Thursday, April 30, 2009

Amway Day 1

I'm not sure how many of you saw me play on the live stream, which was also on live TV here in Asia...but the only word I have to describe today is disappointment. I'm very disappointed with myself for how bad I played. I know I can say that I was tired and not used to things, but it was upsetting. I am just starting to get a lot of confidence in myself and I have to admit, I was knocked down quite a few levels.

I lost both of my matches today. Pei-Chen Tsai beat me 7-4 and Karen Corr beat me 7-2. I'm not exactly thrilled with how I played. I have updates and all of that but it is very late right now and I am very tired. I'm sorry to leave everyone hanging but right now getting a little bit of sleep is more important (not that you guys aren't!). My first match is at 10:30 am. I still have a chance to get out of my group. I need to be sure to win at least two of my three matches for the day.

Other players that are looking pretty good...Karen Corr, Jasmin Ouschan, Kelly Fisher, Monica Webb, and the qualifier out of group H..Xiao-Fang Fu. No one is playing exceptionally well but I think everyone will adapt a bit better tomorrow.

I will give a better update tomorrow when I have more time. Sorry! Here is a clue as to how tired we were at the end of today...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Alright, I realized that it was kind of rude to not put the link in again. Forgive me, I was definitely not thinking clearly! If you go to the tab at the top that says 'Schedule record in table" it will lead to live scoring. So here it is so you don't have to go searching through the blog to find it....Amway WPA World 9-ball Open

Here is another site that I just found thanks to the forum members on AZbilliards. Amway Video. Keep in mind, here in Taipei we are 12 hours ahead of the east coast in the US.

I know it will be late in the US and I have no clue what time it will be for everyone in Europe and if you are in are lucky, but at least you have something to check the scores. I will be back as well after all of my play. Everyone can wake up to a little Sarah...haha!

Let The Games Begin!

My first night in another country is done. I felt like I took a nap yesterday! I managed to stay awake until about 7 pm after I got here. I wimped out and had to sleep. It wasn't for too long though. I am rooming with Monica Webb and she arrived around 11 pm. I figured it would help if I got up and did some things then went back to sleep. We went for a walk to the store and ran into Kelly Fisher, Val Finnie and Joanne Ashton. Of course we had to stop and catch up for a couple of hours. After a little fun and lots of laughs we all decided it was time to rest. Monica and I bought phone cards so we had to call home and try them out since it was normal time there. I think you have to punch in 50 numbers to finally call! Finally it was time to sleep!!

We woke up bright and early and totally not rested to go to the players meeting at 11 am. I didn't know what to expect today. We went to the Taipei Sheraton where they had a whole buffet set up for us. All I was thinking was "YES, finally I can eat!" During the meeting we just had the general rules and whatnot to go over. The thing that was stressed the most was that things will be on time! What we had to do after the meeting was completely foreign to me...we had a press conference.

We had a practice run of us walking up on stage in our groups. Then a long break. I took this time to take some pictures. I think you can pretty much recognize everyone that I could actually get pictures of. Here are a few. Most important, Team USA!

I am actually the tallest one in a picture finally! Here I am with Rubilen Amit and Iris Ranola. Yes, they were both standing on their tiptoes.
I also got a chance to meet Kamila Khodjaeva. She is 13 years old and definitely the future of the sport!
Next we all had to line up in the order we are seeded in our group. We had to walk up on stage in front of tons of Taiwanese press to have our names and countries announced. All I could think was please, whatever you do, don't trip! Here we are lined up in the hallway by group. I am in group F.
Here is one of the other groups up on stage.
After all of that we got to hear a few words from the sponsors of the tournament. The most popular words used were Beautiful and Determined. Those words were used soooo often. I feel like I should have kept track of how many times those words were used to describe us. "Welcome 48 beautiful and determined ladies." The most interesting thing that we heard, through a translator, was that the Taiwanese government made pool one of its top national sports. Next we had a small orchestra group made up of twelve, twelve year olds. This was in celebration of the twelfth year of the Amway Cup. They were really pretty amazing. We got to hear the Forrest Gump theme song, a Japanese cartoon song and last but certainly not least, YMCA! Next we moved on to a small press question and answer session. Allison Fisher was questioned first, then Xiao-ting Pan, Kamila Khodejaeva, and the first and second place finishers from last year. Some of the questions asked were 'How do you stay so beautiful?' 'How do you stay so determined?' I hope you are seeing a theme! Here are Allison and Xiao-ting...

After all of that excitement was over, 18 of us headed to Videoland Studios to do small television interviews. Even though this only was about a 2 minute interview, we had to go through full make-up and hair. Here is Team Japan...
Then we headed to do some silly poses and say a couple of lines. Here is a picture of me being totally confused and Monica posing.

Later I will have the funniest picture which is of myself, Monica and Jeanette. We had to say all together "Hello Taiwan" then give our names and then all together again "We are from the United States" then strike a pose...very funny and very odd looking Charlies Angels to give you an idea. I have to have it emailed to me from the person who took it.

So that gives you an idea of what's going on. I have video as well but I am too exhausted to get it all uploaded. I will post it later though. We start playing matches at 10:30 am. I got lucky and don't play until 12:50 pm. I asked about the live-stream but I didn't get much of an answer. You can google Videoland and see what comes up or check that website that I posted a few days ago. I believe there should be a link on that.

I apologize for any spelling and grammar mistakes that I have made. The spell check is not working and I am extremely tired!

I will be back with updates!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Safe and Sound in Taipei!

About half an hour after my last post I boarded a really huge plane. I believe it was a 747. All I know was there were a lot of people and it was pretty much booked full. So I'm walking and walking and walking and finally reach my seat, pretty much toward the back of the plane. The first bad yet kind of good thing, I was in a seat without seats in front of me, just the little kitchen and whatnot...the bad part, nowhere to store my bag so everything can be right near me. The second bad thing, my whole row was full of parents and kids under the age of three. So I sat down and grabbed what I thought I would need out of my bag and prepared for a 14 hour ride.

I guess I was pretty tired, I passed out as soon as we took off. Then maybe two hours later, all hell broke loose. Every little kid started screaming and screaming. I didn't know it was possible to scream that loud! So I attempted to watch a movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That lasted about twenty minutes and I was out again. I think in total I got about 5 hours of sleep and 9 hours of screaming babies.

I think it was 6:30 am when we landed in Hong Kong. When everyone was getting ready to get off the plane they made an announcement about the Swine Flu outbreak saying that anyone that visited certain states should stop and have their temperature taken. Well technically everyone that was on my flight had just visited California, one of the states that is having the problem. When we walked through a checkpoint before reaching the other gates there were heat censors that checked how warm everyone was walking by. One of the men in front of me was stopped and an alarm went off...that was a little freaky! I also didn't know that when you change planes in Hong Kong you have to go through security again. That was a nice long line to wait in. I have to say, Hong Kong has the cleanest, nicest airport I have ever been in! There were so many stores and whatnot. I didn't have time to check any out or go to any restaraunts but I will definitely on my way home. Here is a picture of me after the longest flight of the trip and the beautiful view from the airport.

Here is my first meal in an sian country...a peanut butter and jelly panini from Starbucks in Hong Kong! Go figure.
Luckily, my wait wasn't too long in Hong Kong and soon enough I was on my final flight of the trip! This one was nice and quick, especially since I sat down and went right to sleep. I only had to endure about 10 minutes of the flight awake.

At 10 am I arrived in Taipei...finally! I had all the fun of the long walk to customs and then making it through customs. It was the strangest trip through I have ever made, granted I have only been through customs at the Canadian border. All I did was hand them my passport and my paperwork they looked at me and said something to each other, stamped it and I was on my way. Now for the most stressful part for any person, let alone a pool player, waiting for your luggage. I always worry but this time there was nothing to worry about. I also ran into a few of the other girls that are in the tournament from Holland. We all made our way out the door and found signs with our names on them. It's so nice to have all of that organized! It was off to the hotel. Now here is where I regret not having my camera out. The drive from the airport to Taipei is beautiful. Everything is so green! I would describe it as not quite mountainous but bigger than just hills, covered in plush, various colors of green trees. I will be sure to get pictures when I go back.

When we got within Taipei the first thing that you have to notice are how many people ride little scooters around. I will take a picture tomorrow of the streets lined with them. But I was wondering, keep in mind I haven't really slept in a few days, how in the world do you go grocery shopping if all you have is a scooter? And just as I thought that I looked out the window and saw my answer...I got to my hotel and was greeted by one of the organizers of the tournament, Sophie. She said hello and made sure I knew what time I was supposed to be there tomorrow. After that I just handed over my passport and credit card and I was checked into my room within five minutes! I got to the room and immediately noticed the difference between a room in the US and a room here. First thing, the beds. Monica Webb and I have a room with two beds. The two beds are TWIN beds and are maybe 6-12 inches apart from each other...Another thing that you will notice is quite different..Check out the bathroom and tell me how many times you have seen a bidet and would you admit to trying one out?? For some reason they really make me laugh!I haven't had a chance to go wandering around too much so the only site seeing picture you get is the view from my room. The biggest building in the background is Taipei 101. I'm not sure what everything else is, but I will find out soon.The one adventure that I did go on was for a walk about a block outside the hotel. To be honest, I was looking for a place that had pictures of food that I could just point at to luck. So I stopped in the convenience store to pick up a few things. I hadn't had a diet coke since I left St. Louis so I am seriously going through withdrawals. It is kind of hard to find Diet Coke around here. I got lucky the store had a few. My shopping resulted in bread, diet coke, dried mango, and orange juice. Here you can see the comparison between my shopping in Taiwan and my food I packed with me from the states.
So now that you all know that I am here safe and sound, I'm going to try to get some much needed rest! Tomorrow I get to do something that I have never even seen in the pool world...a press conference! Thanks for reading and rooting me on. I'll definitely bring plenty of updates. As Roy commented on the last post, I know it is hard to find info on this event so I will do my best. One last picture...a happy me in my hotel room. And yes, I will change clothes now that I can!

Monday, April 27, 2009


The big flight is in sight. After this long day, I almost feel like it is the light at the end of the tunnel!! I made it through check-in, security and to my gate. I haven't seen the plane but I'm going to have faith that it is here!

My boarding passes to Hong Kong and Taipei, the little bit of money that I exchanged for when I get there, and the sign that proves I'm going somewhere!

Next time I post it will be from Taipei. Thanks everyone that has been reading, commenting and hanging in there with me!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing....

So far, today is going much better than yesterday! I made it on time to the airport in St. Louis. I got a chance to hang out with my little sister, get some new music on my iPod and not really sleep much. It wasn't too bad (yes, I'm trying to look on the bright side!). My flight went as planned and I arrived in San Francisco around 12:30pm. I got to see some nice scenery when we passed over the mountains. Looks like there is still quite a bit of snow.

With the luggage issue yesterday I had to hope that my bags would meet me in San Francisco. I waited for about half an hour and no sign of a flight from Chicago coming in. Oh great! Then I decided to actually use my brain and just go to the American Airlines office and ask...sure enough, there it was, safe and sound!

After my long walk of carrying my bags to the international terminal...I am finally here, waiting the long wait. My flight leaves at 1:20 am. That means I am about 9 hours from take-off as I write this. What do I have for entertainment?? Well, I have my little mini computer made by Dell. This thing is awesome to travel with. It weighs maybe two pounds so it is easy to get through security. If I was your typical girl I would probably say that it would fit in my purse...but I'm not, so I won't. Okay, so back to my entertainment...I have the internet so I can do all the fun stuff like chat with my friends, facebook, blog, and so on. If I liked making phone calls I could call people. I have five books but with all the drama of yesterday and one five hour flight already today, I have already read two of them. My other dorky love, crossword puzzles, I have plenty of those to do. And at some point in time, I hope I can get some sleep! A view of my entertainment...

One of the cool things that has happened today is talking to some friendly people. I decided to stick my sponsor patches on my backpack so I would know if I saw it. This has prompted people to ask questions about playing pool and where I'm going. It's been really nice to know that people think it's a really cool opportunity. It is making this hellish trip more worth it!

And last but not least, a picture of me after such a great day yesterday, not much sleep and one flight....please be kind. Warning: no make-up is worn in this picture and the photographer sucked! (yes, it was myself)

Travel Disaster!

Well, my first experience in flying overseas was supposed to start today....but, unfortunately weather really ruined that plan. My flight was scheduled to leave St. Louis, MO today at 2:30pm. I was supposed to go from St. Louis to Chicago then stay on the same plane and go on the San Francisco. Then leave San Francisco at 1:30 am to head to Hong Kong, then Taipei. So where exactly am I now? ST. LOUIS!?!?!

Now I don't live in St. Louis, I live two and a half hours from St. Louis so I left bright and early this morning to get to the airport. I got there around 12:30 and I was ready to go, the weather was beautiful, no problems. I go to my gate and start reading a book, then at around 1:45 they announce that there are mechanical problems with the plane and they are trying to get them fixed...20 minutes go by....another announcement, still trying to fix the problem. Twenty more minutes, they have tow a new plane to the gate and it will be about another half hour. Half an hour goes by, "well, it will be about 15 more minutes.". Finally we start boarding over an hour late. By this time a pesky little storm has rolled into the Chicago area. We are told we will wait about half an hour, then another half an hour, then another hour, then another half an hour. Of course they gave us the option to get off the plane if we wanted. Finally, they started boarding again saying we would take off in 15 minutes. Then the call of doom came....the planes that were re-routed to St. Louis that should have gone to Chicago now had priority. Estimated time of take-off....four hours!

So here goes everyone off the plane and into a big line. It is now about 7pm and my options of flights to make it to San Francisco in time are gone. That means making my flight to Taiwan are gone. I must admit, I hit freak out mode and even shed some tears. Of all times for this to happen with a flight, today was not the day! After about an hour or so of waiting in line I finally got my flight rescheduled. My new itinerary is really not very cool at all. I now go from St. Louis straight to San Francisco...that is the good part. The bad part, it leaves at 10:15 am and gets there at 12:30pm. My flight to Taiwan, which I had to reschedule and pay a fee, isn't until 1:30 am!!! What in the world is there to do for that long in an airport?? The other really cool thing about today, I wasn't allowed to get my luggage off of the flight that was delayed so long. I have to hope that my luggage arrives in San Francisco tomorrow about two hours after I arrive!

I hope this isn't setting the mood for the trip!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Amway Cup

The draw is up for the Amway Cup in Taipei, Taiwan. You can check it out here...Amway Cup website. I was nice and got the Google translated version of the site. Click around on the different categories. They have some cool pre-tournament articles.

There isn't a clear place that says there will be a live-stream but if you go to the icons on the right of the articles and click on the blinking headphones links to videos pop-up. There are some matches from last year on there so I am hoping there will be matches showing this year as well. I have heard that the matches show live there in Taiwan so possibly when I find out the network they will show on that. There is also a place that the score will be updated by the game. If there isn't a live-stream everyone can sit and watch that change....oh the suspense!

My draw seems pretty tough but I always love a challenge. The only name that I recognized in my group is Karen Corr. It is a race to seven in the early rounds. It should be interesting!

I'm sorry I don't have more exact information, but it's a start. I will definitely keep everything updated and I will ask about the live stream. I will have internet access at the hotel so I will do daily posts, probably more than one to keep things updated for everyone.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Canadian Adventure

This should catch everyone up with my travels. From San Diego I flew to Toronto, Ontario...yes, that is Canada. You are probably wondering "Why there?". Well, one reason is because my boyfriend lives there. The second reason is that the pool scene is actually pretty good...think about it, it's really freaking cold there in the winter, might as well play pool! I pretty much went to practice and try to get in a little competition before the big trip to Taiwan.

I arrived in Toronto late on Tuesday, April 7th. I have to admit I was pretty tired so I just took it easy and got some rest. The good thing about this area is that there is a tournament just about every night of the week. My friends Erik and Naomi that we were staying with live right near the pool room, Shooters, so it was really pretty convenient.

The first weekly tournament of the trip was at Shooters on Wednesday night. They have a different kind of format for some of the weekly tournaments. They call it modified. What that means is that you are guaranteed to play two rounds but it isn't double elimination. Doesn't make sense right. So the second time that I had it repeated to me, I caught on. It means if you lose first round or second round you continue to play but cannot win the tournament. If you lose third round, you are out. There is separate (lower) prize money for the one-loss side. My handicap was 8 so I had to win 8 games to my opponents amount of games. I won my first two matches and played so-so but then I ran into a brick wall named John Morra. The little brat tortured me 10-2. So that ended my tournament run.

There is a weekly tournament on Thursday, I believe at a place called The Edge in Ajax. I didn't make it there. Instead we decided to make a trip to the nations capital, Ottawa. There was a tournament scheduled at a pool room called TailGators. If you go to Ottawa, check this place out. The room is huge! I believe there are around 30 tables, a night club, large bar, and live entertainment. The tournament was divided into three separate divisions, Gold, Silver and Bronze. In the Gold division we were separated into AA+, AAA, semi-pro and pro. There were game spots in a race to 10 depending on the match-ups. The format was round robin, two groups of six...yes, that means that there were 12 players. I did pretty well in the round robin format and ended up second in my group. I was undefeated until the last match but ended up losing. Oh well, it was still a ton of play for one day. Saturday the top three from both groups came back to play a single elimination tournament. I did not fare too well. My first match of the day I played the eventual winner, Steve. I was then demoted to cheerleader rather than player. It wasn't a bad thing. I got to meet quite a few very nice people. It was nice to meet you guys and get to chat a little. Best of luck to all of you in Vegas! As I said, Steve won and Jason got second.

Since I was in a place that is pretty important to Canadian history, I had to go exploring. The tournament was only held on Friday and Saturday because of Easter. The tournament finished pretty early so we went to downtown. The architecture is amazing in Ottawa. All of the government buildings are old and intricate. I haven't seen too much of that in major buildings in the US. Unfortunately it was a little late to visit the Byward Market. I heard from the locals that it is really cool in the warmer weather. I walked around the area and it seemed like there were plenty of bars and restaurants to keep people entertained. I'd like to visit again in the summer when it isn't so cold and things are open. Oh and I forgot to mention, there was a protest against Sri Lanka going on. That was the first time I had ever seen anything like that. All you could hear were hundreds of people screaming "stop the genocide in Sri Lanka". Some pictures from Ottawa. I believe this is the Photography Museum, the Parliament Building, a glimpse of the protest and the Byward Market signs. Someone please correct me if I got the buildings mixed up.

Since Sunday was Easter that meant no pool. And since I was not with my family it meant dinner at a restaurant and a movie....What movie you ask? I Love You Man. Yes, it was pretty funny. The next tournament was at Shooters again. This time it is a whole different format and yet another confusing rule. I'm going to attempt to explain this, but it might not work. Here is handicapped and a race to seven. The catch is that there are handicaps like 5, 6, 7, and so on. Then there are handicaps like tie 6, tie 7, tie 8 and so on. My handicap was tie 8. That means that if I play someone who is ranked higher than me, say a 9, if I make the 8-ball I don't win the game but I can't lose it. If I make the 8 and miss the 9 I tie the game and we replay it. So it came up that I played a tie 6. Since I was the higher player he tied if he made the 6-ball, won if he made the 7,8, or 9. This whole deal really kinda confused me. But anyway, on to the is single elimination. I actually played pretty well towards the end of the tournament and alright at the beginning. When it came to the final match it was me vs. Jason. With some witty comments from the people in the room...something about play to see who does the laundry or who drives, we decided to split the money and not play. Woohoo...a little funny money in my pocket!! Colorful eh? Yes, there are people playing hockey on the $5 bill!

Tuesday I visited Le Spot Billiards. Of all days to forget my camera...this was not the day. Sorry no pictures. This is a room that you have to visit just to see the memorabilia on the walls. This is the room that Alex Pagulayan hangs out at when he is in Toronto. The room isn't a big fancy place, it is a pool room. They do however have the one Diamond Table in the area. I didn't get to play on it. I guess you have to get there bright and early to get that chance. When you walk in though you see that they have some cool stuff. All of Alex's magazine covers are blown up and put on the wall, all of his articles, photos, big is really awesome. I apologize for not getting pictures. I also got to meet a great snooker player that was just kind of hanging out, Kirk Stevens. It was cool to get to hear some of his travel stories. I did get in a little bit of action. Unfortunately it was all barbox 8-ball action. I ended up breaking even for the night after playing a few different people cheap sets. My lack of knowledge is really making me question the decision to play the 8-ball tournament in Vegas!

Wednesday I headed back to the tournament at Shooters. Again, I won my first couple of matches and lost my third. Oh well, I didn't play too bad, just not well enough!

Thursday I was really lazy but I did change up the practice routine a little. I played snooker. I had to take advantage of the fact that there are at least a couple of snooker tables in every pool room in the area. If you go to Shooters they have some good tables, I think eight in total. The Canadian Championships are played here each August. I used to play snooker everyday maybe seven years ago. I was never very good but I had fun playing. This was a little bit of a flashback for me. My poor opponent...had to get tortured then make excuses for the rest of the night...poor baby! I think both of us maybe had a high run of 40 or so...nothing to spectacular. I wish that there were more 12ft snooker tables in the states. It is a challenging but fun game. Everyone should try it at least once.

Friday the weekly tournament was in Missassauga at a place called Silver Tip. It is another good sized place with about 16 pool tables and 4 snooker tables. The tournament was handicapped and modified. I repeated what I did twice already...won my first two matches and lost my John Morra again! I must say this is the first and only time I have seen Dufferin pool tables. They are pretty different from any table I have played on before. I think the best comparison I have would be Gandy tables. They are set a little too high for my liking...definitely not short person friendly! If I remember correctly they also have a tournament on Sunday nights.

On Saturday there was a Canadian Women's Pool Tour tournament in the area but I opted not to play. No, I wasn't scared but I do have good reason. It was Jason's birthday and it was the first time I had ever been there for that occasion. I opted to have a little fun after a lot of pool playing. It wasn't a massive party but we did have some fun. There are a lot of cool people that I have been lucky to get to know and make friends with. We started at a friends house to hang out, watch some pool, talk about pool and so on. Then we went to a few bars in downtown Toronto. Sorry, I never caught the name of any of them! It was a really fun night and thanks to Andrew, Bri, Alex, Gio, and Erik for hanging out all night and showing us a good time! Here is a pic of the group and myself and the birthday boy...and yes, I know my eyes are closed and no, I don't know who the people in the background are.

Sunday I just took it easy and watched a lot of hockey! My trip came to an end very early Monday morning when I head back to home sweet home.

I will leave you guys with one of my favorite food places that we go to every time I am in Toronto, almost on a daily basis...Alexandros World Famous Gyros. It's a small place that is great for a late night food fix.

The other thing is something that I guess they only have in Canada. I wish I never would have been introduced to it because now I want more and because I think I would eat them everyday if I lived there and gain about 200 pounds very quickly! It is called Poutine. When it was suggested to me I said, "what in the world is that??". Then I found out...fries, brown gravy and mozzarella the words of my buddy Chris Bartram..."it tastes like more". Here is a picture for you to see it's greasy goodness!

Thanks again to Erik and Naomi for giving me a place to stay, Andrew, Bri, Gio and Alex for hanging out and everyone in Toronto that I got to meet or see again. I hope I get to visit again soon!

Well that should catch everyone up with all of my travels so far. The big trips are coming up...Taiwan, Vegas and Manila...I can't wait!! I'll be back with a couple more posts before then and I am supposed to have internet access at the hotel in Taiwan so I would like to do daily posts...we'll see!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

San Diego

My trip to San Diego began on March 30th. If you can recall from the last post my trip to Omaha ended on the 29th...this left me with about a seven hour drive home to Bloomington, IL, do some laundry, re-pack, sleep for a few hours then off to St. Louis to catch my flight to San Diego. Luckily, I thought things over just a little before booking my flight and didn't make it a crack of dawn flight like I usually do! All the flights went alright, even though I was apparently lucky and the flight I was on was the only one not delayed out of Denver..woohoo. I arrived in San Diego to some slightly warmer weather, palm trees and the Pacific ocean around 11pm! Let the adventure begin!

The kinda cool, yet kind of awkward thing that happened right away was the rental car. Since I got in so late I was about the last person going to the rental car place. I forgot that in San Diego they are not at the airport. The lots are really small so they have less cars. Being the cost-effective person that I am, I only made reservations for a small car. But lucky me, all they had left was a Ford Mustang. Well, it was cool until I walked outside and saw a bright red Mustang. Nothing like that to attract some unneeded attention!

You are probably wondering why I went to San Diego so many days early. That is a good question. The tournament doesn't start until Wednesday. In March, fellow WPBA player Melissa Little asked me if I would be interesting in doing a clinic at On Cue Billiards in La Mesa. Considering I am always looking for opportunities like that, I said of course! The clinic was scheduled for Tuesday, March 31st. So that left me with a day to find something to do in sunny San Diego. I had a few options...wander around, go to the beach, go to Sea World or go to the Zoo. I opted for the San Diego Zoo. I must admit, the place is not all hype! I had about 5 hours to spare and this took 4 of them. And that was a very quick tour of the Zoo. They had a pretty cool skytram or at least I thought it was pretty cool until I was riding in it! Wow, that was high and shakey!! Here are a few of the cooler things (make that awake things) that I saw at the zoo...

After the zoo and a little sun and a ton of walking it was time for the pool clinic at On Cue. It wasn't a huge turnout but I was pretty happy with it. This was a much shorter clinic than others that I have put on. It was only about two and a half hours of talking and playing. Thanks to the six people that came to hang out with us for awhile. It was really great to meet and hang out with all of you! If you are visiting the San Diego area be sure to check out On Cue Billiards, 8303 Parkway Dr., La Mesa, CA. They have a pretty good weekly tournament on Mondays!

Now it was time to focus on the tournament. Tuesday night I headed to Alpine, CA and got ready to relax and get ready for the first WPBA event of the year. Todays geography lesson is on where Alpine is in relation to San Diego. It is about 35 miles east of San Diego. I have to say it is really awesome going from sea level to a mountainous region. The scenery is beautiful and of course totally interesting to me considering I am from Illinois. Here is a view from the car when we were approaching Alpine...

Wednesday I started the day by going to lunch with the Asian Invasion as I call them consisting of pretty much all of the asian girls on tour, Caroline, Supadra, My Hanh, Xiao Ting and Ga Young and the manager from On Cue, Clyde. Then we all piled in the Mustang and headed to Viejas Casino to the players meeting. Viejas Casino...
It was the usual occurances, sit around and talk about new stuff, old stuff and the future, pay our entry fees and catch up with everyone. After that the top 12 players got to play in a Pro-Am. Since a couple people dropped out of the event and I was right on that top 12 bubble...I got to play! I'm sure that this task kind of wears on some of the players that have been a Pro-Am staple for years. Me on the other hand, I love it! It's a time to just hang out, have some fun and meet some people. My team didn't do all that hot, but we had fun! I believe Vivian Villiarreals team won.

So the next day I got the top 16 player perk of not having to play too early...that is always a bonus and something I am not used to! My first match was against Suzanne Smith from Arizona I believe. This was her first WPBA event and Suzanne, I'm sorry we had to play but I know you had fun! She had the coolest idea to remember her first event by having everyone sign a book for her. I wish I would have thought of that! I won the match 9-3. My next match was scheduled for Thursday night against Liz Cole from Washington. She had a great first round win against Melissa Little and I wasn't really sure what to think going into the match. I started out a bit shakey but eventually started playing better. I think the final score was 9-5. I have to give a big congrats to Liz for doing well in the tournament. She is a very nice person and I hope she continues to win some big matches in the WPBA events! The perk for winning my first two matches...not having to play until late Friday night!

The bracket begins to look a bit tougher on Friday. There is also some big added that third match and you are done until Saturday and guaranteed a top 16 finish. Just a little pressure. My match was a rematch from Florida except this time it wasn't on ESPN it was on the WPBA livestream...myself and Gerda Hofstatter. I wasn't sure going into this match. I was just hoping to play well and make it a good match. I watched one of Gerdas earlier matches and she was playing incredibly well. I have to say I was surprised at how Gerda played. I got a few rolls and she couldn't get anything going. I won the match 9-4. From that match you never would have guessed that Gerda would come back playing like burning hell and take out Allison Fisher and Xiao Ting Pan to make it to the semi-finals! Now that I had my secured spot in the Final 16...I was off until 7pm Saturday! Here is a glimpse into hanging out after the matches....and yes, Debbie was trying to cure me of my eye closing problem!

Saturday came and I spent the day kind of being lazy (go figure) and went to the mall with my pal Tracie Hines. Thanks to the WPBA webcast I could sit in the room resting and find out who I had to play. Unfortunately I heard the news that I would have to play one of my best friends in the world, Helena Thornfeldt. I hate to see one of us have to go but we are both competitive people. We have a pretty equal record when it comes to playing each other in WPBA events going back over the years. This time I played well and Helena played average. I got ahead 8-2 and just couldn't close it out. Then it went to 8-4, then 8-6. The last game was pretty brutal. We both missed the 5-ball, then we both missed the 7-ball. Eventually I made the final three balls and finished off the match. Next I had the task of playing Jeanette Lee with the pressure of making it to the semi-final, ESPN match. This match was also broadcast on the live stream. The outcome was not so great for me..I lost 9-2 and it was a drama filled loss! My post-match post kind of gave away my feelings about that match. Sorry, I'm not going to recap that one.

Like I said before, I'm very happy with how I finished in this event, 5-8th but I was unhappy with how it ended. But it is pretty cool to look at the rankings and see my name in the top 10! Now I just need to play well and keep it there!

Sunday I went to watch...I had to see Monica, one of my other best friends play. It's great to have an American to root for on the final day! I'm not going to give it away, well at least not the details but I have to say congrats to Monica for winning her second event. You have to watch all of the ESPN matches when they air on May 3rd. I guarantee they will be the most exciting matche you have ever seen! Here you go...the top 3 and the celebration dinner after the finals...

The first WPBA event is now in the books. Our next event isn't until mid-June in Michigan City, Indiana.

I got a little bit of a vacation in San Diego. I didn't make arrangements to leave until Tuesday. So I got a chance to go to the beach and Sea World. I have to say that the beautiful warm weather can be deceiving. I went to the beach....not wearing a swimsuit (sorry, maybe when I get a new body I will take pics at the beach). Despite the lack of a swimsuit, I had to put my feet in. I had heard rumors before that the Pacific Ocean doesn't get very warm but it was so nice and warm and sunny and the beach was packed so I figured it was okay...I put my feet in (the smaller feet in the picture are mine). WOW...that was freaking COLD! Maybe I should try that again sometime in July!

After about thirty minutes at the beach, I had to Sea World. In my opinion Sea World was better than the Zoo. I liked the different shows and the stuff that I can't see at any Zoo. Beware, that is also a HUGE place. It took about five hours to see all of the shows. It is definitely a must see if you are in San Diego! Here are a few pictures from Sea World...

Well, that is my San Diego adventure. Next up...Toronto and my first trip overseas!! Until tomorrow...