Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009 wrap-up

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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

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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!”

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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

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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

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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.

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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.