Category Archives: Family

Dance, then, wherever you may be

Back when she went by Peggy Jo, rolled her dungarees and flipped her hair, my mother used to jitterbug across the smooth, waxed floor of her parent’s basement.

Self taught in bobby socks, she and her friend Beanie spent hours practicing dance steps with whatever partners they could scare up from the neighborhood gang.

Their unbridled enthusiasm once landed poor Beanie in an ambulance, but her broken leg soon healed and the two friends danced on.

I’ve seen my mom polka with my Pap, an impressively fleet-footed coal miner; own the dance floor with “Sweet Shop”, a retired professional dancer more than half her age; and school her grandsons in the fine art of swing.

When we were young, my mom used to crank up the music and dance around the kitchen with a broom.

“She’s dancing with Bill Claire again,” my dad would say, in reference to my mom’s childhood pal.

The woman loves to dance. So, I knew, if I could coax her into a studio, she’d have a ball.

Last week, I took her to the Boogie Ballroom for a dance lesson. I grinned like a proud dance mom as co-owner Zeke Cribbs waltzed her around their beautiful studio.

Turns out my mom can still hoof it with the best of them. But, that wasn’t even the point. I don’t need my mom to take lessons to become a better dancer, or to prepare for an event.

I just wanted her to have fun.

Voltaire once said,”Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

I’ll go Voltaire one further.

Dancing (and reading, for that matter) bring joy to the world. Dancing expands the mind and the lungs, it connects us with our partner and with our past.

My mom smiled as she whipped around that studio, and she challenged herself to learn new steps. She loved her lesson and can’t wait to go back.

I’m not sure what it is about dance and philosophers, but I’m going to throw one more quote at you.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

I’m with him. Let’s go!

Here are a few pictures from my mom’s first lesson…

And here’s a little video I shot like a proud dance mom:

Chicago hope

Thankful for U.S.

Ta-Dah for the Ta Tas

My grandma’s lapel pin

Go instead where there’s no path and leave a trail cam

Bless me friends, for I have sinned

Happy birthday eve Kathy, we’ll see you at Lambeau!

It seems appropriate that more than 80,000 people will be on hand tomorrow to celebrate my sister Kathy‘s birthday.

There will be beer toasts and brat fries, an F-16 flyover and a chicken dance. The whole Badger band will be at the shindig.

I’m told there will be a football game as well.

And, in the center of it all, at Lambeau Field, one of her favorite places in the world, Kathy will mark her 48 hard-fought years with her trademark grace (of character not necessarily of foot), humor, kindness and joy.

Many of us will be with her at Lambeau tomorrow, but we’d all like to take a moment now to wish her a happy birthday.

Please feel free to add your own birthday wishes…

Kathy, Molly and Mom

Thank you so much for the book talks, Badger talks and Milwaukee trips. You have truly shaped the person I am today, and I’m so grateful. Have a great birthday! U rah rah Wisconsin! Love, Molly

Kathy and mom in Hungary

Hi it’s Kathy. Laughing Kathy. With eyes of blue and lashes made of lace”…Kathy, my 2016 goal is to finish these lyrics and I have great news! Sam Winch is going to help me. Let’s celebrate in style on Saturday. Unfortunately, I don’t think the song will be finished by then. But soon. Stayed tuned…

Kathy and Vince

Kathy, I am thrilled to be spending your birthday with you at Lambeau. Let’s make it a birthday and Badger win for a special day on Saturday. We can show those Cajuns how to party. Love, Vince

Relay for life Katherine and Kathy

Happy birthday wonderful godmother and (semi) namesake. Thanks for being such an incredibly supportive aunt and fun travel buddy. This year is sure to bring more adventures and blessings. I can’t wait to celebrate this weekend with a fellow Badger. You Rah R-ock and I love you so much! Love, Katherine

Brian and Erin

Kathy, I think you are next in line for a miracle. Happy birthday, Brian

Chickens and Kathy's shower 031

Kathy, all our lives we’ve been the “little girls”. If I could find your favorite doll Angela Amy, I’d bring my doll Becky to your birthday celebration, where we’d toast to sharing closets, canopy beds, princess phones and am/fm radios with antennae so long they’ll poke out your eye. We could use a little more Shawn Cassidy right about now. Love you, JJJHigh

Kathy Keith Traveian and the mascot

Kathy, I love you as you are and I love celebrating you today and always. Happy birthday! Your husband, Keith


Dear Auntie Kathy, I hope you get better. And I hope you stay strong. I love you Auntie Kathy. Happy birthday. Love, Erin

Mom, Charlie Kathy in Egypt

One of my earliest memories of you is getting to visit you when you were living in Milwaukee. I remember eating Chinese food in your super cool apartment and being flabbergasted that you lived in such a big city, in such a tall building, so far from home. It seemed impossibly brave to me. I now live much further away, in a much bigger city, but your impossible bravery hasn’t faded at all. Over the past three decades I’ve never seen your kindness, joy or sense of humor waver despite facing adversity that would easily break the spirit of most people. Kathy, I hope you have a fun-filled weekend with family and friends. I wish I could be there. Go Badgers and Happy Birthday. We love you very much! Love, Charlie

Relay for life Kathy and Vinnie

On the eve of the first UW game day of 2016, Happy Birthday to our OB (original badger), Kathy Finley! Thank you for creating a legacy at the University of Wisconsin that continues today! You’re a constant inspiration with your keep-calm-carry-on attitude. Also, thank you for opening my life to State Street Brats bar specials…That had a profound effect on my college experience. Love, Vinnie

Kathy and I at Dave Robinson

Happy birthday Kathy and thanks for blocking the south wind for me in section 117 all these years. I’ll keep blocking the north for you. Of course, you’d celebrate your birthday at Lambeau. On Wisconsin! On Kathy! and, of course Go Pack Go! We love you.

Empty nest, full heart

Happy birthday to a banged up Molly B