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Saturday, October 25, 2014

What's up? (pt. 1)

Days, weeks, months are passing, very little is showing up on
this blog. Am I busy? Does a teenage boy eat a lot? My life seems
to be going at warp speed. I'm just hanging onto the comet tail,
hoping I don't fall off... and loving the ride.


After the Summer session at Ashland University was complete, I
had two weeks fully of plans and productivity before Fall classes
started. My intentions were great. Too bad nothing actually got
done. I let myself veg and melt away into the pages of a couple
of James Patterson books. I believed I earned the opportunity to
indulge myself. Besides, it's impossible to read Roses are Red
without going right into Violets are Blue.

I spent an, oh, so short, weekend in Pennsylvania with Scott. It
might have been August, but we sure didn't swim. There was a
cool, but sunny, day for us to take a ride on the trike. Of
course, we played skee ball every day. He found a sly way to mess
up my game. Cheater!

Scott showed me a few of his new Tactile Carnival games. I love
Croaker. It's based on the old Atari game, Frogger. Sit back and
listen to my story of life as an 80's kid.

In those days, there was an arcade across from Kent State called
Play Palace. Sometimes on a Sunday, my dad would drop me and the
brothers off there for an awesome afternoon. We'd get pizza and
pop and tokens for the games. There I was, blue eyes and shiny
black curls. I wore the same shirt with puffy sleeves every time.
I called it my lucky shirt.

I would play two games of Frogger and spend the rest of my tokens
on skeeball. I was saving up my tickets to buy a big Tweety bird
stuffed animal. Sadly, Play Palace closed over night with no
warning at all. I never got my Tweety or even a smaller prize..
But thanks to Scott, I am getting to play those games again. (and
he has much better prizes.)

Croaker is like Godzilla versus Angry Birds. This time you get
five Play Doh frogs. I think you move your frog one jump per
turn. The roll of the dice will determine how things change on
the board. If you get a six, you have to start another frog. It
can get wild when you have several frogs on the board at once.

First, your frog has to get past the giant monster truck that's
on the left side of the rode. If you aren't flattened, you have
to get past a smaller truck on the right side. The top obstacle
is the snake, who moves back and forth. Then you jump to safety.
Like with the Atari game, only one frog per safe spot is allowed.

Scott is the king of bonus rounds. Naturally, Croaker comes with
a bonus. All frogs that make it safely across the board get to
face-off against the alligator.. (That's a pun.) Scott used
velcro to attach a big alligator to a lazy susan turn table. You
decide which of the two lily pads your frog wants to sit on. Spin
the alligator... round and round... If he stops with his face in
front of your frog... bye bye froggies!

What could be more tactile than monster trucks, a snake and
spinning alligator? That would be your smashed, bashed and chewed
up frog. You gotta love the game!

August 16th was the Southeast Pennsylvania Summer picnic. It was
great to see old friends and meet new people. But, as usual, when
Scott and I get together, it's as if we are in some insane comedy
show. For one thing, I was part of the buffet. Thankfully, no one
ate me. You would think I had easy access to food. For some
strange reason, people kept bringing me more. I had a bunch of
sugar cookies and three bowls of fruit. Good thing I love fruit.

I spent the first hour or so with a bird on my shoulder. An SSP,
who is also named Scott, often brings his little bird on a leash.
I was enjoying Lucas's company. He walked down my sleeve to my
hand, and the SSP Scott showed me how to feed him a pretzel. All
of a sudden, a DeafBlind man who was not working with an SSP
roughly grabbed my hands. I frantically yellowed a warning about
the bird. He couldn't hear me. He couldn't see the bird. Thank
goodness SSP Scott reacted fast enough. As it was, the man who
nearly killed the bird got a nasty mess of half chewed pretzels
in his hand. I had no time to wash my hands. So let that be a
warning. No matter how stubbornly independent you might want to
be, always use an SSP so you don't crush an innocent little

The trike is one of the main events at this picnic. Although it
has a motor, the battery does not last long. Scott, the original,
was trying to get the people who can't pedal on first. Every time
he turned to me, I was talking to someone. I was also trying to
be nice and let other people go first. That turned out to be a
bad idea.

Finally, I got on the bike with SSP Scott. There was confusion
about how they were supposed to secure my feet on the pedals.
Scott, the original, and Frank were the only two people there who
knew how to do it. Frank was off walking his daughter's dog.
Scott didn't realize I was on the trike at first. When he came
over to save the day, he dropped to his knees with too much
force. Yet again, he christened the picnic with his own blood.
It's his yearly ritual.

When SSP Scott told me he would need my help going up hill, I
thought he was joking. I was having a ball riding downhill around
the big park. Turns out, SSP Scott wasn't kidding. The motor was
dead. The trike is heavy. He actually needed help pedaling
uphill. I managed to get my feet going, but I didn't offer enough
power to get us up. Sometimes he had to stop and push. By the
time we finished, my heart was racing, my legs were like jelly
and I thought I'd die. So there was a lesson in this, too. Don't
be a nice gal if you can't pedal your weight up a hill.

I returned home on August 17th and began classes on August 18th.
Let me say this, stress it, say it again and emphasize it: Fall
and Spring semesters for the MFA program are online. I am still
living in Kent with Joseph. The only time I need to go to Ashland
University is during the two week Summer program.

Another thing I need to explain is that the Ashland MFA program
is, by far, unique. People always ask, "How many classes are you
taking?" or "What classes do you have this semester?" The answer
is one 9 credit class called Eng 631. There are five students in
the class with one professor. We read poetry and respond to
prompts on the discussion board. We also need to write as much as
we can during these first two semesters and read books outside of
class for writing short reviews. We started the semester with
The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck. It was hard at first, but I soon
loved it.

It's not like I needed more excitement in my life. Maybe I'm just
plain nuts (another pun). On August 19th, an SSP friend took me
and Joseph to the animal shelter in Ravenna, where he picked out
our new kitten. I'm told she is beautiful. Her fur is a golden
tan and grey tiger strip, with some black and white mixed in.
When your first cat is named Bast, the Egyptian Goddess of cats,
what do you name your second cat? I decided to name her after the
Egyptian goddess of the sky -- Nut. Seriously, I'm not making
that up.

Bast didn't seem too happy when I cam home with what she seems to
think of as the spawn of evil. Until that moment, I didn't know
that cats could growl. She also made a show of hissing, swatting
and running away. She rejected Nut and her two humans and didn't
eat for three days.

Joseph started school on August 27th. He's now in 8th grade. I
like to brag about him being in two high school level classes:
Algebra I and French I. He's also taking Language Arts, Science,
Social Studies, Band and Engineering Technology. Don't bother
asking. Joseph still hates school. I'm still a mean mom and force
him to go. Same old, same old...

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