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.

Ball Game Dragon Upgrade

Yesterday, I didn’t get much writing done. I figure I’m not trying to write seven days a week anyway. Did I specify? Didn’t I say five days a week? That’s more manageable if I didn’t say so before …

Instead of writing yesterday, I got to see a Major League baseball game with my daughter. I can’t say we’re huge baseball fans or sports fans in general for that matter. But it is certainly fun to go to an actual game once in a while.

It was a gorgeous day! While the weather forecast called for possible thunderstorms late in the afternoon, rain missed us entirely. The O’s didn’t win, but we saw them score a point. Yay. Camden yards is a beautiful ball park. We had lovely seats thanks to extra tickets from a nice co-worker. There was food — crabcakes! My daughter ate two and a half along with an entire plateful of fruit and numerous cups of ginger ale and Spirte. Then, cookies and brownies and the peanuts we purchased on our way out.

We left the park shortly before the game actually finished. We’d just about reached the car when my kiddo said, “I have to go to the bathroom.” Parents have been experiencing this, probably, since the beginning of parenthood in general. “Why didn’t you go back at the stadium?” I asked. She said that she didn’t know she had to go then. I’m pretty sure I said the same to my mom more than once. Payback, right? So instead of walking to the car we shot past it and went to the Visitor Center at Inner Harbor. They had a bathroom. It has moodlighting.

Then instead of walking back to the car, since we were already there, we walked around Inner Harbor. There were paddle boats which my daughter absolutely loves. We didn’t rent a paddle boat during the cherry blossom festival this year — the lines are crazy long for that. There was zero line, so I caved and we got a paddle boat. Weren’t we just going to the car?

I paid for a regular paddle boat. They also had dragon paddle boats that look cool, but they’re more expensive, and I figured we can see the green and purple dragons that other people are riding better than the one we’d be in anyway. But they had no regular paddle boats ready. Apparently the ones tied to the dock weren’t ready for people. So they upgraded us. Which was pretty cool. Being a little larger, the dragons are harder to paddle. I got exercise.

Then, we finally drove home. Nice day!

Time will tell

I’m fearing I have unleashed a scourge upon the land for allowing my child to set up her own Minecraft server. But also secretly looking forward to the potential parental bargaining tool. (And it’s not a server on our network, so there’s that.)

Will this be a learning tool and encouraging responsibility? Or am I being an indulgent parent by giving in to the chant of her whims? “Can I have a Minecraft server? Can I have a Minecraft server? Can I have a Minecraft server?”

Time will tell. Or not.

Cats with Frickin’ Laster Beams

Cats with frickin’ laster beams attached to their heads! Not actually attached to their heads more like attached to a keychain that I can hold in my hand. It’s amazing that you can get lasers on keychains these days. Well, perhaps, not that amazing. A few years ago that might have been impressive. Now, well … go to the local computer shop and you can get one on a keychain for less than $5.

Sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads! THAT’S impressive, but not ’cause the laser beams are scary. I’m sure the sharks have no idea how to use them anyway. 😉 Sharks with laser beams attached to their heads are impressive because SHARKS are impressive. And I don’t want to mess with anybody who has taken the time to strap a laser beam to a shark’s head.

But laster beams and cats. AWESOME. Our cat, Mojo, chases the dot of light like the crazy, playful cat that he is. Fletcher isn’t much impressed with the dot of light. He knows it isn’t something he can catch and chew. So he watches curiously. Not the dot, though. He watches Mojo. Fletcher knows that Mojo doesn’t know that he can’t catch the dot, and he’ll watch Mojo play just long enough to catch him completely off guard and pounce on him and chew. Laser pointer. Perfect cat toy.



© 2013 Debora Kapke

In Other Game News

We went to a “House Party” last weekend and played a new game called Telestrations. It was like a cross between Pictionary and Operator/Telephone.  We laughed a lot. I was reminded that I really like to draw. And doing so in 60 seconds or less is challenging as well as being uniquely manageable for folks with a busy schedule.

We also acquired Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot from ebay. We’d played this game with friends a while back only to find out that PlayRoom doesn’t make it any more. So to ebay we went. We got it for a pretty good price as we purchased one with a tear in the corner of the box. We’re not looking for a collectible item — we just want to play! So that worked well. Might have to pick up some booster packs.

And we got the Food Fight app after playing the actual physical game several weeks ago. I still need to try it out, but my daughter likes it so far!

Just Gel

I recently kicked a little b*tt on the Carcassonne app when I beat a guy who was in the top 25ish of all Carc Quick Play games everywhere on the planet. He was not happy. He saw what was coming. So as I tried to play my last piece, he tried to clog my bandwidth by typing as many non-sensical characters as he could using Cacasonne’s messaging system. My game got sluggish. If I forfeited by not playing my last piece in time, he’d win by default. In the end, it didn’t work. As I placed my last piece and won, he messaged, “Go to gell [sic] and burn bitch.” To which I replied, “You typed, ‘Go to gell.'” Sigh. Sore loser.

But bwaaaaaaahaaaaaaa haaaaa haaaa.

Now should I blur out his username or just post as-is? (I might change later.)


Legos and dinner and Birthdays, Oh My!

Just a note on two things.

Saying “Carcassonne” can sound a lot like “Carpet Zone.” When explaining the game, Carcassonne, to one of my daughter’s friends, she misheard the name of the game. I can see how it might work that way especially with background noise, but no we’re not talking about a game that has something to do with flooring.

Sharing dessert instantly lowers calorie count per serving.

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