Category Archives: Recreation

Geocaching on the Great Sibling Tour ’17

Recap:  We are two siblings who have driven over 3300 miles around the Midwest revisiting old childhood haunts.  Along the way, we’ve geocached and visited relatives and eaten a lot of good food.

Day 12:  We made it back to my brother’s home, tired but safe and sound.  I thought I’d post some pics of our geocaching adventures along the way.  I won’t tell you where these are located.  That would spoil the fun.

Suffice it to say that we found caches in all sorts of containers and all kinds of hiding places.

My favorite geocache was this one.  What a clever place to hide something.

We are getting better at looking at things and discerning what is out of whack or just doesn’t seem to fit in the landscape.

We’ve rooted around old buildings.

Traipsed through woods.

Climbed down hills.

Peeked into trees.

And sometimes we’ve just been plain stumped.

I’ve learned to bring along work gloves and my trusty knitting needle for when you have to poke around in vegetation.  My brother has learned that it isn’t always wise to wear shorts depending on the terrain you are hiking through.  And always, I’ve learned it is wise to bring along bug spray, a trusty pen, and paper.  The pen comes in handy to sign the logs and if you find a cache that is missing a log, extra paper is always handy to make a new log.

Above all, I’ve learned that geocaching can be fun and is something readily available wherever I find myself.  Happy hunting!

A Scrabble Variation

We’re a family who likes to play games — board games and card games, not psychological games.  When we were down in Texas recently, we played a variation of Scrabble that our son taught us and I thought I’d share it with you.  It was fun, quick, and easy to grasp.

For Jason’s version of “Take Two”, you don’t need the Scrabble board.  You only need the Scrabble tiles.  Before the game begins, turn all the tiles face down in the middle of the table and mix them up.  Play begins with each player taking 5 tiles and keeping them face down in front of them until the signal is given to begin playing. (We usually just say “Go!”)

At this point, each person plays on their own tiles.  You basically create words with the tiles that you have, building on them in typical crossword fashion until you can’t do any more.  Oh, I should also tell you that you can rearrange your tiles at any point in the game.  You don’t have to leave them set up the way you had them.  So, if you get stumped, you can undo what you did and try again, creating different words.  Whenever a player uses up all of the tiles he has at that moment, he yells out “Take Two” and everyone stops what they are doing and draws two tiles from the pile in the middle (including the player who ran out of tiles) and then play continues with each player continuing to work out words on their puzzle that they are building.  If  you reach a point where all the players are stumped and there are still tiles in the center, the players will agree to “Take Two” and play recommences.  Play continues as described above until ALL tiles in the center have been drawn and one player uses up all of his tiles OR until all tiles in the center have been drawn and each player has come to a dead end and is unable to use up any more of their tiles.

Once the game is over, you count up your score like you would on a Scrabble board with the exception of the fact that you don’t have any double, triple, etc. special score blocks.  So you are just counting the values of each word that you have spelled.  Subtract from your total score the points of the tiles you still hadn’t played when the game ended.Then we declare the winner of that game as the one with the highest score.  Some play this with a running score and carry the totals from game to game until an agreed-upon high score has been reached and then that player is the overall winner. 

There you have it.  Our son’s special version of Scrabble.  It’s fast and fun and helps to exercise those brain cells.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk

Scrabble By Our Rules

I read an article in the paper the other day that quoted the BBC as saying that Mattel was going to be changing the rules of Scrabble for the first time in the history of the game.  Scrabble players around the country were all stirred up.  But as I read further, it said that the rule changes were apparently not going to apply to play here in the States.  I guess in Great Britain you will be allowed to spell out proper nouns. 

Growing up in my family, my brother and I learned early on that we had to be Scrabble players or we wouldn’t have a lot of other options.  My mother loved to play Scrabble!  In fact, she played Scrabble up into her early 90’s when we realized that she could no longer see the board.   She also developed her own set of unique rules.

Oh, we followed the usual rules such as if someone challenges you on a word’s spelling and you look it up and the spelling is correct, the other person loses a turn.  Or, if you wish to look up a word in the dictionary,  you can do so but you will lose a turn.   We also followed the rules about not using proper nouns or foreign language words.  After that, however, my mom came up with her own set of rules.  For example, –

1.  If someone played a blank, you could replace it with the letter it was representing if you had that letter and then you could use the blank to represent another letter AND you didn’t have to play the blank on that particular turn.  You could save it to use later.

2.  If you had more than 3 of the same letter, you could put one back into the bag and draw another tile without losing a turn.

3.  You could consult a list of 2-letter words AND “Q” words that Mom had, at any time, without incurring a penalty such as losing a turn.

3.  And finally, Mom liked to have us all play with 9 tiles instead of 7.  She said the game went faster that way.  Well, it was true.  The game does move along faster AND it opens up more possibilities for words you can spell.

My own children grew up playing Scrabble by “Grandma’s Rules.”  It was quite a rude awakening for them and for me when we first encountered opposition from players outside of our family who didn’t want to play by her rules.  Why in the world wouldn’t you? It certainly livens up the game.  Without those extra options, I’ve been known to doze off in the middle of a game with deadly serious competitors.  My goodness, in my family, playing games was a time for laughing, gossiping, joking, even pouting, but NOT serious thinking.  Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of the meaning of “play?”

So I give you fair warning….if you ever play Scrabble with me, I’ll be the one who is trying to exchange the blank tiles or trying to pull 9 tiles out of the bag.  If thwarted, I’ll probably be the one snoring softly in my chair as I await my turn to play.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

Hot Flashed Funk


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