Thursday, July 18

When'll It End?

I just processed the fact that my updates will be getting slightly further (farther? Crud, I'm too tired to figure out which one is correct.) behind because I will not be recounting what's currently happening. Either way, my posting schedule will not be back to normal until I'm caught up.

Oh well, it's all documented either in my Travel Journal or with quick notes in my planner. It all exists for future reference somewhere. It's just nicer to have it all in one spot for when I do get back to scrapbooking about this current year.

Yep, I finally and honestly gave myself permission not to feel incredibly guilty about not keeping up with scrapping about the current year since I finished 2012 so quickly in one fell swoop. No, I haven't made progress in 2011 since I talked about it several weeks ago, but I now have a new Florida Family Vacation album to assemble.

Thank goodness it will not be as epic of a text as the last one but I'm still intimidated but determined to get it done! *cough* Haven't started assembling any pages yet. >_<

Back to the catch-up recaps!

Monday (07.01): Our cousin took the day off of work to frolic around Universal Studios with us. We got to skip a whole lot of lines, it still rained quite a bit but not as much as the day before, and we still ended up back at Islands of Adventure for a few more rides we had missed.

We ended up having dinner at IKEA with her and her boyfriend. We ate like beasts, as usual for vacation boot camp. While we were on the way out, my brother's friend disappeared from our group and I suddenly  realized that he had started a game of "Sardines."

I never thought a game of hide and seek would be so much fun (I was terrible at the regular game as a kid), but in this version only one person hides and as each person finds the original hider, they must do their best to hide with them. So... 5 people can end up crammed in a closet together. We ended up playing this game about a dozen times that week.

It was an epic game that lasted over an hour. A random shopper found him before the bulk of us did. It was hilarious and we were pressured into wrapping up the game by the store closing.

Tuesday (07.02): We had to check out of the townhouse and while my folks went their own way, we cousins had lunch with another cousin. He was several years younger than us and I remember him when he was a hyperactive two year old. Gah!

We convinced this shy pre-teen that Sardines would be fun to play at their new house. Played half a dozen and I finally got to be the main hider by accident. I found my little cousin under the bathroom sink and went to hide in the adjacent room in the back corner of a closet that shared the same walls. When everyone had found him, they realized I was still hiding despite finding him early in the game.

Simple and goofy. Perfect. We headed back down south afterwards, unpacked our gear, and relaxed.

Wednesday (07.03): Had lunch with my mom, dad was hellbent on building a new fish trough for his latest project of breeding and raising baby koi, and then we took the cousins to our favorite comic book stores. Played more tabletop deck card games, did some shopping, and added Killer Bunnies to our ever-growing collection of games.

Slight dark sense of humor that requires a competitive spirit early on in the game, the exact opposite of how I like to cruise through group games, lol.

Thursday (07.04): My dad and I took the cousins to the Everglades for an airboat ride and some fishing. We had half a dozen sightings of wild alligator and it was great. Did a little bit of shopping with mom and then we had a BBQ in the backyard.

Fireworks were being shot nearly all around us, so that was fun to watch until a rainstorm hit us. Had to rush to grab the food and utensils to haul it under cover before it blew away. After, my dad went on a crazy mission to re-capture a koi they had released into the lake a few years  ago and dragged me along. In between setting traps for the fish, I played more tabletop games with my brother and cousins.

Friday (07.05): Dim Sum with mom for brunch before taking her to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Beautiful place to walk around, but it was soggy because-you guessed it- more rain.

When we got home, did a bit more shopping with mom before my friends joined us for more tabletop games and planning our Saturday activities.

Saturday (07.06): A group of us met up throughout the day to attend Florida Super Con. My first convention and it was everything that I expected. Well, my FB status the next day was:

"Survived SuperCon. The entire sweaty, smelly, squishy, "so 'spensive" experience. My first time and with great friends and family! Got my nerdy souvenirs and to see George Takei. Bucket list task checked off <3 i="">

The venue was too small for it's own good with how much the event has grown in recent years. Spotted the new friend I had helped with the cosplay and ended up the day with amazing Lemon Italian Ice and homemade spaghetti dinner.

Sunday (07.07): My brother took us to an arcade by his university that was good fun. It was a pretty laid back day overall while we all recovered. Some of us went back to the Everglades for more fishing and we wrapped up the night by having a catch-up with tv shows and movie night. 

Monday, July 15

Catch-Up Like Whoa

Holy cow have I gotten far behind with my blog posts!

Not that I needed to tell you, but am letting you know that I'm well aware of this issue. We're going to jam in the updates by week until I catch-up.

Monday (06.24): Had a bit of a scare when we thought my brother hadn't made it to pick up our dad from an appointment at a hospital that was only a 15 minute drive away. Turns out that waiting rooms without cell phone service are the worst and they really should just page the beeper they give to family members and not just wheel their patients down to the lobby area and give up. Not the best way to wake up.

Spent the rest of the day relaxing and hanging out with a dear friend and ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe and Hooters for dinner.

Tuesday (06.25): My brother is determined to catch me up on this past season of Adventure Time, we indulged in frozen yogurt, and my dear friend and I went a ways away to help her friend work on his costume for an upcoming convention. I have always wanted to work/ do cosplay for a con and this was a mini-dream come true. I dyed the poor guy's hair from dirty blonde to black and he cooked us dinner. Not a bad trade, right?

 He went as Guts from Berserk.

Wednesday (06.26): FMIL headed to visit her family and that left the SO to watch the house full of critters and plants. What a trooper! Spent the morning shopping with my mom before she ditched me at lunch. My brother and I met up with my dear friend at Barnes & Noble and I was surprised to see how many tabletop games they sell now. Playing our new games took up the rest of the day.

Thursday (06.27): My brother and I spent most of the morning replacing doorknobs around the house. It was just a frustrating turned silly time for us.

We met up with some friends at our new favorite comic-hobby store and had a blast picking out sets of polyhedral die. We've come to the conclusion that we'd like to try to learn how to play Dungeons & Dragons together online via webcam. It'll be quite the adventure figuring that out and it's up to me to organize.

Learned how to play "Bang!" the card game. It wracked my brain to figure out how far each player was from me after equipping horses and weapons altered distance, but the deputy was killed two-thirds through the game and the outlaws (my brother and I) ended up winning! Yeah, you can read a bit about it on the Bang! wiki page.

Friday (06.28): Dad's vacation time began today and my brother and I spent a lot of time getting his room in order for our two twenty-something year old cousins that were supposed to arrive at midnight. He would have done stuff sooner except he didn't realize he wasn't going to be kicked out. Silly boy, we're always kicked out of our rooms when any guest come.

We also started packing for our next trip to Orlando. Some friends came over to play more games. I'm just loving cramming all of this time in to do something that I love so much but hardly get to do anymore since I don't have many friends that are interested in gaming where I live.

 Airport's quiet at this hour. Bunch of people sleeping on the benches.

Saturday (06.29): Our cousins' flight was about an hour late after they were delayed in their initial departure due to bad weather. We crawled home around 2am and hung out for a bit getting to know each other as not-quite-kids anymore. It's been 4-8 years since we've seen each other, so it was quite an adjustment. Thank goodness nerdiness and goofiness runs in the family.

Eventually, we headed to Orlando with my brother's best friend in tow and arrived at the townhouse long before my folks were able to join us (midnight). We played some of the new deck card games before trying to involve my folks in a game of Hide and Seek when they arrived. They never found me hiding in the master bath's bathtub and got quite the surprise when they checked out a linen closet to find my brother and his friend lounging on top of spare bedding inside.

Master bedroom. So sweet!

Sunday (06.30): We did the church thing together before the kids headed out to Islands of Adventure amidst pouring rain. My folks went to visit their friends in Little Saigon in town. We had another cousins who works at the park while her boyfriend works at Universal Studios. We bounced back and forth between the two, got to cut a couple of lines between having those connections and knowing when the rain would shorten lines significantly.
 My folks like to go to the Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine.

It was not comfortable spending the entire day either wet or soaked, but we had a lot of fun regardless. Finally seeing Harry Potter World was nice and it was interesting visiting these parks with an older group. We were okay with skipping super long lines of very popular rides or only briefly perusing the shops and merchandise.
A part of me was pretty disenchanted with the entire experience, but being with people who had never been there before did help.

Friday, July 5

Not Yet

I haven't been able to find time to quietly sit down and type up one of my summarizing blog posts yet but the note-taking continues in my travel journal.

Hopefully, we'll have enough footage (despite all the flippin' rain) for me to create a quick scrapbook about this trip. Also, I hope that it will be a relatively painless project.

We went to a Japanese Garden & Museum today with my mom, went shoe-shopping with her, and had friends over for games with surprise homecooked meal from my amazing mom. It was a great day.

Tomorrow, we plan on going Florida SuperCon with a bunch of friends and meet a bunch there. I'm super excited about the opportunity.

Tuesday, July 2


I swear that I am alive and around. I've missed two of my weekly entries with cousins coming into town during my visit. Notes have been taken so there's some documentation going on lately!

I have not wanted a smart phone so badly as this past week. With running around theme parks in constant rain, they have proven incredibly useful and convenient in so many ways. From the quick pictures, taking notes, stashing during the scary rides, and entertainment- inspiration. Sigh.

Tomorrow is our resting day, so I'll do my best to upload what pictures I do have and get some updates going on here. :D

Monday, June 24


Guess my brain assumed that since I have been taking notes in my travel journal, that one method of recording is enough. Despite seeing it in my planner, completely spaced on writing my usual Sunday post. Bah!

Thursday: Dragged my sorry behind out of bed and made sure I had everything set to go. The SO took me to breakfast at McDonalds on the way to the airport because their hashbrowns are one of the few good reasons to be up before 10:30 in my world.

Flying was fairly uneventful and found myself in a pretty positive mood. That doesn't often happen but maybe there had been just enough stress going on that the chemicals in my brain just snapped and were deliriously giddy.

Landed in Dallas about twenty minutes ahead of schedule, which was extra awesome because even after I hauled butt across the airport to my next gate, there were a mere ten minutes before my next flight began to board.

Also, thank goodness for traveling with just my backpack as my carry-on because it meant that I was able to board both flights pretty early on!

Picked up by my brother and dad at the oh so humid, warm, and damp airport. Opted for a calm and quiet dinner at home of homemade beef stew, continued planning out the weekend road trip, and had six inches of my way-too-long-for-me hair chopped off by my mother. Yep.

Went to bed super late because of time differences and having a ridiculous lack of self-control.

Friday: Woke up late and start going shopping with my brother before meeting up with one of my best friends at our local hobby store to pick up two card games: Fluxx and Star Munchkin. My friends and I are now obsessed. Have been looking forward to picking up a couple of games for weeks now and it was way too exciting for me to be with nerdy people again.

Played a few rounds before packing up to head to Orlando (a 3.5 hr drive since we avoided rush hour) and made it to my other best friend's house at 10:30pm. The joys of youth. We played more rounds of both games with her and her sister before heading to bed.

I am so grateful to have been able to see her while we were both visiting the same state for a limited amount of time. I don't know why the stars keep aligning like that but I am not going to question it ever!

Saturday: We all did our best to get up early and head over to Cape Canaveral (1.5 hours away) to visit a dear friend who was in the same area of the state at the same time. Yeah, there was a lot of planning and re-planning involved the 24 hour prior to all of this. It had been years since we had all been together. Had lunch seaside hoping to see some dolphins.

Dear friends' parents have the best condo there. It's paradise for sure! We hopped into the inflatable kayak and were surrounded by manatees. Yes, that place again! My brother and I kept being pushed back out by two manatees and I have some great pictures and video clips that I will upload this week. When the other two went out, they saw big jellyfish in the bay waters beneath them.

Played more of the card games together (told you: obsessed) before heading back to Orlando with my dear friend in tow a few hours earlier than initially planned. That gave us enough time to take my best friend's sister out to dinner and we could all catch up and be goofy.

We left to make that 3.5 hr drive back down to our hometown while watching the Super Moon and it only rained right when we entered town again. We dropped off my friend at her house, where I promptly left my wristlet containing my camera, phone, and wallet things in her bathroom, and got home just past midnight.

I was so incredibly close to not leaving behind something at someone's house. Sigh. It's been a problem for me since forever. Go figure that, despite how careful I was this trip, I would screw it up at the finish line. Yup.

Sunday: Brother and I headed to church the next morning after finding out that our mom canceled our day together. She's just too cool for us. :P It was the whole reason why we had rushed to get home the night before. Sigh again. Did a little more shopping and grabbed lunch with my dear friend again and hung out at her place since we were in the neighborhood. That and I needed my wallet back. XP

Helped her clean her pool before grabbing some delicious Italian Ice from a hole-in-the-wall shop down the street. We all went to the hobby store again to hang out. Watched some people play player versus player games (like arcade Street Fighter-style) on a screen behind the counter from the moment we entered and were talked into trying out a new card game by one of the guys who worked there.

It was called Sentinels of the Multiverse (just looked it up) and we each were assigned a superhero and given the coordinating deck of powers and abilities to work together and defeat a villain deck coupled with an environment deck. It was slightly overwhelming and intimidating when we first started out because we were getting out butts whooped by the cards, but we managed to survive and pull off a victory in the end. Surprised us all, including the mastermind of it all.

Eventually, two more of our friends were able to join us and we window-shopped before heading to my dear friend's house again to play a few rounds of Fluxx, Star Munchkin, and Dokapon Kingdom. It has felt so good to have friends willing to try and enjoying all these games again. It's one of the best things about coming back to visit.

Wednesday, June 19


The title says it all. Sigh.

Monday: Last minute errands before my trip. I'm talking more and more with my brother and friends as we try to cement initial plans. It seems that the weekends are booked solid while the weekdays are wide open to spontaneity and relaxing. If that's ever a thing when I'm there, lol.

Tuesday: I have been rearranging my garden after chatting with a few people online about their gardens. In a video game stream, what a venue. :P

I've gathered the miscellaneous bits and bobs that I plan to bring with me. Those are always the bulk and what gets packed first. My silly priorities.

I'm busy panicking mostly despite not having too much left to do. I got some news today of events that may transpire while I'm away and my heart just dropped into my stomach. I guess it's for good reason that I'm the last to know because of being the raging worrywart, but this was so disheartening that I'm genuinely scared to leave now.

The trip will go as planned, I'll just have to pray really hard that life here will be uneventful and not as crazy as it has gotten every single other time in the past. Okay, I lied earlier. My heart's either been dropped down into my stomach or it's been in my throat.

What will I come home to in three weeks? :(

Wednesday: Gonna finished up packing, but it's all here. I just have to make it look nice and be able to cushion my makeup. I'm dreading the early hours tomorrow and in subsequent days.

For reals, I've not been able to fall asleep until about 6am on average but 2am at the earlier. I'm going to need all of the caffeine tomorrow but it might be nice to pass out on the plane to calm my nerves.

Here's the last garden vlog for a while! I have pictures but those will be saved for the comparison shots when I return. Lol, the epic plant post is pretty much becoming an annual thing!

Sunday, June 16

Flip Flop

I'm rubbing my temples and sinus area as one does when they are exasperated. It's all about how little I've done lately. Worse than before. Not sure what has gotten into me. Maybe I'm procrastinating with cleaning and packing because travel makes me nervous. Wouldn't be the first time.

Photo-a-day project has been a total flop already. The specific assignments have started to shove in my face how stagnant my life has become. On the other hand, I am taking more photos again and with how much scrapbooking I've done this year, I am being more mindful of the purpose and composition. The plan now is to get all of the ideas taken by the end of the month.

Thursday: FMIL and I went to visit a co-worker and her adorable kids. We ended up spending the whole day there. I worked a bit on a scrapbook about the little ones, we picked up and started assembling a grill that she had gotten for her husband as a surprise Father's Day gift, and played video games with her god son. Way too much fun!

Friday: Watering the garden every other day with these high temps now and discovered this little gem:

I think we have the beginnings of melons! The first batch of flowers did not have that bulbous growth, lol. Talking to my baby brother a lot lately and we started planning out a visiting-activity schedule for when I arrive. The weekends are intense but I cannot wait to see him.

Saturday: Finally starting to put stuff away and set aside things that I know I want to bring with me. It doesn't help that I've started playing way too many games again on FB and have started up a new online game with the SO called Scrolls. It's a deck-building game from the same people who made Minecraft. We wanted a fun way to stay connected while I'm away.

We also had out first monsoon storm of the season that even started today! Unexpected but relieving.

Sunday: Got more cleaning, clearing, and planning done today. Kitty has been a silly mood lately, the heat and my irregular activities has set him off. I have to keep him occupied so I don't accidentally step on him as I'm whirling around while he's bolting in and out of the room.

Cue the catnip-scented giraffe mouse and some tissue wrapping paper. At least he spazzes out on the bed where I can see him before zonking out.

"Mine. All mine."

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