Saturday, October 30, 2010

Family Fun

While visiting my son's family, we sat at the kitchen table to play a board game as a family. My daughter-in-law is from Canada and she introduced us to one of their favorite family table games. It is called Rummoli and can involve two to eight players. It is a variation of poker, but has rules and a user-friendly approach that made it possible to involve a five-year-old and a two-year-old.

Rummoli has a large board with great visuals and the rules of the game make it easy to teach to a new player--even a five-year-old. It was played with a casual approach and we used buttons, rather than chips or money. That meant I could hold my two-year-old grandson on my lap and play the game while he played with the buttons. He was the official "banker" with a big plastic container of buttons that kept him busy sifting with his tiny fingers and transferring buttons to other containers. We counted the same number of buttons into a little ramikin for each player. My grandson was very generous about giving us loans when we lost all of our buttons. It was a fun session filled with mock insults, teasing, challenges, and we got a little loud in our enthusiasm. I hope the neighbors weren't ready to call the police on the noisy party people.

It reminded me of the visits to my in-laws when my son was tiny. The whole family would sit around the big country kitchen table and play poker. My hubby's grandfather would sit at the kitchen table with a green banker's/poker dealer's visor and play poker for hours and hours. My father-in-law was from the WWII generation and cards were a popular way to pass time in the military. They liked to play weird variations of poker that I had never seen even in a poker book.

The hours flew when the family sat at the kitchen table while activity buzzed all around. Dinner was on the stove, players came and went, conversation was constant. The game was ongoing until a break for a meal required clearing the table. No one took the game seriously and we didn't play for money--just the companionship at a family reunion. There were no cell-phones ringing, no MP3 players, no computers distracting anyone, no TV blasting from the next room. The teenagers didn't need a curfew, they were sitting at the kitchen table playing poker with parents and grandparents. There were lots of people, face to face, communicating, relating to each other and bonding generations with a table game.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Old Ball and Chain

I have several married lady friends who live in different parts of the U.S. and many are friends of forty plus years. They have an individual e-mail account and no other person would be reading our silly conversations so we are pretty open and uncensored in our e-mail conversations. (Yes, I know, nothing is really private on the Internet, but anyone who reads my e-mail is intruding on my privacy and deserves to get shocked.)

My girl friends and I have wonderful conversations by e-mail on a frequent basis, sometimes even daily. Those conversations are philosophical, or newsy, or sometimes family-related. We do a lot of "girl talk" and discuss our lifestyles, clothes preferences, makeup, guys and so forth--a lot of stuff no guy would ever want to read about, or care about. Some of our e-mails get down and dirty and would make the guys' ears turn pink. We write about stuff I would never put on a blog because the subjects are just too personal. I would cringe at airing my dirty laundry in public which is typical of my generation.

Men tend not to be as gabby as women and their male ego, self-respect requires that they communicate about sports, jokes, or stuff you would expect to hear them discuss at work. Men don't usually do the kind of e-mail that I do with my girl friends because the guys don't spend a lot of time on the social type communicating and small talk that women love.

I have some lady friends who for reasons unknown to me, share an e-mail account with their husbands. What? Are they joined at the hip? Do they share a brain? Is this some new way to try to snoop on the guys and make sure they aren't doing e-mail with an online honey? If the guys(or girls) really want to do that, they can always have secret e-mail accounts. If you can't trust them enough that you have to snoop, you've got a real problem and a shared e-mail account won't solve that.

Whatever works for them, and it isn't my business, however it does mean that I don't do e-mail with those girl friends at all. If I don't know which one of a couple will be reading the e-mail, it totally destroys my interest in communicating. Togetherness is great, but I have my limits and I don't send girl talk e-mail to co-accounts.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not a Poet

Not a Poet

I'm not a poet;
Don't I know it!
Need a little rhyme?
I don't have time.

Clever thoughts elude me;
Shakespeare, safe is he.
Never had a verse,
That could look worse.

Mine never seem to rhyme;
Mine don't stand the test of time.
Discard those lines,
Edgar Allen Poe whines.

Not a Poet - A Poem c. by R.J.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

They Win

Just when you think your problem couldn't be worse, someone always has a harder one. This arrived in my e-mail recently.


It's gangs like these that the people of Calgary have to put up with..
A bit different from the problems in other cities...
It proves that every City has their own "unique" gang problems. They
roam the streets and yards night and day.
They hang out in even the best neighborhoods!

..and you CANNOT (legally) stop them.

I will assume that these are elk.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


As much as I enjoy watching the deer that roam my neighborhood, I think their time has come. I don't live close enough to benefit, but Valley Forge National Park in our region will be thinning the herd that roams there from 1,277 to 185. Naturally, animal rights groups are protesting. Their efforts would be better spent trying to develop birth control and implement its use to prevent the overpopulation of deer. I support the efforts of park management  to maintain some balance in nature. When deer overpopulate, they eat so much that they impact the environment for other animals and other animal populations decrease as a result of  their altered habitats.  The deer will be harvested by sharp shooters, dressed for meat, and used for food. I have eaten venison and it is a tasty meat when cooked properly. It is the natural food chain. Deer hunting is legal in the state and most of the hunting is done in isolated areas to be used as food. The hunting in state parks will occur during the state hunting season.  

The deer have no natural predators and only cars thin the herd. A close encounter between a deer and a car results in a dead deer and a total destruction of the car usually, not to mention occasional great injury to the occupants of the car. Deer that are road kill are never harvested to feed anyone. Mayhem on the roads is the least desirable solution to the over-population. They are breeding almost as abundantly as rabbits and the numbers spiral out of control. They carry deer ticks which result in Lyme disease for humans, which my family has already experienced first hand. One can have Lyme more than once which is a constant concern. They eat any vegetation they can reach and destroy yards, gardens and future tree growth.

I love the story Bambi, but I grew up close to nature in the forties and fifties where animals were food. We ate chickens, ducks, rabbits, pork, beef and fish. We would have harvested sheep and goats if they were in the area. To me, it is no different to eat deer just because someone wrote a wonderful story about a baby deer called Bambi. The deer are beautiful to look at, but no one goes around the yard picking up their waste matter with plastic bags or killing their ticks. When we moved to our present home twenty five years ago, there were no deer for over ten years. Suddenly they started showing up when there was a lot of development on farmlands nearby. Now I can sometimes count over a dozen on the property.  Birth control efforts are preferable, but has not been developed or widely used. I would like to see more governmental efforts to control this situation. I have requested this in our area, but so far, the problem has been ignored and it is only increasing, not disappearing. Meanwhile, my yard smells like a horse barn and forget enjoying the yard for gardening or recreation.