Tag Archives: Hokie family

Hokie Hugs: Takes One to Give One

April is such a beautiful month. Flowers bloom. More importantly, tulips bloom (my favorite!). Pollen makes us sneeze. The weather is warm, but tolerably cool thanks to April afternoon showers. Easter is in April and Easter is happy. Praise His Light. April for college students is just that much closer to May, when classes finally end. In the working world, April is the start of vacations. People take their kids to Disney World in April. April is Momma Sassy’s birthday. April has just always been a good month.

Then some psycho a-hole (sorry Ma) decided to go ape-shit crazy (Sorry again Ma, but “go nuts” just doesn’t do it justice) on our beautiful campus and took our innocence and our happy April away from us. But my Aprils are happy again because I have great friends. I formed some pretty awesome friendships at Virginia Tech, and on that day in April 4 years ago, our awesome friendships went from deep and meaningful to something that was and is beyond description. Simply put, they are even deeper and more meaningful. I made new friends and deepened connections with others who I will always love, and I can go weeks and even months without talking to them and still know that when I call, no time will have weakened our bond. We all handled that tragedy differently, but mostly we clung to each other. Nothing was for sure except that we loved each other.

Now that I am out of school and have been making friends in the regular world, I see such a stark difference between people I meet now and people I met back then. I think I said this last year, and I don’t want to repeat myself, but having that kind of tragedy in common with people bonds you like you wouldn’t believe. It is hard to explain to others. When I was living in California and people found out I went to VT, they always had two questions: What did I think of Michael Vick, and was I there when that guy, you know. I’ll briefly interject myself and say that I support Michael Vick and think he is an excellent football player. I believe he paid and is still paying (literally) his dues. And I like watching him make awesome plays on Sunday and Monday nights. Sue me.

Anyway, the next question they’d ask was always a little trickier. I think people are curious and they do really want to know, “were you there?!” But they don’t actually want to deal with the answer if the answer is yes. They want me to say no, and then we can have a polite and sincere conversation about how terrible it must have been for all those students and everyone, and perhaps make some generic comments about campus security and then grab lunch. But I don’t like to lie, and I wear this bracelet with one of those 32 angel’s name on it, so I say yes. The reactions are all the same. “Oh wow!” “That must have been awful!” Followed by, “Did you know anyone?!” said with wide eyes. Then of course when I say yes again, it’s almost worse. Eyes get wider. Because they just don’t know what to do with themselves. How does one politely excuse themselves from a conversation about a tragic death and personal sadness to go back to one’s cubicle? Shootings aren’t really common cubicle gossip fodder, and undoubtedly many of them were trying at this point to figure out how to get the conversation back to Michael Vick. Heaven forbid I start crying all of a sudden and then they might have to comfort me or something. “Nice to meet you, do you need a hug?” is a little awkward, admittedly. Much easier to criticize a celebrity athlete for his poor treatment of animals and too-light punishment than talk about something heavy like a dear friend and 31 other loved Hokies being shot to death by a psycho. No one wants to get lunch after that conversation.

So it’s hard to explain. But you just had to be there to really get it. No one that wasn’t there really gets it. No one who isn’t a Hokie gets it. And since that’s a confusing statement with multiple negatives, I’ll rephrase: Only Hokies get it. You can’t comfort me unless you are a Hokie. You just can’t know what to say and how to hug (Hokies have special hugs in case you didn’t know). And you can’t learn it either. I could talk your ear off all day about what I was thinking, how my closest friends reacted, how my entire hall and building yearned all day to hear something about our angel, and then when we finally did hear, we wanted to un-hear. I could tell you about my friend’s sprained ankle when he jumped out of a second story window as death pushed open the classroom door. Or about a childhood friend who I learned later was shot twice and lived to graduate with honors. These are things we Hokies keep with us and I think it makes us better. Not necessarily better than you (though our school can beat your school in football which does make us better than you, natch), just better people. It makes us better citizens. It gives new meaning to our motto, Ut Prosim, That I May Serve. And we live it even more on purpose ever day because those 32 can’t.

At some point last week, the date occurred to me and I realized how close it was to April 16th, a date that will never look the same to me again. One part of me wants to have a wedding planned on that day, or have a baby that I know born, or something else happy and magical so that I can relate something other than this to the date. But another part of me wants to keep it sacred almost. I want it to be special forever because it is special. It was a totally crappy day when all was said and done, but so much goodness came of it, and I can’t say I wish it never happened. Of course I wish no one had been taken from us. But these things all happen for a reason and we can’t doubt that there was a higher meaning.

When I realized that “the date” was nearing, I marveled that so much time can pass so quickly, and then I immediately think about what I will be doing that day. It must be good because otherwise I will cry all day. There is an awesome concert in Raleigh and some other seemingly-fun festivalish events happening that would quite satisfyingly fill a sunny Saturday in April. But this isn’t just any Saturday. It’s April 16th. I need to be with my Hokie family and I need it bad. Last year I journeyed to the beach to be with my regular family and ended up crying alone with my teddy-bear of a German Shepherd Kyra for a good part of the day. She’s a good cuddler but her kisses are a little slobbery and she leaves pounds of hair on my clothes after we hug. And I LOVE my parents, alot a lot, and admittedly they are both Hokies. But this year I need some legit Hokie family by my side. I will attempt to run 3.2 miles for 32 lives lost (physical activity = yikes), and I will see some friends I haven’t seen in a year or more but it will be like I saw them yesterday. We will enjoy each other’s company. We’ll talk about the angels we knew, or we’ll talk about our boring jobs. Either way when I need that special kind of hug, I can get one. And I can give one, too. Ut prosim hugs, ya’ll.

Nothing like going home to Blacksburg to be with Hokie family to celebrate our lives, and the abbreviated lives of those who were sent to heaven a bit early.

The Adult Woman’s Guide to Making Decisions You Will Laugh at Forever

Ah, Mondays. Who doesn’t love a good productive Monday?! Today has been a great productive Monday for me, despite the fact that I barely made it to work on time for a 9am meeting. Nothing like starting the week off in a hectic, crazed, rushed frenzy. Hair looks halfway decent for once though, and I am surprisingly adept at choosing at outfit in 4 seconds and not looking too ridiculously trife. Anywho.

Today my thoughts linger on Saturday’s fun little chat with my bff Miss Foxy. You know those cute girly greeting cards with the picture of a) old ladies sitting in rocking chairs, b) old ladies in old school swim suits on the beach, or c) old ladies doing something else funny/random, with the speech bubbles that say, “We’ll always be the best and closest of friends…” and on the inside it says,”because you know too much.”  Well these cards always make me think of Miss Foxy because indeed she knows everything about everything I do.  This phrase applies to a couple of my girly pals but since I had a little phone chat with Miss Foxy yesterday, it is at the forefront of my brain.

So major digression aside about how much I love Ms. F, it is seriously hilarious to look back on love lives slash terrible choices we have all made. I ended up sharing an anecdote about my life that I had not previously shared with anyone for fear of judgment (which I will not be sharing with you people, natch). I said something along the lines of, I hate myself for doing this and if I were someone else, would totally be full of judgment for me, despite having no regrets for anything it was still SUPER trife. Foxy reminded me that she has never once judged me and indeed I then recalled how many trife stories I have shared with her and how we end up laughing at all the trifeness and I feel so much better for sharing the burden of my trifeness with someone else. And vice versa of course, since immediately following my share session, she shared an equally hilarious / trife story for which I did not pass judgment whatsoever. I’d say that if she and I put together all our trife decisions and got paid maybe $1 per each occurance / situation we put ourselves in, we could easily afford our dream trip to Italy. And honestly, if I didn’t have at least one person to share all the trifeness with and unburden myself from all of my self-judgment, I think I’d shrivel up and just be an ugly prune-y raisin of yucky self-loathing trifeness! I am fairly certain that the above principle, The $1 per Trife Occasion Shared with Girlfriends Principle, would afford any pair of BFFs their dream trip to Fiji. Or where ever your girlie little heart desires. Seriously. And when we (girlfriends) can’t be physically together (no homo), the phone convos consist of at least one of the following per month:

Me: I did the most trife thing ever, you will SO judge me.
Her: I SO will not. Tell me.
Me: No seriously, I’m the biggest pyro klepto lying prude whore in the world. And I’m getting fat.
Her: Shut up and spill the deets whore. And you’re not getting fat, I just checked your new pics on FB.
Me: Fine.

Or, alternatively:
Me: [Successfully guesses what happens]
Her: OMG YES. It was so trife, I am such a [insert self-loathing adjective here, ranging from fatty, whore, bitch, prude, etc.]
Me: No you are not, because I did that last week. So if you are, then that means I am, which is so not true because we are both fabulous.
Her. Right. Thank God.
Us: Smooches via telephone.

So you see, girlfriends really are elemental to my self-esteem and sanity on a daily basis. Almost every situation I find myself in has the following options:  a) Mommy, Daddy, and Grandparent approved, b) Mommy only approved since you’d never mention this to your father, c) BFF tested and approved, d) BFF approved though she might laugh at you a little bit, or e) NO ONE WOULD APPROVE OF THIS – DO NOT DO IT.  Catch that scale there – ranging from most acceptable to least acceptable. All I’m saying folks is that I love my GFs. They are awesome. And most of them have done things way more trife than I have, so honestly I take comfort in that. Thanks ya’ll. To all of you who have endured my trife stories and reassured me that I am not a fatty triflin ho, I hope we will be friends until we are this many years old! Miss Sassy loves you. And to all of you upon whom I have bestowed wisdom beyond my years and/or listening ear, you’re welcome. I am nothing without you.

Adventures at NASCAR: Hick Cops and Are You My Mother? (Part II)

Did you know that “hick cops” actually exist? It’s not just a stereotype or a derogatory name given to small town country cops with unusually strong accents. These cops aren’t necessarily even cops, but more like security guards or deputies with a much-too-high opinion of themselves. They have names like Barney and prefer to be called “Officer” and are ridiculously bossy and unreasonable when it comes to dealing with so-called or would-be criminals or drunken delinquents at an event like a Nascar race. Do you blame them? People who drink beer for 3 days straight are bound to get a little obnoxious or do something a bit out of line at some point. If I was a security guard hired to drive around those campgrounds anytime after 3pm, I’d probably be pretty darn grouchy about it.

To clarify, “hick cop” does not imply necessarily that the cop is uneducated, dumb, or lacking common sense, although this is occasionally the case. It does not mean that the cop should be respected less, etc. So if you are law-enforcement reading this right now, don’t get your panties all in a wad. I’m not calling every southern cop a hick, I’m simply insisting truthfully that some cops are hicks. Moving on.

Saturday evening, well into the bonfire of underwear, with the air smelling like burning polyester (side note, polyester undies: so not comfy guys. Cotton is much softer and probably more airy, which I hear is best for those parts. Just saying), someone decided to take his after-midnight nap on the gravel road/path running alongside our campsite. And at some point “Officer”-I’d-rather-be-feedin-my-hawse-than-dealin-with-this comes by on his Gator (is that what they’re called? Like a golf cart with no roof and big tires…whatever) and stops just short of running our pal over. “What is your freeind doin in the street?” he drawls. And he definitely drawls. Not the cute kind that pretty little southern girls do, or the slurred drunken kind. It’s a country drawl he’s been working on since birth that very few can understand north of Richmond (and even there, the Mond is so full of transplanted yanks…). We’re all a little confused by his question. Firstly, our friend is not really in the road, he’s only half in the road, and secondly, he’s clearly napping. So what’s the issue…? The gravel probably isn’t all that comfortable but we’re not worried. His question is answered by crickets, followed by something like, “Well duh, he’s napping…” But Barney insisted that his hick cop mobile was far too large (in his mind only) to pass by without removal of the sleeping obstacle.  It ended up taking 3 or 4 guys big rugby men to haul him to a tent so Officer Grouchy-Pants could move his important self beyond our campsite.

From here it gets better, as our infamous campsite was visited by this particular gem 2 or 3 times more that same night. I believe I missed the best appearance while sleeping in Foxy’s Jeep Cherokee (I need my beauty rest ya’ll, even at a campsite…unrest shows on the face up to 4 days post sleepless night…not cute). Apparently our Gator driving enthusiast was a bit miffed that a large group of slightly intoxicated young adults was not listening to him (shocking) when he directed them to all “go ta BED” the first time around (shocking) so that the second time he was a bit preachy and even more grouchy than before (shocking). I only heard about this the next day when everyone started using the word “multiple” as often as possible even when it made no sense (pronounced MOLTAPLE or MALTAPLE and always with heavy emphasis…can’t decide which spelling is more accurate to portray his ridiculous country drawl, which was mocked by all). I don’t even know that I heard the whole story, except when he came back yet again and not everyone was snoozing in their beds/chairs, he reminded everyone present that he had “told ya’ll to go ta bEd MULTAPLE tymes!” And once again stormed away at 5 mph on his little rent-a-cop scooter.

Examples of “multiple” being used multiple times: How many beers have you had? MULTAPLE! How many free hotdogs do we get at the stadium? MOLTAPLE! How many cars are in the race? MALTAPLE! (Seriously I can’t figure out which spelling is the best…they seem to all do a decent job) How many times do we guess he’ll come by our campsite to yell at us again tonight?? MALTAPLE! I think we’re getting the picture. Even recent perusals of Facebook has shown that this particular memory has not faded from anyone’s mind (news feed = best way to stalk people quickly and efficiently).

Sunday night, a group of real cops on Gators came by our campsite. It was like a prisoner escort, as the front Gator carried 2 cops and a very drunk young man in the back trunk, followed by a Gator motorcade of cops to make sure the prisoner didn’t make a break for it. We don’t know his story and neither did he but we did confirm that our campsite was infamous, as I mentioned earlier. The young man was pretty belligerent and appeared to not remember his own name or much else about himself or what he was doing (<- not sarcasm), and apparently all he could slur out for the cops when they found him was “rugby team.” What a thing to remember. SO, these cops, now being familiar with our friendly group of hotshots thanks to rent-a-cop Barney, brought the young man by to see if he belonged to us. It was all very “Are You My Mother?” taking this kid around, seeing if he recognized anyone or if anyone would claim him. We kindly informed these officers that this kid did not belong at our site and we’d never seen him before. They were extremely skeptical (understandably) until a less drunk member of the team stepped forward and a bit more earnestly insisted that seriously we didn’t know the guy, but if the officer would be so kind as to keep an eye out for our friend with the handlebar mustache, we actually weren’t sure where he was, we’d really appreciate it. As the motorcade drove away, the Lost Boy could be seen in the spotlight of the headlights behind him, his hands in the air as if he were at gunpoint, continuously insisting to no one in particular that they could arrest him if they wanted and he won’t puttin up no fight!

Monday morning was bittersweet. I slept better than I’d have guessed in the back of Foxy’s Grand Cherokee with her and Queenie, and we all woke up to responsible and mostly sober people cleaning up after themselves, giving hugs, packing tents, chugging found beers, cleaning underwear remnants out of the fire pit, and making plans for next year. The whole experience was grand for me, and I attribute at least 80% of that to this group of friends (warning: emotional moment). They’re serious people. Law school, grad school, real jobs, all put on hold to spend 3 days together so as not to lose track of such great friendships. The sacrificed underwear will forever serve as a memory of this – for me at least – epic trip and taking of my Nascar v-card. I don’t know about all of ya’ll, but I loved the camping, loved every hotdog I ate, loved every semi-cool cup of Keystone Light (ick), and loved watching a bunch of cars make left turns for over 5 hours and 600 miles. What I gained in calories from hotdogs and beer, I lost from laughing so hard so often.

As I seem to like to end these janks in a lesson, how about the lesson today be for all those framilies (friend families = framilies) out there who are graduated and moved away from each other, including and especially my own mucho loved Hokie fam. Don’t forget each other, and don’t let little things keep you from making your way back to each other every now and then. Facebook and BBMs are not enough for me to get all the lovin I need, and I’m betting I’m not alone. This trip, although I was an outsider, was fab. And I’ll admit that yes, I actually like Nascar now, and am not any less classy or sassy for it.

A Hokie heart is the biggest heart of all

Today is a special day. 3 years ago it was a really sad and scary day, and the days that followed were some of the saddest, most surreal, and loving days I’ve experienced. I know I usually try to make ya’ll chuckle at my funny little stories (remember Jason’s Deli? that ish is funny) and keep this here blog light and fun. But today I’m taking a mini break to remember some things and say some things. Today is a day to remember, reminisce, maybe cry, and definitely laugh at the innocent happy and funny memories that were there before and take joy in appreciative happiness that came after.

3 years ago today, I was up early (JK it was 10am…not early) throwing on boots (the warm fuzzy kind that go with sweats, not cute ones) and a hoodie, prepared to be late for Econ at 10:10. Then some emails alert us that there’s some crazy shit going down on campus and maybe we should stay away from windows. So now I’m a little annoyed (having been through the “crazy man loose on campus” once before back in September) and worried that I might lose that sorely needed extra credit being given in class today. Econ was so not my thing. Anyway, hours go by and we slowly learn that the unthinkable has happened. Unthinkable, because who, really, would suppose that something like that could ever happen? In Blacksburg of all places. Tragedies we often think about were more like…getting hit by a drunk driver, or maybe getting into a car accident. “Dangers” in Blacksburg consist of normal college dangers – drunk boys, drunk drivers, alcohol poisoning, girls alone on campus late at night (idiots), slipping on the ice, and getting blown away by the ridiculous wind. Those are all manageable dangers. We take a calculated risk to drink and not poison ourselves. We take a calculated risk walking home from TOTS or driving home when we shouldn’t. It is a reasonable risk to walk to class in ice and snow if class is not cancelled. But we do not even think of – never even occurs to us to think, there are crazy people out there in this little town. Maybe I should wear a bullet proof vest to class today. Unthinkable. Hours and hours go by, and what was unthinkable is now unfathomable and surreal and not really sinking in at all. It’s real but it’s weird real. We hug each other and cry, cry alone, use a million boxes of tissues because we can’t stop crying, take a different stairwell downstairs to avoid walking past that room that used to be occupied. We see others on campus  and don’t smile or greet them, because in their eyes we see what we are feeling. There isn’t anything to say because it’s not like other tragedies. It’s not like when a family member dies and you go to the funeral to support that person. It happened to all of us and we are all sad and we have all lost. So there is no “I’m sorry for your loss”, or making casseroles for that one family, or condolence cards. There are just hugs. And hand-holding. And singing. And candle lighting. And of course there’s some Go Hokies chanting and cheers.

This thing that happened to us, it was awful. It is not something anyone should have to go through, much less the parents and families of 32 students and professors, and their extended Hokie family of 27,000. That’s a big family! And that’s what we are, and if anything, this awful thing made us more aware and more thankful and more happy to be apart of that family. Family – the kind you share blood with – I will always love no matter what. It’s the rules. But Hokie family is different. We chose each other before this thing happened, and now we are bound by the love that has come from this awful thing.

So to all my family, those with whom I share holidays and hereditary OCD (you know who you are), and those with whom I have hilarious stories from TOTS: I love you, you lift me up every day. We are all far apart now and no longer living in that tiny town of love together, sleeping on each others couches, eating MJs fruit snacks and Pringles, ordering Pokie sticks at 3am, or going to hilarious parties in that cleanest of clean fraternity basement. But I carry you with me, we carry Caitlin with us, and Hokies everywhere are living for 32 today, and all days.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

-ee cummings

Sassy Science: The Carbon Footprint

Over the weekend, a few of Miss Sassy Pants fabulous Hokie family members came to visit! I love you all dearly, no matter our many varying and differing opinions on certain topics. Having said that, I must address the issue of the carbon footprint, as mentioned by my dear friend, let’s call him Mr. Smarty Pants.  So we’re in the kitchen (after a yummy dinner prepared by Momma and Poppa Pants – I mean SO delish) doing dishes and chit-chatting, catching up on jobs, school, job searches, new bartending endeavors by Mr. Smarty-Pants’ beautiful girlfriend (and also dear friend of Miss Sassy Pants), let’s call her Miss Fancy Boots (girl had on these fierce boots and I loved them so there you go). Miss Fancy Boots is living in NYC at this time and has been making frequent trips down to good ol’ VA to see her loving Hokie fam and adorable bf.  So I asked something about how was it to be flying back and forth so often?  How does Mr. Smarty Pants like seeing his gf so much?  Clearly this is a no-brainer question…so I thought.  She says of course she likes it because she loves seeing us/him so often (duh, we’re all fabulous), but it’s pricey!  He says, “Well I like seeing her but she’s really increasing her carbon footprint!” …I’m sorry, maybe I dropped fettucini in my ear by accident, but I thought I heard him criticize her carbon footprint.  Oh that is what he said? Oh, trife.

So all you dudes out there, pretend for a moment that you are Mr. Smarty Pants and your gorgeous woman lives in a far away city. Pretend also that money is no object for anyone, so Miss Fancy Boots can come and see you as often as you both please! How cool would that be! If you’re a smart man, you’d probably respond in one of the following ways: “Well I love seeing her, but I feel bad that it costs so much!” or perhaps “It’s pretty great seeing her, but I only wish I was able to fly up to see her so it would be more equal!”  Notice I did not mention a carbon footprint of any kind.  Would you?  I mean ladies, how would you react if your man said to you, “Well darlin it’s pretty fab seeing you but I can’t take your enormous carbon footprint! I’d rather you not visit me so often.”  Your next line would be, “Buh bye,” not to mention the fact that your man just used the word “fab” in a sentence. Brnt.

Anywho, here’s my thing.  I love the environment.  I love green jobs, whatever that means.  Global warming is the devil. I hate pollution and I love to recycle everything. Do not send me that glossy catalogue in the mail because it does not recycle people! With me?  But all this buzz about carbon footprint…I’m just not sure I understand it’s pertinence to the individual person.  So, because I don’t like to be uninformed, I did some research!  Intense research, I know.  So the definition of a carbon footprint, according to whomever wrote this thrilling article on wikipedia, is: the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event or product.  Does it say “caused by each individual person on the planet”? No. If Miss Fancy Boots did not fly back and forth 3 times over the past month, those planes would still have flown! They still would have used hundreds of gallons of fuel and emitted the same “staggering” percentage of global CO2 emissions.  Further googling has led me to find that aircraft emissions account for at least 3% of total US CO2 emissions. While this is a fairly large amount, individual people are not going to affect this percentage.  Yes, if every industry that sends its’ employees road-warrior-ing every week decided to employ their employees where their employees reside, then yeah maybe air traffic would decrease, therefore lowering emissions. But kids, until someone invents an airplane that runs on water or something that does not emit this devil gas, and until global business decides it doesn’t want to be global anymore, planes will still fly! Air traffic will still increase! The airline industry will still have ridiculous problems to deal with other than CO2 emissions!

Now. I realize that my profession has nothing to do with the environment or saving the world from CO2 emissions and I do not claim to be an expert by any means.  But I can read, and I took 2nd grade science class. Every human on God’s lovely green Earth emits CO2.  It’s a natural bodily function.  So no duh humans are speeding up “global warming”…checked the global population lately? There’s over 6.5 billion human beings on this Earth kids! It’s grown exponentially over the past century! That’s a lot of people exhaling CO2.  I do not want my breathing regulated.  Point is, while the EPA and other tree-hugging organizations (bless their little hearts) are suing (or whatever) the FAA and/or whatever government body it is that regulates the air transportation industry, Miss Boots (and everyone else for that matter) can keep right on flying as often as she pleases! Because, update! US Airways is not a private company! She cannot charter a 747 all to her hot little self.  I fulling support *most* of these environmental protection agencies (there’s lots of them, I’m lumping them all together, scuse) and their mission to protect the Earth.  I mean that’s what we should do.  It’s responsible, it’s the only Earth we’ve got.  But do not come up in my grill and be all like “your personal carbon footprint is ruining the Earth! Stop breathing!” Not happening.  So fly on Miss Fancy Boots.  I know I sure love seeing you, and if you run out of moolah to buy your plane ticket, I will save my hard-earned cash and come see you instead! Or maybe I’ll take the train! Oh wait, trains emit CO2 also.  Good grief!  Maybe I’ll walk, and hold my breath the whole way.