Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hubris and Golf Don't Mix

Last year I promised myself that I would start posting my golf scores and get a handicap, so that I could play in Talking Rock’s Spirit Cup ladies golf tournament. That seems like a reasonably innocuous, maybe even fun goal; right?

A day before this year’s tournament begins, I regret my dedication. I have an embarrassingly high handicap. It’s 47.7. Ugh. For a ladies tournament, the maximum handicap that can be applied is 44 point something. If I scored 126 for 18 holes (pretty average for me), my adjusted score would be 126 minus 44, or 82. Let’s just say I won’t be going pro in this lifetime.

I am so nervous about this tournament! My friends tell me not to worry, because it’s about the fun and food and drink – not the competition. I’m good with that, yet still sincerely fear hacking up the course and humiliating myself.

So here’s my plan…

1. Golf clothes and shoes are already washed. I’ve put my tournament outfits together, all the way down to undies, socks and caps. I can’t think about attire on game day.
2. Try to relax and enjoy my practice round today, while getting to know my partner.
3. Lean on my friends who are at a similar skill level and the ones who are pretty darn good golfers.
4. Avoid the temptation to overindulge at the welcome party. This is going to be hard enough without being hung over tomorrow.
5. Lastly, I will think repeatedly of this last line from Roy M. Barineau’s “A Golfer’s Prayer”: Most of all, God, let us find happiness in our game, experiencing joy, fun, and delight even though the ball does not always roll our way. Amen.

Hopefully by this time next week I will be telling you what a wonderful experience I had in the Spirit Cup. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What - Me Worry?

Yep. Life is good; incredibly good for me these days. I am thankful for all the blessings.  But... I have to admit that I still worry.

My chronic worry list:

• I hope our happiness isn’t disrupted by illness or injury.
• The stock market volatility has a direct effect on our retirement finances, and the wild fluctuations are disturbing.
• Our siblings that have personal and financial issues.
• I want my aging mother to enjoy the rest of her years in comfort and surrounded by love.
• If we can’t sell the condo in Chicago next spring, we may have to rent it.
• Keeping my Type 2 Diabetes at bay.
• How I’m going to find health insurance in Arizona.

It’s a pretty short list, but all important stuff.  Some things we can prepare for, but we don't have plans for everything and I haven’t figured out how not to worry.  I hope that meditation and prayer can help me lighten the load.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Afternoon with a Teenager

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with a neighbor’s 17-year old niece from England. I offered to take Julie for lunch and shopping, as her uncle was going to be tied up at work for the day.

This wouldn’t be an unusual event for most of my friends. But, remember, I have no children of my own. I have a niece and nephews that are spread across the country and I don’t get to see them often. I don’t have much recent experience relating to teenagers. Nonetheless, I looked forward to our outing.

I think we had a good time (I know I did). Perhaps I learned a few things about contemporary teenagers – or did I merely recall some things about being 17?

TARGET: Target turned out to be Julie’s “favorite store in the States!” We enjoyed browsing among the sale racks, and she purchased some lip gloss.

HOODIES: Julie shared that she is not a frilly kind of girl and that her closet is full of hoodies. Didn’t we all have some sort of favorite clothing as kids? (I remember an addiction to frayed jeans and flannel shirts.)

SKULLS: When I admitted that I don’t get this whole skulls-in-fashion trend, Julie found it pretty amusing. But she couldn’t really explain it either. She thinks it’s kind of cool, and would buy something with a skull design, except she was pretty sure her parents wouldn’t approve. Good call.

DRIVING: You can get a permit to drive at 17 in England. Julie’s learning, but for now gets to school and visits friends on a motor scooter. (I would have killed for a scooter when I was her age.) She’s a little nervous about making the transition to a car.

LUNCH: Julie ordered Chicken Fried Chicken with white gravy, and a Chocolate Milkshake. I was so envious. Remember when you could order anything you wanted to eat?

THE FUTURE: I was stricken by Julie’s mature look toward her upcoming university education and future employment opportunities. She knows she wants to study Child Development, but is leaving the door open to exactly where her interests will lead her from the many options she hopes to have.

It’s good to spend some time with people that give us a different perspective. Julie is a lovely young lady and a credit to her family. She gave me a gift by sharing the afternoon with me.  On one hand, she made me feel decidedly 55...but I also clearly remembered being 17.  Both are cool with me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Arizona Morning

One of the things that clinched the deal for me on our home in Arizona was the view from the wall of windows on the back of the house. Every day we see the green of the golf course, the desert scrub, hardy trees, and distant mountains…a wide, serene, and sweet-smelling landscape that lightens my heart.

Dawn is a magical time. The sun washes a warm gold light onto the hills. The grasses and flowers start to glow. Hummingbirds and cottontail rabbits feed, seemingly undisturbed by the mowers grooming the 2nd fairway. I don’t mind either, as the scent of freshly-cut grass adds a welcome dimension to the scene.

Even in this first week of August, nights cool down considerably. This morning’s 6:00am temperature on the back patio was 68 degrees. We’ll top out at over 90 degrees late this afternoon. With luck, monsoon rains will help cool us off in the early evening. For now the windows are open and we can smell the desert flowers and hear the buzz of hummingbirds zooming past.

I didn’t used to be a morning person; but an early Arizona morning is not to be missed. Excuse me while I go get my second cup of coffee.