The Filipek Tennis Tournament

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Photos from the 2014 Wint Filipek Sr. Memorial Tennis Tournament at Copper Valley Club
(Scroll to the bottom to see thumbnails of each image)

It was my pleasure to be a part of the Filipek tennis tournament this year. The tournament gives out scholarships to Connecticut student-athletes, and this year it was hosted for the first time at Copper Valley Club in Cheshire, CT, on its beautiful clay courts and shady grounds.

Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley ClubIf you love tennis, make a point to play in the tournament next year, or at least to visit and see some great matches. You can also donate to the tournament, which has given away over $85,000 in scholarships.

As a volunteer, I served as a liaison between the Filipek committee and Copper Valley Club, where I am a member.

Serving on the committee fit in with my goal to go beyond 101 things, in other words to keep growing and trying new things after completing my list of 101 things in 1001 days.

Congratulations to the Filipek committee and Copper Valley Club for putting on a great tournament!

My tennis posts:

Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club The Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Wint Filipek at Copper Valley Club Watching a match Casey serves at Copper Valley Court A player serves in men's doubles at the Filipek tournament Awards at Filipek tennis tournament Sweeping the courts at Copper Valley Club Handshakes at the end of the match Watering clay courts at the Filipek Tournament at Copper Valley Mens A Singles match Courts before the tournament Playing under the lights Wint Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Mixed doubled at Filipek Players at the Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Copper Valley Club Spectators and backboard at CVC Meeting the opponents Coming off the tennis court High school boys doubles Spectators at the Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Clu Carl and Randy 19 Grounds at Filipek tournament at CVC High school mixed doubles Brackets at the Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Staff at lunch Henry at the Filipek tennis tournament The courts at Copper Valley Club during the Filipek Tournament Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Kids day at the Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Spectators at Copper Valley Club Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Mens doubles Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club A high school player serves at the Filipek tennis tournament at Mens A Serve Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club Breakfast at the championship Randy serves at Copper Valley Court Filipek committee volunteers Lisa and Marcy Players at the Filipek tennis tournament at Copper Valley Club

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A Shutter’s Click

boy at lunch

in a shutter’s click,
the camera sees all the way through,

while life swirls around,
a coursing river of distraction,
and the child keeps changing,
sometimes distant, deceitful,

yet that moment remains,
a record of grace,
a testament of love,


Dan Colorado National Monument

Boy with tiger collage

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Caged Tiger

Tiger in Thailand

Our fear keeps us
from sharp eyes, sharper claws,
yet her magnificence calls.

As she rests, we cuddle her,
lay our heads on her soft belly.

She raises her quiet head
in dignity, defying her imprisonment,
and we’re freed from our fear.

Pet a tiger in Thailand Lost in a Funhouse collage


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Hot time, summer in the city

In general, I don’t love cities–the crowds, the noise, the pollution. Plus, most of my travels are during the month of August. Walking on city pavement in Morocco when it’s 125 degrees F out or in Thailand when the humidity smothers me is not the greatest plan, but it’s when my schedule allows me to travel.

On the other hand, cities are thrilling. Just walking down the street in Bangkok was endlessly interesting. Tucked into little spaces were people’s spirit houses, and on any given sidewalk you could see monks walking among office workers, while dentures of various sizes were displayed for sale.

Spirit house Bangkok Thailand
Spirit house, Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Thailand street with monks
Dentures for sale on a Bangkok, Thailand street

I love the mix of old and new so frequently on display in cities, whether marveling at the Parthenon shining over Athens or catching a glimpse of Independence Hall on a busy Philadelphia street.

Parthenon at Night, Athens, Greece
The Parthenon at night in Athens, Greece
(See also: When the lights flicker on at the Parthenon)

Philiadelphia street
View of Independence Hall, Philadelphia

With the concentration of people, there’s always so much going on.

Cuzco parade
Procession in Cuzco, Peru

So I guess I love cities, after all. Where else can you stick your hand into a bucket of frogs?

Bucket of frogs
Chinatown, New York City

Do you love cities?

Temple in Bangkok Thailand
Parthenon at dusk Athens Greece
Peruvian weaverView of Manhattan from Brooklyn New York

Linking up with Travel theme: Cities

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Middle School Grammar Lesson

7556589672_ddde808ca9_zImage by 55Laney69 (Creative Commons)

Slaps here, insults there.
Some aches won’t ever go away.
Hurt: the adjective describes the noun.

They jab and tease,
or, worse, exclude.
Hurt: the action word.

The teacher parses the axiom:
“Hurt people hurt people.”

But she can’t change the truth.


Update–I found out the source of the expression I quoted:

“Hurt people hurt people.”
― Will Bowen

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Ode to the Gargleblaster

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

From deep in the swamp of a months-long writer’s block, one little thing has kept me afloat, 42 words at a time: the Gargleblaster, a new writing challenge at yeah write.

After nearly three years of writing about challenges on my list of 101 things in 1001 days, I declared back in January that I would soldier on list-less.

At first, I felt exuberant to have finished my challenge. I enjoyed having nothing hanging over my head for a month, two months, three months, but I finally realized I was bored, then more bored, and then wallowing in a swamp. The long, cold winter coincided with a lack of motivation to do anything, until making a bowl of cereal in the morning took a little too much effort. I stopped writing, stopped exercising, stopped leaving the house very often, unless I had to.

I was tapped out, my stories all told, with no new ones up ahead.

Then came the Gargleblaster, and I was assured at least one post a week to get excited about. I had loved the inspiration for the challenge, the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,  as a kid, when I used to whisper “42” as a secret code to screen people in the know, so I was instantly drawn to it. Given an open-ended prompt each week, I reminisced about little moments with a camel in a desert or lost in a funhouse, and I put into words the fleeting thoughts that would have disappeared, like my impression that the sunflowers I grew in my basement felt happiness in the sun, or the thrill of pulling a fire alarm at my school, even though I had permission.

I love seeing the different directions into which all the writers scatter, an aspect of the challenge that is strongly encouraged. A prompt like “Which way to go?” will inspire a trail shaped by the devil’s backbone or a James Bond-worthy escape off a cliff, yes, but it will also draw responses dealing with the death of a loved one or an insult from a snarky boss.

With renewed enthusiasm for both writing and Hitchhiker’s, I went on a hunt for all the ingredients in a “Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster,” a cocktail from the novel.

Since I had no water from the seas of Santraginus V, not to mention any Ol’ Janx Spirit, I appreciated this Gargle Blaster recipe that makes the fictional cocktail with earthly ingredients.

After gathering vodka, gin, and Curaçao, along with mint extract, an Airborne tablet, edible gold glitter, lemon-lime soda, and olives, I was ready to get my mixology on.

Did my husband and I enjoy our cocktail? Yes, we did. It burbled in a particularly swamp-like way, thanks to the Airborne. Not only that, but I finally have something to write about. When you are stuck in a swamp, sometimes you have to blast your way out.

And if I get stuck in that swamp again, I know what I need to remember:

“Don’t Panic.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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(Video link)

My Gargleblaster page: 42

Update: Don't Panic towelThanks so much to yeah write for awarding me a special “Don’t Panic” towel as a prize for making a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster cocktail. This is undoubtedly the coolest towel I own. It reads: “Don’t Panic / For Marcy, a frood who really knows where her towel is,” and features the yeah write Gargleblaster badge on the other side.

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Three Pieces of Metal

The Bean Chicago 2008A family portrait in the reflection of The Bean, Chicago, Illinois

Robotron New Orleans 2007This street performer in New Orleans gave my son a lollipop. “Robotron: Coins make him move… dollars make him groove.”

Shipwreck Aran Island IrelandWe biked out to this shipwreck on one of the Aran Islands in Ireland. What a beautiful place.

Mardi Gras New Orleans
Ireland stone walls Aran Island

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Lost in a Funhouse

Image by Donnie Nunley (Creative Commons)

My distorted reflection pauses
as the floor rolls beneath me,
the carnival music
punctuated by gasps.

Around another corner,
the narrow passageway
turns dingy, cluttered,
until I interrupt
two guys, off duty,
sharing a joint.

Who else gets lost in a funhouse?

I set up a Gargleblaster page: 42.

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9 Links Worth Clicking {1}

From my travels around the web, these were some stories that really struck me.

1. 15 Travelers Share Their Favorite Bucket List Adventures
This collection of travelers’ favorite adventures is inspirational, and it also introduced me to some new blogs to follow (from Annette of Bucket List Journey).

2. Word Fishers
This fascinating piece is from a writer trying to write his memoir; to do so, he says, you must “kill your father, slander your mother and shame your children.” I look forward to reading his memoir someday (from Bill of The Authentic Life).

3. Searching For Home
What would you write if you had only 42 words to respond to the prompt, “What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?” This Gargleblaster at Yeah Write gave me something to think about (from Stacie’s Snapshots & Tidbits). (I have been loving this new challenge at Yeah Write.)

4. Shadow painting
I found these photographs of “shadow painting” projects to be incredible (h/t howanxious).

5. Famous places
This series of photos of famous places shows the “classic” shot as well as a shot of the places in their surroundings, sometimes a crowded city, sometimes a gaggle of tourists (h/t Bridges and Balloons).

6. Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney
This long piece is an amazing story about parents using Disney characters to communicate with and educate their autistic son (from the New York Times Magazine).

7. 9 Books on Reading and Writing
I finally read the writing book Bird by Bird after hearing it recommended for years. This post has great recommendations for books about writing (from Brain Pickings).

8. God in India
Kim’s story about an encounter with a woman in India was stunning, and I am not even a religious person (from So Many Places).

9. How to Create a Story Map
This illustrated explanation of how to make a story map made it look so easy that I am determined to give it a try, even though I am convinced I am one of those people who cannot draw (from Journey Jottings).

Don't be too timid and squeamish

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Afternoon in Marrakesh

In Marrakesh,
snake charmers,
whirling dervishes,
orange juice, snails,
and motorbikes
compete for attention,
until I need relief
from exhaust and exhaustion.

I clutch my bills close,
annoyed by the hard sell,
until a Barbary ape
clambers over my shoulders.

I’ll pay.

Barbary ape Marrakesh Morocco

Related video: “The Marrakesh Express” (video link)

In response to the Gargleblaster challenge, I had 42 words to answer the question, “Is something crawling on me?”

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