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Posts Tagged ‘driving range’

Friday, September 12

Moving along with more love…  I’m feeling indulgent.  There are all kinds of examples of love that can really surprise you, examples that show you a different kind or side of love, or even yourself.

Take for instance my change in plans this evening.  Initially, I was going to meet the girls for a game of tennis and then dinner and a movie.  But, for different reasons, changes in plans opened up my evening. 

I got home, changed and then drove over to the driving range.  I hit a large bucket of balls and I was having a blast.  I was hitting each club consistently well as I worked through the drills I picked up when I took a series of refresher lessons at Triology Golf Club when I lived in Redmond, Washington last summer.  I loved my teacher – a pro who was originally from Oklahoma.  For our last lesson, he went out on the course with me to play four holes.  It’s not very often that I get to go out and play with a pro.  He had me hitting like an LPGA pro.  I kept telling him I wanted him to be my caddy/coach, and I’d start entering some tournaments.  He made me feel that confident in my game.  And it’s not that I can’t feel confident without him, but I really did rely on his expertise to coach me into taking the right kinds of shots.

So, I was having a nice practice session.  The weather was perfect.  The cute guy I had met at the driving range on Sunday was there, practicing his game, as well.  He happened to mention his girlfriend was driving out cross country to move in with him.  That wasn’t a surprise.   I wasn’t even disappointed.  I’m not exactly sitting around waiting for my prince to show up with a seven iron in his hand and a bucket of balls.  I’m busy playing my own game, thank you very much. 

And the point about my love relevation this evening wasn’t about meeting another golfer at the driving range.  Rather, I was having an awesome evening playing my own game.  When I left, I called my parents to share my gratitude for the series of refresher lessons they paid for last summer.  I wanted to let my dad know how much better my swing is, and how much better I hit the ball.  I wanted him to know how grateful I was for everything he and my mom have ever done to make my life better.  And that’s a long list.

After we got off the phone, I pulled into Pacific Breeze.  I ordered a pot of tea and the seafood and pork rice noodle soup.  It was delicious.  As I ate my dinner, I overheard the table next to mine.  Two couples, presumably in their late 80’s, were enjoying dinner while one of the gentleman was pouring the remainder of a bottle of white wine in his friends’ glasses, then his wife’s, then his own as he joked about who was going to be the designated driver.

I wasn’t eavesdropping, but because of the way the tables were set up, my ear was right in their space, and I overheard the man talking about his time serving our country in WW2.  He had been stationed in Japan.  And my ear dropped out of the conversation, but I managed to hear some sound bites about Washington, DC, visiting the war memorials, their respect for Senator Bob Dole, and then their appreciation of Tom Brokow for all of his work toward recognizing the WW2 generation.

Just before they left, I had to say something.  I am my mother’s daughter, after all, and when I am moved by someone or something, I have to share my feelings.  I am a sap, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Anyway, I talked to them briefly about my Great Uncle Jimmy, who, when stationed in Italy, met his sweetheart, my Great Aunt Carmella, who, back in the 1950’s won a Sofia Loren look-alike contest, and how a few years ago, when the WW2 Memorial was unveiled in Washington, DC, I got to accompany them to a ceremony that was just for the men and women who served in the war.  I told them how I treasured that day, how it meant so much to me to get to experience that memorial with my Great Uncle Jimmy.   As I relayed the story to these strangers, I got a little choked up.  In part, I felt like an idiot, but on the other hand, I could see they understood what I was feeling.  And that was gratitude.  I smiled at them and told them they were truly part of the Greatest Generation.

Before we parted, I also mentioned my father, and proceeded to get teary-eyed again.  I told them how he was stationed at the Pentagon, which is why I grew up in the Washington, DC area.  I told them about his rank and how he served in Vietnam, and what an honorable man he is.  They were tickled, I think, that a young woman would even bother to connect with them on something like the military and those who bravely, dutifully and honorably served our country.

On my way home, I called my parents again.  Thankfully, they were still up.  I got choked up all over again when I shared the story of my dinner conversation this evening.  My mom put my dad on the phone and I lost it.  I know it sounds crazy.  But I am so proud of my dad for serving our country.  He is the epitome of honor, respect, dignity, courage, and the true grit American hard-work-ethic.  He doesn’t give up.  He stands for what he believes in, and he is such a good person.  He is kind and fair.  Reasonable.  And a shining emblem of brilliant-smart.  He graduated magnum-cum-laude from the University of Oregon back in the 1950’s, working three jobs to put himself through college.  My father is a kind of stoic, quiet Scandinavian man.  He doesn’t say much, but when he does, people listen.  In one word, he’s my hero. 

It’s easy to forget sometimes how wonderful our loved ones are.  Or, it’s easy to take them for granted.  I have always felt blessed for having such a solid, good family.  It is everything to me.  And while I have spent much of my time on this blog contemplating all kinds of loves, truly, my greatest love is for my parents.  I know that no one on this planet will ever love me the way my parents love me.  I have never questioned or doubted that love.  It has been my true birthright.  Their love for me is my strength, my happiness and my one true thing. 

As they grow older, I often worry.  I live clear across the country from them, which was a painfully hard decision to have to make.  I never imagined I would ever live more than a couple of miles away from them.  And here I am, in my father’s home state of Oregon, while they’re still in my home state of Virginia, and I do my best to talk with them once or twice a day – maybe more.  We’re on a Verizon family plan, thank goodness.  I pray for them daily.  I always think of them and wonder what they’re up to, so then I call…again.  We talk so much, that it sometimes give the impression of nearness.  And it’s a relief to feel like we’re not so far apart.  I get to take in the laughs, the tears and the usual rapport of what’s going on with this cousin or that neighbor.  They perpetuate that feeling of home for me.  And then I get a little homesick.  I can’t help it.

I am in awe of their unconditional love and support – it’s never wavering, it’s never exhausted, and it keeps pumping like the strongest, biggest heart humanly possible.  And I know I am not alone.  I know I not far from home.  And I know I am not unloved.  It is the greatest gift I will ever know.

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Sunday, September 7

A nice morning to sleep in.  I got up around 10:15 and immediately got to work.  I sorted laundry and put in a load.  I stripped my bed and put the sheets in the warm water pile.  I cleaned the toilets.  I cleaned the bathroom sinks.  Then I was hungry.  And, for whatever reason, I was in the mood to cook.

It was late enough for brunch.  So, I whipped up one brown, organic free range egg.  I added two good pinches of shredded mozzarella cheese and scrambled over medium heat.  I then heated up a slice of gluten-free corn bread from the Whole Foods bakery.  I sauteed an Italian pork sausage, and I sauteed broccolini with olive oil and garlic.  I purposed undercooked the broccolini.  It was pretty good.  I didn’t have polenta, so the scrambled egg and cornbread went perfectly with the sausage and broccolini.

I enjoyed this with a cup of Yogi Goji Berry tea, a Tibetan treat.  I also had a small glass of organic orange juice.  I was content.  But, I still wanted to cook or prep.  I had music going (Lisa Loeb, Abra Moore, Shannen Worrel), the sun was coming in from the window, I had some great stuff in my fridge, I couldn’t stop.

So, I made a killer organic Pico de Gallo. I used a large, green heirloom tomato, red onion, two small cloves of garlic, a half a lime (for the juice), fresh cilantro, a small yellow sweet pepper, fresh jalapino, I cooked up a half a cob of sweet white corn, and then I used a secret ingredient I won’t share.  I mixed all of this stuff up and made a gorgeous, bejeweled Pico de Gallo.

I decided I would have to make fish or shrimp tacos for dinner.  So, I cleaned up the kitchen, put the PIco in the fridge and ran the dishwasher.  I wiped down all of the counters and the sink, using an environmentally friendly cleaner.

I poured a glass of water and went into the living room to do some work.  I got on my computer and worked on a promotional piece in Illustrator while watching the Seahawks game.  My cat, India, curled up on my leather sofa and, so cute, I had to take her photo:

Just then, Capri jumped up on my red Ikea sofa right next to me and posed for the camera, which was hilarious:

God forbid I give one cat more attention than the other!  I worked for a couple of hours on my project.  I wanted to get it off of my plate soon so that it could go off to the printer a.s.a.p.  I have a lot of projects in my queue and they all seem to be due within the month.

I then worked on collecting my archived blog entries for the skeleton of my next book.  I have a lot of work to do with my writing, so I gave up spending a beautiful day outside for getting this critical stuff done, or as much of it as possible.  I am about half way done collecting the entries.

The Seahawks lost the game.  The score was 34-10.  Both of my Washington teams lost this week – the Redskins and the Seahawks.  My boys better get their acts together.  I don’t want a crummy, lackluster season.

I finished my laundry and then went upstairs to get dressed.  I wanted to do some kind of activity outside this evening.  I had hoped to corral my friends for an afternoon game of tennis, but to no avail.  So, I decided to go to the driving range.  I had a nice run, working on my drills from my last lesson, last summer.  I hit every club well.  There were two large wooded buckets about 75-100 yards out, one with a McCain cardboard cutout, the other with a Obama cardboard cutout.  Each had a sign, place your vote.  I hit two in the Obama bucket.  I tried to send a few over to the McCain one, too, but I didn’t get any in. 

I met a nice, really cute guy named Jeremy at the range.  We played a few games.  And I won!  And he didn’t let me win.  It was a fair and true win.  And, he watched me hit my 3-wood about 200-250 yards, five times in a row.  I got a margarita out of it.  Which shocked me.  He’s from the east coast, which didn’t shock me.  The men out here simply do not ask women out.  It’s very bizarre.  It was refreshing to spend time with a guy who knows how to court a woman.  He asked me for my number.  I am not counting on ever hearing from Jeremy again.  And I’m okay with that.  I was happy to just have a really fun afternoon.

After, I went to Safeway to pick up some groceries for the week, including white corn tortillas for my shrimp tacos.  When I got home, I went to work.  I sauteed shrimp in olive oil, garlic, jalapino-lime smoked salt, white pepper and fresh lime juice.  I heated up three taco sheets on the oven rack.  I cooked up rice and pinot beans, and then sliced a radish, a jalapino and I chopped the ends of green onions.  I put a small scoop of the rice and beans on each tortilla.  I then put three large gulf shrimp, with the garlic-lime sauce on the rice and beans.  Then, I topped with Mexican finely shredded cheese.  I put a nice spoonful of my homemade Pico de Gallo on top of that, followed by shredded white cabage and cilantro.  Here’s the final plating:

 

I was happy.  I had a margarita earlier that wet my palate for my sauteed shrimp tacos with my killer Pico de Gallo.  Life was good.

After I ate, I cleaned up the kitchen and then went upstairs to make my bed with fabric-softner fresh sheets.  I had bought a new tea at Safeway – Good Earth brand Organic Sweet & Spicy Herbal tea.  It’s caffeine free and a natural source of antioxidants.  It was super delicious.  It’s a Rooibos base with no added sugars.  It’s full bodied and smooth.  And it came with a little fortune tag, like Yogi brand.  This one was a quote.  It read:  “The first duty of love is to listen.” ~ Paul Tillich, 1886-1965.

 

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Sunday, June 22

Oh, it was a painful morning!  There’s nothing more annoying than knowing you have to get up really early in the morning and then tossing and turning and waking up at alternate hours in a subconscious fear for missing the alarm or something.  No matter.  I got up with the alarm and dressed for my day as a bus camp counselor.  I dressed in a purple shirt because I was the counselor for the purple bus.  The bus wasn’t really purple, in fact, it was a school bus.  But the inside was decorated with purple streamers, mardi gras beads and we gave everyone a purple lei to wear.  I had a really great co-counselor, an assistant winemaker from another winery, to share the day with.  She was a very cool partner.

We left the Best Western in Newberg and headed for the Evergreen Aviation museum in McMinnville.  Our bus was the last to arrive, as we had a couple of stragglers.  After a welcome breakfast, introductions of winery principals, and a DVD viewing of the history of the wine industry, we boarded our buses and ours headed to a winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.  On the way, I led the bus in coming up with a chant that would be theirs for the remainder of camp.  Half the bus yelled “purple” while the other half followed with “grrrrrrrapes” (like Tony the Tiger’s “they’re grrrrrreat!”).  It was pretty funny.  One fellow from Louisiana really got into it!

We arrived at the first winery for a seminar on cool climate white wines.  The panel included our winemaker.  It was very engaging.  After the seminar, we had lunch.  It was a pleasant day, the overcast clouds were starting to clear for an afternoon sunbreak.

We went to a winery in the Dundee Hills AVA next.  Two other buses were already there and my bus pulled down the windows and, making their counselors proud, chanted “purple grapes” three times in a row.  Yes, we made an entrance!  Throughout the day we have a lively rivalry with the green bus.

The three-part seminars were really engaging.  Our vineyard manager had dug a soil pit for everyone to look into and experience the terroir of the Dundee Hills.  It was amazing.  The day was gorgeous at this point, sunny, warm and clear.

We loaded the bus one last time and returned to the Best Western.  I was happy to head home.  I changed and ran over to Bridgeport Village to pick up some Aveda hair products at Dosha Salon.  I then went to Tualatin to the driving range to use a coupon for a free medium bucket of balls.  It wasn’t my best day, as I was really tired.  But I had a few great tee shots with my 3 wood – I sent a few balls at least 275 yards.  After, I went to Safeway to pick up some fresh fruit, and stuff to make a vegetarian taco salad. 

I was really relaxed but very tired.  I thought about the dream I had a few nights ago, the one where my grandmother had visited me.  And I thought about the nature of dreams.  I have a dream dictionary that I used to pull out when I woke up fresh from very memorable dreams.  I had this tendency to believe our dreams were not random at all, but were filled with symbolism and messages that we would otherwise block out in our state of consiousness.  In a strange way, this was comforting to me.  I wanted to find comfort in my recent dream with my grandmother, including her advice to allow myself to fall in love with my ex from Paris, France.  A part of me was nostalgic for a relationship that seemed to have been plucked right from a novel or movie script.  It was complicated, it was crazy and it was so unreal.  I thought about the serendipity of reconnecting on Facebook.  He seemed still amorous.  But the reality is that I didn’t see a life for us, I never did.  He belonged in Paris and I belong here.  Perhaps the significance wasn’t about who my grandmother suggested I love.  That was just too weird, anyway.   But, rather, it could be that my dream was my subconscience’s way of telling me I’m ready and open to love again.  And that would seem more like the message my grandmother would bestow on me.

The more I thought about this, the more it made sense.  I am really happy.  I love my life.  And I am ready to share it with someone great.  Which makes me excited, hopeful and optimistic.

I listen to my friends worry about not finding love, about the lack of single men in this town.  And, I’m just not there.  I am pretty relaxed and confident about my situation.  It’s all about being ready and open, and timing.  I suspect my friends have some things to learn and figure out, still, to land in their own happy places.  While I have ranted on dating and men at times in this blog, it’s often to explore the dynamics of singles and potential mates.  And I often find humor in the little things that often seem like big differences.  But, obviously, there’s a heck of a lot more to love than sorting out the good and bad behaviors of the opposite sex! 

Anyway.  I’ve gained some clarity about what I want.  I mean, what I really want.  And I can’t believe it’s been taken me so long to figure it all out.  I’ve actually known all along what I want.  Such is my journey, to take me full circle.  But I’m not going to reveal it all here right now.  I still have eighty days to find love in all of its manifestations – love as it’s intended for me.  Whether its in my work, with my friends, with my cats, family, art, books, food, gluten-free journey, myself and even a sweetheart – love is blooming all around me every day.  It is my work to identify it in every detail of my being, to slow down for once and to pay better attention, and to recognize the blessings in the most difficult things in my life.  It’s love illuminated.

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Saturday, June 14

I kept the promise of an improved night’s sleep and managed to clock in just over eight hours, about an hour and a half more than what I had been getting during the work week.  When I woke up, the sun was already strong and penetrating through my silk drapes.  I stretched and felt great – no congestion, just clear and happy.

I went downstairs and made myself two breakfast tacos.  I heated two corn tortillas over the burner and then divided one scrambled organic, free range egg between the two.  I added a low fat Mexican blend of cheeses and topped with a roasted garlic and cilantro salsa.  It made for a pretty good impromptu breakfast taco.

After, I cleaned the kitchen – not just the pans and dishes, but I cleared the counters and I scrubbed them down with Mrs. Meyer’s eco-friendly kitchen cleaner.  I don’t know.  I like cleaning.  It’s a kind of therapy, the motions, the progress.

And then I began to plan out my weekend.  Whether I would follow it through or not, it’s a little exercise I like to do, like making a shopping list or any other to do list that can rule my life.  I am a list maker.  I planned for the driving range and going over to the Oswego Boat House later.  And then, for Sunday, I listed out going to church, perhaps going to a yoga class and then going to the Writers Dojo.

I changed into a pair of cargo Bermuda-style shorts and an Adidas golf shirt.  I pulled out my Nike golf shoes from my storage closet out on the deck, and then with a huge smile on my face, I headed to my car with my clubs over my shoulder.  I stopped by Starbucks and ordered a green tea latte with nonfat milk and a small botte of Naked Mighty Mango antioxidant juice smoothie.  I drove to the Tualatin Island Greens Golf Center on SW Cipole Road. 

I parked, put on my golf shoes and grabbed my bag and headed for the golf shop to buy a large bucket of balls for the driving range.  When I made my way out to the mats, I was surprised to find a new friend of mine out there.  I picked up my stuff and got settled in the spot next to his.  It was nice to see a familiar face.

Anyway, I opened up my golf notebook and reviewed the drills I had pencilled in there last August and September when I took lessons at Trilogy Golf Course up in Redmond, WA.  I adored my instructor, a great guy from Oklahoma.  Anyway, he turned around my game.  He fixed my grip, my swing and gave me all kinds of great drills customized for my game, to challenge me and to keep my swing in good shape.

I did the drills in my notebook and was pleased, over all, with my round at the range.  This was my first time out since last September.  I think I acquiesced from going to the driving range or golf course because I was afraid I’d mess up and wouldn’t be able to get my swing together, since it had been so long since my lessons up at Trilogy.  Luckily, that wasn’t the case.

After my practice round, I went home, freshened up a little and drove over to the Oswego Lake House.  It was so gorgeous out – a perfect blue sky, warm sun and so comfortable out I could have napped at my table.  I brought my latest issue of Golf for Women magazine, my novel and my writing notebook.  While I sat at my table on the deck, right along the edge of the lake, it occurred to me I should write an article for Golf for Women.  I ordered a top shelf margarita on the rocks with salt, which was perfectly refreshing.  I felt the sun on me, giving me a slight tan.

I ordered a medium-rare burger with no bun and since I couldn’t eat the side of fries, they substituted a side salad.  It was okay, but I was still hungry.  I had only consumed the two small breakfast tacos and the Starbucks beverages.  I needed my sustenance. 

While I was noshing on the burger, I flipped through Golf for Women.  There was a story about a Spanish actress and model named Ines Sastre, who is my age (34).  She’s unmarried, gorgeous and looks happy, healthy and well.  She’s an avid golfer and has played in a number of pro-am and celebrity tournaments.  She’s even won a few.  It’s truly a great thing to see women my age not necessarily married or with kids or living status quo lives.  It’s inspiring to see women like Ines living extraordinary, exciting lives – playing golf really well and just doing her own thing.  I wouldn’t suggest that women my age who are married or mothers can’t have extraordinary lives –  I just don’t relate to them in the same way. 

Reading about this interesting celeb-golfer made me want to work on my game and possibly compete.  I really need to play more often and I probably should have joined that women’s league I was introduced to a few month’s ago.  Oh, well.  I don’t think I was really ready to commit to that kind of play just yet.  That doesn’t mean I cannot play toward a handicap.  We’ll see.

I was still hungry and ordered a fully loaded baked potato and a small glass of Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay.  And finished up with a ramekin of creme brulee topped with a few blueberries and raspberries and a coconut cream drizzled over the fruit.  It was pretty good.

By eight o’clock I had finished editing a chapter of my book and I was ready to go home.  I couldn’t get over how beautiful the evening was and how lovey the lake evolved as evening was coming to a close.  I finished my water, payed the bill and left before the sun went down.

I segued over to Whole Foods at Bridgeport to pick up some groceries and then wandered over to the Borders.  I picked up an anthology of William Stafford’s poetry.

When I got home, the movie The Notebook was on.  The last time I saw it, which was also the first time, I was visiting my sister in Chattanooga.  I was there for work, doing a three-city stint to include Atlanta and Birmingham.  Anyway, I was very sad and, well, when my sister and I watched that movie on DVD, I couldn’t remember when I had cried like that – except for when my most recent ex had broken up with me.  It’s not just the effect of a typical, sappy chick flick that makes most women (and supposedly even men!) cry.  For me, it was different. 

It was this painful pang of living a life of not ever having anyone love me the way the character Noah loved his Ally.  I do know there are real love stories like Noah and Ally’s.  It does happen – few and far between.  But, as cynical as I have become, as cynical as some of my blog posts have at times been,  I know this to be true.  And watching this film, watching this love story unfold, my heart ached and broke all over again.  I have loved almost to that degree just twice in my life.  But, I don’t think I have ever been loved back like that.  That devastates and worries me.  And I was devastated by the same worry when I watched the movie for the first time with my sister.  I lost it.  And she comforted me.  It might sound trite – but she knew exactly what I was feeling.

And there, I had realized my greatest lament and fear about love.  I don’t want to end up with someone who just loves me fine.  I want to find someone who loves me the way Noah loved Ally – so fully, so painfully that he couldn’t bear to ever lose her – ever.  Not in their youth, not after their second reunion, and not in their elderly decline.  But, I also want to feel that way about the love of my life, too.  It’s not easy to find that, where two people feel that intensely and deeply for another.  Few couples really shared that level of undying and unconditional love.  Ally’s mother was a perfect example of a person who went the safe route, giving up her own opportunity for that kind of love. 

And perhaps I had already lost my chance.  I know I have certainly loved and ached for my ex more so than I have ever for another.  I never fully understood my connection to him, only that I was deeply wounded twice by our two break-ups (once back in 2000, and then again in 2005).  And so, when I turned the television on this evening and this film was on, I felt that sadness that hasn’t quite left.  I imagined him, my ex.  He has a remarkable likeness to Ryan Gosling, the actor who portrayed the young Noah.  My heart broke all over again.  Only this time my sister wasn’t here to comfort me. 

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