Saturday, January 26, 2013

Modern Dog: Meeting My Match

Ginger was my first dog. She made a good impression right away. Running up to the window and then cuddling while I talked to the adoption counselor, she knew how to work the Humane Society system.

That is not what happened with Papaya. Pops panted and peed on the floor; she had trouble with naps.

Now, four years later, I could not imagine life without her. (And I don't have to, since she's left many stains on the floor.)

You can read Meeting My Match to find out how Pops won me over.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Team Cahill Park: Mixed combo playoffs

In preparation for Sunday's playoffs in Madison, I carbo loaded at lunch with Patrice on Saturday. That night, I watched a DVD she gave me about the 2012 Ironman. It was so inspirational, seeing how determined the competitors are not only to finish, but to win.

Alas, that is not my story. At least not this time.

Our team's one win came from Adam and Jody, who played beautifully together. It was fun to watch all the setups and great angles. Way to get it done, 6-2, 6-2! (This is even more impressive because NEL took all three courts against the Madison team, losing only three sets the entire day.) Congrats!

Adam and Kelly had played together at #1 doubles earlier, staying tough until the very end: a 10-8 loss in the third-set tiebreaker. What a great effort — and so, so close!

Meanwhile, Terence and Julie were on the court next to us. They also lost a close match, 6-2, 7-5. Terence said they were up 5-4 in the second set. That is always heartbreaking.

Rohit and I lost 6-4, 6-4. Aside from being our first match loss, this one was painful because we were tied until our opponents broke my serve at 4-4. In the second set, we were up 3-1 and then 4-3. Why couldn't we take that second set? Then it was 4-4 and they broke my serve again.

Yes, I know that you win some and you lose some. But having been competitive in the first set and up in the second, it's hard to accept a straight-set loss. Ouch.

Terence, who's always comfortable offering his opinion, said we played it too safe. (Carrie pointed out that that's also what he said about himself.) My opinion: that we made just a few too many mistakes at critical times. But Ro also felt like that's the best we've ever played.

I wish I could've seen more of Sepp and Nan's match. I can't believe that dude in the blue shirt was only a 3.5. For real?!

The last match to finish — Scott and Linda — was a nailbiter. After losing the first set, they played to 6-6 in the second. As our entire team stood by the railing, Terence said, "It's all about the mental toughness!" Which could've jinxed them, if you are totally mental and believe in that kind of stuff.

Their opponents edged them out in the tiebreak, 7-5. Again: So close.

As I learned at combo playoffs last year, losing makes me hungry. So we went to the Great Dane, where I had an Old Glory beer to honor the bygone days of Rohit being undefeated in mixed doubles. Then I had a chicken pot pie. Comfort food.

And I started to feel better. Though it wasn't a triumphant day score wise, it's hard to wallow when you're sharing cheese curds and chocolate torte and the guys are daring Ro to try a Habanero Hellfire chicken wing.

Jody, thanks for putting together such a great team. Patrice, thanks for the ginormous lunch and pre-match pep talk. You were right; I was fine. Plus I had a lot of fun, even if I do owe Mike $10. Cheers, Team Cahill Park!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fading out 2012

New Year's Eve was fun, relaxing, and — this being a group of tennis players — competitive.

After our spaghetti dinner, we played Taboo. Jody would give concise clues while Scott and Sepp called out lots of answers. Arguably her most brilliant success of the night was "Cop. Snack."


Meanwhile, Julie stayed focused and gave one-sentence descriptions. "This is the person who..." "Usher!" "This is the person who..." "Conductor!" The guys lamented their tough cards: anatomy, radon, Sputnik. Our team did get a little lucky with pen, rainbow, and Kermit the Frog.

I was excited to watch Love Actually, but my movie choice drove Jody and Randy away. A few minutes in, Sepp said he would not be able to stay awake through the whole thing. Oops.

So I sort of watched it while Julie, Scott, Julia, and Sepp played a slow, unorthodox game of Scrabble. There were words that were not words, words that were not connected to anything, the spilling of tiles. Several times. Julie bowed out, leaving a war of attrition among the remaining players.

Then she noticed it was midnight and so we hugged and had an airing of grievances. Actually, we did talk about the ups and downs of the year. Life can't always be awesome — new tires, anyone? — but I can say that this was the perfect New Year's Eve.

So as I sit here with a cup of tea and a piece of regifted yet delicious gingerbread loaf — my "slicy" — I look forward to the new year.

Thank you, Julia, for bringing us all together. I appreciate the carbs, the games, and the blankets. You are a wonderful host.

Happy 2013, my friends!

PS: I don't have pictures from the evening (Scott in the Packer snuggie would have been a classic). This is a recent one from my Wednesday night court. That's one routine I'm happy to keep!