Category Archives: Holidays

I Was Off the Grid

Sort of.

Last week I was in Nags Head, NC with friends for our fourth annual Friends Beach Trip.

These guys came:

And so did these guys:

And these guys came to teach everyone how to expertly boogie board:

I was there, too!

We started July 4th with a salute to the Star Spangled Banner at 10 a.m. and continued it with American beer:

In between days with too-cold water and jelly fish-infested water, we played in the ocean:

And Benjamin enjoyed his half-day before having to head home to go back to work. Adulthood sucks.

Jessie was not a fan of Benjamin’s early departure:

But we managed to get a group photo before he left (unfortunately we were missing D for this one):

After showering up from the beach, our America celebration continued with matching (blurry) girls:

And unruly boys:

And slightly less unruly (blurry) boys:

Despite many, many attempts, Jessie and I got a blurry picture:

We feasted like champions the next morning on gourmet breakfasts of mac-and-cheese-with-cut-up-hot-dogs, pasta salad and eggs.

On the last night before all the friends left, we had an accidental/mandatory uniform night:

And on Wednesday we had a fancy group lunch at Sonic before everyone left Hugh and me to fend for ourselves the rest of the week.

It was quite the pig-out session and it was Jessie’s very first Sonic experience:

I think she liked it.

Then we said goodbye, everyone left, and Hugh and I went back to the big, empty beach house and settled into our friendless depression.

Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad.

But I will save that update for tomorrow.


Memorial Day Weekend Down by the Bay

I feel so very blessed to have a family outpost in the Northern Neck of Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay to call a weekend home every now and then. The summers I’ve spent there with family and friends for the past four or five years have been rich with joy and an occasional sunburn. So it was nothing short of fitting to kick off the summer at the Rivah.

I only had my camera out for one day, but with Jessie’s help, we documented Sunday pretty well.

We tend to make a waterfront camp by the dock in front of the house.

Some awesome people, keeping cool with a beverage. Hugh got that hat for $5 from Eastern Market a few summers ago… I just use sunscreen.

We had two unplanned but totally welcome visitors show up Saturday evening. We had to cram a whole weekend’s worth of fun into Sunday for Jessie and Troy, so we took a spin on the jet skis, did some swimming and jumping off the dock, and took them for a thrill ride on the tube.

Jessie was grinning this big her whole time on the tube, because I’m that good of a driver.

It looks like Mom took some pictures, too. I’m going to need to see those pictures, Mom!

The adults hung out on the boat, where the radio was turned up.

Harry was a trooper, hanging out with us old folk while Dylan was MIA for a while. Hey Harry!

Troy did some serious kayaking — you’re making wake in a no-wake zone, Troy!

I didn’t get Saturday night’s seafood fest on camera, but it was epic. Mom and Dad went to a local shop and picked up tuna steaks, shrimp, scallops, mahi mahi and oysters and I made pasta salad and cole slaw. De-lish.

I also don’t have action shots of the skiing that happened Saturday — Clayton is always the most fun to watch, especially when he asks to be towed back sans skis. I got up on my first try and Dylan took me for  a quick ride out of the cove, across the channel and back again. Since my back was already sore after that, I quit while I was ahead and let Hugh take a turn (he also did great).

Foot note: my back was still sore from skiing when Hugh talked me into the 10K. Something must be off kilter in my brain.

I probably need more vacation.

Easter at the Alma Mater

Any reason is a good reason to visit Blacksburg. This weekend the reason was the football team’s spring game. And Dylan. And Easter. And because Blacksburg is the most beautiful place in the world to experience springtime weather.

We spent Saturday afternoon tailgating and enjoying the blazing sun at the spring game. I got a picture with the ever elusive Grizzly Adams, otherwise known as my brother the freshman fraternity pledge.

It was very sunny in that stadium. My nose and neck still have the red, shiny hue to prove it.

A butterfly landed on Dad’s new koozie, a gift from the aforementioned Grizzly Adams, freshman fraternity pledge, younger brother of mine.

After Easter brunch and a visit with the Easter Bunny on Sunday morning, we took a leisurely walk through campus. Isn’t it beautiful?

My family of Hokies looked handsome strolling across the drillfield — Classes of 2008, 1981, 1982, and 2014, from left to right.

Hugh humored me by standing in the exact spot I’d mapped out to take a family photo for us.

Just for good measure, I let Hugh get in a picture too.

It felt good to visit the April 16th memorial a week after the anniversary for a little reflection. It’s just hard to believe that it was four years ago now that piles of flowers and letters, t-shirts and ball caps, candles and gifts of all kinds were lying reverently where 32 Hokie stones now sit in a well-designed, permanent memorial.

I’m still a little infatuated with my alma mater, and I can’t wait to go back for football games this fall. The only thing better than Blacksburg in the Spring is Blacksburg in the Fall.

Where Did February Go?

It’s of course a shorter month than January, but I’m truly concerned with the speed at which February passed by. It didn’t help that I spent the better part of last week sick as a dog and unable to do much of anything, hardly in a position to do fabulous things and take pictures. Whatever I had — a bird or swine flu, a stomach bug, food poisoning, typhoid fever — I don’t know, but don’t get it. It’s going around and it was awful.

In any case, February started out as most months do, with an animal popping his head above ground and dictating the meteorological future of Earth. Or at least the length of winter and the arrival of spring. I can’t remember whether he saw his shadow or what it means if he did, but we’ve had some wonderfully spring days since then. Today might be verging on summer as the day started out in the mid-50s, sunny and pleasant, and has already turned dark and rainy with the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes imminent. So I’m thinking this groundhog business got February off to a confusing start.

Soon after, we gals went out shopping for Rebecca’s wedding dress in the middle-of-nowhere Maryland. She spent hours playing dress-up in satin and lace, long and short, beaded and plain, dresses of all kinds. And much to my surprise (and delight) she found her wedding dress. This is not it:

We celebrated Dad’s birthday at Okra’s in Manassas that night, where I got to rehash the whole adventure to the parents while feasting on oysters and Abita. On Superbowl Sunday a bunch of kids gathered to eat barbecue, BonChon and Mexican layer dip galore and try to care about Green Bay or Pittsburgh or the Black Eyed Peas.

The next weekend my crockpot and I made barbecue for the first time. Two giant pork shoulders, five cans of beer, and two crockpots yielded about 10 pounds of some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. If I do say so myself…

And it was all for a superhero-style celebration of Hugh’s 25th birthday.

After spending the morning touring the Capitol with Rebecca, the parents and the VT Alumni Association.

And I spent the next day baking chocolate-covered strawberry cake balls and cheesecake balls for Valentine’s Day office treats.

The following weekend we celebrated Miriam’s birthday by mini-golfing. Indoors. In a bar!

It’s a tad gimmicky, but H St. Country Club was definitely a good Saturday-night choice for something a little different to do.

Despite Tim’s disgruntled-old-man face, and Babs’ slight concern with the situation, a good time was had by all.

And because Mom complains that I take too many pictures and don’t show up in enough, I asked someone to take a picture of Hugh and me to prove that I, too, was at H St. Country Club.

Oh well. Maybe we look better blurry anyway? And since when has Hugh been so much larger than me? I didn’t think I was that stumpy…

Moving on.

I trekked to the parents’ house the next morning and then on to the grandparents‘ for Sunday lunch, good company, and story-telling. And I got to spend time with this little squirt who will be one in a few weeks:

Her great-grandma let her play on the stairs during lunch. Lucky girl.

And then I got more sick than I’ve been in recent memory, called my mom to ask her why I ever moved out when situations like this would be much better with a mom around, spent several days horizontal, went back to work, barely survived commuting home Friday night, then had a lovely, relaxing weekend with friends.

Oh yeah, and the Hokies beat #1 Duke on Saturday night!!

So I guess February was productive, after all.

Go Hokies!

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