Friday, November 30, 2007

Pete and Re-Pete

You've heard the joke, right? Pete and Repeat went to the NCAA volleyball championships. Who won? Repeat. (drum beat and cymbal crash!)

Tonight, the Lady Huskers begin their quest for B2B or repeat champions in volleyball. Serving begins in 17 minutes.

Since we play in the coliseum, I imagine the coziness of the crowd and home court will be a major factor as the Ladies take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Or are they Lady Jackrabbits. Hmmmm....people should really think about naming mascots. :)

I'm anticipating a big night from Tracy Stalls, who I believe is the most underrated, under appreciated players on the squad. The media generally target Sarah Pavan, Christina Houghtelling, and Jordan Larson, but Stalls is my favorite. She keeps her composure and seems like a genuinely fun and likeable young woman, who just happens to be an extremely wonderful volleyball player.

Let's go Huskers!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Garth Brooks ~ More Than A Memory ~ World Premiere

I blogged about this video earlier. I finally found it on You Tube. Enjoy!

Big Girls Don't Cry Part Deux

Watch it.....

FWP and friendship

I know, I know, it's a Wednesday evening, and I've already broke out the FWP (as a tribute to my auntie's who read this blog, I'm enjoying a bountiful blackberry merlot). In the past three days I have judged 17 one-act plays, substituted, and had an argument with my best friend.

I deserve the wine!

The plays were fairly good. Substituting went fine, except I have this upper chest rattle going on and I sounded like a scratched CD when I answered the phone at 6:50 A.M.

And then there's the argument. And instead of pursuing it in person, we're conducting it via email. The only positive note to this type of argument is that 12 hours passed from the initial email until my response late this afternoon. Gives one time for serious reflection. Should offer clarity. Instead, it just complicated things because I kept coming up with what if scenarios.

I know, I know, this rant probably means nothing to the average blog peruser. But it certainly feels good for me to write about it.

This friendship generally is a fine wine, a bouquet of sweetness tinged with a pinch of tartness. I'd rate it as an Asti: bubbly, brilliant, and flirty. Tonight, I'd classify it as a shot of tequila. A strong gut reaction to bitterness. And tomorrow, after we've both had a chance to consider each other's point of view, the elixir will once again take on a more mellow mood ~ a fine wine once again, with a fresh outlook, like a white zin.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Bizarro Holidays

Once again, it's weird and wacky Sunday, and here I am with another dose of strange reasons to celebrate.

From the 18th to the 25th, Travelers with Disabilities Week salutes disabled travelers from around the world. A Google search located 81 sites, which quickly narrowed to 21 when I started surfing, I wanted to know who sponsored this week, but I was unable to find out.

It's been a good Sunday here. Attended Poinsettiafest 2007 at Shamrock Nursery in O'Neill. Awesome poinsettias! The burgandy-colored plants look fantastic this year. Scott enjoyed the painted ones.

But on to the project at hand: November 25. It's National Parfait Day! How about a peanut buster parfait from DQ? Yummy! Or I also like fresh fruit and yogurt layered into a delicious parfait treat!

It's also Alascattalo Day. Hmmm....sounds like some kind of mythical beast. Check out the beast's description here. Must be a fun time in Alaska today!

Another reason to celebrate today is because it is Shopping Reminder Day. Yeah. Like I need another reason to remind me that only have 30 days left until Christmas. Luckily, my family celebrates after Christmas, so I all can find great buys at bargain prices.

It's also International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day. Shouldn't we be celebrating this every day?

November 26 - National Cake Day. My favorite is German Chocolate with Pecan/Coconut Frosting. Homemade, of course. My grandma always had this kind of birthday cake for me.

November 27 - Pins and Needles Day. Are we supposed to be waiting in suspense all day, hoping something excites us? Or do we laud our appreciation onto these sewing objects. Actually, it's the celebration of a Broadway play. Check it out. On this day, you can also enjoy a slice of heavenly Bavarian Creme Pie and be en vogue.

November 28 - The huge Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center is lit today. I've been there, I've seen the tree and skaters. Cool. Very cool. Literally. :)

If you're the crafty type, you could make a mold of your head and celebrate Make Your Own Head Day. Okay, maybe it's more of a thing that school kids would enjoy.

Or, you can start the day with a delectable breakfast of French toast. This is one of my favorite breakfasts to make. Eggs, a little sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon whipped to a frothy mixture, dip thick slices of bread, and cook. Baked french toast with pecans, strawberries, and blueberries is always good, too!

On Thursday, November 29, you'd better send a greeting card to your best friend. And not just any greeting card. It has to be an e-card. Wonder who kicked of this holiday? Or take your best friend to a square dance. Or maybe your friend prefers chocolate. Buy a box in honor of National Chocolate Day. And if that fails, have a party to honor the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Friday, November 30, sounds like a good day to call in sick to work, but only because it is Stay Home Because You're Well Day. You can probably get a lot of work accomplished on this day. I imagine if you're self-employed, you could take the day off too. Or if you're like me, it's an idea day. :)

Mark Twain was born on November 30. Whitewash the fence or attend a frog jumping contest. Either way, I'm positive Mark would have some good humored comment on the human condition.

Check out your anti-virus program today in honor of Computer Security Day. Also, it's Meth Awareness Day. Not a reason to celebrate, but people need to be aware of the dangers of this epidemic that is plaguing middle America.

Enjoy a good mousse for dessert? Good, because it's National Mousse Day. We're talking pudding here, folks, not the furry animal.

December 1 - National Pie Day. What's my favorite? I think it depends on the time of the year because I really like pecan pie, but usually in the fall. Peach pie is good in the summer. Mulberry or blackberry or strawberry - early spring, mid-summer delight. Cherry sounds good too, though. Lattice top crust. Maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just like I used to get every year for my bday from my babysitter and her sister.

World Aids Day is today. I understand that a portion of the AIDS quilt is coming to Omaha. I'd like to check it out. Day With(out) Art Day began in 1989 to remind people that AIDS affects everyone and anyone. It does not discriminate. Let's pay tribute in a positive manner.

Skywarn Recognition Day honors the SKYWARN radio volunteers and their contributions to the National Weather Service.

And if you need a little fun and excitement, ditch the glasses while working on the puter in honor of Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day. Trust me. I've ditched them. I need them, but I can't afford them, so I'll stick with the glasses I have - that seem to do just fine - and keep working. Okay, honestly, I don't want them because I equate bifocals with aging, when in reality, it's about my eyes deteriorating. Which technically, means I'm aging. I just refuse to admit that I am, because once I do, I will feel old. And I'm not!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The End of the Season

What a strange day in Boulder! In the fist half, Nebraska looked like they did against KSU. Joe Ganz, even though he had a bit of trouble connecting, looked good and ran a terrific 1-minute offense at the end of the first half.

And then, the half time collapse.

How, and more importantly, why does this happen to this team?

It will be a bleak winter in Lincoln. No practice; no bowl game.

The only thing to look forward to is that there surely will be a new sheriff in town, and hopefully, the announcement will come in the morning.

5 - 7.

Not acceptable. - Lincoln, Nebraska - Opinion - Editorial - Lincoln, Nebraska - Opinion - Editorial

The fact that a PARENT created the "Josh Evans" account/character makes you wonder what type of character and parent this person is. And is this parent ultimately responsible for Megan's death? Did the adult or the other teen who knew the password write these nasty messages?

Those who cyber-bully others are the worst type of predator. They hide behind a blind of anonymity and demolish other's esteem. And since a parent is involved in this case, what does that say about the role adults play in a young person's life? I wonder what that teen thinks about his or her parent's behavior.

Until parents act like parents and serve as role models for their children, the reflection will follow from one generation to the next.

I hope Megan's parents can find some positive motivation out of this senseless death. Maybe a lawsuit against the parents/neighbors who wrote the fake profile and drove Megan to suicide will help some, but there needs to be consequences for those who bully in cyberspace.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Non-Turkey Day

While my family pigs out on turkey today, I'll be celebrating by having a turkey-free Thanksgiving. I'm sure the birds will thank me!

My turkey-free celebration days actually began when I was about 3. I can remember being at one of my great aunt's house for Christmas, and I don't know if I had the flu or what, but I do remember eating turkey and then getting ill. Really ill. The kind of ill when your body shakes in convulsions, the fever shoots sky high, and...

Ok, maybe I wasn't that sick, but since that day, I have not enjoyed eating the white meat.

Ironically, I've written two stories - one for a regional magazine and one for a local newspaper - about the state's turkey industry. My family laughs about it!

It's kind of ironic, too, that I will eat turkey if it is on, say, a club sandwich, surrounded by other meat, cheese, and mayonnaise. I'll also eat a bit of it if it's on a chef salad, coated with blue cheese or ranch dressing.

But to partake in it when it's hot out of the oven? I can't do it.

So, I'll enjoy my vegetarian feast of sweet potatoes, salads, and green bean casserole, and it won't hurt my feelings one bit when the I pass on the bird.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

T minus 40 and counting

40 hours until the final regular season Husker game.

40 hours until the Huskers squeak by the Buffs (35-31 Huskers) in Boulder.

40 hours until a minor bowl bid is received. Hey, a bowl game is a bowl game is a . . .

40 hours until mediocrity comes to an end.

Wait - the decision doesn't come until Saturday. Man, I would love to cover that press conference!!

Finally....dancing sends her back to 90210 (or Lifetime)

Jennie Garth - your zip code is calling. And finally, voters sent her back parcel post to 90210.

It's not that I don't like her, but I don't think she is one of the top dancers on Dancing with the Stars.

Of course, there are probably many fans who don't think Marie Osmond deserves to be in the finals. But I have news for those people. While she might miss a step or two on the floor, she has the charisma to draw viewers in and help them realize that ballroom dancing is fun!

I expect Helio and Mel B to make it to the final two. And that's a tough choice. Helio is goofy but a good dancer. Mel is a good dancer but is rough around the edges. That's what makes good drama! Oh wait, this is dancing.

One of the funniest parts of last night's results show was when former dancers were shown in dance rehab: Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin, Laila Ali (my favorite all-time dancing with the stars star). Priceless!

I'm not sure who will win because you can never outguess the voting public, but it should be an interesting show.

Let's dance!

Fun on the Farm

Those of you who know me know that I'm not mechanically inclined. At all.

In fact, when you read this story, you'll probably be shocked. I know I am! :)

So, Scott stops at our house today and tells me all my dreams are about to come true. (You know what I'm thinking, right?) And I ask him what is going to happen, sly smile creeping across my face.

"You get to drive the tractor across the field."

Let-down sigh. Oh, yeah, that's my biggest dream!

Actually, I always ask him if I can maneuver the tractor through the field and he usually tells me no. Or, during combine season, I asked if I could take it down the rows, and he let me....where the corn had already been picked.

I hop in the tractor with him and we head to the north farm. He backs up to several large hay bales - not the little square ones that you can toss by hand but the kind that weigh over 1500 pounds. A piece. Eight large circles of dried alfalfa slide onto the loader (ok, I don't know the technical term for the thing that moves the bales). He tells me as soon as he loads on that last nasty bale, to head for the other side of the field.


And where's the brake again?

That's right. There isn't one!

So, I watch him load and when the bale is locked into position, he points to the east. And I'm off, switching gears as smoothly as a knife dicing vegetables. I adjust the fuel lever.

And....I'm traversing the field at 6.8 miles per hour.

So, when I get to the other side, he loads another bale onto the already overloaded hay mover (what term is the right term for that thing?), and then he climbs into the cab with me.

"Do I get to drive?" I ask sheepishly.

I drive to our house, and for the most part, I do ok. I reach a high speed of 8.6 miles per hour (woo hoo!!) and until I start to slow down for our drive, and I drop the gear lever down oh, about eight gears at a time, do I hear the dreaded "don't do that! Just one at a time."


Monday, November 19, 2007

When it rains....

I know I've mentioned before that a writing "guru" I respect believes in the rule of 13: she keeps 13 article queries in the works at all times. I had planned on getting to 13. Honestly, I did. But when I reached magical number 7, the work began rolling in.

And now, there are times when I feel like I've created this monster. Okay, perhaps it isn't that bad. Actually, I feel like I'm finally working toward something that will pay off in the long run.

Freelancing is hard work.

You have to stay motivated. No problem there.

You have to organize time and effort. No problem there.

You have to write. Every day. No problem there.

Someone used to chastise me because I wrote in a journal every day. It wasn't an outline of a grand novel. It was personal writing about things that bothered, amused, confused, or humored me. The problem was I'd get so caught up in other parts of my writing life - like complaining that I did not have enough time to write what I really wanted to write - that I would quit journaling for a month or so.

And then I'd be back at it, journaling every day. And life would continue to throw curves that diverted my attention from writing.

The problem is this: If you truly want to write, you find the time. Well, I truly want to write, and I have found the time. I enjoy it! And I am confident that someday, my big break will happen. It might not be a multi-million dollar book contract. It might not include a whirlwind book tour (does that even happen?). It might simply be an assignment that gets noticed by an editor at some publication who likes my work and wants more.

And, that's one benefit of blogging. It serves as an outlet for your writing. If I don't blog every day, I feel the pangs of guilt riddle me throughout the day. Did you blog yet? the little voice says inside my mind. You know you have things to say it reminds me.

But I digress today. Back to the rule of 13. I have four articles due for a website, a narrative essay for a regional publication, several book reviews to complete, a newspaper article about a local artist, and a double trunk feature for another newspaper. Plus, I still have five queries that I am waiting to hear back from.

It's glorious. It's hectic. It's a writer's life.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

This Week's Wacky, Weird, Bizarre, Silly Holiday Celebrations

Looking for a reason to celebrate? Or just looking for something to do - oh, maybe to add a little spice to your life? This week is packed with reasons to get together for a party.

November is "National" something month for 34 different causes and events. A few of my favorites include Peanut Butter Lovers' Month (mmmmm, peanut, peanut butter and jelly), Vegan Month (ok, I've been trying to incorporate a bit more red meat into my diet, but.... veggies, cheese, and eggs just taste better), National Georgia Pecan Month (very yummy), and NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month (yup, I'm still reworking my YA novel).

But this week there are some worthy week-long reasons to celebrate.
  • National Farm-City Week - Honoring the men and women who earn a living from the land and the people who eat (and drink) it. Guess that includes dairy farmers, so we will definitely have to celebrate this week. Pour me a glass of the cold white stuff! :)
  • National Family Week - a worthwhile reason to get together (most likely on Thursday) to celebrate and give thanks with the fam.
  • National Game and Puzzle Week - Scrabble is one of my favorite board games, although we really don't get much time to do anything like that. But, I do the crossword puzzle every day. Research shows if you do a puzzle a day, the chances of Alzheimer's Disease decreases. So.....grab the paper and conquer that crossword!
  • National Bible Week - Encouraging everyone to read the Bible. One of my favorite passages is from Song of Solomon: "Kiss me again and again, for your love is sweeter than wine."
  • And, Better Conversation Week begins on the 19th and ends on the 25th. The celebration began in Seattle in 2001 and is sponsored by the Associated Leaders of Urban Debate (ALOUD). Speaking from personal experience, people need to learn to communicate beyond the "man, isn't this great weather!" syndrome that affects most conversations. Talk, listen (not just hear), and open up!

And for a day-by-day breakdown of this week's hot times:

November 18 - Mickey Mouse Day (my dad has an original Mickey doll). It's also Married to a Scorpio Support Day and Push-button Phone Day.

November 19 - Have a Bad Day Day. Thanks. Like people need encouragement to be negative!

November 20 - National Adoption Day, Absurdity Day, and Name Your PC Day. I think I"ll call mine Del(l).

November 21 - False Confession Day (right. Like that's a good idea), What Do You Love About America Day (freedom), and Pumpkin Pie Day (sounds good to me).

November 22 - Turkey Day (ok, technically it's Thanksgiving, but that bird gave its life for this feast), and Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Day (wonder who started this holiday).

November 23 - National Cashew Day (several nuts have celebrations this month), Flossing Day (shouldn't every day be a flossing day? My dentist always tells me that!), and Buy Nothing Day (it's not a difficult task when there isn't a lot of extra cash).

November 24 - International Aura Awareness Day. Reminds me of a line from the Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous - You're aura! It's purple! What? It's purple! (Maybe you need to see the movie to appreciate it. I wonder what color my aura is? And more importantly, how can I find someone who can tell me what color it is.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday without football?

It's Saturday and there's no Husker football! After such a great week last week, I wish they had a game so they'd keep up the momentum. But it will have to wait until Friday, when they travel to Boulder, to beat the Buffs.

More Than a Memory

He's been away for quite awhile, but now he's back. And he's better than ever!

Garth Brook's new video - More Than A Memory - is one of the most touching videos I've seen. I heard Garth talk about the concept on a show on GAC . He discussed what it feels like to lose someone you love, when that person moves on, and you can not forget them. In the video, from the time the radio alarm goes off in the morning until Garth crawls back into bed at night, rain falls down around him. It's dark, but it's so startlingly real. It's a feeling that is slow to fade away. Honestly, I'm not sure if a memory ever disappears.

It's the same when someone you love leaves this earth. You feel like it's raining every day. You know you'll never see that person again. Never laugh with them. Or cry. And if the death comes as a surprise, the rain seems like it will never end. It's a constant storm of what ifs and unanswered questions.

It's awesome to watch the video in an artistic sort-of way, but it hits home in other ways. I wanted to include a link so people could check it out if they hadn't seen it; however, CMT does not have a link for the video.

But on a lighter note, I"ll include a link to one of my favorite videos by Mrs. Garth Brooks - Trisha Yearwood. The song is Georgia Rain. She has a beautiful voice!

I"m so excited....

I lost three pounds this week, and I really hadn't been trying too hard. At least I didn't think I had been. I know I haven't exercised as much as I should, but I have been watching what I eat and I have been trying to make sure to eat breakfast - which really makes me feel sick to my stomach - but it does jumpstart the metabollism, so..... Yeah for me!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weird holidays

Ever wondered how many strange holidays are out there? I found a website a few years back that lists holidays for each month and includes a list of special, bizarre, crazy, strange holidays for each day, too. You would be amazed at how many strange celebrations there really are. You can check it out at

Take this week, for instance. I had several ideas planned, but I had to substitute three days, and then with fam responsibilities, I didn't make the time.

So today, I was looking at the calendar I printed from the above-mentioned website. On Sunday (or Monday if you are a government employee), veterans were honored in ceremonies across the U.S. But Sunday was also Death/Duty Day. Huh? I googled it to see what the significance is and found a good explanation at According to the site, the day is to honor soldiers from both sides who died on November 11, 1918, the armistice or Waffenstillstand day that ended the fighting in WWI. Interesting explanation! I'm glad I looked it up.

Monday was I Need A Patch for That Day. Can I get a patch to cure my insomnia? Google sites show that this holiday is confused. Some sites report it is celebrated in May; others say November.

Tuesday honored young readers, thanks to Pizza Hut and the Library of Congress. National Young Reader's Day reminds Americans of the importance of reading. Heck, reading is one of my favorite pastimes. And I'm positive my children would say I'm not young. :) But seriously, children need to read. Often.

Wednesday had two interesting days. First, the teddy bear was honored with it's own celebration. That's right, National American Teddy Bear Day. My mom has, oh, about a million teddy bears, so she celebrates it every day. How did Teddy get his name? It's a fun story!

Another group honored on Wednesday were people I work with and appreciate. National Educational Support Professionals Day. I'm sure that's why the secretary at school had a dozen roses on her desk this week. Secretaries, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, cooks, and custodians deserve to be honored. They also are an integral part of the school system. Kudos to you for your work with America's youth.

Thursday was definitely a day for me to celebrate: I Love to Write Day. Yup, I love to write. OK, actually I like to write. I can't say I love it because it drives me crazy when people say that "love" it. That word is used too freely. I love nachos, too. Does that mean I have a relationship with corn chips and nacho cheese? Don't think so. Seriously, I do enjoy writing. It's exhilarating and a great stress relief. And not a bad way to earn a living!

Thursday also honored the bundt pan. Yup, it was National Bundt (pan) Day. I remember when my mom bought a bundt pan. I was young. Very young. And she'd make great cakes with it. And then I think it sat in the cupboard for about 20 years. Unused. Unwanted. Feeling lonely. Maybe not that far, but it seems like we just stopped using it. I bought one at a dollar story for $5 (don't get me started on dollar stores and why stuff is more than a dollar). I use it at least once a month. Scott likes banana cake and last week, I made a triple chocolate cake.

International Day for Tolerance is today. I admit I don't always have patience, but I try to be tolerant. Sometimes I'm too tolerant. And if we're talking tolerance as in acceptance of someone - whether it be race, religion, political views - I always practice that.

Tomorrow is another yummy holiday. Homemade Bread Day! I made homemade bread (no, not the frozen variety that thaws) the other day. Okay, I did make two of those loaves of wheat bread last week, But this week I made lime-macadamia nut bread with a powdered sugar glaze. Definitely better than I imagined.

Tomorrow's also my sister's birthday, although it is not a national holiday. Maybe it should be!

For a list of next weeks' weird, bizarre, crazy, goofy holidays, check back on Sunday. I've decided I'll list several for the upcoming week, along with my comments.

But for now, go ahead and celebrate!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunrise in the Sandhills

I walked outside our house this morning and saw one of the most beautiful contrasting skies. To the east, a palette of orange and pink fingertips spread across the sky. Slowly, a brilliant ball of orange peaked above the horizon and greeted me.

Above me, a thin veil of clouds cast a grey shadow. A handful of raindrops spilled onto the windshield of my vehicle.

Looking west, a strange shade of blue, laced with purple and black streaks, filled the skyline. A shimmer of a rainbow glistened its hues of red, orange, yellow, and violet. I drove a mile south and turned west; glancing toward the north, the end of the rainbow came into view. The strands of color were more vibrant than the small specks lining the western sky.

Another beautiful morning in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Seasonal Widows

Beginning in the early fall, women across the country dread the season. You know, when you can't capture your significant other's attention because he is too deeply involved in a sporting event. No matter what you try, or say, nothing can divert his attention. He keeps his eye on the prize; he knows the good shot is near.

I wouldn't mind being a football widow; however, I can't belong to that group. The truth is, I enjoy football. Why? I like the atmosphere of a football game on a crisp - and sometimes even hot - autumn day. I long for the bone-crushing, ego-bruising, throw-'em-to-the-ground, smashmouth football that I grew up watching. Nothing beats a Saturday filled with ESPN Game Day, a Husker game, and then three or four college games on TV. You know, a typical Saturday football marathon. I like it!

Instead, I'm a hunting widow. Hunting season begins shortly after football kicks off in late August. And it's kind of like football. First, you begin with the little creatures like squirrels, doves, or prairie chickens. Or if you're really lucky, you'll participate in a snipe hunt. These animals are the non-conference game schedule. The critters you know you can handily defeat because 1.) of their size and 2.) because of their ability (or lack of) to hide.

After a month or so, you progress from small, innocent game to something a bit more challenging. That's right, you're ready for those conference foes that might make a splash, but in reality, you more than likely will defeat them by at least 20 points. You know what I'm talking about. Foes like ducks and wild turkeys. Sometimes, the enemy flies high; other times, he can't get away. Kind of like a linebacker throwing the QB for a loss.

And then, you are ready for the big game(s) of the season. That's right. It's time to go after Bambi, or the conference teams that you wait to battle late in the season. The games everyone enjoys watching on mid-November afternoons when a season is at stake, like Oklahoma v. Nebraska, Michigan v. Ohio State, USC v. UCLA. You know the BIG games!

If I put it in to proper perspective, I shouldn't mind the fact that during hunting season, life, as we know it, comes to a standstill. After all, I thoroughly anticipate any good game (and I'm not talking grouse or pheasant).

So yesterday, when I witnessed Scott killing a buck (the first time I've seen a deer get shot), I tried to relate it to football. Scott is really the quarterback rifling the bullet (yes, pun intended) through the air for a completion. Adrenaline races through Scott and I'm sure if we were in a football stadium, the crowd would be cheering crazily. At the very least, they'd be doing the wave. :)

But there's a part of me that doesn't get the love for this game. Yes, you're still in the hunt, like a team trying to maintain a successful season. You're still attempting to annihilate the opponent, like a team destroying another with a score of something like, oh, say, 73-31. You proudly show your support by sporting the team's favorite color of orange; I prefer scarlet and cream. And you're still in the hunt (yes, pun intended) for bragging rights over who earned the biggest trophy.

I'm growing accustomed to the game that I'm still learning. Or at least I'm learning the rules.

But for now, I'll stick with the game that I was introduced to at the young age of five, the game I used to keep statistics for and could name every player on the roster, the game where Christmas vacation occasionally meant Christmas in Dallas, or Miami, or San Diego.

Yup, I just prefer the game played between the goal posts, on a carpet of field turf, with 85,000 screaming fan(atic)s.......and a possible trip to a post-season game.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Vietnam Wall...Fading to Black

In September, the Vietnam Wall Memorial travelling exhibit arrived in Verdigre, Nebraska, a Northeast Nebraska Czech community known as the Kolach Kapital of the World. I'd seen the exhibit about 15 years ago when it was in Norfolk, but I ventured to Verdigre with my parents to see the exhibit again (and for a kolach at the wonderful Verdigre Bakery).

We turned into the park and found American flags proudly lining the drive to the exhibit. There were white crosses, representing each soldier from Nebraska who was killed in the conflict.

Arriving at the entry tent, volunteers were available to help visitors find a specific name and guide them to the wall panel where the name is listed. We looked up a former student my mom had taught in Clay Center and a young man from my dad's hometown of Wausa, Nebraska.

The wall itself is an impressive sight: black panels, spanning what seems like the length of a football field, with what also seems like thousands of names etched into eternity, angled into a slight 'V' shape. Reflections of the past staring back at you. It is a spectacular sight.

But there is also something peaceful about it. I've seen pictures of the actual monument in Washington D.C., and people come and leave mementos for the fallen soldiers: flowers, stuffed animals, cards and letters. A few such exhibits of affection and remembrance were at the base of the travelling exhibit, and I wonder if more were there by the time the exhibit left four days later.

Schools from the region visited the wall, and that also made me wonder: Do these students realize the sacrifices these men and women made? Do they even study the Vietnam conflict in history classes? Occasionally, there would be several students standing in front of a panel, an uplifted hand tracing the etching of a name. But most students hung back. Is it out of fear of the unknown? A lack of knowledge about this dark time in our nation's history? Or is it because it hits too close to home? How many of these students are six degrees of separation from someone fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Parents Should Be Teachers

Another day, another holiday to commemorate an event or cause. Today, it's National Parents As Teachers Day. This day was established in 2001 to create awareness for high quality early education for children.

As a former teacher, I realize that society does not replicate an Ozzie and Harriet or Let It To Beaver environment. The potential problems that slow a child's development aren't, however, limited to environment. There are physical limitations, mental disabilities, and educational systems that all fail at times.

There are parents who aren't able to be . . . parents. Some reasons are valid: parents who work hard, and sometimes at multiple jobs, to make ends meet; single parents who struggle to juggle raising a family and earning a living.

But there are several reasons why parents fail at parenting. It's a job. Plain and simple. It's hard work raising a family and rearing children who are honest, trustworthy, and sincere. The potential list of role models is dwindling. And for some parents, being a friend is easier than showing tough love.

I'm not saying I've been the perfect parent because I'm human - I have made my share of parenting mistakes. But I've had to show tough love at times, and it hurts. Reminds me of the mantra I would say to kids when I taught: Sometimes, doing what is right isn't popular, but doing what is popular isn't always right. Parents need to face the family in front of them and make decisions based on what is right for their children.

Teaching is every one's job; it is not just limited to those who earn a limited earning teaching in a school system (because truthfully, when you calculate the duty, extra duties, continued education, and preparation, a teacher really does NOT earn that much).

When I took my first teaching job, the superintendent of that school wanted to start a pre-school. He said it made sense; that eventually, the Pre-K set would be a part of a public school system. That was nearly 20 years ago, and look at the current trend: a lot of schools include Pre-K education so children CAN learn.

And why are schools responsible? Because schools realize that many children do not have the focus of parents at home. Most parents do try and play an active role in the development of their children. And they should. Without parental guidance, how are children going to learn any type of value system.

Parents as teachers goes well beyond teaching the ABCs and 1+1=2. It's about being responsible and teaching children right from wrong.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Girl gets detention for hugging - Education -

Girl gets detention for hugging - Education -

If every student who I saw while I taught had been given a detention for giving a friend a goodbye hug, they would all still be in detention. Yes, lingering hugs, kissing beyond control, and inappropriate touching should not be going on at school. But if a friend is just giving a quick hug, what is the problem?

The problem is the school has not defined public displays of affection. Taking it to an extreme, if the term is not defined, then if someone would wink at another person - even if there isn't an affectionate meaning to the wink - then the wink becomes a public display of affection. Some times a wink is just a wink, and some times, a hug is simply a hug - a way to let someone know you are thinking about them and wish them well.

A detention? Maybe the school principal needs a hug!

Husker Movie Poster

Some Husker fan obviously has quite a bit of time (and Photoshop experience). There's a new Husker movie poster floating through cyberspace and landing in inboxes. It's funny yet sad how things change in four short years.

I didn't have a problem with having Frank Solich has our coach, but I listen to others talk and they mention how he was ruining our recruiting prospects. Obviously it takes more than one person to ruin a program. He produced a winning record, qualified for bowl games keeping the Husker streak alive, and played in a National Championship game. Do people forget that fact?

Anyway, the reign of mediocrity appears to be nearing the finish line. For some folks, change is difficult to accept; however, change can be productive as long as those associated with making changes keep integrity and tradition intact. It's time for a change!

Discover America

Want to see the simple beauty of America? Check out the video at Click the "Portraits of America" link below the main photograph. It's simply beautiful!

I've been lucky enough to travel across most of the U.S. Some places have left lasting impressions; other memories have sifted to the outermost regions of my mind. Why? There are just places where the scenery - and the people - form the perception of the area.

One of my favorite places to visit is San Diego. My sister lives there, but I like the feel of the city. It's historic yet hip. It's a mesh of cultures. Some parts are haunted (take the tour!). Maybe I enjoy it because of the weather, and it would be nice of Nebraska could have temps like that year round.

Is there a "worst" place I've visited? We've been to some places that weren't friendly. The summer between 1st and 2nd grade, we lived in North Carolina while my dad attended UNC-Greensboro. People there were welcoming; the southern hospitality belief prevailed. It wasn't until I was older that I realized the segregation of that time period and that location. But when we were returning home, we made a stop in Pittsburgh to watch a Pirates - St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. We were trying to find a parking place near the stadium, but it was difficult because our car was pulling a U-Haul trailer. People in the parking lot we ended up at were just rude. It didn't feel like a very welcoming environment. I'm not sure if Pittsburg has changed. Sometimes you hear people talking about the "east coast rudeness" that exists. I've been in New York though, and for the most part, people weren't rude.

Yes, there can be unpleasant people anywhere. But for the most part, America is simply a beautiful place.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Has common sense disappeared?

In Advanced Educational Psych, I learned that, according to Piaget, children don't typically "develop" common sense until around age 14. Before that time, the brain isn't capable of comprehending sound judgment because reasoning skills are not at a point to process in that manner.

I've always considered common sense to be an intuition - an innate trait that one is born with....or without. Like the book smart vs. street smart debate. Which is better? Do people who are book smart possess common sense? Are book smart(ies) limited in the amount of knowledge because the knowledge base is strictly from a source that might or might not be biased? Or is it something that you develop from living a worldly life? Do street smart(ies) possess this trait because common sense relates to the human experience?

I'm not sure there is a right or wrong.

What I do know is as I look around, I see a lack of common sense. And I'm sure I am just as guilty. In my case, I call it a blonde moment. Luckily, those moments don't happen often. But with alot of people, I watch them attempt to reason, and it appears they can not make a sound decision, even if the answer sits before them.

Why is that? If common sense is the place where the senses come together and combine, shouldn't everyone be able to make sound judgments based on common sense? Yes, each individual has one sense that works overtime while the others do only what is asked of them, but if all senses are working, why can't people make good decisions?

Perhaps common sense is perception. Perhaps it is a combination of life experiences that meld together to formulate opinion, and once that is accomplished, then one has common sense.

I used to joke around with my children when they had a kid moment and say, 'Ah, it's ok, you haven't reached the age of common sense yet.' Ok, I admit that sometimes I still look at them, as they near or are in their 20s, and think, 'Ah, you still don't have it.' When the situation really matters, they get it, and that is what matters.

Sure, everyone is entitled to those moments when common sense escapes them. But if we are becoming a society that does not have the capability to examine a situation and formulate the "whys" and "what ifs", then what does that say about our future?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

All in Due Time

I meant to write this entry yesterday, in honor of National Cliche Day; however, at the last minute, I realized that my schedule was full and time was running out for my chance to write this. So, now I'm a day late. I guess it's better late than never.

Yes, yesterday proved to be an extremely busy day. I decided early to get to the business at hand and start reading and sorting through press releases that I've had for over six weeks. I figured it would be a long row to hoe, considering that I have over 1500 items to peruse. But, in two shakes of a lamb's tail, I had cleared out over 100 releases. Time flies when you're having fun! Plus, sorting through possible story ideas takes time and creativity. You know, Rome wasn't built in a day!

Then, I started marking time by perusing football matchups while listening to the Husker Sports Network. With so much time on my hands prior to kickoff, my mind began to dream of the possibility of a Husker upset. Then Cassie called from Lawrence, Kansas, and told me about the group's escapades from the prior evening. It sounded like they had a laugh a minute.

Then, in a split second, it was game time. Two quick scores by both teams. And at the 11th hour, Jody called and asked me if I wanted to come over for lunch and the game. So, I arrived at their house just in the nick of time to watch the Huskers score their second TD of the game.
Time after time during the first quarter, the score seesawed. In the second half, the Husker defense appeared to be spinning their wheels, so most of us decided to eat lunch and chew the fat. The times, they are a changing, for Nebraska football. But fans must remember that time heals all wounds, and Coach Tom will right the ship.

I returned home and worked on some newspaper articles. I know I shouldn't have put it off, but sometimes I do my best work when I come in under the wire. Pressure gets the creative juices flowing!

Next, I decided that a power nap might perk me up, so I decided I'd rest my eyes for just a second. That second turned into just a minute. Sixty minutes, to be exact.

When I woke up, I picked up Jodi Picoult's novel Nineteen Minutes and picked up where I'd left off. When I read, I like to picture how I'd stage the movie version. I like putting the visual picture with the written words. It really makes the action come to life. It's a technique I liked to teach when I taught full time.

By this time, the Husker volleyball team was set to spike it out with K-State. Since the game was on NET, I flipped to that channel. Another seesaw battle, but the Lady Huskers came to life. In the midst of a Sarah Pavan serve, my phone rang. Scott needed to know if I'd come to the farm and help load feed. I told him I would, but he would need to wait just a cotton pickin' minute because I wanted to see the end of the first set.

We fed the south dairy cattle: I drove the tractor and he operated the feed wagon. And then we sat in the tractor and talked for an hour.

Finally, we decided to continue the talk at home. We watched the rally to 15 - and yes, the Huskers were victorious - and talked a little more before deciding to call it a day. Scott fell asleep before I did; that happens time and again. So, I returned to Nineteen Minutes and have only 70 pages remaining. I'll finish it . . . all in due time.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

There's A New Sheriff In Town

There's an excitement in the Husker football air today. Actually, it's been there since the clock in the NU - Texas game showed about 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when backup QB Joe Ganz made his way onto the field and wowed the Husker faithful with a touchdown and two-point conversion. The outstanding part about his play - he proves he can pass and run the ball - which will give Nebraska's offense a fresh look today.

Ganz has spent his time on the bench, and if the Huskers win today, and then go ahead and post victories against KSU and CU, many people will wonder why the Huskers invested so much faith in Sam Keller. They'll say Ganz should have received earlier chances, which is true. But you can't deny Keller's performance. For the most part, he proved he could throw the ball. Could he run? Not so well. Did he make poor decisions on the field? At times, but so do other players. Plus, he does not determine which plays are called, so you can't always blame Sam.

Today's game will be interesting for several reasons. Will there be a renewed energy among team members? Will the defense show the blitz package that dominated last week's game until late in the game? Will the Huskers upset #8 Kansas on their home field?

Let us hope the answers to these questions are YES!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

National Author's Day...among other days

November 1 marks the celebration for National Author's Day. I enjoy many author's works, ranging from Twain, Lee, and Fitzgerald to modern writers including Picoult, Patterson, and Berg.

Right now, I'm on a Jodi Picoult kick. I'm reading Nineteen Minutes. It's about a school shooting and flashes between the present and the events which precipitated the shooting. Last year during Christmas break, I read My Sister's Keeper. This book's premise is about two sisters - one who is healthy, the other needs a transplant - and the ensuing legal battle and family divide created by the sister's decision.

What I like most about Picoult's writing is her sense of character development. There is empathy for even the worst character. That is the balance every author should strive for.

James Patterson is another favorite author. His books are fast reads primarily because I like how the chapters are relatively short. Even when I'm tired, I might read 20 chapters and feel like I've accomplished something, although it might only be 40 pages worth of reading. I don't always like how the books seem to have a formula, but he generally captures my attention.

Basically, I like to read anything. I guess I was lucky enough to develop good reading habits when I was young and those habits have continued with me as I've aged. Too many people do not enjoy reading. And the lack of strong reading habits shows up in schools and the workplace far too often.

Today is also National Men Make Dinner Day, but since my man took me out for dinner last night, I'm sure the chances of him cooking something for me tonight are....lean. Maybe he'll throw together a roast beef sandwich for me after I tell him the significance of today.

Or maybe he'll let me go hungry.

Nah, he'll expect sustenance tomorrow.

Dancing....with a mistake!

ABC's popular Dancing With the Stars is at the point where voting gets interesting. The worst dancers have been sent packing. The mid-level dancers pick up the pace and try to perform at the top level. Sometimes they succeed; often, they don't. And then the true leaders of the pack shine like the skimpy rhinestone-studded outfits they wear.

But this week, a travesty occurred. I have to agree with the three judges: Cameron is gettin' his groove on. After a slow start, his performances continue to improve each week. But never did I expect that cutesy Cheetah girl Sabrina would be done. She's got style. She's got power. And maybe, like the judges pointed out, too much power at times. But the bottom line remains that she could dance!

So now there are some tough decisions to make. I like Jane Seymour. She's classy and for a 56-year-old, she looks fantastic! She even says so herself! Marie Osmond is cute, in the Osmond family kind of way, but is she as good or better than Jane? Helio is one of my favorites, too. He and Julianne have chemistry and it shows when they dance. Cameron's getting better. Mel B is great, and her love/hate relationship with partner Maks makes it worth watching.

I think the weakest dancer is Jennie Garth. She just doesn't....make me take notice when she's on the floor. You can be a weak dancer with a good partner and come across as being ok. So she relies on her 90210 and Lifetime movie fan base for votes.

And in this case, that's where the problem is with Dancing. The three technique judges are only half the battle. The other half is getting the popular vote. And why would you keep voting for someone just because you like a show they have been in when they clearly are not the best dancer. The popular vote - though a necessary part - doesn't always guarantee that the best dancer reigns victorious.

It happened during season one. Let's hope it doesn't happen this time.