The return of the great big list o’ dreams

Back when 2018 seemed like a lot of years away, I wrote down a rather short Mighty List. The general idea — which sprang forth from the mind of Maggie and has for her turned into a mammoth and awe-inspiring thing — is that you should dream big (and little) and write down those dreams, and that that action will be a step in getting you closer to achieving your dreams and goals.

So, did my list help me achieve my goals? Well. I did make my own cream soda, and it was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I’m pretty sure it interfered with the “lose 30 pounds” goal. I think I’ve left some of those original goals behind, too. I no longer have much interest in building a dollhouse, for example, and I don’t really have the desire to make a wedding cake. I tried to make a quilt a few years ago, but it was so maddeningly frustrating that I threw that goal out altogether. Other things remain on my list. I came awfully close to getting to see Wilco at the Ryman this year, but my plans were foiled by the show selling out so quickly. (I was in the online waiting room for 20 minutes before they went on sale! And I still didn’t get tickets! I remain somewhat bitter about that!) I’ve been to Washington DC since 2008, yet I forgot to reserve my spot for a White House tour in time.

The point is that it looks like I’ve made very little progress on my list, and to be quite honest I haven’t been pursuing it, really. What with Camp Mighty on the horizon, I keep seeing other people chipping away at their lists and doing marvelous things and writing wonderful new lists, and after reading Leslie’s Life List at, I finally decided to update mine. Her list is divided into categories, and I liked the idea so much that I decided to borrow it (along with a few of her goals. and other people’s goals, also.).

And thus was born Nichole’s Mighty List v2.0. (It’s getting pretty long, so I gave it it’s own page.) Have you made a “life list” or anything like one? And if you’d like to help me accomplish any of my goals, please let me know!

A first grader writes a fairy tale

We’re reading about Gilgamesh these days, and our accompanying “Story of the World” activity was to write a fairy tale. Poppy worked on this for two days, and then she asked me to post it here. And so I present to you: “The Cat Crusaders” (which I suspect was heavily influenced by “My Little Pony.” And also, no cats were injured in the writing of this tale).

The Cat Crusaders (a fairy tale)

by Poppy

This is the first adventure. This adventure is called: The cats set off to find new homes.

Marsha is a smart cat, and she always thinks up ideas to get them out of trouble. Hercule is a kind cat, and he always cheers them up when they’re sad. Cinder is a fighter, and she is good at kung-fu. Perrie sometimes gets shy and doesn’t do anything, but the Cat Crusaders help him do it! Boo Radley does everything he can to fight.

Chapter One: The cats and their original homes.

Marsha was resting on a blue couch in the middle of the living room, and her owner, 6-year-old Poppy, was patting her. Then she was thinking in her mind, “I should set up a crew called the Cat Crusaders and set off to find a new home.” (We don’t have time to describe why.)

Hercule heard this idea with his super-sense ears, and he thought the same idea to join that club.

Perrie heard this idea and decided to join it.

Boo Radley heard this idea, and he decided to join the club, too.

And then Cinder decided that she would join the club, too.

(They all have super-sense ears.)

But that’s just the beginning of the adventure!

Chapter Two: The cats plan their club

When they met at the place they were going to meet, they decided to make their club right there. They decided to shape it like a cat, and only the cats were allowed to come in. New members had to say the password. The password was: Daddy’s Big Tummy.

Chapter Three: The cats set off

The first adventure in their club, they set off to find new homes. Marsha was the first one to find her new home. It was old, and it looked haunted. But it wasn’t haunted. It was very nice inside and had nice people. There was even a little 6-year-old girl named Rose.

Hercule was the second. Hercule found a nice home, and inside it was nice too. It had a little table, and it had a little cat play set, and it had a scratching post. It even had a little cat clubhouse. There was even a little 4-year-old boy named Pete.

Perrie was the third. He found a nice, warm house with two little girls named Arabella and Janet. They were both 3 years old, and they loved kitties. Every time Perrie walked past them, they would say “Kitty kitty kitty” and grab him by his neck without permission. Perrie didn’t like them.

Cinder was the fourth. She found a very nice little cozy cottage, and the girls named Janet and Joanne were both very nice to the cat because they knew not to pick her up without permission.

Boo Radley was the last one. He found a very nice cozy little cottage. Inside there was a mother and father and one little boy named Julian. He was 7 years old, and he was very nice to cats.

Chapter Four: The reason they shouldn’t have left their original homes

In Boo Radley’s house, Julian sometimes picked him up without permission and held him by his neck, and Boo Radley didn’t like that. He thought he should’ve stayed in his original home.

Marsha was the next finder of reason. Inside, Rose picked her up and put her on a window. Marsha didn’t like that. She had to stay up there all night until Saturday, and she did not like that. She thought she should’ve stayed with her original family.

Perrie was the third to find a good example. Since Arabella and Janet said “kitty kitty,” they picked him up by his neck and put him on the dryer. He did not like that.

Pete wasn’t nice to Hercule. One time when he was painting a house for helping, he put the cat on wet paint. Then Hercule was pink for three days.

Cinder was the last to find a good example. Janet and Joanne did the same thing, but this time Cinder was red for three days! She did not like that.

Chapter Five: They set off to find their original homes

So they got together in the place their club was and split up to find their original homes. By the time Marsha found her home, everything was the way it was when she was laying on the couch and thinking up the idea.

Hercule was the second to find it. His house was just the same.

And so on.

And so on.

The End of Adventure One.

And then I sort of made a game

I’ve been spending many, many of my evenings lately trying to figure out how to use a program called Inform 7. The program is used for writing interactive fiction, which is, in the words of Wikipedia:

software simulating environments in which players use text commands to control characters and influence the environment. Works in this form can be understood as literary narratives and as video games. In common usage, the term refers to text adventures, a type of adventure game where the entire interface can be “text-only.” …

Why on earth would I be doing this? Because I’m assisting in a “History of Video Games” class at our homeschool co-op, and I volunteered to help the kids write their own interactive fiction. Possibly not my brightest move, since I didn’t have a clue to actually do it myself.

However! I’ve kind of sort of been figuring it out. And so I present to you my very first and most likely only Interactive Fiction game thing: Tangled Up in Bob. To play it, click “play in browser.” The player should load; then you have to type directives like “go south” or “take the gnome.” You run around doing little tasks and eventually you win. The game doesn’t make much sense, and it may well still be pretty buggy.

Give it a shot, and let me know what you think! (No making fun of me, Gamer People.) Once you’ve finished laughing at me, check out some of these games that are intricate and impressive:

  • Lost Pig and Place Underground
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (Yes indeed, and it’s written by Douglas Adams!)
  • For a Change
  • Who the Telling Changed

    Inform 7 is supposed to be the “easy” way to write interactive fiction. I will just say that I’ve stayed up way too late on far too many evenings trying to figure out how to make it do what I want it to do. And if you play my silly little game, you’ll see that what I wanted it to do doesn’t seem all that complicated. But I did find some very helpful guides and tutorials for Inform 7, so let me know if you’re interested in trying your hand at it and I’ll link up to them.