Friday, June 27, 2008

The inner game of tennis

Tennis has consumed my free time these last few weeks. A typical week: two matches, social doubles on Wednesday, a class on Saturday, and practice on Sunday. It feels like too much.

Fearing I was becoming unidimensional, I was less than excited to read The Inner Game of Tennis. But the book came highly recommended by a couple of players I know, so I figured I could get through it.

It's actually a great book that transcends the sport. It reminds me of Fight Your Fear and Win. At least, the goals of the books seem the same: to help you achieve peak performance in high-pressure situations. The tennis book shows how overanalysis and attention to your game can actually undermine your success on the court.

Too bad I can't finish the book in time for my match tonight.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Shedding a tear for Dale

Dale and Paul's wedding was beautiful. She looked gorgeous and maintained her composure — as she had all week. And I got misty-eyed only once: as predicted, when she walked down the aisle.

I almost always cry when the bride walks down the aisle. There's something about the magnitude of the event that gets to me. Seeing a friend in a different context at that moment, embarking on a new life. (I can be both a hardened cynic and a hopeless romantic about love, but weddings typically bring out the latter.)

By the way, it is best not to cry in front of Dale unless the situation truly merits it. Worthy situation: a breakup. Unworthy situation: a Bucks game. (At our next Bucks game, Dale said, "You're not gonna cry again, are you?"). Last week she preapproved my crying: "I hope somebody cries for me." A worthy situation.

At dinner, we had a fun table. Here are Joe, Simone, and Pat. Joe is married to Shannon, Dale's good friend who handled all the wedding details. And Simone flew in from Ireland for the weekend. She used to live in Milwaukee and looks forward to moving back here. And Pat went to high school with Dale; they were in the same homeroom. There were lots of friends from childhood, college, and the present.

Incidentally, dinner was fantastic (roast chicken and brussels sprouts). Dale doesn't like brussels sprouts, so she had rigatoni. A bride who eats red sauce on her wedding day — so bold, so low maintenance!

After dinner there were more cocktails. And fireworks (from Polish Fest, I think). Then we said goodnight and hopped in the convertible, and Pat played the Outfield ("Josie's on a vacation far away") at deafening volumes as Fest-goers stood on the corner looking puzzled. Good times.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

27 dresses, continued

I discovered that my green silk dress was too low-cut.

So, on Tuesday, I went to TJ Maxx during lunch and found a brown dress with an ivory satin waistband. Conservative but pretty and flattering — exactly what I'd want to wear to a wedding. After work, I bought some gold Guess stilettos and a champagne-colored clutch. Fun!

I tried the ensemble on at home. As I sat on the couch watching the Celtics beat the Lakers, congratulating myself on my thrifty ways, I felt uncomfortable. Constricted. Something was not right.

My dress was too tight in the ribs. And no, it wasn't available in a larger size (yup, I went back).

Luckily Serene gave me a dress — a brown (stretchy) dress with a chartreuse floral. It has two straps that tie around the neck. Cute and it works with the shoes and purse. I raided the BeadStyle workroom and found a few jewelry options: peridot earrings, a chrysoprase memory-wire cuff, and a lemon citrine necklace and earrings. I'm not sure which pieces I'll wear, but I'll decide tomorrow. Well, I have to decide tomorrow. I know I'm spending too much time deliberating about this, but the dress debacle falls into the same category as the hunt for a picture frame: small decisions present way too many options.

In other news, Dale is handling the last few days before the wedding admirably. Her routine has been remarkably similar to mine: work during the day, tennis at night. The only difference is that she is way more laid-back about what she's wearing tomorrow.

See you after the wedding.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

27 dresses

I didn't see the movie, but I tried on at least that many dresses at Forever 21.

(I waited too long to buy a dress for Dale's wedding. It's this Friday.)

A few of the 27: There was the lilac chiffon number that I couldn't quite zip. (And that wasn't available in a large.) The black ruffly dress that fit okay but seemed too somber for a wedding. The blush pouf that showed off my tank-top tan lines from tennis. The green and white print halter style that accentuated my broad shoulders. The black satin miniskirt (size large) that was cute but too clubby.

Forever 21 had tons of dresses, jammed into arrangements that appeared random. Because I haven't been 21 for a while, I had to forego the dresses that were strapless or had bows. And, I don't wear red; the Stanford shade looks too ethnic on me. Even at the eleventh hour, I have my standards.

I finally settled on a ruffled silk dress that's the same Celtics green as the one I wore to last year's Cool Jewels party. (That's me and Dale in the photo.) I would've preferred the dress in turquoise, but they didn't have it in a medium. So I bought the green one. Which seemed like a reasonable compromise after two hours of effort. Now I just have to figure out the shoe situation. I may do that Thursday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cool Jewels in Indonesia

I'm so excited that my book appeared on a Mensa Indonesia blog, I don't even mind the "good luck in finding teen girls with the time to devote to such crafts." At least they liked the book!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The smartini, part two

Alina, mixmaster at The Social, is a genius at inventing cocktails. Here's yesterday's drink, an update of the first smartini. This one's a bit lighter. (It looks like Gatorade but tastes way better!)

This recipe makes a pitcher, so share with friends and fellow intellectuals. Also, try serving it on the rocks.

Alina's Smartini
4 oz. Zen green tea liqueur
4 oz. Midori
3 oz. Zygo
1 cup ginseng-infused tea
1 cup lemonade or lemon juice

Alina used fresh lemon juice for this batch and added three juniper berries to cut the tartness. Brilliant!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

No stormy weather

I filled out an application with LEARN (Labrador Education and Rescue Network). They contacted me and I was hoping to schedule a home visit.

I had already envisioned Storm trotting around the house on her tiptoes, energetic yet respectful toward Ginger. I wanted to name her Anko ("bean paste" in Japanese). Doesn't she look like bean paste? Or at least like a smart, friendly, loyal dog? Maybe she'd really get attached to my mom (Ginger prefers my dad, possibly because he lets her tag along while he mows the lawn).

Alas, Storm has already been adopted. So I'll just imagine that she and Ginger wouldn't have gotten along. That walking a young dog and a senior dog would've been difficult.

And where would I have put a second crate?