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.

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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!

A.

 

Tengaicon 2013 – I’m Calling it a Sucess!

It’s just after midnight, so I guess technically I missed my daily blog deadline, but I’m still awake, so it counts. We just got home a little bit ago, and I was tempted to put off yet another post so I could crash. But I wanted to get something out about today, so here goes, with apologies if anything sounds off or wonky…I’m really tired.

I don’t think I’ve talked much about Tengaicon, so here’s some back story. It’s a local, one day gaming convention in MHK that’s been going on for close to a decade. It’s had its ups and downs, and last year it had a streak of bad luck.  In an effort to help get it back on track, I headed the committee for this year’s event. At the time I volunteered, I was in what I like to call “crazy planning mode.”  I figured I’d eventually burn out, but the goal was to make sure everything was ready before that burn out happened.  I wanted the end goal to be a plan of action that could be followed and built upon the following years.

For the last year, our committee has been organizing and getting things in place. There were several meetings at the beginning of the planning period, but eventually, as things came together, they tapered off. By the time we were a week away from the con, I felt that everything was on track. Sure, I let the ball drop a little bit. We could have done more marketing and PR, and there were a few details regarding food that missed the mark. But that was really all in hindsight, and I was cautiously optimistic that we’d have a good convention (and by cautiously optimistic, I was worried and stressed that no one would show up).

For our crew, the con stuff started last night when we met at the hall to set up.  Set up was quick, as we had a good volunteer crew. This morning we were back at 8 to put the finishing touches on the hall and to pick up some last minute things at the grocery store.  From the time the doors opened at 9:30 to sometime in the afternoon, we seemed to have a steady stream of people.

The day was fun! We had several local gaming groups attend, and they each brought in a good number of players. We also had casual gamers show up who found something that interested them. We had Tab Creations, a local game maker/company, come and demo a new game that’s going to be a Kickstarter project. We had our dice table, our silent auction to raise money for Child’s Play, paint and take, local artists, and concessions.  Everyone I talked to seemed to be having a good time. We got a lot of positive feedback and everyone was really nice.

Besides the demo, I didn’t do any gaming since I was trying to make sure everything was going well. I wanted to make sure all my volunteers had breaks, that all of our vendors and GMs  were thanked, and that the gamers were having a positive experience. I’m not sure if I was able to really talk to everyone, and I think I accidentally let a few people go a little long without a break, but I think things were okay and nobody seemed burned out by the end of the day (I did have a few flashbacks of my days as lead cashier at Glens, though).

Jon and I made it out by 11, sticking around to make sure the last few groups made it out okay and doing last minute hall cleaning. I’m grateful to everyone who helped and played. In the final counts, we ended up making a profit and I believe we had over 100 attendees. For a small convention, this was pretty awesome.

We still have a few things to do, like contact the silent auction winners who weren’t there to pick up their stuff when it ended, and set up a post-con meeting to recap and make a plan for moving forward. I also want to email everyone with thanks and put some notes and schedules down on paper to pass on to whoever my successor is going to be.  Because seriously, I’m so happy with how this turned out, and I want any future convention to continue to improve on what we accomplished today.

But those things can wait for tomorrow. I’m falling asleep typing this, so I think it’s time for much needed rest. I don’t think our double day of working out is going to happen tomorrow, as my back is killing me tonight. But we’ll see. And while I realize I’ve failed on pictures for this post, I think I’ve persuaded Terry to give me some of the pictures he got today in hopes of putting together a special Tengaicon picture post.

A.

 

Long Monday, Hot Apartment

Tonight is the first night in a week that we’re back in our apartment. It feels good to be in our own place again, even though I enjoyed the good air conditioning and cable at my friend’s house.  As expected, our place was hot when we got here since we turned the AC off for a week to save some energy.  Now it’s going to take a few hours for things to cool down again, but I’m okay with that. I just wish the fall weather would hurry up and get here. I want a nice cool apartment, and I want to start walking outside again.

Today felt like a pretty intense work day. I accomplished a lot, but it seemed like the work flow was never ending. This is good, because it makes the day go by fast. But by the end of it, my brain was tired.  I still managed to get some con stuff done after work, though. Jon had a test tonight. This will be a regular Monday occurrence until the end of the semester. While waiting for him, I went to Hastings to “work.” It’s become a game to see what I’m going to want that Hastings does not have.  Tonight, it was both cream cheese and butter, so I ate a plain wheat bagel since my lunch didn’t stick with me and I was starving. I also ordered an iced mocha and forgot to give the size I wanted, so they defaulted to the largest one they have.  I drank it, but at least there was no question why I felt nauseous before going to the gym.

Jon got done much earlier than I expected, and the gym was our next stop. He played the role of motivator tonight, because I would have found an excuse just to go home. But we went, and I’m glad we did. I felt much better for having gone, and I finished Eternal Sunshine. I also started Brick, which is already not what I was expecting.

After the gym, we walked to K-Mart to grab lunches for the rest of the week, then came home. The air is on and the fans are going, so hopefully it’ll cool down before too long. It wasn’t as unbearable as I expected, but it’s still not as comfortable as I would have liked.  It’s already late, and I did nothing in the way of cleaning or putting away stuff, but I’m not too worried about it. It’ll get done. Truthfully, I’m just trying to get through this week so I can survive TengaiCon.  Then I’ll be ready to survive the Being an Outdoors Woman weekend.  Maybe around that time I’ll be ready to institute normalcy at home.

For now, I’m off to peroxide my grass splinter, do some editing on a friend’s novel, shower, and get some sleep.

A.

 

Wasted Days and Running from Zombies

This whole day felt wasted. That probably isn’t fair to say, since things did get accomplished, but I’ve been spoiled with having weekends where Jon and I can go do stuff together and have a good time, and today wasn’t really like that.

We slept in a bit and had breakfast at home for once. We bought some sausage and gravy Banquet pot pies and each had one. They were really good and really filling.  On the way into town, however, Paradise Donuts caught our eye, and we decided to treat ourselves. I’m not usually a donut person, but I was feeling off this morning and kind of grumpy, so I decided to soothe the angst with a cocoa krispies donut and a frappuccino.

We started the day trying to geocache, but it was not a good day for us. We either couldn’t find the places we were supposed to be, couldn’t find a way to get to the place we needed, or just didn’t want to take the chance of being seen by muggles. We weren’t really up to much hiking today and had been hoping for some quicker grabs, but it just wasn’t happening. We did find one, but the other one we could get to we couldn’t find. The description said that no one had gotten it without help.  We’re going back before we claim defeat, but not until it cools down a bit, because I’m going to say the heat today had a little bit to do with my grumpiness.

We had a meeting for the gaming convention that went fairly well, other than the fact that I found out my updates to the site have not been posting.  I’ll have to re-update the schedule and then check with others to see if it’s working now. I suppose maybe this is my ball drop, at least the one I currently know of. However, if this is the worst that happens, we’ll be good. A couple people have had to cancel, but I’m keeping positive. We’re doing what we can do, and I think we’re doing it with relatively low stress.

After that we went to Game Hounds so Jon could meet with one of our friends to do some trading of sorts. We chatted with some people, walked to Dara’s to get some water, then headed across town to Manhattan Running Company where we finally got armbands to carry our phones in for our walks. The main goal was to not have to hand carry when we started doing the Zombies Run game, but the bands will come in handy for our regular walks too. They were a little pricey, but we’re trying to look at the long term investment. Now we just have to make sure to use them.

Though we were supposed to do our C25K today, we decided to just go ahead and try the Zombies Run. The program we started with is kind of boring, and our curiosity was getting the better of us. So instead of hitting the mall, we headed home early, figuring we’d go out later when it cooled off to walk the rec path. On the way home, we stopped at Ramblers for a later lunch. My craving for vegetables persists, so I ordered a side of steamed veggies, conveniently forgetting that I don’t really like veggies. The BBQ brisket sandwich was good, but I made the mistake of trying one of Jon’s fries. Man, there were regrets. On a good note, even though I don’t like green beans and broccoli, I did manage to eat about a quarter of the cup, so that’s progress on my part.

At home, I made playlists and laid down for a little while, procrastinating checking my website and doing updates. It’ll happen, but the day had already kind of worn on me. Finally the day got dim enough that we went out to the rec trail to take a crack at Zombies Run. Unfortunately, when we got there we realized we actually had to download the missions, which we hadn’t done at home. That was annoying, and a good way to make me feel like a moron. So we drove home to jump on our wifi, downloaded the first mission and went back.

Get ready for this drama.

It started out okay. The story was good, and I was really digging the immersive nature of it.  Every time it said I picked up something, I felt pretty cool. I got almost all the way around the track before feeling the need to rest, which is definitely an improvement. When I got to the end of the track, I was originally going to go across the parking lot to the beginning, but instead I turned around, figuring I’d just walk the loop the opposite way.  It was about that time when the first RUN happened.  My original plan of walking fast didn’t seem to cut it, as I could hear the zombie voices in the app. So I ran. Not fast. It was more of a jog, but it kicked my butt. I figured I’d be okay, and I told myself to just walk fast next time. But guess what? I ran again. The thing is, I know it’s a game, and it doesn’t feel real real, but it fuels the imagination enough that I really wanted to run and get away from the zombies.

When I got to the bench, I finally realized I needed to stop, not just because I was so tired, but because I’d pushed my lung capacity and couldn’t breathe right. I pulled the earbuds off, sat down, and then listened to what sounded like people rustling around in the woods behind me. That break didn’t last long at all. The noise could have been animals or birds, but I was already uneasy, so I booked it. I was so glad when the Mission Complete message came on. Instead of trying to make it around the track, I walked across the field, which wasn’t much easier.

Jon met me part way, and I just fell down in the grass. I didn’t faint or anything, but I was worried I was going to, so I just laid down in the grass. That was pretty major, because my knees don’t allow me to get up from ground position very easily. But it was a necessary action at that time.  I finally got up with Jon’s help and had one of those intense post exercise breakdowns where I cried. In reality, this was my best walk and considering I did run, I was kind of awesome. But in that moment, all I could focus on was that I’d failed because I couldn’t make it to the car without feeling like throwing up or passing out.

We stopped to get gas and something to drink and we talked about our future Zombie Run plans. I think we’re going to put in a little more time with the regular C25K we were doing as well as more gym time This was fun for the most part, and I know it’ll get easier in time, but I’m just not sure if we’re ready for it.

I will say, though, that for a wasted day, the walk did the trick of making me feel like I accomplished something. Now to shower and to bed. Tomorrow is an early day because….that’s right…we’re going on an adventure!

A.

Noodles, Sharks, and a Little TMI

I’m feeling much better today than I was last night. When we got home, I crashed hard. I had some really weird dreams, but I’m assuming that meant I slept well.  I’m having a little bit of pain tonight, but the day passed in relative comfort, so hopefully this will run its course. I think I’m at the mercy of a UTI/possible bladder infection. I get these every once in awhile. They don’t stick around long, but they’re pretty nasty when they hit. This one has gone on a little longer than usual, so if it’s not cleared up in a week, I’ll be seeing the doctor about it.

We slept in a little today, but not too late since Jon didn’t get the extra Friday off.  I took him to work and went to Hastings to work on some con stuff. They didn’t have regular coffee. I guess their brewer was down, which is to be expected. I like Hastings, I like the Hardback Cafe drinks and the baristas…but anymore, I pretty much just expect something to be broken.  However, I did have an Americano and liked that okay, so it was all good.  I managed to get some stuff accomplished, though I did sit underneath the TV and listened to the news, which was depressing.

I did two hours of work before heading over to my friend’s house.  She started her vacation yesterday but had reminded me that she was home today so we got to hang out. We went to Best Buy and to Noodles and Co. for lunch, then we went back to her house and watched Sharknado since she hadn’t seen it before. Most of the day was spent just chatting. It was really nice. I was surprised how fast the day went when I realized it was almost time to pick Jon up from work.

Today was supposed to be our C25K day, but we opted to go to the gym instead. One thing I’ll say for the walk training…it makes the gym seem that much easier. We’re still getting a good workout, but we did 45 minutes today and it didn’t seem as difficult as it used to. I watched Monsters on Netflix and may or may not finish it tonight. It’s okay.  Another thing we did today was buy the Zombies. Run! app which is on sale this weekend for two bucks. We’re not going to start it until our current program is over, but I’m really looking forward to doing it. I have eight weeks to come up with a playlist for it.

After the gym, we opted to just come home and relax for the evening. I played some Riptide and Jon did some css code. For fun. Which is why he’s the graphic designer. It’s been a nice, chill night. Going to end with a shower, some more water to keep flushing this infection out, and then either a movie or sleep, depending on how tired I am. Right now I’m sleepy, but sometimes that’s just a false alarm.  We’ll see.

A.