Sunday, June 05, 2005

Mikayla's 1st Birthday Party


Once again, I had a busy Saturday.

My alarm went off at 6:22am and as per usual, the snooze button was hit. It was also hit at 6:31, 6:40, 6:49, and 6:58 before I finally came to my senses and ran into the shower. I was showered, dressed and at the golf club by 7:14...of course I was due on the tee at 7:15. Perpetually late it seems...

The golf is quite relevant but will be discussed in another post. Moving on, I rushed home post-golf, showered and changed and escorted Jacqueline to my good friend Deron and Tanya's for their daughter Mikayla's first birthday party, which started at 12:30pm. There were 28 people at the party, made up of family and close friends. What a fun afternoon; Deron was working the barbeque while Tanya and Mikayla opened a countless amount of presents.

It was a pretty big day for Jacky too. She had met the hosts (Deron, Tanya and Mikayla) along with another couple good friends in Brandon and Donna during an impromptu dinner about a week ago. She had also met Dave and Cherie, along with another good friend Jim on Wednesday night when we went to see Revenge of the Sith. But this afternoon provided her with the opportunity to meet a number of my other friends for the first time. She wasn't overwhelmed at all and I was really impressed: she was even remembering the names of all the dogs running amok in the backyard! I think she made a really good impression on everyone there and I'm thrilled because of it. I'm extremely lucky to have the friends I do and twice as lucky to have found a great girl in Jacky. She took a bunch of pictures during the afternoon that can be found right here. Check them out!

It must have been draining for Jacky, meeting so many new people and trying to remember names. It didn't get any easier for her Saturday evening, when she had to meet my parents...

I got a call from my mom, who left a message on my machine, asking if we'd like to go out to dinner with them and Vaughn and Lorraine, who not only are friends of my parents, but also Jacky's uncle and aunt. It was basically Lorraine and my mom who conspired to set Jacky and I up; in fact, my mother had been talking about her for over a year before I finally relented and took her phone number. Looks like I have the capability to make some good decisions!

Anyway, I asked Jacky if she was up to it and she said yes. So we met the four of them at this new Vietnamese restaurant on St. Paul Street in St. Catharines for an elaborate dinner. Vaughn ordered for the table and we all shared everything. Five different appetizers and 7 different entrees were ordered and enjoyed. I used to be a picky eater but I'm starting to really enjoy broadening my horizons with respect to trying new things.

I had never met Lorraine in person before and I'm pretty sure I made a positive impression. Mom and Dad were very impressed with Jacky as well. My old man was his usual aloof self during the meal, which kind of ticked me off. However, I found out from my mother today that he was in a great deal of pain during the entire night and was just trying to keep it to himself. My father has a pretty serious gall bladder problem and it was causing him grief the entire night. Hopefully he'll feel better the next time we get together so he can make a better impression on Jacky!

We all made the short trip to the Blue Mermaid, a fancy steakhouse in downtown St. Catharines for some drinks and relaxation. Vaughn, Lorraine and my parents go there often; there's a downstairs lounge area with sofas and chesterfields and great ambience. They have a piano player named Eddie who plays for awhile then makes the rounds, talking with all of the people in the lounge. Eddie is a buddy of my father's so he spent some time with us as we had our drinks. I had a pretty nice Spanish Coffee there, while Jacky just had a decaf. I enjoyed the time at the Mermaid quite a bit; Vaughn and I talked quite extensively about poker.

He's quite the player evidently. He's been going to the Fallsview Casino Resort since it opened and plays tables up to $30/$60! He told me he's made over $20,000 profit since it opened playing hold'em. He shared a few good tips with me regarding the counting of big bets, an important trick for people trying to determine 'pot odds'.

For those not schooled in the fine art of poker, in a nutshell, pot odds tells you the relationship between what's already in the pot and what you have to put into the pot to stay in the hand. You then use this percentage and compare it to the percentage chance you have of hitting your 'out', or the card that will likely make you win the pot. So if you have an open-ended straight draw on the turn (say nine, ten, Jack, and Queen), that means you have 8 cards that can make your straight out of the 46 cards left unseen (any eight or king) and 38 cards that can't help you. That means the odds are 38 to 8 (4.75 to 1) against making your draw and you have only a 17.39% chance of hitting. Now, if there is $45 in the pot and it costs you $6 to see the river, you're getting 7.5 to 1 on your investment, meaning the smart play is to pay the money and see the last card.

Whew. Hope I made that clear for those out there unfamiliar with poker!

Anyway, at 11pm, Jacky and I decided to wrap things up and call it a night. My parents, just like my friends, seem really fond of her.

Saturday's don't get much better than this one!

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