Leonard Cohen

Even my music collection on random knows what I want to listen to. I've been sitting and relaxing with Leonard Cohen songs this evening after my Pokemon GO walk and while I do read the occasional snippet of social media, there's only so much of that that I can handle this week. People from all parts of the political spectrum (both American and non-American people watching) have been making comments that are hard to handle. Sometimes it is because they are over simplifying. At other times it feels like they are making excuses, and still others are just stating their views or observing what they're seeing both good and bad. And to use the analogy: I have so few spoons available right now.

So I'm only looking in spurts and bursts. But looking is enough when I'm seeing today's sad news: Leonard Cohen died at age 82. And this was announced on his Facebook page. Good gosh. Leonard Cohen's music has been a huge part of my life for a very long time. I'm sure I listened to songs on my dad's LPs as a kid. I'm sure I heard his songs on the radio. I remember really enjoying watching figure skaters skate to his songs too when I was young. But I studied his poetry in university, I enjoyed his poems and when I won 100 books from McLennan and Stewart a bunch of years ago, his books were among the ones I treasured the most. He had such a way with words. And it's rare that I don't enjoy a song by him, whether performed by him or by another artist: indeed even Nana Mouskouri's rendition of Suzanne in French is among my favourites.

My grandmother wanted his Hallelujah to be played at her funeral/interment. And now in the aftermath of his death, especially in the aftermath of the US election, it is all too easy for his songs and his words to create an emotional reaction from me. I'm sad that there will be no new Leonard Cohen tunes. His career spanned the decades, and even his most recent album was quite successful. I'm glad he lived to 82… though I'm sure many would have loved for him to write more, perform more, etc. I love the live albums of his that I own (I won at least one of them, actually). I wish I had had the chance to have seen him live when he came to town. He was a Canadian icon and well known outside of Canada.

There have been a lot of celebrity and musician deaths in 2016. A lot of turmoil in the world in 2016. A lot of emotion. A lot of sadness. I am too realistic to think that the future can be idyllic, but my goodness, my heart hurts this week.

So much for… well… so many things: but we move on.

Yesterday I didn't blog. Instead I came home from work with a headache, read some delightful comics, and then attended the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series hockey game at Rogers Place. I'm not sure I'll even continue my efforts at blogging every day in November, but given the circumstances, I figured I'd blog today anyway.

I admit I spent a fair bit of last night distracted by the US election. I had high hopes that it wouldn't turn out the way that it did… and to be honest, as a Canadian I had no way of really impacting the result so this was the oddest US election for me: one where I honestly and completely cared about the result. Why? I happen to be in a relationship with an American; I happen to visit the USA frequently; I happen to have many American friends (on all sides of the political spectrum); I pay attention to global events and know this will impact them; and I happen to not be 100% white, and a woman, and a person who cares about many whose identities will be impacted by the results tonight.

I am frightened. I am worried. I don't know how best to help Canada's nearest neighbour, and all of my friends whose lives MAY be negatively impacted by the results of yesterday. Maybe it won't turn out as badly as it might otherwise. Maybe I shouldn't be concerned that one political party in the US has the presidency, the house and the senate and that that president will have the chance to appoint numerous people to the supreme court. Maybe I shouldn't be worried about the fact that this group of people has often talked about repealing some things that I find incredibly important, or that this might be more than just the whole two steps forward one step back problem.

Maybe there will be positive change for many: I do have American friends who are Trump supporters. I do have American friends who backed third parties, republicans, etc. I know some who probably didn't vote and/or who chose not to vote for president or any of the other potential races they could have voted in. The voter turnout in the US was pretty dismal, all things considered. I do happen to have read opinions from far more Democrat or Hillary supporters than I did of the other parties running in the US election, but we know that social media preferences my seeing certain views and not necessarily all others. And many stay silent about their political viewpoints and about how they may vote. I'm okay with that: I haven't unfriended anyone for their political views in the USA: partially as I can't possibly know or understand all of their reasons, partially because I don't want to exist entirely in an echo chamber. I don't want everyone I know to think the same way.

But I'm worried. I think to a degree, much of the world is worried. Just as Brexit was worrying, so too is the US election. Change is worrying too. I deal with racism/sexism/discrimination every week in Canada, and I currently live in areas with really progressive governments when it comes to gender, race, and other discrimination related topics. It is still flawed here. And will probably always be so. I worry about how much worse it might become in much of the US where people live without those benefits. This concern is not, of course, limited to the USA, but as that is Canada's closest neighbour and as I have more friends living there than most other nations, it is a huge concern. Watching the news is scary enough without seeing Ku Klux Klan references, denial of climate change, hate crimes, war threats, overt misogyny, alphabet soup bashing etc.

Yes I am a worrier. Yes I live in Canada. Yes this will impact my life. It feels like this is the scariest US election that I've lived through. And I wonder what will come out of all of it. And I worry. But time moves forward and we shall see what will happen. For those of you who need my support, I will do my best to be there. I send hugs to those who need it and will try my best to be a positive influence as time moves on. Let us hope that the worst does not happen. Let us work toward the goal of a better tomorrow. Even if we don't all have a unified view of how to get there, this much is a laudable goal.

Should I continue to try to write every day?

I was very tempted to give up on mini-wrimo this year and just not write at all after Extra Life. My heart didn't seem into it, or anything and today I simply felt too tired (I blame Extra Life and the time change, and will go to bed shortly). But then I turned my computer on to see if I could churn out a few words and at least write anything.

Because, how can I not write today? It's the day before the US election (which matters a whole lot even though I'm not American and thus obviously don't have a vote, nor do I live in the US). It's a day where I toured a couple of places for work (which was really great actually. I learned at lot!). It's a day where I tried the new menu at my local pub (The Underground) and rather loved the risotto though I hated the typo in the menu (and the deep fried ice cream wasn't as impressive as I had hoped, alas and alak).

It was a Monday, a workday, and a busy one at that on certain levels. And I made the all too human error of forgetting my lunch at home (darn it!).

I guess it was just another day, but it's one where I really didn't have an excuse to not write. So I wrote. And here it is.

Well Extra Life is done for another year…

And I dare say, I did a decent enough job at getting donations that I'm not disappointed. We did start dozing off a bit during the last few games of the 25 hours of gaming, this morning, and I did neglect to blog post yesterday, but I did kind of expect that that was likely going in. We streamed to Twitch and eventually will be putting content up on YouTube from the event. It was really great interacting with our viewers on Twitch. I was really surprised that our playing Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival got as much viewer interaction as it did — it was rather helpful too!

By now, I've even had the time to sleep (not long enough but that's inevitable), go watch Doctor Strange (we caught the 11:45am showing at South Edmonton Common today), and read a book (a graphic novel) and am now working on catching up on things that I haven't had a chance to do throughout the weekend/week. I didn't get a chance to play Pokemon GO at all throughout Extra Life, but hit level 25 today so even though it's a rainy day, I've gotten a bit more of that accomplished.

For Extra Life itself, we started by playing some Pixel Junk Monsters, then some Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, The Room, and then some Civilization VI before playing a one-off game of D&D (over Skype in part when it comes to D&D). That was followed by co-op and party games etc. once we were joined by some more guests: Lovers in a Dangerous SpaceTime, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Gang Beasts, Mount Your Friends, Crawl, Jackbox Party Pack 2, Rocket League, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Hammerwatch, SportsFriends, Nidhogg, YAWGH, Jackbox Party Pack (for You Don't Know Jack 2015), and Broken Age. Admittedly we were falling asleep during the beginning of Broken Age, so I probably want to try that game again sometime… but on a whole it was a wonderful adventure!

Having folks join us in person and playing that D&D adventure made this year's event much more fun, I think… plus it helped that we started at 6am and thus finished at 6am rather than having it from 8am-8am. And of course I'm a whole lot happier to have raised more funds for the Stollery Children's Hospital this year than I did last year. Thanks to all who donated, watched, participated or who supported us or this endeavor in any other ways.

Oh gosh Extra Life is in mere HOURS!

So if you're a fan of helping kids, in particular sick kids in hospitals such as the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, I highly recommend donating to my Extra Life fundraiser. Starting at 8am EDT tomorrow and ending at 8am EST Sunday (6am MDT and 6am MST locally), Jon and I will be playing games continuously.

Getting ready for this has been an adventure as Jon really wanted us to be properly miked and mixed this year. This started with buying a mixer (funny story that, he ordered one and not only did a fancier model show up but 5 of them showed up, so now we have an abundance of mixers at our disposal). And then because he had a mixer he needed microphones that worked with it, preferably XLR microphones. Well, time was short by this point and it turned out that the mics he ordered weren't amazing (and definitely weren't compatible with this setup. This led to a visit to Memory Express and a referral to go to Long and McQuade to research and eventually buy some great equipment for our needs. Not only did we get excellent customer service from both locations (I'm glad Memory Express recommended Long and McQuade to us and even made sure they were still open before sending us there), but we were indeed able to pick up what will hopefully work with my rather quiet voice (when compared to Jon's) for not only Extra Life but also other cooperative games we will be playing thoughout the year and hopefully also cooking videos eventually etc. I'm sure that while we'll be streaming the whole thing to Jon's Twitch channel, we'll also put up some great videos on YouTube (Jon's account) eventually.

I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get this weekend: evidently not enough. But that's A-OKAY because we'll be helping kids and that's a great goal for a weekend of gaming (both video games, D&D, party games etc.). We bought a ton of food and snacks for guests to join us tomorrow night and we're looking forward to entertaining.

So don't forget to donate as we're looking forward to having a busy but fun time playing games and helping kids! I had best get some shut eye — it's been a rather busy week and morning will come all too soon!!

On games…

So this evening I took a 10K Pokemon GO walk. My goal initially was just to hatch my 5K egg, but then I figured why not hatch a second one, instead of just the first such egg and then I kept walking to get home. The downside of this, is that I was wearing my new shoes… but oh well. And I figured that what with Extra Life (please donate to help sick kids!!), now is a great time to talk about the video games I've been playing these days. Sure the majority of my time has been taken up by playing Pokemon GO but there are other video games that I've been focusing on as of late.

One game I tend to play at least once a week is Hearthstone. This is a deck building game sort of like Magic the Gathering or other physical Trading Card Games, but I like the fact that it neither takes up physical space nor requires scads of money to play (I've been playing for free). Not that I'm terribly good at this game, but I really enjoy playing it. I prefer playing the Tavern Brawl (and I'll probably play it later tonight) as the randomness is often a lot of fun. I'm not fond of building decks, and much prefer when I'm playing with a set deck or when I have to make more limited choices (this is why I haven't yet finished playing all the adventures I've purchased: too many desks to tailor).

Another game I play pretty consistently is Mini Metro. This game involves building a subway network in different cities based on certain constraints, the most important of which is of course getting the riders to their destinations rather than having them wait too long. I prefer the Daily Challenge and find it both a frustrating game and a very zen one. Sure there's a certain amount of random chance, but skill is also involved and I rather appreciate that!

A mobile game I've been playing a lot lately is Alphabear. I'm not terribly good at it, but it's a word game and I'll admit that a lot of the appeal of the game for me is unlocking all the bears! Making words is often really difficult given the letters I have to use, but my bears get stronger and stronger which also helps with reference to making the game easier as I go along (all in perspective).

The largest game world I've been spending time in (unless you include Pokemon GO, of course, to which I'm rather addicted), is Civilization VI. I wouldn't say I'm perfectly proficient at that game either, but it's such fun dealing with the constraints of this game world and I rather do like building wonders and otherwise exploring my game world. It's a game I imagine I'll spend quite a bit of time on, considering how much time I've spent with Civilization V already!!

Sure there are other games I have played but those are the ones I'm most enthusiastic about lately. Extra Life will involve my playing MANY games with Jon and that will be a great adventure and will remind me of the fun of playing video games, board games, and even a little D&D. I hope that it goes well this weekend!!

Nearly forgot to write today too

Which isn't really a good start to the month. But really, life is busy and I do have a hard time slowing down. At least if I'm busy lately it's partially an active kind of busy what with gym outings at least once a month with Jon and quite a lot of Pokemon GO walking (today was the end of their first event ever: Halloween week, and I'd say on the whole it was a success, aided in part by the weather being not quite wintery for the whole week).

And here I find a topic on which to type: Pokemon GO. I first downloaded the app during the long weekend in September partially out of curiosity but partially also because of my desire to get walking more, seeing as walking is one of my most favourite ways of staying active and of locomoting from place to place. And while the app didn't track all of my movement on this first weekend, due in part to my not setting my phone settings correctly, I learned quickly and was soon in the habit of playing daily.

The Pokemon GO PLUS which I chose to order and receive on release day has helped a whole lot with this. This makes my walking (particularly in places where I need to be much more cautious, in other words, in places where it is dark or where there are roads with traffic or perceived people danger or etc.) potentially less distracted, and my Pokemon GO playing much more passive, but eventually with some updates to the game the PLUS has allowed me to concentrate on throwing the balls at Pokemon rather than trying to find Pokestops madly and so on. It's a rather useful tool as I learned when the temperatures got colder, as I could play with my hands in pockets (theoretically I could play with my hands in mittens too but it hasn't quite gotten that gold: I've played with thin conductive touchscreen gloves on my hands, though, and pockets are generally much warmer. The downside of the PLUS is of course that the catch rate is much reduced when compared to actively throwing pokeballs, but that's a small price to pay to be able to concentrate more fully on other things and/or keep my hands warm. The PLUS has also been very helpful when it comes to taking transit or being a passenger in a vehicle (note that I do not drive so I am not one of those players who would EVER be caught operating a motor vehicle and playing Pokemon GO simultaneously).

Yes, as Jon would say, I am perhaps a bit addicted to the game, but you know what? I find it a whole lot of fun and it has been encouraging me to walk outside for longer, even when the temperatures are less than ideal. And that's a win-win. Because, certainly, I want to get out walking more. And when it gets colder, having West Edmonton Mall (among other malls) as an indoor option for Pokemon GO gameplay will be rather helpful.

I'm not letting the game distract me from rather important things like work, for example. But I'm really enjoying it when I'm out and about. This game encourages me to walk more so in that sense it is an utter success in my books. Sure, it's the first Pokemon game I've ever played, and while I do love the theme and the jokes and the art etc. of the Pokemon themselves, for me the greatest appeal is the walking and the little acheivements throughout the game, even if the acheivements are personal rather than only the actual badges (though in my case I'll often keep walking just to hatch an egg or to find a gym that I can actually deposit a Pokemon into etc. and I consider those good short term walking goals for a day or a walk).

I hope to get back into the writing habit more properly this month — I know that I barely wrote throughout the rest of the year last year, but I did manage to write every day of November with the exception of Extra Life (please donate! I'd like to raise a whole lot more money this year than last, especially given how hard it is to stay up for that many hours playing games). This year, my hope is to ACTUALLY not miss any days at all.

First day of November…

… and already I am forgetting to write. Glad I remembered eventually, as it is my first day of trying to write every day in November. This is my first attempt at using the LJ app. Not sure if i will switch over to medium at some point rather than attempting to blog here, but we shall see. My goal is 200 words a day which seems reasonable, especially as i am typing on my phone.

Kerbal the cat is staring at me from across the room. Jon's home is reconfigured for Extra Life so it is a bit weird, but I like hanging out with the cat even if I feel really cold right now.

Today was a somewhat snowy day. I even shovelled a little bit, that is if that little bit really counts. I was in a policy course in the morning and at a graduation ceremony for finishing the OH&S certificate program in the afternoon. An odd workday overall, but i really didn't sleep well last night, waking far before my alarm, so there's that.

Tonight will be board games night, which should be fun. This is my usual Tuesday night routine these days, and i look forward to it. Not sure what we will play, but hopefully something fun!

My first Gen Con adventure! #GenCon2016

For quite some time now, I've been interested in attending Gen Con. And this year, for the first time, I did. I joined Jon, Cathy, Pete, Lindsay, Jon, and Kathy for a great trip to the Indianapolis area and some wonderful gaming experiences. While there, I did cross paths with one person I knew from my Kiwanis family involvements, quite a few people I knew from the JoCo Cruise, and a number of Jon's other friends and family. I didn't see all my local Edmonton friends who were there, mostly because there's literally SO MUCH to do at Gen Con that it's both impossible to do it all and exceedingly a bad idea to even attempt to do so.

That said, my Facebook and Twitter feeds from the time period provide a good recap as will this Gen Con YouTube Playlist that Jon put together featuring our videos, which should get updated shortly with even more content, as he bought a GoPro shortly prior to our trip! I'm in the chainmail dragon video and the wire wrap tiara video and my cupcakes make appearances in the Deadpool cupcake video for example. But the forthcoming videos will feature some of the other stuff we got up to during our trip!

Day 0 – Travel day
We got up VERY early to fly but that's pretty much the norm anytime one flies east if one is trying to get somewhere early in the day… and we were trying to get there early on, partially as I wanted to check my auction and consignment store items in on Wednesday to take advantage of all the opportunities possible for them to sell (this was a good plan as all 7 items I brought in sold, and so I would have more space in my luggage to bring items home [hopefully my luggage shows up soon!]). Both of our flights were on time and we were moved to adjacent seats in each of them (we booked flights separately, and while Jon and I traveled together to get to Indianapolis, we returned separately because of the deals we could find when booking flights), and even ended up in an exit row on our first flight (which was great especially as it meant Jon had more leg room!).

Upon our arrival in Indianapolis, we met Lindsay after her delayed flight and eventually met up with Kathy and picked up my luggage. Next we went to ground transportation where I picked up a standby ticket for the Go Express shuttle and awaited my trip to the convention center to drop off the store items while the others took a taxi ride to our house rental. It was a long hot wait and standby tickets meant that the reservations took priority but I made it to the convention center in time to drop off my items before the 6 pm deadline that day and I checked out the Georgia street food truck area before having a chai latte and a granola bar at Bee's Coffee Roasters across from the convention center in the air conditioning (it is HOT in Indianapolis right now) while I awaited the others to arrive. It was exciting to see the crowds of people waiting for Will Call and comforting to know that my familiarity with Indianapolis downtown (because of Kiwanis of course!) would be useful for the convention itself.

We stopped at a Kroger grocery store before and after grabbing dinner at a McAllister's Deli (I like that place though their portions are often immense) and made it back to the house. We were staying at a house rental on a ranch which was rather wonderful: enough space for everyone, and the possibility of horse rides (Cathy and Pete had a horse ride already by the time we arrived). The horse ranch was in Brownsburg which is a 40 minute drive (depending on traffic) from the convention center which meant some planning but the drive wasn't bad (as long as there were enough drivers! The taxi ride that the others took from the airport indicated that not everyone knew their way here). We waited in the Will Call line for our badge and ticket pickup in the evening and then had a pretty relaxed rest of the night and we all got to bed at a reasonable point for our early morning start to the convention.

Day 1 – Thursday start and tournament begun
The day began with a great 9 person experience at Escape Room Indy where we successfully completed the Bank Heist escape room! This was an outstanding start to our GenCon experience even if it was a bit early (9am). We were all fresh and able to work together well, and everyone had a good role in our heist. We only used one clue (needed because some of the numbers got moved on one of the props) and finished with 10 minutes and 27 seconds to spare.

Cathy dressed in her cosplay (scalemail wonderwoman! It was awesome!) and we got stopped for lots of pictures as we made our way to the Deadpool cupcake decorating class. After that I walked the floor with Jon for a bit before picking up Codenames: Pictures (that I had preordered which is good as it was one of the hot items this year at the convention) and heading over to my 7 Wonders tournament. This tournament was much smaller than I expected it to be, but it was good fun. I was even winning after the third game (I ended up in 2nd overall after this round, qualifying for the final on Saturday, which meant that the next thing I did was get my Saturday tickets refunded before we headed back to the house. We stopped at the Brownsburg Steak 'n' Shake so I could get a shake (black raspberry chocolate chip) as a treat before eating Papa Murphy's (Take 'n' Bake pizza) for dinner. Cathy taught me how to make a glow in the dark winged devil chainmail necklace before I headed to bed (where I had unfortunate nightmares, the least restful sleep of my trip, even though I had enough time to get a good night's sleep that night).

Day 2 – A Busy Friday
We made it to the exhibit hall early enough to wait for the open this day and we missed the chance at the Harry Potter deck building game (which is fine, we can wait until it's more widely available) but it was neat being there for the opening of the hall on the Friday anyway even with the occasional smelly person in the crowd and the very opinionated loud talking rude man in the Archer cosplay nearby. At 11 am Cathy and I did the wire wrapping class where I made a tiara and she made an elven circlet. It was my first experience with wire wrapping and I'm pretty glad with how it turned out. If I ever go on the JoCo Cruise again, I'll totally have at least one tiara to wear!

We had lunch with Ben at Cafe Patachou (I love Cafe Patachou!) and I saw a bit more of the exhibit hall (Artist's alley mostly) before heading to the Friday Doubleclicks show (I couldn't see the Saturday one or the Professor Shyguy show as I had made it into the 7 Wonders tournament final, but the Doubleclicks show was awesome!). I even met up with Andy in the Exhibit hall and we walked over together and sat together. It was good!

After that I went to the dichroic glass pendant class which I totally enjoyed and look forward to receiving the resulting pendants in the mail! I finished first out of everyone in the class (probably because I knew what I wanted to make), and then caught the tail end of the Auntie Lisa's story hour panel that Jon and Pete were in before heading to the hall some more and then meeting up with Cathy and trying on the bat wings she had made. We had dinner at Buca di Beppo and then walked over to the Concert Against Humanity where we totally had a blast seeing awesome comedy and music on stage! The swag bag was also quite good (though I don't yet have it due to it being packed in my as yet not received luggage). I loved the fact that I saw a lot of Sea Monkeys from the cruise here and was seated beside one, even! It was well after midnight by the time we left downtown so it's not as if we got a lot of sleep before Saturday….

Day 3 – A Full Saturday of Fun
Saturday began with a great (long) chainmail dragon class. While Jon and Cathy left to do other things, I stayed until my dragon was pretty much done (I've since changed a few things, but he's a pretty awesome chainmail dragon, I think!). Then I ran off for my tournament final. We were all tired by that time so we played more sloppily but it was fun! All in all I played 7 games of 7 Wonders this convention and it was good! I definitely didn't win, but I did well all in all.

After that I caught more of the exhibit hall before we went to dinner at PF Chang's and then checked on the auction/consignment store (we missed the deadline to browse the store properly but all my stuff sold!!). Then we went to see the Gosh Darn Fiasco Show and headed back to the house. At the house Cathy taught a few more chainmail items and so I made a butterfly and made some dragon modifications before bed.

Day 4 – Sunday Floor Day
Sunday was the most chill day I had of the convention. This was because I didn't have any specific events planned other than walking the remaining 25 rows of the exhibit hall. And this is something I accomplished! I spun a wheel and won the game Caffeine Rush, I bought Realm of Wonder (because it was pretty and a good deal as well as having some neat game mechanics), I picked up some gifts for folks back home, I even bought a corset on sale (that booth had top notch customer service with fittings explanations and more! I loved how they were so helpful!), and bought a new beautiful leather purse (my old purse didn't even come home with me as it was falling apart) thanks to the help of Jon when I was having trouble deciding between a phoenix pattern or a dragon pattern on the purse (I got the phoenix one). The games I picked up for myself weren't a huge number of games, but I did manage to pick up the 40 minis from a kickstarter that hadn't delivered them to me so I was pretty happy about that (well, I'd be happier if the minis weren't in the piece of luggage that hasn't come home with me yet, but so were multiple pairs of shoes, lots of clothing and toiletries and all my promo cards etc. I really want that bag!). I did take advantage of the coupon book thing for a couple dice and promo cards and so that coupon book was pretty helpful. Jon also found the coupon book useful.

We went to the Kroger to pick up food for the evening before heading on our horseback ride that evening. We also visited the petting zoo they had at the ranch, and fed the goats and pig apple pieces. We probably should have brought the tortilla chips as that was a known favourite of the animals, but we were still entertained. The horse ride itself was a great trail ride including some timespan riding in deep water and getting rather wet as a result. My horse was named Stitch and he kept wanting to stop and eat although he had a bag over his mouth preventing him from doing so. Still he kept trying which was a bit frustrating/entertaining as I kept having to encourage him to keep going. I'm sure Jon will have some video posted of the horseback rides eventually (and there'll be more videos in the playlist I linked at the beginning of this long rambling post).

After that we went back to the house to meet up with Jon's dad and Judy for a lovely meal at the house of sandwiches buffet style and cake for dessert. We were all a bit wet from the horseback ride but eventually we dried out. The local animals all took the chance to visit us at the house (dogs and cats mostly). It was good that we could leisurely pack things up and prepare for our departure in the morning.

Day 5 – Return home and Wrap up
Yesterday we traveled home. Which meant a pretty relaxed morning: We woke up a bit later and I took a walk to the pond with Jon before finishing cleaning up and packing our stuff to depart to the airport in time for Lindsay's flight. Delta airlines had some major issues that day which meant that Jon's flights ended up rather delayed (and there were big lines for Delta check in) but other than forgetting to pack a few things in the checked bag, we were off to head home. My flights were pretty fine (I flew United to Chicago and WestJet to Calgary and then Edmonton, ending up in Exit rows twice on the trip home!) but I unfortunately had to do security three times (what a pain!), and my checked bag didn't manage to arrive home with me. I'm still really hoping that my checked bag will show up soon, as losing that much clothing and all my game promos would really put a damper on things.

All in all, I would recommend Gen Con to anyone interested in games, geeky pursuits, crafts and/or fun… (okay this KIND of fun, that is!). I am definitely going to go to Gen Con 50 next year — I wouldn't miss it as this year's trip was marvelous on a whole. I'm really glad I booked the day after the trip off (as I was tired enough that my afternoon nap was needed and my shoulder and knee have been bugging me a bit from lugging luggage through airports). I'm hopeful that we'll have a large enough group to take advantage of another awesome house rental perhaps even with another horseback ride, but even if not, the house rental was a great idea and made our stay most wonderful. I will definitely contemplate selling more games in the consignment store/auction, doing more tournaments and crafts, catching more entertainment and panels, and generally trying to see more of the awesome folks that I rarely get to see outside of trips like this one. I don't think I did too much or too little, I got just enough board game playing, discovering, and other events and activities into my trip.

Food and health… delicious and dangerous

So I keep mulling over the idea of starting up a new blog on the Medium platform instead of continuing this one, and then I just choose to keep writing here partly for comfort's sake. I mean I've written here since January 2004 and it still works.

Today I called in sick to work, which is something I absolutely hate to do, but as my body refused to stomach eating breakfast, it was likely the wisest plan (especially since I'm competing in Corporate Challenge Trivia tomorrow, and have a multitude of other things to do this week in the Kiwanis world, for myself, at work, and for other people and causes I care about). Instead I attempted to go back to sleep (which worked until around 9 am when I tried to eat a granola bar due to being ravenous, my not having eaten much but crackers yesterday). By lunchtime when I ate some scrambled eggs in a tortilla, I was happier as I was SLOWLY eating food again.

This all stems from my eating perhaps too much food? I'm not entirely sure. Perhaps it was food poisoning? Perhaps something simply didn't agree with me? Maybe I had consumed too much dairy on Saturday (everything in moderation, right?) regardless, for whatever reason after a late lunch I was unable to eat anything more for the rest of the day, or really until partway through today. I still have no idea as to the reason. But I'm feeling a whole lot healthier. I've caught up on a few internet things, have read some graphic novels, and basically taken it easy. I did eventually eat (I had cooked on Sunday but couldn't eat more than two bites at that point, so today I made soup of my Sunday creation and ate that for supper. It was pretty decent.

I adore food. I guess I always have to a certain degree. But I'm finding more and more that I cannot consume as much food at my age as I could when I was younger. Likewise I don't want my food too rich, too fancy, or too cheap or greasy. It's hard to find the right medium of portion control in general, much less when I'm trying to keep up my busy life, what with meetings (mostly for volunteer passions!), work, social life, and much more besides.

Having worked at this job since January I've gotten into something of a groove with regards to packing lunches. They're not always the most interesting, but they keep me going throughout my day and that's what matters. Having enough by way of snacks to get through any flagging energy times, or otherwise is pretty important. I've always had an unpredictable appetite, and work is where I'm spending much of my days, so it's often there that I need the snacks the most. Sure I have flextime which means that I do occasionally take longer lunch breaks so as to take advantage of the great array of restaurants in the downtown core, but it's generally more cost effective to pack lunches. And so I do.

Perhaps this is a mundane blog, but it's been many months so it's just good to be writing something just that little bit longer for an online audience again.