Tag Archives: Omaha

Food: Digesting a Garden Smorgasbord


Visiting a northern botanical garden in February with two toddlers in tow hints at limitation — in time, attention, flora variety and color.   Thus, my expectations were set just slightly higher than pavement level when our snuggly packed chevy sedan pulled into the nearly empty parking lot of  Omaha’s 100 acre Lauritzen Gardens located in the heart of the city’s riverfront hills.

My sister and brother-in-law, who frequent the gardens, had pre-chosen two kid-friendly destinations:  the lushly tropical, invitingly warm Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory and the windy bluffs, home to two of world’s largest retired locomotives.

The contrast was striking.


Organic vs Machine.   Life vs Death.


But both evoked awe.

big boyBoth had a story.  An appeal.   A part to play in the modern psyche:  the pull of the exotic, Nature’s enchantment,  power’s thrill, the rise and results of fossil fuel-based  “progress.”

My mind’s been digesting this experience for  2 weeks, ruminating on a smorgasbord of questions about Life’s directing influence and cycles,  creativity and choice, the power of desire, and the inherent human capacity to stand in the present, eyes perceiving, heart open, hands ready, feet on the ground.


Which distilled down to this:  the urgent necessity of tending and feeding our togetherness.   Here.  On this small planet.  Now.
















Food: A Taste of Modern Love on South 50th Street

Modern Love

Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad (photo from modernloveomaha.com)

Last weekend I drove north, traveling through rolling Missouri farmland and gradually climbing into the sun-drenched high plains, until finally crossing the Missouri River at Council Bluffs seven hours later to arrive in Omaha, Nebraska, for a visit with my youngest sister and her family.

This journey yielded an unexpected opportunity:  dinner at Modern Love, an all vegan restaurant.

Tucked into a cinder block building enclosed by a triangle of bustling thoroughfares, the non-descript eatery seems, at first glance, hard pressed to fulfill its promise of “swanky vegan comfort food.”   I had my doubts.

But step inside. The staff, the lighting, the aromas all emanate health.  Welcome. Vitality.  Quality.  Omaha, in its commercial revitalization, seems to excel in offering superb experiences in unlikely spaces.

I have eaten a vegan diet for twenty years or so.   To hold a menu where every  single item from robust appetizers to yummy desserts is a real possibility stands as a rare joy!   No need to inquire about the presence of milk, eggs, or meat.   No need to settle for romaine lettuce and a baked potato. Just let the stomach and the intuition decide.

I chose the Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad.  Bliss!

And yet beyond the food’s tantalizing texture, color and taste, the greatest benefit of dining at Modern Love, without a doubt, rested in my sister’s heart-full company and our shared conversation.

Indeed, in our technology-centric, disconnecting world, an essential part of modern love certainly exists in appreciating small moments with family and friends . . . hopefully over good food.  Regardless of one’s dietary preferences.  Whether on South 50th Street in Omaha, Nebraska, or in  locations far afield.



Effort: Leaping into a Spontaneous Schedule


I returned home from a playful, leaf-tromping, freezing-rain-touched Thanksgiving Holiday eager to begin writing my second short story in an intended series of 14.

I’ve long wished my writing schedule would be as steady and rhythmic as the seasonal progression.  I believe Life responds to regular effort, cheers on creative risks, and supports steady devotion to the Heart’s expressive passions.   But I’ve never been able to stick to a strict writing schedule whether morning or evening.  Minutes or hours. Weekday or weekend.

I’ve given up tracking down the root of this regularity struggle.  Instead I’m switching to what I call a Spontaneous Schedule.  I’ve successfully applied this approach in upping my karate practice, so why not try it with writing?

The schedule:   An hour per day.  The spontaneity:   when inspiration and possibility coincide.   The former solidifies my commitment, builds momentum and zaps inertia.  The  latter accommodates employment demands, respects other commitments and moves with my varying need for rest, all while stoking creative alertness and a playful spirit.

I’ve written a continuous 60 minutes one day.  And  then a 20/40 split the next.  30/30.  Back to 60.  Whatever the scheduled spontaneity convergence produces. Additional boosts leap in here and there:  mulling over character motivations while squeezing toothpaste onto the brush; scratching down ideas on a sticky note during a lunch break.

Word by word.  Paragraph by paragraph.  The story is emerging.  And I’m enjoying the effort.

How do you approach your creative projects?    Balance schedule and spontaneity?   Experience the qualitative process and creativity you desire?