Monday, February 23, 2009

Thinking Pink


It was a weekend of serious swing dancing for Vivian and me. It started off with the Pink Party on Friday night, which had been postponed one week due to inclement weather. (The snow, by the way, had all but vaporized by Friday.) Viv and I had offered to help set up for the event, so we were there at seven setting up tables before our pink-clad guests started showing up. The pink polo I wore was, for some reason, mistaken for orange all throughout the night. I suppose it was just a rather manly shade of pink.

DSCF0030.JPGWe tried not to stay up too late, however, because on Saturday morning we got up to have breakfast with Lee Terry at Billy's Cafe at 50th and Grover. Lee Terry is the congressman in our district, and he apparently shows up to meet with is constituents every now and then. I "friended" him and Facebook and learned about the event, but the place was packed tanks to a notice in the Omaha World-Herald. We did get a chance to sit down and eat breakfast before the place filled up with questions. We also got to shake Lee's hand on the way out. It definitely felt good to feel a little more involved in the political process than going to vote for some guy you've never seen in person every four years.


On Saturday night, our friends Troy and Merinda had the grand revealing of their newly-finished basement. I heard about the progress on this remodeling project for months now, and it was quite exciting to see the finished result: a gorgeous dance floor that fills the entire space of the basement, as well as a fully-stocked bar in the corner. Sweet! I got a serious workout dancing to some of my favorite music from the 80s and today, which was quite a refreshing change from the standard 40s swing playlist we're used to hearing every Friday night.

Naturally, the Order of the Shovel was present and had a ten-second group huddle and got our photos taken for no apparent reason. Rock on!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Snowy Valentine's Weekend

IMG_9694.JPGIt's been another busy week for Vivian and me, with Valentine's Day, a Wedding, and a blizzard adding to our usual fun of hanging out with friends from our variety of social circles. On Wednesday last week, Eric called the Order of the Shovel together at Famous Dave's for a fun night of eating barbecue. I'm glad we had the chance to get together, because the blizzard that hit Omaha on Friday wound up cancel ling the long-anticipated Pink Party. I'm always amused when the "Shovelers" get together, because it seems several of us have digital cameras and spend much of our time snapping photos of each other for no apparent reason. Lisa felt obgligated to explain to the other patron in the restaurant that "we're always like this." I usually just hope they think this is some kind of a class/family reunion and we don't get to see each other several other week as it is.

IMG_9714.JPGOn Friday, I decided to have Valentine's Day a little bit early so I could surprise Vivian at work. A passing snowstorm dumped several inches of the white stuff on Omaha, so I suppose Vvian was even more surprised when I showed up with roses, soup, and hot cocoa. HyVee was selling blue roses this year, so I was able to get one of those for Vivian as well, since blue is her favorite color. On Saturday, Vivian treated me to a Valentine's Day breakfast with heart-shaped pancakes and bacon arranged like an arrow, which was very sweet. That evening, we cuddled up on the couch and watched Sixteen Candles, courtesy of my laptop and iTunes.

IMG_9859.JPGIt was a fairly quiet Valentine's Day this year, because we spent most of our time helping our friends Craig and Debby get married. I was recruited to be an usher at their wedding, so Vivian and I showed up on Friday to learn what to do at the ceremony and reception afterward. We got to have dinner at Spaghetti Works in the Old Market when we were done and got a fairly good night's rest before the big day on Saturday.

Vivian and I actually got to the church early at ten o'clock so she could make lunch for the wedding party as their photos were being taken. The ceremony itself was a two o'clock, and I made sure to get plenty of photos and video inbetween my ushering duties. It was a lovely ceremony, and we got to have the reception in the basement of 1316 Jones Street, where GAMe holds its weekly bible studies. It was a good time, but after about ten straight hours of standing up, I was about ready to collapse when Vivian and I got home.

DSCF0805.JPGOn Sunday, Vivian and I had every intention of spending the day resting up, but a bunch of our friends decided to take advantage of the recent snowfall and go sledding out in Northwest Omaha. I hadn't been sledding since I was a kid, and Vivian had been wanting to go sledding all year, so we couldn't say no. We had a great time, and I was able to relive a bit of my childhood in Michigan sliding down the steep hill by Standing Bear Lake and trying not to wipe out on an slippery, inflatable sled. Venche had the bright idea of starting a snowball fight as a few of our friends tried to get back up the hill after one run. I stayed far enough back to take photos before joining in.

In all, it's been a great week, and I'm glad we'd been able to see many different groups of friends who for one reason or another don't always hang out together. I'm also glad I was able to put the camera down long enough to have some fun with everyone this time around.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Meet the Rolling Shadow

IMG_9687.JPGA few weeks ago, Vivian took the Rolling Prune into Walker Tire for a check-up and received a fairy grim diagnosis. It needed a number of serious repairs totally more than the car was worth three years ago when Vivian bought the 95 Chevy Cavalier, so it was time for us to trade her in. Finding the ideal replacement wasn't nearly as easy as I'd hoped. Viv and I visited several car lots here in Omaha, both big and small, and none of them seemed to want to sell us anything other than new or nearly-new vehicles that cost double or more than we wanted to spend. We were finally able to find a small dealer in Ashland with a 2001 Honda Accord that he was willing to sell us for well under its "blue book" value. Over the weekend, we drove the rolling prune off into the sunset and came back with a shiny new rolling shadow.

IMG_9677.JPGIt's been a busy couple of weeks for Vivian and me, but we've still done our best to get out of the apartment and stay social with our friends. Last Sunday, we had a great Superbowl party at our friend Venche's house, with some of the retreating to the basement to play Clue during the second half. On Friday night last week we made a brief appearance at JNO, and I'm glad we did. Robin Merserau made a rare appearance with her husband Tim and son Danny. She was a regular at JNO long before I came on the scene, and it was good to see her again. Vivian and I had dinner at her parents house on Saturday, and we got to play a couple games, including one called Snafooey that was invited by a friend of mine in Lincoln.

Though we're doing our best to remain social, there is a real chance Vivian and I may become homebodies soon. I just recently discovered how many full-length movies are available for free on Hulu, and Vivian and I can watch them on our new TV just as easily ad popping in a DVD. We watched Rudy last week, one of her favorite movies, and it seems new ones are popping up all the time. We could even watch Horse Feathers, my favorite Marx Brothers movies (check it out if you haven't seen it — these guys are hilarious even after seventy years). At this rate, Blockbuster will soon be out of business, and Vivian and I won't have any reason to leave the house.