This is the Darkest Timeline, Right?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been consuming a lot more media during this pandemic, because there’s very little else we can safely do. Luckily, the pandemic has corresponded with the release of the show Community to Netflix. A brief description of a a phenomenal show I highly recommend you watch: the show is about the misadventures of a study group at a community college. The study group is made up of some quirkly characters, including Abed, who is definitely on the spectrum and understands the social world through pop culture, specifically television and movies.

In one episode, the study group is at a party and the pizzas arrive and they have to decide who gets the pizza. Abed points out that by making this decision they are creating different timelines (you know, like Star Trek). The episode shows what would have happened in each timeline, sometimes they fight, sometimes people make out, and then there’s the darkest timeline. In the darkest timeline, a ball falls down, which causes someone to trip, which causes a gun to go off in someone’s purse, somehow there’s a fire too. The timeline the show follows after this episode is a much happier one where everyone starts dancing and having a good time. The show occasionally goes back to the darkest timeline (which may only exist in Abed’s mind) and we see the aftermath of the party is the guy who was shot dies, someone loses an arm in the fire, someone loses their voicebox, the one with the gun in her purse goes insane, and someone else becomes an alcoholic.

Well folks, I have decided that this is the darkest timeline. I mean, I’m sure there’s a darker one, like the Nazi’s could have won WWII, but this is pretty bad. (WWII related side note, my mom recently told me that when my great uncle showed up to the draft office, he was so attractive that the folks there were like wow this kid is hawt! Let’s put him in a uniform for each branch, pick which one is the best thirst trap and have him recruit for that branch for the whole war. Cause you know, everyone will want to look as fly as my great uncle. While this has nothing to do with anything, I just want to 1. write this shit down for posterity and 2. let you all know I have some attracitve genes.) Back to our timeline though. Following basic medical advice during a global pandemic is a politically charged issue. The major leaders of our country will not say that the lives of 13.4% of the people in our country matter. We all decided cause its summer we’re going to forget the pandemic and now we’re in worse shape than when we started. (A 4th of July at home chilling is far superior than a 4th of July in the hospital, wondering if you’re going to die.) The President said liberals are trying to overthrow America. Like I’m barely paraphrasing (Also why didn’t I learn in school that Mt. Rushmore was sacred to the Lakota?) Guys, it’s bad! It’s really, really bad!

Going back to Community and its darkest timeline. The Abed there decides that this must be the darkest of the timelines, dons a black goatee (you know, like Evik Spock in Star Trek), and vows to go to the back to the prime timeline (the one our show follows) and take over their counterparts (you know, like Stark Trek). I thought about doing this, but I encountered a few issues. 1. I don’t know how to go to different timelines. 2. When would be the best time to change things and what should I do. Abolish the Electoral College prior to 2016, prior to 2000? Prevent someone from stepping on a butterfly thousands of years ago. It seems too complex.

Eventually Evil Abed decides to not take over the prime timeline, but rather restore his own timeline. I agree with this because 1. the physics of going to another timeline is currently impossible 2. this is probably the only timeline (as various members of Evil Abed’s study group mention) 3. seems like the right thing to do. Prime Timeline Katie is probably having a kick ass summer in her nice new condo, going to work, going places, seeing people. I’ll let her enjoy it. She freaking deserves it!

I know how I want to restore our timeline and they’re things I’ve discussed before. Wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from people unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s almost never absolutely necessary to be less than 6 feet away from people. Don’t get a haircut. Don’t eat indoors in restaurants. Don’t go to the gym. Don’t go to bars. Vote! Sign petitons demanding justice when injustice exist.

The problem is I cannot make anyone else help me. Everyone has to decide for themselves what actions or inactions they will take to affect the timeline. So let’s try to make some smart decisions people.

Global Pandemic Check-In: 3ish Months In

Hi Everybody! Wow, what a few months it has been. 100,000+ American dead, police brutality got thrust back into the spotlight, the response to the police brutality protests was more brutality by the police, journalists were arrested/attacked. Wow! Remember when we were all shook that baseball was canceled. Simpler times!

I, for one, am exhausted! There’s just been so much going on both in the world and personally, that I can barely keep it straight. Each week feels like a month. I like to occasionally play a game I like to call “How Long Ago Was That?” I think of an event (like my birthday) and decide how long ago that was (15 days) and feel incredibly shocked that it hasn’t been like 6 months.

I want to take some time to remind everyone to take care of themselves. Do the things you can still do that make you happy. Remember self-care. Self-care sometimes means taking a step back from news of social media or whatever. Remember you can’t control what is happening in the world, but you can control your response to it.

That being said, we are still in a global pandemic and Covid cases are increasing in many states. Even in Illinois, which has done a good job of re-opening responsibly, is still getting 500+ new case a day. This means every week 3500+ people are getting infected. We’re not out of the woods yet.

The world is starting to open up and I get that everyone wants to go out. I’m starting to go out more too, but definitely much less than the max Illinois can do. Just because the government says it’s ok doesn’t mean you have to do it. You can eat a meal at a restaurant inside, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a risky activity. The government says I can start smoking at 18 and drive with a BAC of .07, but that doesn’t mean that I would do these things.

The government has to balance between what would keep the most people safe, keeping this social construct called the economy safe, and preventing wackadoos from suing the government and canceling all restrictions (hello Wisconsin!). I’m not saying the economy isn’t important. It is. People need to work to afford to live. And if you have to go back into work, go back in, but maybe stay in more when you’re not at work. Limit your exposed.

There’s a certain randomness to Covid. We don’t know who will be asymptomatic and who will get horribly sick. I’ve experienced the randomness of serious illness before. You don’t want it in your life. I’ve had a doctor tell me my lungs will never be 100% the same again. It’s devastating news. And yes, you can heal and recover from a serious illness, but I can tell you it took me years. Years, where I could not do the things I loved bedause of this random illness. In some ways I will tell you I came back stronger, but in some very real ways I have not and probably never will. It’s been 12 years and it hurts to even admit that. I still have times, not many, but some, where every breath hurts. You don’t want that for yourself.

I get economic hardship too. In the past 3 months I have lost my job, moved in with my parents, and indefinitely put my plans of homeownership on hold. But I will tell you, I would rather go through economic setbacks over health problems. 12 years from now, I will have recovered from the loss of income, the gap on my resume, and everything else, but I’ll probably still have bad breathing days. So remember your health is most important and stay safe.

I Finished Reading A Game of Thrones and I Have Some Thoughts

As we all know, I have a new, but strong, for the Game of Thrones television series. Last summer, I happened to be in a bookstore with a $5 off coupon and saw first A Song of Fire and Ice (GoT) book, A Game of Thrones available for like $7, and decided I’d buy it (for like $2!) read it when I had the time. Due to my multiple book clubs, and incredibly busy/important (and humble) life, I was never able to get to it. It’s an incredibly long book! Like about as long as the longest Harry Potter book, so getting the time to read it was going to be no easy feat. Then, we hit a global pandemic and I got laid off, so I finally had the time to read it.

Though I know this will change later in the series, the first book follows the first season fairly well. I thought some events, like our boy Robb being named King of the North, happened in Season 2 of the TV show but in the first book. I was mistaken. I guess Ned and his death were such big parts of the first season, that I assumed his death had to be the finale. I’d like to point out a few important things though.

The book definitely sets up the world better than the TV show. For example, I know the difference between the Andals and the First Men. I kind of thought they were together, like Jesse and the Rippers. The First Men came first (duh), fought the Children of the Forrest, eventually made peace, and worshipped the old gods. The Andals came later, more or less wiped out the Children, and worshipped the Seven. The Northerns are descended from the First Men so they worship the old gods. But since Catelyn is not a Northerner, she worships the Seven. She makes a big deal about not being from the North in the books.

So even in the books Bran is going to be king, which was quite a shock based on the TV show. However, the show did Bran dirty. Bran is all over the books. The only characters to have chapters told from their perspective in Book 1 are: Eddard, Bran, Catelyn, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Tyrion, and Daenerys. If we were to do one of those, which word doesn’t belong based on the show we’d all pick Bran. But here we are, he’s a narrator. Freaking Cersei is not a narrator, but Bran is. While I did not count, I’m pretty sure he narrated more chapters than Arya and Sansa. So I feel like based on the books, he’ll be a less random choice.

A lot of people know this, but a lot of our young adult characters are younger in the books. Jon and Robb are 14 and Dany is 13. What’s also interesting is even Ser Jorah is a bit younger. He’s only about 40. Shae is 18, which is the same age as Theon.

Shae’s character is also a lot less in the books. I feel like she was a bit sassy and into Tyrion from the get go. Here, she’s just a whore and young. Not much else to her personality.

Speaking of Tyrion, he doesn’t get knocked out right away in his first battle but actually fights. He does alright. He’s much less of an alcoholic in the books. Don’t get me wrong he still likes his wine and his whores, but it’s less of his personality. He’s also a lot more physically deformed.

Finally with Tyrion, it’s super apparent he has absolutely nothing to do with somebody trying to murder a comatose Bran! The only reason Catelyn thinks Tyrion did is it is because Littlefinger (that MFer) says it was his knife, but Tyrion won it from him when Tyrion bet against Jaime Lannister in a tournament. In what universe would Tyrion Lannister bet against the only member of his family who doesn’t hate him. Most importantly, in what universe does Catelyn Stark think it’s a good idea to start a war over evidence that stupid!! Continuing on this tangent, I could have sworn in the TV show Cersei tried to kill comatose Bran and set up Tyrion, but I could be misremembering. Finally, how can Littlefinger, who allegedly loves Catelyn so much, have someone try to kill her son and then her cause she’s there and leaves her fingers permanently damaged in the fight. What a jerk! Littlefinger is also into Sansa right away. Creepy!

Speaking of Bran’s injuries. His fall is a little different. in the TV show, he’s just chilling in the window sill when Jaime shoves him out. In the book, he’s on the cusp of falling and Jaime assists (like Scar and Mufasa). So yes, it’s evil, but it’s decidely less evil in my eyes.

Jaime is like barely in this book. It’s mostly mentioned what he’s up to. Jaime is invading River Run, but we don’t actually see him (but we meet the Blackfish, who is at the Vale (?!?) and Catelyn’s brother in the first book). Conversely, Stannis Barethon is mentioned so much in this book. Did you know he was on the Small Council, because I did not.

A few things with Ned. We don’t actually hear Ned get the deal of confess and we’ll send you to the wall, its implied though. The last scene from his perspective, is Varys telling him to think of his children. We get Ned and Robert’s backstory a bit more clearly. Ned and Robert were both sent to the Vale to be wards of Jon Arryn. So basically they were raised like brothers and Jon was like their father. This makes not only Ned’s quest for justice make more sense and also Theon’s position is a bit less awkward.

In the TV show, when we learn the Lysa was behind Jon Arryn’s murder it’s super surprising, but it makes a ton of sense in the books. Jon Arryn was trying to get their son sent away form his mother’s to be someone’s ward because he is such a mama’s boy. Lysa is not about that nonsense. She also leaves King’s Landing the moment he is murdered, you know like a guilty person would do.

After the incident with Arya, Joffrey, Sansa, and the Baker Boy when Sansa is questioned she says it all happened so fast she doesn’t remember. She doesn’t flat out agree with Joffrey and lie. I feel like this makes Sansa a less annoying teenage girl (though still an annoying teenage girl, it’s not her fault, who wasn’t).

Finally, and my opinion most importantly, Syrio never ever teaches Arya that there is only one god, the god of death. And what do we say to the god of death. Not Today!

31 A Year for Fun: Rewatched the Star Wars Movies

Hi all! Let me start off by saying sorry to write this while everything is metaphorically on fire, but I set a deadline to do 12 somewhat fun things and write a blog post about each one before my 32nd birthday and we’re down to the wire. So consider this a quick mental break from the nonsense going on in the world right now.

So, as my dozen of long-time fans already know, I love Star Wars. Earlier this year, I went to Disney and got to pilot the Millenium freaking Falcon! After this great trip to Disney, my sister, who has never felt strongly about Star Wars decided to to finally watch all the movies! As her roomate, I took it upon myself to go through this endeavor with her.

We did all the live action movies in the order in which they came out (4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9) and then the side movies Rogue One and Solo. My sister enjoyed them all, so we have another convert. I was concerned she would miss half of the movie, especially Empire Strikes Back as I would regularly say lines about 10 seconds before the actor and would pause the movie for my Fun Facts! This was coupled with the fact that my Dad would watch the same movie at his home and we’d text each other GIFs of what was happening in the movie. It was a lot for a relaxing movie watching experience. Below are my thoughts on Star Wars.

Thinking about what is going on now, I think we have something to learn from Star Wars. The Rebels sometimes gave up hope, it sometimes felt like too much, but they always rallied and got it done in the end.

They also worked together despite their differences. It’s not uncommon knowledge that the Empire is supposed to be Naziesque (one of my many Fun Facts!), but also the Empire is also not diverse. I’ve never seen a non-human in the Empire and very few women. The Rebellion is a group of people working together despite their differences and that’s what we need to do now. The Naboo and the Gungans had a lot of issues, but they set them aside to defeat the Trade Federation and worked those issues out later. That’s what we need to be doing now.

Also, shoot it takes time to defeat evil! The movies take place over what, like 60 years? It took 60 years to freaking defeat Palpating (also how tf is he back in 9, not a complaint just curious). So it’s going to take some time to get the world to where we want it. Princess/General Leia Organa spent her entire life doing the work and we’re going to have too.

Onto some more random thoughts:

  • Luke Skywalker is annoying. I said it. He’s hysterical in The Last Jedi, but other than that, he’s whiny and self-righteous.
  • I don’t understand how George Lucas could create so many plot holes between the originals and prequels.
  • Leia is a badass! Her entire planet gets destoryed and she just keeps fighting the fight.
  • The Empire Strikes Back is hilarous.
  • I will never not scream during the mynocks scene.
  • Ewoks are amazing!
  • Chewie may be the best of all of them!
  • The prequels are cheesy, but not bad.
  • Qui-gon was killed way too early. So much lost potential.
  • Why does no one else have a purple lightsaber, besides Samuel L. Jackson wanted one?
  • Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen are incredibly attractive.
  • I’m glad they didn’t try to YA novel the prequels and turn it into a love triangle. I feel like if it same out 5 years later they would have tried to do that.
  • There’s a scene in Attack of the Clones that I think exists soley to make you think Anakin is losing his arm. I still get anxious during it.
  • Revenge of the Sith is so frustrating, because on numerous occasions, you watch characters make what you know are bad choices and you see decisions that could have been made but were not that would have had a different outcome.
  • Han Solo’s death was such a great full circle moment for the character. His scene in Rise of Skywalker makes me tear up.
  • The Last Jedi may be the funniest of the movies.
  • The Kylo/Rey force connection sequences are beautifully made.
  • Rey’s origin, while not well explained, was better than the fan theories.
  • I think people need to lay off Solo. It’s not bad, it’s just that Han isn’t the Han we know and love yet. He hasn’t gone through all the stuff that make him Han yet so he’s not the same as the smuggler we know and love.

I have a theory I’d like to share. In The Phantom Menace, Obi-wan discusses being ready for the trials. I believe the trials are the confrontation with joining the Sith and having an easy way to save their friends or finding another way and not joining that Luke, Anakin, and Rey face in the 3rd installment of their movies. Anakin obviously fails, but the rest pass. It’s just a theory, and there’s probably a lot to disprove it, but those are my thoughts.

Speaking of theories, if you need a break from the world Google Jar Jar Binks is really a Sith Lord. I’m not saying it’s true, but I definitely don’t not agree with it.

Finally, there’s a lot of great memes, especially from the prequels. I recommending, Googling Hello There General Kenobi to see some great ones. Also, Ewn McGregor in staring in Christopher Robin gave the world Winnie the Pooh Star Wars crossover memes you didn’t know you needed. It may be the best thing on the internet. It’s over Christopher Robin, I have the high ground!

Until next time, wear your mask and fight the power!

The Summer (and Every Season Going Forward) of Anti-Racism

Hi again everybody! If you’re anything like me you are exhausted right now. It’s been quite the year so far and we’re not even halfway through. An impeachment, an ongoing global pandemic, more instances of police brutality, and now riots and looting. To say it’s a lot is an understatement, but I feel like I don’t have the words.

Seriously, what is going on right now, particularly the death of George Floyd. This is the second time in 6 years an African American man died in the hands of police because the police cut off his supply of air. How is that even possible? Have we learned nothing? I find myself asking these questions and going through so many emotions anger, sadness, depression, frustration, confusion, and quite frankly frightened.

We, as America, need to do better. We should do better. We want to be the best country on the face of the Earth than we need to start acting like it. This is not it. The first we need to do is acknowledge that America is a racist country. Before people start coming at me, I’m using the sociological definition of racism (I have an M.S. in sociology so I know what I’m talking about when it comes to sociological definitions). Racism is the unequal distribution of power based on race. Prejudice, on the other hand, refers to preconceived beliefs about a particular group. If you are Black in America you are more likely to be arrested, die of Covid-19, have a whole host of medical conditions, have a lower income, be unemployed, and so many more things. So yes, America is racist.

So, since racism isn’t an individual thing, but a societal thing, you can’t really say, well I’m not a racist if you’re sitting this fight out. . You can say you don’t have prejudice, since that’s not a societal thing. You either support the racist structures of our society or you do not. You are either racist or anti-racist. You can’t be neutral, you can’t sit this one out, because doing nothing is allowing the racist structures of our society to continue.

Change needs to happen, large systemic change or these things will keep happening. In fact, on the news this morning, I saw a cop put his knee on the neck of a protester while arresting him. For real! So things are obviously not changing on their own. They never have and they never will.

The next question of course becomes how do we create large systemic change in an age of Covid-19 when protesting can put your health at risk and you may not have a job and can’t really afford to donate. Well, I’ve been thinking about that a lot these past few days. Here are a few things I have come up with.

  • Sign petitions. Change.org has a lot of great petitions related to social justice causes. I’ve signed petitions on them for years. They sometimes work.
  • Vote and vote for Democrats!
  • Fight against voter suppression. Contact your congressperson, sign petitons.
  • Get excited about Joe Biden! Get rid of this, we’ll I guess he’s better than Trump so I guess I have to vote for him, attitude. It’s not helping. It’s why Hills lost in 2016. If Barack Obama thinks he’s good enough for the Presidental Medal of Freedom, than he’s more than good enough for you to vote for!
  • Do things to encourage others to vote. I volunteer with an organization called Vote Forward, where you send letters to potential voters who are, demographically speaking, unlikely to vote. You can do it from the safely of your own home, don’t give out your address, and it only costs you some stamps and you time.
  • Educate yourself! Read books and articles, listen to podcasts, whatever you can to learn about racism, white privledge (for all my white people) and how to be anti-racist.

Nobody is going to do anything all that fun this summer, so you might as well spend the time trying to make the world a better place. To quote my Grandpa when I debated going to grad school “The time will pass either way, you might as well have something to show for it.” So you’ll catch me this summer (probably not physical though cause of the global pandemic) in my kiddie pool (that I bought in April cause I knew this pandemic wasn’t going anywhere. If you do not have one, everyone is out of stock. Sorry not sorry), cocktail in hand, reading How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

31 A Year for Fun: (At Home) Spa Day

I, like everyone else, enjoy getting pampered, but don’t do it nearly enough. In my mind I do a facemask and exfoliate once a week, but in the real world it’s probably like once every 2ish weeks. I thought given the global pandemic, I’d be able to do all the self-care humanly possible, but that does not appear to be the case and while I have had weeks where I did way too much exfoliation, my beauty routine has not been as excessive as I thought it would at this point in the pandemic. However my skin is on fleek as the kids may or may not still say.

I recently had a few things happen where I definitely needed a day of relaxation:

  • I’ve been getting physical therapy for my foot, which essentially means I do a 45+ minute lower body strengthening exercise routine every day.
  • I moved back in with my parents. Besides the normal stress of moving, I had to make a very small child’s bedroom work for someone used to large master. It was not easy. It was not pretty. I literally and metaphorically had to clean out my closet.
  • I got laid off (I’m also single, so I’m living the trifecta of every 30 something’s dream).

I decided to engage in this spa day on a weekday to make it feel even more luxurious (though what are days now and what really is time when you think about it). I utilized my parents 6 foot wide (not deep) whirl pool tub, did a hair mask and a face mask and indulged. Even though my unpacking was not done, I did no work, just whatever I wanted. I capped off the long day of doing nothing by painting my nails. It was great and definitely needed during these difficult times.

31 A Year for Fun: Reread a Book

Hi again everyone! I hope you all are staying healthy and safe. Obviously this is a rough time for everyone, but I swore to write 12 blog posts about 12 smaller fun things I did at the age of 31 and as my birthday fast approaches, I need to get to it. I’d like to hope that these next few posts that will be done whilst social distancing will serve as a reminder that you can still do fun (and free) things even during this time. So this blog post is about rereading a book I liked, Emma.

My relationship with reading is an interesting one. My older sister loved reading and books. As a very young child, I decided I wanted to be exactly like my sister. Her favorite color was my favorite color, her plans when she grew up were my plans, I liked books cause she did, and so on. At the ripe old age of 5 or 6, I decided I needed to strike some independence and assert myself from her. I switched my favorite color and did not like to read because my sister did.

As she reads this blog and is now one of my roomates, I feel compelled to state that you should not blame my mom (or dad I guess) for this. She read to me regularly, encouraged my reading, and did all the things parents should do, but I would not have it. It’s not that I didn’t read or enjoy it, it just wasn’t something that I chose to do to occupy my time.

Throughout the years, I had a few stints of serious reading. I decided to get to the birth of Jesus by Christmas in my Children’s Bible and did so. I read each Harry Potter book voraciously. I’d stay up until 1am to finish each book. I even remember reading inbetween my turns of a computer game as I was so enthralled.

I thoroughly believe that high school English classes are wasted on high schoolers. I despised English class. I enjoy some books, but hated analyzing and discussing books. In college the trend continued, especially since I spent hours a day reading text books.

One of the first times I really sought out reading was the summer between my first and second years of grad school. I was going to be spending the summer doing the lit review for my thesis, which would eventually be entitled The Entry Into Adulthood for Young Adult Cancer Survivors, so a super light topic. I decided I would still need to read something outside of the lit and I wanted it to be light but still smart, cause, you know, I was a grad student. In the univeristy library I found the complete works of Jane Austen in one volume and as Pride and Prejudice was one of the few books I loved in high school, I decided to see how far I would get before the fall term started. I got through a few, including Emma.

After grad school, my relationship with reading changed. Having spent two years reading hours a day I missed it, but found myself in my mid-late 20s and not even knowing what books I liked. Luckily for me, my work had a book club and I joined and got to reading. As I am a woman between the ages of 25 and 40, I had multiple friends decide to start book clubs and make me a member (once without my consent), and at its peak was in 3 book clubs! This only lasted about a month and am now down on 1ish.

Let me take a moment to go on a tangent about book clubs and the patriarchy. Book club is great, but it’s really let’s drink wine on a Wednesday club. Men can just get together and drink during the week, but we women have to always feel as though we are accomplishing something. So, instead of just getting together once a month for the stake of socializing, we pick a book, may or may not read it, and attend a club where we discuss the book for 10 minutes, but spend 2 hours socializing up. Book club friends who may read this, this is not a compliant against my particular book clubs or our discussing to socializing ratio, but just a social commentary.

To return to my point, I found myself reading new books, but never having a chance to revisit the old. As someone who is perpetually watching re-runs of The Office, I missed the chance to do the book equivilent of a rerun.

Then the stars aligned, I (prior to the pandemic) saw a musical version of Jane Austen’s Emma and between that and the movie coming out (which I got to watch right before the pandemic) decided to reread (well listen to) the book. I put in my hold for the audiobook (as I was to listen during my long train commute to and from work… haha) and waited. I finally got the book in early March and really enjoyed rereading it. It’s nice to catch the foreshadowing when you know what will happen next. Also, it’s a great book to deal with social distancing. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to people discussing Miss Fairfax walking to the post office in the rain. Not her walk, the discussion of her walk. So humanity has been at this level of boredom before. Also to note, I, myself walked to the mailbox the next day when it was almost raining and got to enjoy a similarly unnecessarily lengthy commentary on the subject.

Until next time, stay safe and read books where people are just as bored as you are!

31 A Year for Fun: BINGO!

Alright folks, as I’ve said before, I have run out of pre-Corona fun stuff that I have done and have moved onto less exciting, but still fun social distancing activities. Today we’re going to talk about Bingo. There has always been a twice divorced 65 year old with a slight drinking problem inside of me, which is another way to say, I have always loved bingo.

As a child, I would attend my Aunt’s company picnic. I loved the sno cones, the games, the clowns, the face painting, the balloon animals, but most importantly the bingo. I loved the excitement of it all, realizing that you were 2 away from bingo, than 1 away from bingo, than 1 away in two different places. I never won, but it was still thrilling! Then finally, one year, they had a children’s game and myself and another kid won at the same time. The prizes were either the first two Harry Potter movies on DVD, or Shrek and Ice Age on DVD. I was the older kid, so I did what was morally right, and let the little kid pick first and hoped against hope they thought Harry Potter was the work of the devil or they were too young. They chose Harry Potter. I was bummed, but happily collected my DVDs.

While my bingo success stories are less than dazzling, my Grandma was a bingo master. She played almost every day at her nursing home and won almost every day, many days multiple times! I always claimed she cheated, but she was probably the most with it person in the room, so she heard and marked every number. She won fake money that could be exchanged for prizes once a week. The woman had more prizes than she knew what to do with: holiday decorations, stuffed animals, beanie babies (that unfortunatley are not worth the thousands we were all led to believe), candy, chips, and was still rolling in fake money to spare.

In an effort to fight social distancing boredom, a friend suggested virtual bingo. My inner 65 year old leapt at the opportunity. I Venmoed my $2 and got ready to relive some picnic glory days and be entertained. It all came back to me, the thrill, the anticipation, without having to put on real pants! It was wonderful, and I won!

While this wasn’t the most exciting thing I could have done on a Wednesday night, it’s still a nice reminder that we can still all try to have fun, do something different, and stay connected while were apart.

Be safe everyone!

31 A Year for Fun: Bar or Virtual Trivia

I realize that I am getting towards the end of my 31 a year for fun and I am waaaayyy behind on these, which really isn’t like me. I never pulled an all nighter in college or grad school. I could take a 40 page paper and 9 days before it was due say I need to write 5 pages a day for 8 days and take one day to review it and I’d just do it. But I’ll get through this last minute crunch. Obviously the entire world is essentially canceled right now, so my fun things may not be as fun as they were going to be, but I promise they’ll still be something worth writing about. Luckily here’s something I’ve done before and during quarantine.

I’ve done bar trivia a few times in my life before this year. The first time my team actually won, which was exciting not only because of competiton, but because we got a free shot with every round we won! The times after that, I did not so well. I consider myself to be a pretty smart (and humble) person with an excellent memory, so I enjoy being able to use my vast quantities of useless knowledge towards something. After a few years off I did trivia 3 times this year and I placed in the top 3 all 3 times!!

The first was Gilmore Girl’s themed trivia. I went with a few friends who knew the show far better than I. One friend has literally has used a Gilmore Girl’s calendar multiple years and wore some of her Gilmore Girl’s merch. I essentially sat there and brought our answers up to the host. We placed second or third and would have won if we knew the 4 ingredients in the omlette that Luke changes the special to. I don’t even know them all now, but I know for sure one was oregano.

The second trivia was Harry Potter themed and I prepped like crazy. I took multiple quizzes that were called the hardest Harry Potter quiz you’d ever take. My team tried to figure out wizarding currencies. We over prepped! The trivia host is apparently one of the few people in the world who knew nothing about Harry Potter. The first round was identify the character from the picture and Ron Weasley was one of them!The entire bar yelled at him multiple times that he was wrong. For example, he said Snape tried to mess up Harry’s first Quidditch mathc. We all know it was Quirrell! Anyway, it was like a 4 way tie and our team eventually won!

The last trivia was virtual during the time of Corona and Disney themed! We came in second, but I have no idea how anyone would have beat us. I know my Disney! At a very young age, I no longer could nap, but needed to just chill in the afternoon, so my parents would put on a Disney movie and I’d chill. Some quesions were easy, like the names of the Usula’s eels (Flotsam and Jetsam), others were harder like the name of the cars you ride in at the Haunted Mansion (Doombuggies) and he name of the bar in Tangled (Snuggly Duckling). I got the first 2 right. Again, I know my Disney.

I look forward to the days when I can do in person trivia again, but until then I hope there will be more virtual events, that we all can enjoy.

31 A Year for Fun: Tell A Story

Hi All! I’ve been meaning to post about this for literally months, and due to the state of the world, now have the time to do it. Stay inside and enjoy!

I’ve performed a fair amount in my life. In elementary school, I took part in the yearly school plays and church Christmas pagents. As I got older, I joined band and performed in countless concerts. In high school, I continued with both band and theater and continued with band through college. After college, work, life, etc. got in the way and I stopped performing. I realized that I missed it. Last spring, my friend performed at a storytelling event and I loved it. The event was a group of regular people, telling stories from their lives. I laughed, I cried, I thought about things. I decided to sign up to perform one myself.

There’s apparently a huge wait list, because I didn’t perform until December. I forgot when I agreed to do December, just how stressful that month is. In addition to getting ready for the holidays, I was dealing with a very intense work deadline that we had to meet in order to get re-accredited, whilst being short staff. So it was more work than I thought to get a story together.

A week before the event, we had to meet to workshop our stories with the other performers. I was way more nervous than I thought I was going to be. I almost didn’t go, which is very unlike me. But I did and it was a super nice process and got some good constructive feedback, which I then incorporated despite the looming intense work deadline.

I need to give a huge shout-out to my sister/roommate, who listedn to me perform the story almost every day for a week and then went to the performance to see the finished product, without one compliant!

The day of the performance, I was once again incredibly nervous, again seriously considered not going, but again was glad I did it. Luckily, I was first. I always hated going first in school presentations (3rd was my sweetspot), but was actually thrilled to be going first, as I could enjoy the remaining performances and not stress about my own story. I think the performance went really well and once the world calms down a bit will be looking for more opportunities to do this.

There was no script, as I did it from memory. So below is a close approximation of what I remember performing. The overall moral of my story (in addition to just being a way to talk about the fact that I went to Nepal!) was that things will all work out if you just wait. I hope and pray that is true for our time now. Enjoy!

So I was standing on a cliff in Nepal waiting for my turn to paraglide and I was nervous. Waiting had kind of been the theme of the trip so far. The 125ish mile trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara, where we currently were, took about 8 hours where we had nothing to do but wait in the car. The paragliding trip was supposed to start at 9, so naturally, our instructors didn’t come until 11.

I’ve never really liked waiting and I found myself in a very waiting time in my life outside the trip. I hated my job and was waiting for the right job to hire me. My Grandma died recently and I was waiting emotionally as I worked through that grief. So all this waiting was a little tough for me.

When our instructors had finally arrived at the hotel, they piled the 5 of us and the 5 of them in an SUV. To fit us all in there, they moved the seats to face sideways. I was crammed in the back with our super cool instructors. They were all about 20 and used way more American slang than I had ever seen outside of a movie. They talked about how awesome it was going to be, and they’d be taking pictures of us with their GoPro cameras the whole time and we’d land by this awesome lake.

When we got to the mountain, they told us to leave everything in the van. I took my phone with me incase I wanted to take pictures while we waited, but left my purse with my wallet and passport in the van. As we walked up the mountain, one by one we went to our instructors launching area.

My instructor was not one of the super cool guys, which I was kind of greatful for. He was in his 30s or 40s, which gave me comfort, since he had lived long enough to hit that age, he must be good at his job. There were a lot of people on the mountain, so we had to wait a while. After I got harnessed, my instructor gave me the instructions for take off. He said, “I’ll say walk, and you walk, I’ll say run, and you run, the mountain will end, but you keep running, I’ll say sit, and then you sit back in the harness and don’t have to do anything until landing.” While we waitied, he pointed out whenever someone who was taking off before us did it wrong. This made me even more nervous as I would not only have to run off a mountain, but I could do it incorrectly.

While we waited, I watched all my friends take off. It was finally our turn, and I walked, ran, and sat correctly! Paragliding was not the extreme sport I thought it would be. It was very peaceful. I could one way and see the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas. If I looked another way, I could see a lake. If I looked down, I could see forest, and birds. If I looked straight ahead, I could see a rainbow of other parachutes in the sky.

My peace died down a bit as we got ready to land as we were no where near the lake, but rather in a field surrounded by cow pies. My landing was much less successful than the take off as I was confused, a little nauseaus from the final round of acrobatics we did, and quite frankly trying to keep my shoes clean. After we got unharnessed, my instructor told me to wait and my friends would be landing soon. I was confused, as I had seen all my friends take off before me, but there was nothing I could do but wait. At one point I was taking a picture of someone landing and was told that’s not your friend, that’s a Chinese guy.

Eventually, my instructor got a phone call. My friends had landed somehwere else, but they would come to get us shortly. He said we’d go somewhere and wait for them. We literally went to what I think was someone’s house. There was a baby, an old lady, and chickens. I was starting to get worried. Right as we got there, this guy asked me what kind of phone I had and then I started panicking as my phone was my only connecting to the outside world. I told him I didn’t know, which obviously I know what kind phone I have, but I panicked. He took the phone out of my hand and plugged something in and said he was downloading pictures form the GoPro. I calmed down a little.

I sat there with the instrutor and the phone guy outside the house and they offered me some tea. Again panic set in as I was told not to drink the water unless it was boiled. I figured they must have boiled it to make the tea and I was hoping it would help my stomach, so I took it. It was very sweet and very delicous.

While we waited for the van to come we talked. I talked about how I was here for my friend’s wedding. My instructor was very happy she was marrying a Nepali guy and assumed it was an arranged marriage. I didn’t want to tell him, it was in fact not arranged, and that when I met this friend she was with an Abhisheik and was now marrying Abhinash, which was really an upgrade. We talked about America. The instructor said he always wanted to paraglide in America, but some areas were too sandy. I told him I didn’t think Chicago was too sandy, but it was flat. He seemed to not really see the point of paragliding then.

While this was going on, I was surprisingly calm. The whole 8 hour trip to Pokhara, I seen Nepali men sit outside houses and drink tea. So I figured this was probably the most authentic experience I could get.

Eventually, he told me he’d just drive me back to the hotel, which again made me nervous as I was traveling to a secondary location, but what could I do. In the van was myself, the instructor, and a bunch of other people who may have been paragliders or related to the baby. I will probably never know. They did drive me back to the hotel, and as I walked down the driveway, my friend’s husband Gary came out to meet me. Now, I like Gary, but I have never been more happy to see him in my entire life. I came into the hotel, and saw all my friends and more importantly, my purse with my wallet and passport.

After I got back from the trip, my life hadn’t changed. It would take months for me to find a new job and work through my grief, but I tried to remember the lesson I learned paragliding. If you just wait everything will work out.