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Showing posts from February, 2013

February 27, 2013: Re-post of First Post

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I thought it fitting to re-post my first blog entry to this site dated January 31, 2012. This gives a bit of background on the motivation behind my posts. Since I just started logging daily entries this year and only sporadically when I started (and since I am behind in my writing because I have spent half my waking hours in airports the last few days ;)), I am posting again.........
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Inspiration comes in many forms.  For this blog it started with a random text from a co-worker, which lead me to a You Tube video, which resulted in a perceived compliment, and then an "aha moment" with this blog idea.

The text came a couple of weeks ago from a co-worker who expressed to me that a video she just watched made her think of me.  This random text peaked my curiosity and led me to Google the noted video, "The Gift of an Ordinary Day".  After a bit of fumbling with my less-than-nimble You-Tube searching…

February 26, 2013: New York, New York...

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Colorado for the weekend, emergency room, knee brace and then a business trip to NYC. All in a days work. Yep...welcome to my life. Although it may sound like it, I'm really not complaining. I just shake my head at times and think "what world do I live in?"

For the record, my knee still doesn't hurt. I do need to take it easy and the brace needs to be on tight for stability. But I am feeling pretty darn good. As I laid in the Vail ER, I couldn't help but hand-wring on how bad the timing was of my injury.

This week is a busy week for me. A really busy week. I am a bit overbooked from the travel standpoint. Coming into my nine day road trip, I kept reminding myself that my organized self would conquer this travel quest of three states and three major cities in just over a week with a smile on my face. I didn't anticipate a blown ACL though.

So now I am making lemonade. Airports seem much bigger and flights much longer. Hotel beds in foreign cities; harder and …

February 25, 2013: The Girl Who Owned a City

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I was in a gang once. Clarification: I was a gang leader once. Technically we had a militia with our own gang names and we marched around Remsen patrolling our turf.

The soundtrack to Les Miserables has been my Pandora favorite as of late. The song "Can you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men....we will not be slaves again?" has been resonating with me. Every time I hear this fight song, I want to join their militia and fight for the common man (would like a better result than my Les Mis comrades though).

But it wasn't this song of the French Revolution that inspired me to start a gang. A fictional fantasy had me mesmerized at age twelve. It was the allure of being carried away by the written word. Although I knew little beyond the corn fields surrounding my small hometown, books took me on many adventures that spurred my young imagination. The library was as common a hangout then as Game Stop is for the child of today. Our adventures came from bound boo…

February 24, 2013: A Real Snowstorm

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My entire day was spent indoors. With leg up and ice applied intermittently, I watched a snowstorm brew and take over Denver. A real snowstorm. They are up to about 10 inches now. As opposed to Omaha, school has yet to be called and businesses are still open. In fact Garrett went to play in a basketball tournament at his son's school this afternoon. The e-mail he received verifying that the fundraiser was still on commented that "come on...we live in Denver". No panic here.

Regardless, I will still apply caution tomorrow morning to ensure that I get to the airport on time. Although Garrett will take good care of me if the weather and airport don't cooperate, I do need to get home. I was shocked at the reaction of my boys to my injury. They are truly concerned and a bit freaked out.

I have been quizzed up and down on the surgery to come and the pain (or in my case, lack thereof...don't think they believe me). Specific questions relate to hospital stay? wheelchair…

February 23, 2013: Don't Break a Leg

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Well I didn't break a leg (thank goodness), but I did completely tear my ACL. Yes, completely...meaning Level 3. A total detach. I spent some time in the Vail ER and in their attached physical therapy center. And it was quite the journey getting there. But thanks to my new friends, Matt and Kelsey, I made it safely.

Seeing the beautiful Vail Ski Area and the Rockies from my back, head first down the mountain, on a sled, pulled by skiers was quite the experience. I now know what skiing rubber neckers look like from the vantage point of the casualty. Very interesting. I sure wish I had a camera on my helmet for the journey down.

Let's start where it began, in the back bowls of Vail; specifically Blue Sky Basin. Note on the location (per Garrett); we couldn't have been any further out for a ground rescue. We spent the entire morning skiing across Vail to arrive at that destination. Garrett, Mike and I were enjoying a day full of fresh powder and testing my ski skills to new …

February 22, 2013: Trouble with Fire

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With Day Two of house-bound status and memories flooding from yesterday's blizzard blog, I have to share a story about a fire-starter. Sorry for throwing you under the bus, Mark, but you sure didn't have my back on the day of the first incident. The fateful fire later was nothing short of karma (and not the good kind).

We do all know that candles and fires are the ultimate temptation for young boys. My brothers were pretty much fascinated by anything with a fuse. They also liked naughty words, but knew better than to mutter them in front of my parents.

On our big dining room table, black wrought iron, was a thick orange candle. It sat on a plate; displayed proudly by my mom in the middle of the table. She would light it when the mood struck her.

On the day of incident #1, Mom went to light her candle. Her pleasure turned into shock as she was greeted with an act of vandalism. Unmistakably etched onto the top of that large star-shaped candle was the ultimate worst, the "F…

February 21, 2013: When I was a Kid...

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When I was a kid...we walked a mile through a foot of snow, in a blizzard, carrying a five gallon bucket. True story. It happened frequently, although typically not with a five gallon bucket.

The snow storm of today was a common winter occurrence during my childhood. Being surrounded by a foot or two of snow for most of the winter months was an expectation, not an exception. The plows were always ready and the snow boots left by the door.

My brothers and I spent hours building forts and snowmen. Our afternoons were full of ice skating and sledding. Our adventures only stopped to thaw out frozen toes and fingers. Parkas were the norm with knitted gloves that were by no means waterproof. And we liked it. If fact, we longed for our days of snow.

I remember one particular snow storm that went on for days. Not only did my brothers and I get stir crazy, but Mom did as well. After staring out the window wishing we were allowed out; my mom made the call that we could in fact go out. But this…

February 20, 2013: Anticipation and Expectation

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The Carly Simon song "Anticipation" keeps floating through my mind as I hear constant, by-the-minute reporting of the encroaching Incredible Blizzard of 2013. The kids have been talking of the expected impending snow days (yes, days...two are expected) since Monday. Classes have been canceled and flights have been changed. Omaha is ready to shut down.

A colleague from Ireland just flew in to our fine city. After spending a half a day hearing storm system updates at every meeting of the day and the presumed timing of it's entrance, he asked a good question. "Do you not typically get snow in Omaha?"

This came after a lengthy discussion at the attorney's office on calendar adjustments with tomorrow being cleared with the delay of the snow delay. When I asked our attorney on their tomorrow schedules, the answer was "I have it blocked for Snow Day."

I next advised my Irish colleague to consider changing his flight out of Omaha on Friday. His response …

February 19, 2013: I ♥ Ben Lane

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I love Ben Lane.

He frustrates me (many times), confuses me (often), but is so lovable (always).

The reality is that I could devote an entire blog series to Mr. Benjamin. No doubt I have enough material. And it is really is entertaining stuff. But since this wouldn't be Ben's preference, it's just not meant to be. (Do note that I am saving some of the good stories for later when he is old enough to share in the humor).

This middle child of mine marches to the beat of different drummer. Always with a smile on his face, although never on time, but having fun every step of the way. Coined "Buddha Baby" as a pudgy tot, he sported a perma-grin and could make the coldest of hearts melt. His charm hasn't worn a bit with age.

I have spent a lot of parenting time just trying to figure Ben out. His internal wiring and thought process are still a mystery to me. He attacks projects and analyzes problems from angles that have never crossed my mind.

He recently (almost) c…

February 18, 2013: My Favorite Paul Harvey Story

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(Another file I found saved on my computer. Love this one!!!)

Paul Harvey Writes...
We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. 
I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.

And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to se…

February 17, 2013: Grant Thoughts from 2005

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More treasures found on my hard drive (File dated 2/24/2005...Grant would have been 4 1/2). I had written down some funny things he had said and memories that I intended to memorialize in a journal later. I don't think my idea of "later" was 8 years hence, but never too late...


Funny Grant lines that I need to write down before I forget… As I am drinking my Diet Coke while driving the Durango one night, Grant screams, “Mom, don’t drink and drive…you will crash and we will die!”
After a crying whining morning (typical, but worse because it was “cleaning lady” morning), Grant explains to me as I buckle him into his car seat “I can’t talk like you in the morning, Mom.  I talk like you in the evening, but not in the morning.”  Grant’s way of telling me he is not a morning person.
Grant is sitting at the kitchen table, when he tells me (out of the blue), “Mom, I have food allergies.”  “You have what?”  I ask.  “Food allergies”, he says.  “The blood goes through my body and goes u…

February 16, 2013: Legendary Jazzman meets The Moms

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Well, Branford Marsalis met the Moms this last fall and I have to say, we put on a pretty good show. I guess it helped that we didn't have a clue on who he was at the time of introduction. The tailgating libations probably played a part too.

Let's start where it ended...Robbie sitting in the back of a big red truck at a Nebraska football tailgate staring at her I-Phone with the master jazzman, Branford Marsalis. As Robbie typed his name into Google, the handsome musician sat next to her, looking over her shoulder and helping with the spelling of his name.

"No. It's B*R*A*N*F*O*R*D"

"Oh," said Robbie after locating him in Wikipedia. "Your wife is Teresa and you have two kids?"

"Divorced, but yes on the kids," responded a smiling Branford, not missing a beat.

"You better contact them and correct that."

"Yeah, I probably should."

So that's how the story ended. With Branford and Robbie looking up Branford's c…

February 15, 2013: A Secret Admirer

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Yesterday's many social media declarations of love with of pictures of fanciful flowers, cards, and sweet nothings gave me a flash from the past. This long forgotten memory included a gift of a heart-shaped cake and extra-large Valentine card from a secret admirer. And I didn't see it coming.

Funny how we completely forget about life events that are later triggered by a note or picture. Today I was reading a blog entitled "Paper Hearts". For some reason I thought of the sentimental nature of this simple creation and remembered my secret admirer from twenty-six years ago.

We had a large Malaysian population of foreign students at Westmar College. They were a community in themselves; living in the same dorms and sitting at the same tables in the cafeteria. I was fascinated by these friendly fellow students. I grew up with very little diversity in my life. Differences in language and physical features were intriguing.

Many Malaysian students shared common classes with …

February 14, 2013: Love Letters

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Today I was cleaning out files on my computer hard drive and I ironically stumbled on a Word file dating back to 2001 titled "Happy Valentine". The file was the letter below that I had written to my Pick relatives. My Grandpa and Grandma Doc (Elmer and Marvel Pick) had just passed away and we stumbled on a box full of their love letters. Some of my favorite excerpts are included below...  _____________________________________________________________________ Happy Valentine’s Day!
February 14, 2001

The enclosed book is a compilation of love letters between Grandma and Grandpa Doc during their courting years.  The letters span from 1941 to the week before their wedding in 1943.  We stumbled across these letters following Grandma’s funeral.  Since it was such emotional time, I decided to place the letters in “safe keeping” and then share these wonderful memoirs after a sufficient time had passed.  And what better time than Valentine’s Day to celebrate the love that Grandma and Gra…

February 13, 2013: The Silent Treatment

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I called Grant after school yesterday to check in. After establishing my estimated time of arrival, I asked to talk to Ben. "He's not talking" was Grant's response. I then asked Grant to put Ben on the phone. "He just stares at me and won't talk." At that point I was annoyed.

Hanging up with Grant and ready to hand it to Ben, a text came through from son #2. "I don't work today and I'm not talking to Grant." Okay. I got my answer, so I let it be.

I walked in the door to an agitated Grant (anyone who knows Grant knows this isn't pretty). "Ben's giving me the SILENT TREATMENT!!! He hasn't talked to me for two hours!!" Wow, I hadn't heard the term "silent treatment" used in my house before. In fact, I don't think I heard that phrase since my own high school years. I told Grant to work it out with Ben and went about my own busyness.

By bedtime, Grant popped his head in my room. "Mom, he's s…

February 12, 2013: Confessions of a Juvenile Delinquent (Last Chapter)

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Okay, so I have another confession from my teenage years. And this one is a whopper. I actually have a record. In my defense, I haven't committed another crime since this incident in the early 80's. But nonetheless, this is a confession of my indiscretion; a past juvenile delinquent.

It's time to come clean, so I will stick with the facts. My best friend, Bev, and I decided to go nine miles to the neighboring town of LeMars simply because we were bored in Remsen. It was the winter of 1984. Bev and I thought this was a good choice for a cold and uneventful Saturday night. Bev's brother lived in LeMars and had an apartment there, so he gave us a ride.

We quickly got bored in LeMars as well. With our curfew looming, we started scrounging for a ride. This was is in the days before cell phones, so we weren't afforded the convenient technology of texting. Instead we walked toward the busy main loop, thinking we would get lucky with a car going back to Remsen.

Luck appea…

February 11, 2013: The New Normal??

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After a whirlwind three weeks with my new venture and Irish friends in town, I drove home last week breathing a sigh of relief. "Back to life as normal...for a while," was the comforting thought on my mind. As I thought through the boys playing on the tramp in the backyard and a dinner of steak and baked potatoes on the grill, I sighed again. Normalcy.

Then as I thought about the days to come into decompression mode, I rethought my idea of normal. Life back to normal? What's that? My normal of today is light years different from my normal of ten years ago. I would never have dreamt ten years prior that my idea of normal life would include every other weekends with my kids, a career change, and a boyfriend in Denver. But it sure feels normal now.

Maybe normal = comfortable in my world. And I would say that my new life routine has become very comfortable to me. The basic "normals" of cooking a dinner to enjoy together at the table, the sound of kids playing in t…

February 10, 2013: A Celebration of Russ & Cook

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Today I went to the 50th anniversary party of Cookie and Russ Lane; my former in-laws, ex-husband's parents...kids' grandparents. I really don't know what to call them now. They were my mother and father in-law for so many years. I still call them that out of habit. For twenty plus years, through my young adulthood, they were like parents to me and are wonderful grandparents to my kids. Russ and Cookie are just good people. I think that is the best way to refer to them in the future. No fancy titles necessary.

It gave me a smile to watch the video their kids had prepared; full of family photos through their 50 years together. Lots of memories, some forgotten and others thought of often, raced through my mind. Most of these were just simple moments.

Cookie helped me shop for my wedding dress. After trying on my first dress option, I turned to Cookie and said, "I like it. I'll get this one." She very kindly encouraged me to try another. So I did and responded …

February 9, 2013: Mary L. Wagner

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Mary L. Wagner...Mary L. Wagner...Mary L. Wagner...

I have written (and practiced) that signature many times as a teenager. I was reminded of my errant ways when I ran into a friend, and former Remsen neighbor, last night. Back in the day, Jim not only had the distinction of having a dad as mayor, but also had a mom who served as high school secretary. As I asked Jim about his parents, I could picture his mother's look to me as I would hand over my fictitiously signed notes from home.

"Sandy has my permission to leave school at 2:00 today for a orthodontist appointment. Sincerely, Mary L. Wagner" was a common note. Very common. In fact more common than the ortho appointments. Senior skip days, sunny day plans for hanging out at the sand pit...all perfect opportunities for an alleged appointment to escape end-of-the-day study hall and algebra. Sr. Margretta believed in self-study and didn't teach her math class anyway. In my high school mind, I caused no harm.

Audrey…

February 8, 2013: All the Single Ladies (Part II)

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As an appendix to my blog from two days ago, I have a couple of additional thoughts to share relative to my marital status. The past blog only gave my personal thoughts. Today's entry will share some insights from our extended crew (kids) and my almost-significant other (Garrett).

Although Garrett has enjoyed all of the great feedback from my Single Ladies blog <wink-wink>, he did feel that a detail was left out; thus making it a less factual portrayal of the situation. Out of fear that he won't let me blog about him again <gasp>, I will share his recollection of a purported marriage proposal. I kind of forgot about this, but will substantiate that it did happen.

Three years ago (and very early in our relationship) over late night margaritas at Roja, I (hypothetically) asked Garrett if he would ever marry me. After the shocked look left his face and he spent about thirty seconds thinking about my bold question, Garrett answered, "Yeah, I think I would."

February 7, 2013: B.L.

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I think it is such a true statement that the impact of a person is not set by the number of years they have on this earth, but by the number of people they have touched in their lifetime. Bradley Layne Kracl (B.L.) died on July 29, 1989. He was twenty-three. Although his life was too short, he touched as many people as a man living to retirement.  B.L. had incredible presence and wit. His high sense of loyalty still remains with his family and those honored to be called his friend.

My story begins at the beginning of the 1986-87 school year. And it did not begin with B.L. and I as friends.  In fact, it was quite the opposite. B.L. and Scott came to Westmar College as new students that fall. They were high school buddies. I was starting my sophomore year and very familiar with the Schuyler High School crew of friends. Scott had taken a liking to me and began visiting me at my dorm.  But he didn't come alone. He would bring B.L. with him. They came as a team; kind of like group cou…