Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pushing Fifty, gratefully

I turn 47 this year. As I tick up the right-hand side of the happiness curve (which bottoms out at 44--see previous post, Forties Slump,) the major emotion I feel is gratitude. After 45, you take nothing for granted.

Already peers are dying from breast cancer and heart attacks, predeceasing their elderly parents in some cases, so you become aware that it can happen and if it does, no one will stand by your graveside murmuring how young you were and how you died before your time.

So you feel grateful for every good night's sleep, for every meal that doesn't give you indigestion, for every pain-free movement, for every moment of inspiration. Sometimes you forget you're not twenty any more, but you never forget to be grateful.

But most of all you're grateful that you're no longer that young, unaware, ungrateful version of yourself, and that you can never be that way again, now.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Farewell to Gary Gygax--co-inventor of Dungeons & Dragons

If you've never played D & D, you've missed a fun (and frugal!) activity which went beyond a game and became a social club (and an obsession to some!). I owe Gary Gygax a big favor in that I met my husband through D&D in college. I had played a few games with friends in high school and when I heard through my astronomy lab instructor (Greg Fitzgibbons--I owe you, too!) that the astronomy grad students were starting a dungeon, I joined at their invitation.

My husband was one of the players and I quickly learned of his true-blue character through the game: he played a lawful good ranger because he really couldn't play anything other than lawful good. (I was a chaotic good thief.) With a skilled dungeon master (Clint Priestwood), we had a great game which gave long hours of entertainment every Saturday night for no cost (except for the beers we drank afterwards at a local pub) and which gave us enormous insight into each other's characters and imagination.

We dropped out eventually but I've heard via the web that the dungeon master still directs a game in DC and this game, which began with different players in the 70s, is one of the longest-running D&D games recorded!

They say Gary Gygax was still holding games at his home as late as January of this year!

Go in peace, Gary, and I hope you find some great games in the afterlife, if there is one!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Frugal evening out--total cost: $12

My husband and I just spent our cheapest night out ever--$12! (Excluding a stop for gas--$40--but that's gas for the whole week--we filled the tank.)

We still have some gift cards left over from Christmas, so we first stopped by the bookstore, which is one of our favorite pastimes. We bought five items (three books, a writing journal and a magazine) from the bargain table for $30, used a 20% off one item coupon (which we printed out before we left) and our $25 gift card and paid a total of $4 out of pocket.

This particular bookstore is in a nice outdoor restaurant area with live music, outdoor bar, etc, so we hung out for a while, looked for a place to have dessert, (we had eaten earlier at home) didn't find what we wanted, so we left.
We headed toward McDonalds for two hot fudge sundaes--on their dollar menu now, total cost: $2.

Then we went to drop off a rented video and browsed around the store (another favorite activity) I bought a special two-disc version of a favorite old movie for $3.99 (less than the cost of renting it) and we rented another new movie with a $1.99 coupon. Total cost there: $6.

Then we came home to watch a concert we had taped while we were out, so the rented and purchased movies will provide entertainment for yet another evening.

All in all, a totally enjoyable evening for $12!