Errors and Exposition

Upon publishing my post on The Big E, it was kindly pointed out that I was woefully mistaken in my facts. Thankfully, this individual, you know who you are, was nice enough not to expose me entirely for being such a knucklehead. I had mistakenly said that it was a five-state fair, even misquoting my beloved in the process apparently. This meant that I had inadvertently left out that miniscule slice of American land, Rhode Island. What kind of idiot forgets Rhode Island? Forgive me Rhode Islanders, but I hope all that ardent group of workers at the fair’s state house turned the lights out when they left (don’t miss the dark sarcasm). The entire state population barely passes one million, so a few small cracks are in order. I can’t imagine how I missed it; we ate clam cakes from there for heaven’s sake. However, all is corrected and New England is rightly denoted.

Miner Keri is on the case!

I forgot to mention that when we returned we were the victims of a sudden blackout. Fortunately, Ali and Keri leapt into action and within minutes had the entire place alight with strategically placed candles. Although my favorite part of the episode was miner Keri wandering around the apartment locating the candles. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but Keri with a lamp fixed to her head certainly has more currency. The blackout didn’t last too long, just long enough to stymie Ali’s ability to watch one of her favorite shows, Mystery on PBS. Being the nice boyfriend that I am, I made sure I caught the repeat and taped it for her.

Beyond that Life has begun to settle down a bit for me in New England. Ali and I were able to spend the majority of the weekend rearranging our living quarters to better accommodate the both of us. It took a bit longer than she would have liked, but things are significantly more comfortable. The boxes are gone! I know that will be hard for many of you who were witness to the way I lived the last few years, but believe it. There is nary a box adorning our bedroom to be seen, any longer. Plus, we were able to expand our closet space, which was sorely needed.


With Keri and Zerbert off in New Jersey, winterizing the cabin, we were able to ransack the whole place while reconstructing. This is, by the way, the first mention of the irrepressible canine Zerbert. I have to admit I wasn’t sure of what to think about this dog with a barely functioning set of legs, but she has grown on me since my arrival. Ultimately, I have become convinced; she is pretty cute. Apparently the admiration is mutual, since she bores a whole through me with her fixed gaze. Both Ali and Keri are already thinking I might be spending a bit too much time with little Zerbert. Now that she has got her mug published for all to see, I had better get a few more pics of Ali posted, lest she grow more jealous.

Finally, Happy Birthday to Vince who officially crossed the threshold of the mighty thirties. I am not sure it makes you an adult yet or not, but it is certainly a lot closer!

…It’s a Six-State Fair!

Welcome fine, fair patrons!

This weekend presented me with a distinct taste of New England, as Ali, Keri, and I headed to Springfield, Massachusetts, for The Big E (Every state in the union must have a Springfield!). What’s The Big E, you might be asking? Well, it is a fair celebrating the offerings of all that is New England. Complete with carnival rides, 4-H livestock shows, and enough fried food to give you a grabber before you make it back to your car, it has all the captivation and kitsch you can handle. Moreover, it is an event for which the Terwedow sisters are passionate, perennial patrons.

You can listen tunes by the mechanical band. They have real bands too.

As Ali likes to say, “It’s not just state fair. It’s a six-state fair!” This would lead many of you to believe that it is a huge event. Alas, remember how the size of the states we are talking about. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island could all probably fit in the state of Illinois. Thus, the size was not as overwhelming as I had imagined it would be. The whole thing could have been contained within the confines of McCormick Place. Yet, this event is mainly outside.

However, each state is proudly represented by a replica of their state house. They line a short street in the site’s compound. Tourist information abounds, as well as loads of local vendors hawking their goods. Most notable are: Vermont’s own Ben & Jerry’s, Connecticut’s Timex booth, Maine’s never-ending line for loaded baked potatoes, and maple flavored syrup and candy from nearly every state. Aside from being ridiculously crowded, even twenty minutes after the gates opened, the houses offered all kinds of interesting ways to separate you from your money.

This way to the éclairs!

Of course food is the real draw. Vastly outdoing most food fests I have attended, The Big E is the kind of junk-food binge that has you on a daylong bender before you know it; sending you home pumped up with enough grease and chemicals to induce a weeks worth of liver quiver. Nevertheless, we soldiered on and did our duty, partaking in éclairs the size of our heads, bags of fried clam cakes, and apple slices swimming in caramel. That was just some of our walking around food. We had to eat meals too! Although Keri and Ali have a particular desire for one of the grossest concoctions I have seen; it was a kind of runny faux blueberry-cheesecake in a nearly-flat graham-like cone covered in whip cream. It is essentially air and sugar, amazingly in a semi-liquid form. After one bite, I thought I was going to need a foot-long corndog just to recover.

The whole day was a happy reprieve from the Red Sox, who after clawing to within two-and-a-half games of the Yankees, got drubbed the day before by double digits. That game heralded a three game slide that was ended Tuesday. Thank God! Despite the fact that they are in easy position to win the wild-card, the danger of overtaking the division has all but been dashed. The Bronx Boys will make the trip to Boston this coming weekend, so things will definitely be colorful around here. By comparison, the Cubs and White Sox antipathy in Chicago is a grammar school grudge, Bears and Packers approaches high school hostility, but neither even comes close to the animosity that Red Sox Nation, as locals call themselves, feels for the “Evil Empire,” also a local reference. I think “Yankees Suck” t-shirts are issued to students in the public schools. However, that is just training. For the hardcore-select Yankee haters donning such slogans as “Posada is a Little Bitch” and “Jeter Sucks A-Rod” are readily available outside Fenway. It’s all a far cry from my more recent favorite White Sox bashing t-shirt of Frank Thomas, in a dress, lovingly entitled “The Big Skirt!”

Week Four Round-upand Back in Real Time

Birthday presents and mojitos!

Finally, I have caught up to real time with the tale of my beginnings in New England. Week four got off to a grand start, Ali and I zipped down to her family’s cabin in New Jersey to join her family for a belated birthday celebration of sorts. Both her Dad and her sister Keri had recently ticked off another annum a while back and it was high time there were some festivities taking place. The weather was fantastic and we had a grand time. Since the cabin is governed by fairly strict rules, like no television (although this has been slightly relaxed over the years, apparently), our main entertainment was the ancient art of conversation. Truth be told, I spent a lot of time reading, myself. Quick, catch your breath from the shock of that statement! There also is a lake down the road, where we spent some time. We played games and Ali’s brothers Willie and Nik-Nik can be a bit of a handful, as well as quite entertaining in and of themselves.

Ali and I headed back Boston way late Sunday afternoon, since she had to work on Labor Day. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to work like a fiend on holidays, so she didn’t have to race in first thing. That was nice, because we had a kind of half-holiday. From that point, the week seemed to fly by, especially with the NFL kicking it off. Being that the Patriots were in the first game things were all abuzz ‘round here.

Keri getting a birthday smooch!

I talked with my main man Dave, in Indianapolis, that day. Now that the world-champion Patriots are my local club, he proudly proclaimed, “We are going to kick you ass, tonight!” To which I replied, “Not likely.” This proved to be more truth than fiction. Of course, the beauty of this exchange is that Dave pays almost no attention to football. Hell, he doesn’t even own a television. Yet, we delighted in the growing rivalry of our representative teams. It was pretty good game, strangely reminiscent of last season’s AFC Championship tilt. I have to say, being a huge sports fan, it is kind of fun to know I’ll be watching a team that is more likely to win every week. After a decade of Bears teams that suck and do not look like they will be getting better anytime soon (losing to the Lions at home, when they haven’t won on the road in three years!), it is a definite change of pace. Think Chicago in the late ‘80’s when there was an expectation that we would win the division every year and have chance at the whole thing.

Red tongues from Italian ices.

Although, what I am hoping for is a Red Sox and Cubs World Series, again. It looks like my new team is going to have a shot. The Cubs are having some troubles. I must have jinxed them. I said to Ali before I got out here, when the Cubs had just got Nomar and were clearly on track to win the Wild Card, “You do realize that this could be a short lived stay in Boston. I am going to leave, the Cubs are going to win the World Series, and the Apocalypse will be upon us.” I should have known better, but a boy can dream.

On a side note, I just found out that my friend Angela had a little baby boy! Aidan was born on August 31. He is quite cute as the photo will attest. So, congratulations are definitely in order for her and Joe. Good work you two.