Vivian and I are continuing to enjoy our early and extended spring here in Omaha, getting outdoors for walks with Hannah and grilling at home whenever we get the chance.
On Friday night, Vivian and I dropped by Jitterbugs Night Out with Hannah in tow. I’ve been pleasant surprised at how well Hannah seemed to do with large, noisy crowds of people, and she seemed to enjoy making all sorts of new jitterbug friends with her infectious smile. The dance was held at InCommon on 13th street for reasons unknown, a small non-profit organization located inside a small building with a giant wooden floor that made an an adequate (albeit small) dance space. Vivian and I danced with several of our friends and enjoyed a lively playlist supplied by Jitterbug veteran Billy Sobczyk. I heard compliments all night about his selection of songs, which included old favorites Vivian remembered from her first danced at the Eagles’ Lodge. Sarah also commented that the tiny space at InCommon reminded her of the Beehive Lodge, which was where the Jitterbugs used to dance before moving to 24th and Douglas. Old is new again, I suppose.
Vivian and I jumped into a birthday jam with Debbie before calling it a night, though we did stop by the Donut Stop next door for some completely unnecessary pastries before heading home. If the Jitterbugs get kicked out of the Eagles Lodge again, InCommon would be an ideal backup dance space, particularly with one of our favorite post JNO hangouts right next door.
On Saturday, Jenny hosted another one of her annual taco parties, though this one had a bit of a twist. Her guest list was shared with her new roommate Libby, so half the people in our group were people we’d never met. By some coincidence Katie and her husband Dan share a bit of work history with Vivian and me. That gave us plenty of things to chat about right off the bat.
After stuffing ourselves with a typical assortment of taco foodstuffs (including Vivian’s kick-butt guacamole), we played a couple hilarious rounds of Telestrations and got good and silly toward the end of the night. We formed a human pyramid for some reason and probably made enough noise to get Jenny in trouble with the neighbors. I supposed after starting a snowball fight in her living room back in 2007, it was still an improvement.
The tradition lives on!
Spring is nearly here at last, though in a way it feels like it never left. This winter’s been quite mild to say the least. Vivian’s parents have headed down to Florida to attend a “celebration” in the wake of her aunt’s passing away, so we spent some extra time stuffing our faces with them before we left. First was their first-ever fish fry down at St. John Vianney’s (of course), and then an early St. Patrick’s Day dinner at our house.
Later that week, I took Vivian and Hannah out on our first family picnic down at Roxbury Park around the corner from where I work. The weather’s been so agreeable that I never know whether to wear a coat, long sleeves, or short sleeves. We had a nice family walk up and down a bike trail before heading back to work.
Vivian and I had a fun St. Patrick’s weekend. We went out fish-frying at Famous Dave’s with friends Phil and Jen. Then, we spent the rest of the evening at their place sipping Bailey’s cocktails and watching The Naked Gun. On St. Patty’s Day, Vivian made up corned beef and cabbage, and we took a walk with Hannah out in the fresh air. We also introduced her to our lawn, getting several pictures of her smiling and rolling in the grass wearing her St. Patrick’s Day bib.
Sunday was Jonathan’s birthday, so he dropped by to celebrate with us. Vivian made Chinese food for dinner and Jon and I played a couple rounds of Sub Hunt and Burgertime on his Intellivision, which we managed to connect to our TV. We finished off the night playing four-way Apples to Apples, which included Hannah drawing random cards. (What’s crazy is that she nearly beat us.)
The marvelous season of “spent” is upon us again, and this means partaking in many of our favorite annual traditions, not the least of which is our annual feast at St. John Vianney’s. Since 2009, we’ve been dropping in to binge on fried fish, pancakes, grilled cheese, and all our favorite beige foods. This particular parish has been our venue of choice for many reasons, one of which is that the line is relatively short. (Word must have gotten out, though, because the wait was about twice as long as it’s been in years past.)
It was a great time with our friends as always — Tamra, newcomer Amanda, Mark Scheen, Jenny, and of course Lisa, who managed to win at the Meat Wheel once again. We also had one surprise guest among the crowd of fish friers — Nebraska Congressman Lee Terry, who apparently wandered in with everyone else just to buy some fish. I’m always amazed at how often I managed to bump into Terry in “real life,” who always seems to be in an amicable mood just in case I needed to give him a piece of my mind. I only wish other governmental representatives were as easy to get hold of.
Vivian and I finished off the evening at JNO, bringing little Hannah along with us to meet more new people in our group. There was a fairly large crowd, much of it made of younger kids from a local ballroom dance troupe who performed a few minutes of east coast swing for us in a circle. We did have one very unexpected visitor in the crowd of newcomers — Pastor Mark Ashton from Christ Community Church. Vivian and had attended this particular mega church for a couple years but eventually moved to Twin Valley after we decided it was too big. Ironically, I’d never even gotten the chance to shake hands with Mark Ashton before, since we only saw him on Sundays and when he wasn’t sermonizing via remote location on the telescreen, he was sharing our attention with those of a couple thousand other people. This time, Vivian got to dance with him. It was quite a surreal experience.