Monday, September 16, 2013

girl heroes and camping

I'm currently leading a group of 4-5th grade girl scouts at a local elementary school, until I can find some volunteers to replace me. Last week we talked about women they see on TV and in movies, and what role or what jobs those women have. I even had them list their favorite women in media. When I asked them what jobs women have in TV and movies they said things like dancer, cashier, waitress, singer, teacher, nurse, and 1 girl said doctor. Their TV heroes were Rihanna, Beyonce, Selena Gomez, some cartoon characters, and one girl said Amelia Earnhardt. I don't know what I expected. I hear all the time that girls have a lack of substantive women to look up to in their world, and this confirmed that. If you can't see it, you can't become it. I realize that girls will grow up and probably expand their knowledge of what women are doing in the world, but I still found it kind of sad what I heard that day from such young girls. I guess I shall try to do what I can to change that. I wonder what would happen if I asked them what the women in their lives do for work, and if that list would be much different. That may be an exercise for another day!

This weekend we went camping at Olive Creek campground. It is slated to close today for the season due to budget issues within the state, which is a major bummer. Olive Creek is an excellent campground because it's so quiet and private. Not many people camp there. And maybe that's why they want to close it, but our group of friends has grown quite fond of it. We had a neighbor at the campground this time who had a pontoon boat, and we took 2 rides on it Saturday night; one at sunset and one in the dark. It was lovely. We also played fireball, which is a very fun game that Jovi invented. At night, there were storms, but Kurt and I stayed warm and cozy in our tent. I was very happy with the tent's performance. We've only camped in it during good weather without the rain fly, so this time we staked all the stakes and properly secured all the flaps and the tent was warm, yet well ventilated and dry. I enjoyed waking up in the night to hear the storms and the rain on the tent. Also a bonus, our air mattress hardly deflated at all. Usually, we wake up with our butt and lower backs hitting the ground, but it was not so this night. It was an excellent night of camping.

Monday, September 9, 2013

puppies & pie

Yesterday was my first time at a Girl Scouts program. I helped my coworker plan it. It was a family field day. We had all kinds of those little games you play as a child, like a ping pong relay and a 3 legged race. It was over 90 degrees outside, but we had a breeze and most of the area was shaded, which helped. By the end of the day, though, I was exhausted.

Kurt's mom made 3 pies yesterday, and then invited us over to eat them! That was a lovely Sunday evening treat. She made peach pie from the peach tree in the backyard, apple pie, and lemon meringue. They were all delicious. Afterwards, we went to Kent & Alisha's house to see their adorable new puppies. They are only 8 weeks old, so they are still clumsy. It was fun. After that we went to Perkins to do the crossword puzzle.

I went to bed at 10:30 and slept until 8:30. I feel pretty rested today. :0)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

visit to Omaha

Yesterday I was in Omaha for training for work. I have not been in Omaha as often as I thought I would the past year. The Girl Scout office in Omaha is about a block or 2 from the LFS office. It's right next to an apartment complex where I placed 2 of my clients and by the middle school where I mentored a girl for a year and a half. It was a very, very nostalgic visit. For lunch, I went to the newly opened Bhutanese/Nepali grocery store/restaurant. I ran into a former coworker and an old client of mine came and spoke to me. He very clearly remembered that I helped pay for an electric bill for him before he started working. He thanked me and said he missed me. He says he mentions my name all the time when he goes to LFS now, and that nobody still works there from when he first came to Omaha. That was a little overwhelming in a good way. The food was delicious and the training was interesting. It was a Wednesday, and Wednesdays are my brutal days because I get up at 5:15am for my show on KZUM. I had a few other activities for the night, and I was more than ready for bed at an early hour. It was nice because Kurt was in a better mood, and I was happy and thankful when bedtime rolled around (at an early hour).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

4 months

OK. So in 4 months...
I turned 31
My first nephew was born
I went 3 weeks on one tank of gas
I spent a long week in Michigan with my husband
I kayaked on Lake Michigan (not my first time, but always lovely)
I commuted on my bike regularly (my first time)
I recovered from a terrible back injury
I put on weight while healing from that terrible back injury
I left my job at the state
I started a new job at Girl Scouts
I started running again after the terrible back injury
I swept and mopped the entire house (hadn't been done since May)
We bought a new car (for Kurt)
We went to Denver with a big group of friends
I started using a real planner again, the kind with paper
I joined the board of Lincoln Literacy

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend. We didn't do a whole lot. Kurt was on call, and he's bummed about work. We ate out a few times. I played Dominion with Spanky and Becca Sunday and Monday nights, which was a lot of fun. It's such a fun game! I ran 5 miles on Saturday and 5 miles on Sunday. I cleaned for 3 hours on Monday while Kurt went into the office for a little while. I read Lipstick Jihad, which was an incredibly fascinating book about Iran and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Last week was in the 90s and above, and Sunday it finally cooled down. We walked to church on Sunday and biked to Jimmy John's, which has become our default place to do the crossword puzzle each week. It's close to our house, they don't care if we sit for hours, the music is great, and it's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Sometimes I miss doing the crossword puzzle at Great Wall in Waverly, but it's just a pain to drive out there these days.

Friday, May 31, 2013

We got our Bikes!

Me and Kurt got our bikes back FINALLY from the repair guy! (Apparently some parts were on backorder) We got them Wednesday, picked up the locks and helmets yesterday and I took my bikes to work today. It was pretty timely because my car is in the shop right now getting a little work done. I was late this morning because getting the bike up from the basement and putting the wheel on and packing the backpack for the day took longer than I expected, but it was a lovely ride. It took 25 minutes and I hope to find a way to make that time shorter. It's a 4.5 mile ride. I'm excited to ride my bike a lot and use my car less.

Yesterday I had my first massage. It was "theraputic" for my crappy back situation. The massage hurt like hell, mostly, so it was far from enjoyable. However, between the chiropractic adjustments and the massage I'm starting to feel loads better. I suspect all this trouble started when I started to go to Good Life Fitness. I don't know what I did to injure myself so badly, but I did! The masseuse thinks it is my iliopsoas muscle. Google it. It's an important one and a hard one to fix.

I am currently at Culvers on a work break. I had a free one scoop ice cream sundae from my birthday that I decided to use on this gorgeous, gorgeous day. Time to head back!

Friday, May 3, 2013

6 months

Today Kurt brought home some pretty pink flowers for me for our 6 month anniversary. He said our friend Breanne told him he should do it (though I told him not to get anything). But then he heard Bruno Mars' song "When I Was Your Man"...

So he thought he should buy me flowers, because he usually doesn't do that. But then in Hyvee, he heard The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love"...

So he was conflicted...

But he bought them anyway, and they're pretty pink and potted, so I hope they can stay alive for longer.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This past weekend me and Kurt hauled an old bike and an old bike frame from his dad's shed. Yesterday we took them to a guy in Lincoln who runs a shop out of his garage and he's going to fix up our bikes for a very decent price. Much more decent than getting new bikes for both of us! I'm looking forward to attempting to commute on my bike. It's an easy ride up the Rock Island Trail.

Also, we got the garden planted this past weekend. I am not crazy about gardening so I'm glad Kurt enjoys it. I am looking forward to seeing if anything grows. Apparently most of the plants survived the transplanting like champs. And now we have snow forecasted for tonight...May 1. Ugh.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I'm on my lunch right now. I took up walking over my lunch break around the beginning of the year when I started to approach my fitness in a less running centric way. It has been a lovely way to spend hour lunches. I am almost caught up with my podcasts and I have lost some weight.

Today I walked outside on the Rock Island Trail, which I haven't been able to do much of since working here because it has been winter (I usually have to go to the gym). Today is sunny and around 50 degrees. When I started walking it was pretty cold but I warmed up about a mile in. Now I'm in my car about to head in and I've got the windows open for a lovely, cool breeze. The snowmelt is pouring into the drain nearby which is making sound akin to a waterfall. It is a distinctly and urbanly peaceful moment.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A month later

Today I downloaded an app on my phone for blogger. Oh smartphones. There is no end to their entertainment and/or usefulness.

Volunteering with the refugees had been going well, but hit a dry patch. They stood us up about 2 weeks in a row. We finally made a successful visit again last night. I noticed that mom improved significantly on her letter recognition. I started some phonics with her and the eldest daughter. Surprisingly they both did quite well! I heard them read English words! Today I looked up some websites to help them learn more phonics and I'm excited to see their learning progress. Saturday we're planning to take everyone to the capitol building.

Work has been reliable and easy. I apply for new state jobs most days but haven't gotten a call for an interview yet. Though I daily appreciate the stability and ease of this job, I'm ready for something more.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Kurt and I have been visiting our Karen family about twice a week to practice English and stuff. Today I went and worked with the 2 women of the family, one a mom the other a young woman. I had SUCH a lovely time with them. First, I put up labels on various household items, like stove, phone, sink, freezer, mirror, toilet, sofa, chair, TV, and others. Then I took out the Bananagram game that I have begun to use for alphabet practice with the mom, and we spelled the words together. I spent some time with them practicing the letters "F" vs. "V" and "S" vs "Z" (vocalized and non-vocalized letters). Mom really caught on to the word "freezer" and said it several times as I was leaving. I think it may one of the first English words to really stick in her mind.

I am enjoying helping this refugee family quite a lot! I also have volunteered twice with VITA, the tax preparation program that helps people who make 57,000 or less per year. It's strange, but my meager understanding of taxes and how the tax system works is more than a lot of people understand. I typically think of myself as terrible at math, but most of the VITA volunteering is just knowing what tax form to enter into what part of the tax software, and the computer does the rest.

Friday I went to a class at my gym called "N-10sive F-I-R-E". The class names there are hilariously silly (as I may have mentioned before), but they are excellent classes. This class supposedly sets your muscles on fire, and it certainly did that for me. I couldn't do much with my limbs Friday night, felt sore on Saturday, then on Sunday when I was feeling a little better, I thought I could handle a yoga class at night. That was a mistake, because I was still weak and sore from Friday. Today my arms are almost worse than they were on Friday. I took ibuprofen this morning. Crazy as it sounds, I might go back to this terrible class, because it appears to be a very effective way to tone and gain strength.

I recently finished reading A Storm of Swords, the 3rd book in the Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones series. I started reading A Passage to India a few days ago, a book I had bought at a retired teacher's book sale at the mall one random weekend. Kurt isn't watching TV for Lent, so we are both getting a lot of reading in these days, which I really enjoy.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

looking forward to volunteering

My thing lately has been to try to get into the volunteering circuit. I miss being out in the community, and there are so many nights I have nothing to do. I'm currently cleared to be a mentor for a Karen family that arrived on Thursday. I am so incredibly excited to meet them. It has been a long time since I was able to forge a relationship with a refugee family that I could keep around for a long time. While working in resettlement, I had to move on every 3 months and never got a chance to be close to a refugee family like I wanted. I already have tons of ideas of what I want to do with them to help them learn English and feel comfortable in their surroundings. My biggest thing now is that I want to find a way to record vocabulary, so they can listen to correct pronunciation on their own time. I hope to meet them this week sometime.

I'm also training to be a VITA volunteer (helping people complete their taxes). I had to do a lot of studying and take an online exam. It took me quite some time to finish the exam, but when I was finished, I only got 66%, and I needed 80% to pass. I had one more chance to take the exam, so I spent some more time studying, and passed the second try with 90%. That made me really happy. For some reason I enjoyed studying about taxes. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I enjoyed learning something new. I think I will be volunteering Sundays to help with taxes. I think it will be an interesting experience.

So...I am off onto some new volunteering adventures. I am excited.

Me and Kurt didn't do a whole lot on Saturday. Yesterday I ran 4.25 miles, did some lifting, we bought some stuff for Kurt at Scheel's for his marathon training, stopped in to look at some stuff at Hobbytown, Kurt made Paneer and some other Indian food for dinner (which was delicious), and we watched 3 episodes of West Wing. Friday night we celebrated with our friend Tyne because she got a job! We had Lazzari's pizza (downtown Lincoln), where the guy who took our order was a total snot to me and Kurt. Then we went to Yogurtini. I had Thin Mint yogurt, which was AMAZING. Kurt ran 10 miles today for his marathon training.

Today is the Superbowl. It's such a bizarre type of "holiday". We're going to a friend's house. Tomorrow, back to the grind.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

smart phone

Well, Kurt and I have given in and bought smart phones. The pay-by-the-month cost was $35 for unlimited texting and data, with 300 minutes. The plan with unlimited minutes and texting was $40 per month. The dumb phone was cheaper than the smart phone, but the plan was more expensive. That's what ultimately made me decide to get the smart phone. I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. It's kind of convenient, because I can check Facebook on it (I never check it on my work computer). I like using Pandora on my phone to connect to the auxiliary-out cord in my car. I like being able to use the Gmail chat on my phone. I like some of the other little, useful apps. I can't bring myself to download games yet. I don't want to be an obnoxious smart phone user.

This weekend has had a lot of sitting around and chatting. Friday night we had a few friends over (Tyne, Matt, and Pat). We sat from 7:30pm til 1:30am, just talking and having a few drinks. It was a good time. I did that all the time with my Michigan friends, and miss it. In Nebraska, we tend to do lots of "stuff", like games and other planned activities...which is a lot of fun! But I enjoyed kicking back and shooting the shit. We also did this Saturday night for about 2 hours at Matt's house. It was also enjoyable. However, Kurt and I were pretty tired and left around 10:30. Kurt had run 9 miles earlier in the day, and I had walked 5 miles. We came home, watched a movie on Netflix, and both of us dozed off during it. It's odd for me to fall asleep during a movie...

Today we went to church, then went to Kurt's parents' house to celebrate Jim's birthday (Jim is a disabled guy that Kurt's mom has guardianship over, because both of his parents passed away, and Kurt's mom was friends with his mom). We had pizza and cupcakes. We came home and did the crossword puzzle successfully, and now we're probably going to relax for the rest of the night. Yesterday's weather was sunny and in the 50s. Today it's cloudy, drizzling and in the upper 30s/lower 40s. Our energy level is quite low and it feels like the kind of day to stay indoors with a blanket.

I finished reading a book today called Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. It went into detail explaining specific campaigns that were used to promote products, or particular tactics used in the marketing industry to persuade us to spend our money. I found that I was already aware of most of these tactics, and that I am pretty good at insulating myself from ads, or making myself immune to some of their tactics. I hate advertising, and as a rule, try to avoid it as much as I can. Thus we cancelled cable, I listen to a lot of community and public radio, buy mostly store-brand items, turn off the radio during commercials, and have an ad-blocker in my browser. It helps. The guy in the book went out of his way to make companies sound like deceptive, manipulative, careless, greedy businesses. And many of them are, I have no doubt, but the whole tone of the book was over-the-top and alarmist. He even had an alarmist chapter on how powerful our friends are in influencing our brand choices. Oh no! Watch out for those scary, manipulative friends who are going to try to get you hooked on a brand! I'm not a fan of advertising, or over consumption or needless consumption, but people need stuff and companies provide that stuff. I appreciate ethical businesses and try to support local ones whenever I can. It was an interesting book, but not anything new or ground-breaking for me. It contained a chapter on data-mining that was a good reminder to value privacy and do what I can to keep as much of my personal information out of the wrong hands.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

outdoors is nice

Well, the cold didn't really go away as quickly as I thought it would. I almost went to the doctor the next day because I had a painful cough. But that went away in a day or so, too. I felt like I was fighting something for another few days, but finally bounced back to full health and energy level. I am glad that I have not gotten the flu. That bastard apparently is making its rounds.

The weather has been pretty nice recently. Nice means 40-50F. I've been glad to spend some time outside with various runs and walks on my lunch time. Yesterday I walked during my lunch and today Kurt and I ran 5 miles. The sun was out in full force, which was glorious! The wind, however, was cold and powerful and we ran through a few strong gusts that slowed us down. The snow is all melted and everything is brown and dormant, but there's a lot of beauty in it.

Yesterday Kurt and I went on a "date". We went to Applebee's and used up some gift cards we had received at our wedding and for Christmas. Applebee's isn't my favorite place, but it's okay. After we ate, I looked up all the calories I had eaten, and it was 3300! Yes, I ate 3300 calories at Applebee's in one sitting. I had 2 glasses of pepsi, we split the queso blanco, and I had the black and bleu burger with fries and a mousse dessert shooter. I don't really care that I ate that many calories, but I'm glad to be aware of my eating habits. My recent weight management strategy has been to indulge once or twice a week. If I can splurge once and a while, that helps me be healthier the rest of the time. Either way, Applebee's was delicious and it was a good time. Afterwards, I played volleyball with a few people at this bar/volleyball gym called Spikes, which is an interesting combination. I think it works for them, because it was very busy. We played terribly...truly, really horrendously, but I had so much fun! I forgot how much fun volleyball was. I told Lydia to let me know if they needed a body another time, and I'd be happy to fill in again.

Tonight Kurt and I are hosting "My 3 Songs", where everyone gets to pick 3 songs and we all listen to them. I did this with friends 3 years ago and it was a wonderful time. Right now I've got mulled wine cooking in the crock pot and I'm looking forward to an evening sharing music with friends. :0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

i kicked the cold

Yesterday I watched a video of this guy who does balance art. He balances rocks on top of each other. It's pretty amazing. The video was of him balancing rocks in the middle of a river. I had my earphones in at work and the only sound was the river flowing in the background. It was amazingly relaxing and made me want to go camp by a river.

I had a cold this past weekend. I went home at 3 on Friday afternoon from work with dizziness, extreme fatigue, and a little cough. When I got home I slept from 3:30-7. That night, I slept 11 hours. I didn't do a whole lot the entire weekend but sleep, sit on my butt and drink water. We did a few errands on Saturday, and my brain was definitely out of commission (as seen by forgetfulness, going the wrong direction while driving and not figuring it out for a few miles, and general confusion). This was before I got some medicine to treat the symptoms! We went for Chinese food and the crossword puzzle on Sunday, and I kicked butt with the puzzle. Kurt surmised that my inhibited brain was so dumb that it was able to correctly guess the dumb clues in the puzzle.

On Monday, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it to work. But I woke up and felt energized, which is odd for a Monday morning. I do believe I sufficiently kicked the cold's butt with rest! Most of my rare colds turn into bronchitis or something else terrible. I'm grateful that didn't happen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year

I was at work on New Years Eve and this guy was chatting with me and a few unmotivated co-workers. He said that he thought New Years was a sorry excuse for a holiday. To me, New Years is one of my favorite holidays. I think it's fun to celebrate the passing of a year, to welcome a new one, and to do it with as many friends or family as you can get together. Historically, I have been a part of some kick-ass New Years parties. There were the 3 years that we rented cottages by Lake Mac in Holland. Those were some amazing parties, one year with almost 50 people stopping by. This year we celebrated at Spanky's house, and it was a real good time. :0)

I like the opportunity to reflect on the past year. I've done this random survey thing that I got through an email or on a blog or something for more years that I can remember off the top of my head. As I get older, I enjoy reading my old answers and it helps me recall major life events or memories. It's like seeing the ebb and flow of my life. I plan to keep answering those same 30 questions for as along as I can. I'm working on them now, but haven't quite finished my answers for 2012.

Today I went to a new gym for a "boot camp". I have never been to such a thing, but I enjoy taking fitness classes and I thought it would be a fun new thing to try. It was certainly a challenge. I did my best to keep up and I think I did okay for my first time. The instructor would write a list of 6-10 exercises that we had to do, and how many reps we had to do. Then he gave us a certain amount of time for us to do those reps. Some people were quick and could get through multiple rotations of the lists. I, of course, was slow, and the instructor encouraged new people to do half the reps on the board anyway. Everyone could go at their own pace, which was nice. I believe once or twice I skipped an exercise, but it didn't really matter. My strategy was to do the particular exercise until I saw people around me move onto the next one. I'd give them a little time to get into the new move, then I'd start, so it wouldn't be totally obvious that I was following them. It was hard to keep the whole series of exercises in my head, and besides, I didn't know what most of them are. I mean, really..."50 HBHHLG" "20 pike" "25 ice skates" "20 starting blocks". What do these things mean? Though really, it's just a lingo that I can learn, if I need to. I won't be going to many of these boot camps, though, because my Groupon to the gym doesn't include them. Right when I got home, I felt very energized and bopped around the house cleaning, which is what I tend to do when I get home from the gym. I am crashing right now, however, and I will sleep well tonight.

Speaking of sleeping, I had a terrible, horrible dream last night. I dreamed that I was at a mall when a mass shooter was there. I wasn't injured in my dream, but I saw many scary things and was convinced I had PTSD. I'm glad it wasn't a vivid dream, and I didn't feel panicked or upset when I woke up. But that's still messed up. And on that depressing note...I'm going to finish laundry.