Archive for September, 2007

Catch Up – Wisconsin

This past week, I went up to Wisconsin for a business trip.  This is my fourth trip to the state and I continue to be struck by its beauty.  This trip was especially pretty– their leaves are just starting to turn! 

This time around, Larry and I were in La Crosse, Wisconsin near the Minnesota border.  We took a couple of hours one evening to drive around and explore.  We visited Grandad Bluff, a rocky outcropping that stands a whole 590′ over the city.  We also took a drive on Apple Blossom Scenic Drive in Minnesota. 

Marshes from Grandad Bluff

View (looking South) from Grandad Bluff

Sunset as we approach Minnesota

View from Apple Blossom Scenic Drive – the Mississippi and a moon rising

But, I didn’t have to go very far for the best view of the trip!  On our final morning, my alarm went off.  I thought about the obligations of my day and I was relunctant to rise.  But, I did get up.  I shuffled over to my window, opened the curtains and found a lovely view accompanied by a morning fog. 

View from my hotel room (through a screened-in window)

And suddenly, I was invigorated and ready for my day!  Coffee can’t compete with the energy this good earth gives me.  Nature is my favorite stimulant (apologies, soy lattes!) 

And with that happy note, it is time for bed.  As usual, more pictures of La Crosse, Wisconsin are available on my Flickr site.

September 30, 2007 at 11:27 pm 2 comments

Catch Up – Weekend of Sept 22nd

Okay, I’ve been quite busy as of late.  Here are quick glimspes of what I’ve been up to:

Groomsman Dress
Two weekends ago, I went up to the Northern Virginia area to do an activity that used to fill me with dread– I went dress shopping.  And it turned out to be a fabulous time.  I got to meet Stacy’s fiance, Louise.  I got to meet Stacy’s daughter, Addie and I got to get to know one of the bridesmaids better.

One of the bridesmaids, Jenn, and little Addison

On top of that, the act on trying on those fancy dresses was quite fun.  I’m pleased with our selection.  I was also pleasantly surprised with the price!  The whole drive up, I mentally braced myself for something along the lines of $500.  The morning of the shopping outing, my father got me flustered.

“No!  That dress is going to be a thousand dollars!” he exclaimed.

I was a bit worried until I reported Dad’s statement to Mom.  She rolled her eyes and asked me a simple question:

“Oh come on, how many bridesmaid dresses has your father bought?!?” 

How much is this dress? $1000? $500?

Dad’s guess was a gross overestimate, as was mine.  We would both suck ass at The Price is Right. 

Thank goodness. 🙂

That same weekend, I got to visit my home town!  The reinnovations to the 123 Bridge are almost done and they include a pedestrian walkway with beautiful views of the river and the town!

Occoquan River

Town of Occoquan

I also got to visit the house I grew up in, my grandmother’s house, and a brick dedicated to my grandmother on the sidewalk in front of our town hall.

Grandma’s Brick

It was a brief, but very pleasant homecoming.  More photos of Occoquan are available on my Flickr site.

Surprising Art
Within eighteen hours I discovered that *two* individuals I know have some artistic talent.  First off, Ryan Somma can draw cartoons?!?  And then an absolutely mind-boggling discovery followed.  My brother, that pesky little boy who ruined my first kiss, can paint?!?!?!  I was helping my Mom move furniture to my brother’s room and found his rendition of a turkey buzzard (my 2nd favorite bird!) on display:

Turkey Buzzard by Jay

Who knew.

Serendipity and Spit-up
When I met little Addison, I got to hold her for a while.  Things were going smoothly for while, but then she made a face and I suspected that at any moment she would start to cry.  With an audience of people I just met for the very first time, I was self-conscious about triggering a sobbing spectacle.  So what do I do?  Run away!  I handed Addie back over to her father before she had a chance to cry.  Almost immediately after the hand-off, Addie spit up on Stacy.  With him, it got on his shirt.  BUT– the way I was holding her, it would have been a perfect shot on my still-growing Locks of Love hair.  Sometimes, it pays off to be a wuss!  😉

September 30, 2007 at 10:54 pm 3 comments

links for 2007-09-25

September 25, 2007 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

Acupuncture and Manicures Do Not Mix

Last night I had an accident involving an old nail and my left index finger.  This is going to sound a lot scarier than it is– at the moment I have a puncture wound (small!) going through the middle of my fingernail and into the flesh below.  Again, it’s not that bad.  The way everything clotted, you can barely tell my fingernail has a hole in it.  In fact, today I had the finger in plain sight at lunch and everyone’s appetites stayed in tact.

I knew the finger itself was fine, but it’s been well over a decade since my last tetanus shot.  Looking at that old nail that inflicted the damage, it seemed like I would be tempting fate to not take care of my lapsed vaccination.  The doctor’s office was able to accomodate me.  They gave me the shot and they ran a series of tests to make sure I didn’t shatter bone and that I still had feeling in the finger.  Everything was fine.

“Wow,” the doctor said, “You are the worst patient for the best puncture wound ever.”

Umm… I’m not sure what that combination of superlatives means, but from the context of his other statements I think he was trying to compliment me. 

I think.

September 21, 2007 at 3:22 pm 5 comments

How to Endear Yourself to Neighbors, Part III

There are things I expected from working at home– missing out on the comradery of an office, no more free baked goods, BUT the ability to sing aloud to any music at any time.  Today, something unexpected occured while I worked at home. 

I was on a business call with my laid back boss.  I decided to enjoy the weather and sit out on my front stoop.  In the middle of the call, my neighbor emerged out of his house wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.

“Hi, Ed!” I said.

Ed just froze in the middle of his driveway.  It was a complete deer in headlights moment!  I’m sure the last thing he expected in the middle of a work day was a witness right across the street.  It certainly was the last thing I expected while discussing trim weights and bar codes!

September 21, 2007 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Sawyer Dance Gene

On Monday I had another Belly Dancing class.  Unfortunately, I was in Kansas for the last class, but how much could I miss, right?  Well, apparently a lot!  All my classmates showed up in ornate little hip scarfs with sequins and coins.  I showed up in a pair of blue shorts with paint splatters on them.  My classmates were readily prepared to join a series of moves and components together.  Meanwhile, I awkwardly tried to mimic their moves. 

I was definitely the weakest pupil in the class last week.  Nonetheless, I still had a splendid time and really enjoyed the experience.  But, I do have to say there were moments were some Sawyer dance stories crept into mind and I doubted my wine-induced class selection:

Inherited Rhythm?
My grandfather had a hilarious story from his youth.  When he was a boy, he wanted to play the drums.  He got a drum set for Christmas and he embarked on some drumming lessons.  After a while, the teacher told my grandfather that he had no rhythm and that he really couldn’t master the drums until he had that key skill.  The teacher suggested that Grandpa should take dance lessons to help his sense of timing.

And so Grandpa signed up for dance lessons which he continuously fumbled through.  Eventually that teacher said enough is enough.  Again my grandfather was told he had no rhythm.  The dance instructor had a helpful suggestion on how my grandfather could improve.

“Perhaps you should take drum lessons.” 🙂

Adam Sawyer Quote
I love weddings.  The highlights– cake and dancing.  My cousin Adam’s wedding in 2000 was one of the best weddings for the latter activity.  My relatives and I danced up a storm!  I must have been out there for hours.  It was so much fun!  At one point in the evening, I went to check in with the handsome groom.  We stood on a balcony and looked down over the rest of the reception.  At one point, Adam looked over at the dance floor and shook his head.

“You can always tell the Sawyers,” he said, “They are the ones who can’t dance, but always do!”  🙂

So maybe I have genetics going against me in this belly dancing endeavor.  But my teacher is patient and I am enthusiastic.  At the very least, I will continue to have an hour of fun every Monday evening.  🙂

September 21, 2007 at 8:43 am 5 comments

Welcome Fall!!!!!

This week our temperatures have finally taken a dip.  It’s been wonderfully chilly.  I find the crisp weather invigorating.  Historically, fall weather has escorted in a new school year, not to mention a new television season.  Even though I no longer attend school and the networks keep pushing their premieres out later and later in the year, I still associate the temperate drop with new beginnings.  Fall can be full of fresh starts.  And it brings forth great views (including gorgeous Virginia Creeper) and gives me spectacular hiking weather!  And there is one more thing fall heralds in…


I love sock hats!  They don’t fair quite well in the summer, so I have to relunctantly part ways with them.  But their haitus is over!  I already got to wear a sock hat around on Monday.  Life is good. 

And now, to overzealously prove my point, a series of photos to demonstrate my usage of my sock hats:

Angel’s Rest 2002 – Black Sock Hat

Bottom Creek Gorge 2003 – Green Sock Hat

Mill Creek 2003 – Grey Sock Hat 

Butt Mountain 2003 – I’m wearing TWO hats (can you take the madness?!?)- grey sock hat underneath and then a burgundy hat I crocheted

Kelly’s Knob 2004 – The Virginia Tech Sock Hat

Larry’s Car 2007 – Blue Sock Hat!

Yup, I’m looking forward to the fall adventures I will share with my sock hats in the coming months!

September 18, 2007 at 7:11 pm 6 comments

Adventures in Atlanta Airport

Larry and I spent a lot of extra unplanned time in Atlanta airport last week.  Here are some recaps of our adventures.

Good Things Come to Those in Good Humor?
Thursday, thunderstorms in Atlanta left me and Larry with a cancelled flight.  We hung out at the airport until late in the evening, hoping to get on one of the two remaining flights to Roanoke.  Turns out, it is not quite easy to get on a Roanoke flight when the standby list is nearly twenty passengers long.  But, we still had a good time.  Even at 10 PM and still without a flight home we were both in good spirits.  We stopped by the Delta Crown Room with the intent of getting on the wireless connection to find a hotel.  However, when we were checking in, we explained our dilemma to the agent and she started poking around looking at flights. 

Meanwhile, Larry and I, apparently not tired of each other, did our usual bantering and joking around.

“Are you related?” the agent asked.

Larry, showing the salesman in his blood, replied, “No, but we can be!”

She did some mysterious typing and he and I yammered on, finding plenty to laugh at. 

And then suddenly our agent printed out something.  She couldn’t get us on a flight that night, but she did get us two totally free rooms at the posh Sheradon (which sported fancy schmacy flat screen TVs).  Do you know how many cancelled flights I’ve had?  I’ve never been offered a free hotel…ever.  This “Victoria B” from Delta certainly did not have to do that for us, especially considering our delays were weather-related, but she did anyway. 

It was a nice treat.  Though I have to wonder– if we had approached her with entitled attitudes and grumpy demeanors, would the results have been the same?

Circa 8 PM, Larry and I were seated next to two anxious college students who were trying to get to Wichita.  They both had job interviews the next morning.  I noted one was carrying The Boondocks: Public Enemy #2, so we started talking about The Boondocks.  From there, the conversation meandered, Larry and the other student joined in and the four of us managed to entertain ourselves while our respective flights continued to have delays.  After a little while, I brought the conversation back to The Boondocks.

“Do you know who Huey Freeman [one of characters in the cartoon] was named after?” I asked the college student.

“No, who?”

“Huey Newton!” I said proudly, but noticed the kid’s eyes did not register.  “Do you know who Huey Newton is?”

“Sure,” he said,  “He’s a musician, right?”

Heh.  Nice try.  I explained Newton’s role with the Black Panther Party and then I moved on to why I mentioned it.  I think about Huey Newton a LOT at airports.  Why?  He has marvelous passages on the act of waiting.  Wrongly incarcerated, Newton spent a lot of time waiting in jail.  Whenever I am stuck at an airport, I think about the conditions Newton had to wait in and how much he excelled at capitalizing on the time.  Does this concept sound familiar?  I’ve mentioned it twice before on this blog– both on posts covering an airport delay. 🙂

Huey Newton, waiting in jail.  Now, is waiting at an airport really *that* bad? 

Anyway, I shared my insight about airports, waiting, and Huey P. Newton with this kid.  He nodded and stared.  Other than that– silence.  It is safe to say I failed to inspire him.

BUT– I did get to marvel both students with my pictures of Wichita, Colorado and Montana.  Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some.

My uninspiring Huey Newton monoloque wasn’t the only Black Panther Party reference at Gate 32B.  With all the delays, cancellations and confusions, there were a lot of gate changes.  Earlier in the evening, Larry and I got to play “Gate-Pong” between Terminals C and D.  Late in the evening, an older gentlemen wearily wheeled his luggage into our gate area.  He was just about to find a seat when a gate change was announced for his flight– all the way in a different terminal.

“WHAT?!?!?!” the man yelled.  “Uh huh.  No way!  WE PROTEST!!!!”  He shoved his fist into the air and all the passengers in the surrounding areas cheered.  It was almost as poignant as the 1968 Olympics.  Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Frustrated Flyer.

I missed his fist.  This is about one-two minutes post-fist.

Deal with the Devil?
I may have done something unwise with my free time at the airport.  Or maybe exceedingly open-minded.  Larry likes to declare he hates Ethopian food.  How many times has Larry actually eaten Ethopian?  That would be zero.  So I like to get on his case. 

“You can’t judge it, until you actually try it.” I’d nag.

Well at one point, one of the college students was talking about Ann Coulter.  I said something and suddenly Larry and I had our roles reversed.

“Have you ever read one of her books?” he asked.

I stammered and tried to cite other encounters with the author, but he had none of it.

“Well, you can’t judge her until you’ve read one of her books.”

So I went into attack mode, “Oh yeah, what about Ethopian food?!?!”

Our conversation continued and as the college students watched on, Larry and I settled on a deal.  He will go to Ethopian twice and in return I…uh…will read one of Ann Coulter’s books.

I think I’ll end up winning in this deal though.  I’m pretty darn sure Larry will end up liking Ethopian.

Weird Question
Friday, Larry and I returned to the airport to catch a morning flight to Roanoke.  We loaded up on free Starbucks (Soy Green Tea Latte for me) and sat down at the gate.  Soon a man my age approached me.

“Excuse me, this is going to sound like a weird question, but are you Vicky Sawyer?”

The question did not seem that weird at all.  My maiden name is, in fact, Vicky Sawyer.  I wouldn’t have recognized him on my own, but once he said something, I could place him instantly!  He was an old BBS friend from high school. 

And so, my second wait at Atlanta airport went by quickly.  After all these years, there was plenty to catch up on.  Before I knew it, my 28 hour journey home was ready for its very last leg.

September 16, 2007 at 7:57 pm 5 comments

links for 2007-09-15

  • Aww… this is cute. Discover had chidren submit entries for the October 2007 issue (which covers The State of Science in America). I think it is super cool the runners-up get online recognition AND in the issue.

September 15, 2007 at 12:18 pm 1 comment

JavaScript: Referring to a Button With Spaces in the Name

Dang.  This afternoon, on a short timeframe, I had to override the behavior of an HTML form button.  I couldn’t change the button itself (it was generated by compiled code that I did not have access to), but luckily, I already knew how to programmatically change the onClick event via JavaScript

I pulled up the HTML code and discovered the button name had spaces in it.  How am I supposed to refer to THAT?!?

<input type=”Button” name=”Click On Me” value=”Click On Me” onClick=”‘;, ‘Bottom’);”>

Ordinarily, I would have some harsh criticism for the fool who named that button…  but I think I am said fool.  I think this might be my handiwork from 2001.  🙂

I knew it was destined for failure but, proving I am still a fool in 2007, I did try:

document.MyForm.Click On Me.onclick = function () {alert(‘Hi’);};

Yeah, did not work.  Did a quick Google search, found nothing of value the first two pages, so I went with the elements object which proved to be much more space-friendly.

var btn = document.MyForm.elements[‘Click On Me’];
btn.onclick = function() {alert(‘hi’);};

This may not be the only solution.  It may not be the best solution (discussion welcome).  And I did not test it in anything other than the specific version of Internet Explorer I needed.  But it did the trick.  Also, I did not get heckled by JavaScript, so that’s a positive sign.

Anyway, that’s how I managed to refer to a button that had spaces in the name. 

September 14, 2007 at 11:52 pm 4 comments

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