Posts filed under ‘Christina G’

Cookie Decorating 2008

As I’ve mentioned in previous years, my family has a tradition of making and decorating Christmas cookies the day after Thanksgiving. This year may have been the year my mother has been waiting for. Instead of bloody amputees, BEOTCH Christmas trees or the army of butts we saw in 2007, we actually had an impressive inventory of “nice” cookies. Pretty butterflies, unicorns and ice cream cone cookies outnumbered the typical designs.

This year’s cookies featured butterflies instead of butts!

More pleasantly themed cookies

But, of course, we did have some unique appearances sneak in- DNA, Hydrogen Atoms, geek bunnies, monsters and a Kurt Cobain Cookie.

Monster Bunny, DNA, Hydrogen Atom

Kurt Cobain Cookie– with cigarette!

I tried to make an AT Logo and an American Chestnut Leaf, but both of those ventures didn’t come out well, particular the leaf. When it cooked, the cookie expanded and all my great American Chestnut teeth plumped up and rounded out.¬† So after the oven had its way, I was left with a Chestnut Oak Leaf instead.

Meh. An attempt at an AT Christmas Cookie

2008 was one of our more heavily attended cookie decoratings. This year we had Aaron, Meagan, Jay, Jacqueline, Mom, myself, Carolyn, Ryan Somma, Kipp, Stacy, Louise, Jenn (the bridesmaid I got to escort!), Christina and I think our youngest attendee to date– Oliver!

Stacy, Christina and Louise cut cookies

Meagan, Ryan, Mom, Me, Christina, Stacy, Louise (Photo by ae) – Note if you look at the large version, you can see I have icing on my face!

Louise, Stacy, Kipp decorating cookies

My brother prepares to decorate…by wearing latex gloves!

The youngest attendee – Oliver (shortly before Sunny stole his cookie)

As always, I enjoyed our annual cookie decorating event and I particularly enjoyed ingesting our lovely handiwork.

Additional Pictures
My Cookie Decorating Pictures
Aaron’s Cookie Decorating Pictures

December 7, 2008 at 8:28 pm 4 comments

One Ziplock Bag Meals: Tomato Caprese

Today on Stacy’s blog he links to an article that shares some “one-pot meals” for under $10. Since I’ve been living very minimally the last few months with almost everything I own (including all my pots, pans, plates and bowls) in storage, I was able to provide Stacy with a “one-ziplock bag” meal!

Supper made entirely in a ziplock bag

It’s tomato caprese (tomatoes with mozzarella cheese). Ryan Somma taught me the recipe and I’ve been eating it for supper pretty regularly since August. In fact, I had it last night (ask Matt)!

Ziplock Tomato Caprese

1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese
Olive Oil

1) Rinse tomatoes and if necessary, cut cheese into bite-size chunks
2) Put tomatoes and cheese in ziplock baggie. I try to make relatively equal proportions of cheese and tomatoes
3) Pour in some olive oil (amount is your preference- I like enough to coat everything with just a little leftover at the bottom)
4) Salt and sprinkle oregano to taste
5) Seal bag and mix all ingredients together
6) EAT!!!!

And here is the best part about this meal! It is so easy and convenient that you can do this hiking or camping!!! This meal made an appearance at Assateague this past summer.

P.S. If you do have the luxury of pots and pans and you like Thai food, keep an eye on Christina’s blog! She just started a series of Thai Cooking Lesson videos!

October 17, 2008 at 1:04 pm 9 comments

Nerd Squad!

After Christmas, some of my closest high school classmates all convened in the Washington, D.C. area:

  • Christina came in from Germany with her husband, her nephew and her young son
  • Alex came in from Washington State
  • Brian came in from Texas
  • and then Stacy made the grueling trek from his new home in Chantilly, Virginia. ūüôā

As for me, after Christmas I made my way to my parents house, so I can spend some time having a mini-reunion with my friends.

When I told my brother my plans, he laughed.

“Ahahaha, the Nerd Squad!” he declared.

At first, I think I was a little appalled at the term because I promptly ran to Brian to tattle on what my brother had said.

“Jay called us the nerd squad!!!!”

Brian paused thoughtfully and then said, “Yeah. That sounds about right.”

And you know what? I think we did live up to the name. Here are some of the antics the “Nerd Squad” got into.

  • Watched YouTube videos (such as The Office’s The More You Know series, Man Knocks Himself Out with a Log, Prank Gone Wrong) and shared our favorite xkcd comics.
  • Spent an evening troubleshooting my parent’s LinkSys router so we could have wireless.
  • Test drove trikes at a local bike store.

    Me (foreground) and Alex (background) riding trikes
  • Spent a lot of time playing with our various electronics including Brian’s iPhone and Alex’s iPod Touch. I spent a lot of time on my LG enV, but I failed to make them jealous.
    Me taking pictures for Flickr. Alex plays with my LG enV while his iPod Touch sits nearby. My laptop is in the background. It’s on the wireless network, of course.
  • Spent a day at the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles. I think that in itself is not too nerdy, but we did spend an awful lot of time taking pictures of an old keyboard and marveling about how a computer with 128 kb of memory could be in use into the 1990s.

    Old keyboard– It doesn’t have an @ sign. The horror!

Now, we did do some things that were decidedly unnerdy. We had a delicious lunch at Siam-Classic (Christina’s Mother’s restaurant in Manassas) and Saturday evening, I did spend an evening with Christina’s family watching the Patriots win their last regular season game. Hmm… Christina seems to be the catalyst for non-nerd adventures. ūüôā

Nerds or not, I very much enjoyed seeing my old classmates. I was quite sad Sunday when we all started to part ways and I had to drive home to Blacksburg. Actually, I’m still a bit sad. I had so much fun seeing everyone.

January 3, 2008 at 9:40 am 11 comments

Ingrown Toenails and Lost and Found

Circa fifth grade, our family found two young black labs, later to be named Midnight and Liquorice.¬† Before we claimed ownership, my mother set a good example and placed a “FOUND¬†– TWO BLACK LABS”¬†ad in the local paper.¬† When we took a look at¬†the printed¬†classifieds section, we discovered an ad adjacent to it read, “LOST – TWO BLACK LABS”.¬† It turned out to be a completely different pair of black labs.¬† But, the whole time we ran the ad, we got tons of calls.¬† Not from people who lost black labs, but just people who noticed the similiarity between the entries.

Yesterday, I got to be one of those good doers who reports similiar postings, though through a different medium.¬† After a day of working on-site at Roanoke, I got to pull up my Google Reader and see what was happening among my friends.¬† First up was An American Expat in Deutschland, where Christina asked a question about ingrown toenails.¬† There was nothing new to look at in ClintJCL Photos, but there was some new stuff on ClintJCL’s blog.¬† One of Clint’s posts was¬† HOWTO: Stop Ingrown Toenails.

Now Clint’s post isn’t going to help Christina’s current predictment (Clint selfishly failed to give advice on whether one should see a Fusspfleger, Chirurg, or Hautarzt), so ultimately my observation is just as effective as the black lab sightings in 1985.¬†

But it was still a neat coincidence.

September 7, 2007 at 9:31 am 7 comments

March 12

Happy Birthday to Christina!!!¬† During high school, we used to sing along to¬†Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby” together.¬† Last summer at her brother’s wedding, I discovered us both singing along to Black-Eyed Peas’ “My Humps”.¬† We’re seperated by the whole Atlantic Ocean, but still fancy some of the same songs.¬† I guess some things never change!

Luckily, some things do!¬† If we were back in high school, I would be decorating her locker with condoms.¬† Now that I’m almost 32 and condoms don’t possess the same shock¬†value (very much how naked used to be a dirty word), I’ll settle for this blog post.¬†

So best wishes to Christina and have a wonderful day!  Try not to get taken offguard by any confetti:

Christina surprised by confetti in high school.

March 12, 2007 at 12:56 am 2 comments

Assateague 2006

A little more than a week ago, Christina Geyer, Stacy McMahon, Jay and Jacqueline and I were first arriving on Assateague Island.¬† I was there for less than 24 hours, but packed a lot of activity in the time.¬† Here’s a recap:

Arrival Fanfare
Ponies were waiting for us in the parking lot when we arrived to the campsite.¬† One pony’s genitalia made it very very clear he was a male (and an aroused male at that).¬† Christina did not bat an eye:

“Look, he’s very excited to see you, Vicky!” she said.

It’s a statement we certainly would have uttered in high school.¬† Ah, to feel young again!

Our human companions were significantly less excited to see us.¬† Everyone was so tired and/or miserable that when I announced, “Hey everyone, this is my friend Christina!” the only acknowledgement that I had spoken was an abbreviated grunt from Wayne Howard.¬† ūüôā

Walk on Beach
Shortly after our arrival, Christina, Stacy and I went for a walk along the beach.  We were headed towards a black blob a couple with binoculars thought was a dead pony.  It turned out to be a log.  It was still a nice walk though and Christina spotted some dolphins in the ocean.

Afternoon in the Ocean
A number of us spent the afternoon in the ocean.¬† At one point, it was just me, Erin Jebo Cooper and Carolyn.¬† It reminded me of our water aerobic days!!!¬† When we were all three in Blacksburg we used to attend a class at the Blacksburg Aquatic Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.¬† (Fridays were sometimes followed by Marguerita Night at El Guadeloupes!)¬† We reminisceced briefly about our class….and our traumatic experience where two women trapped us in the sauna, making us hostages in that continual heat.¬† And what weapon did those ladies against us?¬† Nothing but their own naked obesity and a strategic placement in our line of sight.

Quick complaint– there were some idiots fishing right in the middle of the day when the ocean was filled with people.¬† At one point, their fishing line was bisecting our group.¬† We tugged and tugged and tugged on the line–but the fisherman was so oblivious to everything he didn’t even notice.¬† Jerk.

At one point I was trying to tell a story and the rising sea waters kept interrupting me.¬† I spurted and sputtered and coughed and gagged.¬† Finally I told Evan and Carolyn, “It’s hard to look your sexiest in the ocean.”¬† Just moments later I drilled that point home.¬† I dove under a wave and when I came back up, I was greeted by Carolyn’s shrill:

“EWWW! You have snot hanging from your nose!”

I had been wondering just how effective those spray on sunscreens are.¬† Shannon Diaz Katz was able to put that question to rest.¬† She developed a very interesting pattern of skin coloration.¬† There were a few white circles running down her arm, surrounded by tan and burn.¬† You could see exactly where she sprayed the sunscreen…. and exactly where the coverage was missed.

Shehab has the honor of having the most distinct tan line I’ve ever seen.¬† He has a typical farmer’s tan, but he must have worn the exact same¬†style of shirt every¬†day of his life.¬† When he lifted up his shirt sleeve, you can see a very rigid, strict borderline between pale flesh and a deep, enviable tan.¬† The division was so accurate and clear– an artist¬†would need a ruler to recreate it¬†on paper.

Dinner at Sneaky Pete’s
Around dusk, Shehab, Wayne, Shannon, Christian and I headed off the park to go eat at Sneaky Pete’s, a seafood restaurant right across the water from Ocean City.¬† Due to the hour and the crowd, our party was seperated in half and we got to eat on their dining facilities in an old boat.¬† We were baffled by the parking meters in each booth (turns out it is for a charity event) and Shehab wasn’t too pleased with the ongoing selection of Jimmy Buffet music.¬† Other than that, it was a pretty darn good environment for supper.

We tried an interesting shot while we were there.¬† It was hazelnut liquor and citron vodka.¬† It came with a lemon wedge and a packet of sugar.¬† Basically, you put the sugar on the lemon wedge and you bit into it and swished it around.¬† Then you drank the shot.¬† It tasted just like Chocolate Cake.¬† The ingredients didn’t sound like chocolate and with its sickly yellow color, it certainly did not look like chocolate– but¬†sure enough it¬†tasted like chocolate cake.¬† Weird.

I mentioned our party was seperated between two tables.  Shannon, Christian and Shehab were at one table and it was me and Wayne at the other.  I very much enjoyed visting and talking to Wayne.  Through the years, I used to see him at Carolyn/Clint parties, blacklight bowling, the occassional rollerblade on the Huckleberry Trail and a Virginia Tech away game in Philadelphia.  But I think this may have been the first time we really just sat and talked for an extended period of time.

Night Owls
By the time we got back to the island, it was already dark.  I had missed the sunset I had coveted all day, but our meal was well worth it.  Now, unlike the morning, when we arrived back at the campside everyone was abuzz with activity and a second wind.  The evening was filled with great conversations.  Most notably, Carolyn and I chatted with Ryan Somma for quite some time.  Another very enjoyable conversation. 

Birthday Bonfire
Sunday was Christian’s birthday, so at midnight we moved down to the beach for a bonfire!¬† Originally it was intended as a surprise, but it didn’t take long before Christian was well aware of the plan.¬† I’m not sure how the information leaked to him, but in the past¬†I’ve found drunk people tend not to whisper as quietly as they think.¬† ūüôā¬† The bonfire was very nice.¬† Wayne tended to it and took on the ambitious task of burning the “gigalog”.¬† Some of us played with glow sticks.¬† A number of us got to see some shooting stars.¬†

There was one mishap, however.¬† A poor little crab ran into our fire and subsequently cooked himself.¬† The common interpretation is the crab was suicidal.¬† I’m not so sure.¬† I thought I saw the crab run towards the fire and stop.¬† “Wait a second, that’s hot!”¬† Then I saw the crab take a few waddles away from the heat until he was frightened by Doug’s tall stature and fled… right into the fire.¬† Regardless of the crab’s true mental state, I like what Angel has to say to the crab:

“Party foul, dude!”

Midnight Hike
Between 12 AM and 1 AM, a heard a small party discussing a night hike.¬† I was sold on the notion immediately.¬† So Clint, Heather Diaz, Gene and I headed out to the “Life in the Forest” trail.¬† Thanks to Heather and Gene’s headlamps (and not much thanks to a piddly glowstick) we took the trail to a deck that overlooked the marshlands and Sinepuxent Bay.¬† A near full moon hung in the sky above the water.¬†¬†The scenery was spectacular.¬† Dark blue silhouettes of the pine trees and the marshgrass contrasted with the soft blue hues of the night sky and the water.¬† At some places, the water was reflecting the moonlight so vibrantly, it looked like snow.¬† I don’t think pictures would ever do it justice.

Very peaceful, very moving.

We got attacked by some bugs, but it was well, well, well worth it.

Night Swim
When we returned to the bonfire, I heard of another activity of great interest to meРswimming in the ocean!  A number of years ago, Aaron Evans, Ryan Schutt, Stacy and I went swimming at Ocean City at 3 AM.  I remember bobbing with the tides admiring all the lights on the shore.  I remember a fun experience.  Stacy might have different recollections since he cut his head!

Anyway, Shehab and I headed into the ocean, I guess around 2ish?  Doug quickly joined us and later Ryan Somma came in as well.  Although Assateague does not sport all the lights Ocean City does, our adventure was just as beautiful.  Away from the bonfire, the stars were even brighter!  The distinct band of the Milky Way bisecting the sky could not be missed.  Then you had the brightness of the moon and of course the intermittent shooting stars.  I could just stare at that sky and feel free and happy.

Then Doug noticed something!¬† There was some plankton in the ocean that was reacting to our movement.¬† Anytime we moved, little packets would flash green.¬† So as we swam or walked or waved our arms under the water, little trails of green sparkles would follow us.¬† They even reacted to someone blowing bubbles (that was Shehab’s discovery).

So above us, we had the great lights of the¬†formidable universe and all around us, we had the humble lights of one of nature’s smallest creatures.¬† We were surrounded by great visuals.¬† It felt very cinematic.¬† Magical almost.

The End
The moment was less than magical a little later when I was sleeping in a tent with wet clothes and no sleeping bag.  Luckily, sweat pants and my Virginia Tech hoodie did not let me down.  I slept four hours before waking up at 7 AM and starting my long, somber journey home.

Other Recaps and Pictures
My Pictures

Clint’s Pictures

Carolyn’s Recap

Christina’s Recap

Angel’s Pictures

Ian’s Pictures

Christian’s Pictures

Angel’s Recap

Stacy’s Pictures

August 12, 2006 at 12:40 pm 4 comments

Etymology of Vicky’s Vocabulary

And for those of you curious about those Word origins I mentioned below, here is a quick list of some of the words I identified with Carolyn and Stacy:

Supper (From Stacy M)
I say supper because that is what Stacy says and I thought it was endearing. Before high school I always said dinner.

Consolidate (From Carolyn L)
When I use the word consolidate, I think of Carolyn who used it once when organizing her audio tapes.

Chit Chat (From Dad)

Pass Gas (From Dad)

Frivolous (From Dad)
Dad used this word a lot to describe about other people’s complaints about him to the director during bridge tournaments.

Renege (From Dad)
Dad used this a lot in the context of bridge– basically when I told him I would play and then I tried to change our plans. I was reneging on a commitment!

The Good Lord (From Dad)

Christ [as an emphasis to a point ie, “Christ! Even the buzzards thought it stank!”] (From Dad)
Last time I went to confession, I told the priest I use this word a lot, but I wasn’t likely to stop anytime soon. It fits so well in stories, especially when I’m quoting Dad. It’s reminds me too much of Dad to stop at the moment. The priest didn’t seem too concerned– I guess there are bigger sins in the world.

Kibitz (From Bridge)

Follow Suit (From Bridge)

Trump (From Bridge)

Scapegoat (From Christina Geyer)
Even though it was in a Metallica song, I really did not understand and absorb this word until Anthropology class with Christina.

Fret (From Angie H)
Angie once told me not to fret… right before she stole my boyfriend. ūüôā Anyway, I still use that word a lot today.

Of Course [as an explicitive] (From Sean H)
If something unexpected or bad happens, Sean starts his complaint off with “Of course…” Now I do the same and I’ve heard some others picking it up too.

Menstruation (From Carolyn L)
Carolyn blew my mind once in fifth grade when we were watching a commercial and she said, “Mom is that for menstruation?” I didn’t ever use that word before.

Dude (From Tony Airaghi)
Tony used the word a lot in 1998 (In fact I have video footage of him and Brent Walsh doing so). I tend to get mocked when I use this word…. but I still do and probably will for a while.

Like a Bump on a Log [as a description of laziness or uselessness] (from Mom)
Yeah, turns out this isn’t a universal saying! I’ve gotten a few confused looks when I’ve used that phrase in a sentence. In particular, Sean had never heard the phrase before.

Anyway, this list is by no means complete. I’m sure there are plenty of other contributions to my present day vocabulary.

August 11, 2006 at 10:44 pm 2 comments

Bethany Beach

This past weekend, I spent a few days at Bethany Beach.¬† At one point my cousin Jordan asked my Uncle Jonathan, “Why Bethany Beach?”

“The Sawyers have a strong family history here,” Jonathan said.¬† He went on to explain how this was where his parents (my grandparents) took all seven of their children for a two week vacation each summer.

This kept on for the next generation.  When I was a child, different branches of the family convened on the very same beach.  Here is a picture from my childhood days.  Three branches are represented here.  From left to right:

Jennifer (JULIE), Vicky (LOWELL), Adam (MARK), Louise (MARK), Carolyn (LOWELL), Jordan (MARK), Jay (LOWELL)

Now that we are grown and the fleet of great-grandchildren increases each year, the Sawyers continue their way each summer to Bethany Beach. 

I only made it for a couple of days this year.  Here is a recap:

Journey There
Keeping with my whirlwind week, I left work at 5 PM on Wednesday evening.  It gave me an ETA at the beach around 12 AM.  Such a long journey would have been a bit of tedious for me alone at the late hour.  Luckily, I had a companion!  Christina Geyer, still visiting from Germany, agreed to brave a household of Sawyers for an extended weekend!  I picked her up in Herndon and drove the remaining 3 hours captivated by great conversation and memories of our high school days.  The trip whizzed by.

We did have a little bit of a hiccup.¬† We arrived at 2nd Street at Bethany Beach and lo and behold the lowest house number was 97.¬† That made our address of “5” a little bit of a quandary.¬† I tried calling every cell phone number I had.¬† Uncle Jonny, Uncle Mark, Mom, Jay, Carolyn, Dad, Cousin Sam.¬† The only phone¬†that was answered was Dad’s and that was answered by a complete stranger.¬† It turns out my father lent his phone to a friend who was still in the Occoquan area.¬† The stranger asked if he could take a message.¬† Somehow that didn’t seem like it would help me find a bed for the evening, so I declined his offer.

After another iteration through all the family cell phones, we reconsulted the email and saw the address was South Bethany Beach.  No biggie, we drove down there where we found two different 2nd Streets.  Of course the first 2nd Street we tried hosted a house number 5Рbut no familiar vehicles.  So finally on our third 2nd StreetРwe found our home for the next few days.

Sleeping Arrangements and the Turtle
Christina and I got to relive one particular high school experienceРthe sleepover.  We shared a room in the beach house.  She slept in a day bed and I slept on a mattress on the floor.  Christina reported my snoring was not that badРbut she did note something peculiar.  She described me sleeping all curled up in a ball with my legs and arms underneath my body.

“Oh no!” I gasped, “That’s the turtle– you’re supposed to wake me¬†when I do that!”

I told her what she couldn’t possibly know— that when I slept like that, all my extremities fell asleep.¬† Waking up with one asleep limb is painful (and unnerving) enough.¬† Two arms and two legs¬†at the same time were¬†unbearable.¬† Sean was trained to wake me when he saw me sleeping like that.

So I thought…..

Later during the trip, I was telling Sean that Christina spotted the turtle.

“Yeah, you’ve been doing that a lot lately,” Sean said.

“I have?¬† How come you didn’t wake me up?!?”¬†I said.

Sean’s response?


First Day at the Beach – Dad
Thursday brought quite a surprise— my FATHER, yes, Lowell Sawyer, actually went to the beach.¬† Even as a child, I recall my father’s visits to the actual shoreline to be fleeting.¬† Everyone was surprised.

“Does Dad even have a bathing suit?!?!” I had asked.

It turns out (despite my mother’s original answer) that my father did not in fact have a bathing suit.¬† He did, however, have burgundy underwear.

Anyway, I rushed out to document such an event, but I was too late.  The biting flies had already scared my father away.  Hopefully this is proof enoughРmy father retreating from the beach with his chair:

First Day at the Beach – Nail Color
My cousin Samantha and I enjoy coloring our nails at the beach.¬† This year my mother brought some new supplies– Instant Manicure by Avon.¬† It’s a weird product.¬† It comes in premade strips where you can rub on color and it is instantly dry.

It seemed to take longer to apply than regular nail polish and it left quite a bit of trash, but it turns out the color was pretty persistent.  I made numerous trips to the ocean and went kayaking and the color still seems to be going strong.

First Day at the Beach – Swimming Challenge
While we were in the ocean the first day, my Uncle Jonny made jokes about swimming¬†a half¬†mile out in the ocean and then a half mile back.¬† My mother compromised and pointed to an umbrella down the shore and told us to see if we could swim parallel along the shore to that umbrella and back.¬† Little did my relatives know– I swim laps at the Blacksburg Aquatic Center!¬† I can almost do a mile in 40 minutes.¬† Of course, it would be a lot rougher in the tides, but the distance was significantly shorter, so it turned out to not be a problem.¬† My mom was so convinced I wouldn’t make it, when I was almost back, I passed my brother swimming towards me.

“Mom sent me after you,” he said, interrupted by a wave, “She was worried.”

It’s nice to surprise your kin once in a while.

First Day at the Beach РControversial Place Setting
For dinner, Mark and Denise made homemade sauce and pasta.  As the hour of the meal arrived, Uncle Stephen and Aunt Kathy joined the beach house for a quick visit.  When they entered, they explained immediately their company would be short lived.

“We’re supposed to be buying rolls,” Aunt Kathy said.¬† They further explained that their dinner was almost ready and they would have to hurry home.¬† That was an important fact that my grandmother missed.

Shortly afterwards Mark announced that dinner was almost ready and asked for someone to set the table.  Christina and I, anxious to earn our keep, went ahead and set the table.  A little while later, Steve and Kathy departed to return to their casserole and their immediate family.

Dinner came along and we all held hands and said the blessing and sat down at our various tables to eat.

“Boys and Girls,” Grandma said, “I have something to say.”

I smiled and leaned in, expecting to hear my grandmother talk sentimentally about how nice it was to see so many family members gathered at the shore.


Grandma reprimanded us for setting the table in front of our “guests”.¬† She thought it was rude.¬† I think she¬†even used the word¬†“appalled”.¬† I believe she thought¬†our act¬†accelerated Steve’s departure.¬† She had no idea that he was invited for dinner but declined the invitation.¬† She had no idea he established an exit plan the moment he set foot¬†in the house.

I apologized afterwards and she told me to never let it happen again.

I took the wrap for my Uncle Steve that night.  I doubt he or my grandmother will ever know.

First Day at the Beach – Jay and Vicky Bike
When my siblings were young, we biked excessively– especially at the beach.¬† For the first time in at least 15 years, my brother and I biked together.¬† We went from our beach house in South Bethany Beach to the Dickie’s Frozen Yogurt in downtown Bethany and back.¬† My bike was a little rustic.¬† I had dry rot on back tire and it liked to shift gears without my consent.¬† Nonetheless, I loved the ride.¬† It was invigorating and our return had us riding at dusk– my favorite time of the day.

First Day at the Beach – Nostalgic Second Wind
That evening, a number of people went to go see the new Superman movie.  Christina and I were deterred by the 10:10 PM start time.  We both believed we would fall asleep and lamented how old we were now.

Turns out we aren’t as old as we thought.¬† We ended up sitting in our respective beds and chatting….until 3 AM!¬†

Second Day at the Beach – Different Generations, Different Perspectives
The next morning, I spent some brief time on the beach.  I sat with my grandmother a while and chatted under the newly purchased beach umbrellas. 

At one point Grandma shook her head and said, “I can’t believe the swimsuits nowadays.”

Right on cue, a wet Uncle Jonny returned to the beach blanket.

“I need to get my sunglasses,” he said, “So I can admire these bikinis!”¬† ūüôā

Second Day at the Beach – Kayaking and Glasses Lost
Finally we got to do my favorite beach activity– Kayaking in Assawoman Bay!!!¬† This year it was Cousin Sam, Cousin Frank, Cousin Jordan, Uncle Timmy and¬†I on the adventure!¬† It was a wonderful outing.¬† I got to chat with Sam.¬† I got to watch Frank and Jordan joust, capsize and wrestle in the bay.¬† And I got to have a secluded lap through a salt marsh.¬† The most predominant sounds were the rhythmic strokes of my paddle and the calls of various sea birds.¬† Then, periodically, off in the distance, I can hear Jordan and Frank yelling, talking smack! ūüôā

Earlier in the week I discovered I left my old glasses (with transitional lenses) at home– which meant I didn’t have viable sunglasses.¬† Then later I made the chilling discovery that I also left my contacts at home.¬† The only thing I had with me was my brand new, week old, pink glasses.¬† Glasses with the most expensive, thinnest, clearest lenses money could buy (pictured below with my brother Jay).

“If I lose these glasses,” I told my family, “I’ll be screwed.”

This is what Sean would call an “Of course” moment:

Of course, I would lose those glasses!¬† I was very cautious kayaking.¬† In fact, I kept my distance from the rambunctious Jordan and Frank to ensure they wouldn’t flip me during their horseplay.¬† The journey was almost over– we were nearing the return spot when I got some sunscreen in my eye.¬† I went to rub the stinging eye and WHOOSH– my glasses flew off and directly into the bay.¬† Immediately I jumped into the water and started to fish around.¬† Soon all my relatives joined in the search, but to no avail.

My brand new glasses were long gone…. and I was left blind.

The scenario turned out to not be as bad as I had originally thought.  I was able to get a Lenscrafters in Salisbury, Maryland to fill my contact lenses prescription.  Not without its frustrations howeverРthe whole ordeal took 6 hours and I was less than impressed with my eye doctor here in Christiansburg, Virginia.

I owe Christina Geyer and Stacy McMahon a big thank you for putting their plans on hold and chauffeuring me around to regain my sight.

This incident is making me think twice about two products:

  • Sweatproof sunscreen
  • Lasix Surgery

Second Day at the Beach РWalk and Story Telling
When we returned to the beach house, me the proud owner of new contacts, I decided to go for an evening walk on the beach.  It was a nice walk.  All over the waterline, I could see the silhouettes of little birds digging in the wet sand for food.  Every time a wave would arrive, they would run away and when the wave retreated they would run back towards the sea.  As a result, I had a living border to show me where the waves were.

When I returned to the house, I rotated between visiting with Christina and Stacy in the bedroom and visiting with my relatives in the kitchen.¬† My timing could be improved upon.¬† Christina reported that one two occasions, Stacy was in the middle of a story and I got up and left the room without a word.¬† Poor Stacy! ūüôā

One surprising highlight was hearing K’naan playing from the house CD player.¬† My brother had borrowed it and liked it enough to play it twice!

Third Day – Departure
On the third day, we scrambled to finish up leftovers and reclaim everyone’s sheets.¬† All the Sawyers met in the road to say our goodbyes and get one last group picture.¬† My cousin Melanie walked around and hugged everyone goodbye.¬† I watched her as she made the rounds.

“Goodbye, Frankie!” she’d say and give him a hug.

“Goodbye, Sam!” she’d say and give her a hug.

She came to me and embraced me, “Goodbye……….Person.”

Apparently, I’ll have to make more of an impression on my youngest cousin! ūüôā

Other Recaps
Christina Geyer’s Recap

August 7, 2006 at 9:43 pm 8 comments

Week of Whirlwind Trips

So much happened this past week, I am unsure I’ll be able to cover it in a post before my bed time.¬† But I’ll try.

Peak 10 and Ali V
On Thursday afternoon, Larry Bowman and I traveled down to Charlotte to go to a customer BBQ at Peak 10, the company that hosts one of our Laboratory Information Management Systems¬†(LIMS) installations.¬† The BBQ didn’t feature sweet tea (which I expected in North Carolina)– but the food was delicious.¬† The pork alone made it easy to forgive the abscence of sweet tea.¬†¬†ūüôā

The event also featured a tour of¬†Peak 10’s¬†new data center in Charlotte.¬† I was extremely impressed with the entire facility– the enormity of it, all the biometrics and security measures, the attention to environmental factors, the 24×7 support team¬†and the geo-redundancy they can offer to customers.¬†

Here’s another thing that was impressive.¬† We’re taking this tour and seeing giant rooms filled with machine after¬†machine after machine.¬† Some customers had so many servers they warranted their own room.¬† Larry and I are only involved in one¬†little server among all their other business– just a tiny, tiny blip, really.¬† Yet, during the festivities, members of the executive team enthusiastically greeted us and took the time to chat with us.¬† They made us feel just as important and just as big of a customer as anyone else in attendence.¬† I thought that was really nice.¬† We are certainly in capable and caring hands.

Just a couple of hours later, Larry and I started our trek back home.¬† On our way, we stopped off to¬†meet baby Ali!¬† It was also the very first time I saw Brian and Jodi’s new house.¬† Both the home and the baby (not to mention the mother) were absolutely beautiful.¬† Jodi even let my unseasoned hands hold her first child.¬† I suppose if she let Brian change diapers, her standards were already dampened a bit.¬† ūüôā

Christian¬†and Nosheen’s¬†Wedding
So Saturday morning, I was back on the road.¬† This time I traveled up to Herndon, Virginia to attend the wedding reception of Christian Geyer.¬† Christian is the youngest brother of Christina,¬†one of my best friends from high school.¬† I was Christina’s date and apparently, I also served as a convenient excuse on why Christina could not eat “on display” at the head table.

Christian was marrying a gorgeous Iranian woman named Nosheen, so the wedding was rich in a culture that was new to me.¬† The buffet featured Persian food and Thai food– both delicious.¬† In some cases, I was unsure of what exactly I was ingesting, but boy, whatever it was, it was great.¬† I also discovered, I’m quite a fan of Thai Tea and cream.

Now for me the highlights of any wedding are 1) The Dancing and 2) The Cake

This wedding did not disappoint.  The cake was greatРlight, not overbearingly sweet, and it featured fruit and nuts in it. 

And the dancing!¬† The dancing was downright amazing.¬† Not a single drop of alcohol was served at this event and yet— it featured more dancing than even the most¬†inebriated nuptials!¬†¬†The music was foreign to me.¬† I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics (Well except for when they played a Black Eyed Peas song), but it did not matter– the beat of the music and the energy of the dancers was enthralling, intoxicating.

At one point, one of the many beautiful cousins of the bride paused as a new song started to play and she said to me, “I don’t know what this is.¬† I’ve never heard this song.”

“Me neither!” I told her with a smile.¬† She seemed to get a kick out of that.

A number of years ago, my cousin Adam looked down at a wedding dance floor and shook his head.¬† “You can always tell the Sawyers,” he said, “Because they are the ones that can’t dance, but always do.”

I think Adam’s statement would hold true for Christian’s wedding.¬† The Iranian woman were impecable dancers.¬† They were seductive and beautiful and quick on their feet.¬† The grace of their arms and the expressiveness of their hands and wrists were especially impressive.¬† And not a single spec of self-consciousness could be found amoung them!¬† Everyone was confident in their abilities and seemed so free and at peace.¬†

Christina and I were not familiar with their dancing techniques, but we participated and we did our very best to learn…or at least mimick.¬† Throughout the evening, the bride and her relatives would encourage the two of us.

“You’re okay!”
“You’re doing good!”
“Keep it up!”

I was touched by their encouragement.¬† Then Christina had an observation.¬† All their statements meant…they had been watching us all along! ūüôā

Regardless, I had a wonderful, invigorating time. 

Here’s another testament to how captivating the music and the dancing was.¬† Across the hall was a Class of 1991 High School Reunion.¬† Over there, their DJ was playing contemporary American music.¬† Well at one point, we were dancing away at the wedding and suddenly we look up and see a small group of the high school alumni on the floor with us.¬† They ditched their own music to come join our side!

Well it is definitely past my bedtime now—I’ll end with one quick note.¬†¬† There was so much happiness and joy and enthusiasm at that wedding last night.¬† I feel honored that I was able to share in it.¬†

I’m also starting to suspect– ¬†I married into the wrong culture! ūüôā

July 30, 2006 at 11:49 pm 1 comment

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