Today’s post comes from Verily Sherrilee

I’m not sure exactly when my family got our first game of Aggravation. It’s like Parcheesi; six players move their pieces around the board to their safe home base. Until you are home safe, if any other player lands on your space, back to the beginning you go. My father didn’t care for it much; he said that since it was a dice game, it was just a game of chance so not very challenging. For a while my sister and my mom and I played against each other – each taking two colors of marbles. After a few years my sister slowly withdrew leaving Nonny and me squared off playing three colors each.

We’ve played Aggravation for decades now – whenever we visit one another, out comes the game and the marbles. My game board had duct tape on the bottom side holding it together and for many years at her house, we had one oddly-colored yellow marble. We each have a favorite die (although I do trade off every now and then). Having gone up against each other for so many years, I can honestly say that Nonny and I play exactly the same game. Aggressive right out of the chute, addicted to the center spot and wildly competitive. Very very rarely does either of us make a move that the other can’t predict.

My dad was right – it’s just the dice. Nonny agrees with this assessment. But we keep playing anyway and while we do win about the same number of games, the pattern is weird. Two years ago when she was here, she won 8 out of 9 games but this past Thanksgiving week I won 10 out of 11. The fact that both Nonny and I remember these stats should probably be disturbing.

What board game makes you competitive?

Encountering the Unexpected

Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota

Husband dines on Mexican food prepared in back of Pakistani-owned tobacco shop on a North Dakota Indian reservation.

He tells owner “We make chapatis and lamb curry”, and shows book of Arabic poetry.

Owner translates, then recites poetry in Urdu, and challenges Husband to read the Koran.

When have you encountered the unexpected? 

Birthday Specials

Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa

On Sunday I turn 75 years old. In the past I have celebrated “landmark” birthdays with gatherings of almost everyone I know. The first one was for my 60th. It was a potluck (I provided ham and turkey) in the basement of church-turned-theater. I called it “The Funeral of my Youth” and decorated with photos from my past. Since I have friends from several different pieces of my life, I asked them to wear a nametag indicating why they knew me and when they met me. I think about 50 people were there. Upstairs in the “sanctuary/theater” a couple friends performed songs they had written in my honor, another sang John Hartford’s “Tall Buildings” for me. A friend and I performed a short play (vignette?) of “I’m Herbert” by Robert Anderson (it’s one of a collection of four short one acts titled “You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running”). It is two old folks sitting on the porch trying to remember their past.

When I turned 64 I threw another party based on the Beatles song. Again in the basement of the small church-turned-theater. Less elaborate, again a potluck but no “performances.” Well, one. We had to hear the song, of course. A friend sang it right before everyone walked out the door.

Then at 70 I invited friends again, even more as my circle had expanded. The church-turned-theater had been purchased for a home, so I found another lovely venue nearby—the Scott House. It is a historic-once-was-a-stagecoach stop between St Paul/Mpls and Duluth/Superior. It was still beautifully decorated from the holidays. The entertainment was the movie “Lumber Jill” where I played a “Creepy Old Woman.” ( ) Another potluck of exceptional tastiness. Another success…another group of 50+ or so. I promised everyone I would do it again…

But this year, even retired and with time to prepare, I opted for a less celebratory event. This year I decided I wanted to meet with people for dinner or lunch in small gatherings so I get to talk to everyone and enjoy their company more one-on-one and spread out throughout the month.

What do you do to celebrate those “special/landmark” birthdays?

Nervous About Numbers

Header photo by Dave Bleasdale on Flickr/Creative Commons 2.0
Today’s post comes from tim
The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: “triskaidekaphobia“; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday“), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”)

way back when dale was first looking for a guest blogger or two when he was going to be away i was assigned was friday the 13th as my date and dale suggested that i do a friday the 13th blog to go with it.

i was thinking i had something else important to say so i used another topic and figured someone would get to it soon.  i didnt and while it surprised me that a couple of friday the 13th’s a year have come and gone without a blog on it, it remains a model of the trail that the stuff we have at our fingertips is what we discuss.
friday the 13th is a day of infamy that comes around on average 2 times a year. it is a day to avoid. i have canceled flights changed plans and done things differently when i realize that friday the 13th is where it is falling. i am funny with numbers.
666 is an automatic no no, i will run like a white tailed deer when i hear the number. i have a guy in new jersey who is a drummer who is a picky picky picky hat guy who has a phone number with 666 in it. it is less obvious  that some others it is a number where the first 3 numbers end in a 6 and then the first 2 on the last 4 are 66 so i guess it is possible that he really never did notice but wow… how could you not? i admit it i am superstitious. i will not walk under a ladder step on a crack or allow 666 in my life. (by the way, he never buys a hat he just makes me answer questions in detail and then decided he really didnt want to spend that much money anyway.)
i had a drivers license issued back whenever it was that minnesota handed out new numbers that had 666 right smack dab in the middle of it. i went to get it changed and was told it could not be done. i stayed on the phone talking to supervisor after supervisor until i got one who said they understood and would deal with it. i hung up the phone feeling better but when i checked back in months later i discovered that nothing had been done or would be done. i went in search of an answer and found one that i plugged in right away. it took over a year to rid myself of the dreaded 666 in my wallet but it is done now.
all worthwhile things take time. if you want to get a deal on your airplane tickets or find shorter lines and the popular restaurants try making a reservation on friday the 13th.
where do you stand on superstition and hows it working out for you?

short and sweet

today’s post comes from tim

clyde made a suggedtion the other day we do a 50 word guest blog offering

i blew past it because he also mentioned he was going to stop writing on his everything is south of here site and i recoiled

(please continue clyde)
so lets try in the same way haiku limits and defines i propose ee prepare 2017 posts of no more than 50 words (title excluded)

jerzy kozinski used to edit snd edit until no unneccessary was allowed to remain

based on that rule 1/2 this post goes along with 7/8 of whst i have to ssy in general

ready set blog

A Sticky Situation

Today’s post comes from Wessew

I’m going to write about glue. All Trailbabooners know about glue. Some of you are/were teachers and may even have made your own glue using flour and water. I recall being taught the recipe in first grade to finish paper-mâché projects. At the time, it seemed rather messy so I have my doubts that process is popular today. The history of glue goes back thousands of years. Affixing one item to another was a challenge to be met by tool makers and construction laborers. Tar, eggs, starch all found their way into everyday use.  For most folks their experience with glue is limited to the basics: Elmers and Super Glue. And typically their knowledge of glues is also basic: “Glue is glue”. Well, that is not true. Indeed, it can be quite confusing to go to the glue aisle of a Lowe’s or Home Depot and be confronted with a dozens of varieties of glue. As reading the fine print seems a lost “art”, I surmise that many failures arise from the assumption that all glues are pretty much the same.

In my floor covering trade, there are hundreds of different glues. Each has specific qualities and recommended usages. But the basic guideline for use is: Read the label. Well, back in the early 70’s, we were doing a project at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The material was delivered to the job site along with buckets of glue. It was cork tile. From Portugal. With instructions in Portuguese. There was no discernible contact information in the material so as Portuguese is not a common language in North Dakota, the University did put me on to a Spanish translator. As these languages are related, I hoped for the best in getting a fairly good idea as to how to use the glue. I missed a step in translation. The glue had to be used over a porous subfloor ie wood or properly prepared concrete. Our concrete was polished meaning it was now a non-porous subfloor. We came in the next day and found the tile we had laid expanded about 1/32 of an inch in each piece causing a peaking effect. The glue had no where to go except into the cork itself. I panicked. Then I remembered a little physics and what could shrink material: Cold. We obtained dry ice and moved the chunks around the floor for hours. It worked!

We still get material from foreign countries but most often it comes with instructions in multiple languages… including English.

Have you ever had a problem with translation?



Christmas Past

Header photo of Adliswil by Parpan05 (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa.

Christmas is not one of my favorite times of the year, Memories are loaded with emotional and physical loss – each of my parents died, I received divorce papers, old reminders of the difficult maneuvering after my parents separated and divorced and remarried. Then there was exhaustion after the long hours working in my father’s retail business wrapping presents, followed by a six hour drive to southern Minnesota to be with grandparents, my parents smoking and arguing what seems like the entire way.

But one Christmas I love to remember: the year I was in Switzerland.

After my first year teaching I quit to travel in Europe. I ended up staying with a family in the small village of Adliswil just outside Zurich. They lived above their tearoom and bakery but also had a home up in the mountains near Einsedeln. The month leading up to Christmas they made candies — delicious Swiss chocolates, many with nummy hazel nut cream. (I thought they were called Moor’s Caps/Moorenkoppen, but I can’t find what I remember them being on the web…so memory being what it is…who knows what they were called.)

Not only did they put up with me, but they graciously allowed me to invite a college friend who was studying in England to join me for the holiday.

On Christmas Eve we drove up to their mountain home. The tree was decorated (did I help decorate it? I don’t remember) with real and lit candles. Interestingly my friend remembers many more details of the holiday than I do, but this we both remember: There was snow. In the evening, we walked somewhere I don’t recall and on our way up along the mountain road a man was riding a bicycle down the road yodeling. A perfect Swiss moment.

Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?

%d bloggers like this: