Sunday, September 30, 2007

"I Must Break You."

This um...somewhat altered picture (edit: okay, I don't have PhotoShop, and this is the best I can do with Microsoft Paint, but thanks for the fun idea, RevScott!) is from one of two scenes I actually remember from Rocky IV, one of the most jingoistic, self-indulgent "rah rah USA" movies ever made (but also, I must admit, a guilty pleasure to watch whenever it's on TV). The valiant Rocky Balboa and the evil Ivan Drago are about to begin their long-awaited boxing match. They meet at the center of the ring, and Ivan Drago tells Rocky, "I must break you."

(FWIW, since I know I begged the question with what I wrote...the other scene I remember from this movie is the one showing Rocky training for this fight in the middle of the Siberia...with things like logs and boulders...while Drago is in this state of the art facility with computers and steroids and such things).

My three year old son thinks he's Ivan Drago.

To be more precise, the last couple of weeks, he's been doing this thing where he'll look at your face...and slowly let his eyes go out of focus so that he's seeing a double image of your head (which is a wee bit disconcerting, because it makes him look like he's looking right through you)...and he'll smile, and say, "I'm breaking you!"

For the record, Kiddo uses no steroids that I'm aware of. =)


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Go Big Red!!!

Nebraska takes on Iowa State today, and Kiddo's all fired up and ready to go! Enjoy his rendition of There Is No Place Like Nebraska, sung as only a 3 year old can sing!!!

(Be sure to stick around until the's cute!)


Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Five

From the RevGals:

On Endings and Goodbyes:

1. Best ending of a movie/book/TV show
Bar none, the final scene of the final episode of Newhart was the best TV series ending I've ever seen. Bob Newhart played Dick Louden, an inn owner in Vermont, who was surrounded by a cast of lovable crazies (remember Larry, Darryl, and Darryl?). In the final episode, he gets hit in the head by a golf ball. The screen goes black.

"Then a light is turned on, and viewers see Newhart in bed, saying "Honey, you won't believe the dream I just had." Another light comes on, revealing not Dick Loudon's wife Joanna, but Bob Hartley's wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette). The bedroom is a recreation from The Bob Newhart Show, and – in a parody of a 1980s television vogue – the entire Newhart series is revealed to have been a dream in the mind of Newhart's 1970s character. Bob tells Emily that in the dream, he lived in a weird Vermont town surrounded by strange people: a snobbish maid and her alliterative husband, a dense handyman, and three eccentric woodsmen, two of whom were mute.

When he reveals that he was married to a beautiful blonde in the dream, an annoyed Emily tells Bob to go back to sleep and flicks off the light on her side of the bedroom. Reviving a technique from The Bob Newhart Show, in which one of the Hartleys incredulously flicks back on a bedside light and restarts the conversation, Emily turns her light back on and inquires, "What do you mean, 'beautiful blonde?!' Bob tells her to go back to sleep, commenting, "You should wear more sweaters," something Joanna was noted for. The scene ends to the strains of the old Bob Newhart Show theme song (although this was removed for syndicated reruns)."
--from the Newhart Wikipedia entry:

**edit: runner-up for best ending is Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. The only reason of course being that the Red Sox win the World Series.**

2. Worst ending of a movie/book/TV show
Hmmm....I'm having a tough time coming up with a single one that I'd say was the worst...but in general, I have a great dislike for nice, neat tidy endings. Life very seldom is nice, neat, or tidy. Give me some muck, some non-resolution, some lingering pain, sadness, or uncertainty.

3. Tell about a memorable goodbye you've experienced.
When Pastor Larry Meyer from the Lutheran Student Center passed away, his funeral and memorial service was an amazing, collective goodbye. It was Larry to a T--first, the public memorial service was in a large, classic sanctuary with one long aisle running down the middle and a big ol' pipe organ to blast the congregation out of their pews. He had specifically said he didn't want (as he put it) a "preacher parade," so the procession consisted only of family and participants in the service. There was no eulogy, but there were addresses to the family and congregation, stories told of the things he loved (even with props!), from cheap beer to Volkswagens, Husker football to sauerkraut. And it all came back to his love for Christ and more importantly, Christ's love for him. There were hundreds of people there, many of them former students from campus ministry, and the reception afterwards turned into a gigantic reunion. Larry would have loved nothing better than seeing old friends reunite, share stories, laugh and cry together.

4. Is it true that "all good things must come to an end"?
Yes, it is true, all things--good, bad, indifferent--must come to an end...except for one thing. And that thing is not merely "good," it is perfect. And it is eternal. AND it is given to us, through no deserving of our own, as a gift.

5. "Everything I ever let go of has claw marks on it." --Anne Lamott Discuss.
Letting go of something means relinquishing control over it. And that's the scariest thing. Whether it's our relationships, our things, our fears, our prejudices, our let go is to say "I no longer control this. It's no longer in my hands." It takes faith and the willingness to open ourselves up to vulnerability.

Bonus: "It isn't over until the fat lady sings." I've never loved this expression. So propose an alternative: "It isn't over until ____________________"
For my fellow Red Sox fans: It isn't over until Bucky Freakin' Dent hits the home run. It isn't over until the ball goes through Bill Buckner's legs. It isn't over until Grady Little leaves Pedro in the game one inning too long.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Great Read, Great Price...

Hey everyone...not every day an opportunity like this comes along. Gordon Atkinson, also known in the blogosphere as Real Live Preacher, is one of the best writers I've ever had the privilege of reading. A few years ago he wrote a book of essays that was published by Eerdmans, entitled, appropriately enough, Real Live Preacher.

Like most things of quality these days (books, movies, T.V. shows, you name it), it didn't sell very well. So Eerdmans remaindered the remaining 1300 or so copies. Which means Gordon had the chance to buy them back for pennies on the dollar.

And he's selling them himself. Mailing them out of his house in San Antonio. Eleven bucks each. (Original price was fourteen.) With a promise that he'll put little surprises in each book he sends--maybe a surprise comment here or there, a pressed flower, a note, pieces of navel lint (just kidding about the navel lint...well, maybe not...). Who knows what might find its way into your copy.

I'm telling you, if you haven't read this book before, wait until next week when he puts a link on his site allowing you to order, and order one. Maybe two, or five, or fifteen to give away. His thoughtful essays on life, and faith, and family, and the world, and how they all intersect, are masterpieces. I promise, you will bellylaugh more than once. You will cry. You will get angry. You may even get a little embarrassed (this is, after all, a preacher who's not afraid to drop a well-placed F-Bomb if the situation warrants it). Mostly, you will be blessed and strengthened, challenged and comforted in your faith walk.

Real Live Preacher, the book, is excellent reading on the ins and outs of what it means to live as a Christian. And how often do you have a chance to purchase a copy directly from the author, and have the author include a pressed flower for you?

While you're at it, be sure to bookmark his blog too. It's food for the soul.

Here's a couple of links to posts RLP wrote about his remaindered book:

The first post

A second followup post


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Turner Gill, continued

On Monday, I wrote about former Husker player and coach Turner Gill, and the outpouring of letters when he stepped down from the Nebraska coaching staff. Turner has since become the head football coach for the University at Buffalo, and an amazing number of Nebraskans (yours truly included) have suddenly taken a great interest in the goings-on in upstate New York on Saturdays in the fall. Here's some samples of the 761 emails I received during the ten days after his resignation:
Years ago as a sophomore at Westlake High School in Austin, TX I was tasked by an English teacher to write a school report about any topic I wished. Being a Husker "fish out of water" in Longhorn country I decided to report on the history of Nebraska football. My teacher required that we all have at least 3 sources and one interview in order to write our reports. Being young and a little naive, I called the Nebraska football department and asked to speak with you about the Husker tradition, the person I spoke with patched me through to your voicemail. Imagine my surprise (not to mention my parents) when sitting at dinner that very same evening the phone rang, my father answered and said "Brent- Turner Gill is on the phone for you!" I appreciated the call and the 20 minutes you spent talking to a 14 year old kid in Texas back then, and appreciate the incredible example you have provided to the fans, players, and coaches of the Nebraska (as well as other) program. I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors and will be cheering loudly for you in whatever you pursue. Thank you and God Bless!
Brent D
Houston, TX
Dear Turner:You might remember me. I'm the guy that fills your first aid kit in the coach's office. I appreciate the fact that you we're always willing to talk and say hi. You are a class act and a great will be missed. I can't wait to root for you and your new team! I have a feeling that you will be The head coach for the Huskers someday.I'm sad to see you leave the Husker program, but that doesn't mean you aren't a Husker anymore. You will still be in our hearts and our minds matter where you are. God bless you Turner gill .
Your friend,
Dan H
I can't even begin to tell you how sad I was to hear that you are leaving us. I got tears immediately, and as I type this, I have tears. I met you last year, at Fans Day at the Stadium, and I knew, even before meeting you, that you were a kind person, you confirmed that, that day. I have been watching Husker football since I was a little girl (born in '63 in Omaha). I am an older fan I guess, as I remember Bob being our coach, and remembering when Tom came to grace our team also. Two unbelievable coaches, with such awesome class. I remember many great players gracing our team, you are one of them. Someone that believed in respect towards fellow players, coaches, AND the fans meant,and means alot to us. I only hope that all of the above knew/know, how much the fans appreciate this.

I hope the best for you and for your family. I thank you so much for the great memories you have given us. You will never be forgotten, and hope you know you are always welcome here. Good luck to you, going for that Head Coach job, shouldn't be much of a task for someone as talented, knowledgeable, and caring as yourself. God Bless.

Sue J
From a lifelong Husker fan best wishes to an incredible future. We are sooooo very sad to see you go but we know you are a man of great conviction and that conviction will comfort you as you head out into new territory! Selfishly we want you to stay. You represent everything that is dear to Husker fans.....seasons of glory, integrity, character, sportsmanship....I could go on and on......but now here is the chance to transplant a piece of all that is special about this place to another area of the country for other sport fans to enjoy and learn from. We all talk about winning but the greatest impact is influence over young lives. I am glad to see you will still be guiding and directing young men. If I had an athletic son I wouldn't hesitate a second to trust him to you. God Bless and best wishes for incredible success. But please never forget you are a HUSKER for life!
Mr. Gill:
I wish to say “Thank You” for being a leader of men and an inspiration to me personally. As a kid growing up on the south side of Chicago I saw my first Nebraska football game during a Thanksgiving weekend. Little did I know that many years later I would go to Nebraska to attend medical school. When I arrived at Nebraska you were on Tom Osborne’s coaching staff. He would always speak so affectionately of you; much more than a coach speaks of a former player. I was aware of your football exploits as a player for Nebraska but I sensed that you were a special person. As I followed the team, I also followed you. I admired your dignity and spiritual grace. You were a light for my path. You have been and will always be much more than a football player or coach. Thank you for touching my life!
Blessings to you and your family,
Department of Surgery
University of Missouri
Turner,I attended the University of Nebraska from 1982-1986. I was fortunate to get to see you play. In many ways, you invented a new position, not just at Nebraska, but nationally.More impressive to me is witnessing the blessings you have brought to the University and the state of Nebraska. You are a Texan originally, but you will always be a Nebraskan to me. I hope that God's plans bring you back "home" some day. You have helped to mold many young men in your time here. You have made a difference beyond the football field...and you have done it with an incredible amount of dignity and grace. I will always be a fan of Turner Gill...not just because of what you did as a player and a coach, but primarily because of the person you are.
Thank you and may God bless you wherever His plan takes you,
Mike Q
Colorado Springs,
COUNL Alumnus 1986
Mr. Gill,When I was a freshman or sophomore in high school, I attended a baseball seminar at an Omaha high school a month or so after the Miami - Nebraska Orange Bowl. Some Nebraska baseball coaches and players were there demonstrating some work-out techniques, and you were one of the players on stage. It was supposed to be about baseball, but the majority of the segment ended up with you graciously answering questions about the game, and about football. I remember at first feeling sorry for you for being blind-sided with football questions at a baseball seminar so soon after what must have been one of the most disappointing events in your life up to that point. One question gave people the "green light" to ask another, then another...soon you had answered questions about that game, that decision, and that play for over a half-hour.As a high school kid, I had always idolized you as a player without knowing what kind of person you were. By the time the emcee' finally cut off the football questions, I then respected you as a man. You didn't wince, you didn't shirk the stood as a strong young man of character and answered all of those tough questions with grace and class. I was blown away.But that's not all. I've never been a big "autograph" guy, but at a break in the conference right after this question and answer session, you were alone in the cafeteria getting a coke, so for the first time in my life I asked, and received an autographed picture of you, which I hung in my locker for the next 4 years. From that point on, whenever people discuss whether athletes are role-models or not, I tell people about you and that day. I tell them that whenever I have had to stand up and be accountable, I have drawn on that memory as an example of how to display strength and class in unpleasant situations. Yes, athletes are role-models, and you were as good as the get.Thank you, Mr. Gill, for the great memories from your days on the field...but also to your service and example off the field. Not only for the scores of Nebraska football players you've coached over the years, but also the people you've never met.
I'll be sad to see you leave, but I wish you the best of luck wherever you end up. I hope my son has the privilege of playing for you in about 13 years...even if you end up being the head coach for OU, CU, or K-State!
Terry H
Coach Gill –I’m sure you’ve received many e-mails from a grateful Husker Nation thanking you for your service and dedication, but I also wanted to add my thanks and appreciation for everything that you’ve done for our state and our program… and everything you’ve stood for… over the years.
These past few years must have been difficult to you and your family, and your decision to leave the coaching staff was undoubtedly one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to consider. I know and trust you are guided by a higher calling, and that – combined with the reality that you and your family will always be in our memories, thoughts and prayers – will hopefully make your future changes in life easier to consider.
I will always be a Husker fan. And now, my second favorite team will always be the one with which you are associated.
Good luck and God bless.
Steve B
Tallahassee, Florida

Coach Gill,As the mother of a current Husker player I want to thank you for the positive influence you have been to my son over the past three years. You have been a role model to many young men who have gone through the NU football program. As a long-time Husker fan I want to thank you for the many years you have given to Nebraska football as a player and coach. You were always a class act and we could count on your love and loyalty for Husker football to shine through in any and all circumstances. Best of luck in your future endeavors and may God bless you and your family.You will be missed.
C. M.
Mother of current player
Many thanks, Turner,,,,First for being the kind of person with faith and integrity that provided an outstanding model for our young men to emulate as they finish off their early development years. While all your other accomplishments were tremendous, this stands out and has made people respect your other accomplishments even more.
Second for the dedication to the University and the program to which you chose to make your early contributions in your career. Never has any question been raised of your commitment and loyalty to Nebraska by any of the thousands of followers out there - how very rare indeed when dealing with the public.
Third for your efforts as a player some seemingly many years ago. Your talent, work effort and dedication brought glory to yourself and to the University.and finally for not letting your success become a distraction to you as a person.We all wish you the very best in your further career, and while we will miss you we celebrate the time you spent with us. You will always be part of the Husker family - no matter which color you wear on the sidelines. I admire your courage to step out into the unknown and seek additional growth.
God speed.
Roger A
Dear Mr. Gill
I'm sure it was a hard day for you when you announced your resignation from the Husker program. I regret to inform your that your resignation has been denied. There is no way that you can possibly leave Husker Nation for you will always be a part of it. I wish you all the best in your pursuit of a head coaching job. I am confident that you will find one.Thank you for all the memories. I was a Boy Scout ushering at Memorial Stadium when I got to watch you perform your skills. You were a diamond in the rough. You were blessed by learning from one of the greatest coaches of all time. You executed the option to perfection but that isn't the most important impression that you will leave at Nebraska. My wife is from Goodland Kansas and her sisters baby sat Brook Berringer. They went to the same church. Going back to Goodland and listening to the people there was amazing. The way that you, Coach Osborne and Coach Brown conducted yourselves and spoke at Brook's funeral showed a lot of people who the people of Nebraska Football really were. They weren't just coaches with a desire to win. They were coaches who cared about their players. But most importantly, coaches that believed in God and could comfortably talk in public and profess their faith. That was a lasting impression on a lot of folk from Goodland Kansas. And to me, the most special thing about you.
And recently, I've been fortunate enough to attend the last 6 coaches clinics in the spring since I started coaching football. I've enjoyed learning from you. I wish I could thank you in person but you have things to do. I'll pray for you and I hope you know you are always welcome in Husker Nation.
God Bless You,
Wayne P
Deshler Nebraska
As a student at the University your junior and senior years (and a fellow North Texas graduate), I really hate to see you leave, partly because it marks the end of an era, in my opinion.You won't remember this but I have been able to tell this story many times over the years. It was August of 1982, you were coming off that leg injury. You were wearing a red t-shirt that said something like "I'm okay, the legs okay, I'm gonna play". I was walking out one of the Union's revolving door when I heard a thud. You were right behind me, but because I was pushing the revolving door faster then you, it hit you. All I could think of was I was a punk freshman who just reinjured Turner Gill's leg and my face was going to be on the front page of every Nebraska paper! Fortunately for me, you were not hurt.Best of luck in whatever you do. I will be rooting for any team you become a part of... unless they are playing NU or North Texas of course.
Joe T
Dallas TX
Thank you so much for the memories and for being a positive influence on the “BIG RED” for so long. You won’t remember this but when NU played Ole Miss at the Independence Bowl a few years ago, my 9 and 11 (at the time) year old sons met you at the hotel before breakfast on game day. Not only did you talk to them, you took at least 10 minutes out of what I know was a hectic day and really talked to my boys. My oldest is very upset that you are leaving. I want you to know that no matter where god takes you and I’m sure there is nothing but greatness ahead for you, that I as well as my boys will always be Turner Gill “fans”.
Thank you
El Paso, AR


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Monday, September 24, 2007

Post #200--Five Questions

This is my 200th blog post. I'm not gonna throw a party or anything, but it does seem to be at least a little bit significant, so I wanted to make the post at least a little bit significant to commemorate the event.

I remembered my friend RevScott's "Five Questions Interview" post, and thought that might be both fun and interesting. And true to form, he came up with some great questions.

I only hope my answers are half as interesting. Here goes:

1. Describe the most memorable sporting event (watched or played in) in your life that has nothing to do with the Nebraska Cornhuskers or the Boston Red Sox.
Hmmm...actually, by far the most memorable sporting event that I can think of not involving those two teams is one that I didn't attend (which, strangely enough, helps make it memorable). I'll explain. It was fall of 1990, my junior year of high school, and football was in the air (as it always is in the fall). We had a team that Garrison Keillor would describe as "Lake Wobegon-esque." It was most decidedly above average. Not great, but not bad either.

On our schedule that season was Creighton Prep. We hated them. They were a private school unencumbered by things like district boundaries and pulled in kids from all over the Omaha area. And they had won the state title three years in a row, going undefeated during that whole span. Jerks. My school, Bellevue West, was made up of probably 90% military kids. The average military family moves every 3 1/2 years. Do you have any idea how hard it is to build any kind of team chemistry when a quarter of your team graduates each year, and another third of your team moves away? Every year?

Did I mention that we had an intense dislike of Creighton Prep?

So, somewhere in the middle of the season, we played Creighton Prep. I was so going to be at that game. My friends and I had plans to paint our faces...the whole school was going to be there. There was a buzz for weeks before.

Problem is, the game was on a Friday night. And I had registered to take the ACT the next morning. And I have good parents who realize that getting a good night's sleep tends to help one do better on college entrance exams.

I wasn't at the game.

I wasn't there when Eric Fleckten, the good looking soccer player-turned-kicker who played first chair trumpet in the band, ended up being valedictorian, went to my church and was an all around nice guy kicked the game winning field goal as time expired to let Bellevue West win and hand Creighton Prep their first loss in almost 4 years.

I wasn't there when all the students rushed the field and carried Eric off.

I wasn't there for the celebrations afterwards, the re-living of the game, the excited comparing of plays.

But I was at the school cafeteria the next morning, where among whispers of "can you believe we won?!?!" I took the ACT.

I got a 32. Never had to take it again.

2. What's your favorite hymn/church song, and why?
I have so many favorites for so many different reasons, and there was a time not so long ago where I would have answered without hesitation "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today" (LBW 151). The last few years, however, I've had a new favorite: "Crown Him With Many Crowns." The tune is gorgeous and soaring, you can totally rock out to it with a big ol' honkin' pipe organ and some trumpets, and the lyrics speak of Christ's triumph and glory while still pointing back to the cross. I've said before that I'm a hymn crier--this one, when done well, can get me going just about every time.

Plus, Lost and Found did a great version of it on one of their albums. =)

3. Ever laughed so hard you snorted milk out your nose or your stomach ached? If so, tell us about that moment.
It was at one of my birthday parties...I would have been a young teenager, maybe 12 or 13. I don't remember what was said that was so funny, but we were about to have cake and I DO remember taking a drink of milk right before whatever the funny comment was. Everyone was laughing, but I was the only one with liquid in his mouth--it was almost instantaneous. Up the nasal passages and out the nose came the milk. All over the table. It was an oddly chilly sensation.

4. What's the best thing about living with Sweetie and Kiddo?
Moments like yesterday evening. Sweetie and I were sitting on the living room floor, balancing the checkbook and paying bills. We have a system set up where I'll read dollar amounts off of receipts and such, and she'll record them...then after we've recorded our transactions, I'll run the calculator while she reads off each recorded dollar amount and how much to subtract or add (usually it's subtraction...), and she'll write down the balances.

Wow, I just re-read that paragraph. It's not nearly as complicated as it sounds.

Anyway, Kiddo likes to help when we're balancing. He has a stack of old offering envelopes that he uses to pay his "bills," and a big calculator where he'll punch numbers and yell out amounts to us in a very businesslike manner. Then he'll ask us how many dollars he should add. We'll give him a random number, and after a few minutes of furious button pushing he'll triumphantly announce "sixteen dollars!"

We enjoy each other's company. We have fun paying the freakin' bills. I love that.

5. Other than Billy Joel, who are your favorite musicians and why?
I tend to go for singer-songwriters. There's a distinction to be made here...there are some folks referred to as "singer-songwriter" that can't really sing all that well. And there's others who sing stuff that others have written for them.

I like singer-songwriters. Ya gotta be able to do both. Write your own music, play your own instruments, tell me a story and sing it well.

In this group, Paul Simon/Simon and Garfunkel and James Taylor are absolutely the two standouts. But I've discovered some younger singer-songwriters that I've grown to love as well: Sonya Kitchell, Teitur, and Joshua Radin are three of my current favorites.

And RevScott would kill me if I didn't mention Storyhill, who he introduced me to and whose music I love as well.

Bonus question: you've been a Cornhusker fan for much of your life. What's your coolest "Big Red" moment, the one that makes you think, "THIS is why I'm a big fan!"?
Disclosure time here--RevScott asked this question already knowing what my answer would be.

My answer is about Turner Gill.

Being the son of an Air Force officer, I wasn't born in Nebraska, but my family moved to Nebraska in December of 1983 when my dad was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. The very first Husker game I ever remember watching was the 1984 Orange Bowl for the national championship against Miami. I rooted for the Huskers, but only since they were the team of my new homestate rather than any particular emotional investment. At the end of the game, Nebraska scored a late touchdown--if they had kicked the extra point, it would have tied the game and Nebraska would likely have been named national champions (Miami was ranked #4 at the time). Instead they decided to go for two points and the outright win. Turner Gill was Nebraska's quarterback, and I remember his pass being tipped away at the last moment. The Huskers lost the game, and Miami was crowned national champs. What I remember more is the dignity and class Turner showed in the days and weeks following the loss. It was then that I really became a Husker fan.

Fast forward 21 years. Turner Gill, after a numebr of years as a Husker assistant coach, announced his resignation from the Husker football program in December of 2004. I was a semi-regular poster on a website and message board called, and like many others, wished that there was something I could do to express all that Turner Gill had meant to me and to the Husker program in all his years here. I set up a Yahoo email address and posted a request on Huskerpedia to have people send thank-you emails to Turner at this address. My plan was to print them out and send them through the mail to Turner. In about a week and a half, I received 761 emails. After a TON of cutting, pasting, and formatting, I was able to fit them all on to 137 pages. I printed them out and sent them to Turner's home in Lincoln (his address was in the phone book) with a cover letter from me. (I'll reprint some of the responses in another post.)

About a week later, when I got home from work, there was a message on my answering machine. It was Turner Gill, saying thank you for the work I had done and telling me that he'd try calling back again because he didn't want to just leave a message. Remember now that during this time he was interviewing for a new position in Green Bay. He tried calling again a few days later, and left his number telling me to call him. I called, and his wife answered and said he was out, but that if I told her a good time to try the next day he'd call me then. Sure enough, he did. We talked for a good 15 minutes about life, faith, and football. At the end of our conversation, he invited me OVER TO HIS HOUSE the next day so that he could give me a thank you note and autographed football for all my trouble.

When I got to his house the next day, Turner greeted me at the door wearing a Husker shirt. By this time he had accepted a player development position with the Green Bay Packers, and was getting ready to move. The house was in that "in-between" stage...lots of half-filled boxes scattered around the living room and kitchen. Both he and his wife apologized for the condition of the house. He grabbed the football and note off his kitchen counter and handed it to me, and he and his wife both thanked me again for the email project. Turner said he had gotten a chance to read through a lot of it on his way to and from Green Bay, and he was really touched. I asked if it would be all right if I had a picture taken with him, and he immediately agreed. His wife was worried about all the boxes laying around, but decided that the best place would be in front of the fireplace. She took a framed picture off the floor and propped it up on the mantel so there would be something behind our heads, then snapped a picture with my camera.

That was Turner Gill to me in a nutshell. I tried to do something nice for him, to show how much he was appreciated by Husker fans everywhere, and he turned it around and ended up going out of his way to do something incredibly nice for me. He will always be a hero of mine, not because he was a great player or coach, but because he is an incredible human being who wants nothing but the best for those around him. He is a man of faith who sees helping others as his calling from God, and he's just grateful to have the platform of football to be able to help him achieve that calling.

Yours Truly and Turner Gill, in his living room

Now, here's the rest of the deal:

1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying “Interview me."

2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm ticked...

I'm an unabashed, dyed-in-the-wool true blue (or red) Nebraska Cornhusker football fan. Today, the Huskers pulled out a squeaker (41-40) against a team that they were supposed to demolish. Ball State.

You know, the school known for producing that great NFL player named David Letterman.

I'm a little ticked about that (especially the way the defense played), but not much. I'm just happy they got the win. And the offense looked pretty darned good.

I'm ticked about the booing.

I heard booing today at the stadium. Not the little smattering from the student section when the opposing team took the field, not some general discontented grumbling when things weren't going our way, but full, all-out booing.

That's not to say that I don't boo at games. I boo for three things:

1) a bad call by the refs.
2) a cheap shot by either team.
3) unsportsmanlike showing off by either team.

In my opinion, keeping in mind the above caveats, you don't boo the other team, and you NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER boo your own team for not playing the way you'd like. Especially not college athletes.

There are those who will say the booing was directed at the coaching staff. Maybe. But unfortunately, the players on the field don't have a "boo filter" that tells them what's directed at the coaches and what's directed at them. How does booing help your team win? What purpose does it serve? Complain all you want later. Write letters, organize marches, have a sit-in at the stadium to protest the way the defensive coordinator's just sitting around letting things go to hell in a handbasket. Just don't boo during the game. You're only further demoralizing a team that obviously is in need of your support.

I hope I never hear that kind of display by the fans ever again at Memorial Stadium. Husker fans are rightfully proud of the good reputation they have. Today was a sad day for the "Best Fans In College Football."

"We'll all stick together, in all kinds of weather, at dear old Nebraska U..." as long as things are going the way we want them to.

Speaking of sticking together in weather, don't even get me STARTED on the fans who left last week's game against USC with a full quarter left to play...

...but that's for a different post.

Go Big Red!!!!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Five: de-cluttering edition

From the RevGals:

With Jo, Jon and Chris all moving to college and University accommodation there has been a big clear up going on in the Coleman household. We have been sorting and trying hard not just to junk stuff, but actually to get it to where it can be useful. On a brighter note we have used Freecycle ( check it out) to provide the twins with pots and pans etc that other folk were clearing out.Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5;

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
I'm a minimalist at heart, but a hoarder in practice. Which echoes the dichotomy I deal with at work too: I'm a neat freak trapped in a clutterer's body. I WANT to have few things and a nice, simple, neat house (and office). But stuff just keeps accumulating. And getting put into piles. And before you know it you take a step back and exclaim, "good LORD how did all of this get here?" Then begins the purging process (affectionately referred to in our household as "gutting the house").

2. Name one important object ( could be an heirloom) that you will never part with.
Other than my wedding ring (which is a no-brainer), I'm gonna have to cheat and say my pictures. I love pictures. Love 'em. And with the advent of digital photography, that's both wonderful and dangerous (in a cluttery sort of way).

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???
In January of 1987 I took all my Christmas money, went to the local sports clothing store at the mall, and bought a Red Sox jacket. Looked just like the one Sam Malone wore in Cheers, with the big pair of socks on the left chest. The only size they had was Adult XL, and even though it was a little big on me (I was only a 7th grader, after all) it still worked well enough. My friends can attest--I wore that jacket for years and years and years until Sweetie FINALLY put her foot down and bought me a new one for Christmas in 2004 (after the World Series win). It still hangs in the closet, though. By FAR the oldest piece of clothing I own. Still fits, too.

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ?
Generally not so fond of 'em, with two exceptions: 1) when looking for kids' clothing or toys, and 2) every once in a while, when someone with a great library decides to clean it out.

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.
After years of doing nothing and feeling guilty, Sweetie and I have finally started to recycle cans in the past year or so. Eventually, I'd like to see that expand to other stuff...plastics, paper, etc. But you've gotta start somewhere, right?


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Looking Back, Part 2: Preschool

As we continue our trip down the amnesia lane that was mid-August until mid-September (hereafter referred to as "the lost blogging month"), we come to another big day for Kiddo and his parents:

The first day of preschool.

Kiddo's enrolled in a preschool at a Lutheran church about 7 blocks from the church I'm at. The main teacher has a master's in early childhood development, and is a really nice lady to boot. There's two assistants who are also very qualified...and great with young kids. We had gone to an open house in the spring and had been talking it up all summer...the teacher had made a home visit the week before and had done some activities with Kiddo...there was a picture of him hanging up in the preschool room, he had made his own bag and t-shirt...and now it was the day after Labor Day, the first day of class, and he was all ready to go.

Except he didn't wanna.

And oh boy didn't he wanna. Sweetie took that morning off from work to help see him off, and actually at first he was okay with it all. He posed for pictures at home, got into the van, and even talked about it on the way there.

But when the time came to get out of the van and walk inside, neither hell nor high water would tear him from his carseat. And the pitiful wailing could be heard for miles:




Down the hallway, church secretaries looking on with bemused acknowledgement: “MOM-my!!! DAD-dy!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

Past other parents who had already calmly dropped off their children, trying not to make eye contact: “MOM-my!!! DAD-dy!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

And into the classroom, where Kiddo promptly latched himself on to Sweetie's leg: “MOM-my!!! DAD-dy!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

It was not pretty.

He wasn't too fond of being there, but was willing to deal with it as long as we stayed. After about ten minutes of him following us everywhere, though, it became obvious that sooner or later we were just going to have to pull off the bandaid and leave.

Mrs. H, one of the assistants, came over and held Kiddo back as we walked out the door, the sounds of “MOM-my!!! DAD-dy!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” echoing down the hallway chasing us as we left.

Wanna hear something funny?

According to the teachers, five minutes after we left, Kiddo was back to normal. And he had a great morning. In fact, the first thing he said when I came to pick him up 3 hours later was "I had fun, Daddy!!!"

It took a few days, but the last 3 times I've brought him I've been able to drop him off without incident. Which is good. He's growing up. He's not as dependent on Mommy and Daddy.

Honestly, it makes me a little sad, though. He's not even 4 and we're already beginning the long process of letting go of our baby.

A side note: last week, Kiddo learned a song to the tune of "Oh My Darling Clementine" that teaches the days of the week. "There are seven days, there are seven days, there are seven days in a week...Sunday Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday Friday, Sa-tur-day." Over the weekend we had a Beatles CD on the stereo, and the song "8 Days a Week" came on. We didn't say anything, but somewhere in the middle of the song, Kiddo turns to Sweetie with a puzzled look and says "8 days?!?!?!?!" We've decided that the Beatles were pretty silly guys.

We'll wait a few years to discuss the various causes of their silliness.

Pictures? You say you want pictures? Well, why didn't you say so earlier?!?! =)

Outside the house, ready to go!!! (As long as I'm with Mom and Dad, that is...)

"I had fun, Daddy!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Looking Back, Part 1: Kiddo the Ringbearer

Well, a lot has transpired in the LutheranHusker household in the month since I last posted regularly, most of it revolving around Kiddo (surprise, surprise). In part one of our trip down Recent Memory Lane, we go back to about a week and a half ago, when Kiddo was the ring bearer in Sweetie's cousin's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, the bride and groom are an incredible couple, but for a proud Mommy and Daddy, the main event was the little 3 year-old in the tux walking down the aisle at the beginning of the service (spurred on by promises of candy corn when he got to the front), and walking out of the sanctuary at the end of the service (spurred on by promises of a Lightning McQueen toy when he got to the back).

Frankly, I can't believe he did it. Anyone who knows Kiddo knows that once he warms up, he's a ham. BUT in front of a bunch of strangers, he's one of the shyest kids you'll meet.

And not only did he walk all the way down a pretty long aisle, he actually did it slowly, staying with the flower girl (who was a GORGEOUS little 4 year old). In fact, the 2 kids were so concerned about staying together that as they walked, they went slower...and slower...and slower...each one not wanting to get in front of the other...until by the time they reached the front they were practically at a snail's pace. All very cute, though.

Pictures? You say you want pictures of the blessed event? Well, why didn't you ask earlier???


I clean up pretty well for a 3 year-old! Speaking of which, where's my Teddy Grahams?

Look who I get to walk down the aisle with!

We did it! Time to head to the reception and play tag around the tables!!!


Monday, September 17, 2007

Fear Not...

I'm still around, and I'm still planning on blogging...this pregnancy has just been kicking Sweetie's and my collective butts (whatever a "collective butt" is) the past month.

No serious health issues or anything--just lots of nausea, lots of migraine-type headaches, and lots of lethargy.

And that's just me. =)

No, Sweetie's been through the wringer. And I've tried to be as much of a support to her and Kiddo as I can through it all. Which has left me with little free time, and the incredible desire to spend the free time I do have sleeping instead of blogging.

We've also been incredibly busy as well, what with weddings and travels and work and the beginning of the school year and the fall church programs that come with it and classes and such. So, my dear readers, there are plenty of stories with which to regale you once the time is right.

For today though, I at least wanted to explain my sudden and consistent disappearance from the blogosphere lately.

I'm still around. And soon I'll be posting more regularly.

I'll leave you with my recent "brush with celebrity" from Saturday's Nebraska vs. USC game: quite possibly the worst actor of all time who's actually famous: Keanu Reeves.