Saturday, December 15, 2012

Date Night

This picture, however, was taken last night
at a different restaurant.
In a previous post, I mentioned that Steve and I have really made an effort to have regular date nights. Even though our kids are grown, so we really don't need to escape, we've continued the habit as we find it strengthens our connection to each other.

A few weeks ago, Steve and I went out for one of our favourite date nights: we went to a casual restaurant nearby (Big Rig Brewery) and played cards.

After placing our orders, we pulled out a deck of cards and began to play Klabberjass, an eastern European game that we discovered in Hoyle's Book of Rules, 'way back when our children were babies.

We had kept a notebook of our scores for about 20 years, but lost it on one of our recent vacations. It was in that notebook that we noticed that Steve invariably won in the mornings and I was the more likely winner in the evenings.

That notebook also had a record of the game we started playing while I was in labour with Brian, but abandoned because I couldn't concentrate.

Klabberjass is similar to Euchre, but is only for two players. The special cards include the Jass (Jack) and Menel (9) of trump. You get bonus points for runs, taking the final trick (called stish), and for playing both King and Queen of trump. If you bid and lose, you are considered "bete" and your opponent wins all the points, including yours.

When our server dropped off our drinks, she asked what game we were playing. When we told her, she said she knew the game - she was from Ukraine and spoke with a slight accent. She said that it was very popular there.

She also mentioned that another couple had played Backgammon at the table across the aisle just the night before. So perhaps it's a new trend.

It's something we have only started doing recently, but it reminds me of high school and university, before life revolved around the Internet and computer games. It also helps us steer the conversation away from the stressful parts of life: work, children, finances. Before we landed on this idea, we used to bring scrap paper and draw sketches for home renovations and landscape ideas. (This idea came about because of restaurants that have butcher-paper "tablecloths.") I like the Backgammon idea, too.

A tangent: another date-night tip - also for casual restaurants - is that we simply  order two appetizers and no entree. More often than not, we find ourselves satisfied with that.

What are your unique date-night tips?

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