Saturday, August 29, 2009

Random Thoughts (August 2009 edition)


-- Well, lets start there. What the hell am I doing up this early? The answer is I've gotten up to watch soccer. Seriously. ESPN has started to cover the English Premier League, so my on-again, off-again interest with English club soccer is back on apparently. So I'm up watching Chelsea take on the surprise of the EPL this season so far, Burnley (who somehow managed to upset Man U earlier this week). And sorry to Kev, but I'm not rooting for Chelsea. I love me a good underdog (as one can tell from all the regular teams I root for...Jays, Pack, Leafs, etc.

-- I've made many wise purchases in my 32 years of existence, but buying Rock Band 2 for our Wii about a month ago now is probably in the Top Five. That game is EXTRAORDINARILY fun. My friend James, Andy and I immediately formed a band whose name probably isn't fit for print here, and then proceeded to play the game in SIX hour stretches once or twice a week until we finally beat the damn thing back on Tuesday. Andy on guitar, me on drums and James singing. And while we've beaten the game, it still remains fun to be able to unlock new songs and just perfect ourselves on the old favorites, along with downloading new songs. The bottom line is this game is gonna be a hit in the Watts household due to our love to throw parties. One can imagine it getting lots of play for years to come.

-- And Jen's efforts on drums haved improved IMMENSELY in the past month. I'm not sure we'll start calling her Ringo just yet, but she's doing very very well.

-- We're still buzzing about our great time hanging out with Kelly and Chris T. and their little Rylee when they came to town a few weeks back. Chris had a meeting in Washington D.C. and they were able to come up to NYC for 4 days at the back end of the trip. Our friends CONTINUE to have the cutest kids. Rylee, who just hit six months, was all kinds of fun to hang out with, and we took that kid EVERYWHERE (as Kelly detailed in their blog, which you can find a link to on this page)

-- Speaking of blogs, if you aren't reading our friend Katie Neal's blog detailing her four month stint in Singapore for work-related purposes, you should be. Katie has a great knack for keeping everyone informed as she embarks on this adventure, and it makes for fun reading. Also, she takes a ton of pictures, which is always good. So after you're done with this, go read her blog and get caught up. (link also on the right side of this page) As you can see, she's making great efforts to get a real feel for a new country.

-- See, Katie? I was able to say all those nice things and not make a joke or comment about Coach Cal's impending takedown of Kentucky basketball or the sordid life of your former coach at UK (Pitino). Wait, am I talking out loud?

-- Jen now has a new favorite sport. The Little League World Series. Most everyone knows Jen's lack of, um, passion for all things sport. In fact, usually when we go to baseball games, she spends more time looking at the purses of other women than watching the game on the field. So getting her to WATCH baseball on TV is like pulling teeth, but I got her to sit down to watch the prelim game where the team from Granite Bay take on the team from So Cal for the right to go to the finals in Williamsport. Within minutes, she was intrigued, and was also calling for a full investigation into the exact age of the So Cal pitcher (he's purported to be 12...he looks roughly 27) Granite Bay lost (too bad), but we kept paying attention to the games once the Williamsport, PA finals took over. She watched the nailbiter between Canada and Mexico, and was thrilled that Canada actually had a girl on their team. She paid attention to the goings-on of the Staten Island team that was making a run at the tournament. More importantly, when I asked her one night what she wanted to watch on TV, she actually said, "the Little League World Series." This is amazing. So expect us in front of the TV this weekend keeping an eye on the kids.

-- In other news, that So Cal team is probably going to win the title, which stinks, because they have at least two kids who are NO WAY under the age of 13. I don't want to make accusations about children, but the one pitcher I think is actually shaving between innings. Someone get "Dateline" on the phone and get this conspiracy uncovered!!

-- A few days ago I took a taxi to work in the early AM because our subway train was down. The cabbie was blasting Beethoven's Symphony Number Six all the way there. I feel like you need to know these things.

-- Go see Inglourious Basterds. Right now. Stop what you're doing, and go see it. Really fun movie. I'm trying to get Jen to see it (I went with James), for no other reason than the fact that SPOILER ALERT!: her people come out really well in the movie.

-- An open letter to Brett Favre. Dear Brett, We're done. Finished. Kaput. I can no longer support you and this ridiculous "should-I-stay-or-should-I-go?" nonsense. You've become a joke...a national joke. So lets just call this relationship over. Perhaps I'll return to you when you make it to the HOF in Canton. But until that time, please kindly go fuck yourself. Warmest Regards, Mike...

-- We finally FINALLY have joined the rest of the free world in enjoying Mad Men. Our friend Liz let us borrow Season 1, which we blazed through in roughly 3 days, and then I bought Season 2, which took us a weekend to watch, so we could be ready for Season 3. I now understand what all the fuss is about. Its really good TV, and I highly recommend it.

-- This week's sign of the Apocalypse? Jen has started to read the "Twilight" books...seriously.

-- Don't expect Jen to be rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles anytime soon. Or me for that matter. I can't believe someone signed Mike Vick. What a joke. The Packers reportedly were in the market for him, and I had decided that if Green Bay signed him, I'd have given up rooting for the Pack as long as he was on the squad. Some guys don't deserve second chances. My guess is many dogs of Eagles fans reacted the following way when hearing the news about Vick's signing.

-- A few weekends ago, one Saturday for Jen and I consisted of going to see Julie and Julia in the theatre, followed by us watching Kung Fu Panda at home while eating Chinese food. Which leads me to the following statement: How married are we?

-- Finally, getting ready for our annual anniversary trip next weekend. We're headed to Maine for four days with a probable stop in New Hampshire. Nothing major planned, just lots of relaxation. I can't believe Jen and I will have been married for four years. Seems like it was just yesterday she was stumbling over her vows while repeating them ;) Love you baby!!

Until next time....


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Way Up Nooorth!

I always wanted to start a blog with a quote from a Johnny Horton song..

OK, many people continue to bitch about the lack of blogging. And Jen has decided that Facebook takes up too much of her time, so blogging about our lives now falls to me. You've been warned...

Time to recap the vacation that Jen, Cooper and I took to our family cottage up in Canada last month.

We got up there on Saturday the 18th and as we were driving in I thought "I wonder when the fish fry is this year? I wonder if we'll be here for it?" For the uninitiated, the "fish fry" is a fundraiser that the little town where our cottage is (Perth Road Village) does for the local volunteer firefighters. Growing up, it was a HUGE part of our summers at the cottage. We always went, even after the unfortunate "no sugar in the pie" incident that ended with me and Cousin Jen nearly hurling.

Anyways, I hadn't been in a long time, and lo and behold as we're driving through Perth Road Village to get to the cottage, there's the sign.

"Fish Fry. July 18th. 4 to 8 pm"

It dawned on me that today was actually the 18th and I was super pumped! So I get to the cottage, and Mom and Grandma are there to greet us, along with Aunt Patty and Uncle Gary (who own the cottage next door). And I was all excited, "What time are we going to the fish fry?!"

And my mother made a face. As did Aunt Patty. Come to find out, they knew it was today and didn't tell me because they didn't want to go!! It had been a big conspiracy! They claimed because they didn't want me speeding to get there in time, but I don't know.

Anyways, I said "to hell with that, we're going!" and we went.

Here's the deal about the fish fry. 12 bucks for a shitload of fried fish, french fries, cole slaw and baked beans. actually, 2 plates full of all that (you could go back for seconds)...unbelievably old-timey and good.

Here's a picture of me and my grandmother about to enjoy the food!

Also, the fish fry also has become famous for its crowds that I can only describe as "State Fairish." You ever seen someone so ugly you got out of line to go point them out to your friends? That kind of crowd. Hilarious. Canadian rednecks. Good times.

That was Saturday...the next day my cousin Jen came with her husband Ken and their nearly 4-year-old daughter Alexandra. I tell you, this kid is a hoot. All she wanted to do was catch butterflies and other bugs for awhile, then it was all about catching fish out of the lake. She brought her own net and everything. So after lunch, Alexandra, Ken and I went down to the dock, and lo and behold "Alexandra Caught A Fish!!"(tm)

That's been trademarked as a catch phrase now because that was all she repeated as she stormed up to the deck to show off the sunfish she'd lured into the net. She actually caught two fish, so big day for her.

Cooper had a good time too because Jen and Ken brought their little dog Luka as well. Cooper and Luka got along splendidly, and Luka got to show off his boogie board skills..

Cooper felt a little left out I think, and since I was in the water swimming, he decided to jump in after me. I think he immediately regretted the decision, but he dog paddled out to me at the raft, and then dogpaddled back to shore. Nothing like a soaking wet dog!

All in all, a really good time hanging out with our cousins, and of course, we made time for the world-famous "Couch Picture"

Monday, I drove in and played golf with my Uncle Dick and Cousin Joe at a course near where both their families have vacation homes. As usual, I came in dead last. I just don't play enough to have a decent game these days. But it was still a lot of fun. We went out for our traditional ice cream cones afterwards, and then the whole family came back to Uncle Dick and Aunt Irene's home in Kingston for a visit, Cooper included.

Tuesday, Jen and I took a day trip into Westport, which is a little town about 20 minutes away from our cottage. Brought Cooper and wandered around the town, did a little shopping for stuff, and overall had a nice day.

Wednesday, we drove to Toronto for a little overnight trip. I wasn't going all the way to Canada without seeing the Blue Jays, God dammit! We got it early in the afternoon and went IMMEDIATELY to the Jays team store, at which point I spent entirely way too much money on a golf shirt, a nice sweatshirt, and two hats. We also managed to get Jen a Blue Jays hat as well.

Before we went to the game, we met up with my cousin Tasha, who lives in Toronto. I hadn't seen her in six years, so it was good to catch up with her and see what she was up to. Lots of Canadian family to see when we're up there!

We went to the game, where we both proceeded to get mildly drunk. Good God, Canadian beer continues to amaze me with its potency compared to American beer.

In an added bonus, the Jays actually kicked the crap out of the Indians and won the game (no small feat these days). So it was good to see them win.

The next day we walked around Toronto for awhile. Went to the St. Lawrence Marketplace, where I seriously pondered buying some ground camel (though it might have been a tough time getting that past border patrol). We also went to the Eaton Centre to do some shopping for Jen and wandered part of the city to do some general sight-seeing.

We then got caught in a torrential downpour and had to pull over for awhile, but eventually made it back to the cottage. Before that, though, we drove by my old house where I grew up when I lived in Toronto. I lived there til I was 5 years old, and though I don't remember too much, I still have fairly vivid memories of walking to the school just down the block, and getting in trouble with my friend Ryan Whalen for throwing stones in his neighbor's pool.

Anyways, Mom says the house has changed a bit on the outside, but it sure looked familiar to me.

Friday, and frankly, the rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, which was one of the best parts of the trip. One of the great things about the cottage is there is no TV, no're forced to relax and either read a book, or head out into a canoe, or learn how to knit from your mother-in-law and aunt-in-law.

Fortunately, Jen managed to learn how to do all three of these things, as seen in the pictures below.

She's quite a knitter now, which is good, because I can always use scarves.

Uncle Gary also took us out in his boat for a toodle around the lake, so Cooper could get a good look at the loons, other cottages and the overall scenery. =)

All in all, a wonderful vacation, and we can't wait to go back next year!!