29 February 2012

Fourth Week in February 2012

Monday after work I went and visited Tom and his ailing foot at his house. Both girls were there, so I spent as much time visiting with them as I did with Tom. Lydia made us play Apples to Apples ... I mean we had the privilege of playing Apples to Apples with Lydia. I actually kind of liked her variation, you got a hand of 10 cards, then played them out, without drawing any more. It worked. Lydia tried to get me to hold Roslyn's Chinese Water Dragon:

My name is Jade, and I don't like you.

Tom, Roslyn, and I were entertained for the next hour by Lydia being the center of attention. Tom then had to retire, and Lydia and I played a game of Word Flip. It seemed a little difficult for an 8 year old, even though the manufacturer says 8 and up. Some of the words that were used were ones I'd be surprised to catch in third grade.

Tuesday night I was inspired around 2200 by a big bowl of ice cream to declare my Lenten sacrifice: ice cream. Troy stepped up to the plate and finished off my remaining ice cream, and I was on my way.

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, I went to Mass before church, and then after work I came home and went to sleep early.

Thursday the viral bomb dropped, I woke up headachey, lethargic, and stuffed up. I called in to work and surprised myself by staying in bed until Friday about 1730. I got up and got ready for Maggie's Valentine's Day / birthday present, a photo shoot for us by Chelsea. I saw some of the raws, they should be fun. Maggie and I then ate at Trini's, then went over to the dance, which included...

...Maggie's birthday jam...

Mobile Uploads by Maggie McReynolds
...and the coolest birthday cake pops ever.
They were lovingly crafted by Dianna, Cecily, and Adam. Photo credit: Maggie

After the dance we went out to a birthday 'dinner' for Maggie at Village Inn. Saturday it was right back in bed, all day. I just kept feeling crappier and crappier.

Sunday I had places I had to be, church places. I made it up to Mass at Saint Bernadette at 1100. We left there and went to the Pasta feed at Saint Frances Cabrini, for a church feed, that was some pretty good food. I came home and went to sleep. I was up again for the RCIA at the Cathedral. Marilou joined us (Joe and I), and gave me a tour behind the altar, it turns out there is a fine art gallery there. We met with Archbishop Lucas and hung around the church until we were the last people in the Cathedral, then we left.

Cathedral is serious business.

Joe is on a first name basis with Archbishop Lucas ... well he knows Joe's name.

IMG_0942 IMG_0943
Some of the sights at the Cathedral.

Next week: feeling better (?) and Heartland Swing.

27 February 2012

Third Week in February 2012

Monday morning I woke up with a backache, I think I managed to hurt my back in the middle of the night. My health has not been so good for the last month or so on a variety of issues. My advice to you; don't get any older than you are now.

Tuesday was Valentine's Day, Maggie came over, and I cooked dinner. I made chicken pauperkash. I did not think it was very good. I think the reason it didn't turn out well was that I made it with salt-free bullion. Well, it was good, it just wasn't fabulous. About 2115 tall Frank came over with Kate, who will be renting the other bedroom across from me. I must confess to some apprehension about this, even with a good friend vouching for her, but she seemed quiet and likable. She will be moving in the first week of March.

Wednesday I went to RCIA after work, and discovered, as I am sure a lot of current college students already know, a new way to take notes in class. While it is likely to be an ineffective method of note taking, it does make sure you capture exactly what was written. When I got home, I did a little bit of dance practice, and then made me some dinner. Later on Zeke provided a photo op...

I am kitten, I am cute.

Thursday, Maggie and I went out to eat for Valentine's day. We went to the 801 Chophouse at the Paxton in Omaha. It was my first trip there. We had no sooner gotten seated than the fire alarm went off, it was quickly taken care of however, and we went along on our merry dining way. The food was amazing, and was prepared by (Omaha Jitterbug, Cubs fan, and mustachio'd wonder) Brian Langbehn, Brian even managed to talk us into dessert, I don't know how, because we were stuffed before it got there. A restaurant like 801 Chophouse is a treat, and I enjoyed it as such, good fun with good company.

Friday after work I went dancing, the usual JNO stuff.

Saturday during the day I met up with Maggie, we went shopping, girl-style, at Target. Had a quiet dinner, and then headed over to Kaleb's house for the monthly game night party. I know that game night cycles through actually playing games, and just having fun, this one started a little later than usual, and I only played two games, two games of Shadow Hunters (which I think I'm getting burned out on again), and another epic game of Werewolf (which I am not tiring of), and by epic, I mean that it took 1:15 with the villagers winning in the end despite several twists and turns that could have gone either way. Sandwiched all around were games of ping pong and various snacks.

Sunday morning we went to Mass at Saint Joan of Arc, and then out to lunch at Chipotle. My notes say that I did more shopping, but I don't remember that at all, so it must not have been important. I then was home, relaxed, and to bed early.

Next week: more health issues, what's going on?

17 February 2012

Second Week in February 2012

Monday I came into work, started working, and then left to see the dentist. I got my cleaning, but the broken tooth couldn't be pulled right away, so I set a second appointment for Tuesday. The bad news of the day came from Maggie, her grandmother passed away.

Tuesday morning I set my alarm incorrectly, and was awoken by Jillian at my door. She was driving me to the dentist. I went in and got it pulled, and Jillian brought me home. It went well, but I am not going to pretend that I liked it. I tried to sleep as much as I could, but didn't really succeed all that well. Maggie came to play nurse later on. I am really thankful to Jillian and Maggie for helping to take care of me.

Wednesday I was back at work, but not feeling well, in addition to the jaw aching, I had a migraine ... people who read this probably think I'm an old fart the way I complain about my health. After work I felt better, I cooked some very soft dinner and then did a bit of dance practice with Jillian and Maggie.

Thursday after work I went out to eat with Troy at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was boneless wings night, and it turned out to be a little crunchier than my jaw and teeth wanted to handle.

Friday after work I had dinner with Frank at Lansky's. Then it was over to the Annual JNO Pink Party.

Jenny and I understand how to dress for this party. Photo credit: Matt

Vivian checks out my stitches. Photo credit: Matt

Guess who was at her first dance *ever*?

I took pictures with my camera, not just my phone, you can see them here, and of course Matt took a herd of pictures too, they can be seen here. After the dance we headed over to Donut Stop, and after chit-chatting, we played the Game of Things. We played until one of the answers was about being beyond tired. I noticed once again that my clothing reeked like old donuts when I left.

Saturday was a cold day, so I decided to stay in bed all day. Since I needed something to do while I laid around, I bought Elder Signs: Omens for the iPhone. The rules for the App are a little different than how we interpreted the game when we played the board game last week. After getting my butt handed to me about four times, I finally won a game. After I dragged myself out of bed, Maeg came over and (with Troy) we played a couple of games, first Small World; it sure seems that suddenly when I play this game it's a game of position, Troy went first and won. I had a good strategy, but it wasn't going to win the game. The second game we played was one of my favorites, Shadows Over Camelot. It turns out it isn't as good game with just three players, and when you play it wrong. Oops, we lost.

Sunday morning I went to Mass with Teri and Frank at Saint Margaret Mary. The music was interesting ... very artsy. After Mass, Frank said he was leaving, but then came up to eat with us at Papa Chris Chicago Originals. While we were there, we ran into Chris and Emily, then Marilou joined us. I did not have the Luther burger.

While driving Teri back to her car, we drove past Kaleb's house, and I creepily looked in his window and saw I girl at the table. So I texted to ask him, but he didn't call me a creep, he said "Come on in!" So Teri and I went in and ended up playing a game of Dice Town. I won, quite satisfyingly too. Kaleb thought for certain he was going to be the winner, so he convinced everyone else that he was going to win too, and at the end they tried to take points from him. I just sat quietly, piled up my points, no one bothered me, and then, winner winner, chicken dinner.

I delivered Teri back to her car, then spent the next few hours relaxing and talking to Maggie on the phone.

Next week: Not alone for Valentine's???

09 February 2012

January - February Bridge Week 2012

I suddenly remembered this blog post from just a short two years ago when seemingly everyone around the Omaha metro was complaining about the cold. Not as many people are complaining about the warmth, including me. I went for a walks outside on consecutive days, January 31 and February 1.

Monday was not a very exciting day, especially since I stayed home sick, and barely left the house to go to the grocery store. I did get work on the Mass Chaos book, which I like, but it's going slower than I wanted. Tuesday night when I wanted to write my book, instead I got caught up in chatting, sheesh.

Wednesday I was finally over my migraine. Yay! It also seemed to be my day. First while walking outside I looked up to the overcast sky and saw an angel complete with halo around it's head.

Just Missed an Angel
The picture came about 12 seconds too late.

Then later in the day while looking at various memes around the interwebs, I came upon this curiosity. Naturally I could not resist the temptation to try this with poor Zeke, who put up with with the whole thing for about ten seconds, but it got me to laugh about 25 minutes straight when I saw this picture.

In-Bread Cat 3
Hi, my name is Zeke, and I'm a victim of inbreading.

On a more serious note, Wednesday was the four year anniversary of me putting down Cherokee. I know I'm not quite done with it, because I cried about it on Saturday.

Thursday the internet blew up, okay, just my Facebook feed, about this article about Kaleb in the Omaha World-Herald. Then people said I was in the paper, yes, my name and picture made it into the print edition. After work I went the latest version of Rome and Coke, this one about Lectio Divina. I really enjoyed the discussion, and hope to make this a point of reading in my life. I like the intention of reading with no timeframe goals, just to read with full understanding.

After the discussion, I headed over to Kaleb's to play a game of Agricola which I mistakenly thought that I played before. I had not, I was confusing it with Puerto Rico ... the reason that I confused the two will demonstrate what a geek I am. Agricola is the #2 game on boardgamegeek.com and Puerto Rico is the #3 game. Consequentially, I missed the explanation of the rules and basic strategy Kaleb gave Cecily before I got there ... guess who finished in last place? Part of it was my own fault, I started the game with one strategy, and then switched mid-game to another one. However the evening wasn't a total loss...

Cecily, Q-Bert, and Agricola 2
...I got a cute picture of Q-Bert sitting on Cecily.

There was one really bad part of the evening. I broke a tooth. I broke it in a unsalvagable way. I knew it right away too. It wasn't painful, but like I do whenever I do something bad to my teeth, I do it fabulously.

Friday during the day I set up a dentist appointment for Monday, finished my day at work, ate dinner with Beth and Teri at an impossibly packed Hy-Vee, and went to the regular dance. The grocery store was packed because Saturday was supposed to be Snowmeggedon 2012, and well, Omahans are people who pride themselves at being prepared, even if it is at the last minute. As for the dance, most of the time I like it better when the dance is crowded as opposed to sparse, but this time, the lack of a crowd seemed like a good thing.

Saturday Snowmegeddon came and left 9.1 inches of snow (curiously last February 4, we had 6.2 inches). The snowblower did not work because the snow was so wet and heavy, so I did the entire driveway with an old fashion shovel. I was pretty worn out after 2:15 minutes of shoveling, so I came in, showered, and took a nap. Later in the evening, she snow had stopped and the roads cleared. This seems like a good time for board games! I invited Maeg and Ben over, Maeg got there first, and with Troy we played one game of Giza before Ben arrived. There was some feline entertainment as well.

Zeke vs. oranges 1
Zeke vs. oranges 2 Zeke vs. oranges 7
Zeke had a tough week with food.

After Ben got there, we set up for what we had hoped would be a difficult game of Arkham Horror with a couple expansions. We separately chose three investigators, and picked one ... i.e. no collaborating to get a balanced team. My character was a complete failure, I didn't close one gate, I didn't kill one monster ... I didn't even battle any monsters. I played Diana Stanley. Her special effects never came into play because I didn't battle anything, and the Silver Twilight Lodge membership ended up being useless in that my encounters there only had bad results. Regardless, we won the game before the ancient one awoke.

We then played the new game that Maeg brought, Elder Sign. Same publisher, same mythos, same background as Arkham Horror, but a smaller, quicker game. Almost as if Arkham Horror was suffering from feature creep, so they just did a rewrite of the whole world. I really liked the game. (I was disappointed on Sunday that I didn't get to play again)

Sunday I met Teri for Mass at Saint Columbkille, Father Kevin was the celebrant, yay, good to see him. We went out to Village Inn to eat, Teri's treat: thank you. I came home, took a very short nap, and headed over to Kaleb's to his Super Bowl party.

About the football game: I admit it, I thought it was going to be a blow out in the Patriots favor. I should have know when the experts were picking the Giants, and the Vegas had the spread in favor to the Patriots. I bet the sports bookies made a fortune with people plunking money down on the Pats. I generally think it's unfair to characterize a game as turning on one play, but I thought the combination of Wes Welker dropping a difficult pass, then a few plays later Mario Manningham making a spectacular one was the difference(s) in the game. I don't necessarily think Welker should have made the catch, but he could have, but I do think that Manningham had no business catching that ball and it brought to my mind the football cradled against the head catch that David Tyree made to help to decide the Super Bowl a few years back. I think the momentum shift from one team to the other with the combination of drop and catch made decided the game. I didn't believe the Giants would beat the Patriots then, and I didn't believe it this year either, maybe I'll think it through more carefully next time they face each other.

Looking back on the season, it was disappointing to me. I thought the Bears had everyone right where they wanted them when Jay Cutler broke his hand, and the rest of the season fell apart. As far as my predictions went, I had the Super Bowl winner wrong, I had New Orleans, but I had the loser correct, New England. Of the twelve playoff teams, I correctly picked six. Meh. I'll put away the sports stories until next fall ... except for some lame predictions about the NCAA Tournament, or if the Bulls or Blackhawks make their finals, I'll pretend like I know what I'm talking about.

The party itself was fun. We listened about Kaleb getting indirectly mentioned on Saturday Night Live, played some around the world ping pong, stopped and watched Madonna's half time show, more ping pong, watched the last few minutes of the game, then more ping pong, one game of Qwirkle Cubes, and finished the night out with Rock Band. Oh and did I mention? More food than you could shake a stick at?

One other thing happened at the party. After much discussion with friends, careful consideration, and a whole lot of perseverance by Maggie, I told her how I felt and we will be boyfriend / girlfriend. I am very happy to have the support and love of our mutual friends, and the love a smart, sweet woman. I am very blessed.

Next week: it's Facebook official.

01 February 2012

Fourth Week in January, 2012

This awaited me Monday morning as I went out to start my car. Thank you Jenny!

Monday after work I had the best of intentions to be productive, but that didn't go so well. I mostly chatted all night and played some computer games. So Tuesday I planned to get to work on my book, but instead, Kevin called me and we went out to dinner at Five Guys, so yes, I had a burger, but no ketchup. We stayed there an awfully long time talking. He told me he was leaving to move to Virginia the following Monday. On Wednesday I went to RCIA. It was a catch up night since we'd missed three sessions in a row, so I knew we'd be going late, but it was okay, the deacons have quite the comedy routine. Thursday was back to dullsville.

Friday started the fun. After work I took a nap, then off to the Jitterbugs dance. It was the usual good times, but I started to feel a little icky. I decided that I was going to forego the UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson's ... but then eight other people were going, including Kevin who was on a victory tour of sorts. We got to the skate-a-thon around 0030, got laced up and started skating.

Things I did not know; Lee had never been skating (oops, sorry I knocked you over), since I think Maggie and Cecily can do anything I was surprised to see them unsure of themselves (so I held Maggie's hand), if I am going to fall I go forward, Maggie goes backward (I fell, kind of sideways), and core temperature matters (see picture below). At 0100 they did Thriller on ice, and at 0200 they did a skimpy skate.

Seriously, I can't do the dance on carpet or cement, these people are good.

IMG_0861 courtesy of Dena Rennard
My wrists got cold, especially the back of them, but really not my chest at all. Photo credit: Dena

I would not have done it if it weren't for Dena getting out there in just her dress. She went, then I went, then Cliff went, and finally Adam joined in with a T-Shirt on. So much for my manliness. After ten laps, the skinny (skimpy? skivvy?) skate was over, we got dressed, collected our prizes (a signed Husker shirt for me), and we headed over to Village Inn to eat and warm up. We were there until about 0330. I think I like to stay up once a weekend.

Understandably, I slept in on Saturday morning until almost noon, then it was off to have a long lost lunch with Kimee. Instead of the normal Runza, we went to Old Chicago. It was nice to catch up with her.

You're going to need people of intelligence on this quest ... thing.

We also went shopping at Target, her for food for her party, and me for some items for the one I was going to. I came home, took a short nap, and got to creating. Unfortunately, my creation was not quite what I imagined it to be. It wasn't bad, but I expected something with a little more flavor. Perhaps a little background would help, it was called an Hors D'Oeuvres Deathmatch. I was not the winner, Tamra won with a really cute entry.

The name for my creation was Tuna Racing Stripes.

Yes, pig in a blanket, very funny, ha ha. Photo credit: Matt

First smile! And who is holding her? 'Uncle' Eric, that's right! Photo credit: Matt

We must be getting old, we didn't stay up past midnight, there wasn't even a stupid o'clock anything. There were some suspicious Telestrations drawings, but not even Jenny could get mad at them too much. I did not bring my camera, but Matt had his, you can see his pictures here.

Unfortunately Sunday did not go well, I had a migraine developing, and it continued all day. I slept until about 1600, and was back in bed not very long after that either. I was actually encouraged when this one ended, because I felt so great the next day that I was reminded that whatever the cause, they are real and make me feel like crap. Boo migraines.

Next week: Stuff and more stuff!