W is for Whittling
A Swiss Army knife, a campfire, and a good stick. All good for whittling.
I don’t really like Mondays. I guess that places me in just about 99% of the population who feels the same– give or take 30%. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is think too much. So, it’s good to deal in the mundane– the minutiae. It’s also good to use bullet points. I like bullet points.
I have discovered a fun, new way to waste my time– as if I have so much of it to waste, I need another way to do it. Like most of my time-wasting activities, it involves the use of the computer. My boys have been playing this one computer game for a couple years now… almost to the point of obsession. My friends’ kids play it, the neighbor kids play it, and many of my 4th grade students play it.
There have probably been 5,476 times that I have reached the point where I’d almost rather lose a toenail than have to hear one more word about creepers, spawning sheep, villagers, red stone, diamond pick axes, whose world got griefed by whom, and all the other numerous terms that are related to this game.
If you are familiar at all with this game, you have already figured out I am referring to Minecraft. When I first saw this game and my sons announced they want to purchase it, my first reaction was something like, “What? You want to spend how much on a game with graphics that look like they belong in the late ’80s?”
Archaic-looking Minecraft farm animals.
Well, we did buy & download the game for them. The boys have been wanting me to try it since the day they discovered it. I always said no. I just didn’t see the appeal at all– until a few days ago, that is.
For a week or so, my sons and their friends have been involved in a Mindcraft-based game called “The Crafting Dead”. It’s sort of like The Walking Dead in square pixelated form. Being the zombie geek I am, it sounded and looked fun! I wanted to play.
I take my zombie survival pretty seriously, though, so I figured I better learn the basics of the game before I attempt to take on zombie hordes and other players who won’t think twice about killing me for my survival supplies.
I began my venture into the world of Minecraft in the safest mode possible (single player, creative, in case you’re wondering) by building a simple two-story home made of Lapis Lazuli and aqua-colored wool blocks– apparently wool blocks are as strong as stone blocks in Minecraft.
My awesome wool & lapis house
The best part of my house is the glass roof/ceiling. I put some of my farm animals up there. That way I can see them from inside when I look up. It puts a whole new perspective on farming. Fortunately, they don’t poop. That would be a mess!
The view from inside my house, looking up. This just makes me happy!
My boys are so excited that I’m playing. My students are impressed and think I’m quite possibly the coolest teacher in the world. It really is a fun game! And it’s much more advanced than I first thought. I’m amazed that somebody was able to design a game like this. You have to play it to understand.
In addition to my house, I tunneled a Zombie stronghold into a nearby mountain. It has escape routes, iron doors, a dining hall, bedrooms, a recreation room, and a meeting room. It’s pretty awesome.
So, as you can see, I have been having fun with this game. Until last night, that is. I finally got up the courage to play the “Crafting Dead” version with my son and I got killed by zombies within minutes of spawning into the world. Every. Time. I. Played.
Turns out, I don’t like getting killed by zombies.
For now, I think I’ll stick with the peaceful game mode, where zombies don’t kill, spiders don’t attack, skeletons don’t shoot, and other players don’t loot your home.
I leave you with this image: An aerial view of my rooftop farm animals.
*Noob= A new, inexperienced Minecraft player; often ridiculed and taken advantage of by more experienced players.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a night owl. If I could choose my own schedule, I would sleep from two am to ten am. But, as with most people, I don’t have the luxury of making my own schedule. Work, kids, family, appointments, etc. all join forces to make sure I don’t do what my body naturally wants to do. I’m OK with that, it’s just how life is.
As a natural-born night owl, I have always resented having to get up early in the morning. Recently, however, I discovered the pleasure of having about thirty minutes to myself in the morning before everyone else has to get up and get ready for their day. There’s just something wonderful and rare during this time- I believe it’s called silence.
I swear, my coffee tastes even better when it is sipped in the stillness of the early morning.
I’m certain that one day, I will miss the noise of my children getting ready for school, arguing with each other, and asking me where their shoes are. But, for now, I’ll appreciate these silent moments. They don’t last long, but they are golden.
I am a huge fan of the TV show “Bones”. There is something about the quirky, dark humor of the show that appeals to my quirky, dark-humored side. I’m not sure what was going on with last week’s episode, but the show introduced the audience to a whole new set of characters. Any other “Bones” fans out there smell a spin-off in the works?
The good-looking main character of the new characters was described as being a “Seeker”. Apparently, he has an amazing knack for finding anyone & anything someone wishes to find. For a price, of course. He does this by using his intuition, common sense, and two larger-than-life sidekicks.
As I was watching the storyline unfold, I realized that I, too, am a “Seeker”. I don’t receive monetary compensation for my efforts and I certainly don’t have two kick-butt personal assistants by my side. I don’t seek criminals. I don’t seek missing loved-ones. I do, however, seek lost treasures. I do seek missing relics.
Specifically, what do I seek?
I seek socks. I seek misplaced homework on Friday mornings. I seek the missing stuffed-animal-of-the- week when it’s bedtime. I seek aphids for our latest ladybug “pet”. I seek shoes when we are late for school. I seek the TV remote so that I may use it to seek age-appropriate shows for my boys. I seek Legos. That vital missing piece, by the way, is usually found under the rear-end of the person assembling the most recent Lego set acquisition.
Some days, I seek solely my sanity.
It’s amazing to me how often my boys think I just know where something is… as if I am a superhero who obtained my superpower after being bitten by some sort of all-knowing insect.
In short, I am a Mom… therefore, I am a Seeker of the most important kind: I find those things that mean so much to the ones who mean the most to me.
Seek on, Seeker Mom!
Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged! Here are some updates… very quick updates:
With that, I need to sign off of here. Maybe tomorrow I’ll accomplish what I really came on here to do, and set up my kindergarten blog.
Hmmm… we shall see…
A couple weeks ago, when Matt first expressed an interest in geocaching, I’m pretty sure I responded with a blank stare. Geocaching? I had heard the word before but had no idea what it was.
Am I the only person under the age of 67 who did not know what geocaching is? Since I am hoping I’m not the only one who needed an explanation, I’m going to explain it to you. If you are more “hip” than I am (and who isn’t?), please bear with me… or rather, bear with Wikipedia:
Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning Systemreceiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware or ammo box) containing a logbook. Larger containers can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is most often described as a “game of high-tech hide and seek”, sharing many aspects with orienteering, treasure-hunting, and waymarking. (GPS)
Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. As of September 20 2009, there are over 904,000 active geocaches over the world.
-Stolen from Wikipedia
Now that you know everything there is to know about geocaching, I can finish this blog. Matt and I took the boys geocaching on Friday afternoon. Matt had gone with the boys on Thursday, but this was my first time. I had a great time, in spite of the heat. The boys had tons of fun. I think Matt had the most fun of all of us (that’s probably because he got to hold the GPS thing).
We didn’t even have to go far to have a fun adventure. Matt found out there were a few caches hidden at Kit Carson Park and off we went. I figured it would be an easy excursion but I was wrong. We stomped through brush, wound our way down coyote trails, barely missed angering a nest of wasps, saw a baby rattlesnake, and all ended up exhausted. I’ve seen parts of Kit Carson Park I never knew existed.
We found a total of three caches that day. We looked for five but two were impossible to find in all the dense brush and trees. The funniest one was hidden in the base of a lamp post in the parking lot by the soccer field. In the collage above, you can see Matt holding a small, black disk… that is what was hidden in the base of the lamp post.
The best cache was hidden on an obscure trail. We found it at the base of a tree, near where we saw the baby rattlesnake. In this cache, there were fun little toys for the boys. Per geocaching etiquette, we replaced what we took with our own little toys.
By the time we found that cache, we were all tired, thirsty, dirty, and ready to call it a day. The boys did very well, considering the amount of walking we did. I’m so glad Matt thought to start geocaching. I think we have found a fun family hobby that will keep us active and having fun together.
It has been so long since my last- and only- post! I meant to keep this blog more up-to-date but have obviously failed. No excuses… just busy, I suppose. So much has happened since my last post:
My seven year old started second grade.
My four year old started preschool.
Our cat, Peanut, is missing and presumably dead as a result of coyote digestion. All that’s left of our poor kitty is his blue collar and a small tuft of fur. My boys are keeping the collar to remember their first real pet. We buried the fur in the backyard and plan to hold a memorial service on Thursday. My future Donald Trump (the seven year old) wants to charge people to attend the service. I doubt anyone besides us will show up to pay their respects.
My dad, who has been has been in and out of the hospital and nursing homes over the past few months is back in the hospital again. He started with back surgery due to a bad disk. He came home. Had a small stroke. Went back to the hospital and then to a nursing care facility. Sent home prematurely, thanks to the insurance company. Went in for another back surgery because the first one was unsuccessful. Back to the nursing care facility to recover from the surgery. Sent home prematurely, thanks to the insurance company. Fell on his first day home, called 911 (nobody else was home). Back to the hospital. An MRI done (to make sure he didn’t damage the surgical site) revealed an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is a life-threatening condition if not diagnosed before the aneurysm ruptures.
Actually, it is a blessing my dad was sent home from the nursing care facility… even though we all considered it a premature move. If he had not been sent home, he would not have fallen on his way to the kitchen. If he had not fallen and been alone in the house, he would not have called the paramedics. If the paramedics had not taken him to the hospital, he would not have had the MRI. If he had not had the MRI, the abdominal aortic aneurysm may have gone undetected… until it was too late.
So, as you can see… life has been a little crazy for my family.
I hope to be more consistent once things become more routine.
Did I just write that out loud? Routine? What’s that? I think Routine is somewhere under the towering stack of clean laundry that needs to be put away one of these days. If I ever do find it, I’ll probably need to toss it back into the dryer for a few minutes just to get the wrinkles out! And then, it will end up back at the bottom of the pile.
And with that thought, goodnight all!