Wednesday, December 29, 2010


One of my best friends had a girlfriend for almost 5 years. Had. Lying, cheating girls are not his favorite.

He showed up at our house with the largest bottle of Southern Comfort I have ever seen. No time to blog.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pawn Shop Finds

My uncle Kenny (the Shark) owns a pawn shop in Hastings. I like to visit once in awhile to seek whatever treasure I may find and to see my favorite uncle. Went today with Sam, cousin Jake, and his girlfriend, Chelsea.

There used to be a company that made ammunition by the name of Peters, so I like to keep my eye out for advertising signs and the like. Uncle Kenny had one in his shop today, and if I wasn't so lazy, I'd take a picture of it. I brought it home and it now resides in the cave. 

That was cool enough, but my other discovery was better. I even took a picture of it:

It's an Elgin watch. From what I've been able to find, it's from the 50's. I found a restored one on eBay for $325 and another one in a little better condition than this and with a strap for $139. I didn't know it was worth that much. I just knew it was cool. The Shark wound it up and it's been keeping perfect time since this morning. He gave it to me for $10 with the promise that if I ever sold it, he would get half of the money.

I don't think that's going to happen.

If you look at the full sized picture, you can see it's beat to crap. It has a lot of character, I suppose. I dig it. I want to find a band for it and wear the crap out of it. I wonder what this watch has seen. Maybe it's the poet inside of me, but I feel like there are a million stories that this watch needs to tell. 

Another option is to get it restored. That would cost anywhere from $150 to $200, but it would be in new condition and have another 50 year lease on life. 

This is the kind of watch I could pass down. If I have a son, he will get the watch that Shay gave me on our wedding day. If I have a second son, he would get this watch. Our family doesn't pass things down, at least not that I know of, but I would like to do so. That's why I'm leaning towards restoring the watch at some point down the road. 

What do you think?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Grocery List

Toilet Paper
Macaroni noodles
Cherry Coke Zero

Man cannot live on bread alone.

People looked at me as if I had 3 eyeballs while I was walking through Hyvee with these things in hand. The list looked almost identical to my college lists. The only difference - Cherry Coke Zero instead of Keystone Light. I'm so grown up now. 

You got me. We were already stocked up on Keystone Light.

I don't understand why people stare at me when I walk through a grocery store with the 12 pack of Charmin Mega Rolls. Yeah, I need it. Get over it. You do, too. 

Sorry I haven't written in a couple of days. See what pearls of wisdom you missed?

Friday, December 24, 2010


I'm holed up in the cave while Shay sleeps on the couch. It's a dismal day and I have no lights on. A flannel shirt and a cup of coffee are pretty comforting to me.

I'm not in a great mood. I've been looking forward to Christmas and now that it's here, I'm stuck in that "It's going to be over soon" state of mind. Tyler and Chaela (sister and brother-in-law) won't be making it home for Christmas, Sam (brother) has to work, and Alli and Joe (sister and brother-in-law) are leaving sometime tonight because of some snafu. I'm mostly upset because Shay's sick, and I can tell she feels terrible, but she's trying to lie to me and tell me she's ok because she knows that today is really important to me. I wish she could feel better. I was sick once over Christmas and it was the worst. I hope this nap helps her out some.

All of this stands to remind me that Christmas is not about me. It's not presents, or chili, or church with the little kids singing out of tune. It's about Christ and the promise that his birth brings us.

May the joy of Christ fill your hearts tonight. May He fill my heart also.

Waiting For the Comforter to Dry

Shay's been sick the last few days, so the sheets and blankets all got washed. The pesky comforter won't dry, though, so I'm kind of waiting up for it to get done. When you're poor newlyweds you can only afford one comforter, I guess. 

I didn't blog yesterday. Apologies. Honestly, I wasn't in the mood. I was tired from not sleeping much the night before and keeping a sharp eye on Shay. I'm going to be a wreck when we have kids. I'd look over at her every 5 minutes or so to make sure she was still breathing while she was sleeping on the couch. It was a tough task when she rolled over on her side. The blankets kind of swarmed around her, but with an eagle eye, I could detect he breathing. I don't think it's common for healthy women to die of a cold, but I'm not taking any chances. Shay and I slept in separate beds last night so I wouldn't get sick. While trying to fall asleep, I was in that weird not-quite-asleep-and-cognizant-enough-to-have-crazy-thoughts stage, and I thought to myself "What if Shay dies in her sleep?! I'd be in the next room and never know it. I'm such a bad husband." That's the last thing I remember before falling asleep.

She's probably annoyed with me by now. I think I ask her every 7 minutes how she's feeling, if she needs anything, if her throat hurts. 

I'm pretty excited about this weekend. Hope everyone who is traveling travels safely and that much Christmas cheer and goodwill is spread.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Little Surprises

My computer died, so I've been using Shay's the last few days. Well, it didn't really die, but something is wrong with it. 


I've been listening to some of the music Shay has on her computer while I check BigIron, craigslist, eBay, etc. I have over 7,000 songs on my iTunes, which I've come to find is a bit over saturated (as long as my music was backed up... I don't know that all of it was). Shay doesn't have nearly as much music, so this means my sample is smaller, which means I'm listening to some music that I haven't heard in a long time. "Somewhere Down in Texas" by Jason Boland was one of my favorite songs when I was at CCC Hastings, so we're talking 5 or 6 years ago. 

It's always interested me how a song can take you to a certain time and place. For some reason, when I listen to this song, I think about driving home from town on a summer night, with some rain starting to fall, but my window down anyway, because I love having my window down. Rain be damned. I don't remember what happened that night, but I know it happened. I know it was raining. I know I was in a melancholy mood. In the summer when it's raining or it's humid out at night, you can smell the corn growing. I can remember coming off of the 281 overpass headed home and catching a whiff of the cornfield that was to the west. I remember the glare of the green light mixed with the rain on my windshield at the last stoplight before home.  

The remembering makes me happy. This song makes me happy, even though it probably shouldn't (download it and you'll see what I'm saying). It makes me think about the kid I was, and the man I'm trying to become. It's cool to see how much I've changed and how much I haven't since that time in my life. 

If my music survived, I'm going to comb through the library and make a playlist of songs that meant a lot to me 5 years ago. Then I'm gonna sit on my butt and drink coffee while I listen to it. Or maybe I'll go for a drive and listen to it. 

Go find some music that defined you 5 years ago. 10 years ago. However many years ago. Get lost in it for a few minutes and remember a point in time that defined that music. Then tell me about it. I'd like to hear your story. 

Monday, December 20, 2010


Not much happened today. I did some laundry. Played with the dogs. Almost finished a book. I was really lazy today and I kind of feel bad about it.

I need to go finish The Road. I think I have fourteen pages left.

I'm getting pretty excited for Christmas. I can't wait to give gifts. I like to surprise people and I think I might do well this year. It's also exciting celebrating our Savior's birth and knowing that no matter how much of a screw up I am, or how many people don't like me, I don't live for this world, I live for the next. And it's all because of Jesus. Pretty cool stuff, I'd say.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Flannel Shirts

I like them. I think my favorite thing about them is that I've only purchased two of the six or so that I have. The rest are hand-me-downs from my Grandpa Hansen. I think that's kind of a cool thing. Grandpa Hansen and I really click on two levels - basketball and flannel shirts.

Grandpa Hansen was a pretty awesome basketball player in his day. He played in college and it's weird how many people I've run into over the years that are his age that remember him from high school. Guys from Aurora, York, Henderson and other areas all say practically the same thing - he was a hell of a basketball player. I wasn't that great at basketball. I had a lot of heart, and did a lot of the dirty work - rebounding, hard fouling, playing in the post against guys 4 or 5 inches taller than me. So, no, I wasn't as good as Grandpa, but I'd like to think I could hold my own. I had some pretty sharp elbows, if you know what I mean.

Grandpa also wears a lot of flannel shirts. So do I. They're comfy and keep me about the perfect temperature. They make me feel like a real man, like I should be headed out to the woods with my blue ox. I love the ones that Grandpa gives me. They've been washed enough times to feel perfect. "Vintage" would be the appropriate tag, I guess. I think mainly it's just an easy way for me to feel close to Grandpa.

Shay and I went to Hampton the other night to eat with Grandma and Grandpa Hansen since we won't be able to make it to their house for Christmas. I didn't come away with any shirts this time, but I did realize that I don't get over that way to see them enough. I'd like to get better about that. I don't want to be telling my kids about their Great-Grandparents with the nagging thought that I should've spent more time with them. I'm pretty lucky in the fact that most of my family is withing 45 minutes of my house. I should take more advantage of that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Sweltering 65 Degrees

Yes. That's where I keep the thermostat. No, my wife doesn't complain. With a couple of space heaters in strategic places, our house really isn't that cold. Cuddling also helps. 

I think Shay and I are going to watch a movie. At 10:30pm!!!! We're rebelling against becoming old before our time. Ignore the fact that I'll either shut it off and carry Shay to bed before it's over, or we'll both fall asleep.

If you ever need a pick-me-up during the day, download the song "The Mountain" by Lucero. I dare you not to tap your feet, bob your head, or play some sweet air guitar licks. 

I became a board member at Heartland Lutheran High School tonight. Got a call out of the blue a couple of weeks ago asking if they could appoint me. I'm a dumb kid, but God must know that I have something to offer. 

I've worked out 4 days in a row. It's the first time that's happened since high school. Apparently an ice cream truck made it through hell. I heard the driver was wearing mittens.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy. This began with All the Pretty Horses and continued with the rest of the Border Trilogy. If you haven't read it, I implore you to read the trilogy. If you love books, at the very least read All the Pretty Horses. McCarthy's writing style can be frustrating at first - he doesn't use quotation marks, and in his western books he uses some Spanish - but I think it causes you to become more involved with the story. You actually have to pay attention to what's going on instead of being on book-reading-autopilot.

The Road has been on my bookshelf for quite awhile. For some reason, I felt like it was time to read it. I'm glad I started. It's a story about a man and his young son in a messed up America. I'm a hundred pages into it, and that's really all I've gotten out of it. If you remember a previous post, I complained about a hundred pages of drivel, and you might be thinking that this sounds like a hundred pages of crap, but it's not.

I think anyone that writes - poetry, songs, novels, reports, essays, checks - owes it to themselves to read at least one McCarthy book. If you don't know where to start, I suggest one of the two in this post. If you have a literary crush on McCarthy like I do, you already know what I'm talking about.

"He could remember everything of her save her scent. Seated in a theatre with her beside him leaning forward listening to the music. Gold scrollwork and sconces and the tall columnar folds of the drapes at either side of the stage. She held his hand in her lap and he could feel the tops of her stockings through the thin stuff of her summer dress. Freeze this frame. Now call down your dark and your cold and be damned." - The Road (18,19).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coffee and Verses

I stumbled upon a chord progression I really like last week. Once in awhile this happens - I'm screwing around on the ol' flat top box and something really simple grabs my attention. It's a chord progression that I've heard and played a billion times, but I added a couple of hammer-ons and off we go. The other night I noticed the lights of Worms (all three of them) through the living room window. Can you see where this is headed?

I bought the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers documentary - I think it's called Running Down a Dream - last year. It's 4 hours of awesomeness. Anyway, Tom Petty is talking about his song "The Waiting" and how he had the chord progression for a long time. He knew it was something great, but he couldn't find the words for it. It got to where he played the progression so much that people told him to stop playing it. He didn't, and eventually the words for my 3rd favorite Tom Petty song finally came out (#1 is "Even the Losers" while #2 is "You Don't Know How It Feels").

I'm not saying my song is great. I know it's not, but I'm having so much fun, and I'm finally writing something that I'm close to. I do this in poetry a lot, but I never really have in a song. Writers, you know what I'm talking about. Finally, something that is me. Something I've been wanting to write for a long time. It's happening.

The last couple of mornings I've been drinking coffee, playing the progression over and over, and adding verses. I don't really know where I'm going or how it will end, but I'll get there. For now I'm enjoying the process.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hope you enjoy it. If not, well, I don't really care. I think Great-Grandpa would like that statement.

Willie’s House (Great-Grandpa’s Poem)
Lightening bugs in the front yard,
Rotten apples in the back.
We knew what to do with both
While the grown-ups played Sheep’s Head inside,
The sounds of shuffling cards and laughter clear.
We’d come in after dark and
The old man would feed us ice cream or
Give us a Barq’s for the road.
When our parents protested he’d say
“You leave those kids alone!”

In the spare bedroom was his wife’s wig,
Toys and the forbidden “Fart Book”.
If we were naughty we’d get spanked or
Have to sit on the porch by the “little nigger boy”
With his hat on and fishing pole in hand.
Somehow the adults knew
We were less afraid of the spanking.

He was full of sayings we still use in our family:
“Good enough for the girls I go with.”
“I was so confused I didn’t know which way to point my pecker.”
“If I had that and he had a feather, we’d both be tickled.”
“Hurt your finger? Soak it in cider.”

It’s been a dozen years since he died.
I don’t remember talking to him much,
But I still say the things he said,
Play the card game he played,
Share the last name he gave.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Don't... Uh... I Can't... Uh... What?

I haven't blogged for a couple of days. Sorry kids.

My title is a line from Family Guy, more specifically, the episode where they make fun of Roseanne. Anybody remember Roseanne?

I'm sitting in our new living room. Not really new. Just different. We moved some stuff around and painted one of the rooms in the house. I call it a $50 remodel. It's kind of hard to explain, but because of the way we moved things, we now have a family room (without the family) and an actual dining room. We're so grown up. Thanks to the in-laws for helping us move furniture. Also, thanks to Shay's great-uncle and aunt for the free filing cabinet, cedar chest, and end table. Also thanks for the great deal on a sweet piano. I may have to go back to work on learning how to tickle those keys.

I had to get under the house to reroute our cable, well, cables, and all of the fiberglass insulation that is supposed to be stapled to the floor fell on the ground, which resulted in me basically crawling around in a fiberglass minefield. I'm a little itchy.

I see that some of my fellow bloggers are finishing their undergrad careers. To you I say God's blessings, and good luck.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Farm Expo Reaction

Well, I didn't buy anything at the farm expo today. I've realized how little chance I have of buying any equipment in the next year or two. It was fun to go look at stuff, though. There are some pretty talented people out there building things I would've never thought to build, or wouldn't have the know-how to build.

I did price some sprayers. Anywhere from $8,000 to $14,000 for what I'm looking for. Ag Service, who currently does our spraying, charges $7/acre to run their sprayer on our ground. If we sprayed 1,200 acres in the first year we had the sprayer, it'd pay for itself. Also, we could shop around for herbicide, which could save us some extra money. I know a guy around here who saves a bundle by getting his herbicide up north. I'm hesitant to buy a sprayer because I'm scared I'd buy it and we wouldn't use it. The last 3 springs/summers have been pretty crazy. We've had so much rain early in the year that we play catch up all summer. In the summer of '09 I did some field work while there was still water standing in the fields. This wouldn't leave any time for spraying. That being said, wet years cycle, and pretty soon it'll start getting dry again.

I don't know.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Farm Expo Tomorrow

Going to Lincoln tomorrow for a farm expo. I'm hoping I can get a good deal on a sprayer. Sometimes if you ask, manufacturers will give you a "show discount" on equipment. I don't know. I'm trying to convince myself to buy a sprayer, but I'm also trying to convince myself to save all the money I can to buy some land and build a house. 

Awhile back I briefly discussed a 160 acre piece of land that would be perfect for that. It sold for $4150/acre. For those that don't want to do the math, that's $664,000. I don't think I'll ever save up enough money to buy land at that rate. I qualify for a young farmer loan from the FSA that would help me buy land. I won't bore you with the particulars, but I have to have a down payment of 5%. Doesn't sound like much, right? A 5% down payment on $664,000 is $33,200.

I feel like I'm going to be poor forever.

I did gain some employment today. I was asked to help move snow in Grand Island this winter. I'll be running a JD 8100 with a 24' blade on the back and a 12' dozer blade on the front. It could be exciting. I'm nervous about breaking stuff. It will be nice to have some extra money, though. It'll probably go towards the "pay off student loans as quickly as possible" fund. Freaking student loans. 

I hate debt. It feels like some giant sinkhole.

I'll stop rambling now. Goodnight, all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Crisp 14 Degrees

Grandpa's out of town, so I'm feeding cattle while he's gone:

The sun had just come up. I had breakfast about 15 minutes before the cattle did. They seem pretty content:

There are some nut jobs out there who think farmers and ranchers don't care about the welfare of their livestock. Breakfast served every morning at 7:30? Suck it, animal rights activists.

Monday, December 6, 2010

100 Pages of Drivel

I don't understand why some authors feel the need to let their mastery of the English language get in the way of a good story. A book that should be 400 pages stretches to 500. Heh...

This dude David Wroblewski is doing it. I'm reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It's a really great story. It's a terrible book. You wrote a book. Good for you. Please don't bog down your story with a ton of crap that really doesn't have much to do with the story.

Why don't I quit reading the book? The story. And the author knows it. Maybe that's why I'm so annoyed.

There was an interesting thought raised in a section I read tonight. Edgar is talking to an old farmer (actually he's a figment of Edgar's imagination, but he's really there, but not really there. It's hard to explain.) and the old farmer is talking about the curse of being good at something you don't care about. In the old farmer's case, he's a great farmer, but he doesn't care about it. He says it's rare to find a man that cares about something he is good at doing. The old farmer says that when you see that in a person, you can't miss it.

It's one of those thoughts that's always been in a file cabinet toward the back of my brain. I've never been able to sum it up quite like that.

The 100 pages of drivel was worth it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Teachers! Help!

I teach 7-12 grade Sunday school at church. Today we were talking about the passage in Matthew where Jesus says that if you look at a woman lustfully, you should gouge your eye out. For whatever reason (probably because they're 7-12 graders) someone turned the conversation to homosexuality. I said "Guys, it happens in the LCMS. Don't act like we're better Christians than other denominations." The kids looked at me with astonishment, and I'm pretty sure I saw smoke coming out of some ears. Before anyone could say anything more, I said "I don't really think we should talk about this until I've talked to your parents and pastor first." They said OK and let it go.

I know what I said was the right thing, but I think this was a teachable moment. Did I mess up here? I suppose not, because I wasn't prepared to talk about that particular subject at that time. I also would've had to deal with backlash from parents. I feel like if the kids want to talk about it, though, maybe I should pursue it.

Since 97% of my readership is comprised of teachers/soon to be teachers, I figured I could get some advice. First step is to talk to pastor, then talk to parents. After that, I'm not really sure where to go.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

For the record, when it comes to homosexuality, I treat it as love the sinner, hate the sin. I don't see it any differently than any other type of sexual immorality. I'd be interested to hear some of your thoughts on this to help with preparation of a lesson. 

So much for this being a blog about farming, eh?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Moved the mancave to a different room today. Tomorrow I'm going to be doing some painting. We're moving our living room into another room so we can actually have a dining room. The last time we had a bunch of people over we realized our dining area is not sufficient for more than 4 people. When we're all done, I'll post some pictures.

There's a nice chill in the air tonight. I like cold weather. Probably because I get to sleep in a warm house.

I'm going to bed. Hope everyone had a good Saturday night.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Tree!!!!

I used to be kind of a scrooge. I think that's changing. I'm really excited for Christmas. Tonight Shay and I got our first Christmas tree together. And yes, it's a real one. I may have cursed a few times trimming it to fit into the bottom of the stand, but hey, it smells good and it looks better. Here you go:

It's a little short on ornaments, but some are on the way from Shay's mom, and I of course had to order a John Deere tractor and a Chevy pickup. They're supposed to be here next week. The lights are the blinky ones that change a lot. The icicle lights go up around the house tomorrow.

I also bought Shay a nativity set tonight. Here she is setting it up:

Here's me with the knife I used to trim branches. I don't have a small hand saw, so this was all I could find in a pinch:

Now to buy some gifts. What does everyone want?

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I believe it was Michelle that asked to meet my guitar the other day. I've been meaning to write this for you, Michelle, but I haven't gotten around to it. Until now.

This is a Guild DV-52:

Doesn't look like anything spectacular, does it? Well, it is. You can see that I've already worn the finish down to bare wood in one spot next to the pickguard.

I bought this guitar approximately three years and two months ago. I remember it was October. I had always wanted to play a Guild because one of my favorite songwriters, Willy Braun (from the band Reckless Kelly) has one. The problem was, there were no Guild dealers in the area. My good friend JJ was going to school at UNL at the time. I was minding my own business, when out of the blue, JJ calls me and excitedly says "Worms! Dietze's has a Guild!" To which I replied "Holy shit! I'll be there in half an hour." (JJ calls me Worms because I'm from, well, you get the picture.)

I got to Dietze's about 15 minutes before they closed. I took the elevator to the third floor, found the guitar, sat down, and played a G chord.

And that was it.

I had Doug (the cool old guy at Dietze's. He was always super nice to us.) put it behind the counter so I could bring some stuff in on trade the next morning.I almost pissed it away that night. The responsible part of me said it was too much money. The other part of me said that it was not too much to ask for something that I would have for 50 years. Thank goodness for JJ. He talked me into going through with it.

Come to think of it, I owe JJ a lot of thanks. He introduced me to this guitar and Shay.

Went back the next morning and came home the proud owner of a Guild. I've never regretted it, and I've never thought about selling it. It's been through a lot of heartache and joy. It was there when one of my best friends died, when girls I thought I could love wanted nothing to do with me, and it was there when Shay and I began our lives together. I can't wait to strum it while I sing my kids to sleep (I hope that will work, anyway). I've written a few songs on it, butchered many more, and changed the strings and polished the fret board more times then I can count. I hope to one day pass it down to a child or grandchild.

Action photo!

That's JJ. He and I used to get together every week and visit every guitar shop in Lincoln. We played at the Gallery once in awhile. One evening we played guitar in a park across the street from his apartment and two little kids brought us pictures of us playing guitar. They said they liked our music. I still have that picture in my guitar case. JJ is my musical brother from another mother, as they say.

Who knew a piece of wood and six steel strings could mean so much to a man?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Motivation And Fire

I did some things today that I've been putting off. I took a bed back over to Grandma's. I burned trash. I even did some dishes. Thomas came over and helped me take apart the pool table. Then we destroyed the slate with a hammer. Don't worry. It was in bad shape already.

The best part?

Setting the pool table on fire.

I love fire (in controlled environments). Heat and light and smoke. I love the smell of smoke. Thomas, Dad and I sat on the tailgate and watched it burn. It was most excellent. Chewing sunflower seeds, watching smoke billow as the sun went down. It was manly bonding. Poetic in a manly way.

I love being a man.