Archive for June, 2008

Pig Pickin’ 2008

Saturday, was Kathleen and Charlie’s annual Pig Pickin’ in Craig County, Virginia. I’ve attended this event a few times over the years– the first being 1998…ten years ago! Time flies!

A lot of my immediate friends who were with me in 1998 have moved away to different locales. For example, Ryan S moved to Maryland. Brian and Jodi are in North Carolina. But looking at the 1998 pictures, I see do someone who made both 1998 and 2008.

Tony Airaghi at 1998 Pig Pickin’

Tony Airaghi at 2008 Pig Pickin’

This event has always been dog friendly, but this year was the very first time I contributed to the pack. Jimmie accompanied me! I was pleased with his attendence. With a few infractions involving interest in the garbage or some of the dead opossums (a staple), he was well behaved. Poor Henry’s back foot is still weak, so I felt it was best to keep him away from all the other dogs and excitement.

Jimmie (on left) playing with some other dogs

Most of the time, Jimmie just chilled around me (those are my feet)

Last year, I got a lot of photos of the pig chopping process. This year, I went ahead and took a short video:

The food has consistently stayed delicious for a decade now and the party is always a fun time. I’ll part with a few more pictures:


Mavis Yawns

I thought Charlie looked especially manly holding his Kahlua White Russian

A brief rainstorm (it did not stop the party)

Roasting marshmallows

Plenty of more pictures from the Pig Pickin’ 2008 are up on my Flickr site.

June 30, 2008 at 11:58 pm 2 comments

links for 2008-06-30

June 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm 3 comments

Rollerblading Radford Riverway

As I mentioned before, Tony Airaghi and I have a long standing tradition of rollerblading the Huckleberry Trail. We decided to mix it up a bit. We went rollerblading last Thursday, but instead of the usual Huckleberry Trail, we drove down to Radford and tried out the Radford Riverway Trail. What’s our verdict?

The Radford Riverway Trails are AWESOME for rollerblading!

Here are some features the Radford Riverway has over the Huckleberry Trail:

1) The Radford Riverway… has a river. It’s absolutely beautiful to skate next to.
2) The Radford Riverway has water fountains!
3) The Radford Riverway has bathrooms!
4) The Radford Riverway pavement is new and smooth, providing a very easy skate.

Now the Huckleberry does have more mileage (11.0 round trip as opposed to 6.4 round trip) and the Huckleberry hills are significantly steeper, so it is definitely the superior workout.

But as far as enjoying a summer evening, Tony and I found the Radford Riverway to be a pleasant vehicle. We parked at Bisset Park, bladed up to Sundell Drive and back and then we went along the river to the Dedmon Center and back. One of the nice surprises was getting to eat ripe mulberries. Very delicious.

I didn’t have my camera with me, but I did have my trusty LG enV:

Look at that beautiful pavement… and there is a RIVER!

River from a Bird Observation Deck

Additional Links
Map of Radford Riverway

June 29, 2008 at 2:14 pm 2 comments

Meeting Oranjello

Last weekend, I finally got to meet my sister’s new kitten, Oranjello. You can read more about him on my sister’s blog here and here. He is cute and fluffy and…extremely playful. He had to get reprimanded a few times for his particular style of play.

Oranjello attacks my mother

Oranjello attacks Carolyn

Oranjello attacks a toy mouse

Oranjello attacks ME!

Currently there are no other Oranjellos out there in the Flickr community. So if you covet more pictures of him, the Flickr global tag hooks you up exclusively with my sister’s kitten. I can’t pull that stunt with “jimmie” and “henry”. I can’t even pull it with “stench”. The other names considered for the kitten would not have produced an original tag either.

Score one for unique names!

June 29, 2008 at 7:56 am 4 comments

Rowing Lake Ridge Park

Memorial Day Weekend (I know over a month ago!) I went up to my parents’ house. Saturday night, I stayed up until the wee wee wee hours of the morning chatting with my father and my brother. I finally went to bed near dawn and a measly two hours later, I got a call on my cell phone. It was Kipp.

“Hey Vicky, do you want to go to Mass with me this morning?” he asked.

“No.” I said.

I was too tired to even think about feeling guilty about choosing sleep over God and the karmic repercussions of such a decision (That last sentence has an impressive mixture of Catholic guilt, superstition and Hinduism all jumbled together in one).

When I did get up that afternoon, I decided to celebrate this great Earth and all my blessings in a manner which is more meaningful to me. I decided to do something outside. I often say, “Mountains are my favorite Mass.” In Occoquan, Virginia, there are no mountains. But there is something comparable– renting a rowboat at Lake Ridge Park.

I’m not sure what about rowing appeals to me so much. It is the rhythm you get into with the oars? Is the beauty of all the landscape? Is it seeing wildlife like herons and baby geese? Or maybe, just maybe, there is something to the Aquatic Ape Theory after all.

Scenery at Lake Ridge Park

Other rowers at Lake Ridge Park

Aww… A family of geese

A taste of home – Blooming Mountain Laurel lined the shoreline

You best appreciate this heron picture. Do you know how many pictures I had to take of those bloody things to even get this blurry shot?!?!

Whatever it is, rowing is very cathartic to me. It cleanses my mind. It gives me clarity and it makes me just so thrilled to be alive. And do you know the one thing that makes such an experience even better?

Sharing it with a great friend!


Jimmie watching canoers!

Aww…. The wittle puppy is worn out.

More pictures of the Lake Ridge Park outing are available on my Flickr site.

Lake Ridge Park Marina
12350 Cotton Mill Drive
Woodbridge, VA 22192
(703) 494-5288


$10/2 hrs

$16/3 hrs
$12/2 hrs
$8/1 hr

Paddle Boats

$8/1 hr
$5/half hr

June 27, 2008 at 3:17 pm 4 comments

links for 2008-06-26

  • Bahahahaahahahaha! This is a story by my friend and old boss, Mandy. It is a hilarious tale about her son and a booger. Enjoy!
    (tags: booger)

June 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

Rhodo Photos by Tony

In February, I posted some Mount Roger pictures by my friend Tony Airaghi. The very last picture I shared, he was experimenting with the color accent feature of his camera. On our recent trip, Tony once again put that feature to use on Mount Rogers- this time to take pictures of the rhododendron blooms. I love what he ended up with:

Long live the color accent mode!

June 26, 2008 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Bloom Compare: Mount Rogers

Here are three pictures taken at Rhododendron Gap at Mount Rogers. The first was by me on June 7, 2008. The second one was by Nick from the Roanoke Outdoor and Social Club on June 14, 2008. The last one was taken by PassionPhish on June 16, 2008.

June 7, 2008 – All green

June 14, 2008 – And now there is pink (Photo by Nick)

June 16, 2008 – Still pink (Photo by PassionPhish)

June 25, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

How Fast Can I Post About Mount Rogers?!?

Okay. Been busy. Been real busy. And I promise to be busy for the rest of this month. But, I do need to revel in how awesome Mount Rogers was. So let’s see how fast I can get through this.

Time: 9:25 PM.

Our Crew
This year, we had 5 people in our crew. Tony Airaghi and Paul Ely went up Friday night. Meanwhile, Bill C, PassionPhish and I (oh yeah and Jimmie) hiked up on Saturday.

Our crew – Bill, PassionPhish, Jimmie and Me. (Photo by PassionPhish)

Saturday afternoon, we joined up with Paul and Tony at the campsite.

Paul blows on the fire while PassionPhish and Bill watch

It seems I pick up a food souvenir from every hiking partner. When I pack an avocado, I think of Tony Airaghi. When I pack an orange, I think of Mike E. And now, whenever I pack a big block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, I’ll think of PassionPhish. That was by far the most addictive dish (and we had smores ingredients with us!!!!). I could not get enough of that cheese. And when it got warm… it looked nasty, but it was even MORE delicious.

We were a little early in the bloom cycle for the rhododendrons. But that was good news because it meant the Roanoke Outdoor and Social Club, who was hiking the following weekend, got to see the peak blooms!

As we hiked to camp via the Pine Mountain Trail, I said to my companions, “Well… maybe by tomorrow they’ll open up a little more.” I was just being optimistic. I didn’t really believe there would be much of a difference between Saturday and Sunday, but there was! We hiked the same trail back and lo and behold there was a stunning difference.

Second Day Blooms

Second Day Blooms

Baby ponies were as cute as usual.


Okay. Well, I just recently watched a recent Jessica Piscitelli story on YouTube where she describes the fear she felt one camping trip when she heard a “bear”.

I had a moment of my own at Mount Rogers. In the middle of the night I woke up and could hear a bunch of coyotes yelping around to each other. They seemed awfully loud, so in my mind they were pretty close. I never reached the point where my fear had me call out to my companions. But I definitely laid awake a while, wide-eyed, monitoring the situation. And actually, I was not afraid for me. I was worried this vicious pack of coyotes would decide that Jimmie was particularly appetizing. And what was my beloved dog doing during this imminent attack? He was curled up at my feet, sound asleep, oblivious of any danger. And perhaps the dog knew best because I never heard any more from the coyotes.

When we were on Wilburn Ridge, we walked single file southbound on the Appalachian Trail. Suddenly a giant buzzing cloud passed to our right. It was so substantial and so loud, it didn’t seem real.

“Was that–?” Thomas uttered.

I pointed and said, “Bees?”

The cloud continued its way south. Suddenly the swarm took an abrupt left turn, right in to a couple of northbound hikers who promptly started doing a skin-crawling jig and swatting session. Alas, the couple did get stung. In retrospect, I wish that I had yelled out something, but I was so dumbfounded at the bees, I really did not digest the danger.

The two northbound hikers, after their bee attack

Emetophobe No More
Saturday evening, Paul and I were chatting with the father of the next camp over. The father is a mountaineer. Last year he climbed McKinley and this year he will be climbing Siula Grande. His stories were just fascinating, but as he talked I did notice something peculiar behind him. One of his young sons fell ill by the campfire. At first, I thought the kid was just spitting. The second wretch, it became clear it was not saliva exiting his lips. And by the third bout I interrupted the father and pointed.

“Uh…. your boy is sick.”

That boy went to bed shortly after that and the next day he was up and at ’em, climbing rocks and looking cute. So all ended well.

Which would not have been the case 7 years ago. That incident would have easily sent me in a tailspin. I would have spent the rest of the weekend worrying and thinking about all the germs on my hands. I may have cried and wanted to go home immediately. Whereas now, I can sit around the same fire, listen to stories and cook smores. So all ended well.

See all better already! Nothing to worry about!

Sunset and Smores
The seven-year old daughter of our mountaineer neighbor was not afflicted by her brother’s illness, so Tony, Paul and I spent a lot of time with her. We were the first people to expose her AND her mountaineer father to smores. I’m not sure if the father cared for the concoction or not, but the daughter asked for seconds! I think we may have also taught her another lesson. At dusk, Tony, Paul and I were heading to a rock on the Lewis Fork Trail to watch the sunset.

“Why would you want to watch a sunset?” the little girl asked.

So with permission from her parents, we took her with us.

Tony, Nikola and Paul wait for the sunset.

The colors and views were absolutely gorgeous. I can’t be certain, but I think she may understand the appeal now. 🙂

Sunset at 8:42 PM EST

Sunset at 8:55 PM EST

This was the third June in a row where I’ve made a trip down to Mount Rogers. I don’t intend for the streak to break. It’s a great trip and I will look forward to next year!

More pictures of our Mount Rogers trip can be found on my Flickr set as well as PassionPhish’s Flickr set.

Time: 11:27 PM

June 24, 2008 at 10:28 pm 6 comments

links for 2008-06-23

June 23, 2008 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

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