Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Five Friends You Need in Your Life

The other day I posted an infographic showing the five types of friend each person needs in his or her life. It made me think about how my friends fit into these categories. And I'll admit it, I've been thinking about it for more than a year. My daughter Courtney had given me the idea when she was in journalism last year, and she asked me who my five were. I think today I'm able to answer.

The Old Friend. Definitely Mary. We've been friends for nearly 20 years. Some good; some great; some forgettable. It's probably the forgettable moments that keep the relationship from remaining strong like it used to be. Disappointment and drama enlarged the divide that surfaced a little less than a year ago. And now, even though we only live about 40 miles apart, we see each other two or three times a year. We catch up on family news, share a few details of our lives, and then we gravitate away from one another until the next time, when the cycle begins again. I do know, however, that if I needed anything, I could count on her.

The Personal Coach. Definitely my cousin, Brian. He has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders, and even when I went through some pretty rough times, I could count on him for guidance and support. We have always shared a strong bond, which is kind of funny, because when he was a baby, I was pretty jealous of how his mom's attention was directed toward him. It changed when we got older though. And when the lowest period of my life occurred, he encouraged me to follow my dreams and do what truly matters to me. Good advice!

The Navigator. Most definitely Scott. I think together, we're headed in a good direction. He encourages me no matter what I attempt. This is a very welcome change from the past! Supportive and caring, he exemplies selflessness. I feel blessed every day that our lives intersected.

The Party Pal. Definitely Courtney (#1). Even though we haven't really "partied" since May, and haven't partied like the "old days" since a year ago August, just being around her is a party. She is a creative force who makes any night fun. So many memories. Again, some good, some bad, and some forgettable. But most of them made us stronger people and forced us to look deep within and go in search of the one thing we each were missing. Spa nights were always something to look forward to. And, it was fun to dress up and go to the bar for Cinco deMayo, although we really didn't need a reason to go out! Shopping in WalMart at 1 A.M. took on a whole new meaning.

Finally, the Secret Keeper. Definitely Jae, who knows me better than most people. Jae understands the intricacies of keeping secrets: how to stay quiet, why it's important for people to trust, and when it's the time to be brutally honest. The thing about a secret keeper is that you know everything about that person, too, and so there's mutual respect and loyalty to the friendship.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Five Friends You Need

Last year, daughter Courtney handed this infographic to me and asked me if I could put a friend in each category. So, your assignment for today, if you choose to accept it, is to study the infographic and formulate your responses for which of your friends fit into which category.

My responses? Tune in tomorrow.

Riley's first Husker game

Okay, Okay, so I finally found time to add our pic from the Husker game.

There is a reason....

I've always held true to the notion that there is a reason why people meet each other. Perhaps it is fate gently guiding us toward someone we need in our lives at that particular moment. Perhaps it's just faith in meeting someone who makes a difference in our life. Perhaps it is destiny.

Today I received an email from one of my aunts - and then from another aunt and my mom - that provided good reasoning regarding reason, season, and lifetime relationships.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They assist you through a difficulty, provide you with guidance and support, aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. Now, it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it because it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.

It made me think about some of the friendships I've experienced. People who have played a pivotal part in my life fit into those categories. I think family fits the lifetime category, so a note to my family - if you are reading this - that's where you fit!!

My friend Courtney fits the "reason" category. She came into my life during an extremely difficult time and through the course of three years, we shared such an emotional roller coaster. There were births (her family), death (both families), broken promises and broken relationships, and finally, new loves for both of us. And for one reason or another, we drifted apart. Now, I'm sure if you would ask her, she would say we drifted because I met someone. And if you ask me, maybe, when I finally turned 40-something, I grew up. (No comments from family members on that one! )

Do I have any "seasonal" friends? Now that I'm not teaching full time, there is one teacher who fits this description. We think alike, but in those rare instances when we don't, this person accepts my beliefs. Always makes me laugh!

Lifetime friends, in my opinion, are difficult to come by. I think about when I was in high school and the core group that hung out together. After graduation, we went our separate ways. I saw two or three of them during the years between graduation day and our 25th class reunion. Then, I saw maybe six of them. Our lives had changed so much; it seemed difficult to find anything in common with them. Friends from college? I had three close college friends: one got married and moved to Colorado and I haven't talked to her for 15 years; one disappeared when I got divorced; and one used to live about 90 miles from me, but we haven't talked since we graduated from college. Work friends? I question if it is a good policy to socialize with people you work with! Sometimes, maybe, but after listening to them complain in the teacher's lounge during lunch break, I decided it would be much more relaxing and peaceful to consume my salad in my classroom.

So, back to the lifetime friend issue. Family? Definitely some of them. Most people have favorite family members. You know, the ones who you wish you could see more often, the ones who know how you think, the ones you believe you are the most like. I once wrote a these lines during a family reunion:

I glance at each of you
and wonder
"Who are you?"
I see bits and pieces of each of us
Connected by a common bond.
I know nothing about you except that we are
That takes us back to the lifetime friendships. Scott is a lifetime friendship. (Too bad it took me this long to find a nice guy, but I guess that is part of the lifetime lesson.) He's taught me so much about being unselfish and loving someone unconditionally. And of course, he's taught me so much about life on the farm. (Go on, I know you want to quiz me about the differences between a heifer and a steer. Stop laughing. Now.)
Another lifetime relationship is Jae. We've known each other for so long, and we've shared significant milestones in our own families together. There is mutual respect that does not falter, and there is unconditional love because we know we are human beings and we are not perfect. We accept each other, fatal flaws and all. (And we both know we have a lot of fatal flaws!!)
And if friendship is clairvoyant...I woke up this morning at 8:31 because I heard Jae yell my name. Later in the morning when I checked email, there was a message - from Jae - sent at 8:31. Weird, huh?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Did the Huskers listen to Lou Holtz?

Huskerland travels to Austin, Texas, today for what is sure to be an interesting game. In fact, the last six have been decided by a four-point margin or less.

But what I'm really interested in is whether or not the Huskers listened to former coach Lou Holtz give his pep talk on ESPN. Holtz mentioned some valid points, but his primary comment was 'if we didn't show up, who would care?'

That's right. Who would care if the Huskers didn't show up? Some fans wouldn't, because some fans have been bashing the players from behind the bench. True red Husker fans might express disappointment, but they would not tell players 'they suck' as a defensive player pointed out this week in the Omaha World-Herald.

Sure, there are plays and games that are disappointing, but that's a fact of life. Someone will win and someone will lose. It's just that we have become so accustomed to winning that it is difficult to understand the losses. But what is at stake in Lincoln is more than winning and losing. It is the loss of tradition, the end of an era, and everyone who is associated with Husker football - from the youngest fan to the Chancellor of the university - needs to realize that this is the one element that unites most Nebraskans. This is a matter of pride.

If you play your hardest and give 100 percent and suffer a loss, it is tough, but at least you know you have given your best performance. If you play with half a heart and are clearly out of shape - physically and mentally - then maybe you should be on the sideline and let a player who is willing to honor the tradition enter the game.

So, Huskers, if you didn't show up, I would care. I've been watching Husker football since - well, probably from birth - but I can definitely remember seeing games on TV before I sat in Memorial Stadium for the first time. And you know, there are thousands of other fans who feel the same way.

If people didn't truly care about the state of the team, would people be talking about the team as much as they are?

Why are sites using copyrighed material?

OK, I admit it. Occasionally, I google my name. Primarily, I want to see if articles, poems, or essays I've written show up online. So, imagine my surprise when I see that several of my copyrighted book reviews that I write for a wonderful site called curledup.com are showing up through RSS feeds on two other sites. One site has an email address listed; the other doesn't. I was wondering how they could run my reviews, which are copyrighted material for curledup.com. Naturally, I sent an email to the site which listed an address, and the email was returned as undeliverable several hours later. It just strikes me as odd how they can do that, and it doesn't seem they should be able to use it without the permission! Yup, this is my vent for the day. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sopranos STILL Controversial

What's my favorite TV show? Besides watching news 24/7, HBO's The Sopranos has always been can't-miss TV for me. It features the stuff that great drama is made of: a main character with a fatal flaw, multi-dimensional supporting characters, a setting that takes on its own persona.

But mostly, it's about Tony. Part of me likes the guy; part of me wishes he would stop what he does. For me, it is his character - and the hope for redemption - that draws my attention.

Now I admit, that when the season finale aired in June and the screen showed Tony, Carmela, and A.J. at a diner eating onion rings, Meadow outside attempting to parallel park, and Journey's Don't Stop Believing blaring on the juke box and then, it cut to black, the words out of my mouth were, "What? It can't end like this." What about Sil, who's in a hospital bed? And what about the movement of the background characters in the diner? Do they gun down the Soprano family? And Uncle Jun? Is he still locked up? Does Janice become a player in the organization? And what about Barbara, the sister we rarely see? There are just too many unanswered questions!

But after thinking about the end of the series and analyzing the show, it's the perfect ending. Because even in the darkest hours of Tony's organized crime connections, his family and their time together were important to him.

Series creator David Chase has commented about the end of the series and how fans complained about the "cut to black" scene. In fact, a story was just in the news about it two days ago.

I do know that since that episode, Journey's song has climbed the charts once again as a favorite download. And fans of the series are hopeful that some day, the cast will reunite for a Sopranos movie so we can catch up with the family and their dysfunctional lives.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Possible ban on ticket sales?

Today, State Senator Gwen Howard of Omaha announced that she plans to introduce legislation in January that would limit ticket sales during the first 48 hours that tickets are available by allowing each person to buy only six tickets during that period. Plus, they would have to buy them in person.

Okay, let's think about this logically. Presume I want to go to the Big O for a night of Dierks Bentley and Sugarland. Instead of being able to call and order the tickets - which obviously makes sense since I live 3 hours away from Omaha - I have to be at the Qwest Center. In person. Never mind the fact that I have to show up to work so that I have a job that can assist in the purchase of these tickets.

The proposed legislation she plans on introducing will not solve the problem. I see the point she is trying to make: large ticket companies purchase blocks of tix and then resell them online and over the phone, sometimes at a higher than face value price.

But for someone who just enjoys a night of listening to good music or watching a premier event, that opportunity might not exist because this certain senator is upset because the Hannah Montana concert sold out!

Ads can be, oh, so deceiving

I enjoy books, this much you should have surmised by now. I also enjoy art and photography. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a local library was having an art show. Naturally, I called up the book-loving mom of mine and we decided we would go check out the art show.

Imagine our surprise when we get there and there's a wall of artwork from a local school. I'm looking around, wondering where the other pieces of art are located. The advertisement I'd seen for this event said the show featured local artists.

Guess I didn't realize just how local. :)

But it was still fun. We ate lunch at a restaurant neither of us had been to before, visited a friend from our hometown, shopped for Thanksgiving decorations, and read Women's World on the drive home.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's definitely a Monday

You can tell it's a Monday. I'm tired from the weekend. My mind is spinning in at least 20 different directions. My throat hurts.

Some writers say that there are writing days and then there are idea days. Perhaps today is just an idea day. Maybe today is the day where I outline a few articles and flesh out a few queries.

The sun is finally shining - after a nearly week-long rain spell. There's a definite fall crispness in the air. Perhaps a walk will open the communication lines between my brain and my fingertips.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things

So, I'm sitting in seat number two last week at the Husker debacle with Oklahoma State. Cassandra is in seat #1. As soon as we sit down, seat #3 leans over, tapping Cass on the arm, telling her he hopes the loudmouth sitting behind them at the Ball State game does not attend today's game. Quickly, she clues me in how a person sitting behind our seats was loud, obnoxious, and basically, did not understand the game of football.

So, before the game begins, a person behind us taps Cass on the shoulder and asks if she can snap a pic of the two sitting behind us. Cass looks at me, then at them, back at me, and nonchalantly asks, "Were you here for the Ball State game?" Guess what the reply was.
(Go ahead, guess. You know you're going to be right.)

So, the game's underway. I will not even begin to get into the level of Husker play performance. (There were positives and negatives). And suddenly, I hear this screaming coming from behind us. It's this loud cacophony of high-pitched screeching, constant complaining, and general disrespect to the true fans of Husker Nation. Cass looks at me and rolls her eyes; seat #3 looks at me and shakes his head in disgust, row 15 seat #4 turns around and glares at the row behind us. I realize it's the same person who was there for the Iowa State game, with a little girl in tow, and she was loud and unpleasant at that game too.

So, I think of the role models I had for Husker fans. You see, the people who sat in that area when I was growing up were kind of like family. We were friends, sent Christmas cards, attended a Husker party at the Lynch's house in Lincoln after a football game. We watched the game. We understood what the calls were, and if we didn't we asked a neighbor - like seat #3 - to explain the call. We didn't boo the refs. We cheered the opposing team when they exited the field. We were respectful Husker fans. My parents taught us that you stand behind a team - win or lose - and you applauded the efforts just the same. Yes, there might be missed opportunities, dropped passes, unraveled plays and seasons, but true Nebraskans appreciated the effort, the tradition, and kept disappointment quiet.

So, after a quarter and a half of listening to the continual complaints about the players, the coaches, and the refs making the calls, Cass decided enough was enough. On a review play, the person behind started yelling at the refs. Yeah, yeah, she wasn't the only person in the stands booing. But a well-trained football fan can see across the field, as the play was in front of us but on the east side. Or a well-trained football fan can watch the action on Husker Vision, and see that the player did not step out of bounds and that the actual review was whether or not the Pokes QB had crossed the line of scrimmage when he threw the pass. After a minute tirade by the faux fan, Cass turned around and politely said, "He was in bounds." High fives for Cassie from a two-row, six-seat area! Literally.

So, the fun began. Faux fan started complaining to Cass that 'if you know everything about football, why aren't you the coach,' or 'then why is everyone else booing,' or 'oh, so you think you know it all,' or 'I bet you don't pay for those seats.'

So, I've been quiet long enough. After a comment from Cassie about these seats being in our family for over half a century, and a follow up comment from me, faux fan is silent. For awhile.

So, she keeps making snide remarks which prove she isn't a true Husker. She also proves she knows absolutely about the rules of the game - not only the game on the field, but the game known as respect.

I'm working on....

a writing contest for Funds for Writers. One of the possible themes is that the bills have been paid and the boss has given me a one-year sabbatical to write full time. How would I use the time? Wouldn't it be amazing if life wouldn't interrupt and I could write, non-stop, with or without the rhythm of the radio or blare of the TV?

I'm using an idea from a previous blog about the number of Post-It notes across the front of my writing desk. I can't give away any additional details, but I'm feeling very creative and logical (is that an oxymoron) right now and have several good ideas outlined in my mind.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


What is up with the fans of Dancing with the Stars? People need to stop voting just because they like someone and start focusing on what the show is about - ballroom dancing!

Mel and Maxim in the bottom two? It never should have happened. She's definitely one of the best dancers this season. Floyd Mayweather sent home? He's a step ahead of Mark Cuban.

If the show is supposed to be about dance technique, people need to look at the dance and vote for the person who outshines the competition. Then there will be a true winner. Last season, Laila Ali was graceful and competitive; she definitely should have competed in the final two. But antics from Joey - who needed to learn the difference between confidence and cockiness - pulled the crowd his way. At least Apollo won; after all, he was the better dancer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New AD Hired!!

Step one occurred yesterday. Step two took place just a few hours ago. Now, prepare for step three. :)

Daily Nebraskan

Literally, a piece of history!

The Great Platte River Road Arch by Kearney is getting a piece of U.S. history. Literally.

This summer, a construction crew in Canton, Ohio, dug up original Lincoln Highway bricks during a street construction project. These bricks will become a "recreated" section of Highway 30 at the Archway. Originally, the Arch had planned to secure a brick from each state the highway passed through, but when the Canton bricks surfaced, the Archway decided the free bricks were an offer that couldn't be refused.

For history buffs, the Archway gives a modern view of Americana.

The Lincoln Highway, which follows the route of U.S. Highway 30 and passes through Kearney, will be celebrating its 100-year celebration in 2013. A few highlights about the Lincoln Highway include:
  • The Lincoln Highway spans the U.S. from Times Square in NYC to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. It generally follows the route of today's U.S. Highway 30.
  • Construction was completed in 1913.
  • The original guidebook mentioned that a coast-to-coast trip could be completed in 20 to 30 days. Of course that meant driving seven hours each day at a rate of 18 mph.
  • The highway spans 3,400 miles.
  • In Nebraska, there are sections of the old Highway in Shelton and Omaha.
  • The centennial celebration will be held in Kearney in 2013 at the Archway.

It's A Beginning

After speculation and complaints from fans and boosters, NU fired AD Steve Pedersen. A collective sigh of relief could be heard across the State. But fans need to remember: it's just the beginning.

The state of Husker Nation is still uncertain. The AD, although responsible for the running of the department, did not control the football team. He did not tell them what plays to run. He did not attend each practice and make sure that players were fundamentally sound (which we see they aren't).

What he DID do is hire this coach and coaching staff, and unless something changes in Lincoln, unless we regain the loyalty, pride, and traditions, then what will we have really gained?

Most people are hoping legendary coach TO is named interim AD. It's a logical choice; he's well-respected and he knows how the program should operate. But there's a fear there too. If the current staff is canned, the interim AD will be responsible for naming a new head coach. And what if that coach doesn't win right away? Will Husker Nation turn against Tom? Against the new coach?

One thing is certain: a new AD will probably guarantee a new coaching staff. That change will be welcome. But fans need to remember that it is going to take time for the wounds to heal and for this team to return to dominance.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007


When you substitute in different schools, it's amazing how many differences that exist. One cool thing today so far (yes, I'm blogging from school) is that every Friday, everyone circles the flagpole, listens to announcements and says the pledge. Kinda cool, huh?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Send that dancer back to Vegas

Finally, the voting public did the right thing and sent Wayne Newton back to Vegas on Dancing with the Stars.

Perhaps this will be the season when a woman finally wins! Last season, I thought Laila Ali was superb, and she did make it to the final three before she was sent home. Apollo Ono had a fantastic partner and was never overbearing. On the flip side, Joey appeared cocky. There's a delicate balance between cockiness and confidence. Laila was elegant and confident.

This season, the question will be this: which woman is the best? Right now there are four who are at the top; the fifth will probably be sent home next week.

What IS the top Halloween Costume

I'm still pondering the question posed by the boy in Kindergarten: what shall I dress up as for Halloween? Ironically, as I was clicking through press releases today, I stumbled upon one from extremehalloween.com which lists the top 10 costumes for boys, girls, men, and women.

Let's check out my top 10 options:
  • Queen Gorgo. Who? I'm fairly certain I won't dress up as someone I don't know.
  • Elizabeth Swan (Pirates of the Caribbean). Isn't she dressed up like a man during most of the movie? Probably not a good choice.
  • Bewitchingly Good Witch. Like Samantha? From Bewitched? Nicole Kidman or Elizabeth Montgomery? It would make a difference because they have different fashion sense. Not a bad possibility. I already own the broom. :)
  • Dorothy (Wizard of Oz). I don't like dogs, so Toto couldn't follow me around. Plus, I'm not that naive or innocent.
  • Princess Fiona (Shrek). Would I get to be the ogre Fiona or the beautiful Fiona? They're both lovely in their own ways, but it seems like a PMS mood-swing kind of day if I'd have to choose one of them.
  • Princess Leia. Nope. Not into Sci-Fi (although I do like Star Wars). Plus, the cinna-bun hair doesn't do it for me.
  • Daphne (Scooby Doo). She's a ditz. Enough said.
  • Snow White. Sure. Like I want seven little men to follow me around all evening. Plus, I don't really care for apples, so....
  • Mother Superior Nun. Some higher authority might object.
  • Elegant pirate lady. Aargh! Pirates can be elegant?

Luckily, there are ten additional choices for women.

  • Sexy Dorothy. The dress is too short and I'm afraid I'd fall wearing those five-inch ruby red slippers.
  • Glitter Mermaid. Well, I do like water, but I wouldn't want to smell like fish all night.
  • Pirate Wench. Not sure I like the pirate hat.
  • Pretty Plumber. At least you wouldn't see any plumber's crack. But it's blue. Maybe if it came in pink.
  • Wizard Wanda. Who's Wanda? I couldn't find a picture, so obviously not a valid choice.
  • Teacher's Pet School Girl. Can I wear jeans instead of the parochial school plaid?
  • French Maid. I'm allergic to dust.
  • Bettie Page. If this really is Betty Boop, I'd consider it.
  • Playboy Bunny. Been there. Wore the costume. St. Louis Playboy Club.

Luckily, I'm not sensing many options. Luckily, I don't have to worry about a costume. Luckily, I can just be myself.

Am I Too Old for Halloween?

The other day when I was subbing in Kindergarten, one student asked me what I was going to dress up as for Halloween.

"I think I'm too old to trick-or-treat," I assured the young boy. He disagreed and told me you're never too old to get candy.

The last time I dressed up for Halloween was when I was a sixth grader and my best friend and I ventured out for an evening of fun. That was....well....that was several years ago, and my opinion of Hallow's Eve has changed for a few reasons.

When I was young, I enjoyed the holiday. My sister and I would make a list of friends' houses we wanted to go to and usually dad would drive us to those spots. Mom would greet trick-or-treaters at our house. For a few years, we carried white cardboard boxes, collecting donations for UNICEF. When we returned home, it wasn't an all-out candy fest. We were allowed one treat per day.

When I turned 22, two important people in my life passed away within hours of each other on the day before Halloween. My sister's fiance, a utility lineman, was electrocuted on the job. Emma, who had been our babysitter when my parents were at work, succumbed to cancer. Hallow's Eve didn't really matter anymore; instead, this time of year reminds me of death.

When I had children, I usually made their costumes. Ok, I at least did the makeup. :) One year we had a witch, a cat, and a mouse. The next year, they were the California Raisins. And one year, when the Halloween blizzard hit and trick or treating was postponed for two days, I thought I'd never hear the end of the complaining. But did they dress up in their costumes two days later? No, but they did go trick or treating with their classmates, bundled up in winter coats, scarves, and mittens.

I still believe I'm too old to dress up for a holiday and I'm sure I won't go trick or treating. We'll only have two visitors - the two nieces who live a mile down the road - and we'll make sure they get some kind of treat, although maybe I should require them to show a trick first.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I didn't know what to write about....

so as I logged into my blogger account, I noticed a message and book trailer about a new release. Intrigued, I clicked on the "read it" link and checked out this site. It is amazing! To summarize for those who fail to check it out, people send post cards - complete with secrets -to this blog owner, who posts them. Now, he's compiled them into a book, which I am going to order from amazon.com today.

Check out the book trailer (which will be a topic of another upcoming blog) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pKZ5blYSyE .

Monday, October 8, 2007


I made a deal with myself that I would write an entry each day this month. Hmmm. I'm already behind. Sometimes life just interferes: the 6:30 a.m. wake-up call asking me to substitute teach, the scheduled substitution day, and then Sunday, when I didn't care if I did anything. It was a rainy fall day and it felt best to be in bed, curled up under the quilt, drifting between sleep and the NFL.

So today, I'm mad at myself for not having much writing done. It's just that there never seems to be enough time. Or maybe I'm just such a good procrastinator that I can find any excuse not to write. No, that's not true because I usually do produce some piece of writing each day.

It's just that there are only 24 hours in a day, and I could fill them all with writing. And then, the interruptions set in. Like right now, when I had to make sure dinner wasn't burning because torched brats and crispy sauerkraut don't sound appetizing.

One thing I did decide this weekend, with the help of Scott, is that mornings are going to be spent working on magazine articles while afternoon hours are for the young adult novel I started four years ago and another novel (subject is top secret) that I'll begin when I'm finished with the other one.

I've had the idea for book #1 since my oldest daughter was a high school junior and I watched her love of a game disappear because of an insensitive and unrealistic high school coach. But it wasn't until this weekend that I decided I want to reformat the chapters and have the young girl tell her story in a chapter and the next chapter will be from her mom's point of view. I hope it works. I'll save the old file just in case. I'm not sure if will ever be published, but it's been a good exercise in forgiveness.

Book # 2 - well, I've had that idea for 10 years or more but the characters never talked to me until recently and I was able to start fleshing out the details of their lives. Scott had some good ideas and thought we should just make it into a movie, but hell no, I want to be able to option it into a screenplay some day. :)

As I reread this entry, it seems kind of surreal - like a Seinfeld episode. There might not be a point to the casual reader, but there's wisdom in it from my perspective.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Who didn't survive the quick step?

What's this? The worst dancer on Monday night's show didn't get sent back to Vegas and told that what happens on a Vegas dance floor, stays on a Vegas dance floor. Instead, model-surfer Albert Reed crashed.

Ok, I admit that I didn't see the show Monday night; sometimes family obligations come first. But from what I've read in the recap on MSNBC, Wayne Newton's performance wasn't full of razzle dazzle. There were other debacles that night too. 90210 star and Lifetime Channel movie favorite Jennie Garth fell; Mark Cuban improved but received low scores from the judge's panel, and five couples received 21 points from Carrie, Len, and Bruno.

My favorites - based on their abilities - include Sabrina "Cheetah Girl" Bryan, Mel "Scary Spice" Brown, and Helio Castroneves. Favorites because they are fun to watch are definitely Jane Seymour, Floyd Mayweather, and Marie Osmond.

Two years ago I took country dance lessons and it turned in to one of the most fun times I've had. The dancing came to me easily (my instructor said it was because I had been in music), I was paired with a strong dancer, and the couple who taught the lessons were patient with those who didn't have the rhythm. Plus, in the six weeks of lessons, I shed 15 pounds.

If ballroom dance lessons were offered in this area, I would sign up. Immediately! Of course, I'd have to find a dance partner because there's no way Scott would agree to it. I know this is true because I have asked. Repeatedly! :)

Peace and quiet

In some ways, today has been a typical day on the farm: the new (read that as used) combine arrived so it's time to start picking corn, the dairy cattle were fed, the laundry basket overflowed, the tractor needed a new part, and the Nebraska wind blew sand into our house, which means I will have to dust furniture. Again. That's happened every day this week!

But in other ways, today has been non-traditional. I watched the first hour of the Today Show and then shut off the tube. I listened to the local radio station for about an hour. I shut out the world and went for a walk to the north pasture, dodging grasshoppers along the path, listening to the birds sound their alert, feeling the warmth of an 80-degree sun beat onto my back. It was refreshing and a much-deserved break. And I've written quite a few things today.

Peace and quiet is a good thing, and there are times when I crave it. I remember when I went to grad school at Northwestern one summer - actually ten years ago - and the only entertainment in my dorm room was the radio. I would occasionally watch the local news on the big screen TV in the lobby, but usually, I received all the information I needed to know from this amazing Chicago FM station. That summer, I discovered the power of quietness. Silence used to bother me. Not any more.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Breaking in a new Husker fan

So I'm driving to Lincoln on Saturday, when my eight-year-old nephew Riley calls and asks where I'm at.

"Capital Parkway," I reply.

"Hurry up! I want to get to the game."

I chuckle but sense the excitement. It's only 10:30 A.M.; kick off is slated for 1:05. We'll be on time. Today is the day Riley attends his first Husker game, a rite of passage that he should be sharing with his dad, and even though Ryan later teases me about it, I feel the sense of loss and nostalgia about the fact that I am the one who accompanies his son, I am the one who shares the first tunnel walk, I am the one who feels the excitement building throughout the game.

After tailgating with my daughter for a bit, we head toward Memorial Stadium because I want Riley to take in every aspect of game day: the buzz of the crowd heading toward the game, the lingering smell of grilled burgers, the melody of tunes during the band warm up. All these memories and options swim in my head and I want to make sure he doesn't miss out on anything.

Our first stop is outside the Architectural Hall, where the drum line pounds out a cadence while Husker faithful either stare in awe or move in rhythm with the percussion section.

Stop #2 lands us outside the South Stadium where the news vehicles are parked, beaming news from Huskerland to the few people who aren't in Lincoln on this glorious fall day. He stares at the van from WOWT - Omaha and asks if the army can listen to the game through the satellite on the back.

The next stop is outside the West Stadium. We just stop and Riley does a 360, observing everything and everyone. I keep wondering if I were the same way when I went to my first Husker game. Maybe. We reach our gate and security peers into my purse. Riley asks why they do that. After I offer an explanation, Riley informs the young man that I don't carry weapons. He laughs.

Riley's brought money with him and he isn't sure what he would like to eat. It's difficult to choose between Valentino's pizza, Runza, Fairbury hot dogs, ice cream, nachos, popcorn, trail mix.... He chooses ice cream - the twist variety - and I pick nachos.

By now, it's T minus 60 and counting. But you see, you have to be there to experience the pre-game. A lot of times, this is the best part of the game. Riley's primary concern is the flyover and it's details: what kind of planes, when will they fly over, how many will there be. He's amazed at the Husker Vision screen in the north end zone. We go through it all: the teams running out on the field, the band's traditional salute with Husker music, the Star-Spangled Banner (the fly over is a few minutes late)...and then - WHOOSH! - the T-38s blaze across the blue right above us. It's amazing! And then it's the time I've been waiting for - another chance to watch the pre-tunnel walk video. Riley's pumped when the music begins...but it's disappointing - because the team is on the field before the video is finished and the crowd doesn't get to see them hit the horseshoe for good luck. Of course, my young man doesn't know any different and he's hyped!

Now it's T minus 1 and counting. He watches every play, reviews it on instant reply on the giant TV, and reminds me how awesome this is. He cheers and high 5's the guy sitting in the row below us. He hugs me when we score our first td - in the middle of the 2nd quarter - and thanks me for bringing him. He enjoys the "balloon migration" floating away from the stadium and wonders where they will all land.

After the game, we return to my Jimmy, and I return him safely to his parents, and now it's me who is feeling a little nostalgic and feeling a bit of a loss because I'm remembering the first time I took my daughters to a game. And, mainly, I wonder how so many fans can focus on the wrong things about Husker football - the missed tackles, the dropped passes, the under thrown ball, the overpaid coaches - and wish they could see the game through the eyes of an innocent eight-year-old boy. Maybe that would keep the armchair coaches and quarterbacks in check.