Missing My Father

I have been absent from school for several weeks due to the death of my father. He will be greatly missed. This is a video I made of my parents, my sister, and I, featuring the song “Daddy’s Hands.” Here’s hoping the beginning of next school year will be better!

Winter Wonderland

Sometimes the weather forecasters don’t get it right. This time wasn’t one. My teacher friends were buzzing about the possibility of the large amount of snow predicted for Monday night. A student’s father, a State Trooper, said it was guaranteed. That night I went to dinner at the home of a lady from church. By the time I left it had already started coming down in buckets. I wasn’t too surprised that school was canceled. There was more coming on Tuesday though, so school was also canceled on Wednesday, and we knew before 1 PM on Tuesday. I woke up to the sounds of people trying to get out of our parking lot. We have a slight incline, and a couple of cars tried but failed. Around 10 AM the plows came, dumping a bunch of snow behind all the cars. The nice man next door actually shoveled my snow on my porch and around my car. What a nice neighbor! My back porch has almost 10″ on it, but in some places the news said my town had 13″ or more. My school got at least 8″ so we may not be going back to work tomorrow. Good thing I made some soup yesterday. The news just said that it was the biggest storm in 13 years, but only half the size of the whopper snowfall of 1978.

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Both Daughters Perform in California

Is anyone from the San Francisco area? My daughter is performing in a Christmas show at the Six Flags park near there. I can’t go watch her but she sends me pictures. It looks like it is a great park similar to the Busch Garden park as it has lots of animals. She called home last week excited that she was able to pet a dolphin. I can’t go because I can’t afford 2 trips. She is performing until the 23rd and then flying home on the 24th. She has to be in Florida by the 27th as she got a full time job in entertainment at Disney. I think everyone has to start with a fur character there and then they are evaluated and moved into other places. She is so excited.

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I’m just glad to see her smile again. The two trips I mentioned have to do with my other daughter Carrie also. She is going to be in the Rose Bowl parade on New Years. Sarah will be in Florida by that time. I can’t go to one’s show and not the other. I just can’t afford to go to both as I figure that it would cost close to 2 grand for the 2 cross country flights and hotels, especially during this time of year. I can watch Carrie on TV although I doubt if I’ll be able to pick her out in those full military uniforms with capes and all. I am really proud of my daughters though and wish I were made of money. Well, on the other hand, if I were, the kids might not have turned out as good as they have because they are used to fighting for everything they get. The photo is a shot of Sarah in California. She is the one with the cream hat. I will make a scrapbook page later with some of her stage photos.

Update: Here is a picture of Carrie in the Rose Bowl Parade.

2007 VMI Band

VMI Parents and VMI Band

I was able to see my daughter last weekend in Virginia. She attends the Virginia Military Institute, and it was Parent’s Weekend, which perfectly coordinated with my Fall Break! It was also her birthday last weekend, so the forces of nature were for once, alligned in my favor. It was also the height of autumnal splendor too, so I had a lovely trip, snapping happily away with my camera. The only negative in the whole weekend was that VMI lost the football game in the last three minutes, but I guess I can overlook that as I’m more into the crowd experience than the actual game.

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It was a breath-takenly beautiful day on Saturday, and I got up early to go to the Open House at the Barracks. Carrie lives in a very stark condition there with four roommates. She must keep her uniform and book supplies neatly arranged. They roll their “hay” every single day and stack their bed frames against the wall. It serves the double purpose of giving them more room and keeping them from lounging around. The kids have stereos and computers but no televsions or refridgerators like normal college rooms. It’s quite a jog to the restrooms, and they must go outside to reach it. I’m not sure I would ever make it safely on a cold morning. Since females are in the minority at VMI, they have to get fully dressed too or be in their long robes.

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After visiting the barracks, I watched the military parade. Carrie doesn’t have to be in them any more because she is a fifth year student and a cheerleader. She had to go to practice before the game. I loved watching the parade as it reminded me of the first time I visited her as a “rat”–the term they call freshmen before the breakout period when they can officially be called fourth classmen. She was so thin then, and they had chopped her hair all off. I’m glad she is tough and was able to get through the past four years.

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The football game was fun. The students have to attend and they march down to the field in formation. The rats must yell or they will in turn get yelled at. If the VMI team scores a touchdown, all the rats have to run to the sidelines (all 400 of them) and do as many pushups as the current score–each and every time. It can be quite a lot of pushups as this is cumulative. Carrie and the cheerleaders do the pushups as well. Maybe that’s why I don’t worry so much when they throw her up into the air really high. She is on the frontpage of the VMI website this week. If you would like to see her picture, visit the VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE website.

Wet, Wonderful Gardens

Today the girls and I went back to Busch Gardens. I had bought them season tickets before I left. They have a good deal where a season pass is the same as a one day ticket! It would have been silly not to get it. They have been back several times since my first blog post and rode the roller coasters many times. I don’t enjoy the roller coasters like I did when I was younger so today we just hit most of the shows. Our favorite was an African show called Katonga. The sets and costumes were very elaborate. It was so creative, and we loved it. We also went to American Beat, a show about music of the 50s to 70s plus some songs of today. During the 70s section the guy who was singing a song from Saturday Night Fever had Carrie get up and disco dance with him. She was so embarrassed but did it anyway. We also went to the Chinese Acrobats (they were fabulous) and a Pirate Movie in 4D.

It rained and rained in the evening, and we got soaked. It was great though because it never was that hot, and it thinned the crowd out quite a bit. We also saw a lot animals and birds. The girls loved the Budweiser Clydesdale horse named “Mike!”

We ended up staying until closing time. As we were leaving one of the biggest roller coasters was stuck at one of the highest points in the ride. I would have been scared to death. I hope they got them out before it started raining again!

I really enjoyed my time with the girls at Busch Gardens. It was a great day!