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Hello Everyone, Here we are at the end of another year. It's been a fairly quiet year. I have just finished my 2nd year with McDonald's so I have been pretty busy working this year. I only took 1 vacation so I will discuss how great that was.

I had no events to speak of the first 6 months of the year. I spent my time enjoying keeping up with my 1st place Detroit Tigers (1st time since 1997). They pretty much took the lead in the AL Central around late April/early May and never looked back until the very end of the season. They were stupid enough to play .500 ball at the end, including losing a lot of games to the LAST place KC Royals, and ended up losing the AL Central by 1 game to Minnesota. Thankfully they had the Wild Card to fall back on. More on how the Tigers finished below...

As the summer progressed, my buddy Ron and I fulfilled our dream of attending the US Open golf tournament in New York (north of Manhattan) as we (me, Ron, his wife, his 2 daughters, and my friend Sean from Cleveland), all traveled to New York to stay in a hotel on the upper west side of Manhattan, only 2 train stops away from Times Square. This was strategic on our part because we knew where the golf course was (MTA north train ~ 1 hour north of Manhattan). We knew we would be spending most of our time in Times Square, taking tours of New York, visiting the tourist stuff (Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, etc...). This worked out well as we spent a LOT of time going down to Times Square for every minute we could over 9 days. Sean and I took a tour on NYC on the Gray Line which was neat. All of us went to Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island for a day, which was very cool. We all traced long ago relatives on the "walls" at Ellis Island. I also got to "hit" on a French girl (i.e. Spoke French with her) at the Statue of Liberty, except Ron is mad that I didn't ask her for her phone number. Oh well... Sorry Ron! We all also went to Yankee Stadium for a "tour" of Yankee Stadium which included the pressbox, the dugout and the Monument Park in center field. Then that same night, we went to New York Yankee game at Yankee Stadium .vs Cleveland Indians (1-0 Yankees, sorry Sean!). A couple of days later, we all took a day trip up to Cooperstown, NY (upstate NY) and visited the Baseball Hall of Fame, which was a FANTASTIC experience! Ron and Steph and the girls left a couple days before Sean and I to go to Washington DC, where they took tours of DC, etc... Sean and I stayed 2 more days in New York and attended a New York Mets game at Shea Stadium (ANOTHER stadium off my list!). Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 but Ken Griffey Jr. hit a HR (#483 I think).

Pictures of New York Vacation 2006

As soon as I came back from New York, I was able to attend my twin brother Bruce's graduation from college. Yes, it took me 21 years (Dec 01) and it took Bruce 26 years exactly (Jun 06).

Pictures of Bruce's Graduation Ceremony~coming soon!!!

To celebrate my birthday on August 26th, I attended the Sara Evans concert at the Oregon State Fair on August 28th, just a couple days after my birthday. Through my membership with her fan club, I was able to "arrange" Back Stage meet and greet with Sara. Yes, this took a couple months of advance notice and I had to be online at a certain "MINUTE" of a certain day to lock up a slot to go backstage. This was one of the coolest things ever. Getting backstage to meet Sara and get my picture with her was a memory I will never forget. This was all very exciting because Sara was about to begin her experience of dancing on the television show "Dancing with the Stars". We were all very excited when she brought her partner Tony out during the concert to urge us to vote for her and Tony during the show. What we didn't know is that they were in Salem for about 2 weeks before this concert, practicing at ballroom studios around Salem.

Sara Evans Concert Photos

Fast forward one more month. I took 3 of my co-workers on a day trip up to Seattle for some sightseeing and a Seattle Mariner's game. It was Seattle's next to last home game of the year. None of them had ever been to a baseball game before. Seattle blew big lead 5-0 and lost 7-6 in 11 innings. The game looked like it was going to end about 9:30pm and then we would drive 3 hours back to Salem. However, Seattle blew the lead, the game went into extra innings and lasted until about 10:45 p.m. We didn't get back to Salem until about 2:30 in the morning. OUCH...

Seattle Mariner's Game Photos

Finally, update on Detroit Tigers. Because the Tigers lost the AL Central, they started out as Wild Card "visitors" against the Yankees, in New York. Pretty ironic since I was just in New York a few months ago watching the Indians play the Yankees. Now I have to sit home and route for the Tigers in Yankee Stadium. Tigers lost the first game badly but then swept the Yankees 3 straight, Game #2 in Yankee Stadium and games #3, #4 at CoMerica in Detroit. Kenny Rogers pitched great in game #3 and Jeremy Bonderman closed it out in game #4. So then the Tigers had to wait out the winners of Minnesota/Oakland. Minnesota swept Oakland and became "host" against the Tigers (Tigers still the "wild card" team). Tigers came out bombing and swept the Twins, 2 in the MetroDome and 2 more at CoMerica. Again, Kenny Rogers pitched great in game #3 and Jeremy Bonderman closed it out in Game #4 and the Tigers were into the World Series!!! First visit to the World Series since 1984 against San Diego.

So the Tigers sat and waited, and waited, and waited. The St Louis Cardinals went to 7 games against the NY Mets and the Tigers had to sit for an entire week. Some were saying that that would be a great thing because the Tigers needed to rest some banged up players and some say it would be a bad thing. (As a side note, the Tigers won the World Series in 1968 against the St Louis Cardinals 4-3 after being down 3-1.) The 1 week wait was not a good thing as the Tigers lost game #1. They rebounded to win game #2. But then St. Louis swept 3 straight to win the World Series 4-1. My friend Pamela is a big Cardinal's fan and was so happy to invite me to a viewing party for game #4 so she could gloat in all her St Louis Cardinal "garb". Congratulations St. Louis and Pamela! As of this letter, just a few weeks after the World Series ended, the Tigers have already picked up Gary Sheffield from the Yankees, so watch out for the Tigers in '07!!!

Until we speak soon, I wish you and yours the most happiness and love this holiday season and please keep in touch. But to everyone, all the best and please write soon!