Posted tagged ‘board games’

“The perfect antidote to dark, cold and creepy is light, warm and cozy.”

December 29, 2017

I had a bit of a shock when I opened the door to take Gracie out and to get my papers.  Snow covered the ground. It was probably an inch or less of fluffy white stuff, but it was still a surprise. My mother used to tell us it was too cold to snow, but yesterday was brutally cold, and it still snowed.

The dump was almost empty. I think there might have been only two other cars. The smart people stayed home, but I went. I froze the minute I got out of the car but then the man who works there told me to get back into the car. He emptied everything: bags of newspapers, boxes galore and several bags of trash. The poor guy was dressed for a polar expedition. His face was so covered only his eyes could be seen. It was about 12˚.

Today will be cold but a bit warmer than yesterday though I don’t think warmer really works here. Maybe I should say not as brutally cold as yesterday. It is 17˚ right now and could get up as far as 21˚. Deck weather?

My car gets serviced today, an oil change and a quick look over of everything else. I really want to stay home, but I need to get this done. I also have a couple of other stops so I’m doomed to face Old Man Winter.

Nothing much is happening. It is a quiet week. When I was a kid, weather like this meant a day of reading or playing in the cellar or playing board games. We’d set the games up on the living room rug and get ourselves comfortable. We’d play Sorry, Monopoly, Clue or cards. Our favorite card games were crazy eights and steal the old man’s pack. We all had the competitive gene from my dad so game times often got loud. My mother would yell from the kitchen about playing nicely or not at all, a typical mother comment. We mostly ignored it.

The sky is cloudy, the sort of color which looks cold, even steely. Though the house is warm a metal table here in the den is cold to the touch. Blasts of hot air from the furnace  seem to come one after another trying to keep the house warm. I’m wearing flannel around the house pants, a sweatshirt and slippers. Only my hands get cold.

The news last night showed pictures of sea smoke or steam fog which happens when very cold air moves over warmer water. It was a bit strange, even eerie, to see the smoke hovering over the white caps. I don’t remember seeing that before.

It is already colder than it was this morning, down to 12˚. I’m watching the news and the outside reporters look a bit like Randy in A Christmas Story. The weather lady is predicting polar like winds and maybe more snow. I am definitely going to layer my clothes and hunt for my hats and mittens. This is not the time to be fashionable.

“No rain but thunder, and the sound of giants.”

August 19, 2017

Last night we had the best rainstorm complete with thunder right over my house and lightning bolts striking in the sky above my backyard. One clap of thunder made Gracie and me jump as it was both unexpected and close. The rain pelted the roof and windows. It was so loud I had to turn up the sound on the TV. At one point, around 10:30, the rain stopped so I raced to take Gracie outside. The rain started again only minutes after we had gotten back inside. The drops were so heavy and loud they were the only sounds I could hear. I figured it was serendipity the rain stopped for just that small while. Gracie lasted the rest of the night and into the morning.

I’ve nothing on my to-do list for today. The roads will be filled as Saturday is turn-over day at cottages, and tourists will be looking for something to keep kids busy on a dark day, on a no beach day. Board games can only work for so long.

The remnants of the storm are a gray sky and high humidity, the sort of humidity my father used to say you can cut with a knife. The small breeze does nothing to change the close, damp air. We won’t see the sun until tomorrow.

I remember when I was a kid and the thunder and lightning kept me inside. I’d take a book and find a quiet place to read. Sometimes it was in my room because everyone else was downstairs watching TV. It was dark enough I needed a light to read by, the light on the headboard behind me. It seemed to shine only on me and the pages of my book. I felt safe and cozy.

Thunder never scared me even when I was a kid. I remember being told thunder was angels bowling in heaven. I also remember reading Rip Van Winkle’s thunder was the men in the mountains, Henry Hudson’s crew, playing nine-pins. Either way, it was just bowling.

I love lightning, jagged and bright in the sky. One lightning bolt hit the ground right in front of my house in Ghana. It was magnificent. I’ve never seen the like.

“On cable TV they have a weather channel — 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window.”

August 9, 2015

Today is chilly and damp, the sort of day when being inside the house is like wrapping a blanket around you. The house is dark, but I haven’t turned on any lights. I don’t mind the darkness. When I was a kid, this was a favorite kind of day. I’d lie in bed with the lamp on, the one which hung on the headboard, and read. I was never bothered as the TV drew all the attention, and anybody coming upstairs was heading to the bathroom and pretty much ignored me. I have nothing I need to do today so I won’t even get dressed. I will read away the day.

I was part of an easily amused generation when I was growing up. We didn’t have electronics or computers or cell phones. Board games were the best fun. We’d sit on the rug in the living room, set up the game and play all afternoon. The only movement in the game came when I’d move a man around the board. We’d play cards, even war which is about the dullest of all card games. Slap Jack was fun because you got to whack a faster player’s hand. We played Crazy Eights and Steal the Old Man’s Pack. I always thought that was a neat name for a card game and wondered why it was an old man, maybe because we already had Old Maid.

I remember sitting at the kitchen table coloring. The crayons were all different sizes. Some were full size but many were stubs worn down by use. I had to guess the colors of those as the paper had been torn off as the crayon was shortened. The older I got the better I got at coloring. I learned how to shade the colors, to apply the crayons lightly. Every Christmas I always got a new coloring book and new crayons. The books were mostly Christmas scenes and red, green and brown got a lot of use.

We did get bored sometimes stuck in the house as we were on some rainy days. I remember my mother going crazy when we moaned and groaned about nothing to do. She was expected to keep us entertained. I guess we always thought of her as the house cruise director. She was never honored by the title.

“If you want a neat wife, choose her on a Saturday”

March 21, 2015

Today is a down day for me. Last night it snowed about 2 inches, and it is snowing right now. Earlier this morning, it was large, wet flakes but now the flakes are smaller and more apt to accumulate. The grass I could see is now buried. The tree branches have their layers of snow back. The winter seems endless, and I am well beyond my tolerance point.

Gracie and I are going to the dump later. I figure it will be fairly empty on a day like today. After the dump I will do nothing and continue my nothing pattern into tomorrow. This was a busy week for me. I don’t like busy weeks.

When I think back to winter Saturdays when I was a kid, they were always filled. The snow was fun. Our sleds got quite the workout all winter long. Every new snow fall meant the roads were covered, and the hill was ours. There was also the matinée. It was about a twenty-minute walk uptown to the movie theater, but we never thought about the time or distance. We walked most places all winter. Late Saturday afternoons were for inside and playing board games on the living room rug. We’d lie close to the board, each of us usually on one side of it. We played Monopoly, but it was never a favorite of mine. Finishing it usually took far too long, and it had little excitement except for hoping not to fall on a property with a hotel. We played card games like flap Jack, crazy eights and the most boring game of all, war. Sometimes, when I’d been outside too long and was still cold, I’d get comfy under my covers and read. I always had a book. Trips to the library were usually once a week, sometimes after school but mostly on Saturdays. I think Saturday was my favorite day of the week back then. When people ask me if I like being retired, I tell them it’s like every day is Saturday.

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.”

November 22, 2014

It might as well be spring. Okay, a slight exaggeration here but today will be 47˚ and Monday may hit 60˚.  Right now it is sunny and a strong wind is whipping the trunks and leaves of the pine trees in the backyard. I had a really late start this morning as it was a mirror test morning. I didn’t even go upstairs to bed until three and slept fitfully. When I woke up, Fern and Gracie were deep asleep, each on one side of me. They seemed to have slept well.

My delay was further complicated when my computer went wanky, and I could only open Safari with that looping message about a security issue and could go no further. Luckily my iPad was handy, and I found the fix, a simple one.

Staying inside in the winter when I was a kid was usually make your own fun. The TV didn’t have programming until the early evening and then when I was a bit older the late afternoon so sitting and watching was not even a choice. One of our favorite ways to while away the time was playing board games. We’d set the game up on the living room rug and sit around it to play. Sorry was our favorite. Vengeance made the game more exciting, and we yapped back and forth after sending our opponent’s man back to start. That yapping would now be called trash talk. Often the game ended because one of us would get mad and start yelling then the other one would yell back so my mother would yell from the kitchen and tell us to put the game away. That was another argument. Who was going to put the game away?

Boy and girl roles were quite definite when I was a little. Coloring was for girls. I remember afternoons spent sitting at the kitchen table with all my crayons arrayed in front of me so I could choose the exact color to fill in the drawing. The crayons were all sizes, some whole, some mere stubs. The paper had been torn off each crayon as it got smaller so we never remembered the name of the color. We all wanted to color like my mother who shaded the colors like an artist might.

Spending the afternoon reading was always a joy for me. I was a library devotee. I’d take out as many books as I was allowed. I think it was three or four. Quiet spots were hard to come by in my house, but I’d manage. Getting lost in a book was about my favorite thing.

Today I am going nowhere. I think I might not even get dressed. On my table are some catalogues and a book. I’ll do Christmas shopping while watching some Christmas movie then I’ll get comfy and read. I’m thinking that sounds like the best way to spend an afternoon.

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”

October 11, 2014

It was a mirror under the nose morning as I slept until after ten. I always wonder if my neighbors will notice my paper still sits in the driveway so late and hope I’m okay or if they’ll just shake their heads and think that woman sleeps really late. I know they are up before seven every morning.

It’s raining. The house is dark, and I haven’t turned on any lights. The dog and cats are sleeping, the cats in here with me and the dog in her crate. She and I are going to the dump today because I figure the rain will keep people away, and tomorrow will be a madhouse as the dump is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Rainy Saturdays this time of year were the worst when I was a kid. It was too chilly to be outside playing in the rain, and there wasn’t a whole lot to do in the house. We could watch TV, play board games or read, and we’d try each until we were bored enough to move on to another. We often ended up fighting over the board game. It was always a he said-she said argument or accusations of cheating, and my mother would yell for us to put the game away. Most times I’d lie in bed and read. It was one of the few places where I could be by myself. I figure rainy Saturdays drove my mother crazy because she was stuck with the four of us, and we were stuck with each other. My father was usually off doing his Saturday stuff. When I think back, my mother was always around while my father worked until late every day and on Saturdays he was off doing his errands and then he’d worked outside in the yard. Sunday was the only day he was around the whole time except he went to an early mass where he was an usher. Once in a while we went with him, but it was really early.

My mother was the disciplinarian when my father wasn’t around. He was always the threat, “If you don’t stop what you’re doing, I’m telling your father.” That scared us. My mother was easy-going while my father wasn’t. We usually stopped. She never did tell.

“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.”

April 8, 2010

The day is again beautiful with sunny skies. It will not be as warm as yesterday, but I’m still content. This is an amazing April so far.

It was a shock. In the morning paper I read that Scrabble is issuing a new game in the UK called Scrabble Trickster. It will allow proper names and playing words backwards or playing words unconnected to others on the board. It is a sacrilege I say.

I grew up in a family which loved games. Every Christmas a new one was under the tree. I think the first board game I ever played was Candyland. All I had to know were my colors, and besides, how can you not love a game with a Gum Drop Mountain? Chutes and Ladders was next. I remember hating to land on the giant chute which sent you right back to the bottom. It  guaranteed your loss unless your opponent hit the same square. What I didn’t realize until I was much older was you got that chute for taking cookies and breaking the jar. All the chutes were punishments for bad deeds. The ladders were rewards for good deeds. All those little kids on the board were really morality lessons, but I think someone should have told me-I missed the point when I was little. I was too busy counting the spaces, moving upward or bemoaning my falls down the chutes to notice the kids, bad and good. From the first time I pulled it out from under the tree and played it, I loved the game Sorry, still do. I even gave it to friends recently for Christmas. We think it about the best game of them all.

Go Fish, Steal the Old Man’s Pack, War and Slap Jack were the card games we played. War seemed  almost endless. We usually gave up out of boredom before anyone won. Slap Jack sometimes got vicious. A hard whack on your opponent’s hand over the jack was the start of a fight or at the least an argument. Go Fish was fun, but Steal the Old Man’s Pack was the best fun. You got to take your opponent’s cards and taunts were acceptable. Those were the days when nyah nyah, na nyah nyah was the perfect insult.

No games needed batteries. Moves were made after throwing dice, picking up a card or spinning the arrow on a cardboard square. I remember it took a while before I got my snapping fingers to work right. Sometimes I even had to whack the little metal arrow a couple of times before it spun.

Even as adults we got together, my family and I, and played games. We’d sit around the kitchen table for hours. Cards were huge, and High Low Jack was the favorite. We played Uno, and I remember my father always forgot to say Uno and had to take another card. We loved it when he did. Kismet, the dice game, was another favorite, and we kept track of the high scores on the inside top of the box.

My friends and I have game nights. We pull out the Sorry, dominoes, Phase 10 and Bananagrams. We even play a silly kids’ game I call dog dog. I have no idea its real name but plastic dogs and cards are the game pieces. I never win dog dog which is probably why I keep forgetting its name.