Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to School & Labor Day Preview

Wednesday of this week was the first day teachers had to report at Whitmore Lake High School for the 2007-2008 school year. It'll be my 6th year teaching already. I pretty much feel ready for school, though I haven't worked out a lot of specific plans as of yet. It all comes together in the end.

Sam and I are also flying out on Friday to visit her parents in their new Connecticutian home. I'm not sure how to manipulate Connecticut into an adjective or pronoun as of yet. Are her parents now Connecticutians? Connecticuts? Connoosiers? Somebody needs to look that up.

So far our plans for our weekend out east include a trip to Block Island in Rhode Island (which will be the 30th state I've visited), checking out some restaurants her parents have tried or heard were good, visiting Yale, and seeking out Washington Depot; the town that looks eerily similar to Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.

We'll miss the rest of the Wildeboer family at West Lake. :(

**Upon Further Research**
It turns out, the official name for a person from Connecticut is Connecticuter. However, many other terms exist, such as "Connecticotian" (used by Cotton Mather), "Connecticutensian" (used by Samual Peters), and "Nutmegger" (I have no clue). Personally, I think "Conn Person" has a nice ring.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Whitmore Lake Softball Champions!

Sam and I have been playing softball on Tuesday nights through Whitmore Lake Community Recreation on a team composed primarily of teachers and their spouses. This past Tuesday was our last game. We already had the league title wrapped up, but this game played like a winner-take-all contest.
We were down bad (7-1) before bringing it back to within two, when our opponents bombed a grand-slam home run on us. At that point most of us figured we'd have a difficult time coming back again. However in the bottom of the final inning, we managed to score several runs to pull of the come-from-behind walk-off win.

We got t-shirts and a trophy for being the league champs.
The team posing with the trophy.
A closeup of the trophy while we celebrated at the Bobber Down Grill, who also sponsored our team.

Monday, August 20, 2007

HomeComing for the Weiss'

Meika and Mike returned to the United States on the 11th (bringing Chloe to the U.S. for the first time), but Sam & I missed them due to our trip to Texas. On Wednesday I headed up to Bay City to meet them at my parents' house. Unfortunately Sam couldn't make it because of work. :(

Heeerrrrreee's Chloe!

I was trying to get her making gagging faces as Meika was spooning her some spinachy baby food. I didn't quite catch it...

Those aren't bogies, they're just remnants of the previously mentioned baby food.

Dad thought the occasion called for Oyster Shooters off of his "Oyster of the Month" calendar he received for Christmas.

We were all a little unsure of the drink...mainly seasoned tomato juice, vodka, and an oyster. Cheers!

Bottoms up!

Here the three of us are trying to decide if we liked it or not. I decided one was plenty, but despite their faces, Dad and Mike went for another one.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (our 8th stadium)

Mindi & Greg have season tickets for the Texas Rangers, so on Saturday night we headed out to Arlington for a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was recently renamed (on March 17 of this year), and was previously known as Ameriquest Field.
The outside of the ballpark as we walked up.

Before the game they inducted Rusty Greer into the Rangers Hall of Fame, so they decorated accordingly.
The hand-changed scoreboard in left field.
Sam's favorite baseball player: Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Note how is name barely fits on the back of his jersey...

Sam doing her best Nolan Ryan impersonation. The statue was in the outfield concourse.
Besides a statue of Nolan Ryan, there was also a kids park with different games for kids to play.
Mindi & Greg's tickets are in the front row of the middle deck, which was pretty nice. Here we are with our feet up watching the game.

Sam & Mindi having a good time.
Here's the Rangers' mascot...a scary horse-man.

A view of the field over the visitor's bullpen.
In the end, the Rangers lost 3-0. Here's the final line from the scoreboard.
After the game was a fireworks show. It lasted quite a while and was pretty good.

Two to Texas

This past weekend (Aug. 10-12) Sam and I headed out to Texas to visit her best friend Mindi. Mindi and her husband Greg currently live in the Dallas area. They will probably be moving to Alabama fairly soon, so Sam wanted me to visit them in Texas and stop by and see Baylor while we were there.

We arrived on Friday and Mindi & Greg made dinner for us, and then Greg made some martinis for everybody. Sam was pretty excited to see Mindi, as you can see in this picture.

On Saturday, we headed down to Waco to visit Baylor, where Sam, Mindi, and Greg all went for undergrad. The Baylor mascot is the bear, and it turns out that Baylor actually has 2 real bears on campus in their Baylor Bear habitat. When we stopped by they were trying to evade the heat by laying in their dens, so we didn't get a very good view of them.

It had been awhile since Sam had visited Baylor, and in the meantime they built a huge new science center, which made Sam a little jealous that she missed out on that (she graduated with a degree in Biology).

They also built a new Forum for sororities- a place for them to meet and do their sorority stuff since Baylor doesn't have residential sororities. Sam was a Kappa Delta, whose letters you can see on the far right of the building's facade.

And here of course is the famous golden-topped building of Baylor. It's actually called the Pat Neff Hall, but it's famous.

We also stopped at a couple of Sam's favorite restaurants (Taco Cabana- a.k.a. Taco C.; and Jack in the Box- a.k.a. JiB) which aren't available in Michigan.

When we got back from Baylor, we went to the Saturday night service of Mindi & Greg's church- Fellowship Church. It's a very large church- if you'd like to see it for yourselves, I believe they broadcast their services on the USA network Sunday mornings at 7:00 am.

Monday, August 13, 2007

As (long ago) Promised: Pictures from the Empire State Building

A view from the bottom.
Looking north-east-ish.
A better view of the Chrysler Building.
Looking south-east-ish. The Brooklyn Bridge is visible.
St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Ave.
Looking north-west-ish at the George Washington Bridge.
Looking north over Central Park. The large tan building blocking your view of Central Park (topped with a GE sign) is Rockefeller Center.
Looking down on some tall buildings.
A view south of the financial district. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are indistinctly visible.
A better view of the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island.
The famous Flatiron building.
We didn't know the occasion, but there's a large rooftop party going on here (you may need to click the picture for a better view).
Sam doing her best Lady Liberty impersonation. Luckily she didn't actually purchase the pointy visor...she simply borrowed it for a good time.

As (long ago) Promised: Pics of our Brooklyn Bridge Walk

The approach to the bridge.
Looking down the roadway.
Just to the north is the Manhattan Bridge.
Some maintenance workers checking something out.
Looking south-west-ish to a large port with a container ship & large cranes.
The Manhattan sky-line from the Brooklyn Bridge.
We touch down in Brooklyn. This is as far as we ventured into Brooklyn...not that we have anything against it, we just had lunch plans back in Manhattan.

Great Lakes Loons

After dinner at the Pig Gig, Mom, Dad, Sam, and I headed to Midland to catch a Great Lakes Loons game. The Loons are a single-A minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers who've recently moved to Midland (I believe this is their inaugural season). The game was pretty full, since we coudn't get anything except for lawn seats.
The view from our seats.
The stadium is called the Dow Diamond, though considering the team mascot is a Loon, we though a more appropriate name would be The Asylum or The Loony Bin. I guess they're not really going for that type of Loon.
The windup, and the pitch!
The Loons were playing the Kane County Cougers, who're from Chicago-land, Illinois. I believe Sam actually has gone to Kane County games while she lived in the Chicago area. As a result she was cheering for the wrong team.