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June '09 Michigan

After New York City we take a short flight to Michigan, the real reason for the New York trip was to visit my family and go to my niece and God child’s high school graduation party - Class of 2009!

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This is Paige’s graduation photo, things sure have changed since my high school graduation photo in 1980!

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They decorated the garage with memorabilia from Paige’s high school years with lots of photos of her friends and family.

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Ron and mom.

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Sister Cindy and my brother Joey, Paige is Joey and Terry’s daughter.

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Cindy and Aunt Hazel making snacks for the party.

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Cindy makes some parking signs to direct people where to park.

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This huge “table” is used to straighten car frames, Joey wanted to move it into the other part of the garage to make room for the party and clean up his shop a little.  I helped him wheel it and maneuver it into the other part of the shop.  It weighs a LOT and Joey said if it starts slipping off the dolley, RUN!

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They painted the propane tank with good luck wishes!

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Terry decorated the tables with Paige’s sports shoes and a plant in each one.

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Paige is very athletic and enjoys playing several different sports.

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Pete, my mom and pretty Aunt Hazel.

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Mom makes some cookies.

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Joey’s “barn” is bigger then most houses, 2/3 of it are devoted to Joey’s business of wielding and car rebuilding.

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Joey rented a tent for the back yard for the party.

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Joey on his tractor.

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This is one thing I miss about Michigan,
great clouds and thunderstorms!

Joey asked if I wanted to help by mowing the lawn, he has this great zero radius lawn mower, you push the levers in opposite directions and it will spin around like a top.

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When I was 16 I had my own lawn mowing business and the smell of cut grass really brings back memories, this is probably the fist time I mowed a lawn in 28 years! 
Dios mio!

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The mower was REALLY fast if
you pushed it to top speed.

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Mom, Joe and Terry

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Pete, Cindy, Terry (Paige’s mom), Al, mom and Joey.

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Joey, Karly and Cindy

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The night before the party, having burritos from where Joe (little Joe) works, he got us a good discount!

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Her softball team made her a sign!

Add some balloons and it’s time to party!.

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Paige with her sister Karly, what beauties!

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Arlene (in red) was our baby sitter growing up, the sound of her voice just sends me back to my childhood.  That’s her son on her right, mom and my sister Mary.

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Mary has spent her entire adult life telling the story of how Cindy broke her favorite doll.  Cindy went on ebay and got one similar to give to Mary and hopefully put that story to rest.

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Sister Mary, cuzin David, sister Cindy, Aunt Cindy, Uncle Chet, mom, Aunt June, cuzin Paul and cuzin Angie.

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My cuzin David and his family.

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Pete, uncle Chet and cuzin Paul.

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Mom and my nephew Joe, Paige’s brother.

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The next day we went to Hamtramck for lunch, a polish community that we used to visit when we were growing up.  We had food we remember from our childhood like perogies, kishka, sauerkraut, dill pickle soup, city chicken (there is no chicken in city chicken), and hand made sausages.  Yummy!

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Joey, Terry, Krystn (Paige’s sister), Cindy, Paige, Joey, Ron, pretty Aunt Hazel.

My brother heard me talking about the Brazilian national drink, the Caipirinha, he asked if I could bring him some when we visited.  While in New York, one of our bartenders was Brazilian and I asked her how to make the perfect Caipirinha.  I had tried to duplicate them in Argentina and it just wasn’t the same.  The bartender asked what Cachaca we were using, Cachaca is the liquor ingredient, like a rum, but very different.  Ron said we were buying “51” which is a brand in Argentina and she just grabbed her throat and gasped, “NO NO, that stuff is terrible!”  We asked about her preferred brand and she pulled out a bottle of “Leblon Cachaca”.  That night we went to the local liquor store to buy some to take.  We thought we could do a taste test between Leblon and 51.

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You don’t need a mix for Caipirinhas, it’s just sugar and a special tart lime, but the bottle of 51 we bought Joey had little lime flavored mix packets as a free gift.  We were going to make them from scratch for my family, I didn’t want them tasting some cheap mix and going, “What’s the big deal about that drink?”

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After coming back from Hamtramck, Ron made some Caipirinhas for everyone.  There is a special tool to muddle the limes in with the sugar, like a little flat plunger on the end of a stick.  The bartender told us not to twist the tool on the limes, this releases the bitter oils from the lime, just press down firmly and mash the hell out of them into the sugar.  When we bought the Leblon in New York, they had the special muddle tool taped to the bottle as a little free gift offer.  I asked her if I could have another one to take home with us.  The woman in the liquor store was originally from Argentina and really nice.  She just smiled and nodded her head.  I offered to pay her something for the extra muddle stick but she wouldn’t take anything.  Ron made the drinks and everyone loved them.  Joey thought they were great.  I warned him that there is a 3 drink limit, if you exceed 3 Caipirinhas in any one sitting, strange things happen, like you turn invisible and the next morning you wake up with your pants on backwards.  Trust me, I’ve tried to exceed the 3 Caipirinha limit, don’t ever try, the limit is there for a reason, to protect you!  Jajjajajajaja!

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Joey and Terry’s house from the front.

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We stop on the way to the airport at Mary’s place to say goodbye.

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Our last USA martinis before heading back to Buenos Aires.  They can’t make a martini to save their lives in Argentina!

In August my sister Phyllis visited Joey and Terry.  Phyllis has been sailing around the world on a sailboat for the last 2 years.  She bought Paige a pendant stone from one of the places she visited in Polynesia.  I offered to buy Paige a necklace for the pendant as my graduation gift.  I gave Paige the chain when we were visiting and when Phyllis arrived she gave her the pendant.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to visit and see Phyllis as we already had our next trip planned to Aruba.

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Paige and Phyllis.

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Sister Mary, Karly (below), Joey, Krystn (below), Phyllis, mom, Joe, Terry, Paige.

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Phyllis, mom, Mary, Terry.