Lesa Knollenberg
freelance writer in
madison, wi

Purple & Red


Photo courtesy of Gus Knollenberg

So here it is. The Blog. I’ve been dragging my scuffed-up heels toward writing a blog, but now I’m kicking up those very same heels. Now I think it’s a grand idea. All thanks to breakfast out with the girls.

Once a month five of my friends and I go out for breakfast. It’s a commentary on our busy lives that we can only gather Saturday mornings at 7:00. At the Pancake House in Monona. (Yes! Eat there! It’s marvelous! Kudos to our waitresses, too, who are patient with our middle-aged mischief and indecision and usually laugh instead of roll their eyes).

My friends are more polished than I, so I regularly ask them for fashion advice. As we were paying our bills recently, I asked the group about my outfit. “Is this bothering us, that I am wearing purple and red together?” Imagine my surprise when the answer came from outside of our circle. “You look adorable. Wear whatever you want.” I turned around to see a cheerful, elegant woman in a stunning brocade coat and smart black hat.

At first I was quite embarrassed that she heard me. Soon her daughter jumped in, who appeared to be our age, and equally stunning as her mother. She told us her stance on other people’s opinions: “If you want to tell me what to wear and how to live, then you can pay my mortgage!” We most certainly agreed. Soon another woman joined them, then another. Each one was as beautiful, vibrant and put-together as the next. The six of them were meeting for breakfast, too. But while they were waiting, they reached out to put a deposit in my little old self-esteem bank account.

So there we were, a cluster of barely-awake white women joking with a group of classy, African-American women. We filled up the foyer of the restaurant and created a traffic jam. Other customers were just trying to reserve a table. We felt a kinship, and promised we would look for each other on subsequent Saturdays. I left with their contact info, a new story idea, and a gush for the connectedness of it all. What a gift to step outside of your own comfortable small circle to pat another woman on the shoulder. I smiled about it all weekend.

I decided that there are many people I want to connect with. I’m a firm believer in face-to-face contact, but since that isn’t reasonable (and lots of mornings I haven’t even showered), I’ve decided to throw my hat in the blog ring. I’m already on Facebook, but my husband maintains that there are two groups of people that should never tweet: NBA players and me. I tend to blurt. Tweeting is out.

So this blog, this hat I’m throwing in the ring, is my vehicle to connect to all the very cool people I meet along the way: women at breakfast, my salad-bar-buddy Scott, the eagle-watchers at the dog park. I meet them by chance, and almost always walk away with something learned. With my kicked up heels and mixed metaphors, I welcome you to my blog. You won’t be surprised to know that my hat/blog is purple AND red. Both at the same time.