Monthly Archives: November 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

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Vivian and I were able to attend our first professional football game at Rosenblatt Stadium last Friday, which was a certainly interesting experience for the two of us. We’d been to Rosenblatt several times, but we’d hadn’t seen the field dressed up for football before. It was very surreal experience. The weather and the crowds were also noticeably different — the family-friendly atmosphere had given way for beer-swilling drunks screaming at the field and fighting with each other in the stands. I could almost understand — it was below freezing and the line for hot cocoa stretched all the way around the stadium. It was still fun to watch some professional football huddled together near the end zone, but the visiting Tuskers plowed the field with the Nighthawks, and Vivian and I headed home early rather than watch the carnage play out.

Fall is quickly making way for winter, with colorful leaves turning dry and brown as the dreaded white stuff starts sputtering down from the sky. That meant Vivian and I had to break out the rakes and clean up our lawn for the very first time. We’ve come full circle in our little house — we bought it nearly a year ago and we’ve got to experience all four seasons with it now.

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We kicked off Thanksgiving weekend at Jenny’s house on the following Wednesday, enjoying some drinks and treats while playing What’s Yours Like with her new boyfriend, Kris. Ever since I made martinis at Vivian’s birthday party back in September, I’ve been a bit of a fan of mixing drinks. I made Manhattans for myself and Eric, appletinis Jenny, Venche, and Jon, and virgin appletinis for Vivian and Kris. I could have made another virgin appletini for Eric, but he seemed to like grabbing for Vivian’s.

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We got to celebrate Turkey Day for the first time at our home in Bellevue, and we had Jack and Donna over to share in a feast that included turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, pearled onions, cranberry sauce, and everything else you’d need to induce a day-long Thanksgiving Coma.

Vivian and I took a trip down to the Old Market that evening to enjoy the recently-lit Gene Leahy Mall and walk off a bit of our meal. As such, we discovered the Hollywood Candy store has a new, much larger location at 12 and Jackson. Among the aisles and aisle of candy were a new soda fountain and a small movie theater in the works. The owner bumped into us and mentioned that he plans to show free B-grade movies there once the theater is finished. I’m thinking sugar rush + bad movies = MST3K.

Despite being entirely too full, we still stopped by Ted & Wally’s for some egg nog ice cream before our walk down to the Gene Leahy Mall. We got our annual photo taken down there before heading home for the evening.

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On Black Friday, Vivian and I skipped the homicidal three in the morning crowds and enjoyed a very tame and not-too-crowded stroll through Walmart, where we picked up Batman Begins and Bladerunner for $2 each along with our egg nog. We visited the Durham that evening for their Christmas tree lighting and helped Donna’s cake-decorating group hand out cookies for the kids to decorate before the main event.

Later on, we dropped by JNO to welcome back Jillian from New Yawk City. She was able to have a Birthday/Welcome Back jam toward the end of the night. Jenny and Kris made an appearance as well, and we inducted him into the tradition of having breakfast and BS’ing down at Village Inn afterward.

Random Vivian Weekend

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Vivian and I have had a fun week or so just hanging out with one another. On Thursday last week, she got an award from Friendship Program, where she’s spent the last five years of her working life. We got to hang out with a few of her goofy co-workers and have some tasty hors d’eourves provided by the staff.

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On Saturday, Vivian made good on a bet we had on the Nebraska / Texas game a few weeks ago and took me out to lunch at the place of my choice. Naturally, I chose Wasabi, the All You Can Eat Sushi restaurant out on West Maple. The place was absolutely amazing. You order sushi from a menu similar to Sakura Bana or any traditional sushi restaurant, except you only pay once. We stuffed ourselves with maki rolls, shrimp tempura, miso soup, green tea ice cream, and an assortment of other items that would have put us well in bankruptcy if we’d eaten anywhere else.

We waddled on over to the Michael’s next door to browse the art supplies and play with the toys over there as we let our giant meal settle.

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Vivian and I headed down to the new Trader Joe’s at One Pacific Place afterward. The place was packed, as we’d expected. Trader Joe’s is the kind of grocery store you’d get if Whole Foods and Aldi had a baby — the selection is mostly all-natural foods and specialty items usually found only on the west coast (such as Italian Dry Bologna, or whatever it’s called), and it’s also almost entirely store-branded products. That means the prices are actually quite reasonable. I picked up a big bottle of sweet vermouth for $5 as well as a bottle of the notorious Two Buck Chuck (which was actually $3).

I was also impressed with the effort Trader Joe’s made to localize their store with murals on the walls of noteworthy Omaha landmarks, such as the Lauritzen Gardens and the Dundee Theater. It was fun to try to identify them as we squeezed out through the checkout line with our goods in tow.

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We were still stuffed from lunch, so we walked down the Big Papio Trail as the sun set. The light was hitting the colorful leaves of a nearby grove of trees, and Vivian wanted to stop and get some lovely fall pictures of ourselves before heading home.

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Our little Honda Civic hit a big milestone on Sunday night — it finally made it over its first one-hundred thousand miles. Vivian wanted me there on hand with a camera to capture the moment on video.

On Tuesday, I decided to take Vivian out for a “just because” date, so we dropped by the always-appetizing Charlie’s on the Lake to have some seafood for dinner, and then we went to the AMC theater around the corner to watch Facebook: The Movie (also known as The Social Network). It was quite compelling, and much better than I expected, probably because they didn’t include anything about Farmville.

A wedding, and Arts for All


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On Saturday, Vivian and I and a bunch of our mutual friends got to see Hugh Kam and Sarah Hansen married out at Peace Presbyterian Church in West Omaha. It was the ideal wedding ceremony — brief and to the point, and followed by a long and fun reception. We had dinner and speeches by Best Man Olin and Maid of Honor (Sarah’s sister) Laura. Then we had several hours to burn off our dinner dancing to music by DJ/MC Troy. There seemed to be an equal mix between swing and country music, as well as welcome inclusions of “Shout” by the Isley Brothers and a conga dance. (The Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey were notably absent.)

Of course, I was on hand to take plenty of photos and video, and I put together a brief video summary of the event online.

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Vivian and I had some more fun on Sunday crashing at Sam & Louie’s in Bellevue to have pizza with new friends from Twin Valley Church, where we’ve been attending for the last couple of months. Afterward, I dropped by St. Martin’s up in South Omaha, where our swing dancing friends Jessica Ritchie and Dan Wondra were participating in an art show with Arts for All. Jessica had her photos on display, and Dan was, of course, drawing caricatures. He did one of me mixing up nasty drinks, as is my forte now, apparently. We also did one or two swing dance demonstrations to anybody who happened to wander by.

Highlights from Hugh & Sarah’s wedding


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We had our first freeze warning of the season shortly before All Hallows Eve, so Vivian and I did a late evening harvest of our tomato plants so we could have a chance to eat some of them. We had plenty of green tomatoes still waiting to be picked on the vine, and even some red ones. It looks like some bruschetta may be in our future.

Among our slew of Halloween events was a brief birthday party for Vivian’s co-worker Sally. She dressed up as Waldo, so I made a themed card for her and joined the gang from Friendship Program for pizza and burgers dressed as Inigo Montoya. Vivian came as a piece of sushi.

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Friday night was the Halloween Dance at JNO, so Vivian and I wore our costume over to the Eagle’s Lodge for a night of dancing. We had plenty of worthy competitors in the costume contest this year, which included Rob and a Whoopie Cushion, Jaimie as Little Bo Creep, and Dan Wondra as… Dan Wondra.

The highlight, however, was our brief performance of the Thrill the World dance in the middle of the dance floor. We’d been practicing in Merinda’s basement for the last month of two, and it was quite exciting to jump out and perform in front of a bunch of unsuspecting swing dancers. We’re already talking about doing the whole six-minute song next year, perhaps at the Haunted Manor here in Omaha.

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On Saturday night, Merinda had another classic Halloween party in her basement. Some of us donned new costumes just for the occasion, including Lisa as Running with Scissors, Jaimie as Mother Nature (or Poison Ivy, take your pick), Brianne as a Blue Ox (with Paul Bunyan standing by) and Ben Cass as the Creepy Panda (no, I don’t get it either). Dan and Cathy got to take the cake as the Creepy Swing Dancing Zombies, with make-up provided by the Haunted Manor. Seriously, Dan looked remarkably like Freddy Krueger.

It was a long, fun night, with plenty of silliness and mixing of drinks. I got to give away some of our own store making Martinis, Appletinis, and White Russians who anybody who wanted them. Of course, Troy’s radioactive rum was probably quite enough for anyone.