Monday, October 26, 2009

An Exhausting Saturday...a 3-Part Post

Part I - The Wiffleball Tournament

Yep, you read that right. Little Tom from work plays in wiffleball tournaments. Before I met him, I didn't really know there were such things....but there are! There was one this weekend run by City of Glendale Parks and Rec. And since I'm such a joiner, I just had to sign up, too...despite the fact that I cannot hit, throw or catch a ball. I got together some athletic guy friends and put in a team. Pat named us the Holey Balls. Get it?

My team - Ian, Jamie, me, Pat:
Little Tom was a bit worried for us because, he says, a wiffleball takes a little while to get used to. He was right. It took us awhile to figure how to pitch. After the first game (which we had to forfeit after 2 innings because of a 10 run rule), Jamie figured out how to throw strikes and things were looking up.
Alas, we never really figured out how to hit the ball. Eventually I did get a base hit. It was quite exciting!
Fielding also was difficult. Well, it wasn't difficult for me, but that's because I only played one inning in the field and I didn't have to touch the ball once. Ian's wife, Emilie, joined us after the first game. I believe her flip flops/bare feet really showed the other teams how dead-serious we were about wiffleball.
The tournament format was four games for everyone, then single elimination playoffs. We played our four games. We lost our four games. No playoffs for us. We did score a run or two though (could have been caused by opposing team generosity). Little Tom's team didn't make the playoffs either and they are good at wiffleball, so we didn't feel too bad.

Part II - The Hockey Game
We got home from the wiffleball tournament at 3:00. At 5:00 we left to go back to Glendale for the Coyotes/Kings game. NFBF joined us for the fun. I like going to hockey games with my boys. I guess I should have made them wear wigs, though, because the Coyotes lost. Bummer! But the intermission was Mascot Hockey...so it wasn't a total waste.

Part III - Dancing and The High School Flashback

After five hours in the sun and the hockey game, I have to admit I was pretty tired and was feeling sort of sun-sick. But I had already told some of the co-ed book club girls that I would go dancing with them and since we rarely get to go, I didn't want to cancel. So I took some advil, put on my goin'-out clothes and went to Scottsdale.
We went to Devil's Martini again. The music was decent, there were lots of people there, overall it was pretty good. The staff were dressed for pre-Halloween. I have an ongoing joke with a friend about mechanics, so I had to take a picture of this waiter/mechanic. He thought I was crazy and he avoided me the rest of the night.
I was exceptionally tired so I wanted to call it a night around 12:00, but I ended up reliving my high school days instead. One of the girls we were with was drunk...really, really drunk. Shortly after I got to the bar, she disappeared. I didn't feel right leaving the other two girls to be responsible, so I stayed. The three of us took turns every half hour or so to make a trip around the bar checking the tables, the patio, the bathrooms. Eventually we expanded our search to the parking lot and the outside of the bar. We had been calling her name in the bathroom, but no one ever answered. The bathroom attendant said our missing friend was not in there. Finally, two hours later, I ignored the bathroom attendant and stationed myself in the bathroom and watched all 11 stall doors to see if there were any with no traffic. Three doors remained shut for the 15 minutes I stood there. I called out her name again a few times, but no answer. I went back a half hour later when I felt that I could not possibly stay awake another second, and two of those doors were still shut. I started pounding on the doors and one opened a crack and there she was...huddled on the floor. After two and a half hours of puking/being passed out, she was still drunk. I took her home, stopping once along the way for her to puke (this was the most vivid of the high school flashbacks) and when I finally got home it was almost 3:00 am.

Exhausted!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Live in Mayberry.

The other day my car window broke. The glass didn't break, it was the electronic roll-down thingy that broke. Pat and his dad were kind enough to take my door panel off and stick a screwdriver in the door to hold up the glass until I was able to take it in to get it fixed. They are nice like that, cuz they live in Mayberry.

I called Mayberry Honda and found out that electronic roll-down thingies are covered by my warranty. Wtf? Warranties usually cover everything except what you need fixed. Not so in Mayberry! Hurray!

I took my car in early on Friday morning and I brought my bike so I could ride the rest of the way to work. I wasn't really sure how I was going to handle the 1.5 mile stretch of Camelback Road before I reached my super-safe 3rd Avenue complete with my super-wide bike lane. But in Mayberry, there is no traffic turning right on Camelback during morning rush-hour so I was able to ride my bike safely on the sidewalk. Hurray! You know what else happens in Mayberry? There are pedestrians that say hi as they pass and people who smile at you and friendly police officers on motorcycles who challenge you to a race when you are stopped at a red light next to them.

It was a Mayberry morning. Hurray! Unfortunately, I don't work in Mayberry...so let's skip to the afternoon commute back to the car dealership.

I was pretty nervous about taking Camelback for the 1.5 miles back. I was pretty lucky that morning...no one was turning north because all traffic was heading south to downtown and no one was turning into parking lots because shops and restaurants weren't open yet. But in the afternoon, traffic goes all directions. Camelback is a hugely busy street with zillions of businesses and restaurants. There are driveways literally every 15 feet. It was dusk. Riding like a moron on the sidewalk (because I'm too scared to ride on a street without a bike lane) was not really a smart thing to do. But I did it anyway.

And it was okay... because I live in Mayberry. First, I rode past a bus stop. A bunch of people were on the sidewalk waiting for the bus. Uh oh! But no problem...they saw me coming and they all got out the way. With smiles on their faces. Seriously. They were ALL smiling at me. One guy even said "Enjoy your ride!" as I passed and he wasn't being sarcastic. A few yards later, a car was waiting in a parking lot driveway to pull out on to Camelback. Uh oh...gonna get killed now. But no, he saw me coming and he backed up to give me room to pass. Then a car was stopped at a stop sign on a side street. I started to wait for him, but he backed up and waved me by. This was getting weird. Another car was trying to leave a parking lot. She backed up for me, too. And she smiled and said hi to me from her open window. Huh? And then a car was going to turn into a parking lot but stopped and waited for me to pass. I glanced in as I rode past and the driver didn't give me the dirty look I deserved for being an idiot riding on the sidewalk....the driver smiled at me instead. One more car waiting in a parking lot driveway...one more driver who backed up for me to pass. As I was nearing the dealership, two people were walking toward me on the sidewalk. They stepped off the sidewalk to let me by and one said "Sure is a nice evening to be out a bike, isn't it?" Again, no sarcasm.

This was one of the weirdest 15 minutes of my life.

I kind of like Mayberry. I think I was just voted Mayor.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wigs: Not Just For Halloween

Wigs aren't just for Halloween. No way! Wigs are great anytime! Wigs are especially great for when you get your three favorite boys together to eat sushi and watch hockey. See?




Btw, the Coyotes won this game, so wigs and sushi might have to be our new superstitious tradition. And isn't Pat super-pretty with long hair?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Anne's Wedding

Wedding day started out with pictures. After days and days of rain, Springfield finally had a sunny day...Yippee!! The leaves were just starting to turn colors and the park was beautiful! Most of the group shots were taken on this bridge. The girls - Amy, me, Anne and Anne's best friend from college, Heather:Closeup:
Anne with the boys - Jon (Kevin's friend from college), Kevin, Anne, Terry (Kevin's friend since grade school) and Gerald (Kevin's stepdad):
Kevin and the girls:
It was a nice sunny day, but don't be fooled. It was FREEZING! This is a more accurate depiction of the day:

Eventually we were so cold that we couldn't even take our wraps off for the pictures anymore. (Speaking of wraps... aren't they cute? And they match perfectly! Amy and I found them at TJ Maxx that morning.)
Anne and Pat:

Finally I get to see my cute brother, Brett! Here he is with his cute wife and family:

The venue all finished and ready to go:
They use this building as a day care during the day! Weird.

Somehow I managed to take no pictures of the buffet or the food (I know! I always take pictures of the food!!) but I never would miss a picture of a cake! Mmmm, cake:

Eventually we were able to corral the whole Diamond clan for a group shot. Too bad the settings on my dad's camera were off, thus a blurry shot of the whole Diamond clan (with the tall spouses on the ends):

The ceremony:The kiss:
The food:
(seriously why don't I have a picture of the food? It was really yummy and the buffet was so pretty!)

The cake-cutting. (Mmmm, cake!):

Pat made a new BFF at the wedding. Kevin's college friend, Jon, is a hockey player and a youth hockey coach. He's a Blues fan but he lives in Kansas City so he doesn't get to see NHL games much. He and Pat talked hockey all night. Until they talked phones - we all have the same phone:

The final event of the night - clean up time! Bride and Maid of Honor tearing down the bar:

It was a beautiful wedding! Everything went perfectly, all the guests had a good time and Anne and Kevin were radiant. Congratulations, guys!

Wedding Prep

I'm going to do two separate posts for Anne's wedding, because I've got lots of pictures. Eventually, when the real pictures from the real photographer get to me, I'll do a third post. But for now you'll have to settle for what I got from my crappy camera.

Pat and I flew to Springfield on Thursday. Friday was all about Wedding Prep. The girls all got pedicures and went to lunch. I have no pictures of the day. It was so cold and rainy that I couldn't find the motivation to get my camera out. Cold weather makes me tired.

That evening, the wedding party met at the venue, the pavilion at Lincoln Park, to set up and decorate. All the groomsmen, bridesmaids and family pitched in. Groomsmen and Anne setting up the votives:
Kevin's daughter, Rachel, and I setting the tables:
There was a brief rehearsal and a run-through of the music. Pat was the DJ and he was using the brand new iPod I bought and loaded for Anne and Kevin's wedding gift. They bought themselves a fancy iPod dock and speaker system as their own wedding gift. After the rehearsal, we could have done a million more little things around the place, but we called it a night before Anne stressed too much.

After a rehearsal, you get the best part - the rehearsal dinner. We didn't know how many people would be there or what time we'd be done decorating, so no formal plans had been made for dinner. No formalities usually means pizza (mmm, pizza!) so we headed to Coz's.

We only had to wait for a little bit for our table. My cute sisters:My cute mom:
My cute dad:I have a cute brother, too, but he was home with all his kids so I didn't get to see him til the next day.

Kevin and his family and friends:
Anne and Kevin are smart and chose not to have bachelor or bachelorette parties the night before the wedding so we all called it an early night. At my mom's house, the only warm place is in front of the fire:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trying to Reconcile With an Old Friend

Remember what good friends we used to be? We used to hang out every single night. It was awesome. No matter what time I'd want to hook up with you - 9:00, 10:00, midnight, 2:00 am - you'd be there for me as soon as I called, and you never minded that I kept you waiting. You were the best friend ever!

Now, I never see you. I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss you.

What's worse about this whole situation is that you are still friends with Pat. It is so frustrating to watch him enjoy your company and know that I'm not invited to play anymore.

Oh, Sleep. My dear old friend, Sleep. PLEASE, PLEASE COME BACK! Please forgive me for whatever it is I did that made you ditch me. I promise I'll be a better friend from now on. Just please say you'll be my friend again. PLEASE.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gilmore Adventure Race - Back for Seconds

Saturday, September 25th was Storming the Castle's second annual Gilmore Adventure Race. Last year, the first race rocked our world so we made sure to get in again this year. Our goal, as always, was to not finish last. Our secondary goal was to make top half.

This year the race included paddling, which it has included in the past though it was not part of last year's race. Paddling always makes things more difficult for us because we have to rent boats and convince spouses to take us wherever we are going because kayaks don't fit in my Element and they do fit in spouses' F250s. However, boats were rented and spouses were convinced and we were off to Prescott. We were supposed to be accompanied by Christy and Leah, but Christy's broken hand and Leah's crazy work schedule forced them to drop out.

The start...
First we had to run across the park to the baseball field where there were a bunch of colored balls with numbers. We each had to find a ball matching our bib number. Irene walked onto the field and the first ball she saw had our number on it. We split up to find the second one and found it right away. All these poor schmucks were still looking for their balls when we left to trade our balls for maps and passports.
Learning from last year, we immediately mapped out all of our checkpoints for the entire race. This allowed us to look for biking checkpoints while paddling and ensured that once we were set in motion, we would stay in motion.

The first 5 checkpoints were to be located in order via boat. We had to go back and forth over the lake. I SUCK at kayaking so this was a s-l-o-w endeavor. We were part of a large pack to heading for the first checkpoint:
The first checkpoint was on an island across the lake. We saw lots of people all over the front island looking for the checkpoint, but our plotting said the marker would be on the backside of the island so we continued paddling past all these fools.
We paddled to this inlet at the back of the island, feeling rather smug for going to the right spot and not getting duped by the people who stopped at the front of the island. There were a bunch of boats already there.

We looked and looked for the checkpoint. We were joined by lots and lots of people. I'm pretty sure all the teams were on the island with us at this point. Lots of people:A few teams gave up when the flag could not be found. We would not give up because if you miss a checkpoint, you are disqualified. Disqualified on the FIRST checkpoint? No way. Eventually... finally... a race volunteer showed up and confirmed all our suspicions that the checkpoint flag (and the just-in-case safety tape hung nearby) had been stolen. We were directed to head to checkpoint two. We wasted a lot of time and didn't get any credit for not giving up. Boo.

All the teams were pretty bunched up at that point. Many teams were passing us because I am a horribly slow kayaker. We learned from previous races that the blow-up kayaks are crap. This year we learned that a double kayak is faster than two singles. Always learning...

While crossing the lake from two to three, a girl in a double kayak asked me if I had done the race last year. I said yes. She said she had read my blog and recognized our t-shirts. WOO HOO!! A Little Diamond is famous! She thanked me for all the hints I posted. I was pleased but I would have been a lot more pleased if they weren't passing us while she thanked me!

This is checkpoint four. And yes, the water really was that green. It was full of algae.
I very s-l-o-w-l-y followed Irene to the last checkpoint. After stamping the passport, the teams all headed back to the dock. Irene, ever the map-genius, directed us to the edge of the lake that was nearest to the TA. This saved us a boatload of time (hee! a pun!) by not making me paddle all the way to the dock and not making Irene run the extra distance back to the TA. We took our chances that 2 lone kayaks would not be stolen in the next five hours and ran off. Once teams saw us do this, a few followed suit. Sometimes following people in front of you can be advantageous. Sadly, our fans (Pat, Brian and the kids) were waiting at the dock to see us.

Our next task was to run for some meters (I forget how many) at 348 degrees from the start line. This led us to an archery range. Oh god. Here we go....

Both team members had to get an arrow into the cardboard target. I went first. The helper-guy showed me how to load the bow and aim it. I kept aiming for #25 and he kept reminding me that my target was #30. Oops.
Archery. Yet another thing I suck at. I shot that arrow about a zillion times. If you click on the picture below, you'll see my arrow flying...follow it's trajectory....WAY past #30. Good god. This was gonna take forever.

Eventually I hit the building, pretty darn close to that cardboard. Hell, maybe I even hit the cardboard (I don't know, I can't see that far!!) because the guy told me that I was done. Or maybe he just pitied me.

Irene, of course, was good at archery. She's good at everything. It only took her 2 or 3 tries to hit the target.
We had to pick up all our spent arrows before we could leave. I think this took as long as it took me to shoot them all. There were A LOT of them and they were NOT close to the target. I suck.

The next part was trekking. We could do the checkpoints in any order. They were located on real trails in the park, so I wasn't too worried about finding them. The trail was easy:
The trails were so easy to follow that whenever the path went over rocks and boulders, there were white dots painted in a line so you wouldn't lose your way. (This was done by the park people, not the race people.) I had told Irene earlier that next time I wasn't going to let her carry the map anymore because she double-checks her plotting and our progress so often that she slows us down. She needs to trust herself, because she is always right the first time! We could save a lot of minutes if we weren't stopping to read the map so much. During the trek, she wanted to take a compass reading to make sure we were on the right track. I refused to stop to let her (I'm mean). As the two checkpoints were both on major trails, I was certain that we'd reach one of them with no problem, even if it wasn't the one that we were headed for and we could re-orient at that time. She was getting nervous and freaking out. And then all of a sudden we see this:
A posted map. On an adventure race. Really?? Again, this is part of the park, not something the race organizers did, but still. However, it calmed Irene down and showed her that we were, in fact, on the right trail. :) We found trekking checkpoint two and then one with no problem. This seemed to be the way to do it, because the people who were doing one first seemed to be unsure of where they were and if they were on track. Maybe the maps were only in the direction we chose?

The hiking was very pretty:

After the trekking, we did another mystery event. We had to transport a marble and a golf ball the length of the baseball infield by rolling them along 1/2 PVC pipes. You couldn't move your feet when the ball was on your PVC pipe. We moved slowly, but we never dropped a ball so we didn't have to start over. Not our most shining moments of mystery events, but it could certainly have been worse!

And then there was biking. Ugh. Biking. Lots of biking.

I am pleased to say that this year I was much better at the biking than last year. Not good enough to take any pictures while out there, but I did manage to bike at least 75% of the time and walk my bike only 25%! The cutoff time for the short course was 2:00. It was getting pretty close to that time when we got our last bike checkpoint. We saw some teams heading out on the bike portion while we were on our way back in, so we took this as a good sign that we were not going to be last. And based on the number of teams we saw still out, it was possible we were top half as well.

Here we are at the finish line. We finished at 1:45. Irene decided we didn't have enough time to get any bonus point checkpoints so the race was over - 4 hours and 45 minutes.

I still don't know if we got top half (hoping we got top third!!) because the times aren't posted yet. I'll keep you updated when they finally post the splits. There are nine divisions and we don't know how we ranked against the others, but we did get first place for our division - 2 person female team! Yay, us!


*Edited to add: We got 7th place out of 36 teams! Definitely met the goal of top half! Woooo Hooooo!!!!