Learning to Juggle!

I’m learning to juggle—sort of. I bought a kit for juggling at Barnes and Noble the other day. It came with a manual, Learning to Juggle, and 3 juggling balls. The manual is published by Sterling Innovation in New York. So far, I can sort of juggle 2 balls. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever learn how to juggle 3 balls.

It was tough to find any juggling balls in stores. Some experts on YouTube recommended starting off juggling socks or hacky sack balls. The trouble with rolled up socks is that every time I threw and caught them, they tended to change shape just from my grabbing them. They quickly got flattened.

I couldn’t find any hacky sack balls except at Scheels. They were selling single hacky sack balls for $8 a ball.

I actually got started by trying to juggle with dryer balls. They were bouncy and could smart when they hit my hand—or my head.

Juggling is a great workout when you’re just learning because you spend so much time running after dropped balls. One expert suggests juggling over a bed or couch because they don’t drop so far. That sort of works.

It’s fun and absorbing. You can learn a lot about it from YouTube videos. It takes a lot of practice, although the author of the juggling manual says some people pick it up in a half-hour.

That’s funny, just about all I pick up most of the time are the balls I drop.

Part of my motivation to learn juggling is to also build on my one leg balance skill. For the last couple of months or so since my “Balancing Act” post, I’ve been working on my ankle wobble. I can now stand on either leg for 60 seconds.

I can barely “juggle” on one leg. I have a long way to go.

Kings Cribbage Game!

We finally filmed one of our Kings Cribbage games. It’s a hybrid of Scrabble and cribbage. It takes a lot longer to play it than a regular cribbage game, but about as long as a Scrabble game (about 45 minutes to an hour). The rules are included in the YouTube video, but you can also read them on the web.

You score by forming cribbage hands. The 6 can be used as either a 6 or a 9, but once it’s on the board, its value remains the same. Each player gets 5 tiles and no play on the board can be longer than 5 tiles.

You keep score with paper pencil and the player with the higher score at the end of the game wins, after subtracting the face value of any tiles he/she has left.

It’s a fun change of pace from regular cribbage.

Pegging Around Wisconsin

We played a game on our new Wisconsin cribbage board. We made some miscounts I’m sure, but it was because we had so much fun talking. We lived in Madison for a short time many years ago and managed to see quite a few sights in the south-central region of the state. And even after we moved back to Iowa, we made return trips to visit Wisconsin because there’s a lot to do there.

Madison itself is the capital of Wisconsin. One of my first impressions is that a number of fascinating people live there. I remember we were walking west on State Street, and I saw a guy walking in the middle of the street wearing a live rattlesnake coiled on his head. Sena missed that for some reason. He was moving carefully and slowly, probably to avoid rattling his headgear.

I don’t think the sculpture of Harry Dumpty is still standing in Madison, but for several years it was a distinctive bronze sculpture in front of the Madison Municipal Building just south of the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and East Doty Street. I can’t see it on Google Maps nowadays.

I never knew the sculpture was Harry Dumpty. It sat above a large concrete wall with an inscription on it which I just assumed was connected to the sculpture and probably still sits there although we couldn’t find it in 2012 when we returned for a visit:

“David James Schaefer, 1955-2004
was a phenomenal phenomenon. Though plagued by the progressive debilities of cerebral palsy, “Schaefer” was an uncomplaining and generous friend to many. Disability Rights Specialist for the City of Madison in three different settings, his death of a heart attack in September 2004 made a hole in our community which cannot ever be filled.
Erected by the Friends of Schaefer at private expense.”

It turns out Harry Dumpty has no connection to David James Schaefer. In fact, Harry is one of several similar sculptures created by artist Brent George, who made him in 1997, saying he’s Humpty’s brother. If you look closely at the book sitting open next to Harry, it’s entitled “Harry Dumpty.” Brent George’s name is below it. Brent’s phone number is on the front of the wall. Evidently somebody called him and asked about the sculpture. Brent says there’s no connection between the sculpture and the inscription.

On the subject of art, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (on State Street) is a place to see. Although the art works are free to view on the web, they’re copyrighted and you can’t reproduce them without permission of the artists. However, at the time we were there in 2012 we saw Typewriter Eraser by Claes Oldenburg. I think it’s OK to share our picture of the giant one we saw in Washington, D.C. In 2015.

Typewriter Eraser in Washington, D.C.

One of the more relaxing times we had was having pizza for lunch at Paisan’s in Madison. We were outside and had that breathtaking view of Lake Monona, the breeze was coming off the water, cooling and refreshing—like the Moose Drool brown ale, which is not a Wisconsin brew; it’s made in Montana.

Wisconsin is known for its beer, among many other virtues. New Glarus Brewing Company is famous. I tried a few of the brews. One of them was Stone Soup. It had oil of clove in it and my lips got numb.

We took a dinner train ride at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom. It was great food and great company.

One of the more interesting stories about Monroe, Wisconsin is The Great Limburger Cheese War, which I mangled during the heat of the game. I first heard about it on a TV show; it seemed to me it was on Mysteries at the Museum, but when I googled it, I couldn’t find it.

We had a great time in Wisconsin. Maybe someday we’ll go back for a visit.

Unboxing Tile Lock Scrabble

I just wanted to alert you about the unboxing of the Tile Lock Scrabble game (Hasbro). Sena and I used to play scrabble back in the day, but for the past few years, I’ve been reluctant because the typical board can usually be positioned only so one player can see it right side up. The opponent has to view it upside down-usually Sena, who always says she can read the tiles just fine that way. And the tiles slip all over the place if you move the board.

We used to have a scrabble board that sat on sort of a post on which the board rotated, which made it easier for both players to view right side up. I wonder if that got lost in a move between houses. I have not been able to find one like that lately.

We have a couple of old Scrabble video games on CD and she plays those. It’s easy to forget the rules on some video games because the computer makes moves and scores automatically. I sometimes play cribbage video games that way although the most recent one I got actually has a mode that lets you score your own hand, crib, and pegging. I notice I don’t play cribbage as well with Sena after I’ve played the video cribbage game.

I finally found this Tile Lock Scrabble game at Barnes & Noble the other day. It’s an early Valentine’s Day gift. I telephoned Sena from the store and spilled the beans in order to avoid having to return it if she didn’t like it. Just like a guy.

I couldn’t figure out how to get the box open. That’s how I am. I nearly crushed it before I figured out I could use one finger to flip one end out (you can see the dent in one of the pictures). That’s why I included the slide show below.

You can also see the cool feature, which are the tile locks. Little retainers at the 4 corners of each square hold them in place so they don’t slide off. The rules are included in the box. You can also find the rules at the scrabble web site.

Wait’ll she sees the card

Update: Sena wins the first game on the tile lock scrabble, 291 to 266!

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