Wednesday, June 25, 2008

photo of the day

Hell's Angels has a new leader. His name is Todd.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We're all enders

I just finished reading The Enders Hotel by Brandon R. Schrand, winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. I had looked forward to reading it because I knew he had a good story to tell-Brandon spent most of his childhood growing up in his family-owned Enders Hotel, Café, and Bar of Soda Springs, Idaho. Brandon is just a year or two older than me, so it was easy to connect his childhood and adolescent memories to what I remember of my own childhood, a time before cell phones, home computers, Netflix, Facebook, MySpace, etc. You had to make up your own fun, whether it was while reading a good book, exploring your house and town, or being with friends. (one difference was I didn't live in any hotels. I more than once, however, fantasized about my family living in Westroads Mall in Omaha. I think I was going to eat every meal at Bishop's Cafeteria and take the elevators everywhere I went. I could sleep far far away from my sister in a place like that.)

Brandon shares the stories of many interesting characters who came to the Enders Hotel to stay for various lengths of time--ex-boxers, ex-cons, down-on-their-luck families, you name it--I was sometimes afraid to read on in case something was about to go down either involving Brandon, his family, or the guests. He also shares his own personal stories of secret clubhouses, sinking rafts, childhood friendships, and some drug and alcohol experimentation that I naively didn't see coming. (although I have to say I think Brandon is the first person in my age group I've found who also remembers his parents smoking pot. I knew I couldn't be the only one paying attention to this stuff in the 70s.) Something about his coming of age antics reminds me of Stephen King's The Body.

I won't give away the ending, but I will tell you the Enders Hotel still stands. If I ever find myself in Idaho, I'd like to check it out.

Lastly, I really liked the cover. It wasn't until after it was far along in the design process and without any earlier consultation that the author told the designer that's exactly what their keys and key chains looked like. (That's the water cooler story I heard, anyway.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Star-Spangled treat

It's not too early to start stockpiling the Bacardi pina colada and strawberry daquiri frozen mixers. If you wait until the week of the 4th to do so, you will be like me last year, who had to go to 6 different stores to get 2 cans of pina colada and 1 can of daquiri mix.

I spied this recipe last year in the Lincoln Journal Star, and while I can't find the copy I clipped, I found the same recipe at, which is a pretty good site that welcomes user reviews, ratings and photos. (besides the really extreme user comments, I like getting an honest opinion on a recipe from someone, maybe a helpful tip on what they'd do differently the next time so I can do it that way the first time.) Here's the direct link, or you can view the recipe below as well:

Our photo from last year's rendition. Corrie flipped the order of colors in the big one-every bomb pop I've ever had has the white in the middle. I think a couple of the user comments mentioned that it's hard to make a batch at home and not have it melt, but Corrie just made each batch (start with the white, then do the blue, then wash your blender, then make the red) and froze them in their own containers. Then we had bomb pop frozen drinks for the next week!

Star-Spangled Mixers
Submitted by: BACARDI® Mixers
Rated: 4 out of 5 by 4 members
Yields: 15 servings
"Show your patriotic spirit at your next party with these stunning red, white and blue layered blended ice drinks."
2 (10 fluid ounce) cans
BACARDI® Mixers Pina
Colada frozen mix
1 (10 fluid ounce) can
Strawberry Daiquiri frozen mix
1 1/2 cups BACARDI®
Blue Curacao or blue food
15 cups ice
Strawberries, for garnish
1. Blend together 2 cups or 1 can of BACARDI® Mixers Pina Colada mix, 1/2 cup of BACARDI® Rum and 5 cups of ice for 45 to 60 seconds or until uniform. Add 7-10 drops of blue food coloring or Blue Curacao to taste. Blend and fill each cocktail glass 1/3 of the way full.
2. Repeat step 1 using BACARDI® Mixers Pina Colada. (Without food coloring.)
3. Repeat step 2 using BACARDI® Mixers Strawberry Daiquiri.
4. Garnish with strawberries and serve immediately or freeze and serve for a tasty treat.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Printed from 6/23/2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bernie crochet pattern

For my Firebrand pals-

bernie refrigerator magnet crochet pattern:


-small amount of turquoise yarn
-size F crochet hook
-2 googly eyes
-small amount of white felt
-glue gun

1. chain 13, turn, skip 1st ch, sc in next 11 chains, 3 sc in last chain.

2. working in free loops of the chain, sc in next 7 chains, ch 3, turn.

3. skip 1st ch, sc in next 9 st, 2 sc in ea of next 3 st, sc in next 6 st, ch 3, turn.

4. skip 1st ch, sc in next 10 st, 2 sc in ea of the next 3 st, 1 sc in next 5 st, ch 3, turn.

5. skip 1 st, sc in next 10 st, sl st in next st, finish off. Weave in any loose ends.

6. cut pieces for back of eyes and mouth out of felt. glue felt, eyes, and magnet to flame. Do all of this to whichever side of the flame you like.

(photo to be replaced by finished product photo)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tornado Tips You Can't get from Ken Siemek

The Midwest has been hit hard with tornadic weather the past three weeks in a row. Here's a picture my mom sent me of last week's storm moving into Omaha:

Awhile back, I ran across a list of tornado tips my dad and I, along with my friend, Monica, came up with in 1989 during a tornado warning. They're on the first and only used page of a notebook labeled "science":

my tips:

1. Go rent a video camera.
2. Take a walk.
3. Call the tv station and complain about the programming.
4. If things look really bad, go to the farthest video store and rent all those tapes you haven't seen yet. (ha! how dated is that? Renting videos back then was a novelty to us.)
5. Whatever you do, don't listen to the weatherman.
6. Stay in your basement a half hour less than what the weatherman says.

and from my dad:

-climb on top of your roof for a better look
-If you don't hear sirens honk your car horn until the battery runs down. (comment from Monica: explodingly gnarly idea!!)
-calmly make a trip to Bakers for emergency supplies (our Bakers at 72nd and Blondo is now closed-it makes me sad)
-call Aunty Emm

and from Monica, who I think added these tips the following day at school:

-order out 4 pizza.
-Invite your friends over and sit on the front porch eating triscuits and cheese spread and when you're done, go to the disco. And then to the dentist!

and one update from my sister from this past weekend:
-continue waiting tables at M's because no one told you there was a tornado warning.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Remembering Ray

I certainly didn't expect I'd be writing another tribute this month, but here I am. I found out Monday that my friend Ray Frohn had died in his sleep Saturday. I met Ray when he worked in our warehouse back around 2003. Somewhere along the way he found out I ran in the local road races, which is something Ray did back in the day.

It became an annual routine for me to look for Ray from his regular vantage point on the marathon route, Sheridan Blvd. at South Street. Anyone from Lincoln knows that heading East on South Street is a bit of a hill, plus at that time of race morning, if it isn't pouring rain, you're dealing with a lot of sun in your eyes. That has always been one of my least favorite parts of the course, but once I knew to look for Ray at the top of the hill, it wasn't so bad.

I think runners look forward to seeing people they know at particular points in the race, it's what keeps you moving forward. There were always a lot of people around that spot where Ray would be, so I'd quickly scan the crowd to find him so we wouldn't miss each other.

"Hi Ray!" I'd shout and frantically wave. (it was still early in the race, I still had the energy to be frantic.)
"Hi Sweetheart! Let me get your picture!" Ray would shout back.

It was always "Hi Sweetheart!" with Ray, and I didn't mind that. Awhile back I was walking down 11th street and heard from the coffee shop across the street from me, "Hi Sweetheart!" and I knew it was Ray. I wouldn't let a lot of people get away with calling me that, but I hope Ray wouldn't mind me saying that his fatherly qualities were always shining very brightly, so his friendly greetings made me feel good. Ray was always smiling and joking around. You couldn't have a conversation with Ray and not leave it feeling good. (although sometimes the conversations went a really long time. Ray liked to talk.)

At his service today, everyone talked about what a good friend and proud father Ray was. His quirkiness touched a lot of lives. The Havelock Run 10k is tomorrow, and I have to find a way to get through that on what has turned out to be minimal training over the last couple of months. I will be thinking of my pal Ray on the 84th Street climb for sure.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lewis Black on His Publisher

I wonder if this would work with any of my press's authors. (the part where he's begging you to buy his new book, Me of Little Faith.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

BEA Wrap-Up, part 1

Even though I focused on a few priorities this past weekend at this year's BookExpo America in L.A., I think it's going to take several posts to sort it all out.

Sure, I got my picture taken with Daniel Vosovic from Project Runway, and I snuck a sneaky photo of Alec Baldwin, also saw Lewis Black's act, but the highlight was getting to meet Laurie Perry, aka Crazy Aunt Purl. I had planned for this-I brought along the cat bed crochet pattern I've been working on for an autograph, but I hid it in one of my press's book catalogs on the way over to her booth. I don't think most of the fanatics in this business have a lot of room to ask questions as to why I'm carrying around a cat bed pattern, but I didn't want to take any chances.

I was far up in Laurie's first book signing line. I noticed right away she was as cheery as I expected. She was really nice to her publisher's booth staff as well (being the first one to say hi when one of them walked by) which I have a feeling isn't the case with every author. I got my copy of her book, Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair signed to the Yia Yia's craft night group, and I told her if she's ever in Nebraska, she needs to come to craft night. Laurie then mentions that she's read about a book about a girl in Nebraska and also mentions flyover fiction, which happens to be a series my press publishes! What followed was a series of squeals.

me: "that's us! We publish flyover fiction!"
Laurie: "no way!" (sorry, Laurie, if that's not a direct quote)

I left that book catalog at her table so she could peruse our books. I got a picture, too!