Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar

In case I have never mentioned it (here, here, here, here or here), my family loves to play board games. I’m not just talking about David, either; my brother, sister, mom and cousins are all equally addicted. When our family is together, games are played.

Don’t be picturing Monopoly or Risk, either. Around my house, even Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne are scoffed at as “gateway games.” We are deep into the whole European-style strategy board game catalog at this point.

David plays a ton, and he plays with a lot of people who like the newest and latest games, so he has a lot of variety in his game play. Mom, Gina and I tend to find a game we like and stick with it for quite a while. First it was Alhambra; then there was the “Summer of Agricola;” then Stone Age, which even the kids got into; and, until quite recently, they were addicted to Grand Austria Hotel. Now, however, the game at the top of the heap is definitely Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar.

Although I have watched it being played on my very own table many times since it came out in 2012, I just played my first game of Tzolk’in. (I like to play games I already know how to play, rather than taking up my time constantly learning new ones.) It was cool, I’ll admit. Quick to learn, with worker placement that reminded me a lot of Stone Age and Agricola. Its cool component, though, is the gears that move your pieces every round. It keeps you on your toes, making you think ahead on all fronts so you maximize your points and (hopefully) keep yourself from getting kicked off any given wheel.

I’m no professional game reviewer, believe me — I just know what I like, and it was fun. I’m not the only one, either. Mom and Gina played three games of it tonight; my cousin, Julie, is buying her own copy to get all the relatives in Reno hooked, too.

Check it out.

The language of love

20140813_181946I have an amazing relationship with Quinland. Just had to start with that. He is awesome and I love him.

We had the nicest time together tonight. He had persuaded me to take him to get his hair cut and to get his two-year phone upgrade. We managed to sneak in to Great Clips with 6 minutes to spare, so “haircut” got checked off the list. The phone upgrade did not happen, as he’d forgotten to back it up before we left the house – and he needed to turn in his old iPhone 4s to get a rebate – so we left the mall and decided to go get dinner together.

The whole time, we talked about relationships:  love interests, past and present; the excitement of being in a relationship and getting to know the other person; the five love languages and how important it is to express love in a language that the other person understands and values; the importance of good communication.

It’s interesting to think about where Q’s relationship style comes from. His own innate love language, temperament, experience? My relationship with David, and his experience of seeing that throughout his life? Some combination of these things and others that I cannot even imagine? Probably the last option, I know. But it was interesting to talk about how David and I communicate verbally (extremely well) and how we demonstrate our love (not nearly as well, since our love languages are very different and we each need to make herculean efforts to overcome our natural tendencies); he may or not have been aware of some of the ways that his dad and I relate to each other, even if he’s been around us his whole life.

I just thought it was so cool that we could even have this conversation. High school relationships and dating can be such a minefield of emotions and decisions and stress, and I’m glad that Q feels comfortable talking with me. I’m sure I don’t hear everything, but that’s to be expected as he grows up and separates from us to become his own autonomous self. I just feel lucky that there is so much he is willing to talk about, at his age.

I feel like my time with him is running out. The thought that he’ll be living on his own in less than three years is too scary to even think about. I’m going to miss him like crazy.

Mission check-in: Lighten My Heart

Hello, and welcome to Introspection Week here at the Lighten Up! blog. I am sitting here in Croatia with time on my hands, and I have decided to think long and hard about what I want and why I want it.

Yesterday I looked at my attitude, and how I want to relax, reduce stress in my life, and worry less. Today’s topic: relationships, otherwise known as the category “Lighten My Heart.”

Why in the world do I want to improve my life so much? Why worry less, be healthier, live in a beautiful home, manage my time well? Do I think there is some kind of scorecard, and I am going to get bonus points for doing things right? Or am I trying to make time for what is truly important to me?

Although I sometimes lose sight of it, I know the second answer is the correct one. I want to be a healthier, happier person so I can enjoy the people I care about, and I want to organize my life and my time so that I have the opportunity to do so.

Isn’t this what life’s all about?

Isn’t this a dream come true?

(OK, sorry. No more 80’s musical references. Yeah, I know… that’s a lie. But they just come shooting out!)

So, yes, I know that the people in my life are my highest priority… yet I am not very good at making time for relationships. I hold “spending time with people” out in front of myself as a carrot when I get behind on everything I think I need to do… and then (because I am rarely satisfied with anything even when I do complete it), I never feel that I have gotten enough done to merit the reward.

In addition, I am a very neurotic hostess, so I have trouble throwing parties. I am a terrible cook, so (unless I am ordering food in) having people over for a meal is a dicey enterprise. I am usually flying by the seat of my pants, so my less-spontaneous friends are already booked up when I get the inspiration to call. You can see where I might have some trouble.

We tried to solve the “We Are Antisocial” problem a couple of years ago by holding regular parties, sort of like a serial open house. But Odd Fridays (as they were called since they took place on the odd-numbered Fridays) sort of fizzled out. For one thing, they morphed into Game Nights for David and his friends; for another, we saw a lot of some people (which was great!) and very little of others (which was disappointing).

I was talking to my friend Nicole about that failed experiment when I saw her in Hannover last month. Her take: she prefers to be specifically invited to do things with just me/us, as opposed to mass gatherings to which everyone is invited, because it is more special that way. She loves me, so I took that criticism as it was intended – and I could see that she was right.

So that’s my goal: to make time for my friends and family, and to let them know how important they are to me. I’m not as worried about the joy and laughter part; if we get together, that will come.

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! Listen to what my husband said to me today: “I love you. Loving you is the best decision I ever made.” Isn’t that so sweet? Of course, because I am me, I didn’t hear him the first time and he had to repeat it. (Deafness? ADD? That poor guy…)