It took way too long for Mother Nature, the holiday season and me, but it finally started feeling like winter.
Monday, Jan. 4, was the first snowfall of the season. It wasn’t much, at least in Bristol. There was one burst for a few minutes. (You see the view from the newsroom. That’s the Bristol train station.) I didn’t run out like I’ve been known to do, but it was exciting. Joe, the assignment editor who sits next to me, actually put on long sleeves and went outside to shoot it. He never wears long sleeves.
Garry said Yeti liked it, too…
…but many of you probably think Casey had the right idea.
Since then, there hasn’t been more snow but it’s still cold.
This was my car window, yesterday morning. Skip unless you live in Florida.
Saturday night, we went to Speedway in Lights, which is a Bristol Motor Speedway fundraiser for children’s charities. (To be perfectly honest, I got the ticket because the station sponsors it.) It’s a big event around these here parts: lots of lights, most with holiday themes, also an American flag.
You drive around the speedway and dragway property in your car and can even hear Christmas music on a special radio station. This was the last night. Garry got to drive on the actual track at the Bristol Motor Speedway!
And I was just happy to see a menorah at the end.
Contrary to what I’d been told, they called it menorah and not candelabra. There was a separate candelabra earlier.
I haven’t posted anything in about 3 weeks. (I also haven’t heard from you asking for a post. Unbelievable! What’s up with that?) I haven’t been relaxing at the beach. Been doing plenty of writing. Just very busy at work and home.
My parents’ visit has come and gone. Went very well. Wasn’t sure for a while. Garry cleaned and made sure things were pretty good around the apartment. The only shortcomings were the bedroom carpet, kitchen, and the stickers still on items from the move. (I brought up that one.) My mother didn’t mention my hair. Mom and Dad both LOVED spending time with the kids. (Click any pictures to make them larger.)
Cousins Barry and Ellen stopped by on their annual drive from Florida to Massachusetts, and brought presents for the kids.
Around the same time, Garry installed a portable screen to keep bugs out when the door is open and also a fence to keep Yeti in the patio area (but he hasn’t tried that yet).
Now, I’m left with a ton of travel brochures and I’m learning a lot more about Bristol and the rest of the area. Should help at work.
Speaking of work: several accomplishments since I last wrote here.
Red Nose Day to support the poor is Thursday and NBC will air a three-hour special. I was able to take a button, place it on the homepage, and link it to a page I wrote. Also, we have a daily Facebook contest going with viewers submitting pictures of themselves with red noses. (Check out the app. You can have red noses implanted on your photos!)
I was also able to get Web links onto email signatures at work. The digital manager should have Web links, right?
We had big coverage of a Miami-style murder trial. It’s known as the Facebook murders. In short, Dad killed a young couple because the woman unfriended his adult daughter on Facebook. Dad was already convicted. This trial was for adult daughter and also Mom. (Daughter’s ex-boyfriend was also going on trial, but turned state’s evidence just before.) Oh, and the female victim was murdered with her infant son in her arms. Anyway, our reporter at court tweeted out everything, and I wrote the stories and created a section with photo galleries, videos, and old stories. (By the way, both were guilty. Life in prison.)
I was able to put the new app button from the regular desktop Web site onto the mobile Web site as well. Analytics are looking good.
A big spring story here has been a good number of bear sightings. I started a picture gallery and think it was my first to make the “Most Popular” area.
There was some sad (arguably more shocking) news and that’s Kelley Mitchell died. Those of you who visited me at WSVN in the 90’s met her. She was great on TV. We had our ups and downs from the beginning to the end, but she seems to have gotten raw deals on jobs and proved her dedication by taking her dog to chemotherapy regularly for months. RIP, Kelley.
There’s good and bad news on the Miami condo rental front. I got tenants! There were finally approved and they moved in. Of course, they’re complaining about things I never complained about. Things will get done (at least some) but luckily, I have a manager so I don’t have to hear whining. Worth the price. Still thinking I should’ve sold.
Another interesting week ahead. Tuesday is Election Day in three Sullivan County municipalities. I wrote up a voter guide and plan to stay late, to put results on our Web site.
Definitely more important (except if you’re a candidate) is Casey’s 7th birthday on Friday! I still don’t know the exact details on the celebration, other than singing. Yeti will be there. She has occasionally been picking me up from work.
Anyway, off to get a haircut so I look good in Casey’s birthday pics!
There are certain things in every town you have to do at least once, and that’s what I did yesterday in Bristol. It’s car racing weekend, one of two big events every year (as I’m told). The Food City 500 is being held. Food City is the local grocery store. You’ll be able to catch the big race this afternoon starting at 12:30 on Fox.
Light rain has been falling for the past few hours and I put a special weather statement from the speedway’s general manager on a special page online. Ironically, the race used to be in March but was changed to April because of the uncertainty of March weather. (Click on pictures to make them bigger.)
The first thing you notice as you approach the speedway is that no U-turns or left turns are allowed for miles on either side (kind of like New Jersey). Garry and I didn’t know any better, and still have no clue why. There was no traffic except for a little bit in front of the speedway. That’s mostly because police officers (or maintenance workers because they’re dressed the same) had to let the crowds cross the street.
I planned to dress in a Polo and jeans, since we were going to the TV station’s suite and there may be sales clients there, but it was 80 degrees out and Garry said to wear shorts. He was right. Casual is not the word to describe the attire of the crowd. It was a step or two below. I should’ve expected that. (Not in the suite, though. By the time we got there, the first race was over, and most of the excitement and people were gone.)
We saw signs about parking in makeshift lots. First $5, then $10 and $20. Again, Garry and I didn’t know any better. By the time we got past the speedway, we had to drive a few miles out of the way. Remember, no U-turns or left turns, and on Volunteer Parkway, there aren’t any alternate routes I know of because of Steele Creek Park. (Notice the red for traffic.)
There was a carnival atmosphere around the speedway. People selling everything related to NASCAR and all the foods I’d never eat. Even a “chapel on wheels.” (Remember where we are.) We drove around three times and somehow ended up parking right across the street from the speedway for free! Crowds were leaving the first race (qualifying for today’s?) and Garry asked the person who appeared to be in charge of the lot where to park. We did and they never asked for the $20. So we walked across the street to the speedway. Lots of other people walked huge distances.
We planned to go upstairs, make an appearance, watch something (I wouldn’t call it “the race” because we really don’t know car racing, and anything would’ve been nice), and then go to work. I wanted to make sure the TV station’s 7pm special “It’s Bristol, Baby” (that’s how the speedway markets itself) live streamed on the Web site. There were about a dozen people in the station’s suite. I only knew two: Joe, the assignment manager who I sit next to, and Julie, one of the anchors, with her family.
The suite was nice. Of course, it was on the far side from where we entered. First, we had to climb up a steep hill. (That’s where we saw a drunk guy scream and fall on his rear end, giggling the whole time.) Then, we were led to special elevators and given directions to the top, then told to go down a flight and walk all the way around.
Garry and I watched the second race, the Pitt Lite 125. Apparently, the earlier Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 was the bigger draw. Who knew? The best thing about being up there, besides the relaxed atmosphere, climate control, and food and drinks, was that we didn’t need earplugs.
The actual racing was lost on me. Joe pointed out which lap they were on when we arrived. There seemed to be more pacing than racing. Pacing is when all the cars (except the one in trouble), line up and follow the pacing car. I was more interested in taking pictures. I don’t see myself returning, unless any of you come visit. As they say, it’s something to do once.
In the meantime, enjoy the race. I hope your driver wins!