The heat index has reached a hundred and ten in Omaha for two consecutive days, limiting the length of my runs, driving people inside during the day, requiring additional watering for the trees, causing us to keep the kids in for movie night rather than going on our usual walks, and inspiring me to take my Jeep just about everywhere I’m able. The heat is intense, and as you may have experienced yourself, brings out strange things, changes in people and in routine. One thing that I found fascinating was that yesterday, in Omaha and elsewhere, everyone I knew seemed to gearing up for or trying something new.
The first new thing I tried was wine from a winery in Sonoma. I sat down with two friends, Jerry and Deanna, and we tasted through half a dozen vintages of various Clouds Rest. If you haven’t had the pleasure, they make excellent, age-worthy Pinot Noir and a Sauvignon Blanc that reminds you immediately of Sancerre — the very opposite of Californian in style. Their wines were wonderful (watch for them in Nebraska soon) and I enjoyed tasting and talking about them with my friends.
Not long after we had finished, one of my best friends from high school, Erin, sent me a picture of herself tasting wine in Washington State with her sister. It’s her first trip to wine country, I believe, and she sent this image after her first-ever barrel tasting. Later in the day, she sent an image of about a case and a half of wine that she and other family members had purchased that day. It looks like my friend’s first trip to wine country is turning out a lot like mine, and if that’s the case it obviously won’t be her last.
After the tasting, I stopped by HyVee to pick up dinner for the family. While I waited for our made-to-order rice noodles to be ready, I ran into three former students, the same ones who had joined me for Shakespeare on the Green and Hamlet a few weeks before. One of them was about to leave for a job out of state while the other two are soon to be college-bound. They are about to embark on something huge and new, so they were sharing a slice of pizza and exchanging “friendship ducks” that they made for one another. It was great to see them.
At home, Titus and Zooey had new haircuts. Zooey had been given the last sucker at the barber, so she set out to find one for Titus, wanting to share. When we sat down to dinner, we all had bowls of noodles in front of us; when they saw me doing it they insisted on eating with chopsticks (“chapstick”). It was wildly entertaining, and it makes me think I’ll be picking up more Chinese food next week while Sonja’s gone. The chopsticks certainly kept them busy!
Last night with dinner I tried a beer I’d never had from a new brewery out in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. It was extremely enjoyable — I don’t drink a lot of Helles but if it was all this good I’d drink far more of it. If you get the chance to try Flyover Bewing, I recommend it. Great beer!
After dinner, we put on Toy Story Two. The kids have been getting into kids’ movies and are actually able to sit through movies now, which is a nice change of pace. Oddly, I’d never seen this classic, as I think a lot of great kids’ movies were coming out right around the time that I became too old and too cool to watch them. My kids have given me the opportunity to check out things like Toy Story and The Incredibles, and sometimes I think I look forward to movie night as much as they do.
Once the kids were in bed, our neighbors swung by. I made one of them his first Colorado Bulldog using my friend Tylr’s homemade coffee liquor and improvising with s’mores coffee creamer — a “new” thing that I wouldn’t recommend, though they still turned out alright. We caught up on back episodes of This Is Us — which nearly drove me to tears on numerous occasions, and settled in for the evening. I went to bed well past my bedtime.
While our trip to wine country’s cancellation still looms like a blotch in the back of my mind, there are all kinds of joys and new things to experience right here where we are as well, and I’m truly learning to love every new thing my kids do, from attempting to eat with chopsticks to getting a mohawk for reasons I cannot fully fathom, and from the new words they pick up and the questions they ask to discovering movies like Toy Story that I somehow missed in the interim between being a kid and an adult. As always, thanks for reading, and whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope you can find something new, big or small, to add a little spice to life.
Cheers to doing and trying new things,