Monthly Archives: January 2010

Sushi and Meatballs


Last week, Vivian and I celebrated what we’ve come to call our “sushi anniversary,” the anniversary of the date we officially became a dating couple back in 2007. Vivian asked me, “So, you want to make it official” right after we’d had dinner at Sakura Bana, so we’ve made it a tradition ever since. This time, we visited Sushi Japan Yakiniku Boy and ordered the gigantic Sushi for Two.

On Friday, we set up the Eagle’s Lodge for Jitterbugs Night Out and wound up staying the whole night dancing with our usual cast of characters. We did have a couple visitors — the proprietors of the Tannenbaum Christmas Shop in the Old Market and the candy shop next door dropped in to dance. The former had apparently been a swing dancer even before Nate and Christy started, and the latter had met Vivian some time earlier when she first took a swing dancing class at Metro Community College. We’d visited his candy shop on our first date.

DSCF0017.JPGOn Saturday, we celebrated International Gluttony Day. We dropped by a Sizzler for lunch just for fun, and then went to Cici’s Pizza Buffet with a bunch of our friends from GAMe. Then we trotted over to Westwood Cinema to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and felt quite full afterward. It was a surprisingly hilarious movie — I’d read the back way back in elementary school and had been thoroughly unimpressed. It’s usual feat to turn a short children’s book into a decent feature-length film, but this time they pulled it off (and did a heck of a lot better than Where the Wild Things Are).

Cold days, warm houses


Greetings from the arctic midwest! Winter came in like a lion this year, and after a couple weeks of blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, and freezing drizzle, I would say we’re due for one heck of a “lamb” this spring. In the meantime, Vivian and I are still finding time to dance. We danced downstairs for a change of pace a couple weeks ago, but it was so cold outside that the crowd was small and the dance ended early.


The cold weather and weeks without sunshine made it seem like the perfect time to host our first housewarming party. On Saturday, Vivian and I had a couple dozen people over to our new house in Bellevue to celebrate our recent real estate purchase by gorging on loads of hors d’oeuvres! Eric brought a game of Things that I completely missed out on while mingling upstairs, and a couple people brought bottles of wine that were unfortunately unable to open (where did we put that bottle opener?) We also got the fireplace working, giving Vivian the chance to satisfy her pyromaniac urge while making our chilly basement just a little more cozy.

New Year’s Eve in Kansas City


Happy new year, everybody! Vivian and I kicked off the new decade by driving down to Kansas City to visit some old friends from Comic Genesis. I was the best man at Vort and Michelle’s wedding, and they invited me and Vivian to spend the evening with them and Fading Aura to ring in the new year. We had dinner together and then toasted with red champagne as the clock struck midnight. The next day, Fading Aura made us some of his legendary waffles for breakfast.


We wound up spending time in four states before arriving home on New Year’s Day: Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. We had a fairly late Christmas dinner with Vivian’s parents, enjoying ham and potato salad before opening presents. Jack and Donna gave each other some new measuring cups, which they used to toast the new year. The next day we came back to enjoy leftovers and watch District 9, which was a much better film than Halo: The Movie, as was originally planned.

Christmas in North Carolina

Vivian and I were able to spend a lovely couple of days in North Carolina visiting my parents over Christmas. We were fortunate enough to escape the ice and snow that hit Omaha on Christmas Eve and had only a slight delay flying in from Chicago.


Vivian and I landed with enough time to attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service at my parents’ church in Buies Creek. We woke up relatively early on Christmas morning to open presents. I received a couple books from my parents, a USB hub from Nathan, an iPod video adapter from Jonathan, and a new mouse from Vivian. I gave Vivian a music stand, and my mom put together a collection of recipes for foods I liked to eat growing up. I think that was more a gift for me than for Vivian. My dad got some nuts and some DVDs, and my mom got the world’s tiniest frying pan from my dad. She apparently wanted a “small” frying pan, but this little thing was apparently designed to fry hummingbird eggs (one at a time).

At noon, we had a traditional Christmas dinner together, which at our house means turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce (with leftovers to last for a couple days). We spent the rest of the day dissolving into blobs playing an old copy of The Ungame and watching Holiday Inn.


On Saturday, the four of us took a day-long trip down to Wilmington, a picturesque little resort town along the coast. It seems North Carolinians are especially fond of their fried chicken, with several chains such as Church’s, Chick Fil A, and Bojangles thriving when they don’t exist in the Midwest. We enjoyed some artery-clogging goodness at Bojangles, before moving on to tour a battleship.

The U.S.S. North Carolina served for a couple years in World War 2, but it now serves as a tourist attraction. Vivian and I got to play with some turret guns and see where a couple thousand servicemen got to sleep, eat, and work while at war. It was a fascinating trip, and we didn’t even get tired walking up and down dozens of tiny, harrowing flights of stairs.

We were able to get a brief glimpse of the ocean that afternoon before having dinner at the King Neptune Restaurant before going home.

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On Sunday, we went to church with my parents and had some genuine North Carolina barbecue down at Ron’s Barn, a well-known local eatery. Barbecue in the south consists of shredded pork with a sauce made of red pepper and vinegar, which takes a little getting used to.

Afterward, Vivian and I took a walk around campus and enjoyed the gorgeous fifty-degree weather, just perfect for a walk through a cotton field. We weren’t missing Nebraska’s ice and snow one bit, and we enjoyed having a green Christmas.

Later on, we stopped by the Cotton Museum over in Coats, where we got to see some old cotton processing machines and quilt patterns used as covert signals in the Underground Railroad.


On Monday, our last day together, we had breakfast at the Red Barn restaurant, a favorite place for the Gideons group my dad belongs to. My dad showed Vivian and me some of his old, stored treasures afterward, including my grandmother’s cut glass, tiny clothes he wore as a baby, and his old ‘coon skin cap. That evening, my dad fried up some “rosettes,” little flower-shaped donuts dressed with powdered sugar. We rounded off the evening with a round of Pictionary before packing up to go home.

It was great to be home for the holidays, and we were quite happy to spend a couple days away from the ice and snow back in Narnia. A winter full of crisp and cool 50-degree days could be very easy to get used to.