Karting in New Jersey

It’s well established that Nick and I enjoy driving things – cars, trucks, four-wheelers, you name it.  So when Chelsea gave us a joint Christmas gift last year to visit a racing kart track in New Jersey, let’s say it was one of the highlights of the holiday.

Now that doesn’t mean we rushed right out to redeem the gift.  In fact, the passes she had bought for us were due to expire at the end of this month.  We just don’t rush into things around here, you know.  (Yeah, right!)  Last Saturday, following the Human Chess game, Nick and I made the drive over to Millville, New Jersey, home of the New Jersey Motorsports Park, to see if we could cut it as champion race drivers.


We have driven go-karts at the boardwalk before, and always had a blast.  These karts are another story.  Built with larger engines and much more serious handling equipment.  They are capable of going up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) – so we had to wear lots of safety gear to get behind the wheel:


The guys at the track assured us that we would be very safe behind the wheel, and indeed we never saw any serious incidents during the time we were there.  Although the karts go fast, they are very low to the ground, and the course is laid out so that you can’t really hit anything other than each other, and bumping your opponents is strictly forbidden.

We drove in two races Saturday afternoon.  The first time around, we really had to learn a lot – get a feel for the course and the kart.  The first thing I said to Nick coming out of the first race was, “Wow, that was fast.”  Nick said, “Yeah, I was really scared.”

Second time out, both of us were much more comfortable and confident.  We also happened to be in with a group of inexperienced drivers the second time – during the first race it felt like we were on the track with a bunch of Indy car drivers who were relaxing on the weekend with some speed demon kart racing.  In the second race we actually got to pass other drivers and learn how to jockey for position in groups of karts.  We had an absolute blast and can’t wait to go back.



I’ll be very busy with work this coming week, so the blog will need to take an autumn holiday.  Join us here again for the end of October and one of our very favorite days of the year – Halloween.  Happy weekend!

Human chess – again!

Gentle readers, time flies.  I know this because I took the kids to play Human Chess at their school over the weekend, and knowing I had written about that event here before, I went searching in our archives for the original post.  Would you believe it was three years ago?  Crazy!

So here are the three musketeers, decked out in their chess costumes. Nick served as a rook:


Maria, who was a king the last time, decided this year to be a queen:


Last but not least, Anna did civic duty as a pawn:


Here they are all together, looking suitably goofy:


The game worked just as before – a real chess board and match taking place off to the side, with the life-size figures acting out each move.  It’s always fun to watch!

Me and Maria

I realize as I’m working on this blog each week that we don’t see as much of Maria as we do of Nick and Anna.  A lot of that has to do with Maria’s frenetic ballet schedule, of course.  So when our favorite dancer gets the chance for a photo op, I jump at the opportunity.


Happy birthday Kate!

It’s the birthday time of year around here… on Sunday we had a birthday dinner for my lil’ sis, Kate.  Anna made the birthday girl some lovely giant bows for her hair:




Make-your-own summer camp

I had meant to post about this while it was happening… this is another case of Maria delivering the gift of random photography to me.  She and a couple of her girlfriends organized their own summer day camp one week in August.  The girls took turns hosting, and each day the hostess got to choose the theme.  Daily themes ranged from fashion to Switzerland, if you can believe it.  I must admit I am not sure which theme they are representing here, other than being silly and wearing wigs:


Happy weekend!

The evening sky

Maria fancies herself quite the photographer, and indeed she takes some lovely pictures of still life scenes.  Because the camera automagically uploads these pictures to our Flickr archive, I am sometimes greeted with pictures that I know I didn’t take, as in this case:


I can understand why she wanted to take this picture.  One of my favorite things about our house has always been the way the sky feels so open in our backyard.  Even though you are in the middle of the suburbs, you feel like you are in a wide open space.

Congratulations Anna!

This past weekend, Anna’s soccer team competed in a local tournament, and they won the whole thing!  This was a big moment for the team, because they’ve ended up as finalists in several tournaments but had never come away with first place.

Anna tournament

Fortunately the trophy matched the accomplishment – that full color acrylic objet d’art she is holding is the fanciest soccer trophy we’ve ever seen.  Nick was seriously jealous, and he’s no stranger to tournament hardware.

City to Shore: Post-Ride Pictures

At the end of the City to Shore ride last week, there was a photo booth where you could take celebratory pictures of yourself.  Nick and I jumped in there to take a few snaps… here you go:


We like looking tough:


And we also like staring resolutely into the future:


But I think this one is my favorite:


Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, everybody!

Mustache fever

Ever since we took our trip out West last year and I grew a mustache and beard, I guess Anna has been wanting a mustache of her own.  (Not true, but funny to imagine.)  These stick-on ‘finger mustaches’ are all the rage these days, and Anna grabbed my phone the other day to take a picture of herself ‘wearing’ one:

Anna Mustache

I am left to wonder if the facial expression was some imitation of me.

Happy weekend!

Peter Gabriel concert

Two Fridays ago, we went to see Peter Gabriel perform live in concert at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly.  The tickets were my Mom’s birthday gift to my Dad this year.  Nick and I got to go, along with Dad, Kate, and one of Kate’s friends.  Mom was supposed to join us but ended up having to work that night, which was a serious bummer.

The seats were fantastic… this picture is taken with no zoom:


The show was a brilliant blur of sound and music.  Peter Gabriel is a very theatrical guy on stage, so they had all sorts of funky lighting effects going on throughout the show:


The place was packed to the rafters, and everyone was having a good time:


My Dad and I saw Peter Gabriel at the Center just about ten years ago now, and this show was every bit as good as the last one.  This year’s tour was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Gabriel’s landmark album, So.  He and the band (the original touring band from that album, in fact) played the entire album straight through, which was a lot of fun, since some of the songs never get played in concert.  Needless to say, we had a blast.