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Posts Tagged ‘Games’

Passing time isn’t quite like passing the salt. It’s a phrase that invokes prison, “doing time,” except in this case the whole world is on “house arrest.” We’ve all felt this way at one time or another. For Bob it was a prolonged period of treatment with interferon. For me, it was a year of trying to get pregnant again when the Bride was 3 years old, having 3 miscarriages back to back.

It’s the uncertainty, the randomness, the sheer terror of knowing we are actually NOT in control.

If you are one of those people with a strong faith, lucky you. I’ve been reading a lot on social media about God’s plan, the joy of this pandemic, and I honestly don’t get it. I mean did God really want to take out that whole young family with a tornado, then a week later come back and say: “Guess what everybody else, you need to stay right where you are because a plague is coming?” It can make even the devout have questions.

We’ve weathered our first week in isolation, and I’ve found that I’m built for something like this. I encouraged Bob to help me bake muffins. One night a friend dropped off a warm loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, it was like getting a hug! I swapped books with a friend on my porch. We listen to classical radio and play Scrabble. We walk Ms Bean when it’s not raining and wave to all the exceedingly happy dogs in the neighborhood. There will come a day, mark my words, when our fur babies will be giving us all the side-eye, as if to say;

“Aren’t you guys ever going somewhere so I can take a rest from guarding you?”

Techno-wise we’ve signed up with Marco Polo and can now send video texts. We’ve Facetimed with the Rocker and Aunt KiKi AND the Bride’s family split-screen, all at the same time. We call and Facetime Great Grandma Ada who is taking this whole thing better than any of us! Bob can visit with them through a vestibule window.

Cooking-wise, I’m sticking with comfort food. I can order from Whole Foods online and they deliver via Amazon Prime… it’s a 2 day wait but that’s fine. We order take-out from a local restaurant – 3 meals a week – and they deliver. We feel like it’s a small way to help their staff stay afloat. And I was running out of my Charlottesville granola, so Hudson Henry delivered in no time! https://www.hudsonhenrybakingco.com/

I keep having to remind Bob, “We’re in no rush.” We are all being asked to slow down – He is out there weeding, and I’m putting some pearls together to start stringing again. One of our local boutiques started carrying my necklaces; it was open for a few days after the tornado. But I feel no obligation to produce something during the quarantine, to knit a sweater say, or write a sonnet. “A Sonnet of Isolation.” Maybe next week I’ll clean out a closet? Be kind to yourself first, and the kindness is conveyed to others.

I’m the original slow-walker, slow-cooker. Bob is the original let’s jump right in and get this done NOW kinda guy.

That’s why he’s volunteered to help Vanderbilt when the tsunami hits us; he is being credentialed by the hospital to help with emergency medical care by telemedicine. This actually scares me, not because of possible exposure – he may do this from home – but because he might have to confront, serious life-and-death, ethical decisions. That’s what wartime triage is all about, who lives and who dies, and that’s a heavy burden.

I feel bad for hourly wage earners with rent checks coming due – if you know someone, why not Venmo them some cash? Every little bit helps. Know any musicians whose tours are cancelled? Pre-order Nicole Atkin’s next album “Italian Ice.” She’s an amazing singer and old friend of the Rocker and the Parlor Mob. https://www.nicoleatkins.com/  I just ordered the vinyl bundle with a tee shirt!

We were never binge TV watchers, but I’m seeing lots of requests from friends about “what to watch.” With streaming, the sky’s the limit but this is our list, and believe me we only occasionally watch ONE episode before heading to bed! Mrs. Maisel, Little Fires Everywhere, and Valhalla Murders. The whole Love is Blind thing is beyond ridiculous to me!

The other day I read a story to the Grands on Facetime….”Before They Were Authors, Famous Writers as Kids,” by Elizabeth Haidle. It was about Dr Seuss, did you know he wanted to become a professor? Here are our banana bran muffins!

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When I wrote an essay about Prepping, it was almost tongue in cheek. We did order more dog food and got ahead on prescriptions. We picked up some things at the grocery store, including Spam, and my freezer was soooo full. Then the tornado hit – my freezer is now empty.

Oh, and I didn’t buy toilet paper!

Now this tsunami of a pandemic is about to hit us all, and since Bob and I are 71 we’re at risk. We’re both pretty healthy but a virus will not discriminate. We figure it’s best to stay home for the most part, and keep a distance of 6′ if we need to venture out to a store or when walking Ms Bean. In fact, this morning we went to our local Kroger and it was pretty empty of people. Lo and behold, their shelves were stocked, except for toilet paper.

Everyone must think they are still closed because of the tornado!

So, what to do with ourselves while we are stuck at home? I’ve been seeing lots of posts online about parents wondering what to do with their children now that schools have closed for the foreseeable future. Most teachers have sent workbooks home, and there are plenty of online learning opportunities, like this free Scholastic site: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/15/us/scholastic-coronavirus-students-trnd/

But let’s not forget FUN! My suggestions are: 1) Subscribe to Disney Plus, at least you’ll know you can still take a shower; 2) Plan a scavenger hunt around the house; 3) Play games, our favorite card game right now is “Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza!” you can find it on Amazon Prime for $9.99; 4) Recycle all the cardboard boxes you get by turning them into art projects; 5) I love the book “Stitch + String Lab for Kids, 40 creative projects to sew…” by Cassie Stephens. The L’il Pumpkin made an excellent pizza pillow; 6) Involve the kiddos in cooking and baking and they will reward you by actually eating; and finally check out Pinterest!

Now what about us? How are we supposed to stay sane while everybody is avoiding us cause we’re over 60? Since I was raised an only child, I feel as if I have an advantage; after all I love stringing necklaces, reading and writing and cooking – all mostly solitary activities. So I plan on digging out my almost finished novel and maybe actually finishing it! Bob bought a small lawn mower, and planted our raised bed – it may not be 14 acres, but he’s happier with his hands in the dirt.

We’ve got a few streaming sites we need to catch up with – we just started the 3rd season of Mrs Maisel, and I’m loving The Hunters on Amazon Prime. Can’t wait to watch Hillary on Hulu too! And don’t forget The Crown! There’s almost too much content out there now. Some nights we play Scrabble, or just talk and listen to music. I feel sorry for people living alone, so check up on your neighbors.

IN NYC, a woman in my sister Kay’s building called to say her daughter was home from college and could go grocery shopping for her. It’s those random acts of kindness that will keep our society whole, like Italians singing on their balconies.

Here ‘s how I see it. We raised our family in the Berkshires where a good Nor’easter could take out power for a long time – we had a wood stove and snow to play and ski in….We lived on the Jersey Shore where a flood took our cars and old kitchen appliances right out of the garage – we got a generator and moved right back in… With a little common sense and social distancing (and maybe some toilet paper and hand sanitizer which I CANNOT find anywhere) we will all be just fine.

Remember to breathe and try to stay in the present. And limit your news consumption, your mind will thank you. Lotsa love and virtual hugs from Nashville, where the Broadway bars have closed and we have 17  cases of confirmed Coronavirus so far. Here are the Grands shipping themselves back to Hawaii!

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I’m listening to Terry Gross’ interview with Bo Burnham, who wrote and directed “Eighth Grade,” his first feature film. He’s talking about social anxiety and social media and the confluence of our hyper-connectivity and how it’s different growing up today.

Burnham was an early YouTube star, in high school, performing his own satirical songs in his bedroom. The songs went viral, he went to MTV, and the rest is history.

‘The digital gap used to be between those people who grew up before computers and smartphones and those who were digital natives. Now, there’s a gap between those who grew up with Facebook and those who grew up with Snapchat and Instagram.’

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/27/680356663/director-bo-burnham-on-growing-up-with-anxiety-and-an-audience

The Rocker was born in 1984, and I vividly remember taking him out to a greasy spoon breakfast in Little Silver, NJ. We ordered Western omelets, with a side of their special waffle fries and bacon. A group of middle school boys drove up on their bikes, dropped them in the dirt and plowed into the restaurant giggling and pushing and shoving. They sat down in a booth and flipped open their phones. The Rocker looked me in the eyes and said,

“Ma, I’m glad we didn’t have cell phones in school.”

He was home from college for a break. Having breakfast together again was a ritual I’d been missing. As a toddler, I would happily make him breakfast number 1, and breakfast number 2, because his motor ran fast. The future Rocker was always hungry for action and adventure, but mornings were sacred. His big sister would go off to school and we would have a slow start to a jam-packed day.

If he ate a great morning meal, or two meals, then food for the rest of the day was optional. Remember, my foster parents belonged to the “Clean Plate Club.” Food battles would not define my parenting style!

I can also remember that day on our deck, overlooking the Blue Ridge, when the Rocker told me that Facebook was so over. He and Aunt KiKI signed me up for Instagram – she took my picture in a sun hat and he picked my moniker – it was love at first sight.

So who could blame me if I thought our L’il Pumpkin should be the next YouTube star?

Have you heard of Ryan, the 7 year old making gazillions of dollars opening up toys, screaming with delight, and playing with them? His mama started uploading his videos to YouTube when he was 4, and by last year he had made 22 Million dollars!

“What’s almost as baffling as the amount of money that Ryan has made before his eighth birthday is why today’s kids would rather tune in to watch another one play with toys than play with toys themselves. The answer, it seems, is that today’s kindergarten set lives vicariously through Ryan.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2018/12/03/how-this-seven-year-old-made-22-million-playing-with-toys-2/#1ecce4d54459

He’s had 26 Billion views on his channel, “Ryan Toys Review” and now he’s got his own toy brand at Walmart. He is a part of what’s known as “Unboxing” in advertising slang; people who film themselves opening mostly tech things and demonstrating how to use them.

The Bride looked at me with horror. Her child? A YouTube star?? I guess it is different for kids growing up today on social media. Their parents are on a spectrum of embracing technology with them, to becoming Luddites. Forging an identity online, counting followers to validate your existence, finding out you missed the big 8th grade party on Insta.

IF you could live your life without an audience, would your life still exist?

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And this isn’t about football.

Though we nestled inside during these last single-digit days, and enjoyed seeing GranJorja’s Insta pictures of our little cousins in Pasadena – visiting the preparations for the Rose Bowl floats and lining up for a front row view of the parade. Jorja’s first visit to the Rose Bowl was many years ago, when she and my brother Mike, the fairly new GM of the Minnesota franchise found out what winter in California was really like;

“The Vikings played in their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, on Jan. 9, 1977.”

And I have to admit that Bob did watch a little college ball yesterday, exclaiming about what a great game Georgia was playing against Oklahoma. I was reheating a black-eyed pea concoction I’d delivered to a party on New Year’s Eve (returning with half of it), and couldn’t care less about the game. I know, shocking!

Still during halftime, Bob paused the action to play a game of cards with me. An actual real game of cards, that are not on a device but depicted Provence in all its glory, with an “R” for the King and a “D” for the Queen and so we looked at each card carefully to see if we’d visited that market or that field of lavender… How many men would do that? Stop watching football for a game of chance?

My Daddy Jim would play Gin Rummy with me nearly every night when I was a child. The only TV show I remember being allowed to watch at night was “Father Knows Best,” and indeed, I learned quite a bit from Jim. He would help Nell clean up the kitchen after dinner, not many men did this in the 50s. He would put on the kettle for tea, open a box of ginger snaps, and get out the cards and the pennies. We played for pennies that would end up in my piggy bank aka a cigar box.

Every now and then, we’d sit at the kitchen table on a weekend morning, and roll the pennies up in reddish brown wrappers. Then he would drive me into town to deposit the  loot in my own savings account at the bank!

Maybe this is why I love games so much? I love backgammon, chess, rummikub, poker, Go Fish, and I think I want to learn Canasta and Exploding Kittens! And I really need to learn Mahjongg!! I saw a friend’s picture recently of her grandson playing a board game and the word “Sorry” just popped into my head. I recognized the board I haven’t seen in probably sixty years.

I remember playing Chutes and Ladders with my kiddos. Today, my best buddy’s retirement means he’s willing to indulge my love of games. Unfortunately, our Scrabble game is in the Pod. https://www.thespruce.com/best-family-board-games-4151145

Scrabble was the Flapper and Nell’s favorite game. It is one of my top 5 I have to admit, though you might have guessed that wordsmithy is my jam. When the Bride talked me into Words With Friends, it wasn’t the same. Call me old-fashioned, but I actually like interacting with REAL people, and so virtual gaming in any form is NOT my jam.

We got the Grands a wonderful new game this year for Hanukkah. It’s called “Silly Street”  and the Love Bug loved it! It’s not just fun, it helps children build confidence and think about their answers, and it ends with a dance party every time! http://playsillystreet.com And I’ve collected two beautifully illustrated Bingo games for our house as they get older, one with birds and one with bugs, of course.

So if you’re like me, and determined to add a little more fun to 2018, why not start a new routine with the family, a game night that doesn’t involve a device? Well, except for “Heads Up!” that’s the exception, thank you Ellen, and it’s great for travel.

Happy and Healthy 2018 Everyone! Here is our Lil Pumpkin mid-strike in our impromptu straw hockey game at a restaurant. Look out Preds!IMG_1678

 

 

 

 

 

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Over my morning cup of Keurig, I was trying to download an App. Redlaser “Shop Save Relax” is one of those barcode scanners for your smart phone, except instead of telling you how many calories or Weight Watcher points are in a serving of yogurt, this App will scan just about anything you want to buy and instantly compare prices!

Remember the days when you’d actually lift up a heavy/attached/to/the/wall phone and call a store to check if they had something in stock? Then you might timidly ask what the price is, only to be told they can’t tell you “over the phone” you’d have to get in your car and come on down to said store and find out?! Now you can see exactly who has the best price for whatever you scan, instore or online, and if that store happens to price-match, just call the manager over and voila. Instant discount.

My iPhone is now telling me that I succeeded in downloading Redlaser! It took awhile because everybody else watching Savannah Guthrie get schooled in Apps wanted this free marvel too. Why are these things free anyway? Somebody must be getting something out of this don’t you think – like my location, my likes and dislikes, my soul? But back to Thanksgiving week.

Pepe de Havana

Pepe de Havana

At one point I looked around and realized the younger generation was sharing their favorite Apps with us, and we were mixing it up too.

The Rocker and Ms Cait had us all playing Head’s Up! It’s kind of like Charades and Password; Ellen DeGeneres has been marketing it recently and she must be getting a cut because you have to pay for this one. It was pretty hysterical. Then I told Al about Hipstamatic, and before you knew it, we were all deeply downloading together!

In our younger days on Holden Beach we played the Mud Bowl, a touch football game that was usually played after a downpour for its comic relief. We played Pictionary and Trivial Pursuits. Sometimes, we’d all bring a favorite song to play and collectively try to guess who had picked it out; my Joni Mitchell songs were dead giveaways. I miss the music. We didn’t have any guitars on this trip so Sweet Judy Blue Eyes took a back seat to honky-tonks on Duval Street. But I’d sing my heart out to the Love Bug, IMG_2260and the Groom’s iPhone played Spotify for us.

The big tech news is that iPhones will be coming to China. http://www.knowyourmobile.com/apple/china-mobile/21528/apple-joins-worlds-biggest-network  It’s almost like Nixon! Billions of new App users. Last night via Netflix I watched the end of the first season of House of Cards on my Apple TV. I am seriously hooked on this political drama. A character was speaking Chinese into his smart phone in the middle of the night. Apparently, as much as the Pope would like us to shun capitalism, we want our color TVs Application Software.

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