Posted in !Family Shindigs, !Gaming, !General Musings, !Memories, !My Sweetie, !NomnomFood

Birthdays Then And Birthdays Now

Soooo, yesterday was my birthday. I am officially 30. Lets hope I remember this the next time someone asks me. Random Fun Fact: in my 20s, someone asked me my age. For a reason I still don’t understand, I said 18. And when people ask me my mom’s age, I’ve been know to say 37. Why? I dunno. I know her birth year (super easy to remember, for SOME reason), I know enough math(*cough-calculator-cough*) to know she’s not 37, yet, somehow, pfft, crazy comes out.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some good birthdays, some with just close friends, others with big groups and/or just family. It doesn’t hurt that just having my birthday fall on one of my days off has me jumping for joy (which this year, it did, WOOHOO!) And yes, if my birthday falls on a weekday, there’s a 99.9% chance I’m working that day. And since it’s also the day of my birth, so I like to congratulate mom on that, too 😀

Actually, it’s a funny story, a story I really like telling because it makes me giggle and smile how an entire life can be dependent on a single moment (and yet another reason why I love Doctor Who. No one is unimportant and everything can be turned around in a single moment.) And since I got my mum’s blessing to tell this one, YAY, story mode is ON.

Once upon a time, my mom was dating this undeserving asshat that would donate part of his DNA mapping to a creation that would, much later, be called Ana. But mom was prepared, she used birth control, until my mom’s doctor told her she had been taking them for so long, that she could be considered infertile by now. So mom stopped, doctor’s recommendation and all, and well, HIIIIIIIIIIIIIII.


My mom told me how, when she saw the doctor next and came with the news, his face just went into disbelief mode. Then he uttered the only words a man probably could muster when his brain goes from PhD to “what the fuckery is this?”

“Girl, you’re one of those who gets pregnant with a look!”

It’s still one of my favorite stories to hear from my mom. It makes me laugh every time, evilly, even, ’cause it’s me! I’m the funny!

Then the day of my birth is another funny because mom felt me coming as soon as they put her on the hospital bed (in the waiting room, I think she was going to be taken to a room, at that point, but slowness?) The doctor didn’t believe she was ready to deliver yet (yo, doc, remember that time you said she was infertile? *cue giggling*) but mom warned him, she told him plain and simple, I was coming. He took a look under the hood, so to speak, and had to recall how much he had wanted to be a catcher as a kid (that’s a wild guess), ’cause he caught me before I slipped off to the floor.

Mine was a hilariously quick delivery. I just needed the hand to catch me and boom, I was done.

Not-So-Random Fun Fact: Many many years later, on one of my visits home, I went with mom and Onyx (her then black kitten. He’s huuuuge now) to the vet. The vet’s last name was familiar to mom…and eureka, he had the last name of the doctor who delivered me! HAHAHAHAHA. I begged mom to ask him if they were related. I had to know. The universe wanted me to know. I must obey the universe — through mom, though. If I made my mouth ask anything, awkward and rude would come out, because that’s how my brain uses words. I can’t use backspace with my mouth. And when she told him, poor vet, he smiled awkwardly and looked genuinely embarrassed because, not only was he related to my mom’s old Gynecologist, but that was his dad! We didn’t mind, though, we did let him know, it was a good oops.

With all the oops that happen throughout life in general, we’re just lucky we got thrown a good one.

And for my birthdays, it really are the simple things that make me happiest. Not waking up to an alarm on my birthday is, as already mentioned, a great one. Another one would happen back home, of course.

On our birthdays, we’d get to ask mom to cook whatever we wanted. My particular favorites were (still are), sancocho, beefsteak with white beans and rice, arroz con pollo and mom’s lasagna. And I call it mom’s lasagna because it is so not an Italian lasagna. It has cream cheese and a loooot of ground beef (more than cheese). But I love cream cheese (See cheesecake love). Really, to me, just having food = jooooooooy.

It’s also just nice to get to hear a happy birthday, it’s smile-inducing, to be remembered and to know people took the time. Though if I could forgive my father for forgetting (every. year.) that my birthday is in July (and not June), then really, I wouldn’t mind someone else forgetting. It happens. But still, it’s nice to get to hear it.

Sometimes it’s nice to not have to cook and go out to eat in the name of my birthday, UNLESS there’s something I reaaaally want to cook but am afraid to cook because the recipe is asking me to do things that my brain thinks is going to spell disaster. If I cook on my birthday, it’s a gift to encourage bravery. A “YOU CAN DO THIS”. Otherwise, pfft, nope, no cooking. I will be fed and I will demonstrate my gratitude in the form of nomnoms. That’s as far as I’ll go.

This year? I chose to brave a new recipe. A stuffed beef roll (stuffed with spinach, cheese and ham) wrapped in bacon. And yes, I had to ask my sweetie for help because I cannot roll a burrito to save my life, what possessed me into thinking I could roll a beef roll? I tried, though. It looked like a kindergarten project. But the attempt was made! And luckily, my sweetie saved it.

Then D&D happened (…this is the one where I play a rogue with great charisma and double proficiency on deception, but shitty dex and stealth. I welcome her on my birthday. WELCOME THE FUNNY.)

…for a moment, though, I thought I got us killed on my birthday. It was an interesting episode of “lets try to do the thing and GETALMOSTDEAD.” The thing about our little group on this wonderful Sunday session is that, our group, is lacking a healer. We have two wizards, one warlock and one rogue (me), all starting at level one. No one has healing. Siiiigh.

The village we’re in is being raided, we’re in the keep, and there’s a pissed off dragon about for a reason my character still doesn’t know. And we get asked to go check the tunnels. We get pretty hurt after dealing with a swarm of rats (*facepalm*). Then we accidentally break a key in the lock (well, not “we”. T’was the warlock. My reasoning when asked why *I* didn’t open it: I didn’t have the key! *double-facepalm*) and then we get a surprise attack from the raiders.

Let me tell ya, it was lovely, because we hadn’t been able to rest from the previous session, where spells were spent trying to get to the keep -_- I think the warlock was the first to go unconscious? Then the gnome wizard. At that point, we had one cultist (or cobalt, it’s a toss-up) standing between us and the tunnel (that we had unwisely stepped off of). I managed to get him to drop, and then used my next action to drag the gnome with me to the tunnel (and yes, I made that roll, phew) and I thought, okay, good, we’re safe, the half-elf wizard has some hit points left, I have two, aaaand then I lose those two when I get a dagger to the back (and drop dramatically on top of the gnome wizard, whose player asks if I make damage on him because I dropped on him. My immediate reaction to that was, “ARE YOU CALLING MY CHARACTER FAT?!” I might’ve said me, but the point remained. Good grief. Bahahahaha.)

Good news: we did not die. Half-elf wizard hung in there but he had to call for help to get us dragged back. After a short rest, we’ll have to deal with whatever triggered the alarm -_- all the fun. But we didn’t die! (…and those 3 sets of character sheets I printed – ’cause I thought we were dying – are going to just sit and wait for next time.) This is what happens when my boyfriend DMs a game. It’s horrible, because he rolls amazingly well, lots of nat 20s, which as a player, woohoo! As a DM, we’re all in the predicament of going in every day wondering, “well, how do I want to die today?” (And yes, the right answer would be: IN A BLAZE OF GLOOOORY.)

And honestly, it was fun. That’s the best thing I can get out of a birthday. Good food (because yes, the beef log came out amazing, and the cauliflower and broccoli, mixed with garlic butter, was also nomnom), good company, wacky fun and being in a relaxed state. It has no price for me. Simple means a lot.

Posted in !Gaming, !Lessons, !Memories

The Time I Didn’t Think I’d Enjoy D&D (Yeah, that happened.)

Okay, so, suffice it to say, I was not born into the world of tabletop games. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s evident once it’s time to apply math skills to the thing because if I had grown up with D&D, I might’ve learned to math better (I owe a lot of my adulting to a calculator. I’ve had it since 10th grade. It’s blue. It survived Physics. It’s earned its continued existence in spite of cellphones.)

Now, my family is not to blame. I didn’t live some sheltered, shy obedient life, in fact, my mom let us choose our hobbies. Shocking, I realize, but I grew up liking video games, reading books and watching Cartoon Network, Sci Fi (…before it became SyFy), Food Network, Game Show Channel, BBC, to name a few. But no one, not once, said, “Heeeeeeey, do you know about Dungeons and Dragons?”

To who what now?

And I swear, if someone in my circle of friends mentioned it, and I did not pay attention, I am so, so sorry. Genuinely. My bad. Forehead slap (unless I was reading a book or had headphones on. You should know better. Tap that shoulder. Well, no, not if I was reading. Carry on.)

Luckily, many years later, I would meet my darling mad man in a box (…no, not Eleven. My actual real life “I can poke him, he’s so real” sweetie. Who has the heart of a child so, yeah, lets call him an Eleven). He had asked me what I knew about tabletop games when we started dating. I guessed it was about gaming because he used the word gaming (ha! Take that, math! I don’t need you!)

I’d watch him during sessions with his friends and I just didn’t get it. It seemed confusing. Why were they taking turns? Why were they talking funny? Why were they counting!? Aaaaah, math, run before they realize you need a calculator to live!

That was basically my thought process that first year. I still remember the day one of my friends decided to tell me that our relationship wouldn’t last because he wasn’t my kind of gamer (…yeah, that happened), he was a weird kind of gamer, and I wouldn’t enjoy having to deal with his sessions (…oh, it gets better). And another friend agreed. (People and their opinions. So adorable.)

Do you know how, sometimes, someone will say something that makes you so mad, that you can feel your skin tingling and that filter you’ve tried so hard to build just goes, “nope, nope, frak that, unleash the kraken!”

Weeeell, I snapped. I don’t remember what I said exactly, but it wasn’t nice, and it wasn’t well-thought out so it was probably awkward and rambly, but it was probably something defending the fact that I like weird. I respect weird. I respect anything that chooses to pursue happiness, s’long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, and this didn’t, so why the frak not?

Games are games.

I did ask le boyfriend to explain it to me once (I admit, I was embarrassed, and worried I wouldn’t get it and there would the relationship go. Pffft) and he explained it well enough, used references I could understand, movies and books where I’ve seen certain characters – classes and races and so on. But it wasn’t until he mentioned the storytelling aspect of it that I clicked in.

In a nutshell, it’s like playing a video game, but instead of having a program run the game for you – set up the choices, the consequences, the way it can affect your stats, hit points, actions, etc – you are the program. Well, the dice are -_- things that sometimes toy with your emotions.

And I remember asking, it might’ve been in the form of a groan, that what if the roll is so low, that the total can’t really allow for the action to pass? That wouldn’t be fun. It’d be disappointing.

(Fact: I’m a rogue in one game. I have shitty Dex. Shut up. Not my fault. But my charisma is pretty high. And I’m a halfling. I failed a stealth check and fell on my butt, but managed to not call attention to myself by crying like a little kid. Yeah. THAT HAPPENED.)

And, apparently, that’s part of the game. And then he explained how the bad rolls can just give room to crazier things, funnier things, and it brought a mind-blown moment, one that follows me around sometimes.

That’s life. You can be really good at something, and have a shit day, or something happen to just ruin it, that’s the GM’s job, to give the action a reason and make the reason part of the story.

Or at least, that’s how I understood what he explained, which is probably why now every time we see a movie and/or show, I ask, “wanna guess which is the Rogue?” or “I’m going to say that’s the bard.” It can’t be helped.

And it’s probably why now, after almost 5 years, I’ve been part of a few D&D sessions, Pathfinder as well, though no Shadowrun. Not yet. Maybe. I don’t know. But I will say this, it’s been fun. I can understand my skepticism about it ’cause I didn’t know squat until someone asked me what I knew. And I’m not against knowledge though somethings I don’t need to know. The color of my innards, for example. Not that curious. But that’s just me, someone else might be curious, nothing wrong with that, unless they’re curious about mine. Then it’s creepy.

What I’m trying to say is, you might think something is confusing or involves something you absolutely loathe, like math. I admit, I’m getting a bit better at math. Not a whole lot, but better. Now it’s just a matter of remember what attribute to add when and when change it according to special instances like disadvantages and holy frak whoever said gaming is lazy hasn’t had to solve a verbal problem for the sake of entertainment! This isn’t Mary taking Lisa’s apples and leaving I don’t know how many! THIS IS LIFE OR DEATH. OR PRISON. OR ALL OF THE ABOVE.

It can get pretty epic, and there’s often amusement to be had, a lot of crazy shenanigans, so it doesn’t disappoint. So far, my favorite class has been the monk. Druids are so complicated (though leave it to me to choose the Circle of the Moon). I seem to have issues with spellcasters in general and I have zero real life charisma to roleplay a bard. Nope. Can’t. They’re awesome, though. I’m just nooot a good persona for a bard. I may be amusing in writing, but in real life, words do not come easily (…it’s takes a while. A whiiiile. A long while.)

Oh, and to end on a wonderful D&D note, when I wake up on a gaming session day, my brain wakes up in, “It’s D&D!” …the song is hilarious, but my brain just remembers the “it’s D&D line”, every time. I kid you not. On loop. If I could go back in time and laugh at myself for thinking I’d never play this game, enjoy it this much and enjoy a song linked to it—yeaaah, it’d be a hearty laugh indeed.

It’s D&D – Stephen Lynch