The Balance Between Fun and Responsibility

Last week was a busy and exhausting week. My natural tendency to pull away from people showed itself, and yet I pushed through it to be social. Some of that social interaction wore me down. Most of it was fun though.

In gaming, my halfling rogue was turned into a vampire, which made me sad. My werewolf saw combat, which frustrated me (not the story so much as the game mechanics). I’m also kind of a sore loser, even though that really shouldn’t apply to this sort of gaming.


I also played a game called Superfight and found out that it’s tough to beat someone or something that has been turned into a poltergeist.

In knitting, I realized I really need to learn to read a pattern better. I read the length instructions for a hat wrong and ran out of yarn. I figured I’d just use some matching scrap, but it wasn’t working for me, so I completely fudged the end of the hat. I suppose it doesn’t look horrible, but it drives me nuts because the original pattern would have been super cool looking. I’m going to try that one again. Some day.

Thursday was the highlight day of the week.

1. I paid off all my credit cards. Doing this involved going against what many a financial advisor would advise. I cashed out my previous 401k. It wasn’t a decision I made quickly or easily, but when it came down to it, I wanted to free up money to comfortably pay Jon’s student loans each month. I’m glad I did it, even if it means pushing retirement back.

2. We bought new games. What better way to celebrate financial responsibility than to go out and spend more money. I have no regrets. We picked up Smallworld: Underground and Betrayal at House on the Hill from our new game store. They were 2 games we’ve been wanting and we know they’ll see play.

3. I had my 90-day evaluation at work. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been there for 90 days. Most of the time, I feel like I just started. The eval was good. I’m right where I should be. I was fairly stressy about a week ago with regards to my speed and quality, but at the urging of my boss, I stopped stressing and all has been well since.

The weekend has been lazy enough to offset the . Snow and cold kept me inside watching movies, listening to podcasts, and knitting like a maniac. I finished an easy project and then moved on to a not so easy project. Not sure if that was a great idea considering I’ve been knitting more in social situations, but I realize I do have the power to just start a different, easier project.

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My first cowl.

Onward to finish off the weekend and prepare for the inevitability of Monday.


Gen Con Wrap Up

I wasn’t as ambitious this year as I was last year and didn’t do a daily post for Gen Con. A lot of that was because things were a bit different for Jon and I this year. Not bad, but different, and we wanted to try to minimize things, which meant not taking a computer with us.

Other differences: minimal bag carrying, working part time for AEG, no digi-cam or cosplay photos, different hotel room and travel routes, and no food truck experiments. While generally these could be seen as minor differences, they did give us a slightly different Gen Con experience than in the past.

I’ve decided to break this post down into our Gen Con highlights and lowlights, complete with a few random pictures I was able to take with my phone.



1. Working for AEG – Fellow gamers might be familiar with AEG or Alderac Entertainment Group. They have a bunch of fun games, including Legend of the Five Rings, Trains, and Doomtown: Reloaded. This year, we had the opportunity to work part time for them. They are a great bunch of people, and it’s hard to go wrong when “work” means “teaching people to play new games.”

2. Playtesting – We made it a point to get in three playtests in the First Exposure Playtest Hall, one of our annual favorites. Basically, you pick a game that’s not yet out on the market, play it, and give the creators feedback. We did a board game, an RPG, and a miniatures game and had a blast trying out all of them. Jon and I could probably take one full day to do nothing more than playtest. Seriously.

Dream Heist was a blast...hope to buy this one when it comes on the market!
Dream Heist was a blast…hope to buy this one when it comes on the market!

3. Swag – Volunteering has its perks, and we ended up bringing home a ton of games. On our last day there, we splurged a bit and bought a few things as well. It’s safe to say we have enough games to last us the rest of the year and beyond, including a new horror RPG for me to scare people with. Mwahahaha.

Game on!
Game on!

4. Culinary finds – For various reasons, we didn’t end up trying any food trucks this year. After our initial annual splurge at The Ram, it was mostly Steak ‘N’ Shake for us, with two tasty exceptions. For breakfast one morning, we discovered a great restaurant called First Watch that served amazing food. We also found the part of the mall that houses Haagen-Dazs. So that was a thing that happened one evening.



5. Walking – We walked everywhere! We even took walks when we didn’t need to, and breaks were minimal. Instead of making Jon go back to the car if we needed something, I went with him. I’ve come a long way in five conventions, and considering how much better it makes the whole experience, it’s a good reminder to keep up the “training.”


1. Hotel – Our regular hotel doubled their prices last year, so we booked another one that was more within what we were used to paying. Normally we get lucky with the cheap hotels, but the one we got this year was awful. It smelled funny, had a sad breakfast,  no soundproofing, and even though the staff was friendly, they weren’t super efficient or knowledgeable.

2. Traffic – Gen Con wasn’t the only thing going on last week and weekend. The Indiana State Fair was happening and Saturday brought a Colts pre-season game. Even though we got to the ICC early on Thursday, we stayed gridlocked for about a half hour and then had trouble finding parking, something we’ve never had an issue with before. Leaving the convention center on Saturday brought more gridlocked traffic among the sea of gamers and Colts fans.

3. Con crud – For the first time ever, I got sick after Gen Con. I started feeling it on the drive home on Sunday, and on Monday it was full blown grossness. It’s about four days later and I’m still feeling the effects of it, but I’m recuperating. Washing your hands religiously is a good thing, but sometimes the crud will find a way.

4. The drive – I normally love road trips and I love to drive, but this year the drive felt super long and uncomfortable. Our trip started with a few annoyances, like the gas station not being opened early enough for us to get a drink and Dunkin’ Donuts not having the mix needed for the drink I wanted. Later it got worse with stalled vehicles on the highway and rush hour traffic. I realize none of these are huge and most of them are to be expected, but they seemed more dramatic this year than they should have been.

However, we did stop and see the world’s largest wind chime again, and that was pretty awesome!IMG_20140812_132326[1]

All in all, our fifth year at Gen Con was a success and we’re already looking forward to 2015.


Terrain Woes and Long Walks

Today wasn’t quite the great Sunday I was hoping for. It wasn’t bad, but I was definitely feeling the effects of not being healthy last week, both physically and emotionally. I was both a little down and a little touchy today.

It wasn’t all bad though. Figuring we’d need more fuel than a smoothie would give us, we opted for Wendy’s salads. Then we decided to head for a new cache out by the airport. The original plan was to get one cache, then go to the gym. However, things never go according to plan with this hobby.

Since we were already out there, we grabbed another one in the area. Both these finds involved fighting thorny trees, and though that part wasn’t as much fun today, one of the caches was well worth it.



We were feeling pretty good about our finds and ended up trying another one that had a 1.5 terrain. I don’t know if we came at it from the wrong angle or what, but it wasn’t a 1.5. Besides fighting trees and thorns, we also ended up in a swamp. Though I avoided falling into it, I came out with mud on my shoes and pant legs.

Once we started sinking into the ground, we called it quits on that one, so we didn’t get the find but I’m not sure if it was a DNF either. Basically, it wasn’t really a hunt.

With the mud all over my feet parts, I didn’t think going to the gym would be a good idea, and I was seriously bummed. It was chilly and windy, and the idea of taking a walk was not appealing. But since it seemed like our only option, we went to Anneberg Park to walk the Perimeter Trail.

The walk wasn’t horrible, and we picked up three more geocaches along the way. I’m not sure if it was because of how I slept or just the lack of activity, but I had to break a few times. However, we made the full walk without needing to collapse at the end.

We went to gaming from there, then stopped at the store to get lunches and snacks for the week. Now I have to put away laundry and shower before heading to bed. I’m feeling pretty tore up from fighting Mother Nature today, so there may be some bandaids and peroxide in my future.

Hope everyone kicks off a great week!


A Challenging Find and Scary Games

I realized that I didn’t do my blog last night, opting to crash out after time with friends rather than try to push through a post. It’s early right now, almost 8am on new time (did you remember to “fall back” last night?), and though I was going to get my Nanowrimo session done first, I figured I’d go ahead and kick out yesterday’s grind.

I started my day off with some hot tea and writing, working on my piece for Nanowrimo. I settled on erotic fiction, since it’s a genre I hadn’t yet really tried, and though I’m not regretting it, I don’t think I’ll be comfortable letting anyone in my family read it. So far it’s coming along nicely, though. Like most of the things I write, it’s doing things I didn’t expect, which is always fun and why I use a very loose outline when I write. Yesterday, I broke 6,000 words, and I’m hoping to break 8,000 this morning before getting started with the rest of the day.

Once we left the house, we headed out to the Wamego Boat Ramp once again to try to find that geocache. After talking about it with the cache owner and some others who had found it, we wanted to give it another try.  NCC had helped us eliminate some of the possibilities, so we focused our attention elsewhere this time. Within a few minutes, I saw a place where it could be, and Jon managed to get into a position to check it out. Sure enough, there it was! Talk about a sense of accomplishment.

From there we went to Zeandale to grab a few more on one of the back routes to Manhattan. This trek took us to Pillsbury Crossing, an area that we’d heard about and talked about but had never been to until yesterday.

It was a little weird driving across here.
It was a little weird driving across here.
Swing time!
Swing time!
Had to make a short hike to get down here, but the view was worth it!
Had to make a short hike to get down here, but the view was worth it!

We found one cache in a picnic area. There was another one near the rocks in the lower picture, but we decided to save that one for a day when we were geared to handle wet and rocky terrain. We ended the day with five finds and one DNF.

We called it a day there because we were hungry and because I had some prep to do for a small one-shot horror game I was testing out, After stopping at Taco Bell, we headed over to Forsh’s for puppy sitting. I finished up my game’s back story, and we watched the latest episode of “American Horror Story: Coven.”

Around six, Terry and Erica came over. I transferred some music over to Erica for her workouts and we ordered pizza, ate too much candy, and got the game going. Though it was only supposed to be a one shot game, we put it on hold to finish at a later time. It’s story based, so even though I had a general outline for it, I had to veer a bit since the players basically dictated what happened. This is actually a really fun way of running a game, at least for me. It’s like storytelling improv. To my knowledge, I only made one mistake in the telling, and I’m blaming that on being tired.

The goal for today is to “detox” and get back on track with eating well and exercising. When I say detox, I’m really just going to avoid sugar, drink a lot of water, get a good workout in, and maybe have a green smoothie for lunch for a nutrient boost. Last week was SugarFest 2013 (thank you, Halloween) and a short gym hiatus, but I want to get back into a routine. We have our St. Louis trip coming up, and I want to be ready for that and the high amounts of walking we’ll be doing.

For now, going to work on my Nano.


Passing Batons and Making Dinner

We started the day off with my final Tengaicon meeting, or at least my final one as chair. This was our wrap-up meeting to talk about what went well and how the committee is going to move forward for next year. Because our (meaning mine and Jon’s) plans are so up in the air for this coming year, I knew it wasn’t fair to start something and then have to dump it onto someone else later. So we chose a new chair, one of the guys who’s done it in the past, and I made my formal resignation.

It’s kind of bittersweet. I liked planning the convention and was really happy with how it turned out, though there was a degree of stress in heading it up. I was a little sad to give up my position, but I was also a little relieved too. I think we built a strong foundation and I’m hoping that no matter where I am next year, I can come back and attend the con as both a gamer and maybe a volunteer.

Our original plan was to do laundry and geocache in town while we waited for our Pathfinder game to start. However, the game ended up being cancelled, so we decided to curb our plans to get some chill time in at home. Though we made it to the laundromat, we ended up deciding to wait for our normal laundry day of Monday to do clothes.  We went up to my work and hid “the body” for this week’s office murder mystery (which I’m pretty excited about), then went shopping at Aldi for groceries for the coming week.

We’ve been spending more money on eating out, and we’re back into “tightening the budget” mode to prepare for our trip to St. Louis and our end of the year plans. This week we’re planning on eating at home more and either taking our lunches or sticking to value menu sandwiches (which I think I have to do one day while I delivery laundry and run errands).  This plan always takes us to Aldi because food there is pretty cheap.

Though I’m not much of a cook and leave most of the kitchen responsibilities to Jon, I decided to make Maple Barbecue Beef from the recipe I got from Stephanie O’Dea’s blog.  I didn’t have any frostbitten meat, so we bought fresh stew meat. I also went with maple pancake syrup rather than true maple syrup.

Fuzzy picture of dinner fixins.
Fuzzy picture of dinner fixins.

We paired it with cheesy biscuits from a mix that Forsh bought me, a copy cat mix of the ones they serve at Red Lobster.



This was so good! Probably had way more of the beef than I needed, but I wasn’t too full when I was done. I think we’re going to be making this again because it’s super easy and tasty. Next time I think we’re going to put it over rice though.

We finished watching Season 5 of Parks and Rec, and I’m debating watching a horror movie tonight. I was going to get some knitting done, but I’m feeling kind of lazy tonight. I will probably work on a few cache puzzles, then shower and turn in early for the new week tomorrow.

Here’s to hoping everyone has a fabulous Monday!



Sunday Down Time

It seems like it’s been a really long time since we had a lazy Sunday, so I didn’t feel too bad about taking it easy today. I was up before Jon, but I still slept until about 9:30. I watched a movie and did some knitting.

We decided to order delivery, then got sucked into watching several episodes of Parks & Recreation. Since we had gaming this evening, we finally left the house in the afternoon to grab some geocaches beforehand. We found three.

We were a little late to gaming because we had to print new sheets and because the road construction near Aggieville is horrible. The game was good though. I did some more knitting while my character smashed spiders with a giant hammer.

We went to the gym afterwards, which means we met both our goals this week. I even got that extra day, so I did a light workout. The ball of my foot is bothering me, and that worries me because it’s in the same area that wouldn’t let me walk when I dislocated my toe. I’ve had some issues with it since then, but all day today it felt bruised and tender when I wiggled my toe. I’m assuming I bruised it in the corn maze yesterday.

I’m also having a hip problem, but the pain only happens when I stand up from sitting for a bit. Thinking I might have to see my chiro this week about that.

We had Subway for dinner, though I tried something new this time. They have a chicken cordon bleu melt and it was pretty delish.

Work tomorrow, but I’m off Tuesday to pick up my mom from the airport and take her halfway to my grandma’s in Oklahoma. Then we’re going the full way to pick her up over the weekend. It’ll be a lot of driving, but spending time with my mom will be worth it.


Friday’s Delayed Grind

I didn’t get yesterday’s post up because we didn’t get home until about 2 in the morning, and I wasn’t feeling hardcore enough to post a blog that late. It was a good day though, so I’ll give it its own belated post before getting to Saturday’s adventure.

Work stress was low yesterday. I was given the office recognition by another co-worker and asked to do a special project to help with the office costume idea for Halloween. I don’t do costumes. It’s always fun in theory, but I’ve never been able to pull off a good one, and let’s face it…I’m lazy. I have no ambition to prepare and dress up in a possibly uncomfortable costume. I’m okay with helping out. I’m going to keep this project a secret until Halloween so as not to ruin the costume surprise. I picked up the supplies for the project during lunch and have already started on it. Now I just have to make time to finish it.

Jon and I went to Hastings after work to buy new headphones for him before going to the gym. The headphones he picked up broke almost right away, so we had to go back and return them.  I’ve theorized a thing called Hastings Law: one can’t go to Hastings without something going wrong. This stretches to things like certain drinks or food not being available or the bathroom not working. In true form, Hastings Law didn’t let us down (even though I do realize this one should be blamed on the company that makes the headphones, but it still seems fitting).

From there, we went to Terry and Erica’s for gaming. We got a late start, using the first few hours to visit. I did some knitting and we ordered dinner. The game was fun.  This one is Jon’s fourth edition DnD campaign. Our party solved a puzzle, beat up some giant bugs, and took a secret passage to a room where we had to fight some big bads. They almost killed our entire party. There was a good chunk of time where we pretty much figured we’d all be rolling new characters before the next session. But we managed to survive and can now take our current characters with us to the next adventure.

Besides having a late game night, we decided to try to find a cache in the area before heading home. We had no luck. There were a few late night muggles around, including a group of girls who asked if we were looking for something. I just said we were goofing around and that seemed to appease them. I suppose we could have told them what we were doing, but they were staggering a bit. It could have turned into a long, weird, conversation.  We might go back to that one some early Sunday morning, but I think we need the daylight to give it a good go.

We finally got home and crashed out, deciding to set a later alarm instead of the super early one we generally set for weekend adventures.


Magic in OKC

It was so late by the time we got in last night that I put the blog on hold for a day. So here’s yesterdays grind:

I wasn’t feeling horrible today, but the rain kind of put me in a downer mood. Hot breakfast and coffee at the hotel helped, but I was still bleh by the time we got to the convention center. I knew I was in a touchy mood when an offhand comment made me mad. Eventually I pulled out of it and resolved the issue enough to enjoy the rest of the tournament. I tend to dwell on things, even minor things, and it’s one of the things I’m working to “let go” of as I get older.

The tournament was sealed, which means we opened six packs of cards, sorted and recorded them, then passed them to someone else while we got the cards sorted and recorded by another player. Then we used those cards to build a deck to play with for the rest of the tournament.  An important concept in MtG is synergy. With 30 minutes to build a deck, my mind wasn’t ready to build a synergized deck. I went aggro (attack-based) and hoped for the best.

This is only a small percentage of the 1000+ people that attended GP OKC.
This is only a small percentage of the 1000+ people that attended GP OKC. I swear that guy in the lower corner looks just like my dad!

I lost my first match 1-2. In my second match, my opponent dropped late to play in side events, thus conceding and giving me the win.  While normally I would be bummed to not get to play, it worked out because it gave me time to grab something to eat. MtG time doesn’t seem to work like regular time. It felt like I’d just eaten breakfast, when it had actually been about six hours.

The rest of the day consisted of two legitimate wins, another win due to my opponent not showing up, and a bunch of losses. I knew I was going to stay in it until the end. We didn’t budget for side events, and I really do like playing the format, even when I’m not winning.

One of the best parts about today was making “tourney” friends (which is my term, not one in some player lexicon to my knowledge). Tourney friends are the people you’ve just met who you then keep seeing and talking to throughout the day. I made a couple tourney friends, including one guy who actually remembered Jon and I from the modern tourney in KC (we remembered him too, but he actually picked us out in the crowd, which was pretty awesome).

The tourney friends were awesome, but I have to be honest: even though I had fun, it wasn’t the same as KC, which was a really good time for me. I thought about dropping early and leaving a few times, but I hung in there, partially because I said I would and partially because Drew and his friend were playing in side events and I couldn’t really leave them.  I think a lot of it was the comfort level. When we did the Modern tournament, I had a deck I was comfortable with and had fun playing.  With sealed, it was a deck I wasn’t familiar with and because I couldn’t change it, I was stuck with the same thing all day, even though it wasn’t as fun for me to play.

At the end if the day, we were super exhausted and hungry.  We left the convention center and grabbed some food from the McD’s next to our hotel, then headed back to the room, showered, and crashed.  Everyone else was sleeping by the time I got done showering, so I went lights out instead of updating the blog.

Which is again why you’re getting a bonus today. 


Back in the City Again

We didn’t get up as early as we were planning, but I think I needed the sleep. Last night after we got settled in at the in-laws, my throat started hurting and I started feeling kind of crappy overall.  My dad-in-law was awesome and picked me up some throat lozenges, and I went to bed relatively early. When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t in any hurry to get out of bed, but when I finally did, I felt much better. My throat has been feeling a little scratchy on and off all day, but I haven’t felt bad, so we still went out and did stuff.

We went out geocaching and found six finds before leaving town, including one that we didn’t find the first time around. After Drew got home, we picked up him, then went to Derby to pick his friend up and headed towards OKC, stopping at the rest stop for some lunch and gas.

The drive was fairly quick and uneventful. My pocket query didn’t show any caches along the route, but I think that was probably due to the settings I chose when I generated it. No big deal, since we decided to get into the city first and then do some caching after we checked into our hotel and mapped our route to the convention center.

Check-in was quick, and we headed right back out, decidingo to beat rush hour and haul it to the Cox Center to check-in (we pre-registered) to make sure we knew where we were going. We forgot about the possibility of having to pay for parking, so that was a bummer, but it worked out okay since I’d miscalculated the hotel room charge in our favor.

Checking in was super fast. The original plan had been to drop Drew and his friend off to play some early events while we went back out hunting. With parking having a fee, we didn’t want to go back out and have to pay again, so we decided to get our exercise by walking around the area. Originally we were going to try to get to Bricktown, but a nearby cache led us to the botanical gardens, and that’s where we spent the majority of our time, finding two geocaches in the process.

I’d been to the gardens once when I lived in OKC, but we were in a part that I didn’t remember. It was so pretty and the day was beautiful.

100_1968 100_1978 100_1980 100_1981 100_1990 100_1992

We definitely got our walking in, meeting our step goals and wearing ourselves out. Before heading back to pick up the guys, we took a walk around the block and found a Subway shop for dinner.  The walk felt good, and we only took a couple breaks.  The first break was after we decided to take the stairs. I believe the ones we took had about 30 steps, and in keeping with my goal, I went up all of them without using the railing. I did walk a little slower after that, and I was tired by the time we got back to the center, but it was so worth it. My back didn’t even start hurting until I sat down for the final time, and then it seized up a bit, but nothing major (though I am pretty stiff right now).

Now we’re back at the hotel. I’m blogging and everyone else is watching Storage Wars. Once I’m done here, I’ll be taking a nice hot shower and laying down for the night. We’re aiming to be at the Cox Center around 9am to get good parking, and since the hotel has hot breakfast, we’re planning on getting up way early. I’m tired. My throat doesn’t hurt at the moment, but I am sore and I’m hoping the shower will help loosen up the areas that are seizing up (I suppose some stretching might help too).

Onward to the GP!




Gaming, Noodles, and Weekend Plans

I crashed out hard when we got home last night, so I didn’t blog. The highlight of yesterday was last night’s gaming session, a new 4th edition DnD game that Jon is running. Before it started, we hung out with Erica, watching some weird horror movies on Chiller and knitting.  The game got a late start, but we had time for the intro and first combat.

I was tired today, but not as tired as I expected to be. I went with one of my visiting co-worker friends to lunch (she works in the field but is in the office this week) at Noodles and Company. Work was okay. Had some trouble focusing but still managed to accomplish quite a bit. After work, I went to pick Jon up. He had a phone interview, but it didn’t last too long.

At the gym, I attempted to use the Zombies Run app on my normal machine, but it didn’t work out so well. I got eaten by zombies. My steps and speed didn’t register correctly, so it looks like I’ll only be able to do that when walking. It felt like a short workout, but we needed to get home to put away laundry and just relax.  Originally, we were going to have a late evening meeting with another friend about a website, but she postponed, so we were home bound.

I did some knitting, finished a couple of movies, and put away laundry. I have a whole to-do list of things I need to get done, but like always, I’m procrastinating.  It’ll get done. Eventually.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. Originally I was going to try to have a wrap-up meeting for the convention, but I realized that I don’t have my notes together to pass on to my successor and I’ve had several busy weekends in a row. I need a “down” weekend with Jon, so we’re going on a weekend geocaching excursion to try to break 100 finds. We’re about 30 away, and we have a route of caches mapped out  for the first day. I’m excited! I’m sacrificing my plans to attend Oztoberfest, but geocaching sounds more my speed at the moment.

Pretty mellow day, and I’m kind of hoping the rest of the week follows suit.