The rest of vacation and Thanksgiving.

Right off the bat, I hope everyone who reads this had as great of Thanksgiving as you possibly could have.  I should have logged in yesterday to wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving, but I ran out of time.  So, here I am afterwards hoping everyone had the best.


On Tuesday, Rodney I went in search of this little hole in the wall café in Valparaiso, we failed at that.  We ended up at a place called the Industrial Revolution.  American food.  Real good, kinda pricey.  Interesting atmosphere.  Neither of us had eaten there before, so it was a pleasant surprise that it was so good. Rodney is the only friend I got to see while I was back, short visit and timing of things made getting with others really impossible.


The rest of the vacation was spent surfing the net for pre-black Friday deals, catching up on Facebook, playing World of Warcraft and generally just hanging out with my mother and my brother some of the time (he works overnights, not conducive to hanging out light dwellers).

It was really nice being away from Adel, out of Iowa for a week.  Both Teresa and I needed a vacation, and this fit the bill.  Doing much of nothing for a week was really relaxing, but it feels good to be home


Thanksgiving at Ruby’s.  I love Ruby and Ray and Butch and Charlie.  Beyond that I am lucky to know the name of the 20some other people who came to Ruby’s.  And that’s not an exaggeration.  Being away from the Region for 20some years and only coming back once or twice a year to visit my mom and brother has left me out of the Jackson family loop.   Not that I don’t like going to Ruby and Ray’s for Thanksgiving, it just feels weird being with all these people I do not know.

That being said, the food this year was phenomenal.  Teresa cooked the turkey, stuffing, and gravy and her potato dish.  Ruby basically cooked EVERYTHING else.  It all tasted great.


We left the Thanksgiving meal early cuz we had a long drive home last night.  We left around 5 and got home around 11:30.  Yeah, we were in no rush, stopped quite a few times and basically took 6 1/2 hours to do a 6 hour drive.  It’s all good, we made it with only one mishap, getting off the 80 for Pucky to pee and then finding out that the exit we got off on did not have an onramp in the direction we were headed. DOH.  Added 15 minutes as we drove back east to turn around and head west.   Like I said, we rolled in here around 11:30, unloaded, changed into sleepwear and proceeded to watch the end of Dancing with the Semi-to Marginally Famous in fast forward.  3 episodes in less than an hour including the finale.  Then we crashed.


So all in all it was a much appreciated vacation from the same old same old that is our lives.  Already looking forward to next Summer, when we go back for my brother’s 50th birthday.  It’s my regular Summer trip, but Teresa has agreed to accompany me this time since it’s such as special occasion.


And Vacation goes on

Woke up too early this morning.  Not ridiculously early, just 7:30am.  Way too early to wake up while on vacation.  However, I was awake to chat with my brother a bit when he got home from work, so that was cool.  Anyhow, now at 9:40 I am tired again.  But my friend Rodney is coming to pick me up for lunch at 11:30, so napping would only be for maybe an hour and that just isn’t worth it.  I will be fine.  Just nap after lunch, yeah, that’s a plan.  Don’t know where we are going for lunch, kinda making Rodney decide… it’s his town, he’s driving, he picks (I reserve veto rights).


Jenny was gonna stop by after school today, but I don’t think that is happening now.  She hit a deer on her way to school (she’s a teacher) and wiped out the grill on her car.  So she gets to play with insurance and repair places today, I’d say fun fun but it’s not.


My copy on Xananthar’s Guide to Everything is arriving today.  I had amazon ship it to my mom’s place, so I will have it in my mitts when the mail runs.  Unfortunately, the mail doesn’t run til 2:30-3 o’clock here.  At home the mail has already ran.  Anyhow, this book should be cool.  A lot of new classes, new magic items, and random new stuff for D&D 5e.  This book needed to come out now.  Too much referring to Unearthed Arcana, which is online.  Now it’s in a BOOK, which makes it more tangible.  So cool.  I will have it this afternoon.


Vacation is going pretty well.  Zoomed here.  Zoomed down to Thanksgivingfest, which was a blast.  Zoomed back up here.  Chilled yesterday.  Gonna hang out with a great friend this afternoon while my wife and mother go shopping.  Have no clue what tomorrow brings, but Thursday is turkey day and then Zoom back home.  Yes, the plan is to head back to Adel on Thanksgiving eve.  Teresa did that last year and said the roads were empty.  So it’s all good.


I already know who is hosting Thanksgivingfest next year.  Cori told me it would be her and Bruce’s turn unless someone else stepped up.  Coolness, get down there on Friday and not have to travel anywhere else, then leave Sunday after Lunch with Andi and Shawn (if it happens) or earlier on Sunday (if it doesn’t).  Anyway, Cori and Bruce have a huge house which can easily fit all of us.


The guy who wrote the interactive D&D character sheets that I have been using for quite a while has been told by Wizards of the Coast to stop due to Copyright infringement. So the last one I got will literally be the last one he makes.  Stupid.  He was infringing anything, he was just making it easier to make characters for their stupid game.  He gave all credit where it was needed, basically it was a tribute to D&D and Wizards of the Coast and WotC squashed him.  So, there will be no updates to his sheet to include Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and that annoys me.  Oh well, I guess good little things often get squished by corporate giants.


OK, let’s address my mood.  It’s after Thanksgivingfest, the high point of my mood for the Fall.  Now I am rapidly degrading back down to where I was before I started on this trip.  Depressed.  It hit last night and is dragging into today.  I will put on a happy face for my mom and for anyone else I see until we get back to Iowa.  Then I can be what I am and no one will worry about me (except Teresa).  You wanna know something SAD sucks worse than Bipolar, I have meds that keep the bipolar in check but NOTHING helps with the Depression associated with SAD, just gotta muddle thru until the depression goes away.  Like February.


Well, I have read several weather predictions for winter in Iowa this year.  Some say it’s gonna be like last year.  Very little snow, really not that cold.  Others are saying it’s going to be horrible.  Lots of snow, and COLD.  I hope for the little snow.  But I am thinking we are due for a bad winter.  Either way, I probably won’t go out much this winter, why should it be different than any other winter when I wasn’t trying to work?  I’ll sit around the house, play computer games, read some (If my brain every kicks back into reading mode), dream of winning Publishers Clearing House, basically do a bunch of nothing.  Bunch of nothing has been the main cry of my life since I was declared disabled back in 2003.  Yeah, I have made some attempts at school and attempts at working.  Failed those, I guess I really am disabled.  I think now, in late 2017, I have completely accepted the disability call and am just gonna chill as much as possible for the rest of my life.


Speaking of “rest of my life”.  When I saw my oncologist last week, my platelets were still at 30.  And he still had no clue why.  He is going to run another bone marrow biopsy and then I am heading to Mayo Clinic.  Yup, gonna let the big guys have a crack and solving my platelet issue (or my returned leukemia if the bone marrow biopsy is bad).  It’s not that I think the doctors in Iowa are bad, just Mayo Clinic is rated in the top 3 (number 1 overall,  number 3 for hematology and oncology) in the nation.  And it’s closer to us than coming here.   So yeah, my oncologist will write a letter to Mayo and boom I will start the process.  I’m scared.  I just want the best chance of getting better, I think Mayo is just that.


Well, it’s post 10:30, I need to start getting ready.  So let me go quick grab a video to sign off by.


Yeah, Cori is gonna hate this.  But hey, it’s not her blog.

Thanksgivingfest

I woke up entirely too early (yesterday now) this morning.  Seems that Bruce and Cori’s son has a problem with staying in the house at night.  He came back in about 4:30 am Eastern Time, which is 3:30am my time.  He didn’t manage to wake anyone else in the house but me.  I could not fall back asleep.  So as of right now I have been awake a little over 22 hours.  Surprised I can still do that.


Bruce and I when to the store about 10:30am to get last minute stuff.  Now, I had told the people at Taylor’s Bakery I would be there between 10:30 and 11.  We got back to the house about 10 minutes til 11, and started loading.  We got to Taylor’s about 11;25.  I am anal about time, luckily the bakery wasn’t horribly busy and we got the cakes and were off getting to Sam and Shel’s just before noon.  Noon is when Thanksgivingfest was scheduled to start.


We sat and talked and ate for a while before things started breaking down into games and movies and such.  We watched the movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  It was kinda funny, kinda silly, quite the surprise.  It was pretty good actually.  If you are remotely a gamer, it’s worth the time to check it out and it is on Amazon Prime Video.

The second movie was Airplane.  You know, the comedy.  I got bored with it shortly after it started and went and watched my friends who were playing Ticket to Ride (I call it Trains). Sam and Shel supplied the game, have like all the expansion and play whenever they have a chance.

When that game was done, some of us tried a new game that Hoggle brought.  It is called Labyrinth.  Yes, based off the movie Labyrinth.  Basically you get 13 turns to get 4 characters together and take on the big baddies in the middle of the board.  The catch is that there are dice rolls you have to make to beat these individual squares you land in.  OK, I am not doing it justice.  Just leave it to say, it was a little weird, a little difficult, and a little fun.  I think it was more fun with the people I was playing with, While we were playing Labyrinth, they watch a movie that I can’t remember the name of.

Then while Xanadu played, we played Magic: the Gathering.  The 3 of us who play don’t really touch our decks between Thanksgivingfest.  It’ kinda funny, We have a lot of “I wonder what this deck is like” and “I wonder what’s in this deck” moments.  I told Hoggle I would play him if he didn’t break out his vampire deck.  He agreed.  So I brought out my Slivers Deck and kicked the crud out of him.  My Slivers deck is now blackballed too.  Then -jubal joined us, he kept getting really lucky.  I think he won all the 3 way battles we had.  It was fun, Tony and Adam are great people.  We managed to catch a lot of Xanadu after we finished Magic.

Then a bunch of people started leaving.  Seems that people have lives outside of the Gang.  Anyhow, by now it was getting later.   We then watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with Sam, Bruce, and Hoggle doing the cutsie little comments that go along with the movie.  It was enjoyable too.

Then everyone who was left decided it was time to go, it was like 12:30am by the time we got out of there.  Bruce got us back here in one piece, so it’s all good.  And when I got here, I got a piece if pepperoni pizza that I had been craving all evening,  So it was doubly good to get back here.


Things to note:

Sam has a cool little arcade machine with a few hundred games.  Played quite a bit of the wrestling games when I first got there.

Shel still barely talks as far as I can tell.  I mean she talks, but compared to the rest of us, she is really quiet.

Sam and Shel’s house fit the 18 of us fairly well.  I wouldn’t have wanted to put many more people in there.

Cori bought entirely too much food.  She threw away a lot.  But its always better to have too much then too little.

The cakes, both of them, were totally gone.  I had a sheet cake that was supposed to feed 24 and an Angel food cake which was supposed to feed 16.  So 18 people at 40 servings of cake.  lol.

I gotta make some new Magic Decks with my old cards or at least shuffle the ones I have better.  I had 9 lands out and the next 5 cards were lands of different types.  Yeah, I think shuffling is in order before next year.

There is still a palpable tension between a few of the Gang members who got divorced and one of them remarried.  They don’t argue or anything, just you can feel that they are not completely comfortable with each other.

We did get by with no drama this time.  WOOT.  At least none that I was aware of.


All in all it was a grand time.  I had a blast.  Now it’s after 2 and I am fading fast.  The song tonight if I can find it will be from one of the movies we watched…


 

Driving

We mad it to the Region on Thursday night in record time.  Thank you Waze and cruise control.  It was an all together uneventful drive from Adel, Iowa to Portage, Indiana.  Normally 6+ hours done in 5 1/2. WOOT.  Not saying Teresa had a lead foot, just saying cruise control was locked in and very rarely did it click off.  —–

The trip down to Fishers from Portage was also uneventful.  Just have to make the observation that Iowa and Illinois have incredible nice roads and Indiana has road construction.  A LOT of road construction.  Waze on numerous occasions warned of a police up ahead to find no police and transversely didn’t mention a police when one was there.  But one way or the other, this 3+ hour trip was done in exactly 3 hours.  Even with coming to a complete top twice on the 465.

So……………………………….


I am at Bruce and Cori’s, ready for bed.  It’s only 9pm my time, but damn I am tired.  I will be going to sleep soonly.  But it has been great hanging out all afternoon evening with Cori and then the evening with Bruce too.  You know the kind of people you just feel comfortable with automatically?  That is Cori and Bruce.  We talked and talked about lots of things.  It just feels right being with them.


Tomorrow is Thanksgivingfest (still one word, not two).  The Gang has been doing this gathering since 1991.  Long before having a pre-thanksgiving party became a thing.  No, I don’t believe it has happened every year for us, but in the last several years or so, it’s been continual.  Gang members from across the nation have been known to make appearances.  It’s a way cool event, bet  you wish you could come.


My back hurts tonight.   Silly me didn’t take any stretch breaks on the way down here.  So my back is reminding me that sitting for so long HURTS.  Heh.  Tomorrow will be a lot of sitting too.  I have meds for that.  Flexeril and Pain Killers that I have been hanging on to.  No better time to break those out.  Yeah, they make me a little loopy, but hey, it’s a party.


I am really missing Teresa tonight, but I totally understand her reasoning for not coming down with me.  It’s all good.  I did just FaceTime her.  Seems everyone up there took at least a 3 hour nap (Jim slept 6 hours).  Then they sat around til 7pm, then went to Red Lobster, where she ate crab.  She said mom and Jim were done 1/2 hour before her.  But she didn’t care, she had crab.  I hope tomorrow goes by quickly so I can get back up there on Sunday.


Can’t wait for December 1st.  I am actually jazzed about playing in a D&D game.  Next to zero stress.  Danny has really been working his butt off to make this good.  I am very much looking forward to it starting.  I am hoping we don’t have a session zero and get right into the game.  It should be EPIC.


My blog post about Thanksgivingfest will probably happen Sunday evening.  Tomorrow night I fully expect to be dead tired since festivities don’t end til midnight.  Then again we are all getting old, it might end sooner and you might get the report tomorrow night.  We shall see.


In dedication to all who will be driving this holiday season….

D&D, Bone Marrow, and getting out of here

Heya, some of you might notice the new banner.  I replaced the Gnolls with Yuan-ti.  Yuan-ti are to be my new arch enemies in the new D&D game I will be playing in starting the week after Thanksgiving.  I am really looking forward to playing this game. Danny really is putting a lot of work into it.  My Ranger’s backstory fits in perfectly with what Danny has compiled, so it’s all good.  Can’t wait to get started.


Went to see Dr Wehbe (my cancer doc) today, platelets have stalled out at 30.  Supposed to be 150 to 450.  He has no clue as to why my platelets are so low.  He is going to order yet another bone marrow biopsy after I get back from vacation.  I really don’t think it’s leukemia again.  I don’t know what to think it is.  Just sucks having platelets so low.  Anyhow, he is all for us going to Mayo Clinic up in Minnesota and having them take a run at fixing my platelet problem.  When I mentioned Mayo Clinic, he was all for it, he is really the befuddled.


Therapy yesterday went fairly well.  We talked mostly about what is bothering me the most, which is my platelet issue.  My therapist’s husband got AML shortly after I went into remission.  So she has more of a clue as to what I am going thru than your average therapist would have.


We are leaving for the Region in a couple hours.  It’ll be good to get the heck out of here and forget my problems for a week.  OK, I won’t forget them, just won’t be sitting at home thinking about them.  Portage, specifically, has changed so much, but somehow it still feels like going home.  And getting to see mom and Jim are just bonus.


Thanksgivingfest (one word, not two like some people write it), is Saturday.  Cakes are all set to be picked up between 10:30 and 11.  The party itself will go from noon to midnight or so.  With food being served at 1 o’clock and munching happening all the rest of the time.  I know I have said it before, but I look forward to Thanksgivingfest every year.  It’s my only chance to see the Gang every year.  Now not all of the Gang show up, but enough to make it feel good to hang out with your best friends who are family.


Lunch the day after has been cancelled.  Much to the bummer.  Shawn and Andi are both going out of town.  It’s all good, it’ll give me a chance to get back to the Region at a reasonable hour.  So, I will only be in the Indy area Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning.  That is fine.  Gives me more time with mom and Jim in the Region.


Taking 2 laptops, maybe 3 with us.  I am taking 2 myself and I believe Teresa is taking her old work mac laptop.  She might have to work tonight after we get to the Region.  That would SUCK.  She really needs a vacation more than I do.   She works way too hard and way too much.  She needs to get away from her phone and just chill for a while.  I worry about her.

My new laptop is going so we can play WoW.  My old laptop is going so I can check Facebook and play Civ4 Warlords while Teresa plays WoW.  My old laptop will go with me down to Fishers (Indy) so I can show Cori the cook little program I use to make characters for D&D.  My old laptop still works, just takes 10-15 minutes to boot.


I guess I need to finish packing and help with all the other stuff we have to get ready to go.  Us going somewhere for a week is a big production.  Bigger than it should be, especially with Teresa taking a bunch of cooking stuff since “she is cooking Thanksgiving”.  We are gonna jam a lot into our little Dart.


D&D and whats going on

I decided to join a D&D game online that a friend is running.  The stress of trying to run 2 games before was too much for the depression set in but SAD.  But joining a game as a player is pretty much no pressure and so far making the character has been kinda uplifting.  I made 10 characters, narrowed it down to 4, waiting on the others to concretely pick their characters and then I will choose which of the 4.  I am drawn to each of the 4 for different reasons.  The 4 are, a Mystic, a Ranger, a Warlock, and an Evoker Wizard.  Each just calls to me in different ways.  I just don’t know right now.


Well, after Shawn cancelled and after I posted my post yesterday, Andi cancelled too.  So there is no lunch the day after.   Instead I will get an earlier start back to the Region on Sunday.  Both Shawn and Andi had good reasons for not making it, I hold no ill will to either.  But I did make both of them put November 18th, 2018 into their phones for next years lunch.  lol.


Thanksgivingfest is gonna be great this year.  Looks like 15ish people are gonna show.  Gonna have great food, great times hanging out with great people.  Sam and Shel’s house is a little small for many more than 15, so it’s all good.   I am so looking forward to seeing these people, I only get this one shot every year.  I am lucky to call the Gang my friends, my family.


Tonight I get my head shaved again down to a 2.  Been asking Teresa to do it for the last 3 weeks and finally we have it scheduled.  Evenings around here tend to get busyish and we forget until it’s too late.  We have our Alexa reminding us tonight.


Tomorrow is mental therapy.  Cheryl, my therapist, is a great person.  I still to this date am not sure therapy is helping me in any way, but I like talking to her, so it’s all good.


Then Thursday I find out how much further my platelets have dropped.  My first appointment that Teresa is not going to be at.  She has to be at work, just has to.  I hope that it’s not a drastic drop, as if it drops too much they will want me to get platelets infused and that will throw everything off.  I figure it’ll be a point or 2, and I will be fine for now.  Hopefully Dr Wehbe got some help from Iowa City and there is a new plan to fix my platelet issue.


Then after the cancer doc appointment, and after lunch, it’s off to the Region we go.  Off to see my mom and brother, off to Fishers, Indiana on Friday, Indy proper on Saturday, back to the Region on Sunday.  Hang out there for a few days.  Then back to Adel on Thanksgiving.  Whirlwind trip. Drive Drive Drive.


And for the record, I love my wife.  Thank you Babykins for coming with me on this trip.  Even though you can’t go to Thanksgivingfest, you are the greatest for just coming to the Region with me.


psSqYk0

I don’t have a title for this one

Is it possible to excited and depressed at the same time?  Well, that is what I am right now.   Excited about the things happening this weekend and next week.  Depressed because of fricking fall.  The good news is that I will be able to fake it til its real and be in a good mood for this weekend.  Yes, I won’t be depressed for Thanksgivingfest or Sunday Lunch.  I won’t be depressed while in the Region or having Thanksgiving.   The bad news is, I normally crash into a bigger depression after I get back.   Heh, at least no one except Teresa sees that.


The cakes are ordered.  Set to be picked up between 10:30am and 11am on Saturday morning on our way to Sam and Shel’s.  So glad that Taylor’s Bakery is on the way.  Things do work out from time to time.


I really wish that Teresa was able to come with me to Thanksgivingfest, but Mojo would go nuts and howl and cry and poop in places where he isn’t supposed to if we left him just with mom and Jim.  So Teresa will be staying at my brother/mother’s house and I will be going down to Indianapolis.  It’s a good thing that my wife and my mother get along so well, it would be a nightmare if it was any other way.


Thinking of cancelling experience gain on Ughughkill.  That way I can literally do EVERY quest in Draenor.  Oh, this is WoW talk in case you didn’t know.  As is stands right now, he is level 96 and can see every quest still in Frostfire, Gorgrond, Talador, and the Spires.  If he were to try to do all those quests he would hit level 100 which I am trying to avoid at this time.  Stopping experience only costs 10 gold to stop it and 10 gold to resume it.  Ugh has plenty of gold, so that’s not an issue.   Teresa pointed out that nothing forces me to go on to Legion at 100 and I can continue on in Draenor until I am out of quests with all xp shrunk for back content when I hit 100.  Heh, I just don’t know.  Right now, Ugh is just sitting in his garrison sending followers on missions while I am trying to decide.  LOL,  Ughughkill is being a pacifist atm.   But that was after over a year of sitting in Orgrimmar doing nothing,


I started a new warlock on Thrall, his name is Haphaizo.  I already forget what language it was, but it roughly translates to Killing It.   Demonology Warlocks can do a lot of damage, especially later in levels.  But even early I should be top 2 dps in dungeons if not top dps.  It’s all good, I just decided I like warlocks after all.  So different than my warrior fall back.  I have so many warriors, so so so many warriors.  I need to play something besides warriors from time to time.  Keeps wow interesting for longer.


Shawn just told me via Facebook that he can’t make lunch on Sunday.   Shawn cancelled yet again.   Good excuse though, his parents just moved to North Cakalaky (Carolina) and he and his family are leaving on Saturday to go visit.  I understand.  It’s all good.  His kids need to see his grandparents.  He also said that 2018 he will make lunch.  We shall see.

Hopefully I will hear from Andi today, and she won’t cancel on me.  It’ll be good to see her again.  She has quite possibly been my friend for the longest time.  All my other friends come from High School or Ball State or later in life.  She is one of the few who I knew from pre-high school.  Heh.  Damn, we have know each other a long time.


Funny thing happened this weekend.  I surprised Teresa by telling her we were leaving this Thursday.  She honestly thought there was one more week.  She had bought a lot of food to cook for dinners this week and had made plans to do an overnight maintenance on Thursday.  Doh, kinda hard to work when we are on vacation, I mean technically she could do the work, but that would completely suck and I am not going to let her anyway.


Oh yeah, this is a note to myself.  I have therapy on Wednesday at 2:15 and Dr Wehbe on Thursday at 11am.  OK, those are in my head now.  Sorry to interject that here, but it helps me remember so ignore if you will.