It all worked out better than I hoped. #Life #Weekend


The weekend started with a Memorial service that was far better than I had hoped. And a reception that had some unexpected benefits. Saturday I traveled for a family game day that was definitely more fun than I thought it might be. Sunday I had a long walk with the Pokemon, followed by a day of shopping and walking with Kim. At the end I was tired, but in a far better place emotionally than I was pretty much all last week.

The memorial service was very fitting for the person whose life was being celebrated. There was music. There were many funny stories and observations. So there was laughter, and selfies and more music. There were some sad moments and crying, but not so much that it made the affair overly grim. Instead, we all gathered with the purpose of celebrating an awesome person’s life, and that is what we did.

Afterward, we went to the reception at her favorite restaurant and bar. We spent most of the time catching up with old friends that we had not seen in quite some time. During one of those conversations, I came up with a bright idea. Two of the boys there were kids we had known for many years. And it came to me that they might want to join my D&D game. So I invited them while I was at the reception and followed up the next day. This will have the benefit of improving my game. And since one of the boys is the son of the woman who was killed it will be helpful for that family as well.

Saturday I took the boys and Mom up to Denver for a game day hosted by my brother’s brother in law. Apparently, this group gathers together once a month at someone’s house for an afternoon of games. I was a little nervous, to be honest, I was not certain that I would be able to get into the games, and how the boys would behave. But it went very well. I learned how to play a new game, and did pretty well at it. I won a game of Settlers of Catan. And the boys were very good and had a great time. And now we are hosting the next such event, which will be combined with Mom’s birthday party at the beginning of September.

Sunday morning I got up and took a long walk, for some Pokemon hunting. It was part of my overall plan to get out more. I used to set aside Sunday mornings for my long runs, so I figured it would be good to do the same with some Pokemon hunting. That was nice, if tiring. Little would I know what was in store.

Sunday ended up being the store walking day. We went grocery shopping to get things started. Then after we got that done it was off for school supply shopping. That was a couple of stores worth of shopping. We then topped that off with some looking at a couple of stores for items that we can use in our plans to remodel the basement. At the end of it all, I ended up with over 8 miles of walking! My feet were very sore, but I still felt very good about it. All of that was topped off by getting to spend pretty much the entire day with Kim, which I felt that we needed.

When we got home we played some games with just the family. That was a fun change of pace from our normal ritual of sitting in front of the TV.

At the end of it all, it was a very satisfying and fun weekend. I had some closure for my friend. Plenty of good game times. And we managed to get a lot of constructive things done as far as planning and school shopping. All in all, the kind of weekend that I really needed.

Taking advantage of the feelings of well being


For a weekend that did not start out very promisingly it all ended up great. From a rather odd disappointing Scout event to ending up with a feeling of well being and a good scratch dinner and some binge Netflix series watching. In between there was a fun family gathering, I finally got to play a game, and I got started on some much needed yard work.

Lesson learned on the Scouting event. In the future there needs to be far more interaction with a group before signing up kids to volunteer so the kids (and families) know what they will be doing, when they will be needed and what it is all about. I had to get the kids up early after a late night swim party for the Girl Scouts and drive an hour or so up into the mountains to a reservoir to volunteer for the Fishing Has No Boundaries event. Which is a great idea, and seemed like a worthy Scout activity. However, we found that we were not really needed until 12, and had nothing to do, and no great way to entertain the kids for 2 hours. So we did the little that we could and came home. Which was disappointing, but beyond our control.

I was afraid that would set the theme for the rest of the weekend but I was wrong. I got home in time to watch the extra time and shoot out in the Brazil Chile game. And then the first half of the Colombia – Uruguay game. And then it was off to a family birthday party. Which I handled pretty well and overall had a good time. I was able to keep relaxed and just have fun with it.

Sunday started off well with a decent nights sleep. And then I was able to go play some Blood Bowl, for the first time in 2 months. I had some great luck, my opponent had some bad luck and I was able to pull off a close 1-0 game. I was really glad to be playing again, with the start of a new season. I stuck with the Lizards from last season, I enjoyed playing the Dark Elves & Dwarves, but the Lizards really are my best team.

Got home and just felt really good. Lots of energy so I was able to get out and tackle a lot of much needed weed eating. I got the entire front and back yards done, with time in between to watch the second half, extra time and shoot out between Greece & Costa Rica (Go CONCACAF!)

It was really nice to have energy and just feel good about things for a change. I have been in such a depressive rut for a while that it has been a struggle to get things done around the house. For once I wanted to do some work and felt good doing it instead of just doing what I had to do. Damn cycles, really hope that starting therapy and other things will help break that.

 

The sun throws a welcome light on us


The weekend is here! It has been a long week, the kids are really starting to get that feeling. Plans to do some fun things this weekend, after some work. And I get a break from my games.

Ants in their pants

The kids are definitely starting to show the signs of Spring and end of school year. They are all getting very restless, and touchy. Jimmy has valiantly fought a cold so he could not miss any more school (and get to do things like today’s reward day for the ‘good kids’.) Emily is fighting her repeated sinus infection, and is trying to get out and play hard at the same time. Which makes her especially touchy.

I think a lot of this will pass and settle down when school ends in a couple of weeks. Hard to believe it is just a few weeks, but glad for it to end. We have pretty much all the plans in place, and I for one am looking forward to not having to get up quite so early, at least on the days they are staying at home.

Fun events 

First the kids have to help me restore order to the basement. Which shouldn’t be that hard, just a matter of putting toys away. And of course there will also be some yard work on tap. And our weekly grocery trip. So not all fun and games.

But, once that is done there are some fun things to look forward to. Saturday is Free Comic book day, so we have our annual trip to the comic book store to see what is there. Then I have promised them a swimming trip (trying to make that at minimum a weekly event so the kids are ready for our vacation.) And Sunday we are running the monthly Scout hike, glad for the nice weather for that. And Danny will have a friend stay the night as well.

Blood Bowl

Well the Gators season came to an end last night. Despite the best efforts and leadership of Star Player Hemlock and his credible job of removing 2 opposing players from the game (one a clean kill that the Elvish Apothecary could not reverse.) The team just could not hold off the shifty Wood Elves. And due to their one victory over the Orange Tornados the team now has to sit until next season, failing to make the Playoffs or Toilet bowl. The coach did vow to return next season, having finally decided that he saw a spark in this team that wasn’t there in the Dwarves or Dark Elves.

Which means I don’t have any games for at least 2 weeks while other players play their playoff games. And given the occasional scheduling problems this group has it is more likely 3 weeks before I can set up my next game, sigh. I guess I will have to content myself with Magic for now. But with Mothers day next weekend, then other family events, and then my anniversary, it isn’t terrible to have a little break.

I just like to build


Pondering hobby things today. I missed out on my Blood Bowl game last night, which put me in to a funk. And then I have been in a mental mode of thinking about Magic as well. And I think I have come to a conclusion, well more of an epiphany really.

At least in my hobbies: table top games, card games, books etc. I like construction and building. And this is one of the reasons I have found myself put off some of the table top games I used to play more. In books I like to read stories about characters building something, with a real goal in mind, rather than just pure action. And in some of my favorite series I have been utterly delighted when what appeared to be disconnected pieces of action all of a sudden found themselves coming together into a whole.

The biggest recent example is my Blood Bowl league. I enjoy the games, it is generally a pleasant diversion. But more than that I like the fact that a good chunk of the game centers around building and improving the teams. That with each game I can gradually change and improve the team. And that makes the game unique among most table top games. The other games I have played: Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Clan War, Warzone, etc. do not have a concept of experience and improvement built in. So the building in those games is limited to the physical building: buying the miniatures, assembling units, painting, figuring out points. And that is generally fun, but has lost it’s appeal to me (failing eyesight, physical dexterity, space issues, probably all contribute to that.)

Magic has a big element of that. Tracking down the cards, or sorting from what you have. Then assembling and building a deck. Then, having completed that, fine tuning it by adding and subtracting elements. The games are almost secondary to some extent. Of course it is a lot different now, with so many sets and cards out there that it is nearly impossible to keep pace in building decks. Which is something I am running into playing with Jimmy & his buddies.  They are much closer to the new sets and find it easier to keep track, while I tend to get confused by what is out there.

If I had to track to this back I would say it comes from my Role playing roots. As much as I enjoyed playing, the idea of improving on the character, gaining new skills and equipment, that was what I enjoyed. In fact I used to drive some people nuts with how I would focus on that and show up for the next session having figured out how to add this or that.

Heck, part of the appeal of running to me is the idea of building (or rebuilding) myself up to new stages. Adding a new challenge, going just a little bit farther so next week I can go even farther. That is a constant challenge to keep it fun for me.

In the ‘real world’ I guess this is why I enjoy being a parent so much. I love helping and watching my kids gain new skills and ‘level up’. Watching Jimmy obsess over Magic, rushing to the local shop after school, is fun for me because I know that he is gaining new skills and experiences. Same applies to Danny and scouting, Emily and her various dolls, etc. They are all constantly advancing. It takes patience, but you know it will never be the same, there is constant change.

In the end, I just like to build, not literally, but to construct things and watch them develop. And that is just me, it is what I am. Some people are content or feel a need for stability. While I like routine, I only need it so it is easier for the things I am building to grow. Like keeping a garden weed free, or a workbench clean. That is what routine is for me: keeping the things that can stop the change and growth from occurring to a minimum.

Things begin to settle down


The kids got a 3 day weekend this week (and again next week!), we did not. So Jimmy gets his first real test of watching the little ones for a day. We will see how that goes. Life is beginning to settle down, the April birthdays are almost done with. The weather is improving, which corresponds to our moods. And I finally got to play again.

***************Responsibility***************

Celebrating the fact that we can leave the 12 year old basically in charge today while we go to work. It makes me happy, happy that we can trust him enough to handle this. Happy that all of the kids are grown up enough to function without constant adult supervision.

We don’t go full on latch key, but the kids have all reached ages that they can spend more time without us being there. And I think it is a part of my parental job to let them try to handle this. I know that Lolly is next door (for most of the day) and that there are other adults on the block that they can run to if something terrible happens. But in most cases the kids have proven that with the exception of not being great at picking up toys etc when done they are responsible to leave as a group for this time frame. And that shows me that we (Kim, me, various grandparents) have done our jobs.

**************Weather & mood**************

I know that I am not alone in this. Nor am I expressing anything new. But man, nothing improves the family mood like the arrival of sun and warmth. It encourages the kids to get out of the house, away from the electronics and screen time. It grants more freedom in clothing choices. And it opens up our eating habits, because there is less feeling that we have to stuff ourselves when it is warm or hot outside.

And it will open up our family options on the weekends. We can plan more trips to parks, the zoo, hikes, mountains. As a whole we can likely reduce our screen time. I certainly look forward to that, despite being as guilty as anyone when it comes to being a prisoner of the omnipresent electronic entertainment options.

*************Blood Bowl***************

Finally played my second game of the season with my Lizards. And the Aztlan Gators finally did their thing. Knocking my opponents team down with regularity. And the luck evened out at least somewhat (for the record I still have the worst casualty ratio of any coach in the league.) Which led to a win for me. And now it is time for me to face my nemesis Wood Elves. I almost want to lose this one, end up in the league ‘Toilet Bowl’ just so I can keep improving the team. Because I think I am done looking over and seeing the greener grass on the other side. I am content with this team, I know it better, and feel like I know what I need to do to make it succeed.

 

Just seems like we cannot win sometimes


Jimmy had a great Spring Break. He spent a lot of time with his friends, swimming at the pool, playing Magic, sleeping over at friends houses. Basically all the things he did not really do over Xmas break that I gave him a hard time about. He did not spend the free time sitting around on the computer and/or kindle playing electronic games.

I was really proud of him for making an effort to do all that. I even mentioned that to him on Saturday, that I was was happy to see him doing stuff with other kids instead of sitting around the house. And on Wednesday, when I had multiple events out of the house, leaving him in charge, including making sure he & the little ones had lunch, he did that correctly. Again, he had a great break, did what was asked of him and was responsible.

I even made a concerted effort late in the week to get him back to a decent sleep schedule. And for the most part we all stuck to a meal schedule.

But in spite of all that, once again he is experiencing another of his post-break migraines, this time just the head, not the abdominal. I am pretty certain a big element of this is sleep, he is a growing boy, and needs sleep. And at least on his sleep overs I don’t think he got as much sleep as he needed and he did have to get up early a few times to watch the kids while I ran an errand. But I thought that he got at minimum his 8 hours or more most nights.

If you cannot tell I am really frustrated by all this. I finally get Jimmy to get out there, out of the house, doing fun things with other kids. And it feels like he is getting punished by this damn migraine. I know that the key to migraines is triggers, and then trying to avoid those triggers. And for the most part the only real common trigger with him seems to be sleep. But does that mean that he cannot do sleepovers? That I have to supervise his bed times to be sure he is actually sleeping rather than reading or playing games? He is 12, and I really thought we were at the point where he had taught him the fundamentals of things like being responsible, and could just get a little more hands off. Instead it feels like we have to get more hands on instead.

I don’t know the answers right now, if I read or hear something different I will update, but for now that is the only things we have to focus on. Which does mean time for a serious talk about bed times, and then real caution for us as far as sleep overs etc.

*******************Blood Bowl******************

On a side note. The mighty Dark Elves made the league championship game, but lost as many players ended up on the IR, defying the odds. So the coach decided to move on to what should be a stronger team, with the idea of ending the streak of getting my teams beaten up with no counter.  With that in mind last night saw the debut of the Aztlan Gators, a Lizardman team. Only to see one of these ostensibly tough players get knocked out of the game and hurt for the next on the first play of the game (a roughly 4% chance play). Possibly the dice gods are trying to tell this coach that he needs to retire from the game? We kept trying, despite the losses of more players (the weak Skinks lost 3 players which is still high but I somewhat expected some casualties from them.) I need to try and be patient with this team but damn that is hard when you end the game with so many players off the pitch.

Talking football, Blood bowl, Magic the Gathering


It is the mid-week, a day I have neglected to blog about for a few weeks. But today I have some things to talk about that are not directly linked to family. I have a few thoughts on NFL Free Agency regarding my 2 favorite teams. I have a game report and discussion of a Blood Bowl game. And last some thoughts on Magic, kids and West Side.

******************

NFL free agency opened yesterday and my 2 favorite teams (just to update I am an NFL bigamist) chose different approaches. Since they will be playing very similar schedules this year, including facing each other, the results of these approaches will become apparent.

The Rams have apparently decided to sit out the land rush for the ‘top’ players. Instead choosing to focus on middle tier players and the draft to keep building what is a very young team. For the most part I agree with this approach. There wasn’t a player out there that would make a substantial difference to the team, certainly not one worth the potential cost. It is clear that the Rams front office is in this for the long haul, building a contender from the ground up, rather than chasing the marquee players.

The Broncos on the other hand took the opposite approach, already shelling out for 2 top players at their respective positions. And they are apparently in the running for at least one if not 2 more players. The best part of this is they are focusing on what was broken: the secondary. No one was scared of the Broncos secondary and defense last year, certainly not once Miller got hurt. Not to say that a better defense would have made a big difference in the Super Bowl. But if they couple this focus on rebuilding & improving the defense with a revised approach to the offense that is aimed at more balance I think they will accomplish the one thing they really needed to do. Insure that Peyton Manning does not have to win every game, that other parts of the team can take care of that and he can just be a part of the overall package. So overall I am happy with both teams because they are doing what is best for where they are right now.

*************************

Well all good things must come to an end. And the glorious win streak of the Black Pillar Panthers came to it’s end last night. About the only good things that can be said about the game was no Panthers players got permanently injured and I will have a full roster for the next game. And the fact that the game was effectively meaningless as I had already gotten myself into the Championship game. But the sad fact remains that the damn Wood elves remain my kryptonite. But I had fun overall, and with 3 players gaining new skills the Panthers remain poised for bigger and better things.

It has been fun to play in these leagues, it is an excellent diversion. And the only real drawback is that the game room is not well heated so on cold nights my feet end up becoming ice cubes which makes it very hard to get home and get to sleep. But I can live that in general, as the weather is improving.

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It is official, someone has opened a Magic the Gathering in Old Colorado City. Which means no more saving up for trips to Wal Mart to buy more cards. And from what I can see in the web site it has space for open games and tournaments. Which also makes it a little easier to get Jimmy out of the house and together with his buddies. We will check it out this weekend, see how big it really is etc. I know that so long as it remains friendly I will try to make sure that the shop gets at least my families Magic business. Because I really appreciate the fact that there is something on the West Side, when there hasn’t been a real hobby shop west of Academy and south of Constitution since the Compleat Gamer closed. So the real key will be how open and hospitable the place is for the kids, will it be a place that I can take Jimmy to and drop him off for a couple of hours on a weekend day? That remains to be seen.