Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pittsburgh weekend: Food, fun and friendship

Emily, me and Susan in Hidden Valley, Pa.
I came back late Tuesday from a wonderful long weekend outside of Pittsburgh with my friends from high school (and for life) Emily and Susan and Emily's husband, Mike, a talented cook and great guy extraordinaire.

I flew to Pittsburgh, where Emily picked me up. We then drove about an hour and half to their country house in Hidden Valley; Mike met us there, and Susan drove from Washington.

When you are with people you've known for a long time, so many things are in context. That makes it very comfortable, because you don't have to fill in the blanks. We laughed a lot, ate a lot of Mike's great cooking and, of course, talked a lot. We also watched a couple of movies and ate too many peanut M&M's.

On Saturday, four of us (Susan, me, Emily and a friend of hers) biked about 18 miles round-trip along part of the 141-mile-long Allegheny Rail Trail. The section we were on ran alongside the Casselman River; it was flat enough that we rode in twos and talked along the way while enjoying the scenery.

Rain was forecast for Sunday afternoon, so we got our exercise in during the morning, hiking three miles through the woods. This path had some (admittedly little) hills, so the distance we went was plenty for me.

We watched some of the US Open, and I studied the players swings' in awe, taking note of their
lightening-quick follow-throughs and constantly moving feet.

Back home I have really wanted to play, but my clinic and my doubles game (like some of the Open) was canceled due to rain.

That's OK, because out on the court after watching a championship, I often play worse than before.

"Move your feet!" my inner coach says.
I reply, "They're too heavy. I'm doing the best I can."

And then from my inner coach again, "Don't direct the ball, follow through! You saw how they do it."

Me: "Duh, I know what I should be doing. My arm won't go that fast."

I'm sure I'll end up playing – and watching more of the US Open – this weekend.

It will be fun, as it always is. But I kind of liked sitting on the couch in Hidden Valley, just watching the tennis, eating M&M's and talking to friends with no thoughts of going out to play while I was there.

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