Posts filed under ‘Sean’

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 Simpsons and NOFX

There is a room in our house which goes by the name “The Simpsons Room”.  It’s main purpose is to house my husband’s collection of Simpsons figurines.  Even though all the figurines are sequestered in the closet at the moment (they were moved when the room was painted), that is still how we refer to that room.  For example:

“Have you seen the plyers?”

“Yes, it’s in the Simpsons room.”

Unopened Simpsons figurines, Simpsons games, Simpsons posters, and then two large bins full of opened figurines and their accessories.  See notes on Flickr for details.

Across the hall is my home office.  It dons hunter green walls, pictures of Kurt Vonnegut, an elevation cross section of the Appalachian Trail (sections I’ve finished have been highlighted), a picture of my grandfather from WWII, a number of dog hiking pictures and…. about 20 CDs from my favorite band, NOFX.

Often Sean and my interests are pretty different, but here a video (not by me) manages to fuse two of our loves together– the Simpsons and NOFX.

P.S.  The NOFX song is called “The Man I Killed” and can be found on the Wolves in Wolves Clothing album.

June 25, 2007 at 2:54 pm 9 comments

Cornhole Addiction

Yesterday was Sean’s mother’s family reunion in Roanoke, Virginia.  Delicious food, great company, but the highlight of the event was the ongoing Cornhole competition.  Haven’t heard of Cornhole?  It is very addictive!  Basically, you are throwing bean bags filled with corn kernels at an angled platform that contains a small hole.  You get one point for every bag that stays on the platform and three points for every bag that goes in the hole (This is a simplified scoring system, in official Cornhole you can cancel out points).  If another throw by you or your opponent knocks your bag off the platform, you no longer get that point.  It is actually more challenging than it sounds.  The bags were unpredicatable– defying friction by sliding off the platform and defying gravity by refusing to fall in the hole.

You can learn more about Cornhole at

Here are some Cornhole shots from our family reunion:

Cory, me (farside), Bret (farside), Sean

Cory celebrates a good toss

Ted with his horseshoe experience was undefeated in Cornhole

Phifer celebrates, Bret throws

Me concentrating on a throw

Cory (foreground) is satisfied with his performance while Sean (with his tongue out) concentrates on a throw.

I had so much fun.  I look forward to playing again in the future.  Perhaps we should have Cornhole at Assateague!  🙂

More pictures of our family reunion, including Cornhole, can be found on my Flickr site.

June 25, 2007 at 1:05 am 6 comments

The All New Deadliest Catch

Last Friday when I was babysitting and putting Gwyn to bed, I noticed her older brother, Penn, had hung an AT sticker on his door.  That made me smile.   He’s joined me on a number of short hikes and to date, he is the only person who will walk with me to Ben and Jerry’s (everyone else insists on driving… pansies).  Now I have two more items in common with that five year old boy — we are both fans of Man vs. Wild and Deadliest Catch on the Discovery channel.

It’s good timing to be a fan of those shows as they are both starting a new season.  When the advertisements for the show come on, they  emphasize when an episode is going to be new.  For example, they may start with “Next time on the all new Deadliest Catch…”

Last Wednesday, Bill grilled up a batch of fresh seafood (he picked it up in Boston before driving home) for Sean, myself, Keith, Ann and her kids.  While we waited for supper, I played in the pool with the kids. 

Me and Penn in the pool

Their past time of choice was to swim around while I “made waves”.  Pretty much, I would push off the side of the pool and spread my arms as I skimmed the surface.  Even though they seemed to get water up their noses fairly regularly, the kids loved it.  It was good exercise for me– push off one side of the pool, immediately setup and push off the other side.  Back and forth, back and forth.

Gwyn is ready for waves 

Penn kept marveling how huge the waves were (They really weren’t all that).  At one point, he surfaced and said, “WOW!!! Did you see how big that wave was?!?!  This is just like The All New Deadliest Catch!!!!”

Just like Gwyn’s “I did it!” claim at the duck pond, I thought, “Um…Not quite.”  For starters, Bill’s pool is quite a bit warmer than the Bering Sea. 

I thought Penn’s statement was amusing enough, but last night Sean brought Penn’s use of “The All New” to my attention.  We think he thinks “All New” is in the title of the show.  🙂

Quick diversion back to Bill’s seafood.  It was awesome.  I’m on a scallop kick as of late, probably having about a serving a week.  Bill’s scallops have been by far the best.  As for the best scallops in a New River Valley restaurant, I would give that honor to Cafe de Bangkok.

And now a quick diversion back to Man vs. Wild.  I bet one thing Penn and I do not have in common is our favorite part of Man vs. Wild.  My favorite parts are when Bear Grylls falls into some freezing water and has to stave off hypothermia.  What’s the first thing he does?  He has to get out of those wet clothes, of course!  My fascination doesn’t make that much sense to me.  This is a man, afterall, who squeezed fresh elephant dung above his head in order to drink the liquid.  Last episode he munched on a sheep eyeball.  I certainly wouldn’t want to kiss him, that’s for sure, but boy, I do like watching him scramble out of wet clothes.  🙂

June 25, 2007 at 12:42 am 1 comment

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.
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

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad – Tuckasegee River

Sunday, Sean and I took a trip on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.  They have a number of excusions to choose from.  Sean and I took the Tuckasegee River train which left Dillsboro at 1:00 PM and took us to Bryson City and back. 

The Fugitive Wreckage
One of the interesting sites of the trip is the wreckage from the movie The Fugitive.  For the scene where a train collides with the Department of Correction bus, the film makers arranged an actual train wreck outside of Dillsboro.  To make the train to appear like it derailed but to keep it somewhat controlled, they built a second set of tracks and concealed them in dirt.  The wreckage still remains in place where it ended up.

Remains of the Department of Corrections bus and the “Illinois Southern” train

The trip also took us through a tunnel through over 800 feet of rock that was dug manually with pick axes and shovels.  Throughout the journey, the ride provided us wonderful views of the surrounding area and the nearby river.

Our train and a sample of the scenery

Farmland as seen from the train

Rapids from the train

Bryson City
Our journey did include a layover in Bryson City.  Sean and I enjoyed the toy train display, but other than that, Bryson City didn’t entertain us that much.  We walked around town to explore the eateries and stores.

“It reminds me of West Virginia,” Sean said and in case I couldn’t intepret his meaning he expanded, “And that is not a compliment.”

One of the many model trains in Bryson City

Senior Citizen Center
We did stumble on a pretty cool building.  It turned out to be the Senior Citizen Center.  Later I found a postcard for the town with that building on the front representing the entire town.  In the past when we respected our elders more effectively, it may have been a different story.  But nowadays, it is not often that your best building in town is a Senior Citizen Center.    

The Rooster
Still needing to kill time for our train, we listened to a band play.  They played a Johnny Cash song and then they performed another song that was quite catchy.  Families were eating it up.  Parents were taking pictures and kids were cheering and clapping.  I wonder if they were listening to the words.  The whole song was about a rooster going around a farm and raping everything.  Hornet the duck would approve, but it’s not quite The Wiggles or Barney.  🙂

By the time the rooster rape song was done, it was time to board and head home.  The return trip was even more scenic than before.  We could have used less time in Bryson City, but overall, we had a splendid time and felt the fare was money well-spent.

More pictures from our Great Smoky Mountain Railroad trip are available on my Flickr site.

May 29, 2007 at 12:33 am 4 comments

Home… for about 36 Hours

I’m back in Blacksburg for the moment.  Tomorrow morning, I depart again.  But this time the trip will be different–  Sean and the dogs are traveling with me!  We are going to spend the weekend in Asheville, North Carolina to sightsee. 

I highly expect to love Asheville.  Before he moved to Hawaii, my brother had considered moving to Asheville.  I did a few Google searches at the time and thought it looked pretty darn cool.  Heck, they even have a mushroom hunting club.

We aim to visit the Biltmore Estates tomorrow, take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad on Sunday and take the dogs around Chimney Rock Park on Monday.  It should be a good adventure for all.

This will be Jimmie and Henry’s 3rd state.  They’ve only been in the Virginias (and the District of Columbia if you want to count that).  At the end of our journey, the Herrala Household State Count should look like:

Name # of U.S. States
Vicky 31
Sean 26
Jimmie 3
Henry 3
Stench 1

May 25, 2007 at 7:10 pm 1 comment

Sean’s Hidden Talent

Last night, Sean and I joined Larry and Ann for a cookout.  While we were waiting for supper, we played with the kids.  I started kicking a pink ball around and feeling pretty darn accomplished with how easily I could wow the children with my skills.  And then Sean took a turn.  Suddenly, I was chopped liver!

Together, Sean and the kids developed a game.  It worked like this:

1) Both kids would run out into the yard and lay down in the grass. 

2) While the kids laid in the yard, Sean kicked the ball super high.

Sean kicks to the two kids who are laying in the grass

A sense of how high the ball went.  Look directly above Sean, the ball is almost out of the frame.

3) When the ball finally landed both, kids would scramble up. 

Penn and Gwyn scrambling to get up to retrieve the ball.

 4) The kids would race to and retrieve the ball

Gwyn retrieves the ball

The kids freaking loved that game.  They could not get enough of it.

Penn and Gwyn laughing and loving the ball.

The game was educational… at least to me.  I knew during high school my husband was the V-Sit Champion for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Apparently, he still possesses a lot of that flexibility.

Good Lord, that’s a high kick.  He’s even on his tippie toe too.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  Sean eventually had to call time out and tell the kids he needed a break.

Look at the faces of the children as Sean tells them he’s taking a time out.

At that point, Penn did try his leg out at kicking.   That wasn’t quite the same.

Penn has a ways until he matches Sean

There was one last option that remained.  Penn grabbed the pink ball and ran after me.

“VICKY’S HIRED!!!!” he screamed, “VICKY’S HIRED!!!”

May 13, 2007 at 10:41 am 4 comments

Mims the Word

My husband excels at making me laugh while I am on the road.  Today he accomplished that with a simple link:,harvilla,76021,22.html

I mentioned that on our Vail trip, Stacy and Kipp were introduced to the simple, but soul-searching, philophy of Mims (“I’m hot cause I’m fly, you ain’t cause you not”). This article does a graphical evaluation of that and other thought-provoking lines from the song.  My favorites:

The article is a couple of months old, but still gold.  Kudos to Rob Harvilla for writing this article and kudos to Sean for forwarding it on and making me laugh so far away from home.

April 25, 2007 at 11:36 pm 4 comments

Business Travel Essential Addendum

In December, I did a post covering my Business Travel Essentials.  I realized this trip (even though it is not for business) that I left out a crucial part!  I started this technique circa October 2005.  Before I leave the house for the airport, I take the sweatshirt I intend to wear on the planes or in the evenings when it is cold and I apply a hearty helping of my husband’s cologne.  Throughout my abscence, I’ll get quick and sometimes subtle whiffs of the scent.  It is just enough to make me feel like I’m home.

Interestingly enough, shortly after I started doing that, my husband switched his cologne.

“I’m trying to throw you off my trail,” he said.

Hopefully jokingly. 🙂

March 29, 2007 at 12:24 am Leave a comment

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