Pokémon Go-ing

Allllll the Flareons.

Allllll the Flareons.

My little summer obsession, along with 90% of the smartphone-holding world: Pokémon Go.

I must have been a bit old for the Pokémon thing when it first came around, so I came into this a novice. I had no idea what, exactly, a Pikachu was, or why I should care. I’d also never played Ingress, so the whole augmented reality thing adds a new twist.

I’m a sucker for gamifying exercise. A Fitbit kept me motivated for years, and I still wear a Surge every day. I used to play Just Dance and Wii Fit; anything to distract myself from the mindless monotony that is exercise, really.

IMG_1347I’d been in a movement rut since moving north. I lost interest in the Wii, and the treadmill got boring when I ran out of shows to binge watch on Netflix. We live in a beautiful area, but exploring beyond our one, long road means going on hikes into the deep woods, and I’m not a fan of bugs. Plus there’s always the chance you’ll encounter a moose or a bear or another large, angry animal that wants you to GTFO. Don’t get me wrong; I love nature, I just love it best when I’m indoors.

But thanks to Pokémon, my step counts and active minutes are up (my Fitbit is all, “Who are you???”), and I actually have a tan from spending so much time outside.

A TAN. Me, with the vampire complexion. I haven’t had a tan since I was a kid.

You're mine, Snorlax.

You’re mine, Snorlax.

So of course, I roped Tim and Mom into playing, too. We don’t have any Pokémon or Pokéstops within walking distance, but there are lots in town (ahh, small-town USA — you can’t walk ten feet without running into a church). The kids enjoy helping us catch monsters and evolving new ones. It’s given us something to do during monotonous trips to town for groceries and errands; the other day, we hunted down and caught a Snorlax in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I once spotted a Scyther flying around the kids’ dance school, but didn’t get to it in time.

I’ve also been exploring my surroundings, finding excuses to hang out in areas I would have ignored before; Boston’s seaport area was fun (all the Magikarps!), and the last time I went to Bangor, I walked around downtown and the UMaine campus. I plan to take a mini road trip up Route 1 to look for Pokémon soon. Northern Maine has no shortage of churches and statues, many of which are Pokéstops.

Who knows how long this will keep me interested, but I’m enjoying the extra movement and the excitement of discovering new monsters while it lasts. I doubt I’ll ever be one of those people who’s “addicted” to exercise, but if I can find a way to make it palatable and semi-regular such that I don’t feel like a total Slowpoke (see what I did there?), I’m happy.

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My X-Files wall!

All_done__Now_I_need_to_find_a_frame_for_my_I_Want_to_Believe_poster_and_I_ll_be_all_set.

I’d started collecting X-Files fan art a couple years ago, knowing that eventually I’d have an office to decorate, and what better way to make the place feel like home than with art inspired by my favorite TV show?

I wanted to give credit where credit is due and list the artists who made this little corner of Phile heaven possible! Clockwise from the Cigarette Smoking Man Funko Pop in the upper left:

Missing Time /Justin Cybulski – Lots of X-Files and other pop-culture themes here in a minimalist graphic style that I love. It’s hard to choose a favorite!

17th&Oak / Pete Ware – Alas, it looks like this print is no longer available, but it’s one of my favorites because the quotes are so relevant to the characters, and I’m a sucker for neat typography. I also have a Walking Dead poster of Rick in the same style that has yet to find a home on my walls.

Calobee Doodles / Caroline Moore / aka me – Yeah, I put some of my own stuff up. I may replace it with others’ eventually, since it feels a bit weird to have my art on the wall. These two (Milagro and Fight the Future) are my favorites from the Episodes series.

Nan Lawson – Another artist who does a lot of pop-culture-inspired work. I love her style (as you can probably tell, since her prints currently dominate the wall in number).

The Gorgonist – So much great detail and humor in this print, it’s central on the wall for a reason. I have this illustration as a t-shirt, too!

Nan Lawson (again!) – I love that she focused on Scully in the top print, and the bottom print could have been hung either way, but I purposefully put Scully upright, shamelessly playing favorites.

Bad Witch Alert / Charlotte Foley – This one’s cute, almost rustic in style. The characters are contemplative, almost peaceful. Looking at it makes me all calm and happy.  I also have her vinyl stickers, but don’t know what I want to do with them yet.

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Aside

This is what Saturday morning looks like after 9 years of marriage and two kids.

You know that thing where you wake up on a Saturday and your bed isn’t full of small children and stuffed animals? And your husband is there, and he’s all warm and smells nice and it makes you think, hmm, maybe…and so you kiss him, and you’re thinking, yeah, this is nice…so cozy…

…and suddenly, a flurry of thundering footsteps, a stampede of one. A young child, sensing a disturbance in the force, bursts through the door and flies into the bed, wedging herself directly between the two of you, crushing a few of your more sensitive body parts in the process.

Happy (belated) anniversary to us!

(And yay for bedroom door locks.)

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Boston, Summer 2016

We made this trip last year with a minimum of fuss, and once again, it went off without a hitch. I think we might be getting the hang of this traveling-with-kids thing, or maybe we’re just lucky. iPads and a portable DVD player for the win! We took our time on the drive down, leaving early in the morning. Someone (cough ELLIE cough) was awake at 5 a.m., so we had a head start.

After crossing into Massachusetts, we stopped for dinner with long-time friends Sarah and Tim and their kids, which gave Ellie and Gwen a chance to run around and play with Toys That Are Not Theirs And Are Therefore Fascinating.

I’ll admit, I came home feeling pretty bummed that we don’t hang out with most of our friends on a regular basis. Like I said in my previous post, we only see each other once or twice a year, and I miss them! I love Maine, and I even love living in the country, but my friends and family in the south make a strong case for migration.

My brother and his fiancée let us take over their apartment for the weekend. We didn’t get as much time with them as I would have liked because they were away that weekend, too, but we’ll get plenty of face time at their wedding in October (!)

Sunday meant Comic Con! It was my first con. The kids were excited at the numerous costumes (“Pikachu! Mulder! Scully! Wonder Woman! Batman!”), and they met one of the artists who works on the My Little Pony comics. We let them pick out a couple prints of favorite cartoon characters for their room.

But I had other priorities; I was there to meet Gillian Anderson, which meant standing in long-ass lines while Tim went exploring with the kids. Next time we do a con, I’ll plan to stay at least two days to soak it all in.

I am such a dork. I love it. And my kid has been blessed by Mother Gillian.

I paid for an autograph and a photo op, because why not? I have no regrets, but I think I’ll skip the celebrity extras next time (unless David Duchovny is also there, in which case, gimme). Meeting her at Streetcar was more intimate, less rushed, and she seemed more relaxed. It was still a cool experience, though, and Ellie was thrilled to join me for a photo with “Scully”. Ellie told her the X-Files was one of her favorite shows, which was cute, and GA asked, “Doesn’t it scare you???” Ellie shook her head, of course, and then we posed for the picture.

Gillian’s Q & A panel was amusing. She was feeling pretty snarky, apparently, and gave the moderator hell. She swore, apologized for swearing, and then kept swearing anyway. She talked a bit about being a mom, having “mom guilt”, balancing work life and parenthood — all things I can identify with. She recounted some fun moments from filming The X-Files last summer. It was neat to finally be in the live audience instead of watching from a shaky iPhone video on Tumblr.

After the fangirling, I went looking for my friend and former high-school roommate Sheryl, of Noadi’s Art fame. She is a ridiculously talented sculptor and painter, and you can see how much effort she’s put into building her business. I’m commissioning a Scully painting from her “kickass women” series whenever she’s available.

We headed home because the kids were getting grumpy and it was hot and my signed print got a spot, which soured my mood for the afternoon. Dinner at West on Centre cheered me up a bit, though, as did laying like a beached whale in an air-conditioned bedroom for several hours.

The next day, we went to Assembly Square and Legoland. We were able to get our tickets for cheap online, and the facility wasn’t crowded, so they let us in early. The kids played, tried the rides, and took the “Master Builder” class. It was blissfully cool and relatively quiet, which was a nice change from the swarm of people at the con.

We also visited with our friend Amanda and her new baby boy. Tim and I are out of the baby-making game, but there’s nothing like holding someone else’s adorable four-month-old to get my ovaries all whiny and mopey. Sorry, ovaries, you’re out of luck.

Amanda and her S.O. co-run a new restaurant, so we had tasty pizza for dinner. If you’re in the Malden area and need a bite to eat, try Sillari’s Pizza. We over-ordered and took home a leftover cheese pizza, which was promptly devoured by the adults for breakfast the next morning.

After one more night in Boston, we headed northward, promising the kids a stop at Target to get the LEGO sets we couldn’t find at Legoland. When we finally got home and staggered from our tiny car like road-weary zombies, we were coerced by small children into building said LEGO sets until our fingers were sore and our eyes were red. Not a terrible way to end a long weekend, right?

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Summertime, and the living is busy.

We’ve had a jam-packed few weeks! I’ve been on vacation since the beginning of August, and have spent much of that time outside with the kids, playing Pokémon Go and supervising at the lake or the park. In the past I planned activities and set goals (because vacations are all about goal-setting, duh), but this year I’m winging it. I haven’t done much creating, although I’ve taken many photos while out and about.

We just returned from a few days in Boston, where we managed to fit in all sorts of fun, visiting with friends, hanging out at Comic Con, and setting the kids loose on Legoland. The whole trip left me feeling a bit nostalgic and melancholy, even though we had fun; there are so many people I only see for a few hours each year, and I miss them!

I’ll write more about everything once things settle down; in the meantime, here’s a sneak-peek of our adventures:

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