For Christmas, I’d ask each of my family members to give me the gift of time and they came through! They loved the idea of spending a day with me doing something we both enjoy and gave me coupons for these adventures. After the holidays, I contacted each of them to schedule our events. Here’s how 2022 is looking for me:

Kristin's sister's coupon

It all starts January 26th when my sister takes me, her favorite (and only) sister, to the Milwaukee Public Museum and dinner on the town.

I’m looking forward to seeing the world’s largest dinosaur skull and the wooly mammoth found only 30 miles from Milwaukee. Best of all, we’ll get a taste of spring and summer by strolling among free-flying butterflies in the Puelicher Butterfly Wing.

Coupon from my niece-to-be

 

In mid-February, my niece-to-be (she’s marrying my nephew this October) is treating me to a winter dome experience.

I hope the snow will fall while we’re snug inside enjoying a great meal.

 

 

Coupon and recipes from Caitlin

 

Two days after the dome experience, my daughter Caitlin is challenging me to games of Terraforming Mars, Blokus, and 7 Wonders Duel. We’ll intersperse our game day with two homemade meals cooked in her Instant Pot (she included the recipes) which means not a lot of futzing and more time for playing.

I’m not sure which recipes I’ll choose, but the potato soup, butter chicken, cheesy spaghetti squash, street corn queso, and chicken and dumplings all sound really good.

 

Chazen box and folded coupon from Jessica

In April, my daughter Jessica and I will explore Madison’s art scene (her coupon was artistically folded into a Christmas tree). We’ll start at the Chazen Museum of Art and see two exhibits I’m excited about: “Seeing Audubon: Robert Havell, Jr. and The Birds of America” and “Pressing Innovation: Printing Fine Art in the Upper Midwest“.

Then we’ll head to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and afterwards enjoy dinner at the Italian restaurant Cento.

 

Coupon from Kristin's brother-in-law

 

Also in April, or possibly in May, my brother-in-law is treating me to a baseball game when the Brewers take on the Pirates, the Reds, or the Braves.

We’ll start the day at a Brewer bar on Bluemound Road and then hop on the Bar Shuttle to the game. Apparently, there my be a baseball strike, so we’re waiting to pick our date until after the Major League Owners Lock Out.

Coupon from Kristin's niece

 

At the end of April, my niece and I will take a road trip around southern Wisconsin and photograph the landscape and architecture.

Then my niece is treating me to a second day in June where we’ll combine photography and music. We’ll photograph downtown Milwaukee and end the day attending the Milwaukee Symphony’s “Revolution: The Music of the Beetles – A Symphonic Experience.”

 

Kristin with three discs and a disc golf t-shirt

In the summer, my son-in-law Sean will teach me how to play disc golf. For Christmas, he bought me discs and an authentic disc golf T-shirt which, I’m sure, will help me win.

Madison has three disc golf courses. One, Elver Park, is right down the street from me and, according to Sean, is the best. I’m guessing we’ll play there.

Coupon with Milwaukee map from Kristin's nephew

 

At the end of July, I’ll kayak on the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers in downtown Milwaukee with my nephew. We’ll stop at his favorite pubs like the Milwaukee Brewing Company and check out Pere Marquette Park and Good City Brewing in the Deer District.

 

Kristin's grand puppy, golden retriever Ramona

 

But that isn’t all of my adventures — my grand puppy Ramona gave me a certificate to spend the day with her! In June the two of us will hike the Prairie Moraine Dog Park with over 79 acres to explore, grab a burger, check out the toy selection at Pet Smart, play with other doggies at The Boneyard while Grandma has a beer, and head home to snuggle on the couch and watch “The Art of Racing in the Rain.

What a fantastic year!

 

 

I’ve got news – I’m starting a Book Club!

 

Me at Mystery to Me BookstoreBeginning with my next newsletter in two weeks, I’m hosting a monthly book club! The third Friday of every month, I’ll write a book review and publish it in my newsletter. I’ll give you a heads-up as to my selection, so, if you’d like, you can read it, too. Then we can compare notes.

The cover of Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Since you only have two weeks this month, I’ve picked a quick read: Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Scythe takes place in a futuristic America where death has been cured. In order to avoid overpopulation, young men and women are selected to become scythes and cull the population.

 

Question, what should I name my book club? Kristin Oakley’s Book Club sounds too formal. Kristin’s Book Club, too cutesy. Any ideas?

 

 

Where I’ll be in 2022 (when I’m not hanging with my family):

 

Let's Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference

Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference – March 19th and 20th, 2022. Registration is now open for the Chicago Writers Association’s premier writing conference at the Warwick Allerton Hotel in Chicago. I’ll present “The Benefits of Critiquing” and curate the Let’s Just Read! Live Lit Event. I can’t wait to attend this amazing in-person conference!

 

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