Monday, October 19, 2009

Yellow Flag Plagues Huskers

Huskers need to get past the yellow flag. Read my take at Bleacher Reports.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mass Blogging Day - Family Relationships

According to author Thomas Wolfe, “There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.”

I wonder if Wolfe knew the females in my family.

My mom mixed, tossed, and threw ingredients into a pan. She seldom used a measuring cup. The dish would be delicious.

Both of my grandmothers cooked in that manner, too. Grandma Larson baked the best chocolate chip cookies. Nothing compared to the moist melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Grandma Fields made superb pies, but the ultimate delicacy was found her in canning room. Jars of pickled cherries lined the shelves. When we were young, my cousin, Brian, and I would grab a jar and wander around the farm, savoring the sweet-sour combination.

Each of my aunts is known for her specialty: Ginny’s popcorn balls, Joyce’s cherry fruit salad, Deana’s various soup recipes.

Sure, there have been a few failures in the kitchen. The skunk stew incident still causes laughter during family gatherings. And at my house, there mere mention of a certain concoction of lime gelatin, diced cucumbers, and mayonnaise elicits a nasty look from Scott.
For me, cooking is an art form. It’s self-expression at its tastiest. It’s a visual palette where the cook selects each ingredient and molds it into a masterpiece.

The kitchen is where I dabble in art. Sometimes, there’s a bonus to being a creative cook.
Last weekend, I was one of five finalists in the Nebraska Beef “What’s For Dinner” Cook-off. It’s the second time I’ve made the cut. I prepared beefy taco bells. In other words, I stuffed fresh peppers with taco meat and garnished them with cheese, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream. I finished in second place.

I enjoy cooking and sharing. I learned that from the women in my family.
For many families, food is a common bond that brings them together. Look beyond the platter of rib-eyes or the bowl of three bean salad placed in front of you. Glimpse into the kitchen in many homes across Nebraska and you’ll find something wonderful happening.

You’ll find families spending time together in the kitchen, cooking, creating, and conversing.
I learned to cook by spending time in the kitchen. I’d watch my mom, aunts, and grandma gather in that room and prepare fantastic meals. I observed how the simple tasks of slicing and dicing cut through more than vegetables; it cut to the heart of the matter –family time.

Cooking is a generational phenomenon.

When my kids grew up, I kept them in the kitchen with me and tried to establish that connection. It wasn’t always an easy task; between my school schedule and their activities, we often consumed more spicy nachos, lukewarm hot dogs, and bland sloppy joes than home-cooked meals.

But as they got older, they ventured into their great-grandmother’s kitchen and watched the magic. And they’ve learned the secrets of cooking.

Can there be too many cooks in the kitchen?

Not in our family.

from Nebraska-isms: A Fresh Look At Our State, by LuAnn Schindler

Monday, September 7, 2009

Want to Learn How to Milk a Cow?

Yes, I live on a dairy farm.

No, I've never hooked up the milkers to any of the cows.

But, I had my chance to milk a rubber teat of a fiberglass cow at the State Fair. Here's how you do it (except you don't look at the camera).

New stories @ Bleacher Reports

How did the Huskers fare this weekend? Check out my scorecard at

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August Netflix Movies

A lot of afternoons, I'll drag my laptop into the living room and pop in one of the Netflix DVDs. Yes, I can multitask and write or edit while I'm watching a movie. In August, I viewed ten films, and with the exception of one, they were all great. Maybe I was paying more attention to the movie with the film I'm putting in the #10 spot, but I didn't get it. And that's strange for me, because I'm usually great at figuring out plot twists.

So here's my August Netflix cue top 10:

1. The Last King in Scotland. WOW! Forest Whitaker definitely deserved the Oscar for this one. But James McAvoy is equally effective. Idi Amin was a mean tyrant, but I guess I didn't pay attention to world events so much then. Heck, I was only in high school. I know; no excuse! Brutal movie, but captivating, at the same time. Must see!

2. Facing the Giants. OK, so some people might not think a religious football movie would be good. But I was impressed. Maybe it's because I taught in a parochial school and I understand the power of prayer and positive thinking. It works! Maybe I like an underdog story. And maybe, it's just a well-written movie. Definitely see!

3. Fracture. Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling face off in a courtroom thriller. Hopkins attempts to murder his adulterous wife and her lover is the police officer who responds to the call. Multiple twists. And yes, I had this one figured out, but it's still a good movie. Hopkins never lets down the audience. See it! Now!

4. Hairspray. I've seen the Broadway play and I've seen the original movie. But watching John Travolta shake it in drag is worth it. A great ensemble cast, high energy, and an all-around enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. Gotta watch it.

5. The Nanny Diaries. I read the book. It's a chic flick. But there's something about the staging in the beginning of the film and again at the end that captured my attention. Cute. And I watched this one at midnight after editing stories. A fun way to unwind.

6. Bordertown. Hundreds of women have been killed in Juarez, Mexico. True. In the flick, Jennifer Lopez portrays a reporter who travels south of the border to investigate the gruesome deaths. I like how facts are intertwined into the fictional account. Should see.

7. The Invasion. After a space shuttle crash, people in the U.S. begin to act strange. Why? We're all turning into aliens. Nicole Kidman has a son who seems to be immune to the alien antibody attack. Will he save the world? Now, this isn't really my kind of movie, but it wasn't bad. If you have time, watch it.

8. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. It's funny; crude funny at times. A spoof of Johnny Cash and all the other country rags-to-riches movies. For a good laugh, sure, see it.

9. Rendition. An American citizen who was born in Egypt disappears from an overseas flight. His wife tries to find his whereabouts and enlists the U.S. government's help, only to find lies and deceit. Will the young CIA agent save the day? Reese Witherspoon does not have enough to do in this film. Maybe, maybe not. It's not bad, it just doesn't have the WOW factor.

10. Revolver. A con man is released from prison...and then Big Pussy from The Sopranos shows up. I didn't get it. I even rewound it and I STILL didn't get parts of it. I must have missed something important in the beginning. Or this is a can miss movie.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Looking for Sources? Check the National Archives

If you're looking for historical documents, check out the National Archives. My article for WOW! Women on Writing's daily blog provides great examples.