Monday, April 27, 2009

A Whole Lot of Nothing Going On

Not a whole heck of a lot going on in my neck of the woods, I've barely lifted a needle in the past 2 weeks, I've been more in a spring cleaning, reading, gardening mode. I did finish a great book, "Being the First Jane Austen Mystery: Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor" by Stephanie Barron, and started another "Death was the Other Woman" by Linda L Richards. Getting the house sort of ready for the girls' arrival for summer-Rachel has her final exam tomorrow morning at 8:00, and will be home tomorrow afternoon. Meredith has until about May 15. She is having a little bit of a rough spell at the moment--she has not dated very much, she's only been out with maybe 5 boys ever (both of my girls are over 6 feet tall, I think boys are a little intimidated by them). Her last date was almost 18 months ago. So, 2 weeks ago she and some sorority sisters were at karaoke night, and some members of the Tech football team showed up. One of the players took a particular interest in her, and had a mutual friend introduce them. They have become inseperable, and are just head over heels for each other. Sounds wonderful, but there is a catch. He was in the NFL draft over the weekend, and signed with the Green Bay Packers. Needless to say, things are kind of stressful in that department.
My husband, aka Edward Scissorhands--this is the man who has never until recent weeks had any interest in the yard whatsoever--has been seeing this tomato planter thing on TV called "Topsy Turvy", and declared that he must try one. So, I called around to the local nurseries, and found 2 left at one store, I went and bought those yesterday. I guess it's the little things that make men happy, you'd think my husband had won the lottery, he's so happy with his Topsy Turvies. The nursery lady says she's heard good things, so we'll give them a shot.
Hunter has his spring chorus concert Wednesday night, a production called "The Music Man, Junior".
Our house is practically infested with these giant horse-flies--they don't seem to have come from outdoors, we can only assume that one laid eggs in the house and they have recently hatched, it's gross, I guess we are going to have to call in an exterminator, nuff said. My husband says one of his co-workers is having the same problem, it's very strange.
I had a birthday Friday, all in all a pretty pleasant day. I took the day off from work, got taken out to dinner at Glory Days Grill, and ordered a couple of things with my birthday discount from Colonial Crafts.
The town we live in now is called Winchester, it is at the very tip-top of Virginia. They have a huge week-long celebration here every year called the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. During the week, there is a carnival, a circus, later in the week there are luncheons and dances, the kids have no school Friday. the week is topped off by a Firefighter's Parade, followed by fireworks, on Friday night, and a huge Grand Feature Parade on Saturday. Each year, a famous celebrity is the Grand Marshall of the parade, this year it is Eric Estrada. There is also a Queen Shenandoah each year, she is always the 17-22 year old daughter of a famous celebrity, somehow I've missed out on who the queen is this year, I need to find out. That is all going on this week. Here is a link to the website, just in case you're ever in the area and want something different to do . Oh, and the official colors of "The Bloom" are pink and green, so if you come, dress appropriately ;))
I think I probably should change the title of my post.
Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Day of Remembrance

Tomorrow will be a difficult day for the Hokie nation, of which I am a member. It will mark the anniversary of the horrific events that took place at our beloved university, Virginia Tech, on April 16, 2007. Tech has been a part of me my entire life. I truly bleed orange and maroon. My grandmother used to tell me wonderful stories about going to dances at Tech in the 1920's with members of the Corps of Cadets. My dad was an engineering student there when I was born, I have a little baby bib - my first piece of Tech apparel- that has a picture of the Gobbler--now known as "Hokie Bird" with the caption VA Tech Class of 19?? on it. That caption on my bib became a reality when I entered as a student in September of 1974. My first dorm room was on the 4th floor of West Ambler Johnston, right down the hall from where the first shootings occurred on that day in April. I met my now husband at the Hokie House on my first night as a freshman. Not only are my dad, my husband and I alumni, but my 2 uncles, one cousin, several second cousins, my husband's 2 brothers, 4 nephews and one niece are as well. We took our kids to football games in Lane Stadium from the time they were old enough, and we sent them to Hokie basketball camps in the summers. Now, our oldest daughter is a 3rd year student there. She was a freshman when the shootings occurred, living in West A J, just like her mom 32 years earlier, and living in the room directly above where the first shootings occurred.
That day, and the week that followed are permanently etched in my memory. The day began like any other, it was a Monday, I was at work. My daughter called me the first time at around 8:15, saying that she was upset, because she had a test in her first class, which was at 9:00, and she had tried to go out of her room to go down the hall to the bathroom, and there were FBI agents and police all over the place, they escorted her to the bathroom, then back to her room, told her to stay in there with the door locked until further notice--don't open the door for anyone, and stay away from the window. She was worried about missing her test. She said at the time she had been told by her RA that the girl in the room directly beneath her, and the RA on that floor, had been shot, that they thought it was a domestic dispute, with the girl being shot by her jilted boyfriend, and that the RA got in the way trying to protect her.
Then, Meredith called back later and said that there had been more shootings across campus in one of the class buildings, they thought the guy had gone looking for the girl's new boyfriend, and shot other people trying to get to him. We now know that that was not really the case.
Meredith was finally cleared to leave her room around 1:00 PM, but she was afraid and eventually one of her off-campus friends came and convinced her that it was ok to come out of her room, they went to Roanoke for the night, and stayed with members of my family.
I think what has probably haunted me the most is that the girl that was the first victim, Emily, had stayed at her boyfriend's apartment Sunday night, and was just coming in to her dorm Monday morning. Apparently, Cho, (the shooter) was hanging around the entrance to the dorm, just waiting to gain access, and he saw his chance and followed her in. His dorm was across the way from Meredith's dorm, and he supposedly would stare at her dorm out of his window. So, what if my daughter had gone to breakfast that morning, or had stayed at a friend's house the night before, and had been the one coming in the building at that moment? It could so easily have been her. Or, what if she had just been coming out of her room to go to the bathroom, and he had chosen to go on his rampage up one floor? Meredith had a class in one of those rooms on Tuesday-Thursdays, what if he had chosen Tuesday instead of Monday? All of these "what-if's"...
Then, of course, there are the thoughts of what must the families of the victims being going through, I can't imagine having lost my daughter at all, much less in such an awful way. And, what about those students and professors who got up that morning and went to class, not knowing that for some of them, it would be their last day on Earth, and for those who were wounded or were in the classrooms where the shootings took place, but weren't killed, I think about the scars on their bodies and in their minds forever. I was lucky enough to have heard from my daughter numerous times during that day. I heard that one of the most upsetting things mentioned by the officers that went in after the massacre, was the eerie sound of all the cell phones going off, frantic loved ones on the other end, trying to locate the victims.

That week, all of the tributes, memorial services, and outpouring of caring from people around the world were truly touching. Although I was not a family member of one of the actual victims, anyone who ever stepped foot on that campus forever became a member of the "Hokie Nation", and was affected. To see your beloved, picturesque campus on TV as the background for all of the horrible images we were seeing, and being able to place yourself back in that dorm, and in those very classrooms where all of that violence took place is unfathomable.
As author (and alum) Nikki Giovanni stated in her moving speech at the university convocation April 17, 2007, "we will prevail". And, we have. Meredith dealt with a lot of post traumatic stress in the months that followed, but has overcome and prevailed, for the most part. The campus has gone on about their business, many of the students have graduated. Meredith's class will be seniors next year, and they were the youngest on campus at the time, so soon, the majority of students will not have been involved at all with the tragedy.
I would like to share the link to a special memorial edition of Virginia Tech Magazine, alumni receive this magazine several times a year, I have the actual hard copy which was published shortly after the tragedy. Two of my favorite things in the magazine were a beautiful picture of Niagara Falls with maroon and orange lights shining over it. And, a very moving article by an alumnus entitled "Choose One". That article touched me so deeply, it basically urged alumni and students to choose one of these victims, for whatever reason(s) you choose, and more or less "adopt" their spirit, then as you go through life, remember this person as you watch a VA Tech football game, think of that person being able to watch and enjoy that game, or next time you walk around campus, or just anything, think of the Hokie you have chosen, and have their spirit walking beside you as you do the things they might have been doing had their life not been cut short. I have done that, the person I chose is Austin Cloyd, I think I chose her because she was the same age as Meredith, and she had the most beautiful red hair. Her dad is a math professor at Tech. One day last year, Meredith was sitting in a hallway of one of the math buildings studying, and Austin's dad came over and just started talking to her, asking if she needed help or anything. In my mind, I think Austin knows I think of her all the time, even though I never knew her, and that her spirit told her dad to go and spend some time with Meredith.
Here is the link to that magazine:
So, tomorrow, members of the Hokie Nation will remember that day in many ways. Our local alumni chapter is sponsoring a blood drive, so I will be donating blood. Meredith will be attending memorial events around campus. Rachel, who attends Roanoke College 30 miles away from Blacksburg, will spend the night with Meredith tonight, and run in a memorial 10K tomorrow.
I have so many more thoughts and feelings rolling around in my head, but have probably taken up enough space.

I would like to share some photos taken 2 weeks after the shootings, on the day that I went to move Meredith out at the end of the school year. We were very proud of Meredith, students were given the option of not staying to finish out the year, and just taking whatever grade they had as of April 16, or, staying, finishing out the year, and taking exams. Meredith chose to stay and finish out the year, and go through with exams, and made the dean's list.

Here is a picture right outside of Meredith's dorm, West Ambler Johnston:

Here is a picture of my girls looking at the objects inside the memorial tent that was set up on the Drill Field to hold all of the remembrances that were sent to the school.

This was a temporary, makeshift memorial set up on the drillfield, in which there was a marker of Hokie stone-which is the stone that all of the buildings on campus are made of-for each of the victims. People left mostly flowers and candles here.

A close-up of one of the markers, this particular one being for Ryan, who was the R A that was killed in Meredith's building, and the only one of the victims that she knew:

A view of the memorial tent from the area where the stone markers were:

My girls standing in a grove of trees on the Drill Field, the trees had big black ribbons tied around their trunks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sloth Day

After working 9 straight days, and I mean 8-10 hour days, then having 3 days off to catch up on errands, grocery shopping, etc, not to mention preparing our Easter meal, and spending time with my kids, I have today and tomorrow OFF! I made up my mind last night that I would do NOTHING but stitch and be lazy all day. And, this is one goal I have successfully met! I have puttered around the house a bit, and worked on Shores of Hawk Run Hollow, still working on the black border. Hunter was still on spring break today, and the little ghoul has become hooked on CSI, he has watched back-to-back episodes all day, so I've sort of listened along. The weather here today has been pretty glum, drizzly and cold, so a perfect day for being lazy. My husband even ordered pizza for dinner! Those Easter leftovers can definitely wait another day! And Gone With The Wind is on TCM tonight! Perfect end to a perfect day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Tonight was the parent information meeting at my son's future school--he is in 5th grade, and will be attending middle school in the fall. It's unfathomable that he is this old, where does the time go? I worry about him in a way I never worried about the girls, he is the classic example of a little nerd, and after hearing a lot of horror stories about other boys being bullied in middle school, I am so apprehensive about letting him go.

My husband is going through something, I don't know what you would call it, possibly Edward Scissorhands Syndrome. For all these years, his only contribution to the yardwork has been mowing, and for the past couple of years, he's tried pawning that one off on the kids. I've been the one to do the weeding, planting, and grooming. So, last fall, he bought a chainsaw and went around cutting limbs off of trees, and even cut down a tree. That was like his first taste of blood. Then, he bought a new string trimmer and last week went hacking around with that. So, I come home from work today, he'd gotten out my electric hedgeclippers and had not only gone after the boxwoods, which I had worked very hard to keep in a nice shape, they are a mess, I now have one more thing to do on my already full Easter weekend-I have to re-shape the boxwoods. But, if that wasn't enough, he "trimmed" my lilac bushes, which means he took out more than he left, and THEY HAVEN'T EVEN BLOOMED YET! Yes, that was the scream heard round the world at about 5:45 this afternoon. All my beautiful lilac buds laying in a rubbish heap in the back yard. You can't even imagine the brick I've been carrying around in the pit of my stomach since then.

I heard some good news about my still-phoneless oldest through the sister-grapevine, she found out today that she got an internship for the summer with Belk, which is a pretty large department store chain here in Virginia-North Carolina. Not sure yet if it's a paying internship, but regardless, it will look great on her resume. I can only assume they contacted her via email :)) She does have a real telephone in her dorm room, which is included in her room and board, but I feel quite certain she probably wouldn't know how to make a long distance call home on it.

Tomorrow is day 9 in a 9 day work stretch for me, 5:30 can't come fast enough. My girls will be home tomorrow night for the weekend and I have 3 days off. Friday, everyone is getting a chore list, and we are doing some spring cleaning.

I'm off to put a few lengths of thread in "Elizabeth". Once my techno-teens come home and get my new camera downloading stuff figured out, I'll share some pictures of my progress on my projects.
Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday. I am just hoping for a simple day, with no more drama.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kids, do they ever grow up?

Yesterday was one of those days you have with your kids... you moms know what I'm talking about, although sometimes I feel like I seem to have more of them than some of the other moms I know. My husband called me at work and says "have you talked to Meredith today?" To which I replied, "no", I sent her a text message, and hadn't heard back. He informs me that there was a reason for this, because her phone had been stolen. He found out because she used her laptop to go on Facebook to let her sister know that her phone had been stolen, and would she let mom and dad know PUUUUULEAAAASSSEEE! This girl graduated at the top of her high school class, and is on the dean's list at VA Tech, book smart, a virtual genius, but she doesn't have the common sense God gave a rock. Seems she was in the library and saw a friend across the way, left her phone on the table to run over and speak to her friend, comes back, and lo and behold, her phone was gone! So, being the good, yet over-indulgent parents that we tend to be, we called Sprint and had her phone suspended so that we wouldn't be getting charged for calls to who-knows-where, then managed to have them work out something to where we were able to replace the phone for $30. The new phone was already delivered here this afternoon, but we are making her sweat it out and not have it until she comes home Thursday for Easter weekend. She borrowed someone's phone to call me yesterday for a minute, and my comment to her was "Oh, my gosh, what did we do before we had cell phones?" after hearing her frantically worrying about how was she going to survive without her phone. To which she replied that she didn't know, she doesn't remember life before she had her cell phone! And, she said, now here's a thought, you guys could just overnight me one of your phones to use until I get my replacement! Don't get me wrong, she is such a good and hard-working girl, and we love her and are so proud of her accomplishments, but what a ditz she can be, we just wish there was a little more balance going on with the distribution of her brain cells. Such is the spice of life, I guess!

We love you, Mom!

Yesterday was not a complete disaster, though--at work we found out that the Chipotle up the street is having "medical Mondays" in April--every Monday in April, if you come in and show your hospital badge, you get a free meal! Guess you know what we all had for lunch!
Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March-In Like a Lion, Out Like A Lamb

Yesterday's weather was stupendous, definitely a "lamb" of a day! Lucky me had a day off from work. We did a lot of cleaning up around the yard, blowing and mulching leaves, trimming back last year's ornamental grasses, that sort of thing. I took a few pictures of nature's beauty in my yard, and as soon as I can figure out how to get them out of my new camera, and onto my computer, I will share;)) Today, we are back to cold and dreary. Typical spring.

I have started back with my old project-a-day rotation since last Wednesday, and am much happier as far as my stitching goes. I have managed to get in at least a few stitches on each of the projects in my rotation, I figure a little progress is better than none at all. I didn't have any complete finishes for March, although I am within an hour or so of having 1990 Prairie Schooler Santa finished. I have filling in of his red suit to complete, and he'll be done. I think I'll carry him in my purse with me, and maybe eat my lunch in my car and work on him for a few minutes each day until he is done. I don't think it's possible for me to stitch one of those per month, 6 weeks is probably more realistic. They would go really quickly if I were stitching them on linen, but I am using the khaki Davos called for, which requires stitching with the over-one method, and it is just very tedious. But, they are gorgeous on the Davos, and worth the frustration. I will be able to share my Santa in a few days.
Yesterday was my day to work on Village of Hawk Run Hollow, I am working on block 8 right now. I am working the blocks in random order. I was having so much fun on that last night, I hated to put it away and go to bed at 1:15 this morning! Today, I am working on Carriage House's "Elizabeth", which is also a lot of fun. I started her last Wednesday, and am loving the large blocks of color, and not a lot of color changes. I am getting her dress outlined, so I will have a reference point for stitching her head, and THAT HAIR-I have a thing about wanting to get the faces stitched ASAP when I work on projects that have faces. I guess it sort of brings the project to life.
Enough for now, I have to get ready for work. Enjoy your Wednesday, and hope you don't have too many April Fool's jokes played on you.