What we did today: Frisbee, Polo, Hibiscus Tea, and Grilling

Sorry my blog title is a spoiler today.  I’m frustrated because I’d just finished my blog post and WordPress deleted it without a trace.  So this is a redo.  Grr.

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This expansive piece of grass is the polo field at Will Rogers Historic State Park.  According to their website, it’s also where Will Rogers’ house is, and a bunch of cool hikes, and…

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… this fantastic picnic space, which made my kick myself for not packing a picnic or some yumminess to grill.  But that’s not why we went.

We went for a pickup frisbee game.

You see, Ryan played frisbee in high school, and all through college, and he misses it.  Every time we pass anyone even throwing around a frisbee, he critiques their form (to me, not to them).  And if they’re any good, he wants to linger and watch.  And as much crap as I’ve given him about it not being a real sport (I stand by that statement), he loves it, and in the spirit of encouragement and such, I finally convinced him to get another pair of cleats (his college pair were literally taped together and probably shouldn’t have lasted through his last season) and find a pickup game in our area.

He found two–one at Will Rogers on Saturdays and one at the park next to the Century City mall every other Sunday.  As it was Saturday, we woke up early, threw down some toast (topped with my awesome homemade strawberry jam), slathered on sunscreen, and drove up.

Side note: parking is $12.  One of my biggest annoyances upon moving to LA was paying for parking.  Georgia was chock full of places to park, all free.  You could make up your own most of the time, and no one would mind.  Even in Atlanta, you could usually find a spot without too much trouble.  But it’s a state park, and it supports awesome things, like picnic spots, so I didn’t grumble too much.

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This is Ryan lacing up his new cleats that we picked up on the way to the field.

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Slathering on sunscreen.

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And then he was off, making new friends.  Or something warm and fuzzy like that.

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Ryan was so afraid I’d do something mortifying, like cheer, or wave, or somehow associate myself with him.  Instead, I sat far away on the grass and occasionally watched, but mostly read.

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Oh, Hunter, old friend, it’s been a while.  But you are always a good read, or re-read, especially on a perfect, not-too-hot Saturday.

That blanket, by the way, is one of my grandmother’s drapes from the 1950s.  We discovered them, and she foisted them on me when we cleaned out her linen closet on my last visit.  They had originally been used on their full length windows, but when there were Carter-era oil crises, Grandpa boarded outside and inside the windows, from the ground to halfway up, to save on energy costs.  So the windows are still there, but half size.  Grandma said the last use those drapes had gotten was when my Grandpa used them to wrap garden tools in to protect his car when transporting them to my uncle’s house for their weekly yardwork extravaganzas.  They also happen to be the perfect length for a tallish person to lounge and read on, and they’re made of bright, cheery fabric.

Ryan was kind of bummed that he wasn’t quite up to these guys’ pace.  But after all, they play every week (or more) and are excellent players, and he’s spent the last several years lounging around his lab.  But made some awesome throws and catches and had fun and plans on going back.  Hooray for reigniting old hobbies!

The game broke up after a few hours when horses took the field.

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Apparently there’s a giant horse area AKA the Will Rogers Polo Club directly behind this enormous field, which we quickly discovered is actually a polo field (it has been split between a passionate soccer game and the frisbeers to this point).  Ryan told me there’s apparently an informal “two horse rule,” ie, once two horses take the field, everyone else has to get off.

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We stuck around for a bit to watch the players and horses warm up.  They were really good.  I mean, they looked good, I don’t know a thing about polo.

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If we’d brought a picnic, we definitely would have stuck around.  Apparently this is a weekly thing, 2-5 on Saturdays, so we’ll stay after a game sometime.

We passed a ton of horses and trailers on our way out.  This was all pre-match.

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We came home, Ryan took a shower and a nap, and I made hibiscus tea.

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How pretty is that?  My awesome mother sent me some hibiscus tea from my beloved Dekalb Farmer’s Market, and I’d been wanting to make a pitcher.  We finally finished off enough lemon juice (though there’s still a gallon in the fridge) to make room, so I made some pretty purpley tea.

I brewed about 1/4 cup of flowers with one black tea bag, and added sugar and water to make a gallon.  That tea is strong, and I’ll probably use fewer flowers next time, but the color is so nice.  It’s kind of fruity and a teeny bit floral, plus I added some mint and lime.  It’s a perfect summery drink.

Then, because I was bummed about not grilling at the park, and because we bought a ton of boneless skinless chicken breast, I convinced Ryan to grill with me on our tiny hibachi grill on our (solid concrete) balcony.  In hindsight, maybe not my best idea (it was REALLY smoky, and we were minorly concerned that neighbors were going to complain), but we wet down the balcony and had a coolerful of water on hand just in case.

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The coals took a long time to light, but finally caught.

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Our built-in herb garden.  Both those plants get picked at relentlessly.  That mint has died off completely and resurrected itself with a little water several times.

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Those chickens aren’t actually done in that picture, but I think grill marks are so summery and make food prettier.

Now to figure out what to do with all this chicken (we cooked double what you see here).

Happy Saturday!

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