My Adventures in Pokemon Go – Part 1

“Mom, slow down. I need to get some progress on my egg.” No, we’re not farmers. These are the words of my son when we’re playing Pokemon Go. Okay, and we’re cheating. Just a little. We’re in our car and we should be walking or biking. You see if you move too fast, your egg won’t incubate and you’re likely to miss all kinds of nearby Pokemon.

Let me pause and say whoever thought us this Pokemon Go is an absolute genius. It gets kids (and adults) off the couch and out of the house, all while still playing a video game. Imagine that! I thought I’d document my little adventures as I play alongside my sons, both very video savvy. As for me, I’m an absolute beginner and have never been a gamer, but we’re having a great time so far.

Yesterday, my son and I rode bikes around the Intel campus after dark on the hunt for a memorial plaque. I come to find out that there’s this beautiful little lake with trails I never knew about. We also found that someone around Intel is really scary with a lot of power. (I mean in the game, of course!) Right now, because my son and I are new to the game, we’re weak and so want to keep our distance.

We are also a bit too weak to contend with anything having to do with the “gym.” My son tried to fend off someone in a gym in the produce section at the supermarket, but was unsuccessful. You can easily recognize a gym on your phone. It’s a big and menacing, blinking tower.

Tonight, my younger son joined us. We drove to a reservoir nearby, a small body of water I haven’t been to in years, and had never seen at dusk.

Willow Creek Reservoir. It’s a simple walk around the lake. Perfect for a short stroll.

So pretty.


My younger son is hooked now and wants to play. Unfortunately, his iPad doesn’t have a data plan. We may resurrect an old phone and see about changing that. I think it could be worth it. Anything to get these kids outside. This is working! We’ve tried to get out in nature before, but it always seems to be a dreadful thing for my younger son. Tonight, he was skipping along.

Looking at a screen, but off the couch and outside. The air was perfect!

And lo and behold, a Pokestop in front of another grocery story I frequent all the time. Pokestops are my favorite. Free stuff and more pokeballs to catch the Pokemon. And guess what? It has a compass in the front I’ve never seen before. Who knew?

Are those ghost Pokemons? Nah.

I’m at Level 4, so I know we have many more adventures ahead, and I have to catch up to my son who’s at Level 10. He shakes his head at me, but he’s patient and explains things about the ever-changing Pokemon.

What about you? Have you tried it? Curious?

Their Latest Act – Friday Fictioneers

It’s time for a 100-word story with Friday Fictioneers, a writing group hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Thanks, Rochelle for your leadership every week. Thanks to Roger Bultot for providing this week’s photo.

My story follows. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

(Horror: 100 words)

Their Latest Act

The taste of metal tainted her tongue. Laine shook the salt shaker into her mouth. No use. The blood was still there and she spat it out, crouched with her hips off the floor.

Her mother had loved the green parrots who flew in from Mexico. They had watched their mating dance once from her patio, their gentle fluttering of feathers high in the sky. It was a performance for her, her mother would say.

No mother, it never was. They have the power of flight and beaks for pecking your eyeballs of your sockets until you’re blind. That’s all.


For more stories from the Fictioneers, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

This week’s photo challenge is Harmony.

The combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords having a pleasing effect; the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.

I think I can just squeak by this week with my entry. I’m a Libra so I’m all about harmony. Harmony is my middle name. And now there has never been a better time to capture harmony in action.

Getting outside in the fresh air seems to smooth out those edges and allow for harmony to step in.

A morning in the square:


Animals understand harmony the best. It’s all about the smell.

Frolicking at the dog park:


Take a sniff:


Sometimes you have to move over…or just lie down.

Seals on their rock:


For more entries of Harmony, please visit the Weekly Challenge Photo site.

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

This week’s photo challenge is State of Mind.

This week, let your inner world and the outside one converge in a photo.

Whenever I take photos, I certainly view them as mini, visual stories. But more than that, they can depict what the photographer is thinking or the mood he/she is in. 

State of Mind: Calm

I took this photo below while on a walk. My mood and my surroundings were calm. I like this photo because it’s not clear what’s behind the bend, But with a calm mind, I’m fine with that. Although you don’t see it, there’s water out there. I like these little bridges; I pretend I’m somewhere else, some little village, far, far away. A nature walk always clears my head.

December 2015 130
For more State of Mind entries, visit the Weekly Photo Challenge site.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

This week’s photo challenge is Seasons.

Share an image evocative of the weather or represent the current “season of your life” in metaphor.

Recently, I took quite a few photos and I had trouble choosing one. I may post more of them later.

This photo I really like. For me, it represents the many layers of nature, as in life, as with people. Here we have the coming spring when everything is bubbling underneath the surface waiting to sprout. I took this photo near my home in a wetlands preserve.


And the pond is full and bursting with activity.


Speaking of layers, here is the bunny’s camouflaged home. Can you spot the bunny?


For more Seasons entries, visit the Weekly Photo Challenge site.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Connected

This week’s photo challenge is to show how two (or more) things — people, objects, places — come together. I have a few photos to share.

Connecting with Nature: Under the Rainbow BridgeFullSizeRender (32)FullSizeRender (30)

Connecting with Music: From Bach to the Beatles
Connecting with Food: At the Farmer’s MarketFullSizeRender (34)FarmersMarket3 FarmersMarket2

For more connections, please visit the Weekly Photo Challenge site.

Walking Alone with Nature

This past weekend, I desperately needed to breakaway from the walls of my house. I can be a slave to my computer if I allow myself. My back aches from all the sitting I do. It was high time I stretched my legs. I pleaded with my family to join me on a walk to see a waterfall. They declined. I know, right? Apparently, they are all addicted to their devices.

I threw a fit. I was exasperated that they still didn’t want to join me, hardly in the mood for a nature walk, but I decided to go anyway.

So my journey begins. Alone. I ventured forth to the Hidden Falls Regional Park just outside Auburn, California. I took the Poppy Trail along with many other park visitors. Hidden Falls proved to be popular destination.

Shortly after arriving at the Hidden Falls Regional park, after calming myself, I sent my family this picture:

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 050
Late afternoon and the weather was perfect. California is green for a very short period of time.

I was going to attach a spiteful message like, “Wish you were here.” It was “not delivered,” as cell phone access is limited. I suppose that was the whole point of being here, was it not?

Although these photos appear to be quiet and calm, I’m only fooling you. I was hardly alone. These trails were bursting with activity. Families, couples, all had the same idea I did: to spend time with nature. Just you and the trees. Ahem. I had to pause for people to pass to snap photos of isolated stillness.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 062
Oh, which path to take? The many visitors steered me on the right course.

Many walked dogs; big dogs, little dogs, dogs in little, pink jackets, moving their little legs up the hills quite speedily. I thought, if a dog can do it, surely my kids can. Sorry, I have no video to show you.

I considered getting a dog. I considered renaming my blog name to “The Lonesome Traveler.”

I only counted two other people who walked alone among the various groups; one was a runner, the other, walking with sticks. So, both were utilitarian, walking with purpose. Not like me, aimless and taking photos.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 060
There’s me now (my shadow) snapping a photo of the water that I will eventually see fall.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind spending time alone. I rather enjoy it. I had wanted a family outing. As it turns out, spending time alone was exactly what I needed.

Could the light be more perfect?
Could the light be more perfect?

I can go at my own pace and stop to read signs if I want. One sign mentioned that California is home to more than 5,000 species of plants. But did you also know that 2,000 of them are invasive?

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 092
Non-native Periwinkle (Vinca minor). A foreigner. Who knew?

I felt my head clear, less constrained. Thoughts float through me. The subject of a post reveals itself: writing and editing in the digital age. It is sure to be riveting. It takes so much to get away.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 070
Up a hill to what looks like a secret meeting place of the druids, most probably after hours when the place empties out.

At last, the waterfall. I watch the water pound the rocks, as people snap photos. We all snap photos together to capture the moment.

Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 076
People and nature together for an afternoon. Note the shadows.

But some things you have to see up close. You have to be there.

Note to my East coast/Canandian friends: I’m sorry. I can’t control the weather. Just remember that California is in a terrible drought.