To the more than 1,700 University of Nebraska at Omaha students who will graduate today, congratulations! You are walking in UNO’s largest commencement ceremony in the university’s 103-year-old history.
Posts Archived From: 'May 2011'« Newer PostsOlder Posts »
A Royally Global Affair
What a beautiful day for a wedding. I have watched with rapture for the past twelve hours at the gorgeous images beamed back to America, and am loving everything I see.
My excitement, sentimentality, amazement, and tremendous interest in today’s Royal Wedding certainly caught me off guard. I barely batted an eye when the engagement announcement was made late last year. But I wasn’t yet engaged late last year, and certainly wasn’t giving much thought to my own wedding. I suppose getting engaged in February changed my view on such matters, which is why I found myself wide awake at 5:30 this morning, drinking in every camera shot, every witty commentary on CNN. Still dressed in my PJs, I found myself glued to my tiny television and feeling a part of something very spectacular, very important, and – let’s be honest – very beautiful.
And while the entire world didn’t physically travel to London today, we certainly were there in many ways.
What we are witnessing and conversing about (thanks to Twitter and #royalwedding) is a once-in-a-lifetime affair that likely won’t be duplicated for quite some time. William and Kate have, rather quickly, found their way into the hearts of not just England, but the entire globe. Something like two billion people followed this morning’s events, and the conversation will undoubtedly continue. And while I can’t say that I consider myself particularly giddy about selecting the minute and ornate details that make any wedding special, I can’t help but smile and gaze upon today’s newlyweds across the pond, watching in wonder as what has taken place.
All because a couple of kids fell in love.
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Earlier today I said goodbye to a good friend whom I have come to know during the past year. The details of our friendship is much like yours, or of those you know. Similar interests and approaches to our life’s work brought us together, but an appreciation of what we shared and were working toward make the friendship supremely worthwhile.
What has made our friendship so gratifying for me is seeing his progress, and witnessing his transformation. Tomorrow he boards a plane for the Big City, leaving behind the Small Towns he has known and within whose confines he has found tremendous comfort – but also tremendous growth. In a city like Omaha, where entrepreneurs and new ideas and collaborative projects abound and are all around, my friend went after his dream. Using the spear of his hard work, determination, and experiences, he sent that spear sailing, hoping and praying it would pierce and produce a picture-perfect opportunity.
And it did.
The details and descriptions of his inspiring story are not as important today as they will be six months from now, six years from now. What matters today is his unwavering discipline and appreciation of pure opportunity. Of simply the chance to try. Of maybe not getting there on the first attempt, but knowing, deep down, that at least the attempt was made. There has not been – and I am confident in saying nor will there ever be – a sense of entitlement or air of seniority about my good friend. There is only what he has right now: the opportunity, the tools, and the drive to want more. To do more. To see more and feel more. To be more.
We should all be so fortunate and feel so humbled to stride through life with the passion he possesses, the instinct to do what is right and bypass what is not; to savor each day, each interaction, and each experience with such gratitude that the end product – what is most coveted – is only part of the picture.
I feel fortunate to have been part of his recent journey, and am beyond excited to witness what comes next. Rest assured he will savor each day more so than the previous, drinking in his new surroundings, his new challenges and experiences and successes with the same vigor that brought him to this very important day. It is, of course, what the whole journey has been about.
Good luck, my good friend.
Brainstorming names and domains for my new podcast.
— Wendy Townley (@wtownley) April 2, 2011
Seeking Omaha Media for Thesis Research
I am a graduate student in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I am in the research phase of my thesis, titled “Stories, Stresses, and Strains: What Working Media Experience When Covering Human Tragedy.”
For my thesis I am seeking face-to-face interviews with members of Omaha’s working media who have covered a story (or stories) involving human tragedy. Recent examples include – but certainly are not limited to – the 2007 Von Maur shootings, the 2011 Millard South High School shootings; and those stories on a smaller scale, such as house fires, vehicle crashes, or tornadoes.
If you fit this description and are interested in participating in my research project, please contact me directly. Through the use of pseudonyms, your identity will remain completely confidential in my thesis. I anticipate the interviews running between thirty minutes and one hour at a location chosen by the research participant. These locations could include the research participant’s home, their place of work, or a coffee shop in Omaha.
If you have any follow up questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience: email@example.com
Set the Table: Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Since I began taking cooking seriously last year, I have continuously hunted for the perfect recipe for macaroni and cheese. As a kid I transitioned from the Kraft boxed variety to frozen Stouffer’s dinners. Each style of macaroni and cheese was tastier than the last, and left me wanting more. When I discovered hearty and creamy macaroni and cheese side dishes and entrees on restaurant menus, I was left speechless. Who knew so many fantastic extras and embellishments could make one of my favorite comfort foods even more perfect (and worth every penny).
On a recent Friday night, I stumbled upon a delicious, easy, and affordable macaroni and cheese recipe that is a little bit comfort, a little bit gourmet. Feel free to switch up the cheese flavors with those in your fridge (or those on sale). On my next attempt, I plan to swap out the havarti for a little smoked gouda.
Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
8 ounce package small pasta shells (or your favorite pasta shape)
Salt and black pepper to taste
A pinch of garlic salt
3 tablespoons of butter
2 cans condensed cream of cheddar cheese soup
1/3 cup shredded havarti cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (for topping)
Boil the pasta in slightly salted water and drain. Return the pasta to a mixing bowl or casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Add the butter until melted. Add the cheddar cheese soup, using anywhere between 1 and 1/2 cans, or two whole cans. Add the havarti cheese, parmesan cheese, and white cheddar cheese. Mix well.
Bake for 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Top the dish with the 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese, and bake for an addition 5 to 7 minutes. Allow dish to cool slightly, and serve to a hungry crowd. Or just yourself; no one will judge you. Promise.
Today marks the first day of spring. Thank goodness! We have survived yet another frigid and seemingly endless Nebraska winter. The greening grass below my feet and sweet little birds I hear moments before my alarm sounds each morning are welcoming reminders of what is to come.
Today also marks the one-month anniversary of my engagement to Matt. Just past sunset on Sunday, February 20, overlooking the ocean in the picture-perfect setting of the Bahamas, Matt – my boyfriend and best friend of nearly five years – set in motion an exciting new chapter in both of our lives. With a breathtaking gesture that was straight from the heart, Matt proposed; and, of course, I said yes.
And in a way, it wasn’t just me saying yes. It was both of us. We said yes. In an act and tradition that is older than both of us, older than everyone we know, we pledged to commit ourselves to a new and exciting future filled with both the comforts of familiarity and the delight of new and shared experiences lasting a lifetime. There is a promise of something beautiful and new that is about to happen.
Just like spring.
A Fresh New Face
Something looks different here, you’re thinking to yourself. Wendy has changed her blog’s design yet again.
One of the conditions of being a creative is that my overactive mind is always mulling over new ways of looking at the world. New ways to make my work look better, read better, new ways to inspire others. Being a creative also means I tend to get bored with my surroundings. And if I’m bored, I find myself uninspired and, at times, unable to create something new. The ability to log into WordPress and pick a pretty new theme with just a few clicks of my Mighty Mouse makes the opportunity very attractive and rather hard to resist.
Those crafty devils at WordPress recently added the Liquorice theme, whose retro fonts and cool colors I found absolutely irresistible; and whose design I loved so much that I was able to look past the theme’s obvious misspelling. (That’s the writer in me.)
While clicking about my new blog, you may have also discovered a new domain: wendywriter.com. After nearly eight years of maintaining a blog, I felt it was high time to showcase a domain that spoke very succinctly to my life’s work, what you’ll find here, and a little alliteration that was too good not to use. The new domain was born from my two previous blogs, which first lived at wendywriter.livejournal.com, followed by wendywriter.wordpress.com. The WordPress URL remains active for those of you who have been so kind to bookmark this space; you’ll simply be automatically redirected to my new, simpler domain.
Will Liquorice stick around forever? I doubt it. But for now, it seems the perfect space to share my work, my thoughts, my photographs, my stories, and my recipes, various and sporadic though they may be.
Storytelling Through Social Media
On Thursday I was delighted to present an afternoon break-out session at the 2011 Young Professionals Summit. My topic: how social media is one of the best ways to “tell the story” of a person, organization, event, cause. The list, quite simply, can go on and on.
At the close of my presentation, I invited participants to keep the conversation going on this very blog.
So for those of you who attended my session, what say you? Do sites such as Facebook and Twitter have a future? What role do they play in storytelling in your organization?
Expert Voices and Blogging
I recently had the opportunity to present a workshop on blogging to select members of the Small Business Association of the Midlands (or SBAM, as they are also commonly known). SBAM is helping members becomes experts in their chosen areas and fields through public speaking engagements and regular contributions to AskSBAMidlands.info.
My presentation offered a variety of suggestions on how to develop ideas and market blog posts once they are published.
During the presentation I also mentioned my ongoing contributions on public relations and social media marketingto the Creative Freelancer Blog. Just by starting a public dialogue and engaging in conversations in a given area or field, you can begin to market yourself as a thought leader and, eventually, an expert.