Homer's Travels: One So Close ... Another Better From Afar

Sunday, February 15, 2015

One So Close ... Another Better From Afar

What a wonderful weekend.  The past two days have been chock full of good things.

Friday I went to the clinic and got blood drawn for my annual exam (no results yet).  This was followed by a rather short walk (12.4 miles) that ended with some chocolate truffles.

In the afternoon, the Matron of Honor (MoH) and the Best Man (BM) showed up, the first of the gathering trivia masters.  Friday night The Wife and I, along with the MoH and BM, joined the Brother-in-Law, an assortment of nieces, a fiance, and one of The Wife's co-workers to become the return reigning champions of Skutt Catholic High School Trivia.

The trivia contest went swimmingly ... assuming swimmingly meant swimming upstream being chased by a bunch of hungry alligators.  Several of the teams were obviously gunning for us, trying their best to put us in jail while we doggedly bought our way back out.  The eight rounds of eight questions were a lot tougher this year as well.  We especially fell short of the subjects of Cars, Oscar Best Movie Winners, and identifying album names from their covers (we got only one out of eight - I mean really, who buys albums anymore?!?).  The last set should have been an easy win - name the bars using only a picture of the fronts of the buildings.  With team members either in or recently out of college, we all thought it would be a shoe in.  Turns out the young bar hoppers on our team had more discerning tastes in drinking establishments when they all pronounced that the bars pictured were all dives not worthy of their patronage.

Despite the aggressive nature of the competition and the difficulty of the questions, we ended up ... in second place.  We missed winning first place by a single point.

During the trivia contest I stuffed my face with bread sticks with marinara sauce, chocolate chip cookies, and twizzlers.  This came to bite me in the behind Friday night as i felt myself bloat up like a dead hippo rotting on the riverbank.  I knew I was in trouble when my burps started tasting like twizzlers dipped in marinara sauce.  I felt terrible in bed most of Friday night as I slowly deflated.  I was a bit worried when I woke up on Saturday morning and I still felt a bit bloaty but fortunately I felt better for the afternoon festivities.

Saturday, after meeting the Wife and MoH for lunch (they had just finished having facials), we headed to Village Canvas and Cabernet.  This is one of those places where you drink and learn how to paint.  Some are held in rented bars.  This one is in a studio.  The artists walks everyone through the process of creating a masterpiece.  To make things easy, everyone paints the same thing.  In this case, purely by coincidence, the subject was poppies, a flower that I saw along the Camino back in 2011 and which I have unsuccessfully tried to grow in my old hiking shoes.

When I started I really thought my painting would be a disaster.  I can be a little heavy handed at times and sure enough, my very first brush stroke was loaded with too much paint.  Faced with a large, ugly, orange splotch near one corner of the canvas, my chances of surviving this were looking dim but, by the end, everything turned out fine.  The ten of us (the same group as our trivia team with one substitution) all ended up with satisfying results and we all kind of agreed that our paintings were great ... when seen from a distance.  My painting, for no real reason, turned out to be the only one that showed motion.  Here it is:

"Windswept Poppies"
By Bruce H.
If you are seeing this post on a computer, step away from the screen and if you are seeing it on a tablet or phone, hold them at arms length - the painting will look better.  If you are on Facebook you can see the other nine awesome paintings from the rest of our group.

After painting we went to the Benson area of town and ended up at the Benson Brewery - because a night of drinking on Friday and drinking while painting simply isn't enough.  We picked this place because it wasn't as crowded as other places along the street (it was Valentine's Day and the beginning of Omaha Beer Week) and it wasn't as noisy (because old people like us don't like noise!).  It was kind of a random choice but it turned out to be a great one.  The place served good enough beers for the beer nuts in our group and the food ... the food ... it was really delicious.

We all left the place with smiles on our faces and ready to regain our Trivia Masters position next year.  The Wife and I spent the rest of the evening at home exploring deep subjects with the MoH and BM.  Not sure I could have picked a better ending for a great couple of days.

Well ... winning would have been nice ... just sayin'

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