Saturday, February 25, 2017

LARP'ing & Dungeons & Dragons ~ Saturday, 2/25/17

I have nothing planned for today so I should have plenty of time to try to accomplish some of my February goals today.  The problem is... I don't feel like doing anything!

It's foggy this morning. I took the Panasonic camera out for a spin in the backyard, in my pink PJs, and I encountered... my next-door neighbor, in her backyard, in her pink PJs!  There is no fence between our yards so her two dogs, that she was "walking" came to visit for a spell.  The one chihuahua has "known" me for years, and yet still barks her head off whenever she comes in my yard.  Ugh.  But we had our little chat about our respective cats and then I came back indoors since everything was wet and the cardinal I was trying to photograph had been chased away.

My daughter is at her dad's for the weekend, Youngest Son will probably spend the day doing his laundry, working on his school work, and relaxing on his computer with one or several cats on his lap.  He always makes sure to take a couple of strolls to the local park in the afternoon, so he gets about a mile and a half of walking every day plus all the swinging.

Greg will probably read and play video games.  I should plant the tree that I received and start on the taxes, that's what I should do!

  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift (next week) 
  • Cook, purée and freeze 1 pumpkin
  • Mop bathroom
  • Clean bathroom ceiling
  • Vacuum living room
  • Make my bed DONE
  • Turn bread heels into bread crumbs
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC  
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time  
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) 
  • Watch "Spy in the Wild"
  • Clean fridge - cleaned the bottom shelf, cleaned the "main" shelf
  • Sweep the downstairs bathroom
  • Vacuum the upstairs bedrooms
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son (after pediatrician apt)
  • Back up external drive to its own external drive!
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Do my foot exercises 1X
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only) 
  • Finish moving/reinstalling missing software on new laptop 
  • Read one of the library books
  • Clean upstairs litter box  
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Read new issue of Kiplinger's in progress
  • Wash kitchen windows
  • Vacuum the fridge's coils
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Reorganize the gardening supplies area in breezeway
  • Purge file cabinet in progress (through "credit cards")
  • Take RaceTrac surveys
  • Move fonts from external drive and reinstall on new laptop
  • Take my measurements
  • Look into transplanting hyacinths in garden - Moved them outside since Explorer has started to jump on mantelpiece :(
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Sit down with my daughter and show her how to file her taxes
  • Start on our tax return
  • Schedule an outing to P.E.A.R. Park and ask them about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Write letter to my great aunt, with pictures
  • Plant and water the tree 

  • The AC didn't come on last night and I opened the windows this morning so the cats and I can enjoy the birds' songs.

  • I'm running some videos to try and earn a few Swagbucks today. My 1st goal is 85 SB, but I don't plan on bothering with the surveys so I won't reach it.

  • Since we're not walking until tomorrow, I swapped dinner between Saturday and Sunday and we'll have burgers tonight and crockpot stew tomorrow. I set a pound of ground beef to defrost.

  • I can't wait to get my extra camera batteries next week.  This one takes a couple of hours to recharge and I'm out of commission while it charges, of course.  I've been spoiled with having lots of extras for the other camera!  Still, I like it better than buying regular AA batteries and having to throw them away.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits, plus that Thursday quiz for 50 credits was still in my line-up and it worked for me today so I was able to earn an additional 50 credits. Woo!

  • I was doing some research on LARP groups for Youngest Son and ended up finding a meet-up called that organizes Dungeons and Dragons games in the Orlando area!  The only problem is that they're all about an hour away from our house.  However, that might be a great incentive for Youngest Son to get a little more excited about learning how to drive, so he can join up next year. I wouldn't mind taking him on Saturdays if it were in the afternoons so maybe I could go walk on a nearby trail or something, but it's on Saturday evenings.  I don't think I could wait in the car for 4+ hours and no, I'm not interested in joining as well :)  You know who should go with our son?  Greg.  Or maybe the 3 of us, I guess.  Update: I talked to Greg about it who said our son wouldn't want to go with his parents. Only, when I talked to my son about it, he WAS interested in going, woohoo!  So he and I will be going tonight and old coot Greg will stay home and be lonesome.  Grrr. I wanted him to come too!  Oh well.  It should be fun, I think, and if we love it, it could be my regular date with Youngest Son!  Bonus: I might be able to rope Middle Son into it too as it's not too far away from his dad's house...

  • Greg said he wanted to go fishing at the little secluded pond where we went a lot last year, so I decided to tag along to practice taking more pictures, and suggested to our son he might want to come to practice his LARPing since the parking lot area is all grassy and wooded.  So he agreed to come!  Woohoo! Greg couldn't believe it :)  We packed a picnic and my son brought wooden swords so he and I could practice sword fights and his Go Pro so we could even film it!  And guess what?  We actually had a great time and Greg didn't catch any fish. 
I used the Medieval Times sword, lol.
  • We ate our picnic lunch and then headed home.  Greg wanted to go to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy a squash racket and look at kayaks so we all went there first.  Well, apparently squash is a game played primarily in the Northeast, so they don't sell squash rackets down here. Isn't that weird?  I guess you can't really buy skis in Florida either, after all.  It was disappointing to Greg but I looked at Amazon and he could buy one there.  We did see kayaks.  We want the kind where we sit on top, not inside, because we don't want to have to check for wolf spiders and snakes every time we get in our kayaks.  We found a kind of kayak that's an angler kayak for fishermen. It was pricey, albeit on sale, and didn't come with the paddle.  We didn't buy anything at Dick's.  In the car, I checked other sports stores for prices and also Craigslist.  And then I remembered that I had seen kayaks at Tractor Supply Co. near our house, so I told Greg we should stop there.
On sale for $399 at Dick's
  • Lo and behold, they sell an angler kayak for $300 that includes the paddle and they even had 2 in stock!  I wanted to get them today but Greg wants to think about it, so we didn't buy anything.
Angler kayak at Tractor Supply Co (brown ones): $299 regular price with the paddle included!
  • Back home, my son and I watched our GoPro movie.  I had worn the GoPro on my forehead while we were sparring. The video quality is very good and you can hear me talk very well, but you could barely hear my son even though he was only standing a few feet away. Next time, I need to wear it on my chest and have him speak louder. It was fun, though!

  • Then my son went over some of the rules of Dungeons and Dragons over with me since I'd forgotten a lot of it. We used the Player's Handbook that I had bought him last year. We're really excited about playing tonight!  The store closes at 10 p.m. so I guess it'll be a 3.5 hour game.

  • We need to leave our house no later than 5:15 p.m. to make it there on time, so I'm not sure when we'll eat dinner.  I suppose it would be bad form to show up at the store hosting the game with a picnic dinner. I asked the question on Meetup but no one has answered yet.  So I might cook the burgers at about 4:30 pm. and we eat in the car  and then I'll bring some snacks to maintain my energy level during the game (like PB crackers).

  • Greg blew the leaves off the flat part of our roof.  He hadn't done it in about a year and the oak trees have been masting so it really needed to be done.

  • I cooked the burgers and we packed a dinner to eat in the car. We stopped by RaceTrac and got a pack of candy each as a snack for the game. Once again, I waited to get on the turnpike until the exit after the one I usually take so we saved a little on tolls.  And then we got to our destination and we move the story to the "Failures" section!

  • Gas to drive to the fishing pond
  • Gas to drive to Dicks' Sporting Goods
  • Gas to operate the leaf blower
  • Gas and tolls to drive to East Orlando for the Dungeons and Dragons game

  • A D&D book for Youngest Son

  • I had half a cup of coffee left from yesterday morning's pot so I heated that up and then put some stretched milk in it... but the milk had gone past the sour state into the slightly sour cream state and I don't like chunks in my coffee (!) so I had to pitch the whole thing, including about 2 or 3 cups of milk that were left in the gallon :(

  • A couple of days ago my Kindle Fire updated itself and since then it's not recognizing my mini SD card and so won't let me use the apps that had been downloaded to the card, including Netflix.  Grrrr.  I know it's not a problem with the card itself because it started saying that it couldn't find the SD card after I rebooted it the first night after the update, but I might need to buy a new SD card before I contact them to complain about them pretty much "bricking" my Kindle Fire.

  • So we got to our destination and as we approached the store where the group was scheduled to meet, it became apparent that the store was absolutely packed with people.  It's one of those stores that has very little merchandise in the store because they mostly rent out the space to the big tournaments of Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, etc.  In this case, there were many tables set-up, all of them packed with people, and it was very very loud in the store. My son and I both like our peace and quiet so we both groaned inwardly but still put out a good face for the other, lol.  We saw some D&D books that they sold, looked at them while wondering how we were going to meet up with the guy organizing our game since we didn't have his picture and there didn't seem to be a table reserved for D&D.  Since we were 30 minutes early, we just left the store and walked around the shopping center. There was nothing else to see as most of the stores were closed or empty.  So, with 15 minutes left to wait, I decided to go back inside and ask a store employee. We actually had the nicest guy help us who really went above and beyond in trying to help us because the store doesn't run the D&D group at all, it just lends them the space to play. However, we were told that the Dungeon Master for that group (the organizer on Meet-up) had actually dissolved the group 4 months prior and that no-one had been able to get anyone to update the Meet-up page. Not cool, especially since you can leave a  comment on the page (as I did) essentially warning people that the group is no longer meeting!  So I couldn't get mad because that young man helping us was so nice and not affiliated with the group at all, but I was seething.  All the while, my son and I were actually relieved since we didn't think we would have enjoyed playing in such a loud environment!  So I told my son I'd buy him a D&D book and he picked one so at least we didn't drive all the way there completely in vain.  With that, we ate our candy in the car on the way home and were home at 7:30 pm.  I left a comment in caps on that D&D group's page to alert everyone else that it was no longer meeting, and then on the main group umbrella's page I left a comment telling them how disappointed I was to have wasted my time and money because no one had seen fit to get that meeting off the calendar permanently.  Apparently everything is automated as I had received a welcome message to the group, etc.  Arrgh.

  • RaceTrac: $5.01 (candy)
  • Gaming store: $29.81 (D&D book)

  • Hmm, none, unfortunately!

  • Fed the cats
  • Defrosted meat for dinner
  • Aired out the house
  • Worked on Swagbucks
  • Practiced taking a couple of pictures with my camera
  • Chatted with my next door neighbor
  • Chatted with my son
  • Researched LARP groups
  • Signed up for a D&D meetup and invited my son
  • Talked my son into coming to the fishing pond with us
  • Packed a picnic lunch
  • Practiced sword fighting with my son
  • Went adventuring with Greg and my son
  • Went to price kayaks
  • Researched kayaks and squash racquets online
  • Studied the D&D rules with my son
  • Cooked dinner
  • Drove to the non-existent D&D event
  • Drove home
  • For a great day with Greg and our son!


Nature didn't really want to cooperate this morning as it was foggy and the birds didn't want to come visit the feeders. And then, when there was a female cardinal at the feeder, it got spooked by the neighbor's dogs.

However, I practiced taking pictures of a squirrel on the front tree through one of the Cat Room's windows, and I was super pleased to find that the camera took the picture without showing the window screen!  It's not great quality, I think the blurriness is the "noise" of the window screen, but it's leagues better than what I was getting with my point and shoot!  I swear that squirrel was waving at me with its little front paw, at some point!  That's some cheeky squirrel.


Greg and I went to Revel's pond several times last year and I had gotten cool pictures of mushrooms and several flowers, but I was always surprised that we didn't see a lot (if any!) of water birds on the pond. Well, today, this changed, and I also was able to really test the zoom of my new camera as this is where I was standing when I took most of the bird pictures.  The birds are in the middle of the lake but you can't see them in this shot if you don't know where they are.

But with my zoom....

I'm very pleased with the clarity of the pictures at such a great distance!  My other camera would definitely have produced pixilated results. Those are Sandhill Cranes, of course.

Then I walked a little further along the pond so I was a tiny bit closer, but it looks like the birds were right there in front of me in this shot!

Tricolored Heron and Cattle Egrets
Great White Egret

A bunch of waterbugs taking a bath (yuck!)

Let's try the macro mode:
Apparently, this is the cocoon of something called Abbot's Bagworm Moth.
Small Fruited Beggarticks

Prairie Iris (Anglepod Blue Flag)
Narrowleaf Blue Eyed Grass

I hope you're all having a great weekend!


  1. You are such a fun mom! Too bad the D & D event turned out to be a non-event, but full marks for making the effort to attend.

    Nice pictures! Glad the new camera is to your liking. Cute squirrel, too. :)

  2. What a bummer that the D&D group is no longer meeting AND that no-one had seen fit to update the group page. That kind of thing makes me nuts, too. But still, it sounds like you had a really wonderful day with your son, so that is a pretty good thing.

    I can't get over your photos! That squirrel--you really captured his attitude! :)

    1. People are very inconsiderate and fewer people have any kind of manners anymore, I find. But you're right, I had a very nice day with my son and that's the most important thing!

      We're going to check out our local gaming store again to see if they have a D&D group we could join. When we first started playing last year they said there was one but I think it was mostly adults and my son didn't feel comfortable playing with adults. He's more mature now and knows much more about D&D so I think he'd be OK. We'll have to go back to the store and ask.

  3. Cool photos as usual! Sorry about the dungeons and dragons fiasco- my son used to play it a lot when he was in upper elementary school. He had several books which he gave permission for younger daughter to sell before she left for college. She was on an ebay rampage and sold her American girl dolls, a full house set, his books, etc. I think she ended up making around $1500 which was spending money at UF. We moved after his 6th grade year and I don't remember him playing it again. Youngest GS has played it also but not regularly. Yesterday I stayed home- all day! I did a little yardwork and am slowly getting the pool in shape. I need to have the enclosure re-screened -damage after Hurricane Matthew- but I am such a procrastinator... hanging head in shame. I bought this house 20 years ago and had the pool put in so it's old. I really enjoyed it but now, not so haha. Maybe this will be the summer I do pool exercises daily. OK going to early church here and then do a few errands which so early only leaves WalMart/Walgreens. I've been craving meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but NOT YET!

    1. Greg used to play years ago as well and he was the Dungeon Master of his group of friends. Back then, he said they only played with paper and pencils.

      Your daughter raised a lot of money selling all that stuff! Admittedly, American Girl doll stuff is expensive and sells like hot cakes!

      I'm glad we never got a pool. It always sounds wonderful in the summer when it's so hot and I wish I could just float in my own pool, but we'd be terrible at taking care of it and I'd obsess over the safety of it. But still, every summer a small part of me wishes we had one.

      I hope you had a great weekend, Nan, and that you were successful resisting the carbs!

  4. Too bad about the Dungeon and Dragon meetup! I hate wasting my time...I would have been really mad, too.

    But fantastic pictures - you seem to learn really fast with your new camera!

    1. Maybe too fast.. as in "I'm not taking my time to make sure the shot is lined up properly" because I was disappointed in a lot of my pictures today. Oh well, I'm still practicing!


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