Category Archives: Games

Swinging

While walking yesterday, I passed by two boys playing on a tree swing in their front yard – a big yard on a corner.  One boy would sit on the swing, pull it back and then both boys would yell “Three, Two, One”.  Then the first boy would push off in a big arc and the second boy would try to hit him with a large rubber ball.  I guess the countdown was to try to even the odds… hitting the swinging boy looked nigh on impossible.  I pretended to do a doggie clean up so I could watch them a little while longer.  They were about 10 and having a terrific time.

I know that most of us remember playing like this as kids.  One of the games that we neighborhood kids made up when I was in third/fourth grade was called “Dragoons” (yes, spelled the way we pronounced it – no memory of how we came up with this name).  As horrifying as it sounds to my adult ears, we played this after the sun went down in the summer; as soon as we saw a car approaching, we would dart across the street.  If the car lights actually illuminated you, then you had been “dragooned” and had to sit out for a bit.   It wasn’t really a game of chicken, because you were supposed to be well clear of the lights — it probably wasn’t as dangerous as it sounds although I’m pretty sure I never told my mother we were doing this.  I don’t remember any close calls that summer and truth be told, it wasn’t a busy street.

Do you recall a favorite childhood game?  Anything you made up?

Bad News Bears

Our family often exclaims sympathetically  “Bad News Bears” when we hear about the bad luck of others. For the most part, we and our family and friends have not experienced much bad luck, save for one of my uncles who had years of successive crop failures. He was still able to sell his farm when he retired and buy a nice house in town, though.

Today is the anniversary of the bad luck of a woman baseball fan who was at a Phillies game in 1957 when one of the players fouled and the ball hit her in the face and broke her nose. As she was being carried by stretcher from the ball park, the same player fouled a second time and the ball hit her again. Bad News Bears!

Tell  some tales of woe. 

The Underwear Tree

Guinevere and I have been expanded our walking routes, going a little farther and trying out new streets to walk down.  Last week we went down a street in Tangletown that we hadn’t tried before, heading down the hill toward the creek.  As we were walking I looked up and was startled to see a pair of women’s underwear hung on the tree close to the sidewalk.  On closer inspection, I discovered about ten different garments (all women’s undergarments) hanging from the tree.

As we continued on our way, I thought about tee-peeing, which was a popular prank when I was a kid.  I never took part in tee-peeing, but my house was the target of this prank once.  Nobody I knew ever fessed up, so I always wondered if it had been meant for Sam’s house; he was my next-door neighbor and a much more social kid than I was.  I wondered what kind of prank resulted in women’s underwear in a tree in a front yard.  Was this what kids do these days?  Where do they get the underwear?  Thrift shops?  Their mother’s dresser?  Or was it more nefarious – one spouse getting even with the other, hopefully not with a divorce looming on the horizon.

Then I was surprised yesterday to walk that route again and found the underwear still hanging in the tree.  At first I thought maybe the family was not at home the last few days, but there were golf clubs in a bag sitting on the front porch; surely no one would leave town with their clubs sitting out in the open.  The mystery deepened when I got home and mentioned it to YA.  She confirmed that the underwear has been in the tree for at least 3 weeks.  Now I’m really wondering what the story is.

What do you think?

Go Fourth!

With 4th of July events cancelled all over the country and the current political unrest and unhappiness, it seems hard to celebrate Independence Day with enthusiasm.

For many years, Child and I took part in two parades every 4th – the Tangletown Parade and the Richfield Parade.  The Tangletown is a homegrown parade in which kids dress up their bikes and dogs sport their best red, white and blue bandannas in order to follow a firetruck through the neighborhood, followed by a big party at Fuller Park with games, music, face painting and a big picnic.  The last few years I’ve gone up to the high school parking lot where the parade starts to see everybody in their finery and then I head home.  Then later, YA and I go down to Richfield to watch their more traditional, candy-throwing parade.  I got hooked on this parade when YA was in gymnastics and her team was part of the parade line-up.

No parades this year.  Richfield unilaterally cancelled all the 4th of July stuff and Tangletown cancelled the parade and party, but is doing a decoration contest and neighborhood scavenger hunt.  I hadn’t though about decorating (besides putting out all my flags) because I didn’t really want to put any money into it but then something I saw yesterday changed my mind.  In walking Guinevere, we found a house up on the water tower hill that had outdone themselves with their chalk decorations.  Their entire driveway was filled with a huge chalked American flag and then the sidewalk all long their property was covered in fireworks.  Such a low-cost and low-tech way to decorate – I think I’ll get my chalks out in the morning (before it gets too hot).  And I might even have enough Independence Day spirit left over to do the scavenger hunt with Guinevere on our morning walk!

How have you traditionally celebrated the 4th?  What’s different this year?

Knuckleheads and Knuckle Balls

Husband had been so hopeful.  The two libraries in town (Public and University) had been closed until two weeks ago.  The Public Library opened “appointment only”  and he ordered a classic, 1930’s book from inter-library loan about the history of the Great Plains. He has been reading it this week and is pretty happy about it.  He was hoping this was a sign that things were returning to normal.

The COVID-19 numbers had not increased in our county for about three weeks, with a total of 63 as of last Sunday.  That was until yesterday,  when it went up two. It went up because there is this baseball league in town in which young adult players come from other parts of the country, live in sponsor homes, and play baseball all summer. Well, an 18 year old player from Oklahoma came up Sunday, was feeling ill on Monday, and he and one more person tested positive for the virus. Now, all the players and hosts  and their families are being tested. The rest are all negative as of yesterday, but we will have a couple of weeks of continuous testing to see if it has spread. This is frustrating.

How do you think reopening should occur?  How are you doing with precautions?  What will be a sign to you that things are returning to normal?

False Alarm

We had rather a to do here on Monday when the city police issued a shelter in place order for the part of town north of the interstate.  Someone had found a cylindrical metal container, like a mortar shell, chained to a fence near the Department of Transportation lot where they park the snow plows and road graders.  After assessing things, the police determined it was not a bomb,  but a container for geocaching.  Someone attached it to the fence without getting permission from the DOT to do so.

I like the concept of people  getting outside and wandering around searching for hidden objects with their GPS. How fun!  It is too bad the north part of town had to be so alarmed about being blown up.  My friend the General Mills security guard says they get several reports a year of such unsanctioned containers on the borders of General Mills property.

What are your favorite  outdoor activities?  Any good scavenger hunt stories?

 

Speed

Husband is slow. Motorically slow. He always has been slow.  He really can’t do much of anything quickly, and it has been a source of frustration for him that I can do things quickly.  Really quickly.  When I did my psychology internship at a VA hospital in Iowa, we interns were administered  the same  battery of neuropsychological tests that we would eventually administer to the patients.  One of the tests was the Purdue Pegboard, which is a large board with holes for pegs, and you time people to see how fast they can put the pegs in the holes. It assesses bilateral motor speed and coordination. I had the fastest time ever for anyone who had taken the test at that clinic.

Last week, I got a notification from Ancestry.com that recent analysis of my DNA revealed me to have the Sprinter gene, common in athletes, especially in successful short distance runners. I never was an athlete, but my dad was, and he was really speedy.  In high school he could zip around the basketball court so fast that he once caused the boy assigned to guard him to start crying during a game because he couldn’t keep up with him.  He did most things really fast, and I am pretty sure I inherited that gene from him.

What genetic advantage  do you think you inherited? Make up a gene you would like to have.

 

King of the Mountain

The other day I happened to look out the window as three squirrels were playing… I can only call it King of the Mountain – they were taking turns being on top of the snow piles, alternating with a round of Hide and Seek, followed by more King of the Mountain. (Turns out it’s as important for animals to play as it is for humans, according to Dr. Gray, see below.)

There is precious little outdoor play happening around our neighborhood – the one family whose kids would regularly be out playing during the warmer months has moved away. I see several kids walk by afternoons after the school bus deposits them, but I seldom hear see/hear them later on.

So this article, based on the work of Dr. Peter Gray, psychologist, caught my eye yesterday, about what has happened to Play here in our tightly scheduled culture. In the article, “for an activity to truly be considered play, it must:

– be self-chosen and self-directed

– be done for its own sake and not an outside reward

– have some sort of rules/structure

– have an element of imagination

– be conducted in an alert frame of mind.”

Then I found the TED Talk by Dr. Gray, which is even better (16 minutes).

He points out that kids are now more depressed and anxious, largely due to no longer having an internal sense of control over their lives that comes from experiencing plenty of real play. Adequate play allows children to learn to solve problems, get along with peers and practice empathy, be creative and innovative.

Here on The Trail we have told stories of our various play exploits in freer times, and have lamented the loss of this kind of childhood. At the end of his talk, Peter Gray suggests some ways for us to get play back into the lives of children, but first let’s give our baboons here a shot at it:

What changes would you make in our homes, schools, and neighborhoods that would allow more true play to exist for children?

Office Party

Yesterday  from 11:30 until 1:00 pm was my agency Christmas party. It was a potluck for staff only, with the Social Committee supplying deep fried Turkey, cheesy potatoes , and punch, paid for by agency fundraisers over the past year.  It took place in a large and shabby meeting room in the basement of our agency.  All the food was good and calorie laden. I brought cranberry salsa. We played simple games, ate, and returned  to work. What a change from the parties of 30 years ago when Husband  first started at the agency.

The director at that time was a guy who really liked a good party.  He was the first director the agency had,  and he headed our agency for many years. In his mind, a good party was held at the Elks Club or the Knights of Columbus. It was catered, and there was plenty of alcohol and fun, with late night pinochle games. Spouses and significant others were  expected to attend. He somehow managed to find money in the budget to fund it.

Well, things are different now, and I kind of like the change. There is less drama and alcohol-related poor judgement.  It is less fuss.

What are your experiences with office parties?

Armadillos!!!!

I am a calendar person. I love them.  I have multiple calendars at work: one online, my Daytimer, a year-long calendar on the wall so I can look ahead and a month-at-a-time –print out on which I cross off each day as it goes by.  I started doing this last year, to count down to a program that was driving me crazy and after the program was over, I just kept doing it (I assume one of these days I will decide I really don’t need to do this anymore.)

At home I have a pretty calendar on the fridge, a handmade calendar in my bedroom that attaches to a wooden pedestal and a birthday list in my studio that “says” it’s a calendar, but it’s just a listing by month of birthdays so I think that might be stretching it. I also keep a few things on my phone calendar.

In addition to having birthdays listed on the “calendar” in my studio, I also keep birthdays in my Daytimer. This means that once a year I go through the old Daytimer pages and copy the birthdays over to new Daytimer pages.  It’s a relaxing project; this year I used magenta ink.

As I was copying over the birthdays yesterday, I came across a notation on June 27 of this year that said “Armadillos”. It was written in big letters in the after-hours section of the day.  And it had several  exclamation marks and was highlighted!   I have no idea what this was about.  Was it a southwestern-themed bar that I was supposed to go to after work with colleagues.  Was it a concert that someone on the Trail mentioned?  Was it some National Geographic special I wanted to watch?  No clue.

Any idea why I wrote “Armadillos” in my Daytimer?