Tag Archives: VA

Day 185: Thom, Tressa, Tegan and Tate

Manassas fireworks from the side mirror.

Manassas fireworks from the side mirror.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday. Mine was awesome! I spent it with some amazing friends out in Manassas, VA. And while I had a terrific day, I’m not sure my friend Reuben would say the same. Reuben is my friends Chris and Karrin’s dog. I’ve been taking care of him while they traveled up to New England for the weekend.

My best friend for the weekend.

My best friend for the weekend.

Reuben is one of the best dogs I’ve ever known, maybe the best. My ex-girlfriend even offered to buy him for $1,000. I know, that sounds crazy – but if you met Reuben you’d want him all to yourself too. Reuben likes to lounge around the house, take walks, chase and retrieve things you throw, have his belly rubbed, eat grass, sniff telephone polls and occasionally let out a long howl. He likes a lot of things. One thing he does not like I discovered: fireworks.

I thought it would be fun to join my friends and watch the fireworks that they set off in Manassas – which is quite a show I might add. I pictured us sitting in those collapsible chairs or on a blanket, Reuben next to me sitting on his back legs watching the aerial display with the wonder of a two-year old. Nope. It was nothing like that. #DogSitterFail

Day 185

Tom, Tressa, Tegan & Tate, 

It was great to see you guys today. Dinner was delicious – the quinoa salad, fish, shrimp, veggies were all amazing! Sorry I had to leave abruptly – note to self: dogs do NOT like fireworks, they will freak out. We got stuck in some traffic heading out of Manassas but had a great view of fireworks from all over on the ride home. Sorry about all the water issues (the house and the car!) – you know what they say, when it rains it pours. Sorry…I couldn’t help myself.

Love you guys – your friendship means a tremendous amount to me.

I recycled a bag from Paper Source to make this envelope.

I recycled a bag from Paper Source to make this envelope.

Sunday Notes & Letters for Week 23

While I didn’t grow up listening so much to the likes of Minor Threat, Fugazi, Sonic Youth and Hüsker Dü, my brother Ryan did. So I am familiar with some of the music. When Ryan and his wife moved to their current home in Arlington, VA they quickly learned that they lived only a block away from the house where Minor Threat and Fugazi got their start. In fact, on more than one occasion, he has mistakenly received mail for frontman Ian Mackaye.

I saw this tweet last week:

Photo: @FooFighters

Photo: @FooFighters

Dave Grohl, living in Springfield, VA, was just 14 when he sent that letter to Mackaye. And it was probably sent to the house next door to Ryan and Mandy. Grohl didn’t post more than the last page where he asks the Mackaye to give him a call – between 3-10pm no less! I love it. I’ve read a few things that insinuate that they are friends today. Very cool.

Thirty-two years later, Grohl is now one of the most successful musicians on the planet. Enjoying early fame from his days as the drummer for the band Nirvana, today he’s been leading Foo Fighters for more than twenty years.


Day 83: Mr. Landrum, Ray’s The Steaks

I don’t think this letter needs a lot of intro – go ahead and dig in. The only thing that might be helpful is to know that Mr. Landrum, whose first name is Michael not Ray, has a bunch of restaurants in the DC area that all have the name Ray in them.

Happy reading!

Day 83

Dear Mr. Landrum,

My brother and sister-in-law had their second child on Wednesday, March 18th – little baby Mackenzie. She weighed 6lbs 15ozs. And both Mom and Mackenzie are doing well – not that you asked but so many people ask those two questions I thought I’d go ahead and get them out of the way.

Anyway, my sister-in-law was really craving mashed potatoes as she recovered from her C-section and I went out with my brother Ryan to pick up some of your delicious streaks and mashed potatoes from Retro Rays only to find that it no longer existed. I love your food, but with all respect it seems like the locations are always changing in some respect I never know which Ray’s is open and what they are selling.

Just a little embossed return address...that's all.

Just a little embossed return address…that’s all.

I suggested to Ryan that we could just get the order next door from Ray’s The Steaks but Ryan told me Ray’s The Steaks doesn’t offer take-out. Now, I’m a bit stubborn (and long-winded as I guess you have discovered) and insisted on going in anyway and asking. And so it is – I learned that Retro Rays doesn’t exist anymore and Ray’s The Steaks indeed doesn’t offer take-out.

The maître d’ suggested we try Ray’s: To The Third but almost immediately acknowledged that they don’t sell steaks and more importantly that specific evening – they also don’t sell mashed potatoes. We knew that because we actually went there first! Then without missing a beat he said, “Don’t worry. I’ll get you some mashed potatoes.” Two minutes later we had a large container of piping hot mashed potatoes in our hands. He wouldn’t accept our money – just smiled and said to Ryan, “Congratulations on your daughter…enjoy.”

Thanks for saving the night.

Reed Sandridge


P.S. In case you’re curious about the steaks, I ended up getting some filet mignons from Trader Joe’s and cooked them on the grill. They were very good – but not as good as yours!

Day 56: Aunt Patti

Mom (left) and Aunt Patti circa 1951 In Tazewell County, Virginia.

Mom and Aunt Patti circa 1951 In Tazewell County, Virginia.

My mother used to talk to her siblings regularly on the telephone. When I was a kid, I’d wake up on Saturday mornings to the sound of her laughter coming from the kitchen as she talked to one of them on the phone.

Mom was one of six children. She died in 2006 and she had a brother, Jack, who died in 1980. The remaining four live in Southwestern Virginia and Tennessee. I had planned to make a trip this weekend down to see all of them – but Winter Storm Remus had other plans for us so I’m having to postpone it until later this spring.

I called my Aunt Patti to check on the weather conditions there before deciding to postpone the trip and we ended up talking for almost an hour and a half. It was wonderful to catch up.


Dear Aunt Patti

Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed talking with you tonight. With email and Facebook – sometimes we forgo picking up the telephone (and actually dialing instead of texting!) because we feel that we know what is going on in a person’s life, we see all their status updates on social media so we think we’re up to date and don’t need to know more. Well, what that leaves out is knowing how the person is truly feeling, not just what they are broadcasting to the online world, hearing the joy or uncontrollable laughter…and the tremors of fear and pain that can be masked by lifeless letters typed on a screen.

The only person I really have long phone calls with anymore is Dad and occasionally Aunt Sue. Before Mom died Dad would always get on the phone – but he wasn’t much of one to chat on the phone back then. Things have changed. I think he’s lonely now and as a result is much more prone to longer conversations that go beyond, “Hey kiddo – everything ok with you?”

I’ve made a commitment to write more letters this year – Mom used to write me regularly. I miss it – I miss seeing her handwriting. He voice, southern accent and all, could be heard in every stroke of the pen. In addition to my letter-writing, I hope to call loved ones more often. I look forward to calling you and hearing your voice more often.

Thank you again for taking time to talk with me tonight. It made my day – hell it made my whole week! I’m sorry I won’t get down to see you this weekend – but anytime the National Weather Service names the storm that is coming through I’m betting it’s going to be a doozy! Stay warm and safe.


Day 6: Matt Hurlburt, Hotel Monaco Alexandria

Did you ever get a gift certificate and have it expire on you before you can use it? Well, that’s exactly what happened here. Expiration dates are often arbitrarily set at a year and have no reason that they could not be extended. I know I have been on the other side of this situation when I have worked for places that issued gift certificates and always worked something out if they expired Continue reading