Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brownies, brownies, and party, party

Two parties, two batches of brownies. I stayed up late baking on Thursday and Friday nights.

For the alley party, I made brownies from a David Lebovitz recipe that Yukie said was her favorite.

Yes, they were good. But in an anticlimactic turn of events, my batch was among three that were brought to the party. Meh.

I also baked a batch of cheesecake brownies, another recipe from David Lebovitz. (Someone resourceful would've just made two batches of the same brownies.) This dessert had to be top notch, as Jean had instructed us to bring one of our special dishes.

Carol said they were good. But really, could any cheesecake brownie be bad? Is there a standard?

Jean has a beautiful house with a great patio for entertaining. Doug grilled a variety of meats, but I was proud of myself for having only one plate of food: a Hebrew National on a poppy seed bun with rice and buffalo chicken dip.

After dinner we moved inside and talk turned to the group's upcoming Florida trip. There was mention of geocaching and nude beaches. But Dan was skeptical: Apparently the trip usually consists of tennis, eating, drinking, and talking about how great everyone is at tennis. For a few days in a row. (This sounds like a really fun trip! Why have I never gone?)

Summer feels like it's truly over. But there will always be tennis and brownies and parties. And on a good night, even some scotch.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tennis: State champs!

This weekend, Patrice and I had playoffs at Lowell Park for our tri-level team.

On Saturday, Terry and I went to see the team win the first match: Gina and Yvonne won in straight sets after being down 5-4. And Pam and Mary came back from 5-1 to also win in straight sets. I was blown away by how relaxed but aggressive our teams were. Amazing!

It was great to see Jan and Nan and Jody and Patrice, too. They were there for senior and mixed doubles playoffs. Even the entourage is hardcore about tennis — next year I'll remember to bring my own lawn chair.

On Sunday, I arrived in time to see Patrice and James win their match. It was the third one they played in two days, but they did not look tired at all.

Then it was time for Patrice and me to play. Tim was there to cheer us on, and as we walked to the court, he said, "Did you eat Qdoba?"

Gasp. I did not.

I was nervous in the warm-up. But I've gotten used to that feeling. Fortunately I felt better once we started the match. Though we took the first set 6-1, we knew our opponents had more in store for us. Patrice had played — and lost to — one of the women the day before.

I didn't know until after the match, but Patrice told her, "I'm going to kick your butt." Which is very NOT Patrice, by the way. She thinks stuff like that but doesn't say it.

But she doesn't make promises (or threats) lightly. Though the woman hit a lot of winners in one of the second-set games, it was just not enough to overcome Team Noonimoto. (Okay, I will never use that nickname again.)

After winning the second set 6-3, we stood on the court talking. I was in shock. Patrice has been to Nationals (as have many of our 4.0 and 4.5 teammates), but this was my first playoff game.

And everything about it was wonderful: Playing outside on a beautiful September day. Hearing people applaud. Seeing our teammates Mary and Debbie come back to win their match. And now I even have a lucky towel that says 2011 Wisconsin State Champion on it.

After team photos and a gift for Captain Char, Patrice and I sat on the curb talking for a couple of hours. Her sister and brother-in-law drove up and said we looked like teenagers.

Finally it was time to end our fun, victorious day. To celebrate, I got a patty melt, fries, and a raging headache. Dehydration sucks. But that's my only complaint about the whole experience.

Next stop: Sectionals in Homewood, Illinois. Go Muskego High!

Ron's pig roast 2011

Ron's annual pig roast is always a gluttonous affair. This year's theme: iPig.

The event did not disappoint.

I had a barbecued pork sandwich, broccoli salad, potato salad, pasta, and brownies with M&Ms. Ron's aunt also baked a delicious apple pie with Jack Daniels. Somehow I managed to skip the cake, a tri-level number with a pig on it.

On this year's invite:

"Technology is at its best when you can feel completely natural doing absolutely nothing that requires physical exertion."

Mission accomplished. I didn't manage to snap as many photos as I'd wanted. I definitely wish I'd gotten a photo of our host. But Ron must have been moving and mingling too fast for me.

Ron, instead I'll just say thank you for your generosity. And congratulations on the successful rollout of iPig!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friends and fried food at Tosa Fest 2011

Having spent some of our formative years in Wauwatosa, it was fitting that Denise and I dropped in at Tosa Fest on Friday night.

Over chicken tenders and sour cream & chive fries from Saz's (me) and a pork sandwich and Diet Coke from the Chancery (her), we caught up about friends and work.

And also cars. Specifically, how hard it is to say goodbye to a car. (No disrespect to the Corolla, but I still miss my Legend. Thankfully Denise bought an Acura, which she calls Barney.)

We also ran into my neighbors Kristie and Paul, as well as Butch and his wife, Pat, who offered to share their mini doughnuts with us.

We decided to walk over to the Dale's Donuts truck and order the cinnamon sugar minis. They are indeed made on the spot — and were so hot we had to put napkins around the bag to carry it.

Enjoying beautiful weather and piping hot doughnuts with a friend — a great start to the weekend!