Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Few Thoughts During a Busy Life

I guess I will blog because I feel like I should. Actually, I'm not sure that I should, but it just seems like I should do something besides sitting here and watching golf all afternoon. It's funny that I used to think golf was stupid, but now I get excited about even watching it on TV. In fact, its interesting and ironic that I sat here watching the U.S. Open and debating whether we should go outside and actually play golf. And of course, it was decided that no, it was too hot and would take too much effort to play, so I'm still here just watching golf. Oh well. It is fun though. It's amusing to watch this supposed best players in the world play so terribly. They're doing really badly today. I guess the course setup is pretty hard for the U.S. Open.

I did eventually want to go back in time and blog a little about the events of the past couple of months. It seems like ever since the VT shootings, life has been crazy busy and I haven't had time to really slow down and think at all, much less to write about anything. This seems like the first truely free weekend we've had in months. It's been nice. :)

I just wanted to get down a couple of thoughts on the VT shootings back on April 16th. That was a crazy day. It was one of those days like 9/11 that is just like infused in our minds. I remember at work a news item came up around 9:00 on Google Desktop something about "1 killed at Virginia Tech". I read the article and didn't think much of it. It talked of a dorm shooting and I assumed it was just domestic. I didn't think much of it, other than noting that it was weird after the Morva killings back in August. Seemed like Tech was becoming "ghetto". Then, probably an hour later, lots more stories started coming up, talking of 2 dead, then 5 dead, then dead and a shooter loose on campus! I quickly called Kristin first and made sure she was okay and then called Liz and had her call people. It was difficult to focus on work after that point, and it seemed like nobody else in the office knew what was going on or cared. Soon, there were reports of 20 students killed. I called everyone I could think of that was still at school and then watched the news intently after that and tried to work. It was probably lunch time by then. Later in the afternoon, the larger counts of people killed came out and more details were coming out. I left work and we spent the evening pretty much glued in silence to the news. There wasn't much to say really. It was a weird feeling. I felt a lot of emotion when I heard of 7 deaths, but then as the number rose, I didn't feel much more emotion. Mostly, I just felt deflated...almost like this incident was beyond emotion. I couldn't quite relate or imagine or comprehend the depths of the horrible thing that had just happened. So, Liz and I just sat and watched and soaked it in. I think I was hoping that by watching the news or really thinking hard about it, that I would be able to achieve some level of emotion that would do the situation justice. But, I wasn't able to. So, I almost felt guilty, as if I wasn't being sensitive enough. It was a weird feeling. We spent a lot of the second day watching the news too after work, and then some of the third day. By that point, I decided that we needed to break out of the funk. We were thankful that we didn't know anybody directly involved. Kristin and Doug both new some of the students and teachers killed though. It was very sad. So, I'm not sure if I'm densensitized to such violence, or if something like this is just beyond my capacity. But, I never felt overwhelmed with grief like I seem to have "ought" to. Perhaps it was because all the people I cared about are okay. Does that make me selfish though? I dunno. Somehow I feel a responsibility to have a high level of grief just because I went to VT. We finally got back to Blacksburg around the end of May. I honestly felt afraid to be back. Not for fear of violence, but kind of for fear of finally finding the emotion that I seemed to have lacking. I think I could have found that emotion, because I felt it brewing up a little bit, but I don't think I was quite willing to let it out. Blacksburg seemed broken to me. If I was there a lot, it might not feel that way, but coming infrequently, it felt broken to me. It felt like its innocence and bliss was gone. Everywhere, there were ribbons, flowers, stickers, posters, and signs of support for the school after the shootings. Every corner had a reminder of something I didn't want to be reminded about. I think I was hoping to go back to the same old Blacksburg and didn't want to admit that such a horrible thing had occurred. But, it wasn't that way. When we went back last weekend, we went on campus briefly for the first time and drove around the drillfield. It was so empty and quiet. It felt sad and broken to me. We paused at Norris and it was darkened and just felt really sad also. I hate to have such feelings associated with the college and town I enjoyed so much and felt so good at. I don't want to feel weird, sad, and awkward every time I go back to campus, but I'm afraid I will. Perhaps if I finally got out the pending emotion and dealt with it properly, I could get over it, but for now, I'm in a weird funk concering the matter. I'll have to work on that. I guess that's a long synopsis on how I feel about the whole situation, and how I'm dealing with it myself.

Death has been a big theme recently. First, the VT shootings, then Grandpa Claeys died at the very beginning of May. Then Barry Kroeger died not long after that. I think all these things happening together made it hard to be sensitive to any of them as much as I should be. I think Grandpa's was the hardest, because he was the closest to me. We were never really close, but he was still my grandpa. It made it even harder not being sure of his salvation and knowing that Liz and I were the last in our family to see him in person back on our honeymoon. I was so thankful we got to do that, but in hindsight, I wish that we had spent more time there and had deeper conversation. So, those thoughts were hard to deal with and it made me sad to see my dad sad also. It made me think heavily like nothing much before about how important it is to not waste time in telling people about Christ. I need to work on that too, but its so hard. It was sad to hear about Barry dying also, but it was a lot different. There was an element of joy and rejoicing involved in knowing that Barry is finally with the Lord. I'm excited for him.

On a lighter note, on Friday the 13th of April, Liz had her wisdom teeth out. It was quite an experience for her, but it went really well. I enjoyed getting to care for her. She felt great the day of the surgery. I think it was the drugs. The following days weren't as great for her, but she made it through thankfully. Of course, the whole VT thing happened on the 16th and I think that took a lot of the focus off of Liz's surgery for sure.

We took a trip with my family on April 21st to Hershey Park. I was so thankful to see Kristin after the VT stuff. She seemed like she was handling it pretty well. I felt pretty guilty enjoying a day at Hershey only a few days after the tragedy, so I think that softened the fun for me a little. But, it was nice to be with my family. We got on a lot of rides with not many lines. Northrop bought the park for us for the day, which was a nice perk. :) Really the only bad thing of that day was when we us kids got seperated from Mom and Dad at the end of the day and burned the last hour or so searching for each other. It was stressful and not fun at all.

Awana finished up also early this month. We have enjoyed working with the kids a lot and getting to know the families in church more through that. I'm looking foward to doing it again next year, but it is nice to have the summer off! I can do things like this (blogging) on summer Sunday evenings!

Late April and early May we had a couple early Saturday mornings of successful yard saling. We found some fun stuff for our house and a few things that we didn't need, but were fun anyways. :)

We had Liz's friend Katie over for a fun dinner on April 30th. She's a student at UVA and it was nice to have her for a couple hours. The next evening, May 1st, we spent down on the UVA lawn at a free music event. There was some classical music and some electronic music. It got weird near the end and we left. :P

We've also become a fan-favorite to the Newton boys. We've babysitted for them a number of times, but have always enjoyed having them over. It gives me an excuse to play Nintendo, Legos, Tinker Toys, etc.

The first weekend of May, we went out to lunch after church with Wayne and Liz Duley at the Flaming Wok restraunt and had a great time. Then we had them back into our home for the rest of the afternoon. We really enjoyed the time with them. We were feeling a little our of sorts about going to Romania in September, but talking to them really helped us sort our thoughts and perspectives out a lot. :)

The following Thursday, the 10th, we left early with my family from Sterling and drove the entire day out to Illinois for Grandpa's funeral. It was a fun car drive, squeezed in the back of the rental car with Liz and Kristin. It was fun to be with my family on a longer trip again. It seems like its been awhile. It was fun to be with them at the hotel eating pizza and going swimming. Just felt like old times. :) Grandpa's funeral was on Friday the 11th. It went really well and I was glad that Liz and I were able to make it out there. I wished we could have stayed longer and spent more time with everyone, but we had to get back for a wedding on Saturday. We got a rental car Friday afternoon and drove into Chicago at rush hour. Very bad idea. Traffic was ridiculous. I had wanted to have a nice dinner, but we had to settle for White Castle burgers just outside the airport, which wasn't a terrible trade-off I suppose. We made our flight back to Dulles in plenty of time and Jon was nice to pick us up at the aiport a little after midnight. Saturday, the 12th, we drove down for John Barrette's wedding in Culpeper. That was a great time and I got to catch up with some old friends there. It was a very nice wedding and a very fun time. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel were J. Dub, Rob, etc were staying and hung out a bit before driving back to CVille really late. It was a tiring number of days!!

On Thursday, May 17th, I went out to see Spiderman 3 with Joey Newton and his neighbor. Contrary to some reviews, I really enjoyed it a lot. Perhaps it was because I didn't know the plot of the original comics to begin with, so I've been amused and entertained all along. It would be sad to know the ending every time! I though it was a great movie.

We spent the weekend of May 18th-20th in Blacksburg, our first time back since the shootings. More about that above. Barry Kroeger's memorial service was on that Sunday and it was really nice. There were a ton of people there and it made me feel special to have known Barry. He was a really great man and a Godly man and a great example to me. More about that in my previous blog post. But, that was a good weekend overall. Got to change Liz's oil and put some new break pads in her car, which is always a plus.

Monday May 21st, we had Howie and Debbie Campbell over for dinner and had good times with them fellowshipping. I really enjoy them so much. I never thought we would be friends with them, but God has blessed us so much with that relationship. They're great examples for us of people who are really living for God. I hope their tour around this summer goes really well.

Also of note, I've spent a lot of time the last couple of months trying to revamp our church's website. Its taken some work and I've been writing an admin backend for it. I really enjoy the work in my spare time. Perhaps because it seems to have more point than regular work! I dunno, but I seem to really get into working on the website for some reason.

The next weekend, May 25th-27th we had Steve Cosky in for the weekend. We had some fun times with him. Went for a hike at Ivy Creek where we ran into a copperhead snake! The evening was spent downtown with good food at Guadalajara and chillin on the mall afterwards. We had a fun day together on Sunday also. Sunday night, Howie led a worship service at the high school which was really nice. I wish more people had come out, but I really enjoyed it. I was glad Steve got to go also.

I worked on Memorial Day and then a part day on Tuesday and the we left to Virginia Beach for the rest of the week! I was so excited to get away. This was our 1st anniversary trip! We had an awesome time out there with lots of good memories. We spent three nights at the Schooner Inn which was a nice little place at the end of the boardwalk. Its nice and quiet at that end of the beach, which is a good thing. :) Each morning, I made us yummy breakfasts, like eggs, waffles, and french toast. :-) Our place had a little kitchenette which was an advantage. I also made us get up each morning at 5:40am for the incredible surises over the water. Our place was on the ocean and it was so pretty there to see the ocean at all times. The sunrises were great. I really enjoyed the trip to talk with Liz. I felt like we both opened up a lot more and had time out of our busy schedule to talk some and get to know each other again! Sounds weird to say for an anniversary trip, but its true! I had so much fun with her. We spent a lot of time walking the boardwalk, sitting on the beach, etc. I enjoyed a couple days of boogie-boarding which was great fun. The only bad thing was getting bit by something! I felt something grab onto my ankle and I shook it off! Sure enough, there were two little marks there. I guess it was a crab or a mean fish, I dunno. We had two good seafood dinners also. The first night, we ordered pizza in the room and watched a movie. :) It seems like there were a number of odd occurrances, but I don't remember them all. I think the best was one night when we were sitting out talking on our patio. We both saw this flaming ball fall out of the sky towards the beach. It looked like it was burning and turning green and the disappeared. It was so close and seemed like a meteorite, but that didn't make sense! It was VERY strange and a little creepy. I'm still not sure what to make of it, but we both saw it, so I'm not crazy! A good memory too was out last night there. We had dinner and then came back and sat on the patio and sipped good wine while the moon rose over the ocean. That night, the 31st it was a "blue moon" and it was spectacular. I really had fun talking with Liz and later we went down on the beach and sat in a lifeguard seat and talked some more. It was a great closing evening. :) Friday, June 1st was our last day there and we spent the afternoon renting bikes and riding all over. We rode all the way down to First Landing State Park and of all things, there was a brush fire started when we got there! The firetrucks were coming in and wouldn't let us into the park!! What terrible luck! It was a fun bike ride regardless, though. Later we had some great ice cream at Hagen-Daaz to close off our trip and we left the beach around 4:30. We were going to have dinne in Richmond at Maggiano's that night but decided that it would be too hard to make it in time with changing and all. It was a good decision, because traffic was terrible. We got stuck on 64, so decided to adventure instead. We ended up going through Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, etc, before finally getting back on 64 somewhere around Williamsburg! It was crazy, and certainly didn't save any time, but it was fun to adventure. The only really bad thing that happened was right as we were getting into Norfolk, this crazy bird smacked into the side of my car! I was only going about 30 and the thing just creamed my driver's side mirror and window. Luckily I had just closed it and turned on the A/C!! The thing left green slime of guts or crap or we don't know what all over the side of my car! It was crazy!! Anyhow, we made it to Richmond at like 9 and ate at the amazing Arby's next to Maggiano's. This Arby's is truely amazing though. You have to experience it. So we got back late that Friday night in time to drive north on Saturday for a Romania group meeting. It was fun and we met some good people there that helped to get us more excited about the trip. Sunday was the final night of Awana and was a great time as well. After Awana ended, we went out for a late dinner at our classic Chinese place downtown. It was our anniversary after all! We had a good time together there. Good memories. :) After dinner, we FINALLY got to eat the top off our wedding cake! We had a piece and it was so good. :) What a busy week and weekend!

This past weekend, June 8th-10th, we spent in Blacksburg. It was a good weekend and we had a lot of fun with Liz's family this time visiting. Saturday morning, I had my car fixed up at Duncan Honda which was good. Saturday afternoon was Rachel and Peter's wedding which went well also. We had fun watching Les Miserables with the family that night. Very good movie. :) Then Sunday evening was Lauren and Zach's wedding. That was a very nice wedding. It was out in the VT gardens and was just magnificent. I had such a nice time and it was so nice to be outside for that. :) Of course, it lasted really late and we didnt leave Blacksburg until very late and got back to CVille almost at 1am!

These past two weeks have been very hard time-wise. I thought my hard drive was dying, so I got a new one and spent a long time setting it up the other week and having difficulty doing so. Then I figured out that it was my motherboard dying instead. So, I spent a lot of time messing with that to figure that out and then finally just decided to swap all my hardware into my old P-III computer so at least I can have something to use. That took a long time too. Plus, I've been working long hours to bank comp-time for the many trips we have coming up soon! So, its been very hard to keep up with everything around here lately.

I've been so thankful for this weekend to chill and have some time to think and just be lazy! Its been great! :)

The next 3 weeks will be crazy again, and probably July will be crazy too!! Maybe, this is just life.! :)

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