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Showing posts from October, 2013

October 29, 2013: Just Can't Let it Go

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Grant has a weakness. He just can't let things go. I get on him to make hard decisions as we clean his room and go through accumulated stacks of paper.

Me: "Grant, we can give this toy to Goodwill. You haven't played with it in years."

Grant: "But it was a gift from Grandma, Mom. We can't give it away."

Me: "Grant, there is no reason to hold on to that birthday card from two years ago."

Grant: "But, Mom, Aunt Joan wrote me a note in it. We can't throw it away."

You get the picture. Cleaning out a closet or a drawer with Grant is a painful process. I pride myself on tidy spaces and a less is more philosophy, so I tend to cringe on Grant's hoarding tendencies.

In Grant's defense, it really is the "stuff" with his perceived sentimental value that he wants to hold on to. Unfortunately, with our large circle of friends and family, most of his possessions have a personal tie.

After shaking my head while looking throu…

October 29, 2013: Vote for Grant

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Last night was a late night fire drill at my house. A Vote-for-Grant, poster-making, last-minute project surprised me at bedtime.
As I was on a video call with Garrett at 11:00 p.m., I erroneously assumed Grant was asleep in bed. His bedtime is 10:30. My assumption was incorrect.
Mid-sentence, Grant blasted into my room in a complete panic. It was as though the house was on fire.
“Mom, I need to make two posters for the Student Council election tomorrow!”
After taking all the proper mother steps of quizzing him on why he hadn’t thought of this before and vowing that he was on his own, I conceded to help him out. My rationale was that the child needed to go to bed. In reality, it sounded like fun.
To my surprise, Grant actually had a vision and a plan. I was simply his support staff. I offered suggestions on the poster board choice and Sharpie color. Past that, Grant communicated the message and design.
As he scoured the art room for supplies, I searched the Internet for his requested…

October 26, 2013: An Underbooked Saturday

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We had all kinds of aspirations for our fall Saturday. With Grant done with football and a Husker away game, the day was ours. Initially I thought we would go to the Pumpkin Patch. A movie with Zach? Walk around Village Pointe. Yes! We would to do it all. And then there was a neighborhood party at 7:00.

This is my downfall. And Grant is right by my side. We never want to miss a fun time. In turn we tend to overbook our free days.

I will give credit to my furry friends for giving me strength to say "No" this go around. With no morning interruption of an alarm clock, Cookie and I slept in. I put on my favorite slippers, made my Keurig coffee, and snuggled into my favorite chair; leopard to match my slippers. Bliss.

I wrote a blog and enjoyed the quiet of the morning. And then the rest of the house woke up. Ben was sore from his game the night before; wondering what was in store for breakfast. Grant, my forever planner, was concerned on our timeline for the day; particularly w…

October 24, 2013: A Beer and a Smile

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I received an unanticipated message on FaceBook a couple of weeks back. It was a cute note from a friend's nephew. I hadn't seen him since he was in footie pajamas; looking out the window at the home of my future in-laws. He is now twenty-eight. Five years older than the age of his uncle when he died.

He gave me some nice feedback on my blogs. I was shocked, yet pleased, that he read them. And then my young friend asked if I would be interested in meeting sometime. I quickly realized that Darek shared the same sense of humor as his uncle. After asking if I wanted to join him for a coffee, he admitted to hating coffee. Beer was much better. Just like B.L., he made me laugh. The connection made my day.

Our current FaceBook friendship didn't come out of our acquaintance during with his footie pajama years. He remembers all the Lane's, but not really me. We became friends two years ago after I posted a blog about his very loved uncle who died way too young.BL blog post

Al…

October 25, 2013: A Good Friday Night

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It probably is sounding like I am turning into an obsessed high school football mom. Wondering this myself, I've given it some thought. My conclusion is that I'm not. Definitely excited and having fun, but not obsessed.

It's so much more than a football game. I think of it like a whole ball of happy events, relationships, and circumstances; all thrown together on a Friday night.

I'm actually a pretty simple gal. Those who know me, know this. Those who don't, are looking for something more complicated. They're not going to find it. Vanilla. Maybe vanilla bean with sprinkles on a good day, but I'm definitely a simple vanilla at the core.

Everything about our Friday night football nights encompasses the simple pleasures in life.

The people. I have a huge affinity for my fellow senior parents. We are an eclectic, but tight group. And our circle is not closed. It is very welcoming. We welcome all Skyhawk fans to our tailgate and cheering section.

Most tailgates…

October 21, 2013: Tator Tot Casserole

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I just read a Facebook post from a young friend who made tator tot casserole. It brought back memories. Good memories for me, but not so much for my kids.

Growing up, this dish was a staple. I learned how to perfect this casserole at a young age and made it frequently. Beef pressed on the bottom. French style green beans next. Cream of mushroom soup for flavorful liquid (on top of meat fat that bakes in). And then carefully placed tator tots; all in perfect rows. Tween cooking heaven.

At my grandparent's farm this was a frequent dish of mine when I was in charge of meals. My gold standards were spaghetti, broiled hamburgers, hot dogs, and tator tot casserole. I clearly remember the week that my grandma was in the hospital with hip surgery. We all chipped in the fill in for her absence. My job was cooking the meals.

I have always enjoyed cooking. At age twelve, I made an extensive grocery list for my week of planned meals which included my gold standards. For my week as farm chef,…

October 22, 2013: Project Thomas Tank Engine

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Did I ever mention that I wanted to be an art major? I was offered a scholarship to an art school and declined for the more reliable accounting route (Sandy's version). An art school offered me a small scholarship comparative to their outrageous tuition in an attempt to lure a bright-eyed seventeen year old to their school (Dad's version).

"What are you going to do with an art major?" was my dad's common question my senior year.

How could he not understand that I would draw and paint for a living? duh! Needless to say, after the intervention of a kind-hearted high school guidance counselor, I became an accountant.

Fast forward eight years. As a practicing accountant, my creative energy erupted under my new role; mom. And I subsequently was appointed the official Halloween designer and costumer to the Lane boys.

At age two, Zach was in awe and wonderment of everything Thomas the Tank Engine. Zach watched Thomas video tapes for hours while pushing the magnetic eng…

October 20, 2013: It's All What You Make of It

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Sunday was a dreary day in Denver. Rain, cold, wind. Almost snow. We were moving at a slow pace and I was to catch a flight home to Omaha. I would rather hang with Garrett, watching the Broncos game, or sit in my own comfy living room with the warmth of my dog and fireplace. Instead I would be hanging with TSA.

After a gloomy drive to the airport, I received a text indicating my flight was delayed. As flight times typically wander back and forth from later, back to earlier; we decided to stick with the original drop off time. Airport delay time was anticipated.

I had a choice. Albeit, not a very big choice. But a choice, nonetheless. I could choose to be annoyed with my less than desirable situation or I could make the most of it. I chose the latter.

Note that I'm not pounding my chest or pointing out a superior quality. A good friend and mentor continues to remind me that happiness is a choice. Which would lead to the alternative presumption; that unhappiness is a choice as well…

October 19, 2013: Back in Denver

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It's been a while, but I'm back. On our drive from the airport, Garrett asked when I was here last. We went through our mental calendars and determined it was mid-August. Not like the old days when I was in Denver on a more frequent basis. But times and schedules change. Now Garrett is making the frequent flight to Omaha.
The next question that Garrett asked was whether I missed Denver. That’s a tough question. I love Denver. It's beautiful, the people are great, and it's a virtual playground for people like us who love the outdoors. But did I miss it? I couldn't honestly say that I did. This didn't make a lot of sense in my overly analytic brain, so I had to give my honest answer some additional thought.
After some brain-churning, I offered my simplistic explanation to Garrett. I don't miss places, I miss people. I miss relationships. I could go anywhere with Garrett and be happy because I'm with him. Going to Denver is just one of the many places that w…

October 18, 2013: Senior Night

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Friday night was one of a first and the beginning of a lot of lasts. Since our oldest didn't play sports his senior year, we have never been involved in senior night festivities. This special night under the lights was new to us; a first. There were introductions in front of the crowd and handshakes from the coach. It was very nice. I'm glad we were able to participate. With a great game and a win, it was a nice night for our senior, Ben.

On the way to the game, I read my e-mail giving the parent instructions on where and when to line up. Then it hit me. This was Ben's last home game. I hadn't thought about this until that moment in time. Ben really was a senior and this was just the start of a lot of lasts. Reality officially set in.

We have been so consumed in the hoopla of fall football, senior pictures, and senior privileges that I haven't had time to think about all the lasts. It is just starting. Next will be the last game and the last football banquet; foll…

October 17, 2013: The Happiness Factor

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Thursday night was date night. On this particular evening, Garrett and I chose sushi with a little wine for me and beer for him. As always, date night was our time to talk about anything and everything with no interruptions. No kids. No guests to entertain and no agenda. An open forum to enjoy each other's company.

We have solved many of life's problems out to dinner alone or on a long road trip. The topics vary and we never lack for conversation. Just as it should be.

Although we talked about many things on our most recent date, the topic that stuck with me was centered on happiness. What makes us happy? How do we gauge our own happiness? A recent article I read on the subject brought some good thoughts to our discussion.

I asked Garrett to tell me, at that moment his happiness factor. And then on a scale from one to ten, I asked him to estimate mine. The conversation that followed revolved around what impacted this factor. An honest conversation.

People are wired differentl…

October 15, 2013: Bottom Feeders or Dolphins?

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I am reverting  backwards in time with this blog post. Last week, on the same day that we had a jubilant day with a wrecking ball and signed contracts, I got a disturbing e-mail that same night.

In the big picture, the e-mail was irrelevant. I tried to discount it with a response that would make my mother proud. I took the high road. But it still bothered me. Although the topic was borderline silly, the persistent anger from the woman sending it was both irrational and sad.

The tone took me back to some dark days I had myself. I could actually relate as I had been there; swimming in circles at the bottom of the ocean. A bottom feeder.

Let me regress. I am divorced. Going through the divorce was not easy. It was hard. People sympathized with me and initially, I gladly accepted the sympathy. The easy and feel-good way was to play victim. And I played it very well. For the short term, kind of like feeding a hungry heart with binge-eating, it felt good. But then just as quickly, it didn&…

October 16, 2013: A Little Throwback

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The picture above makes me laugh. The first question that comes to mind; who took this picture? It had to be either me or my brothers, based on my father's expression. He was obviously giving direction. And we were obviously not following them very well.

Mom is trying to look like she comfortably fits in the chair; which she doesn't. Rebecca, although not ready for the picture either, pulls off a halfway attractive smile. And as for Dennis, all I can say is...how about that seventies hair and wire glasses?

As you would expect, my mom made her dress. Note her dark pantyhose with white slingback sandals. Too bad we can't see the whole shoe. I remember my dad's plaid pants very well and that particular trip to Omaha to visit our Aunt Becky and Uncle Denny. The adults were leaving for dinner at Mr. C's.

It is difficult to imagine our photographic life before our camera phones. Back in the day, we would have to wait to develop our film and then sort out the rejects (i.…

October 14, 2013: On Second Thought

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My dear friend, Kristi, and I have run together for over fifteen years. About ten years ago, at the coaxing of our other running friend, Angy, we joined a larger group of more competitive runners. This new group was comprised of a wide range of ages, motivations for running, and eclectic personalities; a nice way of saying people who run at 5:30 each morning couldn't possibly be normal.

The varying runs and runners brought a new element of interest to Kristi and my routine and the change up was welcome. Rather than talks of kindergarten the potty-training, the runs quickly became all about logging in miles and tracking running paces. This was when running a marathon entered our radar screen and seemed like something we could actually accomplish.  Our logic was that we were logging in the training miles, so we should be up for running the distance.
Kristi and I toyed with the idea of a marathon, but always fell back on the fact that we weren't marathoners.  That was we them, n…

October 13, 2013: Chicago...a Run or a Walk in the Park?

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We thought we would end our road trip with a quiet day in Chicago. We were wrong. 40,000 runners flocked the city to complete the 36th annual marathon. Note that this number doesn't count those who came as onlookers or volunteers. And we hadn't a clue when we booked our trip.

The tip came at the airport. As we waited for luggage, Garrett started up a conversation with a luggage attendant. The question posed was whether we were in town to run the marathon. Hmmmm... Obviously that was a bigger deal than the Husker game.

After contemplating how to best change our Sunday plans to accommodate this new found news, we chose to take the L into the city and park between the airport and Downtown. Thank-you to the luggage attendant. Our rerouted road trip worked out perfectly.

We made the two hour trek from West Layfayette and then after a short subway ride, we found ourselves in the heart of Chicago. And all while in the midst the mobs participating or enjoying the marathon. The atmosp…

October 12, 2013: A Day in the Red

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Saturday was a good day. Better for the Lane's than the Brucker boys. The Lane's were part of the Big Red contingent. Garrett and Jake were pulling for the Boilermakers. Lily was neutral. It was definitely a day in the red.

We will give Garrett a bye since he is a Purdue alum. Jake gets the bye simply because he belongs to Garrett. But regardless of the score, it was fun to take in an away game. Purdue and Nebraska had last played each other in 1958. The Purdue fans were very nice and the campus was beautiful. Garrett played a great tour guide.

Although we packed rain ponchos and were slightly overdressed, we welcomed the sunny skies and warm temperature. As expected we ran into familiar faces among the Husker fans. A running joke continued as I eyed my neighbors sitting five rows in front of us. We live in the same circle, but see each other more often outside of Omaha. Within the last year, we have randomly ran into each other at the Iowa game, skiing in Colorado, and now a…

October 11, 2013: Indiana Road Trip

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Although we did enjoy a road trip through Indiana, we technically started by flying into Chicago. We are enjoying a long weekend centered around some Nebraska football. The location is perfect for us to pack our three day weekend with family and fun.

Yesterday Garrett and I flew out from our respective cities, with our respective kids (a partial list), and met in Chicago. Our combined crew of six hit the ground running. With a short window of time in Chicago, we chose to tour the Sears Tower. The wait was long, but the view was stunning.

Lunch followed with delicious deep dish Giordano's pizza. We waited, but the caloric-filled treat was well worth it. Chicago was new to the Brucker kids, so we needed to hit the hot spots in the limited time we had.

But the jewel of the day was our trip to Indiana. Garrett's dad, Larry, lives in the cozy little town of Monterey, Indiana. We had the pleasure of visiting and enjoying his lovely abode. Our road trip was less than two hours with …

October 10, 2013: A Cookie Fail

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Kathy and I went to Les Mis last night. It was exceptional. Our night out began with Happy Hour at Aksarben Village and ended at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

In anticipation of the long production, we purchased drinks and a snack. Our snack of choice was a colorfully decorated sugar cookie. As Kathy prompted me to take the first bite, I hesitated. My fear of colored frosting haunted me. I had forgotten about my epic cookie fail many years ago. Until last night.

Many moons ago, my neighbors invited our family to their annual pool party. My parents were in town and were invited to tag along as well. Carol, the hostess, knows how to put on a party. Not only is the food and drink exceptional, the display of these edible items are worthy of Martha Stewart Living.

When asked to bring a dessert, I took it as a challenge to bring an item up to Carol's high standards. I wanted something that would visually add to the glory of her dessert table. After scavenging through all my best seaso…

October 8, 2013: A Dog's Life

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I have a confession. I've never really understood the dog-lover thing. A friend once told me there are three types of animal people in the world; those with a capital "A", those with a lower case "a", and those with no "a". I thought I clearly fell in the lower case category. My dog was second behind my kids, but I still loved him. Over the years, I have known many capital "A's" and many with no "a". I was a lower case.

When Harry died, I was very sad. He was a sweet little dog and we missed him dearly. Although Harry did love me back, he equally loved the other people in his life. Harry was everyone's dog and he was happy with that position. And lower case "a", me, was happy with that too.

And then came Cookie. Cookie is my step-dog. She moved to Omaha a month ago. Those who have spent time with Cookie and Garrett know that there is a huge affection between owner and pet. There is no doubt that Cookie is Garrett…

October 7, 2013: Integrity

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The word for the day is integrity. It has come up several times today; in my words, on my mind and in a motivational e-mail I received. Thus I have proclaimed it the word for the day. The exert below is from my friend's daily post:

"The definition of integrity - Your words and your life should match up. What we do in the dark comes into the light. We need to be the same person no matter where you are.There aren't a lot of people that fit that definition, at least not 100% of the time. But it is so important. People are always watching. They notice when our actions do not align with our words. It is not missed. We have to make sure we are people of integrity all the time.  You have to earn a title. People will respect you if you are consistent and honest."

Not only do we need to carry ourselves in this manner, but we should expect the same of those who circle around us. It's easy to say we only work with people of integrity; in our jobs and with those we do business…

October 6, 2013: Hat Trick

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Not too long ago, my friends and I were showing off our hats at Jazz on the Green. We were feeling pretty styling; almost cutting edge. And then a trip down Memory Lane via Kathy's extensive photo library reminded me that there were many, many great hat-wearers before us. My aunts' proud head toppers were at the front of the pack.

Case in point is my Aunt Kathy. Just look at her pull off that look in the picture above. Not only is she rocking the hat, but how about the matching red shoes and thick classic tie? The plaid shirt with leather jacket are the perfect finish. And all back in the seventies. 2013 has nothing on Kathy.

And I would be remiss not to point out my grandpa's leisure suit and grandma's knotted scarf and open-toed white sandals. It appears that they're on their way to a bridal shower based on the wrapped gift Grandma is holding. The picture was taken on the front steps to the farm.

Next on the hat-topper Hall of Fame is my Aunt Joan. Not only was …

October 5, 2013: Best Seat in the House

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I really like my seats at Memorial Stadium. We sit on the east side between the band and team parents. About sixteen seats up, the boys like the great view to the field. Although I enjoy this as well, I also like to watch the players on the sideline and all the hoopla that happens near the field.

Late in the week we chose to sell our tickets and watch from home. Between Grant's morning football game and Ben's homecoming, it felt like a good decision. But there is always some reservation about missing out in the live venue of Memorial Stadium. Watching Kenny Bell's one-handed catch was an after-the-fact reminder of this.

But all is good. No regrets. Based on the picture above, you can conclude that the comforts of my home were enjoyed by all. Kenny Bell looked just as good on my big screen. And nap time between the great plays was divine. My furry friends were happy and the Husker win; just as good.

We started our day with Grant's 8:00 football game at South High. Alth…

October 4, 2013: Acromioclavicular Separation

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Ben went on the injured list last night. After a trip to Lakeside Hospital and an x-ray, it was determined that he had an AC separation. Although Ben's explanation assured me that it wasn't serious, it didn't give me the pictorial or explanation of body parts affected. So I have since Googled it. For those interested, Wikipedia came through with the explanation below.

It sounds like Ben will be out one game, but back on the field in a couple of weeks. Last night I received a number of texts inquiring on Ben's well-being. One friend commented that this was "part of the footballing badge of honor". True story. For Ben this badge was first earned many years ago. This wasn't his first rodeo.

In 2008, Ben was playing football in the University of Nebraska Pavilion before the Kansas game. This was the standard pre-game venue for my boys and their friends. It was a pick-up football game before the big "real" game.

On this occasion Zach and his buddies…

October 3, 2013: A Little Family History

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I asked my mom if I could share an old family picture and accompanying note that she had shared with me. Mom is our family historian extraordinaire. Her attention to detail and CSI skills on unearthing an unfamiliar face in a photo or date of event is the best, bar none.
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This photo of my grandmother, Mrs. Adam (Mary) Pick, and her children was taken Sept 1943 in Iowa.  Wearing the army uniform is my father, Elmer, 27 years old.

In 1922 at the age of 55 my grandfather Adam had a stroke & died leaving Grandma Pick with 11 of her 12 children still at home on the farm in Alton IA.  Elmer, my father and the youngest, was 6 years old that year. 
Catholicism runs deep in the Pick family beginning many generations ago in Germany.  In America, Grandma Pick was blessed with a brother, Fr. Henry Rolfes, two sons, four daughters and one grandson, Fr. Anthony Pick, all of whom joined the Franciscan order as priests and nuns.
Eve…