Thursday, May 15, 2014

Extreme Speed Lawn Scrabble

Extreme: You have to run to get the tiles.
Speed: Speed Scrabble rules, with some accessories.
Lawn: 8.5x8.5 Tiles played outside on the lawn.

What You Need:
  • Large Scrabble Tiles.  Several Pinterest sites have plans for wooden planks.  I used cardstock with paperclips.  Thanks be to God for a low wind evening.   I am guessing if you wanted to invest a bit of money (but not spend time with a saw bench) you could make the squares out of that foam paper stuff.
  • Lawn
  • Maybe Bibles, Prayerbooks...
  • Maybe smart phones.
How many tiles do you need and how are the points assigned? You can find lists of how many of each letter you need here.

How Do You Play?
  • Divide into no more than four teams of people.  
  • Tiles are spread out face down in one area at a far end of a lawn.  If this is far enough away it could be a mad dash with some hilarity.
  • Standard scrabble formation rules apply.  However, I added a rule that they could use the names of biblical books even if they were proper names.  So, Ruth yes, Mary, no. 
  • Words could be found using smart phones and justified using smartphones and standard dictionary sites. 
  • Speed Scrabble involves no playing board and making a formation of words with the letters you have.  When your team has used all of their letters then someone says GO! and then all teams have to go get another letter(s).  Each time a team has placed all their letters in a formation this repeats until all the tiles have been claimed.  With two teams I had them claim two letters each time a team yelled Go!  
  • If all teams are stuck with extra letters during the course of the game they can agree to 'dead' and everyone goes to get another tile.  
  • Once all tiles have been claimed the first team to complete a formation of words 'wins' and gets 10 extra points.  All teams then add up their scrabble points and discover the final winner.
Other complicating additions to try: 
  • You could place the titles face up so there is more competition for certain letters.
  • You could insist that there must be one religious word (God, Church, Mission).
  • You could make rules for trading of letters instead of new letters when in the 'dead zone'.   

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Merry ole...week one done

Catching up...

After several lovely days in Cambridge it was time to go north.  The author of the Wicked books most certainly borrowed from the sights and names of the Lake Country.  Ulswater and the Cumbric witch and so on. 
If you like dogs, I recommend Keswick (do not say the w).  If you are allergic, I might suggest an alternate plan.  If you like walking and hiking, even in a downpour, then please take your trip.  The funny thing is how few folks smile while making these adventures.  Hundreds of pounds of rain gear and hiking poles and lovely scenes and no grins.  Hmm.  Plus matching jackets for couples seems to be a statement with the older crowd of tourists. 
There is a gap in the hills with the most rain in England, over 11 feet a year.  And it poured for that five minute spot.  Otherwise the weather was a mix of rain, light, and clouds.  There is no shortage of outdoor gear shops in Keswick, almost as many as wine tasting rooms in Walla Walla.  I found two terrific cafes with real cask ale.  One called the Square Orange was tight and  bright with assortment of bites and sandwiches. 
The second cafe is called Magnolia, with menus made to look like an lp.  Even was pulled out of an old lp jacket.  It was one of this places that is playing so much of your music, your hip music that you are convinced no one else listens to, well, you wonder if they scanned your phone.  I was not alone with this observation, the Dutch man near me had a similar experience.
The hostel in Keswick is quite nice and clean and helpful.  It is in old mill by the river, so you get to hear it babbling by at night.  Except for the loud drunk Englishman declaring how he would be climbing like a god the next day, it was ideal.
I am still struck by the volume of coffee shops.  Every which way you look.  I was expecting fancy tea shops, Starbucks style.  Best i can tell such things are more popular in Portland, Oregon.
I have eaten rarebit and pies and now leuntil crisps and now animal shaped fruit jels that are quite good.  One tastes a bit like cherry cola.  Not the flavor I was expecting for a cow face shape.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Merry two plus one

Holy moly.  This isn't high tourist season?  It is quite busy and teeming with folks around every corner.  When did I become less than keen on crowds??
On Saturday we ventured down to the Eye.  The large ferris wheelt hat was construced for the Olympics, yet has becomea part of the skyline.  Anyways, some of you may know that I enjoy heights and ferris wheels.  England is compelling-ly gracious regarding those in wheelchairs, so we were wisked to the front of the 'Que'.  The wheel only stops  when operating for the ramp into the little egg cells.  It might not have been as big of a hit before digital photography.It is made for that adventure. 
You might notice the amazing sunny and clear photos.  This is a consistent pattern for me lately.  I am thinking about letting myself out for blessings towards sunny far this year I have found sunny and temperate in San Francisco, Seattle and now London.  I actually managed to achieve a spot of sunburn on Saturday. 
We had planned to go to St. Paul's however it was closed for a service commemorating the anniversary of the CoE ordination of women to the priesthood.  Hmm.  Another time.
We headed up to the Camden Market, which as quite the crowd of vendors and folks out for the sunny day. We might of gotten a bit lost for a moment on the way back, but made it back to the station.  Which was good because at the very same moment an owl flew by with my letter for admittance to Hogwarts.  A few years late, but I shall not complain.  Truth be told the half-cart is not near platform 9 at all, it might be adjacent to the toilets instead.  It is free for you to take your own photo, they have an assortment of house scarves (most choose Gryfndor) and a fella whose job it is to hold and wave the scarf.  Actually quite worth the wait in line (frequently much longer than my wait).
Sunday morning began with a lovely church service in a thousand year old congregation (St. Bene't's, which is short for Benedict), which makes the 150 of Walla Walla seem like a drop in the bucket.  It greatly resembles the Cathedral nave in Albuquerque.  The service was both full and friendly. 
Then I spent parts of the day wandering through the shopping district. In some ways the grocer was the most intriguing part, I could have studied the packages and choices for much longer than I did.
The evening was completed by Evensong at Pembroke College and then dinner.  At long tables in a great hall, with a head table.  And dress robes on students and staff.  And talking portraits (just kidding).  A lovely dinner with nice students and a fine setting.
Somewhere in the imagination of my heart I was expecting more of an 'otherness'.  It is of course unlike anything in my experience, yet it is still not as intensely different as I expected.  A daily journey of discovery.  Discovery of places and ways, but also of an alternate use of language to share information.  I see the words,  I can read them, but it may take a ssecond to realize what the instruction intends.  I also find myself using many localisms, it must be in the water.  Crisps and loo and blokes.  Or perhaps it is all that Masterpiece and novel reading that has such phrases falling out of my lips.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Merry Ole..Day One

It is a little bit funny:

To be able to read the signs, but find yourself unsure of what they intend.
To see a familliar landscape yet never have I been here before.  The suburban similarities are almost sad.
To meet up with an old friend and find life very much the same.
To feel my brain using muscles it has not in a while (thanks Preston for inviting me to read big words).
To speak the language and understand the language but still wish for subtitles.  BBC tv has subtitles...why don't yall?
To not be willing to pay for the outrageous international data rates and therefore be a bit more lost than usual.
To get kissed by a chatty english bloke in a pub on my first day.  On the cheek. 
To get to know, ever briefly, a nice family whose son was singing with the boy's choir for the last day because he dared to mature (and his voice cracked).

I love that the power òutlets have on and off switches.  So smart. 
I love all the transit options.  And I do love the nine million nutsy bicyclists, even the ones that try to run me over.
I love all the walking paths. 
I don't like the fine lawns with protocols that only elite so-n-so's may walk on.  Really?  Makes me want to roll around in it.  Must be some crazy 'merican.

Ps..I know I owe myself and others a post on whole hearted formation...but the first one is love.  Big love.  Why must i start with such a big one?? I told  myself I would work on it while traveling.  However for a day of travel I planned 3 days worth of books, papers and audiobooks.  Then I also slept on the plane.  :0