Wait List

I drove my daughter to one of her Saturday dance classes yesterday. In doing so, I missed the registration for Pinburgh. (Even though I set up several alert reminders, my brain had gone on auto pilot, and so I didn’t get home soon enough.)

Pinburgh is a pinball tournament that takes place in July of 2017 at the ReplyFX Arcade and Video Game Festival.

Pinburgh tickets went on sale at 11:00 a.m. yesterday and sold out in less than 30 minutes (say what?!). I wasn’t expecting that.

Last year it took a few hours to sell out. The two years prior to that it sold out quicker (but had fewer spots). This year there were 740 slots(!)‚ the most they’ve ever had, so I thought I’d be safe.

I am now on the wait list (which may or may not work out). In previous years the wait list moved quite a bit. I needed to plan this better.

With ticket sales so far in advance of the actual event, there are inevitably folks who cancel because their schedule just doesn’t work for the four-day event. Lots of folks only register because they know it’s register now or not at all. Tickets are not transferrable, so you can’t register and then sell your spot to somebody else.

I’m hoping with more total spots this year, I will be able to score one of them as the wait list moves. But it could go the other way, with more spots taken so quickly, it may mean there is more interest and more folks may actually go.

I’m hoping I’ll be lucky (with tickets and then again in the tournament). It was fun!

 

The Week

It was a busy week. With the election on Tuesday, I got up early to vote. Then, like a lot of people, I didn’t get much sleep that night. I dozed, looked at incoming election results, then woke up. Then dozed a little more. It was very surreal.

Wednesday, I had a meeting at my daughter’s school. So there I was talking with her teachers, and so very tired. Though, I think we were all a little tired. The teachers had very nice things to say about my kiddo, and I’m very proud of her.

Thursday,  before work I took the cat to the vet to get his blood drawn. Then dropped him off at home before I went to the office.

My daughter had Robotics club after school, so I had to pick her up.

The school was having an International Night that evening. Since it started several minutes before I arrived at the school, my daughter was already in line to sample the many tasty foods, and I went inside to see what it was like.

I’m so glad we went in. International night was really cool. Our area has students from so many places. We got to taste foods from around the world.

One of the desserts was called, Casery (maybe also spelled Kesari). It was from India and flavored with cardamom. It was different but yummy!

Then we saw a video the students made and watched part of a talent show the students performed.

Then I had pinball league. I stayed awake enough to play a few good games. Yay!

I came home and tried to blog. I. Was. So. Tired.

I kept typing and falling asleep mid-sentence. And I kept typing the wrong thing. Finally, I managed a couple of tiny sentences and was done.  I had to count that as my NaBlogPoMo.

Friday’s blog post didn’t go much better. I was so tired. But I was a little peppier since we got good news about our little old kitty cat. He’s a lot better. That made me happy.

Today is catch-up day … for many things. Laundry. Groceries. Blogging and writing. Resting. But still driving my daughter to and from places. At least I’m getting a few of these done.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

NaBloPoMo November 2016

My Feet are Happy

I am currently waiting in Hall D of the Convention Center in Washington DC. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman were scheduled to start a Q&A here at Awesome Con over an hour ago. Their photo ops are running late, so Peter and Jenna are still op-ing while most of us non-photo-opers are trying to be patient.

I haven’t been to a con in years. So far, most of my day here at Awesome Con has been spent waiting. I’m not sure how normal that is. First we waited in line for our badges. It moved quickly. Then we waited for StarTalk Live seats. We enjoyed StarTalk but left a little early so we could get in line to get seats to see the Peter Calaldi & Jenna Coleman Q&A.  I left my daughter and her friend in that line while I went on a mission to get us food. Then I waited in the food line. We ate the food in the P&J Q&A line. Lots of lines. Lots of waiting.

I hear the waiting wasn’t so bad the other two days of Awesome Con. That’s good.

Our early-line-waiting paid off as far as seats. We have sweet seats for general admission to the Peter & Jenna Q&A. I’m talking non-VIP seats that are almost as good as many of the pay-extra-for-em VIP seats and even better than some of them.

But we’re still waiting for Peter & Jenna at the Q&A — it’s going on an hour and a half late now. The audience has all new questions at this point.

My daughter and her friend have run off to the Exhibition Hall. They got wristbands to get them back in to the Q&A hall. It’s full. I’m holding seats. While I really wanted to go to the Exhibition Hall, at least I’m not down there spending money and tiring out my feet. That’s something, right?

They announced that Peter and Jenna would be here soon. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My daughter and her friend are back with a hat, a bow tie, and a needlework Minecraft chest in tow. Pretty cool.

Still sitting here. I managed a whole blog post! We’ve been promised the Q&A will start soon. Really. Probably really. Hopefully really. Maybe really.

My bottom is planted in my sweet seat. I might eventually have a good view. My feet are happy too.

Yay, it’s starting!

Catch Up Day – Still Not a Food Thing

Urgh! I’m supposed to be writing stuff and somehow hardly anything has gotten done this week. I managed some reading because, with apps on my phone, I can do that just about anywhere in tiny bursts. To some extent I can do that with writing too, but it is slower. Much slower. I only got a bit of writing done. Somehow time in this past week has evaporated like the last wisps of summer sun.

For the past month I’ve been meaning to do my nails and shave my legs.  I don’t get the bug to do my nails very often, but it does show up once in a while. So nearly every day I’ve been thinking, “oh, maybe I can do them today.” Then there’s laundry. Or a cat barfs. Or something else comes up. So that didn’t happen yet. The summer color I’d planned on doing just ain’t gonna happen at this point. I’m looking at you, Autumn.

Last week I had a follow up appointment with my Physical Therapist. I reeeaally should have shaved my legs if I was going to wear shorts there. Did it happen? Nope. If I’d have remembered this little tid-bit of info then I might have worn longer pants instead.

After that I should have, at least, shaved ’em over the weekend to avoid any more mishaps. Still no. Two days ago, I managed to haul my cookies up on an exercise bike again, guess what? I could feel my leg hairs swaying in the wind as I peddled. It’s not even like I can claim “winter legs.” At least I showered. 

Earlier I managed to paint a card for my daughter for her birthday. I’m proud of the card (proud that I finished it befor her birthday was over), and I’m even more proud of her.  I think she is a very cool young teen.



We had my daughter’s birthday party last weekend so it was a busy one. Plus we got her a nice but inexpensive cell phone, and activating it took a lot longer than I was expecting. 

First I’d tried to set her up on Cricket which didn’t work at all. It should have been the correct type of GSM unlocked phone to work there, but I think something is whacky. I’ll probably need go into a Cricket store to get the SIM to work. Like I have time. I can’t even manage to shave my legs.

Walmart Family Mobile plan to the rescue! I didn’t even know this existed until a few weeks ago. I’ll even save $5 a month over Cricket (but with slightly less high-speed data). I hope the coverage works OK, but the website for the service actually makes me feel like somebody put some thought into making it family friendly. More important, it actually worked. Excellent.

I meant to bake maple or caramel apple cupcakes for her birthday party, but that didn’t get  done either. Instead I purchased not-bad-for-store-bought cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate and decorated them with pumpkin spice marshmallows. They were a hit. Especially the marshmallows. I think they’ll be good in coffee or hot chocolate this fall.

We had a lot of fun at my daughter’s Laser Tag Adventure party. She has some great friends! The laser tag games are fun and the location was nice. But they had lots of video game redemption machines there, and some of the kids went a little wild with playing those. Seriously, why does it seem like so much fun for a machine to spit out paper tickets?

You can never get much with the tickets you trade in for “prizes” there or anywhere. Put in 25 cents and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to trade your tickets for a nickle worth of goods. 

My daughter got some Now & Laters — little hard taffy bricks that I’m pretty sure are nothing but an evil ploy of evil dentists. My daughter chose banana flavor. Against my good judgement she convinced my to try one. I promptly pulled a crown off my molar. I should have known better. Taffy is pure sweet evil incarnate, and this is not the first time that that crown has come unglued. It’s a fairly shallow, flat tooth.  At least I didn’t swallow it this time. That happened. And that’s another story for another time.

My mom and stepdad are moving in these next few days. I’m excited for them but also nervous as they’ll live farther away. This will be a big change. I helped with a few things yesterday, and I’m determined to help more this weekend.

I’m also determined to get some writing done, so here’s something. It looks like I’ve actually managed a blog post. I also have a couple of Cherokee Purple tomatoes finally ripening in our balcony garden. What’s not to like? It could be a good weekend.

I’m resetting my goals for the next couple of days. I am setting aside time. Still haven’t done my nails or shaved my legs though.





Summer’s Tail – Kicking and Screaming

It’s still hot like summer, but in many places kids have already gone back to school. Some as early as August 1. Summer is over for them. It’s the tail end for us, and I want to grab on to these last few weeks kicking and screaming as I lick the last bit of salt off my fingers before summer goes away again. My daughter can’t wait for school to start back up. She’s excited to experience her new classes and see more of her friends. I still have unfinished plans and goals and more tomatoes to grow!

We did some fun things this summer. We took a trip to Pittsburgh where I participated in Pinburgh, a pinball tournament. Pinburgh has been around a few years, but this year it was held at a huge new classic video game festival called Replay FX. I brought my daughter because, hello, video games and pinball! And they had other kids’ activities like a velcro wall, giant inflatable obstacle course, and slides. For a video game festival my daughter actually got a lot of exercise!

While Pittsburgh may not bring to mind the typical image of summer vacation paradise, there was much fun and our hotel room had extra niceties that kept us saying, “wow, cool!” This made for a fairly complete vacationy experience.

Our room had a motion sensor foot light (like a night light at the floor that turned on when we stepped out of bed), pull-down individual book lights on each headboard, and in the evening, when we returned exhausted from a full day of game play and activities, the hotel supplied milk and cookies (free of charge for kids 12 and under). It was great!

We had another very mini vacation this past Friday night when we slept over at the National Museum of American History as a Smithsonian Sleepover. Last summer we did this at the Natural History Museum and loved it. There are scads of activities and crafts centered around various exhibitions in the museum. Then folks get to roll out their sleeping bags and camp out under a whale or antique machinery as museum lights are dimmed. Continental breakfast is served in the morning. And it is all so way cool!

Next year my daughter will be too old to do either of these sleepovers (there’s an age limit), and we’re super glad to have done them. I’ve always loved the Natural History Museum with animals and minerals, but I forgot how much fun the American History Museum can be. I feel like we made the kind of memories that can last a lifetime, and I think (I hope) my daughter feels that way too.

Earlier this summer my daughter had camp, so most weeks I had to drop her off in the morning and then run out on my lunch hour to pick her up and drop her off either at home or somewhere else like another camp (from which I’d have to pick her up again later). Most of the camps have been wonderful! She’s learned more music and dance and even cooking.

For me, one or two days of driving at lunchtime isn’t a problem, but week after week gets tiring. Exhausting even. I need some down time, or I start to shut down. On top of it, I fell and injured my knee last March (for crying out loud) and it has been slowly healing. At the beginning of summer it was much better but still painful on a regular basis. Pain is exhausting. (I have much more empathy for folks who live with chronic pain.) I’ve been trying to fit physical therapy exercises into my daily schedule to help my knee heal. Here at the end of summer I finally feel like I can squat to take care of our balcony plants without groaning in pain at the same time.  Long and short of it, instead of writing and blogging more this summer I remained rather unproductive.

These last few morsels of summer I have no plans of driving anywhere at lunchtime — at least nothing major. I may still run occasional shopping errands or drop my daughter off at a friends house and such. But mainly I plan to eat lunch.  I plan to write.

I’ve set goals for myself.  I want more summer fun. Maybe a quick trip to the beach! Maybe tubing. Definitely more swimming. I want more tomatoes to grow! More peppers! I want to write regularly and am setting daily and weekly goals. Really, I want more summer!

Back to Life: Return of the Blob

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt for July 29, 2014, is Back to Life. It asks:

After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

After especially long and exhausting activities, the one thing I do to feel alive again is to be a blob. Ironic that being so unhuman can make me feel human again. I wish I could say it was jogging, yoga, a long walk outside, or some other healthy thing. Exercise is a good thing, but I would say regular exercise is better to help prevent me from feeling totally drained than to help me bounce back once there.

When I need to recharge I just plain need down time. I like to stretch too, though, especially after physical challenges like a long car ride. So maybe that makes me a stretchy blob. Kind of like slime! Stretch and bend. I might even stick to something like the couch. But otherwise I do not want to do much of anything. I don’t have to be blobby for that long, but how long partly depends on how drained I am in the first place. Likewise if I have a little charge left in me, I may add a bit of reading, writing, drawing, playing a game, or watching a movie. Is there a movie called Return of the Blob? Blobby-ness helps me to return. I just have to make sure I avoid the quicksand and get moving again before long …

Now? Later! — Not Just Candy from the 70s.

The prompt for July 14 was: Now? Later! It asks:

We all procrastinate. Website, magazine, knitting project, TV show, something else — what’s your favorite procrastination destination?

In a way, everything I do feels like a form of procrastination. If I’m doing the laundry, it means I’m not doing something else like cleaning the sink in the bathroom. So I’m thinking there’s a very fine line between procrastination and prioritization.

There is, perhaps, a two-stage litmus tests for this difference. First, does the object of my attention actually need to get done? And second, does it need to get done now?

If I’m doing something that needs to get done, then it’s probably more an issue of prioritization. Laundry needs to get done. But if I should really be doing something else at this very moment, then it also becomes a form of procrastination. Doing the laundry but there are dishes I should get done before I make my daughter’s lunch which needs to happen now. So basically I procrastinate all the time and call it prioritization. I seem to get more stuff done this way.

Pretty much any time I’m writing, I’m procrastinating on some level, because there’s always something else that needs to get done. That’s both procrastination and prioritization. If I make writing a priority, then am I still procrastinating?

Maybe procrastination becomes a matter of degrees. How badly am I procrastinating? Laundry is a sort of single-level procrastination. It needs to get done, but probably not five minutes before we’re supposed to leave the house.

Then there’s double-level procrastination. That’s stuff that I don’t need to do, and I definitely don’t need to be doing it now. Because all it does is steal time from all the other things that need to get done.

For me, the two things that I name as my biggest vices are Carcassonne and Candy Crush (it’s not just candy from the 70s). Neither one of these needs to get done, but they happen. Oh, I try to multitask to minimize the amount of precious time it’s sucking from my life. Play a little Candy Crush in the bathroom anybody? (Sorry if that’s too much information.) Bathroom time needs to happen. Why not multitask? Sometimes my brain really does need a break from all the “must do” things and Carcassonne and Candy Crush offer that in a colorful, satisfying, calorie-free way. I can’t do laundry or dishes in the bathroom. I might as well play a game. So wait, isn’t that a form of single-level procrastination? It doesn’t really need to get done, but if I’m going to do it, that’s a good time. It all seems logical to me until the family yells, “hay, are you playing Carcassonne in there?”

In Your Face, Roaring Laughter

The Daily Prompt from the Daily Post for July 7, 2014 is Roaring Laughter:

What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?

The last time I had a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? That’s easy! It was Friday, July 4th. My daughter and I were invited to a friend’s house to try out some new games. We like games and we like our friends, so it’s already a good start.

One of the games they had was the Electronic Catch Phrase Decades Game. You can select from five decades — 1970s through 2010s. The liquid crystal display gives a set of “catch phrases” from that decade. These include expressions, songs, bands, famous people, etc. One person holds the machine and she or he gives clues so that the others can guess the “catch phrase.”

It was fun for the kids. They know the most recent decade or two. I discovered I’ve been living under a rock for the past thirty years.

I scored well for the 70s and 80s, but start to get pretty foggy around the 90s. I didn’t recognize many of the items from 2000s and 2010s at all. Forget about guessing! I can’t even provide clues. If they had catch phrases that focused on science fiction instead of pop culture from the 90s, 00s, and 10s, I may have faired a bit better.

So 70s and 80s I can manage! There were many belly laughs. I am totally uncoordinated when under timed pressure and playing guessing games.

One “catch phrase” was “In Your Face.” So I literally “got in” the other mom’s face. Inches away, I made some kind of grunting noise because I couldn’t think of any words. The other mom had no idea what to make of it. I think she thought I was just nuts. So then I came up with better clues and she worked it out. Then we laughed even harder because yeah.

I about died laughing when the other mom gave clues for me to guess “Berry White.” She imitated him excellently. “Can’t get enough of your love, baby.” It was as if he was being channelled right through a forty-something mom. I was laughing so hard I almost couldn’t say “Berry White.”

The kids lost interest in the 70s and 80s and were jumping on the trampoline by then.

Good times.

Fairly Tragic, Writing 101, Day Fifteen

Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You
Our assignment: You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

____

One of the most painful things for me to deal with is a missed chance or opportunity, so when I heard that the Fest would be permanently cancelled my heart sank. That feeling of no more. It’s so final. It sits in my middle like a bee sting. All those times I wanted to go but didn’t because there was too much laundry to do. Or my budget was stretched too far. Now it’s not even an option to go.

We had a lot of good times.

The food! Giant turkey legs, soup in a breadbowl, corn on the cob — sometimes I think we went just for the food. We can cook most of those things at home, except the turkey legs ’cause they’re smoked, but it’s just not the same. One time a puppet crafter told me that the giant turkey legs were really emu legs. I wouldn’t mind emu. But I googled it when I got home. Turkey. Probably from really big turkeys. But turkeys. The emu thing is kind of urban legend. Emu legs would be about eight times the size. I could really go for one of those giant turkey legs about now. I could even go for an emu leg if it tasted like one of those turkey legs.

We got some of the most adorable photos of my daughter wearing one of those flowery garlands on her head and when she first got her wooden sword. There was that extra-awesome time when she won at medieval pinball multiple times and this big burly guy who went after her got nothing. It was fascinating to people watch. There were shows with sword swallowing, juggling, comedy. There was that climbing wall with a dragon on top. Pirate ship. The wooden slide.

Once, on the way out, we bought a rose and a week or so later it started growing some new leaves. It was beautiful. With it sprouting like that, it was as if all the energy we had from that nice day brought the rose back to life. I know it’s probably dorky to think of it that way. ‘Course it shriveled and died eventually too. Oops.

Most of all, we had lots of just plain fun being outside together. It was like we were in some other world filled with artisans and pretty things. Entertainers. Exotic people.

We’re not even big fanatics. We almost never dress up. Some folks have entire wardrobes and get season passes. I always thought they were kind of, maybe, a little weird. On the other hand, they may have been on to something. They really got to enjoy it while it was there. Maybe they’ll miss it even more than we will though. Who knows. It seemed like it would always be there. It made for a lot of fun. Just can’t believe it.

Of Views and Berries

Writing 101, Day 11: Size Matters
Write about the house you lived in when you were 12. Vary the lengths of the sentences.

When I was twelve my mom remarried, and we moved from a bustling suburb of Chicago to a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. I wanted to run away. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my new step dad – he was great – or that I didn’t like the house – it was quite nice.

When you’re twelve you may not think there would be so many differences from one suburb to the next. But 40 miles outside of Chicago and 40 miles outside of Nashville were a world apart. At the time, Mount Juliet, Tennessee, was more country than suburb.

The downtown had about two stoplights. I had a 45-minute school bus ride that passed nearly every type of home imaginable. Everyone talked with an accent and quite a few called me, “Yankee.” Some asked if we were from Canada. It took time to adjust.

Our house was walking distance to a pick-your-own peach orchard. It was a hilly walk with uneven blacktop warped by the sun. The closest store was a bait shop.

We had one of the most amazing views in the four-county area. The hill was so high that military and civilian helicopter pilots used it as a landmark. Sometimes they hovered level with our windows. The whole house shook. Once a pilot waved at us from slightly below our eye level. Ultralight pilots buzzed over the treetops too.

Along with my stepdad’s job being pretty decent, real estate prices differed significantly between the two locales. We were able to get a nice house. So nice that it was rumored to have been built by Burt Reynolds for Dinah Shore back when they were a thing. Don’t know if it’s true. The house was lovely but never struck me as Hollywood celebrity caliber. The view, however, was worthy.

The exterior of our house was made of stone and rustic wood. Against the view, it looked like it was pasted onto the hillside with a scenic poster behind. I had nightmares of it sliding right down. But we could see for many miles – trees, tiny houses in the distance, wee boats in the sections of Old Hickory lake that popped into view through the trees. It was breathtaking.

Chunks of stone covered the bottom about two feet up in the front and the entire back of the walkout basement. Rough, gray wood stretched to the roof which was much higher in the middle and, after a steep slope, spread gradually out from the left and right.

The great room, as they call it in those parts, was smack dab in the middle of the house and had a high “cathedral” ceiling. In Chicago we called it a family room no matter how high the ceiling. The kitchen, dining room, and formal living room formed a section to the left. The bedrooms and bathrooms were on the right.

The kitchen was huge. It was large enough to feature a two-level island in the middle which had space to eat, room to prepare food, and several cabinets and drawers for storage. The island alone had more surface space than our entire kitchen table in Chicago. There was a built-in desk to one side of the kitchen and room enough for a full family-size kitchen table.

The dinning room was nice, but hopelessly overshadowed by the kitchen. I think we used it all of three times. Same for the living room. Our cat liked to play there. A stash of cat toys was regularly trapped under the coffee table just out of his reach.

Windows stretched from the floor to almost the ceiling in nearly every room. It was full of light.

At the bottom of our yard we grew tomatoes. Blackberries grew wild in the rough at the edge of our lawn.

The house was both rustic and beautiful, but once I got over being quite so homesick for Chicago I liked going to my friends’ houses too.

My friend Julie’s in particular was fun. They had a whole playroom above their garage complete with board games, a pool table, craft and sewing supplies, and a record player. Their house wasn’t huge, but their backyard was flat as a pancake. Great for playing! And every growing season they had a garden with the best strawberries I’d ever had. It’s still hard to beat those strawberries today.

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