Year In review

In lieu of Christmas cards, I’m sending my first annual “New Years Update” this year.  Now, I know, up to this point some of you were probably saying…

“I sent that   ^%$&*!  Scott Dannemiller a Christmas card,
and he didn’t send me SQUAT!”

 Now you can rest assured.  You were indeed in my thoughts and prayers as I sat on my ever-expanding keester and ate pre-holiday candy whilst avoiding the task of mailing anything important.

 I know I really stink at correspondence.  This year, I’m turning over a new leaf.  I’ve taken the liberty of updating/torturing you with this letter (now improved with photos!).  Now, when you get mugged on the street and some guy says, “Gimme all your money or tell me what Scott’s been up to!?” you can keep your cash.  You can all thank me later.

 Throughout my life, many pet names, nicknames, and slurs have been created to describe me.  However, not once has anyone called me “Mr. Brief.”  That’s mainly because I’m REALLY long-winded, but could also be because I’m a BOXER man.   This letter lives up to expectations – NOT because it includes scantily-clad photos of me, but because, when printed, the resulting stack of paper is suitable for jacking up a Ford 4x4 pickup.  If you don’t have time to read it now, just put it away for a while.  Like a fine wine, it improves with age.  (I can now hear my pal Marty saying, “Yeeeeaaaah Dannemiller, I’ll get around to reading this crap sometime in 2078!”)  Let’s get started.

  

The Big Move

As most of you know, in January I moved to Austin, Texas in search of a new and exciting life.  Why?  I always liked South-Central Texas, and my new company said I could work out of the house and they would pay to move me wherever I wanted to go (within reason, of course.)  So… Austin it is!  More about the job in a second 

 

It’s a man’s paradise here!  Everyone drives big, monster trucks.  The primary method of cooking here involves breading, battering, and frying food in gallons of oil.  For this reason, myself, my roommate Matt, and our buddy Joel frequently host cookouts of incredible proportions.  The rule is, if it wasn’t once alive, we won’t cook it.  Here’s Joel tearing into a crawfish at the “First Annual Boilin’ In The Sun Fourth Of July Blowout.”  

Other great things about Texas are that the girls who have teeth are incredibly beautiful.  (I personally have staked my claim to one of them… more on that later as well).  Those that don’t have teeth use loads of smokeless tobacco and will buy you a beer so long as you don’t “look like a fairy” (which I’ve been known to do).  There are hills to climb on top of (or fall down), water to swim in (or drown in), trails to jog on (or die on), and music to dance to (or listen to).  Yep, for two-steppin’, I now even own a pair of boots, courtesy of the aforementioned female (the one with teeth, that is).  The other cool thing is that they have SO MUCH state pride here, everything has a Texas star or a state of Texas logo on it.  Heck, at HEB (the grocery store named after Henry E. Butt – no lie!) you can get tortilla chips in the shape of Texas.  There's a powerful feeling one gets when ingesting the second-largest state of the Union topped with hot salsa.

 Once settled here, I began to live life to the fullest in the great state of Texas (yes, you start saying crap like that when you move here).  No, I’m not famous here.  I didn’t do anything thrilling like become an astronaut or develop the next “Bedazzler,” I did, however, manage to do a few things… like:


1)  move into a nice little rent house with my roommate, Matt. 


 

He’s far cooler than I am, but manages to keep things clean, make a mean pumpkin pie, and keep his cat out of my stuff.   Even though I had only spent a grand total of 3 hours with the guy prior to inviting him to live with me, it’s worked out well.  He’s laid back enough to tolerate me.  Definitely a good pal (and still single as of this writing.  Ladies?)


 

2)     I was also able to spend loads of quality time working out of the house for Spirent Communications out of California.  I spend most of my time now doing training over the web.  The flexibility is nice, but as you can see, the office Christmas party was pretty lame… even with 100% attendance. 

 

  

Sure, it’s not the most thrilling gig, but it’s better than having someone hit you on the head with a sledgehammer.  I keep myself plenty busy

reading e-mails,


doing research, and



taking breaks.

   


Finally, I met a heckuva gal (Gabby) who seems to like me as much as I like her. 

Gabby used to wear these silly glasses around all the time,
but since her Lasik surgery, looks a lot better.  Don’t you agree?!
             








 

 

 

 

 

 

 The pic at the left was taken in Costa Rica (more on that later).  Contrary to popular belief, she is not trying to keep me from falling.  In reality, I lifted her (with one arm) onto that tree, and I am saving her from a mass of rabid iguanas.  That’s the reason for the concerned look on both our faces.

 

Anyhow… Gabby and I spend a lot of time together seeing sites, traveling, dancing, churching, going out, and visiting friends.  We also do other things, too… but my mom’s on this distribution list, so I better leave it at that (sorry… no pics).  Gab’s a really fantastic person, which, therefore, makes me wanna be a better person as well.  I can’t say enough about her.  So… I’ll say more!

She works as an operations manager for Dell computer.  Translated into laymans terms, this means that she spends the bulk of her managing a team of people who spend lots of time talking to huge Health Care and Education customers who are mad because they don’t have their computers yet.   It seems to me like a thankless job, but she’s really good at it.  She also has to talk a lot to salespeople and engineers.  Hence, she’s really good at talking and listening, which is helpful when you’re dating me.  She is currently looking for another job, and is even considering a total career change.  So, if you know of anyone who needs a photographer, a Senior’s caregiver, a furniture restorer, a horseback rider, or just a genuine good person to hang around with, gimme a call and I’ll hook you up.

 

So… to wrap up THIS section (yes, there are more to come), Texas is a fantastic place to live.  I’m still an Okie at heart, but this state is growing on me.

  

Travels & Events:  The Year In Review

 

New Year’s Rockin’ Eve - 1979

This year has been chock-full of places to go and things to do.  Early last year, I was snoopin’ through my brother-in-law’s closet and came across some mighty fine threads.  These were suits that he paid $500-600 for in 1979, which now wouldn’t fetch $5 at Goodwill.  I felt sorry for those poor suits resting in the closet all alone, prior to leaving Oklahoma, I couldn’t help but throw a “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1979” party as an excuse to squeeze into the hip-huggers and work a little magical mojo on the ladies.  As you can see, the pants did their job!

 

Sorry ladies, there’s only so much of me to go around… and yes… my best friend’s wife did tell me that I look like a gay band teacher in this outfit.  Can’t tell in this picture if Gabby is goin’ for the “I’m a wild rock star groupie” look, or if she just has to sneeze real bad.  Whatever the case, she’s revealing the fact that my chest hair color is nowhere close to my new platinum do, so let’s move on.

   

L.A.

Other than that, the first half of the year was mostly spent traveling for work.  Luckily, I was able to take some side trips.  At one point, Gabby joined me in L.A. for a weekend.  She got to see Universal Studios while I worked.  Things were kinda dull at Spirent, so I tried my hand at itinerant farm labor.  Problem is, I only wanted to pick this one orange for an afternoon snack.  Gabby caught me in the act of theiving, and uses this pic now to get whatever she wants from me.

 

The Texas Gulf Coast

Later in the spring, we went to Port Aransas to show off my amazing tan.  I learned there that tank tops make for great sunscreen on the torso, but not so good on the arms (as you can see).  And, no, I did not kidnap this child (or have one of my own that y’all don’t know about).  This is Abby, Gab’s niece.  She’s adorable, but don’t cross her, or you’ll end up with that kite string around your neck!  She also follows Gabby on all her road trips to do her makeup for big events like the Emmy’s, The Emperor’s Ball, and in this case, Texas’ First Annual Asian-American Rodeo Clown Competition.

 

 

 Lake Texoma

In May I trekked to Lake Texoma for a guys’ weekend.  The plan was to rent a big boat, have fun in the sun, drink cold beverages, and catch huge fish.  Needless to say, we got caught in a torrential thunderstorm overnight.  The picture was taken just before we beached the “Farley Schooner” on a rocky shore.  Note to self:  rocks and boat hull don’t mix.  The second shot is of a few of us “wiggling” the boat loose the next morning.  If you’re ever on lake Texoma,

don’t rent the 56’ pontoon houseboat.  She may be a little “weathered.”

 Boston

Near the end of the summer, I took a business trip to Boston.  Gabby met me there for the weekend, and invited some of her East Coast pals into town to come and sightsee with us.  Before they arrived, Gabby and I rented some bikes to enjoy a leisurely ride along the Freedom Trail "on“ wheels”, and enjoy ast Coast hospitality.   By 10:00 the first morning, we were:  1) called “&^%holes” by a lady at McDonald’s, 2) berated by a park ranger for “mis-parking” our bikes, and 3) witnessed a bloody fight between a homeless guy and an ROTC drill instructor on Boston Common.  I think the ROTC guy must work for the board of tourism.  I have never felt so welcome!    


Still, we were able to have a good time.  The pic below shows me stopping to do some remodeling at Paul Revere’s house… note the “ultra tourist geek” bike lock key around my neck (that’s right, no one ever wanted to sit at my lunch table in elementary school either.) 

Later, Gab and I met her pal Dev and set up camp on the USS Constitution.  A very cool old ship.  You gotta’ see it!


 

  

 

 

 

 

Tulsa

Also made some trips back to Oklahoma… for the US Open (see, that’s Tiger Woods… he was so close I coulda’ hit him with a rotten tomato), and to see friends. 

 

Also hit OKC… for Easter and to play dress-up with my nieces (yes... sometimes a guy just likes to feel pretty) 

 

 

 

 

 

Harlan, Kentucky

Another highlight of the year was going to Harlan, Kentucky for a mission trip with my brother’s youth group. My brother is an incredible spiritual leader for these kids (I couldn’t be more proud of the guy), and they did some tremendous work while we were there.  This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I plan on having again.  I know… that’s a contradiction, but just remembering the trip makes me want to go back.  Truly amazing people in Kentucky, and truly amazing kids from Kansas City made this one a memorable experience. 

Costa Rica

In August, Gab and I went to Costa Rica with Matt and his brother.  We had a ball until I lost my shorts at Tabacon Falls.  Not to worry, though… fig leaves were in abundance.  My friend Joel says the caption for this shot should be “Albino Ape-Boy Terrorizes Central America.”  I tend to agree.

 

The rest of the trip was spent visiting volcanoes, finding places to stay, checking out the beach, slingshotting through the rainforest, and eating at the local “greasy spoons”.  Costa Rica is a very cool place.

 

 

Reunions and…

Other than that, the Fall seems like a whirlwind.  First, I went back to OKC for my ten year class reunion.  A fine time was had by all.  The girls still looked pretty, while the guys got ROUNDER and began to grow hair in places that shouldn’t have any.  I was lucky enough to walk away with the “Most Eligible Bachelor” award, mainly due to the fact that I was one of 3 guys from the class of 1991 that wasn’t married or in prison for a felony (thank the Good Lord that the Costa Rican government was cooperative in the “I lost my shorts” episode)

Vegas Regrets

To avoid all the press from the award, Gabby and I escaped to Vegas with a group of 10 friends.  Vegas is like the State Fair for people with money.  The only difference?  Instead of paying $1 to try and break balloons with a dart to win a “Twisted Sister” mirror, you plunk down $100 to sit next to a guy smoking cigars dipped in tar whilst a lady who SHOULDN’T be wearing a gold-sequined g-string over her panty hose brings you “free” beverages.  Don’t get me wrong… I really enjoyed the trip.  It’s just a different way to spend a buck.

 

Note to self:  Remember to NOT walk up to a $25 minimum table and try to place a $5 bet.  Dealer will look at you, point, laugh, then send you to the kiddie pool.   Marty still has a side ache from laughing at me.

 

Wrap Up, and What’s New for 2002

 Thanks for sticking with me this long.  Can’t believe you’re still here!  To wrap it all up, the Holidays were great.  I got to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family, and relaxed as much as possible.  I hope your Holidays were a smashing success as well. 

 My job continues to be relatively stress-free, but I miss teaching in the classroom.  Therefore, 2002 will bring with it, “Scott’s attempt at consulting.”  I’ve been networking a bit, and will be using vacation days and personal time off to try my hand at getting back into classroom teaching management, leadership and professional development.  It’ll help keep me interested, and keep the ol’ training skills from getting’ rusty.  If you know of anyone who needs a skinny, goofy, red-headed guy to come teach ‘em something… anything… just gimme’ a call. 

Otherwise, have a great 2002, and perhaps we’ll talk soon.  Virtual hugs to all!