Showing posts from November, 2013

November 29, 2013: Family Best

The best things about family holidays aren't necessarily the turkey or the perfectly set table. And although the planned outings are fun, it's the random moments that we all remember. For us it's the many laughs shared.

Our jokes and bantering may not be funny to those outside our tight circle of family, but to us, they are hilarious. The picture above demonstrates one of the many moments of laughter over our 48 hours together.

Mom wanted a "group shot"; a family photo. The final product was turned into a Christmas card of sorts (below), and posted on FaceBook. For those who wouldn't know better, one would assume with a smile and a click; the family photo of choice was captured. That was not the case.

There were several "fails" before the successful shot was had. With Mom setting the camera timer, she was having trouble making it into the picture prior to the picture being taken. We would roar in laughter, watching her run to get within lens range;…

November 28, 2013: A Thanksgiving Anniversary

My parents were married on Thanksgiving Day 1964. Although their anniversary rarely lands on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, it's an anniversary to remember. It was always odd to me that they chose this busy day to get married. My mom's story is that it was Grandma who thought this would be an ideal day for a wedding. A day that most family and friends would already be home so to save a trip.

Aunt Joan tells a different story. "Having a wedding on Thanksgiving was a bad idea. People wanted to be at home." Regardless, I am sure it was beautiful and those who attended had a great time.

As we talked about more recent Thanksgivings of past, I was reminded of another anniversary. Mom and Dad met Garrett for the first time four years ago on Thanksgiving Day. Although this may sound like a non-eventful anniversary; as do most things in my life, it came with twists.

Similar to this Thanksgiving which has brought me to my family in Dallas, our 2009 Thanksgiving included a trip…

November 27, 2013: Road Trip

I went on a road trip yesterday with my brother and niece. The last time I road tripped with my brother, there were invisible lines drawn in the back of the Sedan. Seat belts were rolled and tucked into the crevices of the back seats and I followed the strict instruction of my brothers not to violate their space.

This trip was different. There was plenty of violating of space. And with no responding knuckle punches. Let me digress.

Last Saturday, I was carefully thinking through the upcoming holiday week. The plan was for me to fly to Denver Wednesday afternoon and leave Saturday night. The days would be filled with skiing, mountains, and planning a house move. A very nice way to spend Thanksgiving. And then I got a message.

My brother, Mark, now lives in Dallas with his family. In the voice message, Mark invited me to join the rest of my family in Texas for Thanksgiving. He knew that I didn't have my kids, but wanted to open the invitation.

It got my attention, but I already had…

November 25, 2013: Football 101

I am just the mom. Ben shakes his head when I confuse football positions and show weakness on the "X's and O's". He believes I don't know much about the game. In all actuality, I know a lot.

While I continue to broaden my tactical understanding, I am in tune to the truly important aspects of football. Never underestimate the observations of an intuitive mother. What I see are life lessons.

I'm a storyteller by nature. So I am going to tell the story of two young men with two very different football experiences. The stories are deeper than football with valuable lessons that extend beyond the field.

Both players have just finished their high school careers. But their experiences were markedly different. Although their goals to excel seemed aligned, the deeper goals were not.

Boy #1:
This boy chased his dream of being a football star. He was told at a young age that he would be the next John Elway and he believed it. His family wanted this for him and spared no…

November 24, 2013: Cousin, Niece, Sister, Friend...

Angelina came to visit this weekend. It was a quick weekend. Too quick. My sweet cousin has been part of every phase of my lifetime. Eighteen years my junior, the nature of our relationship has many times been confused.

Born in September of 1985. Angelina adorned the world while I was discovering the wonderful world of college life. Before reaching the age of one, Angelina's family moved to LeMars, my college town. I quickly became the chief babysitter of Angelina and her brothers. She was like a daughter to me. And people thought the same as I totted her around on my hip.

I watched Angelina grow into a beautiful and kind young woman. As I started having children, she became my live-in summer nanny. She tenderly cared for the Lane boys; playing on the floor with them and holding them on her lap. People thought she was my niece. Tiring of explaining that her mom was the youngest and mine the oldest and we, the cousins; I just introduced her as my niece.

Angelina moved to the big c…

November 22, 2013: Life is an Adventure

After spending most of my work year as a nomad, we now have some temporary office space that we call home. It's a bit of a war room with white boards galore, but the amenities of constant coffee and a desk with pictures of my kids brings a sense of comfort. A thoughtful spot. An occasional routine.

It's interesting how the mental mindset of a "home", whether personal or work, does calm the spirit. Chaos feels more manageable with a thoughtful spot. But for the most part, everyday is still a new adventure.

I am reminded of this each time I look ahead (or behind) on my Outlook calendar. Today would be an example.

Our early morning began with a workout at Lifetime and a slow drive to midtown in the first snow of the year. Next Garrett and I landed in the comfort of the war room. Lots of planning was had with colored sticky notes and collaborative brain power. I took my boyfriend to the airport to return to Denver at noon. He bought a house (our new house in Denver...I …

November 21, 2013: TBT Mary Style

Today my mom changed her FaceBook profile picture to the picture above. It's me.

I was caught by surprise when I saw it. This picture, from a time that precedes my memory, gave me a big smile in the middle of a crazy day. It really is the small things that fuel our heart.

Below is Mom's description of the picture. It was coincidental that she noted Hubie Nothem; a Remsen local who passed away this weekend at age 100.

"Picture was taken in our house in Remsen before we completely remodeled the house in 1969. The Maytag washer on the left served as extra counter space in a VERY small kitchen...the frig is on the right. Hubie Nothem and Gbp Gib Wagner worked on the house to make it livable before we moved in it in April 1966. (Sandy loved beets...and was always smiling!!!)"

November 19, 2013: Politics Part II

Last night Garrett brought up my post on Grant's student council non-election. He thought I sounded bitter. It was as though Grant's predicament struck a nerve with me.

Upon further reflection, I explained what struck that nerve. It was Grant's ultimate fate hinging on one teacher's non-vote. That was the source of my aggravation. My baggage from past experience.

You see, I felt Grant's pain. It happened to me. But mine wasn't a student council election. My source of aggravation was my non-induction into the National Honor Society. With circumstances similar to Grant's, it's clear that I'm still bitter from my pain of 1983.

I explained my story to Garrett. And then he proceeded to inform me that he was elected to National Honor Society. Not me. Salt was now pouring on my open wounds.

My junior year of 1983 was the year of inductions for my class into this exclusive society. Part of my pain was my assumption that I would be in without a problem. The…

November 18, 2013: Ten Things You Didn't Know about Me

In response to the current Facebook folly of listing a number of things people don't know about you, here is mine. This was way too tempting as I have enjoyed reading everyone else's over the last few days. My ten in no particular order... 

1. I made my own clothes in high school. Although I didn't make every piece in my wardrobe, my favorites were those I created myself. I would see something I liked and then would search for a similar pattern through the Vogue and Simplicity books at the corner dime store. I would duplicate copyrighted designer logos like OP (Ocean Pacific) by carefully embroidering on my finished products.

2. I have wicked intuition and a great bullshit meter. I can spot a crook or a lie a mile away. And adversely, I know the good guys within the first two minutes of a conversation. My gut is rarely wrong. It's the best weapon I have in living a life free of trouble and full of good-hearted people.
3. My interest in accounting was sparked by M&M sa…

November 17, 2013: Politics

I have been asked how Grant came out on his student council election. With all the hoopla of football, I have been negligent in this follow up blog. I sadly have to report that Grant did not get elected. But hold your tears, we have all survived quite well. And there were even some life lessons learned along the way.

I knew Grant was to hear about the results on the Thursday post-election. My plan was to call him after school. Instead I learned of the bad news as I read the school newsletter that afternoon. As I perused the school news for the week, I saw a section congratulating the newly elected student council members.

With excitement, I scanned for his anticipated name. No Grant. And then I scanned again. Nope. I initially had a lump in my throat and then I noticed a peculiarity. Of the seven elected officials, six were girls. This struck me as suspect as I knew at least five of Grant's buddies ran. They didn't make the list either.

My bullshit meter was running high. Lat…

November 15, 2013: These are the Glory Days

This picture makes me smile. The boys took their last stand under the Friday night lights of their home turf. A parent snapped this photo after their winning game. On to the State Championship.

Glory days. This is the phrase that came to mind as I looked at their faces. Glowing smiles. Eighteen year-old joy. A great journey to Memorial Stadium.

This group of boys is nothing short of a band of brothers. They've had each other's back every step of the way. This season has dealt some with adversity; on and off the field. But the boys have reacted by rallying.

They play as a team. They win as a team. And they support each other as a team. Together they are having a ball.

My son is one of many blonde bombs that fill the Skyhawk sidelines. Today I ran into a handful of his counterparts at the Husker game. They run in packs. Rarely do you see one player without two or three by his side.

Still brimming with excitement over last night's win, they continued to be humble; thankful f…

November 13, 2013: Jackpot

I spent $70 on a life size poster of my son. This was an "ask" of the football parents for senior night. I didn't even give it a second thought. My son certainly wasn't going to be the only one without a poster. So I proudly purchased it, knowing it would have potential reuses at playoffs, graduation, etc...

Thank-you, Skutt, for the win streak the allows this treasure to keep paying for itself. This life size image of Benny Lane has since shown up at two games post-regular season. Looking at the rolled-up poster in my garage this weekend, I decided to hang it on my front door for good luck (and increase my return on investment).

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day. I took my dog for a leisurely walk in the afternoon. Our walk began with my inspection of this front door decoration with a view from the street. I was pleased.

As Cookie and I finished our typical loop around the neighborhood, we came upon two walkers. These two young girls of Asian descent were w…

November 12, 2013: The Good China

Thought for the day: Every day is special, so why wait to eat on the good china? Thank-you, Mom, for teaching me this wise lesson.

My china has been passed down from my grandparents. I fondly remember eating our childhood holiday dinners on these special dishes. I was the lucky recipient of this hand-me-down heirloom.

Mom has used her keen eye and resourcefulness in finding matching pieces for me at garage sales and on-line. My china set is now expansive and spectacular. I am the proud owner of a variety of dishes in the silver etched, blue-flowered pattern. The latest addition of mini butter plates are a perfect complement to the separately served hot rolls.

Tonight we sat down and ate as a family. I deemed it a special day; just because. So I broke out the china and served Gatorade in wine glasses. Then we took the extra-special step of eating in the dining room. With my Halloween village glowing in the background, we enjoyed our last Halloween hurrah as the decorations will be sto…

November 11, 2013: A Warm Glove

Last night was my first Creighton game of the season. And it felt just like a warm glove. Maybe this analogy struck me since it was the first cold night of the season. But regardless, that's how it felt; comfortable, warm, inviting.

My day was generally chaotic. With an evening meeting that ran over, I sped to the Century Link. My thoughts weren't on Creighton basketball, but on whether I remembered my ticket and the almost single temp showing on my dash. It wasn't until I walked came up the escalator and saw familiar faces at ticket scanning that I remembered how much I love Creighton game nights.

I breathed an instant sigh of relief and relaxation. Right at home. I completely forgot what this experience felt like. Missing tip off, I proceeded to the wrist band station. I immediately spotted my favorite beer girl, Terri, under the Irish Pub sign by my seats. Last season they moved her to another location. She was now strategically back where she belonged. Score.

My secti…

November 10, 2013: Loyalty

I surprised Zach today. He was working downtown at Prairie Life Fitness. Zach had let me in on a little secret. I could go to any Prairie Life location at no cost. I thought I was just a member of the PLF out west. This benefit of membership had never occurred to me. So with this new found knowledge, I trekked over to 31th and Farnam for a visit.

I had been told this new facility was the cat's meow; state of the art design and equipment. It didn't disappoint. The facility is spacious and full of natural light. The view onto Farnam is nice too.

After walking in the door, I gave the young man at the front desk my member number. His response was that I must be a visiting member. My number lacked the extra digit of his more recent member adds.

Upon reflection, I pointed out to him first that I was the mother of Zach Lane, courtesy services employee. Then I told him that my membership preceded my pregnancy with Zach. That would make me a member for over twenty-one years. The young…

November 9, 2013: Matinee at the Bijou

As I enjoy my Saturday at home; cooking and buzzing about the house, I am reminded of these carefree days as a teenager. With my teenage jobs in the food service and childcare fields, my days were typically open with only Saturday nights dedicated to work.

The sweet memories of these early 80's afternoons off are filled with my working on creative projects and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. My mom was a home economics major and it showed on our daily lives. I got my creative genes from her. As I started a new adventure in the living room or kitchen, Mom could typically be found in either her sewing room or stripping furniture in the garage.

With Mom occupied, Dad at work, and my brothers; anywhere but home, I had the house to myself. There was always the warm buzz of the TV in the background. My Saturday television favorite was Matinee at the Bijou. 80's Matinee at the Bijou YouTube clip. I fondly remember teaching myself how to make cream puffs in the kitchen with Shirl…

November 8, 2013: A Win

Wins are always wonderful. Yet some parts are bittersweet. Tonight we beat Elkhorn South in the playoffs. As a Skutt fan and football mom, I'm thrilled. As a senior mom, I'm sad for the other team. I know some of their senior boys. This was their last time on the field as a high school player. My hope for the night was for my son to avoid that outcome.

We get another week. And then with a win, we are on to State. Next week we get our home field back. Excitement is in the air. Just as we wanted it. Our seniors last night on Skyhawk turf was a result of their resilience and wins. No blown opportunities. A final play under the lights at home. And then with good play and more resilience, we would love a chance to close the season at Memorial Stadium.

I have a blog that sits in my mind on this team and their journey. This journey for many started before high school. And it isn't all about football. But I will save that story. I don't want to jinx it. We have a nice streak …

November 7, 2013: A Date

Four years. Seriously. Can you believe it? Four years ago today, Garrett and I went on our first date. Sounds like a typical night out. But not really. I flew to Denver. The few who knew I was making the flight were taken aback. With my last date being twenty-three years earlier, I now get their consternation.

As this little story makes me smile, I think it is appropriate for me to share.

So, yes, Garrett and my first date entailed me getting on a plane and flying to Denver that Saturday night, November 7, 2009. We met a few weeks previously at a conference. Garrett was the presenter. I was an attendee. We communicated by phone and e-mail over the course of those weeks. And then he asked me out.

I initially laughed it off with the 550 mile distance between our respective homes. After three days of reflection, I accepted the invitation. And then I stayed silent to my Omaha inner-circle. After the many hours of mentoring from my family and friends on how my future dating life should lo…

November 6, 2013: Dinner Time

I love family dinners. Tonight was no exception. The flurry of voices with sharing of our day over warm buns and steak was the perfect cap on a fall day. Too often our sit-down dinners are the first to go as I carefully maneuver through the squeeze play of daily life. Nights like tonight remind me of the importance of this family time.

We went about our day in business-like-usual mode. Grant was dropped off first. With a warm cup of coffee in hand, I went through the family schedule and reminded him of steak night. The thought of this family dinner perked him up. Enthusiastic questions on sides and other participants quickly followed.

Ben was next reminded of the same schedule and meal plan as he skedaddled out the door to start his school day. With Garrett in route from Denver, a family dinner was sealed. No unexpected delays or curve balls late in my day were going to sidetrack the marinating steaks awaiting me in the frig.

With no school tomorrow, we were joined by Brendon for an …

November 5, 2013: I'm Back

I haven't been very consistent in my writing as of late. Although I had convinced myself that daily writing wasn't necessary and I didn't need the pressure, it has caused me to have a couple of "aha" moments.

My first "aha" thought is that a deadline and an expectation, even if self-set, is a good thing. In order to hold ourselves accountable, we need goals. And doing things we love on a consistent basis is nothing short of free therapy.

When you enjoy something, you find the time. A friend constantly tells me there are only 24 hours in a day. Knowing that sleep is important, that brings available hours to 17 with eyes open.

I don't watch TV. I don't like to chat on the phone. And I don't look down my nose at those who do. How I like to fill my time outside of work and obligations is spending time with family and building relationships. And I like to write. That's what I do in my spare time.

My attempt at slowing down the expectation on…

November 4, 2013: A Little Family History

Guest blogger and family historian, Mary Wagner, contributed today's blog post...

John & Mary (Smith) Galles Family, Remsen IA in the 1940’s The John & Mary (Smith) Galles family members are John, Mary & children Lenora (Mrs. Dan Raher), Hilary, Armella (Mrs. Fred Heidesch),  Julius, Alphonse, Louis, & my mother-in-law Marie  (Mrs. Gilbert Wagner).  The children blessed John & Mary with thirty-three grandchildren.
Married February 4, 1896, St. Mary’s Catholic  Church, Remsen IA, it was a steadfast belief in God & prayer  that guided them  throughout their lives as farmers in Plymouth County/northwest Iowa. 
Proud, hard workers, honest & unassuming describes both Mary & John with John the quiet one and Mary, less quiet.  Pivotal to the Galles Family were family, church & work with a little fun thrown in for good measure.

Courtesy of Mary (Pick) Wagner

November 3, 2013: A Blustery Day

On this very windy November Sunday, I remembered this old blog post and thought it worthy of a repeat...

As I walked into work this morning and shared "good morning" pleasantries with a co-worker, the comment came out of my mouth, "What a blustery Pooh Bear day".  Anyone who lives in Omaha can relate to my blustery comment as the wind shook all of our houses in the wee hours as we lay in bed.  And anyone who has raised children can relate to the Pooh Bear comment as most, like me, spent many hours during our kids' toddler years reading Winnie the Pooh books, watching countless videos, and tucking in our babes with the Pooh and Friends variety of stuffed animals.  I hadn't thought about my poor forgotten friend, Pooh, in years.  Yet this blustery Omaha morning, the visions of Pooh holding the hand of his dear friend, Piglet, quickly invaded my memory.

Now the Pooh days are a distant memory with the only memento left in my house; a Pooh picture frame displayi…

October 31, 2013: Treatin' with Jack

I know I have said this before, but I need to say it again. I love Halloween. I love everything about it; fall, the colors, the Pumpkin Patch, the anticipation of trick-or-treating. I can't wait until Labor Day has passed and I can put up my Halloween decorations.

As the boys have grown older, I've wondered what I would do with myself on this coveted night. Although Grant still goes out on Halloween, his festivities rarely involve me. Well, at least by his invitation. I now invite myself.

I have found out that I am not the only adult who looks for an excuse to trick-or-treat. My friend, Laurie, shares this passion. Don't judge. We will go with the line that we are truly kids at heart.

Last year, Brian joined the fun as we three adults ran with the kids, like the kids. We giggled as we went through the homemade haunted houses and shared the childhood exuberance that is unique to Halloween night.

This year my timeline was a bit tighter which restricted our shenanigans. But …