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LostSurprise

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About LostSurprise

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    Nomad

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  • Website URL
    http://www.lostsurprise.blogspot.com
  • Biography
    Mother, Writer, Teacher, Gardener, Explorer, Nomad
  • Location
    where pines tower and cranberries float
  • Interests
    reading, writing, gardening, scientific experiments, history, Americana music, flights of fancy
  • Occupation
    making beautiful things

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  1. Thank you so much! I'm loving the Monty Don. I do love gardening and renovation shows in general, but I can't think of much beyond local PBS shows and what I think was Ground Force (if that is the one like extreme home makeover, but with gardens).
  2. Second soprano. Played the violin but love cello, french horn, bassoon, and oboe the best.
  3. Did he have a sleep study done? Moderate-severe apnea can contribute to cognitive decline, especially in word choice and memory. Combined with other undiagnosed medical problems (like undiagnosed diabetes) the mix of irritability, physical and mental exhaustion can trigger panic and anxiety. Not a doctor, I just saw this recently.
  4. As a private contractor can't you ask one of your former clients to write you a reference? If you have a regular client, or someone you're friendly with, even if they are themselves self-employed they should have form letters or titles or banners to use on the reference. I say do that anyway, even if they don't have "a letterhead" because once the reference is in they're probably not going to throw it out. The world does not run on letterheads anymore.
  5. My youngest son is a young teen in the same range of ability as your children. Generally, I find that games that allow you to play on different levels work the best. So a game which allows people to play seriously/unseriously or with logic/with luck. Other games take a dedicated person to either shepherd them through or gently redirect. Games which play well with different levels: Mamma Mia! ~essentially a memory game which has only 2 actions (take a card, play a card). Players play pizza ingredient cards to a center pile. Once you think the pile has enough ingredients for your order card, you play it on top of the pile. Some people can play it with the memory angle (how many of X ingredient are in the pile? Can I play my order now?) and some can play it completely by luck. I find both ways work well and the luck players add a fun bit of chaos to the memory players. Tsuro or Metro~tile laying games where your character follows a path 1 tile at a time. The goal is to continue the longest on a path. This also can be played more or less strategically. Faux-cabulary~a word building game. It works well for early or non-readers as well because it's building silly words from phonemes and others can read the word aloud. My guy giggles at his silly word even when he has trouble reading it. Familiar phonemes are good practice, and there's no writing (players flip dice with phonemes on each side) so play is easy. Crappy Birthday, Faces, or other picture based Apples-to-Apples games~Like AtA, one person is the judge and others submit a card on a subject for their approval. There's no right or wrong answer and silliness is often encouraged. Crappy Birthday is choosing bad birthday gifts. Faces is choosing people or animal faces which fit a subject. Other games exist with the same mechanic and all of them are easy for a wide range of abilities. Dexterity games can be really fun if your children have somewhat typical motor control. Animal Upon Animal (stacking animal figures, but this looks younger and may or may not be acceptable to all teens). Crokinole. Crossfire. Ice Cool. Flipships. Loopin' Louie. Sorry Sliders. Kung Fu Zoo (ds just got this for his birthday and it was a big hit with adults and kids). Operation. Rhino Hero. I'm sure there are more. I'll have to think about it and ask ds for his favorite games later. There are definitely plenty of games he can play with help, but if more than a few people need help I thought it would be easier to name games that need very little help or redirection.
  6. We keep all our new games out on an atlas stand we bought from the library a few years ago. It's full (of course) so this holiday dh, ds2, and I are reading instructions and trying to clear off a few shelves. Anything older than 2 years that we don't play is going into a box for sale or donation. I'm trying to convince dh that no new games are bought until we have shelf space. As much as he agrees, he keeps bring games home. 🙄
  7. Non-fiction: The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb was a really fascinating look at the brain functions and physical actions which affect depression. Unlike a lot of self help books it details small things which are research proven to affect your mood and anxiety levels. Research papers detailed in the back for further information. If you suffer from anxiety or depression or know someone who does, this is a really helpful resource that makes it clear why things happen and what kinds of actions can help create “an upward spiral” instead of a downward one. Runner up: Forest Forensics by Tom Wessels, which takes a look at how humans effect the land (’reading’ whether land was a field or how long ago it was clear cut based on humps, holes, stumps, and rocks). Series brain candy: Martha Wells’ Murderbot series (1st one: All Systems Red), a group of 4 novellas (so each is 150 pgs or so) following the emergence of an AI/cyborg consciousness. At first it’s like a sullen teenager who can’t look at anyone in the eye and just wants to watch television in his room. Over time it struggles with identity and responsibility. All the while trying to keep humans from doing the stupid things which lead to their deaths (it’s a security consultant/guard). I’m not going to argue that it was the deepest thing I’ve read this year, but they are short, action-packed, thoughtful, and they show the evolution of an identity without telling you that’s what they’re doing. Runner up: Differently Morphious by Yahtzee Croshaw, but only if you get the audiobook which is read by the author. He reads it hilariously. It helps to have some understanding of the cthulu mythos. If you think it would be funny if Jasper Fforde wrote The Laundry Files, then you would like this. Fiction: I didn’t over-the-moon love anything this year but I did really enjoy The Coroner’s Lunch, The Curse of Chalion, Cranford, The Walking Man, and Remnant Population. I read Remnant Population recently, but it's probably my favorite fiction of the year. I love that it's a science fiction novel focused on an elderly woman and spends most of its time following her very normal life and feelings (gardening, being annoyed with her DIL, wanting more time to herself). The 'action' doesn't even start until after chapter 7 and serves to develop the main character! People are rewarded not for intellectual pursuit or career success, but for experience, nurturing, courage, and individuality! Pretty encouraging stuff.
  8. I have teenagers, so this wasn't a total surprise, but everyone else has defaulted to cash for Christmas. I find it a bit sad and I still shop for all the nieces and nephew, even though that means hits and misses. *DS19 reacted well to all of his gifts, but I think he liked the Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here record the best. He played it twice that day. He also was attached to the cloud socks which surprised me. *DS18 was extremely close-mouthed this year. I hope he liked his gifts. *DS15 is a tough customer. So tough. He did tell me he loved the large, digital wall clock though. It was a surprise hit. He also liked the robot socks. *DS14 was having a hard day over Christmas so I'm not sure he's connected with anything other than some small Lego sets. He will though. Surprise hits: I made my niece some fingerless elephant mitts out of yarn which was partially angora. She lost her bunny this year. She adored them.
  9. Momma Mia. You can play this seriously or completely un-seriously and it's easy to explain. You have pizza order cards and pizza ingredient cards. Every turn you either take an order or ingredient card from the deck or you play an order or ingredient card to the central pile. When you think you have enough ingredients for one of your order cards you put it on the top of the pile. Anyone else can also do this at any time, thus subtracting ingredients from the pile. So essentially you're watching what's been played and trying to gauge what's been used and what hasn't. You can play it like this or you can play it with a 'feel' for what's been played and essentially taking chances and getting lucky. Both ways can be productive, so it's great to play with intellectuals and young children and you can get a lot of groaning around the table as you reverse the pile and match ingredients to cards. Tsuro. I think this plays 6. This is a tile laying game where you place tiles to move your character forward. Last player to keep moving forward following their line wins. As the board gets full your path can merge with others making it harder to keep moving forward. Incan Gold/Diamont. This is a press-your-luck game where all people have to do is decide to continue searching a tunnel or escape with whatever jewels have been found. If multiple people leave together they must split the jewels. If a danger card repeats (2 snakes, 2 cave-ins, etc.) then you escape with no reward. The person with the most jewels after 7 explorations wins. This is a very easy game, but it does need someone to kind of 'whoop' it up and make it fun. Faux-cabulary. This is a bit like Apples to Apples in that one person is choosing a subject and everyone else is performing to that judge. Phonemes (word parts) are on blocks and people grab 4 at the beginning of every turn. The judge picks a card and reads a definition and everyone tries to create a made-up word which best fits this definition. It can be pretty hilarious and I've never had a non-gamer dislike playing it. It's also fun in that small children can choose completely randomly and still bring everyone to giggles. Crappy Birthday. Another Apples to Apples-type play. One person has the birthday. Everyone else has a handful of terrible gift cards. Everyone picks the worst gift for the judge. The judge chooses which is worst and play goes around until someone has 5 (or whatever number) wins.
  10. I like Above and Below, possibly for the art more than anything else (Ryan Laukat, sigh). It's a fairly straightforward game where you're exploring, building, recruiting. It has a simple story-telling aspect (when you're exploring a variety of things can happen...you pick out a story in a book and choose how you react). It isn't my first choice for play, but it nice when we play it and it can be played casually (not super competitively). Carc expansion: Traders & Builders Games here: I got dh Seikatsu for his birthday. It's a tile-laying game where you're building up sets of birds (which score immediately) while keeping an eye open to create sets of flowers (which are scored at the end). Very puzzley and the tiles have a nice solidity. I'd like to get Welcome to Your Perfect Home which is an architectural roll and write, but I think I may have missed the window on that one.
  11. CBD oil for epilepsy is different than medical marijuana, even though they both come from a marijuana plant. Medical marijuana usually has THC to help relax and therefore help decrease pain. CBD oil sold in natural food stores is different from prescribed CBD oil for epilepsy. They have different expectations by the FDA and different sets of controls. The stuff sold in natural food stores is generally without THC but it doesn't have controls on its other components. Right now it's being sold as kind of a natural cure-all and there aren't scientific studies for most of the things claimed for it. CBD oil for epilepsy does not have or has very, very little THC. THC is the component of marijuana which gives you a high. The marijuana grown for CBD has been genetically modified to not have THC. It is other components within the oil which act for epilepsy. Remember, just because CBD oil helps epilepsy does not mean it works for anything else and it is not a substitute for medical marijuana for those who use medical marijuana. There are several studies now which prove CBD works for some people with refractory (hard to control) epilepsy. I've seen at least 2 of those studies and know many people online who moved to Colorado early on to be a part of the early studies. It's worked very well for a lot of people. My son has progressive epilepsy and we're in a state which has moved slowly through the 'theoretical' approval to the 'how in the heck are we going to regulate this?!' stage, so our son hasn't been on it yet. Our neurologist has said not to use un-prescribed CBD for epilepsy. There are no controls on it right now. It's regulated like an herbal supplement.
  12. We live in the far northern US and we have yearly reminders in the newspaper to 'stop sending your children into the culvert to see the black bear sleeping.' One or another comes through every summer and people get obsessed. Last year they had to redirect traffic because so many people were rubbernecking a bear minding its own business out by the airport. Poor thing escaped into a tree and an officer was dispatched to protect the bear. ?
  13. You've agonized and agonized over this daughter and how to best meet her needs/help her to become a better, happier person over the years. We've all seen it. She can't. She's not in a place where she can. I'm fortunate/unfortunate that I can talk circles around my complicated child, so I hear very little of this. I will say that real-world smackdown has done way more to teach him about himself than me talking ever has. Not that he remembers any of our talks. Sigh. Sometimes we only pave the way so they know what healthy choices look like. Later they can teach themselves because they have a map of the territory. I hold onto that.
  14. Angelina Ballerina (mouse). Daniel Striped Tiger. Skippyjon Jones (Siamese cat). Curious George. Peep and the Big World. Clifford the big red dog. Pingu.
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