A Good Time

The wife and I spent an extended weekend near Branson, MO with my best friend and his wife.  It was a good time in spite of the monsoon that took place Thursday night through late Saturday.  While not my home town, I was Home for the few days we were there.

I grew up going there almost every year until I was 16.  Then after that, not as frequently, but still going every few years or so until about 10 years ago.  Wow, I had not been there for almost 10 years.  I’m so happy I went back.  Great memories were created there, and more were added.

We stayed in a small cabin/house at my long-time choice place to stay while there, Cottage Resort.  It’s on Indian Point of Tablerock Lake.  It’s been there for well over 50 years (my parents were already staying there annually the year I was born).  I love that place. The cabins aren’t much, but they are clean and maintained.  They have 2 bedrooms, and recent upgrades include a 2nd bathroom and a screened-in porch.  The porch was a fantastic addition.  We sat outside a lot even during the thunderstorms on Friday.

We got to do a little fishing.  We didn’t catch much, but we all caught at least a couple of fish.  Just sitting on the lake shore and enjoying the area, though, was more than enough.  The Ozark Mountains are – in my opinion – hands down, the most underrated place to see in the U.S.  If I could get all my life ducks in a row, I would very happily live somewhere around there.

We went to Silver Dollar City.  It was fun… and expensive.  The place has changed some over the near half-century I’ve been going, but there are things that have not changed, either.  I’ll just say that some things are better if they don’t change.  SDC is a cool place to see.  The craftsmen are the highlight for me.  But it’s a theme park and there’s plenty to do and see for adults and kids.  It’s very family friendly.  Again, I have been there many, many times over the 40+ years I’ve existed on this planet, and with the exception of a very few bad experiences with crowds, I’ve always enjoyed going there.

Best of all, though, was the company I kept over the weekend.  When I’m hanging with my best buddy, it’s always a great time.  We stayed in on Friday and played games and talked.  I would argue that it was likely the best part of the whole extended weekend for me.  We just… had a good time.  I can’t wait until the next thing like that comes along.  I will also make sure that one of those things will be returning to Cottage Resort on Tablerock Lake…

Thanks, Thanksgiving and Honey

Yeah, I am thankful for some stuff.  The trip Home to visit for Thanksgiving is one of those things.  I got to see my daughter for a bit.  The family gatherings were pleasant.  They came with minimal drama – something for which I am very thankful.  I got to hang out with my best friend.  That’s always something I appreciate.

Another thing that I am happy to mention is 20 years of marriage.  It’s not our anniversary just yet (couple of weeks), but it is something for which I am thankful for sure.  I look back over 20 years and can’t think of anything I would change.  I can’t come up with any time that I wasn’t “happily married”.  Don’t get me wrong… it has not all been peaches and cream (who says that anymore).  But it has been worth every moment of these 20 years.  My wife is my other best friend.  We get along well and usually have a pretty good time together.  Raising our daughter together has been a great experience.  Just living day to day  married to her has been pretty damn good.  Sometimes it’s been an “adventure”.  It would be boring, though, if there weren’t some bumps and curves in the road.

I don’t feel like I have achieved any kind of milestone with a 20th anniversary.  I guess I don’t see it that way.  I was not setting a goal back then.  I wasn’t trying for some grand achievement.  I just decided that I wanted to spend my life with her.  I fell in love.  It’s that simple.  I guess if I didn’t feel a little proud, I wouldn’t be posting it here, but I haven’t chosen my life with her based on a challenge or desire to “win” something.    The bottom line is that I am very thankful for making that decision so many years ago.  I will continue to be thankful for this life with her.  Thanks, honey, for making that decision back then, too.

 

Distractions and Thoughts

Well, once again, it’s been a while since I posted.  I apologize to those that actually give a shit.  As for the rest of you… meh.  I’ll apologize to you when you decide to care that I’m posting.  How’s that?

I’ve let myself slip into a routine that involves coming home and gaming most every night lately.  I have really been enjoying gaming with my best friend and the rest of that group.  It really has been a good time.  I suppose another reason for this, though, is the fact that it is a distraction from day-to-day life.  There are some big changes on the horizon for my family and me.  So, it’s just been a preference of mine to come home, eat some dinner with my family, then plop down in my rig and play some games with friends.  That way I can take my mind off what’s coming.

The first big change is my daughter heading off to college.  While it’s been my wife and daughter doing most of the prepping for this, it has definitely been on my mind.  I’ve been paying attention even when I’m not directly involved in the preparation.  I’m the one looking over shoulders and trying to figure out how all this is going to make it to the college, making sure the vehicles -especially the one going with my daughter – are in working order and thinking about how to make all this happen in as simple, safe and sane of a manner as possible.  I just want to make sure that her move into a dorm room is as painless as possible, so that she can settle in and focus on dealing with college.

The other big distraction is the fact that somewhere in the midst of all this, I decided to change jobs.  I was contacted by a colleague that left where I’m currently working a while back, and he offered to put me in touch with his boss who happened to be looking for a engineering technician.  As someone who makes it a point to never pass up the possibility of bettering my situation in life, I decided to go for an interview.  The interview led me to an offer for something that appears to be a better opportunity for me.  That, of course, prompted me to start the process of accepting the offer, thus going through the hiring process and then giving notice to the place where I’m working now.  I have no problem admitting that I have been dealing with some angst over this whole process which, by the way, is not quite over.  I don’t start the new job until the first of next month.  Needless to say, I’m nervous about this change.  It’s a different industry and a little bit different employment situation than anything else I’ve dealt with over the years.

The decision to change jobs was not  easy, but I have come to the realization that my situation where I am is not what it could be.  So, I decided to take a chance on this new thing.  I’m hoping for the best.  Wish me luck?

I haven’t even been racing.  I definitely needed a break from it, but it has not been easy for me to get back into it.  I’m not sure why, either.  Part of it is being busy and distracted by everything I mentioned.  I guess I feel it takes a level of focus and commitment that I didn’t feel like I could and/or want to give… until just the past couple of days 🙂

Today, I kind of insinuated myself into spotting for one of my fellow iRacers and his teammate for an endurance race.  Clark, I apologize if I pushed myself into the situation without permission, but I had a lot of fun up to the point I got called away.  Thanks for letting me hang out and “help”.  Since that, I’ve done some practicing.  I guess in spite of being distracted and nervous about life events, the “dust” is settling enough for me to want back into the race 😉

To my buddy and gaming group: I may not be gaming with you guys as much.  I hope you’re okay with that.  I miss my hobby, and I think it’s time to get going on it again.  I still plan on trying to be around for Survival Sunday and a couple nights or so a week.

Now for Mind the Shadows…

I haven’t lost interest.  But I have gotten a little lazy with all this other shit on my mind.  I need to put some time into that, too.  It may be fewer and further between for reasons, but I definitely want to continue the story.

With my daughter leaving, I want to make sure I’m around for my wife.  She is far more sentimental about my daughter going off to college than I am.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll miss her, too, and I am concerned with making sure this college thing goes as well as possible, but I’m a bit more… forward-thinking?  I am the type of person that looks forward to the “next part of life”, if you will.  I would not change having my daughter and raising her for the world.  It has been awesome.  But I won’t lie and say that I am not looking forward to being an “empty nester”, either.  It will be nice not having to plan my daily life around what’s going on with my daughter in grade school.  I enjoyed it all for sure, and I’ll even miss it some. But like I said, I’m looking forward to not having to make sure something my wife and/or I want to do isn’t interfering with some school event.  I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter become her own person and take charge of her own life, and I’m looking forward to having the freedom that gives me.  I guess I’m just always a little curious to see what happens next…

Well, enough for now.  I’ll try not to let it be so long again before I’m jabbering about life shtuff again.

Wandering…

So, a couple things are on the brain…

First,  I have a family member that has been in a bad way for a bit now.  I’ve mentioned this before in another post.  Anyway, the family decided that this person needs more help than they can readily give to keep this person safe.  My family is getting older… and fewer.  This person simply has lost the ability to function safely while alone.  I was Home when the family had to perform one of the “rescues”, if you will.  It was pretty obvious to me that a bit more vigilance is needed.  So, this person is now in assisted living.  I know the place since I had a great aunt in there.  I personally think this was a good idea.  I’m hoping for the best, too.  The situation now allows for a bit of… healing for this person, or at the very least, a chance to enjoy the good times without having to suffer when shit just ain’t working.

It’s a different thing for me.  This person is one of the aunts/uncles.  This is a person that most of my memories involve someone that, while not necessarily perfect, was with it and capable and an active member of the family… a “not as old” member of the family (kid’s perspective, heh).  The grandparents and great aunts/uncles are a generation removed, and while I was close to all of them – closer in some cases,  I guess there’s an unconscious understanding that those family members are older; thus, their time with the family is more limited, and things like going into homes is… expected?  I hope I’m being clear, though I’m not sure.  I guess this person having to go into a retirement facility ‘hits a little closer to home’.  It has made me stop and think about some things for sure.

On to the other thing… maybe related on some levels?

I’ve been “wandering around” in my spare time.  I’ve had evenings after work where I’m just not sure what to do with myself.  Y’all know that I do the iRacing thing as a hobby.  I love it… but… I have not been involved in racing lately.  In fact, I’ve missed some significant races over the past few weeks.  It’s like I haven’t had the time I need to be ready and meet the requirements, and/or I just don’t want to spend the time.  It’s been truly both scenarios, too.  Obviously, real-life obligations have to take precedence over my virtual racing career, and I’ve had a few things to do in the evenings.  So, some of the time I spend is simply not there.

The other part, though – not wanting to spend the time, is the part that has me perplexed.  I guess I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out on iRacing.  I’m not sure why, but I have certainly been easily distracted by other things.  Part of the distraction is the feeling of being a little burnt out.  The other part, is the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time online with my best friend playing games and “hanging out”.  I’ve been having a lot of fun with that.  Since he’s not an iRacer, spending time with him is time NOT spending time on iRacing.  That is something I’ve been… okay??? with.

As silly as this may sound, it really is a dilemma for me.  I like to race.  I like a lot of the guys I race with.  I consider most of them friends.  I just have felt more compelled to hang out with my buddy of nearly 30 years.  Yeah, I’ve been friends with Matt for almost 30 years now… wow.  Maybe this thing with my one family member going into assisted living has got me more aware of the limits on time I have with my family and best friend.  So, I have definitely been more willing to give up time for iRacing lately, in favor of time hanging with Matt.

I hope the iRacing friends that read this understand.  I’m not gone for good, and I’m not mad at you guys.  I just have not gotten that wound up about either of the leagues over the past few weeks.  I’ve screwed myself out of racing in one league by not meeting minimum practice requirements.  And the Texas League on Thursday nights has been neglected because by that time of the week, I’m just not feeling it.  I don’t know.

My final distraction is Mind the Shadows.  I have been making some effort on the next chapters.  That effort, though, is not yielding fruit… yet.  I have been feeling compelled to write, but I have deleted and re-written a lot lately.  And I’m STILL not sure if I’m happy with it.  Anybody that writes will get it.  It’s been… frustrating.

Anyway, that’s enough bitching.  I promise to try and be more entertaining in future posts.  I just felt like I needed to one, make a post, and two, let folks know that follow this where my head has been.

Thanks for listening…

Game Night!!!

Game Dice = Blog 012916

So, my buddy, Matt, has been working up a Shadowrun (A video commercial) campaign that he wants to run online.  He bought a piece of software called Fantasy Grounds.  With that and some other readily available pieces of video/chat software, a group of us can run a tabletop, “IN PERSON” game.  I’ve been invited as one of his starter players.  I am very excited.  I haven’t gamed – tabletop RPGs, that is – in quite a long time, and I sorely miss it.

We’ve discussed his plans on how and when it will run.  It sounds very promising.  Between our two twisted brains, we will likely be able to pull it off quite well.  We’ve also discussed the possibility of streaming it live, though we’re not sure how that will work just yet.  Either way,  I can’t wait to try it out 🙂

The last time I gamed regularly with my best friend was back in the early ’90s.  I’ve had the opportunity to get in on a couple of game nights with his regular group when I’m in town now and then, but that is a rare (but very fun) thing.  Here is a little insight what tabletop RPG gaming has meant to me.

Why don’t I get a group of my own where I live?  Oh, I have had a few groups, including a group where I taught my daughter and some of her friends to game.  I had great fun with these groups.  A couple of them lasted a couple of years or more.  But they also disbanded, in time, for various reasons.  And the truth for me is that it is difficult to find the RIGHT people for a good gaming group.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve quite likely gotten more picky about the people I like to game with.  That is on me for sure.  I have also discovered it takes the right chemistry with the folks in a gaming group to make it really enjoyable.  I have probably become too picky, to be honest, but the time I have now for such an endeavor is more limited for many reasons.  Thus, that time is more valuable, and I don’t want to waist it gaming with folks that don’t give me the experience I want.  Again, that is on me, but I am very hesitant to compromise like I used to do now and then.

Nonetheless, it looks like I have an opportunity to get into tabletop RPG gaming with my best friend again.  This is thanks to technology that now allows nearly real time face-to-face communication along with some software that aids in running the game mechanics.  I am truly looking forward to trying this.  If it works, the time needed will be well within the limits I have, and the folks my buddy has chosen to kick this off are good folks to game with (I already know this from gaming with them when I’m at Home to visit).

Wish us luck…

 

B.U.I. (Blogging Under the Influence) (PG-13)

Blog 012916  WARNING, I’M DRINKING!

Fueled by the effects of ethanol and swooned by the melodic sounds of 80’s and 90’s rock, the word smith has chosen to bedazzle…  oh who the fuck am I kidding?!?!?

So, the consumption of Jack and Dew is currently taking place, and I decided to make an entry in this here blog thingy.  Good idea?  Not my fuckin’ problem <grin>.

I’ve got a lot going on in that abyss on my shoulders.  I have reached a stalemate between Mind the Shadows motivation and other ideas ricocheting around in there.  I am currently enjoying a World of Tanks feed from my best friend on Twitch.  I just finished playing a little 7 Days to Die; it’s a zombie survival game to which I currently find myself having a mild addiction.  Oh… I also raced last night. That didn’t go very well.  And yep, I’m drinkin’ a little 😛

As for Mind the Shadows, I am missing that next piece of inspiration to drag my muse kicking and screaming back to chapter 7 and beyond.  I know I have to get Marek and Jammer on the same page so that they can work together getting Marek’s shit together, and that’s great.  It will likely increase the bond they already have when Marek shares his big secret.  Jammer will definitely want to know more and help his friend deal with it.  In fact, I think it should be pretty easy to tie that off and take the next step. I need a catalyst to push that over the edge, though, and I kind of got one, right?  Yes, Jammer is going to look into who tried to connect to Marek’s Net box.  But I’ll be brutally honest;  I don’t have a damned clue who that is yet.  I suspect figuring that out is the key to getting this road on the show again, but I’d be shittin’ ya right now if I told you I had any idea who that is and exactly what’s going on there.  I think that’s the big stick in the mud.

The other ideas are one each of sci-fi and fantasy.  The fantasy is some older shit that I kinda want to revive from my gaming days, but the needed work, as I perceive it, feels a bit daunting.  I might actually enjoy it given the nostalgia I’m likely to experience resurrecting some game night memories, but I also see the other idea and Mind the Shadows as other avenues to be… lazy?  Less work?  I dunno.

The sci-fi idea is something that’s just starting to take shape in my head.  I haven’t put a word down yet.  I’m not sure if it’s overly original, but I’ll likely have fun writing it if I can actually start to drop that mental turd. Yes, with that remark, I’m allowing for the possibility that it’ll stink <grin>.  I guess I need more head fiber, though.

Oh well,  I guess I’ll knock off here.

The race?  Bah! It was a league race where I got myself into a bad situation on the first lap.  I panicked when someone else made the situation worse and hit a guy that I shouldn’t have even come close to touching in spite of our proximity.  It created some bad vibes.  It was implied that I did something that I know I didn’t actually do – and wouldn’t do, and it kinda torqued me.  I thought I had a better reputation than that.  I think now, though, things are cool between me and the guy whose race I ruined.  No hard feelings, I hope.

Now I’m done… later.

Always a Good Time

So, I went off my normal Saturday night, home alone rail.  I went from watching my best friend and a couple of mutual friends playing 7 Days to Die on his Twitch stream to playing with them.  Normally, I would watch them on the stream and surf the net, play some music and maybe do some writing.  Tonight I just wanted to “hang out” with my buddy.  So, I joined his multi-player game.  I had a great time.

I’ve known Matt for over 25 years.  We became the best of friends by the time we finished tech school together.  He has become family to me.

Every time I visit Home, I make it a point to spend some time with him.  It’s been a while since I’ve been Home, too.  Maybe that’s why I felt so compelled to join in the game tonight.  I need to make sure to do that more often.  I ended up having a lot of fun.  It might not be as good as being there, but it was still time with my friend.  I’m very thankful for that.

I know this might sound sappy, but if you have a close friend that lives far away, you understand.  And if you’re like me, you don’t have many friends anyway.  That’s not a complaint.  It’s a fact of life based on choices I have made.  And I have discovered over the years that those choices were not bad at all.  Again, I am thankful for a friend that has not let the distance be a problem.  Thanks, Matt.  Thanks.