?

My husband was born and raised in Green Bay, and his mother and stepdad still live there. Consequently, we visit at least a few times a year, and when we do, my mother-in-law always suggests -- subtly or not so subtly -- that we should pack up the kids and move to the "Frozen Tundra."

This isn't going to happen.

Granted, I've seen a lot of changes in Green Bay since I first started visiting more than a decade ago. Back then, we hung out at the Cock & Bull, Speak Easy and our favorite place, the now-defunct Concert Café. In the past few years, we've watched new places open and add to the mix, like Bull & Bear, Top Hat, Hinterland Brewery and Sardine Can.

Sure, Green Bay has its charms: the Packers, of course, along with a rich Native American history, classic Sconnie fish fry joints like the Lorelei, Hansen's Dairy, the beautiful Green Bay bike trail and my beloved Don Smith Sales that's stocked with cheap odds 'n' ends from the '70s and '80s.

But I really don't think I could live in Green Bay. Despite the increase in modern bars and restaurants, I still feel a certain podunk-ness about Packerland, and that although it's a growing city, it's still not quite enough.   

Crocs. Ugh.
Crocs. Ugh.

Kill your Crocs

Three summers ago, I saw the rubber clogs with holes in them for the first time, and I thought they looked comfortable, so I bought a pair. And then I bought another pair. By the following summer, my entire family had a pair of Crocs. We were officially Crocs dorks.

Now, it's time for reform.

I am not claiming to be the maven of footwear, and I am certainly not the first person to say this, but I think it's time to terminate Crocs -- and Crocs knock-offs -- for good. We are going to look back at this era and laugh that we actually wore these.

Fashionistas have condemned them for years, and I agree it's time to put Crocs where they belong: in the same outdated category as hair scrunchies and wind pants.


My name is Molly and I have a problem with dull cutlery.
My name is Molly and I have a problem with dull cutlery.

It's hard to hear what you need to hear

Recently, my best friend told me something I needed to hear for a long time. She and I prepare food together a lot, usually at my house so I can keep one ear on the baby monitor, and over time, she noticed something about my life that bothered her.

So, she finally told me.

"You need to sharpen your knives more often," she said. "I've wanted to tell you this, Edler, for a while."

We both laughed when she said this. She didn't mean to, but she said it in a way as if she told me I drink too much or have B.O.

But she's right. Knife sharpening is not one of my strong points. I don't have an electric knife sharpener, and only occasionally I bust out a manual hand-sharpening tool. I might as well sharpen my pencils with a Swiss Army Knife.

This event started me thinking about how difficult it is to tell a friend about something you think they need to change. I have been there, and so have you.

Most of us say we want constructive criticism, and in theory, it's the role of a "good friend" to acknowledge  blind spots and kindly alert us to them when we didn't notice or are too deep in denial to accept the obvious.

But it's hard to process when they do, and event harder to instigate.

I conducted a mini intervention once. My sister and I met with someone to tell her we were concerned about her relationship with a man who we thought was truly detrimental for her. This was one of the most difficult conversations I ever had.

But there are other times when things have gone unsaid, because I was concerned with hurting someone's feelings or because I just didn't have the time or energy to open the proverbial can of worms. And truly, especially after writing this blog,  I want to say I'm going to be more open to the helpful messages of others and willing to deliver a few more myself.

Right after I sharpen my knives.