Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays 2014

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in
one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not
enchantment then where is it to be found?"
J. B. Priestley

Happy Holidays to you and yours from the House of Tystad.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Personal Note to My Blog Readers

For all of my blog readers, I'd like to thank you for your dedication. I'd also like to let you know that I'll be taking a break from writing any new posts or discussing my books until at least the latter part of 2015. In the meantime, please enjoy visiting the Blog Archive. I appreciate your interest and hope that you enjoy what you read here.

Many thanks,
Todd R. Tystad

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Football Season 2014

The annual calendar at the House of Tystad always begins with football season. Summer is over, a new school year has begun, and our attention is now focused on a sport that is absolutely greater than the sum of its parts.

Our shared American culture is diverse enough that a person could conceivably grow up not knowing the meaning of the word huddle or the responsibilities of a quarterback. But cultural literacy requires at the very minimum a proficiency in the basic terms that are associated with the game of football. The language of the game is a part of our shared language, whether the speakers have played the game or not. Football is a part of who we are.

So, with this new football season, I want to wish the very best to the players, the coaches, and the fans who make the game what it is. Let's not forget that before it's a broadcast program, it's a game played in grassy parks and empty lots in every community. Before it's a high dollar ticketed event, it's a sport that teaches players the meaning of teamwork and character and dedication. Before anything else, it's an endeavor that has taught life lessons to countless athletes who may have not otherwise had opportunities that football provided.

I'm a football fan. This is the time of year that I wait for. It's a brand new season and anything is possible. See you at the game.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hot Summer Tip #2: Food

Grilled Anaheim Peppers With Cream Cheese and Bacon

Food is always a popular topic at the House of Tystad and summer provides some extra time to take the food outdoors. Our grill gets a lot of use, especially when the weather heats up. Whether it's peppers or burgers, some of our favorite meals are prepared on the grill.

One summer favorite is Mahi Mahi Burgers from Trader Joe's. Served with baguette slices topped with Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip and Gazpacho (also from Trader Joe's), it makes an unforgettable meal.

Whether you're grilling or cooking in the kitchen, take your mind off the heat by enjoying a sizzling summer meal. Here are some recipes from the House of Tystad kitchen that I hope you'll enjoy:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hot Summer Tip #1: Music

Whatever you're doing this summer will be even better if you've got the right music. I listen to independent radio and my favorite station is Lincoln, Nebraska's KZUM.

KZUM is heard locally at 89.3 FM and - thanks to live streaming - on the web at Staffed entirely by volunteers, it's Nebraska's only independent radio station and offers what is perhaps the most eclectic variety of music, news, and discussion you'll ever find in one place. Here's a short list of some of my favorite shows (all times listed are Central Time):

  • Saturday 5:00-7:00 p.m. - Mundo Latino (Latin Music)
  • Monday 8:00-10:00 a.m. - Dance Bands (Big Band Music)
  • Monday 1:00-3:00 p.m. - Buenos Tangos (Tango Music)
  • Wednesday 6:30-7:00 p.m. - Canine 360 (a talk show about dogs)
  • Thursday 6:00-7:00 p.m. - Juke in the Back (1940s and '50s R&B)
  • Friday 6:00-8:00 a.m. - Morning Breath (a variety of music)

And last, but certainly not least, KZUM plays the blues in all its varieties every weekday afternoon from 3:00-6:00 p.m. On any given day, you may hear classics from the archives, brand new recordings, or interviews with blues artists. Every day is something different.

Visit their website at for the program guide and you'll find a lot to choose from.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Recreation 2014

The transition from spring to summer provides a fresh outlook on the world. It's time to think about new growth and taking advantage of what hasn't been available during the dormant season. I like to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and think about what it means to be alive. That's my favorite type of recreation.

A close friend once clued me in to what recreation is all about. It's not just simply fun and games. He explained that it's actually re-creation and it's vital to the health of every human being. So when a person finds a form of recreation that they really love and they engage in it totally and fully, they're recreating themselves over and over again. It's re-creation.

My wish is that you can be fortunate enough to find what you truly love in this world and enjoy it not only as recreation, but also as re-creation. Life is short, so let's enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy New Year - A Belated Greeting

Happy New Year
A Belated Greeting

I'm 71 days late in saying this, but... Happy New Year. This blog has lay dormant and I have a very valid excuse, which I shall share here and also sneak in some friendly advice. A new year is a time for new beginnings and that's exactly what interrupted my work. So, here's an update.

The House of Tystad moved locations in the month of January. For almost ten years, it resided on an east-sloping residential street in a suburban neighborhood. It took me quite a while to realize that, due to the way the sun set beyond the crest of the hill at the top of our street, we lived in a pre-dusk shadow that robbed us of a fair amount of daylight and thousands of sunsets. I can remember thinking many times as I looked at the sunlight still touching the tops of the trees on our block that if we lived at the top of the hill, the day wouldn't be over yet.

We're now situated in a terrific location that provides an unobstructed view of the entire western sky. Most of our windows face the west and we've been fortunate to see some of the most amazing sunsets you can imagine. I'm now lamenting how much beauty and how many daylight hours we missed in the past ten years.

What I've learned is that I should have taken action the moment I realized what I was missing. I could have started a tradition of spending as many late afternoon pre-sunset hours as possible at the local coffee house at the top of the hill. It seems obvious now, but it never occurred to me that just because our location wasn't ideal I still could have managed to enjoy the natural beauty that I value so much. If only I had just thought creatively.

The lesson here is to take charge and find a way to enjoy what you love. None of us are getting any younger and we absolutely must enjoy what we love before it's gone. The angel in the photo on this blog post is gone and so is the garden shed behind it. The soil where I planted flowers and vegetables is gone. And the rooms where my family grew and changed over the course of ten years are gone too.

The House of Tystad has moved and it's still changing. But now we have a whole new outlook and a whole new point of view every evening at sunset. I don't have any regrets, but I know that I can never accept less than a full day of what we've been given ever again. And that makes this a very happy new year.