Monthly Archives: March 2018

Fairy fair and final fish fry


We’re diving headlong into Holy Week as we prepare to finish off the Lenten Season. Winter’s had a few last gasps (with some fence-smashing wind), but it’s been nice enough to go for a stroll with the kids on a number of occasions. Then on Thursday, we had the Mills over to have a fish fry at our house with our combined gaggle of kids. Vivian fried up some cod with a coating that used ginger beer as one of the ingredients.

Nate also brought along his Wii so we could introduce our kids to a variety of different Mega Man games before calling it a night. We’ve been playing Mega Man quite a bit recently, so much so that Hannah’s learned to draw all eight robot masters.


I had Friday off for “Employee Appreciation Day” at work, so I had a lovely morning to myself as Vivian took the kids to their homeschool co-op. Dad and I did some shopping at Costco, and then I introduced him to Gerda’s, the quaint German restaurant on Leavenworth that reminded me very much of the Bohemian Cafe (which the owner told us himself that he missed). We both had some German sausage, sauerkraut, and potato salad for lunch.

That evening, Vivian took Hannah to a mommy/daughter party with a bunch of our friends, which involved lovely dresses, flowery picture frames, and painting birdhouses. (I got some alone time with Aaron in the meantime, which involved coloring, rough-housing, and eating hot dogs.)


On Saturday, we took the kids down to the Fontenelle Forest for a Fairy Faire. The all broke out our fairy wings and had a morning of fairy fun, including some face-painting, coloring a cardboard house, and making some magic wands (with sticks handed out by a strange hobo). It was a little chilly outside again this year, but that didn’t keep us from going out to the patio to blow some bubbles or venture into the woods to assemble our fairy houses (with components from the fairy market). Hannah and Aaron also got christened with some fairy names downstairs before sliding around, and then we got a couple photos with some fairy ladies upstairs before heading home.


Sunday was Palm Sunday, so we gathered all the kids to march around the church a couple times during Hosanna at the opening of the service. It won’t be long before our kids are too old for this sort of thing, so we’ve got to enjoy it while we can.

In other news, I ate a Meat Monster sandwich at Arby’s. It does exist. Hopefully my heart won’t be clogged by Easter, which is right around the corner.

Rock’em Sock’em Birthdays


Winter has been having fits and starts, but it looks like we’re on our way to spring. Last Wednesday, Vivian brought the kids to the park along with some cupcakes to share (in lieu of paying $4 each at Jones Bros). After some brief time on the swings (with Raffie), we ran up and down a few hills to burn off the sugar rush before calling it a day.

Then on Friday, we paid a brief visit to Phil and Jen and their new baby Gabriel. This was a long-anticipated miracle for the two of them, and I was quite happy to take a few new family pictures of the happy parents.


On Saturday, we joined my parents and two brothers to celebrate Jonathan’s birthday at the local Pizza Ranch. Hannah and Aaron each made a birthday card for Uncle Jonny (featuring Mega Man characters), and then we binged on pizza and fried chicken as the kids played horsey around the party room.

Back home we had some “impossible pie” cake and got to play a bit with a prize Jonathan brought home — a classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots game. We also looked at some old family slides and played a couple rounds of Use Your Worlds together, but Hannah was more interested in watching her shadow jump in front of the screen.


That evening, we gave the kids some green foods for St. Patrick’s Day, and then Vivian made a feast with corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, and Irish soda bread. We also had some Irish cheese, which we ate while watching the classic Disney film, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, which is about as Irish as movie as you could find.

The next day, I got some one-on-one time with Hannah and decided to make some mint chocolate brownies with green icing just for fun. There’s never a bad time for sugar around our house!

Fish fry, St. Patty’s Parade, and Chili

It’s the season of “spent” once again, which naturally means indulging in a variety of lenten foods together with our friends.


First item on the agenda is a fish fry at our traditional fish fry of choice, St. John Vianney in Millard. Our mutual friends Jenny and Kody, Jon, Phil and Jen, and their parents (who’d never been to a fish fry before) all joined us in the long, long line before getting our fill of fried fish, mac and cheese, french fries, and all the other greasy beige goodies available. My old co-worker Cliff dishes the fish, and Guitar Guy (whose name turns out to be Win) had us all “bah bah baaing” along to Sweet Caroline as we ate. We got a few raffle tickets as well, but nobody won anything. We did also see our friends the Mills — we’ll likely do a fish fry with them at a different venue in a couple weeks.


On Saturday morning, we enjoyed some slight-above-freezing temperatures in downtown Omaha to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was put on by the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Omaha. We got to see some Convertibles, monster trucks, and lots of people dressed in green. There was even a legion of Stormtroopers wearing kilts for whatever reason. And of course, there was plenty of candy, and we got a bigger share than usual being at the very tail end of the parade. We wound up missing the first half of the parade, but it was still nice to be able to see our first parade of the year in relatively nice weather (and stumbling upon an already-paid-for parking spot).


Then that evening our friend Jessica was hosting her Second Annual Chili Cookoff at her apartment. Kate brought her girls, who played happily with Hannah most of the night as the rest of us samples each other’s chili. We saw a number of familiar faces form the night before, including Phil and Jen, who brought along some Mapo Tofu. There was also a rare appearance by Richard Burney, who brought along an Irish chocolate cream pie and a copy of RiffTrax, which kept us terribly amused toward the end of the evening.

Big winners of the night (if Chili gift cards, no less), was Phil for the mist unique chili, Kate for the spiciest, and Vivian for the best overall! We finished off the night with some delightfully weird RiffTrax shorts, courtesy of Richard, which included kids making horrifying monstrosities out of grass. of all things.

VIPs and the Veep


It’s been a busy week of political-hobnobbing here in Omaha. Fresh off our visit with Ben Shapiro on Wednesday came Don Bacon’s re-election campaign kickoff on Saturday. The freshman congressman had a trio of VIPs on hand to endorse him: Mayor Stothert, Senator Fischer, and Gov. Ricketts (the latter two also happen to be running for re-election). Bacon gave a rousing stump speech, in which he advocated for such things as term limits and a balanced budget amendment and highlighted the recently passed Republican tax cuts.

Then everyone mingled in the crowd afterward over a barbecue lunch. One thing I love about Omaha is how easy it seems to be to shake hands and chat with a mayo, governor, senator, or congressman and tell them what’s on your mind. There were other familiar faces in the crowd, including Bellevue Mayor Rita Saunders, former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub, and our buddy Taylor Royal, who’s now running for treasurer. Also on hand was Mason the Button Boy and his dad, hoping to score a couple more lapel pins for his collection.


Then on Tuesday the Vice-President came to town. He was visiting Omaha to speak at a high-dollar fundraiser for Gov. Ricketts, but he also spoke at a free event hosted by a group called America First Policies beforehand. An hour-long round-table discussion came first, and then Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds came out to introduce the Vice-President. The VP highlighted the tax cuts for the most part, but encouraged everyone in the crowd to tell their friends that “America is open for business.” There were no words about tariffs, but Pence did take a jab at the media and got a standing ovation for remarks on standing for the national anthem. It was a speech tailor made for a friendly crowd in a “red state” and felt like a campaign rally.

I’d seen Pence twice before during the campaign, and each time he was interrupted by protesters. This time around, I couldn’t find any protesters inside or outside the venue (though they were apparently somewhere in the area). I got close enough to the VP to shake his hand and take a couple selfies with him in the background, My friend Mason the Button Boy, however, got a special treat — the VP gave him a special lapel pin to add to his growing collection, along with a coin featuring the VP seal on one side and Pence’s signature on the reverse. I chatted with his dad afterward who said his son called it “the best day ever.”

A friend on Facebook asked that evening how I get access to all these political events. It’s funny because these events are open to the public — you don’t even have to donate a dollar to attend and shake hands with the Governor and the Vice-President. I think I’m just lucky to live in a country where that sort of thing is possible. Either that, or I live across the river from an early primary state.

Bonus: KPTM Fox 42 did a story on my buddy Mason, which you can read about here.

Ben Shapiro comes to Creighton

Wednesday was an exciting day in politics for Omaha as Ben Shapiro, host of the popular podcast and editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire came to speak at Creighton. General admission tickets were available on January 31 but sold out within a couple hours, and there was still so strong a demand for seats that people were offering cash money for tickets on the TPUSA Facebook Page up until the day of the event.


I was ready to grab tickets for me and Vivian once they became available, and then we turned up a couple hours before the doors opened to get a couple good seats inside (along with a bunch of other people). We arrived just as a literal busload of security guys showed up to secure the event. There were guys on rooftops and on horseback and several others with full riot gear assembled in case there was any trouble. It was truly bizarre, particularly since only TWO protesters showed up, with a single sign to share between them.

There were 1900+ other people there with us, some of whom sponsored the event and got good seats down on the floor (and some even getting to take pictures with Ben Shapiro at a private meet-and-greet beforehand). Such noteworthy VIPs included Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and several state senators in the front row. We bumped into our friend Phil in the long, long line outside and sat with him up in the free seats before the event kicked off (nearly an hour late, much to the irritation of people online trying to find the live stream).


Ben Shapiro came out to a very enthusiastic crowd around 9:20 and gave a half-hour talk on the Second Amendment, which you can see online. Then he had about half an hour of Q&A afterward, most of which involved the second amendment but also included a few pointed questions from a liberal guy and more questions (and an “air high five”) from a guy I’m pretty sure was stoned.

It was an exciting event, though I had to go back to the live stream of the speech to catch everything Shapiro said, as the acoustics in the arena made it difficult to hear (and I spent half the time taking photos, of course). Mostly, I was amazed to see how many young conservatives there were who not only came to the event but also helped to organize it. The absolute overkill with security was amusing too, of course. Creighton University is most definitely not UC Berkeley.