Baba Nam Kevalam: love is all there is.

It’s taken be a bit of time to get all of this put into words. Here it is though…

It was July 2013. That was the first time I met Phyllis and Clark. I never thought that two years later, after meditating with them for the first time, I would have to come to terms with never seeing Clark again on this Earth. He passed away late last night. SO, it is with a very heavy heart that I sit down to share the news of the passing of my good friend, Clark Webb.

Read more after the jump …

HESONWHEELS is going to Chicago!

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at Wednesday night trivia at Clare and Don’s with my good friend Ari W. She mentioned that her job was sending her to Chicago for a few days so she could take care of some work. She randomly says “hey, I don’t know what you have going on but you should come!”

Up front, here’s the moral of the story: Don’t suggest I should do something if you don’t really want me to. Cause I probably will.

In that moment, I whip out my iPhone and start looking at how much financial damage a flight to Chicago would do for me, especially in such short notice; we were less than 2 weeks out! Anyone who knows how airline pricing works knows that that is not a good thing.

I end up finding a great deal out of Baltimore–Washington International Airport and found a place to crash with a great friend of mine, John F., for when I arrived in Chi-City. I looked at my work schedule, realized I’d be able to dip out for just a day or two, and the rest is history. That’s how the adventure of HESONWHEELS going to Chicago was born.

That next week, I mentioned my trip to a good friend of mine who happens to have a disability. He also has always wanted to visit Chicago, just as I had it on my short list of places I really wanted to visit in the very near future. When he heard about it he asked me a simple favor: to let him know how it went.

I decided to do him one better and turn my quick trip to Chicago into a mini-event here on the blog. I’m going to live-tweet the adventure that is this trip to Chicago, and oftentimes through a lens of accessibility. What’s the airport like? What are the airline employees like? What are the accessible Ubers in Chicago like? Things like that.

If you’re interested at all you can follow me on Twitter (@HESONWHEELS, real creative, right?) or check out the hashtag #HOW2CHI that I will use in some of the posts. If you decide to check it out, I hope you enjoy!

Oh, and we did win trivia by the way. :)

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C’mon, vamanos! Everybody let’s go!

To the Virginia Tech Class of 2019.

You know those moments in life where you really feel like you’re making an impact on people? A moment when things that you do – and some of them might be totally normal, day-to-day things for you – gets some kind of recognition? Well, one of those definitely happened to me today.

Late last night, I got an inbox message from a Hokie friend of mine that works at VT. Justin M. showed me that the President of the university, Dr. Tim Sands, had written a letter to the incoming class of freshman: the class of 2019.

He told me that I had gotten a “shoutout” in his letter…and I was kind of confused. Why would Dr. Sands give me a shout out? Read more after the jump …

Hands on, Minds on.

With it being “orientation season” at VT, many people have been asking me questions…from current orientation leaders to rising freshman (“first-year”) students. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to partake in this wonderful video about a hike to the Cascades that my friends helped me do. I wanted to share the video here because, really, everytime I look back at that experience it gives me THAT feeling. That feeling of, “man, what amazing friends do I have?” Great people, they are. Check it out, and many of the other great projects that have been going on at the university in recent years.

Home is where the heart is.

It was more than two years ago that, for the first time ever, a Facebook status made me tear up.

“As I drive out of Blacksburg tonight, I leave behind my one true love… Virginia Tech. Don’t worry sweetheart, I’ll be back again someday and I know you’ll always be waiting for me.”

My friend Matt D. posted that to his Facebook in May 2013. I immediately wrote it down on a little piece of paper and stuck it in an old VT folder; I wanted to be sure I remembered it, because I thought it was powerful. Last week, while searching for something for a former student of mine in some old folders from teaching, I found that little paper again, and the feelings and memories all came right back.

Read more after the jump …

Well, we made it back in 1 piece!

Here’s to a very successful Eta Alpha Alumni Weekend at Smith Mountain Lake to celebrate July 4th, 2015! We are hoping to make this a semi annual thing; it was absolutely wonderful to be a little disconnected, on the lake, in a little country town with some of the best, most entertaining, easy-going people you’ve ever met. HA 4 LYFE.

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Photo cred to Kate C.’s Instagram/her selfie stick/my roommate Scinu G. :)

Music festival or food festival?

As I lament my return to the real world from an absolutely amazing weekend with 8 of my favorite people and 2 of my favorite dogs (and one of my absolute favorite American holidays!), I’m just sitting here staring at my calendar and procrastinating getting out of the couch (where I fell asleep last night). I’m like, “man, what do I have to look forward in the next couple of weeks?” Yes, I always am looking forward my job, but I’ve always, especially in my adult life, liked to plant little seeds of things to look forward to down the road.

For example, even with other trips, all summer, I’ve been meaning to plan a trip to Blacksburg for some business/service, a trip to Fort Lauderdale to visit one of my best friends, and to also finish the entire moving process that I began way back in FEBRUARY (there are still boxes ALL over my room!)! BUT…instead of planning or really thinking more about any of those, I ended up scrolling all the way into September in my calendar and remembering that my tickets have already been purchased for LANDMARK MUSIC FESTIVAL! I AM SO ECSTATIC.

And frankly even more exciting than the festival itself, at the moment (because I’ve been wanting to see Drake, live, for a while now), is this announcement that famed chef José Andrés is going to be curating the food court at the festival. If you read ANYTHING that I wrote about Firefly Music Festival, this year or last, you know how much I love the food at festivals. I’m happy to see that Landmark will absolutely, guaranteed-ly be no exception!

So. pumped. September: my birthday, Ohio State, and LANDMARK.

The rest of summer will just be filled in with random odds and ends at this point. :)

Lake vacation!

Good afternoon, friends!

As you know, the 4th is coming up. America’s birthday falls on a Saturday this year, which means the federal government has been gracious enough to give us the day before – Friday, July 3rd – off from our formal duties in the office. Therefore, a bunch of friends and I are scooting down to a secluded house on the lake in southwest Virginia, where we all went to college, to hang out, catch up, and just enjoy some general America-based shenanigans!

I’ll re-connect upon my return. Until then, remember these tips for enjoying a great fourth of July weekend holiday:

  • Even if your fireworks aren’t legal where you are (because let’s face it they probably aren’t), do your best to set them off safely – facing AWAY from ANY people, kids, pets, and your especially your face
  • Do a quick vehicle check before a long drive – I just got my oil changed this week!
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts
  • Alternate any other drink with water – this is a great way to get plenty of water and remind yourself to take a bit of a break
  • Practice safe grilling and do it SOBER!
  • Bug spray, bug spray, bug spray!
  • Check for ticks and their bites after the fun is over
  • If you have pets, make sure you know their triggers and check on them frequently! I’ll have Char Char on the road with me! :)