Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sox Yanks: The Rivalry

As a baseball fan, I thought I had a good understanding of the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox. I consider myself knowledgeable when it comes to baseball history. I watched the Sox get the monkey off their back in 2004 by coming back from 3-games-to-none to eliminate the Yankees and bring the rivalry to a whole new level.

And I knew when I moved here, that the energy surrounding every Sox-Yanks series would be 20-fold. This week is no exception, as the Red Sox make their final trip to the Bronx before the close of Yankee Stadium.

I knew the energy would be good, so since I couldn't get a ticket to one of the games due to exorbiant StubHub prices, I figured I'd keep a running diary of one of the games. Without further ado:

7:00: We are LIVE from the Watts Palace in Manhattan! I'm joined by Cooper our cocker spaniel, 4 bottles of Labatt Blue Light and a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos (health? bah!). Also, we're joined on the YES Network (yes, the Yankees have their own network) by Michael Kay, Al Leiter and John Flaherty....Jesus...Al Leiter and John Flaherty?? Is it "disappointing MLB career week" at YES this week?

Michael Kay lets us know that the Yankees stunk last night, and that it was mainly Alex Rodriguez's fault...A-Rod struck out twice and grounded into two double plays with runners in scoring position...must've been another late night at Madonna's place.

7:01: Our starters for tonight? Paul Byrd for the Red Sox and Sidney Ponson for the Yankees. Not exactly thrill-inducing.

7:04: Michael Kay says Yankees manager Joe Girardi told him tonight was a must win game if the Yanks have any hope of catching the Red Sox for the wild-card (the Yankees came into the game six games back). Only on a network owned by George Steinbrenner could there be that kind of optimism. Every Yankee fan I know has already given up on this team.

7:08: Batting leadoff for the Red Sox, young Jacoby Ellsbury, who single-handedly killed one of my fantasy baseball teams this season. I say one of them, because I have six fantasy baseball teams this year. Yep, SIX. I have a problem...

7:10: Ellsbury flies out, followed by the pride of Woodland High School, Dustin Pedroia, singling to left. Pedroia is easily the best guy out of the Sacramento area to make it to the pros in 20 years...

7:12: Uh oh, the boo birds are already out at Yankee Stadium. Big Papi just laced a double to right...second and third with one out and Yankee fans are ALREADY shitting on Ponson's performance, which might break the record for the quickest give-up on a starting pitcher.

7:16: Well, Yankee fans really aren't going to like this. Ponson gets Youkilis to strike out, but Mr. Canada Jason Bay laces a liner to left that bounces off Xavier Nady's glove...2-zip Red Sox. Let the booing ensue!!!

7:20: Jed Lowrie walks, leading to a visit from Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland, six batters in. What's Eiland going to say? "Hey fat boy? How about getting some of these $^@$^ out??!" At least that's what I hope he's saying.

7:22: Varitek singles to right, but the Red Sox make a baserunning blunder by running on Bobby Abreu, who guns down Bay at home. Yankees are lucky to be out of that inning.

7:25: Michael Kay tells us that Sox starter Paul Byrd (whose name came up in the Mitchell Report earlier this year) started the season 3 and 10 with Cleveland, but has gone 5-and-1 in the 2nd half, and was traded to Boston a few weeks back. That HGH shipment must have finally arrived.

7:27: Johnny Damon strikes out looking, and then whines to the home plate ump about the call. Reason number 743 to hate the Yankees: their constant whining when things don't go their way. Remember to look for my book "6,732 Reasons to Hate the Yankees" coming out this fall!!

7:31: Jeter lines out, and Abreu walks, bringing up A-Rod, who comes to the plate as "This Is Why I'm Hot" by Mims plays over the loudspeakers...I don't even have a joke here...

Actually I do. If the other teams in the league had any balls, they would absolutely play "Like A Virgin" every time A-Rod came up to bat...I think he'd snap by like the sixth time.

7:33: A-Rod doubles to left, bringing home Abreu to cut the lead to one (of course he pressure in the game at this point.) This is followed by Jason Giambi (still rockin' the 70s' porn moustache) striking out...

7:40: For those who don't know, Yankees starter Sidney Ponson is from Aruba and was actually knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherland in 2003. He celebrated that honor by assaulting an Aruban judge in 2004 over misuse of his powerboat and spent 11 days in jail. Read that last paragraph again. Meanwhile, the Red Sox go down in order in the 2nd. Followed by the Yankees doing the same in their half of the 2nd.

7:58: The Red Sox go quietly in the 3rd, followed by yet ANOTHER version of the Chevy ad with that mind-numbing John Mellencamp song. I'm sorry...could somebody remind me...whose country is this?

"This is ouuurrrrr country!!!"

Got it...thanks.

8:02: Jack Nicholson in the house!! He's behind home plate. Michael Kay bets that Jack's never had a regret in his life. I don't know.."Mars Attacks" might be a regret.

8:10: Tonight's NYS Smokers' Quitline Quiz question: Who is the Red Sox all-time RBI leader at games at Yankee Stadium? I'm guessing its Ted Williams. We'll find out later. I'm usually great at these....

8:14: The announcers discuss Sox catcher Jason Varitek and his impending free agency. The 36-year-old Varitek reportedly wants a 4-year deal, even though he's hitting .226 and is basically "Dead Man Walking" But he's the "captain" of the Red Sox, including the team putting a ridiculous "C" on his uniform, likes he's a hockey player or something. Meanwhile, Flaherty says Varitek is important because he's "great in the clubhouse." What does that mean? Does he walk around telling jokes and handing out mix tapes to his teammates? When Big Papi's in a depressed mood does he do an "Anchorman" impression to cheer him up? I need to know these things. Anyways, right now he flies out to center.

8:18: And the trivia answer is?? TED WILLIAMS!!! I swear, if they ever bring back that sports trivia show on ESPN, I'm FORCING them to put me on it. I need to put this useless information to work!!

8:28: Here come the Yankees. Cano singles in A-Rod and we're tied at two. Its amazing, every time Michael Kay gets excited and gets his voice rising, Cooper sniffs his butt...I don't know what to do with this information. We're tied at 2 headed to the fifth.

8:36: Pedroia executes a perfect hit-and-run, bashing it through the right side as Ellsbury dashes to third. You have to love Pedroia, even if his beard is worse than mine...when I grow a beard, its red while my hair is looks like I should be on display at Ripley's...meanwhile, the Sox just loaded the bases for Youkilis....big moment for this game...

8:40: The Arubian Knight walks Youkilis to force in a run. 3-2 Sox. And the live mic outside the announcers booth just picked up the first New York accented "Fuck!" Then Bay hit a sac fly to right, and that's all for Ponson...lets hope he doesn't punch out any Aruban officials tonight...

8:47: Enwar Ramirez is on to pitch for the Yankees and HOLY GOD does this kid look young. This guy doesn't have a pitch count, he's got a curfew. Anyways, he gets Jed Lowrie to ground out to end the inning.

9:02: Kay and Leiter talk about how important the Yankees bullpen is going to be over the next few weeks, especially one days when the starters can't get into the 6th inning. This is a bullpen that features Enwar Ramirez, Chris Britton, and Brian Bruney. Good luck with that, Yankee fans!

9:05: Just saw a preview for Lakeview Terrace. Sam Jackson should just take that Chappelle imitation of him full circle and actually endorse Samuel Jackson Beer...."IT'LL GETCHA DRUNK!! YOU'LL BE $@&%'IN FAT GIRLS IN NO TIME!! MMMM...BITCH!!"

9:13: The Yankees batters seem baffled by Paul Byrd's old-timey windup....they go quietly again in the 6th....but hey, want do you want for a 210-million-dollar payroll? Runs? Timely hitting??

9:17: Enwar Ramirez's mother comes to the mound to get him home before he breaks curfew. In comes Damaso Marte for the Yankees...another desperation pick up by the Yanks at the trading deadline as they try any which way to make the postseason...which isn't happening...

9:24: Seventh inning stretch time, which means everybody at the stadium has to stand and offer a moment of silence for the troops, and then listen to Kate Smith sing "God Bless America." Folks, 9/11 was 7 years ago....we really need to be doing this every night??? Still?? Really?? And of course, since we're on the Yankees network, we're gonna see this live...but that's the fun part, when they show the close up of the Yankees with their caps over their hearts, but you know in their head they're thinking things like "I hope the post-game spread has teriyaki chicken" and "I wonder how many hot chicks I'll be able to pick up at Butter tonight?"

9:27: "The dream is still alive....some day it will come true...and this country it belongs, to folks like me and let the voice of FREEDOM...sing out through this land....this is ouuuuuuuurrr country."

Its gotten to the point where I look forward to belting out the lyrics in my living room now. Congratulations Chevy. You've beaten me down completely. And you've actually created an ad campaign that causes Stockholm Syndrome. This is ouuuuuurrr country.

9:30: Uh oh, Michael Kay is calling out Yankees manager Joe Girardi for saying the Yanks "HAD TO TAKE TWO OUT OF THREE" of these Red Sox games. So much for happy times later tonight on the Joe Girardi Show (which, amazingly, is broadcast on the YES Network). Girardi might punch Kay in the face....which would be a huge improvement...meanwhile, the Yankees go down in order in the 7th...still 4-2 Sox heading to the 8th.

9:41: Here's where it comes apart for the Yanks. Youkilis gets an infield single off of A-Rod's glove, then Bay hits a screamer to right-center that Abreu misses and it bounces over the head of Damon, sending Bay all the way to more run for the Red Sox, and this game is OVAH!!

9:50: And there it is...sac fly from Alex Cora scores Bay. 6-2 Boston. This seems to be a good time to take Cooper on a potty break, considering he's staring me down with a look that says "if you don't take me out soon, I'm going to redecorate this carpet"....we'll be back for the bottom of the ninth.

9:57: We're back just in time to see Woodland High's Dustin Pedroia belt a grand-slam to make it 11-to-2 Boston. And now we get shots of the Yankees fans making the "Sad Panda" face....Yankee fans heading to the exits in droves...sorry Yankee fans...your post-season dreams died tonight....wait, I'm not sorry...F-the Yankees!!!

Well it turned out to be anti-climatic...but again, what do you expect with a 210-million-dollar payroll?? God I love it when the Yankees lose....


Monday, August 25, 2008

Killing Time

Well, we're five days into Jen being gone, and despite my best efforts to keep busy, I'm already talking to the walls....Cooper is good company, but his lack of being able to vocally discuss things in English is leading to some rather silent nights here at home.

Of course, I have been able to have SOME fun while the Mrs. is are some highlights:

-- Catching "Pineapple Express" in the theater on Friday night after work. I've been given strict instructions NOT to see "Tropic Thunder" without Jen, and we'd already seen "The Dark Knight," so "Pineapple" was the choice. And it was hilarious...but what made it even more funny was I can guarantee that at LEAST half of the audience was baked to the Bejesus every joke got laughs 10 times harder than normal....which made for an entertaining couple of hours...

Anyways, go see it if you get the chance.

Other movies I've enjoyed as I blaze through our Netflix and On Demand lists: In Bruges (which was excellent...definitely see that), The Reaping, Rush Hour 3, The Simpsons Movie, Cassandra's Dream, The Bank Job, and The Brave One.

-- Watching the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget on Thursday night. I had DVRed it earlier in the week, and finally got around to watching the whole thing. While none of these CC roasts will ever be as funny as the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, the Saget one was pretty good. John Stamos was the MC, and he got battered about Rebecca Romijn leaving him...Stamos himself was pretty funny....Jeff Ross was his usual comedic gold...but you need to see that roast for 82-year-old Cloris Leachman's comments....I can't believe how funny she was...definitely try to check it out.

-- Going to Jersey on Saturday for a party thrown by my co-worker Jim. It was a surprise party for his wife Heidi, and it was definitely a surprise, since her birthday was two months ago, but they hadn't been able to do anything for her because of work, so Jim decided to surprise her by inviting their friends....I took the PATH train to Hoboken, where my co-worker Jen and her boyfriend Jon picked me up, and we drove over to Cranston for the party. Our fellow co-worker Spencer was there as well with his wife and little 10-month old boy.

We have a small staff of news people here in New York, but the great thing is we all get along fabulously...Jen, Spencer, Jim and the others were more than welcoming when I arrived last year, and we've always talked about trying to spend more time with each other out of work...alas its hard to get the seven of us together with our other halves and such due to it was nice to just chill out for an afternoon and shoot the breeze...

-- After I got back into town on Saturday night, I was walking by Madison Square Garden when I realized that the WWE was in town. Most folks know that I still, at the age of 31, follow professional wrestling...I probably shouldn't, but I think its hilarious. Its my soap opera.

So I had 30 bucks in the wallet, and the show was about to start, so I went over to the entrance and was able to scalp a ticket....that ended up being 10th row...

Anyways, I hadn't been to the matches in awhile, and the crowd was really into it, without being a scary redneck crowd like poor Jen endured a few years ago in it was a good time.

And yes...I graduated from college nine years ago...

-- Belting out karaoke at the Piper's Kilt Sunday night. I had the intention of just going there for an hour for dinner. Well, eight beers later, I had crooned three tunes. "867-5309," "Short Skirt, Long Jacket," and "The Rainbow Connection." It was fun...the crew for the UME social club that Jen and I are a part of were there, so we had a jolly good time.

That's about it so far...tonight (Monday) is a quiet night at home, though I did have dinner at the Kilt earlier. Plans for the upcoming week include a trip to the U.S. Open Thursday, and visiting with our friends Jason and Michelle, who come into town on Wednesday because Michelle is appearing on the Rachael Ray Show on Friday...

So I've had a good time so far, but I'd trade it all to be with my baby. Come home soon Jen!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One Is The Loneliest Number

Well, Mrs. Jen has headed off to Denver for the DNC, leaving young Cooper and I all by ourselves. You'd think we'd be thrilled to have a bachelor pad for 10 days, but truthfully, its been 12 hours, and I already miss my baby....

So expect some extra writing over the next few days as I look to fill the hours. I'm sure it'll all be Pulitzer-worthy...

In the meantime, enjoy this news story that I had the privilege to write today at work. As Mike Huthman said when I showed it to him, "The story is great, but the last sentence makes it super-great."

NJ - Ninjas Arrested

>>Clifton Cops Arrest Pair Of Modern-Day Ninjas

(Clifton, NJ) -- A pair of men who described themselves as modern day Ninjas looking to rid the region of evil instead were arrested by Clifton cops this week. Officers picked up 19-year-old Jesse Trojaniak and 20-year-old Tadieusz Tertkiewicz Tuesday after the pair were spotted dressed in full Ninja gear inside a parked car on Route 46. The duo told officers they were "Shinobi Warriors" and were on a quest to rid the area of drug users and drug dealers. They planned to deliver letters to their targets telling them to stop their "impure" ways. The men were armed to the teeth with knives in sheaths, throwing knives, Chinese throwing stars, nunchucks and other weapons. Both face weapons possession charges. Tertkiewicz has also been charged with harassment for delivering one of the letters to his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend.

Mike Watts NJ)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Huthmans Take Manhattan Photos!!

As from the Huthmans' recent trip to Manhattan. Ivanna had a conference here for about 8-9 days, so they stayed at a hotel for the first few days, and then joined us for 4 days in Inwood before heading home. All told they spent nearly two weeks here and got to see quite a bit.

Of course, the apple of Mike and Ivanna's eyes is their one-year-old daughter Anisa. She's as cute as a button and has all the personality in the world. And since Jen and I aren't going to be Aunts and Uncles by blood anytime soon, we're more than happy that Mike and Ivanna look at us as family, and that Anisa will grow up knowing she always has Aunt Jen and Uncle Wiggy in her corner.

So while Ivanna was unfortunately stuck in conference related stuff, Mike and I took Anisa around town, where she promptly fell asleep at all the major moments...

At Central Park

At the Buddhist Temple in Chinatown


Coney Island

The Pond at Central Park

Little Italy

She also fell asleep at Ground Zero, but we felt it was inappropriate to take a picture of that. Instead, here's a picture of the work continuing to happen at the WTC site.

Even when Ivanna was able to spend time with her daughter at night, Anisa was still ready to sleep.

She also managed to fall asleep at Yankee Stadium, which frankly, is hard to do...

Though to be fair, she actually watched most of the game. In fact, she had a blast...she was clapping when everyone else was...which was a lot because the Yankees kicked the Twins ass that night....f'in Yankees....
Most of the week, it just me and Mike taking the kid around town. It was like one long episode of "My Two Dads."
"You can count on me... no matter where you go.."
Mike also took her to the Museum of National History, where she got to see the dinosaurs!

Naturally, she was very excited!

That, in fact, is Anisa's "Super Happy Face!" (tm). She likes to do it a lot, and sometimes even without asking. Of course, I asked her to do it all the time, because I think its hilarious.

Mike and I tried to do the face as well, but its actually quite scary....

We also took the Huthmans to Coney Island.

All told, a really fun time, and we hope the Huthmans keep their promise to come back in the winter. Then we can pictures of Anisa asleep at the Rockfeller ice rink, at Madison Square Garden, at the big Christmas tree, etc. =)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

$%#@^& YOU, NUMBER 4!!!!

Throughout this whole Brett Favre nightmare this summer (and believe me, if you're a Packer fan, it's been a nightmare), people kept asking me if I could see Brett playing for another team...

I told them "No...there's no way...I know he wants to come back, but he's either going to have second thoughts, or the Pack will let him come back eventually and it'll be fine..."

Now fast forward a few weeks, and here's where we are:


Originally, I wasn't sure how I felt about my mind, the Pack had moved on and they were right to. Hell, I'd moved on...I didn't write that damn piece on this blog earlier this year thinking "you know, he's probably coming back." I was sure that was it...

So when Jen and I hear he's been traded to the Jets, Jen immediately says "We should buy Jets tickets". So I get out of bed at 12:30 a.m. in the morning, log on, and immediately grab a couple of tickets to the Jets 2nd home game of the season versus Arizona (hard to imagine tickets were available, I know)

So we're going...and Jen wants to know if I plan to be cheering Brett or booing him?? And I told her at the time I didn't know...I still wasn't sure....

Well, I've come to a decision...and now not only do I plan to boo him mercilessly...I hope he suffers a season-ending injury while I'm there...

You blew this Brett...this is all your fault...after jerking the Pack around for three years each off-season about whether you were coming back, you finally decided to hang it up, did the whole 'teary press-conference' nonsense, and made it sound like that was it. We all moved on...only you couldn't...apparently you felt the need to jerk the Pack around AGAIN, and then get uppity when they said, "Uhhh Brett, we've decided to move on."

What the Packers SHOULD have done (and what I would have done if I was the GM, because I'm a vengeful a-hole) is told Brett, "sure, come back..but you won't be starting...and if you don't like it, that's fine, but we won't be trading you, and since we hold your rights for the next three years as part of your contract, you'll be staying right deal with it."

Instead, the team gives in to the player (as always happens) and I get to turn on the news today to see idiot Jets fans screaming for Favre as he takes his first practice with the team.

So Brett....thanks for nothing. I thought you were different...I thought you would have the damn dignity of a Tony Gwynn or a Cal Ripken to know when its time to go, to stay with your team til the end of your career and then retire gracefully...

Instead all you've done is remind me that rooting for sports teams is basically rooting for laundry and that you shouldn't get caught up in the players because they always ALWAYS let you down in the end.

Thanks for the memories Brett...I hope your arm falls off "Dravecky-style."

Oh, and by the way...that wish of a season-ending injury? Not that far-fetched, because guess who's on the cover of "Madden" this year???

Dear God,

Please let the "Madden Curse" come true again this year.



Hope springs eternal....thanks again Brett, you $%@#!!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Guess who's coming to the city? Kelli and Megs!!

They arrive on Thursday Morning!! I'm taking the day off. We'll play in the city and then go see Wicked!

Expect fun updates!!!

Belows a pic of the 3 of us from Meghan's 30th bday. It was when we were back in CA in May.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Canada in Pictures

Hello All! Well, as Mike said in his last post we're back from Canada and had a wonderful relaxing
vacation. We started off our week up North with Jonathan and Stephanie's wedding. Jonathan is Mike's "cousin" (not by blood, but damn near might as well be).

Mike was emcee - he did a great job. Basically he introduced the speeches during dinner. He was funny, but brief- the best combination.

Here are some more wedding pictures:

Parents of the groom Aunt Patty and Uncle Gary-

All the cousins together

Bride Stephanie, Cousin Jonathan, Cousin Carrie, Her Husband Martin, Me, Mike, Cousin Jen, Sister Jen

That's right- one picture- 3 Jen's!

This is Cousin Jen and her husband Ken's daughter - Alexandra. Ken's not it the picture above because he's back at the hotel with her.

Doesn't she look like Suri Cruise?

After the wedding we spent the next 5 days at the cottage on Buck Lake Here's the cottage

Here's the View

Here's Barb going over the cottage rules with Cooper.

The Beckman's have the cottage next door and the people on the other side of the Beckmans have a dog that Jet Ski's

Now Cooper can't jet ski... but he did get his first ride in a ski boat.

It wore him out!!!

All in all we had a great,relaxing time.
Inside the cottage: Patty Beckman, Mike, Cooper the Great, Grandma, Barb, Sister Jen, Me Jen

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back From The Great White North

Well, we've returned from our trip to Canada. We got in late last night (Thursday) after having spent nearly a full week up at the cottage in Kingston and in Ottawa for Jonathan's wedding.

Jen will I'm sure post a more lengthy version of our trip with pictures later this weekend, but lets hit some of the highlights of the past week:

-- Jonathan and Stephanie's wedding. For those who don't know the Beckman family, here's the scoop. My mother and her friend Patty went to nursing school together and have been the best of friends ever since. Patty and her husband Gary, along with my folks, have known each other for nearly 40 years, if not more... the Beckmans have the cottage next to ours, and we spent every summer with their kids (Carrie, Jen and Jonathan). We've always considered them family (we call them Aunt Patty and Uncle Gary, the Beckman kids have their Aunt Barb and Uncle Jack)

That's a long winded explanation to say that they are family, so when cousin Jonathan asked if I'd be the MC for his wedding to Stephanie, I jumped at the chance. It was a honor and a privilege, and it was a lot of fun. I got to show off some of the ol' Watts wit (I'm so modest) and everyone had a good time at the wedding.

Here's a picture of the happy couple, and another one (the famous "couch photo," minus the married couple, who missed their brunch the next day to head to Niagara Falls for a truncated honeymoon).

Stephanie and Jonathan

The rest of the gang (left to right: Cousin Jen, Martin (Carrie's husband), Carrie, Sister Jen, me, Jen, Ken (Jen's husband)) and little Alexandra in the front (Ken and Jen's daughter)

-- The Beckman wedding was an opportunity to see other "cousins" (actual cousins of the Beckman's who we also spent much summer time with). It was great to reconnect with Geoff, Jane, and Katie Walker (and to meet Jane's husband Chad and Katie's boyfriend Dave) and the Thompson clan (Bob, Debbie, Lisa, Amy, and Christina). Most of those folks I hadn't seen since Ken and Jen's wedding, and hopefully we'll get to see more of them now that we live out here on the East Coast

-- Another highlight: learning my sister has fallen in love with Radio Disney. We had XM radio in our rental car, and Sister Jen had us put it on. She then proceeded to sing along with every song by Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, High School Musical and Camp Jen and I looked at each other in horror and then just busted out laughing. And my sister wonders why she's single.

Oh and thanks to my sister, I've now got that Miley song running through my head to the point where I actually downloaded it to my iPod this morning. I hate you Sister Jen...

-- Getting to play golf with my Uncle Dick and cousin Joe. Aunt Irene and Uncle Dick were kind enough to watch Mr. Cooper while we were in Ottawa for the wedding, and when we returned, Dick invited me to play golf with him and Joe the next day. That's always fun, because Uncle Dick can dish it out as much as he can take it, as can Joe, so the whole morning was full of fun trash-talk and waiting for the beer cart girl to begin her round at 11am...I shot a score that we won't mention here (which means I bought the ice cream at the end) but it was a great time.

-- Getting to go to Judy and Blaine Williams cottage a few lakes over for dinner Wednesday night. Judy is another cohort of Mom and Aunt Patty's from nursing school days and she and Blaine have been friends with our family for a long time. The added bonus of spending time with them is that Blaine happens to be one of the five funniest people I know (the other four? Will Selva, Chris Lango, Dave Tribbey and my father, who gets funnier and funnier with each passing day). Anyways, Blaine regaled us with stories from here and there, and we laughed a ton, as usual. My personal favorite is the fact that he referees soccer games that feature three-year-olds playing on a field that uses cases of beer for goalposts...that's Canada in a nutshell, pretty much.

-- Getting to spend time with Grandma. That's always precious, and at 88 years old, she's still feisty as ever. Grandma always manages to drop a gem of a comment every now and then, and she didn't disappoint this trip. We can't wait to go back and visit her in the fall again...

-- Cooper at the cottage. Cooper's first trip of what I'm sure will be many to Buck Lake, and he had a blast. Jen was worried about him running off into the wilderness but he never left the property. Sister Jen took him for a bunch of walks, he got to chase chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits, he even went for his first swim in Buck Lake! (though to be fair, it wasn't voluntary, and he's still pissed at Daddy for throwing him in)...

-- Getting to see Aunt Ede and Isabelle. Aunt Ede is my grandmother's sister-in-law and its rare that we get the chance to spend time with her. Isabelle is Ede's long time friend who our family has gotten to know through the years. They came out to Buck for lunch on Tuesday and it was a good time, though we had to keep Isabelle from stealing the fine dishes again!

-- Spending time with Mom and Sister Jen. Hey, when you don't live in California, you have to try and get as much time with family as you can. I'm glad the three of us were able to be up at the cottage together, and I can't wait to see you guys (and Dad) sooner rather than later.

-- I'm sure I'm leaving stuff out, but it's time to get back to the grind of work. I'll leave you with a few quotes from the trip. Trips to the cottage and summers spent there with the Beckmans always seemed to breed stories that have lived on and random quotes that will be repeated to our grandchildren. This year was no exception, and while they might only make sense to those of us who were they are:

"Jonathan, cars cost money."

"Never pay more than a dollar for mustard"

"I'm not in the picture! And I'm going home!"

Love to you all, and expect more from Jen this weekend