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Showing posts from May, 2013

May 30, 2013: Full

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I sneeze when I'm full. I mean, I really sneeze. Like twelve times. The waitress will ask if I'm okay and many times I have to excuse myself to the restroom. It's embarrassing. But at age forty-five, although I have done this my entire life, I haven't figured it out. I continue to eat too much. And I continue to sneeze.

I thought this was just a rare affliction until it was brought to my attention that my son, Ben, has the same problem. The last time we had a big, BIG, family dinner at the Outback, we both ended up in continual sneezes. He couldn't bear the thought of inheriting this unattractive trait, but he did.

One would think that we would know to stop eating once the hint of a sniffle would come on. I am getting better. I did stop tonight after one sneeze following a fajita and a margarita. But a higher standard should be the expectation.

I picture an assembly line with bells going off when capacity is reached. Shouldn't my sneezes be the same? One would…

May 29, 2013: Wet Jeans

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Zach had a wardrobe malfunction this morning. He forgot to put his work jeans in the dryer last night. His spare pair were left on the laundry floor next to a wet towel. Ten minutes prior to departure for work, he found himself with wet jeans. As he tried to wear them wet, I knew from experience that this was a bad idea. Wet  pants are miserable.

A life lesson for Zach: Put your clothes in the dryer before bed. My life lesson on this matter was when I was six or seven years old. In my instance, the culprit was a wet pair of corduroys. And I wet them.

I had to go to the bathroom so badly and we were far from home; playing at the Remsen cemetery. I guess I should explain the cemetery issue first. We really did play at the cemetery. It served as an outdoor history lesson of sorts to us.

We would often go to the rectory and Fr. Birdsall would pull out the plot records and tell us names and family lineages to various plots. My friends and I would explore for hours; reading the names on th…

May 28, 2013: Wear Sunscreen

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Wear SunscreenBy Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '98: Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side …

May 27, 2013: The Boys are Back

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Just to come clean...

With all my talk of enjoying down time and a quiet house, I actually prefer the sound boy chaos echoing through my home. I miss my boys when they are not here. I miss Garrett when he's not here. But such is life. All named have a life outside of me.

So I enjoy my quiet when it comes, looking forward to the days ahead. Tonight the boys came home. And it felt like a stampede of wild horses. Not only did Ben arrive first, but he brought two buddies with him. Zach graced us with his presence as well. I'm not going to get too choked up as his main intent was to shelter his car from the impending hail.

Grant is busy planning out the week. His first week of summer freedom starts tomorrow. And that kid never lacks for ideas on how to fill his time. He made his mother happy by eating a meal I prepared for him and then thanked me <smile>. Normalcy is back. Whatever that means.

Based on the roar in the family room, the Blackhawks must have just scored. The ra…

May 26, 2013: A Girl and Her Bike

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This blog is going to read like a school paper. One about "How I spent my Sunday". I kind of felt like a school girl today, so it is fitting. I will preface my school work by disclosing that I did bite it on my ride. Thanks to Dr. Brown for banning me from my clipped biking shoes. My agility with running shoes saved me from further injury no doubt.

My adventure started at noon today. After noting no rain in the forecast until late afternoon, I decided on a long bike ride. Pulling up the metro trail map, I felt adventurous; wanting to try something new. Downtown was luring me. Looking East, I saw what appeared to be a trail running down past the zoo. With lots of downtown riverfront trails, I knew I wouldn't be at a loss for where to ride. Destination Downtown.

With bike packed and gear stowed, I trekked by car across town. Parking at Heartland of America Park, I was immediately reminded of the many Rotary bike rides I put on there so many years ago. Good memories. A str…

May 25, 2013: Quiet and Content

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It's Memorial Day weekend. Typically one full of graduation parties, cookouts, drinks with friends on the patio. Not this year. And I am good with that. Actually, I'm great with that.

Instead of trips to the store, packing cars, and preparing dishes; I'm quietly enjoying the comfort of my home with an empty calendar. The biggest item of concern to me is the weather report and timing of my long bike ride.

My kids have grown self-sufficient to a great extent with driver's licenses and their own social calendars. And I don't feel the need to respond to the question from friends "are you doing anything this weekend?" with an obligation to add something to my currently empty Outlook calendar.

I am content in my quiet house with sound chirping birds through my opened window and the thought of a bike ride. I have some reading and work to catch up on and look forward to uninterrupted time to call my parents. Oh, and I have a steak to grill later with possibly ho…

May 24, 2013: A Train Thing

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I really love trains. It's a memory thing. It's an Omaha thing. It's a kid thing. And the trains always notice me too. It's as though we know our own kin.

I hit the trail on my bike today and rode my old standard; the Papio Trail. There is a portion from Pacific Street north to Dodge that runs parallel to the train tracks. Today as I pedaled furiously, a massive UP engine roared up beside me. The engineer immediately gave me a big wave and a long blow of the train whistle. He must have known upon eye contact that I was one of them.

My childhood home rested a block from the tracks. The trains chugged through my town many times throughout the day and night. As kids, we were enamored with these huge locomotives. We chased them. We counted them. We played on the tracks.

The trains were a part of our town. I went to bed each night with the background sound of a moving train. Others would consider this noise. To me, the sound of a train motoring down a track is nothing shor…

May 23, 2013: Chemotherapy Lounge

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“I don't understand this, I only turned my back for a few seconds.
All our money was in there.” “Up next: Daydreaming about sex and why its good for you.” The televisions talk for us, fill the endless spaces. There is no understanding only tacit treatment of cancer patients who are all alike. Lined up in recliner chairs, at times almost fifty of us. “Welcome back. We’re talking about how to have house guests and enjoy them.” “What makes your adrenaline rush? What makes it pump?” The faintly metallic odor of noxious drugs, the sour-sweet overlay of vomit permeates everything, even the carpet. Trapped in our seats, plugged to poles we sit for hours. Poisoning takes time. “It was to be a yearly lease but I let him have it month to month. Then he wanted me to pay for the utilities. I said, ‘Do you want me to fix your breakfast, too?’” “Let's get together for dinner and finalize the details about the wedding.” “Sorry, Roxanne, not tonight.” “But darling, why?” The nurse has on a felt pumpkin hat for Hallo…

May 22, 2013: Loose Gravel

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I went out for a bike ride today. As I sped under the Center Street viaduct, I cringed while flying over a strip of loose gravel. Why am I so fearful of gravel? was the question I asked myself once my jawbone relaxed from it's previously locked and clinched state.

It didn't take me long to recall my many bad experiences with loose gravel as a child and young adult. Alleys and gravel roads were a way of life in small town Iowa. Fresh gravel was a nightmare for the rider of a bike and in my case; passenger of a dirt bike and a car. The good news is that I actually survived.


There were three bad loose gravel incidences that immediately came to mind. Two included my brother Matt and the other; my friend, Joan Brennan. Sorry, Joan. As for my brother, he is used to my using him as a subject in my blog. Past Ben Lane, our childhood stories provide the most material for my writing. Thanks, Matt. 

The first mishap involved a ride home on a bike. For reasons I can not remember, Matt begrud…

May 21, 2013: A Run!

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This picture isn't of me, by the way (weigh? oops...Freudian slip). But it is a picture of the type of anti-gravity treadmill I ran on today. Yes, I ran! And it was delightful.


My last run was on February 21 on the Zorinsky trail following a snow storm. The trail wasn't plowed and I chose to rough it and plow through on my own. It was a beautiful afternoon. The only tracks that laid ahead of me were footprints of brave dogs and a few humans.

I felt like such an adventurer that I took a picture to memorialize the run. Two hours later I boarded a plane to Denver and the day after that I blew my ACL. You know the rest of the story.

I arrived at PT today greeted with the question "Do you want to get on the treadmill?" Sure! It was no ordinary treadmill. This one defied gravity. After putting on the special shorts that felt like a wet suit which zipped on to the large contraption, I was calibrated and ready to go. She set my weight to 75 pounds. So with the assistance of…

May 20, 2013: Red Carpet Night

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Tonight at a plenary meeting, I was reminded of the heartfelt impact of a random act of kindness. The center of our discuss was kindness shared within the service of healthcare; empathy given to those most needy and vulnerable.

This great discussion led me to think of my own life experiences. How acts of kindness were selflessly given to me in the past and the impact left in my own heart. One of particular note came immediately to mind. This act wasn't random. It was intentional. It was a gift of kindness given to me during a difficult time in my life.

On a Friday night in the dead of winter, ten of my sister-in-laws, nieces, and friends (and brother) celebrated a Red Carpet Night with me and for me. Some would say this was just a girls night out, but it was much more than that.

The month prior I had purchased a strapless red gown for my company Christmas party. I was very excited to wear this simple, but classic, red dress with matching shoes. A turn of events occurred just days…

May 19, 2013: Tornado Evacuation of 2003

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May 18,2013: Saturday Minute Report

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8:30 a.m.: Slept in (check)

  8:45 a.m.: Cup of coffee from Keurig while checking a kazillion e-mails (check)

  9:45 a.m.: Decision made on workout schedule. Garrett to run and a bike ride for me (check)

10:00 a.m.: Air in bike tires, water bottle prepared, sun screen slathered on face (check)

10:15 a.m.: I begin a glorious 22.29 mile ride. I met two friends riding on the trail. Weather is spectacular and I surpass my average MPH and time from previous ride (check)

11:40 a.m.: Back from the ride. Catch up with Stefano and Garrett. Hot shower (check)

12:10 p.m.: Lunch of cereal with fresh fruit. Make a list for the day. Realize that Ben didn't actually spend the night; just his car. More e-mails and reading (check)

1:00 p.m.: Plant shopping at Lowe's with Garrett. He gets a medal for his valiant participation in my flower choosing. Four pots, thirty-eight plants, one bottle of release fertilizer, one bag of grass seed, and one Mountain Dew later (GB treat for enduring), we f…

May 17, 2013: My Brother from Another Mother...

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Not really another mother, but we like to say this (sorry, Mom). My brother, Matt, and I have a very strange sense of humor. Our inside jokes really make no sense, but they crack the two of us up. We laugh a lot and we tease each other A LOT. From me referring to him as my brother from another mother to our "guy" hug where he pounds my back abruptly, we enjoy our presumed silliness.

Our own kids like to join in our fun. Our time together, including many road trips with our collective crew, are full of laughter and great memories. Matt's quick wit doesn't miss anything. He is ruthless in holding on to my dumb commentary or mispronounced words. My random thoughts that turn into words and my butchering of the English language provide him material for future comic relief. And I don't mind a bit.

It's Matt's birthday today. He is actually a man of few words who desires little attention. So I will keep it very simple. Happy Birthday, Brother. Thanks for making…

May 16, 2013: Work Life Balance

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I have a very high appreciation for work life balance. It really is important to me. About the highest on my list, actually. I didn't think about it much when I was younger. I am now older, wiser, and more seasoned (nice way of saying I have had hard life lessons??) and relish my time with loved ones. My relationships are my most cherished assets.

This week I didn't do a very good job of managing this balance. And boy did I feel it. It didn't take long for me to pause and stop the insanity (or at least slow it down). A wise man once told me that you need to invest in your relationships every day. You can't grow what you don't nurture. And those not nurtured will likely find it somewhere else. It's being human.

Life will go on with or without us. This is a hard lesson some times. There are no re-dos in life, but new days are available if we're lucky. Today was just that; a new day. With e-mails almost caught up and work done for the week, Garrett and I just…

May 15, 2013: Training Wheels are Gone!

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I was released from my training wheels today. It was such a great feeling to advance out of my garage. If my bike had a motor, I am sure the feel would be identical to Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. I was back on the trails with the wind in my face and not a care in the world. At least not for that hour and half on the trail.

After two months and one day post-surgery (eighty-one days post-injury), this was my first "real" work out. Patience is not a strength for me. I was longing for this day to come. But, rest assured, I was a good patient and followed my PT and physician instructions to a tee. Which did not include anything that resulted in breaking a sweat in the last 2+ months. <sigh>.

I like to work out. I like to eat. I like to drink. Taking work outs from this equation is a bad mathematical equation  for me. I was chomping at the bit to see the calorie burn on my wrist monitor to exceed the equivalent of a small meal. This was achieved today. In fact, I wrote the n…

May 14, 2013: Coming of Age Story

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This is a coming of age story. That time in your life when you are transitioning from the cute kid to the young adult (but really miss being the cute kid).My coming of age hit at about age twelve. This story took place in the middle of the summer at my grandparent’s farm in Iowa.My mom was the oldest of the nine Pick children. As the oldest grandchildren, my brothers and I were dotted on by our many aunts and uncles.
At age twelve, I was spending many summer nights at Grandpa and Grandma’s farm.My brothers and I really had the best of both worlds as kids. We lived in town, but had the farm at our disposal as a limitless playground.On the occasions when the “out of town” aunts and uncles came back to the farm to visit, it was an even more special time.

This particular memory was with my Uncle David on one of his anticipated visits.David was a college professor on the East Coast and between his schedule and the distance; his visits were rare during this period of my life.Since his last…

May 13, 2013: New Dress Code

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Life is just full of new revelations. Many times we don't see them because we are too stuck in our routines. Today was one of those days. I do have to say that I love the latest one I stumbled on. So glad it came to me.

I love dresses. And I love shoes (and boots, and jewelry, and great accessories). But I don't like to shop. Never mind on that last point; different blog. I also like to plan. Dresses feel even better to wear if I carefully lay them out the night prior.

On a typical evening before a workday, I lay out my dress of choice and then add the complimenting footwear and accessories. Coming from the corporate world, my heels have always been the standard business attire. Although fun in color and style, they have traditionally been pretty corporate.

Last night as I laid out a wrap-around brown dress with a geometric orange and olive diamonds, I eyed my choices of three different pairs of brownish heels. All looked professional with little variation. Then it dawned on …

May 12, 2013: Anutter Mutter's Day

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The title of my blog actually reminds me of my own mom. Mary would say a quirky little mispronounced saying like this with a smile on her face. And we would all laugh. That's what I love about my family. We share a great sense of humor, even when no one else understands. But we think our humor is funny and in our little world, that's what really matters.

My kids are funny. They make me laugh. Often. In fact, it gets them out of a lot of trouble. When in doubt, make mom laugh. Or make mom smile. Sugar is way better than vinegar at our house.

I could go through the laundry list of fun things we did to celebrate Mother's Day, but I'm not going to. I enjoyed them all, but the events weren't what brought the joy. It was the time together and observing laughter, bonding, and just plain having fun.

I like to watch my boys play. I like to see them interact well with others and show respect with caring attitudes outside our own tight circle. I like their inside jokes and s…

May 11, 2013: Virginia (Part II)

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My mom is the investigative reporter of the family. She wrote such a great note on Virginia, our sweater maker, that I thought it worthy of it's own post (along with a couple more pix of our treasured sweaters :))...
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(refer back to yesterday's blog, May 10, 2013 for the full story)

Guest blogger, Mary Wagner: Virginia is now confined to her home due to diabetes and osteoarthritis of the spine. She will celebrate her 95th birthday next week.

A rancher's wife who rode the range on a horse with her trusty gun at her side and thin as a stick her entire life. In her spare time she worked as a model in Phoenix.

Her good relationship with area Indian tribes was invaluable when she opened her shop and offered to sell their Kachina's, handmade turquoise jewelry, blankets, rugs, you name it...the REAL deal.

Word traveled quickly over the years. Customers from far and wide made a stop at Virginia's Tradi…

May 10, 2013: Virginia's Trading Post

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Some people collect stamps or rocks. Others collect pins or even t-shirts. Mom and I have a fuzzy hand-knitted sweater collection. Thanks to Virginia.

It all started in a tiny home front store in Kingman, Arizona. Virginia, the proprietor, sold the normal inventory of purses, scarves, jewelry, and pant suits. But she had something special that people came from all parts of Arizona and Nevada to purchase; her hand-knitted sweaters.

I believe this rave started with my parents in the late nighties. My dad bought one for my mom as a gift. Each sweater was made by the hands of Virginia and each with an eclectic style. She wove in everything from fur-like yarn to string and beads. Her yarn was imported and the quality, superior. My mom best described her creations as "perfect for Vegas". Liberace would have been green with envy.

The first Virginia sweater I laid eyes on was on a visit by my mom. She showed up with the most beautiful green furry sweater with satin accents. It laid…

May 9, 2013: Hot Tub Time Machine

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I was able to end my night with a little hot tub action. It always sounds like a great idea, but I typically either run out of time or steam. The great idea at 8:00 p.m. many times fizzles by 10:00.

Tonight I was glad I hung in there. I was feeling sleepy by 9:30, but pushed myself to do the final items on my mental list for the night. I proceeded to work out and then jumped in the hot tub. Execution on a plan always feels good.

Although my workout hasn't expanded in intensity level, I have embraced power walking even more. I now track it on "Map my Ride" (but, rather, as a walk); my internal code for deeming it a worthy work out. Phase two of my workout was riding my bike. Still not off it's stand, but moving and moving pretty fast. And then the ultimate treat of the hot tub.

I think the best part of the hot tub is that I actually relax. A great way to end the night. I'm not reading anything or typing anything. It's just me and my thoughts and the stars in …

May 8, 2013: When Did This Happen?

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Grant is taller than me. When did this happen? I was so worried about my blooming tulips, I missed my youngest blooming two inches himself.

I realized it today when I picked him up from school. As we walk-jogged toward the gym, I noticed that I was looking him in the eye. No looking down.

"Did you grow this last week?" I asked.

"I don't know," he shrugged.

I let it go until we met Zach at Chipotle. Zach had just completed his first day at a new job. In celebration (and because I figured out that he skipped lunch), we splurged with a mid-afternoon feast. As we looked at the food board, I noticed again that Grant was appearing taller to me. I asked him to stand back-to-back for Zach to judge.

"Mom, he's definitely taller."

I looked at the worker behind the counter for verification. She agreed. Zach snapped the picture as final proof. Defeat. I am the oldest and shortest of my brood. No question.

As we sat and enjoyed our overstuffed burritos, Zach …

May 7, 2013: My New Home Office

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My new home office furniture was delivered today. At least for use over the summer months. Some may call it patio furniture. I refer to it as versatile  Just my style. I am anxious for my clematis vines to grow and the addition of summer annuals for added ambiance.

Zach pulled through with the assembly and there was a lot. I was amazed that so many pieces of furniture fit into the small delivered box. "They are really good at packing it in, Ma'am" was the answer the young delivery man gave me. So on this sunny afternoon in Omaha, Zach carefully assembled the many pieces that were crammed in the Sears box.

The final product brought me much happiness and a big smile. Comfort and warm color wrapped into a functional seating arrangement. And it actually looked just like the photo on the Internet. Score.

By nightfall, I couldn't resist trying out my new digs. I sat cozily wrapped up in my fur blanket from the living room while sipping a Summer Shandy and typing on my com…

May 6, 2013: A Travel Day

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Sometimes getting home is more of a challenge then getting there. This sure felt like the case yesterday. Starting with a positive reflection, it was a beautiful day in Dallas. And I was in no hurry to leave as my flight was at 1:00 with only a short drive to the airport. Garrett had work meetings, so I was solo for the morning.

Still not cleared to run, I enjoyed an hour of power walking. And I don't say that in jest. I really enjoyed it. Being a long-time runner/jogger/fast-mover, I have to admit that I have a history of looking down my nose at those burning calories the walking way. I was wrong and too quick to judge.

A walk allows more time to enjoy the sights and take in the scenery. I had run this loop before and never paid much attention to the artwork adorning the gardens. After a day of culture and trying to figure out the artistry behind the museum sculptures, the good ones were actually in these hotel gardens.

In retrospect, we could have instead enjoyed margaritas in …