Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weekend Away

My dad and I spent this last weekend in Omaha. Between Accepted Students’ Day at the law school and our appointments to see apartments, we were pretty busy. We looked into 14 properties, physically viewed 10, and were able to eliminate only 2 of the ones we viewed.

Do you want to know my favorite thing about Omaha? Freeways. Everywhere. Seemed like we were always on I-80, 680, 480, or the 75. No matter where we were headed, we got there in 15 minutes it seemed. So, that’s good.

Dad wanted to find a local favorite place for pizza, so on Friday, based on Yelp reviews, we went to Mama’s Pizza. Dad was less than thrilled with his “all meat pizza” (doesn’t even sound appetizing) but I loved the pepperoni. Dad at least liked looking at all the sports memorabilia decorating the place.

Dad’s mood improved even further when he realized we were done with dinner early enough to catch the end of Creighton’s baseball game against Missouri State. They were playing at the new TD Ameritrade Park, which was his one must-see for the trip.
The park was really nice. Aside from that though, I’m not yet in love. We didn’t get a chance to visit the Old Market, which I have a feeling I’ll enjoy. I told my dad several times that it’s hard for me to say out loud that I’m moving to Nebraska. It’s easier for me to say Omaha for some reason. Maybe because I know it’s a bigger city than Salt Lake.

When I got home, I had plenty of DVR to catch up, which is how I spent my Sunday evening. My favorite recording was definitely the season finale of SNL hosted by Justin. Oh how I love him. And I can never decide what I think about Lady Gaga (who was the musical guest). If nothing else, I enjoy the anticipation of what her eccentricities will bring. I’ve actually been listening to her new album all week, trying to figure out which songs I like (usually takes me a few times through Gaga’s songs to decide).

I was listening to one track, “You and I,” and I was confused. It almost sounded Country. Then I realized it was kind of catchy and maybe I liked it. Then I heard the lyrics, “Something about this place. Something about lonely nights and my lipstick on your face. Something about my cool Nebraska guy. Yeah, something about my baby, you and I . . . We’ve got a whole lot of money but we still pay rent, ‘cause you can’t buy a house in Heaven. There’s only three men that I’m’a serve in my whole life: it’s my daddy and Nebraska and Jesus Christ.”

Now I can’t stop listening to that song and laughing. I guess if Gaga can do Nebraska, so can I.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Star Student

Zipsie and I started obedience classes last night. She's been getting increasingly anti-social (might have something to do with who her owner is) and she especially takes it out on other dogs by growling, barking, lunging at them. I was nervous about taking the class with so many other dogs, but she actually did great. There were lots of dogs behaving worse than she was, which made me feel better. On the drive home (shortly after the above picture was taken, actually) she was leaning out the window growling at dogs we drove past. So maybe she was just quiet because of the number of dogs we were around or something. At any rate, I'm excited for the classes and hope they'll have a positive influence on her.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Admit: I'm Addicted

Jessica just called me to make plans for a SYTYCD party. The whole time we were talking she kept asking, "What's wrong with you?" or "Why are you mad?" or "What happened?" I just kept saying nothing, because nothing was wrong. Well, nothing that I immediately realized. Then we hung up, I got back to work and was being productive. Then my iPod binged because it was my turn on Words With Friends, and I got angry. I had to evaluate why I was feeling that way and eventually realized it was because I was losing a certain game.

At this point, you need some background. I'm honestly not a poor sport. Most people I play just for fun, and I don't really mind if I win or lose. But several months ago, my niece was playing with my iPod (yes, the 2 yr old) and she somehow got into WWF and started a game with a random opponent, one Dale Swinhoe. He KILLED me. It was kind of surprising because I don't often lose WWF, and when I do it's usually not a slaughter. I hadn't been paying much attention to that game, because I didn't even know who the opponent was and the only reason I didn't resign is because, well, I don't resign. Anyway, I was angry that I had lost as badly as I did, so I rematched. It took me several tries before I could beat this guy even once. He's much better than I am, but with time I've gotten better and now beat him about one of every three games or so (or who knows? Maybe he just lets me win every once in awhile to appease me).

The thing is, I'm so competitive when I'm playing him. I get angry when I do poorly and way too excited when I win. This was our last game:

But this is our current game:

I just can't do a thing and he's KILLING me. And that, I realized, is why I'm in a bad mood. So Mr. Dale Swinhoe, whoever you are, bravo for having so much power over my daily moods haha. But for anyone else that wants to play, my username is Wendeebee :) And in my eyes, you can never have too many Words With Friends games going at once! I'm seriously addicted to this game...

Monday, May 2, 2011


I'm sure you all heard President Obama's statement last night, but I loved re-reading those words today. In case you want to be reminded, here you go:

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky. The Twin Towers collapsing to the ground. Black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon. The wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace.
Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11th, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation and to -- to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.
We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda, to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we've made great strides in that effort. We've disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet, Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda. Even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network.
Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain. And it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abad Abad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies.
The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda.
And his death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. I've made clear just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11 that our war is not against Islam. Bin laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries including our own.
So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. Over the years, I've repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we've done.
But it's important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. Tonight I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one or look into the eyes of a service member who's been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are.
And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror, justice has been done.
Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who've worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work nor know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history. Whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

I am so grateful to both President Bush and President Obama, who led our country from those attacks ten years ago to this historic moment of victory today. Both men are, in their own right, heroes to me.  (Can I make a sidenote? I just googled "heros or heroes" because I wasn't sure on the spelling. The first 3 forums that came up discussing this question used an example sentence that referenced 9/11. That's pretty awesome.) I'm grateful for our military. I'm grateful that the leaders of this nation know so much more than I do and so much more than their critics who so easily condemn them for everything they do or don't do. I am grateful for parents who taught me to be patriotic, and I am grateful for a country that allows patriotism to come so easily.