I’ve been feeling crummy about not updating here, especially given that my Alaska posts are just sitting there waiting to be polished and posted. A lot of things have been going on that I’ll update you all on later, but I wanted to let you know that I am still thinking of you – 5 regular readers and people stumbling here by accident.
Summer is in full swing here in the DC area. It’s the first summer I’m working through, so I always feel like summer hasn’t quite arrived yet. There have been a few moments that remind me it has.
The other night, I had come home late from work, as I’ve been doing more and more often these days. I walked out to pick up our mail, my skin breathing in the humidity and missing the crisp freshness of Alaskan air. I looked up to see stars twinkling through the leaves of one of my front yard trees. As I looked closer, I realized that there were also fireflies sitting amongst the leaves, blinking with the stars.
Another day, I was driving back from the train station. The forecast predicted severe thunderstorms, and I could already see foreboding clouds brewing up ahead. But when I made a turn, the sky before me was split. On my right loomed storm clouds several miles ahead, creeping up with slate greys and purples. On my left, however, it was clearer. A dusty pink-orange spilled over as the sun set, casting a glow on a few clouds that were not threatening rain.
I have a lot in store for the blog once I get my life sorted out. Alaska posts are coming. Europe posts will be completed. More up-to-date life recaps. Fun posts. Less fun posts. I have so many things I want to share with you all.
Last weekend was my dad’s birthday, so to celebrate we went to the Longwood Gardens on Saturday and then to Atlantic City on Sunday. We used to visit these places more frequently when we lived in New Jersey, and I don’t think I’ve been to the Gardens since we moved, so it was a real treat getting to go.
Photos cannot do this place justice, and I will not overwhelm you with photos here. I have hundreds and I’ll put up a Flickr album when I get a chance.
I absolutely loved the Gardens. First of all, they are stunning to the max. If you like flowers, plants, biology, this place is just great. Also, the fountains are spectacular. One thing that was different about this particular visit is I really learned more about Pierre du Pont, who owned the property before it was opened to the public. He put so much of his time and effort into the gardens and was enamored with the magic of water. Also, it’s great listening to John Philips Sousa during the fountain show, as he was a personal friend of Monsieur du Pont. His house was beautiful and there was an adorable kitty napping 0utside of it, aw.
Maybe I’ll write a separate post about the beauty of the Longwood Gardens, but this post is going to be about that vice known as gambling.
Now, I am not a gambler. As a person, I shy away from risks and hate the idea of gambling. It was my first time in Atlantic City since turning 21, however, and I knew my dad would like to see my try my hand in the casino. I thought of it kind of the way you approach an arcade or something – this is money I am spending to have fun, I am not expecting to get it back, and if I do, hurray.
For example, earlier that day, we were at our favorite arcade – the Central Pier Arcade. We were trying to get those quarters to fall from where they were hanging so precariously…
… when I was approached by one of the arcade’s staffers. “Would you like to win 300 tickets with just 50 cents?” “Oh, that sounds too easy to be true.” “No really! Come look! Just hit the jellyfish.” It was a game where you had to avoid hitting a bunch of other sea critters swimming about and harpoon a mystical jellyfish guarding a treasure chest. I saw another lady try and fail, but my dad ambled over and told me to go for it, so I humored him. I missed the first shot, but lo and behold, I HIT THE JELLYFISH. I was so pleasantly surprised and I couldn’t handle all the tickets. My brother was only a little peeved because I had reset the jackpot and the jellyfish disappeared, so he didn’t have his own shot at glory for this game. (Sorry!) I almost never win these arcade games by any substantial amount, so this was a refreshing feeling and set the mood for my day at high.
Later, at the casino, my dad had convinced me to try my hand at slots. I didn’t have to feel so personally responsible if I lost, because I didn’t have to make too many decisions, and so if I did lose, I wouldn’t feel so bad. It would feel more like an arcade game, I reasoned. So I put $20 on the card and sat myself down at a penny slot. I made about $3, but that was after just a few pushes of the button, and I think my dad and brother would’ve been disappointed if I cashed out there, although they said I could. I was here to make sure we all had a good time, and I committed to either cashing out at more than that $3 mark or just spending it all.
I was about to spend it all, yes. I was down to maybe $4 left on the machine, and I had no idea how these slots really worked as far as how much money they did end up giving back to you.
But then I WON OVER $50 and so I actually profited $31.35 that day. From the penny slots. I am never ever that lucky, and I did not expect to win any kind of double digits from a slot machine for sure. I was super pleased and more than happy to foot the bill for my dad’s birthday dinner. Red Lobster was so good for my mouth, which craved real food. OMNOMNOM.
A week later, my boyfriend’s friends and I were playing poker. They dragged me into it by buying me in, giving me chips and cards, and waiting on me to place my bets. I don’t really know all the rules of poker, and I especially am not sure which hands are better than others, but they paid for me, so okay. They started getting worried realizing they did not know my strategy and they had a difficult time reading what my strategy was.
Now, I’ve played poker a few times before, and always poorly. However, this time, I played quite well because there was a pretty aggressive player at the table. I am pretty bad at getting people to raise their bets when I have decent hands, but this guy was always raising my bets when I had pretty guaranteed wins. So at one point in the game, I HAD NEARLY $20. (Buy-in was $10.) My hands weren’t as great towards the end, and I don’t know how to play poor hands off as well, so I only walked away with about a $2 profit (in addition to the $10 buy-in) .
I’m really nervous now… because I don’t think I’m going to stay very lucky for very much longer. It’s as though much of my life’s game luck has been saved for these past 2 weeks and now I am back at zero.