Fun Night at the Bowlerama

I’m not even sure how it happened, but we took first place this year!

Yes. We did. The Ball Busters!

We only do it for the fun of it. We’re there for the laughs and to enjoy a few drinks. We’re loud. We lack any serious skills. We come early and stay late. And we usually end up placing somewhere near the bottom of the ladder. But we’re on the top rung this year! First place, Baby!

The season is divided into two halves. On the last night of the season, while the other teams get to goof off and do silly things just for fun, the team who placed first in the first half of the season, rolls off against the team who placed first in the second half. That is, unless it’s the same team placing first in each half. Then there’s no roll-off and everyone gets to play along in the Fun Night festivities.

We won both halves and first place is ours, (in case you hadn’t caught on to that fact already!) In all seriousness, we pulled it together this year. Alishea and I both pushed our averages higher than ever before. And when the team bowled well, we knocked it out of the park. We had fun while still managing to improve our games.

So Fun Fight was all about having fun. A few weeks before, the team responsible for organizing the activities approached me and asked what our team did last year when it was the Ball Busters’ turn to coordinate the festivities. I couldn’t remember off the top of my head, but promised to print off the flyer I’d saved on my computer and bring it the following week. Apparently they  decided not to mess with a good thing. Fun Night 2014 was an exact copy of Fun Night 2013. And we had so much fun!

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We played 9-Pin No Tap with prizes for high and low scores. Then we played Alternate Ball, where instead of throwing two balls each, the first bowler threw a ball, and then the next would finish the frame and so on.

Then we played Opposite Hand Bowling, where right-handers were required to throw with their left hand, and left-handers were required to throw with their right. Sheila got so caught up in laughing at one of the other girl’s attempts to bowl with an unfamiliar hand, that she forgot to switch hands herself. The whole league booed her after she threw a perfect strike with her dominant hand. Jodi made sure Sheila didn’t forget again. She tied Sheila’s wrist to her belt loop while we all howled with laughter.

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Sheila’s wearing her CHICKS WITH BALLS tournament shirt!

Oddly enough, I bowled pretty well with my opposite hand. I scored over a hundred while many others struggled to keep their balls out of the gutter. Who knew? We laughed. We got silly beyond silly. And we remembered why we do this. It’s not for the prize money. It’s not for the competition. Okay, maybe it’s a little bit for the competition. We do it to get out of the house and put a little excitement in our weekly routines. It’s about being together, doing something fun with women from all walks of life, building new friendships and strengthening the old ones.

And we’ll be back next fall to do it all over again!

The Big Bowling Event of the Year

It’s state tournament time and I was invited to go along for the second year with nine other “girls.”

We had a good time and skill isn’t a requirement, just to give some perspective. Each player has to enter the tournament using last year’s average, unless this year’s average is ten or more points above last year’s. Mine wasn’t, (just barely wasn’t,) soI was registered with a 143 average.

This year’s tournament is based out of a local casino/hotel/bowling alley. (NICE bowling alley, I have to say!) Our ringleader got us registered and booked three hotel rooms to be shared among the ten of us. We weren’t scheduled to bowl until Saturday, but in order to make a girls weekend out of it, we stayed Friday night too. Some of the girls were looking forward to gambling. Others, including me, planned to see a country music band that was playing in the casino’s lounge on Friday night before bowling began the next day.

I don’t do casinos. I’ve only been to one a handful of times in my life. So I either didn’t know or failed to remember that smoking is allowed in them. As we checked out a few slot machines and later hung out listening to the band, I realized that the vast majority of casino guests were in fact smoking. Cigarettes, cigars, you name it. There was a lot of smoke. And I’m not judging anyone for the habit, it’s just that it’s really overwhelming to be exposed to that much smoke in an enclosed place for an extended period of time. To top it off, our room reservations weren’t submitted in time for us to get non-smoking rooms. Plenty of sneezing, and red, watery eyes ensued.

We hung out near the band until 1:30 in the morning. For a non-night owl like me, that was a really late night! But thanks, I thought, to all that smoke, I woke up Saturday morning feeling slightly sick.

We were scheduled to bowl the team event on Saturday afternoon. By the time we were starting, I had a full-blown headache. I popped as many Tylenol as I dared just before we began to play. As the three games went on, the headache grew worse. I couldn’t even think about how I was bowling or what I needed to do to bowl well. All I could do was think how much I wanted to be done so I could go back to our room and try to sleep off the headache. Ironically, I bowled out of my mind and even earned a pin for bowling a 200 game!

200 Pin

After the team event was finished, I was beyond miserable. While some of the other girls headed back to the casino, I crawled under the covers and buried my head between two pillows to drown out the noise being made by some of our team mates in the adjoining room. (Ours was a wild, slap-happy, LOUD group of ladies.) And I was having one of the worst headaches I could ever remember! I managed to fall asleep for a while and escape the throbbing in my temples.

A few hours later, around 10:30, a bunch of girls returned to the room, bringing along some friends of ours from our Monday bowling league that they’d run into in the casino. As I extracted myself from under pillows and blankets, I tried to breathe, but couldn’t. I tried to talk but could barely. The headache was a little better, but still hanging on. Michelle insisted I had a caffeine headache because I hadn’t had my usual one cup of coffee that morning. I told her I didn’t typically drink enough caffeine to be suffering a withdrawal headache, but she kept insisting I needed some. More to appease her than anything, because she was feeling pretty good and maybe couldn’t remember that she’d already insisted several times that I have some caffeine, I opened a Diet Coke and sipped on it while my team mates were sipping on stronger beverages and whooping it up. And dang if my headache didn’t improve significantly over the next hour! I could have kissed Michelle! (But I didn’t!)

Thanks to my headache, the nap, and the avoidance of alcoholic beverages practiced in fear of making the headache worse, I was one of the few who woke up on Sunday morning without at least a mild hangover. In fact, I felt like a million bucks! Feeling that good, I was sure I could pull off another impressive performance for the singles and doubles events that day.

But it wasn’t to be. Oh, I didn’t embarrass myself or anything. I just bowled about average. And besides, I had fun, which is the most important thing. Thankfully, some of the other girls pulled off some impressive games, so we should come out of this thing alright. As long as we earn enough to pay for our hotel rooms next year, we’ll be happy!

Bowling is Right Up Our Alley

I was running a little later than I’d planned and found myself watching the clock as I headed for the freeway entrance. The newbies were going to be there and I’d promised to show up a bit early in case anyone felt uncomfortable walking in amongst a group of strangers. I pulled into the parking lot and immediately noticed Alishea just stepping out of her car. Good. I wasn’t totally late!

We walked in together through the bar entrance and there they were, the lady bowlers! It was so good to see them after a summer apart! Hugs and hellos were exchanged as friends caught up with one another’s’ summer adventures. Soon, our secretary announced that the season kick-off meeting was ready to begin and she herded everyone into the banquet room.

There have been a few changes since we were last together. We’re a small league and we only had five teams last season, as few as the management would allow while still supporting us as a league. When at the end of last season, a few of our bowlers announced they weren’t returning, it looked like we were going to be down to four teams. A few of the girls were left without a team and it looked like our league might have to fold. I love this league. I wasn’t letting it go without a fight.

As soon as I knew we were in trouble, I started asking everyone I knew if they were interested in joining our Monday women’s bowling league. One of my favorite coworkers, Belinda enthusiastically agreed to join. Three girls from our Saturday couples league were interested. And one woman who I met at the state tournament last spring and who had passed me her phone number, agreed to join, even though she didn’t quite remember me when I called her a couple of weeks ago.

We had a fifth team again!

Our first order of business was to introduce the newbies – Megan, Jodi, Dori, Belinda and Alice – and they were graciously welcomed. The “orphans” from last season whose team had disbanded were absorbed into vacant spots on two of the other returning teams. Once the teams were established, we reviewed the bylaws and voted to do away with a few rules, like the one that says you have to wear a team shirt or pin, or else pay a dollar for each time you’re caught “out of uniform.” None of the other leagues require team shirts anymore. And being as we’re such a small league, this rule wasn’t a money-maker anyway. Everyone was glad for the new “free-dress” rule.

Some of the standard, but necessary rules were reiterated, like the one that says a late bowler can make up her missed frames as long as she arrives and starts before the end of the fifth frame. Everyone looked at one person and shouted, “GLORIA!” The room erupted in laughter. Gloria is eternally late for bowling.

Responsibilities for Fun Nite and the end-of-season banquet were handed out. My team is in charge of the banquet this year. Seems like every year we end up running one or the other. But we don’t mind. Our team puts on the best fun nights and banquets. Everyone always tells us so.

Once the bylaws were finalized, I agreed to do my presidential duty and type them up all nice and pretty within two weeks, just in time for the first night of bowling. The meeting adjourned and we headed back to the bar for some drinks and to continue the conversations that seemed to never want to end.  It’s going to be a fun season!

Us and our favorite opponents

Us and our favorite opponents

“Twin” Bowlers

Maybe because I’ve spent so much time worrying about my parents lately, Monday bowling league was an especially welcome break this week. Of course, I always enjoy Monday night bowling. It’s fun! It’s girls night! What’s not to love?

Our team loves the Who’s Up? team. They are a group of women who have been friends for a long, long time. Most of them are retired now and they come together every Monday for bowling and friendship. They are fun and funny and always seem to be laughing. They tell stories and make jokes and sometimes they dance a little bit. (I asked Carol to do the Mashed Potato one time and without missing a beat, she did!) We Ball Busters have a strong admiration for these ladies and the feeling seems to be very mutual. We always joke that if the league ever breaks up, our two teams would happily continue to show up every Monday anyway and just bowl against each other week after week.

A while ago, someone decided that each Ball Buster had a “twin sister” on Who’s Up?. We each relate to one of the ladies in some way. Joan claimed Carol as her twin. Alishea claimed Gloria, (probably because they’re each the youngster on their teams!) I claimed Marje, and she instantly welcomed me as her “sister.”

Last week we realized our teams would be bowling against each other. Someone decided we should dress alike and we each agreed to wear the same color as our twin. (This didn’t end up being as impressive in reality as was imagined, but it was fun anyway.) And so last night we bowled. We were, of course, the last ones done bowling, because there was so much talking and laughter and lollygagging. We beat ‘em two to one resulting in a tie for second place in the current standings. When it was all said and done, we commemorated the evening with a photo.

Bowling Buddies!

Bowling Buddies!

That’s Michelle and Sharon in pink, Joan and Carol in “pure-as-the-driven-snow” white, (Cough! Cough!) and Alishea and Gloria in red. I’m next to Marje in the back, wearing yellow and Pat and Lori wore black. Over the course of just a few years, seeing each other once a week, we’ve come to know a bit about each other’s lives and formed a special bond. These women are a big part of why I love to bowl so much.

My Little, Fuzzy, Yellow Godsend

Connor took a bowling class at college last semester and has become somewhat of a fanatic. I can’t say I’m displeased! We got him a bowling ball for Christmas.

Mark’s bowling ball suffered some damage from a ball return recently. He had it repaired but was told not to expect the repair job to last forever. I got Mark a new bowling ball for Christmas.

I’ve been complaining for a year about needing new bowling shoes. While at the pro-shop buying Connor’s Christmas present, I pointed out to Mark a pair of shoes that I liked and thought I might buy after Christmas. Mark got me new bowling shoes for Christmas. (We should be on the preferred customer list at the pro-shop now!)

We’ve got all this new stuff. And Connor has been suggesting for a few days that we should all go bowling. And since he and Kacey are home on break from school right now, the four of us went bowling last night.

The only one not all that interested in bowling is Kacey. She inherited my old shoes, but other than that has none of her own equipment. And whenever she bowls, she complains afterwards that her fingers hurt. And still, she bowled a 165 with a house ball and beat all of us in one game. Connor and Mark are just getting used to their new bowling balls. That was their excuse. My new shoes were great, but I am still struggling with pain from my recent back strain and so I blame my substandard performance on muscles that refuse to relax.

My chiropractor says I’m suffering from Sciatica, most likely the result of a pinched nerve. Last week the worst pain was in my lower back but over the last few days it has moved to the back of my leg. While at the chiropractor, I learned some stretches that are supposed to provide some relief, but so far, they haven’t done much. I was miserable as I bowled my first game. I could barely bend over to release my ball and was limping around in pain. I was almost ready to call it quits when I discovered something about the hard plastic seats that surround each set of lanes. While I was sitting and waiting for my next turn, if I sat forward just so, the edge of the seat dug into the back of my leg and put pressure on my strained muscle in such a way that felt SO amazingly good. Finally, finally something that provided a reprieve from the radiating ache that hadn’t let up for ten days. I wondered how I could get that chair home with me…

I was so happy to sit there, stretch my leg forward and bounce it up and down on the seat edge that I stopped paying attention to the game. Kacey finally asked me what I was doing and I explained that I had discovered a way to (at least temporarily) help me stop being such a whiner.

I suddenly remembered this little wooden ladybug that we had at home. It is supposed to be used for giving massages but no one ever uses it and its whereabouts were uncertain. I thought about how good it would feel to jam that wooden ladybug  into the knot of muscles in my leg and I asked Kacey if she knew where it was. She said, “Maybe in the upstairs linen closet, or maybe in the downstairs linen closet, or maybe in your bedroom closet.”

“So you don’t know where it is,” I stated. She shrugged.

“You should book a massage at the chiropractor’s office,” Mark said.

“I don’t want to spend a hundred dollars to have a stranger dig into the back of my leg,” I said. “Besides, I’ve already paid for two chiropractic visits that have been marginally helpful.”

I was beginning to accept that the chiropractor was right. I’m getting older (just a tiny bit) and things like this are just going to take longer to heal than they did a few years ago.

“You should sit on a tennis ball,” Kacey suggested.

I felt my face light up. “That’s genius,” I said! I knew it would be perfect, and I just so happened to have a container of tennis balls in the laundry room at home. (That’s where you keep your tennis balls, right? You know, for putting in the dryer with down jackets and such!)

Once at home, I immediately grabbed one of the fuzzy yellow balls and positioned it underneath my thigh as I sat in my recliner. Such a simple little object was the answer to my prayers. Two visits to the chiropractor, many sleepless nights and plenty of complaining and it turns out that all I really needed was to sit on a tennis ball.

I slept well last night for the first time in almost two weeks. The first thing I did when I woke up was find my little yellow masseuse and take it with me to the chair to loosen things up again. I was happy, happy, happy!

Apparently this is a well-known remedy. WHY didn't anyone tell me this sooner?

Apparently this is a well-known remedy. WHY didn’t anyone tell me this sooner?

As I prepared to leave for work today, I put my tote bag on the kitchen floor and tossed in some things to help get me through the work day – a big bottle of water, my lunch and… (light bulb!) my little, yellow masseuse. Bella was whining for some attention, so I scooped her up and carried her to Kacey’s room so she could snuggle up in bed with her. I came back to the kitchen and grabbed my bag and almost headed out the door when I realized that Lucy wasn’t on my heels like usual and pleading with those puppy dog eyes for me to take her along. In fact, it occurred to me that as I’d descended the stairs to the foyer, Lucy seemed oddly content,considering my impending departure, as she stretched out on the living room floor, playing with one of her toys.

I made a quick trip back up the steps to check on her and make sure she was okay and not eating something she shouldn’t be eating.

And she was just fine! While I was busy making sure Bella was happy and comfy, Lucy had taken advantage of my moment of inattention. She stuck her face into my tote bag and stole my tennis ball! I couldn’t help but laugh, even though she looked up at me sadly as I rescued the ball before she could remove the cover from it, which would have happened in short order had I not realized what she’d done.

At work, I laid claim to a good chair that seemed like it needed a home. And then I happily sat on my tennis ball all day long. Happy, happy, happy!

Filling Up the Fun Tank

During all those years the kids were growing up, we were busy. It was important to me that my children be involved in “activities.” When we were growing up, my siblings and I didn’t get to join clubs or teams. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal, but from my kid-perspective, I felt as if I’d missed out on something. I was going to make sure my kids didn’t miss out on those experiences. Between the three of them, there were sports. You name it. They tried it all – soccer, baseball, softball, football, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, roller hockey, karate – and thankfully, they chose a few and stuck with them. They developed some talents and made some true friends in the process. There were also a few years of boy scouts and girl scouts. There were school productions, summer camps and there were church functions. Mission accomplished. My kids were active!

As parents of three busy kids, Mark and I spent our free time chaperoning them to practices, games and a multitude of events, not to mention all of the social activities that came as a result of all of this involvement. I often wondered when there would be time for me. 

Well, over the past year, my time has become mine again. I relish those pockets of quiet, uncommitted time to do anything or nothing. And believe it or not, I sometimes find myself actually feeling bored. After so many years of coordinating all the aspects of our life around the needs of three young people, I often forget that I now have the freedom to go out again and immerse myself in new experiences, soak up new knowledge, stay up late (though I don’t have much desire for that) and have fun without worrying who or what might suffer as a result. Which makes me glad that we have our bowling league to alleviate this occasional new-found boredom.

I do a lot of bowling, being a member of both a women’s league and a mixed league from September through April, and a member of a summer league as well. Our mixed league bowls every other Saturday which means, having a husband who is required to work every other weekend, any of our free weekends are spent at the bowling alley. I sometimes think it would be nice to do something other than bowl on a Saturday night when Mark is off work. The problem is, we still haven’t learned to plan ahead. If left to our own devices, we’d probably spend many a Saturday night at home, in our recliners, channel surfing. So I’m  mostly glad that we have a regularly scheduled “date” every other Saturday.

Elf AnnieWhen I was growing up, other than church, my parents didn’t have regular commitments to socialize with their peers. This was not because they were antisocial, but more likely due to their financial restraints. But I think because of their example, making a long-term commitment to an organized group felt foreign to me at first. I initially struggled with feelings that there was something I should be doing as opposed to being out gallivanting, as my parents used to refer to my social activities. But the longer I remain involved, the more I realize the importance of doing things like this. It gives me a chance to fill up the fun tank, to connect with others who share similar interests and who are at a similar stage in life. And it’s fun! I relax. I smile. I laugh a lot! We are very comfortable around one another and there’s no shortage of hugging and good-natured teasing. Our bowling friends really know how to have a good time and I look forward to seeing what crazy things someone will do each week. This weekend, Buddy the Elf (aka, our friend, Ann) showed up to bowl!

I truly enjoy being a part of my bowling leagues. I have a chance to have “girl” time with the women’s league. And we’ve made some great friendships in the mixed league. It’s more than bowling. On Saturdays, a bunch of us bowlers get together early for happy hour and dinner before bowling. And after an evening of competition and fun, we usually reconvene after the games just because we enjoy spending time together. It’s the kind of thing that helps feed the soul. It allows us to put aside work, stress, worries and life’s obligations for a while and helps us to re-energize so that we’re more able to tackle the things life throws our way throughout the week.

And it also doesn’t hurt that I’m bowling really well these past few weeks. My average has jumped up ten points in recent weeks and I’m holding top positions for high game and high series among the women in our mixed league! Our Saturday team has now won 24 straight games and has climbed from the bottom of the barrel to gunning for first place position. But as long as we’re having fun, that’s all that really matters. ;-)

To become a good bowler or just keep having fun?

I bowl for the fun of it. That’s what I always say. I bowl in two leagues just because it’s that much fun to get together with my bowling friends, have a few drinks and share a lot of laughs. When one of my teams isn’t doing so well in the standings, we console each other by saying, “But we’re having fun!”

Bowing is fun for me, but the truth is, I love the challenge of it all too. Before I was a bowler,I didn’t know how much of a challenge the game could be. It was easy enough for me to learn the basics of the game. But once I started to experience small successes, I wanted more!

Bowling is a fickle game! You can figure out exactly what works for you. You find just the right ball. You learn how to fit your fingers inside, how to position your hand as you hold it, and how to maintain that grip as you begin to swing your arm back. You learn to bend your knees and get your body down. You learn that how you swing your arm has a big impact on how the ball travels. You learn the exact moment when you need to release the ball. You figure out how close up or how far back to stand on the approach. You find your mark on the lane and you learn how to throw your ball over that same mark time after time.  And just when you find the recipe for success, your ball still doesn’t go where it’s supposed to and that big strike remains elusive! Why? Because you remember the oil on the lane and how it tends to break down over the course of a few games and then you have to adjust everything you’re doing to accommodate for that oil!

As a friend of mine described it, you have that split second just before you release the ball when you know if it is going to be a good bowl or not. Yet that instant of time does not seem to be under your control.  You do not have enough time to change anything.

That is exactly why I love the game. As much as I’ll insist to everyone and anyone that I’m just doing this for fun, there’s more to it. I want to conquer that split second and lack of control.

Bowling is so frustrating at times. I can consciously focus on everything I’ve learned over the past four years, put it all together and still not have success. Over the past month, I have barely been bowling my average. I get up there and silently tell myself all of the things I need to remember. Look at your mark, not the pins. Bend your knees. Pace yourself – don’t approach too fast. Let your arm be a pendulum. Don’t grip the ball too tightly. Release the ball just as your hand is above the line. KEEP SWINGING THAT ARM UPWARD EVEN AFTER THE BALL IS RELEASED! Stay down! Don’t pop up when you let go of the ball. 

Wikipedia

I can do all of those things and still, my ball misses the pocket. Or worse – it hits the pins just where I want it to hit and yet they don’t all fall down.

And then there are times, like last night,when I just keep doing what I always do. At least, I don’t think I was doing anything differently than I always do. But for some reason, the pins just kept falling. I bowled strike after strike. And when I didn’t bowl a strike, I picked up my spares. I left very few open frames and bowled far above my average all three games.

One of the guys on the team we bowled against, Bobby is a pretty serious bowler. He always bowls well over 200. As I bowled last night, he kept telling me how well I was doing. After each game, he made sure to tell me, “NICE game, Terri!”

We swept the other team, beating them all three games. When it was all over, Bobby took my scores and began to figure out how much my average would increase after the night’s games. He seemed seriously impressed with my bowling!

And as good as it felt to be complimented by a “good” bowler, I didn’t let it go to my head. Because this is how bowling goes. You bowl really great one night and think you’ve really figured it all out. And then you come back the next time, and the game has to put you back in your place and let you know that you will never really conquer it.

And that’s okay. Because whether or not I ever conquer this game, I always have fun!

Bowling Skillz!

I just couldn’t let this one go by without a mention -

My summer bowling team has achieved first place!

1st Place, Baby!

That’s us – Well Oiled - up there in the yellow highlight. Have I mentioned this year’s team name? I think I might have. It was a compromise after much discussion. Team member Preacher Dave who is not really a preacher insisted we have a “good” team name this year. We didn’t let new member Troy participate in the team name choosing because he’s the new guy. Also, I don’t think he cared. Dave had lots of ideas but I rejected all of his potential team names due to the fact that they all contained the F-word and/or references to sex. Dave is a highly intelligent man. He’s an architectural engineer who owns his own business. I think his use of naughty words at the bowling alley makes him feel as if he’s rebelling just a little bit. I think Dave’s inner bad boy comes out at the bowling alley. And if his wife knew the team names he suggested, she would beat the crap out of him. Dave would say he could take her. I’ve met her. She totally could beat the crap out of him. But Dave is constantly defending his toughness, saying he may be thin, but he’s “wiry.”

I’ll let you be the judge. Preacher Dave – Intimidating or not?

 

I’m pretty sure I could take him. In fact I punched him last night. He punched me first. But he was the only one who grabbed his shoulder and whined, “OWWW!”

Anyway, this first place business … I was actually shocked to see this. I read the standings and then hollered over to Dave, “Hey, guess what place we’re in!”

“Ummm, I dunno. Twelfth?”

(Twelfth place is actually a legitimate guess. Trust me.)

So when I revealed that we were actually in first place, he insisted I take a picture and text-message it to Troy who was absent due to being on a fishing vacation in Canada. Fishing in Canada over bowling? Where are the man’s priorities.

And actually, I should clarify that we were in first place for one lovely week, but lost that honor straight-away when we got our butts handed to us last night. So you can see why it was so important to make note of the prestigious but fleeting first place honors.

Oh well. We don’t bowl for the prestige. We bowl for the fun of it. And we are really good at having fun. Unfortunately, there’s no ranking system for being fun. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Summer Days

We are right in the heart of summer and I’m loving it!

My friend, Kendra invited me to her house last weekend. Her neighborhood is built around a 25-acre lake and she asked if I wanted to come worship the sun with her. (I did.) Mark had gone back to work after having several weekends off. The kids were off doing their own thing. It was perfect timing and turned out to be an absolutely perfect, sun-shiny and hot summer day!

Lake Anne

The lake was so quiet and clear! As we floated out on our rafts, I could look into the water and watch schools of little Bass and Sunfish swimming by. One of them tried to eat my leg, but it didn’t hurt. It just surprised me!  Kendra and I talked and laughed and reminisced together for hours! Kendra has a fabulous summer tan going on, but my skin hasn’t seen much sun yet. I brought my sunscreen and applied it several times, but apparently not often enough for the amount of time I spent in and on the water. I spent the next three days suffering the sting of a decent sunburn but now have a decent tan to show for it.

At home in the back yard, the bird feeders are a busy hang-out for the local creatures. We’re having trouble keeping them filled! The squirrels aren’t helping matters. The little Red Squirrel isn’t making any friends either.

Red Squirrel

… chasing a Grey Squirrel …

… establishing dominance!

And even with weather as beautiful as we’ve had, there is still bowling! Summer league is almost done and it’s been a big challenge. I did well last night though.

TURKEY!

The game in the picture above ended with a score of 194 for me! My other games were in the 150s and 170s. I’m always happy to bowl just for the fun of it, but it’s always nice to score well too!

Good Weekend

I had a good weekend. I had a nice, contented feeling that’s been lacking in recent weeks. This weekend wasn’t particularly special, but it was busy. And Mark and Jake were actually around some. I get in a rut when no one is home and there’s nothing in particular to do.

I attempted running again on Saturday morning, and that turned out pretty nicely.

After my run, Mark and I attended a funeral for the mother of a friend. Her death wasn’t entirely unexpected, but still understandably difficult for our friend.

After the funeral, we started in on the normal weekend chores – cleaning, laundry and such. I can’t say as I have ever enjoyed such chores, but I used to feel some satisfaction at completing them. Lately, I just don’t seem to care as much. I still always do my chores, but lately it’s been with a definite sense of drudgery. This weekend, my motivation returned. I turned on some music and tackled the to-do list.

It certainly wasn’t the weather that boosted my mood. I’m usually energized by the sun, but there was little of it the past two days. And there was rain! Lots of it! While I was doing chores on Saturday afternoon, I would periodically take a break in the living room to watch Friday Night Lights with Jake. (I’ve seen the movie plenty of times, but it’s one that I can watch over and over.) During one such break, Jake and I were watching the movie and Lucy was busy on the living room floor, chomping on a new bone I’d bought for her. The skies had grown very dark and suddenly there was  blinding flash of light followed by a deafening boom that sounded like it happened right outside the windows. Lucy bolted upright and started barking. She was trying to be brave, but within seconds she was plastered between my legs, gazing warily out the windows. And then the rain came down… big, heavy drops of rain in showers so heavy it made the world outside the window go out of focus. The worst of it let up within a half hour or so, but rain continued to fall off and on all weekend long.

Saturday evening brought some fun! It was the end-of-season banquet for our Saturday bowling league. We met up early with several of our bowling friends at the restaurant and ordered drinks. Then we went to the banquet room and had a great meal. I was reelected as vice president of the league, which only means that I’ll be responsible for planning fun night again, a job that I really enjoy. I earned several awards for various bowling accomplishments, which means that in spite of the ups and downs of my bowling abilities, I’ve improved over the last year.

After the banquet, we went back out to the bar and lounge where a local band was playing. They played a lot of music from the sixties and seventies. Most of the guys weren’t too interested in dancing, as guys tend not to be. But a few of them were not only willing, but very able to dance. Those guys took turns hauling each of us women out onto the dance floor and in spite of some of the music and dance styles being not quite my speed, I had a great time! We didn’t get home until well after midnight.

Sunday morning, I was “gently” awakened by Lucy. She decided to cozy up right in the middle of the bed between Mark and me. I love that my dog does such cute, loving things, but I wasn’t ready to be awake. Still, there was no falling back to sleep at that point.

Sunday turned out to be a mellow day. I was in a fog, feeling my age after a night out “partying” and feeling some previously unused muscles protesting after an unexpected run the day before. I finished up a few chores, did some grocery shopping and otherwise allowed myself to relax and do nothing. At one point, Mark caught me curled up in the recliner under my fleece blanket, watching Gilmore Girls

“Really,” he asked? “Is this what you’re doing with your day?”

“Shut up,” I teased. “Yes it is. It’s my weekend and I can do nothing if I want to.”

I don’t like too much nothing, but sometimes nothing is just what I need. And nothing was just the perfect wind-down to this weekend.