Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Springtime-- a visit to Five Guys Restaurant and other things.

Since winter was so mild it is hardly a surprise that spring is coming early this year.  I have seen some early flowers popping through the ground and our weeping willow in our backyard is a beautiful light green.  As much as I like winter....and I do, it feels good to have the temperatures hovering around 70 this week.   This is probably Virginia at its finest because the humidity has not shown up yet and the foliage will be making our state a garden of colors.

One of the best parts of spring is the arrival of the daffodils. They are such a beautiful flower and are among the first to bloom.  One of my favorite poems is "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth.  The last stanza is my favorite:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood
They flash upon that  inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils

I am glad the flowers and flowering trees are here, but now........let's get started!

My visit to Culpeper County Hospital

While it is true that I once went to Culpeper Hospital when a friend accidentally shot himself in the leg (nope not Plaxico Burress), and another time when a guy from my church was pretty sick and I visited him, but to actually go for myself...it had not happened.  My visit was pretty benign since I just went to have some blood work done.  For going to a hospital, I had a good time...such nice and friendly people there. 

I stepped inside the door and there was RN Debbi Griffith who is listed as a "Case Manager and Patient Representative."  She, like everyone else I would meet in my visit was very friendly and welcoming.  It turns out that she has been employed at Culpeper Regional for the last 20 years!  I asked her about her family and she replied that she had married a "hometown boy" and that she had two kids.  I asked her what it was like working at this hospital and she responded, "We are like family here."

This is the receptionist who normally would be the first person you would meet if, as in my case,  Debbi was not there to say hi first.   This is Stephani Atkins, aka "Sensational Stephani"  so dubbed by the hospital president.  Although Stephani is a life long resident of Rappahanock County she qualifies as a "Face of Culpeper" because she comes to the hospital every day and so is present in the Pepper at least 8 hours a day.

Next I went to the check in station where I provided all of the pertinent personal and medical information that they needed.  I'll just bet that if I didn't like to talk so much, that this would have been a much faster process.  However, next up were these to shiny ladies and they were fun.  On the left is Carol who is an Administrative Registrar and has been at the hospital for four and a half years.  She lives in Facquier County and commutes here.  She has grown children.  On the right is Kayce (love that name) and she is an Admitting Registrar.  Whoopee! She lives in Culpeper!!!! She has two children and says that she loves helping people.

Finally I made it to the person I came to see.  This is Katrina Chapman and her name tag said that she is a "Phlebotomist."  She told me that her mom likes to ask her if that means that she messes with people's frontal brain lobe (in case you miss the joke....that procedure would be a frontal lobotomy and if you are not familiar with it then use Google).  She took my blood for me.  Now, I have had 15 surgeries so far in my life plus cancer and so I have had blood tests hundreds of times.  I am used to people having trouble hitting the vein or having to change arms etc.  Katrina did it perfectly and painlessly and on the first try.  She gets my vote.


About a year ago I did one entire blog on people in the Pepper with tattoos.  It was one of the most interesting topics for me because I knew so little about it.  It is the second most read blog I have posted behind the one on Yowell Meadow Park which is somewhat of a phenomenon for  me.  The Yowell Meadow Park topic is still my most read blog most weeks although it is a least a year and a half old.
Anyway......I spotted Sarah Jahoda getting gas and got a picture of her and talked about her skin art.  I will be putting up a second tattoo blog before long and she will be in that one too.  She is an interesting lady who told me that she works seven days a week, mostly decorating cakes.  She told me that she is really a free spirit....I'll bet she is!

Some days I just feel lucky.  I wanted to get some additional pictures for this blog and was driving downtown and saw these two people loading some boxes into the Antioch Baptist Church.  It was lucky for me because I have driven past that church a hundred times and wondered about it.  I stopped to chat and learned that this church is over 150 years old (that makes it one of the oldest in town) and according to the brochure they gave me, was originally called, "The African Church."    The church has just named a new Pastor, Reverend Adrian D. Sledge  and this husband and wife team were moving in some new chairs.  They are Thelma and Robert Moss and have three children.  She is the Financial Clerk and he is a Trustee of the church.

This is Tim James and he works at CVS.  He is 18 years old and a student at Lord Fairfax.  He has lived the the Pepper for five years.  He is extremely efficient and polite and seems like a really nice guy.


OK.....I admit it, I LOVE FIVE GUYS!!!!  Their hamburgers are sooo good (voted best in Culpeper this year) and have you tried the hot dogs?  Those are both good, but it is the French Fries with vinegar that really does it for me.  These are not fries that are thawed and then served.  Nope they come fresh from the boxes of potatoe stacked by the counter and are cut and fried right on the premises.  You know what is unique about those boxes other than that they are full of Idaho potatoes?  It tells you right on the box which part of Idaho the potatoes being used that week are from.  I have mentioned several times before that I am an Idaho boy, so fresh Idaho potatoes are dude.  (I heard Randy Jackson and Will I Am on American Idol use "dude" that way.....if I have screwed it up then write it off to a guy who chose to retire in Culpeper.)

Behind the counter are Victor Rameriz who is the manager, Kelvin and Erika.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you that my brother-in-law owns 25 or so Five Guys Restaurants in California, Idaho, Utah and Oklahoma.  You may not know that the headquarters of Five Guys is in Vienna, VA.  When he was thinking about becoming involved with Five Guys he and his partner came out and stayed with us one night.  We went to this very place and ate.

Here are a neat couple I met at Five Guys enjoying dinner.  They are Ali and James Hanson.  They were a lot of fun, but for about five minutes I could not get a single straight answer from Ali.   James had to come to my aid.  Just look at her and you can see a touch of devilishness there.  After a bit of conversation my head was spinning like Linda Blair's in The Exorcist.  However, once the truth came out I learned that Ali is in a Master's program in Special Education at Mary Washington and James is a Construction Superintendent.  Nice people.

These folks are also at Five Guys and attracted my attention for a couple of reason.  First, they are a group of very nice looking young people.  Second is that they are demonstrating the proper way to eat Five Guys hamburgers.  Note that each and everyone one is using the double fisted technique to hold their hamburger.  Eating at Five Guys is not for the faint of heart or the overly fastidious.  Notice the fries spilling out of the bag.....eating here is, well.... a bit messy, but oh so good.  From left these people are AnthonofTriano who works at Domino's; Chelsea Griffin who is a student at Germanna and works at Hollisters; and Jonathon Duffy who works at the Walmart Distribution Center.


OK...they are not so new.  They opened in December, but I did not happen upon them until just now.
I gave them my card and asked them to email me their names and additional info about their business which I believe is catering and a restaurant for New Orleans food.  They are located behind Chilis. When I get the information from them I will post it right here.

                                                  THE BIG FINISH

I have been wanting a picture of these two for a long time.  They are Wayne and Kathy Christensen and they are neighbors of mine.  Often when the weather is good, they sit on their front porch and he sings and plays for her.  It is very romantic and very fun that they do this and very sweet.  They are the best neighbors you could hope for.  I have mentioned here a number of times that I am originally from Boise, Idaho.  These guys lived about thirty miles from Boise before they moved here.  They even talk with the same accent (do we have one?) that we do and are also fans of Boise State football....notice the hat.

That is it for now.  If you want to contact me:

I have decided to occasionally add a bonus picture at the end that has nothing to do with the Faces of Culpeper.  This is the first.

My wife and I were visiting the  historical town of Nauvoo, Illinois when I saw these horses in a pasture near a restored farm house.  I loved the colors and the composition.