5 Ways to Test if a Neighborhood is Right for You

Quality of Neighborhood as Important as the House

You can remodel a kitchen or replace the family room flooring. Fixing a neighborhood is much more challenging. When searching for your ideal new home, pay close attention to neighborhood features that matter to you and your family.

Your real estate agent will ask you to be clear about what makes a difference in your daily life. For example, do you want a short commute to work? Do you need to be on a public transportation route? Does the grocery store or child care center need to be close? Do you want mature trees lining the street?

Answers to these questions are important. They direct where you search for your ideal home.  After narrowing down the list of ideal homes, drive through the neighborhoods. What’s happening there during the day and at night? Does the tone of the neighborhood change after dark or in the summer?

Do you sense that you’d enjoy the neighborhood as much as you love the home?

5 Ways to Test if a Neighborhood is Right Fit:

1. Convenience

Is convenience important in your daily life? If so, look around the neighborhood you’re thinking of moving to.

  • How far is the home from your place of work?
  • What are peak commute times like? Are the roads congested and noisy?
  • Would you be able to come home for lunch, or to let the dog out?
  • Is the grocery store fairly close? How about other retail shopping centers?
  • Where is the library, gas station and convenience store?
  • Are there restaurants you like nearby?
  • Is there a Farmer’s Market within a comfortable distance?
  • Where’s the Post Office?
  • Can you get to a dentist or doctor appointment quickly?
  • Where is the nearest Interstate?

 2. Social

Does it matter to you that you’re near family and friends? If you’re new to the community, do you rely on neighbors for socialization? When you drive through, are they outdoors interacting? Are children playing together? Also, consider:

  • Is the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) active? Do they plan social outings so you can meet other families and neighbors?
  • Depending on your age, are there activities for retirees within a comfortable driving distance?
  • Where is the nearest fitness center or swimming pool?
  • Is there anywhere close for art classes?

 3. Community Services

What community services do you rely on most? Research the availability and locations of:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Entertainment venues
  • Places of worship
  • Parks
  • Bike and walking trails
  • Police stations
  • Fire stations
  • Ambulance services
  • Child care
  • Cable television
  • Trash and recycling pick up

 4. Safety

It can be sort of deflating to discuss safety and crime rates while searching for a dream home. But, it’s a reality that needs to be examined. Consider these items:

  • Street lighting
  • Posted speed limit signs
  • Availability of sidewalks so people and vehicles don’t share the roadway
  • Neighbors home during the day
  • The Sex Offender Registry
  • Crime Reports Check for what crimes have been reported in your area
  • Posted Neighborhood Watch signs
  • Are local businesses boarded up or do they have bars on windows?
  • Air and water quality
  • Flooding potential
  • Steep hills-icy roads

 5. Appearance

Do you prefer living in a neighborhood where all the homes are constructed by the same builder and/or all painted natural muted colors? Or, do you like variety? Do you prefer new construction or a neighborhood with older homes? Do cars parked on the street bother you? Do you mind seeing a school playground or neighborhood park from your kitchen window? Also, think about:

  • How well homes and lawns are kept up?
  • Are HOA covenants enforced consistently?
  • Are the streets well maintained, or are there potholes?
  • What type and quality of trees are in the neighborhood?
  • Where are vehicles parked?
  • Is the neighborhood park clean or is it covered with pet waste and litter?

Are you ready to find your dream home in a fantastic neighborhood? Contact Megan.

Megan Owens, Realtor

“Delivering extraordinary care for extraordinary clients.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate

Phone | 402-689-4984     Email | Megan.Owens@bhhsamb.com

©Copyright. March 2017. Linda Leier Thomason. All Rights Reserved.

 

Why This Woman is Obsessed with March Madness

March Madness isn’t just for guys.

I’m a closet sports junkie. March Madness is my addiction. I study, watch and fill out multiple brackets; and historically win a few. I’m highly competitive by nature and for these 18 days, my drug of choice-competition-is all consuming.

I hunker down in the family room and watch endless hours of collegiate young men bounce and loft basketballs. Their sweat-coated coaches roam the sidelines as rabid fans experience wild mood swings during 40 minute games. There are winners and losers. There certainly are upsets. I root for underdogs, always.

It’s thrilling when lower seeded teams triumph and heart-breaking when my household’s team favorites-Iowa State Cyclones and Louisville Cardinals-are beaten. It’s been reported that companies lose millions during this time period. Apparently I’m not the only one obsessed. My approach to completing brackets and picking winners is more gut than analytical. However, one variable always gets the greatest weight-the head coach.

I pay attention to Bracketology with Joe Lunardi.  I study variables like season record, outstanding players, injuries and tournament location. But I never stray from what I consider the greatest determinant of winning teams-the coach.

Perennial Coaches

Rick Pitino

There are well-known March Madness perennial coaching favorites like Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. His absence was clearly felt this season while he was recovering from a recent surgery. He has this certain something that attracts great talent and makes these players deliver outstanding basketball. Then, there’s Rick Pitino from the Louisville Cardinals. Loaded with coaching skills and bravado, Pitino leads the favorite team of both my husband and our son. According to them, he’s a near basketball God.

Another tournament constant is West Virginia’s Bobby Huggins. Who doesn’t want to hug Huggins? He’s so teddy bear like. He sits on a sideline stool and ends every game toweling off like he’s just laid everything out on the floor for 40 long minutes. I’m not fooled. He coaches against my Alma mater Iowa State in the Big 12 Conference. He might look like a teddy bear, but Huggins consistently has winning teams with oppressive defense. Seems more like a tiger, perhaps, than a teddy bear.

Coaches I Miss on the Sidelines

I have to admit that come March I miss watching the gracefulness and steadiness of Fred Hoiberg. Coach Hoiberg was both a legendary player and coach at Iowa State who now coaches the Chicago Bulls.  He never seemed to overreact. He stood steadfast with arms crossed,understanding a game doesn’t end until the final buzzer sounds. Cool and collected, almost always.

I certainly miss one of the greatest and most loyal basketball teachers ever- Dean Smith from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I admired the fact that he was always dressed like he was going to work and spoke so eloquently about his players. He understood that they were “just imperfect kids.” I secretly wanted him as a coach. I longed to meet or shadow him. Oh, the many things I could’ve learned in person not just about basketball but about life from Coach Smith. Will there ever be another one like him?

I’m old enough to remember Jimmy Valvano from North Carolina State University.  In the mind of my five foot tall body I see this larger-than-life man with wet-looking, dark hair running up and down the sidelines. He always appeared to be hailing a taxi cab or signaling to an approaching ambulance. His hand gestures were that large and urgent. He was intense, but with a gentle giant sort of kindness about him. The world did lose him too early.

Lute Olson

Former Indiana Coach, Bobby Knight, and Georgetown’s John Thompson taught me a few choice words during March Madness and often had me repeating a threat from childhood, “Do I need to wash your mouth out with soap?” Meanwhile Lute Olson appeared like a statesman on the sidelines. Lute, a fellow North Dakotan, coached at Iowa-the fierce rival of Iowa State.  I forgave him. Afterall, there aren’t that many North Dakotans on the national basketball stage. Well, there’s Phil Jackson-who attended high school and college in North Dakota and famously coached the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan era. Next he coached the Los Angeles  Lakers before taking the presidency of the New York Knicks, where he is today.

Impressive, Lesser Known Coaches

Everyone knows Kansas and Kentucky are perennial favorites. These teams will remain such with their stellar records and recruiting abilities led by Bill Self and John Calipari, respectively. It’s not that I don’t think they are great coaches. It’s just that they are two or three steps ahead of other teams because of these factors. What I really respect and take notice of are those coaches who aren’t universally known. Those who dig and lead less talented teams to the top. Here are 4 college basketball coaches who’ve recently left a lasting impression on me. There certainly are many impressive collegiate coaches, but these 4 stand out to me. I wish them each well as they continue to teach young players and build teams that give us memorable March moments.

  1. Ron Hunter: Georgia State.

    Some say Coach Hunter gained national acclaim by falling off his sideline stool in the March 2015 tournament. But, like most who’ve risen to prominence, Coach Hunter has been working at coaching for decades. He’s put in the sweat equity. Every March I look forward to his tournament commentary, which is always unfiltered and insightful. There’s nothing like hearing it from someone who does it. And, I like hearing it from Coach Hunter…who by the way…has a son, R.J., currently on the Boston Celtics roster. I know Coach Hunter would rather be on the sidelines than in a broadcast studio or booth, but when he isn’t, I’m glad he’s on the air.

  2. Shaka Smart: University of Texas via Virginia Commonwealth University

I have to admit I was first drawn to Shaka because of his surname, Smart-a Zulu warrior name. How blessed can one man be to have the last name, Smart? It fits. He is smart and was quite young when he led his Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) team to the Final Four in 2011. He’s another sideline runner with demonstrative hands and a loud voice. But, what overshadows all of this is the respect the players seems to have for him regardless of the school he’s at. Shaka has been coaching at the University of Texas (Longhorns) since 2015.

  1. Bob McKillop: Davidson

Must be something about North Carolina men’s basketball coaches and me. Here’s another gem I respect and admire coaching a NC school. I fan crushed on him so much that in 2008 I sent him a handwritten letter after his team’s legendary tournament run. Yes, that was the year the world became aware of Stephen Curry as the Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight. His mannerisms, humbleness and overall coaching style inspired me to write and say, among other things, that if our son ever wanted to play basketball I wanted him to play under the guidance of someone with his character. Impressively, he contacted me. It wasn’t a recruiting contact. Rather, he acknowledged that the behavior, words and antics of coaches do matter, privately and publicly.  Simply, he was glad I saw him in a positive manner and acknowledged it. Class. All class for 25+ years.

  1. Andy Enfield: University of Southern California via Florida Gulf Coast University

I’m a woman with eyes. And in 2013 Coach Enfield initially caught my eye more so for his All-American looks than his coaching style. That year he brought the Florida Gulf Coast team to the tournament, leading them into the Sweet Sixteen. As his team took down powerhouses like Georgetown, he became less about eye candy and more about grit and style. He’s now leading a very talented USC team and teaching his up-tempo offense to a group of players who seem to be adapting well to Coach’s style.

Coach McKillop was right. Coaches and their antics, teaching style and behavior matter both publicly and during practice. To me, it matters most in my tournament team selections.  I have no way of knowing if the public persona these coaches present is real or true. All I know is I’ve watched each of them over time and each consistently produces winning teams and teaches great basketball skills. I’m inspired by not only their wins but also their leadership skills and style.

Share this post with others who’d enjoy a trip down March Madness Memory Lane.

Here’s wishing every team much success in the tournament. And may you prevail in your brackets!

Enjoy 5 Great March Madness Moments.

2010: Gordon Hayward comes oh so close to winning the National Championship from half court for Butler. Duke prevails.

 

2016: “Jenkins for the championship!” Villanova wins 2016 championship on buzzer beating 3.

 

2016: Texas A&M comes from 12 points down with 34 seconds left to shock Northern Iowa.

 

1993: Chris Webber’s infamous travel and timeout call when there was not a timeout left.

 

2015: Georgia State ends game on 13-0 run including a deep 3 with 2.5 seconds left to shock Baylor 57-56. Meanwhile, Coach Hunter falls off his stool.

 

2 Day Trips & Kosher Sex Make a Great Weekend

You won!

Sex or 2 day trips-it doesn’t matter why you opened this story. Your life is enhanced by both. You won already.

Instead of roaming out of the state or region consider a Staycation-a period of time where you stay home and participate and support communities and events within driving distance of your home. Or, at least, take 2 day leisure drives to discover hidden gems surrounding your community.

Here are 2 day trips my husband Ken and I made recently from our Northwest Omaha, Nebraska home. Click on the links for more information to plan your 2 day trips.

Day Trip #1  of  2 Day Trips

Olde Towne Elkhorn, Nebraska 

Located about 14 miles Northwest of Omaha in Western Douglas County, Olde Town Elkhorn provides both vintage charm and a contemporary spirit to visitors.

On a near 70 degree February morning, we walked  at Elkhorn’s Ta-Ha-Zouka Park. This multi-purpose park has trails, a skate park, tennis courts, soccer, baseball and football fields as well as a well-used playground area.

Then we drove a short distance to the  historic square, literally visiting each shop. We enjoyed a cup of coffee and cookie while chatting with Little Scandinavia shop owner, Leona Anderson. Her shop brims with unique and fun Scandinavian items, including Dale of Norway sweaters and uncommon food items.

Fine artist, Jane Kathol, at Main Street Studios and Gallery is an outstanding ambassador for not only the Main Street Studios and Gallery but also Elkhorn. We enjoyed learning about the history of the building that houses the Gallery, the work of the artists within it and about upcoming events, including the “Ladies’ Day Out” event from 10-5 on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Who knew there was so much artistic talent on display in Elkhorn, Nebraska? Do yourself a favor and visit Olde Towne Elkhorn.

We were lucky enough to meet Megan Thomas when stepping into Two Birds Bakery before their noon closing time. They are only open to the public on Saturdays. Stop in and get a fresh cup of coffee and a homemade treat.

Other Places We Visited in Olde Towne Elkhorn, NE

Garden Gallery

Andrea’s Designs

Kimba’s Touch Pottery

Fala’s Treasures & Coffee House

Other businesses we saw included:

Bellissimo Salon & Spa

This & That & Other Stuff

Whistle Stop Country Store -opening again March 4, 2017

Restaurants in Olde Towne Elkhorn, NE

We tried Boyd and Charlies BBQ and sat in a window seat overlooking the meat smoking outdoors. We look forward to going back to try the others, including:

Bella Vita an Italian Bistro

Shevy’s Sports & Steaks

Maximo’s Cantina

Fala’s Treasures and Coffeehouse

Kosher Sex

We found Rabbi Shmuley’s Kosher Sex movie on Amazon Prime Video purely by accident that Saturday evening.  I’ve always admired and appreciated Rabbi Shmuley’s Jewish wisdom, though I’m Catholic. I’ve been a fan of his relationship common sense and bluntness since seeing him decades ago on an Oprah show. This movie ends with his discussing SANER sex-Sensuality, Attraction, Nakedness, Eroticism and Romance. It’s worth watching regardless of your religious beliefs or marital status. We’ve been married nearly 25 years and each felt we gained something and that it was time well spent. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can see Rabbi Shmuley here:

Day Trip #2: Southwest Iowa

Plan ahead for Sunday drives. Some businesses may be closed.

We took out the Atlas and literally chose 3 towns at random to visit. Glenwood, Malvern and Mineola, Iowa.

I visited Chamber of Commerce websites for each location and had a list of restaurants and recreation areas that seemed interesting. What surprised me most was the number of boutiques and galleries in these small communities.

Glenwood, Iowa

Over 5000 people live in this Loess Hills town that we easily accessed off I-29.

Tom & Tiff’s Family Restaurant in Glenwood, Iowa has been in business over 20 years and, according to online reviews, is known for their onion rings and broasted chicken. We had both, and agree! Every seat in this place (One street off the main highway through town) was occupied the entire time we were there. The pies also looked wonderful, but we had no room left. The service was efficient and polite, reminiscent of small towns where owners appreciate and value one’s business and hard earned dollar.

On our next visit we hope to visit Mitzi Mo’s Boutique, Second Helpings Boutique and the Vine Street Cellars.

The 45 acre Glenwood Lake Park is a sunny day treat. In addition to the beautiful waterfront grounds it has a 750-seat amphitheater and a museum. Stop in. Walk. Swing. Get some fresh air.

Malvern, Iowa

This town of 1100+ people is 38 miles southeast of Omaha, Nebraska and is on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail.

We were drawn to the art and cultural feel of the community. Stained glass windows in churches and a mural on the side of a car wash intrigued us. We proceeded down an alley and found painted bicycles doubling as planters and found a jewel in Marge Boska. Marge is the Proprietor of Fine Arts on 5th Gallery and Studio. She was preparing for an art class but took time to share the history and restoration story of her building. She invited us to look at the art displayed by numerous talented artists, including one from Russia.

We peeked in the window of Classic Cafe & Catering, knowing we will return. We’ve heard they make great Bloody Mary’s. We were invited into Moreau’s Backerei & Pizzeria by Fred who was preparing for a private party (They’re closed on Sunday.) The German pizza smelled absolutely fantastic! Eventually we will get a slice.

We also window peeked into Rural Roots Boutique. Great window display!

Mineola, Iowa

Mineola is an unincorporated village in Mills County, Iowa with a population of under 200. We took a quick drive around the area and noted the large number of vehicles in front of Tobey Jacks‘ Mineola Steak House-another return destination.

We saw multiple bicyclists and joined them on the Wabash Trail. The scenery on bicycle or foot is amazing and can only improve when green.

 

On our drive back we drove through the campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf before hopping back on I-29 North to our West Omaha home.

No matter where you live there is much to see and do in your surrounding area. Plan a Staycation. Plan a 2-day Saturday and/or Sunday drive. Support small businesses and local artists.

Share your journey with me so I can share it with others, and visit too.

Need help promoting your art, small business, town or community? Contact me. I write website and promotional copy and take photographs to support it. Let’s work together!

 

12 Practical Ways to Graduate Debt Free in 3.5 Years

University of South Dakota Student Shares His Journey

Alex Thomason graduated December 10, 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance degree with a minor in Entrepreneurial Studies from the Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota (SD) in  Vermillion. He graduated in 3.5 years and debt free.

The most frequent questions asked were HOW did you accomplish this without unlimited scholarships, loans or parental financial support when 44 million American borrowers owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt? How did you avoid an average monthly student loan payment of $350 after turning your tassel and collecting your diploma?

Click Here for State-by-State Information on Student Debt.

Smart Planning, Hard Work, Sacrifice & Creative Thinking

Alex is an only child. In some families this is the single most important variable to achieving a debt free college experience. Not ours. We voluntarily relocated from South Carolina to South Dakota at the start of the second semester of  8th grade. (Not the best planning to leave 82 degrees in January and arrive in sub-zero temperatures.). There were many roadblocks and challenges along the way. However, that relocation and the practice of Open Enrollment in the Sioux Falls, SD School District paved the way for most of Alex’s academic success and debt free graduation.

  • Get Career-Ready in High School

Middle school career tests revealed Alex has an aptitude for finance and business. He was encouraged to explore the Academy of Finance (AOF) within Washington High School (WHS). If you want to be a programmer, banker, baker, engineer or nurse, consider enrolling at a NAF-Be Future Ready affiliated high school. Most Academies offer college credits and paid internships. Some of his classes were taught by USD business professors. Others were led by high school teachers with real world accounting and business experience. Professor taught classes earned college credits. Credit hours were charged at a much lower rate than if he’d have taken those courses enrolled as a college student. Alex entered college with 7 credits-a half semester worth of credits before stepping foot on campus.

Passing Advanced Placement (AP) course tests earns college credit. Many high school students take advantage of AP classes to earn college credit before going to college. Because there was little leeway in the AOF core requirements, Alex only completed three AP courses. Explore AP courses while in high school. Early on, ask your guidance counselor about AP courses and which ones to take for your expected college major.

  • Start 529 College Savings Program

Teach savings and big picture thinking at a young age. [Consult with a tax or financial advisor for more information on 529 Plans.] Replace some toy and other material gifts with contributions to the Plan. And, when age appropriate, talk to your child about the Plan so they take ownership and are invested in the education savings plan.

Like most young boys, Alex enjoyed gaming systems. However, he was strongly encouraged to limit purchases and contribute half of all cash gifts to his 529 plan. It was a disciplined trade-off and difficult sacrifice. The rewards of this discipline are now fully understood as a young adult with degree in hand.

  • Work and Save While in High School

Yes, some families need the income from the jobs their children have while in high school to offset household expenses. If yours doesn’t, your child working while in high school is invaluable for future employment. Of course, the money earned and saved is excellent but so are the skills learned.

As one who’s hired and trained interns and new college graduates, I always gave greater weight to applicants with high school and college work experience. Having the discipline to show up to work, contribute fully on the job and manage a school and extra-curricular workload were signs of future success. Discipline, time management and dependability are timeless, valued skills learned while working as a young adult.

  •  Non-Traditional Contests

Unless you are cash rich and super smart, you’ll most likely have to find funds for college. Think about your strengths and your career path. Alex happened to like business and entrepreneurship. So, he did online research to find business plan and essay contests to enter. He found three business plan competitions in South Dakota:  The Big Idea, Bankers Association and The Governor’s Giant Vision Student Competition. Alex placed in all, earning $5500 in cash awards. He also won second place and $5000 in the South Dakota State Securities Division Essay Contest.

Keep in mind that these contests are student-driven. It is up to the student to take the initiative to come up with a business idea, enter the contests and meet the requirements. If you rely on the school or a teacher to lead you, you will be disappointed.

Whatever your interests, do the research to find contests with award money to offset college costs. The truth is few enter. It takes a lot of extra work. Those who enter are rewarded not only with prize money but invaluable experiences and professional connections.

  • Scholarships

Everyone knows scholarships are available for college expenses. In fact, go to any bookstore and you can find volumes of books with lists of available scholarships. Don’t forgot to look locally. Alex applied for a number of scholarships through the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. He was awarded several. The challenge he found was that our family income was too high and his GPA, while good, was not exceptional. He was caught somewhere in the middle. This makes the hunt more challenging, but not impossible. We did attend several poorly attended parent meetings at his high school on college financing. The information was good but, once again, scholarships seemed more readily available to those with lower incomes and those with superior academic grades.

  • Get a Great College Advisor

The value of a knowledgeable college advisor cannot be stressed enough. There are certain classes that must be taken and passed to earn a degree. Sometimes these classes are only offered certain semesters. Missing a class can postpone one’s graduation by a semester. Therefore, being assigned a great college advisor and taking ownership of one’s own path through college are essential to graduating on time.

  • Choose Right College

Alex was fairly certain he wanted a career in insurance and/or finance upon graduation. There are certain colleges that specialize in risk management and insurance. The summer before his senior year we visited three: Florida State University, the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Each offers an outstanding curriculum. After touring each school and meeting with professors and department leaders, Alex chose to continue with the professors and the coursework he had started at USD while a WHS student.

On his own, he calculated the expense associated with out-of-state tuition and forecasted projected income post graduation. The fact that the Beacom School of Business has an accreditation from AACSB and regularly appears on the US News & World Reports Best Colleges Rankings List played a part in his choosing USD.

  • Work During College

Alex was so focused on graduating college without debt that he worked during college. He got up early and served breakfast to hotel guests and for the last two years worked on the campus grounds crew. He did everything from trimming grass to shoveling snow to planting trees. This was manual labor totally unrelated to his career choice. However, he took great pride in the appearance of the university and the safety of students and staff, even returning to campus while on winter break to shovel sidewalks and de-ice steps. Graduating debt free was the goal and he took pride in whatever job he did to achieve this goal.

  • Share the Rent & Buy Used Books

I have to admit that the roommate issue concerned us. We wondered how he’d adapt to sharing space with another student since he’s an only child. It didn’t matter. He easily adapted and had a roommate every semester. He lived on campus the first two years and off the next year and a half. Alex also researched the most affordable sources for classroom books and sold them back when the class was completed.

  • Take Online Summer Classes

Alex secured two summer insurance brokerage firm internships. In addition to working 8-5, he took online courses for two summers. Once again, this takes discipline and focus. Instead of going to the beach or attending parties, he was working and studying. He did have fun, but  kept his eye on the prize-graduating in 3.5 years debt free.

  •  Drive a Used Car, Drink Water + Choose Friends Wisely

Social costs of college can add up. Beer drinking and partying are expensive. Alex visited fraternities, but chose not to join. He decided there would be little time between studying and working to participate in the many charitable and social events offered. It’s worth noting that friends greatly affect student success. Alex has always chosen friends who share his values. It’s both a skill and a gift.

Alex is driving a 3rd generation car. It doesn’t have anything fancy on it, but it does get regular oil and tire changes. The moral of the story-keep costs down and only buy what’s necessary.

These are the 12 ways one student achieved his goal of graduating in 3.5 years debt free with a B+ average. 

What other ways can you add? List them below in the comment section.

Share with families in the midst of college financial planning. They will thank you!

 

©Copyright. December 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Businesses Make 2016 Naughty and Nice List

Annual List Revealed

As a reader and follower you know each December I release a list of business professionals or organizations that have been great, or not so great, to work with throughout the year. Thankfully in 2016 my family didn’t relocate, buy and furnish a house, or experience any major medical issues like we did in 2015. According to Ken, my husband, 2016 was boring. Adding, “boring is good.”

What we did do in 2016 was shore up our financial life. Moving to another state meant we needed to get our wills and estate in order with Nebraska rules. A local, experienced attorney guided us.  Our annual financial checkup was done via video conference, saving us time and travel.  We also replaced a vehicle in 2016.

Despite my widened and improved technology skills, I again relied on experts in 2016 to make my professional life easier. Instead of time-consuming problem-solving, I called experts. Boom! Fixed! Back to work! As a small business owner, I’m cautious about spending funds. However, when an expert can solve the problem in minutes, that’s money well spent.

Ken and I hosted two special occasion catered events in 2016. As strong supporters of small business, we hired two local companies to feed our guests. We’d use each again, without question. We recommend both to you.

Now that we are settled into our new hometown, we sought out local entertainment. We found it at the Omaha Community Playhouse. The productions and talent are outstanding. Go see a play or two. You will be entertained.

Finally, someone found me this year. My enjoyment of nature and photography was rewarded by partnering with San Francisco, California based company Vida. Together we use my photography to produce fashion art. A store link is found under “Linda’s Store” and “Meet Linda” on this website. I am deeply touched and thankful for each of you who purchased a piece of my art to wear or accent your home. One can never go wrong supporting artists, or a small business.

Making the 2016 Nice List

  1. Ashly Voss Beauty First Salon & Store– Omaha Nebraska http://beautyfirstnebraska.com/. This young professional, working in a local business, made my list two years in a row. She is not only a talented stylist but also an emerging business professional. She represents all that a professional should be-customer oriented, skilled in her trade, dedicated, and curious about her industry. Looking for a new style? Visit Ashly. Tell her Ken and I sent you. You will not be disappointed with her talent or her customer service skills.  Congratulations Ashly! You are the first to land on my annual nice list twice.
  2. Clipper Vacations headquartered in Seattle, Washington. http://www.clippervacations.com/. Our family chose the Pacific Northwest for a vacation in 2016. Though we consider ourselves fairly expert in travel planning, we relied on Clipper Vacations. What a time and money saver. There is a reason travel agencies are necessary. Professional agents make travel smoother and less worrisome. If you’re heading to that region, contact them. You can see trip planning details under the “Travel” tab on this website. We also visited Victoria and Vancouver, Canada.
  3. Randy FinchVern Eide Honda–Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Vehicle shopping has always been at the top of my least favorite things to do. However, Randy is changing that. Several years ago we bought a vehicle from him. We did again this year. Only this time the purchase was made over the telephone. Then he drove it to Omaha for us.  Want a hassle-free car buying experience from a no-nonsense salesperson? Contact Randy.
  4. Mangia Italiana--Omaha, Nebraska They advertise in our church bulletin. We support businesses that do that. We have dined in and liked their food and service so well that we had them deliver food for one of our special occasion events this year. A drive by this restaurant will entice you inside. The smell of garlic and baked Italian dishes is ever so delicious. Try Mangia. Go hungry! Leave happier!
  5. Omaha Community Playhouse–Omaha, Nebraska What a great find! Here’s another example of supporting local. The nation’s largest community theatre produces plays and musicals to entertain all. There’s not a bad seat in the house and the talent is top-notch. Do yourself a favor. Get tickets in 2017! We will. Watch for my blog posts reviewing select productions and occasional ticket giveaways.
  6. Kyle Bottorff–Bottorff Tax & Accounting–Vermillion, South Dakota. Have you ever tried finding student housing for 5 months in a university town? It’s near impossible. Kyle stepped forward and rented our son, Alex, a room in his home. As his parents, we are grateful for this gesture. As small business supporters, we encourage anyone needing accounting services to contact Kyle.
  7. Richard A. Drews, Attorney at Law–Omaha, Nebraska Lawyers get a bad rap. Richard (Rick) shouldn’t. We found his ad in our St. James Church bulletin and sought his advice on updating our wills, etc. It was an efficient, painless process. Some put this off because of cost and/or because they don’t want to think of death. Planning ahead and getting one’s affairs in order are gifts for those one leaves behind. Rick is professional, knowledgeable and just a darn good guy. Contact him for a consultation. Be ready to talk baseball. He’s a fan!
  8. Darwyn Sprik–Sprik Financial Group–Sioux Falls, South Dakota You don’t need a treasure trove of cash to work with a financial expert. If you’re interested in making your money work for you, contact Darwyn. He’s Midwestern practical and works with clients in numerous states. Most importantly, he listens. We’re sure thankful we partnered with him years ago.
  9. Jeremy Johnson–TechToGo–Omaha, Nebraska Area I purchased a new computer and dreaded transferring everything from one to the other. To save time and not lose anything, I hired Jeremy. While in my office, he also schooled me on technology shortcuts to  make my workday more productive. When I’ve run into technology roadblocks that take too long for me to solve, I contact him. He fixes them remote. Time is money. My money is always well spent with Jeremy.
  10. Vida--San Francisco, California My photography is featured on clothing, tote bags, accent pillows and more. Remember, you are buying a piece of art and supporting a small business when you purchase from my collection. I love sharing my work with you. Find it on this website under “Linda’s Store” and “Meet Linda”. Or, www.shopvida.com/collections/linda-leier-thomason
  11. Pleasure Your Palate Catering–Omaha, Nebraska Ted and his team provide outstanding event and menu planning, great tasting food and polished customer service. We hired them for an April brunch. Today, guests are still raving about their food quality and service. Call Ted when you need to cater an event that will have guests raving months later.
  12. Phone Surgeons https://phonesurgeons.com/locations/omaha/ Sadly, within days of purchasing a phone after the new year, I drowned it. A TV ad introduced me to Phone Surgeons. 12 months later I’m still using my revived phone, saving me hundreds of dollars. I cannot say enough good about Phone Surgeons. I’m hoping not to use them in 2017. I plan to be more cautious. You should, if your phone needs repair.

Naughty List

My family and I reviewed the year in detail. Other than a horrible experience at one Omaha Taco Bell drive-thru, we cannot identify any others in 2016. [It is my practice to inform any business on the naughty list. I did speak to the store manager after the incident.] Taco Bell is not a bad company. This store had one employee who wasn’t meant to work there.

Our home sustained significant hail damage while we were on vacation in the Pacific Northwest. Each home repair supplier and vendor was outstanding to work with, as was our insurance company.

Perhaps we’ve gotten better at choosing businesses to work with. It could be businesses are doing a better job of delivering great products and services. Maybe we’ve chilled out and expect less. I don’t think so. Whatever the reason, we are grateful for each of these favorable interactions in 2016. And, we look forward to continuing our partnership with each person and business. Afterall,  at the most basic level, business is about establishing trusting, long-term relationships.

Which business professional or organization made your 2016 better?

Tell them! Write them a testimonial. Send them a note. Deliver them a tray of homemade treats. Get to know the people in the business. It makes doing business all that more meaningful.

Share this with others as a testimonial of outstanding businesses and business professionals.

©Copyright. December 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

 

Quotes That Stuck for a Lifetime

Origin of “Were You Raised in a Barn?” Quote

I rushed through the laundry room to close the garage door. One of the men in our house habitually leaves the door open while unloading vehicles. The heater or air conditioner senses the rapid air change and comes on. This makes me crazy. Aloud I said, “Were you born in a barn?” The question startled me. I hadn’t said that in decades. That quote was dormant in my brain. Funny how it just popped right out my mouth at that time.

I often heard it growing up in a North Dakota family of 11.  Leaving the door open in North Dakota is a big deal.  Sub-zero temperatures chill the house instantly; sometime snowflakes blow into the foyer. Asking “Were you born in a barn?” makes a point, especially during winter months.

I began to wonder. What other sayings or quotes did I hear as a child that I’m  using today? I asked  Midwestern followers. The findings are below. I thank the many who shared.  I understood most quotes and also remembered hearing them as a kid.  Each brought a smile as I recalled memories associated with the quote.

Hope they do the same for you. Here’s what a follower called the quotes:

“Stupid Things My Parents Said That I Now Say”.

Child Rearing &  Development

    • rooster“A rooster is going to come poop on that lip!” Parents said when I was pouting.
    • “Don’t make me come back there.” When kids fighting in car.
    • “Right is Tight; Left is Loose”-when opening or closing something-mostly jars.
    • “People die in bed!” Said  if I was sleeping or napping too long.
    • Grandpa would grab me by the back of my neck and hair and say “Do you know how a rooster looks when he looks over a log?”
    • “If you had a brain, you’d be dangerous.”
    • “Hit the hay.” -Meant get to bed.
    • “Get the lead out!”-Meant hurry up.
    • “Cool Your jets.” -Meant slow down and be patient.
    • “You’d lose your ass if it wasn’t tied on.” I lost everything, always, but not that.
    • “Go ask your father.”
    • “Have you asked your mother?”
    • “Don’t let the sun shine up your keester”…as in get up and out of bed.
    • “Slow as molasses in January”-when not moving fast enough
    • “Don’t make me stop that car.”-Usually when we were fighting in the backseat.

Moms as a Teacher Quotes

    • Mom would say “Weight broke the wagon down.” She would use this when we would say, Wait, we aren’t ready to do X yet. I don’t know if that was a school teacher thing with the play on the spelling of Wait/Weight, or not?
    • “It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.” –meant-look on the bright side it could be worse, I guess.
    • Mom would say, “to make it stretch” when adding macaroni to a hot dish to make the pound of meat go farther
    • “There is no sea to it, it’s all dry land.” Mom would say this to us when we would say, See. Again, it may have been a school teacher thing playing on the spelling of see/sea.
    • Mom used to say “You are a poet but don’t know it, but your feet show it – they are long fellows.” She would say this when we rhymed words.
    • “Back to back, they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.” It makes no sense and I can’t think of when she would say that to us.

angelFaithful Quotes

    • “This too shall pass.”
    • “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.”
    • “It’s a sin!”
    • “Sweet Jesus Come to Mama!”
    • “May his soul rest in peace.”- every time we passed a hearse or cemetery.

Random Quotes

    • “Help yourself. If you go away hungry, it’s your own dang fault!”
    • “The almond is the king of nuts. ‘Almonds have it all! Therefore, they’re the king of nuts.”
    • “Were you born in a barn?”
    • “We look like a bunch of gypsies.” When taking the whole family out for a family drive
    • “Cracked a korny”- when telling a joke
    • “It was quite the shindig,” referencing a great celebration or party.
    • I remember Mom always yelling upstairs asking “What do we do with the hallway light?”  My usual response was “Leave it on so mom has something to complain about.” I think she meant, “turn it off.”
    •  “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

11Preparing You for the Workplace Quotes

  • “Problem…solution.”
  • “A function of getting the right answer is asking the right question.”
  • “Haste makes waste.”
  • “Practice makes perfect.”
  • “Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.” Get out there and get to work.
  • “Wait 3 days before acting on major life decision.”
  • “Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail.”
  • “Keep your nose to the grindstone.”
  • “Simmer down”-meant settle down
  • “Calm, always be calm.”
  • “Practice 10 times before giving a presentation or speech.”
  • “Get on the stick!” -Meant hurry up.
  • “Do you think I’m made of money?”-when I asked for school trip money
  • “Finish up and call it good.”-when I obsessed about project perfection

Relationship Quotes

  • “You made your bed, you lie in it!”
  • “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”
  • “Take care of each other”
  • “Think enough of yourself and others will think enough of you”
  • “Thanks for the visit.”  “Tenks for da wizit.” I still say it to this day after an especially pleasing chat. Then I tell them about my German-Russian grandpa. I just said it to my boss last week.
  • “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

000Fashion Quotes

  • “Like something out of VOGUE”-when someone looked beautiful or “like Aster’s plush horse” or the “cat’s meow.”
  • Boys get hair cut they were “going to get their ears lowered.”
  • “It fits like a glove” When trying on something for size.
  • “They’d even look good in a gunnysack”…when someone would look good in anything.

Bathroom Quotes

  • “Don’t eat too many prunes or you will get the trots.”-meaning diarrhea.
  • “Clean as a whistle” or “smell like a rose” when you got a bath
  • “A site for sore eyes”-when bathed
  • What did you think of supper? Ehhh, “It’ll make a turd.”
  • “Cut the cheese” when passing gas or “pull my finger” and the person would fart

All-Time Favorite Quote Learned While Living in the Deep South

give-me-some-good-loving“Give Me Some Good Lovin'”

To this day, my son dips his head and lets me kiss it.

Yup. I’m hoping this quote is the one that sticks and gets passed on.

 

 

What quotes or sayings do you remember from childhood? Add them below! Such great language memories.

 

©Copyright. December 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

20 Lessons a Kid Taught Me

What Our Children Teach Us

20161127_111708-copyAlex celebrated his 22nd birthday on November 27th. He’s preparing to graduate from college on December 10, 2016.  It’s been a reflective and joyous time for our family.

The lessons  I shared when the following article was first published in 2001 remain relevant today. I’m a lifelong learner. It is phenomenal to be taught by my kid. It’s even better to look back and recall memories while learning from him.

Enjoy this post, perhaps recalling lessons learned while raising your kids.


In my 40 years of life, my six-year old son Alex has been my greatest teacher about life and on how to break old patterns, behaviors and habits. He’s taught me to have fun. I’ve laughed more. Life with him is less serious. I try to live in the moment. I want to capture the sensation of experiences, big and small with my kid.

20 Lessons My Kid Taught Me

Alex taught me it is more than okay, it is awakening to:
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  1. Run wildly in the rain pretending to score a touchdown on the wet lawn.

alex-in-red-paint

2.  Finger paint with polka music in the background.

3. Make up silly rhyming stories and giggle endlessly at one’s own creativity.

4. Build blanket forts and eat lunch underneath them.

5. Wrestle on the bed using self-titled moves, like the mashed potato masher and the rutabaga rumble.

6. Dance to The Beatles in the family room on a Friday night.

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7. Eat ice cream for breakfast and eggs for dinner.

8. Be completely open and honest and tell it like it’s felt.

alex-reading-2

 

 

 

 

9. Read books on the front porch with a flashlight.

10. Lie on the golf course in the dark and star gaze.

alex-at-beach-2

11. Build large cities, surrounded by volcanoes, instead of sand castles at the beach.

12. Ask why?

13. Say, “I’m really MAD at you!”

14. Thank God during nighttime prayers for the chocolate shake at bedtime.

15. Belly laugh at the priest’s jokes in church.

16. Wear clothes that don’t always match.

17. Lie on the floor, build corrals and play farm. Let the cows share a pen with the pigs and the chickens share with the horses.

18. Make up new rules for family board games.

19. Walk to the pond and feed the turtles and ducks hot dog buns.

alex-christmas-cookie-with-mom

 

 

 

 

20. Tell your parents, “I love you!” once a day.

Make a list of lessons you’re learning from your kids. If they’re still young, put the list away. Pull it out at one of life’s significant milestones, like graduation or a wedding. Did the lessons stick? Do your kids still follow their own teachings? It’s a great reminder of the joy of parenting. It also captures language and events that might have been forgotten.

Share this with others learning from their kids.

Copyright. November 2016.  Linda Leier Thomason.

All Rights Reserved

Version published Momscape.com 2001

 

Shop Small Business Fashion Art

My Photography is Now Available as Fashion Art

A few months back I was contacted by a San Francisco, California based company, Vida. They asked to use my photography for a number of custom-made fashion items and accessories. By agreeing to this, I can now offer  followers, friends and family my photography on custom-made items. Today, accent pillows, tops, scarves, pocket squares, wraps, and totes are available for purchase at “Linda’s Store” on this website.

Vida often gives me discount codes and coupons to pass on to you. Watch for these on my Facebook page and on the “Linda’s Store” tab on this website. Note each one has an expiration date and time. Items are hand-made. Read the description to see expected delivery date. Sizes are also described on each item.

Shop Small Business

Remember, with a purchase you are not only supporting my small business but buying a custom-made piece of art. Know how deeply I appreciate your support of both-my photography and my small business.

Share a Photo of You

When you purchase, share a photo of you wearing your fashion or showing your tote or pillow. I’d love to see it and share it with others.

Here is a sample of photographs customers have shared to date. Let me add yours!

Remember, if you see a photo that you’d like made into a top, scarf, tote bag, square or oblong pillow, wrap, or pocket square, contact me. I have complete design control over the photographic images.

Enjoy “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison while shopping and looking at the photographs customers have shared.

 

Donna looking great in her cashmere Mt. Rainier modal scarf
Donna looking great in her Cashmere Mt. Rainier Modal Scarf
Diane's Beatrice Flowers Tote is perfect for a day of errands.
Diane’s Beatrice Flowers Tote is perfect for a day of errands.
Peach Rose Cashmere Modal looks stunning on Brenda.
Peach Rose Cashmere Modal Scarf looks stunning on Brenda.
kathy-collection
Kathy wearing her North Dakota Sky Modern Tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonnie modeling her Coffee Cashmere Modal Scarf.
Bonnie modeling her Coffee Cashmere Modal Scarf

©Copyright November 2016 Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

Are You Raising A Brat? 10 Ways to Avoid It

A mom of two elementary school aged children reached out to me recently seeking guidance on raising good children. Her note ended by asking, “What is the secret to not raising a brat?” That’s a term I hadn’t heard in a while. I thought she must be doing a lot of things right already. She’s concerned about coaching her children to be good citizens. Few parents would have the courage to even consider asking this question.

parents-weekend-usd-2015-10-24-15-029She is right though. Our son, soon to graduate from the University of South Dakota’s (USD) Beacom School of Business, has never been a brat. He’s also an only child. Some would use that status alone to label him “a brat.” It doesn’t fit him. Never has.

I thought about this mom’s question for several days. I wondered if I was qualified to give parenting advice. I am a parent. I am also a child. I observe other parents and their interactions with their children. I listen to teachers and support staff describe child behavior in schools. I’ve read extensively about parenting. I decided I’m qualified to share how my husband, Ken, and I raised a son who has never been labelled a “brat.” Maybe our approach to parenting will guide her, and others, in raising their own good children.

Top 10 Ways to Avoid Raising a Brat

Parenting is not easy. We were hardly perfect. We understood our individual “being raised” experiences influenced our parenting Alex. We were in our 30s when he was born. Both our mothers stayed at home with their children. I was raised in a family of 11. Ken’s family had 4. Alex was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. All of this made us who we are as parents. Sorting through our 21 years, I consider these to be the  10 Ways Not to Raise a Brat:

  1. Choose the right partner. Parents who share similar parenting values and who support one another in terms of setting boundaries and household rules will more likely have better behaved children. The kids will know both parents will give the same answer and likely discipline in similar ways. There’s no pitting one parent against another.
  2. Thoughtfully consider when to become a parent. Life isn’t always planned. But, when one feels ready for the responsibility of parenthood alex-toddler-2-copyand welcomes the role, one will more likely cherish being a parent rather than resent it. You can’t take parenting back. It’s a lifetime commitment. Children need to be nurtured, not dropped into life to survive alone. Make the time for your children. Show them they matter and that you feel blessed to have them in your life. If you aren’t ready to do this, or simply can’t, consider whether you are ready to become a parent.
  3. Say “No” and mean it. It is always easier to give in than it is to say “no.” Parents need to stand by convictions. Kids are smart. They push limits. If you back down, your word is no longer good. You’ve shown you’re easily manipulated. Set limits and stick to them.
  4. Plan a Family Centered not Child Centered Life. It was, and is, our belief that a child should fit into one’s life not become the center of all’s life. As a simple example, I refused to remove breakable household objects when Alex was born. Instead, I taught him to respect these items and that there were consequences for not following through with that lesson. Of course, we latched cabinet doors with dangerous items. But removing breakables. Absolutely not.
  5. Place Higher Priority on Morals and Values Over Material Goods. My background taught me many lessons on being frugal and setting priorities. I role modeled these while raising Alex. For example, part of me wanted a designer nursery and designer clothing for him. The practical side of me, however, understood how little those items would be used in Alex’s lifetime. Instead, we started a 529 College Savings program and bought consignment furniture and clothing. We made trade-offs like this continually, placing greater emphasis on experiences than material goods and savings over spending. I helped him, when he was  a middle school student, create flyers to hand out to neighbors advertising his lawn mowing skills. He also paid us for the gas to support his early business. Of course, we could afford to pay for it. But where else do you learn that there are costs of doing business?
  6. Expect Good Behavior. Set the bar high. Despite what one sees in restaurants, church and other public places, it is not cute when a child acts out or is disrespectful. I wonder about a child’s future when I see parents allowing children to throw food in restaurants and then smile at adults who look at them wondering how they are allowing this to happen. It speaks volumes about the parents and their ability to guide their children to adulthood. How one’s children behave reflects parental values and maturity. We worked hard to make sure Alex behaved in public places so all there could enjoy the experience.
  7. Respect All, Always. Listen. Compromise. Ken and I continually stress the importance of ‘listening’ as a skill. We work hard to model that to Alex, even to this day. Following close behind that is compromise.
    Practicing listening skills
    Practicing listening skills

    Even as an only child, he was taught that he didn’t always get his way. Life doesn’t center around one person. It’s a give and take. Admittedly, this was sometimes challenging to teach because of his status. My thinking, as the only woman in our family of three, was that I was raising someone who may one day become a husband and father. These life lessons/skills are critical in those esteemed roles. Respect is another trait we value. Ken is especially good at role modeling equal respect for service workers and corporate executives. Referring to adults as Mr. and Miss, though some call this antiquated Southern etiquette, is applauded in our household. It’s an outward sign of respect. We value it.

  8. Work for What You Want. Ken and I differed on this concept often. Sticking to our parental core values on this topic was by far the hardest in raising Alex. I had to work for everything I’ve owned, even my education. We were in a position to offer Alex financial assistance with more than I received. He was very aware most of his peer group was given vehicles, allowances, vacations, spring break trips, etc. without working. At age 14 we required he get a part-time job. It taught time management, money management, work habits and how to get along with others in the workplace. I also knew it could teach him about how organizations were managed and places he’d like to work, or not work. I have no regrets about requiring he get a job. He’s had a job ever since. He’s also graduating debt free, which is to be celebrated.
  9. Appreciate What You Have and Receive. If you work for what you have, you appreciate it more. You have a better understanding of what it takes to get it and value it more too. Unfortunately, parts of South Carolina are quite poverty-stricken. Alex has seen those areas as well as been in third world countries. Our goal was to expose him to sites like this to develop an appreciation for what he has. Instilling the concept of appreciation and thanks has been drilled into him. He left home knowing a note of appreciation or thanks was expected when a gift or act of kindness was received. Not doing so would immediately stop future acts. It’s just that important in our house.
  10. Raise a Graceful Loser and a Humble Winner. I can still recall the feeling
    Graceful loser at state high school tournament
    Graceful loser at state high school tournament

    and sights of Alex’s first soccer match at age four. He scored every goal. The team won. No, he didn’t take his jersey off and wave it above his head as he circled the grassy field. Instead, after each goal, he mildly accepted congratulations from teammates and got back to the business of playing the game. I was breathless. That level of maturity and composure as a competitor escaped me. I played to win and to celebrate the win. That day I learned from him. I learned the value of how to become a humble winner and a graceful loser.

The Child Spoke

I suspect this young mother who asked me “What is the secret to not raising a brat?” would get different responses from anyone she asked the same question to. I was curious about how Alex would answer. I sent off a text. His reply, “Let consequences happen instead of intervening.” Enough said.

How would you answer the question? Comment below.

 

©Copyright. October 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

“Murder Ballad” Kills It-A Review

dsc_3926The musical, Murder Ballad, running through November 20, 2016 in the  Howard Drew Theatre at the  Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) tells a tale of an affair gone bad. Unlike most love triangle stories, the adulterer here is a young mother and wife named Sara. Played by award-winning actress Leanne Hill Carlson, Sara escapes the doldrums of everyday married life and reconnects with former boyfriend Tom, played by Thomas Gjere. Their acrobatic use of bar counters and pool tables lends a creative steaminess to the love affair. Sara’s devoted husband, Michael, played by John E. Jones, loves her, despite her flaws and her obvious distaste of the drudgery of life- “Who will I be from 9-3?”

The story is narrated by the incredibly talented and humorous Mackenzie Dehmer who captivates the audience with her voice as well as her movements throughout the bar. The four-piece orchestra, seen on set, accentuates the drama but sometimes overpowers the voices.

A special highlight of this production is the functioning bar. An hour before start, guests are welcome to go on stage to order a drink, sit on a bar stool, play pool at the table, drop a quarter in the pinball machine or sit back and watch TV above the bar. Guests may even sit on the 12 bar seats at no additional cost during the performance.

Guest Reaction

Lyn and Natalie before showtime.
Lyn and Natalie before showtime.

Lyn Leach did. The stage is comfortable to him as an avid theater patron and actor. He’s starred in 8 productions and is the past president of the Lincoln Community Playhouse. He and his wife, Natalie, are OCP season subscribers who see about 50 shows a year, including recently seeing “Hamilton” in New York City.

Lyn admits, before attending the play, he knew nothing more about it than it was a musical, set in a bar and involved a murder. He enjoyed the wonderful voices most. “The purity of the harmonies and the notes they hit were impressive.”

“It was a fantastic show.  I loved the character development. I believed and understood each of them. And, I really liked the way the narrator worked the room and some of the comical places she ended up, which added life to her.”

Murder Ballad does contain situations of infidelity, adult language and mild violence. Lyn believes it’s especially appealing for a young, progressive audience. “I really love that OCP is making every effort to broaden its patron base by including more edgy and progressive plays. Their interesting and entertaining productions are at a level of quality far above the typical community theatre.”

Lyn sums up Murder Ballad this way. “It’s a musical that will take you on a journey of deception, sensuality, love, heartbreak, and above all, passion. It is one of the best overall productions in years at the Omaha Community Playhouse. As an audience member, you will feel like you are directly involved in the story. The music is phenomenal, the voices supreme, and the acting is outstanding. Get a ticket and experience the exhilarating journey yourself.”

Get a Ticket

Do this by calling the OCP Box Office at (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com or www.TicketOmaha.com. Single tickets are $42 for adults and $25 for students. Tickets for groups of 12 or more are $30 for adults and $20 for students.

A limited number of Twilight Tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office. Cash or check only. These are subject to availability.

Sponsored by:  Le Voltaire Restaurant/Le Petit Paris, The Berry & Rye, David and Anne Rismiller, Whitmore Charitable Trust and CW15 (media sponsor)

Location:  Howard Drew Theatre | Omaha Community Playhouse 6915 Cass Street | Omaha, NE 68132

 

©Copyright. October 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.