Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ordinary Summer Days

My days have fallen into a routine. Early each morning I go outside to do a little walking, water my plants, and take a few pictures while it’s still relatively cool! Cool meaning below 80. It doesn't take long for the sun to rise above the trees, the temperature to go up, the humidity to increase, and the dew sparkling on the grass to dry.

The last couple of weeks, it’s felt like I’m living in Florida. You know how along the coast those afternoon storms roll in with huge billowy clouds? We’ve had the same thing; storms rolling in each afternoon, heavy showers, and amazing lightening. The rain combined with warm nights has caused an abundance of mushroom to pop up across the yard. 

Each day I discover new ones, some tiny and some the size of a dinner plate. All unique with almost perfect symmetry, fascinating textures, and earthy colors. Each day they grow a little more, slowly opening like a beach umbrella. It’s fascinating to see what’s in the shade of those umbrellas. Sometimes there’s a little “baby” mushroom trying to find space to grow.

After the short morning walk around the yard, I lock myself inside where the air-conditioning and fans are running nonstop! So now what do I do with the rest of my day? I usually spend a little time catching up on the Internet; blogs, Facebook, and Flicker, then I turn to more productive things.

My project for the summer is deep cleaning my cluttered craft room. I started with the closet, pulled everything out, and began sorting; serious sorting. At this stage in my life I’m never going to do all those projects I thought I would do some day. There aren’t enough some days left, so I’ve filled boxes and boxes of stuff to take to a donation center. Here’s some things that made me wonder at my sanity: millions of wiggly eyes, a bag of styrofoam balls, remnants of very old fabric, articles I’ve ripped out of magazines, metal buttons that you cover, and 32 wood pieces. I'm sure I had good plans for these things once upon a time! The things I kept were scrapbooking supplies, cross stitch supplies, and a few quilt projects. This week I finished the closet and moved on to the cabinets and bookshelf. I’m feeling good about my craft room. I might even be able to find something in there now without a lot of searching!

In the evenings I have started cross stitching again. I’m working on a set of little bird pillows one for each month of the year. So far I’ve stitched seven and finished four pillows. I haven’t stitched seriously in a long time. I have forgotten how relaxing it can be to push the needle through the fabric in a slow, repetitious motion.

So that’s about it. That’s what my summer days are like. Except for going to church and to the grocery story, I’m home in the cool. That being the case, I’m not taking many pictures, only one a day. With no adventures in sight, I feel like now would be a good time to take a blogging break. I need it. I don’t think I’ve taken a break since I began my blog six years ago. I’ll still be around on Facebook, Flicker, and reading your blogs, I just won’t be posted here for the rest of August.

So, I’m wishing all of you a wonderful end of your summer. I’ll see you when the weather begins to cool, the leaves start to fall, and I’m back to wandering.

Happy August!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Game On! - Part 2

Have you been playing this weekend? As I mentioned in last week's post, I've been playing with games and my camera. Here's a look at the next set of games I found in my game cabinet.

Do you know how hard it was to put all those Scrabble tiles in order for the top left photo? I got them all set, took the picture, and I had one out of order. Set them up again, took the picture, and one of the "H's" was upside down? Let me tell you, playing with games can be very challenging! If you find a mistake now, please don't tell me!!

Okay, back to the topic of this post. It seems a game cabinet would not be complete without a Scrabble game. My mom liked to play Scrabble. She was good at adding those long, unusual words; words I’d never even heard of! We trusted her when she said it really was a word, because when challenged, she was always right!

TRIVIA: Scrabble was created by an American architect Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938. It is a variation of an earlier word game he invented called Lexiko. The history of Scrabble is quite interesting. If you’d like to learn more about this popular game you can go here. There's a legend that "Butts studied the front page of 'The New York Times' to make his calculations for the letter distribution in the game." When he first began selling the games, the letters were hand-stamped on the tiles. His game didn't do very well until in the 1950's when Macy's began to sell it. Then it became so popular that the game had to be "rationed to stores around the country."

One of my all-time favorite games as a child was Jacks. I remember we carried our Jacks to school in a small pouch and played on the sidewalk at recess. I also remember the scrapped knuckles one could get trying to pick up the Jacks quickly!

TRIVIA: Jacks is a game of ancient origin. It was originally called Knucklebones and was played with real bones, usually from sheep. The most popular game of Jacks is Onesies, but there's also Around The World, Over The Fence, In the Basket, and Pigs In A Pen. Do you remember those? I still sit on the floor and play Jacks every now and then. I'm still pretty good at it, but it is certainly much harder to get up off the floor!

I also found four boxes of Dominoes in the game cabinet; an old black set from early married life, a white set with the Union Pacific train symbol on the back that was bought when our train-loving-son was home, a Dora set bought when our first grandson learned to play Dominoes and loved to watch Dora, and a Lightning McQueen set bought a few years later for the grandsons. I would really like to know how many different Domino sets there are!

TRIVIA: Dominoes are believed to have originated in China in the 12th century. Of course Dominoes have been used in many challenges. Here's a few records I found, but they could have changed by now.

most dominoes toppled by a group
4,491,864 in 2009
most dominoes toppled by an individual
321,197 in 2011
most dominoes toppled underwater
11,466 in 2015

And lastly I uncovered several card games. There was Rook, Old Maid, Go Fish, several kinds of Uno, and a regular deck of cards.

TRIVIA: Scholars agree that playing cards appeared in Imperial China as early as the 9th century. By the 11th century, playing cards, were spreading throughout the Asian continent and later into Egypt. Playing cards first entered Southern Europe in the 14th century.

You might be surprised to know that the United States introduced the Joker into the deck. The Joker was invented about 1860 as a third trump card. The earliest reference to a Joker functioning as a wild card dates to 1875 in a variation of poker.

Well there you have it, probably more than you ever wanted to know about games!! I love finding out about things, little bits of trivia that I didn't know. Oh, that reminds me of Trivial Pursuit a more modern game invented in 1979. I don't have a Trivial Pursuit game, because I don't like it. I've never been able to retain all those little bits of information that I've read!

I hope you've enjoyed my photography theme of games and remember to keep on playing and laughing.

"Play keeps us vital and alive.
It gives us an enthusiasm for life
that is irreplaceable.
Without it, life just doesn't taste good."
~ Lucia Capocchione