Sunday, August 19, 2012

Irish Fest 2012

Working at the Irish Fest marketplace, Denise and I were glad to graduate from the floor to the booth. The booth is always the best place to be because you can eke out your own little space to talk to Fest-goers. And you get a chance to catch up with the regular volunteers, some of whom devote four days to the Fest.

The highlight of my shift was talking to an elderly man. A bit shaky, he was immediately drawn to — believe it or not — the leprechaun hat on the mannequin. "It's too small," his wife said when he tried it on.

I got a size large for him. Slowly, he put it on. "Is this the only one?" he asked.

We had at least 10 in each size, but I told him I could hold on to it while he looked around. "His name is Fred," his wife said. He looked at my name tag. "Naomi," I said. "Oh!" he said, laughing at I couldn't say what.

I wrote "Fred" on a sticker and put it on the hat, leaving it near the register.

He came back a few minutes later. "You put my name on it!" he said. I helped him tie the green pompoms under his chin.

To see someone so genuinely excited about a leprechaun hat, I got a little misty-eyed. There is something about Irish Fest: the beautiful weather when the days are getting shorter, the slightly melancholy music, the familiarity of shepherd's pie and reuben rolls with Denise, and now, the pure joy over a crazy hat — well, all of these things make me grateful for this one day a year.

I hope you made it to Irish Fest, too!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unions and reunions: Colleen's 50th birthday

Colleen's 50th birthday party had it all: lots of food, booze, and generations of family and friends. Plus she celebrated another milestone: A wedding! She and Kevin tied the knot a few weeks ago, and the gang is thrilled for them. Congrats!

Rob and Patricia threw a party with free-flowing champagne. (Though I love champagne, I saved myself for the end-of-evening Maker's Mark.) After seconds on the grilled steak fajitas, I had just enough room for the homemade German chocolate cake — and a taste of the banana fudge cake, too.

Colleen and Patricia are both enthusiastic dogsitters and adopters. Yet the night also held many reunions. Bailey was happy to see Chris — but Rob and Patricia knew not to be worried. And here's Doug cuddling old, blind Cisco.

Sigh. That would be the last time most of us saw Cisco.

Colleen just notified us that he is gone. In his obituary, she wrote:

Cisco I pray the the table in heaven has a chair pulled out so you can jump up and dine to your delight. In heaven my father has many mansions, I also hope he has many electric fans to handle your gas.

Love and gas: Could there be any truer words about what dogs bring to our lives?

But enough about that. This is a celebration! Cheers, Colleen and Kevin. And Cisco, too. It has been a month of milestones, and we're glad to be sharing all of them with you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tennis 2012: Le Club, Week 8

Le Club vs. Le Club. I looked forward to this match because it's Yvonne's team, and she is one of my favorite tennis people — a great competitor and a supportive teammate. So I knew it would be a fun night.

At #1 singles, it was Jessica vs. Laurie. Their match took more than two hours. Two. Hours. After two hours of slamming the ball back and forth, Laurie ultimately took it, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6. Jessica, that was an amazing effort — you really stayed in it after a tough start.

Kristen (#2 singles) was sitting and calmly eating a sub when Patrice and I came off the court. Because she'd been on Court 10 and we were on Court 3, I didn't get to see her play. "How did your match go?" I asked. "Good," she said. I found out later that her score was 7-5, 6-0. Nicely done, Kristen — and I like the quiet humility. Which, come to think of it, is totally you.

At #1 doubles, Tash and Rebecca won, 6-2, 6-4. I was two courts away from them so I can't give any details. Though, I do recall that Tash had a migraine. Way to play through it! Sorry I wasn't more observant about the match — though, did I hear Rebecca yelling at herself? I wish I had hung out with both of you for a post-game interview. Next year I'll do better!

At #2 doubles, Mary and Rebekah stayed tough, winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. They had some really great, aggressive points (love it!). Plus, it's impressive to take the last two sets after losing the first. Nice mental toughness and skilled play!

At #3, Patrice and I were also put to the test. At first, we had trouble with Irina's angle shots and overheads. And the pace seemed slow until we figured out their one up/one back strategy. Oh-kay! Down 1-4, we came back to take it 6-4, 6-4. Nice job, Nooni!

Great job, Team, on the 4-1 win — a strong finish to the season. By the way, both Le Club teams finished with a 22-18 record and 41 sets lost. We did lose fewer games (367 to their 406). So numbers-wise, we were evenly matched.

Reluctant to see the season end, I lingered at Le Club. I caught up with Kelly, mingled with Nora and Kim and the Highlander men's team, watched the Olympics, drank red wine, and ate peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Finally I could not stay any longer.

But at least I'll get to go back tomorrow to play some doubles. So I'll see you soon, Teammates.