Firefly/Serenity: You Stand Out

D&D 5th Edition Player's Handbook

I'm finally reading again!

Player's Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition)Player's Handbook by James Wyatt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 2nd edition, and I've DMed from 3e onward. I'm very late coming to 5e, but I'm so excited about it now that I've read the Player's Handbook!

They've streamlined a lot of the rules and simplified the math aspect, focusing much more on roleplaying and character development/background...which, honestly, I always preferred anyway. They still have the core skills PCs can develop, but it's a simple proficiency bonus system based on character level and consistent across the board. Feats are optional and much more streamlined. Characters receive certain extra skills, proficiencies, and equipment based on what background they take, all of which are fitting for multiple classes.

I'm particularly excited to see Bard back as a player class, and glad to see gnomes and half-orcs included as PC races again. Subraces, class archetypes, and backgrounds help develop unique and strong characters. Multi-classing is optional but super easy. That's really the overarching theme here: fully fleshed out characters and simplified game rules. I especially like the addition of advantage vs. disadvantage, and I'm also pleased with bardic and DM inspiration and can't wait to see how these play out in my games.

I do wish there was a clearer character sheet set-up in the early chapters. They give you the bare bones there, but no example of how to fill it out anymore. I had everything filled out but passive perception and had to look at the index to find where it was, which was closer to the back of the book and far from character creation chapters. They do have many handy tables, which are always helpful and often clearer than trying to describe everything in paragraphs. Spellcasting seemed much easier to follow in 5e.

All in all, it seems like they kept the best of all editions and simplified it overall, with a focus on compelling characters and stories. They also included brief mentions and examples of personality traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws, which seem designed to help new roleplayers understand their characters better. Not pages and pages and pages to read & choose from, though. Just a paragraph and d6 table for each. Nice if you need it, and easily skipped without repercussions if you don't. I also think giving certain starting equipment based on background is going to be a lot better for new players than handing them 100gp, a general idea of what their race & class can use, and a few tables worth of equipment, weights, and prices. It seems like they've focused on making it more accessible and fun, and I'm excited to get started.

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Firefly/Serenity: You Stand Out

2019 Reading Challenge

I'm copying this reading challenge from a friend. Something happened and I stopped being able to read books last year from like February on. I'm going to try to get back on track this year. I love books. I can't live without them, so I need to get my mojo back. A few of these are genres I KNOW I don't like (and, no, I've never found a 'omg must read' recommendation that I actually liked), so I may skip them.

Also, I don't really have a favorite time period, so are there any suggestions?

2019 reading challenge.

1. Book with more than 500 pages
2. Book i havent read by an author that i love
3. Book i can read in a day
4. Book recommended by a friend
5. Book that will make me cry
6. Book published in 2009
7. A genre I dont usually read
8. Childrens classic.
9. Cover with your favorite color
10. Bought at a thrift store
11. Young adult fiction
12. All three books in a trilogy.
13. Dystopian novel
14. Award-winning book
15. A book from the rory Gilmore challenge.
16. Published the decade before i was born.
17. Historical fiction from a favorite time period.
18. A classic you've never read.
19. A book that will keep you up all night.
20. Once started but never finished
21. One word title.
22. A book i read in high school.
23. Book set in another country.
24. reread a favorite.
25. Book by a local author.
26. popular book ive never read.
27. Science fiction novel.
28. a book i own but havent read.
29. the first book in a series.
30. Prettiest cover
Firefly/Serenity: You Stand Out


A friend of mine has a son who had the most wonderful idea. He has created a new holiday called Wolfenoot (wolf-a-noot). From their page:

It is when the Spirit of the Wolf brings and hides small gifts around the house for everyone. People who have, have had, or are kind to dogs get better gifts than anyone else.

You eat roast meat (because wolves eat meat) and cake decorated like a full moon.

A holiday to the spirit of wolves that celebrates people who are kind to dogs? I can 100% get behind this. So we will be celebrating Wolfenoot. It's on the 23rd November if anyone else is moved to celebrate it. ;) If you do, please post pics, so he can see how his idea has spread.

If you're posting publicly about it, use #wolfenoot.

ETA: FAQ is here:


It's already taken off with over 2000 people attending and even more 'interested in' the event. If you would like to celebrate with us, please join the fun on the event page.
Firefly/Serenity: You Stand Out

I'm Not a Fall Person

It looks like I haven't done a real update since April, and I've not done any book reports since February. I'm definitely not going to make my NYR goal of reading 52 books this year. I've had a hard time reading for many months, but I'm trying to get back at it.

Life is going fairly well here. I finally have a new computer, and I think I have an idea on how to fix my novel, so I'm finally working on that again. I touched base with the folks in my facebook writing group, Writing WonderCabin, to see if anyone wanted to resume weekly write-ins. It looks like we may get those started again, so if you're interested in something like that, join up &/or let me know. We used to have Monday evening and Wednesday morning write-ins, but I'm not sure if we're going to do the same schedule. I think I'm going to start with one daytime write-in, when the kids are in school, and only add a PM write-in if we get interest and participation.

People keep dumping animals around our area. They dumped three dogs on the road by my house. One of them got hit before we knew about them, but the other two made it down to our yard. We just found a lady who knows a lot of rescues and was able to place them in one, and now today Josh has brought home two new kittens. He wants to keep these ones, which I am hesitant to do. I'm allergic, so they can't be in the house, and when we last had outdoor cats (before Maya was born, so at least 7 or 8 years ago), they all kept being killed and traumatizing my kids each time. Josh tried to build a catio that didn't really contain them for very long. But he assures me that he'll fix a new and better catio for these new cats, and that we really need them for help with mice and snakes. One is newborn and doesn't even have its eyes open. The other is a bit older and apparently has thumbs which Josh has seen him use to pick things up, so he's in love and wants this thing forever. I think they don't take good enough care of the animals that we have and we don't need anymore, but my kids are all huge cat fans and have been pining for the better part of a decade now, so I guess I'm outvoted.

We're trying to get Eden testing for possible autism, but apparently there's an eight or nine month waiting list just to make an appointment. So one day next year they might call and make an appointment.

Ivy is struggling in math, and he probably should have been in a special math class for one more year before they threw him into the grade level math. His IEP even says so. But they're wanting to try him in 7th grade math now (even though they went in last year at 3rd grade level; we seriously struggled with math) and said he was mostly doing well, he just wasn't always turning in the work. So they wanted to get him to try to stick with it, but he's really stressed and struggling and even the psychiatrist says she'd suggest swapping classes, so I'm going to have to insist on it. I asked them to call me Friday and still haven't heard back. I have appointments all week, so I hope we can eventually catch up with each other and make that happen.

Maya is doing really well and sold a bunch of pumpkins that she grew this year all by herself. She sold 3 to my best friend for $5 each, although Faith just let her keep a whole $20. Then we took the rest to the Farmer's Market Saturday, and she made another $35. I'm very proud of her. She worked hard on that all year and made some good money doing it, and she learned a lot by having a table at the market.

The chickens that we bought this year are finally laying. I found four eggs this morning, but one had a chunk of shell missing so I threw that out. The chickens are mostly scared of everything and scatter if we get too close, but the black one – Ivy's chicken, named Yukii – lets me pet her. I like that one.

Both of our lawnmowers are broken, so our yard is an absolute jungle, which is not helping the mouse issue. The same part is broken on both of them, so we need to order them and get at least one of them fixed. We'll probably work on the new, more expensive one, first. We bought it with the tax money this year and used it one time. I had less than ten minutes on the thing and I ran over a t-post pounder thingie that the kids had overlooked in the tall grass when I told them to clean up the yard and get it mower ready. I've been using the old one as back up, but the same pully part broke when I went to mow the lawn. I really hope we can get them up and running, because I serious hate our yard right now.

That's pretty much what's going on in my life.
Firefly/Serenity: You Stand Out


I have been without a computer for a month or two. I finally have a new one and am slowly working on catching up. I have a lot of NaNoWriMo stuff to catch up (I'm a Municipal Liaison for our area), but I will eventually make my way back to DW & LJ. I've missed you guys.
Firefly/Serenity: You Stand Out

Long Time No See

I haven't updated in a long while, so I thought I'd check in. How's everything going? Life has finally gotten back to normal here (knock wood). Last month was hard, because the family just kept getting sick one after another. I was sick two or three times, lasting a week or more. Maya was sick three or four times and got kept &/or called home from school on several occasions (and apparently she's not allowed to go on the class field trip if she's missed too many days, so she's probably going to be punished for being sick when they called us several times to go pick her up). We just all kept catching stuff from each other. That's the only real major con with public schooling now.

With being so darned sick last month, I got WAY behind on both my emails and my many, many pen pal letters that I got from that ad in Grit magazine. I have a big intimidating pile with many letters a month old that I need to try to start tackling again today. I'm especially sorry to my original pen pal, [personal profile] rileytheleo, whose last letter I got just before getting sick. I still haven't gotten a chance to respond, but I am going to definitely play catch up this week.

I took Ivy to the salon Friday, and he's got a much shorter cut now. It's short all over except for a side-parted patch of long up front, which he has dyed blue. He really loves his new cut, and this is really the first time that he's had a typically “boy look”. I can tell how very happy he is with it, and that makes me happy even if Josh said he came home (before the blue) looking like Justin Beiber. Not really, though. Ivy looks fabulous!

Maya made me make her another appointment to get her hair cut even though we just cut it short a few weeks ago. But now it's over her ears and she doesn't want it over her ears, plus I'm sure she just wants a cut because Ivy and I are getting one. Josh doesn't want her to go too short and is trying to tell me what to “let them” do, and I'm fighting for Maya because it's her hair and I feel she should have it the way she wants it even if she is just 6.

My mom rarely let me do what I wanted with my hair growing up, and that always bothered me (and is probably part of why I did dreadlocks as an adult). Speaking of, my appointment is Thursday and I will be getting them cut off. The stylist said she would help me try to salvage/comb out some of my hair around my face, because I don't just want to be totally bald. It seems locked up kind of loosely up top, and she thinks we can salvage some. I've had them for two weeks shy of 4 years. But I find myself always tying it back the same way, wearing it the same day in and day out, and it's become a hair rut again. So time for a change. I'm glad I finally dreaded up like I always wanted, and I've had a whole lot of fun with them. I will miss them. My bestie is bummed. She says they suit me and she doesn't want to see them go. I have to keep one for her and Ivy.

I'm taking a break from writing because everything I write sucks horribly badly. I'm hoping a nice long hiatus will help. I may have given up on my magnum opus novel that I'll never ever finish.

I'm instead focusing on the homestead more now that it's Spring. We have six chickens that are starting to get big. Josh has built me two raised beds, which we filled with leaves and horse/pony manure, but now we're all out of manure so I'm not sure how I'll fill more when we want to make at least two or three more. They're 2 feet deep, and I think he said 8 or 9 feet long. My friend Doc came out two weeks ago and planted the first bed for me. He planted radishes, lettuce, collards, beets (even though I said we wouldn't eat them – he urged me to try the greens, so I will), and I think maybe something else, but I don't remember. Yesterday we finished the second one, and I planted another row of lettuce, kale, tomatoes (beefsteak), and bell peppers (California Wonder). I gave Maya the corner to make a little mound for her pumpkin that she really wanted to plant. I had a little patch left in my herb bed too, which is not a raised bed – although one will be put there as soon as my garlic is up. Anyway, Josh broke that patch up for me and I planted some cilantro and arugula. My garlic that I planted in fall is doing well, and my strawberries from two years ago have multiplied and made a little patch right in the middle of my garden spot. And of course the mint is coming back, because I can't get rid of it.

My birthday is at the end of the month. It falls on a Friday this year, which means Josh and I can have a date day while the kids are in school. I told him I want to do something special. I'm rapidly nearing that 40 mark, man. Just a few more years. When does middle age start? I feel like I've been there a long while already.

I am pleased to say that I've been exercising just about every day this month. It took me a while to get into that particular NYR, it seems, but I'm finally at it. I've been doing the ab roller, which is kicking my ass, and trying to get to where I can do good push ups again. I used to do JROTC in high school and could out push a lot of the guys, but now I can't even go very far down for one with my bad elbow and humongous body. But I'm working back at it again, and eventually I hope to see some kind of results. Not seeing any yet, but I've been in a lot of decrepit old lady pain, and I'm told that eventually leads to gain. I'm doing a bunch of other stuff too, switching things up every day. I'm really only getting in a few minutes every day, but I've been doing it every day pretty consistently except for one free day where I did a lot of drinking instead.
Firefly/Serenity: You Stand Out

Whole30 Reintroduction Wrap-Up

Well, given how sick I've been all week, I've pretty much given up on the rest of my reintroduction. I ate loads of ice cream yesterday because it helped my throat feel better. I also had popcorn with butter because comfort food that I missed.

The only thing I *haven't* properly done a reintroduction for is gluten-containing grains, which I was set to reintroduce tomorrow (Monday). I may try to keep Whole30 eating for the next couple of days to finish it out right, but I'm still half dead and cooking seems so hard. I'm so close to finishing this out right though. But I'm also over it and not getting the help cooking that I need when I'm sick.

So far I haven't noticed any bad reactions when I've reintroduced foods, but I've also been so sick that I wouldn't have been able to tell anyway. I don't think I have any negatives except a tendency to binge on sugar foods.

All in all, I'm proud of myself for how well I did this time. I'll see what I can manage to do today, but I might as well just be off the wagon. I wish I'd seen more results this time, but I know that's because I was relying on white potatoes too much. Still, not a bad round. I think I'm going to call my reintroduction finished and just be proud of myself.