What is this…A JAIL FOR SQUIRRELS?!?

For my first real Nebraska adventure, we went to……Iowa.

For non-Omahan’s you should know that Council Bluffs is the red-headed step child of this area.  Omaha and Council Bluffs are separated by the Missouri River but there is a lot of traffic between the two cities.  Council Bluffs if often referred to as “Council-tucky” due to it’s occupants often being….hmm how can I say this…. more on the trashy side.  It really is unfortunate because it is a very lovely city and Iowa, as a whole, is really awesome and much more progressive than Nebraska (exp. gay marriage is legal).  Also, for some reason Council Bluffs has adopted the black squirrel as their mascot.  We almost hit one with our car while driving through town.  We have black squirrels in Omaha too. I am guessing they   hopped on a river boat and made their journey over at some point to seek a better life.  It is appropriate that the first place we stopped was the Historic Squirrel Cage Jail.

Locked up

This jail’s cylinder design was developed to allow maximum security with minimum jailer attention. However, the walls were plastered with news stories about people escaping.  The place has been preserved since it’s last use in the 1960’s and has been examined by several groups interested in the paranormal.

Squirrel Jail

The cells seemed so small.  And the area for solitary confinement was the size of gym locker.  Touring this jail reminded me just how fat Americans are today.  The doorways and hallways were so slight.  Walking through with a baby was challenging.

Bad Baby

After spending time in a cramped jail we decided to go to look out point (or that’s what I am calling it).  There is a place in a very hilly neighborhood of Council Bluffs that overlooks Omaha. It was pretty.


Next to lookout point was the Black Angel.

Black Angel

According to the legend, Mrs. Dodge related to family members that she had a vision of being on a rocky shore and, through a mist, seeing a boat approach. In the prow was a beautiful young woman whom Mrs. Dodge thought to be an angel. The woman carried a small bowl under one arm and extended the other arm toward Mrs. Dodge in an invitation to partake of the water flowing from the vessel. Then, according to accounts later published by Mrs. Dodge’s daughter, Anne, the angel spoke twice, saying: “Drink, I bring you both a promise and a blessing.” The daughter wrote that the vision came three times to her mother and, on the third visit, Mrs. Dodge took the drink as offered and felt “transformed into a new and glorious spiritual being.” Mrs. Dodge died immediately after her supposed third vision, on September 5, 1916. She had died in her sleep at her home in New York. Her body was brought back to Council Bluffs where she was buried in a mausoleum in Walnut Hill Cemetery.

I remember visiting the Black Angel one drunken night when I first moved to Omaha.  She is also apparently haunted.

Next stop…the Sandhill Cranes!



Nebraska Passport

I am learning so much about my wonderful state and the opportunities for tourism.  I recently discovered Nebraska’s Passport Program.  Basically, you have all of these different tours you can go on.  Each time you visit a place on the list you get a stamp.  If you complete a tour you get a t-shirt, if you get 40 stamps they give you a Canon digital camera!!  There is a drawing at the end for an IPad.  So, basically, I picked a great year to become a Nebraska tourist!

I love how this article has a cute little map of all of the Passport stops.

I can’t wait to get my Passport and get that thing stamped up! It will be just like backpacking around Europe, except it will be by car……. with a baby …and less debauchery.  I am going to post all of my pictures of awesome Nebraska on Facebook and tell all those world travelers I know to “suck it”!

The Good Life

Well, since I still haven’t had any Nebraska adventures, I better post a few reasons why Nebraska is so damn awesome!

The Good Life

Here are a few reasons…in no particular order:

  • Gerald Ford, Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Gabrielle Union, Malcom X, Alexander Payne, Henry Fonda, Jonny Carson, and Willa Cather are all born/from Nebraska
  • The only state in the nation with a Unicameral
  • We have the largest part of the Ogallala Aquifer…No water shortage here!
  • Really delicious local beer:  Hoplulia, Lucky Bucket, other smaller breweries
  • Home to the College World Series
  • Home to greenest restaurant in the country – The Grey Plume
  • Arbor day was founded here
  • Official state motto is: Equality before the law
  • Lincoln and Omaha are always listed as best places to live

S-NOW you’ve done it!

Snow Baby

Just a few days ago I posted about how wonderful the weather has been. Well, we finally got some winter today and an opportunity to torture our child in the snow.

Snow mound in the face!

The great thing about snow days is that everything seems to stop. It’s like you get a pass from your everyday life.  We didn’t worry about cleaning, or doing running errands.  We woke up and made bacon and eggs, then just laid around watching movies, took a family nap, drank cocktails, and ate pasta. Luckily, last time I made spaghetti sauce I made a lot of it and froze the extra so it was even a low maintenance dinner.

Snow Angel


Family Nap-time!

Today was just lovely. It reminded me of my favorite Christmas a few years ago when Brent and I were stuck indoors. We spent Christmas together drinking lots of wine and eating some make-shift spaghetti from ingredients we had lying around.

True love

So, as much as I claim to hate winter, today was a great day. Snow days are peaceful and necessary. Nebraskans need these winter breaks so we can fully appreciate our wonderful springs, summers, and falls.

Winter Wonderland

Indian Summer (Winter)

Just another reason Nebraska is so great….Monday it was 69 degrees in Omaha. Brent and I walked to pick up our little one from daycare (weiner dog in tow). Then we grilled steaks outside. The steaks were Nebraska raised of course (from my friend Amy’s family farm)! It has been unseasonably warm this winter but I will take it. It makes up for all those years of frostbite.

Brent and Edith outside in January!

Monday was also a great day because I received my 2012 Nebraska Tourism guide in the mail!! It really makes Nebraska seem sexy.

Nebraska Tourism Guide

Tuesday was equally exciting. We grilled hamburgers (also Nebraska raised) and Deuce almost caught a rabbit. Somehow the poor rabbit got caught in gate. Luckily, Brent saved the day and cut the gate so the rabbit could escape without being eaten by our deadly 8 pound wiener dog.

Poor bunny. Is that a roll of toilet paper by him?!?