Posts filed under ‘Andy B’

Not So Camouflaged Humour

Greetings from Wichita, Kansas!  In our social group, we often repeat lines from movies and TV Shows.  Lines from The Office, Seinfeld, Office Space, Super Bad, and a little bit of The Flight of the Conchords all make it into circulation.  The references are pretty fun and they don’t really get old.  Tonight I have two tales of repetitive humour that doesn’t age as well. 

In high school, my friend Jeremy decided to have a yard sale.  After posting a series of signs around his neighborhood, it started to rain so he had to move everything to the garage.  Parked in the garage was some classic, restored car that belonged to Jeremy’s father.  I can’t remember the make.  Anyway, throughout the day, Jeremy said a number of shoppers would come in and scope out the inventory and then make a joke, “How much for the [car]?  Heh heh heh.”

Jeremy reported that each comedian seemed rather pleased with his joke and had no idea that many, many others said the exact same thing earlier in the day.

And now I have a contemporary memory!  A couple of weeks ago, I used a Gap gift card to buy myself a pair of camouflaged pants.  This increases my already formidable inventory of drab green garments.  I am quite pleased with them and the ratio of the frequency I’ve worn them versus the frequency I’ve washed them may be disturbing to some readers.  So moving on…


New pants, pictured in a hotel bathroom in Wichita, Kansas

Almost instantly, Sean starting cracking jokes.  Stuff like, “Where are your legs?  I can’t see your legs.”  I figured it was Sean being Sean.

This past weekend, I went to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit friends and watch the LSU-VT slaughter.  There, a friend a whole 2 1/2 hours away, made a similiar comment about my pants.

So Monday, I fly to Wichita.  I’m 1000 miles away from home now.  I walk into the hotel and run into a colleague from Texas who promptly announces, “Vicky, I can only see you from the waist up!”

Apparently, camouflage pants are amusing nation-wide.  If you feel this is a tidbit of wit you’d like to utter, never fear.  I remain undeterred!  I expect to wear the pants frequently this fall.  If our paths cross, you’ll get your chance.

That is, if you can see me!

September 12, 2007 at 12:44 am 21 comments

Lessons from Birthday #1

Back from our full weekend.  Saturday was Ali’s first birthday party.  We had a really good time, but the experience proved to be educational as well.  Time is scarce, so here a few of the lessons from the party.

Some Instincts Humans Are Born Without…
For example- the love of birthday cake.  My love of sweets is so ingrained, I just assumed it was innate.  Little Ali proved otherwise.  She didn’t realize what a wonderful treat cake was at first.


Ali scared of the mysterious object

Eventually Ali got the hang of it.


Eating with her mother

Before we know it, Ali will a full-blown sweet master like little Gwyn


Gwyn has long mastered the art of endulging on sweets

…But We Do Have Some Animal-Like Tendencies Afterall
When a pinata broke, the kids swarmed and looked very much like a pack of hyenas.


Children descend on the bounty

Bubbles Enchant Kids…
A bubble generating machine entertained the kids for hours.


Marissa closes in on a bubble

Gwyn enchanted by all the bubbles


Penn teaches an apprentice how to punch bubbles

…Adults Not So Much
Lud and Sean were able to carry on a seemingly somber conversation, despite being surrounded by bubbles.


Sean and Lud do not even acknowledge the magical bubbles around them.

Even Grandpas Love Turtles…
Ali’s paternal grandfather braved a sporadic stream of defensive pee for a picture of a turtle next to his turtle tattoo.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tgaw/528688031/in/set-72157600305933020/
Chuck Vandervort’s turtle tattoo… and an actual turtle

…And Even Grownups Like Toys
Many of the adults could not resist playing with some of the toys set out for the kids.


Andy masters multi-tasking by bouncing a ball on a racquet and holding his beer

Being a Supervisor is Tough Work…
While Brian and Jodi struggled to move the swing for pinata play, Lud kept a watchful managerial eye.


Lud looks skeptical of Jodi and Brian’s strategy

…But Elmo Takes the Cake (Somewhat Literally)
A stuffed Elmo appeared to have the toughest job of the day.  Here he poses at the end of the event, littered with icing.


This Elmo has seen better days.

Everyone else, including Brian and Jodi, made it through the day without looking nearly as frazzled as Elmo.  It proved to be a wonderful party and quite a treat to attend. 

All my pictures from Ali’s First Birthday Party are available on my Flickr site.

June 3, 2007 at 10:41 pm 2 comments

Sentimental Text Messages

I need to clean out the Inbox of my cell phone.  While I was at it, I thought I would highlight some of the messages that have stood the test of time and, to provide a little glimpse into my soul, why they’ve been saved for so long.

Henry’s Poor Navigation (or Jimmie’s Good Aim)

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Jul 20 [2005], 9:53 AM

Jimmie peed on Henry’s head

This message has the honor of being the oldest one saved on my phone.  I’m not sure why I’ve kept it so long.  I think I like the story potential.  Say a girlfriend comments on a romantic gesture of her spouse.  I can compete with that. 

“Oh my husband’s romantic too,” I can claim, “Take a look at some of the messages he leaves me!”

This particular message’s story potential went up immensely last summer when I received a very similiar text message:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Jun 16 [2006], 5:48 PM

Jimmie peed right on henry’s head

I’ve spoken before about Henry’s inability to learn.  Navigating around a urine stream seems to be another lesson that alludes him.

Andy and the Naked Fat Man

From: Andy B
Sent: Oct 20 [2005] 5:24 PM

I picked up your CD – I will have it at larrys if you dont make it ill give it to sean

I saved this because it reminds me how sweet Andy is.  The CD he is referring to is Bloodhound Gang’s Hefty Fine CD.  Typically when a CD I covet comes out, I’ll tell Sean and he’ll pick it up for me the next time he goes to the CD store.  I’ve secured many a NOFX CD that way.  Well this time the plan backfired.  When I submitted my seemingly innocent request to Sean, he balked.

“No!  Are you kidding me?!?  Have you seen the cover?  It’s disgusting– I don’t want to be seen buying that!”

He pulled up the cover on the Internet and sure enough, it’s not the most pleasing image to the eye.   Basically it is a large naked man sitting in a cardboard box (Click here to see for yourself).

The afternoon of the Virginia Tech-Miami game, work was sparsely populated and filled with people leaving early (as is typical for Thursday night games).  Andy was about to leave work and talking about last minute preparations for our tailgate and he mentioned he was stopping by Target.

“Oh you’re stopping by Target?” I said, “There’s a CD I want, do you mind picking it up for me?”

Now, I would rank Andy as more religious than I.  I would rank Andy as more conservative than I.  I would certainly peg Andy as an individual who would prefer to not look at naked fat men.  So in my mind, as I telling him the album title, I was already finding amusement imagining Andy innocently walking down to the music section of Target with the usual spring in his stride.  I can see him navigating down the inventory to “B’s” and suddenly spotting the CD he committed to buy.  It was going to be hilarious.

But there was a kink in the plan.

“Sure,” Andy said, “Let me pull it up real quick so I know what I’m looking for.”

Before I could think of a means to distract him, the album covered was displaying on his screen.

“OH, NO WAY IN HELL!!!!” Andy exclaimed.

I accepted my defeat… and then suddenly about an hour later I got that text message.  It turns out Andy went ahead and picked up the CD anyway– even though he found the cover so distasteful.  I still find that purchase touching.   

Andy’s followup message is also saved and explains how he managed such a feat:

Fr: Andy B
Sent: Oct 25 [2005] 5:26 PM

I held the cover down and set it on the cashier counter like it was ledmans

Sean Remembers Grandma Turnock

From: ICE Sean
Sent:  May 6 [2006] 5:45 PM

I bet you a dollar on sinister minister winning 

Sean was in Charlotte visiting the Vandervorts while I was still in Blacksburg.  It was right before the Kentucky Derby when I got that message and my heart still melts to read it. 

When I was younger, my grandmother would have a Kentucky Derby party at her house.  A number of her lady friends, including Rebecca Randolph, would come over and everyone, regardless of generation, would pick a horse and bet a dollar.  Every year I talk about how I want to get something similiar going as an hommage and every year I never quite make it happen.  This particular day, I had forgotten the Derby was even on, until Sean sent his text message already betting me a dollar.  I quickly pulled up the Internet and picked a horse of my own and sent my bet to Sean through text message as well.  Both of our horses lost, but that didn’t matter, for that day even though Sean was in a totally different state, he kept my grandmother’s memory alive and well.

Sean Needs Help (Cleaning Up Diarrhea)
I was at the beach in 2005 and Sean was still in Blacksburg when I received this gem:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Aug 4 [2005] 12:37 AM

Henry spray pooped all over the computer room. 

I laughed and I’m sure I expressed my condolences to poor Sean.  And I filed this away as another romantic message I could taunt my girlfriends with.  What woman wouldn’t envy such sentiment?

Little did I know this message was going to get better.  I was driving home from Delaware and was nearing home.  My arrival was imminent when I got this message:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Aug 6 [2005] 11:22 AM

Henry’s diarrhea is still on the floor.  I did not leave it for you to clean up but I do need help with how to clean it.

I can laugh now at this one.  Check the timestamps– he left diarrhea on the floor for two days!  A lot of questions come to mind.  Did he keep on using the computer room?  What did Henry think of his work being preserved?  I certainly wasn’t laughing, however, when I got home and I was having to saturate dried diarrhea with Resolve in order to seperate it from the carpet fibers.

Jay Dupes Vicky From Hawaii
Earlier this year, Sean and I traveled to Boston.  It was cold and rainy when we arrived.  I sent a text message to my brother saying something along the lines of “Greetings from Boston.  It is cold and rainy here.”  A little while later, my brother responded:

From: Jay
Sent: Oct 11 [2006] 9:10 PM

Salutations from hawaii its  rainy and cold here too 

“Wow!” I thought and was about to tell the others that Hawaii was no different.  Suddenly my phone vibrated again.

From: Jay
Sent: Oct 11 [2006] 9:11 PM

Sike 

Sean Breaks 90
Got this one this past summer:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Aug 19 [2006] 6:02 PM

I shot my best score ever today!  Broke 90 for the first time.  89!  I am so excited! 

Sean’s referring to his golf game.  I kept this because I can relate to his happiness.  When I finished my RATC patch and when I got up my very first 14er, I commemorated the event via a text message to Sean.  I know how excited I am at those moments when I key the news in and I bet Sean was even more excited when he wrote that message to me.  And that makes me happy.

Sean and Vicky Think Alike
Finally, a message from Sean when I told him my favorite part of one of his websites:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Sep 20 [2006] 7:26 PM

THANK YOU!  You are the first to recognize it.  I was so disappointed until you said that!

Sean and I do have seperate interests, seperate hobbies and a lot of evenings we go our own ways.  But, every now and then I get a reminder that despite our differences, our minds still work similiarly.   Humor can fall in that category too.  There are some things that are downright hilarious to Sean and I that barely solicit a giggle from others.  If any of you have heard either of us try to relay the ill-fated “Dumping Turds” story, you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

Anyway, I’ve kept this message because even though he golfs and I hike, or I’m in Delaware and he’s home or I’m at home and he’s in Charlotte or even though we have differing opinions on dog diarrhea disposal…. we still see, appreciate and talk about a lot of the same things.  We still have a common ground. 

Heck at the very least, we’ll always have text messaging.  🙂

January 31, 2007 at 1:31 am 5 comments

Wake Forest and Satellite Navigation

Yesterday, Andy B, Sean, Mike E, Larry Bowman and I traveled to Winston-Salem to watch the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest game. We met a number of people down there, including Bret, Phifer, Jason, Steph, Ben Harden and Keith Phelps. Through the years, we have been quite accustomed to the facilities at Larry’s house. It was eye opening to see how others, who don’t have access to the same stationary resources we do, have architected their tailgates.

From a letter written to my cousin Adam (who’s in Iraq) dated today (11/19/2006):

… We arrived around noon and set up our modest card table and our collapsible cloth chairs. Our food was different than normal. At home games, we do elaborate smoked meats. Just the week before, Sean sent three hours the night before the game, preparing stuffed jalapeño peppers. This game we showed up with a sandwich tray and an assortment of chips.

The other people in our lot had more impressive arrays. Some brought full-sized grills. I even watched a man stir a big vat of batter (for frying) with– I kid you not– an oar. A rowing oar. That is how much batter he was preparing!

We had a humble little TV with [a $10 antennae] to get the Michigan-Ohio State game. We saw a number of people who brought giant flat screens with them (and [sometimes] a generator to [power] them). A lot of people had a satellite dish with them.

The party across from us actually had custom fittings installed in their van to hold up a high-def plasma TV in the back. An [adjacent] truck had fancy welded hardware attached to it to hold up the satellite dish.

(FYI– there were advantages to our TV getting antennae feed– we got to see touchdowns and interceptions five seconds ahead of all the others).

All those satellites did prove to be helpful to us though.

After dark, we approached the stadium and noted the tickets were for the West stands.

“Which way is west?” someone asked.

During his day, my grandfather [a navigator during WWII and Korea on B-29s] used a number of navigation techniques. He’d make use of the radio signals for his LORAN system. Sometimes he used the same celestial navigation the early sailors would have used or sometimes he would use dead reckoning and plot the direction and distance traveled from a known point.

Our party of slightly inebriated fans did not have access to LORAN, had no idea the bearing we were traveling and certainly had no idea what to do with the few stars we could see past the bright stadium lights. But we did have access to something that proved just as helpful as a compass.

“Well,” [Andy B] said, “All the satellite dishes were pointing that way and the dishes point southwest, so west is there.”

His observation proved correct. Who needs the moon or the North Star, when we have DirecTV dishes?

Having been involved in geocaching, I found it amusing there is a form of satellite navigation that does not require a GPS unit! 🙂

November 19, 2006 at 10:34 pm Leave a comment

Memories of Meredith – Still Going Strong

In June, my friend Meredith moved from nearby Christiansburg, all the way to California. Here’s a journal excerpt about her going away party. It’s from my June 25, 2006.

When we first arrived – Bill and I walked over to a large grounp standing outside watching one of their friends swinging wildly at a pinata.

I realized I had forgotten the card for Meredith — so I made a trip back to my car. As I walked down the gravel driveway in the dark dusk, I could hear Meredith’s voice above all the others. It made me smile– at her party and her moment, she was shining. However, as I got further and further away from the party and closer to my car, her voice started to fade away. My smile dropped, realizing the same thing may happen to my memories of her. They are loud and clear now and prevalent above the others — but eventually they may fade away.

Well, five months has past and so far so good. My memory of Meredith is still going strong, especially this past week! It seems all week I had little brushes with a Meredith Memory:

  • Friday
    Phifer organized a surprise birthday dinner for Bret. So at 10 PM, Bill, Andy, Phifer, Bret, Larry, Lindsay, Sean and I convened on Kabuki for the traditional gorging on high sodium foods. Kabuki did make me think of Meredith as I accompanied her there often and I believe we had two seperate going away feasts there.
  • Saturday
    Saturday was the tailgate, so I had some wine– a cabernet sauvignon. It was Meredith who helped fuel my love of wine– taking me to Villa Appalachia and inviting me to wine tasting parties at her house. Plus I learned I liked cabernet sauvignon by copying Meredith. At restaurants I would cheat and just order whatever she ordered! 🙂
  • Monday
    Monday on a whim, I took off early and spent the afternoon hiking with Mike E. Daylight is scarce nowadays. Luckily I was able to expose Mike to a nearby gem– the Falls Ridge Nature Preserve in Ellett Valley. Meredith’s memory is strong there. She was the one who first introduced me to the spot. She and I visited on a number of occassions– including the day before my wedding (it proved to be a great way to relax before nuptials)! Frequently while Mike and I explored yesterday, I’d mention Meredith. “Meredith and I once climbed to that rock!”, “Meredith and I walked down that way.”, etc.
  • Tuesday
    Today, Mike E, Tony Airaghi and I tried out Sushi Factory. It’s a new sushi place in University Mall. Once again, I thought briefly of Meredith. She was there when I first tried sushi and she organized a number of the subsequent sushi gatherings I attended.

So perhaps if I keep on eating, drinking wine and hiking– Meredith’s memory will never fade away.

Unless, of course, I take the wine drinking part of the equation a little too seriously. 🙂

November 14, 2006 at 8:35 pm 2 comments

Journal Except: September 11th

With a number of the networks airing their original 9/11 coverage again tomorrow, I thought it would be a fitting year to share my 9/11 journals. 

Entry from Journal on 9/11/2001
Reactions and Church

9-11-2001

Today is September 11th, 2001.  It’s the eight year anniversary of [a negative event in my life].  It’s been so long now.  It feels like a dream.  It feels like it doesn’t matter anymore.

Especially today.

Tonight I walk my dogs and for the first time in my life I can look up and see the sky my grandparents would have seen growing up.

A sky completely absent of aircraft.

Instead I saw two shooting stars.

The first one I made a wish as custom (or hope) encourages.

I wished, “Please help those people and their families.”

The news didn’t seem all that big to me.  When I came into work, I found Jaye Snidow was in.  Two evenings ago, he had to rush his wife to the emergency room.

Chris Mullins and Jaye have adjacent desks.  Chris was perusing a news web site.

I asked, “Jaye, how’s your wife?”

He said, “She’s doing much better now.  She’s home and might be returning to work this afternoon.”

“What happened?!?” I asked in regards to Jaye’s wife.

“A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.”  Chris Mullins answered.

I didn’t know what to say to his unsolicited answer.

“Oh…” I said and then redirected my question to Jaye, “What was wrong with your wife?!?”

It just didn’t seem like a big deal.  I guess I figured it was like the plane hitting the 14th Street bridge.  The bridge is still there and heck people survived that crash.

Then Chris Martz, Larry and I went into the conference room to see Martz’s first training session.  Mid-way through we had a technical difficulty.  We took a break and when we emerged from the room practically the rest of the company sat and stood in disbelief in front of a TV set in the lunch room.

Everyone was in shock.  Andy B’s sunburned face would occassionally turn from the TV with wide eyes– almost looking to others’ reactions for approval.  Jaye Snidow stood in silence and periodically shook his head.  It was as if he wasn’t allowed to express sorrow or fear so he settled for disgust.  Marvin sometimes lowered his head and his fingers would graze over his closed eyelids underneath his glasses.  Amy just sat, silent and dumbfounded.  At one point, Shane Kennedy grabbed a nearby newspaper ad and started writing.  Chris Martz’s usually medium complexion turned pale.  He’s supposed to fly out Thursday.

Larry Bowman disappeared for sometime, he even missed lunch.  When he returned I asked, “Hey what happened to you?”

“I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to go hug my daughter,” he said.

Stacy sent an email saying he was okay after the plane hit the Pentagon.  That affected me a bit.  I didn’t even consider he would be harmed.  But now that the notion crossed my mind as a possibility (even though Stacy already declared his well being) I wanted Stacy down here.  I wanted to see him and I wanted him to get out of that target for good.  I’m glad he is okay.

I went to a church service today at St. Mary’s.

It’s funny.  I never considered myself as an especially patriotic person.  I mean, I love my country and all, but I don’t get all emotional seeing the flag, hearing our anthem, etc.

Today at church the opening hymn was America the Beautiful.  When they annonced that, I suddenly got choked up.

I never noticed before but the words to that song are excellent…and reasonable.

I’m mentally and physically and emotionally tired.  I think I will go to sleep.

Notes on a Piece of Paper I Wrote at Work on 9/11/2001
Resentment of Life Going On

9/11/2001

I am in a meeting, watching Chris Martz debut his … training.  My heart beats and my lungs breath.

Meanwhile on the streets of Manhattan, hundreds perhaps thousands, a “horrific” amount says the mayor of New York, of corpses lie buried and crushed under steel and rubble and suffocating grey dust.  Under what used to be the World Trade Center.

Here life goes on and we worry about trivial things like password prompts and the loss of love.  We have that luxury in our workplace.  The people of the Pentagon no longer have that.  Instead they have destruction and flames and evacuation to contend with.

But here, life goes on.

Entry from Journal on 9/12/2001
Envy of Dogs and Reading the Passenger List

9-12-2001

Tonight I sat on the floor of my bedroom and watched, dumbfounded still, the television reports.  Jimmie kept approaching me wanting attention and I kept denying his bid for affection.  But he was persistant.  Finally I lost my patience and I pushed him far away.  He laid down and looked sad.  I felt bad.  I started to pet him and scratch his chest as he rolled on his back and held up his legs.  I laid down next to him and kept petting him on the neck and ears.  He looked at me with beautiful brown eyes and I thought:

“How can you explain this to a dog?  How can I make him understand?”

Although I still think if they were on the streets of New York, both dogs would feel the same fear as their human counterparts, here, now in Blacksburg, they can’t comprehend the loss and the pain.  And for that, I envy them.

At 6 AM this morning, Stench woke me up.  This, unfortunately, is becoming a daily ritual.  As I stumbled up, I noted the television was silent.   I closed in on it — as I always do without vision aids and as I have been finding myself needing to do even with glasses and contacts.  The TV was scrolling the names and ages of the people who were on the planes.  The silence made it all the more eerie.  I found myself uttering, “Oh my gawd” outloud as I watched this list slowly migrate up the screen.  [My exclamation] woke Sean up.

Later at work, I read a list on CNN.COM.  One flight it looked like a family of three perished… including a 4 year old.  A lot of passengers were senior citizens.

How can you look into the eyes of a 4 year old or the precious folded skin of a 77 year old and continue with their demise?

I went to work today.  I arrived an hour late.  I just couldn’t wake up.  Reality deterred me.  I even turned off the alarm clock.

I expected the … parking lot to be sparsely populated, even at 10 o’clock– but it appeared I was one of the last to arrive.

On one hand, I think it’s good so many continued on with life.  Showing “them” that we are okay and we are going to presevere.  Much like what I tried to do eight years ago.  Show that we are survivors.

But today, I felt a bit detached.  This whole tragedy still doesn’t feel real.  I haven’t had time to let it sink in to penetrate me.  Every now and then I feel like I should cry, that it would feel better to do so.  But I never did.

Those planes crashing into the buildings, all the deaths.  It doesn’t feel real.  It feels like a dream.

Entry from Journal on 9/13/2001
Silent Lunch, Patriotism and a Free Cookie

Day 3 after the disaster.  It still doesn’t feel real.  I can close my eyes and see with crisp detail the many images of that second plane colliding into the tower.  But still… it feels fabricated.

Today was the 3rd day in a row we ate lunch in near silence.  Day 1 we ate in a mob around the small TV set up in [the] lunch room.  Yesterday, Larry Bowman, Chris Martz, Bill C and I joined Sean’s regular lunch crew (Sean, John Smith and Colin Wiseley) at Gobblertown.  Independently, Tony Airaghi and Lud and two female co-workers showed up there as well.  A number of tables were pushed together.  We had a very large lunch crowd.  So many people, but it was more quiet than a simple lunch of two.  We all gawked at the TV set even though the reports never fully satiated our need for information.

Why did this happen?  Who really did it?  How many people died?  What were they like?  What were their dreams that will now be unfulfilled?  What kind of person did they want to be?

For the 2nd day in a row, I didn’t want to wake up.  I managed to force myself and got to work only 15 minutes late…I mean later than usual.  Yesterday I was an hour late.

I think part of the problem is we sleep with the news on.  Even when we’re sleeping, we are exposed to the terror and loss.  I don’t consciously notice anything and I don’t recall any negative dreams, but it can’t be a restful sleep.  Like Grandma’s morphine dampened misery the first week in the hospital.

People are displaying American flags everywhere.  We have one outside our cubicle wall.

Never since childhood have I coveted a flag so much.  I want to purchase one promptly.

All over the news you see the best of human nature evolve from the rubble.  Strangers helping strangers, people hugging and crying, everyone wishing each other the best.  Those gestures of generosity are so touching.

Tonight I saw a simple act of kindess, hours from the tragedy, right in my own town.

Sean and I went to Sycamore Deli for supper.  The owner greeted us promptly.

“How are you?” he said.

“The best you can be under the circumstances,” Sean said and the guy agreed.

A TV perched high up played the news of course.

I’m fond of the Sycamore Deli man.  Although he is too young to be mine, he reminds me of an uncle.  With his beard and vibrant demeanor, he reminds me of the Uncle Mark’s and the Uncle Timmy’s of my youth.  This man is always friendly and upbeat to us.  I’m glad we give him our business and I trust his food.

Tonight he rang us up and he said, “I accidently grabbed 3 cookies.  You two can split the third.”  He glanced up at the TV and noted, “We can all use an extra cookie this week.”

It was such a simple gesture, but its impact on me was astounding.  It was so nice of him.  Another time I got choked up.

In fact, I was so flustered with gratitude, I said “Thank you” and started to leave.

“Wait, we need our food.” Sean reminded me.

“If you want to pay $16 for a soda and a cookie, that’s fine with me!”  the Sycamore Deli man laughed.

He’s a very good man.  His business seems frequently empty.  I hope it never goes under.  I would hate to miss out on what has become a weekly encounter with this man and his great food.  Not to mention his awesome chocolate chip (& cinnamon?) cookies.

These cookies are delicious, but I bet this man could have offered us an extra stick of gum and the action would still be as meaningful.

Last night I woke up at 4:30 AM and watched the news for a while before falling back to sleep.

This morning I woke up and the news was still on.  I stood close to the TV and squinted to see the dusty cityscape without my glasses.  The whole morning and scene was just like yesterday.

I felt like I was in the movie “Groundhog Day.”

Well time for bed.

Entry from Journal on 9/14/2001
Thunderstorm Warnings and Camping

9-14-2001

Another day and apparently no rescued survivors. 

It’s funny.  We now have an advanced weather monitoring system to warn the midwest of an approaching tornado.  We have flash flood warnings, hurricane warnings and tropical storm warnings.  Heck we even scroll messages during prime time and transmit messages on the Emergency Broadcast System for thunderstorm warnings.  Not actual thunderstorms, but the potential of one.

These are acts of nature, acts of God, acts beyond our control.  Yet we can give people advanced notice.

But we weren’t able to warn people about objects we built and man.

I’m going camping with Carolyn and Jay tomorrow night.  It’s a good weekend to get away from it all and absorb the week’s events.  It’s especially a good weekend to spend with family.  I look forward to the Sawyer siblings having another adventure… like skiing earlier this year.

Entry from Journal on 9/17/2001
Marquee Mottos and Memorial Service

9-17-2001

Tomorrow it will be a week from the attack.  It’s amazing.  I look around at America.  What I see is remarkably similiar to my life eight years ago.

Everywhere fast food marquees declare inspirational messages:

“We Will Overcome”

“Always Remember”

“Never Forget”

These are the same messages I told myself.  How frightened I was of forgetting … That notion seened like the worst thing that could ever happen.

Not it seems like nothing.  “So what?” I think.  I even venture to feel it isn’t part of my life anymore.

Another frequent marquee sign:

“God Bless America”

America has grown close to religion again as I did this time eight years ago.

America’s me.

There are some gas stations or restaurants that don’t have messages of significance.  Just annoncing the specials.  Then there is the Western Sizzler by work.  It went for a combination:

“God Bless America.

11 ounce sirloin $6.95”

On Friday Bowman and I went to the conference room to observe the moment of silence with our co-workers.  We ended up watching a service at the National Cathedral for 45 minutes.

I stood the entire time.  I really don’t see why but my legs started quivering.  I can run 2 miles, but I can’t stand for 45 minutes?

I kept thinking about sitting down, but then I remembered some wisdom from a choir director or CCD teacher.  She was responding to one of my peer’s complaints that kneeling was uncomfortable.

“Jesus died on the cross for you and you can’t even kneel for a few minutes?  Do you think hanging on a cross is comfortable?”

I think about that a lot when religion and discomfort are together.

September 10, 2006 at 8:23 pm 6 comments

Worlds Collide at Larry’s Tailgate!

One thing I enjoy about weddings (besides dancing and the cake, of course) is the “worlds collide” effect. A number of people who all know the bride and groom in different contexts convene together for a common celebration. I like to see extended family and friends mingling together, sharing their memories and antedotes.

This weekend even though Virginia Tech’s bout with Northeastern did not promise to be a nailbiter, it still managed to draw a collision of worlds at Larry’s house. Many different aspects of my life were represented by the people in attendence:

  • My Blacksburg/Tailgate Life – All the normal tailgating people were in attendence. Larry, Ann, Penn, Gwyn, Andy, Bill, Sean, Keith, Jonathan Couch and even new father Brian Vandervort made a surprise appearence!
  • My Hiking Life – My reigning Hiking Buddy, Mike E, was present and he got to converse with my original hiking partner– Tony Airaghi.
  • My Married Life – Both of Sean’s brothers and their significant others came down for the event. That meant 66.66% of my brothers-in-law were in attendence (Carolyn‘s husband, Clint, was the only one missing from this brother-in-law reunion).
  • My QualTrax Life – ZJ Palasz, one of our QualTrax programmers, came in from Virginia Beach with his girlfriend to join our festivities.
  • My NOVA/Camping/Skiing Life – Kipp and Stacy came down for the event. On Friday night I found out that Shannon, Christian, Beth, Wayne and Shehab were going to be in town as well. I extended an invitation and all seven of these individuals from Northern Virginia came to Larry’s tailgate …and all seven of them got to witness a rare “Tipsy Vicky”.

I think these two pictures are a solid representation of the worlds colliding. The first one depicts some of the usual crowd– Me, Larry and Lindsay. The second one is the same shot— only this time, Kipp has made his way into the scene!

And here comes NOVA bursting in! 🙂

More pictures from the Virginia Tech vs. Northeastern Tailgate are available on my website.

September 4, 2006 at 11:36 am 1 comment


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