Complete and Utter Chaos

IMG_1248

I think the game Chaos is sadistic. But some of my family members love it so I play. It’s probably good for me, helping me work on my memory.

Have you ever heard of it? Chaos is a board game from 1970.

It’s basically checkers. With up to four people. With identical pieces, and you have to figure out (in theory–keep track of) which pieces are yours.

Players are assigned a color, but the color is hidden on the underside of a piece. You can’t flip the piece until it’s in the home zone across the board from where you started. If you move someone else’s piece, they can call you on it, and you lose a turn. Oh, and you can’t move your pieces past the halfway point of the board until all the pieces are out of your home zone.

While I somewhat dread playing the game since I’m incredibly bad at it, I do have to admit then on the rare occasion when I do win (or even come in as a close second) I feel incredibly smart for a few minutes. It’s quite gratifying.

Last night I was doing all right. I came in last place on our first game, but was respectably close to everyone else. On the second game I lost first place by one move, so I was feeling pretty awesome. As an evening topper, I knew where all my pieces were on our third and final game. Or so I thought. I hit the home zone and discovered that it was someone else’s piece and mine was aaaaaaalllllllll the way across the board.

Extreme sadness.

But that’s the thing. Everyone gets a chance to shine. Systems win and fail. Jumps soar you across the board in one shot, or you can get gridlocked.

No matter what, it’s always utter Chaos.

While I would still prefer playing a word game, I have to admit that the evening was enjoyable. I found a video on how it’s played:

Advertisements

Snow Surprise Saves our Season

IMG_1092

Three. That’s the pathetically low count of times we were able to go snowboarding this past year. We’ve been spoiled enough to average 5-7 times a week for the past few years so it’s been a bit rough this year. With the move and our travels and such, we just haven’t had time this year. Our deteriorating muscles and expanding bellies attest to the fact that this is not an ideal situation.

Now it’s the time of year where you can get annual passes for next year, and snowboard for the rest of this year as part of the deal. As much as our hearts are with Swain, it’s too far away now that we have moved. So we planned to get passes for Greek Peak. And that was exciting.

We were supposed to go last weekend. Timing was critical since the snow has been rapidly melting. To our great disappointment, I was ill and couldn’t garner the strength to hit the slopes (all good now. It was just a nasty cold).

Then this east coast storm came down from heaven and gifted us with fresh powder the day before my weekend (I work Saturdays through Wednesdays). Greek Peak got 28-inches of fresh powder, so we grabbed hotel room and planned a two-day slope getaway. Wahoooo!

As I wrapped up the work week on Wednesday the 15th, Chris pulled our boards out in the hallway, and they looked really happy in their escape from our basement. The entire visit was perfect.
img_0119

December 23, 2016

IMG_1069

March 16, 2017

We had been there the day before Christmas Eve with Hudi and Zeb, so happy memories assailed us as we pulled into the parking lot and got ready to hit the lift. It was windy, but the temps were in the upper 20s F. Much better than the near-zero-degree-F temps of last weekend. A face guard, helmet and decent coat kept us warm so the air that did manage to hit our faces actually felt invigorating. And I got to wear my new snowboard boots that I picked up in Utah. So happy memories of time with CJ and Zeb there as well.

My boots and Chris about to go down the hill. Beautiful views.

The views were amazing, and there were enough bumps and jumps and powder pockets to keep Chris entertained while I boarded on the side, practicing my s-turns and squiggles. My snowboard was so happy it started doing some tricks I’ve been working on for years. All by itself! It just seemed to flow, bless its little board heart.
If you look closely at my board, you can see that I had a Wapuu on for the ride as well 🙂 (actually there are two, but one is under that snow on the front of my board)
IMG_1085
When we got tired (definitely as out of shape as we thought we were), we headed back to the hotel for an in-room picnic and movie-time. No rush, no fuss. We knew we were going back the next day.
And that day was super fun. It was St. Patrick’s day so we got to listen to Irish music as we loaded onto the lift. The sun was shining, the wind had dissipated, and the skies were super blue. Paradise. After a few hrs of boarding we headed to the car for a hot chocolate break, and I soaked in the sun.
I don’t know if we will get out again this year, but that getaway already gave me a lot of things to dream about for next year. That snow storm was such a gift.

Fortune Cookie

fortune-cookie

It’s impossible to be perfect. And this fortune cookie note I got reminded me that it’s okay. How reassuring is that message? My immediate reaction was “Hey, this is how I want to be for others” in my role as a Happiness Engineer. Then I remembered that since it was my fortune cookie, this was about me. And I realized that the statement is plain old true. It has been true in the past, is true in my present, and odds are high that it will be true in my future. This makes me feel really fortunate. And it makes me think about the importance of helping people in general.

My job, my marriage and my family are all arenas in which I feel particularly blessed. And this fortune philosophy is a main contributor to why my life is so awesome.

Work? WordPress is a seriously powerful program. Every day I help people with networking issues, SEO, site building, writing-sharing, advertising, account changes, etc. I know a lot and do not feel as if I’m not qualified for my job. That said, I sometimes find myself facing situations in which I don’t have an answer. Every day I’m learning more. But I never feel isolated or backed into a corner where I can’t be helpful thanks to my co-workers.

We all have experience in different arenas. If I have a question about analytics or MX records, then a ping to a co-worker will bring someone with experience in those fields to help me (and I help them where I am strong). No judgement from anyone. Just helpful attitudes (and I’m over two years into this job, so I’m not being idealistic. That’s just the beautiful reality of my work environment). Together, we provide answers to those who come to us for help.

I can help because I am helped.

Family? Again, every family member has a strength, and we work together to create good as a unit. I think back especially to the years I was bed-ridden (rough pregnancies and a few surgeries that laid me flat for long periods of time). My in-laws moved in to help us with parenting and household maintenance (as did my friends and members of our church, who provided meals and childcare until my in-laws arrived). We ran a daycare back then, and my husband became licensed so he could cover for me when I was down. My children were young, but they pitched in to help where they could. This made my healing happen faster, and when I was back on my feet, life was manageable, and I didn’t have to deal with the chaos of backlogged tasks.

Again, I could help others (eventually, after I healed) because others helped me.

Marriage? If anyone knows every single weakness I have, it’s my man. But I am very fortunate in the fact that instead of using those weaknesses to knock me down, Chris takes his own strengths to help me grow in those areas if I’m capable. Or to cover for me if I’m not capable. I try to do the same for him.

So there it is. My fortune reminding me of how fortunate I am. I hope I always remember that and reciprocate.

Favorite Chrome Extensions

I love extensions. Not too many of them, but certain ones that make my life so much easier to deal with. I thought I might share some of my favorites with you in case it makes your life easier as well. And I’d love to hear about some of your favorites (please feel free to share in the comments).

So what is a Chrome extension? It’s a small software program that makes my Chrome browser work better. You can install extensions from the Extensions URL. Here are my current favorites:

Library Extension – This might be my absolute favorite. It has saved me hundreds of dollars, I’m sure. I linked my library accounts to the widget. Now, when I look up a book on Amazon, that extension kicks into action and tells me if the book is available at my library. It even links me to the library site so I can download available e-copies.

F.B.(FluffBusting)Purity – This one cleans up and customizes Facebook, letting me filter out the junk I don’t want to see. Goodby negativity and political yuckness!

Google Voice (by Google) – Love using this as a backup phone number, and my messages get transcribed so I can read them there.

Stylus – Custom themes for any website – If I want to change the look of a site I’m viewing (changing font color or whatever), I make the CSS changes here and worry no more.

Adblock Plus – This one is controversial since I know people make money from the ads on their sites. The good thing is that this extension lets you choose which sites you want to see ads on so you can still support your friends 🙂

Honey – This one automatically finds and applies coupon codes when I shop online. To be honest, it doesn’t usually get me a better deal, but when it does work, it’s super nice.

Tab Snooze –  LOVE this one. When I find a web page that I want to spend more time on at a later date, I can click this and set the time and day I want it to show up on. At the appointed time, it opens up that tab.

How about you? What are some of your favorites?

 

Sun, Sons and Snowboarding

img_0743

After Friday night’s snow who would guess that we would be sipping coffee on the deck Saturday morning? Even better, we were sunbathing by the afternoon. It was over 50 degrees. We slept in, yakked, read, took naps and basically took the day off as a quasi spa day. Pure luxury.

In the evening we headed over to Zeb’s to check out his new home.

Zeb is in a pretty fun living situation now. He’s with CJ’s pre-marriage housemates who also happen to be delightful young men from the area where our boys grew up. Aaron and Thomas and Zeb made some delicious coffee (can you tell we are big on coffee?) and yakked with us until Robert and Anthony came home. Then we chatted a bit more and started playing a game called QuipLash. Anyone with Internet could join our game if they had to code, and the guys decided to call Hudi (back in NY) to join the fun. That made me really happy — knowing my boys wanted to hang out together, even long distance.

After a really enjoyable evening we headed home to get a good night’s sleep. The next day was busy. We went to Lauren and CJ’s church (a church with a view!) then grabbed some pizza and headed off to Solitude for some slope time. It was interesting since we were on borrowed/new-to-us equipment, but we adapted pretty well and had a fantastic time. The road getting there was winding and kinda crazy. There were definitely rocks in the road on the way down that weren’t there on the way up. And it was wild how we had snow, but half an hour away, there wasn’t any.

As the day wound down, we settled in with some nice drinks and tv time.

Monday was our last day there 😦 And we were far from ready to go. But the good news is that we plan to travel back next summer. Sadly, CJ’s car had been backed in to over the weekend so Chris and CJ spent most of Monday finding repair shops to get quotes. Lauren and I worked on websites, read and yakked.

img_0817
She made me one final drink (a mint hot chocolate thing this time with white mocha or something. Yum!) then we headed to a burger place they enjoy as we headed back to the airport. Our flight left at 11:59pm, and Chris’ birthday was the next day – beginning one minute into our flight 🙂 The screenshot of the plane is when were were pretty close to flying over their home on our way back to NY.

That trip was fortunately uneventful, and we were home in plenty of time to unpack, plow out the driveway, clean the house and have a birthday celebration thanks to Mom Pollock.

I took the next few days as AFK so we had time to rest up and get our life back in order. And here we are. Back in the flow of our reality, and loving it. With a ton of new fantastic events stashed into our happy memory arsenal for times when we miss our kids and want to look back on times together.