Category Archives: Politics

Freedom Weekend in Nebraska

It’s been another busy weekend for me as summer makes way for fall, with plenty of politics involved while still making time for the kids.

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On Monday, there was an open house at Chandler Elementary, so we got to chat with Aaron’s first grade teacher and learn how his first few weeks back at public school have been going. We also got to see his locker, his cubby, and some of the things he’s been working on. We also dropped by the art room, the library, and the gym before playing a bit on the playground before heading home.

Then on Wednesday, I took a lovely bike ride in the cooler weather, stopping my Memorial Park to see their “Tribute of Flags” honoring victims of 9/11 on the south lawn. Afterward, I rode up Happy Hollow to visit a few houses featured in movies I’d seen, including Jack Nicholson’s house in About Schmidt and Martin Landau’s house in Lovely Still. I even dropped by Warren Buffett’s house on the way back to work (it was essentially right on the way).

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On Friday night, I drove up to Ashland to attend Freedom Fest, a combination of “Woodstock and CPAC” according to organizers. I had a hot dog and some barbecue from a few of the food trucks while chatting with a few attendees in the garden area of the Round the Bend ballroom, where it was held. Kids got to play in a bounce house as grown-ups flung axes while waiting for the program to begin. Chris Baker played emcee, and keynote speakers included school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis, Ben Tapper, and New Jersey gym owner Ian Smith, who made headlines keeping his doors open during Covid lockdowns. Smith encouraged attendees to get involved at the local level rather than waiting for “some guy at the top to solve all our problems.”

The evening ended with a performance by Bryson Gray, a conservative rapper in a floppy MAGA hat and denim and rapping about vaccines and Trump. He seemed to be the favorite of the young folks in the audience. A pastor from South Dakota brought his girls all the way down to see him, and they stood in the front singing right along, clearly familiar with his work. It was a fun night with even more attendees than organizer Tim Davis expected, which was a nice surprise considering Eventbrite cancelled all ticket sales a week earlier.

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On Saturday, we got up early to take Aaron in his Mega Man outfit for another baseball game, this time with a Halloween theme. He got to throw and bat and high-five the other team members before walking his bucket around to get some candy.

Then that afternoon, I went down to Lincoln for a large Freedom Rally on the capitol steps, featuring several people speaking out against government mask and vaccine mandates and calling for a special session to put a stop to them. There was a fairly good crowd, between 500-1000 people over the two hours I was there, and cars passing by honked and waved. I even managed to find my twin in red, white, and blue as I made my way through the patriotic crowd.

(And of course, no trip to Lincoln would be complete without pho from Pho Nguyenn.)

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Sunday was a relatively quiet day as I took Hannah to church but Vivian and Aaron stayed home sick. Then that afternoon I dropped by Central Park, where Wildewood was having a “block party” for the neighborhood. Hannah got some time in a bounce house and got her face painted. I had a burger and chatted with Pastor Ron, who just returned from Florida, and a DJ played music as we played some nine-square and cornhole before heading home.

Then that evening, we sat the kids down to watch Star Wars — the original from 1977, unspecialized. It was fun to show them the film for the first time, though I’m not sure how interested they were in seeing it. I was just happy to share another bit of childhood with them (and not in a silly way where Greedo shoots first).

A Memorial and a Steak Fry

We’ve been busy weekend here in Omaha having some fun with friends and a few politicians, along with a few rather somber moments over the 9/11 weekend.

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I wound up taking Friday off so Vivian could take Aaron to a doctor’s appointment. After helping Hannah with some of her homeschool work, we drove up to Milliard to help pay tribute to a fallen Marine. If you’ve been following the news, Cpl. Daegan Page was one of thirteen Americans killed in the chaotic aftermath of America’s hasty and sudden retreat in Afghanistan. The news hit home to a lot of people here in the metro area. A few people online organized an event to welcome the fallen Marine home, with thousands of people lining the streets along the route of the funeral procession.

I was able to spot people gathering on the overpasses along I-80 on the way west to Millard. There must have been a couple thousand people just lining Millard Avenue from 132nd to 144th, which was where Hannah and I found ourselves. We came early enough to claim a spot underneath a shady tree, but when the procession finally arrived around 2:30 PM, nearly everyone crossed over to stand along the median as it came by. All you could see from one end of town to the other was a sea of American flags as the motorcycle-led procession came by. A woman next to me burst into sobbing as they drove past. I’m not sure how much of an impact the whole experience had on Hannah, but she held her flag along with everyone else as they came by. It was a rare, unifying moment, and seemed quite appropriate to come before September 11.

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That evening, our whole family drove down to Stonecroft Park to celebrate Sammy and Lily’s birthdays. There was a new “all-access” playground installation Vivian had wanted to see for a while, so the kids had a couple hours to enjoy playing on that. We had Little Caesars for dinner and some cupcakes and the girls got to open a handful of presents before we called it a night.

Then after the kids were in bed, I drove up to the Starlight Chateau for a little swing dancing with few old Jitterbug friends. Jordan was putting on his speakeasy swing dance again, though only a few people showed up to dance. I think we all wore Sara out dancing throughout the night, and Dan got to play from a playlist of goofy novelty songs, including jingles for Coca-Cola, of all things. Mostly, it was nice just to get out and dance once again — something I’ve missed even before Covid came along and ended much of it.

Saturday was a bit of a break as Aaron played baseball, daddy grilled burgers, and we didn’t do much else.

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Then came Sunday, which was a long, busy day as we headed down to Nebraska City for a Steak Fry. It was Gov. Ricketts‘ fourth such event, this time with an all-star line-up of speakers: Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, Sen. Ted Cruz, and former VP Mike Pence. The event was nominally to celebrate agriculture, but it was very much a political rally, with each candidate (and Ricketts himself) rumored to have Presidential aspirations.

We also got to see many other familiar faces while we were there, including Lt. Gov. Foley, former Gov. Kay Orr, Sen. Deb Fischer, and Congressman Don Bacon. What really made this event unique, however, was that the VIP speakers were quite accessible to the crowd at large, both before and after their stump speeches. Desantis and Pence literally walked up and started greeting those of us in line for food, making for plenty of selfies and photos all around. Each of them lingered afterward as well, making it fairly easy to simply walk up with either Hannah or Aaron (or Lexi) to say hello. It’s quite a thrill to introduce your kids to a former Veep — or perhaps the next President.

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Of course, we also had some fun that had nothing whatsoever to do with politics. A few ladies brought an accoutrement of bubble-making wands, which the kids had fun with for a while before and after the speeches. We stayed afterward to let the kids play on the playground for a while as everyone filed out, and we got to play on the Whispering Bench by J. Morton Sterling’s statue once again (as we did last year). Then we swung by Dairy Queen on the south side of town to get some ice cream cones for the ride home.

It was a long, busy weekend, with fun and excitement and a few somber moments. Mostly, I’m hoping that I’m making some memories with the kids that they’ll have at least until the next election.

Baseball, Splash Pads, and Labor Day Weekend

We got to have some culinary fun in the week following my birthday, with some VooDoo tacos with alligator meat, jalapeño poppers, shrimp tacos, and some rambutans all making their way into the menu — and most (hopefully) burned off on the bike trails.

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Then we had a fun little Labor Day weekend. We started on Saturday with another baseball game with Aaron. He got to hit a few balls and high-five a couple team members once again, and he even got to hold the flag during the National Anthem, which was very special! Then afterward, we had one last splash in the spray ground before it gets shut off for the season. Aaron managed to pull me into the spray as well, jeans and all, for a good soaking.

That evening, Vivian went to her annual WAG retreat with her female friends, and I decided to walk the kids down to McDonald’s for a couple Happy Meals for dinner (and ice cream from Subway for dessert). It was a lovely day for a three mile walk, round trip, and bets of all, I didn’t have to cook.

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On Sunday, we took both the kids down to Werner Park to watch the Stormchasers narrowly lose to the Toledo Mud Hens. It was the first time we’d had both kids to Werner Park to see a baseball game (and not just fireworks), and the first time Hannah had been there since 2015. We had seats in the fourth row by third base, but it was so hot and sunny that we soon retreated to the shade of the Centris kids’ pavilion. I think Hannah and Aaron had a little more fun in the bounce house, on the carousel, on the slide, and climbing in the play area than actually watching the game. We did eventually take them down to watch a few more innings with some ice cream to keep cool (and some cotton candy).

Toward the end of the game, we took a walk down to the berm and a line where kids could run the bases once the game was over. We let Hannah and Aaron head down to the field to make their way around the diamond as I snapped photos from the bleachers, and they each got some coupons for free chicken tenders from Hardees for making the trip. That naturally meant grabbing dinner there, since it was just down the street, and I got to have a Frisco burger for first time in ages.

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On Labor Day, I kicked things off with a long ride up to Schwer Park and back. Then at lunchtime, I went with my folks to a 9/11 Memorial Luncheon down at the Garden Cafe. We got to hear from a handful of speakers over hamburger steak and mashed potatoes, including former Gov. Dave Heineman, Don Bacon, Aaron Hansen from the Omaha PD, Omaha firefighter Michael Davenport, and Mike Conolly, a retired NYC firefighter who was there on 9/11. They all had stories to tell, mostly about where they where on that day twenty years ago and some thoughts on the situation in Afghanistan now, particularly from Congressman Bacon.

My folks got to chat with a few of the speakers afterward, which is always my favorite part of events like these, particularly when it seems like both a pandemic and partisan politics has divided us more than ever.

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Labor Day marked the last day of the season for spray-grounds and splash pads to be open, so we decided to spend our last few moments of summer getting wet down at Looking Glass park with the kids. We got some Little Caesars for dinner, which was conveniently along the way down. Then the kids had a few hours to run around in the spray getting wet, stomping and playing with a few squirt gadgets and towering sprinklers on site. Mommy and I even got into the spray for a little bit before the sun went down and we headed on home.

It was a great three-day weekend with the family, though part of me can’t quite accept yet that summer’s supposed to be over. Maybe once the leaves start changing color, I’ll change my mind. (And please, no Halloween crap yet — that’s just obscene.)

Matt Innis and Herbster & Conway

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I’ve had another couple of days busy “politicking” as a new campaign season gears up mere moments after the last one stopped. On Monday, I dropped by the Garden Café for a luncheon with Matt Innis, who had a presentation on the new “Health Education” standards, which have garnered quite a bit of contr0oversy over the past few months. Since his unsuccessful attempt to unseat Ben Sasse, he’s been giving presentations (and posting memes) to get the word out the new standards, which essentially amount to LGBT propaganda aimed at children as young as Kindergarten.

There was a fairly friendly crowd of around 50 people in attendance, with many familiar faces (such as former State Senator Merv Riepe and two school board members). I sat with a couple who were actually suing Westside Community Schools over a teacher who told other students — falsely — that their daughter was a racist and tried to use the “N-word.” It was certainly an engaging hour of discussion in the room, and I left wishing I’d have the chance to vote for Matt Innis again sometime (though he said he has no plans to run for office in the future).

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Then on Tuesday, I dropped by the Cross Training Center for a meet-and-greet with gubernatorial candidate Charles W. Herbster and Kellyanne Conway, Senior Counselor to President Trump. I saw many familiar faces in the crowd of around 60-70 people who attended, including Craig, Bob the sign guy, and my own city council member in Bellevue. Herbster and Conway arrived unannounced before the event and worked the crowd before things got started. Conway talked about her work in the Trump administration and dealing with political attacks. “People used to say you needed to have a fire in your belly,” she said, “but today you need to have the bile in your throat.”

Herbster talked for close to an hour about his campaign platform, cracking a few jokes while standing just a few feet away, making for a much more up-close and personal stump speech. They had time for Q&A and photos afterward (and of course I got one). It was an ideal campaign event, with lots of people both before and after the speeches to shake hands and ask questions. Herbster is also clearly the most Trump-like candidate in the running, right down tot he pre-rally playlist. The primary is still ten months away, so we’ll see if he can pull off an upset in 2022 as Trump did in 2016.

Gretna Daze, Museum, and Fun-Plex

We had some massively hot weather toward the end of July, broken up with a storm that cooled things off just in time for some fun outdoors (and some politicking).

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On Saturday, Hannah and I drove out west to walk with the Bacon Brigade in the Gretna Days parade. Our crew was nestled in with a few other folksBrett Lindstrom, the Sarpy County GOP, and then Charles Herbster’s crew bringing up the rear. Hannah got to hand out candy, as she did for Ben Sasse back in 2019, and she was quite happy to hand out fruit chews to kids all along the street.

I walked along mostly taking pictures of everyone else, but one lady from Team Herbster offered to snap a photo of Hannah and me during a lull in the parade, which was nice. It’s very rare I get photos of myself during events like this!

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Afterward, we met up with the Simpsons at Peterson Park to let the kids run around a bit, have a little lunch and some time snapping random family photos of them on the playground (wearing “I Heart Taiwan” T-shirts).

Some folks from “Gabriel’s Angels” was putting on a kiddie tractor pull, and Hannah was brave enough to give it a try. She didn’t place well enough to make State, but I was very impressed that she was filling to jump into the competition all on her own.

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Vivian and Aaron joined us before long, and then we all spent the afternoon at the little carnival just off Highway 6 for much of the afternoon. We got some giant corn dogs (which seriously impressed Aaron) and then checked out a few of the rides, including the Go-Gator, some little shooting planes, the bounce house, and the Jungle Fun obstacle course.

Hannah and I also went on the “Hurricanetogether, which was one of those dizzy rides that doesn’t quite sit well after having a giant corn dog, but she handled it like a champ. I also went with her, and Vivian reminded me to sit on the outside eat so I wouldn’t crush Hannah with centrifugal force.

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Then on Sunday, we took the kids down to Ted & Wally’s to have some ice cream to celebrate them both finishing their Sunday School classes for the year. I helped Grammy do a few chores afterward, hauling some sand, bricks, and mulch home from Menards and laying them out in her yard.

Then that evening, we took a trip the Omaha Children’s Museum, a place we hadn’t visited since December of 2019. They had a game-themed exhibit upstairs with a few games and balls, but much everything else was just as we remembered — the auto repair zone, the ball area with pneumatic tubes, play grocery store, and the water area. Our friends the Mills were there as well, so Aaron had some quality time with August racing Pinewood derby cars, while Hannah got a bit artistic, painting Mommy’s face and creating a paper bag puppet of ME, which was very sweet.

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And then on Monday, because we weren’t exhausted enough, we decided to take the kids to a late-afternoon trip to Fun-Plex before the end of summer! Hannah was finally tall enough to go on the big water slides with us, so Vivian and I got to share that experience with her. Aaron still had fun on the smaller watersides, going down multiple times on his own before hitting the lazy river and wave pool. The kids also hit the sweet spot for the rides, short enough for the Go-Gator, the little cars, and the planes, but now tall enough to ride go karts and the Bumper Boats with Vivian and me. We got a selfie in the hot air balloon and then got the kids some ice cream and cookies before calling it a day.

I’ve got a little more politicking going on this week before I take a trip to Cedar Rapids for my cousin’s daughter’s wedding. She was the flower girl in my own wedding, so it will be nice to be able to see her on the other side of the aisle after 13 years or so.

Camping in Memphis

There’s nothing quite like late July in Nebraska, where it’s hot and humid and barely a whisper of wind in the air. That’s when you get to enjoy the great outdoors with just a bit more patience — and some creativity about ways to keep cool.

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Hannah and Aaron started things off with a week-long VBS at First Presbyterian in Bellevue. They attended every morning through the week and finished things off on Friday with a water fight outside. I took the day off to start our camping trip, so Vivian and I dropped by to watch them play in a sprinkler and throw wet sponges at one another. They also got some freeze pops and some candy for memorizing a bible verse, which was sweet (literally).

Then, just as we were trying to decide what to do for lunch, we saw the famous “food truck” at the library (a thing I’ve heard about from Vivian for years but never seen with my own eyes), so we stopped and got some chicken sandwiches before heading home.

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Then came the camping trip! Wee invited Mama Ginny to keep her son Harold company while we were all away. Then we packed up our things and headed off to Memphis, Nebraska with some burgers and Combos to tide us over. The trip took all of half an hour, and we grabbed a spot with convenient proximity to the lake and the sandy play area with a cabin for the kids (and ground squirrels and geese to keep us company).

We set up camp and got a fire going for s’mores that evening as the Mills family came to join us. It was already sweltering, but little Gabe brought us lemonade on a platter to keep us cool. Hannah also immediately took to the lake, going inside and soaking her little pink dress without a care in the world. Then once the sun went down, we lit a fire and roasted up a batch of s’mores for the evening.

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Vivian and Lexi scrambled up some breakfast the next morning as Hannah explored the lake looking for “gooey” frogs. Afterward, I took her with Sammy, Aaron, and August over to the playground with old school metal equipment like a teeter totter, a merry-go-round, and monkey bars, just like the kind their parents grew up with. There was even a tether ball pole Hannah and Sammy were able to bat around. The kids also had some fun climbing a nearby tree — at least until a branch snapped and Hannah came tumbling down. She got the wind knocked out of her and was a little sore but otherwise all right. Hopefully it won’t put her off tree climbing, which has become one of her favorite activities at grandma and grandpa’s house.

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We had some lunch and then tried keeping cool that afternoon with a little wading in the lake near the boat dock up the road. The water was relatively cool, albeit with a rocky and muddy bottom. I was able to traverse the lake to the little island, where a crane seemed to have made its home and mulberries were growing wild. The kids wanted to come explore the island, too, so Nate rented a canoe and took them around for a look.

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Later that afternoon, I took the kids for a walk (or in Sammy’s case, a bike ride) into town. I snapped a few photos of a few of the old buildings, including the Century-old Iliff Chapel. We also stopped by Don’s Bar and Grill (the only operating business in town) for a few drinks and snacks with the kids before heading back to the campsite.

Sammy brought a couple American Heritage Girls for her and Hannah to play with while August and Aaron played some Uno. For dinner, Vivian and Lexi grilled some brats followed by some Dutch oven brownies and a cheese dip. The kids explored the lake a bit more and discovered the waterproof nature of lily pads near the shoreline. Then we finished off the evening with some s’mores and a raging battle in the dark over a set of colored glow sticks before bedtime.

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The next morning was strangely cool with a thick, eerie mist hanging over the lake and everything around it. We got the kids up for a breakfast that included roasted marshmallows and donuts warmed over the fire. Then the kids had one last romp in the sandbox and the grown-ups packed up the tents and all our things before getting set to head home.

Of course, I had to get a big group photo before we headed off. We’ve been camping with the Mills family for a couple years now, and I don’t think we’d ever gotten a joint family photo together before. It was long overdue.

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Then that afternoon, because my weekend hadn’t been busy enough, I dropped by the Cross Training Center for some “grassroots training” with Scott Presler and around 60 other patriots. I’d met Scott before at a “pep rally” during the 2020 election, and it was interesting to see him back in a more educational role — giving a 90-minute presentation on voter registration, running for office, and get-out-the-vote efforts, among other things. He also spent most of the presentation off the stage and walking the room, and this even included some audience participation, roleplaying getting a stranger registered to vote.

It was an event held jointly by the Nebraska Freedom Coalition, Freedom Rally USA, and Nebraska Against Government Overreach, a trifecta of what I call the “populist upstarts” on the right, focused more intently on public demonstrations and online activism than “establishment” conservatives. Of course, there was also time to get selfies with Scott afterward, and I’d worn my new Jordan Peterson shirt just for the occasion. I also got to meet the “Beard Vet,” who seemed to have a followingall his own among the crowd, and his own line of coffee.

In all, it was a great weekend, and not even as hot as they’d predicted it would be. I’m always glad to have the chance to enjoy the great outdoors with our family and friends — even when it’s just down the road.


Happy campers!

Splashing, Bouncing, and Grammy’s Birthday

It’s been a busy week post-blackout having some summer fun with the kids and spending extra time with both sets of grandparents.

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On Tuesday, I pedaled down to Seymour Smith Park to have lunch with Vivian and the kids and get a little wet at the splash pad. We like to visit this little splash pad at least once every summer, and its proximity to the Keystone Trail means it’s just a quick bike ride from my office down to the park. It was a particularly refreshing way for me to spend a lunch break (though it hasn’t helped my farmer’s tan at all).

In the meantime, Jack and Donna remained without power nearly all week, which meant Jack’s been spending the night with us to plug in his oxygen. We also got to help use up some of the thawed food from their freezer. That involves Jack and Vivian frying up tilapia, scallops, shrimp for us to eat. It’s a sacrifice, but I’ll do my part.

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Then on Thursday, with the last election season barely over, we kicked off a new one as State Senator Brett Lindstrom officially announced his bid for governor. I’d bumped into him numerous times recently as the Walk for Life and the Ralston Parade, and several of my mutual Republican friends have already hopped aboard his campaign.

I was able to bring along our friends the Folkens to say hello and ask a few questions of the candidate after his stump speech, and I spent much of the evening snapping photos and rubbing elbows with several members of the Lindstrom family (and the fake news media). One of the nicest things about Nebraska is how easy it is to get close to the folks running for office like this — something I try not to take for granted.

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In other news, I’ve been riding my bike every chance I get, going to and from work and getting  to see mist over the prairie grass as the sun rises.

I also got some extra exercise at lunch on Friday when Vivian took the kids to Altitude for some quality time bouncing around together. We even got in a game of dodgeball, which was immensely fun for me, as it was the only sport I like playing back in elementary school and I hadn’t had the chance to play in over a decade.

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On Saturday, I got to spend a little quality time with my folks in my morning. First, we headed down to McDonald’s for breakfast with a couple of their fellow “seasoned citizens” — a group that’s been meeting for breakfast on Saturdays just as a way of getting out and socializing for a couple decades now.

Then after breakfast, my dad needed an extra pair of hands to help mend a fence, which had come apart in the recent wind storm. It wasn’t broken too badly, but we had to put a few deck screws through a few new boards to attach the fence back to the supporting post. Then I stuck around long enough to help my dad uninstall some Adobe malware on his laptop, AKA Creative Cloud.

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Saturday was also Grammy’s birthday, so much of the day was spent celebrating and keeping our kids occupied (with a board game they created) while Vivian and Jack fried up some calamari steaks for dinner. The kids also made Grammy some handmade cardsas did I, of course — and then we gave Grammy a handful of presents, which included a new ice chest, some habanero-blueberry jelly, and a grown-up coloring book.

Vivian made some Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert, which Hannah and Aaron decorated with a few “worms,” AKA Twizzlers before we blew the candles out. It was a pie with enough sugar to make Hannah go a bit crazy, so I took her for a quick bike ride to my parents’ house and back to work it off before going to bed.

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Then on Sunday, I got up early enough for a nice long ride along the full length of the West Papio Trail, all the way from Culver’s in Bellevue to Downtown Milliard. It was a lovely little ride that went past some hidden street art and a large tortoise crawling along. In Millard, I saw the Dairy Queen that was briefly featured in the movie About Schmidt on my way to Millard Avenue and back. I also passed a quaint little bike shop that might be worth visiting should I ever make it back.

Back home, we went to the late service at Wildewood so we could attend their summer social at noon immediately afterward (making time for Hannah to ride her bike and Aaron to have a shadow-fight with me). We had a nice time having “walking tacos” and some ice cream and chatting with a few other parents as our kids bounced around in the bounce house for a bit (and got a family photo).

Hannah’s new bike

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It was an exciting week as Hannah got her very first bike — one she learned to ride almost immediately without training wheels. We bought it used in northwest Omaha and then dropped by Bridlewood Park so she could try it out for a bit. Then that evening, she she quickly got the hang of riding it in our own driveway! The next day, we went to Elmwood Park for the Omaha Homeschool picnic, and Hannah and I got to ride together on a few of the paths there and go exploring all the way up to Dodge Street (in-between hot dogs). I was amazed at how quickly she picked it up. She’s a natural!

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I’ve been busy riding my own bike almost every day, of course, taking it all the way back to Bellevue to have burgers with my dad at Culver’s over a lunch break.

I also rode it all the way from work to home and back — doorstep to doorstep — without a car in-between, just to say I could. If my car ever needs work done on it again, I won’t have to hitch a ride to get to the office. Mostly, it’s been a great way to get out of the office during the day and enjoy some fresh air — even if I have to time my rides between passing thunderstorms.

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Then on Saturday, I took a trip down to Lincoln for a Freedom Rally on the steps of the state capitol. My friend Tim had been holding them since the election, so I dropped by to join a few patriotic folks waving flags for an hour or two. It was an interesting group of conservative outsiders from groups with speakers such as Patrick Peterson of the Nebraska Freedom Coalition, Jennifer Hicks from Nebraskans Against Government Overreach, and former Omaha City Council candidate Tyeisha Kosmicki. Tim seemed to expect counter-protestors, but the only one who showed up was a guy who circled the capitol there times to yell obscenities. Mostly there were just happy honks from passing cars and even a few passersby who stopped to listen. We did get photobombed by a wedding, one of at least three that seemed to be happening around the capitol that day. Then a guy from KLKN-8 came by to have a few words with us before we wrapped up.

I grabbed some pho on the way home to have for dinner, and then that evening Harold’s mommy came to pay us a visit as the Mills went on a trip for a week. I also broke out the dragon fruit I got at Trader Joe’s for the kids to try. We even gave Harold some, which left it with some strange purple lipstick.

Next stop, Shakespeare — by any greens necessary!

Peaceful Protests

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With spring officially here, and one election season blending seamlessly into another, a few groups in Omaha are coming out and waving some signs once again. One group I’ve recently become aware of is Nebraskans Against Government Overreach (NAGO), who seem to have a regular presence about town. Back on March 20, they were at 168th and Dodge protesting mask mandates and lockdowns along with a “worldwide demonstration” using the hashtag #wewillALLbethere. This was coincidentally in front of Ben Sasse’s Omaha office, and they were back protesting him more directly a few weeks later when he (allegedly) spoke at a Federalist Society event at the Regency Marriott.

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My friend Tim Davis had his own “Back the blue” rally on Saturday, which was also peaceful but decidedly noisier. Speaking at the event was State Senator Suzanne Geist and City Council candidates Don Rowe, Kathleen Kauth, and Tyeisha Kosmicki. There were also around five “counter protestors” who showed up to bang a drum, ring a cowbell, and generally scream at and try to disrupt everyone else. One of them was an actual skinhead wearing rubber “jack boots” as he tried shouting down the Tyeisha, a black woman running for city council. We learned later that they’d come by the park in advance to vandalize the war memorial, which the city had hosed down before we’d even arrived, and had also stashed boxes of rocks and eggs around the park, which the police had confiscated (and believes were meant to be thrown at us — and not part of some Easter egg hunt).

It was an interesting exercise in self-control, as most of us laughed at and jeered at the rag-tag group of hoodlums as they tried to get us riled up. They had probably dropped by the Back the Blue event held in the same place last year, but a few (uninvited) members of the “Proud Boys” were able to keep them in line.

Walk for Life and a Sushi Anniversary

It feels a bit more like January now, as we had a record amount of snow and temperatures back below freezing once again. This may call for more sledding in the coming few days, but we’ve still been finding other things to do in the meantime.

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Last Saturday, I drove down to Lincoln to attend the Walk for Life, my first political outing since Election Day. It was a little below freezing, but apparently warmer than it had been the year before, as a thousand people gathered on the north side of the Capitol. I got to see a few familiar faces in the crowd as a handful of speakers, including Gov. Ricketts, Don Bacon, and Jeff Fortenberry (and his daughter) spoke to the crowd. A handful of newly-elected state legislators were in the crowd as well, including Brett Lindstrom, Julie Slama, and Rita Sanders. There was a launch of pink and blue balloons that sailed by the capitol once the speakers were done, and then the crowd made its way south on Centennial Mall to the University.

I hung around for a little while afterward, taking a brief tour of a nearly empty capitol building, saying hello to Abe, and then dropping by Pho Nguyenn for some Vietnamese food to bring home for lunch — steak pho, spring rolls, and avocado smoothies.

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The following Tuesday, I dropped by Wildewood for their Men of God dinner, where we had Italian food from Spaghetti Works and got to hear from a few men from Abide, a non-profit organization that buys house since in North Omaha to serve as “lighthouses” for the community there.

Then on Saturday, Hannah received her sash and certificate for her participation in Prims from Ms. Ruth. We used to attend every week at BCC before Covid came along, and I hope we’ll be able to start attending again soon.

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In other news, also finally replaced our old dishwasher, which broke way back in September, and we’d been handwashing them ever since. We got some Christmas money from both sets of grandparents that helped to pay for the cost of a new one, a top-rated Bosch model I’d found on Consumer Reports that was only around $500. I even got one in what that matches our cabinets. It took us a while to get it installed, first because the first set of installers claimed we’d have to have our floor torn out to remove the old one, which we didn’t — it just needed a little extra wrestling to pull out, which I did myself. Then we got a record amount of snow, which kept them from coming back until several days later.

That record amount of snow came on Monday — nearly 12 inches and more than we’d seen in a single day since 1975. I had to shovel the driveway three separate times just to keep up, and then I shoveled Donna’s for good measure (including unburying their car). Vivian made some homemade olive garlic bread to keep warm in the meantime. Hopefully we’ll still have enough to go sledding later.

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In the midst of all this, Vivian and I had a Sushi Anniversary! It was initially on Tuesday, and I wore a sushi tie and brought home some “Lover’s Rolls” from Beijing Tokyo to celebrate. I was so busy shoveling snow and also attending the last of my Screwtape Letters bible study (via Zoom), that we put off our proper celebration for the following day.

Vivian’s idea us for both of us to gather sushi from four separate restaurants — combing our take-out orders into a massive sushi feast! I went to Sakura Bana for sushi and maki rolls (also miso soup and salad) and then swung by Umami in Bellevue for a few more. Vivian went by Golden Dragon and Hutong. I even got some shrimp tempura from Aldi, which was as good as any restaurant’s that I’ve had. We both had our fill of sushi and then some, and I had enough to take with me to work the following day for my lunch.

Happy Sushi anniversary, sweetie!