Monthly Archives: April 2010

Durham dancing, grilling, and smoothies

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Vivian and I had a fun, and very full weekend together. It started as usual with dancing with our friends, both briefly at JNO on Friday night, and then at the Durham Western Heritage Museum on Saturday. The museum was celebrating Jazz Jam this weekend with live performances by the Street Railway Band and the Sing Sing Swing Orchestra, so a number of Jitterbugs got to perform with them on stage to a fairly crowded house. Next time, we’ll have to encourage the museum to have the bands out in the much more spacious foyer upstairs. (Left photo courtesy of Kat via Eric’s camera.)

That afternoon, Vivian’s parents paid us a visit. Vivian and her mom got to tidy up the garden, while her dad and I put together Eric’s barbecue to grill some steaks for an early dinner a little later. I think I’ve fallen in love with grilling now that I see how easy it is (now that the grill has been thoroughly cleaned and put together).

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On Saturday night, Vivian and I headed out to celebrate a couple birthday parties. Our first was with Dennis out in West Omaha. He grilled up hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks for everyone, and then shared in a bottle of Arbor Mist that Vivian and I brought as a present.

The second birthday party was for Leon, one of Vivian’s co-workers, and it was held at 24th and Lake, deep in the heart of North Omaha. It was definitely a cultural experience, and we got to stuff ourselves even further with fried chicken and barbecued ribs while dancing with the cast of characters from Friendship Program.

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On Sunday, Vivian and I got to deflate a bit going to church and then working off some of our excess calories at the YMCA. We had smoothies with our Journey Group that night, mixing together mixed berries, bananas, chocolate, peanut butter and any number of other things into some interesting frothy drinks. I also learned that a little instant coffee goes a long way, and I’m not really sure what Lee put in his drink, but it definitely made an impression on Chelsea (above right).

Taco Party

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Spring is in the air, with the lovely spring weather with new life sprouting in our yard and the sweet smell of blossoms in the air is certainly helping to keep everyone’s spirits lifted. This is also the time of year for our mutual friend Jenny to throw another wildly successful Taco Party at her house over the weekend. Jenny and Vivian had their last Taco Party back in February of 2007 (a few weeks after Vivian and I first started dating), so it’s been long overdue. We stuffed ourselves with self-serve burritos, which included such tasty ingredients as Vivian’s pucker-power guacamole.

I don’t think I actually knew half the people at the party, but most of them were content to play Taboo upstairs while the rest of us played a rousing game of What’s Yours Like downstairs. Vivian and I also introduced the rest of our friends to some amusing viral videos that have been keeping us amused, including cute animals on the BBC and the JK Wedding Entrance Dance.

Tea Parties, Easter, Improv and Pizza

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Vivian and I enjoyed a pretty fun and busy Easter weekend together. It all started on Thursday, when I was able to kick off my three-day weekend by visiting the Tea Party Express as it rolled through Omaha. It was something like a Woodstock for disgruntled conservatives, and I was able to join a few thousand fellow Omahans who came to participate in the rally at Lake Zorinsky park. There were so many people that the police had to close the gates. A number of people got on stage to give speeches and sing a couple songs, which included a Hispanic rapper from Waco named Polatik. I kept my eyes open for members of the Ku Klux Klan, who people had been whispering lurked in the crowd somewhere, ready to yell out “the n-word” and spit on people they disagreed with. Much to my surprise, the crowd was quite civil, even to the three or four counter-protesters who decided to sit near the back.

It was actually a fun event, and I even got the chance to stand on stage toward the end and attempt to sing God Bless America in front of the crowd with Lloyd Marcus (above on the right) and Diana Nagy, thoroughly embarrassing myself when I realized that I didn’t know the words to the second verse. Lloyd gave me props for trying.

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I had Good Friday off and was able to have breakfast with Vivian at Panera before she went to work. That evening, we attended a Good Friday service at Calvary Christian Church in Bellevue. We joined our friends at JNO a little later, which included the return of veteran Shoveler Jillian to our dancing crew. Sadly, she was in town because her grandmother had recently passed away, but it was nice to have her back for a dance and some Improv & Pizza (more on that later).

On Saturday, Vivian and I prepared for a big Easter Dinner, and we also did an unexpected amount of yard work. With Donna’s help, we trimmed away a good deal of tall grass and other lawn debris from the yard, and I swept up the garage and helped rake things up a bit. The weather was just perfect for it, and being able to take of our very own lawn for the first time help cement a sense of ownership to our house.

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On Sunday, Vivian and I were among the few who got up at the crack of dawn to attend the sunrise service at Christ Community Church. There were so few people that we were able to park right up front and didn’t have to fight crowds to get inside as we usually do. That afternoon, we had Vivian’s parents over for Easter Dinner together. Jack brought ham with a pineapple glaze, and Vivian provided pistachio fluff, green bean casserole, poppy seed biscuits, crab and artichoke dip, and fruit salad. I made my deviled eggs, which turn out differently just about every time I make them. I used honey mustard, white vinegar, dill weed, and garlic powder this time, which seemed to be a decent combination. After stuffing ourselves silly, Donna treated Vivian and me to an Easter Egg hunt outside, which was fun. We found all but one plastic egg, which managed to escape with two Lindor truffles inside (and then turned up with them melted a few days later).

We worked off a little of our meal playing with our new toy — a combination foosball coffee table that is currently living in our basement. It’s smaller than your typical foosball table, but seems to work great, and should give our guests something to do downstairs instead of watching TV (or doing laundry).

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On the following Tuesday, we had a long overdue reunion for the Order of the Shovel. Since Vivian and I still had possession of the small plastic digging instrument (dubbed by Sarah Little as “Valerie Bruce”), we made an event for dinner and a show in Benson, courtesy of the Pizza Shoppe and 88 Improv. Vivian and I somehow managed to devour a king-sized Round Table while watching three guys make up an improbably hilarious tale of a plot for world domination spawned in a retirement home foiled by a couple wandering priests and a hotel clerk who wants to be a ballet dancer. Now that’s comedy.