Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Yahtzee...the new Ashley Madison?

My husband and I haven't left the bedroom since Christmas night.  Before you go down the wrong road completely, he and I are enjoying a bout of pneumonia and bronchitis simultaneously and this bedroom looks and sounds like a hospital quarantine zone.  Nothing to see here, folks.

International "player:
Mr. Originality
What does that have to do with Yahtzee?  Or dating sites for that matter?  I AM BORED!  My head hurts so I can't concentrate on my normal vices (reading and knitting).  Terry and I have watched entire seasons of Law and Order and Quantico.  Between drug induced sleep (albeit complete with coughing fits that keep the neighbors awake...sorry mom), I am trying to pass the time with my mini entertainment center - remember the Kphone!

I love a good Yahtzee game and have become more involved than I care to admit with the tournaments and opportunities to win "custom" dice, etc.  Sister Nori and I have confessed to spending real money for pretend prizes....seriously, sometimes you need those extra rolls to make it to a whole new level.  But I digress.

Apparently, unbeknownst to me, Yahtzee with Friends is just a clever guise for people, single and married, to try and chat a person up while the game is going on.  It all goes back to real life for me.  I may smile at a stranger, make solid eye contact, even exchange pleasantries, but if I am invited to play a game of Yahtzee, truly that is all I am looking for.

It all starts innocently enough (sometimes!).  My Yahtzee partner might say "good game".  Okay.  I don't want to be rude.  I try to acknowledge that.  Generally not in words because I don't like to encourage anyone, but everyone knows my love of emoticons.  That might elicit a "smiley face" or a "thumbs up".  And sometimes it ends right there.  We continue playing with no more "chat" between us.

But how about the ones I get that start out admiring my photo?  Believe me, it's nothing to win any awards.  And then the hard hitting questions.  You married?  Where u at?  (real life quote).  Thinking I was nipping one particularly aggressive player in the bud (so to speak) I answered yes to the married question.  He doesn't stop there.

Hence the comparison to the Ashley Madison website.  I learned of it when it recently went public with much bad press.  My question to you is  - could the Yahtzee with Friends be a clever guise to allow the continued activities of the cheaters...all while they may enjoy a game of dice?

Doesn't give up easy!
Now, I have felt compelled to share some of the rather blatant messages with my sister (proof that I don't make these things up).  My niece shared a photo of one Yahtzee player who invited her to a game.  Unfortunately, he had failed to get dressed before posing for the camera.  Another sister tells me she creates different persona's when asked intimate questions.  I just can't do that without fear of blowing my cover.  When I was in sixth grade, my dream job was to be in the FBI and while I have a great poker face, my deceitful face leaves much to be desired,

One could argue it is easier to lie when hiding behind a computer screen.  I get that.  But I JUST WANT TO WIN THE HIGHEST REWARDS AT YAHTZEE.  To do that, you have to expand your games beyond your family.  Hence the name, Yahtzee with Friends,

I even have one Yahtzee stalker.  He keeps changing his name but then tells me, Hey- it's me again. DEAR LORD.  For the record, I have NEVER responded to him,

I don't know everything but this much I know for sure - I love a quick game of Yahtzee.  That is a game with six dice which allows three rolls per turn.  There are 13 turns per game.  If "Yahtzee" is code for anything else, COUNT ME OUT.

Until next time,

your pal,


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas time is here!!

Today all Madi and I did (besides a hair cut and laundry) was lay around and recoup from the hours of sleep we missed over the past four days.  We just got back from a whirlwind trip to Kansas City where we enjoyed an early Christmas with our family in Kansas and Missouri.  The time always goes by so quickly but we while we are there, we fill our waking hours with memories that will last us until the next time we are all together!

After arriving WAY LATE on Friday night (let's call it early Saturday morning) we spent our first day with the French side of the family (not nationality - just name).  This was a fun day of playing with the grandsons (Dawson-3 and Colten-5). Actually, at their ages (and energy levels) it is more of a spectator sport.  But I did score freewill hugs and (albeit reluctant) kisses.  My DIL (daughter-in-law) always hosts an amazing day and this year was no different.  We reconnected with son Mike, daughters Marissa, Julie and Megan and of course, little Averie and the older grandsons, Ethan and Nathan.  Madi's best friend and my daughter by another mother (and father) Kenadee, always joins us and spends the night.  By days end, I was running on fumes!

Day Two had us travelling to Topeka for our annual Bunco Party at Grandma Sheila's,  So happy to see my sisters Nori and Lori along with niece Rachael.  Marissa's beau, Noah joined us and then the same partners in crime from Day One (Marissa, Megan, Ethan, Nathan, Madi ...and did I mention her boyfriend, Robert traveled with us to KC for this trip)....and ME.  Mom was also there as she joined us for our trip and had been staying with Lori.  We had three Bunco tables going, the noise level was VERY high and the food level was weight inducing.  I won a prize (most losses)!   We spent the night in Topeka and had a great time visiting with Sheila and Jr.  Finished off the visit with breakfast at Cracker Barrel Monday morning (thanks Grandpa)!

Monday and Tuesday were repeat visits with all those mentioned above.  No snow this time in the Midwest which was okay by me.  Since I am coming up on my fifth anniversary in Texas, I tend to prefer a warmer holiday season.  

Once we boarded the plane for Austin (via Dallas) I fell asleep almost immediately. Granddaughter Averie likes to start her mornings early, and I was not going to miss one minute  (I can sleep later...and I did).

Back in Texas as we enjoy this holy week, we will look back and give thanks for the opportunity to see all of our kids and grand kids during this Christmas season.  

And we will remember, the reason for the season!

Blessings to all this Christmas time,

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Text support

Please be responsible.
On every website I visit, there is some type of "tech support" hoping to help me complete my order, answer my questions or take my money.  I can do a "live chat" for instant gratification and any mysteries will be solved at that time.  We also have "tech support" for work related issues with our computers.  If a problem crops up, they are only an email (and priority ranking) away from coming to my rescue.

But today I want to talk about "text support".  This is a little known service that I enjoy on a daily basis.  Generally, the service is supplied by a daughter, sister or "know your audience" friend, who is only a text away when the moment of support occurs.

I have several examples of "text support".  Let's say I am in a meeting that appears as if it will last forever, or at least until my next birthday.  What better time then the present to text whoever is available (sometimes you have to send out several texts to different people before you reach support) to make random remarks about how your life force is beating out of you because of said meeting. Text support quickly will send funny emoticons, irreverent remarks and possible solutions that will now distract you from the pain of boredom.

Hard truths come out..
Next situation.  You are at a family gathering that is A) going south quickly or B) unbelievably ridiculous.  You quickly reach out to "text support" to A) report on said happenings and garner support or validation - whichever is needed or B) subtly snap photos of action shots to attach with random captions for your "text support" viewing pleasure.  Again, while you were once alone, you now have a silent partner in your inappropriate behavior during all stages.

Another great opportunity for "text support" always happens at the airport.  Where else can you play fashion police, stylist commentator or parent of the year judge then with your trusty photography abilities and the "text support" partnership.  Hours of waiting for your flight can be wiled away making entertaining observations of your surroundings.   Keep your ears open for classic quotes.

When you need advice
Of course, I must mention that appropriate equipment is needed to be a text buddy.  Because, if you expect to receive "text support" you also must be ready, willing and able to return the favor.  My go to companion is my IPhone 6s which must be fully charged at all times.  I recommend (and confess to owning) a portable charger so you are always prepared to respond.  My little KPhone (as I call it) has texting capabilities along with a great camera that will not let you down.

I don't know everything but this is what I do know.  I NEVER want to be without the ability to reach out and "text" someone again.   Phone calls are nice, but not always an option.  An expert text buddy can subtly send messages ALL DAY LONG.  And one more thing, they can be used to convey actual information, too.....I mean, if you want to.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blinded by equal blind to

Just like a horse with blinders
As I was driving to work one morning, later than usual, I crested a hill that I take every day.  At that moment, I was suddenly blinded by the sunlight.  It was so overwhelming, for several minutes I could not see to safely get my bearings.  Even though I travel this route daily, I momentarily lost my way. This had not happened before, either because I traveled earlier or later.  It just happened to be this moment in time. Now, I am prepared.  I can leave early and avoid the light; or, I know the spot when to quickly avert my eyes, should I choose to face the light.  This will allow me to safely make my way down a few streets before I turn.

This is not the first time I have been blinded by something.  When I was young (VERY YOUNG), I was blinded by love.  Once that happened, I became blind to the consequences and as a result, I made careless decisions.  There is not a person alive that could have told me any different because once I was blinded by love, my way of looking at life changed.  My primary example of this is when I walked away from the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student.  I had already been chosen. There were things I needed to do to get ready and I was on my way. AND THEN I WAS BLINDED BY LOVE.  (Or what I thought was love at the time.)  So I walked away from that once in a life time opportunity because I didn't understand that real love would wait.  I know (and have) that now.

So much more than sight involved
More than once I have been blinded by grief.  It is difficult to continue being "yourself" when you have lost a piece of who you are.  For a time, I became blind to other blessings.  I am sure it will happen again.

Everyone has been blinded by something.  Right now I believe our world is blinded.  .  And we are all blinded by different things at different times.  Once we have been blinded, it changes how we look at everything, once we can see again.

In our world today, we have some who are blinded by anger and hate.  A day doesn't go by without some report of violence displayed against others.  Whether it is a personal vendetta or a cause supported by many, the outcome is still the same.  These individuals are blind to the pain they cause others.

This causes a reaction by others to be blinded by fear and defensiveness.  Our reactions aren't what they would have been prior to all this violence because now we are afraid.  We may become blind to the reality of those groups who reign terror and try to "profile" our concern.  We are looking at things differently.

When people become blinded, not only do they lose sight of what's important, they lose the ability to make sound judgments.  Reason flies out the window.  Everything takes on the bias of anger, fear, love, grief, political views....whatever it is.

This is what I know.  I have been blinded before.  And I will be blinded again.  When it happens, I need a plan to find my way safely out of the temporary deprivation of judgement I will find myself in that could render me blind to the big picture.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Virtual strangers aka rock throwers

I was first introduced to Facebook about seven years ago.  Oh, I knew about it before then, but believed (and was encouraged to believe) it was just for teenagers.  Eventually, my daughter Marissa created a page for me.  She said it would be a great way to share pictures with everyone (and I really think she might have been tired of emailing them separate to me).  Okay, fair enough.

I started with just a handful of "friends", family really...and before I knew it, I had people sending requests that I had not heard from since high school!  Soon, there were little "groups" I could belong to and I now had suggestions popping up of who I should be friends with.  Wow!

Chatting was available if I wanted to reach out to someone immediately or I could message them for later.  I quickly became aware of my privacy settings so I could "direct traffic" if you will.  It truly was (and is) fun to see all the pictures, be tagged for something special, etc.  It's a virtual world out there.

Soon enough I became familiar with the seedier side of Facebook.  You all know what I am talking about.  This is the streams where news stories are shared from around the world.  Some are funny, some are happy, some ask for prayers, some are tragic.  They are generally "shared",  meaning they originate from someone I might not necessarily know.  And truth be told, it is not the stories that are seedy.  It's the comments generated that make me question whether there is any empathy left in this world.

I read a lot of stories on Facebook.  I rarely feel the need to make a comment.  If a prayer is being requested and I am going to pray, I will respond.  I try to gauge my response by what I would do in real life.  Mainly because this is what we did before Facebook and the same social graces and standards should still apply.

Tongue in cheek....and this is mild compared to some!
Now, I know there are some ignorant people who post atrocities that they themselves commit.  I still wouldn't waste my time commenting on it if I wasn't going to report it.  Others forward stories -specifically the kind of story where someone (a child even) is hurt or killed.  Arm chair quarterbacks sit back and reply with comments that range from "what type of parent would allow this" to surely the husband must have done this" with no knowledge whatsoever of truth....other than what is printed. And we all know what we see is GOSPEL (heavy sarcasm intended).  And even if every word is just fact, who are we to think that our opinion (aka judgement) is ever called for - or even warranted? (he/she who is without sin, cast the first stone and all that).

Seriously, I cannot fathom ever posting anything I would not say to a person's face and please Lord - may those involved never actually hear what is "said" in print.

I remember one time when my grandson Nathan was around 4 or 5.  He was supposed to be playing in the front yard with his brother and when my daughter looked out, he was gone.  She was frantic.  She immediately began going from house to house, checking to see if he was there.  At one particular house, a woman looked at her and said words to this effect..."if he is lost, you deserve it.  You should have watched him better."  CAN YOU IMAGINE?  Thankfully, he had gone inside a friend's house without asking, and was found moments later.  But in that moment, the condemnation and hate from one mother to another...WHY?  Don't we all beat ourselves up enough when something like this happens without help from "virtual strangers"?

This is what I know. Life is hard. Mistakes are made.  Some can never be corrected or even apologized for...there aren't enough words.  No one needs to hear anything additional from me. Except, maybe...I'm so sorry.

Until next time,

your pal,

It's never too late to do the "right" thing

Even this is my opinion! What is "the right thing"?  Many times over the years, I have heard people say "I want to do the...