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Showing posts from September, 2013

September 30, 2013: A Little Retreat

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My friend,Cindy, and I are in Vail. You could call it a girls' trip. We are calling it a retreat.

We flew in yesterday and will be retreating until Wednesday morning. Sunday night's festivities involved Cindy picking me up at the Eagle airport and then a wine and seafood dinner at Beaver Creek Resort.

Our retreat participants, as of now, consist of just Cindy and me. We are open to adding more in future years. This is the inaugural kick-off. Our plans are pretty much to hike, drink wine, and solve all of life's problems. That is what a proper retreat is all about.

The hike today was great; both challenging and beautiful. We climbed 3,054 feet and hiked a total of eleven miles. Although our feet were feeling it after we concluded at 5:00, the accomplishment and conversation were top notch. A great first day.

After a well needed shower and phone catch-up, we proceeded to Beaver Creek Village to continue the evening festivities of our retreat. We chose pizza and beer at Blue…

September 29, 2013: Ben Lane's Mom

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Yes, that’s me. I’m Ben Lane’s mom. As of late, I have frequently been asked this question. From the kids working Angel Flight to the parents watching him explode on the football field. “Are you Ben Lane’s mom?”

I told Ben that I feel like a rock star. And then I told him that he needs to have another good game this coming Friday as I’m not ready for this status to disappear. Although I am actually trying to motivate him with some humor, it really will be difficult to come off of my celebrity parent status so quickly.
Saturday we visited Wayne State College as Ben is being recruited for their football team. Unsure what this all meant and knowing there were two other recruiting visits in the horizon, I took this one. Scott will take him on the next two.
It was fun and insightful. The campus surprised me with its charm and size. The coach, a proven leader, and those helping with the tours and campus insight; impressive. Although still a novice with this sort of college trip, I gained k…

September 28, 2013: Walking Barefoot

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I know that one shouldn't brag, but I just can't resist. I get ready really fast. I would approximate that I get ready faster than 95% of the female population. Prior to the picture taken above, I got ready in seven minutes (the boys timed me).

Eight minutes before walking out the door, Cookie and I were lounging. My clothes were casual and hair pulled back. As I realized that Angel Flight start time was creeping up, I made an executive decision. Ben would drop me off and I would walk the mile route home.

Ben agreed, but gave me a short window of time as he and pals had their own important plans. "No worries," I told them. "I get ready really fast." Dress and jewelry decision? No problem. Lots to choose from. Shoes? Found a really cool pair with sparkles in my closet (forgot I had). Hair? Quick choice of an iron and throw in some curls. Lipstick? Nah. Maybe when I'm 47. Add mascara with a little eye liner and shadow. Viola!

Over the years I have run fr…

September 27, 2013: Reading is a Thriller

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When my kids feign occasional boredom, I wonder how on earth they can be bored comparatively to my childhood. I grew up in a small town with few amenities to the comparative big city they live in. After visits to Remsen, the kids would ask what I did as a kid. Obviously they noticed there wasn't a mega-plex movie theater, outdoor shopping mall or Gamestop video store.

"Well, we swam and played at the park." <silence>

"We played with our friends in the streets and back yards." <more silence>

"And when it was too hot or raining, we spent afternoons at the library."

Now that got their attention. They couldn't imagine what we would do for hours at a library. Although they have participated in summer library reading programs, we bought most of our books at school book fairs and book stores. Going to the public library, let alone spending periods of time there, was not common in their days. But it sure was in mine.

The Remsen Public Library…

September 26, 2013: TV Time

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We had a very exciting Thursday night as Skutt fans and parents. Our boys played hard and with heart for a decisive win against Seward. The exhilaration of playing on TV as the featured game of the week added to their fury.

I love these boys. Six of the senior players are St. Wenceslaus classmates, together since kindergarten. I have watched them grow up. And now we are on our last hurrah.

Watching our senior boys finish their high school years is bitter sweet. But nights like these we'll carry in our hearts for a long, long time.
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(article from Omaha World Herald story and clip below from TV coverage)

At halftime, Seward's total yardage was minus-20 as it trailed 31-0 after a 28-point second quarter.

"They didn't let us breathe for one second," new Seward coach Jamie Opfer said.

Ben Lane stuck Seward quarterback Keith Wolverton for losses on his first two carries to set the tone. A 190-pound…

September 25, 2013: A Little Mailbox Problem

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Our mailbox bit the dust tonight. And that was no small feat. It was tall and made of brick. Ben's friend, Addy, was the unfortunate offender. Her parents will be happy to know that the truck they bought her is a safe haven for their young driver. Addy and her pick-up truck departed my driveway unscathed. My mailbox wasn't as lucky.

It was garbage day, so I was hoping for the best (crushed garage cans and recycle bins) as I sat on my bed and heard the bedlam through my opened windows. Not so lucky. My brick fortress of a mailbox was leveled like a house of cards.

Addy cried as I heard Ben tell her, "My mom doesn't care. She's really nice." With reassurance, Addy went on her way and the boys did the heavy lifting; one brick at a time.

"Mom, are you mad?" Ben asked after his tearful female friend departed.

I really wasn't. I was grateful the victim was a bunch of bricks and not my step-dog or small child. Hopefully Addy learned a lesson in the us…

September 24, 2013: A Chance Meeting

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A Godwink. A message of God's love and reassurance. When it happens, you know from the bottom of your heart that the only explanation is that it was a "God thing".

I had a Godwink in the fall of 2009. I was in the middle of my divorce and couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. On a Saturday that was supposed to be a travel day, I woke up to an early-October ice storm. My house was eerily quiet with the typical chaos of three boys absent as it was their dad's weekend. I was home alone.

I had a planned event to occupy my weekend; a quick trip to Denver. As a member of a national consulting group, AHA, I met with these long-time friends and colleagues annually. This year's meeting was in Denver. A meeting I typically looked forward to, I instead dreaded. I had developed cold feet and wanted to stay home.

Over the fifteen years that I belonged to this group, I was most times accompanied by my then-husband. Now absent a husband, I dreaded the explanatio…

September 23, 2013: Monday Night

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I have my jersey on...Manning. Ready to go. Tonight is Monday Night Football. The boys are both home from their own football practices. Dinner is done. The dishwasher humming in the background. Time for football.

I do like Peyton Manning. Not only is he a good football player, but he's funny. Any commercial or You Tube clip featuring Peyton and/or brother, Eli, makes me laugh. He plays smart on the field and doesn't take himself too seriously off the field. No embarrassing Tiger-ish failings in moral judgment. Just a good guy.

I tell my kids that watching Peyton is like watching Tom Hanks play football. They don't get it. I actually don't think anyone does. But me. An old (in football years) and affable Peyton shouting out "hurry, hurry" on the field while running his offense is heartwarming. Kind of like a light-haired Tom Hanks playing football.

Grant just asked if I was blogging about Peyton. "You are not going to say he is like Tom Hanks, are you?&q…

September 22, 2013: Sunday Starts at Church and Ends at Church

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I gave Church Road another ride this morning. This go around I wasn't sick. Interestingly enough, the sky was just as blue and the day, just as beautiful as the last ride. But today I was a different person. No coughing or wheezing, just enjoying a great ride with great people. A perfect start to a Sunday.

As with any great ride, we worked hard at solving life's problems over those 35 miles of rolling country hills. Most was spent talking healthcare with Scott. Our goal is common; how to best help people stuck in an ineffective system. The insight from the conversation was a win.

Between the bookends of my day (Church Road in the morning, real church at night) was a lot of Sunday splendor; Starbucks, gas, groceries, yard work, laundry, dog walking and e-mail reading. All within the confines of my wonderful home with open windows filling it with the feel of fall. Another win.

Church was at 5:30 and the message, a good one. Although much of the sermon centered around greed and …

September 21, 2013: Middle School Dance

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Grant attended his first school dance last night. Per his estimation, there were 600 kids at this multi-school dance for 8th graders. Based on the traffic and volume of kids swarming in at drop off, I wouldn't doubt it. Two hours later, I picked him up and I did what any good mother would do. I interrogated him.

I was very curious how this "dance" played out since the 8th grade graduation dances I have observed in the past did not mirror my school dances growing up. Kids either jumped up and down in packs or kids just plain didn't dance. Girls appeared to be trying out their many learned moves from dance classes, separated from the boys.

Me: "Did you dance?"

G: "Yea. Mom, it was a dance."

Grant was obviously confused at my question. <duh!>. I was as equally confused with his answer. <really?>

Me: "Did you dance with girls?"

Now he was downright annoyed.

G: "Who else would I dance with?"

Me: <silent shock>

Me:…

September 20, 2013: The New Normal

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Is there such a thing as normal or is normal just what you get used to? I think it's the latter.

I am now almost used to (and enjoying) having a dog back in the house, a boyfriend here on weekdays, more trips to the airport and less trips on the airplane. The new normal.

My life is full of enjoying the final ride of a senior son and the new ride a business adventure. As I look at pictures from the past few years, I note that my hair is longer and midriff larger (need to work on that). Kids have grown (a lot) and my new normal is way different from my old normal of years past. And it's all okay.

We adapt and survive. And when we do it right, we thrive. I often wonder about the secret to thriving and surviving. I really think it is all about making lemonade. There are plenty of lemons thrown at us; day in and day out. But they all can be made into lemonade.

My new mantra: normal (whatever that is) always has to include some lemonade.







September 19, 2013: Throwback Thursday

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I recently visited my Aunt Kathy at her cool downtown apartment. As we sipped wine and enjoyed light conversation, a stack of photo albums caught my eye.

After asking permission to peruse, I quickly surmised that I had stumbled upon some lost treasures. Kathy, a lifelong talented photographer, had meticulously documented her life through pictures. My childhood was included in her pictorial story. Many of the found photo treasures were snaps I had never seen before. Forgotten stories and ordinary days were quickly remembered with an emotional flood to my memory.

I'm a sucker for pictures. When visiting friends, I find myself drawn to all the photos framed on walls and shelves. I love to hear about the different people that played such an important role that their photo is displayed front and center. An army picture of a young soldier now an elder or a baby picture of a grown man; all gateways to a piece of their being. Shining eyes and affectionate looks can't be hidden from t…

September 18, 2013: On the Day You Were Born

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When Ben was born, I bought a book "On the Day You Were Born". As friends and relatives visited Baby Grant for the first time, I asked that they write in the book; explaining what they were doing on Ben's birthday. This is now a cherished book. There are notes from Ben's now adult cousins writing in their small child handwriting what they had for school lunch and how excited they were when they heard about the arrival of their baby cousin. The handwritten loving thoughts from my now deceased grandparents are cherished as well.

Although I don't have a book like this, I am fortunate to have a mother who is a great historian and often shares these wonderful details. Below are her notes on my birth. My keepsake will be held in this blog.

_____________________________________________________________________ Note 1:

Sandy was 46 years old last Friday, the 13th.  After getting home from the hospital on the 16th I laid Sandy on the sofa & called Matt & Mark to c…

September 17, 2013: Slow Me Down, Lord

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We got Ben's senior pictures back. My handsome middle child makes me smile. It was also a reminder that time flies. Way too fast. It was timely that I received the prayer below via a motivational e-mail on the same day I received Ben's pix....
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"Slow Me Down Lord"
Slow me down Lord Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal march of time. Give me amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the eternal hills.
Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking MINUTE vacations, Of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines of a good book.
Slow me down Lord and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life's enduring values that I may grow…

September 16, 2013: Vote for Pedro

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Ben Lane has courage. Not always in ways that I approve, but he has it.

This morning he showed confidence as he courageously walked from his car to my house in a soggy t-shirt and underwear (and nothing else) following football practice. I later found out that he made a similarly clad trek from the locker room to his car at school. I am unsure whether his courageous mind remembered that the parking lots are video taped. We will see if a You Tube video pops up on his escapades.

For the record and to add to my befuddlement, I am unsure why he chose to march around without pants on. His answer was that he left his pads in the locker room. I am guessing he forgot his shorts. Of course his resolution is to just walk out in his underwear. Fearless Ben.

As a child, Ben was always to first to raise his hand and volunteer to jump on a stage. A showman at heart, crowds feed him. They certainly don't scare him.

Years back, our cousin, Stefano, invited us to a special appearance on Creighton…

September 15, 2013: Football in Threes

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People say bad luck comes in threes. My football weekend of threes was not the case. One was bad and two were good.

Being the mother of boys spares me of dance recitals and visits to the American Girl store. Instead, most trips and outings are centered around sports. This weekend was a case in point. My birthday weekend was a celebration of all things football.

My birthday itself was capped by a Skutt win with Ben on the field (I'm still smiling). Saturday was the Huskers. I won't belabor the outcome, but will say the weather was exceptional. The road trip and company of boys to and from Lincoln was equally as good. The game itself; well....that would be the bad one I was referring to above.

Sunday was all football for us from sun up to sun down. A short trip to Kansas City brought my kids to their first NFL game. And it didn't disappoint. I have been to several NFL games over the years, but didn't include my children. This wrong was rectified on Sunday with the Chief…

September 14, 2013: Benefit of Doubt

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The story below was sent out as an attachment to this week's St. Wenceslaus school newsletter. I thought it was a great reminder and worth sharing.

As a student, I always knew where I stood with my parents when it came to accusations made sbout teachers: They (the teachers) were right and I was wrong until proven otherwise. And proof wasn't solely my first hand account.

My parents wise approach, like Mr. Rosemond's, was a good lesson for me in independently working through conflict and not making excuses.
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Published Tuesday September 10, 2013 Omaha World Herald

JOHN ROSEMOND: Give a teacher’s report the benefit of doubt

The statute of limitations has expired concerning the following tale, so I can finally tell it.

In October of my now 40-something-year-old son Eric’s seventh-grade year, he informed me that he was probably going to get a D, maybe even an F, in English on his upcoming report card, and per…

September 13, 2013: 46...a Good Number and a Win

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My 46th birthday went off with a bang. No Friday the 13th fears were going to sideline my once-a-year special day. Although a couple of bumpy moments; Sandy: 10, Bad Luck: 0. A win.

Garrett was here when I awoke in the morning. First score. A fresh cup of coffee greeted me bedside. And the night prior I was treated to a surprise party gathering of friends at Kobe steakhouse. I hadn't expected it. Garrett pulled off a surprise and the company was outstanding. Sandy scores 2.

With a Friday birthday, some work did need to be involved. Since I love what I'm doing, not a bad gig. Garrett and I headed downtown for a full morning and then off to the airport. Back to Denver for GB.

My celebration in Omaha continued. After a a final business meeting, I was greeted with more gifts and a lovely tiara from three mini-princesses. I wore it in their honor for (most of) the rest of the night. Sandy: 3.

Friday night lights awaited; along with some other surprises. I walked in the door of my ho…

September 12, 2013: Firsts and Seconds

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Today was a day of firsts and seconds. The older I get, the more I am reminded of things I have never done. I don't typically think about the big things like climbing the Himalayas or swimming the English Channel. I think about the smaller things. For instance, I've never had a massage and I've never shot a gun. I don't know why. Neither were deliberate decisions. Either the opportunity never came up or I was never asked.

I have also never bought or smoked a cigarette. Until today. No need to panic. I will keep up my streak of smokeless days, but I did purchase these tobacco wrappers for a friend. Walking into a gas station, I presented the friend's last box (now empty) and said "I need to buy some of these." The young man behind the counter burst out laughing.

Man: "That's the funniest sh_ _ I've heard all day."

Me: "Sorry. I've never bought cigarettes before. I'll take two."

Man: "Ma'am, I just stopped smoki…

September 11, 2013: 9/11

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Today is 9/11. The 12th anniversary of a horrible day in US history. Like every other American, I remember the details of that date. From where I was at when I heard the news to the raw fear that I felt, I remember as though it was yesterday.

9/11/01 started as an ordinary day. Blue skies brightened my non-eventful drive to work. Grant was dropped off at daycare and Zach and Grant; at school. The boys were eight, five and one year old.

My first agenda item of the morning was a conference call with a client from Onawa, Iowa. As I was concentrating on listening to the two physicians on the corresponding speaker phone, a young Lutz manager kept popping her head into my office. I tried to ignore the interruptions out of courtesy to my clients. As her persistence became annoying, she finally gave me a vocal interruption.

"Sandy, you need to get off the phone and come watch the TV. Planes are flying into buildings in New York."

I repeated her statement to my clients and we all ag…

September 10, 2013: An Abandoned Park

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On a recent bike ride, I noticed something that has gone unnoticed by me for a long time; my neighborhood park. Funny how I have ridden by it countless times accessing my favorite trail without a second thought or glance. This would have been an impossibility in my world ten years ago.

The radius of our world in those days very much included the park. After dinner or nap time, our favorite trip was this two block walk. When not using our legs, we favored scooters, bikes, and a little green wagon.

The Little Tikes wagon was the main mode of transportation for Baby Grant. With a dog leash one hand and my other, pulling the wagon along; we would meander around the neighborhood. If Harry get tired, he would hop in with his pal, Grant.

The many boy populated sleep-overs and end-of-year baseball parties would include a trip to the park. And we would use every corner of land available to us. From home run derby's at the ball field to playing in the sand; we would stay until dark.

Firefl…

September 9,2013: A Garden Patch

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Suzanne Scott passed away this morning. A wonderfully written newspaper story honoring her legacy got my attention. It brought back an old memory and reminded me of the goodness of a garden patch.

I briefly met Mrs. Scott in 1989. Our chance meeting was on an elevator in the downtown Kiewit Plaza. I had begun my accounting career at Peter Kiewit Sons at the ripe age of 21. Walter Scott was CEO. In my year and a half tenure at Kiewit, Mr. Scott and I had never met. But I did meet his lovely wife.

As a young hire for the big construction power house, I heard many stories of the company leadership. Mr Scott was well liked and widely talked about. Rumor had it that he and his wife occupied the top floor of the corporate headquarters. To me this was all just talk. I was a mere junior accountant trying to properly learn her debits and credits.

One day I firsthand discovered the folklore to be true. I walked into an elevator as I would any other day. What greeted me was a sight unlike any t…

September 8, 2013: Grandpa Doc

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My Grandpa Doc died in July of 2000.  Although it should have been of no surprise (he had been battling cancer for months); we always thought our ailing grandma would go first. But this was not the case. A man that always seemed so vibrant and proudly served the role of Grandma's primary caregiver was quickly gone.

I have a Godwink story that happened the night my grandpa died. It was a hot summer night in July, a Friday. Mom was back in Remsen, doing her best to help care for her sick parents.I was home in Omaha with my young boys. My oldest, Zach, was seven years old.

As Grandpa's death was sudden, there were no conversations on the status of Grandpa’s health that particular day. All was quiet as I thought all the boys were peacefully asleep.I was sitting up in my bed reading a book and enjoying the solitude.

Out of no where I heard a little voice coming from across the hall, “Mom, we need to say a Hail Mary.”

I saw Zach sitting up in his bed in the dark of night.Although I…

September 7, 2013: Step-Dog

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Cookie is beat. She is calling it a night. And Cookie doesn't sleep in a doggy bed, she sleeps in the human bed. A dog's life.

A princess, this shih tzu likes a cushy life. Dry dog food always has added cold meat. A walk? Of course.Whenever she's ready. Her favorite spot in the world is on her owner's lap. And her favorite extracurricular activity; sticking her head out an open car window.

One thing Cookie doesn't like is getting her picture taken. She will give me the cutest, most enthusiastic puppy-eyed look. And then as I inconspicuously pick up my phone to snap a photo, she purposely looks away.

Those naysayers who say it can't be purposeful, she's a dog; you are wrong. Cookie doesn't appreciate being photographed, so she chooses not to. That simple. I have taken no less than 50 shots of this dog over the past four years to only capture her tail or the side of her head.

Today I held Cookie in my arms and rubbed her tummy; determined to coax her int…

September 6, 2013: Sunrise, Sunset

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"Sunrise, Sunset...Sunrise, Sunset. Swiftly fly the years. One season following another. Laden with happiness and tears."

I do love Fiddler on the Roof. We put on this play in high school. As part of the chorus, I still remember the words to every song. Just recently I watched the Broadway rendition of this play. As I pondered the title of my blog today, this song rang through my mind.

Sunrise started today different than most. The usual weekday morning events occurred; an early morning workout, a ride to work through rush hour, a hot cup of coffee in hand. The difference was that I wasn't driving. I was the passenger.

Garrett was the pilot. Garrett...here on a workday? A different routine? Definitely. A new routine started this week. Our collaboration on a new business project will bring Garrett to Omaha weekly and on weekdays.

Not only will Garrett be in Omaha more, his dog has moved in. With his heightened travel schedule, we agreed that Cookie living in Omaha would …