Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Back!

Well, howdy strangers! First off let me apologize for my extended absence (I’m sure some of you have been lost without a constant update of the goings on in my life).  I’ve been pretty busy traveling and training the past couple months, and I kind of let the whole blogging thing slip my mind, but I promise I will do a better job of keeping it updated from here on out (or at least until I get busy again). 
            Alright, so let’s get down to business; we have a lot of catching up to do. Since my last post a couple things have changed: I’m no longer working and I’m not longer living in College Station.  Why, you ask?  Well, because Spring Training is only THIRTY-SEVEN DAYS AWAY!!  Ya, you guessed it: it’s time to get down to business.  But before we get into the training side of things, let me give you the scoop on where I’ve been hiding the past couple months. 

            First up was a trip to Canada over American Thanksgiving weekend (not to be confused with Canadian Thanksgiving which takes place about a month earlier).  I had the opportunity to spend five days in the Toronto area to watch my girlfriend (Julia Wilkinson) swim in the Canada Cup (the short-course national championship).  It was my first time (other than walking into Mexico as a child) to travel outside of the country and I have to say that Southern Ontario really wasn’t much different from what I was used to back in Texas.  I mean, yea, the people talked funny and laughed when I said “ya’ll” or “ma’am” but for the most part I was still able to find the comforts of home (McDonalds, Starbucks, hell they even had a Texas Roadhouse).  However, one thing that did surprise me was the terrain.  I don’t really know what I was expecting, but what I found was the same type of open farm land between big cities that I had left in Texas (of course, there was a tad bit more snow on the ground).  All in all, my first trip to Canada was an enjoyable one, but in the grand scheme of things it was more of a “trial run” than anything (before you say it, I know what some of you are thinking: “why is he calling his trip to be with his girlfriend and watch her swim a ‘trial run?!’ That’s insulting!” I promise that’s not what I meant and there is a reason for me calling it that….just keep reading).  You see, I called it a “trial run” because I was set to make a much longer trip up in late December.  That trip was the big one, for I was going to meet Julia (my girlfriend, for those of you who weren’t paying attention earlier) and her entire family for the Christmas holidays (entire family meaning EVERYONE, not just immediate family).  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous.

            As expected, my second trip up to Canada was both hectic and nerve-racking, but once again I had a great time.  Julia’s family was very accepting of her “Texas Boyfriend,” and welcomed me with open arms.  I was also able to experience a few more Canadian novelties this go around, the two big ones being Niagara Falls and POUTIN (pronounced “pooh-teen” for my southern readers….I thought it was “pow-tin” too the first time I saw it).  Now I’m sure that most of you have heard of or even seen Niagara Falls, so I don’t have to explain how beautiful and powerful the Falls are.  Poutin, on the other hand, is something that I’m pretty sure none of you had heard of until you read about it a couple sentences ago.  Now I have to admit, when I first heard the ingredients for this dish (French fries covered in brown gravy and cheese curds) I was a little turned off (and when I say a little, I mean that there was no way in hell I was trying it), but after Julia’s constant prodding, I finally caved in and gave it a go.  Wow.  That’s all I could say after tasting my first bite, and now that I think about it, how could I not like poutin?  I mean, it combines three of my favorite foods: French fries, gravy, and cheese (had they thrown some bacon on top we REALLY would have been in business).  As for the rest of the trip, everything was great: I took a trip with Julia up to her family’s cottage, I went crazy-carpeting for the first time (basically sliding down a steep hill on an ultra-thin piece of plastic – no control whatsoever), and I got to meet the family that has helped her become the great person that she is today.  Long story short, the trip couldn’t have gone any better. 

And then, in the words of Eminem, I “snapped back to reality.”  Hard.  After my second trip up to Canada in as many months, it was time for me to move away from College Station, which had served as my home the past five years.  I would have loved to stay, but I wasn’t able to find a lease that ended in March, when I left for spring training. Just like Biggie Smalls, I was “going, going, back, back to…..West Columbia?!”  Damn.  Never mind, I am not like Biggie Smalls (and I promise that’s the last time I will quote a rapper on this blog).  

So that’s where I am today, living at home in good ole West Columbia, Texas.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, I get to spend time with my family (who I haven’t seen much of since I started college ball in the fall of 2006), I have a place to workout, people to throw with, and there are zero distractions (which also means zero fun, but oh well).  So really, you could make the argument that I’m actually in a better training situation now than I was in College Station (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself). 

Well I think that’s enough for one blog post.  Hopefully you’re all caught up now and have gotten the fix of semi-useless information about the goings on in my life that you crave so deeply.  Until next time, this is Shane Minks signing off: “be good.”