Tag Archives: Kim Reynolds

Political Drama, Comic Books, & a Pho Crawl

We’ve had a couple of busy days catching up with family and friends and then diving headfirts into some political events happening in the Omaha metro. (It was also Berkshire weekend, and as a shareholder I could have attended had I taken the initiative to figure out how. Maybe next year.)


On Thursday, I had lunch down at the Pizza Ranch with Don Bacon. Though he’s technically not my Congressman, I always enjoy hearing updates from him on what’s going on in the House, and he talked ab it about the debt ceiling, military spending, foster kids, and the war in Ukraine. He also listed his favorite candidates for 2024, with Tim Scott at the top of the list (and not Donald Trump), followed by Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. He didn’t mention Vivek Ramaswamy, who I’m hoping to see on Tuesday.

Then that evening, my dad and I drove on down to Gretna for a Sarpy County GOP “open house” at the VFW. What we got instead was some kind of contentious meeting, which had started an hour earlier. Nebraska’s Secretary of State Bob Evnen was slated to speak but didn’t get the chance as there was argument over membership among other things. My dad wound up taking an empty seat netx to Evnen in the back, so I introduced the two to each other during the proceedings. It was still interesting nonetheless, and perhaps next time I should consider becoming a “member” (whatever that entails) so I can take part in this hubbub.


The next day, I rode my bike by Taco Bell for Cinco de Mayo. Then that evening, Vivian and I got to attend the Elephant Remembers dinner once again. We’d gotten a pair of donated tickets from a friend at the Pizza Ranch and got to attend for free, which was nice. Vivian and I got to dress up and run elbows with a handful of elected officials and then have some chicken, potatoes, and zucchini for dinner while hearing from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, among others.

There was a strong undercurrent of drama at the dinner, however. Gov. Jim Pillen talked about “falling and having a hiccup on the vote for 626,” the “heartbeat bill” killed by Merv Riepe during the second cloture vote. Pillen talked about this as Riepe himself sat stone-faced at the dinner, saying “we will get more people in there who are pro-life, and we will have way more than 33 votes.” In other news, Charles Herbster and Julie Slama were also both at the event — the latter having accused the former of sexual assault at a previous Elephant Remembers dinner in 2019 (which Vivian and I also attended). The honoree for the evening was Dan Welch, who had been ousted form his position in the NEGOP the previous summer and joked about his “early retirement.” It was an interesting mix of guests to say the least, and you can read more about it in my political blog.

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Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, so I took the kids to Ground Zero Hobby in Bellevue to get a couple free comic books to take home. I also browsed some of the toys and games and found a D&D starter set that might make a nice birthday present (hopefully Aaron isn’t reading my blog yet).

I then spent the afternoon at my parents’ house with an estate sale agent named Shayne. My parents walked her through a handful of their valuables in the house as they talked a bit about plans eventually to downsize and move into an assisted living facility down the road. Afterward, I had some pizza and wings with my brothers while watching a few more home movies before heading home. Then Vivian made us a belated Cinco de Mayo (or Seis) dinner that evening.


On Sunday, the kids at Wildewood ran a lemonade stand and bake sale in-between services, selling brownies, cookies, and lemon bars (and lemonade) to help fund an Appalachian missions trip for the youth ministy.

Then that afternoon, Vivian and I spent the day in Lincoln with Phil and Jen and a few of their friends stuffing ourselves with pho. Jen had wanted to go on a “pho crawl” in Lincoln for some time, visiting three of the various Vietnamese restaurants along 27th street through the afternoon and comparing their pho with one another. We started at Pho Ngyuenn, always a favorite of mind, and had some chicken pho and spring rolls. We were also introduced to Vietnamese iced coffee, which was quite strong and made with sweetened condensed milk. We moved along to Pho Factory a block north after that, having some steak and meatball pho with a Vietnamese crepe (bánh xèo), which was kind a salad you roll up and shove into your face. We had a quick break at the Asian grocery store next door to stock up on various sauces and other Asian things not available at Aldi.

Then we finished the crawl at the Vung-Tau Pho Grill for some egg rolls and more beef pho. I decided to finish our crawl by literally crawling out of the restaurant afterward, though I was surpised not to be quite as stuffed as I expected. Either rice noodles and broth isn’t as substative as I thought it would be, or I’m just that much of a glutton (probably the latter).

Four Governors

I just wrapped up a fairly busy week juggling two birthdays and then handling the kids solo over the weekend as Vivian had a weekend retreat with her bible study friends. It rained most of the time, so I stayed indoors as Hannah wrote and illustrated her first storybook by herself (and a little help from Google Docs).


Then I had a fun, busy Sunday meeting Governors from four different states at the Nebraska Steak Fry: Kim Reynolds from Iowa, Eric Holcomb from Indiana, Greg Abbott from Texas and (of course) Nebraska’s own Pete Ricketts. The event was held at Neale Farms in Ft. Calhoun, and it was gray, drizzling, and fairly muddy, but there was still a fairly good turnout (of about 400 people) A band played country music as we mostly kept dry under the tent and under the long awning of the barn as we waited for the festivities to start. The event was a fundraiser for Ricketts’ re-election campaign, but I still got to shake hands with all the VIPs, including the patriarch of the Ricketts family, Joe Ricketts.

We had a brief presentation with the Color Guard before dishing up our steak dinners. John Orr (son of former Gov. Kay Orr) was the emcee and kicked things off before the Governors all got to speak. They all gave fairly standard conservative stump speeches, all with kind words about Gov. Ricketts, but Abbott seemed to hit all the hot buttons. My dad came with me to the event and said he was like “a fiery Southern Baptist Preacher.” I managed to embarrass myself when I bumped into Gov. Holcomb in line for coffee and didn’t even recognize him. I mistook him for local politician Dan Frei and even asked his name when I couldn’t figure out why he looked so familiar. (I figured it out later when Gov. Ricketts introduced everyone).

I didn’t get any photos with the VIPs themselves, but my friend Mason the Button Boy did, getting snapshots with just about everyone and scoring a new challenge coin from Gov. Abbott.


That evening, Vivian got home from her weekend with the WAG girls, and I had just enough time to change clothes and get some dinner for the kids (from Baker’s) before it was time to have a birthday celebration with Jack. We took Vivian’s parents out to Outback and all had steak together with a bloomin’ onion. We returned home afterward and had some tasty Neapolitan torte after Jack opened his presents. One of them was a giant red “No” button something that I’m going to have to put n my Christmas List.