Yearly Archives: 2009

2009 wrap-up

IMG_9595.JPGOrder of the Shovel… unite!DSCF0055.JPGDSCF0027.JPGDSCF0008.JPGIMG_1965.JPGIMG_3854.JPGDSCF0046.JPGIMG_1530.JPGIMG_3137.JPGDSCN0677DSCF0199.JPG
2009 was a fabulous year! Here’s what we did.

In short, it was a fantastic year. What does 2010 hold? Well, you can just skip on ahead to read, of course!

3 years, 500 miles

DSCF0009.JPGBefore flying down to North Carolina for Christmas, Vivian and I took a moment to celebrate the third anniversary of our first date. This year, we went to the Melting Pot at Village Pointe mall in west Omaha, a cozy little fondue restaurant that we’d been meaning to try. We shared a white wine cheese fondue and then tried a variety of cajun meats and seafood together. The tables have their own individual hot plates, and we each got two skewers to keep simmering in our little pot.

We returned home to finish packing for our trip to North Carolina, and then I had a special present in store for Vivian. Two years ago, on the first anniversary of our first date, I showed her a music video I’d made recapping our year together. This year, I made a music video set to the music of 500 Miles by the Proclaimers. I used Final Cut Express instead of iMovie, which allowed me to do some more elaborate tricks with different shots (such as lip-syncing the soundtrack), and I collected footage of myself singing along with the song over the course of several months. I hope you all enjoy it as much as she did.

Three-year anniversary video
(Music: 500 Miles by The Proclaimers)

Christmas Dances, Parties, and Cookies


Last weekend, the Jitterbugs hosted their annual Christmas dance at the Eagle’s Lodge. The “holiday” theme was a little understated, with almost no swinging Christmas tunes in the playlist (unless I missed it, we didn’t even get to hear Jingle Bell Rock). Instead, there seemed to be a Charleston theme throughout the night, with a Charleston routine performed by Nate, Christy, and their latest band of students. There was also a Charleston contest held afterward that was pretty fun to watch.

On Saturday, Jenny had a Christmas party at her house in northwest Omaha. We got to build “gingerbread” houses out of graham crackers. Eric put together a nice replica of Memorial Stadium while Olin and Hugh competed to see who could create the tallest structure (using up most of the frosting in the process).


We managed to put up a fairly modest Christmas tree in our new home — it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree of some sort. Then over the weekend, Vivian put together several different kinds of cookies to make little cookie plates for her co-workers and our new neighbors down in Bellevue. We also took a few trips around town to buy items for a gift basket to give to Vivian’s mom before heading to North Carolina to see my parents for Christmas.

In the meantime, Vivian and I are quite happy to be home for the holidays in North Carolina instead of camping out on the floor in an airport somewhere. Merry Christmas, everybody!

UNO Swing Band and a Chili Throwndown

IMG_6445.JPG IMG_6466.JPG

We had a record crowd at JNO last weekend — there were 106 people in attendance for the lesson and many more who stayed throughout the night for the dance. We had a live band from UNO playing for us, which probably helped draw in much of the crowd (including some family and friends of the band members), but these kids definitely knew how to swing (in a musical sense, of course). We even had an partner swing dance competition. Dan Wondra and Margaret Clancy took first place, which prompted many of the veteran Jitterbugs to respond, “about effing time!”

IMG_6493.JPG IMG_6548.JPG

On Saturday, we got to join the rest of Nebraska in watching the Huskers lose to Texas by one just point with one second on the clock. The star attraction of the night, however, was the chili. Eric and Ben hosted a Chili Cookoff with our new neighbors Troy and Merinda down in Bellevue. Vivian and I prepared a dish presumptuously called the “best chili you will ever taste,” which I believe held its own even if it didn’t place. By some amazing coincidence, the ones who took first and second third place in the contest just happened to be the judges, Eric and Venche. Purely coincidental, I’m sure.

Snow’d In

IMG_6614.JPG IMG_6625.JPG

It looks like winter came in like a lion this year, albeit a little later that usual. A couple feet of snow got dropped on the metro area in the middle of last week, closing schools and many businesses throughout the city. Vivian and I were able to have a lovely, quiet Wednesday together unpacking and digging our way out of our igloo. We’ll be having a white Christmas for sure.

We both got to attend some fun, holiday-related events at work later on in the week. On Thursday, I had the honor of accepting a “Paper Anvil” award for some work I did for National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness month (that’s a mouthful) from the PRSA. Vivian got to come to the awards dinner and join in a momentary bit of celebration.

The season begins

IMG_3467.JPG IMG_3497.JPG

The holiday season is well underway, and Vivian and I have been a little busy getting our new home unpacked and ready for visitors sometime soon. This year, we had Thanksgiving with Vivian’s parents down in Bellevue, enjoying a turkey dinner with all the trimmings — stuffing, yams, and “Taber salad,” a savory gelatin made with mayo and tomato soup that was actually quite tasty. On Friday, we dropped by the Durham Museum for the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and spent a few hours helping kids decorate cookies as part of the festivities.

IMG_3549.JPG IMG_3558.JPG

That night, Vivian and I went on a double date with Jenny and Keith in the Old Market. After dinner at Spaghetti Works, we walked around the Gene Leahy Mall, which had just turned on its Christmas lights the night before. Downtown Omaha is always beautiful this time of year, and it was nice to be able to look around before the temperatures dropped below freezing. Even so, we dropped in at 13th Street Coffee to warm up a bit and play with the plastic wind-up toys at the counter before heading off to enjoy all of 30 minutes at JNO.

A moving experience


It was a pretty busy weekend for Vivian and me. On Friday, we were able to close on our new home in Bellevue right on schedule. We signed the note (along with a hundred other pieces of paper) and got our copy of the deed to the house. Then we went out for a celebratory lunch at Charlie’s on the Lake, a lovely restaurant around the corner from our credit union.

All we had to do next was move in. We’d been packing for the last week or so and had to forgo a night at the Eagle’s Lodge in order to keep on track. We did manage to swing by Vivian’s office party at Venice Inn as a kind of victory dinner for the two of us, however.

IMG_3388.JPG IMG_3406.JPG

On Saturday, about a dozen friends from the Omaha Jitterbugs and our new bible study dropped by our apartment to help us move, including Jillian, who came all the way from New York City to lend a hand. I don’t know how we could have managed without all the help we got — we certainly couldn’t have thrown Vivian’s old couch off the balcony by ourselves. We filled a 26-foot moving van to capacity with all our worldly possessions, including a new couch and love seat, a refrigerator, and a washer dryer set. Getting all these things into our new home was nearly just as a challenging — the fridge couldn’t get through the split-entry stairway without taking its doors off. We were all finished and ready for pizza a little before three, and Vivian and I took a couple minutes to christen our new living space with a brief Lindy Hop in the living room.

Once we get done unpacking, we’ll have everyone back over for a proper housewarming party (likely sometime in January). I have to give a special thanks to Rob, Eric, Nick, Lisa, Justin, Kelly, Jillian, Lee, Mark, Jon, Jack, Donna, and everyone else who dropped by and helped us make the big move to our new home! God has blessed us both with such wonderful friends and we don’t know what we would have done without you.

Wedding dresses and Cal Thomas

At the moment, Vivian and I are busier than usual because we’re packing up to move into our new home in Bellevue! It’s been a long road so far, but it looks like we’ll be closing right on schedule on Friday at 4 p.m. Right now, we’re boxing up all our worldly possessions and getting set for the big move on Saturday (and hoping we don’t have any rain or snow in the meantime!)

IMG_3296.JPG Cal Thomas at Christ Community Church

We’ve still found some time to have fun with friends over the last week or two. Last Saturday, Vivian attended a “wedding dress party” with some of our friends from Bible Study. I had a guys night out with the gentlemen from the same bible study, playing pool at Pockets and watching the Cornhuskers play Oklahoma. The girls showed up in their wedding dresses, which drew some attention from other patrons of the large sports bar. I had worn my tuxedo t-shirt, so Vivian and I looked like the perfect couple for a redneck reception.

The next day as started packing and then went to see Cal Thomas speak at Christ Community Church. I was actually surprised to see Cal sitting almost by himself at a book-signing table in the lobby, so I had a chance to shake hands and talk with him a bit. The place was packed, but Vivian and I were lucky enough to grab some seats fairly close to the front. I’d only seen Cal on political talk shows on TV before, but the man is quite funny in person, and it was good to hear someone talking about healing the political divide in the country today.

Hallowed Ween

IMG_3137.JPG IMG_3030b

Happy Halloween, everybody! Vivian and I enjoyed playing dress up with our friends once again. I bought a white collar shirt from JC Penney and put on some suspenders to become Bill Lumbergh from Office Space. I had to put on a few minor touches to complete the look, such as shaving off my infamous goatee and putting on my gigantic 10-year-old glasses. Vivian dressed up as a hot chick, and we enjoyed parading our costumes for a couple of our friends the week before Halloween.

Our mutual friend Jenny had a birthday party at Hugh’s house, where a bunch of our friends dressed up in amusing costumes and carved pumpkins together. Merinda also had another blow-out event at her house, where several guests did the dance from Thriller together on her basement dance floor. They’d apparently been practicing just for the occasion. I got video from both events and have it linked below via YouTube.

Highlights from our Halloween weekend

House Parties


Vivian and I are closer than ever to being homeowners! After a month or two of thorough hunting throughout the Omaha metro area, we finally settled on a lovely little home down in Bellevue. We batted offers back and forth with the sellers and were finally able to arrive on a price last week. Before making our first offer, we had some of our friends over to see the house before making a final decision. It was quite fun to have a house party in someone else’s house. The home isn’t exactly what we wanted, but it’s a good location and a very fair price. We’re looking forward to moving in soon and calling it our own, but it still needs to be inspected, appraised, and underwritten before we can close. Keep praying in the meantime!

IMG_2953.JPG IMG_2923.JPG

In the meantime, we’ve still found time to enjoy parties at other people’s homes, including our hopefully soon-to-be neighbors in Bellevue, Troy and Merinda. Merinda had been planning a giant birthday blow-out to celebrate turning 30, and had managed to book the Mezcal Brothers to perform in her basement of all things. Unfortunately, they had to postpone their appearance, but we still enjoyed making a scene dancing to Thriller and a wide variety of swing tunes. Geoff, our new Irish friend, brought some smooth Irish whiskey that it made much easier to make fools of ourselves on the dance floor before heading home.