Posts filed under ‘Stacy McMahon’

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

Mount Vernon

On Sunday, I met Stacy and his family at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. It was far from my first trip to the grounds. But, it does seem every time I visit, my perspective is just a little bit different and I pick up on different things. In past years, I definitely focused on the mansion or the farm animals. This time around, it was the trees and gardens that caught most of my attention.
Turning leaves

Spider web

The grounds had a lot of old, large trees

From One Generation to Another
My maternal grandmother used to volunteer at Mount Vernon, so she brought my siblings and I to the property pretty often. She taught me quite a bit. I, of course, learned about the Washington family and life during that era. But there were little unrelated lessons as well. I still remember my grandmother pointing out and telling me about sycamore trees. I learned what the color “Navy Blue” looked like thanks to her uniform. And Mount Vernon was the very first time (but not the last!) I got shocked by an electric fence. ūüôā

Me, Grandma and Carolyn at Mount Vernon (Photo from ClintJCL)

This year, I got to witness the process starting over! I got to see cute little Addie enjoy Mount Vernon with her own grandparents. How can you NOT smile?

Addie walks with her Grandpa at Mount Vernon

Addie and Grandpa enjoy the gardens

This wasn’t a new discovery about Mount Vernon by any means, but I did want to share one of my favorite parts about the mansion. The outside of the mansion looks like stone and it feels like stone as well. But it is made of pine boards! What Washington did was have the boards beveled to look like masonry. Then when they painted it, they threw sand on the wet paint to add texture. Pretty sneaky! I just love the thriftiness and the creativity with that trick.

NOT stone!

It may have been a brief trip, but it was a great one! More pictures of our Mount Vernon outing can be found on my Flickr site.

August 20, 2008 at 11:26 am 5 comments

Christmas Card Patterns

I love Christmas Card Season. I love writing Christmas cards and I love receiving them as well. So…. it turns out I had quite a collection of Christmas cards to sort through with my move. On a year to year basis, you receive the card, you enjoy it and you move on. But when you are presented with roughly nine years of cards, suddenly patterns emerge. Here are a few trends I noted:

Stacy always sends a funny card.

Tony Airaghi always thanks me for my friendship.

Kim Kalten (my old boss’s wife) consistently misspells my name (not a big deal– I don’t mind when people misspell my name).

Whoops, I didn’t realize Kim always misspells my names until I saw cards from multiple years.

June Randolph always tells me how much she misses my grandmother (I miss my grandmother too).

I get a lot of love from my friends’ parents. Brian V’s parents, Brian N’s parents and Stacy‘s parents all write wonderfully detailed messages.

A lot of people reuse the same cards from year to year including my grandmother, the Phelps, Virtual IT.

Roanoke-based companies really like that Christmas card that features the Roanoke Star. I had roughly eight of those.

Dave and Monica always include a “Go Hokies!” somewhere in their card.

AE’s mother likes to underline the message in the card for emphasis.

Three years in a row — underlining the message

It was an interesting exercise. And great timing! After a five year hiatus, the St. Jude’s Ranch of Children started accepting recycled card fronts again this summer. So my Christmas cards, or rather the fronts of those cards, have a destination!

July 17, 2008 at 10:12 am 7 comments

The Groomsman Reunion Tour

(Hat Tip to Matt. I blatantly stole the post name from him)

Saturday was a busy day. I drove up from Blacksburg to the DC area with three dogs, made a quick trip to Safeway and then my Mom and I frantically worked on some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles. The truffles were rushed and not quite as pretty looking as usual, but they still retained that oh so delicious taste. Which was good, because they were my dish for a BBQ at Stacy and Louise’s house!!!

The BBQ was a mini-wedding party reunion from Stacy and Louise’s wedding last November. On the bride’s side “my” bridesmaid, Jenn, was present. The groom’s side was all accounted for! Best man Kipp was there as well as Groomsman Matt and of course, Groomsman Vicky (that’s me)!

My favorite part of the day would have to be around dusk when our whole group went for a walk through a park and an adjacent neighborhood. We even ran into a doe with a tiny, tiny, spotted fawn. I didn’t manage to keep my camera still enough for a decent shot.

Down here in Blacksburg, I have been looking up so many trees lately that as I stroll through the forest I see a lot of familiar leaves. Up in Chantilly, Virginia, the only trees I could recognize right away were sycamores. It just goes to show the diversity found in Virginia… and it aptly demonstrates that I have a lot left to learn about trees. ūüôā

Anyway, some pictures. Most of these are courtesy of Matt. Note that my post-Locks of Love hair is finally long enough for a pony tail again! SWEET! I celebrated by wearing a pony tail every day this holiday weekend.

Me and the other groomsman, Matt. (Photo by Matt)

Stacy and Louise (Photo by Matt)

Bridesmaid, Jenn (Photo by Matt)

Casey and Louise Laugh

@$(&ing low light at dusk!

I definitely enjoyed our reunion and found it to be a very good way to kick off Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps Stacy and Louise could be convinced to make it a tradition.

As for more pictures, Matt has a set of party pictures on his Flickr site. I have a small set up as well. Finally, I’m sure eventually Casey will have hers up too.

May 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm 6 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

Stacy Wedding Pictures Up

Phew!¬† Been a whirlwind weekend of wedding-related festivities.¬† I’ll be driving back home to Blacksburg shortly after I finish this post.¬† I hope to write more about the wedding later, but for now you can enjoy the photos that have been uploaded to Flickr.

Thursday Night – Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties
As groomsman, I had a choice whether I wanted to party with the men or the ladies.  I went ahead and chose the ladies.  They told me they had cheeseballs in their suite and there was also a couch.  Plus we went dancing.  Oh and one of the bridesmaids brought along a dildo hat which proved to be entertaining and quite a good way to meet strangers.

Friday Night – Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
Friday is when I discovered the Catholic Church wasn’t thrilled with my groomsman role.¬† During the rehearsal, the priest kept referring to me as “that one.”¬† So, for example:

“Okay, we’ll have the best man here, the groomsman here and then… that one.”

Saturday – The Wedding and the Reception!
Kipp really shined this day.¬† His calm confidence made sure all the duties of the ceremony were taken care of (I think Kipp was the only one who did not panic when we found the chairs we were supposed to place behind the bride and groom were not in the same place as they were during rehearsal).¬† He did the best rendition of the ever popular Saint Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians (“Love is patient, love is kind…”) I have ever heard.¬† AND his toast was splendid.¬†

As for “that one”, I led the processional down the aisle, did not forget to¬†bow at the altar and I successfully escorted my bridesmaid out of the church and during introductions at the reception¬† (“Bridesmaid Jennifer Newell, escorted by Mrs. Victoria Herrala”).¬†¬†

Oh and as far as where I got dressed.¬† No portapotty was necessary.¬† I got ready at my parent’s house!

**Edit** More Pictures
Matt Ciarelli’s Pictures
These pictures are from the other groomsman.¬† He got some great shots (including me and Carolyn dancing).¬† Most importantly, he managed to get shots of the bride and groom on their wedding day…. a blaring abscence in my collection.

Casey’s Photos
Casey got a lot of shots of the ceremony.  She snagged me and Jenn walking down the aisle together and got some good shots of me DANCING.

**Edit** Recaps
Carolyn’s Blog Post on the Wedding
Matt’s The Wedding Album: Day One Entry (covers the Bachelor Party)
Matt’s The Wedding Album: Day Two Entry (covers the Rehearsal Dinner)
Matt’s The Wedding Album: The Big Day (covers the wedding)

November 11, 2007 at 1:44 pm 13 comments

Vicky the Groomsman

Earlier this week, I received a surprise call from Stacy.¬† I assumed the purpose of his call had something to do with the upcoming ECU vs. VT football game, but he had other things in store.¬† After a introduction and a joke (which I didn’t get at first) he said, “So anyway, would you like to be a groomsman at my wedding?”

Hell yeah!¬† I’m all over that shit!

So come November 10th, I’ll get to escort one of the lovely bridesmaids down the aisle.¬† I suspect I’ll earn a pass to the rehearsal dinner which means I’ll get more face time with Stacy’s parents.¬† And being up in the thick of it, I’ll get one of the best views of the vows there is!¬† Add all those to the preexisting list of items I love about weddings (topped by “cake” and “dancing”), this promises to be one of the best weddings ever!¬† I’ve very excited about participating.¬†

How excited?¬† In researching what I was getting into, I ran across a online forum where a bride was fretting about her fiance’s selection of a woman as a groomsman.¬† One of her worries was:

Where would they get ready?

It is a question I never would have considered.¬† But I’ll tell you what.¬† I would pretty much change anywhere to fulfill my duties at this wedding.¬† With the bridemaids.¬† With the groomsmen.¬† My car.¬† The raunchiest of portapotties.¬† It doesn’t matter– whatever it takes!¬† ūüôā

September 2, 2007 at 2:55 pm 9 comments

A Couple of Couples Who Are Engaged

This week two couples I know got engaged! ¬†June is a big month for weddings… apparently proposals too!¬† Congratulations to the following couples:

Emily and Cory
Cory is Sean’s brother, humorous and compassionate,¬†and Emily is a purely beautiful person inside and out.¬† They are both very active and enjoy the outdoors.¬† Already they have an admirable repertoire of adventures– and their lives together are just beginning!¬† It is reported that Sean’s mother was so excited at the news that she hurt herself while celebrating!

Emily and Cory at Tinker Cliffs Last Fall

Louise and Stacy
Stacy has been a friend of mine since high school and Louise has been a steadfast friend of his for years.¬† And then they fell in love!¬† You only have to look at the captions on their respective Flickr sites to see the strong affection they have for each other.¬†¬†It so apparent, in fact,¬†that even a stranger (my friend Ann) marveled at how touching it is!¬† Stacy and Louise’s¬†wedding website is at

Louise and Stacy Somewhere I Haven’t Been

I’m going to have to start thinking of some good wedding gifts.¬† I wonder if I can get away with four more pairs of SmartWool socks!¬† ūüėČ

June 14, 2007 at 8:44 pm 1 comment

Skiing Synopsis

Quick synopsis of the rest of our ski trip.

Kipp was sore, so we spent the day at Sylvan Lake State Park near Eagle.¬† We took a picture of a frozen lake.¬† We spent some time hunting for fossils in sandstone and we went for a very muddy hike on McKenzie Gulch Trail.¬† I may¬†elaborate once Kipp uploads the rest of his pictures.¬† Afterwards, we ate at Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que in Eagle.¬† That stuff was delicious and we ran across a very pleasant surprise:

Fuck yeah!

I was in the middle of ordering my smoked turkey breast when Kipp yelled across the restaurant, “Vicky, they have sweet tea!!!”¬† I was quite pleased.

After that, we drove home and Kipp captured this little gem:

Perhaps I should have gotten that rental car insurance afterall.

Wednesday was the day I fell on my head.  Visibility was quite poor that day and I struggled overall.  Kipp got a couple of shots that showed what we were up against:

Stacy on the left and declining visibility on the right.

Stacy and Vicky on the lift and obscured trees in the background

Thursday was freaking awesome!¬† There was all this fresh powder on the mountain.¬† At first I found it to be a struggle, but then I LOVED it.¬† I never fell, but I sure had many less-than-graceful close calls.¬† Stacy wasn’t as lucky.¬†

Journal except on how deep the powder was:

…The powder took Stacy offguard and he lost a ski.¬† The snow was so deep– that the missing ski was no longer visible!¬† It was buried under the inches of powder.¬† Luckily Stacy¬†knew where it dislodged and retrieved it.

Kipp and I both come from organizations that focus on process improvement.  As such, our crew realized we might not be so lucky spotting a missing ski next time.

“We’ll have to watch each other,” Kipp said, “So if there is a wipeout, we can see where the skis fall off.”

It was a very good idea.  Then Kipp followed it up with a poor calculation.

“I’ll go last,” Kipp said, “Since I’m the least likely to fall.”

Journal excerpt showing how lucky I am to have forgiving friends:

[Stacy] fell three times in succession and the third time, despite my best efforts, I started laughing.

“I’m so sorry, Stacy!” I choked between chuckles, “I’m so sorry I’m laughing.¬† Are you mad?”

“I’m mad,” Stacy confessed as he clicked a boot back into its bindings, “but not at you.”


Kipp had his own difficulties later that day.¬† He lost a ski and even though he was able¬†successfully find it in the snow– he couldn’t get it on.¬† After a 30 minute ado (which did include some skis being hurled out of frustration), he was finally able to get it back on after the large cake of ice was removed from his boot.

Thursday also marks the very first time I took a support call on Vail Mountain.  I got called outside of Two Elks Lodge after lunch.  In case you are curious, it was a DSN issue.

Software Support at Two Elks Lodge

Finally Thursday night, I got to visit with my cousin Allison!  Her babysitter, Liz, drove her all the way down from Boulder to Vail to eat supper with me.  Later that evening we watched watched a movie.  It was very nice of them to come and see me while I was in town.

Friday the skiing was pretty nice, but the main goal of the day was to go snowshoeing!¬† We originally aimed to do that on Tuesday, but did not get back in time from Sylvan Lake.¬† Then we decided to do it Friday morning… but a surprise Gondola closing thwarted that.¬† The third time is a charm.¬† We were able to ski in the morning and successfully make the Friday afternoon hike!¬†¬†

Friday brought all three of us two new experiences:

1) Hiking with snowshoes on our feet
2) Skiing with shoes tied around our necks. 

I love my Asolo hiking boots and the memories I have had with them makes them very sentimental objects.  HOWEVER, that added love did not make me enjoy the sensation of descending a slope with them flopping around my belly.  It was worth it though.  I loved snowshoeing!

I was worried Stacy and Kipp would not enjoy our snowshoe trip that much and that they were just humoring me.¬† That worry disappeared the second I saw our tour guide.¬† She was pretty.¬† She was blond.¬† She was charismatic.¬† I knew I was set.¬† ūüôā

A stranger from the Bahamas, Stacy and Me on the snowshoe hike!

Kipp rests on the snowshoe hike

Memorable Songs
We had a few songs of note this trip:

1) Sandwiches

Sandwiches are beautiful.  Sandwiches are fine.
I like sandwiches.  I eat them all the time.
I eat them for my breakfast.  I eat them for my lunch.
If I had a 100 sandwiches, I’d eat them all at once!

Kipp taught us that¬†chant in the mornings when we made our “saving money” sandwiches.

2) This is Why I’m Hot

I’m hot ’cause I’m fly.¬† You ain’t ’cause you’re not.

Stacy and Kipp were not familiar with this¬†song.¬† Yet, they could still appreciate the deepness of Mims’ philosophic mind.¬† It was quoted a couple of times during the trip.

3) Born Free

Boooooorrrrn Freeeeeee.  Blah blah blah blah. BlahРBlah.  Blah.

There was a slope called “Born Free” which often prompted this song.¬† Unfortunately we only knew two words.¬† “Born” and “Free”.

“One day, we’ll have to look up the rest of the words,” Stacy said.

4) Snore Symphony

The first two nights, Mike and I shared a bed.¬† Kipp dubbed it the “Snore Bed”.¬† He said it was like a symphony.¬† First I would be going, then Mike would join in.¬† We’d harmonize together then I would fade out and Mike would have a solo.¬†

Luckily for Kipp and Stacy, I’m told there weren’t many encore performances.

Picture Frenzy!
Kipp’s Pictures on Flickr
Stacy’s Pictures on Flickr
My Pictures on Flickr (Mostly stolen from Kipp and Stacy!)

Related Blogs
Stacy’s Blog
Mike’s Blog

April 1, 2007 at 10:11 pm 2 comments

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