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Showing posts from 2015

December 20, 2015: On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

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On the twelfth Day of Christmas....

We took a road trip to surprise my oldest son.

85.7 miles from our home in Denver to Zach's home of Fort Collins, Colorado.

My Partner in crime, Larry (a.k.a. father-in-law) accompanied me. I drove the first leg northward and he drove the last leg southbound. We have definitely become accustomed to our road trips together.

Until about noon on Sunday, this trip was unplanned. But as I have often found in life, it's the spontaneous, random acts that ultimately carry the most meaning.

Feelings from the heart are many times unplanned. Spurred by a word, memory, or observation while going through the daily motions of life, the gut and the heart are rarely wrong. It's just the practicality of the head that sometimes gets in the way.

As part of our Christmas weekend with the Denver kids, we enjoyed a Broadway show, along with dinner celebrations and gift openings. And although Zach, my now grown son, lives nearby in Fort Collins; he was too bu…

December 17, 2015: Enjoying Friendships and the New Norm....

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I now have time on my hands.

That is new for me. And I like it.

Driving Grant to school yesterday, he and I were discussing logistics on getting him to bowling practice.

Grant: "Mom, do you have time to take me?"

Me: "Grant, I have all the time in the world."

Grant: "Oh yeah. I forgot."

And then I went on to tell him that I could now fill the role of stay-at-home mom. His response was an expression that appeared close to shock. But being the good boy that he is, he just smiled and ended the conversation. My conclusion was that most 15 year old's don't think a more 'hands on' mom is a good idea. But he'll warm up to it, I'm sure.

With Grant's semi-dissing, I moved on to Larry, my father-in-law and partner in crime. Garrett often comments that he feels like the third leg when the three of us are together. I remind him that Larry is just showing me the ropes on being retired. At least for the short term.

Larry and I are a good te…

December 16, 2015: And the Stockings Were Hung...

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On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me...

A peaceful existence. A blessing better than the most expensive gift.

And the stockings were hung at the chimney with care...

We are hanging in the living room. Garrett had a meeting tonight, so a late dinner was planned. A bacon wrapped pork loin is in the oven. Steamed fresh vegetables will be prepared shortly. Larry and I are sipping on wine with some basketball on the TV. He did flip to Barbara Walters interviewing Donald Trump. Interesting.

The socked foot below is that of my father-in-law, Larry. Grant has been meandering around the house, waiting for big brother, Ben, to arrive home from Lincoln. Both anxious to begin their Christmas breaks from school. They are also anxious to spend time together and with their family.

In true Ben form, his arrival day had mysteriously moved from Monday night to Wednesday night. When asked by my husband on the reason for the move, I didn't know, but assumed a changed day for his fina…

December 13, 2015: Homeward Bound

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I'm on a jet plane flying home. Denver first to reach Garrett's destination. And then I will board another plane to my final destination of Omaha. My arrival time to home will likely be midnight.

All good. A great weekend was had in the city that never sleeps. And although I enjoyed the round-the-clock entertainment, I am hopeful Omaha proves to be more peaceful.

I did fail to mention in my last blog the street party outside our hotel that awoke us at 4:30 a.m. With loud voices muffled by blaring music, Garrett got up observe our unplanned wake-up call.

His report back to me was descriptive. There were three cars parked in the street outside our hotel window. With opened doors, music channeled out of the cars with the apparent dozen or so occupants dancing in the streets. A party. We still haven't a clue what they were celebrating, but the noise eventually dissipated shortly after Garrett's observation.

Yesterday's NYC activities for us included visiting the 9/11 …

December 11, 2015: On the Third Day of Christmas...

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On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me...

A fabulous weekend in New York City with friends who are best of the best. The Snide's. Goodness and fun oozes from this couple.

As we boarded our flights from our respective home bases of Columbus and Omaha, texts were flying back and forth on plans for our first day in NYC. Like kids readying for a visit to Santa, excitement was abound.

Cindy and Rick, of the Snide duo, have been long-time friends. Garrett knew them first through a business peer group and later introduced me. Our couples journey started as we sat by each other at a group business dinner in Toronto, Canada. It has since been five years of laughs, traveling, and general 'over-40' amusement.

Although the base of our commonalities start with an authenticity in friendship, we share similar life stories. Second marriages, lots of combined kids, and the resulting blending of families. Our love for life and for our life partners is aligned. And our life …

December 10, 2015: On the Second Day of Christmas...

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On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me....

No turtle doves. But I have gotten some clarity. And clarity is a good thing.

My aha moment came as I laid in bed last night. I thought about the many people I encountered throughout my day and felt reinforcement that there really was still good in the world. Good people. Genuine people living their lives with purity of motive. Although I was beginning to doubt, kind souls keep crossing my path when I least expect it.

My new found clarity is in regards to my approach on life and people in general.

As Garrett and I were starting our morning, I explained to him my thought process.

"Garrett, I think I had it all wrong. I spent too much time trying to find the good in people rather than finding the good people."

He paused, reflecting on my comment.

"I never thought about it that way, but that makes a ton of sense."

My mom taught me that not all people are good. Point taken. I now understand. But there is also…

December 9, 2015: On the First Day of Christmas...

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On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me....

Not a partridge. But a great day. Lemonade came in many forms.

Here's a quick synopsis:

5:30 a.m. - Ran with my gal pals. Bearing my soul to my best confidants under the light of the pre-sunrise moon: Priceless.

7:00 a.m. - Climbed back into my warm bed with sleeping hubby. Thoughts of catching another hour of shut eye were diffused by a tempting hot bath. With a cup of morning coffee prepared by my thoughtful husband, I wallowed in hot water and bubble bath glory.

9:00 a.m. - Haircut and color by my long-time hairdresser. My every six week appointments are as much sanity as vanity as she and I take turns playing mentor and counselor to each other. Hair is still brown. Hints of gray have now disappeared. Curls are added.

11:30 a.m. - Robbie stops by to pick up Creighton tickets. Lots of laughs over the newly 'retired' couple making lunch and planning their days. Always love our Robbie. Lots of lemonade to go aroun…

November 28, 2015: Road Trip in the Books

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Well, we are done. Road trip completed and a success.

Zach has his gun equipment. Delivered and set-up, his shop is almost opened for business.

The two drivers and their sidekick (me) are now cozy in the warmth of our Denver home. Christmas decorations are up. Simmering chili with freshly made cornbread are in the kitchen. And Stanford and Notre Dame are playing some pretty good football on the screen in front of us.

We collectively drove 1,070 miles over two travel days. Adding a one-way flight at the beginning and a one-night hotel stay at the end, the comforts of home are feeling pretty good right now.

Our 26 foot truck did the job. Carrying 4,000+ pounds of gun machining equipment, we named our diesel-loving and dependable rental, the Heifer. She was a bit stubborn going up hills and wanted a nap rather than a start at a truck stop in Iowa. But in the end, she faithfully did her job before we returned her to the Penske store in Fort Collins.

My seat was in the middle as Garrett a…

November 25, 2015: Road Trip - Day 2

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Day two of our Thanksgiving road trip lacked roads and travel. This was our 'packing and preparing' day. We stayed stationary, enjoying the ambiance of small town living.

The setting was Monterey, Indiana. I am told the current population is 125. But in it's heyday, the count topped 250. Much has changed in these thirty years from it's peak, I've been told. The grocery store and butcher are gone, but the corner bar and post office remain.

My day started with a 6 am wake up call from my father-in-law, Larry. I had promised to join him for his morning coffee at the local tavern. This was his daily routine and I gladly tagged along. The promise of freshly brewed coffee at a bar was both alluring and inviting.

As we walked through the streets of Monterey, Larry updated me on the buildings still in use and those long gone. The latest casualty, following the migration out of Monterey to neighboring cities, was the town's grade school. But the library and bank remain…

November 23, 2015: Road Trip - Day 1

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Road Trip 2015 started today. With great anticipation, we boarded a plane to Indianapolis and immediately proceeded to Kokomo, Indiana to pick up a 26 foot rental truck. The journey begins.

An early morning with little sleep from the previous night led to some initial grumpiness on my part. As Garrett and I always start our day, I read out loud our daily devotional from the phone app "Jesus Calling". Never disappointing, the reading for the day hit home again.

My prickly demeanor was gone with a reminder of gathering daily bouquets...

"As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way. I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day. Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one. When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet. Offer it up to Me with a grateful heart. Receive My Peace as you lie down to sleep, with thankful thoughts playing a lullaby in your mind."

It rea…

November 21, 2015: Change of Seasons

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'Change of seasons' is the phrase that is lingering with me this morning. One would think this is obvious with the recent 'storm watching and waiting'. The Christmas music on the Sirius radio line up and blast of ads for the upcoming Black Friday are constant visual and audio contributors. But it's even more than that for me.

No doubt the weather app was the most accessed iPhone button yesterday. And although Omaha avoided a rush of white powder, my welcome mat last night to Denver was a blanket of winter wonderment.

My brother, the forever Hawkeye fan, is with his daughter among the masses at Kinnick Stadium. It is cold and full of snow. With the ongoing text updates I am receiving from him, it is apparent that Iowa was well represented in the recent snow fall. Nebraska got a bye.

This change of seasons has also led to practical thoughts. Like moving the guinea pigs from their summer and fall refuge of our garage to the warm house. Lots of holiday to-do's fil…

November 16, 2015: What I Learned from Vacation

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I started writing this blog on Sunday, October 18th, shortly after boarding a plane heading home. We were straight off of a blissful one week vacation through the beautiful serenity of Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Tonight I am going to finish what I started. A bit of 'the rest of the story'.

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Vacation is in the books. And I learned a lot. There were some 'aha' moments and some 'what were you thinking?' thoughts. Amazing what a little down time away from the daily grind does for both the brain and the soul.

First revelation. I missed reading, writing, and quiet time. I missed these things a lot. My state of constant motion and nonsensical busyness really hasn't added to my quality of life.

Next revelation. I miss staying in contact with my family and friends. How did I let this happen? Definitely a lapse in judgment on my part.

Biggest revelation. I really missed normalcy with a focus on the things most importa…

October 31, 2015: My Ordinary Day

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Well, where do I even start to describe my ordinary days of late? I always say the 'unbloggable stories' are the best. But I will let sleeping dogs lie. At least, for now. Today's blog will encompass the simple things in life that bring the real enjoyment we all yearn.

Let's start with my new dress. This may seem very 'vanilla' to most, but a good day for me can later be defined to include a particular dress or pair of boots. My guilty indulgence.

I just had this conversation over coffee with a couple of co-workers. They had complimented me on my dress of the day and accompanying jewelry. Flattered and happy with their positive comments, I shared with them my love for all things fun and wearable.

Together we discussed how we all 'have our thing'. For my husband this is high-tech machines; bikes, technology, and anything mechanical in nature. He also has a close affinity to Sports Authority.

For my co-workers the list included good perfume in wide varie…

October 18, 2015: Guys in White Hats

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Over dinner last night, Garrett asked why I was tearful at the end of the movie we had just seen.

After a slight pause and a little thought, I summed it up simply.

"I'm such a sucker for the good guys."

Yep, that's me. I love the guys and gals in the white hats. And I find myself a tireless fighter against the bullies of the world. This was once coined to me as my 'sweet and salty' personality. I'm not quite sure if this is the proper description, but I'll take it.

Bullies have always caused the hair to stand up on my neck. In fact, as I reflected on the white and the black hats of the world, I thought of an old blog post reiterating stories of my youth and college years when I took on the bad guys (at least those who I thought were the bad guys). One was a college encounter and the other a childhood memory outside of Remsen St. Mary's grade school.
http://sandyalanedays.blogspot.com/2013/08/august-25-2013-cletus-story.html

And then about twelve y…

October 17, 2015: Good Morning, Boise!

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We are in Boise now. Our fifth city visited and with our fifth hotel check-in last night.

From last Sunday, we have covered 856 miles in our rental car. Our start was in Missoula, Montana. Tomorrow our adventure will end with a flight home out of Boise, Idaho. And what a fun adventure it's been.

I have been reminded that the best travel companions are those who share common interests while putting up with the other's individual quirkiness. Garrett fulfills both of these requirements.

Case in point. We are right now sitting in a laundromat on the 'outskirts' of downtown Boise (i.e. a little suspect). Sipping our Starbucks, with my purse filled with $20 in quarters, we wait for the wash cycle to finish to move on to the dry cycle. I like to go home with clean clothes. My quirk.

Garrett has humored me in walking across downtown Boise with a roller bag filled with dirty clothes. I am sure we resembled a homeless couple as we made this walk of shame.

But no worries on appe…

October 11, 2015: The Days in Between

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Today may seem like a normal day to most. For me it carries some special significance. With a little research and reflection, I was reminded of a similar fall day six years ago. The day was a Sunday. It was the eleventh of October. The year was 2009.
I was in the middle of a divorce and in Denver to attend a weekend conference. I flew in on Saturday the 10th, and woke up to what seemed to be a very ordinary Sunday. Getting used to a new ‘aloneness’ with my three young boys now away from me every other weekend, Denver was a welcome reprieve from the quiet of my home.
The conference was on healthcare. The Sunday presentation was on healthcare technology. And the speaker was Garrett Brucker.
Like today, the Broncos were the featured afternoon NFL game. Introducing myself to the presenter, Garrett and I exchanged pleasantries in the conference hotel bar with the Broncos playing on the background screens.
Today I called Garrett from the Omaha airport reminding him of our football beginnin…

September 12, 2015: Birthday Weekend

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And so I sit on our back patio, sipping hot coffee and watching golfers enjoy a beautiful morning in Denver. Amid the chaos of everyday life, I find my Outlook calendar and travel schedule has me in Colorado this weekend. It's been a month since I've spent any time outside of Nebraska, so a refreshing reprieve in all of it's mountainous glory.

I have also been quickly reminded that it is my birthday weekend, with birthday hitting tomorrow. A Sunday. A weekend birthday deems it a birthday weekend. At least that's my rule.

With Labor Day feeling like yesterday, I really hadn't a clue that my mid-month birthday was this soon. Wednesday night I received a text from a friend and co-worker in the midst of a work interchange.

"What are you doing for your b-day this weekend? Knocking something off your bucket list?"

Birthday? This weekend? With computer on my lap, I pulled up my Outlook calendar. Sure enough she was correct. Birthday on Sunday with green color c…

September 7, 2015: Football Chronicles Continue

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Tonight I enjoyed watching my 15 year-old-play some high school football. It was rainy and a Monday night closing out a long holiday weekend. A lot of reasons for preferring the comforts of home. But that thought never crossed my mind.

The Lane boys love their football. And their mom enjoys cheering them on. Tonight was no different from when my years of football began in 2000 with Zach as a pee-wee Steeler.

Following a win at Skyhawk Stadium tonight, I waited for Grant to come off the field. As my mind floated with plans for dinner and retrieving dry clothes, Grant's went down the path of which friend was 'having people over'. No school for Skutt tomorrow.

But always the gentleman and likely trying to schmooze his mom into releasing him to the wilds of his friends, he grabbed me and asked one of his female friends to snap a picture. The picture to the right was the result.

As he put his black glove on my shoulder, I was quickly reminded of his size. He will likely be the…

August 16, 2015: Just an Ordinary Weekend?

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Sunday night. 7:54 Mountain Time. Ordinary day? Ordinary weekend? Sure. But, seriously, what is ordinary any more?

Yesterday was a road trip to Fort Collins to check out Zach's new place. His new journey has begun. With sleeping kids in the back (and me nodding off on occasion in the front), we enjoyed our time with Zach and checking out Downtown Ft. Collins and and the Colorado State campus.

I did have a bit of an excuse for my own sleepiness on Saturday. Garrett and I hit a record late night for the two of us the night prior; up until 2:00 a.m. when we finally went to bed for the night. Enjoying friendships with two other Denver families, we made it through 2 of 3 drive-in movies on Friday night. With the first, Man from U.N.C.L.E., starting at 8:20, I was fortunate in my napping ways through part of Movie # 2, Ant-Man, as I already had seen it.

The outdoor movie viewing was a blast. Kids in jammies with a blow-up bed in the back of a pick-up truck. Adults bundled in blankets a…

August 15, 2015: Four Years Later

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I posted this blog four years ago on the day we moved Zach out of the house to begin his freshman year of college. With blogged reflections on both myself and the unknowns of Zach's journey ahead, I am again reminded that regardless of the journey, people and the priorities around them are what matter most.

Who knew where four years would take both of us? Gun-school, Think Healthcare, homes in Colorado. None on either of our radars that August day four years back. A fun and fulfilling ride in this journey of life continues!
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August 15, 2011

I do prescribe to the quote that life is like a box of chocolates.You never really know what you are going to get or what each day has in store for you.Today I took my oldest son to New Student Enrollment at UNL.My vision of the day was me following up on my list of unanswered questions (When is tuition due?  How do we buy books? blah, blah, blah...) while Zach began his journey of in…