Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Visit From Dad

It's been a while since I've done a post on here, but I thought I'd share a little about this summer.

July 6-8 my dad came down to visit here in Roanoke for a few days. We had a good visit, and despite hot weather, were able to do several activities outside. On Tuesday we met for an always good breakfast at Famous Anthony's and then took off for a hike on Dragon's Tooth. The hike is located just west of Catawba, Virginia on SR-311. The hike is relatively short in length (4.6 miles round trip), with half of that one the Appalachian Trail. What makes the hike challenging is the climb, which, at the top has the hiker scrambling over seemingly impassable rocks and using re bar ladders anchored into large boulders. Elevation at the trail head is 1,750 feet and 3,00 feet at the top. That's an elevation change of 1,250 feet over 2.3 miles! Unlike every other time I've done Dragon's Tooth, the trail was empty and, at the top, there was only one other party. We were able to spend a long time at the top admiring the beautiful view.

He made it!

Tuesday evening we had my dad and Lauren's parents over to our house for dinner. We grilled out and had a great time!

Wednesday the outdoor activity continued. We started the day with a delicious breakfast at Tudor's Biscuit World downtown, then took the bikes to the Greenway for a ride. We started at the beginning of the Roanoke River Greenway in Wasena Park, rode the entire Roanoke River Greenway, followed the bike route through a neighborhood, then got on the Tinker Creek Greenway until its terminus. It was a nice ride of about 16 round trip miles.

Wednesday evening we went out for dinner downtown, something Lauren and I don't usually do. We don't have any reason not to, but we rarely go out, and when we do, we go to one of our old faithful favorites. We tried out Tavern on the Market, which was very good, and it was nice to be able to eat outside and try something different.

Thursday turned out to be another day of adventure. I had talked about The Cascades (a trail Lauren and I have hiked multiple times) before, so we decided to drive down after breakfast at The Roanoker, and give our second hike in almost as many days a try. The Cascades are a National Recreation Area located in Pembroke, Virginia, which is west of Blacksburg. It is an easy hike of about 4 round trip miles, with a large waterfall at the end. It's usually hiked as a loop, taking the lower trail which parallels the trout stream to the falls, and the upper trail which is less scenic, but more direct and downhill, out. Our stimulus dollars were hard at work doing work on the upper trail, so we stuck to the more scenic lower trail both in and out. It was a perfect day for the hike, which was evidenced by the number of others who had the same idea. The falls were crowded with people enjoying themselves on the rocks and swimming in the water below the falls. We stopped for lunch at the falls, then headed back to Roanoke.

The falls

People enjoying the day

An old boiler from logging operations in the 1930s

It was a great couple days and the most hiking I've done in quite awhile. It was nice getting to be outside and to spend some time with my dad.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Best Awful Baseball Game Ever

On Friday night, Andrew and I went to "Awful Night" at the Salem Red Sox game. We weren't totally sure what to expect with "Awful Night" but we thought we'd go since we had free tickets, thanks to a coupon in the Valpak. The Red Sox fan page on Facebook said to "expect the worst giveaway ever for the first 1,000 fans, awful pregame music, and by far the most awful post game fireworks display you will ever see!"

Sure enough, the game was completely awful, in the best and most hilarious ways possible.

As two of the first 1,000 fans, Andrew and I were given a piece of paper in order to redeem our "complimentary compliments" from these guys:

We didn't actually redeem them, but I'm sure they would just say something nice to you when you handed them the piece of paper.

While we were waiting for the game to start, we listened to the most hideous pregame music, which was being sung by a man dressed in a banana suit. Closer to game time, they played Hanson's "MMMBop" and Lou Bega's "Mambo No. Five" over the loud speakers. Repeatedly.

When the players from the other team would come up to bat, their pictures on the big screen would be messed up or changed completely (you might have to click on the picture to make it bigger in order to see their wonderful pictures).

In between the innings they played some really great games. And by great, I mean awful.

First they had the Underwear Slingshot. Instead of shooting t-shirts into the crowd, they thought we'd appreciate some oversized underwear instead. They also played Awful Musical Chairs...without taking away a chair each time. Then there was the Taco Bell toss, using a ball that was far too big for the hole that it was supposed to go into. Of course, then we had the helium balloon toss, along with a staring contest with the mascots whose eyes are permanently sewn open (below).

The prize for winning these games was a million dollars. Unfortunately, all of the games were impossible to win, and the players' consolation prizes consisted of a ruler and a pencil (woo hoo!).

Once the game was over, they had the "Worst Fireworks Ever!" I missed the first firework (yes, there was only one), but I did get a video of the "grand finale"... (if you read our blog through e-mail, you might have to go to the actual website to see the video:

So, that was our BEST awful baseball game ever.  Let's hope we see some better fireworks than that tonight! Happy 4th of July everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What a $3 Sheet and Some Velcro Can Do...

Last night I worked on making the table in our kitchen look a little nicer. On the bottom shelf of this table is where we keep our small kitchen appliances, so it looked a little cluttered with all of the cords and everything. So I found a $3 sheet, which also happened to match the colors in our kitchen perfectly, and used some velcro to attach it to the inside of the table. As you can see, it looks much better... and James has found a new favorite hiding place!

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.