First batch of Jie Sen Pottery

Three cups/bowls

Roughly a month in the making, my first pottery pieces sat waiting for me on my shelf at the studio this afternoon. I'm jazzed! The photos and descriptions are below.

Some of them delight me, others disappoint me, but I learned several valuable glazing lessons with this first batch.

Stoneware shallow bowl and tea caddy (glaze error)Here are two pieces. Atop the clear-green glazed shallow bowl is a tea caddy I glazed with a tenmoku approximation. Because I layered the glaze too thin, a black/brown glaze turned eggplant, and has the look and actual texture of mussel shell. It's a neat effect I didn't intend. It does a look a little like a witch in this color...maybe I should add a warted nose?

The shallow bowl was meant for use in Taiwan-style cha xi. I envisioned it holding a small pot, proud to be the bland background that made the pot's clay pop. However, the clear glaze was contaminated with some green glaze, and I got this yellow-green bowl that also shrank too much to be used with any but the smallest of pots. I don't know what to do with it now, but it's pretty.

2-Glaze shallow bowlThis shallow bowl has a lip. It's also a little useless, except maybe to hold olive oil and spices for bread dipping, or some other sauce/dip use. A clear-green glaze coats it, and brown line is a streak of tenmoku. The glaze interestingly crackled, as is seen in the detail photo.

I like the idea of this piece, and I think I'll repeat the effect with a thicker application of tenmoku on the exterior for more drama. I do like the ghost-under-the-glaze feel it gives the bottom of the interior of the bowl, though.

2-Glaze Shallow bowl interior

The two pieces below are two teacups, one in a thin brush of white glaze and the other in a combination of clear and straw glazes.

Two teacups: white and straw glazes Teacup, brushed white glaze Teacup, straw glaze

I'm happy with both of these. The white brush design is impromptu but balanced, and the straw glaze's uneven application complements the uneven finger lines on its cup. Both say "organic", but the white cup speaks to organic decoration while the straw cup speaks to organic form. UPDATE 9/2/08: The white brushed cup has found a loving owner, one of my coworkers who called it her favorite of the batch!

Chawan with impromptu decoration, interior and lip glazed

This chawan is probably my favorite piece. I made the decoration without thought, and when the pressure from the circular indentations threw the piece off-center, I was annoyed. But in the end, I think the lines display the clay's nature despite the unintentional imbalance.

The piece below is yet another small bowl, thrown by me and decorated by Davin. He used two glazes like paint and covered the whole piece in a third glaze, the clear contaminated with green. The result was the slight ripple at the lip you see on the piece. I like the way the clear glaze shows off the specks of iron in the clay. I've also shown you a closeup of the lip, which Davin chose to leave bare, so your bare lip touches the naked clay.

Small bowl with three glazes Small bowl, three glazes, detail of unglazed lip

I made three other pieces. One suffered an odd fate: a lidded jar, the jar expanded in the kiln, dropping the lid to the bottom, where it stuck. Two other pieces I glazed using a thick coat of the white, but the glaze developed pinholes and looked gross.

More photos when they're ready...for now, here's my current signature:


Much Ado About Nothing...

I finally did it! I got my stupid little signature at the bottom of my posts.

Big deal, right? I agree, but little did I know what a pain in the a-- it would be to get it there!

Like so many other things in life, that SEEM like they would be easy, this turned out to be pretty darn time consuming. Do you know what I'm talking about? It's like when you want to get some simple white plates or a basic black cardigan, and you end up going to 30 stores to find the right thing. 3 hours later you still haven't completed the "simple" little task you set out to complete.

Thanks to Mrs. K and Clemson Girl for leading me to My Live Signature. They have a great selection of fonts. Unfortunately, the html code generated by kept putting a border around my signature. It was really getting on my nerves. After all my effort and frustration, you would think I would give up. After all, who the hell cares if I have a signature at the bottom of my posts? I know, it's STUPID, but I couldn't give up.

Luckily Maria from Immoral Matriarch stepped in and led me to Judith at The Only Thing I Know. Judith designs blogs (she did mine and I love it!) and she has tutorials on her website.

Sooo, I used her tutorial, tweaked it, tweaked it again, and again and again...and finally-I GOT THE GOD DAMNED SIGNATURE.

I know, if we were at a cocktail party and I was telling you this story, you would have excused yourself to go to the bathroom three paragraphs ago. But this is my blog and I can be boring if I want to!

Anyway, thanks so much for reading this post. I promise next time YOU do a boring post I'll read the whole thing.


I need your assistance!

I want to put a cute little signature at the bottom of my posts. How do I do it?

Footnote: I made some signatures and each time I put in the code I get a box around it. How do I make a signature without a border??? See example:

I'm floored!

This isn't a political blog, so I haven't commented on the upcoming presidential election. I mean the US Open is on, so I can only take so much excitement.

That being said, I LOVE drama, so I am really excited about John McCain's choice for a running mate. Sarah Palin is a really interesting woman. No matter what your party affiliation, you have to admit, her story is really intriguing. She is definitely not your run of the mill politician.

I was glued to the DNC the past few nights, but now I'm really hooked.

I genuinely hope the American public uses their right to vote, and that they vote for the candidate they feel is right for the job. It shouldn't be about race or gender, but let's not fool ourselves, some people choose their candidates based on some pretty lame criteria.

How exciting is it that this January we will either have a black president, or a female vice-president? In either case, it's about time and history WILL be made!

What do you think about this new twist in the race for the White House?

Any opinions on Obama's speech last night? Let's get down and dirty! But not too dirty, remember this is a family friendly blog :) (And remember, we're all in this together!)

My idea of heaven....

I've had a day filled with school orientation, food shopping, playdates and housework. Meg is having a friend sleep over, so there is no end in sight.

I've been running around like a chicken all day, and now it's time to reward myself.

I have in my possession Star Magazine's "Best and Worst Beach Bodies" issue, People Magazine's September STYLE WATCH and a HUGE iced coffee.

And now, god willing, I am going to lounge on the couch and entertain myself looking at celebrity cellulite.

How awesome is my life?

I love you just the way you are....

Today was Meg's 4th grade orientation at her Middle School. (4th-8th grades).

As we walked into the cafeteria, lots of girls came running up to us to say hello. I could tell they were really happy to see Meg. I wish she could have shown some enthusiasm when they greeted her, but she was really serious. I could see she was feeling anxious. It was really chaotic and loud in the room, and she HATES chaos.

Teacher assignments were handed out and I got to see which girls are in her class. Of course there is a "mean girl" in the mix. The same girl who hit Meg in the head with a jacket last year. I'll be keeping my eye on her this year. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to avoid dealing with nasty kids. There's at least one in every class. Thankfully the teacher does not tolerate nonsense and is pretty in tune with any bullying that goes on in her classroom.

There are three girls in her class that she loves and that she's very close with. Despite the fact that they wanted to hang out with her she clung by my side like glue during the entire orientation. I tried my best to get her over with the gang, but to no avail.

That's the hard part of being a mom. She is going to deal with things in her own way. I can guide her, but I can't FORCE her to handle things the way I would like her to. I hoped she would play team sports, like soccer or softball, it was a no go. I'd like her to be a little more outgoing in a crowd, but I can't MAKE IT HAPPEN. She is who she is, which is a funny, smart, creative little girl, who does things at her own pace. I always give her the opportunity to try things, and then she decides what she wants to do.

She always surprises me, like last year when she was chosen out of the entire third grade to sing the solo at the Christmas Concert. I was impressed that she even auditioned, and floored when she had the nerve to get up in front of 500 people and sing her little heart out. Or when after years of encouragement she announced that she would be joining the swim team and the cheerleading squad.

As she enters Middle School I can offer her support and words of advice, but she will have to handle things in her own way. Thus far it's served her well. She usually makes very good choices. Choices that are right for her. I know I'm in for a bumpy ride. Middle school is a tough place. I want to help make it as positive for her as humanly possible.

Tomorrow, Catherine has her kindergarten orientation. I'm not worried about her being shy. Quite the opposite. I do wonder how she's going to handle school five days a week from 8:40 until 3:05. But that's a whole 'nother post.

So here I am, with two kids starting new schools in less than a week, I'm sure I'll be reaching out to you all for input and advice. We're all heading into a whole new world. Wish us luck.

Tennis Tuesday-Just what I need, another distraction!!

The US Open is in full swing (pun intended) and I'm having a hard time staying away from the TV. USA network has about 9 hours of coverage a day! That's pretty hard to resist.

It would be even better if I could go see it live, but there are about 800 factors which prevent me from doing so, including 2 kids, a ton of prep before school starts and the fact that decent tickets cost an arm and a leg!

Catherine was BEGGING to go hit tennis balls today, so I took her out and she is a natural. She just turned 5, so if we keep working, I'll have an in-house tennis buddy in a few years!

The summer is my slowest time tennis-wise, and I am counting the days until my leagues start up in the fall. I am so desperate to play that I even miss the tennis psychos from my spring team.

Tennis is the only form of exercise I get other than vacuuming, folding laundry and cleaning out the litter box and I need it desperately. It puts me in such a better mood when I play.

So I'll count the minutes until September 8th and keep myself busy with school shopping, haircuts, new school orientation and general motherly duties.
There's alot of work to be done.
If I can only stay away from the TV, and the drama of the US Open...

A Party Girl in Training...

We're back from vacation and I'm mired in the "back from vacation and school starts next week" I'll just tell a short little anecdote.

As I mentioned earlier, I attended Syracuse University my Freshman and Sophomore years. Since we were in the area, I took the family to see the campus and my sorority house. (Tri-Delt.)

The next day we cruised to Ithaca to have breakfast and walk around Cornell.

Cornell's campus is absolutely beautiful. My husband kept telling my daughters "if you study hard, you could go to college here!"

I commented that the students at Cornell looked so much more studious than the ones at SU. I said to my husband "at Syracuse it was all about the parties and shopping!!"

My eight year old daughter heard that and didn't miss a beat..."It is? Than I'm going to Syracuse!!!"

What can I say, she's her mother's daughter.

The Leaf, Issue 3...and tea with a friend

The third issue of The Leaf is online, and it contains an article I wrote about the anthropological field study Brian Kirbis conducted on Bulang Shan and the presentation and tasting at UC Berkeley that premiered his research here in the States.

I invited a friend over for tea on my only free evening this week--an increasingly uncommon phenomenon. Tea drinker, Thelemite, and type A individual, he hikes and mountain climbs on alternate weekends, works full time, is starting a business, does yoga daily, and otherwise stuffs his schedule to overfull. Understandbly, last night was the first time we met in over six months.

  1. Yongpin Hao Yiwu Mao Cha from Puerhshop
  2. "Monkey-Picked" Oolong from Chado
  3. Light-to-Medium-roasted San Lin Xi oolong
  4. 1996 Muzha Tie Guan Yin from Hou De Asian Art
  5. 70s/80s Guang Yun Gong

Too long had passed since I shared tea in a lengthy, tea-focused evening.

More later...?

Bloggin' on the road!

I couldn't wait to write about this, so hubby was kind enough to let me use his laptop for 5 minutes.

On our way back from SU we decided to check out the NY State Fair. Now I've been to some fairs in my day, but this one takes the cake!

NOT the place to be when you're on a diet.

I kid you not, they sold DEEP FRIED TWINKIES!!! Now I love me some junk food as much as the next girl, but DEEP FRIED TWINKIES!!! Sounds like cellulite and a heart attack all rolled into one sugar laden fat soaked ball of lard. Ewww.

I did partake in a caramel and peanut covered apple, a Sangria Slushie, pizza, funnel cake and and Rainbow Dippin' Dots . Needless to say, I didn't go on any rides. I don't even want to think about how ugly a trip on the Himalayan would be after my chow fest.

I have some pictures that I HAVE to post when I get home. They had a Freak Show complete with a three eyed man, mule faced woman, elephant skinned baby, snake lady, and Siamese twins. Once again, I passed on that tempting spectacle. After all, I worked in New York City for 7 years. Why would I pay to see that stuff now, when I used to see it every day on the subway ABSOLUTELY FREE!

The only real letdown was when we were too late to catch the pig races at the main stadium. I was really looking forward to that! Come to think of it, we missed the Butter Sculpture display! Damn!!! I heard they had an amazing rendering of Michelangelo's "David" made completely out of Land O' Lakes!

All in all it was a day full of fine cuisine and culture. We're all class here at Caffeine Court.

Now I have to give Brad back the computer, thanks for listening!


Today I'm taking my girls and husband to see my Alma Mater, Syracuse University!!

I haven't been there in 20 years...I can't wait.

Hitting the Highway!

We're heading out of town for a few days for a mini vacation.

We didn't even know where we were going until last night, but we've decided to cruise on up to the Finger Lakes Region of NY State until Saturday.

If you miss me, you can follow me on TWITTER...(see sidebar!)

Enjoy your weekend!!

Time flies...

...when you're having fun!!!

Today marks one year of "Caffeine Court!"

When I started this blog I promised you lots of FLUFF. And with the exception of a couple of deep and heartwarming posts, I think I've delivered!!

Thanks for showing an interest in my hair mishaps, messy closets, tennis dramas and life at the Jersey Shore!!

I love that I've "met" so many funny, clever, intelligent and creative people through this crazy hobby.

To celebrate this momentous occasion I'd like a virtual "slap on the butt" from each and every one of you!

Is that weird?

I hate to be a "Spoil Sport"...

But what is the deal with the US Women's volleyball team?

I'm all for camaraderie and team spirit, but do they HAVE TO pat and caress each other's asses after every point?

Wouldn't a simple "high five" be sufficient?

I did some research on "Butt Slapping" and I came up with this article. It doesn't explain much, but it IS interesting.

Study: Butt Slapping Decreases Moderately in Post-Game Showers

A 10-year study released today has found that athletes slap each other’s butts less in the post-game shower than they do during games. The study was conducted jointly by the four major professional leagues.
The results showed that while butt slapping decreases in post-game showers, as expected, it does so only moderately. “If the average professional player gets his butt slapped by a teammate once a game,” says lead researcher Byron Cope, “we found that he gets his butt slapped only slightly less – about five out of every eight times – by a teammate in the post-game shower.”
Butt slapping has long existed in sports as a way teammates and coaches show appreciation to one another on the field – a tap on the butt can mean anything from “nice tackle” or “great pass” to something more consoling like “we’ll get ‘em next time.”
Why the butt slapping continues off the field of play and in the post-game shower is less clear. “These guys just seem to really like slapping each other’s butts,” Cope said.
The rate of slapping from on the playing surface to the shower decreased the least in the NHL, the study found. “They slap each other’s behinds less while playing then they do in the other leagues – about three out of every four games a player gets a tap,” Cope said. “But they receive about the average amout of butt slapping in the shower as is the average in Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NFL.”
Another interesting finding on the NHL is that the customary post-goal celebration – where the goal scorer’s teammates celebrate in a crowd around the player in the corner – does not altogether cease in the shower. “It decreases, but it still happens,” Cope said. “Part of it comes from hockey’s long tradition of hazing rookie players, I think."
The study found that coaches don’t stop their butt slapping once the game is over, either. “Coaches are serial butt slappers,” Cope said. “Think about it – in baseball the give a tap after a home run, a sacrifice fly, a strikeout, anything. It’s the same in football and basketball. And it doesn’t end in the shower.”
Cope said a National League manager (all names were withheld from the study at the leagues’ request) waits outside his team’s shower and slaps each player’s naked butt as they walk past him on exiting the shower.
“He tells them ‘Nice job!’ or ‘Better luck next time’ when he slaps their butts,” Cope said. “None of the player’s seem to have a problem with it. Many gave him a return slap to his cheeks.”


Footnote: Clemsongirl...would you please ask Coach for his expert opinion on this subject? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

My new idol...

I'm finally able to write about my friend's Southern Living at HOME party on Wednesday.

For those of you who have never heard of it, Southern Living at HOME (notice the HOME in all caps...) is a line of products inspired by the style of Southern Living magazine. Independent Consultants, like me, sell the products in people's homes through parties.

Many times, these parties involve quite a bit of alcohol consumption. The party Wednesday night was no exception.

The woman having the party has 9 year old triplets and she is the picture of organization. She contacted me to have a party, and from the moment we started planning the party she was completely take charge. (In a good way.) She was the ideal hostess. She handed out catalogs to all her friends and relatives and sold over $1,000 in products before the party even started!

When I arrived at her impeccably decorated house the day of the party you should have seen the spread she had out for her guests. Homemade cookies, red and white sangria, beer, wine, and appetizers galore. Everything looked beautiful (including her).

Her children were standing in the kitchen DROOLING over the sweets. Finally one of her daughters said, "Mom, you know I'm really dying for one of those cookies." Mom shot her one look, and the child backed off. She has those children completely trained. My kids would have attacked the plates the minute my back was turned. Even her dog was well trained. He sat there all white and fluffy, in his little Burberry collar and we never heard a peep out of him.

I wish I could spend a few days with her and learn how she does it. I think the "organization and take charge" gene is inherited. While I know I will never achieve her level of control, maybe some of it will rub off on me! My husband would love it. (Although he should be careful what he wishes for, she runs a tight ship and on a ship there can only be ONE captain!)

Anyway, the party was really fun, and she sold over $3,000 worth of products. (And the orders are still coming in-YAY!)

The only drawback? Trying to calculate sales, tax and shipping and handling with a major buzz going! Oh well, it's an occupational hazard.

Being a party girl is hard work!
Footnote: I know people's reactions when they get invitations to these parties...most people say "SHIT!" (Believe me, I've been there.) But then they force themselves to go and they are usually glad they do!!
Sooo, if you live in driving distance to Central Jersey and you want to gave a party, let me know! I promise to write lots of nice things about you on my blog!!

Workplace Hazards

As you may or may not know, I sell Southern Living at HOME products. Last night a friend of mine had QUITE a party.

Here's an equation:

1 Sangria themed Southern Living at HOME party + 25 women who haven't seen each other in awhile =


More later....

Tennis Tuesday-Have I Missed Anyone?

I love tennis. (duh) I like playing it, watching it and reading about it. It's just one of those things, kind of like Rocky Road ice cream, or sushi. Some people love them, some don't. There's no explaining it.

Anyway, I know some of you other ladies are tennis fans also, especially Mrs. K and P.

Do you know about any other bloggers who are really into whacking that little yellow ball around and talking about it? (Get your mind out of the gutter!!!)

Oh and in case you haven't figured it out, I'm a little weird. Which is why I think of polls about having sex with George W. Bush and friends. I have a feeling I'm not the only strange person in the blogosphere. Did you guys ever play that stupid game with your friends where you HAD TO make a choice about who you'd "do it" with?

It was so much fun. We'd have some really gross choices, Walter Hudson (the world's fattest man) vs. Herve Villachez (Tattoo from "Fantasy Island. (They're both dead now, so the prospect is REALLY gross!) Sometimes we'd just get silly and you'd have to choose between Captain Stubing or Gopher from "The Love Boat." (I think I watched too much TV.)

Anyway...that's how we'd entertain ourselves. Thank goodness the internet wasn't around back then. We got ourselves into enough trouble with prank phone calling...I can't even imagine what kind of evil deeds we would have done with modern technology.

What does this have to do with tennis? Nothing...unless of course I make you choose between Raphael Nadal and Andy Roddick. Now THERE'S a tough choice!

Th-Th-Thornleigh *chatter chatter*

It has been done- Aidoo and I have now moved to the Siberian-esque Thornleigh. Though I have been reassured its not forever. In order to save out dosh and cut our losses with Raine and Horne Collaroy (not recommended as an agent!), we have decided to get out of the beaches *sniff* and save some dosh by sprawling all our stuff through the Lef-dooz family abode.

Anyway, just riding bikes, trying to avoid my sideways kneecap getting any worse.

Super tired.

Okay-fess up!

Which one of you wants to have sex with John McCain? C'mon-admit it! We're all friends here!

The results are in!!!

The results of my weekly Caffeine Court poll are in...and they are quite telling.

Brains won by a landslide with 30% of the vote, followed by beauty (18%), wealth (16%) and finally, community service which came in at a dismal 13%.

I've analyzed the results and this is what I came up with.

Most of you want to be perceived as smart.

Very few of you want to help others.

That's it...thanks for voting.

Please vote in this weeks political poll...if you had to choose, who would you have sex with?

Take it off!

As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I and another couple saw The Police and Elvis Costello at the PNC Arts Center Sunday night.
We had amazing seats, and Sting so close I could have ran down and tackled him! The whole concert he wore a tight blue long sleeved shirt.
He looked great in it, but I kept jokingly (kind of) yelling, "Take off your shirt!!!" Unfortunately he kept covered up the entire concert.
I went on Perez Hilton this morning, and there he was, in all his glory at Madison Square Garden...shirtless. Damn that man is fine! He's 56 years old!! Damn.
He stays in shape with Ashtanga Yoga. Looks like it works wonders!

It's not easy being mature...

I ran into a friend of mine yesterday and we got to talking, or should I say gossiping about woman we both don't like. As we got going I started to realize how destructive our conversation was. Granted, the woman we were talking about is incredibly selfish and conniving as well as two-faced. She loves to be the center of attention and I don't trust her at all. Unfortunately I see this woman quite a bit, and I have to deal with her. So, as much as I enjoy busting on her, I'm going to stop.

Gossiping reminds me of drinking too much. It's fun while you do it, but afterwards I always feel a little sick and guilty.

Here are two opposing views on gossip:

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. - Oscar Wilde

Some people see gossip as a lighthearted way to spread information. They don't see any harm in it and they spend all their time gabbing about other people. I live in suburbia and I can tell you that at parties 75% of the conversations I hear are people gossiping.

Others see it as a way to isolate and harm others. The result of gossip is usually an erosion of trust and morale. It hurts feelings and reputations. It doesn't just hurt those being talked about, gossipers get bad reputation as being untrustworthy. I saw this in a playgroup I was in when Meg was little. Every time someone didn't show up, everyone else would sit around and talk about them. Sometimes it was funny, but like I said, I usually felt pretty shitty about it afterwards.

I guess part of growing up involves getting a conscience.

So as much as certain people annoy me, or have stuck it to me, I'm going to make an effort NOT to talk about them behind their backs. There really isn't anything productive about it.

I guess I'll have to start reading some great novels, scour the newspapers and catch up on politics so the next time I go to a party and everyone is talking about so and so's divorce or new breast implants, I can change the subject to John McCain's political and ideological beliefs, or whether I prefer Thelonius Monk's jazz music to Charlie Parker's.

I have a feeling I won't be invited to too many more parties.
I'll try to look on the bright side, at least I won't feel guilty or hungover!!!


I'm not posting much lately here. Life has kept me busy: I'm studying to suffer the GMAT and anticipate having more time for posts when the exam is finished, at least until I start school applications.

Also, ceramics classes have absorbed many of my free hours, quickly becoming a new passion: this much word vomit hasn't spewed out of my mouth onto friends and family since tea first became an interest. I can only thank them for putting up with the boring rantings of a novice potter. Tonight, I trim my first successfully thrown pieces, which include a chawan, a teacup, and three bowls of different shapes. I'll post pictures when they're finished. I don't anticipate them coming out very good. In ceramics as in tea, practice produces aesthetics.

These past few weeks, my teapots have brewed mostly sheng and shu pu'er and dancong. My dancong brewing noticeably improves each time, becoming more and more second nature. These improvements appear to enhance my brewing of all teas. For example, two shu teas once written off as mediocre now taste quite good, even when I'm not paying them so much attention.

More later. If you stopped by and read this post, tell me what you're drinking lately. :)

Tennis Tuesday-My Name is Jill and I'm a Matchaholic

As I've mentioned, summer is a slow tennis time for me. Yesterday I was feeling a little down. (It turns out I was exhausted after a late night at The Police/Elvis Costello concert.)

I was thinking about my team tennis career and my experiences on adult tennis teams. When I play team tennis I want to win. When I know I have a match coming up I schedule games against better players, sometimes I'll take a lesson with a pro, I pull out my tennis books and I PREPARE for the upcoming match. With both my daughters going to school in the fall, I have to start thinking about getting some kind of job, which means I won't be able to play nearly as much as I did when I stayed home full time.

I came up with this equation:

getting a job + both daughters in after school activities= less practice time and not winning matches.

If I can't win, I don't think I want to play matches. Not very Buddhist of me.

About two hours later my phone rings. My summer team has a big match this Wednesday against a team we're tied with for first place. Do I want to play? DO I? I sure as hell DO! I haven't started a job I'm going for it.

Catherine was sick today, so there was no pre-match training, no tennis book reading, no scrambling to get a game going. Tomorrow I go in cold. Do I want to win? Heck yeah. But I can't act like I'm going to the US Open everytime I play a match.

I have to put it in perspective. The hard part is, I play against people who take lots of lessons, play lots of games and read lots of books. They too are matchaholics.

I'll say it before you do.."GET A LIFE JILL!" You're right. I have a problem. And admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. I'm working on day at a time.

In the meantime...I can't wait until tomorrow morning SO I CAN KICK SOME BUTT!!!!

God help me.
Footnote: I took this post down because I felt like I was going to jinx myself in today's match. (Sick huh?) Anyway, we had a rain delay so my match started at instead of 9. I woke up this morning with a fever and a burning sore throat. (I caught whatever Catherine had the past 2 days!) I felt really lousy-so I rested and drank lots of water.
Anyway at 2 we started the was HOT out! The ladies we played were 20 years older than me. (As is my partner.) One of them had an arm brace and a knee brace and walked with a slight limp...but when she hit the court-WATCH OUT! She was amazing.
We lost the first set 5-7-kicked butt in the second set and won 6-2. In the third set we were tied at 5-5 and we blew it and lost 5-7. Damn. I actually played pretty well considering how crappy I felt, but I was SERIOUSLY losing my mojo in the third set, my head hurt so bad!!
I wish I could have pushed a little harder. Oh well. Part of my 12 step matchaholic recovery is letting it go when I lose, but I'm bummed. Oh well. No more team tennis until January.
(Oh yeah and did I mention we were tied for first with this team, and MY match was the deciding match? Oh well, at least our captain is a normal sane person. If this was USTA I my captain would be PISSED!)
Time to bring Meg to cheerleading, hit the showers and MOVE ON!!!

Say hello to my little poll!

As you can see in my sidebar, I've put together a little poll. If you haven't voted yet, please do! And while you're at it, let us know which one you voted for, and why.

As I was putting together the questions it got me thinking about what's most important to me, my looks, my sense of duty, my brains, or my finances.

Ideally I could have all four of these attributes and be a hot looking lady, who volunteers at a soup kitchen, has a PhD and a bank account that would make the Rockefellers jealous. I hate to tell you this, but I do know a few people who fit this description. (I hate every single one of them!)

Since I could only pick one, I chose "that woman is brilliant!" Why? Don't ask me...I'm not smart enough to articulate it. I voted for what I WANT people to say, not what they ACTUALLY say.

But seriously, I've been studying quite a bit of Buddhism, and one of the highest places you can get to is to be independent of the good opinions of others. In other words, what we think of ourselves should matter way more that what other people think of us. But that's a whole 'nother post. (As a matter of fact, that's an entire doctoral thesis!)

And since I'm just a little old housewife with a Bachelor of Arts degree, I'll leave those deep thoughts to the great philosophers.

Sooo, fess up! Which one did you vote for? Don't worry, we won't judge you. And even if we do, you don't care what we think...right?!

Racing and work.

Its been an interesting few wekks, as the weekdays blur into the weekends, blur into the weekdays. Just working, riding, racing, eating, sleeping, keeing awake with a brewski's.

Last week was NSW road champs, which was marginally better than last year. had my turbo had been a bit bigger I may have managed better in the final sprint. If. But anyway, heather, also of KOM notoriety (he he) got 'up the road' early on, and the break stayed away. heather came second. A good day for polka dots all around, with Al Mal coming second in the mens race, and B-Man coming fifth (they're my heroes!).

The weekend before was the 8hour at YarraMundie. Silly AB decided to go solo, give it a burl. Why not? It was painful, if not for the legs, than for the fact that I was on the old alloy hardtail and afterwards it felt as if someone had been at my kidneys with a mallett for eight hours, regardless of the consumption of an entire packet of panadol throughout the race.

Anyway, feeling OK, living on coffee...keeping me alive.

Had some photos of the states (Kurrajon) but have to censor as I look like a fatty!


Five years ago today a very dear friend of mine lost her six year battle with cancer. She died two days after I gave birth to my second daughter. I remember how I sat in my hospital bed, holding my newborn baby and crying when I heard the news.

Nicole found out she had cancer while she was pregnant with her second child. She delivered her daughter and started chemo and radiation immediately. When she passed away her daughter was six and her son was eight.

I cry for their loss because she was such a fabulous mom and such an amazing person. Her husband Paul said during her eulogy that Nicole felt she wasn't really good at any one thing in particular. Paul told her "everyone loves you, that's what you're good at." He really nailed it.

Everyone who met Nicole loved her. She had a warmth and energy that drew people to her. When she was in the hospital it was difficult to get to her bedside because all the nurses would gather in her room to chat with her. When she was sick her mother would have to screen phone calls because she had so many friends and too much chatting on the phone sucked her energy.

I can't put into words how special she was, but she truly had a gift. Her gift was that she genuinely cared about other people and wanted the best for everyone. She wanted to make other people happy. Even in her last months, she didn't want anyone to feel bad because she was sick. She felt that even though she was dying, that she had a great life because she was surrounded by so many friends, her beautiful children and a loving husband.

When I look back on junior high school, high school, college and my twenties, Nicole was always a huge part of the fun. She was so funny and game for anything. When I look at pictures of us, or read letters and notes we wrote I laugh out loud.

Tomorrow I will call her mother and sisters, it makes us all feel a little better to hear each other's voices and laugh and cry together.

Nicole used to laugh at the phrase "God only gives us what we can handle." She said she wish he didn't have so much faith in her!

The last trip Nicole ever took was 2 months before she died. She and her husband traveled to the Vatican to meet with Pope John Paul II. Her mother gave me a picture of her touching his hand, and the look on her face gives me peace.

I miss Nicole everyday, but I feel lucky that I knew her. In her 39 short years on this earth she made this world a better place and she is greatly missed.

After Nicole's death her husband Paul started
The Great Guy Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to delivering financial assistance to families battling cancer as well as contributing to The Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society. If you would like to donate to this great cause, or to learn more, please click on the above links.

Scratch that last post...

Brad's friend from college and his family are in town and we're having them over for a cookout at 5! Which means I have to spend the next 6 hours scrubbing, vacuuming, organizing, food shopping and cooking.

FUN!!! (not)

Thank goodness we're going to see The Police and Elvis Costello in concert tomorrow night! At least I have something to look forward to.

Clean Enough to be Healthy

Have you ever seen this saying..."This house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy."

I love this saying because it really sums up my attitude on housework. Right now my house is in a state of complete disarray. Why? Because my daughters and I have been busy enjoying the summer. Playdates, birthday parties, movie night at the beach, tennis...all these activities take alot out of us...ALL of us.

In order for my house to be in pristine shape, with all the laundry folded and put away, I would have to either hire a maid, or sit my daughters in front of the TV or computer all day while I attempt to make my house look like a page out of "Better Homes and Gardens."

Housework was never my specialty and after 10 years of marriage and 9 years of motherhood, my domestic skills have improved dramatically, but I'm still no June Cleaver.

As long as my house is clean enough to be healthy, I can deal with the sand from the beach, the hair from the dogs and the crayons on the kitchen table. These are all proof that my daughters are having a summer filled with great memories...the Windex can wait.