Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

Hoo. We're down to almost just one more day until the big event. We've shopped, wrapped, decorated, baked, and cleaned for the past two weeks. One set of guests departed this morning and the second set of guests arrived forty minutes later. I think the coffee pot, washing machine, and dishwasher haven't been fully emptied for more than two hours before being run again.

I've got buckeyes, chewy ginger cookies, cocoa almond pinwheels, lemon pecan shortbread, cheese crackers, and brown sugar cookies on the counter, along with the remains of a pan of malted chocolate brownies that I made Steve to keep him out of the other cookies earlier this week. There's a baked ham  and the makings of a big vat of white chili in the fridge for Sunday. I'll be baking a birthday cake tomorrow morning for my father-in-law's birthday, but I have no idea what we're having for breakfast beyond another big pot of coffee. After today's cookie extravaganza and tonight's dinner, I really shouldn't think of eating anything but plain oatmeal with skim milk tomorrow.

It's been a busy day with relatives visiting and cookie making and much laughter. Ally has had trouble going to sleep tonight, no doubt tortured by the anticipation of opening gifts tomorrow morning with Grammy and Papaw. Then we're in for another round of visiting, gifting, and over eating, followed by yet another day of visiting, gifting, and over eating on Christmas Day.

I am going to be totally exhausted by Sunday night, but in a good way. I hope everyone else is having a pleasant holiday weekend, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 8, 2011

I just endured my third lockdown on the campus of Virginia Tech. The first lockdown was during the April 16th massacre in 2007. The second lockdown was earlier this summer when several kids visiting campus reported a suspicious individual, who was never found by the police, and the incident was thought to be a prank. Then today, a police officer was shot on campus and the shooter apparently killed himself a short time later.

I would like to think that the law of averages suggests that I, and the rest of Virginia Tech, shouldn't have to worry about another incident like these.

Nikki Giovanni gave a memorable speech during a convocation held on campus several days after the April 16 shootings. Her words have stayed with me since then, although I never imagined there might be a need to repeat them after another unsettling, inexplicable day of violence on campus.

Dr. Giovanni's words on April 17, 2007, were as follows:

We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

No one deserves a tragedy. We are the Hokies. We will prevail. We are Virginia Tech.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nearly Wordless Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011

I blinked and discovered that it was already Thursday. Then I blinked again and it's December already. Sigh.