Monthly Archives: September 2007

Changing Seasons

IMG_4274.JPGThe seasons are beginning to change at last. The leaves are changing colors and the cool, sweet smell of autumn is in the air once again. It’s the perfect weather now for walking, bike rides, or spending entire days in Omaha with Vivian and friends.

On Wednesday, the Friendship Program had their open house. The Friendship Program Is a non-profit adult day program and center for people with disabilities, and it’s where Vivian works every day. I’ve been there a couple times to demonstrate swing dancing for their participants and it was great to be there again. They had a bake sale, a raffle, and a talent show for their participants, which was great fun. Viv’s mom also stopped by and had time to French-braid her hair, something I’m learning how to do now.

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The weekend provided some great weather for enjoying the great outdoors, taking long walks and Lindy in the Park. The little yellow leaves looked so pretty as they tumbled from the overhanging trees like confetti.

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After the dance, I wet to Vivian’s parents’ house for a barbecue with their friend Keith. This week, Vivian, Keith, and Vivian’s dad all have birthdays, so we had a cookout to celebrate them all together. Vivian’s mom made a delicious hot tub cake for Keith, who apparently can’t get enough of his bubbling wonder. Afterwards, Viv’s mom gave me a much needed haircut so I could look somewhat professional again on the job.

Another great weekend all around. This week I’ll be gearing up for not one, not two, but three nights of Vivian’s birthday! You can be sure pictures and news will follow.

An Appley Sweet Weekend


Vivian and I have been having a lot of fun together this week, and we were able to see each other every day for the first time since we started dating, which was a special milestone.

On Friday night, we celebrated our friend Venche’s birthday at P.F. Chang’s, a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try for a while now. They served some very nice Chinese food and served it family-style, so we all got to share dishes and try a little bit of everything. They did the same with the desserts, and Venche had some of the most heart-stoppingly sweet chocolate I’ve ever tasted. It was a great time, though we had to watch out for Jim and some of his bizarre mixed drinks. Those special bottles on the table apparently weren’t meant for beverages.

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On Saturday, Nebraska City was holding its annual Applejack Festival, so Vivian and I got to drive down to participate in the festivities. We started off with the Waffle Feed at the firehouse, getting a couple tasty waffles with syrup and whipped cream on top. After stuffing ourselves, we took a walk around town, stopping by a pet shop and a used book sale put on by the library.

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At one o’clock came the parade. Vivian hadn’t seen a parade since she’d moved to Nebraska (though she did get to march in a couple), and I hadn’t seen one since the Wayne Chicken Show a few years ago. We joined Jenny and some of her family who enjoyed beating her sister with inflatable Windstream promotional balloons.

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The parade was quite nice, though 90% of it seemed to be marching bands and Shriners tooting around in miniature cars. There was a marching band competition going on, so that would explain why we got to see several bands from all sorts of schools from around the area. The most impressive was Blair, naturally, marching in lockstep like the armies of Mordor down central Avenue. Since we stood at the end of the parade, we didn’t get to have quite as much candy tossed our way as we would have liked.

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After the parade, Vivian, Jenny, Hugh, and I went down to the Arbor Day Farm to get some appley-sweet treats such as apple butter, carmel apples, and even such odd creations as Cheesecake in a Jar. The place was packed, as expected, and there were plenty of things to look at while we were there, including some of the old machinery they used to sort and process the apples grown there. I’d heard an early freeze had killed all the apple blossoms, so the apples they actually had available here were imported from Missouri.

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We took a walk around the grounds afterwards, looking at the beautifully manicured gardens outside the Arbor Day Lodge, former home of J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day. Now it’s something of a museum, showcasing such things as old carriages, one of which was driven by Buffalo Bill Cody. Vendors with hot dogs, funnel cakes, and kettle corn lined every street, of course, so we were never in want for unhealthful snacks. We did have to watch out for some of the hawks lurking overheard, ready to swoop down on any field mouse who might be tempted to grab a fallen roasted almond.

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On Sunday, Dori Umphreys (née Toavs), my friend from high school, got to celebrate her 30th birthday with her family and friends at the Upper Room church in Lincoln. I hadn’t seen her or a few of the others there since our 10 year reunion last year, so it was definitely good to see them again. They had a few band leaders play happy birthday for them with guitars and bongos, and I got to meet a few of Dori’s five adorable children for the first time.

All Greek to me

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This weekend, Omaha hosted a Greek festival down on the riverfront, where they had Greek folk dancing and lots of food to enjoy. On Friday I went down there with Viv and joined a number of our friends as we watched kids dressed up in festive costumes doing a variety of elaborate line-dances. We ate gyros and a tiropita before jumping into the mix ourselves to dance with the rest of them before heading on over to JNO.

Viv and I did some clothes shopping Saturday and them spent some quality time hanging out in my apartment in Lincoln, where I got to ruin some laundry by leaving an inkpen in one of my pockets. Viv got a laundry tip from her mom: using hairspray to get the ink out. We’re trying that now and keeping our fingers crossed. I took Viv downtown for a late dinner at Lazlo’s as a cold front started blowing in.

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On Sunday, we also stopped by for a beautiful day for Lindy in the Park. It was cool and cloudy, and I was able to dance for an hour or two without even breaking a sweat for once. Greg and Lindsey stopped by with their adorable new baby. A cute squirrel also skittered by collecting nuts for the winter, trying in vain to get my Chris, who wouldn’t be moved from his spot on the concrete steps for a rodent.

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Viv and I wound up returning to the Greek festival with Dan Wondra, where I got to try souvlaki and baklava. Afterwards, we got to try dancing to some of the Greek music ourselves and some of the rocking Jazz out by Rick’s cafe afterwards. Dan tried out a few moves with Vivian and then showed them to me before we headed home.

Labor Day Weekend

There’s nothing quite like a nice, long labor day weekend to make you appreciate just how much you hate going back to work on Tuesday.

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I saw one movie every day this weekend. On Friday night, I took Vivian out to see the Wizard of Oz at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. They had a big screen set up in their courtyard, complete with a live Jazz band before the show and picnic baskets to make it a cozy dinner-and-a-movie event.

On Saturday, we had a nice long breakfast at Perkins before spending much of the afternoon catching up on freelance work. I had planned to spend this Saturday at home, but thanks to my laptop and a wireless connection at Panera, I was able to get a great deal of work done right around the corner from Viv’s apartment. The evening was spent swimming, reading the bible together, and then driving down to the Dundee Theater for a midnight showing of The Princess Bride, one of Viv’s favorite movies and one I hadn’t seen in its entirety for years. I’d seen bits and pieces on TV at the gym, but hadn’t actually watched the movie from start to finish since I was in elementary school.

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On Sunday, Vivian and I went to church together and then joined the rest of our Jitterbug friends for Lindy in the Park. Somebody forgot to bring the water cooler, so I had to walk up to the Little King and bring back a couple bottles of Aquafina for the gang. After the dance (and a change of clothes), Vivian and I went to see the Transformers movie. It was quite impressive to see the robots in disguise on the big screen, and I was surprisingly happy with the remodeled designs of the characters, but the movie itself was very light on plot and character development and quite heavy on CGI battle scenes. After the movie, we went down to Eric’s place to play the Order of the Stick game until 1 AM. It wouldn’t have lasted so long if we’d spent our time trying to work our way down the dungeon instead of screwing each other throughout the game, but it was all fun nonetheless.

On Monday, I took Vivian to breakfast at Panera and then I spent the afternoon at her parents’ place working on a comic for Legostar and a Cortland comic for that day. After a romantic walk around the shady, tree-lined neighborhood, I headed back to Lincoln to watch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my brother. It was easily one of my favorites in the series so far, and it was especially cool to see some of the intense wizard battle sequences at the end. It can hardly believe how much of the original cast is still putting together these movies after all these years. It’s almost endearing to watch Daniel Ratcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson all growing up.

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It’s a short workweek this week, but I’m hanging on tight until the weekend catching up on everything and then some at the office. On Wednesday, I got to have dinner at Mike and Bekah’s place, watching Drew dance around on the floor and Alexa suddenly able to walk and talk for the first time in her life. I also got to chat all about the joys of Inn-n-Out Burger with Mike and their new roomie Daniel, right before he started a drum solo on Drew’s plastic drum and then watched a couple episodes of The Office together.

I still can’t wait for the weekend. I’m missing you, Viv!