Tag Archives: tennis

The Glass Is Half Full

So I have come to the realization that perhaps for the remainder of The Hawk, and maybe the rest of my writing life, a full chapter a day just isn’t gonna happen.  Today’s distraction was tennis, and okay, the fifth set between Rafael Nadal and Gilles Muller was one to relish, regardless of which man you wanted to progress at Wimbledon.  But I was bothered well before those chaps reached that fifth set, continuing to look away from the manuscript to check how Johanna Konta was doing against Caroline Garcia, Andy Murray vs. Benoit Paire, and other great Manic Monday contests.  Finally around ten thirty this morning, Pacific Daylight Time, I gave up on the written work, settling on the sofa with an early lunch, wondering if Nadal was going to fight his way out of an initial two-sets down to love hole.  The next couple of hours were well worth my time, although I’m sure Nadal wishes the result was different.  Muller goes on to face Marin Cilic while I admit a small defeat of sorts, with a greater victory looming.  Half a chapter produced today is better than no words at all.

Over halfway done is this quilt top, a buffalo check pattern that seems more like gingham.

Returning to writing has been a challenge, but instead of throwing up my hands and stalking off the court, I’m going to dig deep into what might be a longer five-setter than the Isner/Mahut match back in 2010 at the All England Club.  It’s a matter of mind over matter, in that four years ago when I started this book I was still in my forties, wasn’t yet an abuela, ’nuff said.  I can’t qualify how aging has affected my skills other than to say the inner stamina seems to be lacking, and it’s not merely tennis upon which to place blame.  It simply is, and whining about it won’t make me write more.  Acceptance is better than moping.

For today’s work, I had to scroll through the MS to clarify some facts; in skimming through paragraphs I couldn’t help but recall how easily those previous chapters had fallen from my brain onto the document, and briefly I felt the tiniest bit…displeased.  Yet, after tennis was over for the day, I returned to my PC, read over what I had managed, added a bit more, and called it done, for now.  Tomorrow (hopefully) I’ll tack on another scene, then see what happens on Thursday, as I’ll be visiting with Little Miss and her mama on Wednesday.  Other delights have crowded out noveling, but life never stays still.  Roger Federer has reached his 50th Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating Grigor Dimitrov, while Venus Williams will play Jelena Ostapenko, who was three years old when Venus won her first Ladies’ Singles Championship.  And here I am, still scribbling away on The Hawk, although I think I’ll finish it before Little Miss is Venus’ age.

Notice how much width is lost once the sewing commences; it’s still going to be a good-sized comforter, but not too big.

I’ve learned many things while writing this novel, some personal, some professional.  Perhaps now I’m grasping the most necessary lesson, that of patience.  I can’t rush this story, but I can and should be grateful for the words that do emerge.  Every day I write is like another tennis match completed, some for wins, some of losses, but all with purpose.  Of course, the defeats are difficult to face, but each experience is meaningful, sort of like the current WIP on my quilt wall.  I had high expectations for it, and while I do like it, I’m not certain I’d try this style again.  More on that soon enough, as for now sewing awaits as well as mulling over how today’s chapter will end tomorrow.

The glass is half full, up to me to choose the rest of the contents.

Took a little break today….

A table runner in progress....

A table runner in progress….

I had planned on writing this morning, even though Andy Murray was playing in the Wimbledon Gentleman’s Final.  But last night I had second thoughts; I’ve been working many days, checking on tennis without watching much of it.  I’ve been a Wimbledon fan for a long time; I remember when Boris Becker won the title at the age of seventeen.  Living in the UK was heaven when it came to the grandest of the slams, but if I had that much access to the matches now, hardly any writing would be accomplished, ha ha.  As it is, I’ve made some big headway in The Hawk, and perhaps today was the perfect time to take a little breather.  I spent this morning hand-quilting the Big Bright Quilt while paying a fair amount of attention to the McEnroe Brothers and Chris Fowler commenting on the contest, considering not too much else.

That’s what happens when tennis starts at 6 o’clock in the morning!

Yesterday afternoon and evening I wrapped up another little project, a table runner for my eldest to match some place mats I made for her family.  I never posted about those, but the runner I did want to share, in part that I took several shots of it with my phone, although please don’t ask which setting goes with what photo.  Which of course is the reason I took these shots, sort of silly not to have paid attention to how they were snapped.

Currently the runner is basted and waiting for me to sit at my machine; I won’t hand-quilt this because I didn’t hand-quilt the place mats.  And because I have enough hand-quilting to do already, lol.  I took photos of that work while trying out camera settings and I was pleased with those shots as well.

I did consider, as Murray and Milos Raonic traded amazing ground strokes and very fine volleys, how hand-quilting provides time to appreciate the fabrics.  As I sewed, memories of making this quilt top were fresh in my mind.  I won’t get that experience when I machine-quilt the table runner, but I shall enjoy viewing it every time I visit Little Miss and her folks.

Watching Wimbledon is sort of like that; I recall the fantastic players of the past, like Britain’s Tim Henman, oh goodness I so wanted him to reach the Final!  Martina Navratilova is one of my all times faves, while the Roger Federer/Marin Cilic match offered a glimpse of Cilic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic, who won in 2001 as a wildcard entry!  (He’s the only wildcard to have ever taken the title, by the way….)  I was so pleased to see Juan Martin Del Potro back on the grass, maybe he’ll go further in New York at the US Open.  A small part of my love for Wimbledon is the rekindling of the past, the game as well as life in Yorkshire.  Most of it however is my affection for sports.  Yes I love to write and sew, but first came an appreciation for athletes, and it’s not just baseball players to make me smile.

However, the fortnight at the All England Club is over for another year.  I’m going on a brief holiday next week, then the work resumes on The Hawk when I return.  I am taking the Big Bright Quilt with me, something to do in the evenings.  I wonder in the future, while snuggled under this quilt, if I’ll consider Wimbledon and/or books.  Maybe Eric, Lynne, and the rest will be like those tennis players who stir happy recollections.  How the mind retains, then reflects memories is a curious, sometimes precarious notion.  I bet next month’s US Open will figure into that quilt too, but I’ll think about that in late August.  Right now Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon is plenty to celebrate.

Tennis and a quilt top…

Last night I finished the Former Roomie quilt top, also made the binding, while my husband watched a Magnum P.I. rerun.  I took a couple of shots of the quilt top last night, with my hubby’s assistance.  Then I snapped a few more this morning, in between shots of tennis.  I love watching tennis, especially Wimbledon.  And this morning’s match between Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber was one of those that needed as much of my attention as I could manage.

But still, there was a quilt top to properly photograph.

I like hanging them from our laundry line, in the early morning, although I probably could have gotten out there a few minutes earlier, to better avoid the sun.  However, I was tied to the television, which I never watch, unless it’s live sport, or Doctor Who.  Taped sport holds no appeal; the winner is already known.  Live sport, be it American football or baseball or tennis or football, oh my goodness…  I am made helpless, as tension and drama and athleticism explode from the screen, truly the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.  Checking my computer, I saw that Sharapova was down 2-0 in the third set, so I hurried to the living room, turned on the box, and sat with yarn in my hands, as Kerber went up 3-0, then Maria won a game, 3-1.  Then I remembered I wanted to photograph the quilt top before the sun rose too highly.  But which point to miss, what shot to abandon?  Quickly I gathered the good camera, the quilt top, catching glances at magnificent points, as Kerber went up 4-1.  Taking the fabric outside, I pinned it to the line, snapped a picture, ran back into the house, caught a bevy of baseline shots, went back outside, and by the time I came in, Kerber was still leading.  Another upset was in the making.

Photographed from the back, which I think is just as beautiful as the front.

The men’s draw has been as expected, all four top seeds basically unbothered.  The women’s draw is another story entirely, what with only the #3 seed of the top five remaining.  Maria had a fantastic opportunity, what with Serena Williams out, but even as she won a game, Kerber continued making incredible shots, and unlike Maria, no unforced errors, until she doubled faulted on her serve.  At 5-4, with Maria serving, I scuttled into the grotto, taking photos from the camera, then checked the tennis; to my shock, Kerber was ready to break Maria’s serve to win the match, which she did!  Sharapova won this tournament ten years ago, but has never taken it again, losing in the final in 2011, the closest she has come to earning another Wimbledon crown.  This year the women’s title will be in new hands, and I’m pulling for Sabine Lisicki, who lost to Marion Bartoli in last year’s final.  But we’re days away from that action.

In the meantime, there’s another quilt top in need of a backing and batting and so forth.  That will happen next week, a post-Fourth of July activity.  Too much sport calls for my attention, like that football game between the US and Belgium this afternoon, more footie throughout the week, and of course, tennis!  I don’t play any sports, but my appreciation for that pastime is enormous.  It’s certainly not like writing, or quilting; it’s physical, calling out of the player all they have to give.  Writing does that, yes, but in a cerebral manner, which sport also requires, but the body is put through the wringer.  And the older I get, the more I enjoy watching those younger push their frames to the limit.

I’m happy to plop on the sofa, or sit at the sewing machine, admiring all their hard work.

A spool of quilt binding, awaiting its final destination.

A spool of quilt binding, awaiting its final destination.

Still, fashioning a quilt top isn’t easy, nor is basting it, although this one isn’t overly large.  It’s fifty-six by seventy-three inches thereabouts, and next week it will possess innards and a back.  Next week one man and one woman will have hoisted their respective rackets to the heavens, while a select few footballers will be aching to reach their final.  The glory of achievement, be it in fabrics or sport or tall tales continues, blessings after blessings indeed.

Something comforting about autumn

When I was young, summer was my favorite season, no school, that sort of thing.  But after living in Britain for eleven years, California summers seem sort of endless; it’s called the Golden State for a reason.  Now, with a few decades under my belt, I prefer autumn, which in California doesn’t last as long as in other places.  But I’ll take what I can get.

Autumn means football, baseball playoffs, US Open tennis.  That tournament only runs for two weeks as August turns into September, but ushers in my beloved American footie as the national pastime winds down.  My San Francisco Giants are in the playoff hunt, which heightens the thrill.  But even if they don’t make it, I’ll still be watching the divisional series games, then the World Series.  In Britain those games were lost to time differences, although I taped them in 2006, the Detroit Tigers against the St. Louis Cardinals, all for writing.  That autumn I was preparing for my first NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month doesn’t start until November, but I’m already pondering what to write alongside hundreds of thousands of others as if what I do isn’t only here, near the hummingbirds.  The run-up to that month is a huge part of the adventure; I can’t spill in one blog entry how indebted I am to the notion of bashing out fifty thousand words in thirty days.  All I can do is let the giddy rush fill my bones as I begin to outline yet another story, while the exuberance of sport placates.

And don’t even get me started on my crock pot!  Autumn is truly the best season of the year.