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I was a scrawny, scaredy, weakling as a child; flunked first year swimming twice because I was scared to put my face in the water (well, it was the 'Muddy Mississippi', can you blame me?) and always last choice on the softball team (the bat was sooooo heavy).
When I started playing golf I had high hopes of achieving mediocrity.
Then, for a number of rather boring reasons, I joined a gym; started lifting weights and working out 3 – 4 times a week. Miraculously my golf game improved: I had the strength to actually swing the club and smack the ball! I now had hopes of achieving competency! (Being 'good', I knew was beyond me.)
Fast forward to living in Andorra. We joined the one and only Andorran golf club when it opened (which was in Spain – Andorra didn't have enough flat land) and started playing 3 times a week.
It was a lot different playing at Aravell (name of club) than in Minnesota: it was in the mountains so it was damn hard work and the Brit's we played with were absolute sticklers for the rules (for you golfers out there that meant no mulligans, ever; no gimme's, ever; and long arguments over whether or not the movement of a leaf constituted a 2-stroke penalty).
For you none-golfers let me explain one thing: In golf there is a system (handicap) that levels the playing field, so to speak. This would allow me to play Tiger Woods in a tournament and win – theoretically. (I SAID theoretically!)
Okay, here's the confession: See the trophies? They're all mine! (Sounds of raucous applause, me smiling modestly…)
See the big silver cup? That's a first place trophy. I won that because I was the only woman to finish the tournament.
See the one with the golfer and the flag? That's a third place trophy. I won that because I was one of 3 women to finish the tournament. (Yes, obviously, I came in third…some would say last but that would just be mean)
See the little one in front? I won that because I entered the tournament. Get the picture?
Along with the trophies I duly got the recognition of the local Catalan newspapers…which meant that non-golfers, who saw the trophies, thought I was really great. Golfers, who saw the actual tournament, knew I was a fraud. Then more and more women started entering and my trophy days were over.
Flash forward 2 more years. Now we get to the plaque on the left. I won that!
It was one of those days when I could do no wrong. (Golfers, most anyway, have experienced these days, albeit rarely). If I hit the ball to the right it bounced off the outhouse roof and landed perfectly. If my putt was off line a mouse jumped up and pushed it in the cup. In golf parlance I was 'playing out of my mind'. I played better than I ever have, before or since. I knew I had won – at least second place.
Back at the clubhouse I was so excited I could hardly stand it. Finally, my name would be announced as a winner and I would actually deserve it! There were around 120 men and 70 women in this tournament, so there would be a first, second and third place winner announced for each. They started with the men, naturally.
Then it was the women's turn.
I held my breath. They announced the score and name of third place….it wasn't me. My score was better.
I got more excited. They announced the score and name of second place….it wasn't me. My score was better.
OMG! I won! I was dancing around, waiting for my name, getting ready to rush the announcer…
They announced the score and name of first place….it wasn't me.
Thankfully, mon mari was there to hold me back.
How could this be? I knew I had won. I played fantastically. I deserved to win. I deserved to have the announcement of my greatness. I had worked and striven my whole life for one moment of earned recognition….Where the F*** was it!!!!
I went to have a calm chat with the tournament powers-that-be. They couldn't find me listed. After much calm foot-stamping, and quiet conversation we discovered that they had, somehow, put me with the men. (I'd only been a member for 5 years.) So sorry.
So sorry, but they had already made the announcements, and they couldn't take the trophy back from the woman they had given it to. That would be mean. (She was a local Andorran, not an expat like me). She would lose face. (Vitally important to Andorrans). But they would get another trophy for me…and even engrave my name on it!
I could, quietly, pick it up at the trophy shop in town next week.
No one but me would ever know that I had won. Well me, and all the people who had to suffer through the telling….
The real kicker? I had come in fourth in the men's division, one point behind the third place winner. Wouldn't it have been a hoot if I had actually one the men's trophy?
And, if they had announced my win, and awarded me the trophy and presents, I wouldn't have this story to tell, now would I? That must be worth something…
Swirling Notions tagged me for my favorite braise a few weeks ago. Anything braised is my favorite; I love slow cooked meats of any and every kind, but this one with just-pi.jpgcked apples, seems perfect for the season. Plus it's the most recent one I've made 😉
Braised Pork Loin with Apples and Onions
1 pork loin roast, 1 1/2 – 2 lbs (1000gr)
1 large onion, sliced or 2 smaller
1 large apple
1/4 cup Calvados, brandy or white wine
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs chicken stock or apple juice
In heavy pot or oven with tight-fitting lid, brown pork in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Slice onion. After turning pork, add sliced onions around the side. Add Calvados, juice, stock and herbs, turn heat to low, cover and braise for 45 minutes. Peel apple, cut into quarters and cut out core. Cut each quarter into 3 or 4 slices and add to onions. Cover pork and cook for 30 – 40 minutes longer or until done. Pork is done at an internal temperature of 160F (70C). If you don't have a thermometer, cut a slit in the center and look, slightly pink is okay. Remove pork and keep warm. Using a slotted spoon remove onions and apples to a platter, cover to keep warm. Turn heat up under pot, dissolve cornstarch in juice and stir into pan to thicken. Slice pork and add to platter along with some Oven Roasted Potatoes. Serve, sauce on the side.
Have you ever noticed how un-photogenic pork is?
Now, who wants to pick up the torch for braising? How about Riana at Garlic Breath, Ilva at Lucullian Delights, Peter at Kalofagas, Ruth of Once Upon A Feast and everyone else who has a favorite braise.
Come on…show us your braise – the pass the torch!