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Sidetracked Legacies

Sidetracked Legacies

By Sidetracked Sisters
Do you have ideas and thoughts that you'd like to share with your children or grandchildren? Have you learned some life lessons that might help others? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you need to get it down on paper! We call this Legacy work. The Sidetracked Sisters have been getting together to write for years. Now we want to extend the invitation for others to join us. So, grab a notebook, journal, or laptop and listen in while the Sidetracked Sisters share thoughts and tips on how to uncover, communicate, and preserve stories, values, and wisdom.
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Ep.095 "An Artist and Writer at Seeds to Savor Farm" with Annie Toro Lopez
"Our writing doesn't always have to be productive...or a part of something else. It is important for writers to have that freedom, that exercise of writing."  --Annie Toro Lopez Boy, do I understand what she is talking about. Sometimes it feels so good to write with no expectations or goals! When I was a kid, I loved the idea of writing in a diary. As I got older, it became a journal. But that feeling of just writing for me, to get my thoughts down for its own sake has always felt powerful. Annie was older than the average when she graduated from college and became a middle school Literacy and History teacher. But then, a near-death experience caused her to re-evaluate her life and move in new directions.  Now, Annie is more interested in exploring and sharing her artistic loves. We talk about her photography and writing. She is the author of The Writer's Handbook: An Indespensibnle Grammar and Style Guide. She is also the owner of Seeds to Savor Farm where she is passionate about the legacy work of seed preservation.  In this interview, we get into her thoughts about writing your legacy from the perspective of a freelance teacher, writer, and proofreader. She has a beautiful story and a love for others who are interested in preserving legacies of all kinds.  Annie recommends this handbook for writers. She also loves Mary Karr's book.  You can find Annie Toro Lopez on FaceBook and at Her book can be found here.
August 10, 2022
Ep.094 Wish For More Genies
"If a magic genie grants you three wishes, but he won't let you wish for more wishes...wish for more genies." ( When the four Sidetracked Sisters got together to write, our topic was "Three Wishes". It sounds so simple. But only two of us followed the directions and came up with three.  Today we are talking about making wishes. Health, wealth, happiness, and success are at the top of most lists of this kind. But Judy goes rogue and talks about winning the lottery. Lisa is a holdout against wishing, on principle. We get into what we'd do with money, travel, and happiness, well...that was tricky. Then we are all over the place when it comes to success.  But the way, what is the difference between a wish, a dream, and a prayer? I don't think we ever agreed on the definitions and distinctions. Maybe you have some words of wisdom that you'd like to add to the conversation. Come on over to our Facebook page for Sidetracked Sisters. Like and follow us. We'd love to here what YOU think!
August 04, 2022
Ep.093 "Redesigning Midlife Health, Wellness, and Outlook" with Lesley McShane
"If you decide that you want to do something, find a way. Share on social. PRACTICE! You might not be an award winner or get a grammy, not a NY Times bestseller or get a Nobel prize..but you are doing. the. thing!" --Lesley McShane  I was once told something very similar. It doesn't matter how fast you run, if you get out there and move on your two feet a little faster than a are a runner. A runner is someone who runs. Nothing more, nothing less. Today I am talking with Lesley McShane. She is a blogger, podcaster, and entrepreneur. She shares her journey with us today as she moves from film director to freelance writer to entrepreneur and the many steps in between. Lesley and I talk about how she started blogging and the challenges writers face when putting ideas out into the world. Then we discuss podcasting. We get into how she started "The New Old You", what she's drawn to, and the fun she is having. During this interview, we dive deep into building new habits in midlife that are invaluable for helping us create the lives we've always dreamed of. Lesley gives us her insights into meditation, mantra, gratitude, goal setting, building intention, and journaling.  My conversation with Lesley is fun and inspiring. Check her out in all the places: Lesley McShane can be found at her website Facebook Instagram
August 02, 2022
Ep.092 Live Long and Prosper (aka Sidetracked Sisters Tribute, aka Our Obits)
"Stay fit and live long and prosper, but write your own obituary now, while you can, just in case." -Jill Conner Browne (Novelist and head Sweet Potato Queen)  Yeah. The Sidetracked Sisters aren't planning on going anywhere soon, but the topic that we agreed to write about this week was our OBITUARY! It wasn't all that easy, to be honest with you! Today we get into all the things. Sandy, Judy, Michelle, and I talk about funeral music and Judy's burial fears. We debate having a funeral versus a "celebration of life" (or a celebration of death as Sandy thinks of it). We also discuss our ideas about burial versus cremation...and what to do with your relative's ashes after cremation. This is perhaps not the most respectful episode. But we have fun and invite you along for the ride...
July 28, 2022
Ep.091 "A Writer of All Kinds" with Karla Jensen
"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on." --Louis L'Amour (American novelist) So many people like the idea of writing, but neglect to plant their body in a chair and get their pen moving on the page. This is NOT a problem for my guest today!  Welcome to Sidetracked Legacies episode #91.  Today I am interviewing Karla Jensen who has been writing professionally for over three decades. She has enjoyed working in radio, television, and magazine publishing. She founded and led several writers' groups. Karla was a well-known columnist for LocaLeben Magazine (a southeastern Wisconsin arts and culture publication). She has published two nonfiction books, dozens of plays as a playwright, and multiple manuscripts for rising authors. During our time, we get into her experiences writing memoirs and how to write another's legacy story. We talk about the value of writer's groups and she gives some tips on organizing a group. Karla gets into some nitty-gritty details for aspiring legacy writers! She suggests and describes how to use timelines, memory maps, and the "notecard method" --for writing the barebones outline for a full-length feature film! Inspirational resources she recommends include: On Writing by Stephen King, Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories by Bill Roorbauch, and Julia Cameron's book The Right to Write. Karla can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and at
July 27, 2022
Ep.090 Childhood Fears...Do we ever, really, outgrow them?
American actress Lauren Bacall is quoted, "Childhood anxieties, childhood fears, never disappear completely. They fade, but not away." Today the Sidetracked Sisters discuss memories of childhood fears. We get into the fear of the dark and clowns, creepy clowns. We go deep into Judy's fear of abandonment and how scary movies have a part to play in all of our fear stories. But...not to worry. We also get into a couple of tested and proven strategies to protect against bad dreams and goolies grabbing you while in bed at night!
July 21, 2022
Ep.089 "Living a Joy-Filled Life" with Laura Leigh
During our interview, Laura quotes Hal Elrod from his book The Miricle Morning, "Remember this truth: Now matters more than any other time in your life, because its what you are doing today that is determining who you're becoming, and who you're becoming will always determine the quality and direction of your life." Today I am talking with Laura Leigh. She is the founder of the podcast "Joyfully Raising Grands" and the "Grand Family Nation Membership". Through all of these avenues, Laura is committed to helping others who are looking for community, resources, and support in the journey of raising a grandchild.  She also has the "Joy-filled Subscription Box" for busy women who know the importance of self-care. Each box focuses on making you feel special and helping you find joy. In our conversation, we hear about her journey to being a GRAND parent and the challenges, beauty, and blessings that that experience holds. We get into the importance of gratitude in life and while raising children. She also shares how, in serving others, we experience the most joy. She is creating a legacy of spreading and living a "joy-filled life".  You can find Laura and more information about her podcast, membership, store, and subscription box at
July 19, 2022
Ep.088 Extraordinary Books vs Memorable Movies
I think all four Sidetracked Sisters would agree with writer Stephen King when he says, "Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but completely different." Today Judy, Sandy, Michelle, and Lisa talk about the unforgettable books and movies that have made an impression on our souls. We remember favorite childhood books, movies that made us cry, books that were read to us, and movies that still give us the heeby-jeebies (thank you Stephen King). Not only do some of us prefer books over movies or movies over books, but we also get into which genres are our favorites. Maybe you will connect with a long-forgotten Nancy Drew mystery that you haven't thought about in forever. Or perhaps our discussion will bring up some thoughts about an old horror movie that you wish you COULD stop thinking about! 
July 15, 2022
Ep.087 It's a book..."Sidetracked Stories"!
Well, we did it! The Sidetracked Sisters have a book! We got together. We wrote words on paper. We drank margaritas. We laughed and argued. We wrote more words and sorted through lots and lots of old pictures. Then Michelle did her computer magic and now we have a book of thoughts and memories to share with our loved ones. English writer Neil Gaimon was once asked how to write a book. His response was "This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word down after another until it is done. It's that easy, and that hard." Michelle, Sandy, Judy, and I talk about our book in this episode. Then we get into our plans for the not-too-distant future. Buckle up friends, we want to take YOU along on this legacy train. We want to make it easy for you to get your own legacy project going. Another British writer, journalist Sheeren El Feki said, "If you really want to know yourself, start by writing a book". So perhaps there is an even deeper goal to our writing. We want to share our legacy with our communities, friends, and families. We want to be seen and heard and know that our voice matters. And, we want to know ourselves...
July 12, 2022
Ep.086 Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
"Don't ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You're responsible for your own happiness." The Mind's Journal I look at this quote and think these words SOUND so good. But I don't know that I could ever really believe them. My life feels so connected to my friends and family. I want us ALL to be happy. Today the Sidetracked Sisters are talking about decisions that they wish had been made differently. Only Sandy had no regrets and had a hard time coming up with alternative choices Judy wonders what her life would have been like if she would have gone to college instead of getting married right after high school. Lisa is the only one who writes about indecision and how giving your power to another can have significant consequences. 
July 07, 2022
Ep.085 "W. VA. Fur and Root--a hillbilly diva's blatherings" an interview with Connie Kinsey
"My life is made up of words layered upon words." --Connie Kinsey I've always loved writing. Not the kind of writing that is assigned, not the kind that is graded. When I'm in a writing habit, I like how I watch my life for nuggets of inspiration. When I'm regularly writing, I look at my surroundings and listen to people in a more interesting way. Today I am talking with memoirist Connie Kinsey. She is a writer who writes in a variety of ways and places. Connie is a former military brat who has put down deep roots in a converted barn on a dirt road at the top of a hill in West Virginia. For the past 18 months, she's been one of two Writers-in-Residence for the Museum of the American Military Family. With other folks, they crafted a book that looks at gender, religion, race, identity, culture, and ethnicity in military environments. She has also had writing published online in,, and You can also check out a digital essay produced for the GRAICE Project of the Museum of the American Military Family here.  In our interview, we talk about the value of reading your writing out loud to yourself, the value of writer's groups, and the obligation we have to support and encourage others who write or do art and who are sharing themselves with the world. You can find Connie on her website- Facebook- and Instagram- Twitter- @TRconnie
July 06, 2022
Ep.084 My Fault/Not My Fault
According to my Google search, we shouldn't call it an "accident" when a car collides with another car. Government officials and safety advocates want us to use the phrase, "car crash" because they believe that the "accident" trivializes the fact that m;ost are caused by human error or negligence and are preventable.  In our discussion today, we get into our memorable crashes. Three of us were in cars where someone fell asleep, and I was an inattentive driver. Fortunately, non of our stories involve any human casualties...only some crunched-up cars and one destroyed deer crossing sign.
July 01, 2022
Ep.083 "Someday is TODAY" with Matthew Dicks
"Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand, small, uncaring ways." --Stephen Vincent Benet I've always been the kind of person who wants to limit mindless, activities that keep me as a consumer, on the sidelines, a watcher. I prefer to live a more active and creative life. I feel good about the day when I've contributed to the world--whether by weeding my garden, walking the dos, writing a blog entry, or coaching a client. Today I'm talking with Matthew Dicks. Matt is a bestselling novelist, nationally recognized storyteller, playwright, communications consultant, award-winning elementary schoolteacher, humor and advice columnist, minister, wedding DJ, and professional public speaker. He has won bucket-loads of Moth GrandSLAM story competitions and, together with his wife, Elysha Dicks, created the organization Speak Up to help others share their stories.  Earlier this month, his latest book, the inspirational and practical "Someday is TODAY was published! In this interview, we talk about the book and the concepts he lays out to help us move forward in our creative lives. A few of the concepts we cover are..."Homework for Life", "Your 100-year-old Self", and getting better by making terrible things.  When asked about his legacy, Matt believes that "Hardwork will overcome talent every time." You can get more Matthew Dicks, his storytelling, and his inspiration... Website: Blog: Check out his video about "Someday is TODAY" here: Google Matthew Dicks on Youtube to hear some of his stories, and see him on the TED and "The Moth" stages! For example here are two to get you started: and Books: You can buy his books in ALL the places...
June 28, 2022
Ep.082 Beach Bodies
"Everyone can rock a bikini, swimsuit, unicorn onesie...whatever floats your boat. If you wear it with confidence, you will look hot." --Iskra Lawrence Now I would love to believe this "plus-size" fitness model! Ms. Lawrence is gorgeous at 5'9" and 194 pounds!!! But...(sigh) The Sidetracked Sisters got together this week to write and talk about swimsuits and body image. It was interesting how we seem to not really like our bodies--lower weight NOR higher weight. Judy was the only one who has ever been comfortable in a swimsuit.  We also got into the lessons we learned, early in life, about beauty in general. So, you do know what it takes to have a "beach body" right??? 1. You have a body. 2. You go to the beach. I believe this, but I would like bring the focus to the second part of Iskra's quote. Confidence. Aubrey Hepburn also commented on this little caveat when she said, "The most attractive accessory a girl can have is confidence."
June 23, 2022
Ep.081 "Tranquil Waters Krystals" with Sherri Schultz
"You can always tell who the strong women are...they are the ones you see building one another up, instead of tearing each other down." Today my guest is Sherri Schultz. She is not only my neighbor and a dear friend but also a nurse and an entrepreneur. Her Facebook group is called Tranquil Waters Krystals.  In this episode, we talk about what drew her to rocks and crystals. Then we get into how she began her crystal business and her thoughts, plans, hopes, and fears as she thinks about the future. We get into the balance between a stable job and a passion that brings in a surprising amount of money. She shares about the first time she ever did a Facebook Live, how her Facebook live views have grown, and about the marathon sessions she sometimes gets into.  Sherri is building a legacy for herself of financial stability, a legacy for her children of entrepreneurship, and  a legacy for other business owners of fun, responsibility,  and the value of fierce support and encouragement. You can find Sherri on Facebook at Tranquil Waters Krystals
June 21, 2022
Ep.080 Memorable Men
I love this quote by Samuel Johnson, "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."  It makes me think about the beautiful people in my life and those who have come and gone...for a variety of reasons. But those who have a lasting and deep positive impression have treated me in a way that made me feel unique and seen Today we are talking about a memorable man in our lives. Three of the Sidetracked Sisters talk about their dads and one talks about a boyfriend from high school. We talk about HOW these men made us feel special, and how they impressed or surprised us. Sometimes we recognized traits that we found appealing in our boyfriends ar the same qualities in our father. We then wrap things up by discussing how these men showed affection and made us feel...taken care of.
June 17, 2022
Ep.079 “The Truth About Things That Suck” with Mindy Henderson
"Every single challenge we have in life, big or small, can teach us patience, courage, and grace. If you can remember that, you can always find peace in your situation." --Mindy Henderson (motivational speaker, author, and coach) Welcome to Sidetracked Legacies episode #79. Today I'm talking with Mindy Henderson about ALL THE THINGS! Her book, "The Truth About Things That Suck and How to Make Them Suck Less" was just published last week! So today, we get into her background, about her life in IT, and how she made the pivot to move toward her deeper purpose. In her book, she talks about how the experiences of disability,  illness rejection, loneliness, shame, and job loss (17 sucky experiences in all) can each BE USED as a new lens to look at life, stress, and its challenges. Then...we can create a new mindset about the hard things we go through in life. You can find out all about Mindy and her book "The Truth About Things That Suck and How to Make Them Suck Less"  here: Her website: Articles she's written for Austin Woman: Blog posts: HER BOOK:  Mindy is a regular contributor on CBS Austin's "We Are Austin" Lifestyle show: Facebook: Instagram:
June 14, 2022
Ep.078 To Have and To Hold
"I vow to stand by your side when the zombie apocalypse comes and should you be turned into one, I promise to let you bite me, so I can too be one and, therefore, stay by your side forever." --Tamara Sanon (contributor at In today's episode, the Sidetracked Sisters pay homage to a popular wedding month (June) by reminiscing about wedding days.  It's a topic that has never before come up in any of our writings. At first, we thought it would be difficult to write about wedding days in an interesting way...But when we put pens to paper and fingers to keyboards, we found fun memories in abundance.  So, listen in as we talk about dresses, pictures, music, and cakes. We get into the fun little details that make the day memorable (with or without zombies).
June 09, 2022
Ep.077 "White Dresses: A Memoir of Love and Secrets, Mothers and Daughters" with Mary Pflum Peterson
"Sometimes," my mother went on, "I think of white dresses as a way of starting over. They're sort of a way of wiping the whole slate clean. Just like what happens in the wintertime when the snow comes. It wipes away everything in preparation for a new year, a new spring." --Mary Pflum Peterson (author of White Dresses: A Memoir of Love and Secrets, Mothers and Daughters) Today I'm talking with Beaver Dam, WI native Mary Pflum! Mary began her journalism career in New York at CNN where she had the opportunity to report from Istanbul, Berlin, and Atlanta. She was the CNN Bureau Chief in Turkey, and then she moved on to ABC News/Good Morning America. She is currently a reporter and producer for NBC News.  During her carried and exciting career, she's won 5 Emmies, 2 Edward R Murrows, a Peabody, a DuPont, and a WGA Award. She's covered presidential elections, the Oscars, Hurricane Katrina, the London bombings, royal weddings, the death of Pople John Paul II, and the political rise of Barak Obama. Today, we talk about her amazing book White Dresses: A Memoir of Love and Secrets, Mothers and Daughters. It looks into Mary's complicated--and loving--family through the lens of the white dresses that the women in her family have worn on special occasions.  You can find her and see what she's up to at and on Facebook at
June 07, 2022
Ep.076 Fill Your Own Cup First
"Yes, sitting in your car alone in your pajamas, chowing down on your favorite fast food and super-sized soda while rapping along to songs about drugs and money is a completely valid and oftentimes necessary form of self-care."  --@Marrage and Martinis NEVER have I done any of these things, but I think the visual is hysterical! This week, the Sidetracked Sisters got together to write about Self-Care. In our discussion, we get into Judy's luxurious foot rubs, Sandy's sanity-filled gardening and reading, Michelle's napping and treating herself to Life Coaching, and my ability to "stop and smell the roses" (or dandelions) while on long walks. We also get into kicking up our feet at the cottage and enjoying something called a "sound bath".  But the real question we grapple with is "Does Netflix binging...count. as. self-care?"
June 02, 2022
Ep.075 "Creating a Legacy as a Visual Artist" with Marcia Houde Hero
"If you're going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can't be erased."  --Maya Angelou Legacy writing is a creative process that we HOPE our kids and grandkids will appreciate someday down the road! Today's guest, my cousin, Marcia Hero, isn't recording her life using only a pen and paper or a laptop. Instead, she is a visual artist who uses a variety of mediums to do this. Artists, writers, journalers, and storytellers, are each making a legacy in their own way. What stories do we have to tell? What lessons are we feeling the need to share? How do we want to be remembered? In today's episode, Marcia talks about her creative journey. We get into the importance and value she places on the small community she has with 3 other artists who together call themselves "The Martini Girls". She talks about art journaling as a way to play, to express yourself, and as a chronicle of your life. There are so many similarities between legacy writing and expressing yourself through artistic endeavors... Here are links to the groups and sites that Marcia referenced during our interview: Wisconsin Visual Artists  The oldest continuous art group in Wisconsin, formerly named Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors  This group accepts beginners through professionals, in just about any fine art medium, including photography and book arts. League of Milwaukee Artists  2nd oldest group in Wisconsin.  Acceptance into the group is by application and jury of artwork. Wisconsin Pastel Artists  This group's members work only in chalk pastel.  Accepts beginners through professionals. On-line courses: The Martini Girls Facebook page: My Facebook fine art page: My personal FB page:
May 31, 2022
Ep.074 Who Do You Say You Are?
Would you describe yourself as a quantrelle? Are you a bold woman who loves deeply, someone who lets go of pressure and false identity to follow your heart? Or, maybe you are a novaturient kind of person who desires or seeks effective change in your life, behavior, or situation. Perhaps you would describe yourself simply as a philocalist--a lover of who finds and appreciates beauty in all things.  Today the Sidetracked Sisters talk about our Legacy Writing topic "3 Words to Describe Yourself". No one used any fancy words to describe themselves. But the words we did use felt real and meaningful.  In this discussion, we explore Michelle's qualities of organized and jokester, Judy's qualities of integrity and sensitivity, Sandy's snarkiness and persistence, and my desire to be adventurous.
May 26, 2022
Ep.073 "Telling Healing Stories" with Codi Chen
"You already know the story that you should be telling that will break the chains of your past and bring healing to your present. This healing creates a ripple effect out towards your future, as well as to those around you." --Codi Chen Today I am interviewing Codi Chen! She is the co-owner, with her wife, Renee, of HeartWorks Writing. She loves traveling, coaching writers, editing, and all things writing.  I'm talking with her about her interesting writing journey. We get into her suggestions for writers who have challenging stories to tell and what to do if others have different memories of a story event. She also gives some tips to solve writer's block, what to look for when you want to find a sacred group or writing community, and how to set yourself up to give and receive feedback effectively. Codi can be found... at her website- on Instagram- @codielizabeth and Facebook-
May 24, 2022
Ep.072 Feel the Fear
"You'll never be bored when you try something new. There's really no limit to what you can do." --Dr. Seuss I have to admit that writing about the topic, "My Greatest Fear" is NOT for the faint of heart! Besides writing, and sharing about a challenging topic, this new format of the four of us all on one Zoom call is taking some getting used to. Thank you for joining us for what is, at times, a HOT MESS! Today the Sidetracked Sisters are talking about storms, car crashes, loss, shame, and aging. (Sounds like a real party--right?) Welcome to our world as we share, laugh, and cry (but mostly laugh) about the stuff that keeps us up at night...
May 19, 2022
Ep.071 "I'm Here to Collect My Husband" with Maria Secoy
"Everyone has a writer living in their soul." --Maria Secoy (teacher/mentor/writer) Maria Secoy believes that your voice is the best one to tell your story. She has worked for more than 15 years with writers of all ages and levels of experience. She's on a mission to help women use the communication skills they already have to tell their stories.  Today we get together and talk about writing and getting our stories down. We get into the advice she gives to women who haven't written much--or at all--since high school. We talk about inspiration and the brass tacks of making writing a manageable process to record our memories.  Maria is a warm, encouraging, talented writer, mentor, and teacher. She agrees with the Sidetracked Sisters that we need to record our thoughts, stories and experiences. I'm so excited to share our conversation with you!  Her new book is Alongside Lucy. You can also get a signed copy here!  Here is Maria's contact information:  Website --  Facebook -- MariaSecoy-writer  Instagram -- @AllWriteWell  Twitter -- @TeachingSecoy
May 17, 2022
Ep.070 Money, Money, Money
"Too many people spend money they earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." --Willl Rogers (American actor) I think we all know people like this and probably have succumbed to the temptation once or twice ourselves. This week, the Sidetracked Sisters got together to talk about money. We all had different perspectives and stories on wealth, money, and abundance. We talk about making money, having it, saving it and spending it.  I'm not sure that we discovered or uncovered any great truthes, but we sure did have fun!
May 12, 2022
Ep.069 The Flexible Sidetracked Sisters
"Stay committed to your decisions but, stay flexible in your approach." --Tom Robbins (American novelist) The Sidetracked Sisters definitely believe in the philosophy of flexibility. My sister, aunt, mom and I have been writing together for many years. Then, just 4 months ago, we decided to start this podcast to let more people know about "Legacy Writing". To do this, we would write together, and then everyone would have an interview about that week's writing.  But, it didn't turn out as juicy as we had hoped. The camaraderie, the snarkiness, and the disagreements were missing!!! Mom would regularly be wanting to rebut and Judy would want to clarify an idea. However, none of that was shared with you! So...we are changing things up. We are going to be moving to 2 podcasts a week. One will be the four Sidetracked Sisters getting together as a group to share, talk, laugh, question, disagree and just explore ideas together. The other will be where we talk to friends and experts about journaling, memoir writing, and storytelling to help us share our stuff in a more interesting and engaging way.  Here is our first four-person discussion about this change...
May 10, 2022
Ep.068 My Bucket List in Retrospect
"The best bucket lists are simple and profound. Actually, I believe that the best things in life are both of those things, too." --Julie Schooler (author of Bucket List Blueprint ) I think Julie and Judy must be soulmates from another life or time. This quote really speaks to Judy's mix of uncomplicated and serious items. She has both kinds on her checked items bucket list and on her current, in-progress list.  Judy has always (and continues) valued variety...from travel to learning and daily habits to relationships.
May 06, 2022
Ep.067 I Need a New Bucket
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." -Walt Disney I can feel Sandy agreeing with this sentiment. She gets so frustrated listening to big talkers!!! This week we are writing and talking about "bucket lists". We discuss Sandy's cottage dream and her desire to travel. Sandy also confesses a desire to go zip lining and go tubing...Who knew?
May 04, 2022
Ep.066 A Full Bucket List
"I had a lot of insecure moments in high school, it wasn't all peachy keen. But I don't necessarily think that I hate high school and wanted to crawl into a hole either." --Kirsten Bell Michelle uses the phrase "peachy keen", made popular by Rizzo in the movie "Grease". It embodies that perfect blend of sarcasm and ambiguity that is so perfectly her! Today we are talking about "Bucket Lists". Michelle already has a couple of items crossed off her current list (which is unsurprising). We explore the details of the remaining 9 bucket list items and discuss our next dream board making time--no sarcasm or ambiguity at all!!!
May 03, 2022
Ep.065 The Bucket List: Fill, Empty, and Repeat
"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, power, and grace." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe This quote has several variations, but they all have the same command "BEGIN IT". In this episode, Michelle and I talk about goals, bucket lists, and dream boards. We get into the fact that sometimes we don't know the how, why, or when of a dream--but it is there. Our mom, Sandy, is an excellent example of someone with a short and simple bucket list with one major item...a cottage on Lake Michigan.  I don't think a bucket list needs to be long, but really, the fewer items there are, the more important each is. 
May 02, 2022
Ep.064 Untangling From Toxic Friends
"Stop setting yourself on fire to keep someone else warm." --unknown We figured out that my mom and Sara were friends for about 6 years. There were days, weeks, months, that turned into years where mom was trying to help her friend. Then one day, she had enough. Living through, and ultimately ending, that relationship was. very. difficult. This week the Sidetracked Sisters are writing about our "Greatest Challenge". In this episode, Sandy and I talk about a toxic friendship that colored our lives many years ago. We reminisce about specific events and talk about how the relationship ended (and the relief we all felt when it was over). Sandy had very few resources when she was struggling through these events. Today, a quick google search can bring up dozens of articles, quizzes, therapists, and coaches. If you find yourself in a relationship where you are struggling to back out safely, here are a couple of places to begin educating yourself:
April 29, 2022
Ep.063 The Hardest Choices
"You're always one choice away from changing your life." --Marcy Blochowiak (author) But no one ever said that making that choice would be easy. And no one said that changing your life wouldn't be scary! This week, the Sidetracked Sisters are writing and talking about our "Greatest Challenge".  Throughout my life, I have always questioned, "What am I going to be when I grow up?" Although I've pivoted a couple of times in my career life, teaching was pretty stable for me. Right now, however, I'm comparing my life to skydiving. I've left the ground behind and made the jump.  Exciting? Yes.  Scary? Hell YESSS!!!
April 28, 2022
Ep.062 Divorce Is the First Step
"Freeing yourself was one thing. Claiming ownership of that freed self is another." --Toni Morrison Michelle began her self-discovery story last week when she talked about being a chameleon throughout her life. This week, we talk and write about "Our Greatest Challenge". We get into her separation and divorce story. The book "The 5 Love Languages" is a real eye-opener for her. Then, we begin working on her self-identity and what she wants out of life. This sets us up for next week's writing and interviews about our bucket lists...
April 26, 2022
Ep.061 It Should've Been Me
"Let go of the illusion that it could have been any different." I don't know what wise soul uttered those profound words--but this is the beginning, middle, and end of healing. Today Judy and I talk about our "Greatest Challenge". We discuss her sister Kathy's illness and how it affected her development. We get into resilience, flexibility, and Judy's search for self. Then, at the end of our interview, I have Judy retell a story about her sister that has always freaked me about a bit!
April 25, 2022
Ep.060 Who Do You Think You Are?
"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." --Gilbert Perreira Throughout her life, Michelle has struggled with being a chameleon. She's tried to be what she though others wanted her to be or who she felt others NEEDED her to be. Over the years of this, it got to be that nothing felt...real. Music, food, activities. Others had favorites and opinions, not Michelle. She was willing to go along for whatever ride you were on. In this episode, we discuss how Michelle developed a chameleon personality and how she is NOW learning to be her true self. Check out this writing from last year. Its crazy how this is obviously an important theme for her!!!
April 21, 2022
Ep.059 Center of the Universe
"Every time we start thinking we are the center of the universe, the universe turns around and says with a slightly distracted air, 'I'm sorry, what'd you say your name was again?'" --Margaret Maron (Amerian mystery writer) Learning that she WASN'T the center of the universe was a lesson that Judy learned from a therapist when she was in her twenties. It's not an easy lesson to learn and it takes many of us time and practice to fully understand the concept. But, according to this article in Inc., studies show that when you get this, you're more likely to face your fear, speak out, and stand up for your opinions! Knowing that you. are. NOT the center of the universe leads to independence and the release of people-pleasing. In this episode, Judy and I talk about therapy, aging, life after retirement, and how much fun we are having--and therapeutic it is--doing Legacy Writing together.
April 20, 2022
Ep.058 Turn it OFF!
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." --Matthew 6:21 "Show me where you spend your time, money, and energy and I'll tell you what you worship..." --John Quimby (pastor and author) "Tell me how you spend your time, I'll tell you what you value most." --Melody Wilding (performance coach and professor) Personally... screen time (whether on the tv, computer, or phone) is NOT where I want to spend my life. I don't place a high value on it...what about you?!? Today Judy and I talk about how screen time eats away at our lives. We discuss how tv watching Netflix binging, and Facebook scrolling can be buffering activities. Then we get into something called habit stacking to take back control over our time and move toward what we really value. Here is Shel Silverstein's poem "Jimmy Jet and His TV Set" that was an inspiration, back in the day, for "TV Turn-Off". 
April 19, 2022
Ep.057 Words of Wisdom x 4
"Parents can only give good advice or put children on the right path, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." --Anne Frank Sandy received some wisdom jewels from her parents that have served her well and that she hopes her kids and grandkids will take to heart also. This week, we are talking about Memorable Advice. Sandy received (at least) four profound pieces of advice that have served her well" 1-Never beg 2. Budget 3-Pay your charges at the end of every month. 4- Don't do anything you don't want your parents or family to know about 
April 19, 2022
Ep.056 A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That
If you have definite opinions about the presence of Hawaiin rolls and plain jello at Easter dinner or, if your dog somehow channels your personality or, if you've ever considered that the item you're about to receive for Christmas is a three-foot dildo... then this is the episode for you! Michelle and I talk about how her kids each follow in her genetic footsteps when it comes to aversion to change, reactions, and the way they deal with psychological challenges. We laugh about how you can tell just how much your children look like you by using Snapchat filters. We also get into how she can manipulate , motivate, or encourage one of her kids to do what she wants because of the power of having the same "love language".
April 14, 2022
Ep.055 Two Halves Make a Whole
"Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are." --St Augustine  Although Sandy always thought that the perfect number of children in a family was three...she has nonetheless hit the jackpot with the two daughters she has!!! Today we talk about ALL the things! We discuss the fact that both Michelle and I moved back to our hometown when we wanted to start our families. We get into her relationships with her six grandchildren and some of the difficulties she's had over the years when taking care of them. then we get into sleepovers and her thoughts on the "nature versus nurture" debate. 
April 13, 2022
Ep.054 My One and Only
"I think the biggest problem working with me would be that I'm an only child, and so I have an internal dialogue that goes on that I just assume you can hear."  --Maynard Keenan (musician) I know Judy loved having an only child in our interview. But I didn't actually ask her if she had wanted more kids. Being a step-mom and becoming Matthew's mom at 40 was pretty exciting! Today we discuss teasing and the way babies look. Then we talk about how close Judy feels to Michelle and me. It's like she was a mom to us for so much of our childhoods! We've always had a real value on relationships in our family and we continue to work to keep growing in this area.
April 12, 2022
Ep.053 On Children
"I am not a product of my circumstances, I am the product of my decisions." --Stephen Covey (author of The "7 Habits of Highly Effective People") Wow...just. wow. In today's episode, Judy and I are talking about "Kids--Same or Different". In my Legacy Writing, I quote a poem that I love by Kahlil Gibran that you can read here. We get into thoughts on the debate between "nature versus nurture" and take a special look at this topic from an adoptive parent's perspective. Then we roll into the question of "What do I want to be when I grow up???" and the anxiety it caused me over the years--until now when I've come to appreciate the journey and the next. right. thing.
April 11, 2022
Ep.052 Easter and Moldy Money
"Good idea: Finding Easter eggs on Easter. Bad idea: Finding Easter eggs on Christmas." --Jack Handey (American comedian) At my house, we hide plastic Easter eggs outside. Unfortunately, those eggs may be found months, if not years later. Sometimes this results in... deteriorated contents (to say the least). In this episode, Judy and I talk about some disgusting forms that money can take, the perils of seasonal gifts for a spring holiday in Wisconsin, and the changes I've experienced in egg decorating and Easter candy/gifts.  In the end, we get into a couple of recipes--one for Gin slush that sounds A-MAZ-ING! "Sidetracked Slush" anyone? We also plan a fun marshmallow bunny-making activity that you might want to try with your family. Here is our "Sidetracked Slush" recipe: 8 cups of water divided 5 black tea bags or green tea bags 2 cups granulated sugar 2 (12 ounces) containers of frozen lemonade concentrate thawed 2-4 cups of gin lemon-lime soda or tonic water, for serving lime wedges, for garnish Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Add tea bags and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Discard bags and stir in sugar until dissolved. In a 1-gallon plastic ice cream pail, combine the remaining 5 cups of water, sweetened tea, frozen juice concentrates, and gin. Freeze at least 8 hours or overnight. The more gin you use, the longer the slush takes to freeze. To serve, fill a glass ½  full. Top with lemon-lime soda or tonic water. Garnish with lime wedges.
April 08, 2022
Ep.051 Plastic Eggs and Yummy Bunnies
There is nothing wrong with talking to your toys. It's wrong when they start answering you. --Anonymous Well, when I googled a picture of a Zippy doll from today's interview--I thought, "NO WAY would kids go for this doll these days!" Today we talk about Judy's family traditions of hiding eggs, making bunny cakes, and going to church. She also talks about this little doll that she wanted so much---it was called a Zippy doll. Ho boy, my daughter Aubrey has only one word for it...CREEPY. It reminds me of that monkey from "Toy Story 3" that watches the security cameras and bangs his cymbals....
April 07, 2022
Ep.050 Cow Pies for Easter
Some people have Easter memories of sacred events, some love the tradition of coloring eggs or sharing a meal with family. One of Sandy's favorite Easter stories is highlighted by dodging flying cow poop... What can I say? In this episode, we discuss wearing hats and Easter fashion, hiking the hills of Black Earth instead of sitting around watching t.v., and then we get into makeup tips from a 12-year-old.  Check out "Faith" for more of Sandy's thoughts on Easter memories.
April 05, 2022
Ep.049 Easter Hunting
Easter is approaching and, in our family, the matriarchs annually pick up traditional candies for Easter treats: jellybeans, malted eggs, chocolate bunnies, and various pastel-wrapped candies. And Michelle needs a single package of Peeps--not Peeps Chocolate Pudding or Peeps Rice Krispie treats, not warm Peeps s'mores or Peeps flavored milk. No. She likes her Peeps plain. and. STALE--the marshmallow crunchy, the sugar coating crystalized. I. can't. even. In today's episode, we talk about good and bad candy (we have our definite opinions). We reminisce about childhood Easter memories and then get solidly into the art of hiding Easter baskets, eggs, and treats. Here is Michelle's Classic Wisconsin Brandy Slush Recipe: 8 cups of water divided 5 black tea bags or green tea bags 2 cups granulated sugar 1 (12 ounces) container of frozen lemonade concentrate thawed 1 (12 ounces) container of frozen orange juice concentrate thawed 2-4 cups of brandy lemon-lime soda or sparkling water, for serving lemon and orange wedges, for garnish Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Add tea bags and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Discard bags and stir in sugar until dissolved. In a 1-gallon plastic ice cream pail, combine the remaining 5 cups of water, sweetened tea, both frozen juice concentrates, and brandy. Freeze at least 8 hours or overnight. The more Brandy you use, the longer the slush takes to freeze. To serve, fill a glass ½  full. Top with lemon-lime soda or sparkling water. Garnish with orange and lemon wedges.
April 04, 2022
Ep.048 Snakes and Piggies and Dragons...Oh, My!
“Reptiles and amphibians are sometimes thought of as primitive, dull and dimwitted. In fact, of course, they can be lethally fast, spectacularly beautiful, surprisingly affectionate and very sophisticated.”  --Sir David Attenborough (English broadcaster, biologist, natural historian, and author) I don't think the reptiles in my life have ever been, or ever will be, "lethally fast", but I definitely do see beauty in them. In this episode, Judy and I are talking about "Pet Memories". We discuss my short-lived pet snake experience and our current family member--a bearded dragon named Rosemeyer. We also get into the "fun" we have when writing about an experience, and our sister remembers the same event VERY differently.
March 31, 2022
Ep.047 Hamsters, Uncle Lloyd, and Simple Math
Enjoy the little things in life for someday you will realize they were the BIG things.  When I was a kid, I dreamed of one day having a little hobby farm where I could have kids, dogs, cats, and critters of all kinds. But breeding was never in my vision of the future...unlike my Aunt Judy and her desire for a PAIR of hamsters. In this episode, we discuss the adventures she had as a child when her Uncle Lloyd gave her a male and a female hamster for Christmas. This resulted in an educational experience in animal husbandry, biological reproduction, and microeconomics.
March 30, 2022
Ep.046 My Houdini Hamster
I run and I run and I run and I get out and I've gone nowhere. NOWHERE!  --Hamster in "The Secret Life of Pets 2" Oh...the futility of being busy all the time but never achieving anything important or reaching your goal. Who'd have thought that hamsters are so wise? In this episode, Michelle and I are talking about "Pet Memories".  We discuss our childhood Saturday morning pet cage cleaning responsibilities and something called a "habitrail" cage. She had an interesting variety of critters as a child--including the unfortunate "exploding hamster" and parakeets that NEVER learned to talk.
March 29, 2022
Ep.045 ...and then there was Oliver
I really think that if you ever have a lull in a conversation with someone, ask them about their pets. The unpredictable nature of our interactions with animals makes for interesting stories and insightful information about people. In this episode, Sandy and I are talking about "Pet Memories". We get into teaching birds to talk and disagree about how well I carried out my responsibilities to keeping my pets clean when I was a child. We reminisce about traveling with pets and finish u today with a story of chameleon TRAUMA!
March 28, 2022
Ep.044 Sister...Going West!
"Little sisters can be a pain, but the big sister heroine worship can't be beat." --Allison M. Lee When my little sister Michelle was born, I was 5 1/2 years old and my mom told me how important I would be in her life. As the big sister, I was to teach her and guide her--like a second mom. Well, somewhere along the next few years, I heard that a child's personality was formed and solidified by their 5th birthday.  As she reached that milestone, I remember feeling sad and guilty that I had really screwed up this poor kid!!! Now looking at our lives together, it doesn't seem like I messed up as bad as I feared. She not only considered me a great big sister, I recognize that she is pretty awesome too!
March 26, 2022
Ep.043 The Queen, the Princess, and the Frog
"I smile because you're my sister, I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it." This quote beautifully captures my mom's multi-dimensional relationship with her sister Judy. She loves her to death and gets absolute glee from seeing her...react! In this episode, we discuss how Sandy's older sister Kathy was the queen, her younger sister Judy was the princess. That left her cast as the frog. We also discuss possible inaccuracies or exaggerations in Juday's writing interview from episode #42.
March 24, 2022
Ep.042 Torture, Arguments, and Reactions
What is the definition of a "big sister"? The only person in the world who will pick on you for her own entertainment, and murder anyone else who tries. For Judy, this saying captures her relationship with her big sister, Sandy. It is as true today as it was 60 years ago. In today's episode, our topic is "Sibling Memories". Judy and I discuss childhood bedrooms and the joys that come along with sharing that room with your sister. I question her about letting her sister cut her hair! Sisterly jealousy, humor, and love are DEEP issues today!
March 23, 2022
Ep.041 My Sister--My Hero
"Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there."  --Amy Li In this episode, Michelle and I talk about the SIGNIFICANT influence I had on her growing up.  We reminisce about events from early childhood through grade school, high school, college...up to now. I was definitely a trailblazer and she was a willing disciple. Having children was about the only life experience that she embarked on without me taking the plunge first. 
March 22, 2022
Ep.040 The Birth of My Peanut
"Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child. There should be a song for women to sing at this moment or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment."  --Anita Diamont My sister Michelle is a birth rock star--she has such short, vivid birth experiences! This episode is about a Birth/Adoption story. We talk about that crazy time when labor begins--only, it can be hard to realize what is actually happening. then we get into Michelles's inability to adequately prepare for the arrival of ANY of her three children! At the end, we reminisce about a few of the memorable details of each of her three birthing experiences.
March 18, 2022
Ep.039 Family--Not "If" but "WHEN"
"Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." --Ralph Waldo Emerson I can honestly say that I believe this with my whole heart!!! In today's episode, Judy interviews me about a Birth/Adoption story. We talk about making decisions in life--you know there are no guarantees, but it is vital to keep moving toward your dream. We also discuss having short-term sacrifices as you move toward a long-term goal. Lastly, we get into the rollercoaster of emotions that I experienced during the 14-year span of time that I did infertility work and moved through the process of adoption.
March 17, 2022
Ep.038 Kiley--The Prophet
"Wisdom oft comes from the mouth of babes." --George R.R. Martin (American novelist paraphrasing Psalms 8:2) This quote definitely applies to Judy's step-daughter, Kiley. She acted the prophet when out of the blue, she told Judy that she should have a baby of her own! In today's episode, Judy and I talk about Birth/Adoption stories. We discuss ideas on how to educate a young child about conception--you know babies aren't grown in the garden under cabbage leaves or brought, fully formed, by a stork to maternity rooms! We go over the idea of being "cheated" if you, as a mom, don't have a NATURAL birth experience. We also get into the extraordinary experiences Judy had with both doctors who attended the delivery of her son. 
March 16, 2022
Ep.037 The Day It All Began
However much we know about birth in general, we know nothing about a particular birth. We must let it unfold in its own uniqueness. -Elizabeth Noble In today's episode, #37, I am interviewing my mom, Sandy about Birth/Adoption stories. We talk about my birth and how she blames me for making her life crazy. I dispute this idea and contend that she has NEVER been one to extensively plan or execute an agenda in a preemptive manner! It's interesting how the first person she calls when beginning labor is--her mom. Then, the question comes up, "Is it possible to love a second child as much as the first?" We also discuss how her plans to quit working and become a full-time mom never happened. 
March 15, 2022
Ep.036 I Hate Tuna!
Were you ever made to stay at the dinner table until you had finished your food--or some portion of your meal--as a child? Well my sister was born a picky eater and lived to tell the tale! In today's episode, Michelle and I talk about "Favorite Food". We discuss the details of being a picky eater, and birthday cake successes and failures. Then we get into school lunches and something called "Good Casserole".
March 11, 2022
Ep.035 There's a Man in my Kitchen!
What is happiness? Judy definitely believes that it can be found watching the man in your life cook for you. I would add...that a man who cooks for you is good, and a man who does the dishes is AMAZING! Today I interview Judy about "Food Memories". We get into sweet 16 traditions and her favorite foods from childhood. We discuss the whole plan/shop/cook/clean progression. Then we wrap things up with our thoughts on if the cook actually should clean, or if that job should be shared.
March 10, 2022
Ep.034 Who Could Possibly Eat Liver?
What is the most INTERESTING thing you have ever eaten--on purpose!?! We aren't talking about the last time you ate a butg while talking and riding a bike. How about tongue, liver and onions, or...squirrel? In today's episode, Sandy and I talk about "Food Memories". she reminisces about growing up with a father who was a meat salesman. We talk about how much TIME it takes to shop/put groceries away/cook/eat/clean up. Wouldn't it just be easier to take a pill to meet our nutrition needs? Then we end up talking a bit about the possibility of just eating at restaurants all. the. time.
March 09, 2022
Ep.033 Comfort Food
There is no place like home--except Grandma's house. -Anonymous I spent a lot of time at my grandparent's house growing up. I would walk there after school and spend the whole day in the summer when my parents worked. Talking about my favorite lunch takes me right back in time. In this episode, Judy and I talk about grandma's cooking and about watermelon parties. We get into things like jello add-ins and burned bacon. It's a peek at my personal culinary history. Here is the recipe for mom's Holiday Veggie Jell-O Salad: 1 pkg (6 ounces) lime Jell-O 2 c boiling water 1 1/2 c cold water 2 c finely shredded cabbage 1 c finely shredded carrot 1 c crushed pineapple, well-drained 1 c mayonnaise  Combine the lime Jell-O with hot water in a large bowl, stirring until dissolved. Stir in cold water. Immediately add vegetables and pineapple. Pour mixture into a wreath-shaped mold. Refrigerate until mixture has set (about 2 or 3 hours). Refrigerate the salad for several hours more or overnight. Unmold by dipping into hot water for 10 seconds. Serve with a "sauce" of 1 cup mayonnaise placed in a small bowl in the center of the wreath-shaped Jell-O.  Spoon onto salad as it is served.
March 08, 2022
Ep.032 One Pink Shoe, One Green
"If I could give my daughter 3 things, it would be the confidence to always know her self-worth, the strength to chase her dreams, and the ability to know how truly, deeply loved she is."  -Anonymous I think the three additional life necessities my mom would want to give me are colorful sweaters, chic pants, and stylish shoes! Today Sandy and I talk about ALL of her closets and how she has managed to purge and prune her clothes recently. We reminisce about the days when she shared her clothes with teenage daughters. Then, we wrap up by discussing the pros ad cons of NOT trying on apparel before buying.
March 04, 2022
Ep.031 Comfort Before Beauty
Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There's no road map to style. Its about self-expression and, above all, attitude." -Iris Apfel (American businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon) Today, Juday and I get into "Clothes and Shoes". We talk about finding super comfy boots and about that elusive concept--STYLE! I share a clothing lesson I learned when visiting Norway. At the end, we discuss the idea of keeping and wearing grubbies and why you shouldn't save your good clothes "for special".
March 04, 2022
Ep.030 Love Daisies, But...Where's the Flood?
My sister Michelle has a comfortable, casual, classy style. She has always been comfortable in her own skin and possessed a confident fashion sense. In today's episode, we talk about her past love of wearing matchy-matchy outfits. Back in the 80s and 90s, she loved wearing bold and fun mixable/matchable items that NOT everyone thought attractive. This somehow led us to her OCD tendencies when it comes to toys. Then, we finish up with fond memories of "grandma shoes".
March 02, 2022
Ep.029 Naked in the Right Shoes
You've heard that "diamonds are a girl's best friend"? Well, Judy may argue with me, but she OBVIOUSLY believes that SHOES are a girl's best friend! The proof is in the math and there is no arguing with these cold hard numbers. In today's episode, I talk with Judy about clothes and shoes. We get into the stages she's gone through in life which is exemplified by the kinds of shoes she wore. Then, we discuss how hard it is for her to get rid of shoes that carry good memories.  Is Judy a shoe hoarder? You'll have to make up your own mind after you hear our discussion--and her EXCUSES!!!
March 01, 2022
Ep.028 No Worries
Stress. It can really shut me down. Over the years, I've discovered that the best strategy to conquer this feeling is to talk. That, together with the thought of "What's the worst that can happen?" has helped me get perspective on many overwhelming situations--one being when I went to take the road test for my driver's license. In this episode, Judy and I discuss "Learning to Drive". We talk about responsibly using the family car after getting your driver's license and memories of finally getting to drive my FIRST car. We get into strategies we've tried to get out of a ticket--both successful and unsuccessful. Finally, we share a couple of extra stories about car problems that we had in our younger days. 
February 24, 2022
Ep.027 One Way to Learn to Drive
Have you ever noticed that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac? --George Carlin I think the only time we are accurately SELF-conscious when we are when we are just learning! In today's episode, I talk with Sandy about "Learning to Drive". She tells me about how glass packs were used to make a car sound "cool". She remembers the trouble she got into the first (and last) time she was allowed to use the family car. We also talk about how her boyfriend--future husband--foolishly introduced her to the skill of driving.
February 23, 2022
Ep.026 Drive Me Home
Did you pass your driving test on the first try? According to the Division of Vehicle Safety Administration in 2018/2019, there is only a 45.8% pass rate for those taking the test the first time. The two most common reasons for failure are cutting the corner when making a right-hand turn and "failure to control the vehicle"--whatever that means?! Today, I talk with Michelle about "Learning to Drive". She recounts her parents' response to her first accident and we talk about you her dad was (and continues to be) confused when she cries. But we really get into our opinions on the unique opportunity for the development of appreciation when your first car is a "beater".
February 23, 2022
Ep.025 Late Bloomer
According to Google, a 2020 study found that most people learn to drive when they are 17 or 18--it's really an important step in "growing up". However, 18% of people wait until later in life (in their 30s and 40s) to learn to drive. This week, the Sidetracked Sisters are exploring "Learning to Drive". Judy and I talk about how driver's education has changed over the years and about how our view of independence has also changed as the number of cars that a family owns has increased. Then we look back at our experiences with driving cars with a manual transmission.
February 22, 2022
Ep.024 Cleaning Hysteria
"We dream of having a clean house, but who dreams of actually doing the cleaning? --Marcus Buckingham Well, I think my mom, Sandy, may actually dream of cleaning!!! All is well with the world if her house is picked up and CLEAN...and her "bookwork" is done! (But the whole bookworm thing is another story.) We are talking about "Cleaning Mishaps". In today's episode, Sandy and I talk about her obsession with finding--and collecting--the best cleaning products and tools. We also reminisce about her strategy to get her children to get weekly housekeeping responsibilities accomplished. One of the cleaning products she LOVES is called Protec.  Her favorite vacuum cleaner is a Shark.
February 18, 2022
Ep.023 My Cleaning Mishap AKA Not Cleaning
"Housework can't kill you, but why take the chance?" -Phyllis Diller (comedian) I think Judy would totally agree! she picks up, organizes, and straightens things, but cleaning, well... In today's episode, we are talking about cleaning Mishaps. Judy recalls how her sister was a good cleaner who didn't want or need Judy's help. We discuss having help cleaning our houses and our need for a cleaning coach perhaps--is that even a thing?!? Near the end, Judy says that the BEST window cleaner is made following this recipe: 1/2 bucket of warm water 1 1/2 cups ammonia 1 splash of rubbing alcohol 1 drop of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid (added last) Use with a nylon scrubby.
February 17, 2022
Ep.022 The Consequence of NOT Cleaning Up
I love consistency! Although I can be spontaneous, I prefer to live with predictable procedures, patterns, and expectations. As you will see today, when I fall short in one of my routines, I almost experienced a catastrophic consequence. In this episode, Judy and I talk about the events of the early morning when I left the kitchen without taking care of the dinner mess and went to bed instead--thinking that I would take care of it in the morning. We remember Percy, the cat who is the antagonist in my story. Then we wrap up with some thoughts about when you might want to add a conversation (dialog) to your legacy writing.
February 16, 2022
Ep.021 Yes! a Roomba Can Clean-up Poop!
"It is amazing how quickly kids learn to drive a car yet are unable to understand the lawnmower, snow blower or vacuum cleaner. -Ben Bergor In this episode, Michelle and I talk about "Cleaning Mishaps". We reminisce about our childhood cleaning responsibilities and how we have tried as adults to stay on top of housekeeping obligations using the "Fly Lady" system. Unfortunately, whether or not this program is successful is up for debate. then, on what seems like a random not, but is not, we relate a perennial problem that she suffers from that involves her Christmas tree.
February 15, 2022
Ep.020 Home Is Where the Heart Is
Did you know that the average American moves 11 times in a lifetime? Mom is NEVER going to EVER get close to this number. My mom, at the age of 77, has only lived in 4 places and she feels a deep connection to each and every place. Today, Sandy and I are talking about "Places I've Lived". We discuss the new house she and dad moved into when I was just a baby and the move to where she lives now. We chat about changes she's made to the home--including the AMAZING attic playroom she created for her grandkids!
February 15, 2022
Ep.019 Home Sweet Home
I always knew that when I started having kids I would want to be close to family. We began looking at houses in my hometown while we were actively doing infertility work. The search quickly led us to our dream house--unfortunately, it wasn't ain a dream location. But the house..was wonderful! In this episode, we are talking about "Places I've Lived". We discuss memories about a majestic downtown home, aspects of the house that I loved, and the PERFECT advice Judy gave me about relationships.
February 13, 2022
Ep.018 The Long Road Home
Judy is like a moving expert. She has lived in 17 different places throughout her life. I don't know about you, but that seems like a LOT to me! Today we are reading and talking about "Places I've Lived".  We talk about how each place she's lived is defined by the memories that were made there. In California, it was making a home with her husband and baby. Then when she moved back to Wisconsin, the home was one of a childhood friend. Now, she lives in a home that is perfect for her current lifestyle.
February 12, 2022
Ep.017 Dorm Sweet Dorm
Have you heard of the tiny house movement? Well, if you haven't it is people who live in a home that is less than 400 square feet and try to simplify their lives by living with less.  My sister Michelle was at the forefront of this idea--or maybe on the opposite side???--while in college in the late 80s. She and her roommate tried to see just how much comfort and hominess they could pack into a standard 180 square foot dorm room! In this episode, we are writing and talking about "Places I've Lived". Michelle's legacy writing is called "Dorm Sweet Dorm". We talk about her living arrangements over the years and the family members that were always ready with a paintbrush!
February 11, 2022
Ep.016 My Feisty Grandma
My Grandma Doris was recovering in a nursing home for a few weeks after falling in her yard and breaking her hip. We were planning a pizza party on Friday when she was going to be moving into my house for the summer. I got the call on Tuesday morning that she had passed.  In this episode, Judy and I talk about "A Most Interesting Person" and I read my legacy writing titled "My Feisty Grandma". I had really looked forward to Grandma moving in. My boys were small and I anticipated that she would bring stores, laughter, and moral support to our house. Now that she's gone, I realize just how little I knew her and her personal stories. 
February 09, 2022
Ep.015 My Dad--Ronald Meister
"A girl's father is the first man in her life and probably the most influential." --David Jerimiah I don't know that Judy would say MOST influential, but VERY influential...yes! In today's episode, Judy and I talk about a "Most Interesting Person". She reads her legacy writing about her father and we talk about the last time he visited when she lived in Waterloo Iowa and the good memories they made together. We touch on her dad's political views and his very patriarchal approach to his wife and daughter taking care of him. Then we wrap up and laugh about the gory details of rubbing his feet and how he considered boxer shorts, a t-shirt, and hat appropriate outerwear on the weekends.
February 08, 2022
Ep.014 Uncle in the Attic? I had an Aunt in the Garden!
Do you have any family members that you remember with awe? Do you have a relative who lived life to the fullest? In this episode, Sandy talks about a "Most Interesting Family Member"...her Aunt Joan. This lady was striking, sophisticated, and fun. Sandy talks about how her aunt taught her about collecting butterflies and about perennial gardening. We also discuss the summer adventures that she had as a child visiting with her Aunt Joan in Madison.
February 07, 2022
Ep.013 Our Family Loves an Old Curmudgeon
Do you have a relative that everyone hates to love? Well, in Michelle's family it was Uncle Lloyd. He was an eccentric, grumpy, old, fart of a man. In today's episode, Michelle and I talk about a "Most Interesting Family Member". We reminisce about summer memories she made when visiting him during several childhood summers. Michelle lets us in on how she used Uncle Lloyd's passion for clowning to traumatize her family. Then, we touch on Lloyd's love of living in the buff!
February 03, 2022
Ep.012 First Kisses
You've heard of tall, dark, and handsome, well, my first REAL kiss was with someone tall, blond, and skinny--but I was looking so forward to that first smooch!!! (We were just kids.) In today's episode, Judy and I talk about kissing. I share my legacy writing and we discuss what happens when the wrong boy catches me in "Boys Chase Girls". I recount the details of my first REAL kiss and how we found it interesting that some of us Sidetracked Sisters were more boy-crazy while others were more shy or uninterested. Then we briefly touch on the sweet kisses of our children. 
February 01, 2022
Ep.011 Sweet First Kiss
Lots of us have memories of playing chase games between the boys and girls during recess in Elementary school. In Michelle's memory, it was a sweet memory due to a slow running boy! Today, I talk with my sister about kissing. She shares her legacy writing, and we reminisce about recess. She also shares a memory of how a first kiss can affect your mood...maybe even your personality. Finally, we discuss the classic move where a boy does the big arm stretch before casually putting his arm over your shoulders for the first time.
January 31, 2022
Ep.010 Memorable First Kiss?
As a kid, I knew of the game called "Spin the Bottle" but never played it myself. My mom, however, played and was BUSTED playing an even more intense childhood kissing game. In this episode, I talk with my mom about girl parties! (It gets interesting when boys are invited in through a basement window.) Somehow, we transition into the controversy of dating someone from a different Christian denomination and then move into memories from catechism class.
January 30, 2022
Ep.009 First Kiss
Have you ever heard someone relate the story of a perfect first kiss? Or, have you perhaps experienced the perfect first kiss yourself? In this episode, Judy and Lisa talk about kissing. She shares her legacy writing and tells about (arguably) the most movie-worthy first kiss I have ever heard. She also shares a disgusting story about chewing gum and about how her mom and dad were so sweetly romantic--on a daily basis--with one another.
January 29, 2022
Ep.008 Cure for a New Year's Resolution--Get a Dog
Have you heard the phrase, "If your dog is fat, YOU aren't getting enough exercise"? Well, in this episode, Sandy and I talk about how her dog motivates her to exercise. We learn why Sandy hates to make resolutions and then we discuss a bit of the history behind the "Sidetracked" part of our name.
January 27, 2022
Ep.006 New Year's Resolutions or Not?
In this conversation between Lisa and Judy, we talk about committing to going back to work after 2 years of retirement, how resolutions sometimes seem to backfire, and the idea of using the New Year to celebrate the previous year's successes. Judy references two books, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and The Fred Factor by Mark Sandborn , that have shaped her thinking about resolutions.
January 26, 2022
Ep.007 New Year...a Commitment to Change
Judy and Lisa talk about New Year's Resolutions. We discuss what it takes to commit to a course of action and then follow through...step by step...even when that process feels like a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter. I share my word for 2022 based on some of the work I did after reading  Danielle LaPorte's book The Desire Map. Then, at the end, I give a sneak peek into a few projects that I've just begun.
January 26, 2022
Ep.005 To Do or Not To Do
Every week the Sidetracked Sisters get together to write. We are always amazed at how different our opinions are on any given topic. And our opinions about "New Year's Resolutions" are certainly diverse! In this episode, Michelle reads her writing and then we talk about her annual resolution to get healthy, drink more water, and lose weight.
January 24, 2022
Ep.004 Lisa, an Introduction
This is the fourth and final installment in our writings on the topic "Who am I?" Each of the Sidetracked Sisters has taken a different spin on the theme and hope we've inspired you to get going on your own Legacy writing journey. In this episode, we talk about the impact that a short cartoon video called "Inside the Killer Whale Matriarchy" had on our sense of purpose. We discuss how a matriarch--the female head of a family--can, and SHOULD, have a dynamic impact in her family and with those she loves. 
January 20, 2022
Ep.003 Sandy...her "formative years"
The first writing topic for the Sidetracked Sisters was "Who Am I?" In today's interview with my mom, she reads her Legacy writing and then we go more into depth about her early childhood. "Legacy" work is so fun to do with relatives. This episode proves how rich and rewarding writing and sharing is between a mother and her daughter. 
January 18, 2022
Ep.002 A Summary of Michelle
My sister Michelle and I have very different writing styles. She is analytical and writes her one and only draft using her computer. I like to use colorful pens in a journal and tend to write much more flowery. One thing you will notice as you listen to this episode is that our voices are VERY similar! I love writing and talking with her and excited for you to listen in as we have our first conversation about her writing this week.
January 17, 2022
Ep.001 "Who am I?" Introducing Judy
Every week the Sidetracked Sisters get together to write. With the start of this podcast, we are inviting you on this journey of writing about what you know best--your life! In this episode, Judy reads her writing, and then we spend some fun time talking about it together. Our goal is to inspire you to set pen to paper or fingers to keypad to get your stories down as a legacy for your loved ones. This is the first of 4 episodes where we all write on the same topic..but very differently!
January 15, 2022
Introducing: Sidetracked Legacies
The Sidetracked Sisters have been getting together to write and drink margaritas for several years. We publish our writings on our blog called--"Sidetracked Sisters"! Now, we are inviting others to participate in the journey of writing about life. This is called "Legacy Writing". We know that as midlife women, we have thoughts, opinions, and stories that we need to share. We want to leave the lessons that we've learned as a legacy to our children and grandchildren. The Sidetracked Sisters believe that women have a deep need to belong, to be known, to be remembered, and to make a difference. In this trailer, Lisa introduces the podcast. Each week, we will introduce a new topic, write and share our ideas, and invite others to put their thoughts down on paper. So, come on...grab a notebook, journal, or laptop and join us as we write down the stories of our lives.
January 11, 2022