Monthly Archives: April 2022

Springtime, Funfest, and Swag

We’ve launched headfirst into spring, and the trees are exploding with blossoms as tulips and daffodils bloom in our front yard. The cold has persisted for a couple of days, but it’s also been warm enough to have ice cream on the front porch and bring Harold out to graze in the front yard once again.

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We also had a few fun activities at Wildewood. On Tuesday last week, the Men of God had dinner again, with spare ribs Woody smoked up for us his smoked and beans as Scott had everyone brainstorming about what a men’s group ought to look like in the coming year. Hannah also came by on Wednesday and got to do an Easter-themed “escape room” with her youth group (which was fun for me to watch through the window).

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On Sunday afternoon, we took the kids to Omaha Funfest at Werner Park, sponsored by the Autism Society of Nebraska. Aaron got some time in the bounce house and I got to spin around on the carousel feeling nice and sick for a few minutes. Aaron and another boy got to play a legit game of chess together in the game tent while Hannah tried her hand at Jenga for the first time. Hannah got a painted tattoo and Aaron learned about juggling afterward. There were a few cosplayers on hand as well, featuring Ghostbusters and Star Wars characters, as well as a heavily modified “Stormy” mascot. They had a walk around the park before closing up for the day, and I did a lap with Aaron before heading home.

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In other news, I got a couple pieces of political swag in the mail. First as my Daily Wire “leftist tearstumbler, which came on the same day Elon Musk bought Twitter, which couldn’t be better timing. Next was a custom t-shirt I had made up for my Twitter handle, which I planned to wear at a certain rally later this week, just in case I’m seen by OANN, Newsmax, or RSBN and can get some free advertising.

I also wore this shirt on Tuesday, when I had meetup with a few friends down at Don Carmelo’s pizza in Rockbrook. I have events like this every so often with anyone who wants to talk politics “off the grid,” so I picked this little pizza joint to give them a little extra business after they were brave enough to host Jack Posobiec a few weeks ago. It’s darn good pizza, too.

I also got Matt Walsh’s book on the same day and had some fun reading it to Hannah and Aaron before bedtime.

Week of Easter 2022

We had a fun-filled Easter weekend with the whole family, and even though we had a passing storm and a frigid cold snap afterward, we still got plenty of time outside hunting for eggs, among other things.

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We had a fairly busy week leading up to Easter weekend, as well. On Monday, I dropped by the Garden Cafe to have some chicken fried steak and hear Donald Kleine talk about his work as Douglas County Attorney, including his involvement with the tragic case of Jake Gardner back in 2020. The next day, we had a line of storms pass through Omaha, which set off the tornado siren and sprinkled our lawn with tiny bits of hail, but fortunately didn’t cause much more damage (though there was plenty of lighting to go around).

I got out my bike for some quality pedaling around town in the meantime, heading by Hanscom Park one day and Trader Joe’s the next for a bottle of kosher wine, which we broke open on Maundy Thursday to have with some unleavened barley bread that I baked, just for fun. (Oy vey.) Then on Good Friday, Vivian cooked a rack of lamb for our Passover dinner, which we had with some rice made with “bitter herbs” to go along with it. Then we watched Prince of Egypt with the kids downstairs, a movie that’s quickly becoming a tradition for around Passover time every year for us.

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Then on a chilly Saturday morning, we took the kids down to Stonecroft Park for an Easter Egg Hunt with Bellevue Christian Center. They each got a turn to rush onto a field to scoop up plastic eggs filled with candy, and there were a couple bounce houses that kept them occupied while they were waiting their turn (when they weren’t climbing up slides the wrong way or rolling down a hill).

That afternoon, I put The Ten Commandments on the TV for us to watch as I struggled to make some deviled eggs, which didn’t want to be peeled without getting turn to pieces. Vivian made some hot-crossed buns in the meantime, and then that evening we colored some eggs with the kids. I got some markers to go along with the dye this year, so Hannah could draw a family portrait on one of hers. I even got into the fun and made an eyeball egg.

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On Easter Sunday, our kids got to find a couple baskets hidden in the house by the “Easter Bunny” before we put on our Sunday Best and headed off to church. I’d given up coffee for Lent and was quite happy to have a Cup of Joe once again instead of Postum for a change. Grammy and Pop-Pop came by with a turkey, which Vivian baked in the oven in the afternoon for our Easter Dinner, and the kids got to run around with Bella a bit before hunting for some Easter Eggs in our yard.

I put out my dish of Deviled Eggs later in the afternoon when my parents dropped by, along with Uncle Jonny, Uncle Nathan, and his girlfriend Cheryl. Vivian made Watergate and Potato Salads along with some roasted asparagus, and I carved up the turkey before dinnertime around five. It was the most people we’d ever had sitting at our dining room table, I think, and I could barely fit everyone into a single picture. Cheryl brought some cassava cake and flan for dessert, which we had with some key-lime pie Grammy made. The kids played on their iPads while I queued some Google Street View on the Raspberry Pi so Cheryl could show us her hometown in the Philippines before we called it a night.

It was a fun and busy weekend, but always a joy to have so much family under one small roof. Happy Easter, everybody!

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Happy Easter from the Johnson Family!

An endorsement, an egg hunt, and Jack Posobiec

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It’s been a week heavy with politics for some reason, particularly following Brett Lindstrom and the race for Nebraska’s next governor. On Monday, his campaign got a boost when Jean Stothert came by to make an official endorsement for governor. I got an invite to the press conference along with a handful of people from media, so I got to enjoy snapping a bunch of photos and even sending a few along to a guy from Nebraska Sunrise News to use in a story.

Then on Wednesday, I got to attend a debate forum with three gubernatorial candidates — Brett Lindstrom, Charles W. Herbster, and Theresa Thibodeau. Jim Pillen was a no-show, as usual, and that pretty much writes him off as a choice on my ballot. An anchor from KETV served as moderator and asked questions about taxes, education, and critical race theory. You can watch the full debate here (and get an eyeful of my bald spot in the corner during the first several minutes).

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We had some absolutely gorgeous weather on Saturday, after a week of cold, gray cloudiness (with even a bit of snow). Vivian and Hannah went on an overnight camping trip with the American Heritage Girls, so I got to have some quality time with Aaron. I was able to install a “Mario Maker” game on his little Mini PC, which kept him busy as I tidied up a bit.

Then we went by Swanson Park to have some lunch and then have some time together outdoors. We went walking through a wooded area, climbing on logs and going into a makeshift shelter somebody left behind. He also got some time on the playground and rolled down a hill a couple times.

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Saturday night was exciting for me, as I got to spend the evening with Jack Posobiec, one of my favorite Twitter follows and podcast hosts, and a bunch of folks with the Nebraska Freedom Coalition. They’d had an event earlier that day that was crashed by some local antifa thugs, and oen of them got the bum’s rush off stage by Matt Innis (who primaried Ben Sasse in 2020) and was taken away in handcuffs. The “cocktail reception” was held at Don Carmelo’s in Elkhorn and outside of a few angry phone calls had absolutely no problem whatsoever.

Posobiec himself was terrific, giving an hour talk and Q&A. He talked about China locking down Shanghai, the Whitmer kidnapping case going up in smoke, and how Trump enjoys watching angry reactions to his tweets on Twitter. He’d also come with his wife and kids and had spent some time in the Old Market at the Hollywood Candy store and Imaginarium, which was nice to hear. There were several familiar faces in the crowd (which was packed wall-to-wall, standing room only), including gubernatorial candidates Breland Ridenour and Theresa Thibodeau, Chris Baker, and a handful of other people running for office. Naturally, I got a photo with Posobiec afterward and also took a goofy selfie of me literally “following” him inside (which got retweeted by Beard Vet).

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Vivian and Hannah returned from camping the next day, a little tired and sunburned. Then we went down to Renewed Hope church in midtown Omaha to go on an Easter Egg Hunt. They had some hot dogs and chips for everyone for lunch, and then kids in various age groups go to collect eggs in three squared off sections of the lawn. Hannah and Aaron each got a group of their own to compete in. The eggs were filled with candy, small toys, and “coins” they could redeem for bigger prizes. Lexi and her kids joined us on the lawn, which was nice, and the weather couldn’t have been better for an egg hunt and picnic outside.

St. John Vianney & World Autism Day

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On Friday, we decided on a whim to drop by St. John Vianney for a fish fry. It’s been my favorite fish fry venue for over a decade and it was the last time we’d be able to drop by on a Friday, so I thought it was worth a visit — particularly since we missed out on the last two years. Vivian stood in line for us as the kids got in some quality playground time next door. It was about an hour-long wait, so it was good for them to blow of some steam on the swings before heading inside for dinner.

We got to see our friend Frank as we got our fried fish, French fries, mac & cheese, pancakes, and all our other favorites. Of course the real fun was in all the other activities going on during dinner. I also got to sing along to “Sweet Caroline” with the Guitar Guy, and Hannah got to give the Meat Wheel a spin. Some people out front were having a fundraiser to visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, so we got a couple balloon swords form them before heading out.

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On Saturday, my brothers and I spent some time at my parents’ house going through another one of my dad’s bookshelves, looking at old books on marketing, graphics, and photography. We also got to watch a few more embarrassing home movies from our time in Warrensburg some 30 years ago.

It was also World Autism Day, so we got to spend the afternoon getting a “sneak peek” at some of the Common Senses Festival installations housed at KANEKO down in the Old Market. They had some interesting interactive exhibits, such as a sculpture with a mesh fabric and fish on a projector that react to your touch, and glowing chairs that react to your heart rate. There were a sensory exhibit and a lovely quiet space with calming videos on a loop on a circular projection screen — something I could use in our house.

We walked a block up the street for some ice cream at Ted & Wally’s when we were done, which was a very nice way to wrap up our visit.

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Then on Sunday, I took Hannah down to Plattsmouth for a little horseback riding with the Cherish Riding Association. She’d been going to this place off and on for several months now, but it was the first time I got to see the experience first hand. She got to help brush a few of the horses before having a ride on Cody and Blue for a little bit. It was cloudy, windy, and raining throughout the afternoon, however, so we didn’t stay very long.

Then that evening, I got some pizzas from Aldi and we watched Ron’s Gone Wrong for family movie night. It was a surprisingly fun movie and took some serious jabs at the Apple/Google big tech conglomeration, with the most aggressive portrayal of Steve Jobs I’ve seen since The Pirates of Silicon Valley. The kids had also gotten some Ron’s Gone Wrong toys in their happy meals, so it seemed like a fairly natural choice.

Rolling for initiative

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We’re pushing our way into Spring now, despite the occasional snowfall we’re still getting for some reason. On Sunday, I made a full English breakfast with leftovers and took Hannah by my parents’ house just to play some more video games with Uncle Jonny. Aaron’s been inventing his own paper and dice game with some D20’s he got for his birthday last year. He’s also had fun playing Mario Kart with his sister and me and making little stop motion videos with his digital camera. Mama Ginny also spent a week or two with us while the Mills were in Mexico, and it was nice to have Harold’s mommy for an extended visit.

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On Monday, I dropped by the Garden Café for a luncheon with Brett Lindstrom. He gave a talk about his campaign and various bills under consideration, particularly a few dealing with tax cuts, one of which got unexpectedly shut down the week before. As usual, there were several other candidates running for office, including one for Jeff Fortenberry’s seat, which he’s just recently vacated.

Then on Tuesday, I dropped by the OPOA union hall for a campaign kickoff with my friend John Sieler, who’s running for State Board of Education. I’ve known John for a couple years, and he asked me to help live stream his campaign event and take some photos, which I was happy to do. I even created Facebook page for his campaign using nothing but my cheap little Android before the event got underway, just so I wouldn’t have to stream the event from my own personal account. You can watch the video here.

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Then on Thursday, we had some unexpected fun down at Skate City for a “Roller Skating Party” with Chandler View Elementary. Hannah seems to really enjoy roller-skating, having gone a handful of times over the past year or two. I joined her on the rink as well, still ridiculously wobbly and unsteady on my feet. I only fell down once, though — onto the carpet (and getting a massive rug burn). It was still fun, and it’s so nice to see Hannah bravely trying something new and getting better at it every time.

We got the kids some chicken strips and hot dogs for dinner while we were there, and they spent some extra time playing on some of the games afterward, with earning enough tickets for a handful of little prizes.