Prescott Game Night!

Seven years ago, when we lived in Colorado, we had two separate groups of people with whom we played games each month. The goal was usually to have fun, but there were definitely some serious gamers there. There was usually a variety of games played, from strategy to trivia to party games. It was always great fun. Since we moved to the Prescott area lo those years ago, we’ve been mostly unable to fill the hole in our lives created by not having regular game playing. We have quite a number of friends down in Phoenix that play each month, but we’re not usually able to make the trip. And the groups we’ve gotten together in town either haven’t stuck with it, or wouldn’t play more than one game.

I’ve recently discovered a fun and interesting group of people, here in Prescott, who play games together regularly. They used to meet at a game store in Chino Valley (how did I not find that one?), but now they meet every second and fourth Wednesday from 5pm to 8:30pm at the Prescott Public Library (in the Elsea room upstairs). Two weeks ago I stopped by just to see what kind of group it was. It looked promising, so this week we all went with games and kids in tow. We were the only people to bring kids, but no one in the room seemed to complain.

As people trickled in, seven of us sat down to a very exciting game of TransEuropa. It’s a train-building game, different from Ticket to Ride. I much prefer it (and its sister game, TransAmerica) to Ticket to Ride, but I seem to be in the minority. Anyway, the game is designed for up to six, but playing with seven seemed to work just fine (we used pennies for the extra pieces). One thing I liked about playing with this group of people was that everyone was paying attention and mostly knew their next move when their turn came around. This helped the game move quickly.

After the group was a bit more established, we split into two groups and played two separate games. The other group played a game called Colosseum where you had to draw spectators to see your events in the arena. My group played a game called Stone Age where you compete to build buildings, feed your people, and accumulate points, all in a stone age type of way. I’d never played it before, so it was a challenge for me to absorb the game rules while running interference with my kids, who were somewhat entertaining themselves, and somewhat not. I guess I absorbed the material well enough, as I got the hang of it after a couple of rounds. By the end of the game, I could see that there are quite a few different strategies one could take. I picked one that presented itself, and went with it. I ended up winning! Beginner’s luck, possibly.

I’m sure there are more of you out there who long for some real game playing with others who share your passion. It seems the group mostly plays strategy games, but if enough people come who are interested in other types of games, I’m sure there will be room for all. If you read this blog, perhaps you’re a geek as well, so give it a try! The people there were all incredibly nice, welcoming, and approachable. Come and bring your favorite games!

Dare to Finish Projects!

My old favorite saying was, “Imagine the Possibilities.” I still subscribe to that notion quite a bit, but I’ve found a new favorite saying that is more a drive to action and less a contemplative activity: “What Would You Attempt to Do if You Knew You Could Not Fail?” That brings up so many images in my mind. I would write a book, travel the world, make a nature notebook, become a great photographer, and somehow find a way to pay for it all. These are all things I wanted to do before, but somehow the new saying pushes me to actually do more, not to just think about it. I’ve been trying very hard to take the advice of my loved ones, both friends and family, who have encouraged me to do things, make my goals happen, try my hardest, and realize that I can do anything I want to do.

I have a few things holding me back, though. One of the two big things is time. I’ve examined my life lately and realized that I do tend to waste quite a bit of time. I’ve tried to whittle away the time suckers and just do the things that matter, to me or to someone else. It’s hard to keep new time suckers away, however!

The second very large thing keeping me from allowing myself to succeed at my many goals is my perpetual problem of not finishing projects. I start really awesome things, and then I get distracted by another really awesome thing. Then craft projects, writing projects, many other types of projects sit unfinished.

I recently learned some terms that describe this part of me. Apparently I’m a Scanner and a Renaissance Soul. I have too many interests to stick to just one or two, and I often get distracted by the next thing before finishing the current one. There are a couple of books about this (see links below) that I haven’t read yet, but am very tempted to do so. I’ve even joined the Scanners & Renaissance Souls group on Facebook!

Being a Jane of all Trades, Mistress of None has been an advantage and a disadvantage in my life. It’s an advantage because I can talk to people about just about anything. I am interested in so many things that I’m always excited to learn new things. I do pretty well at Trivial Pursuit. I love just about every subject that we do for homeschool. It’s a disadvantage because I have a hard time finishing projects, and I’m not an expert in anything. I would love to delve deeply into one subject and know it better than anyone else. However, something else always comes along to pull me away. This is why I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up (other than a mom). This is why I have too many goals, few of them reached, and a ton of book ideas and notes, but no books written. This is why I’m drowning in fabric but no specific plans of what to do with it.

Part of the problem may be that I don’t want to miss anything in life. I’m often the first one to arrive at a party and the last one to leave. But not missing anything ironically makes me miss many other things. I don’t take the time for the things I truly want to do, and spend too much time doing unnecessary life maintenance tasks. Since we began homeschooling a few years ago, television has taken a less prominent place in my life. But the Internet has taken a much more prominent place. I spend too much time reading blogs and making sure I don’t miss anything cool that comes down the pipeline. I have to start allowing myself to miss things and cut out many of my daily routines.

Another part of the problem is that the things that I really want to do require uninterrupted time. I don’t have much of that, since I’m at home with the kids. I can’t sew well if I’m constantly getting up to help one of them with something. I can’t research and write a book if they’re asking me something and pulling me out of my concentration. If only I needed less sleep at night!

I haven’t given up my goals, though. I am still determined to do the things I want to do. I’m going to try harder to do them during the summer months, when we’re not doing school, and to carve out a little time now and then to work on them at other times.

Happy Birthday, Galileo!

Galileo Galilei would have been 445 years young today!

Not Just Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! We had a very un-exciting day of showing our house to two, yes two, people/groups that came through the house (over 7 hours). Lots of people drove by to look, but they didn't come in. Don't they realize the house is much bigger on the inside than the outside? It's a hyperhouse!

Anyway, today is much more than just Valentine's Day. It's my cousin's birthday (Happy Birthday, Elena!), my daughter's Girl Scout leader's birthday (Happy Birthday, Jen!), and Arizona's birthday (Happy Birthday, Arizona!). Arizona is 97 years old today, the youngest of the lower 48. Three more years and it'll be our Centennial. I wonder if big things are planned.

Does this day hold additional excitement for anyone else out there (other than my fellow Arizonans)?

Snow Cones, Not Sno-Cones(TM)

Most people love to eat cold things in the summer. It's a great way to cool off, from the inside out! But how many people have ever had a real snow cone, made of real snow? I'm sure many of you up north have, but I had my first one last night. We finally had enough snow to scrape some up into a cup and not get anywhere near the ground. We've made homemade snow cone-like items with an ice shaver before, but it's so much better with real snow. The consistency is perfect. It is quite a delight, especially when you're already warmed up from being inside for a while.

So, if you live where there is enough snow regularly for this kind of treat, pick up some flavored syrup and try it, if you haven't already.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Here are some photos from our winter adventure yesterday, and from this morning, the aftermath. We have gorgeous blue skies this morning, making the snow bright and twinkly.

This shows the road that I didn't try to drive up. Other cars were having quite a lot of trouble and had to back down the road, so I parked halfway up and we walked the rest of the way home.

Here we are, taking a short cut on a snowy path instead of walking along side the harrowing road. The kids had a ball. It really was an adventure, and a much easier climb than I thought. I stopped along the way and took some more pictures on the path!

These two were taken on the path. I love it when the snow clings to trees and such.

This photo shows the termite mound made of snow that was supposed to be a snowman. The snow was sticky but not quite sticky enough.

Here is a last night/this morning pair of shots of the same stuff. Note the extra snow this morning, and the gorgeous blue sky.

The snow this morning on our very narrow railing outside the front door.

Double Your Birthdays, Double Your Fun

On February 12th this year, there are two special birthdays. It is the bicentennial birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin! I had no idea that both men were born on exactly the same day.

Of course, in reality, neither man would be around to celebrate such an occasion. Abraham Lincoln only lived to age 56, assassinated while attending Ford’s Theater to see the play “Our American Cousin.” Darwin lived to age 73.

People celebrate Darwin Day annually, but this year it’s extra special. Search for events in your area. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the man who gave us Natural Selection.

It’s been a while since we celebrated Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday separately, since they declared President’s Day a holiday to get more work out of the American public, but this year Lincoln’s Bicentennial is something worth celebrating on its own.

Life’s Milestones

Late last night, my daughter finally lost her first tooth. It had been loose for a month or so, but it wasn’t going anywhere quickly. Then last night she bonked her tooth on her knee and it was hanging by a thread. We were all worried she would swallow the tooth in the night, so she worked hard to get it out before bed. She finally asked my husband to yank it out, which he did. Though the tooth spent the night under a Dixie cup in the bathroom (so the cats wouldn’t play with it), the Tooth Fairy still arrived. We haven’t figured out how much the Tooth Fairy will bring for each tooth in the future, but since this was her first tooth loss, the fairy brought a Sacagawea dollar. My daughter figured out the myth of Santa Claus a couple of years ago, and I’m pretty sure she extrapolated to figure out the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and other mythical creatures and beings. For her, losing this tooth happened a little late, as she’ll be 8 this spring. Many kids lose their first tooth much younger. But hers fell out when it was ready. This was just the first of many teeth to fall out, but it is a milestone, like she’s starting another chapter in her life.

I’m coming up on my 36th birthday. That day will mark me having had my driver’s license for a full 20 years, quite a milestone. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but I guess it was! Having my license meant that I could get around by myself, without having anyone else have to help me. My first step to independence, and to responsibility. Sometimes I wish I could go back to before that day, even for a week. But only knowing what I know now, of course.

Probably the single most impactful milestone in my life was having children. I’ve always known that I wanted to have children. There was never a time in my life when I wasn’t sure, even as a little kid. Before I had children, I knew I hadn’t done everything that I wanted to do that was important in life. Now I know I’ve done all the non-negotiables. However, I still have to be around to raise them, and to thoroughly enjoy the raising of them, which I do. And hopefully I’ll still be around long enough to witness the entire raising of my grandchildren (both of my kids have already declared that they want to have kids someday). Of course, there are many more things I want to do in life, but that’s another blog entry.

Life is full of milestones, both wonderful and not-so-wonderful. Birth, death, marriage, having children, losing baby teeth, hitting puberty, being able to drive, being able to vote, getting your first job, retiring from your last job. The list goes on and on. Different people have different lists of milestones, and some are more important to people than others. What milestone have you had lately? Which milestones in your life have been the most important to you and why?

Jimmies or Sprinkles?


I tend to call them sprinkles now, but I grew up calling them jimmies (learned that in Wisconsin). How about the rest of you? The few that actually read this thing? Please state what you called them as a kid, what you call them now, and where you grew up. Thanks. =)

There's Snow on Them Thar Hills!

I woke up to a lot of snow this morning. Well, a lot of snow for Prescott. Normally, this view would include Thumb Butte and Granite Mountain, but the falling snow was blocking it. It's that nice, wet, clingy snow that's great for snowballs and snowmen. The weather has forecast more precipitation for a few days, so we'll see if it lingers. It might put a big damper in our plans to work on the old house today, lots of cleaning and such. We may have to just work really hard during the week. If the snow stops.

Now, before you call me a wimp for not wanting to go out in the snow, realize that we live in the hills now and we have to go up and down a very steep, twisted road to get in and out of the neighborhood. With no guard rail. And a steep embankment.

Edited to add: Turns out the roads are fine! The snow keeps coming and going, with periods of bright, warm sunshine. Gotta love the weather here.

Our House is for Sale!

If anyone is interested in buying our house in Prescott Valley, AZ, let me know! I'll give you more details.

My Son is an Oompa Loompa!

They cast my son as an oompa loompa. We couldn't be more thrilled. He's excited, but he probably has no idea what is in store. I'm sure they gave every child a part who was comfortable on stage, but still. I think he'll love it. And if he doesn't, then we'll know! And we won't make him do it again. =)