1. Marcia and I had a great anniversary weekend staying at The Lodge at Turning Stone. It’s technically part of the casino there, though it’s a completely independent physical space, free from the chintz, smoke and gaudiness of the gambling area. It’s elegant and tidy, both features I appreciate. On Saturday, we played a round of golf at the Kaluhyat Golf Club. A combination of a late tee time and a gentle drizzle essentially turned it into a private course for us; we saw only two other carts with players in them throughout the afternoon. The course is a challenging one, with a couple of Par 5’s that were almost laughably complex and convoluted in terms of the combination of over-the-river-and-through-the-woods and sheer distance involved (see links posted in the comments below). I’d definitely play it again, though. We then had a great dinner at Wildflowers and started Sunday with massages at the Skana Spa. Even if you detest casinos, I would recommend The Lodge as a great weekend getaway spot, since you never have to set foot in the main casino building. They offer some really nice combination packages, too, that can cut costs considerably. Hint, hint, dooders. (And I don’t mean “Boys’ Drunken Golf Weekend Away”).
2. A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to take my library, please . . . and you did! My zillions of books and cassettes, collected over decades, have now been rescued from my basement and sent to loving new homes. It was great to have folks come visit and find things that they’d been looking for, and great to have a bunch of the books go to support good charitable causes. I feel a nearly visceral sense of catharsis in letting go of something that it took so long to collect, and that consumed so much space. As noted in the earlier post, at this stage in my life I have no desire to have the grand oak-paneled library anymore, but would prefer to live in something like this. A few dozen well-loved books with sentimental attachments on a small bookshelf will do me just fine there.
3. I’m one of the apparently relatively uncommon folks from the United States who actually, actively follows international soccer through the years of qualification rounds leading up to the World Cup, all the way through the big event. And, because of that, while I’m sorry for the players on our national team that they’ve been eliminated, I actually feel a sense of relief every four years when Team USA steps off the pitch for the last time, because this event really doesn’t mean very much to us a nation, and I don’t think we’d really appreciate it properly if we won it. Since the African contingent (who I always root for) mostly tanked this year, and having traveled to Argentina with the aforementioned native a few years ago, I’m now pulling for an all-South American Final Four of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, with Maradona’s squad taking the title. Be gone, Old Europe! It’s our hemisphere’s turn to celebrate!