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Category Archives: Parties

Some girls really do have all the fun

This weekend was my annual family reunion. My dad’s side of the family is Italian and they make it a point every year to re-une. Every one from my grandmother to my cousin’s one year old was there this year and it actually was very nice. No one got stupid drunk, no one set anything on fire, and no one managed to cuss anyone else out. All in all, I’d consider it a raving success, especially when you take my family into account.

The last couple of years, my one cousin has been hosting the reunion at his home, which happens to have my fathers house between it, and me, so I called my dad to see if he wanted to carpool. I need to preface this with the fact that I did NOT ask my father if he wanted to carpool with any ulterior motive – I just thought it would be nice, and as long as he was OK with leaving when I needed to so that I could get home to care for my dogs, I thought it actually made some sense. Anyway, so when I got to his house, he had the garage door open and his truck out in the driveway, which meant one thing: we were taking the VETTE! Hot Bloody Damn! Here we go, boys and girls. We were taking the 2000, 6 speed, 345 hp black on black convertible to the family reunion. Please understand, my dad does NOT bring the vette out but on the rarest of occasions, and it must not be raining, have rained, or have rain in the forecast, or else she won’t come out from under her car covered, curtained windowed garage prison. But saturday was GORGEOUS and my dad was feeling ire, apparently, so out she came! AND………….wait for it………………….I got to DRIVE!!!!

We arrive in perfect condition, and I will admit to cresting nothing above 80 in that car – I honestly didn’t feel safe as I drive it so seldom, and if ANYTHING were to happen, I think my dad would LITERALLY kill me. Then and there. Seriously. So the rest of the family reunion carries on as expected – drinking, eating, laughing, reminiscing, kids screaming, adults screaming, etc. – until my dad says “Did you tell your sister you drove the vette?” NO, Why would I do that? So that she can give me some whiny crap about how it’s been such and such amount of time since SHE’S driven the vette? No. Thank. You. So, my sister says “No, but you did” back to my dad. Then started: “Ya know, I haven’t driven the vette in YEARS.” Neither have I, sister. “Well, you know, I didn’t even drive it that far last time I drove it.” Well, sister, I didn’t ASK to drive, dad offered. Next time, you can drive and pick him up so that you can drive the vette. Ok?

I must admit that I do find satisfaction in burning my sisters ass. She gets herself so worked up over the dumbest things, it just cracks me up when she gets so upset. She starts in with the Woe-is-me routines and lays it on thick enough that others not savvy to her ways would be sucked into her abyss of negativity. All I heard was Blah Blah Blah as she rambled on about how unfair it was, half in jest, half in stark faced sincerity. Thankfully, this all happened as my dad and I were leaving for the night, so I simply got in the car and did what ANY good sister would do – I hammered that shit down and just about spun into second gear, then third. My hair waved GOODBYE as my left foot pumped the clutch and I jammed it into third and my smile opened up greater than it has in a long time, and stayed that way the entire ride home. She’s so pretty, she’d make just about anyone smile.

You'd be jealous, too

 

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Step on a crack

Anyone who is a horse racing fan knows that yesterday was the running of the 133rd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD. The Preakness is the second leg of the most illustrious of Stakes races – The Triple Crown.

It is, in fact, such an arduous task to win all 3 legs of the Triple Crown that there has not been a winner since the fantastically much-the-best Affirmed in 1978. That was 3o years ago! With all of the care of veterinary medicine, money, mapped out breeding lines and tricks that trainers pull out of their hats, there has not been ONE horse who has been good enough to withstand the grueling task of The Kentucky Derby, followed 2 weeks later by the Preakness Stakes, followed finally 3 weeks later by the Belmont Stakes in my entire lifetime. In fact, since the inception of the Triple Crown, there have been only 11 winners overall. And Saturday was the 133rd running.

It is with all of this in mind that you must understand that horsemen everywhere are foaming at the bit at the possibility of seeing the next Triple Crown Winner in the Derby and Preakness winner and pre-race favorite – Big Brown. He was much the best in the Derby taking the wire by an easy 4 and 3/4 lengths and winning the Preakness by over 5 lengths has already brought whispers of Triple Crown winners to the lips of all who know what it is. The horse demonstrated his unbelievable turn of foot right around the 3/8ths pole where Kent Desormeaux just gave him his head and he opened up about 5 lengths on the rest of the field. He didn’t even get stuck.

However, I’m almost certain that Rick Dutrow nor any of Big Browns many owners are daring to whisper such things, even in the sanctity of their homes, tucked away in darkened closets, as horseman are some of the most superstitious folk you will ever meet. I could almost bet that Dutrow isn’t going to deviate from his normal pre-race workouts and exercising for Big Brown, even though he’s essentially preparing this horse for the literal race of his lifetime. He’ll eat the same grain, will get the same amount of hay, will follow the same routines and will get the same pamperings that he always has. I can almost guarantee that Big Brown’s groom is gonna rub that horse until his coat shines, and I bet that he’s gonna get to run the barn for a few days, too. Peppermints will be flying off the shelves and laughter will fill the shed rows off of such spectacular victory. To an outsider, it will appear “Business as usual” but everyone knows you don’t attempt to fix things that ain’t broke.

Unfortunately, so much of the superstitiousness is about keeping yourself in check with reality. Too often we have seen tragedy overtake the most resilient at the least suspecting times. There have been many to make it through the first 2 legs of the Triple Crown, only to be denied the Belmont. We’ve seen Charistmatic snap his leg in 2 places at the end of 131st Belmont Stakes. I watched War Emblem eat track as he stumbled out of the gate in NY in 2002, thus putting him out of the running before he even started. We learned that Funny Cide just wasn’t much the best that day in 2003 and we watched in horror as fellow horsemen were accused of denying the Belmont win and subsequently, a Triple Crown Win, to Smarty Jones in 2004, a horse who had won every race he had ever run in, until that day. Not to mention the many horses whose lives have been lost due to broken ankles and broken legs.From Barbaro to Eight Belles, horseracing is a here today, gone tomorrow kind of business, and no one EVER forgets that. You just can’t afford to.

In honor of this potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and in honor of racing itself, I am hosting a Belmont Stakes party which will be 3 weeks from yesterday at 4pm. Giving us time for festivities, drinking and chow, then race watching, then more drinking, more chow and lots of good times. Grilling, beer drinking, reveling at my newly fenced in backyard and s’mores making are a few of the things that await you. I’m hoping for a Triple Crown win to add to the joyousness of the day, but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch, and I can only hope that Big Brown is much the best on that Saturday afternoon in early June. I do know that it’ll be a good time none-the-less. So, for those of you who actually read my blog, consider this your invite. Maybe I’ll send out an email, too.

 

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