Games, Puzzles, and Play

In which I look at one of my favorite pastimes.

I love games. This is my games closet.

My games closet. Probably could use some organization.
My games closet. Probably could use some organization.

I would rather stay home and play games than go out anywhere. Even when we went to Costa Rica, I brought two decks of cards, and on two separate extremely rainy nights, we played canasta. That’s right. I’m forcing my children back into the dark ages. We spend many an evening playing games like Ticket to Ride, Seven Wonders, Settlers of Catan, and the latest ones I’ve tried were Carcassonne and Pandemic. And don’t forget the old stand-bys like Scattergories, Balderdash, Pictionary, and Cranium. I have one game that I love that most people haven’t heard of called Scrutinize. I don’t know why that game didn’t become a classic. It’s great.

We play card games and board games. We even play sports games, e.g., volleyball and golf. Robot Guy and I like competition so much that we used to play crazy eights in bed to see who would have to turn out the lights.

When I’m alone, I love puzzles. Sudoku, crossword, logic (especially logic), jigsaw; I love them all. My favorite video games are the ones where you solve puzzles. Just recently I subscribed to the Mystery Experience Company and they send a mystery to solve every month. I’ve only done one so far, but it was well done and of high quality. Just my sort of thing. Games Magazine has been an on-again-off-again subscription for me for years. And, yes, I am the person that does the puzzles in the back of the airline magazines.

I have yet to try one of the escape room puzzles, but they require a group and that brings up a problem. With the kids out of the house and being such a homebody, it’s basically just me and Robot Guy. In fact many games require more than two people. I’d love suggestions for two person games.

My next move is to watch a few of Wil Wheaton’s Table Top videos. I really can’t understand why I haven’t seen those yet.

–Gabi

 

Books I’m reading now:

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Wimbledon

Today was the men’s finals of the annual  tennis event known as Wimbledon. Djokovic won over Federer in what has been called a classic match–five sets. I don’t know if it really earned the title of classic because I didn’t watch, but just saying the word “Wimbledon” brings warm feelings to my soul.

See, I grew up in a Tennis household. My parents were jocks when they lived in Hungary. My father played volleyball and my mother was a beast in European Handball, which my father also played.  When they arrived in the USA, they looked for a sport that poor immigrants could play–something that didn’t coast a lot of money. Tennis, with free courts in almost every park, was it. They took to it with a passion. They played in leagues and tournaments, won trophies, and had more tennis parties than I can remember. They made my sister and me play as well. I had lessons for years, and I remember my feelings of triumph when my mixed doubles partner and I beat my parents in a tournament. It was amazing.

But neither my sister or I were ever jocks. Sports, while fun, was an afterthought to me and certainly not what I wanted to spend my free time doing. It just wasn’t in me. I remember my mother criticizing me once (as mothers do) saying she and my father didn’t know how to handle us because we just didn’t care about sports and this fact was their great disappointment in life. At the time I thought it funny since I have played volleyball regularly for decades, and am prepping to participate in my first Senior Olympics this year in the sport.  But she was right. I don’t look at myself as a jock by any means. I have a huge competitive streak in me and I love winning games, so you’d think I would have been more into sports, but I just wasn’t.

While other families watched baseball, or football, or basketball, our TV was on for every tennis match ever broadcast. We really had no interest in the Superbowl or the world series., but Wimbledon was the event of the year. My parents would sit glued to the television for days while it played, yelling at bad calls, criticizing the play (as if they could do better) and enjoying the matches with their whole hearts. It was pronounced Wim-bleh-done in my parents accent and to this day I say Wim-bleh-done in my head.

But these days I don’t even watch that much sports on TV. I tune in to the Olympics with a passion because it brings back memories of my father,  and while I can enjoy the occasional Padres game, I’m not much of a baseball fan. I watch the Superbowl for the commercials, and I rooted for Germany over France the other day in the World Cup, but I didn’t watch a minute. I sometimes think it’s a shame that I can’t get as excited about sports as I can, say, over a Dr. Who rewatch, but there you have it. Robot Guy will have to wait until he has a son-in-law who might like sports to have a viewing buddy someday.

But Wim-bleh-done will forever bring me wonderful memories of sitting around our house to the boisterous comments of my parents. By the way, congratulations, Djokovic.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase

The Olympics

My parents were jocks. No seriously. They were. My dad played volleyball, (European) handball, and ran track in Hungary, and my mother was so good in European handball, that when they arrived in refugee camp in Vienna, a woman’s team recruited her and actually paid her to play. When they arrived in the US, they didn’t have much money, so they looked around for a sport they could play that didn’t cost a lot of money. They chose tennis. Hey, back then, tennis was cheap–all you needed was a racquet, some balls, and a nearby park with courts.

They introduced my sister and me to sports at a young age. I started tennis lessons when I was six, and from that age on we tried just about any sport you could try–tennis, gymnastics, judo, ice skating (holy moly, that was bad), running, bicycling. It wasn’t until seventh grade that I found the sport that truly spoke to me–volleyball, which I still play today–but throughout was tennis. The ‘rents became outstanding players.

To their dismay, neither my sister or I became jocks. I was a total nerd, and she was popular (no hate mail that says popular kids can’t be jocks or that jocks are the popular kids–you know what I mean.) Yes, I still play volleyball, but it’s not the priority in my life as sports were in my parents life. My mother has taken up golf in her, shall we call them her upper years, and underwent knee replacement surgery so she could continue to play.

So when the Olympics came on, my father and mother watched every minute they could. In 1972, we traveled to Europe (to visit family) but we made a special trip to the Munich Olympic park just so we could walk through it. And among their friends, they count two different medal winners–a gymnast who won two golds and a silver, and a canoer who won two silvers. So yes, I have seen actual Olympic medals.

That first Olympics after my father’s death was actually pretty special because watching them was like having him back. So to this day, I watch as much as possible because, well, I miss my dad, and in watching, I can be close to him again.

Enjoy the games,
–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Sunruse Point by Robyn Carr