Today 13May2023

The morning started with me trying to sleep in. With the bright morning sun, I just want to get going at 5AM. Going to bed early for me, before eleven (23:00), just means I wake up early. So I stayed in bed until 7:30 and finally started. This weekend I am on call, but I was told to skip the status calls–so I did. I made liberal coffee with my French Press. I have been drinking fair trade, and like coffee since the election of President Trump, I like the reminding taste of what I believe and that the little things matter (and often the splashy ones are just the death throes of outmoded ideas). Liberal tastes so good in the morning.

Breakfast on Saturday was a what-the-hell moment that has happened so much more after the pandemic; I decided to have lasagna, left over from Friday’s cooking, as I left one piece in the frig and froze the rest for dinners of the future. It was good but not as good as it could have been, and I will have to consider other recipes in the future. The no-boil pasta was still crunchy on the top in a few places. More sauce on top next time.

Carmile Longley (CM), one of the two creators of the Lamp Black comic and solo role-playing game (RPG) by the same name, had sent me my missing copy of the RPG rules. This is a comic where the ink comes to life and, depending on the artist’s art and emotions, maybe a cute ink cat or a nearly unstoppable inkblot of death (a psychologist’s nightmare). It is like they made it for me! I ordered doubles of everything (causing multiple packages for me as CM uses the arcane shipping rules to find the least costly shipping). I then put one complete set into the most oversized mailer CM used (with her logo on the tape!), resealed the box with transparent tape, and addressed it to Kat Smith in NYC. I sent Kat the comics from Christmas and thought she would love to see the RPG.

I was unwell on Friday, so I had to write the blog on Saturday morning; the blog was short. After that, I dressed, boarded Air Volvo, and loaded the package into the cargo hold. I also reloaded Air Volvo with several games (I had taken them out for Susie’s trip to the doctor on Thursday). I stopped by the post office and mailed the package using the postage-generating box to do this. This time it wanted my address, too, and I put that on the generated label. The machine could not auto-scan the small package, so I had to put in the dimensions. I was surprised by how long the process now takes (something to remember for Christmas) and was happy to get away with less than $20 shipping.

With the package now dropped off in a machine, I headed to see Susie. It was sunny and hot. Before I left the Volvo Cave, I watered the new redwood 2″ tree I planted yesterday (nothing is more optimistic than planting a redwood tree–you will never see it tall). It is planted in the depression in my backyard and is the only redwood with leaves (they sort of look like needles), and the exotic tree sheds them in the fall. It is also recommended to plant where nothing lives, and the wetness and parchedness of this spot are supposed to be perfect for a redwood. I hope it makes it!

I have a gift from Dondrea and Z of a rose bush I have not planted yet. I watered it too. I have found a place for it and just have to install a hole. Soon. The other plants are happy, and even the stressed ones (I also gave them some water) look better.

The traffic on Saturday was light except where the City of Beaverton installed new holes. I made my usual 25-minute trip at that time. It was slightly cooler in Tigard as it is a higher altitude than Aloha, Oregon (my mailing address is Beaverton, but I actually reside in the forgotten unincorporated down of Reedville). Soon Air Volvo pulled into Susie’s place at the hummingbird house in Portland (Tigard) at Allegiance Senior Care LLC, 9925 SW 82nd. Ave. Portland (Tigard), OR 97223; phone (503) 246-4116.

Susie was in her chair but ready for an adventure. She was delighted to have me visit. Anassa, the weekend nursing aide, moved Susie with aplomb into her wheelchair (how do they do that? Even when I watch, it still is a mystery for me). Off to outside, now over 80F (26.7C), with a light dry, warm breeze (desert heat today). The park was full of folks and dogs (many freely chasing balls). We headed to the shady bench near the redwoods or cedars (I think I have misidentified the redwoods as cedars) and looked at a full-sized version of my 2″ sapling at the Volvo Cave.

While sitting in the park, is not much to write about, it was a lovely day, and Susie and I both were feeling good, and Susie was smiling while watching the activities in the park. We are blessed to have Metzger Park so close to Susie’s facility. There are some areas in the park closed with hazard tape. A new bike rack and some new play area for kids is going up. Seeing that the park is so well maintained and even improved is so lovely.

We called Leta, Susie’s mother, and then Barb, Susie’s sister (who might visit next month), on my iPhone and used FaceTime so we could see each other. Leta was thrilled to see Susie outside and me feeling better. Barb was happy to chat about family and how Susie was feeling. It was hot, and Susie, who had not recovered from the exhausting trip to the doctor on Thursday, was sleepy. So we returned to the hummingbird house and returned Susie to Anassa’s care with a kiss. Susie was headed for a long summer nap.

Evan, who met us in the park, and I headed to Rogue Brewery via Highway 5. This twisty road follows the rivers and is built into the cliff along the Willamette River, an extension of the Columbia River, with head-turning views of Mount Hood and the river. This is, of course, a terrible feature of a highway with dangerous curves and mysterious lane losses that must have been designed on an off day for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Still, it is a lovely drive, and I get to take a bridge with a panoramic view of Portland and the mountains, including the truncated Mount St. Hellens visible in a slightly hazy sky (with a four-lane merge in the air and then spits off to two highways, making you really wonder what ODOT was thinking). Popping off these collections of cement-in-the-sky traffic solutions, I soon parked next to Rogue. It was slightly humid, and the hot air from the Columbia Gorge was blowing and collecting water from the river to be somewhat thick: Desert with a hint of oasis.

Rogue was not that busy, and Evan soon appeared; I passed him on the highway–Air Volvo loves hot, dry drives on high-placed cement. I ordered a salad; there is no AC, so a salad with salmon (it is delicious here in the Pacific Northwest). I had Dead Guy Ale to go with it, their best product, I think.

While I ate, Evan read the board game Scythe’s campaign introduction (a steampunk rewrite of Europe’s 1900s history and the game starting in a fictional 1921). Next, Evan began setting up the standard start for a two-person game. He got Russia (red), called Rusviet Union, and I was Prussia (Black), called Saxony Empire. The first game went fast, with me suddenly ending the game (this often happened in Scythe as the winning conditions are challenging at first and then get easier and more manageable when you get more resources and options). Evan scored low, and I did not do much better. As this campaign contains secret content, my description of the game will be reduced. I took a highly military approach to the first game and aggressively grabbed stars and completed objectives (Saxony can do unlimited objectives as its superpower), which worked.

We agreed to play the next game. I still had time, which required us to vote on War or Peace (with no explanation), and while I had the majority, I went with Peace as it would be more interesting, I thought. We set up a usual setup with us getting randomly assigned boards but retaining our factions; Evan thought Rusviet was not as cool as he thought before (it allows you to repeat an action which I, as the black color, cannot). Alliances were rebuffed (a new thing), and the Peace scoring track was used (no credit for battles or military power). My new board and the new peace-in-our-time direction made me do a 180 on tactics, and I went with an expansion approach and tried to play highly efficiently to get the most out of each resource. I have played Saxony before in my first play of the campaign and have played it so many times I have lost track. I know it very well. Also, Evan’s red base was on the opposite side of the board, so I had a free hand. Prussians loose on Europe without opposition; oh my, that was fun! I ate up the encounters and landed star after star, and worked through my objectives again. Evan, who took the Factory hex early with Rusviet‘s teleport power, left only one mech on the factory. I ended the game by taking the Factory as that gave me (holding the Factory was a Peace goal) my last star. I thought I had enough and managed to win by holding so many hexes (a lesson from Z in my previous game and loss with her), and I was right, collecting 69 points at the end. Next time we play, we will be allowed some exciting add-ons to buy.

After that, I played at Richard’s place with Richard, Shawn, and Claudia. We selected Anachrony to play. I had painted the figures and wanted to see them again. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how to play, as I think I have not played for over a year. This is a spooky-looking SciFi board game, but it is really, at first, a simple resource management and worker placement game with your own tableau and some engine building. But, there is time travel, with you borrowing from your future self and having to return to the past and paying back the stuff or to purchase technology offered in the past. Crazy! It is a competitive game, but not mean (mean is the board game concept that your actions reduce the options for other players–for example, the board game Brass, both versions, is mean as resources and opportunities reduce each play). Claudia struggled with the game, and I had moments of making mistakes and ended up about ten points below Shawn and only ten points ahead of Claudia (her first score was better than my previous scores). Richard, taking advantage of my misplays, scored 30+ above Shawn! Next time!

Aside: Anachrony is an overly built Kickstarter game (like many Kickstarter games) with components that are oversized for the play, I think (particularly having had to paint them) and is now expensive to buy into at $300 or so for a used set. I would love to learn it better, but will not buy in at that price.

Exhausted from relearning and fighting for every point, we broke up the gaming at 10:30, and I was delighted to return home before midnight. However, I was tired and do not recall shooting up the cement-in-the-sky ramps to the bridges across the Willamette River. The on-ramp is taller than the bridge roadway!

After Air Volvo landed at the Volvo Cave, I managed to have a bit of ham from Olympic Provision to go with my pills (best with some food). The mail contained more medical bills (a mystery $19 for my Physical Therapy that I believe I have already paid) and my stamp purchases for my stamp collection. There is nothing to share, dear reader unless you are a hardcore USA stamp collector of the classic period (1840s to 1940s). Thank you for reading. I was quickly asleep after that busy day.

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