Saturday, September 15, 2012

Seattle as an Aztec

I think every family has something that they all bond over. I would have to say growing up that was football. Long before I can remember my mom would be taking us to Friday night football to watch my dad coach. Then growing up we kept going-went to University of Utah bowl games (my Uncle Sean coached there for over 20 years) and spent the weekends watching football. One of my favorite memories is Boise State winning there bowl game over Oklahoma in OT. Having no connection to Boise besides loving college football. The entire family was in the living room yelling at the TV. When they scored my mom was standing up on the couch, my brother was yelling at the TV with his hands over his face, Brooke was yelling, Mikayla was yelling, dad was talking shop. Dad then made a note that he ruined a great game by asking the cheerleader to marry him. It is just another day in the Vessey house and I wonder why people think we are intense? 

Well my love for the game has continued I am an avid Aztec fan (San Diego State). I am sure you all realized that. Throughout college I attended all most all the home games. Once Brooke arrived we continued going and her dating #68 Right Guard Nik Embernate made us even more into it. My parents became Aztec season ticket holders about 4 seasons ago. Now we are all Aztec fans! After graduation I decided I wanted to try to go to an away game every year. Pick a game on the schedule that is against a University with a pretty good record and in a place I am interested in going. I went to Missouri with my mom two years ago (she is an alumni- you can read that post here). I missed out in 2011 when my dad, his bestfriend Chuck (Rest in PEACE) and Brooke went to watch the Aztec’s take on Michigan at the “Big House”. Brooke also went to New Orleans when they played in the bowl game there. In 2012 I would not miss out on a big away game- especially since it is Nik’s senior season. Seattle I went!

Going to an away game is a lot of fun. You get to experience how another college parties and views football. Brooke, mom, dad and I would board a plane leaving Ontario at 6:30am Saturday morning  to Seattle. With a little bit of nerves and almost missing the plane we got through security and walked right on the plane. Once in Seattle we headed forthe hotel to shower and have some breakfast.

Brooke & Me at Pike's Public Market
Since we were in Seattle we headed down to Pike’s market. We had a great day just walking around, eating seafood & doing a bit of exploring. It turned out my parents had not been there in over 15 years. Brooke had never been. I oddly enough have had some weird trips up to the great Northwest. After spending all afternoon we headed over to a brewery by the stadium. Since the University of Washington is remodeling there stadium the game was to be played at Seattle Seahawks Stadium (NFL Team). At the brewery we meet up w/ my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Karen (my mom’s brother). Then Nik’s dad and his wife joined us. After hanging out & eating we headed to the stadium. Brooke wanted to be there for warm ups.
With dad
Mom with her brother
Walking to the stadium was a lot of fun as there were so many people out. Of course being in all Aztec gear you get some boo’s a few good lucks with a laugh.  Then a lot of high fives from the other 3 Aztec fans you come across. In front of the stadium they close one of the main streets by the stadium and there is just a bunch of venders and food carts. Had we known we might have decided just to eat like that. Once getting our ticketsat the player’s entrance we headed inside. Since we are the visiting school you usually get seats up in the corner near an end zone. Like usual we were in the end zone but we were seated surprisingly in the second tier of the stadium. After playing a good amount of musical chairs with people due to confusion of what seats everyone had. We buckled down for the game. It is fun to be at an away game our section was all Aztec fans. Alumni, parents, siblings, random people. Everyone cheering for the Aztecs. 
Can you find Nik??
Like usual the Aztec’s took the field and Brooke and I were yelling away. As the game went on we yelled and yelled. I enjoy watching football and cheering for kids I went to school with and my alma mater. I will bleed Red and Black forever. There is a saying "Aztec4Life". And if you ask Brennan he will confirm I am a die-hard Aztec. He has a saying “Go Aztecs”- I know he says it with love and a little laugh thinking she is just a bit crazy. The huskies jumped out to an early lead and looked like it could get ugly. But with a trick play the Aztec’s were back in the game. 

The gang (missing KK and Sean)
The trick play was funny because as it was unfolding Brooke realized our receiver was on the side lines unguarded.  As she is yelling there is no one covering him I started yelling at her to shut up. I didn’t want her to give away the play. Looking back sounds stupid I know. But in the heat of the game from the second tier of an 80,000 seat stadium she was about to give away our chance at an easy touchdown. The play went off and the huskies left our man unguarded. It was great! The Aztec’s would struggle here and there and ultimately we would lose the game by 9 points. We had a chance in the last 3 minutes of the game to get a touch down & were not successful. It was a heart breaker- a winnable game. On the upside Nik had played a great game!

** Event happened later but relevant to the above paragraph.  The next week at practice the QB for Nik's team Ryan Katz was like hey man my parents were sitting behind your girlfriend and her sister at the game.  (Hearing this story is when I start thinking: did I say something bad about him? I don't think I did!) His parents explained to him that they we were really intense!  They were yelling almost every play!  My parents couldn't decide who was more intense your girlfriend or her sister. I like to think Brooke is more intense since Nik is her boyfriend.  But yea I am intense (Again we are intense- even random strangers see it!!).  I hope Nik at least explained that we are both alumni and from a football family.  I am unsure if this came up in the conversation- so the QB and his parents might just think we are crazy and intense.  

After the game we would wait at the player’s gate to chat with Nik. This was one of the fastest showers and changes ever for Nik. Surprisingly Nik was not as upset as I thought he might be. He was happy with his performance but disappointed because they could have won. The other team was just not that good!  After chatting with Nik we were exhausted.  After our mile or so walk to the car we headed to the hotel where we all planned to just pass out. Getting up at 4:00a m and then going going all day our Saturday in Seattle was coming to a close around midnight. 

With Mom!! 
Entrance to University of Washington
We slept in well till about 8:30 which is late for the Vessey’s. The plan was to see a little more of Seattle.  We drove over to the University of Washington to see the campus. I had been on the campus about 4 years earlier but no one else had seen it. We drove through and admired how beautiful it was.  The campus has a very back east feel to it with brick buildings. We of course checked out the athletic facilities (were Vessey’s). Then headed out to Tacoma where we were going to have lunch at my Uncle’s.  On the way mom took us by a beautiful golf course and park along the water. Some big golf tournament is going to be held there next year (US Open Maybe?). Then headed to my Uncle’s. 

We spent the afternoon just being with family. My cousin Ruthie and her husband Cliff were there with their super cute daughter Ava. Ava was not so sure about us at first. Of course by the end of the day she was in love with my dad. There is something about my dad teenager’s fear him, babies love him!  My Aunt and Uncle would cook up an amazing spread including you guessed it fresh Salmon. It was a great afternoon. From there we headed back to the airport to fly home.
The center of campus
The only thing that would have made the trip better was an Aztec win. But no matter it was awesome getting to see them play. So I plan to go to all the home game’s but will probably not make another away game. Thank heavens for TV and radio- cause you better believe I will be watching or listening. All while yelling like I am standing on the sidelines and not 1,000 miles away! Sorry in advance to Brennan!

The only thing that would have made the trip better was an Aztec win. But no matter it was awesome getting to see them play. So I plan to go to all the home game’s but will probably not make another away game. Thank heavens for TV and radio- cause you better believe I will be watching or listening. All while yelling like I am standing on the sidelines and not 1,000 miles away! Sorry in advance to Brennan!

Beautiful Park & Golf course right on the water
A great trip to the Great Northwest!

Go Aztecs! 

See all the pictures I took in Seattle!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fun Days at Work

I really enjoy my job. For starters we are a start up company and there are only 5 employee's.  This makes it fun cause your never having to wait for a response. If I need to ask the CEO a question- I look over my computer screen and ask.  He sits across from me. We work in a small office with all five of us employee's.

Like any job. No matter how much you enjoy it there are long days, annoying days and tough days. But then there are the days when you think man I am lucky and really enjoy my job. In the last two weeks I have had two great experiences that make me think how lucky and thankful I am with the great job I have.

I work for PEAR Sports. If you don't know what we sell check out our website.  I am in charge of customer support and whatever else comes across my desk and through my email.  Well prior to the Olympics our parent company had some connections with USA Women's Water Polo.  Thus this task fell on my desk cause I have the water polo background.  I have to say it was pretty fun.  I got the women's national team PEAR shirts to wear around in London.  Then the plan was when they came home from the games to get them some Square One units to workout with.

Two weeks ago I was contacted by Jessica Steffens of the team about coming into the office and learning about the product. I got the job of meeting with her- naturally because I actually understand the game of water polo.  I actually played against Jessica a few times in college.  Jessica wanted to meet with me to learn about the product and be able to help me with the other girls on the team. I set up to meet with her Thursday afternoon. It was really fun to help her set up her unit. While setting up her account and unit we talked about the Olympics, water polo in general, our college days, where we think the sport is headed. And a whole range of other stuff. She has many of the same mannerisms as my friend/college roommate and teammate Anna. Anna was an awesome player- she played 2 years professionally overseas. 

I enjoyed getting to spend my afternoon with Jessica just chatting and working (alittle). After we got her all set up with her unit and answered all her questions. She busted out the medal. We talked about the differences between this medal and the silver she had won in 2008. The medal is extremely heavy. She said she no longer lets people wear it because it is causing the strap to wear. Then she was like well lets get some pictures with me and this medal. She was so great about it. After taking her picture I thanked her again. She laughed at me and was like um take the medal so I can get your picture. I started laughing! However I really appreciated that she was giving me the opportunity to hold her medal and get a picture of it. I think she actually enjoyed someone not taking her picture- cause she just kept taking photo's. She was moving closer, zooming tilting the camera.  I suggested after she finished playing water polo she should really consider photography! It was a great afternoon at work- plus a fun person to be associated with. 
Just another day at the office with a GOLD MEDAL

Jessica with her Gold medal

Then last week it was my co-workers Amanda's birthday. I will do another blog about making cookies.  But since it was her birthday and we are an active active company we all went open water swimming for lunch.  The water was almost to warm for the wetsuit. But I did wear it.  We went for 1.5 mile swim and the water was great. It was so clear I could see the bottom the whole time. At one point I saw a sand dollar was diving down the 10 feet or so and a wave came over the top moving all the sand.  Sadly I never found the sand dollar.  But what a Friday afternoon a beautiful day at the beach a quick swim. Then lunch with all my co-workers and then back to the office. I have to say it was another one of those days that I thought damn I like my job.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

65 Years of Marriage

KK by the gateway to the West
Two weekends ago I was lucky enough to spend a very quick weekend in St. Louis celebrating 65 years of marriage with family. I headed out Friday afternoon with mom, Sean & KK. After what actually seemed like a quick flight. Well maybe not for Sean who didn’t bring anything to read or occupy his time. Thankfully KK was thinking of him & brought the newest Sports Illustrated which he managed to read half of before leaving it in the seat back when we moved to the front of the plane on our layover. This left him which no option for the longer flight into St. Louis. Luckily KK had 17 Magazine which Sean read cover to cover. Even smelling the perfumes. He then informed us half of what they say is crap. Thankfully I think I already knew that but having Sean tell me was a highlight.

Upon arrival in St. Louis we would head to Kirkwood where my Aunt Nancy lives. She was nice enough to open her home to the Vessey travelers for the weekend. With a quick stop off at Steak & Shake-no trip to St. Louis is complete if you don’t. 
Saturday would start early (at least in Pacific Time standards). We would get dressed and try to catch Grandma and Grandpa at their house before heading to the park for the afternoon. We may a quick stop off at Krispy Cream for Donuts (Brennan is going to be so disgusted after reading all the crappy food places we eat). Anyways after some fresh donuts and chocolate milk got to my grandparents. Where we found a funny site. My grandma in the car in the drive way pressing the garage button. My grandpa yelling from in the garage. While my Aunt Jeanie and Uncle Joe attempted to help fix the broken garage door. It would seem they were unsuccessful. After catching up for a few minutes it was off to the park.

Many of my relatives live around St. Louis- this Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Spouses, 2nd cousins.  The number is alot and those are only the ones living in St. Louis! With a ton of small 2nd cousins the park seemed like a good idea. Well it was! There were about 20 kids all under the ae of 8 running everywhere. It was a great time watching them all play and playing with them.  Also nice to just sit and chat with everyone.  At this event I avoided eating anything! After spending a few hours at the park- where I played soccer, ran threw a mini water park, and caught some of my 2nd cousins jumping off this little wall.  We also celebrated with a big pretzel.  Very quickly families started disappearing- kids started to lose it.  It was NAP time.  Since we had a little time mom drove us arround this large park through the Veterans cemetery.  We wanted to see where grandpa went when drafted into the military.  My mom thinks at one point my grandpa Vessey also spent some time there.  Then we went and viewed the very dry Mississippi River.
After our quick tour it was back to shower and change for church. My grandparents are still very active in there church and the mass was going to be said for them. After changing and finding the church we smashed into one of the front pews. Very quickly realizing there was another couple being blessed. My grandparents brought up the offering for the entire conjugation. While my cousin Laura’s husband almost had to catch grandpa as he stumbled. At the end of Mass the priest had my grandparents and the other couple stand. The other couple was celebrating 40 years. Which sounds like a lot till you hear 65. When he announced my grandparents they stood. The priest made note that they had been married 65 years. What an honor it was to be a part of and the example they set in our society! That through the hard times it can be done. After Mass many people congratulated my grandparents. I was honored to be there to witness something to special.
From Mass we headed to a favorite restaurant of the family “on the hill”. The restaurant is named Fifazio’s (sure that is spelled wrong).  We had a private room. We would spend the next few hours chatting with family and enjoying each other’s company. Plus they had toasted Ravioli which are so good!!  They are my mom’s favorite. Then we had a great meal. I had this pasta with vegetables it was amazing. Sean and seafood pasta it was very good and mom had the steak also amazing. I have to say A+ for food. Before dinner started my grandpa gave a toast. It was very emotional for him to get through. He spoke about how my grandmother wrote him for 2 years every other day while he was away (they do not still have those letters). That she had the hardest job in raising their 8 children. That all he did was make a few dollars. That she did an amazing job. It was touching and made us all cry. He also mentioned that from those 2 people there are 103 descendants. That is not including those married into the family as spouses. Especially since there are still so many of us who have not even started that part of our lives. 103 people! Amazing!!

Sunday we would once again get up nice and early.  My cousin Laura's son Teddy was born with congestive heart failure.  He had 4 holes in his heart.  He has had numerous operations and will have a few more.  Teddy also has 22Q.  Sunda was a fundriser walk for the St. Louis Childrens Heart Foundation at one of the big parks. We had delayed our departure tille the evening to be able to join some of our family in supporting Teddy and be a part of the Heart Walk.  Our family has a lot of connection with Hearts!  We had another great few hours. Watching the kids play in the bubbles.  We would walk around the lake which was wabout 4 miles. Then after have a little lunch and play somemore.  My 2nd cousin Teddy is awesome! I always love seeing him. He just seems to love us Vessey kids.  It is also amazing to see what modern medicine can do! There has been such great strides in ensuring Teddy and those like him live a normal and active life.  Nothing is stopping him. We also had to say our goodbyes from the park.  The major good bye was to my grandparents who came for the lunch portion of the day!  Always hard to leave.  I also got a lot of see you in California... Guess that means they are coming for my wedding!  Which was a major topic of discussion. I promise I am working on it! 
Sean & KK at Busch Stadium

These are all shots- photo does not justice
After a quick stop off at my Aunt Nancy's for our things we headed into St. Louis for a bit of sigh seeing.  We tend to see many of the same things but it is always fun!  Since we have never actually lived in St. Louis but have a strong connection Sean has always been a die- hard Cardinals and Rams Fan.  We stopped by Busch Stadium (one day we will see a game there) and got him some new swag!  Then we headed over to see the new dome where the Ram's play.  Then down by the Mississippi River to see the "Gate Way to the West".  We ended up eating in this small area right off the river.  It was a great restaurant bar.  They had such a crzy shot menu- which my mom claimed some she would actually like!  Maybe after we are all out of the house she can see how those different shots taste in celebration! That would be a sight- especially with that Schneller stomach!!
It was a little over 48 hours total we were gone. So a very crazy and quick weekend in St. Louis. But it was amazing to be a part of something so special.  5 years is a very long time. I am honored to have them as my grandparents. What an example they set for Brennan & myself. I only hope I can live as great a life with my best friend as they have.Congratulations Grandma and Grandpa. The number of descendants will only grow!


PS- Hope to just post more pictures sometime soon from our St. Louis weekend. I just need to wait for my cousins to post them :)