28 April 2010

Third Week in April 2010

What's up? Grace. I've been so at peace for the last five or six days. Prior to returning to God, if you'd have told me that one day I would crave peace instead of sex, drugs, and/or rock'n'roll. I would have thought you to be, in Jillian's words, "a little cracked". Yet, here I am, wanting nothing more than to draw close to God's love.

Monday after work I went over to the park off 110th and Harrison and met Shannon and her kids, Shannon's cousin Kayleen, and Rachel and her child for dinner. In case you lost count, that's nine people. This time I had the camera. I took six pictures and Kimee took enough to go through three sets of rechargeable batteries.

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Despite me only taking six pictures, I really liked two of them, including this off center duck.

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We have a tree we all like to climb at that park.

You can see the rest of my six pictures here and the ones that Kimee took are here (on Facebook).

Tuesday after work was dance practice. Troy got a video of Dan and Giselle teaching Lindy basics. We skipped the basic basics, but watched and practiced quite a bit of it. I really thought these videos were well thought out and put together, and I got a lot out of them.

Wednesday morning I awoke nervous and feeling overwhelmed by Mass Chaos. I was praying about this and other things and the saying "God equips the called, not calls the equipped" popped into my head. This completely changed my entire week ... the rest of my week floated by on grace.

After work I came home and did some lawn work. I like lawn work. This reminds me of how funny I think this is: when I date ladies who have not been married, they are concerned about me being handsome (or not), but the ones who I've dated who have been divorced, they are concerned about me being handy (or not). Red Green, you have it correct.

Thursday after work I went over to Shannon's and picked up some peanut butter cookies that we're made for me ... no chocolate. I ended up getting dinner out of the deal too. The only possible issue I had was being treated as a toy by the littles, but that's really not so bad at all.

Friday started a fun, wonderful, and wildly odd weekend. Instead of a lunch nap, I took a lunchtime power walk around Wehrspan Lake ... well 1.34 miles worth anyways. On my way home, I took the slow way, stopping for errands, and finally picking Kevin up around 7pm. We went back to the house and waited around to go to the dance.

The dance had the UNO Big Band playing. It was quite enjoyable to dance to live tunes. The skill of the musicians was wonderful, however, the arrangement of "Boogie Woogie Bugel Boy" was odd, it featured the woodwinds in the main part, not a trumpet. I managed to stay to the end without falling asleep, when I got home I was out.

Saturday morning I was up at a reasonable hour and saw this. After I extracted myself from the cuteness, I went over to the Durham Western Heritage Museum for a Jazz Appreciation Month event with two bands, the Street Railway Band, which I love, and the Sing, Sing, Swing Orchestra, which is okay. Omaha Jitterbugs was dancing at the event and so entry was free. We were supposed to dance at 1100, I got there at 1101 and I was first one there ... go figure.

We danced to the Street Railway Band for an hour.

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There is an auditorium on the far east end of the Durham ... who knew? The space was gorgeous, and had a nice dance floor.

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Brianne and I cut a rug, um, cut a parquet, well it's kind of hard to tell what I was leading here.

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I might, just might like this one a lot.

When the first band ended, we had an hour to kill before the second band. Lunch time! Kat and I left right away and we went up to the corner by Upstream Brewing to meet Matt and Vivian. We got there and didn't see Matt and Vivian coming, so we went inside, and I got a beer. When they got there, we headed over to Little King and had lunch. Afterwards, it was back to the dancing, sheesh.

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Vintage dance, vintage effect.

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Whoa! I'm actually dancing Charleston? Photo credit: Matt

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Hey this one too, I might, just might like this one a lot.

After the dance was over , Joe, Kat, and I walked back up to Upstream and got dinner. I experimented with my meal selection, yeah, I should probably stick to things I like. Frank joined us, then Kat left, and since it was an all Chicago table, we discussed the Bears draft and other manly things. Then we walked over to Ted and Wally's and got some ice cream. There were a lot of pictures, here are mine, Matt's, and mixed in with others here are Brianne's (on Facebook).

Between the dancing and the food, I was worn out, so I came home and slept.

After I woke up Merinda and I went over to Bethany's 21st birthday party. I'm glad I went to support her, but the party itself was not the style of party that I might attend these days. No, you can't see the pictures.

Sunday was the third installment of Mass Chaos, you can read my post on it here.

In the afternoon I ended up playing Final Fantasy XIII for a few hours. I may never be able to say this again, I am further along on a video game than Kaleb, Troy, Sarah, CJ, or Ben.

In the evening I went to see Madness Sale (Ben Rasmussen's band), or at least 3/4s of it at the Barfly. I won two games of pool by default, both random eight ball issues. After the band was done playing, we headed over to Village Inn and hung out and talked. It was a great weekend.

20 April 2010

Second Week In April 2010

No great thoughts to start the blog this week, but I do have a ton a pictures, and a lot went on, so let's jump into it!

Monday I knew that Joe was going to be out of town, and he has the guitar lesson right before me, so I went in for my lesson early. Guitar lessons are fun and I do really want to learn, but it's obvious that they have slipped down to the bottom my project priority list, and really I don't see any reason to move anything else down. When I got home, I finished my taxes. Thanks to a tip from a friend, I found a $400 reduction in what I owed, so it ended up being quite reasonable. I told my friend I was buying lunch next time he wanted, I'll still be way up.

Tuesday I was excited all day at work, why? Lawn work. I came home, changed lickety-split, and fired up the lawn mower. I love it! If you don't get it, you don't get it, so there. After experiencing the joy of lawn mowing, I cleaned myself up and went downstairs to dance practice. It started a little slow, but we ended up with seven people. It's not necessarily about learning something 'new' for me, it's about dancing correctly at least once a week. I'm fairly sloppy at the weekly dance, so any time spent building proper muscle memory is time well spent.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed on Wednesday, and went downhill from there. I had a dreadful day, not of my own making necessarily, but how I chose to react to some dumb situations, both at work and at home. I think I was really kind of stressing about my yearly review (on Thursday). I ended up asleep by 2145. By the time I finished my yearly review on Thursday, I was pretty well spent, and had to cheer up because I really had no other place to go. I think I learned a lesson into my heart this week that has been in my head for a long time "don't take it so personally."

Later on Thursday evening I went to CJ's house for game night. CJ lives on Carter Lake and we sat out on the deck and grilled dogs and burgers. I played a game of Settlers of Catan: Germany. I didn't win, but I still like Catan. It was a nice twist with German towns and monuments, same mechanics. I also played a couple of games of pool. I have lost twice on that table, once playing nine ball when I ran the table until I missed the nine ball and left a sitting duck, and the other time playing eight ball when I sunk the eight. Otherwise I love that table, I kick butt

Friday I couldn't take it anymore and packed up the camera and took it in to work with me. At lunch I drove over to Wehrspan Lake and took some pictures of the scenery. You can see the 50 posts from this shoot here.

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I tried some post processing on this one and came with a new (for me) effect.

Unsurprisingly, after work, I went dancing. Surprisingly, Linda was there after a four year absence. I hardly knew what to say to her, so I just danced. I took pictures, how about that? It wasn't anything good or noteworthy. I might be done with dancing pictures until Lindy in the Park.

I have a new rule, friends are not allowed to get third floor apartments anymore. Stacy was moving to get a place to live not far from where she works. The problem is that the apartment she was living at was on the third floor. Silly Stacy. The neighborhood is one that I lived in when I first moved to Omaha, and it turned out to be an easy move. I had to tease Stacy because at one point it was her and six men helping her move.

After we finished the move and sat around and ate pizza, I went home, and grabbed the camera and went next store to the park.

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This was what I started with and I was trying to get a stained glass effect. I did okay.

On a different subject, someday I hope to understand channels and how to use them. You can see all the photos from this shoot here.

Saturday night was the long awaited return of D&D&D. I must say it was not quite as entertaining as the first time we played, but it was still fun. I think it was too much role play and not enough encounters. We ended up talking until 3:00am.

Of course staying up really really late Saturday night means that making it to week number two of Mass Chaos was trying. You can read about it here if you so desire to do so.

When I got home from church, I took a nap and then started work on uploading about a million pictures from the week. The week ended up with a wild event at Culver's eating ice cream with the Shannonites.

This was probably my most scattered post in a while, sorry readers.

13 April 2010

First Week in April 2010

The week after Easter 2009, yep, that's when it all went to pieces last year. So this is an anniversary of sorts. I took 40 days off from dancing and Facebook and refocused. It was incredibly beneficial to take the break, although I did not enjoy it at the time. Somethings have changed quite a bit. I lost 25 pounds and for the first time in my life an exercise program stuck and worked. I am much more confident, and for the first time in recent years, I am ambitious, and looking to complete projects, not just start them. Other issues are still lingering, particularly wrangling my money under control, and still looking to keep my self-esteem to be centered in my relationship with God, not in whether people like me or not ... however, both are vastly improved from this time last year.

In other news, this is my first 'weekly' blog post that does not include pictures, weird.

Monday morning I woke up and went to work as sick as I can ever remember doing so. Eventually, my migraine meds kicked in and I felt better, but I really wanted to go home at one point. I ended up canceling my guitar lesson, and instead I laid on the couch and watched Troy play video games, until the last few minutes of the NCAA men's national championship basketball game.

I asked Troy to flip over to it and with Merinda, we watched the end of the game. It turned out to be really compelling viewing, and was still not completely decided until after time expired. With Duke winning, I became the winner of Kaleb's pool. I now have bragging rights for fantasy football and the NCAA pool.

Tuesday I had lunch with CJ and Troy. Troy is now working down not too far away from me, CJ too, we'll be having lots of lunches, hopefully. Tuesday evening was dance practice, and we had ten people there! Yay! Wednesday and Thursday evenings, I basically stayed at home and did nothing memorable. It was a nice break.

Friday at work I tried to be a tech geek, and I watched a little bit of the Masters golf tournament on my iPhone. The picture quality was better than I thought it would be, but it wasn't that watchable, it's just too small to keep attention on it.

Friday night I predictably went dancing. I had my camera, but I didn't take any pictures. I probably talked more than I usually do, rather than dance. I had a funny moment dancing with a person (who will remain nameless) who indicated that the strong, silent dancing type would be more appreciated. I guess I was talking too much. I'm cursed to be the guy who likes to talk.

On Saturday, Troy and I started the day off by taking a trip to Hy-Vee for lunch, and then over to Best Buy. When we came home I started off my game of Final Fantasy 13. Maeg is insisting I'll hate it, but I think I'll let it play out first. I read a few reviews on it, and they varied wildly, I guess I'll have to make up my mind for myself.

Later on Mae, Frank, and I went to eat at Old Chicago. Our server seemed a little on the unsure side, Mae and I can be pretty outgoing and enthusiastic at times. Fortunately Frank showed up and calmed everyone down. We ordered our food and had a great time. After a side trip to Hy-Vee, where we didn't get thrown out, eventually, we ended up back at the house and sat around the table and talked.

Sunday began the big project. Remember last week, I wrote
After Mass one of us came up with doing a tour of the all the churches in Omaha. Ha ha ... expect remember the last time something like was said offhandedly. I ended up walking most of the NRD trails. I think Brianne is all in, Joe seems like he'll go along, and I think more news will be coming on this little project.
Yeah, well it's underway. We had kind of a soft launch, just myself, Brianne, and Frank. But there are plans, big plans. We have a group blog. A link to it is over in my project area. We're calling it Mass Chaos, and we're going to try to get interviewed by the Catholic Voice, the local Catholic newspaper. It's not a big deal (yet), but it's the biggest deal I've been part of in a good long time, if ever. Here is my contribution to this weeks visit, Saint Bridget in South Omaha. Before church we had breakfast at IHOP, yes, this means I was up at a very reasonable hour on a Sunday morning.

Later in the afternoon, I went golfing with CJ at Dodge Park in Council Bluffs. It's officially called Dodge Riverside or something like that. I like it. The problem with the course is that in the summer, it gets really buggy. I hit a bunch of greens in regulation, and zero fairways. Good: one great sand shot, a mostly amazing save from under a tree on 18. Bad: I managed to miss a six foot putt for birdie and go over the green on 8 so badly it made a save impossible. Final score: 79.

And that was it for this week. I really want to get the camera out and go on a shoot.

05 April 2010

Holy Week 2010 v2

So, I didn't even come close to making my Lenten sacrifice. Nor did I do well on the 'take on' exercise portion. I feel very humbled by the experience, yet also quite resolved ... I think I will try to juggle my priorities, and instead of focusing on what I don't want to do, I will be focusing on what I want to accomplish. It wasn't a 100% loss, I want to stop drinking so much soda, and I have started on a better plan, and I've been able to change some things that let me sleep much better.

Monday after work I got a text from Shannon that she was at the park with the kids, the park wasn't far away, and the weather was really nice, so I went and did swings, sliding, rolling around on the ground, and tree climbing for what seemed like a very long time, but was only about an hour.
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Kamber climbs a tree! After which she posted "I just climbed my first tree and got scraped up ... but life a climb you don't know where it is going to take you ... you might get a few cuts and scrapes on the way but there are always reasons for it."

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I think they killed me. Photo credit: Shannon

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Does this slide make my butt look fat? Photo credit: Shannon

After the park I sped home ... I mean drove home at the legal speed limit in a safe manner ... cleaned up and went to my guitar lesson. It wasn't horrible, but it was obvious that I had not been practicing in my long absence. Oh well. This week being busy with Holy week will probably not make me a guitar teacher favorite again. On a non-motivational / time note. The last knuckle on my left ring finger is not enjoying the practice time. I hope it doesn't take too long to strengthen it up.

I did some late night cooking when I got home. Plain mac and cheese, well I added black pepper and extra cheese.

Tuesday night Joe and I went to a Penance / Reconciliation Mass with Joe. We went to Saint Bernadette, which may end up as 'our' home church. It was nice enough, and going to confession was definitely good. The priest suggested coming to confession more often, and it's really hard to argue the point. I feel so much better when I go, I feel free. Afterwards Joe and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings. We ate a bunch of wings, Joe whooped my butt at trivia, and we compared notes, and laughed and laughed. Who knew confession would be so funny?

Wednesday was a quiet night at home. I am going to attempt to make this a habit. Wednesday night being a home night. I think I need more of those.

Thursday after work I drove straight up to Saint Margaret-Mary for Holy Thursday Mass, I met Brianne, Joe, and Jen there. Last time I went to Margaret-Mary for Mass was probably in 2004, and it was a visit with the senior delegation. This Mass was much different, I might have been on the old side of average. The odd part of this Thursday Mass was there was no feet washing - ??? - it doesn't have the cultural impact in our day and time that it would have had when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, but, still, let's not let go of this tradition quite yet. However, I left church absolutely elated.

After Mass one of us came up with doing a tour of the all the churches in Omaha. Ha ha ... expect remember the last time something like was said offhandedly. I ended up walking most of the NRD trails. I think Brianne is all in, Joe seems like he'll go along, and I think more news will be coming on this little project.

After Mass I headed over to game night at Kaleb's. Yep, I didn't play any games. Maybe I should just call it social night. We did play ping pong, but it wasn't really a keep score kind of thing, more of try to kill each other with a ping pong ball kind of thing.

Friday was a half day in compensation for being on call, go me and time off! I had planned on going to church at 1500, but the weather took a turn for the nice (if not windy), so I decided to go golfing. I went to Eagle Hills, got right out, and thought it was going to be a good day when I sunk a 40 footer on the second hole for birdie. Things did not go badly, just not well. I ended up with a 84 (42/42) that had a few mulligans in it. I really didn't chip well, and I spent a whole bunch of time in the sand (eight strokes), but everything else went okay. I was happy because I closed out the round with five straight pars.

I went dancing on Friday night. Jillian was in from New York, but not for any pleasant reason. Still, she came dancing and it was good to see her, and to dance with her. I got six pictures, but I didn't have my SD card in my camera, thus limiting quantity and quality.

Saturday I was really worn out, maybe all the dancing, golf, walking, and fresh air caused issues. I slept more or less until 1130, and then went and met Jillian at Alvarado's in Council Bluffs. We talked about food, friends, and people. She's a good listen. We then headed over to the zoo for some walking.

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Dead flowers on a plant after a long winter probably don't bode well for the plant, but it makes for an interesting picture.

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This was a lot of work to get this picture. Photography is not for the dignified.

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That's a pretty good trick

I was pretty darn happy with the pictures that came out of my camera. The adventure pointed out something, I overdid it on Friday. Golf in the sun, and the dry, windy air, plus a whole lot of dancing equaled very worn out Eric. I got home from the zoo and promptly took a nap.

When I finally awoke, I went and picked up Joe to go to Saint James for the Easter Vigil. What an absolutely gorgeous church, although it is nondescript on the outside, it is amazing inside. That is as close to agoraphobic as I have been inside a building ever. It's Brianne's home church, and she was in the choir. The Mass was wonderful, I very moved, to the point of tears, at a couple times, most notably during to the Litany of Saints ... I can't really say why, but it's nice to know that the heroes of the church are on our side. It was a beautiful service, and I only commented to Joe once about the length.

Brianne's husband, Andy, is the drummer there and helped to make the music pretty amazing. After the service, I met a load of Brianne and Andy's relatives and friends. It was such an enjoyable time that I hardly even noticed that it was 2315 before we left out of there.

When I got home the living room was filled with people, and we sat and watched Troy play Borderlands for a couple of hours. I don't know what it is, but I don't get much motion sickness watching that game, it could be the 'cartoonish' renderings.

Sunday I slept in until 1145, so I didn't make it to church. But I did make it out to golf. CJ and I met and played Tregaron. I shot a 81, but it was an odd 44/37 eighty-one. The 44 might not have been that good, and the 37 might not have been that bad. The bad news, I was in the sand again five times, I three putted five greens. The good news, I made thirteen greens in regulation, and I mostly struck the ball well.

That was pretty much it for my week. Next week: It's been one year.