Friday, March 30, 2012

Bride Rush: A simplified checklist

In November, Bride Rush published my article, A Simplified Checklist, about how to plan a quick wedding.

(And no, I was not planning a quick wedding. I first worked with Anita Malik, the Bride Rush founder, when she was the publisher of East West magazine.)

I had fun interviewing wedding planners Nancy Liu Chin (who's a sorority sister from Cal!), Darlene Wilson, and Lisa Stoner. They have such a wealth of knowledge and experience, the article practically wrote itself.

Lisa also blogged about the article in her post, Wedding Planning — It's All About Heart.

Nanu, Darlene, and Lisa, thanks for all of the great tips!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celebrating Papa's 12th birthday

We took Papa to the vet on Saturday. He gave her an antibiotic but thought her troubles were more a case of anxiety.


In honor of her birthday, my parents bought a seat cover for the car. Pops likes gifts she can eat, but she also has a great time shredding wrapping paper. They stopped her when she punctured the box.

She's doing much better now, so I let her play with her birthday gift: a rubber barbell filled with treats. (Instead of new chewy treats, I stuck with biscuits that don't upset her stomach.)

What a toy!

She dropped it and picked it up, ran around with it, and tried to chew the ends. Sometimes she looked dejected, pushing it away.

She could not open it. And this morning, the treats caught in the middle of the tube were still there.

Game on, Pops!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy 12th birthday, Papaya!

Today is Papaya's birthday. She doesn't seem like she's 84 yet, but she hasn't been feeling well lately.

This is the third day of her stomach issues ("gastrointestinal urgency," my dad calls it). Poor girl.

We've started mixing her food with canned pumpkin. The new toy filled with chewy treats will have to wait until she's feeling better. The good news is, her appetite hasn't suffered at all — always a reassuring sign.

Maybe this wasn't the birthday she'd hoped for, but I gave her some extra snuggles. And a trip to the vet tomorrow will give us some answers. Happy birthday, Pops!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Goodbye, Indian Wells

Goodbye, mountains and palm trees. I'll miss the view.

Goodbye, happy hours with pasta and wedge salads. Thank you to the people at the table next to us who recommended the ribs.

Goodbye, Mercedes guy at the gas station. Your personality made you "devilishly handsome" (Chris' words).

Goodbye, Charles from Phoenix. Congrats on your win at Nationals!

Goodbye, Victoria and Maria. Seeing the #1 and #2 players battle it out was inspiring (and humbling).

Goodbye, John and Roger. It was so cool to see Isner (appearing in his first final) play one of the world's greatest. Even R. Kelly was singing it.

Goodbye, streamers — or "spaghetti" as Roger calls them. I'll miss the brilliant colors on center court.

Goodbye, friendly volunteers. How I loved those golf cart rides to the gate.

Goodbye, teammates. Even though I'll see you back at home, this was the last time we'd play together.

Thanks, everyone, for the memories. Even though I don't like saying goodbye, I'm so glad I got to have this experience. Let's do it again soon!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dinner at Nationals

At the player dinner, I ran into the husband of a woman on the Mid-Atlantic team. Our teams had been in the same flight, and he was so nice that I mistakenly thought he was part of our group.

While talking in the buffet line, he told me who was advancing to the finals.

The Northern team.

The Northern team! Not the Missouri team we played yesterday, who beat us 3-0.

Since the draw wasn't posted, I had no way of knowing how close it was. But Pam and Debbie, your showing in the tiebreak had to have been a spoiler. Way to take a set!

Let's just say the universe made sure things turned out the way they were supposed to.

And by the way, extra kudos to Yvonne and Gina for their victory against the team that won our flight. Cheers, everyone!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friends and family (or Nationals, Day 2)

Today was overcast but we managed to get our matches in before the rain.

Captain Char said that if the Missouri team swept us, they'd be in the running to win the flight (and advance to the finals).

Even though the late-morning weather was mild and the winds almost non-existent, Team Noonimoto had a tough time with the St. Louis ladies.

They came out strong.

They were tough.

I thought about what Barry said yesterday, about how it would be great if you could make all your mistakes in one game. Unfortunately I felt like I found new and unusual ways to make mistakes (short lobs, tentative backhands). Our opponents were very adept with getting in and volleying winners, as well as with keeping shots in play from the baseline.

We lost 6-3, 6-2.

But it was comforting to know our friends and family were there. Tim, Charlotte, Yvonne, and Gina, you've been unwavering in your support. After a match, consolation means just as much as congratulations. Thank you for staying!

And Yukie and Joel, it was so nice to see both of you. (Joel came from San Diego, braving fog, high winds, and mountainous driving with a new transmission and gently used battery.) Your company and the shrimp tacos at Don Diego's helped mitigate the pain of losing.

Regarding the results, our 4.5 team lost. Our 4.0 team lost in a super tiebreak, 10-8. Tune in to see what happened next.

Friday, March 16, 2012

3.5 at Nationals

Okay so I did not play on a court with bleacher seating. But our friends and family set up chairs next to us, right outside the fence. It's really amazing, after a point is over, to be able to see Chris give me a thumbs up or hear Tim's distinctive "Noonimoto!" coming from the corner.

Our match was against the Mid-Atlantic team (from Virginia). The warmup was great — maybe because we got six balls to play with.

Once we got started with competitive play, though, the pace of the game felt really slow. We weren't having great rallies but tried to keep strategizing. I was nervous, as were our opponents. They broke my serve at the beginning of the second set and were playing more aggressively, capitalizing on some of our too-short lobs.

Still, we could hear our teammates Yvonne and Gina cheering us on. Before the match, Gina said, "Stay calm." That was the best advice anyone could give. (Does panicking ever help?) I could also hear Yvonne saying "Good try" after I missed a shot. So supportive.

Patrice and I won, 6-4, 6-2.

She almost cried; I did not cry.

She could not believe I did not cry. ("I think you're in shock.") We did spend lots of time hugging and taking pictures.

Then we went back to the hotel to get ready for the next match. Even though we weren't scheduled to play, we suited up in case they'd need us as last-minute subs.

Speaking of subs, my victory lunch was a huge meatball sandwich from Togo's. Oh, it took me back to my college days, when their meatball sub was the best hangover cure ever.

By the way, we've managed to avoid the stomach virus that has caused some of the pros to drop out of the tournament. Thanks, Rick, for the good advice — "Don't drink the water" — and for offering to be our team physician. Actually I could've used some help with the heat rash I've developed. If only you or Shappy were here. (During a heat wave last summer, I got a rash and tried to have them diagnose it at the Silver Spur. Doesn't that sound like the setup for a joke? "A gastroenterologist and an urgent care doctor walk into a bar....")

Anyway, Patrice and I went back to the courts to watch our teammates take on the Northern team (from Minnesota... um, how exactly do these sections work?).

Yvonne and Gina had to wait for a court even though they were scheduled for noon. They volleyed. They lobbed. They stayed calm. And won it 6-4, 6-1, against a really strong team!

Confession: I did get a little choked up when I realized they were going to win it — practicing together these last few days, seeing them play so well, and then witnessing their success — I was so glad to be there!

Rafa at the BNP tournament

It's 5:40 a.m., way too early to be up. But Patrice and I are playing at 7:30.

Last night we saw Lopez and Nadal upset Fyrstenberg and Matkowski. We sat in one of the nosebleed sections and I held on to my seat. I'd forgotten about the weird vertigo-like sensation I get in the upper section, where it feels like I'm pitched forward. Once I calmed down, I could enjoy watching Team Spain dominate the match.

After some shopping on the grounds with Patrice and Debbie, I watched Simon and Isner on the jumbotron, listening to Dave Matthews and Journey on level ground.

I'm glad to playing on a court with bleacher seating! I'll check in after the match.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Almost Nationals

The last two days started with breakfast outside: omelets made to order, pancakes, fruit, pastries. A nice perk (minus the aggressive birds who will eat right off your plate).

The hotel feels very Melrose Place, with the rooms overlooking the pool. And Patrice and Tim are only three doors down, which makes this place even more homey.

The courts are usually empty at mid-day (and fill up early in the morning), so we hit with our teammates Yvonne and Gina at 11. It was reassuring to shake off our initial sluggishness. I am also experimenting with V-8 juice as a pick-me-up. Hmm.

My dilemma du jour: Sunglasses or not? The frames mess with my peripheral vision on my backhand. But it's also hard to serve into the sun. I'll let you know how it goes.

Three straight days of sunshine, pool time, and tennis — love it! Tonight we're off to see the pros play at the BNP.

Thank you for all of the good wishes and good advice. Kelsey, I love your Rob Schneider-like "You can do it!" Jen, you were right about the self-tanner. And Tom, enjoy your break from Noonan and me this week.

I wish you all could be here. But I'll check in tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hello from Nationals

We're finally on our Nationals trip!

After getting up at 4:30 a.m., we were barely awake for our connecting flight in Chicago.

When we finally touched down in Palm Springs, the first thing I noticed about the airport was the brightness in the Sonny Bono Concourse. The second thing was the town's penchant for naming streets after celebrities (Gene Autry, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra).

We checked into the hotel and then grabbed lunch. Even though I was ready for a nap, Patrice and I decided to go hit at the hotel's courts.

We gave up after an hour. The ball was slow and so were we.

But it was still a luxury to play tennis, sit at the pool, and eat dinner outside. A good Tuesday.