Posted tagged ‘games’

“Life is more fun if you play games.”

March 5, 2018

I am reminded of the scene in War Games when it appeared as if ballistic missiles had destroyed bases in the US. Using the radio, the general asked the radio operator at one base if anyone was there: if anyone was left alive. There was silence then a voice, “We’re still here. We’re still here.” Well, I’m still here too. I have no idea if the powers that be have commuted my death sentence. I think so, but I could be off by a day or two.

My morning was a busy one. I was out early to finish two errands. I was thinking about  rewarding my efforts with coffee and a donut, a Boston cream donut, from Dunkin’, but I decided to go home, put the coffee on and get comfortable.

The weather is still ugly. The day is chilly and raw. We have clouds and wind gusts. Some people are still without electricity. Another nor’easter is coming this week but will be far less destructive as the moon is no longer full. We could get rain or even snow.

I used to love to play jacks. Every Christmas in my stocking and most Easters in my basket I’d get a new set of jacks. I’d sit on the floor and toss the ball then hurry to pick up the jacks, starting with onesies. For some reason all the numbers were like that. After onesies came twosies then threesies then on and on. The throw was always the key. Another small favorite toy was the wooden paddle with the red rubber ball attached by an elastic. At first I’d be totally frustrated. I’d hit the ball, and it would fly back and hit me in the face or some other part of my body. Sometimes I’d get so frustrated I’d even throw the paddle but then I’d always pick it up and try again and eventually I’d coordinate my eye and hand. My mother sent me one of those when I was in the Peace Corps. My friends and I would stand in the back of one of our houses and have contests. We got really good and paddled into the hundred’s. It was, until the elastic broke, one of our favorite diversions. We didn’t need much to keep us occupied.

In Ghana, the day started early and ended early. It was in the evening that my friends and I would get together. We always ate supper together. The table and chairs were brought outside during the dry season. When it got dark, we’d go inside. We played word games and listened to music. Once in a while they’d be a movie in town at the Hotel d’Bull. It was usually really old or Indian, but we didn’t care. It was a grand night on the town.

I never got bored in Ghana. What I didn’t have didn’t matter. Living there was more than enough.

“It is a happiness to wonder; — it is a happiness to dream.”

January 14, 2018

No doubt about it. Winter is here. The day is cold, a biting, damp cold, and it will get even colder tonight. When I went to get the papers, there were snow flurries, and they’re still around, small flakes from the north. It is a dark, cloudy, snowy day, the sort of day which gives winter a bad name. When I was a kid, I’d stay in all day near the hissing radiator. I’d color at the kitchen table or lie in my bed and read. I’d be wearing my flannel pajamas and slipper socks. Okay, I admit that it even sounds a lot like me now. I’m talking flannel bottoms, a sweatshirt on top and new slipper socks. Add a coloring book, and I could be ten again. I guess cozy doesn’t change much over the years.

Tonight is game night. We’ll play our two games, Sorry and Phase 10, and we’ll eat something while we’re playing and then we’ll have dessert after the games. Rumor has it we may be noshing on tacos. I’m doing the dessert this week, and I’m thinking chocolate pudding. I have all the ingredients and even have heavy cream. After the games, we watch The Amazing Race saved from Wednesday. It was always on Sundays before this so we maintain the tradition of games, food, the Race and dessert.

Poor Maddie got called Fern and Gracie this morning. She didn’t seem to care. That name mixup reminded me of my mother who used to take care of her younger brothers, Jack and Joe, long before she was married. If she wanted our attention or wanted us to stop what we were doing, she sometimes went through a litany of names to get to us. She’d say Jack, I mean Joe, I mean Kat. I never took offense.

My niece just posted pictures and videos of her two boys, ages 5 and 3, on Christmas morning. The older one stood in the entry way to the living room with his mouth wide open when he saw the toys left by Santa. He was amazed. I remember those days of walking downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing the lit tree surrounded by toys and gifts. It is one of the wonders of the world.


“The perfect antidote to dark, cold and creepy is light, warm and cozy.”

December 29, 2017

I had a bit of a shock when I opened the door to take Gracie out and to get my papers.  Snow covered the ground. It was probably an inch or less of fluffy white stuff, but it was still a surprise. My mother used to tell us it was too cold to snow, but yesterday was brutally cold, and it still snowed.

The dump was almost empty. I think there might have been only two other cars. The smart people stayed home, but I went. I froze the minute I got out of the car but then the man who works there told me to get back into the car. He emptied everything: bags of newspapers, boxes galore and several bags of trash. The poor guy was dressed for a polar expedition. His face was so covered only his eyes could be seen. It was about 12˚.

Today will be cold but a bit warmer than yesterday though I don’t think warmer really works here. Maybe I should say not as brutally cold as yesterday. It is 17˚ right now and could get up as far as 21˚. Deck weather?

My car gets serviced today, an oil change and a quick look over of everything else. I really want to stay home, but I need to get this done. I also have a couple of other stops so I’m doomed to face Old Man Winter.

Nothing much is happening. It is a quiet week. When I was a kid, weather like this meant a day of reading or playing in the cellar or playing board games. We’d set the games up on the living room rug and get ourselves comfortable. We’d play Sorry, Monopoly, Clue or cards. Our favorite card games were crazy eights and steal the old man’s pack. We all had the competitive gene from my dad so game times often got loud. My mother would yell from the kitchen about playing nicely or not at all, a typical mother comment. We mostly ignored it.

The sky is cloudy, the sort of color which looks cold, even steely. Though the house is warm a metal table here in the den is cold to the touch. Blasts of hot air from the furnace  seem to come one after another trying to keep the house warm. I’m wearing flannel around the house pants, a sweatshirt and slippers. Only my hands get cold.

The news last night showed pictures of sea smoke or steam fog which happens when very cold air moves over warmer water. It was a bit strange, even eerie, to see the smoke hovering over the white caps. I don’t remember seeing that before.

It is already colder than it was this morning, down to 12˚. I’m watching the news and the outside reporters look a bit like Randy in A Christmas Story. The weather lady is predicting polar like winds and maybe more snow. I am definitely going to layer my clothes and hunt for my hats and mittens. This is not the time to be fashionable.

“I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald’s would still be open.”

October 28, 2017

My morning ritual seldom changes. I take my time. There is rarely a rush. The first thing I do is put the couch, aka my bed, to rights then I go out with Gracie, pick up the papers and put her into the yard. When we come back inside, I start the coffee, and while it’s brewing, I feed Maddie and Gracie. At this point I am into the first fifteen minutes of the morning. I grab my cup of coffee and read the Globe then toast an English muffin, grab another cup of coffee and read the Cape Cod Times. By the time I am finished with the cryptogram, I’m about an hour and a half into the day. My e-mail is next then I stir my creative juices and start in on writing Coffee. Sometimes my muse is wild with inspiration while other times I just sit and stare hoping for the whisper of an idea. I have been writing Coffee for 12+ years. The sitting and staring are getting more frequent.

When I was a kid, I sometimes had to go to confession on Saturday. I didn’t have a whole lot to confess so I used to pad my transgressions. I’d mention lying though I seldom lied. I did fight with my brother so I had that to fall back on. Disrespecting my mother or father was a good one. I think every kid used it. I wasn’t mouthy, but I was great at eye rolling or smirking. I used to give numbers like lying five times. Those were purely speculative. I never really kept count. The priest would mete out my penance. Usually it was a few Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers. I said them quickly so I could get out of there. I didn’t want people thinking I was overloaded with sins meriting a huge penance.

Today is cooler than it’s been but still sunny. The house was cold when I woke up. I turned on the heat and put on socks. I hate having cold feet.

I’m back on YouTube. Today is disaster day. I’ve watched tsunamis and volcanos and now it’s a meteor. Frantic scientists, members of the near Earth orbit emergency task force, are working to prevent the meteors from colliding with Earth and destroying life as we know it. Isn’t that always the way?

“It was Sunday morning, and old people passed me like sad grey waves on their way to church.”

October 15, 2017

I’m wondering where the sun is hiding. The day is damp and cloudy. It’s a quiet day, no breeze rustles the leaves and no voices are loud enough to be heard. I have to go out and do a couple of errands later and tonight is game night. That’s like a full day for me.

When I was a kid, the expectations for Sunday were pretty much nonexistent. It was a nothing day much the same week after week. It started with church. The only unknown was which mass I’d attend. Would I go early with my dad, the usher, or later by myself or with my brother? Sunday dinner was the biggest meal of the week. It was always a roast, sometimes a roast beef and other times a whole chicken. It was the one meal all week where we all sat down to eat together though my mother sometimes stood by the counter to eat. On weekdays my dad was late getting home from work so he was never there for dinner. We were usually watching TV when he got home.

Once in a while, on a Sunday afternoon, we visited my grandparents in the city. I was amazed by the city. Houses were close together. The Italian bakeries sold pizza. A house down the street sold Italian ice through an open window. On the corner of my grandparents’ street was a private club. My uncle was a member. I remember going there once for a family party.

If we didn’t go out to visit, we’d sit around watching TV until my dad took over and turned to a football game. That sent us to the kitchen to play a board game or down the cellar to play. If I had a book, I’d go read it in my room away from the noise. My mother cooked in the kitchen. She peeled potatoes and opened cans of vegetables. We usually ate around two. Most times there was no special dessert. We’d grab cookies.

Sunday night we’d watch a bit of TV then it was early to bed because of school the next day. We always grumbled. That never got us anywhere except upstairs to bed at our regular time.

“The first rule of hurricane coverage is that every broadcast must begin with palm trees bending in the wind.”

August 25, 2017

Some mornings all the elements converge just right and the most gorgeous day dawns. Today is one of those mornings. The breeze is from the north, and I could smell the ocean when I was out with Gracie. Both of us stayed on the deck, not wanting to come inside. The smell of the salt water flooded my mind’s eye with familiar images. I saw the ocean with its tiny whitecaps hitting the sand. I saw the grasses atop the dunes dancing, blown by the slight breeze.

The morning air is cool today. Sharp sunlight glints through the trees hanging over the deck and leaves shadows of armlike branches. The small round mirrors hanging from the pine branches send a reflection of white circles bouncing around the side yard. The birds fly in and out, and I was glad I filled the feeders yesterday.

Today in all its glory needs to be savored.

I’m watching the news about Hurricane Harvey. I know what it’s like to dread the coming wind, rain and high water. I remember Hurricane Bob. It left trees across roads, wires hanging from split telephone poles and branches all over streets and yards. I lost a fir tree in my front yard, my second Christmas tree, but I still felt lucky because the tree fell away from the house. Stores were closed. I was without electricity for days. I cooked all of the freezer meat on the grill trying to save it. I drove all over to find ice. I couldn’t believe the damage I saw. It took a long while for the clean-up and for everything to get back to normal.

On August 25th 1954, two amazing events occurred. Hurricane Carol developed near the Bahamas and started its way toward New England. It would reach the coast days later, at the end of the month. Carol was devastating and deadly. Cape Cod was evacuated. More than 10,000 homes across New England were damaged including 1,545 that were completely destroyed. 3,000 boats and 3,500 automobiles were wrecked. Even Boston wasn’t spared. The wind sheared off the steeple of the Old North Church. Though I was only seven, I have memories of this storm. The giant, old elm tree across from my house went down and fell on the street making the road impassable. My father brought my brother and me outside during the eye of the hurricane to see the tree, and we climbed among the branches. I remember how still it was and how quiet.

The second amazing event was my sister Moe was born. Today she turns 63. She was under 5 pounds at birth so the hospital kept her until she gained more weight. That was the practice back then. She was still in the hospital when we lost electricity so we glad she was. By the time she came home, our house was back to normal.

My sister and Carol are forever joined in my memory.  That’s not to say they have anything in common except both were born on the same day.

“Life is more fun if you play games.”

August 13, 2017

The rain fell most of the day yesterday. Sometimes it was heavy and other times just misty. When I first woke up this morning, it was cloudy. When I woke up a second time, it was still cloudy but the sun poked through a couple of times giving me some hope for a nice day. It will be warm, low 80’s, but less humid.

Gracie and I did a couple of errands yesterday. We took 6A, but it too was filled with traffic, tourists looking to while away the rainy day.I learned in Ghana to see the bugs as protein I stopped at the candy store to get some peanut butter cups and chocolate peppermints for movie night. That shop was filled with more people than I’ve ever seen in there. I guess there is no better cure for a rainy day than chocolate. Actually, chocolates are a panacea for whatever ails us.

The other evening I was having a bowl of cereal, Rice Krispies, when I noticed a small bug swimming on top of the cereal. I flicked it out of the bowl and kept eating. I learned in Ghana to see bugs in my food, especially flour, as added protein. It is one of the strange things I learned.

I like Life Savers, but my favorites are made by Reed’s, root beer closely followed by cinnamon. Wintergreen is my favorite flavor of Life Savers. In a package I got in Ghana from my mother were a few rolls of Life Saver’s tropical fruits. I guess she figured they were a fun choice. The colors were the same as the fruit colors, even that green of honeydew melons and the light orange of cantaloup. The coconut was my favorite. We sat one night guessing all the fruits. It was our evening’s entertainment. It didn’t take much to amuse us.

My friends and I play games once a week. In the winter it is on Sunday night then we watch The Amazing Race which was DVR’d on Friday. We didn’t like it on Friday so we continued with Sunday. Creatures of habit I guess. Now it is Saturday night, movie night. We have some appetizers then play Phase 10 before the movie. If we have time, mostly in the winter, we also play Sorry. We never seem to tire of either game. We even keep a list of winners from each week. There is usually a bit of gloating. I was the gloater last week.