Posts Tagged With: Games

The Bunny Hop, Hop, Hop

By Masteruk (Own work)

Contemplative Bunny Photo by Masteruk (Own work)

I’ve observed this fun play at the Riparian on my morning walks over the past few months. Two rabbits face each other, then one hops straight up while the other one runs under it. The hopper turns midair and lands facing the other rabbit who turns almost immediately upon running under. They repeat this behavior taking turns on who hops and who runs. It’s a bit like watching popcorn popping when several pairs are hopping and running in the same general area.

This fun behavior seems to have ramped up with the cooler weather. I’ve wondered what it all means.

At first I thought it was some form of Bunny Jousting. Or perhaps it’s where the name of the popular wedding reception dance “The Bunny Hop” came from. (Could be.) But I did what any self-respecting blogger would and engaged in a bit of research before making a fool of myself online.

Turns out it’s part of the mating ritual between a male and a female. Looks fun!

Since my video attempts came out grainy and unclear, I’ve included video someone else shot of the same behavior.

Given the amount of such frolicking and the frequency of the hopping going on over at the Riparian a bumper crop of bunnies ought to make a huge showing in about a month.

Apparently there’s good reason for the anonymous saying, “Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.”

~.~.~.~.~

(If you’re really into Bunnies and all their nuances, this website has more information than the average person would ever need or want to know. But if you’ve got a son working on his rabbit raising merit badge, it’d come in really handy.)

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Categories: Mondaze, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Little Nonsense Now and Then”

Friday Letter to My Kids – August 8, 2014

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.” ~ Heraclitus 

Dear J, J, L and L,

Good times, good times. That’s what I mostly remember.

Oh sure, I have my regrets, quite a few, but I choose to keep those filed away in a locked cabinet somewhere to the left and south in my head. There’s not much I can do about the not so stellar moments and coulda, woulda, shouda things. I prefer to recall the fun stuff that made us laugh.

Homemade sidewalk chalk in process.

Homemade sidewalk chalk in process.

Seems like we did more than a few projects.

Remember making homemade sidewalk chalk? More vibrant than the store-bought stuff, those chunks lasted forever no matter how much you colored, drew, scraped, mixed with water and rechalked. Watching your artwork blossom on the cement as your knees and hands and clothes got covered in colored dust made me smile.

Not quite as creative, but still a grand idea, that four by eight foot white board Dad brought home and set up kept you busy for hours. Pretend school, artwork, self portraits, math homework, countless hangman games, it turned out as a smart and fairly inexpensive investment.

Photo by  Chris Barr from the valley, bat (IMAGE_359) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

A basic blanket fort. Photo by Chris Barr

I’ve never seen blanket forts as great as those you all constructed. Seems like I recall a huge one in the living room at the Saint Elena house. Didn’t it have several “rooms” and small hallways? I think you might have even slept in that one. And the nook at the top of the stairs seemed designed specifically for building blanket forts. I still run across a blanket or two now and then with a few holes strategically cut to fit over posts or some other “construction” idea you had as you built your hideaways.

I had a friend growing up whose brother built a tree fort that you guys would have loved. My friend Jori and I spent time up there when we could get away with it. What a perfect way for kids to spend a summer day. I feel all relaxed and young again just thinking about it.

The “sunroom” in the Oklahoma house served a similar purpose. Seems you spent time out there year round despite the fact that it got almost no sun except about an hour in the morning. That screened in room saw every kind of sport imaginable reinvented by you and your friends. The tent even got set up out there to dry off after a couple of rained out camping trips.

That whole house, with it’s strange added on section and odd closets, was a weird crazy hide and seek haven which you made full use of. Now there’s a game you never, ever tired of. Whole boring afternoons could pass in one ginormous hide and seek game. You got pretty good at squeezing into the smallest most unsuspecting spaces and staying incredibly quiet.

Pretty and yummy!

Pretty and yummy!

Rainbow Jello keeps popping into my head. An all day project that I’d never attempt on my own, one of you kept at it every half hour for five or six hours, mixing and adding each layer as the last layer set up. Tasted great and got made several more times after that, a work of love and art all in one.

One of the best birthday parties ever happened at the Saint Elena house. We filled a zillion water balloons and tossed them in the pool. It looked like confetti in there. The nine-year-old party guests had a riot. And just before getting out of the pool for cake and ice cream all the balloons got tossed at targets sidewalk chalked on the cement brick wall.

I’m sure if I thought longer I’d scrounge up more good times. Shoot me an email or a text with other fun stuff you remember. It’d be nice to compile all of them. I don’t want to forget a single memory or happy time we shared.

Thanks for the laughs and giggles. Thanks for sharing your joy with me.

I surely do love you,

Mom

 

photo-23 copy 5

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” ~ Roald Dahl 

~~~~~

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Friendly Game Goes South

Are you one of those people who believe that you should let little kids win at board games and matching games? Or do you come from the school of thought that advocates winning at all costs, little kids feelings and sense of fairness and fun be hanged?

I tend to err on the side of kindness which isn’t necessarily good for anyone involved in the long run.

I had a child that insisted on winning at the game “Husker Du?” as a toddler.  At a very young age she showed stellar skill at this fun matching game. She possessed such outstanding skills, in fact, that we began to work at winning against her. She did not take kindly to our gamesmanship. In no uncertain terms she let it be known that she was not going to stand for losing at this game.

It got ugly. The word tantrum took on new meaning when she lost. We almost seriously considered exorcism a time or two because the tantrums escalated so badly (not really, I’m joking, calm down.) But ugly described the scene that ensued time after time. It became easier to just let her win. It wasn’t much fun for anyone. Not even her. To add to the challenge she didn’t want to know we were letting her win, it had to appear that we had really tried to win, but the outcome must result in her winning.

Stupid, yes!  We got tired of that game rather quickly. And it mysteriously disappeared one day, never to return.

Fast forward about twelve years.

We had graduated to more challenging games such as Scrabble. Like Crocodile Dundee I would scoff when  someone would suggest most board games, then pull out my Scrabble set and say in my best Australian accent, “Now there’s a game!”

Scrabble

Scrabble (Photo credit: williamhartz)

Scrabble requires a tad bit of patience as each player needs to mull over various possible word plays. Of course, some people choose to put a time limit on a turn, but that’s a game of a different flavor. The patience factor lends itself to Scrabble as an internet game. Take your turn one day, wait for your opponents to take their turn over a few days, get on with your life, make your next play when you get around to it.

But playing the game live and in person requires more patience than your average, ordinary board game. If one of the opponents in the game seems deficient in the patience area you might want to consider tweaking the rules for time usage. Just a suggestion. A strong suggestion.

I am a person of extreme patience, usually. But twelve years ago “Israel” and “Palestine” (also known as daughter 2 and daughter 3) had inhabited my house for several years at that point. Occasionally a cease-fire would settle in but peace hung like a cadaver blowing in the breeze and threatened to disintegrate at the slightest provocation.

One day, during a deceptive lull in the lobbing of grenades and anti-aircraft fire and scud missiles in our home, the three of us decided to play a nice game of Scrabble. I know what you’re thinking at this point, and you’d be wrong. Trust me. Keep reading.

The game proceeded along as games do, with high interest in the proceedings initially, then boredom itching to join in the game, followed by snarky comments, occasionally drifting back into interest if a high score got played or the leader dropped behind. Halfway into the game things got a bit heated. The Tilby MIddle Western War threatened to kick into high gear. The peace treaty hung by a thread. Snark became argument, a well-played score became fodder for offensive posturing, two of the three parties bickered and argued ad infinitum.

Then it happened.

The long-suffering and patient camel hauling straw through the desert finally had the last straw laid down on her back.

I erupted in total and complete insanity.

“ENOUGH!!!” I yelled, slamming my hands on the table. “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!” The Scrabble tiles jumped and shifted on the board at the onslaught. In one fell swoop of my angry arm I cleared the defenseless Scrabble board. Tiles flew across the table and scattered like so much shrapnel across the kitchen floor.

Both daughters stared at me, shell-shocked and nearly silent.

“WE!”  I yelled picking up the empty Scrabble board. “ARE!” I yelled louder, if that was even possible. “DONE!” I yelled finally as I ripped the Scrabble board in half down the center fold. Then I tried ripping the pieces in half some more, but the dumb cardboard resisted my efforts. I bashed them over my knee to bend them in half.

hadesI’m pretty sure some uncensored and inappropriate words for children escaped my snarled and probably foaming mouth as I stomped to the garbage can and hurled the offending destroyed Scrabble board into the garbage. I then gathered several handfuls of nearby Scrabble tiles and stuffed them inside the garbage can with the dead game board.

Nervous laughter was erupting from the table at this point, which of course only served as fuel for the flaming torch my head had become à la Hades from Hercules.

I grabbed the already falling apart box from the table and tore it in half, stuffing it thoroughly and decisively into the garbage. Then the four wooden tile trays suffered the disgrace of death by garbage can.

Without another word I stomped off to my bedroom and slammed the door as loudly as possible.

After this little fiasco “Israel” and “Palestine” maintained a cease-fire for an unusually extended period. The disgraced and embarrassed camel with the broken back has never lived down the events of that fateful day.

Several years later, and by several I mean at least three, a new deluxe version of Scrabble appeared under the Christmas tree, to me, from, you guessed it, my two warring countries, daughters 1 and 2.

I’m happy to report that the Tilby war ended a couple of years ago, meaning both daughters moved out and found lives separate and apart from one another. With age and experience they’ve become friends of sorts and get along well enough.

Their mother, well, she’s another story. Sure she seems calm and serene most of the time, but there’s always a bit of a simmer under that facade. The secret, she’s found is to let lift the lid occasionally and let the pressure dissipate. Hopefully, with age and wisdom, the temper tantrum throwing mother will never, ever erupt again.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

Categories: Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Anyone Up for a Game of Scrabble?

April 13 is National Scrabble Day.

I think there’s at least one or more “holiday” for every day in the year. Don’t even get me started on the weekly observances, the monthly commemorations. The lists are endless. The silly things people want to “celebrate” boggles my mind.

Français : Lettre K dans le Scrabble

Scrabble (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Scrabble?

That’s different.

Scrabble was my portal into the world of words. My Grandparents owned that mystical box with the beautiful wooden tiles, letters pressed into them with the a tiny number in the bottom right hand corner. The colored squares in a radiating design mesmerized my very young mind.

Then to watch words form, seeing the connections and intersections of the words, helped me see the patterns and understand the different sounds and connections of letters. Two letter words beyond if, or, it, of? Wow! And then bigger words appeared that I’d never heard and wanted to know and use.

I wanted to play. I wanted to play and score high points. I wanted more words in my life.

Scrabble

Scrabble (Photo credit: williamhartz)

I didn’t get to play often as we didn’t own a Scrabble board at my house. But when I got the chance, I was in all the way.

Then a few years ago, in a serendipitous reconnection with a cousin I’d lost touch with for decades, I found Scrabble again. It became our medium for rebuilding a relationship. Those little chats we had as we each played a word or two over the internet were really parts of a bridge. Sure the game is fun and builds my vocabulary, but the real score was a solid friendship, a supportive two-way road between two family members, two almost-sisters.

Now we text, email, Facebook, call, and even travel across a mountain range to visit in person. Thanks to a simple game of letters we are now the cousins and friends we started out to be.

So yes, today I celebrate the game of Scrabble!

I hit a lifetime bingo high, with a triple letter score included, simply by playing the word R-E-L-A-T-I-V-E.

What it really spells is F-R-I-E-N-D.

Am I lucky, or what?

Categories: Family, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’ll Take Silly Quizzes for Eight Hundred, Alex

Please answer the following QUIZ truthfully.

English: Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate...

Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate chip smiley face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When someone cuts me off in traffic I usually:

A.) Yell obscenities at them and then blaspheme their children

B.) Follow them too closely and try to cut them off as well

C.) Figure I deserve it because I’m such a bad driver

D.) Hope they make it to a bathroom stall before it’s too late

If an associate or friend says something rude to me I will most always:

A.) Come back with a quick, witty, mean-spirited retort

B.) Mutter under my breath, but keep smiling, while planning revenge

C.) Try to think of ways I can change so they will like me better

D.) Wonder if they’re seeing a therapist for anger management

A friend fails to answer my text or phone message or email after repeated attempts, I will:

A.) Delete them from my contact list and refuse to respond if they try to contact me

B.) Remember all the times they’ve ignored or slighted me in the past, then simmer and fume

C.) Figure I’ve done something to offend them and think of ways to make it up to them

D.) Wonder how soon they’ll have their technology up and running again

A blogger posts a silly quiz on the internet  with results I don’t agree with, I proceed to:

A.) Post a comment that lets them know what genus and species I think they belong in

B.) Create my own silly quiz that makes fun of their silly quiz

C.) Take the results to heart and begin a regime of self-improvement

D.) Keep following their blog, assuming they were having a writer’s block sort of day

Now add up how many questions you answered A, B, C, or D

If you answered mostly A.)

I hope we never meet in a dark alley, or a lighted one for that matter. Why do you want to jump to the worst conclusion about people? I know traffic isn’t a fun place to find yourself day in and day out. I’ve spent more time than I’m willing to admit stuck behind silliness, squeezed into two lanes from four, and mystified by the rudeness and poor vision of others. I’ve also worked with my share of dweebs and space cadets. It could be very, very helpful to you if  you decide that others’ lack of skill and finesse isn’t going to determine how your day goes. In other words, RELAX a little bit. Loosen your grip on that steering wheel, pop in some chill tunes, think happy thoughts and go with the flow.  You’ll get where you’re going eventually. And if you don’t, you’ll at least not be quite so irritable or isolated.

If you answered mostly B.)

You might want to consider adding some sugar to  your diet and an extra hour to your sleep. Seriously?!? Do you even like your life? If it’s all about revenge and retorts and one-upping the other guy how fun can things be? I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no one keeping score anywhere! Surprised? No matter how many people you put down, criticize, back stab or plot against, your life isn’t going to be better because of it.  In fact, it’s possible you’ll have a really lonely and horrific life, one in which people avoid you and don’t invite you along for the ride. You need to watch more 40’s and 50’s musicals and some Jerry Lewis movies. Laugh a little more. Curse a little less. Try on a smile.

If you answered mostly C.)

Lighten up on yourself and read more limericks, jokes and humorous blogs. You take life way too seriously.  Really. I know it is a serious business and there are important things to deal with. Other people’s opinions about you ARE NOT one of those important things. Even if you are a politician, which I hope you aren’t, other people’s opinions of your aren’t real, or important. Be nicer to yourself. You’re a great person with all kinds of wonderful going on. You ought to admit it. Look in the mirror every day and say in your most sultry voice, “Hi there, beautiful!” If nothing else it’ll make you smile or laugh.  And heaven knows we could all use more laughter in our lives.

If you answered mostly D.)

Fill out the application for sainthood and prepare to be translated into a higher form of life. Really, you need to be writing this blog for me. It’s a wondrous thing to assume the best, rather than the opposite. Optimism and cheerfulness are in short supply. It’s nice that you’re setting the example for the rest of us curmudgeons. Hopefully some of your good will can rub off, or radiate or jump start some of us into a better place. Thanks for sharing your bits of sunshine.

If your answers were even between A, B, C, D you might want to schedule an appointment really soon with a massage therapist, a travel agent, your banker or your broker and a lawyer. I’m not sure what it means and am not in the least qualified to give you any advice at all.

However, I could give you my standard answer for most problems that arise. It’s worked on more occasions than I can count.

Eat something healthy and delicious.

Drink an extra glass or two of water.

Take a nice long nap, and then go to bed early tonight.

Eat some good chocolate (very crucial).

Last of all you need to know that everything is going to be all right.

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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