Archive for Ohio

New Years Eve, 2011

Posted in Friends and Family, Good Times, Reflections with tags , , on January 3, 2012 by Verge

Monika and I worked our asses off all of December.  I was working two jobs and she was working three part time jobs.  We rarely had a day off.  On top of it, I was putting in 20 hours a week in retail, something I though I had given up 5 years ago when I quit Sam Ash.  I even had to work on Christmas Eve Eve, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after Christmas!!

We were both desperately looking forward to a second-year-in-a-row trip to Ohio to visit Sam and Tuk, and spend the New Year with Sam for the fourth year in a row.  We had a day trip to Cleveland to visit Great Lakes Brewpub, and another day trip to Falling Water, a place we’ve wanted to visit for some time now.

Well, a family emergency meant that we weren’t going to Ohio;  Sam was coming to New Jersey.  At least we would still get to see her, but Tuk was bound fast to work back west, and Sam was going to be busy with family affairs.

We made the best of it, though.  She arrived in Atco Saturday evening just as Monika was getting out of the shower and getting ready to start the party.  Here’s the annual slideshow:

custom made hat from Sam

let us all have Champagne

with my sweatered bottle of Maker's Mark

lets get this whiskey out of this bottle, already

we pose in the bar

the three of us with our Christmas Cracker hats


at midnight, we decided to blow things up!

like a boss

i don't even know why the girls let me do it, but I guess we all love adventures

the first mortar is alight! I can't believe the cops didn't show up. These guys are REALLY loud in my hood.

it's cold, but the party continues

one of the last pix of the night

the next morning, we sat on the kitchen floor with Mimosas

New Years Day with Craig and Kat, opening another round of Christmas Crackers

Sam in the morning, on her way back to Ohio

It takes the best friends to make you smile when life has dealt you a horribly sad hand.  Especially during the holidays.  It’s nice to know you have some around for you when you need them.


The Sixth of August, Two Thousand and Ten (Our Weekend with Sam and Tuk)

Posted in Daily Pictures, Good Times with tags , , , on September 9, 2010 by Verge

So, our last  night in Ohio was spent late night with Tuk’s sister and husband again. The next morning, Sam was off early and Monika, Tuk and I were very hungry.  Only on place to go…

The Wawa of the Western PA...Sheets!

Monika contemplates whether to order or plunder

okay, they had whole wheat rolls for us veggie dorks.

Lunch, a beer and....







...Goodbye Shots!!

so long Tuk, and thanks for all the memories

oh can buy fireworks legally in Ohio

I chose the biggest ones that they had

400 miles home

going through a tunnel or two


Franklin Square, the base of the Ben Franklin Bridge

We love those two, and their friends, and road trips.  And, finally coming back home to see our cats…and friends too.  Next time we see Sam and Tuk, they’ll be in costumes, and the leaves will be red and orange and yellow, and my garden will be dead, and we’ll be sure to have plenty of whiskey when they arrive, and a nice, warm bed for them to sleep in for as long as we can keep them here.

The Fifth of September, Two Thousand and Ten (Our weekend with Sam and Tuk)

Posted in Daily Pictures, Good Times with tags , , , , on September 8, 2010 by Verge

I think at some point the night before, we decided to set up Rock Band.  That was a huge mistake.  I fell asleep on the couch shortly after.

The next morning, we cooked a huge vegetarian breakfast, and it was truly epic delicious.

Monika makes crepe batter, Sam cuts fresh fruit

we ate breakfast in the backyard on a beautiful morning

fresh oranges, plumbs, peaches; vegan fried sausage; pepper, mushroom, mozzarella egg omelet; jam filled crepes!

Tuk enjoys the feast!

Rocky Big Head enjoys the company, or maybe the smell of vegetarian sausage

Sam's eye darkens. Good thing Tuk didn't have to tell her twice.

After a solid breakfast, we went back to Mill Creek Park to go kayaking.  When we got there, though, there were non kayaks, only paddle boats, so we went paddle boating for an hour.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take the camera cause I was thinking we were going in kayaks.  It was a pretty good time that was spent mostly peddling as hard as we could into one anothers boats.

at the flaming ice cube, the girls bought TVP. We used it to make Vegetarian Cheese Steaks for lunch, and it was just as good as always.

The Canfield Fair was in town, and we had to go.

later, we got dressed for an evening at the county Fair

the girls prepare to impress on the drive in.

horses are huge, but very gentle, and very hungry

sometimes they ate, but most of the time, the animals just shat or slept.

don't get me wrong, though, they were all adorable, especially the bunny section

Sam entices a bovine

then off to the carnival side of the fare

to ride some rides. We all enjoy crazy, upside down, rickety carnival rides (except Steve)

a fist full of fun

and another day full of great adventures

The Fourth of September, Two Thousand and Ten (Our weekend with Sam and Tuk)

Posted in Daily Pictures, Good Times with tags , on September 7, 2010 by Verge

We were literally so busy this weekend, I didn’t even check the stats on my blog let alone update it.  Shit, I didn’t even make an appearance on Facebook for three days straight.

Well, here it is…our weekend in pictures.

Breakfast with Sam. The first half of this bottle is what caused Sam's facial injury. None of us know can remember how it happened.

Maker’s Mark 46 is a delicious bourbon that, hopefully, will not be a limited edition, while supplies last endeavor by my favorite distillery.

Monika plays emo girl in her new Paramore hoodie

Monika and Sam went to the bread store. Steve had to work on Saturday morning.

Vegan cafe, even in Ohio. I wished I got to this place, but Monika and Sam left me at home. The food that they brought back was awesome.

Looks like they have two locations, and I recommend you hit them up when you’re in Cleveland!

and the party begins again!

we went for a hike at Mill Creek Park. Had no idea where we were going, but it hardly matters

Mill Creek Park is a huge park in Youngstown.  Oddly enough, Youngstown share some interesting similarities to our neck of the woods.  For instance, parts of Youngstown are often considered just as bad as parts of Camden, NJ.  On the other hand, Mill Creek Park is the second largest metropolitan park in the country, with only Fairmount Park in Philly surpassing it.  I didn’t see any abandoned neighborhoods. I did see a whole lot of beautiful foot trails and paths, and we had an amazing 4 hour hike.

I have enough of these to make a "chicks and trucks" calendar

working on building memories

Monika was pretending the ground was lava. how convenient, for her.

Monika thought this was a good pic of me, and insisted I put it in the blog.

we found a playground, and took advantage

that girl is a monster.

for dinner, we went to a Lebanese restaurant, and it was truly delicious (and had tons of vegan food)

Apparently a chain, they have these places everywhere, as close as Maryland.  The food was affordable and generous, the staff was awesome, and they had a liquor license.  And we took a doggy bag home.

alien eyes

her too!

we hit up a bar after dinner, and it was delicious.

Beer and Liquor sales are a little different in Ohio, and actually better than the sale laws in Jersey and PA.  It’s not too difficult to beat PA, but lately, the Jersey laws have gotten pretty liberal.  Nevertheless, Ohio has it a lot cooler.  First of all, you can get beer and wine at any local Sheets, which is basically the Ohio equivalent of Wawa, but on steroids.  I know it sounds crazy, but they are better.

And then there’s the Vintage Estate Wine and Beer.  They have 800 vareities of bottled beer that you can buy by the case, sixer, of single bottle.  The twist is this.  You can buy a bottle, walk into the next room, and sit down and the bar and drink it!  They give you a chilled glass, and even have a dozen local micro brews on tap.  You can even walk back into the liquor store and browse the selections while still drinking your brew.  Pretty amazing.

at dinner, we met Steve's sister...

...and her husband John...

for a late night party fire back at Steve and Sam's

Road Trip to Ohio

Posted in Good Times, Reflections with tags , , on February 9, 2010 by Verge

Two weekends ago Monika and I traveled to Ohio to help Sam move to a new life.  But, before I get to that, I’ll rewind to last Thursday.

Thursday nights are my regularly scheduled gig at Manny Brown’s in Philly.  This is ideal because I don’t have to work on Fridays.  It was a decent show with Tom on drums and three long sets.  Even though most of the material was recycled, we had mixed the sets up that night, and threw in a few songs that we had just learned.

The next morning, I couldn’t sleep in for too long because Monika and I had to pick up Sam and head to the airport to pick up Tuk who had flown in from Pittsburgh.  His flight was on time and he was waiting to be picked up when we arrived, which is fantastic because I didn’t have to deal with the pick-up area Nazis that yell at you if your car is stopped for more than 20 seconds.

And so, at that moment, when Tuk threw his small suitcase and garment bag into the back of the Element, our brief vacation began.  At 11 am, we headed to Champps in Marlton.  The girls needed to go to Joyce Leslie for some last minute accouterments for that evening’s party.  Tuk and I sat down for a few beers.  Tuk ordered a Yuengling, a beer that’s not available in Ohio, for some strange reason.  I had Hop Devil and a shot of well bourbon.

Eventually we all had a drink together and toasted the weekend ahead.  Sam’s going away party was that night, and we had themed it Steampunk.  Steampunk is a strange mix of Victorianism, Turn-of-the-Century Industrialism and Futurism.  It’s hard to describe, but once you have a grasp, you can spot it when you see it.

We drove to downtown Medford to Scherzer’s Antiques in search of some accessories.  There, surprisingly, we found just what we were looking for.  I tracked down a great clip-on monocles with a gold chain that I later attached to some old keys I had laying around.  We all got ourselves an antique cap gun, and I managed to score a really old Masonic tux button.

The party that night was incredible.  I didn’t expect it to be our biggest ever, but it came close.  I think we had at least 50 people come out to see Sam off to her new life in Ohio.  There’s a ton of photos on all of our Facebooks, so you can track everything that happened that night online.  Monika and I made it all the way to 5 am because we were acting the hosts, and did so accordingly.  Tuk, among others, passed out by midnight, and missed a ton of fun.

The next morning we picked up the best we could before the next party began.  Some who had slept at our house had left, and others hung around for the second round.  I was supposed to play a show on Saturday night in Philly, but because the roads were in poor condition because of the snow, and because Tom no longer had his own transportation, we bailed, and instead, partied.  Monika and Sam made it out at some point to take care of Sam’s dog in Lindenwold, but returned shortly to the festivities.

The next morning, we woke up late, of course, and had to load the truck.  Craig and Kat helped along with Lorie, and we did a damn fine job.  Three pizzas and three hours later, we were ready to head to Ohio.  Intent on getting there by 11, we headed out.

I wasn’t sure if my car was going to make it because I had had a nail in my tire and was worried about a flat.  I was further concerned that the cat that we were toting would not make it all the way to Ohio without going to the bathroom or throwing up.  Amazingly, neither happened.

We stopped several times along the way to let Rocky, who was riding in the cab of the U-haul with Sam and Tuk, run around and go to the bathroom.  We stopped for gas and all met up at a rest stop just outside the Ohio border for dinner.

We did get to Sam’s new home just before 11 at night.  We made it safe though Tuk did score himself a nice little $160 speeding ticket.  It was obviously dark so we couldn’t unpack anything from the truck.  Instead, we improvised a kitty litter box with some torn up paper.  We needed to run out to the store at midnight to grab a padlock for the truck.

Needless to say, there wasn’t a whole lot to do except party.  This is a picture of the first shot I’ve ever drank in Ohio.  It wasn’t the last of the night.

The next morning we sent the girls out to get breakfast while me and Tuk unpacked.  They discovered a thrift store and so by the time they got back the truck was almost empty.  We put a good deal of Sam’s things in the basement where they could be sorted later, and spend the rest of the afternoon unboxing the kitchen.

Later that night we had to go to Sam’s new job for a minute so she could check in with her new boss.  I had to tell Lorie and Monika to settle down.  You can see why…

On the way home, Tuk treated us all to dinner at a Thai restaurant.  The service was poor, but the food was fantastic.  We were the last ones in the place when they closed.  They had a ton of vegetarian options and the seaweed salad was surprisingly tasty.

We spend the remainder of the night hanging out in Sam’s new living room, watching a movie, then talking over a movie, then all passing out.

The next morning, we had to leave Sam and Tuk and Rocky big-head and Akasha in Ohio.  Lorie, Monika and I made good time coming home, and no one cried when we left that morning.  Perhaps we all wanted to a little, but we think  Sam is going to do just fine in Ohio.

On the way home, we encountered the snow storm that was rolling into New Jersey last Tuesday.  We could see the back wall of the storm in the distance, and then we were inside it.  It snowed pretty heavily for an hour or two, slowing us down for a bit.  But, like Sam, with some persistence and determination, we got through it all, and drove out of the storm unscathed, and made it all the way home.

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