Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 29, 2013: Proceed with Caution

Garrett before strict instructions to "go brakes!"
I wanted to title this blog "Reckless Abandon", but after further reflection, thought it too harsh. "Proceed with Caution" was my compromise.

We went on a bike ride today up High Grade Road. This is not a ride for the faint of heart; definitely not for a girl who typically rides in a very flat Nebraska. What makes this ride difficult you ask? As the name implies, it is a steep climb (see GPS map to the right)

If you carefully review the map, you will note a steep decline at mile 25. Thus the title for this blog. Garrett goes fast down hills and mountains. I apply my brakes intermittently and pray I don't fly off the front of my handle bars. He would like for me to go faster.

I have explained to Garrett that climbing faster is more important than going down faster (cardiovascular purposes). I have explained that I have a fear of falling down mountains and hurting myself (looking for pity here). And I have explained that I just don't have the biking experience in the mountains as he does (making excuses). Garrett still tells me to go faster.

I have a hard time convincing him that any speed exceeding 30 mph is a stretch for me. After flying through a yellow light at the beginning of our ride, I explained to him the concept of reckless abandon. He didn't bite. I now explain my riding technique as proceeding with caution. He seems to be warming up to this concept.

We are on our way to raft inflatable kayaks down the Arkansas River. I have never done this before. An adventure. I can't imagine that going extremely fast is a good strategy. Proceed with caution. We'll see if Garrett agrees....

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 28, 2013: Play Ball

Baseball is a big deal in my hometown of Remsen. In fact, it's a really big deal and rightfully so. Our little town produced State Championship baseball teams and Professional League baseball players. Young boys played Little League ball in preparation for high school.

The boys played at a baseball diamond strategically placed next to our public swimming pool. There was no girls’ softball program. Our role was to cheer on the baseball boys while juggling our time with laying out at the pool.
Our laid back days as onlookers took a dramatic turn the year Kim Schorg was recruited to the boys' team. Kim was talented, athletic, and a girl. She was as good a ball player; as good, if not better, as her male counterparts. Coach reveled in this crown recruit of his team. What Coach didn’t anticipate was the reaction of the other Remsen girls.

Previous to Kim’s recruitment, it had never crossed our minds that we were being slighted. Not having the opportunity to play a summer sport was not viewed as an injustice. Following the inclusion of Kim and the exclusion of every other girl, we then understood equal rights and our lack thereof.

Our collective reaction was to go to City Hall. We asked to sign up for the boys’ league too. The baseball commissioner conceded to our requests to participate. Kim's entry created a pathway for girls of all athletic ability. The floodgate was opened.
The new girl players were sprinkled on the existing boys’ teams. None of us had ever played summer ball before. It was an athletic disaster to say the least. I spent most of my time getting out of the way of fast balls and tossing arrant throws. My athletic ability wasn't surpassed by most of the other female team members either.

Although good sports with the female invasion, the little league boys were left wondering how they got dealt this hand of cards. What should have been their glory days of competitive summer ball turned into a lesson in how not to hurt the girls.

The next year, Kim continued on with the boys’ league to complete her successful run in baseball. She went on to enjoy a spectacular high school softball career. The rest of us were given the honor of participating in the first ever Remsen Girls' Softball League. Other than Kim, our baseball careers ended after a year.
Dads and moms volunteered as coaches and a program was organized similar to the boys.  We signed up at City Hall and were given a team and a name.  I was a “Live Wire” and now had to balance my precious summer time between the pool and my team’s practice and game schedule.  

Although I would like to end this story with visions of Madonna playing in a Remsen version of "A League of Her Own", this was not the case.  I didn’t follow in the footsteps of Kim Schorg. There was no glimmer of talent for me on the softball front, but it sure was a fun way to spend the summer.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013: A New Pair of Shoes

I have a problem. I love shoes. But the good news is that my problem isn’t to the extent of Amelda Marcos. With restraint, I keep my inventory below the capacity of my moderately sized closet.

My problem lies in the immense joy I receive from the purchase of a kick-ass pair of boots or flashy heels. This joy should be reserved for more spectacular events. Instead, my rainiest of days are brightened by the addition of colorful pair of wedges to my collection.

Yesterday I had to reduce my inventory by one. A pair of black sandals saw their final hours. I also noticed a couple of dress sling-backs showing irreparable wear.

"I need to go shoe shopping" was my declaration to Garrett.

"Yea, right" was his response. "JUST what you need."

No, not what I necessarily need. But I something I definitely want. Some wedged Toms in bright fuchsia? Black dress shoes with a high heel and an animal print? The options are dancing in my head.

As I find myself checking out all shoes traveling through the TSA lines, I am taken off guard by a compliment aimed at me.

"I like your shoes!"

It came from a typically stern woman in blue uniform. She liked my animal striped Nine West pumps. I have to say I like them too. I beamed as I re-clothed at TSA exit. An unanticipated compliment. Shoes are important. I need to buy more... 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26, 2013: Guest Post on Grandma Marvel

Meandering Mary
by Mary Hahn
Printed in The Chronicle, Cherokee, Iowa newspaper, Thursday, December 7, 2000
“Always a Lady”

Husband Bob’s oldest sister was born on Dec. 7.  Today I dedicate my column in her memory.

Unfortunately, after a three-year illness, her life’s legacy left us last month.  She lost her husband of 57 years this past summer. They were a devoted couple, he the more strong-willed of the two and her the quiet, dignified one. They worked hard, she being his helper in establishing a lucrative veterinarian business. They were dedicated to their work and family and both worked many long hours, with her being the mainstay of the family, raising nine children.

Bob and his sister didn’t really know each other in their young years since she started high school when he started kindergarten. Since there was no school bus, she spent her high school years boarding out. Upon graduation from high school, she left for nurses training and then went on to work in hospitals, subsequently meeting her husband when he was a patient in one of the hospitals. But these last 20 years, when Bob and her had more time, they became good friends.

One could describe her with many attributes. One of her sons in the eulogy at the funeral service spoke of her gentleness, kindness to animals, compassion and how she disciplined with love. He went on to say she felt very strongly about some things and occasionally would voice a negative opinion, but as a rule she held a positive attitude. She was a quiet, strong person and her children thought she should qualify for sainthood.

One of her daughters when her mother was enduring many sufferings said, “What a role model.” She earned respect from all. Bob and I chuckled sometimes when we witnessed her use of psychology when she really felt strongly about something. She knew it was a way of getting what she really desired.

One would think after three years of enduring health problems, she would have been ready to just give up. But she wasn’t. She enjoyed the attention from many-family, friends and helpers. It was a reverse of what she had given to many for such a long time. She was a fighter up to the end. She loved life and she will be missed but it is a relief to know now that she is at peace.

She was one cool woman. Having known her for 46 years, I only witnessed her losing her temper a few times. She later would feel badly and feel that an apology was justified. The memory of the part she played in our lives will remain with us always. She gave a tremendous gift to us all…always a lady.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013: Breaking up is Hard to Do

The boys enjoying a "loving moment"
My youngest sons have a love/hate relationship. They remind of the couple we all know who date, but we wish didn't. They fight when together, but can't stand being apart. And they make most everyone else around them crazy in process.

With four years between Son #2 and Son #3, I always thought this too big of a buffer for them to enjoy a relationship together. I was wrong. They have been fast and true playmates in all sense of the word. But it truly is love/hate. They bicker over the most meaningless things when together, but are lost when left without the other.

Our home life is filled with these two brothers constantly playing games and battling on the trampoline. They go from the tramp to the basketball hoop to the video games. Always together like a couple of carefree children. But while they play, they fight like a couple of wild cats.

Recently I decided to follow my mom's influence. As children, my brothers and I would fight. We fought a lot. Mom's continual response to our tattling was "you need to work out your problems on your own". I used this same line in the middle of a typical fight with their typical tattling response. I gave them the silent treatment and as any good parent would do, I locked myself in my room. Within five minutes my phone rang. They had called their dad. Mayhem was now shared. Fail.

My house has grown quiet lately. Ben has moved on to bigger and better things than fighting with his thirteen year-old brother. He is going to be a senior and he is flying high. A full-time summer job, football, and an active social calendar have removed him from being a fixture in our house. Grant has been dumped.

"Mom, why do you let Ben go out with friends every night?" is a frequent question from Grant. As is "Mom, shouldn't Ben stay home to be with family once in a while???" My parental decisions seem to be in constant question by my youngest. Somehow I caused this injustice to happen. He has been scorned and I am at fault. I don't get it. Maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder? We shall see......


Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013: ordinary-people-doing-extraordinary-things

I admire extraordinary people. Let me clarify. I admire ordinary people who have accomplished above-ordinary feats. Extraordinary.

Many types of admirable qualities fall within this class of people:  Showing perseverance in conquering a fear or quest, accomplishing great things with the blessing of a second chance, or overcoming obstacles with courage. All of these qualities exemplify the best in class.

I do have dreams of writing a book one day. I want to write a collection of stories on extraordinary people. True stories about real people who fit my vision of extraordinary. I make mental notes of special people I have met along the way in this fun journey of life. Some are chance encounters and others, lifelong friendships. Their life stories are those I want to share.

A friend who grew up with nothing, but accomplished great things; both in her professional life and in her long lasting marriage. I tell her story often as a comparison to those born with a silver spoon; access to everything, want for nothing, and no self-motivation. My friend forged forward over every hurdle put in front of her. Dedication. Drive. Love.

A homeless man who became victim to alcohol.  Given a second chance, he gained sobriety and later became director of the homeless shelter. He paid it forward for years; working to ensure shelter, food, and second chances for those living in his past demise.  Inspiration. Guts. Faith.

My mom sent me a CD she burned with her favorite songs. One of the songs was Susan Boyle’s coming out song on 2009 Britains have Talent. This frumpy lady took the stage that year to quiet giggles and cynical looks. Then she belted out a song with the most incredible vocals; an exceptional rendition to “I Dreamed a Dream”.

After listening to the forgotten solo, I pulled the You-Tube video to watch it again. This video never gets old. And then I cried. I felt immense joy for this seemingly ordinary woman. The mocking smiles of the crowd were gone; replaced with a roaring standing ovation. Success. Talent. Courage.

I love a happy ending. I'm always rooting for the underdog. And I'm a believer in second chances. I can't wait to write the book.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23, 2013: Fear

An ordinary moment in time last night
A friend's daughter was seriously injured in an accident last night. As I pray for her recovery, my heart fills with sadness for her parents. The call that every parent dreads. My biggest fear.

My morning started with a five minute panic attack in trying to locate my seventeen year-old. For that five minute span, I tried to remain calm and not think about him in a ditch. He called. All was well in the world. My brief fear turned into an afterthought. Based on the news headlines of the morning, many other parents weren't as lucky.

No matter the age, the worry doesn't go away. From checking on them as babies to make sure they are still breathing  to worries on their decision making Friday nights at the frat house, the worry is there. With every blaring ambulance and fire siren, I say a prayer. I think of my kids and hope that it wasn't intended for them.

My biggest panic attacks to date revolve around the well-being of my kids. I vividly remember the panic of losing a child in a crowd. Those three minutes of terror thinking about the what-if's until my precocious toddler was located. A hit to the head that resulted in a short bit of unconsciousness. The phone ringing in the middle of the night. Fear.

When Grant was eight on a family vacation in Okoboji, there was a span of fifteen minutes that created pure panic and anxiety. With every minute, the panic grew like an explosion inside me. It was probably the most scared I have been during my lifetime.

The sun had set on Lake Okoboji and it was our last night in our lakeside townhouse. That night as I visited with friends and watched our collective kids settle down, I noticed we were short Grant. I quickly figured out that no one in the room had seen him for some time. Panic.

I ran out to the bonfire. No Grant. No one had seen him. I looked out to the boat dock on that windy night and saw our boat rocking in the waves as it hit the dock. I thought of Grant's superhero guys he left on the boat. My heart sunk as I pictured Grant in the dark trying to get into the boat to retrieve his guys. It was pitch dark; impossible to see a little boy fallen in the turbulent waters. The ripping waves too loud to hear a scream of a fallen child.

After calling for help and beginning my panicked search off the dock, a mom shouted out to me that Grant was in her room. Little Grant had befriended most everyone as many of our annual "weeks" corresponded with other families. It was pure joy to see his smiling face, safe in their room.

Some tell me this fear for my kids will never go away. Love them each and every day. Everything else is in God's hands. So I will pray; for the children lost too soon and those still living. Love your kids. Teach your kids. Guide your kids. Everything else is out of our hands.

June 22, 2013: Raincheck

View out my window from my desk
Do you remember the opening to the book, The Cat in the Hat? The kids stared out the window to a wet and cold day. What to do? What to do?

That is how I feel right now. The best made plans can be overturned by Mother Nature. My planned bike ride with friends is out, so what now is in?

Last night the boys and I went to see World War Z in 3D. It was actually quite good. Very entertaining. Home by 9:30, I carefully planned for a much anticipated Sunday morning.

Bike down and tires filled with air. Check. Helmet, gloves, clipped shoes in car. Check. Water bottle open and left on island for filling beside power bar. Check. Money, ID, and ear buds set by charging phone. Check. To bed by 10:30 with dreams of a long morning bike ride dancing in my head. Check.

Reality check. The sound of thunder and heavy rain outside wakes me at 6:10. A check of hour-by-hour weather and a flurry of FaceBook posts from cycling friends concludes with a cancelled ride. And now I stare out my window like the kids in The Cat in the Hat.

Will the Cat show up for antics and entertainment at my house today? Wouldn't that be fun? I won't hold my breath. Instead I think adventures in our basement and specifically, my art room, are in order. If the Cat doesn't show, no foul in attempting on my own, is there?

I will give the boys "jobs" to do so they can feel forced (although I know they actually love my basement antics). And there are always projects within my masses of accumulated treasures. I will let them pick the music choices within my vinyl record collection and give them a job that includes going through their grade school boxes and baby pictures. Ultimately most found treasures in these departments end up Tweeted, Snapshot, or Instagramed by my teenage sons.

For now I'll let them sleep. My immediate plan is to feed my own cat, Abby, and coffee up while catching up on news in the world. With enticement of grilled steaks later, I think I can lure my housemates into surprises that await in our creative space. The only difference from the Cat in the Hat is that adult supervision won't be absent, it will be a welcomed participant.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013: A Sentimental Backyard Journey

The unused swing set I can't part with
I spent the last couple of hours in my yard. The high winds and heat required an extra drink for all of my flowers, plants, and bushes. I love my garden haven, but it does require some tender loving care.

Tonight I found myself taking several trips across the backyard to accomplish my task at hand. I was in every corner of sacred space tending to all things green. My watering journey caused me to pause and reflect on the life journeys that have run their happy feet through this grassy backyard retreat.

The swing-set stared at me as a lonely reminder of days past. I have been asked on numerous occasions to part with it, but I can't. It's a piece of my backyard and our life. The Little Tikes airplane is now gone and disk swing; long thrown away.

The hours spent on this playground which spanned two homes and fifteen years seems insurmountable. Ben loved to swing. With a permanent smile on his face, he would swing for hours with intermittent breaks to the fort or sandbox. He would swing Baby Grant on his lap. As they grew older, we would have "throw the shoe" competitions from the swings. The winner was the one who could shoe toss the farthest. Over the fence was a home run. I always joined in the fun.

Our backyard originally served as the neighborhood baseball diamond. Wiffle ball games were continuous. Our circle was filled with boys and our house, the hangout. A tree by the fence was second base and our neighbors to the north; not happy with the many balls hit against the side of the house. When it got too dark, we pulled out the portable lights. The games continued.

As the boys grew older and the landscaping started coming together, the ball field became a memory. A trampoline was added and then a hot tub. The swing set was then used by precocious teens to catapult into the tramp. The hot tub included early teen parties and girls.

Case in point; at the 8th grade graduation ceremonies at St. Wenceslaus, Ben asked if he could have friends over. Following my affirmative response, he announced to the entire class (90+) that the party was at our house. And believe me, they all came. Memories were made that night for Ben's friends in my backyard. His mom had a glass of wine later to recuperate.

As the progression went to high school and college aged boys, kids began coming in packs to "hang out" in the backyard. I would occasionally find cigar wrappers and beer cans that apparently didn't belong to anyone based on negative responses to my questioning and blank stares. The use of the swing set moved to exclusive use for private conversations between the opposite sex in the dark.

The backyard is empty and quiet tonight. Very quiet. One I have dreamed about for years. A beautifully landscaped backyard. A light summer breeze and a decked out patio. No noises from the hot tub or requests from the swing set for sleep overs or popsicles. Just me, my computer, and the peaceful sounds of summer.

So as I enjoy the tranquility and beauty of my backyard, why do I long for the childhood laughter? With a motto of never wishing time away or crying over the past, it's time to get resourceful. I will entice with food and get those handsome sons back home for a grill-out this weekend. A backyard full of laughs and sharing life. Just the way it should be.

My tranquil view of the evening

June 20, 2013: An Old Irish Blessing

Traditional blessings and old wives tales are carrying more meaning these days. They continue to be proven out with each aging year. Maybe it's because I actually take time to think about things now that I'm older. I am quite sure my circumstances haven't changed dramatically, but the way that I view them has.

An Old Irish blessing... "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face." A true blessing when you experience this.

I went on a long bike ride last night. I followed the Big Papio Trail for an out and back; straight south for 16 miles and then back the same way. It felt breezy when I left. I have found in my biking adventures that what feels windy on your feet, feels much windier on your bike. This was the case last night.

The first half of the ride was tough. I kept reminding myself that the level of difficulty was due to outside elements and not my ability. The result of this obstacle would be direct benefit once I made the turn around. Or so I hoped.

As I eyed the Bellevue Medical Center, I made my turn. My average speed soon went from a tough 14 miles per hour to an easier 18 mph. At the turn I changed my Pandora station to 60', 70's and 80's (from Matchbox 20). I roared back up the trail reaching the 20's in my pace with "Stand by Me" and "Summer of 69" were blaring in my ears. Bliss.

The wind was to my back with the sun shining warmth on my face. Like a dog hanging his head out a car window, I was happy. It brought back memories of walking beans and running on blustery mornings in the past. Although the roads traveled can be difficult, with persistence it does rise to meet you. And the blessing of tailwinds and sweet summer sun follow. A blessing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 19, 2013: Haircuts Run in our Family

My pigtail was left intact. Our neighbor wasn't as lucky.
I saw a post on FaceBook last night about two sisters, ages 5 and 3, who decided to experiment in haircutting. Their guilty dialogue with their father was hysterical.

A classic line from the 5 year-old (culprit with the scissors) was "cutting hair takes a lot of concentration" (with special emphasis on the word, concentration). She obviously was lacking in this department based on her sister's 10+ inch resulting hair length variation.

A similar experiment was had in front of 119 Harrison Street, Remsen, Iowa in the early 70's. Fortunately the heads of hair of my brothers and me were left untouched. The neighbor kids weren't as fortunate.

Russell and Brenda lived across the street. Whereas my brothers and I were given a long leash by our mother, their parental leash was much shorter. An allowed outing to our house was rare. The last of these outings was the day of our little haircutting event. Matt and I were allowed to play with them in our front yard that fateful day. I was 5 and Matt, 7.

I am going to blame Matt for coming up with the idea. No doubt it was in the back of both of our minds based on our dad's profession of barber. Watching him carefully perform his skill was intriguing to us. We spent a lot of time at his barber shop.

We did lead our neighbors astray with false representation. As Russell and Brenda sat in a Radio Flyer wagon, Matt convinced them we were going to "play" barber; just like our dad. I snuck the scissors out of the house. This was an easy task. Scissors were aplenty with our seamstress mom. And then we really cut their hair.

We cut a diamond shape out of Russell's wavy brown bangs. Brenda ended up less one long piggie tail. Snip, snip and into the wind. It really was kind of fun. Although both Matt and I were participants, Matt did most of the damage as he took on Brenda. Once Russell realized that we weren't pretending and his sister was short half her mane, he ran home to tell his mom.

Their mother stomped across the street to assess the damage. She was furious and went on to tell my mom exactly what she thought of Mom's parenting skills. I had never heard my mom "told off" before. She just took it. The only words out of her mouth were "I'm sorry". Though I did feel terrible for causing this infliction on Mom for our misbehavior, I promptly blamed Matt for concocting the idea and played innocent younger sister.

We both got in trouble, but Matt bore the brunt of it. Russell and Brenda weren't allowed to play with us for a long time. Only when they were much older did they step foot back on our property. Their mother never spoke to our mom again. Never. This was my first experience in the wrath of an angry mother. A good life lesson. My brothers and I learned to only pick on each other; we left the other kids alone.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013: Adventures in Adult Parenting

Zach and his new car
I spent the night grocery shopping with Zach. My twenty year-old son is a man on his own. He rents a house with buddies, has a full-time job and a car payment. Between my explaining how to prepare baked potatoes and the shelf life of lettuce, we discussed the liabilities associated with car ownership. Gas is expensive; especially when your house is halfway across town from work. The cost of licensing a car? He hadn't a clue on this extraordinary expense.

No complaints from my eldest, just a lot of questions and life lessons during his journey. And it's only beginning. A challenging role as a parent is explaining that we too have been down these same roads. There actually was a day when I was twenty; trying to figure out who FICA was and why he was taking money out of my paycheck.

As we scrounged the dollar aisle for bargains, we talked about the current state of his life. He loves his independence, but expenses and obligations make him nervous. Frugal by nature, this next year will be full of good lessons for him. Ramon noodles will be aplenty and decisions will need to be had over money for beer or gas.

Life brings challenges to my young son everyday. Today he attended the funeral of a classmate. The realization that life is short and precious is not a natural thought to a young adult. Forever young. Forever carefree. Today was a reality check in the fragility of life.

Zach is trying to figure it all out. He thinks he has a good idea of what his future holds and has a plan. But does anyone really know this at age twenty? My hope as a parent is for him to go through his journey with an open mind, a big heart, and a lot passion for all that is good and right. Enjoy the ride, but be responsible.

My job as a parent? Sit back and let him have his own journey. He will make mistakes and will learn from them. He will learn to be resourceful. He will learn what it feels like to be hungry and to be broke. He will learn the pleasure of achieving his goals and the satisfaction of making it on his own. The lesson of the need of a dollar earned for a dollar spent is well on its way.

None of these lessons come from parental coddling or attempts to shelter from potential pain. It is many times harder to step back than to step in. Reminder: pain isn't a bad thing. Learning from mistakes means first making them and then correcting on your own. My best life lessons came through this avenue.

Adventures in parenting continue. I will now comfortably go back to my seat in the parental sidelines. I am getting pretty comfortable there. Coaching from the sidelines is unnecessary at this point. Zach is doing just fine in this game of life on his own. And he knows where I'm at if he needs me.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013: Elementary, My Dear Watson

My all time favorite Halloween costume, Sherlock Holmes
I think I'm a nerd. There, I said it. Since I was a small girl, I've always had interests a bit different from the typical girls. While other teens were reading Harlequin romance novels, I stayed up all hours of the night reading Sherlock Holmes.

I found Agatha Christie novels divine as well. I owned most of her murder mysteries in paperback. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was held in higher regard. I owned his collection in a huge hardback special edition. It took weeks of babysitting money for me to afford this coveted purchase. Sherlock Holmes was the bomb in my eyes. Obviously I never outgrew this obsession.

Halloween 2007 was the year of my favorite costume. It was this year that I splurged and dressed up as Sherlock. While other middle-aged females paraded in their most fantasized sexy costume, I was in old-man smelling heavy tweed. And I was thrilled.

Any non-nerd female would have found a way to make even Sherlock a blonde bombshell. Not me. My goal was to duplicate Sir Conan Doyle's vision as true to character as possible. And I was happy with the result. My diligence toward this goal paid off.

After multiple invitations to costume parties that year, I decided to take the plunge with a visit to Ibsen Costume. This massive store is the known rental center to every playhouse/theater costume worn in Omaha over the last forever years. If it's not disintegrated and still wearable, it's for rent.

As soon as I walked in the door and saw the quality of inventory, I knew there had to have been a Sherlock Holmes portrayed in Omaha at some point in time. And I wasn't let down. The cloak and hat of my favorite sleuth were mine for the renting.

It was apparent, based on the effort in digging out these treasures, that this costume was not a high demand item. The sexy vampire-tress displayed in the front window or fish-netted Frankenstein's bride were the obvious hot sellers that year. With the added purchase of a fake mustache with glue, a pipe and magnifying glass; I was set.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed being Sherlock Holmes that Halloween, I was a bit let down that not everyone quickly recognized my character. I guess they have never bought the hardback edition of the Sherlock Holmes collection. Mystery solved.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16, 2013: Paternal Influences

My mom tells me she sometimes feels like I'm eulogizing her in my blogs. Take it as a compliment, Mom. It's way too easy because you are so awesome. But I will listen (always slow to do so, but it eventually sinks in). My ode to the wonderful dads I admire will be brief and non-specific. Very non-eulogistic...right, Mom?

The sermon at church today centered on the great role of the father. The traits discussed made me think fondly of the dads who have impacted my life. My memories are full of laughter and sharing life with these great men.

But life isn't all smiles. Life is tough. Parenting is tough. Leading by example and doing the right things for the right reasons is not easy.

Delivering the hard messages and being the perceived "bad guy" is many times the paternal cross that dads bear. I have been the recipient on many occasions of messages I didn't want to hear. It took me years, many years, to appreciate the lessons learned. Unconditional support, steady guidance, thoughtful decision-making, and from an admirable father.

The paternal influence is many times unappreciated, but a necessity. I often say that moms have an unfair advantage as a parent, simply by being a woman. Men have an uphill battle. They lack that maternal instinct that naturally wraps around a child like a warm blanket. The innate father roles of leadership and discipline many times have the opposite feel for a child.

Although men also share tenderness and love, their dominate parental role can feel adversarial from the perspective of their children. Appreciation comes later in many cases. It is so true that it takes being a parent to fully appreciate your own.

Never underestimate the paternal influence. As a child, I was told that I was smart. I was told that I was special. These words came from paternal influences in my life and were very impactful to me. In reality I was just another girl from small town Iowa. Nothing special really, but I thought I was because I was told this from men who carried weight in my life.

Children listen and see every word and action. I am appreciative to all the great dads in my life and in the lives of my own kids. I am blessed. My kids are blessed with great paternal influences from the Lane family as well.

Happy Father's Day to all the above unmentioned fathers. No eulogies...just a lot of appreciation. XOXOX

June 15, 2013: A Trail Run

Finishing a run on Zorinsky Trail
I got to run yesterday!! For me this was big. The last time I ran outside was February 21st; two days before my ACL injury. We had a snow storm that day. As I traversed over the fresh powder (picture below), I hadn't a clue that I wouldn't be back on this trail for nearly four months.

My run was only two miles and broken with a half mile walk in the middle. It will be a slow road back to my old usual. But such is life. One day at a time. One step at a time.

I just feel blessed to be back on the trail again and with two functioning knees. I am growing accustomed to my new hardware that now secures a hamstring tendon replacing my ACL. Genius invention. I will take better care of my new knee this go around.

My last run in February. Things look a bit different 4 months later.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 14, 2013: CWS Bliss

The College World Series is back and Omahans are loving life.
Anyone who lives here or comes to our city to enjoy the college baseball games knows exactly what I am talking about. There’s excitement in the air when the CWS is in town.
As we wait with open arms for athletes and fans, they in turn embrace our city. There’s something to be said for the athletes who play absent distractions of agents or endorsements. To watch these young men play from their heart, for their team, and for the love of the game is pure bliss.
Out-of-towners pour into our city to support their favorite team and watch the “best show on dirt”. Among them are celebrities — everyone from U.S. presidents to dignitaries, professional athletes and actors. A common celebrity visitor of years past was Kevin Costner.
My boys’ father, Scott, was Costner’s bodyguard for a couple of those years. He went on outings with Costner and his then-girlfriend (now wife) Christine. Scott even got a picture of his family with Costner (photographed above).
Take a close look at the picture. A keen eye can see that my boys — Zach, Ben and Grant — aren’t too interested in Kevin Costner. Prior to taking this picture, we had come from the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, and little Benny is holding a plastic penguin we had just purchased there. He was completely unaware that a picture had been snapped, nor cared that a celebrity was in it.
Zach truly appreciates the Rawlings wood baseball bat inscribed “Enjoy your own field of dreams, Zach” by Kevin Costner. But these aren’t the CWS memories that my boys cherish. Signed bats, caught foul balls, celebrity encounters are all great, but they’re not what brings them back each year. They return for the great memories; stories they will share with their kids when they take them to the College World Series in years to come.
My boys could tell you about their favorite plays and players over the years and the nail-biter games that they enjoyed with their buddies in general admission. (The best seats in the house, according to them). But the story that I will share is one that warmed this mom’s heart. It’s what the CWS is all about: Love of the game, a win of a lifetime, and fans being a part of the moment.
The year was 2002, the summer following the Kevin Costner picture above. Zach was 9 and Ben was 6. Texas played South Carolina in the championship game at Rosenblatt Stadium. This was the last year of a single game championship, as the next year went to a best-of-three series. Scott took our two oldest boys to the game with ball caps on and gloves in tow. Both Texas fans, they were excited to say the least. Grant and I watched from home on ESPN. Following an exciting championship win by Texas, I was anxious to hear from the boys. Little did I know of the unexpected, but incredible experience that they were a part of that afternoon.
Scott knew the wife of the Texas coach Augie Garrido, who had coached Kevin Costner back in his Cal State Fullerton days. When Scott escorted Costner and his clan, Augie and Jeannie Garrido were always a part of the entourage. On that championship day, Jeannie had run into Scott and the boys prior to the game. Later, as Scott and boys watched the last out and joined in the cheers of the crowd in a great Texas win, Scott’s phone rang. It was Jeannie Garrido. She told Scott to hurry down and bring the boys unto the field to celebrate with the team. So with smiles from ear to ear and burnt orange “hook ‘em horns” attire displayed proudly, they were swept through security to meet Jeannie and the team. The boys were on the field as the team dog-piled in celebration. They were smack dab in the middle of the media frenzy and were loving every second of it.
As the mayhem died down, the players signed baseballs for the boys with many pats to their heads and high-fives on a hard fought win. While the team posed for pictures, Zach quietly went out to home plate and filled his pocket with dirt from the field. Ben immediately saw what Zach was doing and did the same. As they later told me their tale of the CWS win and celebration, Zach showed me his signed ball and pulled out the treasure of field dirt from his pocket.
With the smile of a father who just shared a moment in time with his sons, Scott dug out some square plastic baseball covers and helped the boys display their signed balls with the dirt.
It is now ten years later, and although I had to dig in the basement for the picture of Kevin Costner, the ball and dirt are still displayed in Zach’s room. There is no doubt that CWS is where many great memories are made. And yes, that is what we call bliss.

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 13, 2013: My Boyfriend's Back and...

My boyfriend's back and we caused a lot of trouble...hey la, hey la, my boyfriend's back.

We celebrated his birthday a day late. Mr. Brucker turned the big 4-8 on Wednesday. Our schedules did not allow us to be together on the actual date, so we celebrated last night instead. Garrett did remind me that he flew in on my actual birthday. Although not as worthy with the 24 hour delay, I made it up to him. We had a lot of fun.

After a delayed flight, we were able to snag a couple of over-sized Roja margaritas with our favorite Mexican fare downtown. We enjoyed a windshield sunset on our drive out West and then closed out the night with a patio Corona for gift opening. Welcome to Omaha, my handsome boyfriend.

And BTW...Ben says we need to get married because he doesn't like me to refer to a "boyfriend" in front of his friends ;)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12, 2013: Summer in Full Session

Ben, Grant & Co.
My idea of a night at home was dinner with the boys and possibly watching a movie together tonight. It didn't quite work out that way. Ben's response to my great idea was "Mom, but it's summer".

Yes, Ben, it is summer. The definition of summer per the under eighteen crowd is having lots of friends over, shooting endless hoops outside, and staying up late. Too late per the over eighteen crowd.

Tonight was the Stanley Cup game. My kids love hockey and so do their friends. The house was rocking with cheers and boy commentary throughout the night. There was a pizza run and another break to the closest gas station for drinks (the under eighteen kind).

As Ben's friend chronically text (and Vine and Snapshot), Grant just wanders around the excitement of the house with a permanent X-Box headset attached to his head. The boys of summer.

While there was talk of summer jobs, bonfires, and early morning football practice; Grant was organizing yet another sleep over. The smell of round two of dinner is filling the house from the kitchen. Based on my keen sense of smell, Ramon noodles appear to be the late night menu.

No doubt I will find mystery wet towels and swimsuits in the laundry room in the morning. My clean hamper will have a new look in the morning light. Ah yes, the smell and sound of teenage boys on a hot summer night. School is out for summer. Summer is definitely in full session.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013: Pool Party

Life is busy. Sometimes too busy to stop and smell the roses. Tonight some of my favorite girlfriends planned a pool party. I would have every excuse not to attend...too busy...kid obligations. But my instinct told me otherwise. I wanted some down time with girlfriends. And the decision paid dividends. A good choice.

We sat around the pool. In the water, out of the water, by the pool...good times with good friends. Margaritas were a plenty and chips and salsa within hands reach. The humid Nebraska summer night showed its face again. Perfect for a pool party.

We shared life. We caught up. We laughed and we smiled. I observed something with this group of women. Positivity. No negative comments. No gossip. We lift each other up. The way it should be. Life is stressful enough. We don't need drama. Encouragement is welcome. Sisterhood and acceptance...<3.

A friend once told me that we all need balcony friends; those who cheer you on from the balcony and pull you up. Life is too short to hang with those who pull you down. I love my balcony friends. Challenging and supporting each other is a good thing.

So tonight was a toast to all girlfriends who sit in the balcony and cheer each other on. We all need a lift once and  a while. Life isn't easy. The view up is much better. Smile. Laugh. Share. Sisterhood #love.

June 10, 2013: Minister Flunky

Pix with Robbie after my wedding debacle
There are tasks in life that I have always thought to be automatic; like driving a car or cooking a meal. After watching a repetitive task performed weekly for 40+ years, one would believe this a cinch to duplicate for the steadfast onlooker.  Unfortunately I found out in front of a full church that this is not always the case.

My designated role was Eucharistic Minister for a cousin’s wedding. But even with confidence going in that Fourth of July day, this function did not come automatic to me. My typical success strategy of “winging it” was a fail.
I was asked by cousin Jennifer to serve as EM at her wedding. Excited for this role, but not having the required credentials, I called my parish priest, Fr. Mel.  Father quickly apprised me that the process with a length that surpassed the wedding date. But with my position as Church Trustee, he granted me a dispensation of sorts and communicated the same to the Bishop of the Sioux City Diocese.  

Father passed on some verbal guidance, gave me blessing, and then asked that I touch base with the officiating priest for specific instruction. My preparation for Jennifer’s wedding included watching the EM’s closely at my church the week prior to the ceremony. I did not contact the Sioux City parish priest in advance. “No problem,” I thought to myself.  
After recruiting my friend, Robbie, to join Grant and I on the trip, she inquired about my role in the wedding. As I explained my Eucharistic Minister designate, she questioned my background as she had never heard me talk of EM duties before. "No problem," I told her.

I made it to the church early to meet the priest and receive my awaited instruction. As we exchanged greetings, I quickly picked up that the priest was from a foreign land. His English was broken. I couldn't understand him. I caught about half of his instruction. Not wanting to hurt his feelings in probing further, I relied on my own confidence instead.

The beautiful bride then walked down the aisle. A perfect ceremony. At Communion time, I waited for the other EM's. I would follow their lead. As the priest stared me down to do something, I quickly realized that I was solo. I started following him around the alter area with really no clue on what to do. He kept giving me a pleading look as if that would nudge me to follow proper protocol.

The priest literally guided me to my position and handed me the chalice. Then the unexpected happened. He gave me my communion; by mouth. I didn't see it coming. When I finally realized it, with his hand next my un-turned head, I made a sideways effort to stick my tongue out. Just he and I prominently standing at the front of church and I was flailing like a hungry seal devouring a fish.

My Aunt Gwen started laughing. She was an EM. Her keen eye detected my dilemma. Then Robbie started chuckling. They knew exactly how unprepared I was and the resulting affect. The seal move had to be quite the sight from the congregation. Pretty soon the whole pew was shaking with an uncontrollable case of the giggles; including my grandma with Alzheimer's  The giggles are contagious, even when you're unsure what is funny.

I do have to say it was smooth sailing from there. Although I think the priest did all the work after communion with no reliance on my capabilities. I have never been asked to perform this duty again. And do know that there was no disrespect, just a bit of ignorance. I will take the class next time.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 9, 2013: Hidden Treasures

The boys organizing games in the basement
After spending a chunk of Sunday afternoon in my basement, I now know why I keep dreaming about endless attics and secret spaces full of treasures. I absolutely love these spaces. The accompanying memorabilia and fun escapes stored there bring me great enjoyment.

When I do find the time to create and explore in my basement, I'm in heaven. I have a collection of vinyl records that produce a constant background hum as I poke about through my various on-going projects. Yesterday's music choices included Three Dog Night, Don McLean, and Queen. Ben requested American Pie three times. It gave me a smile to listen to him tell Grant the story of Buddy Holly as the two of them organized the game table.

Goodwill piles were created and storage rearranged. I spend most of my time in an area that serves as my art room. It is fully equipped with bins stocked with paper and every craft accessory imaginable. I have an art table with side bins for pencils, stencils, scissors, and journals. Two benches adorn each side of this glass topped table. I always enjoy a co-collaborator.

The work room walls are filled with artwork I drew as a child, teenager and young adult. My kids' artwork is hung throughout all rooms as well. A sewing machine and serger are within arms reach of the stack of material remnants and felt squares. You name the desired art medium and chances are that I have the product on hand.

There is always work to do and boxes full of collectibles from the boys' days of past to reorganize. Shelves of photo albums are begging to be scanned and file cabinets in need of shredding. A project is always at the tip of my fingers. And with the TV, games, and treadmill in the adjoining room, I typically don't lack for company.

I believe my basement reprieve could be considered the female version of a man cave. Call it what you want. I love my special space. It is my very own; full of treasures that represent fond memories and projects that create new memories for the future.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 8, 2013: Midnight Conversations

This should be called "Middle of the Night Conversations"; 3:30 a.m. actually. But the title is too long for a blog. You get the drift.

3:33 a.m.: A knock at my bedroom door with words of a stomach ache from a young house guest. The intended over-nighter with Grant had turned into a half-nighter. With a call from his personal cell phone, a tired father was already on his way.

With windows open and a cool breeze filling my room, the interruption in sleep seemed minor. Back in the day there were many broken nights like these; some that required my driving across town to pick up my own child. More often it was kids leaving my house in the middle of the night. Not sure on the message behind this theme.

3:55 a.m.: As our house occupants had decreased by one, the silence of the night was broken by a blaring car alarm. As is typical with middle of the night noises, I first laid in bed wishing it away. Then I got up to investigate through my opened window. Definitely coming from my property and not inside my garage. It was Stefano's car in the driveway. I woke him and he turned it off.

4:07 a.m.: Back to sleep or so we think. After a conversation with Stefano and deciding the alarm was a false alarm with no worries, it randomly went off again. Now it got our attention. A burgler? A car thief? A rodent? With baseball bat in hand, Stefano checked the perimeter of the house.

4:12 a.m.: Finding no culprits, the car was safely tucked into the garage. The doors to the house were doubled locked and checked. Security in place, it was time to call in a night (or a morning) again.

5:05 a.m.: The last time I looked at my clock before finally falling back to sleep. Middle of the night conversations, even with myself, were officially over. No alarms set...noon mass...I slept in...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 7, 2013: Tilt-a-Hurl

Neighbor, Luanne, poses by St. Lucy with Grant and I
Last night was a great summer night. Cool weather, great company, and fun Downtown events all rolled into one. The start of our mini-adventure was the Old Market and the end, the Santa-Lucia Festival on the riverfront. In between was a stroll through the Summer Arts Festival. A very nice walk enjoying all of what Downtown has to offer.

As we came upon the Santa Lucia Festival, Grant was pleasantly surprised to see a small carnival going on. Rides of all shapes and sizes were in full motion. As I eyed a spinning mechanism in the horizon, I wondered if this was the Tilt-a-Whirl. The machine equipped with spinning cars rolling around a joint spinning track.

The Remsen Kids' Days annually produced this fanciful machine. Not one to endure motion well, my riding it was typically the result of my brothers' prodding. I would ultimately join the spinning fun. As a result of my brothers extra effort in creating the fastest spins, I would endure for days of feelings of uneasiness. I vividly remember laying in bed for nights as though I was battling seasickness.

As I eyed the machine, I asked Grant, "Is that the Tilt-a-Hurl?" Opps...Freudian Slip. It was the generation after me that coined it this name with Grant being the unintentional namesake. Suddenly my memories of seasickness from motion rides went away as I remembered Grant's own involuntary response.

I went on to ask Grant if he remembered his experience, which he said he didn't. The Tilt-a-Hurl event occurred after Grant I went to the circus many years ago. Exiting the Qwest on that beautiful summer night, we eyed a carnival on the same riverfront landing. Deciding to complete our adventure with some rides, we also saw that Grant had just made the height limit for the "big" rides. He wanted to give the spinning contraption a try.

Placed in a car with two cute teenage girls, Grant was trying his best to act like a tween. Grant smiled and the girls shrieked as they enjoyed the rolling, spinning motion together. After reaching the designated time limit, the carnival worker nonchalantly unlocked their car safety bar. Grant promptly responded by throwing up. Although he did not physically hit the girls, they were too shocked to speak. Grant got up, wiped his mouth, and without missing a beat said, "I'm fine!"

After retelling the story to his older brothers, the ride has been forever named the Tilt-a-Hurl. Grant kept his cool, but not his food, and the cute girls got an unanticipated surprise ending. After telling the story again last night, we all decided against any carnival rides for the evening. A better way to end a nice night.

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 6, 2013: Kiddie Parade

We all love a parade. In Remsen, we especially loved the Kids' Days parade. My brothers and I would decorate our bikes in colored streamers with clothes pinned wheels for added noise. The kids of Remsen would parade down the closed streets with the many enthusiastic town residents viewing from the curb.

In 1976, the parade was even more special as this was our country's bi-centennial year. The kids were recruited in masses with costumes encouraged. It was a grand celebration that year. One that we wanted to highlight as special during our Kid's Days activities.

My brothers along with our neighbor, Tommy Bunkers, dressed up as the Three Stooges. Wigs were created with caps and yarn with appropriate clothes scrounged out of the attic. They were followed by many kids costumed as past presidents. There were George Washington's and Abe Lincoln's abound in the streets that day.

My best friend, Bev, and I dressed up as Miss America and Miss USA. We made our roses out of tissue paper, our banners from streamers, and cut our crowns out of card board. All of our design work was done solely with the handiwork and imagination of two twelve-year-old girls. The only wardrobe accessory missing were the high heals we desired, but not allowed to wear.

There wasn't a hint of embarrassment in our parade walk that day. I felt as confident as a small town beauty queen; regardless of my homemade bikini and protruding pot belly. My brothers exhibited the same self-confidence as two stooges of three.

The innocence of youth is a feeling we all understand and would love to hold on to well into old age. But the magic eventually wears off as we age into the realness of the outside world. The good news is that we can still observe youth from the sidelines and smile; just like a kiddie parade.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 5, 2013: Another Day

Days come and days go. Fresh starts. Bad starts. Time that flies and time that can't go by fast enough. Life really is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you're going to get. I have always loved that Forest Gump quote. So true.

For the record, I still haven't fixed my air conditioner. But life has been in my favor on this one. The unseasonably cool weather has been refreshing. My hot tub is back to being hot and my house is staying cool. A good combination. At least for the day.

Busy is my new norm. But a new busy. Not one full of planned naps, play dates, and days at the pool. Instead my busyness is less kid-related and more me-related. I'm still not used to this life switch. It happened quickly and quietly. One day I was taking three boys to baseball games and the next, I'm simply trying to keep my head above water. I underestimated the size of this chore.

The boys are busy with summer jobs and their own summer social calendars. Few of these tasks involve me. If they oversleep or forget a wallet on their nightstand, the burden of their oversights lie on them. Running kids and organizing their schedules occupy little of my time. I can only point the finger to myself on the outcomes of my current days.

Today was a good day. I was able to sneak in a bike ride around Lake Zorinsky. Persistence and determination paid off on other fronts. Success. A good busy is one that leads to results. Another day...a good day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4, 2013: Dream Weaver

I dream in color. There is no doubt about that. Last night my dream revolved around Crayolas. The whole dream did, in fact. I typically have very vivid dreams. Immediately after awaking, I can remember them in great detail. As the hours go by, they become more foggy.

I wish I knew a dream reader who could tell me what they mean. My dream last night was about a house full of Crayolas. The house was owned by the original Crayola family (is there such a namesake??) and I spent the dream wandering around; exploring and meeting many people along the way.

There was a dog, a brown lab, who was my constant companion. He was my dog; as though I owned such a dog in real life. I would go from room to room, climbing many flights of stairs, and chatting with a variety of people. The people included a couple of my kids, a tour guide for the Crayola family house, another visitor and a neighbor (in real life). And then there were many people who were familiar to me in my dream, but unfamiliar faces in real life.

Every room was full of endless treasures, just like my grandma's attic. I found myself wandering around without a care in the world. Crayolas were everywhere, the big thick ones, and in every color imaginable. And then I woke up.

Recurring themes are big rooms (like attics) with endless treasures including everything to antiques, endless wardrobes, and now, Crayolas. So what do my wacky dreams mean? No worries? Life is a big adventure? I haven't a clue.

I wish I could remember them with the same vivid detail I have first thing in the morning. They would be great stories. My very own "Alice in Wonderland" adventure series. I wonder what I will dream up tonight? Regardless...I just hope it's a fun adventure...

June 3, 2013: Purple Pleasure

The rains paid off in Omaha. At least for my lawn and flowers (not bad for house without functioning air either). My pleasant welcome home was the purple pleasure that greeted me by my front door. The red roses are poking out as well.

Dead tulips have been replaced and overtaken by the new seasonal color. Landscaping is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I am anxious to see if the colorful cannas have sprouted in my far back yard yet. They are a new addition and should reach a six foot and full of color by the end of summer.

After a long day of airports, work, and meetings; the initial greeting from my silent greenery friends was welcomed. The voices waiting for me in the house were even better. Grant, you are definitely better than my tulips; hands down. His smiling face with newly installed braces was actively conversing with relatives as they prepared a celebration for Aunt Joan's birthday.

Cake, ice cream, and conversation at the table was a perfect way to be reminded of a house full of warmth; the good warm. Any edge remaining from a busy day was quickly gone and forgotten. Sitting back and catching up with loved ones and sharing life is the real life pleasure.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2, 2013: Milestones

Mission accomplished. It was a good day. 62 miles logged in and some milestones met. I like milestones and I love meeting them even more.

Milestone 1: I logged in my longest bike ride; ever. My previous high was sixty. Those serious riders are shaking their heads. But to a newly minted rider (not quite three years into owning a road bike), this was a milestone. And it wasn't an easy feat. The first thirty miles were into head-on high winds. Thanks to Garrett for pulling me (bikers lingo for blocking the wind...thanks). Once we made the turn after 30 with the wind behind us, I knew it was all "downhill" from there.

Milestone 2: I completed my first official Colorado sanctioned cycling event. For the last three years I have been envying every rider promoting their favorite Colorado ride on their jersey. I have been longing to join the fun. Now I that I have done it, I can chime in "Yea, I did the Elephant Ride last year."

Milestone 3: This was my first sanctioned bike ride with Garrett. Although he has a long resume of bike rides he's participated in over the years and I have done a few myself; we have never gone together. We can now add this to our list of sporting dual-participation. To date these include hiking a fourteen-er, running a half-marathon, hiking the Grand Canyon, and skiing a lot and in a lot of places. Still on my list to come are a triathlon, cross-fitting, and ballroom dancing.

Milestone 4: I did it!! And I felt great about my effort. With the wind and the climbing, we still finished in under five hours. I burned 2,968 calories and we enjoyed BBQ and a beer after. No falls by me. Colorado was beautiful. The greens are livid right now and Pike's Peak was continually in our view. I pushed myself and finished strong. My new ACL worked great.

As a final note, I always gage my progress by the quality of riders who pass me. Those passing me overall appeared to be athletic and in good shape. And I passed far more people than the number who passed me.

As in road races, you see all kinds of people participating in these events. There were people with road cones taped to their helmets, a man wearing jeans, and a woman who was a Melissa McCarthy look alike. She sported cross and skull bone arm warmers. I passed her climbing up a hill. A good thing, I believe.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 1, 2013: Anticipation

Tomorrow we're doing an organized bike ride. I'm excited. It's the Elephant Rock Cycling Festival in Castle Rock, Colorado. We're doing the 62 miler. Garrett says it's a good ride. Of course, he is a snob. Accustomed to being surrounded by the beauty of Colorado, this is a typical day for him. For me, it's a treat.

"This course traverses the high plains between Denver and Colorado Springs. On a clear day, cyclists will enjoy the views of the Front Range from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak" is what the website reads. The weather report calls for clear skies, 0% chance of precipitation, and high of 81; 60's during our morning climbs. Perfect.

I have to add that Garrett is sitting next to me while I write this and I feel a bit censored. He believes I took liberties by taking a picture of the back of his vehicle (without prior authorization) and had me remove the word "stunning" from a previously typed Garrett quote (without prior authorization).

Censorship stinks, but I need to be nice as he will be driving us to the coveted ride in the morning. Wish me luck!!

May 31, 2013: Broken

The caption of this picture should read "flat tire and great boyfriend". I blew a tire yesterday. It seems like I've been blowing a lot of tires lately. My "tires" have been coming in a lot of shapes and models. I had the good fortune yesterday of having Garrett by my side to save the day. And we finished our ride without issue.

My air conditioner is broke. Another blown tire of sorts. Although my ever-resourceful brother-in-law thinks I may bypass purchasing a new unit, I need to be in Omaha to resolve. On the list for Monday is a call to the air conditioning company to schedule a visit. At least the cool Omaha weather has been cooperating on this front.

I have a mess in my basement. Zach overflowed the main level toilet on Wednesday. With Stefano in the upstairs shower, Zach wasn't able to quickly access the correctly sized plunger or towels. By the time the water was turned off, basement ceiling panels were soaked. Several panels collapsed leaving mirage of white compounded tile chunks. A mess.

Did I mention that my hot tub broke last week? The temp wouldn't go beyond 78 degrees. Not good. This one has since been resolved by my hot tub guy, George. JJ, my handyman, made a slight miscalculation in my laundry room tile work. The washer and dryer sit on wood blocks as he works on a solution. This problem awaits resolution.

I will add that my luck has carried to Denver. As Garrett works through the final details of selling his house, an appraisal is pointing to the need for a new roof and circuit box. Oh, and his sprinkler is leaking into his basement. In the thirty-six hours I have been here, there have been plumber visits, roofing estimates, and calls and visits with the realtor.

Calgon, take me away? Yea, that's kind of how it feels right now. Oh well. What doesn't kill you makes your stronger. And it is all just stuff. Tires will always have the possibility of blowing. The key is whether you are able to enjoy the rest of the ride.