Wild About Omaha

Last Friday, A. and I spent nearly an entire day on the other side of the river, and I think he would be disappointed if I did not mention that we attended several of the complimentary activities. He even suggested that I use "Kids" as the 'theme song' for this blog, as it turned out to the be a leitmotif that day. The first time we heard it, I believe, was when I was driving us into town. A. reached over to turn the volume up, and my fingers repeatedly tapped out the melody on the steering wheel.

"Who is this?" he asked.

"I'm going to guess MGMT," I said. "It sounds like them." Sounds like them? Of course it was them; the sounds were tautened and expanded, vocals pitched up an octave. The keyboards were turned into sleazy synthesizers. Even elements of the original filter through what some would call a digital haze.

"How do they come up with that?" A. questioned.

I shrugged. "I don't know." They're geniuses. Indie geniuses that sound excellent on the radio but are second-rate performers. (Or so I've been told.)

I've also been told that the "Witching Hour" at Omaha's Blue Barn Theatre is, in its own way, phenomenal. Which is precisely why I chose--out of many different events that the Mutual of Omaha sponsored in honor of its centennial celebration--to go to Hysterical Blindness 3. At first, I wasn't sure if A. would enjoy a somewhat spontaneous series of performances, but I turned out to be quite wrong. Not only we were subjected to serious, bubbly, interactive, excited, humorous, slap-stick one-minute plays, but were also treated to beverages (including wine tasting) and sustenance outside the theater. Brilliant. (Which is why, out of all the places we visited, the Blue Barn turned out to be our favorite.)

This is a picture of some old mailboxes that were in the lobby of the Blue Barn.

We headed over to the Durham Museum (previously the Western Heritage Museum) next. Once a Union Pacific Railway Station, the building used to play host to around 10,000 travelers and 64 trains a day in the 1930s. Once Amtrak--the government's effort to consolidate passenger rail traffic--became 'popular,' the station closed. (The tracks behind the museum, however, are still frequently used. In the time that A. and I were in the area, we several Union Pacific trains go by.) Today, the architecturally-beautiful museum plays hosts to exhibits that explain regional history, as well as culture and science from days past. There are also trains, real trains--including an engine and a caboose--that that free to explore.

Photo Source
Every Christmas, there is a huge tree that is locally grown and cut in order to decorate the grand lobby of the Durham Museum.

This is the inside of the trolley.

Outside, there were thunderstorms around, so I thought I could get a picture of the clouds rolling across the sky in front of the sunset. This picture doesn't capture how beautiful the evening was at all--it doesn't exhibit the breeze fluttering in the air, the smell of the city, the taste of the root beer float on my tongue.

Speaking of that root beer, I read later in the Omaha World Herald that within the first hour and a half of the Wild About Omaha festivities, that volunteers at the Durham had handed out 2,000 root beer floats. I would believe it. When A. and I stood in line to receive ours, a worker wheeled out a cart filled with a few layers of empty two-liter bottles of Barq's. I wish I would have snapped a picture of that spectacle.

Other events of the evening included a visit to the Bemis Center, a contemporary arts center that provides living accommodations/studios for artists who desire a supportive community, and Hot Shops, a 92,000 square foot art center filled with galleries, studios, and showrooms. There are also three anchor stores: Bruning Sculpture, Loken Forge, and Crystal Forge, where live demonstrations of glass-blowing took place.

Of course, no trip to the Old Market would be complete without a visit to some of the shops. Before we left the area for the evening, A. and I stopped back at "Retro," a store in the alley between Jackson and Jones. (I'm sure that if I mention the store sold incense, polyester pants, and hookahs in the 18-and-over room in the back, you can imagine the vibe of the store.) A. and I did find a few things to purchase, however (minus the incense and hookah).

That doesn't mean I didn't have the lyrics to "Kids" playing through my head as I browsed through racks of thick, patterned polyester shirts and fedoras, which I find eternally fashionable.

Control yourself.
Take only what you need from it...

An Open Letter to A.

I know you will find me a "silly girl" because I miss you so much. I know you may find it nonsensical that I shed many a tear upon your leaving this morning. To be honest, the thought of having to say goodbye brought tears to my eyes a week before you physically left my room, my house, my driveway...my arms. I dreaded your departure.

Now that you are gone, I can't help but notice what is missing—your suitcase in the corner of my room, your laptop under my nightstand, your form in my computer chair. I miss it all; I miss you. Oh, to think of what I would do to give you another hug, be the recipient of yet another "one last kiss."

However, please don't think that I am overly desperate, for I am merely lovesick for your presence. I already long to see you once more, for I know that no matter how much time we spend with other, it is never enough.

Purdue was not enough.
Indiana was not enough.
Iowa was not enough.
These last four weeks—every day of which was spent in each other's company—was not enough.

However, I am ever grateful for the time we were given this past month. There are many experiences we shared and many places we visited that I otherwise had not previously done or would do otherwise:

  • Attend a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Connor Prairie
  • Annoy goats in the "Critter Corner" at the Indianapolis Zoo
  • Spend more than six hours at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Attend a Comedy Club
  • Visit Hot Shops in Omaha
  • Play pool in a dive bar
  • Go antiquing
  • Spend an entire day in Indianapolis
  • Explore the Bemis Contemporary Arts Center in Omaha
  • Visit the conference room on Beering Hall's seventh floor
  • Spend the equivalent of half a day in Meijer
  • Go shopping for clothes at a store called "Retro"
  • Eat Thai food for lunch
  • Watch the sunset from the Lewis & Clark Monument

I'm sure that there are more...and I'm sure that we will have many more firsts in the future.

We—I—just have to wait.

I have to wait to see you again—wait to be entwined within the comfort and safety of your arms. Wait for you to whisper your thoughts into my ear and have your breath tickle me neck. Wait to hear your heart beating beneath my ear, feel the shadow of hair on your chin, and see the smile in your eye when you tell me I'm a "silly girl" for publicly trying to write about how much you mean to me.

No Misbehavin'

Effects from today’s events:

1. I am riddled with bug bites, three of which rest within the inner elbow of my left arm. Each leg boasts several angry, red specks, while two more dot my right wrist.

2. My computer now plays host to more than two dozen photos of Canadian geese.

3. There is a bottle of wine in my room.

All are most unusual, and for three reasons:

A. I am not, as Meredith in the 1998 production of The Parent Trap says, a “nature girl.” Inwardly, I cringe at the idea of physically exerting myself while hiking, kayaking, or biking. Encouraging my body to become dirty, sweaty, and bug-bitten during said activities is not something I have ever enjoyed. I don’t feel any sense of accomplishment after finishing these activities, either—only once I have taken a shower.

B. Canadian geese usually don’t hold too much of a particular interest to me. However, I have also never had the opportunity to chase them, paparazzi-style, with my Kodak Easy Share, either.

C. I hate alcohol.

However, I endured mild physical exertion and the strategic dodging of greasy geese “land mines” because I knew that A. would enjoy a venture to Arrowhead. Littered with fishing peninsulas, a playground, and several trails for hiking, I figured that he and I would enjoy the beautiful weather by eating a picnic lunch. After splitting a Zebra Cake for dessert, we spent our time watching/photographing/chasing/imitating the geese and walking through trails that I declared “itchy.”

After entertaining ourselves on the swings, slides, and miniature zip-line included in the playground, we headed back to the car. Having previously decided that we could visit a nearby winery, I proceeded to drive in that direction and successfully traveled approximately four miles in A.’s car before realizing that the parking brake was still on.

Once at the winery, a couple of pleasant surprises ensued. First, my great uncle—whom I intended to stalk at the country fair last night—appeared and purchased sweet corn. Second, the wines I tasted were not as bad as I half-expected. In fact, A. and I ended up walking away with a bottle of Edelweiss, a sweet white wine that I only enjoy because it does not taste like alcohol.

However, what I remember the most about the visit to the winery is the one woman’s story:

Her son and his friends were somewhere (an elevator, a hotel, perhaps...I do not entirely remember) and had a pack of candy cigarettes in their possession. They stood in a pack, a “cigarette” resting between each of their lips. A strange—and obviously drunk—woman came up to them, asking if she could bum a cigarette. Bewildered, but amused, they looked at each other, wondering what she wanted. “A cigarette,” she said, pointing to the stick in the son’s mouth. Fighting back laughter, the son—who had the rest of the “package” in his breast pocket—gave her what he had. Stumbling back to where she came, the woman slurred her thanks and wished them a good night, obviously oblivious not only her drunkenness, but to the fact that she was trying to light up a stick of chalk-like composition.

This amusing story highlighted my visit to the winery, but it was not what made my day. Rather, today was deemed a good day because,

  • The geese pictures (and other digital experiments) will provide me with much-needed wildlife photos.
  • The over-priced Cranberry White Chocolate Truffle that I purchased at the winery certainly merited its weight in chocolate, and was well-worth the few Washingtons I handed over to receive it.
  • Today was...well, fun.


There is a crate in the middle shelf of my closet—a slate gray crate speckled with smiley face stickers and butterfly emblems. Originally housing my textbooks in 4th and 5th grade, the crate now plays host to more than three dozen personal journals.

I used to avidly write in my journals, chronicling my upper elementary and junior high years by hand before I bought a computer as a sophomore. With the ability to write faster type, I quickly filled around forty-four spiral notebooks, sketchbooks, and fancy-pants diaries with infatuations, fights, vacations, and conversations that my mind managed to tape-record.

Once I was a senior in high school, I wrote more and more sporadically. It wasn’t like I didn’t have anything of importance to say…I just didn’t take the time to write as furiously as I once did. By the time I was in college, my journal-ing had become extinct.

That was two years ago, and I still haven’t picked my once-cherished hobby back up. Sadly, this blog is my only form of journal-ing, and I don’t consider it efficient enough.

I used to hold the belief that I would continue to narrate my life through writing, hopefully bestowing my words upon a daughter or granddaughter someday. I assume that they would learn many things—how I grew up, how I felt at certain times in my life, the trials and lessons learned while getting married, raising 2.3 children, and living in a stereotypical house with a white-picket fence. (You get the picture.)

Sadly, however, I am aware that many of the details that have occurred in the last few years of my life have faded. Though I can look at (past) journals I have finished and read entries about a conversation I may not otherwise be able to recall, I fear that many of the happy memories, numerous emotions, and other occasions of the last few years are lost. I cannot fill in the blanks, and it is distressing to think that the most significant occurrences in my life thus far are not recorded.

It’s also upsetting when I think about the fact that I’m not even writing about my time here in Indiana. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I could find too much of anything to say, with the exception of the two days we did plan (Symphony on the Prairie and the Fourth of July). Unfortunately, most of what we have done during my time here is inconsequential. A. says that it should be enough just to see him. However, I can’t help but feel that I’m wasting some of my time—I could be at home, actually trying to remain loyal to this blog and my once-important journal-ing, as well as keep my mother company, spend time with friends, and comfort a suffering friend.

Those things, to me, are more significant than sitting on a slightly uncomfortable couch watching TV or sitting on the bed, watching A.’s back as he spends precious hours on digg.com. However, I guess I could try and think along the same brain waves as him—after all, if I was in Iowa, I wouldn’t be able to sufficiently survey the contours of his back and shoulders.

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