Posts filed under ‘Ledman’


Tonight, my former employer had their annual Christmas Party.  I still have a great number of friends at that company and in some Christmas Parties past there had been DANCING.  So I really, really wanted to go.  But alas, I’m not employed there… I needed some kind of plan.   Luckily, in the computer industry, there are a lot of single guys.  So I solicited a few of my former colleagues to see if they needed a date.  No one seemed to be particularly interested in my escort services until about 15 minutes before the festivities began!  

Kevin and Eric called me and asked if I wanted to tag along with them.  Booyah!  I shed my cameo pants and my Virginia Tech hoodie and then I put on some contacts, makeup and a blue dress.  Our timing was perfect– Kevin and Eric arrived just as I finished re-blowdrying my hair.

We made our way to the Inn at Virginia Tech and when we first entered the ballroom, the surprise was evident.  A number people gasped and someone uttered, “Oh… my… gawd!”

I expected people to be surprised, but I didn’t expect a reaction to that extent!  I immediately smiled and started waving to all my former co-workers.

It was when people rushed up and ran behind me that I realized….  No one was surprised by *ME*.  They were all surprised that Eric was there.  It turns out this was the first time he had been to a company Christmas Party in six years. 


Well, I may not have surprised people, but I did have a good time.  I got to visit with a lot of people I haven’t seen much of this past year.  I found two people who want to sign up for Virginia AT License plates and I got to have a lengthy discussion about American Chestnuts with a man who hiked the whole Appalachian Trail in 1987.  I left the event quite pleased.

December 2, 2007 at 12:13 am 1 comment

Pig Pickin’ 2007

Today, Sean, Ledman and I went to Charlie and Kathleen’s house for their annual Pig Pickin’.  Their social group is quite committed to the event– This was their 21st year!  The slow cooked pig was delicious, but for me, the baked beans featuring coffee and french onions stole the show.  I had three servings!

Some pictures:

Armed with S-hooks, four men move the pig off the fire

Charlie (left) takes a taste test

One of the many pig decorations on the property

Men laugh as they chop the pig (Yes, some are using axes)

A dog strategically waited underneath the chopping table to lick the juices that dripped off.

More pictures from Pig Pickin’ 2007 can be found on my Flickr site.

June 30, 2007 at 10:39 pm 2 comments

The Beagle Bracket

The men in my social group take March Madness very seriously.  Every year, they request Thursday and Friday off from work and they convene at our house to watch the first and second rounds.  One year my neighbor, Cherie, noted all the cars in front of the house for days at a time and grew concerned.  She thought someone had died!  Nope, just watching basketball.

Typically, we hang a giant bracket in the screened-in porch to keep track of the winners of every match-up.  And typically, each person carries a printout of his own picks so the winners can be highlighted and the bad guesses can be crossed out with fury.  One day, many years ago, perhaps 2002, I came home from work (I don’t take March Madness as seriously) and was shuffling some of the numerous bracket printouts out of my way.  At the top of every printout was the name of who it belonged to.  The usual names were there and then one stuck out.


“Henry?” I asked.  The nearby beagle started to wag his tail.

“Yeah, I did a bracket for him.” Sean said.

I inquired how a dog goes about making March Madness picks.  It turns out Sean compared the mascots and picked the one Henry would be most frightened of.  That’s no easy task– Henry’s frightened of a lot.  Every year since then Henry has always had a bracket.  His pick logic has evolved through the years.  I believe the current algorithm is:

  1. Henry never picks a 16 seed over a 1 seed.  “That’s just not fair,” Sean says.
  2. Henry picks whatever team has the mascot he is most afraid of with two exceptions:
    1. If the mascot is a dog, Henry will pick it because he likes dogs
    2. If the mascot is a tree, Henry will pick it.  Why?  “Because he’ll want to pee on the tree,” Sean says.  Thus in Henry’s brackets, Stanford tends to get pretty far.

Some years, Henry has done surprisingly well in the early rounds.  I have heard at least one person rant, “I can’t believe the damn dog is beating me!”  Luckily for his human competitors, Henry’s scary-things+dogs+trees approach usually catches up with him in the later rounds and his progress declines.  I believe two years ago he dropped to 30th out of 52 participants.  That does mean, however, there are 22 people who can legitimately gripe about being beaten by “the damn dog.”  🙂

Sean refers to March Madness as “the best time of the year.”  I have to imagine Henry would agree.  He hates to travel (because he is scared, why else?).  But with March Madness, he gets to stay in the comfort of his own home.  He gets to sit on the couch and watch TV for four days straight.  He gets quality time with his best friend, Kevin Ledman.  And there are plenty of people around to drop or give him food.  That’s the life. 

So with two more days until the first tip-off, we’re still in preparations.  Sean’s still debating the menu.  We still have some cleaning to do.  I’m still worrying about my fledgling attempt at a bracket and hoping the damn dog doesn’t beat me.

But Henry… he’s ready!  After working through first round dilemmas such as “what is scarier a Volunteer or a Colonial?” or the ever tricky Wildcats vs. Wildcats scenario, Henry’s got his bracket (Final Four: Butler Bulldogs, Southern Illinois Salukis, Georgetown Hoyas, Albany Great Danes).  And this evening, Henry picked out his seat on the couch.

Henry’s Ready

Let the games begin!

March 14, 2007 at 12:08 am 3 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


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

A Thank You to Good Friends

As I mentioned, Sean and I are getting hardwood floors installed next week and we have to move everything off the first floor. Last night Sean added a finger to his injury inventory. Between that and the broken foot, he isn’t quite a key contributer to the moving efforts. And there are some things that just one able-bodied person is not able to move.

In August, a few of us drove up to Moneta to help friends paint their house. We had a great time and teamwork allowed the task to be completed quickly. Today, was a very similiar experience. Only this time I was on the receiving end of the efforts! Ledman, Mike E, Larry, Lindsay and even little Penn Jones showed up to help move. Ann couldn’t help with the lifting, but she still found a way to contribute. She made a delicious chili (with mushrooms– I’m starting to believe mushrooms compliment everything– they are delicious little sponges that soak up the flavor of whatever dish they are in. A concentrated version of the meal in one chewy bite) and her trademark brownies and brought them over to feed all the volunteers.

Together, the first floor was vacated of large items in a little more than an hour. We finished up so quickly, in fact, by the time Bill C arrived– we were all done for the day!!! 🙂

Without these people’s assistance, this would have been an impossible task. So, a lot of gratefulness is felt today. Sean and I are very lucky to have such good friends.

Now… we just need to manage to keep said friends for about another week or so. 😉

January 28, 2007 at 1:19 am Leave a comment

Fahrenheit 451 and TV Personalities

Note: It’s been ages since I’ve read Fahrenheit 451— so if I get any the details wrong, please don’t hesitate to dispute and/or correct my claims in the comments.

As I recall, in the book the main character’s wife, Mildred had this parlor in which three of the walls were big giant TVs.  I believe Mildred loved her TV shows.  She was obsessed with them and the characters felt very real to her.  I think she preferred her shows to the company of her own husband.  In fact– I think she wanted to invest in a fourth TV– so she would be surrounded and completely immersed in that fictional life.

This week with the passing of Steve Irwin, I commented to Sean, “It’s been a bad year for the TV personalities we like.”

It was then that I realized that my attachment to characters I see on TV may be one small step on the way to being… Mildred!

At least with Steve Irwin, I can rationalize that he was a real person, not a fictional character.  I can justify the lump I felt in my throat each time the homage commercial came on Animal Planet.  Each time I heard him say, “I’m the proudest father on the face of the earth” and each time he talked about sharing his love for wildlife.  And I know I’m not alone– at least three of my friends posted a note about his unfortunate death (Christina, Clint, Marty).

But there are a few other TV deaths that are a little harder to justify.  Two come to mind real quick:

John Spencer (West Wing)
Sean and I both watch West Wing regularly.  During the TV season, we watched the new episodes religiously (even during the less than stellar seasons).  One time I even lost my temper with then roommate, Ledman, because of West Wing.  He was mucking around with the TV and taking his time getting to NBC.  He was heading that way, but too slowly for my taste– especially considering the clock already read 9 PM.  Finally I stood up and shouted, “That’s it!  I’m going to watch it upstairs!”  I stomp all the way to my bedroom only to find out the clock downstairs was wrong!  We still had a good five minutes until show time.  So…I got to slink back downstairs and apologize.  🙂

Another testament to my affection West Wing.  In 2003, I gave up TV for Lent.  The biggest temptation I had was missing a brand new episode of West Wing (the one where Air Force One had landing gear problems).

In more recent times, Sean and I watch a lot of the reruns on Bravo.  It’s mostly on as background noise and it’s usually on during dinner.  Sean will be sitting at the computer desk and I’ll be sitting on the laundry chair (the chair Sean keeps his clean laundry on) and we eat our homecooked dinner and watch West Wing. 

We’re taking a little bit of a haitus right now, though.  When Sean was recovering from back surgery this past January, he watched a steady stream of West Wing reruns for 8 days.  There can be too much of a good thing.  Well, except for Sub Station II Meatball Subs– I don’t seem to ever tire of them.  🙂

Anyway, Leo McGarry (and subsequently John Spencer) were part of our lives for many years.  So it was sort of sad to hear of John Spencer’s heart attack.  But– that wasn’t the saddest fictional TV loss for me….

Jerry Orbach (Law and Order)
When Sean and I were first dating, he used to watch this show called “Law and Order” during the day.  He really liked the show and went as far as changing his Windows theme to emulate it.  When you opened a window on his desktop, it made the Law and Order “Da – Da!” sound.  I didn’t care for the show too much at first and didn’t really see the appeal.  I think the turning point was when I saw an episode with a young Claire Danes playing a prostitute.   

Well boy have times changed!  Law and Order and its derivatives are now my relaxation staple.  I’ll watch the first run episodes here and there, but it’s the reruns that have my heart.  If I have a tough or trying day, it is the perfect environment for a “Law and Order Night”.  Case in point: I had a hectic schedule this week and right now as I write this– I have an episode on!  🙂 I have a horrible track record for staying up to the end of the episode, but that may be the appeal!  I am gently lulled to sleep by Lenny Briscoe, Jack McCoy and Adam Schiff.

I have numerous entries about my love for Law and Order in my journals.  Here’s one excerpt from June 6, 2004 when I returned home from France.  I was writing about the unexpected things I missed from home.  Along with sweet tea, free refills, Substation II Meatball Subs and the Appalachian Mountains, I mentioned Law and Order:

Nearly Unlimited Access to Law and Order Reruns
At home after a hard day at work or a strenous hike, I get such a feeling of peace by falling asleep to a Law and Order rerun.  Something about snoozing on the couch is fulfilling.  As luck would have it, TNT, TBS, USA and NBC all have a habit of showing Law and Order episodes.  An episode can be found almost every evening.  I didn’t see one place in Europe feature “Law and Order”.  But, I did find an even more fulfilling sleeping agent– long train rides!

There are a lot of character shifts in Law and Order, but the character of Lenny Briscoe was present for 12 years.  And since Lenny always had the opening wise crack at the beginning of the show, I got exposed to Jerry Orbach in almost every episode– even the ones I fell asleep during.  Law and Order is a comfort item for me and Lenny Briscoe is a huge part of it.  Lenny Briscoe welcomed me home after a long business trip.  Lenny Brisco was always there to smooth over a tough day.  Lenny Briscoe made me smile and put my mind and body at ease.

So when Jerry Orbach passed away, I was very sad.  I don’t think I cried, but I certainly felt a loss.  It was especially difficult to watch the Law and Order: Trial by Jury episodes that aired after his death.  You could see how sick he was.  I know he’ll live on in reruns, but it still remains a tough TV loss for me.

Now– luckily, I still enjoy the company of real people over Leo McGarry and Lenny Briscoe.  So maybe, I’m not quite Mildred Montag just yet!

September 8, 2006 at 11:11 pm 1 comment

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