Wednesday, 20 May 2015

500 Words a Day - Challenge Failed!

Snuggle Time!
I don't know what made me think I could keep up with the 500 words a day challenge whilst staying with my fella. To be honest when he's not at work, I have absolutely zero inclination to sit at the PC and do a post. I just want to snuggle down and enjoy my limited time with him.

This past weekend was a prime example - on Saturday, I had arranged to spend the day with his Mom. We were going to the Botanical Gardens here in St Louis to take some flower photographs and just get to know each other a bit but the weather decided it was not to be so we had lunch and chatted all afternoon instead.

That evening, Cold took us both to a lovely Italian restaurant on the Hill called Zia's. Oh my gosh, I've been there once before and remembered enjoying the food but this time, I enjoyed it even more than before! I even made room in my tummy for the gluten free chocolate fudge slice - talk about rich and heavy but it was absolutely heavenly!

Sunday and Monday disappeared in a haze of playing computer games, eating out and just hanging out together. I can't wait until I have my own PC here so we can play games together instead of one of us watching the other play. I have so much still to learn about how to set up my keyboard for optimum playing and I'm sure he's going to think my bad habits are crazy slow but I haven't been playing games all my life after all.

We're working our way through the Vikings TV series in the evenings - I think we're halfway through season 2 already and I'm loving it. It's not the fastest moving story but the slow, calm and very deliberate storytelling is keeping me entranced through each episode. It's definitely not recommended viewing for anyone who is squeamish about blood though! The Vikings were a violent bunch with a completely different set of standards to our modern world after all.

So I'm going to give up the challenge for now but I'll start again in June, once I get back to the UK and settle into my old routine. I'm still going to keep writing here in the meantime. I enjoy writing but I do struggle with inspiration sometimes, hence the waffling on about mundane life stuff!

I've started playing World of Warcraft again - well, I've logged in to send my followers on missions so far and had a great catch up chat with my favorite guildie but I fully intend to get my Paladin leveling again today - or maybe tomorrow. I'm feeling my other blog nagging me to get some posts done too!

Just in case you were wondering - Marcus and I are planning on recording a new episode of the Journal of Marcus Ty podcast this week so I'll have something to talk about, now that I'm playing again! As I'm so far behind in this expansion and am pretty clueless as to the state of the Auction House and economy, I'm going to use his WoW Gold Guide to get me back up to speed but in the meantime, it's back to snuggling for me!


image ©Sue Tupling on Flickr under Creative Commons licence


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Friday, 15 May 2015

Last Night, The Warcraft Community Did Great!


This morning, as I do every morning, I scrolled back in my Twitter timeline to where I'd left off reading yesterday. It was a bit of a mega scroll back as I'd gone to meet my fella from the train station and then didn't even glance at Twitter for the rest of the evening.

I'm glad I missed everything that happened though - it's a little too close to home for me to deal with in real time but this morning when I was reading 10 hour old tweets, it still hit home. In case you missed it, someone posted a picture of a pile of pills and a message that indicated something crazy was about to go down.

I moan about drama llamas on Twitter sometimes but this didn't seem like anything to joke about. The tweets in response were all immediately supportive, calling for the poster to respond please. There were so many, even in my own timeline and I don't follow the person who started it all but it was heartening to see so many jump in to try to help.

I don't know who it was in the end but someone managed to get real life details for the original poster and Twitter and Blizzard were contacted too to see if they could do anything. Luckily, the emergency services were called and made it in time to help. This morning, I'm glad to see a response from the original poster on Reddit and I'm also pleased to see so many heartfelt comments and replies and over 600 upvotes. The relief on my twitter feed is almost palpable!

It's at times like these that seeing this 'community' come together to help, reinforces my own belief that there is good in everyone - even the trolls and dickwads who inhabit the internet have a little decency left in them. A last minute, desperate plea for help was heard across the world in our small part of the internet and something good came out of it - a life was saved. That's pretty amazing to me.

I've had my own battles with depression and flirted with suicide as a teenager. Life wasn't so hard back then, I just didn't know how to deal with it at the time. Now life is throwing curveballs at a regular rate but from somewhere, I have found the strength to deal with them. Maybe it's maturity, having someone who understands exactly how depression works along side me or just experience but so far, I'm winning the current battles.

The trick I've found is baby steps - break everything down into manageable pieces. That may mean hanging on & just breathing for the next 10 minutes or it may be get through the morning at work. Once that baby step is achieved, it's onto the next baby step - breathe for another 10 minutes then repeat. At some point, you will look up and realise you've got through a whole day or a whole week and looking back, it wasn't that bad after all. That gives me the strength to keep taking those baby steps - in the famous words of Dory "just keep swimming". It works, it really does and when it doesn't work, give yourself permission to retreat to your bed or to cry for 5 minutes then restart taking those baby steps.


(500 Word Challenge - Day 15 word count 560)

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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Hello St Louis, I've Missed You!


Well, I made it to St Louis and am now all settled in on Cold's PC! I didn't sleep very well last night - I guess 24 hours awake meant I was overtired & that combined with the relief of being close to my man again just messed my sleep pattern up. I've done nothing very productive today but I did have a 3 hour nap straight after breakfast which definitely helped!

I headed straight to the City Diner for breakfast - it's always the first thing I do when I get here! I love that place and my friend Ginny the waitress there was pleased to see me I think. Some of the other familiar faces were missing though - it sucks to miss changes as they happen because they all hit you at once when you do get back.

I also caught up with my friend Robert, the old guy I mentioned the other day. I thought his grin was going to split his face and his hug nearly made me pop, he hugged me so hard! A whole bunch of the other residents were in the foyer area too and they were all happy to see me - talking all at once was confusing.

It made me realise though, just how few people will miss me when I finally leave the UK. Of course, my family will and maybe one set of neighbours but since my divorce, I've sort of lost touch with so many people and I've been working in temporary assignments too so no co-workers to miss me either.

Strangely I'm not lonely at home though - I guess my social life is almost completely internet based and I can do that from anywhere. That meshes nicely with my ambition to make a living from online business too and if that works as I hope it will, it won't necessarily even be St Louis that I work from!

The long term goal for my online business is to be completely independent of location. As long as I have my laptop with me, I can access internet from almost anywhere and I'll have all my files and any necessary programs on my laptop. It's a bit of a pie in the sky dream for now but if I do the work and follow other successful people who live this way then I have no doubt, I can do it too.

That's partly why I'm pushing myself to do this 500 words a day challenge - it's an effort to train myself to write something every day, even if I don't feel like it or am stuck for ideas. These blank sheets don't scare me half as much as they used to and whilst I'm not sure how interesting my random posts are to my readers, it's still good practice!

I would be interested to know what you think so far - am I just waffling on to thin air or do you find this personal kind of post interesting? I know I enjoy random posts on some of the blogs I read. It gives me a better idea of the person behind the blog and some writers are really interesting people apart from what their main blog topic is!

(500 Word Challenge - day 13 word count 543)

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and my photography site
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Fly Day!

Heathrow Airport Breakfast!
Today I fly to St Louis to see my man and words fail me in trying to express just how stoked I am to see him again! It's been a long 4.5 months, that's for sure.

I was originally scheduled to travel to the airport with my Dad and Stepmom but sadly they've had to cancel their trip. Dad still insisted on driving me to the airport though so we had a good couple of hours chat time on the drive before I headed out. I made a big booboo though - for some reason I was convinced I was flying from terminal 5 which is the newest terminal at Heathrow. But when Dad dropped me off, it didn't look familiar at all and when I got inside, all I could see was British Airways desks!

Oops! Commence mad panic to get to Terminal 2 - which is the most recently refurbished terminal - so I was sort of correct when I picked terminal 5 as the newest but I'd gotten it mixed up with terminal 2. Luckily, the Heathrow Express shuttle train is free within the airport so all I had to do was hop on that and then walk what felt like a couple of miles to get to the check in desks. I still had time for a huge breakfast too - although by the time I got there, I'd been awake 5 hours and it felt more like lunchtime!

Once through security, I got my bearings, glad to see a familiar layout at last. I headed for the bookstore to see if there was anything that caught my fancy. My cellphone started ringing and it's such a rare occurance that it took me a few seconds to realise it was my phone! It was my Mom, just calling to wish me a safe trip but we chatted for about 15 minutes. I have no idea what we were chatting about as I'd spent the previous evening with her anyway!

After that, I gave up on the bookstore and had to dash to the gate. I thought I had plenty of time but it's a 15 minute walk to the furthest gates and when I got there, it was eerily quiet. It turned out, I was one of the last people to arrive and I was just about settled in my seat when we started taxiing to the runway - almost 10 minutes early for a change. Even better than an early take-off - I had a full row to myself. I nabbed some extra pillows to make a comfy leaning/sleeping nest and stretched out to nap.

So here I am at 36,000 feet in the air somewhere near the coast of Newfoundland and like the soppy cow that I am, I'm crying over a cartoon character! I chose to watch Big Hero Six as it looked like a fun and light-hearted movie but I had no idea there were sad bits. I won't say what happened as I don't want to spoil it for anyone but if you're a bit soppy like me, you might want to take a few tissues with you when you do see it!

Maybe I'm over-tired or a bit sensitive today and it's not that sad but whatever, it did give me some real laugh out loud moments too. I guess I have a kids sense of humor still because when he had to let the air out, I nearly lost my coffee through my nose, I snorted/giggled so hard!

I finally made it to Newark and on to the next plane. The guy sitting next to me is snoring already but he did manage to stay awake long enough to say he'd been travelling for over 40 hours already. He'd come from India via Brazil to Newark and this was his last flight. I thought I was going to be tired after 24 hours awake but heck, that's nothing compared to his journey!

Only an hour to go until I land at St Louis now. I'm so tired I don't know how I'm going to get from the airport to Scott's apartment but I know I'll have a huge burst of energy as soon as I see him. We're planning pizza for food tonight - I just hope I can summon up enough energy to actually chew my food!

(500 Word challenge - day 12 word count 728. As promised, I wrote this on my trip so I apologise if the tenses and phrasing are a bit mixed up!)


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Monday, 11 May 2015

Up, Up And Away!


Just 24 hours from now, I will be at Heathrow Airport, hanging around waiting for my flight to take me to St Louis to visit my darling man. I have so much to do today, I don't know whether I'm coming or going right now but all I can think is a mixture of /squeee and oh my gosh, where's the time disappearing to!

I was determined that this trip, I would pack earlier than the last evening but I've been awake for 3 hours and I'm only now getting round to being productive! Maybe it's the 4th coffee kicking in at last but I'm getting so hyped to see him again, it could be that which is fueling my mad panic to get all the things done.

This trip is special to me, it will be the third anniversary of my first trip to see him and I just can't wait! It's been a rollercoaster three years, divorce, selling a house and surviving breast cancer as well as learning to live alone for the first time in my life. I've said it before but I don't know how I would have got through it all without him. He's been my tower of strength, my butt-kicker when I needed it but mostly, he's just been there through every thing with me, holding my hand and giving encouragement, love and being a total goofball at just the right times.

Inspiration for Ghostbusters building
I love St Louis too - it's so very different from anything I expected from an American city but then my impressions of American city life come from TV and movies. Of course, I know those aren't accurate depictions of the way of life but it was and is, still a shock to me. I think the huge difference in lifestyle helps contribute to the culture shock too - I've always been a country girl, living in a small town rather than a city girl.

Having so many facilities and restaurants close at hand where he lives is great but it doesn't help my waistline, that's for sure. The City Diner is literally just across the road and it becomes my second home from home when I'm there. Two of the waitresses have taken me under their wings and took me out for a Girls Night last summer. I can't wait to see my friends again - both have had some heavy duty life experiences since my last trip & I need to give them big hugs.

There's also a few friends I have made in his apartment building that I'm dying to see again. Robert is an old man who spends his days hanging out in the foyer or watching the world go by from the sidewalk outside. I struggle with his deep voice and accent sometimes but he's such a nice old man and has some really interesting stories to tell. I know I'll get a big hug and a huge grin from him on Wednesday morning when I see him.

We've made a few plans for some of my visit, including a day out with his Mom, a must do Crawfish Festival at the Broadway Oyster Bar and possibly even a meet up with a Twitter friend or two. There's also an Italian Calzone restaurant he's promised to take me too and I'm insisting we have to go back to the little Mexican restaurant where he took me for my first Margarita way back on my first trip! It's going to be a great 3 weeks and I'm stubbornly refusing to even think about coming home. There will enough time for that later, much later!

Can you tell I'm excited? I feel like a kid on my way to Disneyland :)

(500 Word Challenge - Day 11 word count 621)


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and my photography site
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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Return To Stormwind - Again!


After writing my post the other day about my feelings for World of Warcraft, I realised that I was being silly by not using some of my stash of gold to buy a token. Ok, so yeah, maybe it is twice the price in gold of the US realms but then I have so much gold, even buying 6 or 12 months gold tokens isn't going to dent my gold balance.

I haven't been feeling the pull to play like I used to but I do sometimes wish I could just pop in for half an hour here and there so now I can and guilt free too! So yesterday, I patched my World of Warcraft, updated all my addons and resubbed for 6 months with gold tokens. I didn't get the best deal because what's a couple of thousand gold here and there huh?

I spent a happy hour or so, doing my garrison stuff on the three alts I've got to Draenor and then I went hunting for my heirlooms to fill that tab up. I'm pretty sure I've lost a bunch of heirlooms somewhere - probably in the mail as I'm terrible for just leaving stuff in the mail system!

I know I had a full set of plate heirlooms but I couldn't find them anywhere - even using altoholic to search alts on other realms. But it's not a huge problem - again, I have so much gold just sitting around, I can easily buy all the ones I might ever need from the Guild vendor.

I can't remember if that's all of them though. I've forgotten so many little details like that. Not only have I not played any length of time since last summer but I haven't leveled a new alt since well before then either.

I head out to the States this week so I don't know if I'll be able to play much for the next three weeks either but it felt good to be back for a little visit at least! It was sad to see the state of my guild though - only one guy still playing by the looks of it but he was always my favorite guildie anyway so I sent him a little note in the mail to say hello!

I think gold making might have to take a back seat for a while - I never did get my head around all the garrison options and I barely even know what the names of all the herbs and crafting materials are, let alone how to make best use of them.

So my first goal is to get my Paladin main to level 100 - she's almost level 94 now so she has a long way to go yet. After that, I don't know - maybe I'll focus on her Leatherworking and see if I can understand all the profession changes or perhaps I'll level my Hunter. I don't know - I think I'm just going to take it easy, pop in when I feel the urge and see where I end up.

It did feel good though - there's so many new things popping up in real life to learn and deal with, WoW was like slipping on an old comfy pair of slippers at the end of a long day!

(500 Word Challenge - Day 10 word count 555)


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and my photography site
HVS PHotography

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One Minute Gaming #49 - Back To Bed


This week, I've been playing an unusual puzzle game called Back To Bed. It's quite surreal but definitely gets your brain working.

The basic idea is that you are a weird little dog who has to stop his owner from falling off rooftops as he sleep walks in a weird landscape. You have to pick up a giant apple and place it in your owner's path to make him turn away from an edge but then you have to grab the same apple & place it again at the next danger point.

The objective is to guide your owner back to bed which could be anywhere on the map. One little tip I can give - the owner always turns clockwise so sometimes you have to be really quick with placing the apple as there may only be 4 or 5 steps between turns and edges all around.


It's not the fastest puzzle or the hardest but it is compelling in a weird kind of way.

I'd give Back to Bed a 6 out of 10 - it's not my favorite puzzle game but it's ok if you like this sort of game.

If you have a game you'd like me to try, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or leave a comment below.

So until next time, have fun!

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Check out my other projects
Gifts for Gamers and Geeks

and my photography site
HVS PHotography

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