Overcoming fears, one dirty diaper at a time
Tribune sports writer Mike Zimmerman got a pretty good ribbing in the newsroom earlier this week for his fear of fish. Several of us eventually expressed empathy by sharing our own fears. I didn’t say anything then, but up until a couple months ago I probably would’ve said babies.
I arrived at work Monday morning after spending a week home with my almost-twomonth old son, Jonah.
Read More>>> Don’t go ‘Ninja’
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is painful for adults, but might entertain kids. The latest film in the “TMNT” franchise is a train wreck that attempts to embrace the Bayhem attitude. Unfortunately it doesn’t execute on nearly the same level.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” tells the story of everyone’s favorite amphibians as they take on the mighty Shredder and his corporate flunky, Eric Sacks, played by a somewhat menacing William Fichtner. The ’80s and ’90s characters most adults know from their films and television shows are “updated” for a new audience and it’s up to you to decide if you prefer these new turtles. I personally miss the days of Jim Henson’s puppetry and the chunky turtle suits.
Read More>>> Random thoughts on crafting
Rub talcum powder lightly on your hands to keep sweat from making it hard to make fiber crafts. I found that sweat on my hands makes my needles/hook make a squeaking sound as I knit or crochet through the stitches. The yarn also sticks to the needles/hook and makes uneven sized stitches on my project. I know it’s hard to think of sweaters and afghans when it’s so hot outside but pretty soon, you’ll need that sweater or afghan to keep warm when winter arrives. (In Nebraska, that could be as soon as next week, right?) So far, I’ve made the first three sets of knit swatches for my master hand-knitting course. The next step is to seam two swatches together using the appropriate techniques for the specific swatch stitch pattern. The instructions suggest that I send my best samples of my work. I kept putting off the course work because I couldn’t seem to get that best-work sample made well enough to make it my best sample swatch. I felt I had to do it right the very first time. Wait, this is an instruction class to improve my knitting skills. It finally occurred to me that I should make more than one swatch so that I can choose the best looking sample to send in as part of my correspondence course. What a relief! I don’t feel that pressure to be perfect on my first sample. It makes the course seem less intimidating to complete.
Read More>>> Paper-free living hasn’t arrived yet
Matilda, my good friend and former neighbor, stopped by the other morning. She was holding two reams of computer paper and a twin-pack of print ink cartidges.
“That’s a lot of paper,” I told her as if she didn’t know she was holding two reams of computer paper and cartridges. “You finally finished that romance novel you’ve been working on for the past three decades.”
Read More>>> Joining students in famous writing assignment
I’m thinking of giving myself the most clichéd and challenging of writing assignments. One thing that I’m fairly certain of is that I won’t be the only one facing this assignment at this time of year.
At least, if I am to think that misery does indeed love company, I guess I’d better ask: Do teachers still use “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” as a writing assignment to start a new school year?
Read More>>> South central Nebraska offers scenic splendor
Writer’s note: It’s been a busy week in Schlueterville, so here’s the column that ran in the August 12, 2010, issue of the Hastings Tribune. This trip took place four years ago, but I can still see our sleeping sons in the rearview mirror.
God broke the mold when He created south central Nebraska. I think of this each time we take ATVs to Harlan County Lake for a day of grit-filled, tooth-jarring fun. Rising out of the craggy landscape like a desert oasis, the lake is a nine-mile mass of crystalline sparks dancing on a 13,000-acre pool stretching between Republican City and Alma, a toe’s length north of the Kansas border.
Read More>>> Rookie mistake would embarrass Peter Piper
When it comes to eating I would say I’m mildly adventurous. I know what I like on my pizza, I rarely stray from the Smokehouse Combo at Dally’s Deli and anything named cheesecake is my favorite. But that’s not to say I won’t try new things.
My first bite of sushi was in Idaho. Arizona is where I ate rattlesnake. France is where I tried duck pâté and rabbit. The fishermen of Croatia served up squid while the fishermen of Maine offered mussels. I’ve never shied away from a food truck. And the list goes on.
Read More>>> Find natural dyes in the garden
Gardens yield a plethora of colors of natural dyes for the fiber enthusiast. Here are a few things to consider when using natural materials for dyeing your fiber. A dye chart, books or Internet are excellent resources regarding fiber dyeing and the particular dyeing process.
It’s vital to keep written notes and other information regarding the dyeing process. One reason is that if you want to duplicate the color as close as possible, you have the information. Notes should include type of dyeing process, time of each process step, amount of materials used, mordant, and color results. Photographs can be included but the color may not be an exact match to the finished product. I usually keep my notes and place a small sample of my dyed fiber into my record book so I can see the true results of the finished dyeing process.
Read More>>> Horoscope sometimes gets it right accidentally
Reading horoscopes is such a waste of time. Matilda, a close friend of mine, won’t even go shopping without first checking her horoscope. Last week her sign told her “don’t take risks.”
“If I risk buying those pink and orange heels with the zipper in the heel today, they will be out by next season,” she said.
Read More>>> Junk mail useful as disposable holiday calendar
Thank goodness I looked at the stack of mail on the counter when I got home from work the other day. It reassured me that I hadn’t overslept — like for about a month or two. And there was good reason to have that concern.
Earlier that same day as I was in a greeting card shop, I was about to head to the checkout counter when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a preponderance of the color orange in the rack behind me. So I turned.
Read More>>> Making plans for the kick-tail phase of life
Twenty years ago I bought a charming mirror from an art gallery in faraway Iowa. It was a simple folk art mirror with colorful, hand-carved figures adorning the frame — a mouse chased by a cat, which was chased by a dog, which was chased by a net-wielding dogcatcher. Painted below this frantic scene are the words, “It’s just one thing after another.”
Read More>>> Life better after living in disarray for two months
My life has been in turmoil for more than two months, and I hardly even noticed until it was over. In May, I came to Hastings and quickly began working at the Hastings Tribune.
Life in Hastings has already proven to be filled with adventure, kindness, friendship, love and excitement. I really like it here.
Read More>>> ‘Trance’ confusing
James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson are the epitome of cool in director Danny Boyle’s latest, “Trance.” Boyle often surprises audiences film after film by embracing American and international actors for his projects that are either relatively unknown or diamonds in the rough. The director of the Oscarwinning “Slumdog Millionaire” has found that in McAvoy, an actor who has been relegated to comic book fare, but is deserving of so much more after first breaking out in “The Last King of Scotland.”
McAvoy steals every scene he’s in with supreme charisma and wit while delivering the sometimes demoralizing dialogue in the film. McAvoy is, however, introduced to his share of crippling confrontational defeat when his “friends” turn against him in a climactic moment.
Read More>>> Fair’s Open Class competition like a family reunion
Iam working on the purple ribbon winners from the Adams County Fair. Here are a few thoughts while working on said list. Crafters are very talented people. I recall the specific items entered in the Open Class as I type the names and classifications of the different purple ribbon winners. The beautiful pencil art of a face with very expressive eyes; beautiful woodwork that I keep asking myself, "how did they do that?" and the baked goods that looked so delicious I wanted to eat them all. There were lots of beautiful flowers and vegetables ... more than I expected considering the nasty weather this past couple of months in Adams County. I remember going by the different decorated houses in the baking section. The display made me smile because it looked like a housing subdivision sitting on the display counter.
Read More>>> Searching for a remote we can run
There was a time when I needed to know how things work. Admittedly, this was a long time ago, back when teenage boys, hair slicked back in duck tails, spent time with wrench in hand and head under the hood “soupin’ up” their engines and that of their cars, as well.
It was a time when high school girls excelled in Typing 101 on a Smith Corona manual with 100 words a minute promising fame and fortune as an office secretary with eyes on the young executive in the far corner of the office. If a key stuck on one of these black babies, I knew how to fix it because I understood how things worked.
Read More>>> It’s the dog days of summer in 700 words
I wanted to watch “Sharknado 2” on TV, but I’m afraid I’d be lost since I didn’t see the first one, so I guess I’ll just use the time to write this instead. I think I might declare this weekend the dog days of summer weekend.
Actually, I think when people use that phrase it’s for a stretch of the summer a little later than this, but I want to get out ahead of the crowd.
Read More>>> Awaiting ‘VII’ with patience of Jedi master
The date has been set and I’m among the millions who can’t wait for Dec. 18, 2015 — the day “Star Wars VII” is scheduled to be released. But I’m starting to realize that I might not be a die-hard fan.
Sure, I enjoy watching the movies, even the prequels that some fans mocked. I have my favorite lines memorized. My ears perk up every time “star” and “wars” are used in the same sentence.
Read More>>> Documentary tells movie critic’s story
A voice is a terrible thing to lose. Roger Ebert was diagnosed and treated for cancer and lost his physical voice in the process. Never, however, did it negate his ability to speak to a wide audience through technology, a tool Ebert grasped onto much earlier than other movie critics.
Ebert, a fighter until the end of his battle with cancer, blogged consistently about movies seen and observations had during the finality of his life. This, the power of the human spirit and our ability to speak in a variety of ways is the focus of director Steve James’ documentary about the life of the greatest movie critic.
Read More>>> With county fair over, it’s time to think State Fair
We had a great week for the Adams County Fair, which wrapped up with the 4-H livestock auction on Monday. My main area of work at the fair is being the superintendent of the open class exhibits.
One misconception I heard several times this year regarding the open class — not 4-H entries — is that you have to earn a purple ribbon to take the item to the Nebraska State Fair. Not true. Think of your county fair. Usually, you have to be a resident of that particular county to enter items in open class. In Adams County, you can also be a member of the Adams County Family, Community, Education clubs (formerly known as extension clubs) to enter items in the Adams County Fair open class. Your county’s premium book will give you the specifics for that county’s open class entry requirements.
Read More>>> If only I’d known that years ago …
Things that my mother and others never told me and if they have, I’ve probably forgotten: When we were first married, someone should have told us to invest in gold instead of baby shoes. The babies are grown and the shoes are in a drawer waiting to be bronzed, while people who invested in gold are buying cabin cruisers and putting their names on a list to travel in space.
My mother did a lot to further my education in a number of areas, but she never told me that those two words “I do,” gave me a life sentence to refilling the empty roll of bathroom tissue and answering the landline telephone.
Read More>>> Two big events that defined a generation
So, is anything really exciting going to happen in, oh, let’s say the next three weeks? By that, I mean anything that we’ll still be talking about in 45 years, or at least those that come after us. And one more caveat — something positive.
There are plenty of negative things that could happen; the current world situation sees to that. Right now, there are hot spots in the Ukraine and the Middle East getting most of our attention and pushing aside the conflicts that were big news two weeks ago. So, yeah, they could supply or touch off monumental events, but I want the positive. Are there occurrences upon us that will still ring noteworthy in 45 years?
Read More>>> Leaky-eyed wedding brings new beginnings
The groom was misty-eyed. That’s the first thing that will come to mind when I think about Magnet and Fireball’s wedding. He got pretty emotional when he saw his bride for the first time on their wedding day.
She was resplendent on the arm of her father, and beaming like the sun as they approached the altar. Every eye was on her and rightly so. Every eye, that is, except mine.
Read More>>> ‘Apes’ rules
The opening to the latest film in the “Planet of the Apes” franchise is a beautiful composition of new technology and old storytelling. During the gorgeous, silent 10- minute opening the audience understands what has happened to the titular apes after a deadly outbreak of the simian flu.
The apes retreated to the redwoods in the last film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and for 10 years lived in peaceful coexistence, creating laws reminiscent of the original “Planet of the Apes” films and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Education and survival are priorities as Maurice the orangutan teaches the young important lessons and a clan of aggressive apes hunts for meat as opposed to embracing a strictly vegetarian diet.
Read More>>> On to the increase section of knitting a sock
Last week, I wrote about making a shortrow heel shaping. Remember, this is the type of heel shaping made on most commercially manufactured socks (not including tube socks, which have no heel shaping).
We stopped last week's column at the heel shaping at the center of the short row decrease section of the heel. Referencing last week’s column, that left 14 “live” stitches in the center of the heel. We’ve completed the decrease of the heel, now it’s on to the increase section. Eventually, you will be back to knitting across the full number of stitches.
Read More>>> Childhood spectacles come with warnings
Picking out a pair of new glasses is never easy, but it is a piece of cake compared to having to wear them as an active child. “Be careful of your glasses,” seemed to be the phrase used most by both of my parents whenever they saw me on the verge of having fun.
I’d just walk toward the hay bales in the barn, picturing the joy of jumping from one to another. “Be careful of your glasses,” dad said before I even climbed on the first bale.
Read More>>> Farmer’s life: damaging hail, nourishing rain
In the real world, which is way overrated, my job is in the wireless telecommunications field. Since it’s a fairly large corporation, there’s a pretty good chance it’s still going to be there tomorrow. If something were to come along to wipe the whole thing out, then we’d probably have bigger problems than just one corporation would.
That means if I continue to show up for work and perform to the level of which is expected of me, I can count on a little something showing up in my bank account every two weeks. I can plan on it.
Read More>>> Schlueterville backyard inspires MIL creed
Iwrite in a backyard that has seen a lot of family celebrations. Right now the flowers here are prolific and lush, offering its brown-thumbed owner a much-needed dose of grace.
Strings of lights cast a cheerful glow on an iron fire pit and quirky rust-bucket décor. This week’s column-writing night is ridiculously cool, feeling more like October than July — Julober, if you will — with just enough breeze to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Read More>>> Still not hooked on soccer, so trying tennis
America’s participation in the World Cup is finally behind us and I no longer have to fake my interest in soccer. I keep trying to get into the soccer scene, but, honestly, I can’t.
After watching a game for more than 90 minutes when no one has scored is drama for some but beyond frustrating for me. How a tie game is settled once extra time expires in one-on-one fashion between kickers from each team and the goalkeeper seems to spoil all of the effort spent up to that point. Read More>>> ‘Bad Words’ needs better script
Jason Bateman, best known for his role as Michael Bluth on “Arrested Development,” makes his directorial debut with “Bad Words,” a forgettable, yet fun film. Fortunately for the actor, his skills should not be dismissed behind the camera. Bateman creates a soft, focused and drab environment matching his lead character’s soul. As the audience learns more about the film’s lead, Bateman loosens his direction and presents interesting sequences of hijinks and pranks.
Read More>>> Heel technique can stop knitters in their tracks
Knitting an argyle sock is an item I have to submit as part of my master hand knitting course. I’ve been working on socks throughout the last eight months so for me, heels are not a problem. It’s one of those techniques that will keep many knitters from making their first pair of socks.
The parts of making a sock are toe shaping, foot length, heel shaping, calf and ribbing. You can find sock patterns made from the cuff to toe and vice versa. I like to make my socks from the toe to the cuff because the toe is seamless. Also, if I’m not sure how much yarn I have on hand, I start each sock on two different sets of knitting needles and adjust the pattern as I go so that each sock will be the same length (and I won’t have to unravel one sock to finish the second sock).
Read More>>> Being in 4-H defines a person’s life
The county fair is about to open and my memory banks are going into overdrive. It was the county fair and my nine years in 4-H that in many ways defined who I was and what I could become.
As a 4-Her, the county fair represented more than snow cones, star-studded entertainment and stomach-turning rides. It was and still is synonymous with youth, dedication and hard work.
Read More>>> Of World Cup fans and plain old sedans
I hate it when I fall on the wrong side of the generational gap. Even when it appears there is no right or wrong side to be on, it can still feel that way. A generational gap exists when you're told you are either too young or too old to meet a certain criteria. What caught my eye this time was whether a person is truly catching World cup fever and becoming a soccer fan.
Read More>>> Summer blockbuster a B-movie at best
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is B-movie filmmaking on a massive budget. The story is complete nonsense, the direction is muddled, and the editing has no consistency.
To be fair, it’s also a film based on a toy line so if you’re expecting anything more than outrageous absurdity with a barrage of explosions then you don’t understand this franchise. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is not high art and it won’t change your life, but it certainly is entertaining.
Read More>>> Random thoughts on crafting
I don’t understand the popular idea of yarn bombing. I mean I understand the idea of art-in-the-park display but what happens after the yarn bombing event is over?
Yarn bombing is taking a knit or crocheted item and covering something in the public area, e.g. a telephone pole, public bench or covering the bars of a bike rack with said knit/crochet item. You might find a scarf wrapped around a pole or a metal post partially wrapped with a yarn item. Maybe, I’m just too practical. I see the yarn and think of the different things I could make using that yarn. Don’t get me wrong…I love the creativity of yarn bombing. But, it isn’t always a good idea to subject the yarns to the outside elements. I just wonder what happens to the knit/crochet items after the yarn bombing event is over. Any ideas?
Read More>>> Eyeglasses look the part
Eyeglasses have been considered a body part since I was 3 years old. I have spent more time with eyeglasses than with tooth fillings, pierced ears or push-up bras.
For the first 18 years of my life, picking out the frames was no big deal. The eyeglass specialist held up a pair, mother checked the price tag and if she liked what she saw, I had a new pair of glasses — in five minutes or less.
Read More>>> Giving family a break by unveiling ‘The Gang’
You may have noticed that I often write about my family. My family notices, too. Hunka Burnin’ Hubby will pause while doing something interesting and say, “I won’t read about this in your column, right?” Sometimes Hunka is a party pooper.
Read More>>> Admire nephew for finishing 100-mile run
One of my rules is to never write about my family in my column, but today I am going to break that rule. I am so impressed by my nephew, Shad Mika of Boulder, Colo., that I just have to share his story with you.
On June 21-22, Shad completed his quest of running the Big Horn 100 in northern Wyoming.
The Big Horn 100 isn’t your average run; it’s a 100-mile course laid out across mountainous terrain.
Read More>>> Director Anderson gets better with age
Some directors peak at a young age and never return to the critical success they found with their first films. Names that come to mind include Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and the Wachowskis. Wes Anderson, the director of “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” defies expectations of aging directors and continues to create some of the finest films American cinema has to offer.
Read More>>> Basic tips for your memory pages
Scrapbooks commemorate a special event or family and friend get-together party. Here are some beginner basic tips to start putting together your memory pages.
I remember making scrapbook-style collages as a kid. We would paste different pictures onto a piece of poster board or special scrapbook pages. The design was flat. Today’s scrapbook pages are more three-dimensional and there are a lot of supplies that contribute to making your scrapbook page a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
Read More>>> Life changes; so does kitchen
It is the kitchen that is the true indicator of the passage of time.
Wedding gifts were still in their boxes when I cooked that fabulous first meal some 50 years ago that would set the tone of our marriage: mashed potatoes and gravy, and … well, I can’t remember the rest. Fine dining came to an abrupt halt when I realized I didn’t have a potato masher or a bowl for the potatoes or knew exactly how gravy came to be.
Read More>>> A champion crowned; half a summer down
I just finished watching the end of the College World Series before starting this writing session. Each year I wonder as I watch games from the CWS just how much I would watch if it were played in Peoria or Skippers Corner, N.C.
But since it’s just down the road in Omaha, that’s a big part of why I tune in. It could be, too, that it’s a time of year without a lot of great programming on at the end of the day. So, a little college baseball, with the added emotion the Major Leagues lacks this time of year, is a nice diversion.
Read More>>> The world looks different in a flying LeMans
Hastings lost a great man with the recent passing of Willard “Chip” Essex. I didn’t know him well, but several years ago he took the time to respond to my column that ran in the Feb. 3, 2011, issue of the Hastings Tribune. It turns out he had a story about a ’67 LeMans, too:
“Vonda and I own a mostly restored ’67 LeMans that we purchased in the Army at Ft. Jackson, SC in July ’67,” he wrote. “We had been married just over a year and really could not afford the $88.76 monthly payment. The sticker price on that LeMans reached a grand total of $3508.30. We still have the original window sticker.”
Read More>>> ‘22 Jump Street’ as original as ‘21
Phil Lord and Chris Miller must have made a deal with the devil. The comedy director duo have created yet another film that transcends the limits of mainstream comedy and is every bit as self-referential and hilarious as their previous directorial masterpiece, “The Lego Movie.”
“22 Jump Street” marks the return of Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill), two undercover cops who have been tasked with infiltrating an illegal drug operation. Sound familiar? It should because it’s the exact same plot from the original, movie remake of the 1980s television show that made Johnny Depp a star.
Read More>>> Summer’s goal set: Finish craft projects
Happy first official day of summer! My summer goal is to get craft projects completely done and put into use or given as gifts.
My problem is, I like to do several different types of crafts. I was thinking about this because I am now behind on making several toddler-sized afghans for my grandchildren. I make the afghans in birth order of the grandchildren.
Read More>>> Checking my calendar: Feast, famine and May 2015
A friend I haven’t seen for years is passing through town and has time for a brief visit. “Of course,” I answered excited by the possibility of catching up even for a few brief moments.
“When?” I asked
My enthusiasm went out like a flickering candle in a Nebraska breeze blowing 75 mph. I had a commitment made several months ago that couldn’t be postponed.
Read More>>> Nebraska’s most exciting places in one list
Have you seen the latest ratings? No, not the Nebraska football ratings. It’s still just a little bit too early for that, although I’m sure there are some out there already.
In fact, a person does need to be a little more specific when asking about ratings. It seems like there’s a top 10 or a best of or worst of list for just about anything.
Read More>>> A toss in the pool leads to walk down aisle
I, Tam, promise to the best of my ability, to be a great mom-in-law. The end.
If only life — and columns — could be that easy. But life is a big bag of surprises. Columnists struggle mightily to make sense of the experience.
Read More>>> Cruise picks a winner in ‘Edge of Tomorrow’
Tom Cruise is the last Hollywood movie star. Stars had power over the box office, but their costumed counterparts are what force individuals to flock to the cinema, not the human actor behind the mask. Tom Cruise never needed a mask to intrigue audiences with a film, but those days are coming to an end. His star went out of control years ago during his infamous, poorly remembered couch leaping on “Oprah.”
Read More>>> Happy ending to serger sewing machine’s fall
About two years ago, I was sewing late one night on my serger sewing machine. In my hurry to get done, I stood up from my craft chair, turned and caught the serger machine cord with my left foot, literally yanking my sewing machine off the sewing table. That mishap sent the serger crashing to the concrete floor.
Read More>>> My relationship with dad is a different story
It is easy to talk about my mother. She had such an influence on my life, from the way I should walk and dress to what I ate and how I should respond to the world around me. She is still with me, looking over my shoulder, diligently following my action in every phase of my life. I can still feel her nudge when I’m not in compliance.
My dad — well, that is a different story.
Read More>>> Thinking about food? Get ready to exercise
TMI … Wait a minute, first of all, am I allowed to say that? It’s not just for the younger crowd, or valley girls, or people who talk as if they’re writing a text message or tweet and trying to get as much information as possible into 140 characters, is it?
TMI is most commonly recognized as “too much information.” You know, like when a friend tells about an irritating rash or your parents tell you about their high school dating days. TMI. Too much information.
Read More>>> In praise of involved and committed dads
Father’s Day always reminds me of Grandpa Roland, so here’s the column that ran in the June 16, 2011, issue of the Hastings Tribune. Committed dads make the world go round.
Grandpa Roland was fond of a barroom jingle that went like this: “There once was a dog named Jack. He pooped on the railroad track. The train came by. The poop flew high, and hit the conductor right in the eye!”
Read More>>> Sunny memories make up lifeguarding past
Every time I squirt a glob of sunscreen into my hands memories of a time not so long ago come rushing back to me. Six years worth of memories to be exact.
Sunscreen and chlorine used to be my summer scent. I worked for six summers as a lifeguard at the Hastings Aquacourt. The job wasn’t really what I expected it to be. In fact, it was so much more.
Read More>>> Disney’s latest falls flat
Audiences do not need to know a villain’s origin story to be engaged by one. The Joker prefers his past to be multiple choice and Darth Vader is darkly ominous when we don’t know that he was a scruffy little slave on Tatooine.
So why did Disney decide that one of its least known and respected villains needed a 2014 storytelling facelift? I think it may have something to do with a wickedly popular reinvention of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Read More>>> 2 socks harder to knit than one
Here are the results of my knitting two socks using one set of double-point knitting needles. My attempt was based on an article I found last week in a 35-plus year magazine. If I could put it into one word, it would be “dang it.” Okay, two words.
I was pretty excited to attempt this version of my newly found sock pattern. I had started several pairs of socks using my pattern that makes a seamless toe and is worked from the toe to the cuff. I made all the toe sections of the socks and put them onto stitch holders. My plan is to pick up the stitches later and used the required sized knitting needles to complete each pair of socks.
Read More>>> An exercise in honesty
And do you exercise? It seems to be the question always asked during an annual physical. I always answer “yes.” It is the truth. I walk nearly every day. One doesn’t have a dog she cares about and not walk on a daily basis. The real question is do I walk as quickly or as far as I did several years ago? Unfortunately, that answer is no!
Not only are the walks shorter and slower, the limbs and the lungs protest more quickly, and the body seems fluffier every time I stand in front of a full-length mirror. Maybe it is time to admit the truth: I walk nearly every day, but I need to add a little more physical activity to my life.
Read More>>> Hot dust, cold ice converge in same week
Just some random thoughts as I contemplate just how far my trash containers would have gotten in this week’s little “wind burst” if my neighbor’s house hadn’t stopped them.
A dirty tale
It’s hard to imagine just how bad the “Dirty ’30s” were after getting just a micro-glimpse of it this week. The expression refers to the 1930s in much of the middle of the country. It was a dry, windy time and with irrigation not yet a big thing and land management a little different, dust storms were the rule. Winds would blow dirt around like snow in a January blizzard. You’ve probably seen pictures or been told of the blinding windstorms.
Read More>>> Storms don’t surprise Sig the Weather Dog
Column-writing night found me with one eye on the sky and the other on Sig the Weather Dog. He’s the super skittish half of Schlueterville’s pair of high-energy Llewellin setters.
Sig loathes storms the way I dislike dress shopping. When Mama Nature gets crabby, weather experts and complicated technology can’t match the prediction capabilities of my 45-pound dog.
Read More>>> Dreaming big in Hastings just takes right tools
It would begin with a plot of land. A blank canvas, of sorts. That blank canvas of land would first have to be zoned as residential property, with the correct stamp of approval from the city planner or county assessor.
And then I’d have to make sure I have utility hook-ups — sewer, water and electricity — and surrounding curbs and gutters that won’t cause drainage issues.
Read More>>> ‘X-Men’ return to past
‘X-Men’ return to past The X-Men franchise consistently has put story over substance. The first film tackles the reveal of mutants to mankind, the second features the hunt for them, and the third is a war between mutant and mutant with mankind in the middle. Martin Campbell, director and screenwriter of “X-Men: First Class,” took a step back and examined the mutant conspiracy established by Bryan Singer in the first two films from a historical context by pairing the arrival of mutants with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Campbell’s film reinvented the franchise for a new generation and engaged the old with his integration of humor, joy and a plot that forced superhero audiences to think.
Read More>>> No correct method of knitting
I am finally going through my craft magazines that I had boxed up just before starting my sewing room renovation. My collection has several magazines including many of my late mother-in-law’s magazines. We’re talking about decades of crafting.
When I first packed things up for my craft room renovation, I thinned some of my magazine and pattern collection. I did great on individual craft patterns because they all fit very nicely into my two-drawer file cabinet from the original large four-drawer file cabinet. I’m just now unpacking the magazine collection.
Read More>>> Summertime, and the driving is aggravating
Classes are over, the grass is green, the breeze balmy, temperatures are rising, summer is on its way and the living is easy. Classes are over, but for the rest … the grass is green but needs mowing; breezes tend to be nearer hurricane conditions rather than balmy; and if temperatures, or is that tempers, are rising, it usually has to do with waiting in a hot car in a long line at a road construction site.
It is summer, and many of the sidewalks along my morning walking path are under construction. With the dew point coinciding with my body temperature, I need galoshes to trudge through the wet grass and squishy mud in an attempt to avoid the nasty pitfalls.
Read More>>> Parting is such sweet, smoky, saucy sorrow
So maybe I didn’t really need to be there. It could have simply been time to let go of the past and move on. It was mostly just a college-era fling anyway, with a just a few chance encounters since. She even moved on me once. And when I tried to stop by the night before, I was turned away at the door. But I couldn’t resist. I had heard she wasn’t going to be around much longer. I happened to be in Omaha, anyway. I had to stop by for one more visit.
Read More>>> Living with Houdini poses some challenges
My daughters have earned many nicknames in their few months of life: Chunky Monkey, Squirmy Worm, Anna Banana.
Within the last month, Cora has added a name to that list: Harriet “Harry” Houdini.
The nickname goes back to something we discovered when I was only 19 weeks pregnant. The discovery was that Cora had club feet.
Read More>>> Monster movie misses its mark
“Godzilla” suffers from a tonal shift in filmmaking as a result of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The tone Nolan established with Batman worked, but that doesn’t mean that every property a studio owns has to follow the same formula. The “Godzilla” reboot directed by Gareth Edwards is joyless, takes itself far too seriously and focuses on uninteresting characters rather than giant fighting monsters.
Read More>>> Cutting words
It’s important to choose the right cutting tools to cut fabric. If I reached for my late mother’s sewing scissors, she would often tell me, “You better not be cutting paper with those scissors.” The pinking shears that cut zig-zag lines on fabric were also off limits for paper cutting.
That was one of my earliest lessons in the craft of sewing. My mother also had an old pair of scissors located in the kitchen drawer. Short of using school scissors, the kitchen drawer scissors were the paper scissors.
Read More>>> Can’t help feeling of guilt over leftovers
What to do, what to do with all the food that is left on your plate when eating out? As I get older, servings at restaurants seem to be getting bigger while my ability to clean my plate is getting smaller.
Having been raised by parents who lived through the Depression and knew what it was like to seeing empty space on the pantry shelf, I can’t leave the table, any table be it at home or a friends or in a restaurant, with food on my plate.
Read More>>> Spoiler alert: Thumbs up to Life Wide Open
In honor of the new slogan/motto/ image/theme for the city of Hastings and its many parts, this will be a column wide open.
A positive image
So, have you seen the slogan (we’ll stick with that although any of the above words would work also) for Hastings? It’s Life Wide Open in case you missed it, and it’s an attitude and an image carried through a number of community entities. It was unveiled earlier this week. The visuals help carry the story, so if you haven’t seen much of the campaign yet, check out the website (www.lifewideopenHastings.com) for more.
Read More>>> Wishes bestowed via ATV race, exploding cake
I love the unexpected, those sparks of surprise that leave you wondering if what you just witnessed was real or a mirage. Blessings live in unusual places.
Last weekend was a big chunk of wondrous surprise. It kicked off Saturday at a wedding shower to honor my son, Magnet, and his fiancée, Fireball. The setting was a beautiful farm place tucked in the rolling hills of Lawrence, Neb. It was hosted by Fireball’s maternal family, which is as kindhearted — and hilariously competitive — as it gets.
Read More>>> Oh, what a tangled web a tornado weaves
Hailing from sunny southern California, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when that first tornado siren sang its cautionary tune to me here in Hastings some 12 years ago. No stranger to nature’s wrath, I’ve braved my fair share of earthquakes. You get used to them after a while. Except perhaps the one that rolled through my second-story apartment in Alhambra one morning. The sound of glass breaking in neighboring apartments and my bed shaking me awake with its violent swaying and bucking is a memory I’d just as soon forget.
Read More>>> ‘Neighbors’ anything but good
“Neighbors” is one of the biggest comedy disappointments since Sasha Baron Cohen’s disaster “Bruno.” All the pieces for a great comedy film are there, but plotting, character development and logic are dismissed. There are some great comedy films that break proper storytelling conventions, but “Neighbors” is not one of them.
In “Neighbors,” Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are an unlikely couple who are about to get some new neighbors. Unfortunately for these wannabe cool parents, their adjacent acquaintances are a group of fraternity brothers who apparently never go to class and practice nightly debauchery. The couple meets the wrath of two bros (Zac Efron and Dave Franco) when they call the cops on the excessive partying and are ratted out by the cops. Ratted out by the cops? I don’t think that is a thing. The movie persists with a back and forth objective by each duo to make the opposition’s life a living hell.
Read More>>> Crafting a lifelong interest
Crafting has been a part of my life since I was a very young child. Many people choose a particular genre of crafting but I enjoy many types of crafting. I can’t explain why I enjoy working in different crafts, I just do.
When I was a young child, I was prone to really bad nosebleeds. That meant that any physical activity like riding my bike, flying back and forth on a swing or (the worst one) hanging upside down on a set of monkey bars would instigate a nosebleed. I’d go play, then get a nosebleed and have to sit quietly for a while until the nosebleed would stop.
Read More>>> Doorknob should be elevated to star status
Contractors don’t realize the importance of the lowly doorknob. They tend to see the function simply as a way to open or close a door. Boy, are they wrong. A doorknob is one of the most useful items in a household, at least my household.
Doorknobs placed in strategic places could eliminate the need for a closet. Who is every happy with her closet?
Read More>>> Looking for a sign — and not a political one
Things are getting back to normal. Dandelions are once again the dominate feature of lawns and vacant lots everywhere, taking their throne back from the plethora of signs with people’s names on them. The primary election is over, and the general election is right around six months away. That means we should have a reprieve of about a week or so from campaigning.
Roadside signs are such a big part of each election, if for nothing else than their sheer numbers. They do, indeed, appear to be everywhere. I wonder if anyone has ever cast a vote for someone based solely on their campaign sign.
Read More>>> MOG shopping prompts big OMG response
Success came to Schlueterville this week; a big, hairy victory of enormous proportions. As with any achievement, a balance was struck and a price was paid. In this case the cost was my dignity.
I found a mother-of-the-groom dress.
Read More>>> Seven years of struggle, two bundles of joy
Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of the day when I could celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother myself. I never could have imagined that my husband and I would face years of struggles before welcoming our beautiful daughters into the world this spring.
When my husband and I were married in February 2006, there was no doubt that we would soon start a family.
Read More>>> Comic book nerd: ‘Spider-Man 2’ is amazing
Ignore the critics, except for this one. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is one of the best comic book blockbusters ever produced and feeds the franchise flame in all the right ways.
The problem with national critics is that a lot of them have not read mainstream, somewhat juvenile comic books. They might admit they perused “Watchmen” or brushed through “The Dark Knight Returns,” but I doubt many of them have picked up an issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ “Ultimate Spider-Man” or Dan Slott’s “Amazing” and “Superior Spider-Man” series. For that reason they fail as critics of this film.
Read More>>> Knitting project isn’t finished until you bind off
Knitting bind off is the technique of removing stitches from the knitting needles and securing them so that they don’t unravel. It is the finished edge of your knitting project. One note: The terms bind off and cast off are used interchangeably in knitting techniques.
Determine the type of edge needed for your project. Do you need a firm edge or a more elastic style of bind that will complement your knitting project?
Read More>>> Time to give moms extra attention
Most ads are even more fictional than the productions they sponsor. Are cars that economical, do diet aids streamline hips, can Mother’s Day be that perfect?
Ah, Mother’s Day, the perfect time to give mom what she wants. Ads claim the best way to give mom what she wants is to buy the perfect present from their company. A young friend, mother of three, says the best thing she can get for Mother’s Day isn’t roses, jewelry or breakfast in bed but an empty house.
Read More>>> Coming soon: Respite from campaign ads
I was having a conversation this week and someone pointed out that the election is next Tuesday. What, seriously? Somebody should have said something, run some ads, anything. How could it sneak up this way?
OK, just kidding.
But Tuesday is indeed Election Day, and unless you’re one of the ever-growing group who votes early, just a gentle reminder to find your way to the ballot box on Tuesday.
Read More>>> Lincoln Marathon challenging and hilarious
The 2014 Lincoln Marathon/Half Marathon saw more than 12,000 runners cross the finish at the 50-yard line of Memorial Stadium last Sunday. The entire Schlueterville clan was there, wearing compression gear, sweat-salty faces, and bright green shirts emblazoned with “O’Schlueter’s Olde Irish Pub.” (We joke that a bar like that could celebrate both St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest.)
Read More>>> When life sneaks up, enjoy the surprise
Two weeks ago I was working with the folks at Hogan’s Sporting Goods on a plaque that would list the recipients of an award connected with the Hastings Berean Bible Church AWANA program, for which I am commander.
What the church purchased from Hogan’s is a board that will accompany a primary plaque with the photo of the former AWANA leader for whom the award is named, as well as names of winners from the first 12 years.
Read More>>> Film turns colorful world of Disney dark
This film shouldn’t exist. No, really, “Escape from Tomorrow” is an anomaly in filmmaking. The film directed by first-time filmmaker Randy Moore is shot in black and white, was filmed guerilla style, and it all takes place at Disneyland and Disney World.
Moore, his crew, and his unknown actors went out and did something unprecedented by shooting in the happiest place on Earth without the company knowing. That feat is impressive enough already, but what’s more impressive is that this film actually had a limited release in theaters and now is a home video release as well. Either Moore did his homework on copyright infringement or he’s an incredibly lucky, creative mind; regardless, “Escape from Tomorrow” exists for viewers to own and watch, but unfortunately that’s where most of my praise ends.
Read More>>> Some knitted edges start with a long tail
There are some cast-on techniques called long-tail cast on that require a starting point several inches from the starting end of the yarn. This type of cast on makes a nice, attractive and elastic cast-on edge.
Different methods are used to estimate where to place the first slip knot stitch but I’ve been known to underestimate the amount of the “tail” needed for the cast-on row and will have to rip out the stitches, move the placement of the slip knot and cast the stitches on again for my project. You really can’t add extra stitches if you run out of the long tail of casting on because the first row of the long-tail cast on is made much like the first row of knitting. Using the simpler knitted cast-on or simple cast-on method won’t work because they don’t have the thickness of the long-tail cast on and the stitches will be uneven along the cast-on edge of your project.
Read More>>> Jiggling’s not always best solution
Just kick it! That’s what Pa Kettle did when the old radio stopped working. When that old wringer washing machine stopped working, instead of getting stressed out, Pa simply wound up his leg and kicked.
He used the same method for the rattle trap he drove and any other high quality item he and Ma owned.
Read More>>> Small towns take cake for helping strangers
Storytelling time today.
I heard one of those “only in a small town” type stories the other day that seemed worth retelling here. Hopefully, it wasn’t just the time and place that made me laugh, so it doesn’t fall on its face here.
It happened in a small Nebraska town, the type with a couple thousand for the population that dot the state. Two couples from another state were traveling to yet another very small town near this one. They spent the night at the first town and were at a local eatery for breakfast.
Read More>>> Lincoln half marathon prompts pre-race jitters
The Lincoln half marathon is Sunday, and I’m a twisted clot of angst. December foot surgery and a cryonics cold winter have left me less than fully prepared. This will be my third time toeing the line in Lincoln, and I fear it may be an underwhelming performance. Oh well.
The final days before a race are always torturous. I mourn the training runs that never happened, the ones that did but weren’t so great, and others that left me flat-out bawling with frustration. Funny ones surface, too, like the day a snarling punk dog rocketed from a yard and made a beeline for my ankles.
Read More>>> ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ doesn’t glorify greed
I did my homework before seeing this movie by reading Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, but I really wish I hadn’t because this story has to be seen then read. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that it’s Martin Scorsese’s latest motion picture. That’s right, Marty’s back and in a graphic, profane way. His time exploring his childlike sense of wonder in “Hugo” is over and Scorsese has returned to the roots of his best characters, the scumbag, sleazy, money-grubbing misogynist jerks.
Read More>>> Knitting starts with casting on
Well-made knit garments begin and end with the proper cast-on and bind-off techniques.
You’ve made the gauge needed for your project pattern and are ready to jump right into the project. Take a few more minutes and first consider the type of cast on that will perfectly suit your knitting project. There is more than one way to get those beginning stitches onto your knitting needle.
Read More>>> Dad’s old horse didn’t need a jump start
Most of us can remember our parents telling us about the tough times they had to endure when they were young.
The bad weather they experienced when walking to school; the chores they were required to do before they could listen to the radio; the long brown cotton stockings they had to wear in the winter; washing clothes on a washboard after heating up the water on a coal-burning stove.
Being a kid, their experiences landed on deaf ears. I was not impressed.
Read More>>> A soaking rain and a football time change
I’m a little scatterbrained as we ponder that yet another month is about over. Are we really a third of the way through the year already? The calendar indicates yes.
Thanks, we needed that
I’m writing this on Wednesday night of this week with an interesting medley playing in the background. I’m hearing raindrops falling on the window and the occasional roar of thunder, preceded by a strobe of light. Sure, we’ve heard it all before, but it has been a long while.
Read More>>> Wedding dress shopping may kill M.O.G.
Schlueterville’s youngest son, Magnet, is marrying his spunky fiancée, Fireball, in July. It will be a grand affair filled with laughter and bawling, dancing and carrying on. I’m looking forward to every blooming minute of the whole shebang, except for one unavoidable detail.
I have to buy a dress.
Read More>>> Treasures unearthed in ordinary places
A few weekends ago, my friend and I went to a massive garage sale in Lincoln. The fair-like atmosphere of the hosting warehouse was penetrated by the sounds of bargaining vendors and customers, the shuffling of books and boxes, and the smell of kettle corn enticing browsers from an indoor cart.
Read More>>> A notion for sewing notions
Whenever you get a notion to do a little sewing, be sure you look for the notions needed for your sewing project.
Sewing a garment means taking some type of pattern pieces (whether your own creation or commercially created pattern), other items and sections of fabric and items and making it a wearable garment.
Read More>>> Bewildering queries that may never be answered
Life is full of hundreds of nagging little questions. The most classic, of course, is “Why me?” But there are countless others. Granted many are rather inconsequential in the overall scheme of things, but still annoying.
These questions spring up frequently. I’ll share a few of mine with you, and I’m sure you have many of your own.
Read More>>> Lawns, social media: 2 things that can wait
It must be spring.
A time when people’s minds start to wander.
And my mind doesn’t stick to one theme for an entire column.
Read More>>> Marathon training is challenging, terrifying
I’ve mentioned a time or a hundred that I’m back to running. Sharing the experience eases the pain and holds me accountable, so here we go again. Forgive me or sue me. It’s up to you.
The Lincoln half marathon is May 4, and I’m a ball of angst, worried that my training will come up short.
In June 1993, I was the Tribune’s new 22-year-old city government reporter and was covering plans for the Burlington Avenue widening and underpass improvement project in downtown Hastings — a huge and complicated initiative that would require the removal of a commercial building alongside the underpass then known as Burlington Court.
After writing a story that addressed the building’s expected demise, I received a telephone call in the newsroom from the owner, Robert L. Foote.
Read More>>> Time flies when you’re crafting
I love working in my renovated craft room. The only thing to finish is to get an area rug for the floor, put up the curtains and figure the final locations for my permanent lighting.
Gone are the days of trying to figure out what the orange stuff was on the floor of my old craft room (it was the carpet but I didn’t see it very often). Things are now so neatly organized that it’s a pleasure to be able to walk over to my library shelves, a cabinet or storage tote and find exactly what I need in a few minutes. I took me a long time to get to this point but the struggle and hard work were well worth the time.
Read More>>> Potato peeling meant scary trip to cellar
As a child, peeling potatoes was a task I disliked.
Peeling potatoes kept me from doing the things I enjoyed — playing outdoors, searching for newborn kittens, riding my bike, tormenting my brother.
No matter how hard I tried, when I was done my scruffy potatoes never looked like something I wanted to eat. By the time I cut the peeling off and the eyes out, more potato was on the newspaper than in the pan.
Read More>>> ‘Noah’ whoa!
Darren Aronofsky is quickly becoming one of the most prodigious American directors of our time on par with Stanley Kubrick, Sidney Lumet, and David Fincher. Aronofsky constructs incredibly detailed worlds around his characters and manages to communicate to an audience a new perspective with each new thrilling motion picture. Now the director takes on a biblical epic with his own interpretation, which is not only surprising, but controversial. Aronofsky thrives in these ethereal environments he builds, but what makes him a director who deserves audiences’ respect is his constant need to challenge the norms of modern cinema.
Read More>>> Nostalgic for ticket prices of days gone by
It looked like the type of Sports Illustrated article that I would enjoy reading, but that’s not what caught my eye. The headline read “The Game That Saved March Madness,” but that’s not what caught my eye.
What followed was a story about an NCAA basketball tournament game with lightly regarded Princeton taking on the Goliath of the day, Georgetown. Princeton just missed the huge upset and the “anything can happen” setup of the early rounds of the tournament was saved.
Read More>>> Facing a future without a man named Gus
Death has a funny way of snapping you back to life. It plays a shell game as it sneaks ever closer until it hits you — WHAM-O — right between the eyes. Or it shows up unexpectedly like a demented visitor bent on destroying your joy. WHAM-O.
Death visited Schlueterville this week, leaving us tossed and shaken like ducks in a jet stream. We lost the family patriarch — Hunka Burnin’ Hubby’s dad, my father-in-law, and our sons’ grandfather. His name was Gus. He was 89 and in failing health. His mobility was gone. He had worked hard all his life, and was ready to meet the Lord. The entire family knew death was looming, but it still hit us like a ton of bricks when we answered the late-night call.
Read More>>> Getting closure
Snaps, hook and eye/bar fasteners are options for closing garments and home décor items. You can also use buttons and zippers but there are times where those fastening options will not work for that particular garment or home décor item.
Snaps come in different sizes, in plastic, or silver or black metal, and are sewn into place where light closure is needed — for example, to close the front flap of a jacket over a zipper. A snap has one section that is flat and one that has a small stem protruding from the center of the snap section.
Read More>>> Saving money by spending it no new concept
One of my favorite occupations is saving money. Give me a free day with a handful of coupons, and I can save more in an afternoon than I ever made during a 40-hour week.
My other half doesn’t get it.
I explained it to him. Remember back when cars were easily understood and he and his friends stood around ooing and awing over the shiny stuff under the hood of a new vehicle?
Read More>>> Muppets make cameo in their own movie
Before “The Muppets” premiered in 2011 Frank Oz, famous puppeteer of Fozzy Bear and Miss Piggy, said in an interview, “I wasn’t happy with the script. I don’t think they respected the characters.” Where was Frank Oz for the most disrespectful use of The Muppets in recent years when they cameo in “Muppets Most Wanted?”
Read More>>> Change good, and bad, but mostly good
It’s funny how one’s perception changes 180 degrees from childhood to adult. One example that readily comes to mind is how as a child, eating out was always preferred to eating a home-cooked meal.
Read More>>> Luckily, season is more than just a bracket
Well, that was fun. Sure, the end wasn’t very pretty, but I’m talking about the big picture here. I’m talking about the full four-month run, not just the last two hours.
Regular readers here know that I’m a big fan of my alma mater’s basketball team, the Creighton Bluejays.
Read More>>> Kumihimo, part two
The Kumihimo weaving disk has four areas that have a large dot. Beginning strands of the cord material are placed on each side of the dots at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions on the wheel. So, my starting point was two cords of black at one dot, green at another, then white and gold placed at the other two. I realized that I could also change the color formation of the cord by placing one cord of each color at different starting positions of my Kumihimo loom.
Read More>>> Nothing to fear if you never …
Fear is something I handle well, but I do have my times. There was that one night when I was alone and saw a mouse in a place where he should not have been. I screamed in fear and ran from the room.
When I saw a second mouse where he should not have been, I picked up a metal coffee pot and helped this 2-inch monster meet its maker.
I admire bravery but did confronting that mouse make me brave?
Read More>>> Studios are taking family films seriously these days
The first few months have been seized by family films and thank goodness for that. Otherwise this would have been a terrible start to 2014 in filmmaking.
“Frozen” iced the competition in theaters with a rerelease that added to its overall take of $1 billion worldwide, “The Lego Movie” creatively controlled the box office, and now “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” has outwitted the tough guy films “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Need for Speed.” Puns are also huge this year because of kids films, because kids love nothing more than not understanding a joke.
Read More>>> Can’t lose with this many brackets, right?
Please don’t feel neglected. I knew all along that I was going to get to you. I wasn’t going to space off filling this space up with some general ramblings such as is done every week about this time. It’s just that I had a few other things to take care of first. Real high priority stuff.
Read More>>> A diet by any other name is still a diet
I’m on a diet, which makes me a little dangerous. I’m following a program called The 21 Day Fix by Beach Body, a company that produces famously torturous fitness packages like Insanity, P90X, Turbo Fire, and the mysterious Brazil Butt Lift. If you’ve never heard of Beach Body and its many offerings, anyone with a pair of gym shorts who uses the term “Dig Deeper!” can fill you in.
Kumihimo — literally meaning braided cord — is a Japanese technique that has been around for centuries, possibly dating back as far as 6,500 B.C. The popularity soared during the Middle Ages.
Read More>>> Old-fashioned ‘average’ family difficult to find
When the next dictionary is printed, the word “average” may not be included. Ordinary, common, typical and usual also may be deleted.
There was a time when we knew what these words meant. That’s no longer true. For example, what is an average family? A Normal Rockwell picture-perfect average family contained a mother, father, one boy and one girl. The world was made for them. A table came with four chairs, a car with four windows, bananas in a clump divisible by four.
Read More>>> ‘Rise of an Empire’ epic fail next to ‘300’
Computer-generated images or CGI is used to tell stories without physically present actors such as Disney’s “Frozen” or it can be used to bring us into detailed environments that are difficult to recreate with practical effects. Other options with CGI include distracting action spectacles that become dull after a few minutes. Examples included are the “Star Wars” prequels. In 2006, newcomer Zach Snyder brought to life a new use of CGI to create a gorgeous art form that was adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel “300.”
Read More>>> Justin time to admit Juan little mistake
It’s really been a rough week. It’s not as if I’m looking around trying to assess blame on someone for it. This is self-inflicted. It’s my own fault. Looking people in the eye is getting harder as the week progresses. If I give them too much of a chance to glimpse into me, maybe they’ll notice. For now, it’s just my own dark, dirty secret.
Read More>>> A few more tips for creating a self-ruffling scarf
Here are a few more tips while creating your self-ruffling scarf.
First, I found it easier in my experience to use larger sized needles to knit the rows. Because there is no gauge, you are free to use whatever sized knitting needles you choose that will still fit through the openings of the self-ruffling yarn edge. I found it easier to hold on to a set of Size 8 (USA) knitting needles as opposed to a Size 5 or 4 (USA size) to make the scarf because the yarn is very slick and needles tend to slide out from your hand.
Read More>>> ‘American Hustle’ cinematic piece of art
David O. Russell has quickly become one of my favorite American directors in this modern age of cinema. His star continues to rise with each picture he makes. Russell’s original motion pictures carried a dark sense of humor and taboo subjects, but he’s refocused his sights on a near critique and exploration of American living and corruption in the form of drugs, mental illness, and swindling.
Read More>>> Exhausting pillow shopping calls for a nap
The March edition of Popular Science magazine landed in my mailbox a few weeks ago and boasted a pretty pretentious headline for its main story: Sleep. You’re doing it wrong. Science can help.
Obviously as a subscriber I’m a big proponent of scientific advances. But, for me, sleep comes down to one thing: comfort.Read More>>> The good, bad, ugly of Lenten sacrifices
There’s a question that is asked quite a bit this time of year. For Christians worldwide the season of Lent began this week with the observation of Ash Wednesday.
Read More>>> Banana Man verses Derelict the Despicable
Writer’s note: I ran past three broken bottles on my writing-night run. It reminded me of a ridiculous column I wrote a few years back about the subject of derelicts and their love of flinging glass. So here’s the column that ran in the March 10, 2011, issue of the Hastings Tribune. It still applies.Read More>>> Ruffled scarves good for beginners
Ruffled scarves are a popular fashion accessory that I’ve seen lots of women wearing. I decided it was time to venture into making my own ruffled scarf.
First thing to do is select the proper yarn; well, not really a yarn but a skein of continuous fiber that is made to look like a net or piece of filmstrip. For the sake of this column, I’m going to refer to it as yarn although the self-ruffling yarn is not really yarn as we think of it in the conventional sense. It is a skein that looks like a net (with a thicker woven section along one of the long edges) or a wide piece of material that has open sections along one entire long edge of the yarn.Read More>>> Fashion vanilla my flavor
Spring is in the air and I’m inclined to browse, but the things I like or understand no longer are available. The world has moved ahead and left me feeling like the little kid holding a plain vanilla cone while his friends are at the yogurt bars choosing from a variety of creamy confections and topping them with dozens of toppings, many unfamiliar.Read More>>> There is no movie like ‘Nebraska’
One last day of February is upon us. March is tomorrow and none too soon. It seems every year I’m more weary of winter and ready for spring. Even though it is supposed to be lousy this weekend, it will warm me up to flip the calendar.Read More>>> Return to running is ugly, awful sight
Be careful what you wish for. I was thinking of that shortly before sitting down to write this column. I’d just finished running three pathetic miles in 16-degree temps. My eyelids were frozen open and my nostrils sealed shut. Being a bad arse is not always pretty.Read More>>> Winning baseball but a fantasy for some
As spring approaches, this young man’s thoughts turn to fantasy baseball. For those unfamiliar with the game, it basically involves attempting to select a roster of players whose statistics turn out to be better than every other team’s statistics over the course of the season. Points are awarded in each category, such as innings pitched, strikeouts, earned run average, home runs, RBI, and so on.
Read More>>> Linings have many different purposes
Linings are pieces of smooth fabric that are attached to the inside of a garment or home décor item. Some of the purposes of lining fabric are to hide the raw edges of the outer fabric, provide warmth, ease in putting the garment on or taking the garment off and/or a comfortable finish to the garment.Read More>>> Mysteries of memory
Sandra White’s birthday is in a few weeks. That I remember the day is interesting because I haven’t seen or heard from Sandra since we graduated in the middle part of the last century.Read More>>> Changing write night would just be wrong
I almost wrote this a day early this week. I wonder if you would have been able to tell. Wednesday is my normal day for writing this little entry each week and getting it sent off to the Tribune office. It probably is better that way. If they had it for more than one day before it had to be set up on the Friday editorial page, that would give them more time to realize maybe they should find something else to take up the space.Read More>>> Moviegoers wring fun out of rare matinee
It was the first time we’d been to a movie since we watched Sandra Bullock defy gravity last October. I won’t tell you where we went, or what we saw, but it was in another community during a Saturday matinee. The movie was a big-deal new release billed as “the best of the year.” Aren’t they all?Read More>>> Space for reflection
Up the road from me is a barn I want. It’s one of those big, red barns with a gambrel roof and a hay mow and all the barn things that one thinks of when thinking about a barn.
“And what would you do with this barn?” my neighbor Alvin asked me when I mentioned it at the coffee shop the other day.Read More>>> ‘The Lego Movie’ builds excitement
After a few weeks of reviewing movies, I read one chapter from “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser about his approach to artistic criticism and column writing. In Zinsser’s book, he explains that critics should “like — or, better still, love — the medium they are reviewing.” I love film and I love writing reviews of the latest cinematic adventure, but I was starting to worry that my writing was growing stale over the years. I decided in order to reinvigorate my writing style I would see a movie along with the intended audience.Read More>>> 3 crafts start small, end big
One thing in common with knit, crochet and quilt crafters is the ability to take small pieces of fiber and/or cloth and make something such as a garment or home décor item. No fiber or fabric is wasted. I would get flour in cloth sacks and after the flour was gone, I used the fabric bags as kitchen towels. I know many people whose mothers or grandmothers used the flour sacks as fabric for clothing and quilts.Read More>>> Eggs, liver, baby powder and doubt
OK, daughters. If you have lung problems, go ahead, blame me, your mother. I was just trying to keep the diaper rash at bay and be sure you smelled wonderful when family, friends, acquaintances and strangers on the street stopped to tell me what cute babies you were. Read More>>> If you can’t say anything nice, chill out
I’ve been trying to think of what’s the worst thing I’ve ever called another person to their face. Or even from a few rows up in a crowded place. You’ve more than likely read about the Oklahoma State basketball player that shoved a Texas Tech fan near the end of a game between the two schools last Saturday. The player had dived off the court and into the seats attempting to get to a loose ball. The fan, known it seems for being a bit of a loud mouth, said something that the player didn’t take kindly to, and the quick shove ensued. Amid early speculation that it could have been racial in nature, the common consensus now is that the fan called the player “a piece of crap.”Read More>>> Love and marriage take time and humor
Column-writing night found me in the Valentine card aisle, sifting through sad puppy/fuzzy kitten options until I found one featuring a polar bear splayed out on a glacier with his tongue hanging out. Who knew it could be so hard to find just the right card? So here’s the column that ran in the Feb. 14, 2013, issue of the Hastings Tribune. Behave yourselves and have a great week. Read More>>> ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ deftly shows nature of humanity
“Dallas Buyers Club” had a 25-day shoot with a minimal lighting setup and managed to prove that minimalistic filmmaking, technically speaking, could be just as gorgeous and engaging as a technically complicated piece.
In “Dallas Buyers Club,” Matthew McConaughey portrays real-life Ron Woodroof, a chain-smoking, racist, homophobic electrician who gets cheap thrills riding bulls. After having unprotected sex, Woodroof discovers that he is HIV positive. Woodroof eventually reveals his disease to friends; they respond with hateful homophobic slurs and disown him. Woodroof is no pushover and refuses to go down without a fight; he embraces drugs that are not approved by the FDA. This leads to a profitable business model in which Woodroof smuggles in the unapproved drugs and sells them to HIVpositive individuals.Read More>>> Crafting terms differ around world
Patterns for knit and crochet items are easily accessible on the Internet. However, if you live in the North American part of the world, some international terms may have you confused about what technique to do on your knit or crochet craft project. There are some terms that we use in American crafting that may be totally different in other parts of the world.
Let’s start with crochet: A yarn over is taking the yarn and wrapping once around the hook. This is the basis for all stitches. In European circles, the term is listed as YRH — meaning yarn round hook. To “skip” a stitch in North America means you need to “miss” the stitch.Read More>>> My heaven has room for dogs
Every once in a while when life seems a little off kilter, I think about what I want my heaven to be like. I’m not talking about THE HEAVEN, for I have no control over that, but my own individually designed heaven. What’s in that heaven depends greatly on what mood I’m in.
Today my heaven would be filled with friendly dogs who like to be scratched behind their ears, patted on their heads and let it be known in a hundred different ways that they like me.Read More>>> Home found seven years later worth wait
It may have taken us seven years, but our family has finally moved into our home. Better late than never, I always say. For some people, it may seem odd to wait so long after looking at a house to make a bid. That’s just the way it turned out for us.
Just more than seven years ago, my wife and I started to look for a house to buy. The already kids shared a room in our apartment and our youngest was about to be born. We needed someplace to put him. I offered to move my socks out of the dresser drawer, but my wife insisted we needed more bedrooms.Read More>>> Saying goodbye to Jay and hello to games
It has been a while since I used random, quick hitting thoughts to fill a column. At least I was thinking that in the morning hours, knowing I’d likely be up late night to finish this task. So, here are a few random, quick-hitting thoughts that I jotted down on a sticky note through the course of one day:Read More>>> Queen Dufus’ Guide to Love Letters 101
I frequently write about my husband. The poor guy fields a lot of Hunka Burnin’ Hubby jokes, along with the occasional “you’re not what I expected” proclamation. He gets a big charge out of those, especially the woman who stared at him squinty-eyed and deadpanned, “I thought you’d be taller.”
I often think of switching to topics that have nothing to do with my family, like politics, food, running, cats, or fungus. I’m kidding of course. I could never write a weekly column about cats. But then I remember the guy who said, “I wish my wife would say nice things about me once in a while.”Read More>>> ‘Abolitionists’ fascinating look at civil rights battle
I had the pleasure of seeing “The Abolitionists Part III,” a 60-minute documentary screened by the Hastings Public Library. This documentary feature is part of the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle film program beginning this week and continuing into the spring.
“The Abolitionists Part III” first screened on Monday and will screen again today in the Hasting Public Library auditorium at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Bob Amyot, Hastings College associate professor of political science and chair of the department, will lead a film discussion at 2 p.m. in the library auditorium.Read More>>> Bracelets a snap to make
Over the past few months, I’ve seen kids and adults wearing colorful key chains, necklaces, lanyards and bracelets made from small rubber bands. If you know how to fold, you can make a simple version of a bracelet or wristband with the colorful rubber bands.
The rubber bands are about the size of a nickel and come in several different colors. Included in the rubber band packages are several small S-shaped plastic pieces and a small, crochet-hook style tool called a pick tool.Read More>>> Newfangled stuff has lost its appeal
There was a time when I was ready for anything new. I looked forward to the latest in spring fashion, home appliances, decorating ideas, television shows, lipstick and mascara that promised fuller lashes.
Not anymore. If it works and I understand it, I’m happy with what is. I’m no longer interested in “new and improved” or “the latest” innovation. Read More>>> Never tempt a werewolf on a mission
If you doubt the existence of werewolves, wave a warm chocolate chip cookie under the nose of a woman who recently started a diet, specifically the one writing this column. Go ahead. I dare you.
If you’re feeling especially brave, wave that cookie on zero-based budget writing night. That’s worth a double-dog dare. Be prepared to pull back a bloody stub.Read More>>> Chores in PJs a first for Alvin
“Alvin, are you getting up today?” Mabel asked her husband for the third time.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m getting up,” he replied, but he didn’t move.Read More>>> Modern classic turns 25 in '14
January is a notoriously bad month for movies. This is the month that studios will often throw their garbage in and hope that a hit like “Paul Blart” comes out on the other end. The holiday movie season is over, Disney has released its 53rd animated motion picture and studios have presented their big Oscar contenders. In January I usually do my best to watch all the Academy Award nominees rather than going to see the “mainstream” movies available locally and this year is not an exception. I’m not all that interested in “Jack Ryan” or “Ride Along” and “The Nut Job” looks like a piece of wannabe Disney/Pixar nonsense that shouldn’t have been released.Read More>>> Different needs for each crafts
Embroidery needles come in several different sizes. Tapestry needles are used for most needlepoint and counted cross stitch projects. The needle’s eye is large enough to accommodate yarn and/or several strands of embroidery floss. The needle also has a dull point to allow the needle to go through embroidery fabric smoothly without splitting the threads of the embroidery fabric. They range in sizes from 13 to 26. The higher the number, the smaller the needle.Read More>>> Buyer's remorse – upside down
If it isn’t used for two years, get rid of it. Good advice for those who want to keep their homes uncluttered? Eons ago, when I was young, spry, full of energy and full of glorious expectations, my mother gave me a small roasting pan made of black enamel and sprinkled with white dots.Read More>>> Annual family photos an exercise in folly
The month of December is one full of generally happy mail. Between Christmas gifts arriving on a daily basis and cards and photos from friends near and far, it’s almost possible to forget about the bills buried at the bottom of the pile. Thankfully this happiness extends into January with “Happy New Year” cards sent by those who got caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle or were waiting for the whole family to pose for a photo at Christmas.
Read More>>> Reset button for workplace a novel idea
It’s warm, it’s cold. It’s calm, it’s windy. There’s rain and snow, sunshine and clouds. All in one day. How do you expect me to come up with just one topic? So, I didn’t. Read More>>> Hard work brings full January moon to life
This week welcomes the first full moon of 2014. Native Americans call it a “Wolf Moon,” so named from hungry wolves howling in the biting cold by Indian villages. It’s a fitting name, as there is indeed something carnal about a cold, dark January, when spring is but a faraway dream.
What’s different about Germany? Everything
BANN, Germany — If you look up “different” in the dictionary, you will find the definition to be something along the lines of “not the same as.” Different is hardly adequate to describe the comparison between Germany and the United States. Everything is “different.” The food. The language. The towns and roads. Everything. Different is not always better or worse; it is just not the same.
Golden Globes: Lots of excellent films released in 2013
The Golden Globes will be broadcast this Sunday, which means it’s time to take a look back at 2013 and all of the excellent films released. This was undoubtedly one of the best years in filmmaking so creating this list was nearly impossible. I give you the best films of 2013:Read More>>> Sorting through old files
It’s great to be sewing and knitting in my new craft room. More than anything, it’s great to be able to move about the room and find things.
There’s still some finer points to iron out but all in all it’s a fine working room that’s just right for me.Read More>>> Layering for a trip to town
It was cold outside and I mean, really cold. It was the result of a Polar vortex, something I had never heard of in my life. It apparently existed but I never knew what it was, except that it meant bone-snapping cold.
Read More>>> Lift from getting organized may be short-lived
Now that we have gotten somewhat used to this new year, it is time to reorganize. The magazines and airwaves are full of tips of ways to make life easier, to ease stress, to look into a cupboard and immediately find the toothpicks; to check under the bed and find nothing, not even tiny fluffs of dog hair; to hear the doorbell and not hide behind the door because the house still resembles Christmas morning; to look into a child’s bedroom and actually see the floor because everything has its place.
Read More>>> For Red Cloud, saying bye to ‘Mom’ tough
Like just about everyone in Red Cloud, I was blown away when I heard the news Barb Sprague died Thursday. Anytime I was in Red Cloud to cover something, Barb was there. Read More>>> It’s a long, long way to Memorial Day
Whew, is it really Friday? I think I’ve said this before, but I think we’re at the end of the longest workweek of the year. And I don’t mean “so far.” I know we’re only 10 days into the New Year, so of course this would be the longest. I’m thinking long term.Read More>>> New Year already seems oddly familiar
The Schlueterville New Year began with a case of déjà vu, that crazy feeling of having experienced something before. Great things happened in 2013 — monumental, messy stuff that makes you land on your butt and ask, “Did that really happen?” Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I were a little sad to see it end.
‘Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ approachable for all audiences
Ben Stiller brings to the screen his fifth directorial feature “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” an adaptation that explores the awkwardness of life, how a person’s individuality can change with one simple leap, and the nature of our own human imagination. Stiller’s film is not a comedy, but rather a story told within our own reality. If humor accompanies this reality then so be it.Read More>>> Stretch your stitch repertoire
Abasic sewing machine offers many different stitching techniques to suit most any general sewing project. I can remember when sewing machines first came onto the market that had pre-set stitch patterns, including an option called the stretch stitch.Read More>>> Farming resolution nebulous
Occasionally, I do the resolution thing for the New Year. I used to resolve to lose weight, eat healthier and exercise more. One year I resolved not to deal with people who were not nice.
Read More>>> Resolutions short-lived since age 12
As I was reaching for my third helping of shrimp at a New Year’s Day bash, who should I run into but my old friend N.Y Resolution. He looked like he had a stomach ache.
Read More>>> Holy grail of Christmas gifts still a homerun
At the risk of sounding behind the season, I’ve submitted this column to coincide with “Little Christmas,” or Epiphany, which celebrates the arrival of the three wise men bearing gifts for the Baby Jesus.
Read More>>> A self-review to knock the boss' socks off
You might have to keep a watchful eye on me this week. It can be a problem at times when different writing assignments converge at one point in time. And, while it might not always be obvious, when it is this column, I’ll try to be creative at times — and maybe even factual. Read More>>>