It’s been another busy week at the Johnson House, much of it spent cleaning up and getting ready for our annual Cheese and/or Hors d’oeuvres Party (in-between rounds of playing video games or Mini Monopoly with the kids).
On Tuesday, I and a bunch of my co-workers from the Institute got to hear from our new attorney general Mike Hilgers at the Business and Professional People for Life luncheon at the German American Society over lunch. He talked about his time in the legislature advancing pro-life legislation and now transitioning to his role in the attorney general’s office. We also got to hear from Marion Minor with the Nebraska Catholic Conference on current pro-life bills before the legislature. My dad was even able to join me at the luncheon as well, which was nice. He’d gotten to meet Mike back at the GOP pancake breakfast back in July. I did a much more detailed write-up of the luncheon on my political blog, if you care to read more.
Then on Wednesday, I met up with Vivian at Whole Foods to do a little shopping for our party on Saturday. Vivian wanted to make a charcuterie board, and that meant finding some interesting olives, cheese, and other things to add to an ensemble of mixed nuts and fruit. I was hungry enough to want to grab lunch while we were there, so we both grabbed a few things from the salad bar and ate together before I headed back to work.
On Thursday, Mayor Jean Stothert came down to the Pizza Ranch to talk to the River CIty Republicans about the State of the City. In her third term, she’d the longest serving Mayor of Omaha, and she managed to pack a fifty minute presentation with facts and figures on everything from the city budget to economic development downtown to public safety and crime and property taxes. She even brought her own personal property tax bill to go through line by line to show how much the city taxes in taxes compared to Omaha Public Schools. It was a very informative talk, which you can read more about on my political blog, as well as watch my live stream of the presentation (if that’s your thing).
I took Friday off so I could help tidy up before our party. Aaron also had the day off, so Vivian and I decided to take him out at IHOP for a special breakfast together. Aaron had been wanting to get French toast at IHOP for a while now, so we decided to take him to have a slice, He also wanted to have pancakes covered with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and sprinkles, just like he saw on the ad next to us in our booth, so we let him have that as well. Then we had a busy day cleaning together while keeping Aaron distracted making levels on Mega Man Maker.
Then came the big day on Saturday! I decorated our whiteboard specially for the occasion, and Vivian put together her charcuterie board and toasted some pull-apart cheese and garlic bread. I took the kids to Grammy’s house to watch a movie or two and have pizza as our friends started to arrive. This year we had Phil with Grilled Galbi Beef Sticks, Jen with Cheese Bread, Tamra with a pretzel sticks and mustard, Ryan with “Crudités and Dipwads,” Jenny and Kody with Loaded pulled pork cups, Jon Paper with pull-apart cheesy pesto bread, Lisa Barrett with Plum Chutney, Ben Anderson with some cheeses, and Jolene with some Mulberry Jam.
I uncovered some cute cheese wine glass markers and some fancy stir sticks for some freshly-shaken martinis. I also had some entertainment courtesy of my Raspberry Pi, which played a couple “cheesy movies” on our mini-TV (i.e. MST3K) while pumping music some ripped Jazz CDs to my Sonos. We sampled and then voted with Tamra’s pretzel and mustard and Lisa’s chutney tying for first place. We had a run-off vote, in which Lisa won the coveted Pig and a Blanket by one vote. Afterward, we played a round of What’s Yours Like, which inspired some hilarious commentary. Vivian just said, “Don’t!” in response to a knowing look I gave her, which pretty much broke the room.
It was a fun, fun night, and well worth the excuse of doing a little housecleaning in advance to prepare for it.
We had some lovely weather on Sunday with highs around 50, so I thought it’d be a good time to break out Aaron’s remote control car, which he got for his birthday last year. We were able to take it zooming around the driveway a couple times, but when we moved to the park where there would be more room (and less crashing), the battery ran dry. The kids had some fun in the park anyway, and they didn’t even need coats.
Then that evening, we dropped by Wildewood for a Chili Cookoff. Vivian made a pot of chili along with a couple dozen other people, and I sampled about as many as I could up and down the line. There were prized form the car wash up the street for everyone who participated, abd special gift cards for the winners of first, second, and third place. It was nice to have some chili and fellowship, even if the weather wasn’t “chilly,” and of course we also had cinnamon rolls (because this is Nebraska).