Below are the highlights of 2011.
The weather continues to be quite mild into early winter, so Bruce continues to ride his motorcycle to work but less frequently.
We bought a 2012 Hyundai Tucson to replace the old Taurus we got rid of in September. This is Bruce's car to drive. David continues to drive the 99 Chrysler and Andrew will most likely drive the 04 Chrysler next spring and summer.
Eileen continues to deal with the dental repair resulting from her bicycle accident in August 2010. Now it seems they didn't get the color or shape right on her new front crowns. They are in the process of doing it all over again.
November has only one official SCRC group ride that ends the season, but Bruce continues to ride since the weather begins to cooperate.
Eileen's mother Sandy seemingly suddenly became extremely ill and had to be hospitalized. At the hospital she underwent several tests to determine the cause of the pain she'd been having for a few weeks. Although they discovered some serious problems, Sandy was scheduled to be released from the hospital a couple of days later. She then developed a blood clot in her leg and remained in the hospital to begin treatment of blood thinners. While there she also had a colonoscopy and during the procedure, her colon was perforated. When the doctor began the surgery to repair the perforation, he discovered that she had stage four cancer which had spread throughout her stomach, esophagus, liver, etc. It was at this point that the doctor notified us that there was nothing more that they could do since she was so sick. They determined that she would not likely be able to breathe on her own once they took her off of the anesthesia and the breathing tube. This was on the evening of Wed, Nov. 2. Eileen and I flew to Florida the next morning and arrived in time to see her in her last moments. Sandy passed away that afternoon, Nov. 3. Eileen continues to grieve the loss of her wonderful Mom. We both miss her dearly.
Unbelievably, the DC area gets the first measurable snowfall of the season the day before Halloween. It was only an inch or so, but this is a very unusual thing.
I put our 1996 Taurus on Craig's list priced to sell quickly. I began getting phone calls within minutes of the posting. It was gone within an hour.
The wet weather continued into early September when a slow-moving storm carrying lots of moisture stalled over much of the mid-Atlantic and northeast. The ground still saturated from hurricane Irene could hold no more water, so flooding was even worse from this storm. A commuter lot in Reston flooded to over 6 feet resulting in the destruction of 20 or so automobiles. Hunter Mill Road, the main artery running north-to-south past our house, suffered bridge damage at Difficult Run and Colvin Run making our daily commutes a nightmare.
Eileen and I (neither of the boys) attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Albero House adult facility at St. Mary's in Norfolk. Rachel will live there the rest of her life. We made a generous donation toward the construction of the new facility. We also had a very nice visit with Rachel.
Eileen entered what we believe to be her best chili recipe (dubbed "Diablo's Kiss") in the first annual Orbital Chili Challenge and won first place (a $150 gift card and a silver trophy). Bruce spent much of the afternoon marketing it at the challenge because weather forced the event to a day Eileen could not be there.
Bruce joined SCRC on a ride to the Copper Fox Distillery in western Virginia where Wasmund's whiskey and bourbon are distilled. It was very educational and the food was excellent. Later in the month Eileen joined Bruce for the "Rattle the Runway" ride, which raises money for local police and firefighters.
Andrew is off to college at George Mason University! He is living in the Honors LLC dormitory (a.k.a. Eastern Shore). Eileen and I spent a good bit of the day getting his medical records on file there and moving him in.
On August 23, east central Virginia was hit by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that rattled the entire eastern seaboard as far north as Nova Scotia. I knew it was an earthquake when my office blinds began banging into the windows and the floor felt like it was trying to collapse. Fortunately, neither our workplaces nor our home suffered any damage.
Later this month, around the 27th, hurricane Irene swept through the area and dumped close to 10 inches of rain on the Chesapeake Bay area, east of DC. In Reston VA we got closer to 8.5 inches. Flooding was everywhere and there was considerable water damage to roads as well as power outages, downed trees, etc.
Eileen and I joined our SCRC friends on an afternoon ride to the Tarara Winery north of Leesburg for an evening picnic and rock concert. While we were there we met our friends Don and Marion May, who were also visiting the winery for the first time.
Eileen and I went (without boys) to Norfolk to visit Rachel.
Andrew graduated from South Lakes High School, Reston, VA.
At the end of June, I went on what has become my annual motorcycle ride to Ohio and Indiana to visit family and friends. The trip covered about 1300 miles over a week. Stops included Troy OH, Indianapolis IN, Connersville IN, Dayton OH, and Marietta OH.
I ride my motorcycle a lot once the weather gets warm, especially back and forth to work. On the evening of May 5 I was headed east on State Route 7 on my 2004 Yamaha Roadstar Silverado and was involved in an accident. I don't know what happened, but apparently I hit a car from behind. I just remember suddenly realizing I was in a hospital on a gurney and someone was cutting my best pair of jeans off my legs. I don't recall anything about the accident or what happened at the scene even though the officer told me in the hospital that I had been talking and conscious the whole time.
A few days after the accident I found a 2005 Yamaha Royal Star Venture on Craig's List. The seller lived in Culpeper, VA, about an hour away. I arranged to go see it the following Thursday with David, with the expectation of buying it. The bike was in perfect condition and had several extras. The price was definitely right, so I paid the man for it and we went to the DMV there in Culpeper and had the title transferred to my name.
Eileen's annual AIHA conference was held in Portland OR this month. I flew out to meet her on the last day of the conference and we spent the rest of the week experiencing the Portland area. This included a drive on the "fruit loop" around Mt. Hood, which was still covered in snow at the higher elevations. We toured a winery there and did some wine tasting. We also got to see the Oregon coast, which was very cool, breezy, and rainy. But the countryside was absolutely beautiful.
David played a gig with his band, The Picycles, at Fat Tuesday's. Eileen, her mother Sandy, and I went to hear them play. They were quite good.
Eileen and I went to Fairfax Hyundai to test drive some 2011 cars. In particular, the cars driven were the Tucson (first) and Sonata (second). We were looking to replace the old 1996 Taurus wagon the boys managed to bang up pretty good learning to drive and a gas-sipping CUV seemed like the answer. We liked the Tucson a lot, but I really wanted to try the Sonata also, so we took one out for a spin. We ended up on I-66 W and while preparing to exit to return to the dealer were involved in a collision. A full-size van hit our car (hard) from the rear when I had to quickly move one lane to the left to avoid hitting some slow-moving cars that just merged into our lane without yielding. The Sonata we were driving was pretty seriously damaged, but we were unhurt. We drove away from the scene, but the van had to be towed. We were impressed by how the Hyundai did in this unplanned crash test. I am still confused as to how I was the one who ended up getting a ticket.
Eileen, Andrew and I went to Norfolk to visit Rachel.
Andrew attended his senior prom with his girlfriend, India.
Bruce joined his SCRC friends on a ride to Richmond VA for their annual "Meet and Greet" at a local restaurant there.
Eileen and I went (without boys) to Norfolk to visit Rachel.
Andrew was awarded a Fairfax County Peace Award for his involvement in starting a Best Buddies chapter at South Lakes High School. St. Mary's arranged to have some wonderful ladies bring Rachel up from Norfolk for the occasion. It proved to be a bit overwhelming for Andrew, who was so shaken up he could not accept the award during the ceremony. Eileen's mother Sandy also attended from Florida.
Bruce attended the annual SCRC New Year's Eve Bash at Julie and Tom Geery's. Eileen stayed home having just had oral surgery the day before. New Year's Day Bruce went on the annual SCRC Polar Bear Ride (earned a pin!). By 11:00am it was 50° outside, so it wasn't very "polar". Still, it was great to get the bike out and gather afterwards at the Baeseman residence in Leesburg for brunch. A great start to the year!
Eileen continued to deal with the dental repair resulting from her bicycle accident in August 2010.