Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Weekend Getaway To Newport

I thought I would give a little review of our trip to Newport, RI last weekend. We had a great time with only a few problems.

We got into Newport Friday before lunch, stopped at the visitor center and bought tickets to see the mansions. We started with the granddaddy of them all, The Breakers. It's one thing to see these "summer cottages" on t.v., but you have to see them in person to get a true feeling of how big they really are.

After the tour, we had lunch at the Brick Alley Pub where I enjoyed a Newport Storm Octoberfest. We then went to check in to the place we were staying.

We stayed at The Pearls of Newport. Mrs. Joe & I like to stay at small Bed & Breakfast type places. The room was nice, a little small, but if you don’t plan on spending much time in it, it’s not a big deal. The breakfasts were great though, poached eggs and Canadian bacon on Friday, coconut and chocolate chip pancakes on Saturday. MMMMM!

After we checked in, we toured The Marble House and Rosecliff.

Friday night we had dinner and one too many pints of Belhaven stout at Buskers. Talk about a great Irish pub. All I can say is thank God I was walking.

It rained overnight and Saturday morning was cloudy and damp but no rain. We walked along Thames Street with all its shops and stopped for lunch at The Red Parrot. We then walked up to Bellevue Ave to tour The Elms and check out the shops at the Tennis Hall of Fame.

Here is a picture of what a lot of the streets and houses look like downtown. A far cry from the mansions up on Bellevue Ave.

I had made dinner reservations for Saturday night at Tucker’s Bistro. The dinner was nice, Mrs. Joe had duck while I had a NY sirloin. Not surprisingly, they did not have any TV’s so I assumed I would miss the Red Sox game. Focus on the Mrs., I was telling myself. But as we headed back after dinner, Mrs. Joe noticed Yesterday’s so we stopped for a drink. Lucky for me, they had the game on. Although I have to admit, I looked at the T.V. only twice. First time: 0-0. Second time: 6-0. I figured they had the game won so I didn’t look again. Still focusing on the Mrs., I didnt even get to see Dice-K's single.

Sunday morning was crisp and clear. We walked down Bowen’s Wharf and got this great picture of the harbor.

After, we drove out to Ocean Drive and took these.

We then drove up to Newport Vineyards in Middletown for a tour & tasting. Afterwards, we stopped at The Coddington Brewery, where we had lunch and one of their Octoberfests before coming home.

Peanut & The Champ were good for Grammie. Some minor skirmishes but good none the less. Good thing too because this getaway was great and I'm almost ready to start planning another.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Best Laid Plans…

As I mentioned, Mrs. Joe & I celebrated 10 years of marriage this past October 11. Somewhat of an important anniversary, you might think. Earlier this year, I figured I better start looking for a gift. I mean I have to get something and unlike last year’s Christmas present, I have to get this one right. Apparently, the “traditional” gift for 10 years of marriage is tin and aluminum, but I don’t think a six pack of Bud Light would be that romantic.

Besides, beer shouldn’t come in aluminum cans.

I found there are “modern” anniversary gifts as well. Diamonds are the modern gift for 10 years of marriage.

Guaranteed a woman wrote this list.

So I decided to plan a weekend getaway for the two of us. All the way back in March, I talked with my mother in law about watching the kids one weekend this month and she said she would. It was good to confirm this early, The Champ had spent the night only once at Grammie’s and Peanut has yet to sleep there.

Next I needed to decide which weekend in October we were going to go. Can you guess which weekend I chose for this little getaway?

Yes, this weekend.

By the way, if you didn’t know, there is this little sporting event going on and participating in this event is a team I tend to follow somewhat.

Does anybody think Jonathan Paplebon can lay off the Michael Flatley impersonations and maybe perform a rain dance in Denver on Saturday night? Better yet, how about some snow? They definitely won’t play in snow.

Anyway, back to the getaway. Once I locked Grammie into taking the kids and I decided on which weekend, I had to find somewhere to take Mrs. Joe. It would have to be within driving distance, in case the kids revolted and took hostages. Living in New England, that still left quite a few options. I decided on Newport, RI.

So the plan is to drop the kids off at school Friday morning and be on the road soon after. We should be in Newport by lunch. I’m sure I will be seeing all the mansions and do some shopping while we are there. We will have a few nice meals without having to worry if the grilled cheese is too hot or making sure the cup of juice doesn’t get spilled. I figure we will get home around dinnertime Sunday night and fall back into the routine of life.

Ten years of marriage to me, she deserves this.

Oh, and keep this to yourself. Mrs. Joe has no idea where she is going.

By the way, we will gladly accept any belated anniversary gifts you may want to give us, as long as it is received before Saturday, involves the state of Colorado and includes precipitation.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

I Was Dancing Last Night, Too

Just not like this.

Bring on the Rockies.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Does La-Z-Boy Make A Folding Chair?

So I sit here this morning bleary eyed and bitter from another Red Sox loss, wondering if camping out on the couch for 4 hours at a time and staying up past most normal people’s bedtime has been worth it these last few evenings.

I have come to one easy observation, though. Watching the Sox this playoff season is not as much fun as previous years. I mean it might get better. Maybe it’s because they are not playing the Yankees. They aren’t done yet though, anything can happen. What Red Sox fan can forget 2004? Those last four games against the Yankees were the most exciting games ever and will forever be in my memory. I just can’t seem to get into it this year.

I think I’ll focus more on The Champ. He has finally started playing soccer this fall. Most kids were playing in September but the local league had some issues and his games began this weekend. I love parking my folding chair at midfield and watch the kids run around. Now that he is six, he plays on a bigger field and there are actual kids playing goalie. Before, they had to leave the net open so the kids had an easier chance to score. On Saturday, he played goalie for awhile. Watching him in goal was fun. His attention span was not that bad, he wasn’t picking his nose or anything but you could tell that he wanted some action.

Anyway, tomorrow night The Champ has another soccer game and the Red Sox face elimination.

I guess it’s pretty easy to see which game I’m looking forward to more.

I just wish I could bring the couch out to the field.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

What A Difference One CD Track Makes

It was 10 years ago today that I stood before God and vowed to love, honor and cherish Mrs. Joe for the rest of my life. Ten beautiful years filled with both highs, births of Peanut & The Champ, and lows, losing both my parents as well as Mrs. Joe’s grandmother.

I figured I would share with you a story from that wonderful day ten years ago.

You all know the phrase, "If anything can go wrong, it will, and usually at the most inopportune moment". Well, our wedding day started well. Everybody found the church. We made it through the ceremony without any problems, nobody passed out. Even my cousin, who was my best man, had the rings. We got from the church to the reception hall without incident, though the Model A Ford we rented sounded like it seen better days. Even the wedding pictures went smoothly; no bums were camped out in the gazebo we wanted to use.

That left the reception.

Let me mention first, when we met with the DJ earlier in the year he seemed okay. He asked the typical questions; what song will you dance to, what song will the bride dance to with her father, etc.

We just had two requests;

1. He could not, under any circumstances, play Love Shack.

2. When we were introduced as husband and wife for the first time, we wanted to enter to the theme from the TV show Mad About You. We both enjoyed watching the show and thought it would be cute.

He said no problem, he had a CD with a bunch of TV theme songs, that song included.

Here’s where the wheels came off the Chrysler. With everone seated and as he finished introducing the bridal party, Mrs. Joe and I stood alone in the hallway about to enter as husband and wife for the first time, ready to share this wonderful evening with all our family and friends.

And this is what began to play...

Happy Anniversary to my beautiful bride.

I love you.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Sorry, No Peach Pie Here

First it was apple picking, now its pumpkin time. Sunday Mrs. Joe and I took the kids to get some pumpkins. A few pumpkins for the kids to carve later this month and a some for Mrs. Joe to decorate with and make a pie or two. Too bad the weather has been so warm. (Did I just write that?) The leaves are just starting to change colors. Looks like a late leaf peeping season this year.

Like apple picking, we go to the same farm every year for our pumpkins. Picking pumpkins are more fun than apples, seeing we don't really pick them. Where we go, they bring them in from the patch and turn their front yard into a big display. One year, we went somewhere else and went out into the field where we proceeded to sink into a foot of mud only to come back covered with dirt and only enough pumpkins you can carry.

This is much easier.

So between all the apples and pumpkins we have gathered there lies the inevitable question I ask.

Do you want apple pie or pumpkin pie?

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

As American As Apple Pie

Mrs. Joe and I took the kids apple picking this weekend. We have gone to the same family farm since The Champ was born. We got a tractor ride out to the orchard where we picked Empires, Cortlands and Red Delicious. Mrs. Joe will pick up a few Granny Smiths at the store and make the best apple pie. To me, the smell of an apple pie cooking is synonymous with Autumn.

The day went rather well. The only thing we had to worry about was keeping the kids from picking any apples off the ground. Last year, Peanut was just starting to walk and didn't want to be held so she got pretty dirty. After we picked a half-bushel, we took the tractor ride back where the kids played in the hay maze and climbed all over a bunch giant pumpkins.

Days like this prove to me that it is hard to beat Fall in New England. I took a few pictures.