Game Day!

Anyone who sees this title and feels excited to read what comes next, sorry. There’s a whole whack of snow everywhere outside and therefore I’m not in the mood today to motivate and inspire. Even if I was, this is for sure not the topic that would do it. I play games on my IPad every day and have gone through some lengthy addicitions with a few of them (Candy Crush comes to mind) but most of the time I download something, try it out, and then delete it, sometimes in a week or two, sometimes all on the same day. The ones that have gone the distance are Solitaire and Words2 and (drum roll here please….) Hay Day. Yes I am a closet farmer. I like the game so much I totally believe I do not need help.

Random View of ”Lins Mad Chickens”

If you have never played this game and you happen to listen to a conversation between two avid players, you will think they are lunatics. But what you think clearly does not matter to us.

The game starts off with a cute little house, a barn and a silo, some fields for planting crops, a roadside stand, a truck that makes deliveries, a boat you can load up with crates full of your produce. And then it just kind of mushrooms from there as you expand your farm with new land, cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, goats, trees, bushes, production buildings (39 of those last count) smelters and a mine, a fishing spot including ducks and lobsters, a town (grocery store, cinema, diner, beach cafe, bed and breakfast, spa, town hall) with a train station and an animal sanctuary (elephants, giraffes, gorillas, zebras, hippos, reindeer, arctic foxes) and a beach (which is kind of useless but fun to decorate in a bizarre fashion when you’re bored).

There are also pets to collect and feed. If you don’t feed them they just sleep until you get your shit together and produce some food for them. Horses, donkeys, dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, bunnies, guinea pigs and peacocks. There are squirrels that collect peanuts and bees that collect nectar. They have added a Valley where you make product deliveries and something called Farm Pass where you complete tasks for level points and rewards. Somewhere back in the middle of all this you can start up or join a neighborhood where you can chat with (complain to) and help out other like-minded farmers who share similar goals for their Hay Day experience. I’m trying to think what those goals are besides levelling up and the accumulation of massive amounts of useless decorations. Lofty aspirations for sure.

And finally, the reason that Tuesday is my intense Hay Day day of gaming self inflicted hell. There is a derby (with imaginary race horses and everything) where my neighbourhood competes with other same size and similar level neighbourhoods for trophies and rewards and it starts here in this part of the world on Tuesdays at 2:00 a.m. There are people from all over the world playing this game, and chatting going on in many different languages in many different time zones. I’ve been in a couple of hoods so close to home I was afraid I might accidentally meet some of the people in person around town because we made up a Facebook group as well, (long story for another time but one I will likely never bother telling you due to the severe boredom factor) but that all fell apart eventually and I lucked out accepting an invitation to Barnyard 10 where I’ve been for….a couple of years? Long time anyway. Half of our members live in Australia so there’s a 16 hour time difference. I farm with people from the future! They start the derby before I do, because I may be nuts but I’m not crazy enough to get up in the middle of the night for this. We are all seriously derby obsessed and focussed on coming in first with a perfect derby score. The derby lasts all week but if you want to place first, you all have to get that perfect score by completing all your top level tasks before anyone else does. A perfect score can end up in second or third place if you don’t get it fast enough. So day one is extremely intense. Because we all chose to make it so. I can’t remember exactly why because the trophies are kind of meaningless, but that’s the way it is, so there you go. Most derbys we finish before the end of day two. So the rest of the week I can concentrate on my real life where the excitement and drama pales in comparison.

If you reach the point where the pressure is too much you can always opt out of the derby and just farm like a normal person. Or, you know, pretending you’re a normal person. I have taken breaks from this game lots of times, some short, some very long. Once I decided to quit completely But there’s always something that brings me back. The last ”break” I took was to temporarily leave my current neighbourhood to join the one some of my family members had started up, so the weirdest break ever since I was still playing, but helping them out was so laid back and the opposite of intense that I stayed for way longer than I intended. Barnyard 10 kept inviting me back like they missed me or something. Then I took over my adult grandson’s farm in the family hood because he has way more important things going on in his life, took my original farm back to my other neighbourhood, and now have the best of both farming worlds with two farms. Double the ”work” but also double the fun.

I’m assuming if you have read this far you are now shaking your head in confusion wondering what could possibly make all of this FUN. Well the big thing for me is not the competing or the levels or the rewards, it’s the organization and the rearranging of everything so it all works efficiently and smoothly and looks good. Really. If I couldn’t move everything around all the time, I would not be playing. The smaller farm I took over is perfect for this because it’s growing and every time there’s an expansion I have to change where things go. I can spend an entire morning rearranging all of it. Or little tiny parts of it. Or preparing room for what happens next. Or rethinking what I just did because it’s stupid and won’t work. I do this with my living room in real life, and other parts of the house if I can stop farming long enough to get to them.

Okay! What have I missed telling you that you could easily live without ever hearing? My second farm is called ”Margaret’s Icky Biscuits” for my mother who made the most delicious food ever and always apologized for how it turned out. All my farm pets are named for characters from Shakespeare. My reindeer on my first farm are Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew. See? Totally fun. Totally. Not even kidding. I swear. You should try it. Or avoid it at all costs. You’re welcome.

Cold Feet

I was going to write about my cold feet at the beginning of the week because I have it set up here to remind me to blog on random days. The blessings of a short memory and a scattered brain, I don’t recall the exact days I chose. I know for sure Tuesdays are out, because that’s my serious gaming day. Just how serious is it you might ask if you were the slightest bit interested but you know I will get to that eventually. Anyway, Friday is definitely a day for reminding me apparently, so here I am.

I’m pretty sure I’ve rambled on about this development in my life before but it’s still perplexing to me that I’ve gone from perpetually uncomfortably hot feet to frozen blocks of numbness for these extremities. I used to flip out if I wore socks and shoes for any length of time and couldn’t wait to take them off. I always slept with my feet out from under the covers and often put bare feet in my snow boots. Bare feet and flip flops forever I thought. My mom had the same hot feet syndrome and I recognized it in my baby daughter when her fussiness would end abruptly if I removed her socks and shoes.

Fast forward to the present and my feet are in big fat socks, sometimes two pairs at a time, and I often wear them to bed. My younger self would shudder. It’s probably just poor circulation developing with age, but since I have an abnormal obsession with my health and way too much time on my hands I decided to google the causes of cold feet. I am not the only one with way too much time on my hands.

The first thing that came up was this blurb – “Check out 10 common and sinister cold feet culprits and how to avoid them. Learn all about these 10 common culprits for icy feet. “ Holy cow. Sinister culprits!! I knew this was serious and I am no doubt somehow forever cursed and doomed.

Ruling out a few of them made me feel better. Frost bite, Lupus, Raynaud’s Syndrome, smoking, anemia. I decided to rule out blood clots too because I don’t like that one. So that left diabetes (check), prescription meds (especially ones affecting hormone levels), stress and sedentary lifestyle. Gah. I LIKE my sedentary lifestyle. And really, should I be runnung around in fuzzy socks risking a bad fall? Why is everything so complicated?

The “home remedies” for cold feet are less than mind blowing. Reduce your stress. Lower your cholesterol. Stretch or move your feet. PUT ON SOME SOCKS. What did we do before we had google and had to rely on our own brains for solutions to worrying things.

Here’s a view of my little footstool without my bulky socked cold feet on it. I painted that way back in the day when my feet (and me) were still hot.

Fancy a Fracas?

Today’s Word: Fracas

Fracas

[ frey-kuhs, frak–uhs; British frak-ah ]  noun

  • a noisy, disorderly disturbance or fight; riotous brawl; uproar.

OOOOHHHH I love a good fracas, don’t you? From the sidelines with my bad knee, of course. Probably not as much fun if you’re right in the middle of it. That chicken looks seriously ready to rumble though.

We are experiencing our first winter snow flurries today! My knee did not give me a heads up on this. It’s more than a skiff, but less than would cause much concern if a brisk wind came up. Our street is still bare but wet, and about the same colour as the drab November sky.

Snow tires are going on vehicles later than normal this year. We live in a place where it’s wise to have them. Unless you want to risk sliding around on the roads tempting the Fracas Gods to orchestrate a disorderly winter pile up. Cuz I’m pretty sure they do that.

It’s going to be a long winter isn’t it?

The Art of Coalescence

Daily Word Prompt for November 12, 2021

Coalesce

[ koh-uh–les ]     verb (used without object), co·a·lesced, co·a·lesc·ing.

  • to grow together or into one body: The two lakes coalesced into one.
  • to unite so as to form one mass, community, etc.: The various groups coalesced into a crowd.
  • to blend or come together: Their ideas coalesced into one theory.

verb (used with object), co·a·lesced, co·a·lesc·ing.

  • to cause to unite in one body or mass.

Way back in the olden days of yore (when we all talked funny) I used to communicate over long distances with family and friends by writing and mailing letters to them. Phone calls were expensive and stamps were cheap. It was a great way to have a long one sided conversation without pesky interruptions begging for clarification. I had nice penmanship and an appreciation for good pens. Sometimes I would take days to finish a letter, adding post scripts ad nauseam before reluctantly folding my bulky missive into an envelope and letting it go. In those days it was fun to check the mail for personal replies. Or to wonder what you said if you never heard from someone again.

I remember writing back to a newlywed friend after I had been married for a good six months (so way more experienced in the state of holy matrimony than she was) because she had asked me “How is married life?” And I of course had lots of wisdom to share on the subject. I told her it was like being two people instead of one. Every choice or decision now had to be a joint one with at least twice as many options to consider. We were two personalities trying to coalesce into a couple without losing ourselves or our respect for each other’s differences. And blah blah blah probably for pages, I don’t remember more than that.

In the letter she wrote back to me she said it was completely different for them because they had definitely become ONE person instead of two. Well that was quick. Sounded like a hostile takeover to me. The ultimate merge. Interfused forever. Wouldn’t that get a bit boring after awhile? Having arguments about the state of the toilet seat with yourself?

Oh well, we’re still married and so are they, so different outlooks to the same end I guess. Some Thesaurus synonyms for ‘coalesce’ are ‘combine, conjoin, conjugate, connect, couple, join, link (up), marry, unite’.

So coalescing isn’t a bad thing. All I’m suggesting is that you don’t coalesce so hard that you forget who you are on your own, just in case someday you are. I love to end things on a cheery note. Just be thankful there’s not a dozen P.S. gems as well.

Whether You Blether or Not

Since I have serious Scottish roots it’s really not my fault, all this blathering (Canadian derivative of blethering). I love all things Scotland related, except maybe for their long history of brutal battles and the constant knocking down of castles. And then there’s the Highland Fling. So okay, not everything.

I was thinking this morning about the lovely Scotts psychologist I went to see once. I could have stayed there all day just listening to her talk but she kept encouraging ME to say stuff which was far less lyrically pleasing to the brain. I went there to find out if I was mentally unstable. I think that was the main reason, although giving my family doctor a break from all my whining certainly factored in there somewhere. It was a few months after my thyroid surgery and he was trying to adjust my meds to find a middle ground between constant exhaustion and manic euphoria. I quite liked how a high dosage made me feel, but apparently too much Synthroid can damage your heart. There’s always a downside to the things we like, isn’t there. Like chocolate, coffee, staying up all night eating chips, blurting out exactly what we’re thinking before thinking quite enough.

After telling me my levels were within normal range (what does that even mean, are there high and low degrees of thyroid normalcy?) he said I did not need my dosage increased and maybe I was suffering from some form of depression unrelated to the medication and might benefit from talking to someone. He would refer me to a psychologist to see if I was nuts. Those aren’t the exact words he used but I have to admit the idea appealed to me. Who doesn’t worry that they’re not quite right. I was at a stage in my life where I worried constantly about pretty much everything. So I worried about the drive into the city, parking, finding the right building, taking the elevator to the right floor, being on time or late or too early, not being able to communicate like a sane person. The list was long.

The first thing I saw after being escorted into her office to sit down (on a couch! Perfect!) was a big box of tissues and I remember thinking, pffft….like I’ll be needing those. We talked for awhile about seemingly inconsequential things but then I started sharing stuff about my life without a clue where it all was coming from. She was so easy to talk to, she listened, she didn’t judge. She just let me blether. There’s always lots of little things that make you anxious or frustrated or unhappy but she wanted me to dig deep for the biggest fattest most serious worry I had at that moment in time. Turns out it wasn’t about my job or my husband or my kids or money, it was that my mom and dad were far away and old and going to die. After that earth shattering revelation I burst into tears.

So then of course I couldn’t talk at all and felt like an idiot. I thought she might get to the judgey part of the session at that point and advise me what obscure degree of abnormal I was currently at. Instead she told me she had the impression that I was my family’s rock, a strong person always there for everybody, concerned for their well-being, unfortunately at the expense of my own. My feelings and my needs were just as valid as anyone else’s and shouldn’t be dismissed.

I could have hugged her, except I hate hugs with strangers. I felt seen and valued and appreciated. She was magic. On the way out she gave me her card so I could call her office to book a follow up appointment but I already knew I was never going to put myself through that again. If I’m on a path of self destruction I’m going down on my own babe! Digging deep for answers to questions you don’t even know you have is not my idea of a good time.

The next time I saw my doctor he told me he got a report back from the visit but he wouldn’t give me much feedback about it. I was expecting a wall chart mapping my life skills progress compared to a normal persons at the very least. Maybe health care doesn’t cover that. Anyway I tried to behave myself better at my check ups after that so he wouldn’t refer me anywhere else where I’d embarrass myself. And obviously I’ve been perfectly fine and normal ever since.

Now I vent in my blether blog whenever the need arises and this is about all the soul searching I can handle. The blethering part I highly recommend. You just never know where it will lead or what mind boggling truths will be unearthed. And if you don’t find any, be insanely thankful.

What the Actual Hell

Ok sorry about that title but I was prompted to choose something and that one just jumped onto the page. Go away for a year and look what happens. Changes, that’s what. I’m a little old lady and it’s hard for me to learn new things but this new editor nonsense presents a challenge I might be up for. Let’s carry on and see.

I am sitting in my living room on the 8th of November at what looks like dawn but really isn’t. This moody month the whole day can look this dull. I have a sweatshirt pulled on over my nightgown, big fuzzy socks on my feet which are perched on a little footstool, a lovely warm afghan draped over my legs, nowhere to go, nothing to do. Except play games on my IPad and drink coffee until W gets out of bed. He naps on and off all day and can’t figure out why he does the same thing all night, so he has already been up at some point to leave many clues behind indicating he has made himself toast and peanut butter and coffee and still has no idea how to clean up crumbs. And then he went back to bed. So I feel like I should be quiet and not do the vacuuming or something, Ha. As if I need an excuse to not vacuum.

But I didn’t come here to list all my petty annoyances. I don’t think. Maybe I did. Or maybe just one colossally frustrating one which might not even be real. It seems that every time I decide to sit down and blog my little old lady heart out about whatever inconsequential nonsense is rattling around in my head, something BAD happens. I don’t want to write about bad stuff. I don’t even want to think about it. But I would also feel guilty for not even mentioning it if I did write something. So there goes the writing for another year if I keep this up.

People get sick. They can be involved in accidents Sometimes they go to a hospital. Sometimes they don’t come home. I know this is how life works, I’ve been around long enough to figure that much out. Shit changes every single day whether we’re paying attention or not. Maybe tomorrow I won’t have the supreme luxury of sitting here at my little desk playing word games and rolling my eyes at the idiots on Twitter. Maybe W will go to bed and never get up. Maybe I will develop a sore throat and a dry cough and a raging fever, have difficulty breathing, get chills, my glucose readings will shoot up and my blood pressure will skyrocket and I will fall down the basement stairs and knock myself out on the concrete. Hell I’m ready for anything! Of course I’m not ready at all for any of it, but I hate surprises so imagining these scenarios gives me some weird kind of comfort.

There is not one flake of snow on the ground here. There has been fog and strange misty rains and chilling winds, but no snow. I could deal with an entire winter like this, no problem. But the summer that follows it might be deadly. See how doom and gloom I am?? Sitting here not even dressed and showered yet, imagining draughts and floods and food shortages and the end of the world. It’s exhausting.

Another thing that wears me right out is taking my blood pressure readings twice a day, my fasting blood sugar reading every morning, recording my weight whenever I think it might not depress me too much, and monitoring how many carbs I ingest. This staying alive business is hard work. I’m doing it for my family. They might miss me when I’m gone. I know that awful sad and empty feeling and don’t wish it on anyone.

How the actual hell did this turn into a personal health rant? Gawd I am nothing if not strange as all get out sometimes. Time to do something productive. Get another cup of coffee. See if I can book our third covid vaccination shot. Get W to go for his flu shot. I got mine at my yearly physical appointment where my doctor seemed pleased with my general well being but decided to torture me with all this self monitoring for a month anyway. Wipe the toast crumbs off the counter because if I wait for W to do it we will be buried in them by the end of the week. Send him with a list for groceries. He’s pretty good at doing the shopping.

Publish this without editing? Sure. What the actual hell, hey? Life on the edge and all that. Talk soon. Maybe. Who really knows. I will try to not knock myself out on the concrete today and we will go from there.

Woke Week

This has been such a frustratingly weird week, and you’d think we’d all be used to weird weeks by now, but nope. Not happening for me, anyway. Every day there seems to be some new incredibly annoying thing to have strong feelings about.

– The second wave of COVID-19, which we were warned was coming, but didn’t really prepare for, and now are royally pissed off about, as if that helps anybody.

– The final downward spiral of all the sordid trumpian corruption from hell. Four years of absolute shit that will take forty years to clean up. Or four hundred. It’s hard to be optimistic after all this time.

– The blind prejudices everywhere in the world, and the greed and the stupidity and the hypocrisy and the nonsense and the manipulation and the gaslighting and the ignorance and on and on and on, ad infinitum. Yes, too much Twitter. I know. I am walking away now, I swear.

And that’s my completely negative rant for the day. As you may have surmised by now, my symphony of feelings can sometimes be one big discordant chaotic disharmonious mess. Not exactly something I’m keen to share every day.

But then I remind myself that the world is also full of incredible people who are good, smart, sensible, kind, loving, compassionate and determined. They don’t give up, ever.

“Bad guys” don’t play by the rules, unless it’s by the unfair ones they made up themselves for their own advantage. And that always leads to their ultimate downfall. The “good guys” will win in the end. Always.

So, feel all the feels, work on your own harmony, share your music, live your best life. Take a break from social media. (That last bit is advice mostly for myself). And have a lovely Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.

Sharing My World 95

Share Your World 28/09/2020

Questions:

Where do you feel most at home? Please be more specific than “at home, doh” please. It could be a room in your home, a person, a location…

Taking this to mean “where do I feel most content, comfortable, safe, secure and stress free”, the answer is “with my family”. I think it’s always been that way. I was never a very adventurous kid on my own, but surrounded by family it’s a whole lot easier to be brave. It’s a whole lot easier to relax and be yourself and talk about things that really matter to you. And who cares if they think you’re crazy. You’re related so they have to love you anyway.

Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?

I got thrown off a pony once. That was pretty funny for everyone involved except me. I was a teenager and the pony was pretty small so I didn’t have far to fall, but it put me off ever wanting to get up on a horse. The last time I rode a bike was in the 1980’s I think. So forty years ago. Might be a tad rusty. I like my car but heavy traffic makes me nervous. I’ll take the bus.

What song would you sing on “Karaoke Night” (if you were forced to do so)?

Well you got the “forced” part right. Probably have to add a few stiff drinks to that. Robbie Robertson’s “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” would be my first choice because the lyrics are weird and mostly spoken. I could join in on the background vocals. Second choice, Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time”. It’s written for someone with a vocal range of about five notes. And it might give everyone at Karaoke Night the hint to go the hell home.

University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?

University IS a life experience. It could be an invaluable one or it could be a very expensive detour on your way to something better. Often it’s very hard to know what you want to do with your life until you’ve dabbled in lots of different things. So, constantly learning is a productive way to pass the time while you search for your passion. And if you never figure out what that is with any kind of finality, does it really matter? Live your life. Prepare as you go, whatever way works best for you.

IT’S AN ATTITUDE – GRATITUDE!  (Participation Always Optional Of Course)

What are you grateful for?

There are no bikes or horses around here that need riding. Whew. No one is forcing me at gun point to perform at Karaoke Night. At University I learned how to drink an entire bottle of wine all by myself and stay up all night. Then I attended a lecture where I concentrated very hard on staying alert so that I would not fall off my chair. Serious life skills indeed.

And that’s September done and dusted! Despite the state of the world in general, this month has been a pleasant one for us. I’m grateful for that. Hopefully a month to go before the snow.

Fall Before the Fall

We have lots of pictures of this amazingly big old tree in our backyard over the years, and this is one of the last. Of all the things people have lost this year I guess the demise of an old tree shouldn’t feel catastrophic in the grand scheme of things. But I miss it and I’m sad that it’s gone.

It was a Manitoba maple – the kind with all those annoying helicopter key seeds – and it had three trunks. Apparently as the trunks grew they put increasing amounts of pressure on each other. We noticed the leaning on the right side was getting worse, and we had discussed getting someone to come and trim back the top to make it less heavy, but these things have a way of slipping down on your list of priorities. After a couple of days of very high winds in which the tree swayed a lot more than seemed normal or safe, things quieted down to a peaceful calm evening. And that’s when the middle trunk split from the others with a resounding cracking noise and settled on the garage roof.

The many leafy branches actually cushioned the fall, so the shingles and the eaves troughs weren’t damaged. The roof didn’t cave in on our vehicles. Most of the weight was in the lower trunk and it stayed below the roof line. Our son and our neighbour on the east side of the house got up on the garage roof with chainsaws and were able to cut everything back and get it all off the roof, without falling off themselves. Watching them work was the most stressful part of this whole adventure for me.

Our son put those heavy duty yellow straps around the remaining trunks to keep them stable until we could get professional tree-type help. Our neighbour on the west side expressed concern, but I think it had mostly to do with the prospect of his fence being damaged or destroyed. And he might also have been quietly celebrating the demise of the tree that filled his yard up with maple keys and dead leaves every fall. Conjecture on my part, but I think I’m right.

We carted a lot of the branches and debris out to the front yard so the driveway wasn’t blocked. I called what turned out to be a great tree servicing company. They sent someone around the next day to make an assessment, and the day after that their crew arrived to take the tree down.

I’m still not used to the emptiness. Our bird feeders are still sitting on the barrier between the two levels of the lawn. We have a bunch of firewood we have no real use for, but I think cutting and piling it gave W something that, for him, was a comforting thing to do. A few nights after this the wind came up with a vengeance again and woke me up. I looked out the bedroom window and was surprised to see the moon and the stars in the night sky, no longer blocked from view by all those towering branches. And it was nice to know there was no longer a need to be concerned that the tree might blow over and kill us in our beds. Well I don’t think it was actually tall enough to damage the house, but nighttime fears are rarely rational.

Today is another beautiful, sunny and windy fall day, with a gazillion yellow leaves flying across our front lawn and dancing down the street. The back yard is pretty much leaf free.

In the spring I plan to visit a greenhouse and do some research on what we can plant back there. It won’t be another maple. It will be something that doesn’t get that big and is easy to maintain. That little pine tree on the right that popped up from nowhere a couple of years ago has really shot up this summer. But I want something with leaves that change colour with the seasons and eventually fall off and blow around like crazy things in the wind. (And maybe annoy the neighbours as an added bonus). That’s what makes autumn a beautiful thing.

Devilry?

In the interests of posting any old thing to let whoever is interested know I am still breathing, I present a photo of one of my home grown tomatoes for your perusal.

It’s the one on the left I’m talking about, in case that wasn’t immediately obvious. I don’t want to call it deformed or mutant, because maybe this is exactly how it decided to grow in an effort to stand out from the rest.

Wow, mission accomplished. I can’t even begin to tell you how sorely tempted I am to draw a face on it, but I can’t decide if it’s the devil or a cow.

Okay I’ve got to get back to my busy life, watching series three of Janet King on Acorn tv while listening for the timer to go off on the oven while crocheting a blanket while reading subtitles. What could possibly go wrong? I mean I’ve already got the tomato from hell, so whatever else the universe has in store for me I can probably deal.