Monday, September 29, 2014

September Favorites

I have so many favorites this month. I tried to narrow it down, really, but I didn't read a book this month that wasn't amazing.

The Girl From the Well. Oh my gosh. I can't tell you how much I loved reading this book.

It was creepy. It was awesome. I LOVE the narrator. Before I finished reading it, I had to check online to see if Rin Chupeco had written anything else before The Girl From the Well OR if she was going to write any more with the same character--or characters. The Girl From the Well is Rin's first book, but I was so happy to find out that yes, she does have another book coming in 2015. I can't wait.

Now you get to watch the book trailer.

See? Awesome.

I haven't read a book this month that I haven't loved, so you get some more recommendations. First, Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire, which was Baba Yaga meets The Prince and the Pauper. I immediately sent it home with a friend who HAD to read it.

I just finished Conversion by Katherine Howe. You're going to want to put that one on your TBR list, too. It's a modern-day Salem witch trial, played out in a private girl's school (like Chilton in The Gilmore Girls). There are flashbacks to Salem during the original witch trials. The writing is fantastic, the characters are real and flawed, and I promise you'll love it. Now, if you need me, I'll be reading Katherine's latest.

Now for my non-YA book of the month, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. This is a love story, but the characters who fall in love do so in UNUSUAL circumstances. I could describe the plot, but I would suck at it compared to the official summary, so you get to read that instead, courtesy of the publisher:
"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "
From the award-winning author of Eleanor & ParkFangirl, and Landline comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel about love in the workplace.

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?
My friend (and twin) Kelly loved this so much, I had to read it. Later I found out that our friend Tia had insisted that Kelly pick it up because she'd loved it so much. That means Attachments comes HIGHLY recommended by two awesome ladies. If you don't listen to me, listen to them.

Obligatory adorable fanart of Lincoln and Beth by Irena Freitas. Go see more of her artwork on her website or on her Tumblr! She's amazing.

This month I listened to more Tiffany Aching (by Terry Pratchett), Thud (also Terry Pratchett), Attachments (by Rainbow Rowell, I listened to it and then read it, don't you judge me), and Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. All are awesome in audio as well as in print.

Friday, September 26, 2014

So Tired.

Last night I got home from work completely exhausted. I hardly had any sleep on Tuesday night (really, Wednesday morning). I took a nap. This never happens. But I took a nap. I woke up, ate, and I went right back to sleep because sleep is a beautiful thing and it should not be denied.

This is why I never partied in my youth.

Sleep was just too important.

I woke up today and thought, sleep sounds good. But I had just woken up, so instead I went to work. Now I am home and I already want to go to sleep. I feel vaguely ill.

All of this is caused by altering my sleep pattern by a mere two hours. That's it. Two hours. I will suffer from this endless exhaustion until my next chance to sleep 12 hours straight, and then I'll be fine again. What sort of disease is this? What is WRONG with me, that I can't stay up late for one night without this kind of suffering.

Please send help.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Road Trip! Rainbow Rowell Book Signing Edition

Rachael and I set off for Indianapolis on Tuesday to go to Rainbow Rowell's book signing at the Indianapolis Public Library--both of us managed to get out of work a bit early to make this happen. Rachael and I try to see authors we like whenever they come near. I love our mini-road trips.

There was a one-stop shop for boots and ammunition, because Indiana.

And Rachael, who tried to ignore me when I did weird things like photograph her from inches away inside a moving car.

And a giant library.

And lots of people.

And Rainbow.

Not Pictured: Rainbow amazing shoes. I think they were Fluevogs.
And we had a blast.

Rainbow talked about her experience when Eleanor and Park was challenged and how it effected her as a writer (and a person). Then she answered reader questions, which led to much talk about blowing kisses, her writing process, self-censorship, twins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eleanor's weight (here's a great post from Rainbow on this topic), and screenplay writing. At that point, a woman in the crowd tried to tell Rainbow how to negotiate a contract with a movie studio, and it made me think, "Yes, she should take your advice, because clearly you have negotiated so many more sales of film rights than Rainbow has...? Please tell us all your industry secrets." (I always think I am nicer and more understanding of people than I am. Really I have no patience.)

We got our books signed, pictures taken, and decided we needed food. All the Thai places were closed (tragedy!), so Steak and Shake became the place to go, because cheese fries. We drug our friend Maureen along. There is no escape.

While Maureen moved her car, a man came up to Rachael's car and randomly demanded $0.35. He said something like, "I don't want to scare you, but I need thirty-five cents to catch this bus." And he pointed off toward where a bus once was or would someday be again.

All I could think was, "Dude. You so wanted to scare us. You don't come up to a car with all its windows rolled up and with two young women inside to talk through the window if you don't want to make them uncomfortable enough that they pay you $0.35 to go away. You do that to be creepy."

At Steak and Shake, there were windows facing the street. Through the windows, random shoppers and business people stared in at us while we ate. One old man looked right at me and wiggled his eyebrows. And I thought, "The library must have closed."

(It had.)

If you haven't read any of Rainbow Rowell's books, I highly recommend them. She writes for both teens and adults. I finished Attachments a few weeks ago, and I ADORED it. And I can't get into how much I love Eleanor and Park, because it randomly makes me cry because its written so beautifully. Fangirl's Kat could easily have been based on me in college (or me now, to be honest), which makes me love it as if it were a part of me. Seriously, read Rainbow's books. DO IT NOW.

Sneak Peek

Folks, it's currently 1:14 AM. I just got home from seeing THE Rainbow Rowell at a book signing with Rachael, and I cannot wait to tell you all about it. But I need sleep. Tomorrow's post will be a tad late, but it will include the following:

  1. Cheese Fries 
  2. Thirty-five cents 
  3. BOOKS
Thanks for your patience, lovelies!

Monday, September 22, 2014

How to Knit a Hat

Buy a yarn on the internet because you like what it is named. Force Rachael to deliver it to you so you don't have to wait for shipping. Also because this means Rachael has to meet for dinner, which means bonding time.

Pet the yarn for a week or more. It is yours now. It is like a baby you don't have to feed.

Resolve to begin knitting. Take your yarn and place it on a swift. Notice that it has only one tie. Mutter under your breath that one tie had better not mean thousands of knots. Use a ball winder to wind the yarn. Discover continuous problems because there was only one tie holding the yarn in place when it was twisted into the hank. Swear profusely.

Spend one hour untangling the yarn. Call family members into room to press "Continue Playing" button on Netflix because it has decided to stop and check if you're still alive when you actually are and you don't need Netflix to keep judging your lifestyle. Finish untangling.

Go outside to collect wood because you forgot and there's a library display that needs it. Remove corpse of dead toad from driveway. Cry.

Rewind the yarn on the ball winder to make it look like an actual yarn cake.

Pick a pattern. Decide to make many changes to the pattern, because it is clearly flawed, despite the fact that every finished project made using the pattern is gorgeous.

Look for needles. Discover that the size needed is currently being used by fellow knitter with whom you live. Grab a random needle and cast on. Discover that gauge is too loose. Grab another random needle. Repeat as necessary until happy with gauge.

Use old favorite hat to determine finished measurements of new hat.

Change mind and grab several other hats all of which have different elements that make them ideal.

Carry all hats with you as you knit. Become known as crazy hat-lady who keeps four hats inside her purse at all times, not counting the hat-in progress.

Realize that this might be why you're still single. Shrug. Continue Criminal Minds marathon until hat is complete. Repeat as necessary until spring.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Am a Knitwear Designer and So Can You

Yes, that was a play on the title of Stephen Colbert's book, I Am America and So Can You. Sorry I'm not sorry.

I knit a hat. It's a cozy hat, and I made it with Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label, in case you were wondering. (You weren't.) It's yellow. It's pretty. The pattern is Mont Royal, and it's FREE (which we all like). The designer is knitshep on Ravelry.

I shamelessly stole asked nicely for this photograph from Rachael because it's the only picture of me actually wearing the hat. See? Isn't Rachael a good photographer?

I took this picture of Rachael, and she looks like she is being bathed in holy light. I choose to believe this is because she IS being bathed in holy light and not because I am a bad photographer.

The look on Rachael's face is one I see a lot. It says, "What are you doing?" And also, "You are pretty strange, but I tolerate your oddities."

After I finished the hat, I had left over yarn, and so I decided I needed fingerless mitts. I pulled out my go-to pattern, and I thought, "This is not the right gauge for this yarn. And it won't look like the hat. I want it to look like the hat. So I stretched the ribbing over my wrist a bit, cast on that number of stitches, and knit some ribbing. Then I did MATH on PURPOSE to figure out how big I could make the cable section of the pattern. I increased a bit after the ribbing instead of going up a needle size. It ended up being six stitches. Which I guess is "a bit." Whatever.

I established the cable pattern and then thought, "Hey, I need a thumb." So I did thumb increases. It was a thing.

And then it was done. And I did another one. And now I have fingerless mitts I sort of kind of designed for myself. I mean, I didn't make up the cable pattern, but these are mitts that came from my brain, so I designed them, right? I'm going to say yes.

I might be a bit proud of them. They fit the hat perfectly, which was exactly what I wanted. I might try this making up my own pattern thing again sometime.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Overnight Shipping Is a Lie

I should have had this post up for you this morning, but I forgot today was Wednesday. That sort of thing happens to me. I'm sure it happens to you, too. It happens to everyone.

In my defense, my throat hurts. That's probably because I mouth-breathe in my sleep. Who knows.

Dad is off to Colorado (again) today. He will probably cross paths with his cellphone, which still has not arrived at our house.

Let's dissect this.

He came home on Saturday. The cellphone was (presumably) mailed on the same day. It was sent OVERNIGHT, which would put it's arrival time on Sunday. Sunday is not possible. No post on Sundays.

So Mum thought it would get here Monday. I assumed Tuesday, because we live in the middle of nowhere, making it a longer trip for our mail. It gets sorted and sent to a town near us, where it is sorted again and sent to our post office. From there it is given to a mail carrier and brought to our home. UPS still has no idea where we live, so when UPS tells us something will arrive on a certain date, we know it will come the next day, regardless of tracking. Still, we had no idea if the package would come UPS, FedEx, or USPS. Or with some other carrier I don't know.

It did not come on Tuesday. It has mere hours to arrive before Dad leaves. The chances are not good.

Meanwhile, poor Dad went to the dentist and they filed down his offending tooth. The dentist thinks he can still fill it without taking the whole thing out. Worst case scenario is a crown. I thought that tooth was doomed for sure, so good news!

Monday, September 15, 2014

All the Broken Pieces (of My Family)

So, my family is falling apart. Pieces of us are breaking. It isn't just me anymore. It's contagious. We are clumsy in my house. And my family will all tell you that I am the most accident-prone of the bunch. But this week I was not alone.

Dad had to go to Colorado this week. I got a text message soon afterward that said simply, "One of my teeth just completely fell apart." Yes. Dad was eating popcorn and he was chewing what he thought was a particularly resistant kernel, when he discovered that it wasn't a piece of popcorn he couldn't bite through, it was a fragment of tooth.

He was pretty lucky though, because the tooth had been worked on before, and a piece of filling was still hanging on, keeping the nerve from being exposed and causing him immense pain.

My immediate response was this: "YOU CANNOT TRUST A TOOTH."

Just when you think your teeth are there to help you, they betray you in the worst way possible. You bite into a candy bar and think that it has glass in it, and that the settlement from the candy bar company will pay your way through the college of your choice, and then you realize that it isn't glass in your candy bar, it is tooth. And the tooth is yours. And instead of paying your way through college, you have to pay your way through major dental reconstruction and THEN pay your way through college.

That might have happened to me.

Dad gets to go to the dentist today.

Meanwhile, he left his cell phone in Colorado, and his sister dropped it in the mail, so hopefully it will show up today, too.

Just when you think that with the wasp sting (which has finally deflated but still itches and burns like it is filled with poison ivy) and the broken tooth, we've been plenty destroyed. But no.

Mum was walking across the house on Thursday and bumped her foot against a chair. It didn't hurt too badly, but when she looked down, she saw that her pinkie toe was lying on top of the toe next to it. She was on the phone with The Brother and leaned down to touch her toe. The Brother then got to hear what sounds a human makes when they notice their toe is dislocated and then accidentally relocate it.

Mum's poor toe. She can barely walk. She keeps touching it and saying she'd feel better if it would just "lie down." Meaning, if the swelling would just go down a bit. Poor Mum.

Awesome artwork on this post is not my own creation. If it belongs to you or you know where it came from, let me know and I will give credit where credit is due.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Benadryl The Gilmore Girls and Lizzie Bennet

I found out last night that Netflix will have The Gilmore Girls available for streaming starting on October 1st. Clear your calendars, everyone. It doesn't matter that I have the series already, I am still excited. For two reasons: 1. More people will be willing to talk about The Gilmore Girls with me at length and 2. I won't have to stand up and change discs in my DVD player anymore.

That is how lazy I am.

I could use all the help I can get right now, because my wasp-stung finger now feels like a piece of overripe fruit, about to break open and be devoured by insects. It itches. It burns. It will not go away.

Yesterday I bought myself a chocolate shake just to make myself feel better.

Today I am taking Benadryl at work and trying to stay conscious while sitting at the circulation desk. I feel weird and floaty. I think I bought lots of tea. I can't remember how much.

It's also possible that we have a drug dealer who has set up shop outside the library.

So instead of writing you a real blog post, I am going to distract you by giving you this:

It is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a contemporary re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. My friend Kate told me to watch it, and it is hilarious. Usually I ignore modern-day (or any) Austen-inspired offering, but this is so well written that I adored it. You must all watch it.

To get the full story, go here. The characters talked to each other on Twitter, Lydia made videos, and the story got so much bigger than what's in that playlist. Enjoy. While you watch that, I'll be over here trying to convince acquaintances, friends, and loved ones to remove my finger using various household implements. I'll also be watching Emma Approved.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sadistic Little Winged Hate-Filled Buzzing Chunks of Crap

Sometimes nature is pretty. There are butterflies. Birds. Flowers and junk. Stuff looks nice, and you walk around and breathe in the fresh air and think, "This doesn't suck."

Is that just me? No. Of course it isn't.

Monday I was walking through a parking lot. And parking lots aren't pretty or anything. There are even songs about how not-pretty parking lots are. But you walk through them, usually at least once a day, unless you didn't bother to leave your house that day. Who knows. Maybe you're a recluse. Maybe you've been marathoning the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and it was way more important to watch that then go outside and see sunlight and interact with other human beings. Trust me, I get it. I have been there.

Me. Parking lot. Book in my hand, because that's what lunch is about. Lunch is for reading. But my book felt like something weird was on it. I thought it was a straw wrapper, because I was just in my car and I swear straw wrappers replicate in my car, like every time I turn around they double. And then I close my eyes and they double again. And again. And now I have a batch of self-replicating straw wrappers that will eventually fill the car and take it over, leaving me with no recourse other than to start biking 20 miles to work everyday.

The second I felt my hand brush against it, before the thought "straw wrapper" could fully form into words in my brain, the straw wrapper was actively stabbing into my hand with its stinger, because it wasn't a straw wrapper it was a FREAKING SOUL-SUCKING WASP.

That flipping bug of Satan, the spawn of the unholy, wasted no time after seeing movement, because wasps believe in nothing but screwing humans over the second they see you or come near you. They see you walking and they think, "RUIN DAY OF HUMAN" and "DIE DIE DIE DIE." Actually wasps probably only think the latter thing, because they are wasps.

It stung me on the pinkie finger, right at the top joint, where the finger is really narrow and so blood vessels and nerves and stuff are right there, easy to reach. I quickly killed the thing dead (or scared the freaking crap out of it) by exercising the Laura Maneuver, which is sort of a combination jump, swap, and flail. It usually results in insect death, but wasps aren't insects, they are the spawn of the beast, risen up from the pit. They don't die like other things die. They carry on, intent on ending their victim (me) and our entire species.

By the time I'd entered the restaurant (Pizza Hut), my finger was numb and yet somehow managed to hurt worse than the pain I experienced after I paid some guy I'd just met thousands of dollars to use a combination vacuum / leaf-blower, tweezers, and a camera to rip out one of my less-vital organs through my belly-button.*

I have a lot of minor aches and pains, but few ever make me just want to cry. This did.

The last time a wasp noticed stung me, I was in gym class and ended up with a living insectoid hypodermic needle stuck in my arm and ended up traumatized for life. It still didn't hurt like this sting did, and I didn't even have to run the mile after being stung this time.

At one point Monday, I could not bend my entire hand because it was so swollen.

Wasps SUCK. They are like suck on wings, except that implies a certain level of cool that wasps can't have, because they are literally manufactured out hate and misery siphoned off of society and condensed into something living. They are evil incarnate. At least bees have a use. Wasps just exist to ruin peoples lives, taking as many victims as they can before they eventually are absorbed back into the dark forces lurking in our universe.

The way I see it, bees have a gun with one bullet, so they use it to protect the hive or themselves if they HAVE to. They die if they strike, so they don't do it lightly. Meanwhile, wasps are like Jeffery Dahmer, they kill for fun because they like it. They are sadistic little winged hate-filled buzzing chunks of crap. And they are everywhere.

* AKA, gallbladder surgery

Monday, September 8, 2014

LUSH and Things That Make Life Better

Today you get a completely random blog about LUSH, because it makes me happy and this blog is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship, so I can randomly write about bath and body products if I want to. (Ha. Take that, world at large. I win at something.) I went to LUSH this weekend to pick up refills of things I cannot live without. This is usually a quarterly event during which I spend way too much money and walk away very happy, even if I am poor.* Sometimes Laura needs presents. And the presents usually come from LUSH.

Why do I like LUSH so much? They use natural ingredients. This means I am not allergic to the chemicals inside soaps or shampoos...because there aren't any nasty allergens inside the soaps or shampoos.

Not only that, because their scents come from herbs, fruits, flowers, and the like, I am not poisoned by them. There are still some products I have to avoid, because I'm allergic to nature as well as to chemicals, but there are a huge number of things I can pick up and...use. And after I've used them, I can go on with my life without an asthma attack, rash, chemical burn, sneezing fit, or migraine. VICTORY.

Without further ado, here are the three things from LUSH I can't live without.
  1. My favorite soap is Honey I Washed the Kids, which looks like a piece of honeycomb and smells beautiful. I first discovered it on a trip to Chicago with Rachael, and I haven't gone without it for more than a week or two since. It's gorgeous. If someone at LUSH tells me something else smells like Honey I Washed the Kids, I buy that other thing, too (including the Honey Bee bath bomb and Honey Trap lip balm--both of which are awesome). If I could arrange to have everything in my life smell like this soap, I would make that happen. Imagine if library patrons all could smell like Honey I Washed the Kids instead of like stale cigarette smoke, body odor, and filth...what a beautiful world that would be.
  2. We have hard water, so I am constantly in search of a clarifying shampoo that can remove soap residue. I Love Juicy is the best shampoo. Not only does it smell like a pack of Juicy Fruit (does anyone else remember how good that gum smelled?), it also does brilliant things for my hair. If you have gross water, I Love Juicy is the shampoo for you. I use it every other wash to keep me from looking homeless--a never-ending struggle--and it lasts forever. The tiny bottle lasted me three months.
  3. It took me years to find a scentless lotion. I tried everything. I used something from Neutrogena that went on like wax and kept my hands sticky for hours. I tried a multitude of other products that CLAIMED to be scent-free, but really had a smell. (Stop lying, cosmetics companies. We know when things have a scent. We have noses.) I finally found a hand lotion by Aveeno that has NO smell and actually works. It was a great day for me. But then I got a sample of Sympathy for the Skin, which made me think of a Rolling Stones song, Sympathy for the Devil. And I tried it, and I'm NOT allergic to it. It has a GREAT smell. And it is actually moisturizing. It's wonderful. It smells like happiness. I bought the full-size container on my last LUSH trip, back in June, as my reward for running the 5K without dying. It was like a medal, but useful.
In addition to my soap and shampoo, I tried a lip color this time, Believe. It's a bold pink/orange color and I'm liking it so far. It's matte, but it doesn't feel overly drying. It lasts for ages without reapplying and when it does wear off (after meals) it does so evenly (no bizarre patches of leftover color).

Do any of you have LUSH favorites I should try out? Let me know in the comments!

* Author's Note: For the purposes of this blog entry, please ignore that I spent too much money on bath and body products. It happens to all of us.

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Brain HURTS

As I write this on Thursday, it is the fourth migraine day in a row. It's gone on since Monday. As I write this, I'm lying in the dark in my room with the brightness setting on my laptop at the lowest point possible, waiting for some kind of relief.

I developed this migraine halfway through our zip-line tour on Monday. It was dreadful. I barely made it home before I threw up. Migraines do that. At that point, scents, light, sounds--they all HURT. Tuesday I still had a headache, this time on the other side of my head. By the time I left work, it was a migraine. Wednesday it was back on the other side of my head, and a migraine. I slept half they day, felt better, went to work, and came back home with another migraine.

This morning, migraine. It's dreadful.

I've decided that there's only one way to stop this, and I need help. I think if we go all medieval on this problem, it will get better. Someone should come over here with a drill, and we'll relieve the cranial pressure Hieronymus Bosch-style.

Detail from The Extraction of the Stone of Madness by Hieronymus Bosch. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

Okay. Maybe that's not rational. And, unless you are really crazy or on drugs or have a doctor telling you need brain surgery, you don't go drilling holes in your head. But at the moment, it feels like anything would be better than this.

Before you start worrying, I have seen a doctor about this before. Migraines, in my case, are caused by either allergic reaction--caused by a sinus headache gone awry or eating nitrates (found in processed meats like hot dogs or lunch meat)--or by hormone levels. It could be either thing this time. I ate an awesome sandwich with hard salami on it on Monday. It also could be that this is the week off the pill I take to prevent endometriosis--which is a hormone regulation pill. Either thing could have caused this.

Knowing what's causing it doesn't make me feel any less like a character in a Monty Python sketch, though.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dad's Amazing Race Birthday: Part Two

On Monday, we gave Dad another clue envelope. Inside were driving directions. He followed them, finally arriving at Zip Timber Lake in Huntington. There were no huge signs, so he was clueless. I gave him a present--a diaper--and then another clue envelope. It told him what was coming, a zip-lining tour for Dad, Mum, The Brother, and I.

I'd done the course before with Rachael, so I knew what was coming. The rest of my family were new to zip-lining. It was entertaining. Especially because The Brother kept announcing he was "Fine" and this was "No problem." Except I could tell he was freaked. He got more comfortable after the first few zips. Mum never quite learned how to stop, and she developed an overwhelming need to perfect the art of stopping before slamming into the platform. My favorite moment was when she was crossing one of the bridges and Dad shook it as he crossed behind her. Here's the video (The funny starts at about the 50 second mark).

I took as many videos as I could, just so I could get all the funny stuff recorded. It was a blast.

At one point Mum turned to me and said, "I'm a bit tired of being brave." She really was brave. For someone to hurtle at epic speed at trees all day, unable to figure out how to stop? I can't imagine how scary that would be.

I had made Dad a chocolate cream pie the day before, so we went home and cut into it...only to find that the chocolate pudding (which I make all the time) had chosen this time to not bother setting at all. It was chocolate soup, served chilled in a pie shell. Everyone ate it anyway, because they love me. I really would like to know what went wrong this time. It was properly thickened in the just did not set when it cooled. Whatever. Pie is evil.

The zip-line guy, Jonathan, took a picture of the whole family and sent it to me. This is now the most current family portrait we have. The last picture of all of us together is almost ten years old! Apparently we don't photograph things.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dad's Amazing Race Birthday: Part One

Dad is 60 today! I'm sure he's thrilled I told you. To celebrate, I set up an Amazing Race-style series of challenges for him. It started Saturday afternoon, when I presented him with a clue envelope.

I had prepped all the envelopes and written out instructions and driving directions ahead of time. To make everything look really professional, I adapted free printables I found online. Here's what I used. I changed the envelopes to say "birthday" instead of "date," because it would have been creepy otherwise.

His first challenge was a Detour (a choice between two tasks): Shape Up or Ship Out. For Shape Up, he would have to complete the minimum requirements to join the fire department. He'd have to do sit-ups and push-ups, monitored by the fire chief (The Brother). For Ship Out, he'd need to take out our kayak and use an improvised paddle to cross the river, retrieve a leaf, and return to the other side.

He chose to Ship Out.

He fell down the bank at one point, and I thought the race had ended prematurely with a trip to the emergency room, but he was okay. Thankfully.

When he returned with his leaf, he received a Roadblock called Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day. Dad had to write a sonnet (following the official structure of a sonnet--no cheating allowed), directed to his lady love (Mum). If she liked it, she would give him his next clue. If she hated it, she could spurn him and send him back for a rewrite.

Then we sent him to the library for Dewey or Don't We?, a test of his library skills. Dad needs to work on his library skills.

He had to assemble a card from pieces of paper found in books I'd picked out. They all were about things that had happened during Dad's life, or about topics he found interesting, about being aged, that sort of thing.

When he put them all together, he had a quote and another Roadblock, We Like You a Latte.

Dad memorized the quote and walked to Modoc's Market, where the management had kindly agreed to work with me. Dad would walk in, repeat the quote, and receive a latte. I'd prepaid for the drink and left a card with Dad's picture and a copy of the quote. Dad was so speedy, Mum and Paul missed this and I didn't get any video!

We took pictures on Modoc's elephant statue when we finished.

Then, Dad got more route info, which took him to dinner at The Rusty Dog in Huntington. That was the pit-stop for this leg of the race (although not really, because we let him come home to sleep and didn't leave him to fend for himself in Huntington).