Saturday, October 31, 2020

Desperately Seeking Joy: Halloween 2020


Halloween was weird this year. We have up some decorations, but it just doesn't feel right. So I'm trying to make today "joyful."

The morning we all kind of had our own little things to do. I ended up watching The Blair Witch Project and then followed it with Paranormal Activity.

My daughter put on her dragon costume from last year and it still fit her!

I made a basic lunch of chicken nuggets and Cheetos Mac n' Cheese.

I spent a good chunk of the day checking the front patio for packages that never came. My husband then reminded me that so many post offices had been told not to deliver mail or to sit on mail, etc. That broke my heart for so many personal and political reasons. 

I decided to be creative for dinner and I made Mummies in a Sand Storm (mummy hot hogs and rice-a-roni). 

After dinner, I received a notification that my bloodwork results had come back. I went to read through them and saw that one of my numbers was low, which indicated anemia. I wasn't sure why, but I got out my iron supplements that I hadn't taken and I took one. Within two hours I felt more focused and ready to do things. So I wonder if some of what I'm going through is related to having anemia.

I just hung out most of the evening and I actually worked on my calendar. Between having some caffeine and taking the iron supplement and the Cider Vinegar gummy, I was getting all sorts of stuff done.

This entry is wonky, but it was a wonky day for me. Not a normal Halloween, but we had a good one as a family and, no, we didn't go trick-or-treating like so many people in our community.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Desperately Seeking Joy #7


Seeking "joy" is hard. I'm at the point with this one particular medication where I am feeling incredibly muddled and cloudy. You know how Hollywood depicts mental institutions? I get it now. Everyone just stare off or shuffle around aimlessly.

But I found if I ingest some caffeine it helps to take that muddled edge off. I just have to find the right source and the right amount. Too much causes the anxiety to flare up. Too little... well... is too little. 

I am trying to be activity driven. I make a list of the things that need to get done and I do one thing, then take a break and then do another. It worked really well when we were at my mom's house. She throws out tasks at breakneck speeds and I get them written down and then I slowly work to accomplish them. 

Today, though I started with some tasks to get the day rolling:

  • Arranged a Zoom meeting for my mom with my brother.
  • Made an appointment for my own blood draws for lab tests.
  • Cooked breakfast for the family.
  • Did the dishes from breakfast.
  • Folded the bed sheets that were in the dryer.
  • Ran a load of towels and blankets.
  • Watched 40 minutes of Critical Role: Campaign 2 - Episode 58.
  • Fed the dogs and let them out and other animal care needs.
  • Got dressed in fresh clothes for the day.
  • Helped with getting recycles out.
  • Made a grocery list and scheduled our grocery contactless pickup.
  • Ordered some cleaning supplies on Amazon.
  • Finished my blog entry about part one of our Halloween One-Shot.
  • Logged my fasting and my food intake. 
  • Reviewed some nifty stickers for my calendar that are self-care oriented and a steps challenge to help myself get walking again.
  • Printed out Christmas Countdown Tags for my Iggle 25 Days of Cheer Swap.

I shred this list with my husband and he said it's alright to take a break. But I didn't want to take a break. I wanted to feel motivated to do anything! So I drank a little more RockStar.

  • Watched more Critical Role: Campaign 2 - Episode 58.
  • Cut out and hole-punched all the tags for the swap gift.
  • Looked for some nice little trinkets to add to the swap box.
  • Prepared lunch for my daughter.
  • Cleaned up lunch for my daughter. (Seriously kid.....)
  • Discussed a Board Game Advent Calendar for 2020.
  • Spent time browsing Critical Role Shop and bought their newly released pajamas before they went out of stock! 
  • Worked on parsing down a list of over 60 board games to 31 for an Advent Calendar.
  • Sorted 31 games into similar categories so the Advent Calendar will flow, then retyped the list on the computer.
  • Got the mail.
  • Returned the garbage and recycle bins to the garage.
  • Tried on the two new pairs of pajama pants I got from Hot Topic (Luke's Diner & Ravenclaw).
  • Wrote out a wedding card to some friends who got married during the pandemic. 
  • Worked on gathering all the pictures to make the game-a-day Advent Calendar for my husband.
  • Worked on revising my Christmas/Birthday list on Amazon.
  • Connected with a friend who was checking in with me.
  • Started work on the digital daily game-a-day calendar.
  • Talked to my mom about the handyman we're trying to get ahold of.
  • Made dinner.
I spent my evening relaxing and talking with my husband. We got in an episode of Bly Manor. Strangely, it was one of the episodes that really messes with your mind, but ends shockingly! Wasn't expecting that for our one episode to watch. 

So, I guess, today in its own way I found joy by keeping myself busy. I saved some tasks to work on tomorrow so I have a way out of staying in a funk.

Funko 13 Day Spooky Countdown - Day 12


Day 12: Pennywise (It)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons: One Shot - The Haunt (Part 1)


I wanted to do a fun little Halloween play with my family and our friend, so I looked around and found the #1 recommended Halloween One Shot: The Haunt. I know there are tons of options out there, but this one kept popping up and it's a haunted house, so I figured it'd be good to go. While I prepped for the One Shot, I wasn't disappointed with the interesting twists and turns of the content.

The characters were recommended to be at Level 4 or 5. I had my group make Level 5 characters. The only information I gave them was that it was a haunted house in the woods. What they created was up to what they thought they might need.

Bazhlissh - Yuan-ti Pureblood Druid/Circle of the Stars (Lawful Good)

Gretchen Whispermouse - Halfling Wizard/School of Divination (Chaotic Good)

StarShadow - Kobold Rogue/Arcane Trickster (Chaotic Good)

Stash - Halfling Rogue/Inquisitive (Neutral Good)

I also already anticipated the scenario taking at least two sessions and not one, because my daughter, who is the kobold, is only 10yo. So we couldn't plan on a day-long session of play, but instead I split it into two pieces. The split is perfect, but I also have to see how the adventure unfolds so see how my daughter is doing.

Since this is a One Shot, the group didn't have much of a backstory. So I started with one of the suggested adventure hooks and wove a small backstory around that. 

The group is known for their hunting of the supernatural in the area. They just finished a case dealing with werewolves and were wrapping up the case with they were approached by Mayor Thom. Mayor Thom explained that people had been going missing when traveling around the notorious Montarthas Manor. People suspect foul place, but have been unable to locate any beasts or other questionable creatures in the area that could be causing these people to disappear without a trace. It had been rumored that some sort of spirits might be attracting and attacking the people. 

I, as the DM, decided that the group takes the assignment and they are able to do some research in the village before heading to the manor (as a few had knowledge of history skills to use). I used the background to give the players some idea of what they're exploring and some history of the manor. I mostly focus on factual information, allowing for other speculation to come to light while they explore the manor. This would be the information about the night hag, Gertrude.

They start on the path to the front door of the mansion. Gretchen uses calk to create light and then they spend their time trying to get in. Gretchen is, of course, obsessed with the blue eyes that are staring out at them from a window nearby. I thought for sure that it would be difficult to get them to walk away from the door, which is part of the setup, but they finally decided to look for another way in and I was able to do the cool, creepy door opening. 

Their first encounter is in the Manor Entryway and really put the small band of investigators to the test. The gargoyles came to life and were only responsive to certain types of attacks. It rendered my rogue useless and I had to lend aide to the others as they tried to take them down. It was a rough first encounter and put my crew on high alert. We needed an immediate rest to recoup.

In the next room they finally met the doll. I used a picture of the Annabelle doll from the Conjuring Universe movies. We shrunk her, though, so she was a smaller version of the movie doll version. My friend became obsessed with her, wanting to "be friendly" with the doll. The rest of the group became interested in the portcullis that was blocking the stairs and the griffin statue. 

I didn't have much happen, because they weren't pulling on the griffin statue's paw and they moved on to the tea room where a chandelier fell on Bazhlissh, but he succeeded a dexterity save to get out of the way. 

With some guidance, they were able to find the secret passage and the rest of the first floor was investigation. The best part was when they encountered the Zombie Beholder in the pool area! My husband and my friend knew how horrible Beholders were and freaked. But I didn't roll the disintegration ray, so they lucked out. 

The final part, before going upstairs, was the basement and I had to essentially tell them to either go in the basement or skip it. I think that's one of the things that I don't like about the way this is planned out, but I guess it really is just a make a decision moment. And when they got down there, I thought it would take them a while to figure out the puzzle, but it took them hardly any time at all. 

And it was with the basement that we ended our first session.  My daughter was so upset, because she wanted to keep going. The flow of the first part was really great, but it was a school night and it was getting late, so we had to call it quits. Appropriate stopping points sometimes aren't at the time we want.

Funko 13 Day Spooky Countdown - Day 5


Day 5: David Powers (The Lost Boys)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Desperately Seeking Joy #6


Every time I get an email from a politician, I think of that exchange in Clue:

Cop: What's going on around here? And why would you lock me in? And why are you receiving phone calls from J. Edgar Hoover?
Wadsworth: J. Edgar Hoover?
Cop: That's right! The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation!
Colonel Mustard: Why is J. Edgar Hoover on your phone?
Wadsworth: I don't know, he's on everybody else's, why shouldn't he be on mine?

It just makes me laugh inside. This was brought up, because in my trash email there was an email from Pete Buttigeig (the campaign). A good laugh to start the day.

The majority of the morning was spent muddling. I paced excessively. I hemmed and hawed over what to do with myself. I did some small tasks requested of me by various people and did a bunch of shopping for my mom. But then... as I was sitting on the couch just flipping through the lists of recommendations or coming soons on Netflix... I saw it...

If you haven't read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares and it's sequel, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily, and you love quirky romantic stuff around the holidays... oh my goodness... The books are edgy and have language and sexual references and can be a bit over-the-top with the Dash sections of the book, but they end just so very sweetly. I do so love them. So when I saw this trailer, I wasn't sure what to think... if I was excited that they made it into a Netflix series or if I was devastated that they toyed with the idea of turning it into a series that will probably be canceled and will screw up all the beautiful images of romance that I have in my head. I admit... I cried. I couldn't figure out if it was from happiness or sadness, but I am excited.

Before settling in for a game to help exercise my broken mind, we had to run up to my daughter's school and pick up her book club book. Then we also swung by the grocery store for a few items and picked up lunch at Kwik Trip. They had a new pizza called the Oktoberfest pizza. It had brats and onions and peppers and cheddar cheese on it.  It was pretty ok.

Once we were settled again, I finally got to play a game. I can't tell you the last time I played a board game, it has been such a long time. But I pulled out a game that was a familiar and yet new: Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom. 

Due to my head being so very off, I knew I wasn't going to win this game. But I had fun trying. We were within 4 points of each other. We discussed the different aspects of the game that caused that four point difference and it was interesting enough.

It was then time to work with my daughter on her Halloween One-Shot character. My husband walked her through the process. My daughter was having an absolute ball. She chose to be a Kobold Rogue/Arcane Trickster named StarShadow.

It is going to be a fun little adventures. A Halfling Wizard, Halfling Rogue, Kobold Rogue, and a Yuan-ti Pureblood Druid. I swear... we make the strangest groups of people. 

The night wrapped up with a quick movie that we rented for cheap on Amazon Prime Day. You Should Have Left was a movie that was on my list for a while and is a Blumhouse Production. To mean that's more of a hit than a miss, but you can't always be sure. 

It wasn't a horrible movie. It kept us guessing, but it also had those moments where you weren't, "Clearly this isn't working and you 'should have left.'" Hahaha! But it raises some interesting questions about the supernatural. The movie uses some typical American Gothic tropes and for this film... location is important. Sadly, it leaves some problems  with the believability factor that is supposed to hook you and the twist at the end, for us, was an obvious surprise. 

I'm glad I rented it and didn't buy it, because it isn't one of those supernatural films that makes me want to watch it again to catch more details. The film takes its time to make sure you absorb the details in the same way the characters do. But it was interesting enough for a suspense film for the evening.

Today was littered with joyful moments, but it was a good bit of a muddle and feeling indecisive about so many things. I just hope tomorrow is better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Desperately Seeking Joy #5


This morning started off rough. Turns out the change in my medication now causes me to become dizzy and nauseous if I don't eat something with the medicine. I'm used to not really eating much in the morning. Since that was the case, I had to wake my husband up to help me with a bite of breakfast, because the whole world was spinning.

Then it was just watching some television and getting a few chores done around the house.

I had some slips, but I made it through. 

Oh! I got my iggle Halloween cards  mailed AND got the package for my iggle swap done. I wish I had taken a picture before I sealed it up, but oh well. And we made grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. Can I just say that grilled cheese is a stressful dish for me! As easy as it is, it is sooooo easy to burn. Drives me nuts! Now I feel determined to master it, but I don't feel like watching Chef again. Eh...

So my day had little glimpses of joy, but at least I stayed out of the darkness.