Returning to Facebook by Bet R.

A year ago I deleted my Facebook account. It was a sound decision and one not made in anger. There was no "I'm out of here!!" rant posted to my profile. I just quietly deleted my account and went on about living my life, quite happily in fact. Were there things I missed? Yes. I missed the photo updates about grand kids and great-nieces and great-nephews but we do see family and friends frequently enough that I was okay with it. My younger sister lives in Florida and we talk regularly on the phone or through text. She's still upset that I switched from an iPhone to Android thereby ending our Facetime chats. We had to switch to Duo which isn't as good in my opinion. But I digress.

In the year away I've come to realize just how Facebook connected the town has become. Local government, police and fire departments all have regularly updated Facebook pages. Most vital organizations for the town and the county maintain their Facebook pages and keep residents in the loop. Our town is small with 13,000 residents it's also the county seat. Salem County is the least populous county in all of New Jersey. For us and I'm sure other small towns Facebook makes sense.


Facebook has betrayed its users time and time again, yet the platform survives replacing old-school ways of getting information: newspapers, television news, conversations between townsfolk etc. This is a digital age and while the things Facebook has done over the years irritate me, I need to put it aside. If the Salem Sunbeam was still around, I'd be Facebook free. But newspapers have been struggling for years and in 2012 our beloved county paper merged with two other county newspapers. I understand the need for the merger but we cancelled our paper delivery when the merger happened.

I'll take each day on Facebook with a grain of salt and unfollow/unfriend anyone who wants to fill their timeline up with political bullshit whether it's Republican or Democrat. Everyone has the right to say and post what they want. I have the right to keep that nonsense as far from me as possible.

I remain positive and hold onto the knowledge that I can delete my account again if it becomes a cesspool.

I Blinked by BETAkanim

Of all the nicknames I’ve had over the years one of my all time favorites is “Everyone’s Aunt Betty”. It was just easier to introduce myself at kiddo events as Aunt Betty. I’m also not comfiest being addressed by my title and surname. It’s just too formal. So everyone, and I mean everyone just calls me Aunt Betty.

Why divulge that? Well 18 years flew by and my incredible great-niece graduated from high school last night. It was an emotional time and of course exciting for her so the pictures I took were minimal. Her graduation party is tomorrow and I’ll have more opportunities to get snaps of all the newly graduated squad and family.

Watching all these young people finish this journey was surreal. I remember my own graduation nearly 40 years ago. There was no other time in my life when I felt as fearless. And as I looked at my niece I could tell she felt the same way. In three weeks she turns 18 and later this summer she leaves for basic training because she enlisted in the Air Force.

I’m in the fall season of my life looking back at how quickly all my littles have grown. I blinked and I’m mama to three grown adults, grandma to a couple grandnuggets that are also growing too fast and I’m Aunt Betty to a lot of nieces and nephews. This is another one of those blog posts that informs you of how quickly life moves. Take my advice and live your life. Don’t spend these precious years trying to just keep up with life. We can’t slow things down but we can take time to cherish the moments, take lots of pictures and tell people we love them, we’re proud of them and we’re always there for them.

You’re gonna’ blink and look back over your shoulder wondering how they all went from babies to grown adults with their own lives. Trust me. I blinked.

Dauntless & New Borderlands 2 DLC by BETAkanim

Dauntless dropped on May 21st but we didn’t get started with the game until Memorial Day weekend. We’ve been playing it every day since. In fact I’d wager we’ve racked up over 70 hours so far. It might be slightly more. We’re a tad obsessed. I keep reading that if you enjoy Dauntless you’ll love Monster Hunter. Perhaps Monster Hunter offers more depth but Dauntless is free to play and they’re store offers cosmetic items that are fairly priced. We dropped money on the Elite Hunt Pass and a few cosmetic items so far.

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The only thing that has stopped our progression in Dauntless is the new DLC “Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary” for Borderlands 2. There were rumors that Borderlands would drop DLC between the announcement of Borderlands 3 and it’s release in September. Sure enough the DLC was announced as E3 kicked off. We immediately downloaded it and started playing because Borderlands is our favorite co-op game EVER!!

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As for Dauntless I’m doing Dire Patrols and trying Heroic Patrols but for the past few days every rando group I’ve joined for heroics has failed. I just can’t seem to find a group that can work well enough together to kill the behemoth. Unfortunately I’m slightly under-geared with a 445 weapon and 425 armor. Maybe everyone else is under-geared as well? I do know that the hunts are supposed to be random behemoths but we always got Gnasher. Every stinking hunt was Gnasher. With all of the behemoths to choose from you’d think that I’d encounter different monsters right? Not sure what’s up with the matchmaking in that regard.

I like the game so I’ll continue to play and support it.

Update 06.13.19

It’s taken me a few days to write this blog post. In that time J & I completed the main mission line for the Borderlands 2 DLC. We hit level 75 and intend to rerun other DLC to level to 80, which is the new max level.

We also dig our new effervescent runner skins! I mean seriously how awesome are they? Rainbow sparkles for EVERYONE!!.

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Catching Up Again by Bet R.

The month of May is always busy because of yard work and opening the pool. We didn't have it open for Memorial Day opting to wait a few days for the water to warm up a bit more. But by June 1 the grandnuggets were swimming. My son sent a text on Friday the 31st:

Mom, can we bring the boys over on Saturday to swim? Nugget 2 (his name here on the blog) keeps saying, "Call Grandma and ask if the pool is open. Call Grandma! Daddy, give me Grandma's number... I'll call."

The next day they rolled in, hugged and kissed me and Papa J on their way out to the pool.

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All caught up.

It's the wee hours of a Saturday morning and sleep eludes me again. Perhaps if I put this post to bed I'll be able to fall asleep myself.

Backyard Bounty | Photography by BETAkanim

A few weeks ago I injured my knee. That’s made it really hard to get out and about to take pictures. Thankfully my backyard is bountiful if you take the time to look. It’s something I learned long ago. You don’t have to head to out to find beauty. It’s all around you. You just have to take the time to look.

72 and Legendary by BETAkanim

We finally finished our third play-through of Borderlands 2 on Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode and hit level 72. That’s the current max level in the game. Now we’re going through all of the DLC along with doing farm runs for Legendary weapons.

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It’s nice to have a game that we play together. We spend time gaming solo but playing together has always been something we’ve loved because it’s how we met.

Season 17 in Diablo 3 recently started so I may spend some time playing that on my own. Who knows when Blizzard will ever release a Diablo 4. I’m not holding my breath.

She Weaves by BETAkanim

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Another day of photographing things I’ve made and editing the images. So far, I’ve uploaded photos of chain maille necklaces I’ve made. The images of bracelets are still in the works. These pieces are ones that I made for myself and my husband. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of ones that have gone to my sister, other family members and friends. But that’s cool.

I got into weaving maille in the summer of 2015 and then had to take a break from it because of my hands. Surgery and physical therapy have done wonders but I also had to give up knitting and crochet. It didn’t matter what crochet hooks or knitting needles I used. If I did either my hands would be in knots the next day and I couldn’t take the pain anymore. These days I do a lot of hand exercises, take many breaks and stick to things that don’t bother my hands as much. Gaming can cause pain if I don’t rest and stretch the fingers every hour or so.

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Hopefully if I take it slow and don’t allow myself to “get into a zone”, weaving links can return to my wheelhouse of creative things that I enjoy.

I have a small supply of jump ring left and as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I plan to stop using aluminum rings and make the switch to Titanium. It’s a strong metal but remains lightweight which is something my sister likes about my jewelry. Due to neck pain she has to seek out lightweight pieces to add to her collection of necklaces.

As always stay tuned. There’s hope that new pieces will show up here in the near future. In the meantime you can check out my other pieces in the Chain Maille Gallery.


Updating Galleries by BETAkanim

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Spent a good chunk of today updating the gallery for my painted rocks/stones. Late Saturday morning the skies cleared and the sun showed up for a bit so I grabbed the can of gloss coat and started spraying. After they were dry I took new photos which are now in the gallery. I’m always torn when it comes to backdrop color for my rocks. Looking at the photo above They might have popped better with the black table as the background. But since I went with my white reflective table instead. Perhaps I’ll photograph all future rocks on the black background. These are going on display in the pool area once we’ve finished adding river rocks to a few areas.

Tomorrow I plan to pull all my chainmaille out and photograph it for a gallery. Right now I’m using up the remainder of the anodized aluminum jump rings I have and then plan to switch over to Titanium.

Wild Wisteria | Photography by BETAkanim

Wild wisteria vine blooming in the trees behind our home. I shot these images with my Nikon P900 instead of my Nikon D7000, which is my main camera. But these blooms were 150 feet from me and about 65 feet in the air. Since the P900 can photograph moon in all its glory I figured I could photograph the wisteria too.

Now if I can manage to photograph some of the songbirds that frequent our yard I’ll be a very happy camper.

Peace,

Bet

Oatmeal Cookies and Memories of Dad by BETAkanim

THE COOKIES

Baking is something I’ve enjoyed since I was about 13 years old. That’s when my Dad would finally let me use the oven. The first thing I baked by myself was oatmeal raisin cookies. I used the recipe on the Quaker Oats container in 1975.. The current recipe, “Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies” isn’t the same. It’s a decent recipe but it doesn’t evoke childhood memories. But that’s not the recipe I used for this batch of cookies. This lovely little recipe comes from Live Well Bake Often. Clicking on the link will take you to her recipe. The recipe is perfection and it gave me all the childhood feels I wanted with each bite. These are chewy and loaded with raisins. I’m the only one in the house that likes oatmeal raisin.

More cookies for me.

©2019 Betakanim All rights reserved.

©2019 Betakanim All rights reserved.

THE MEMORIES

My Dad loved oatmeal raisin cookies. They were his favorite even though he wasn’t a huge fan of cookies. He enjoyed pies and sticky buns the most with the occasional Bundt cake thrown in for good measure. In the later years of his life he would buy Sam’s Club oatmeal cookies with extra raisins because Dad also loved raisins. For a long time after I moved out on my own I refused to buy little boxes of raisins.

Back in my lunchbox toting days of elementary school I’d watch with envy as classmates unpacked their lunches. Up and down the long tables were little bags of potato chips, cheese doodles, Tastykakes, Ding Dongs and the oh so yummy Devil Dog accompanied a bologna or ham and cheese sandwich. My unpacking was not as hunger inducing. A sandwich spread with the thinnest coating of tuna fish, a Thermos filled with grape juice and that little red box of Raisins stared back at me.

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While we’re in a school days phase let’s do a bit of lunch Arithmetic.

Tuna + bread = soggy sammich.

It’s amazing that the sandwich was able to get soggy since the layer of tuna was so thin.

This makes me sound ungrateful. I was a kid back then. And the kid in 1970 wanted a damn Ding Dong.

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Let me take this time to say that as an adult I’m incredibly grateful for having a lunch even if it was soggy tuna. Dad made sure there was a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our back. We never went hungry, never sat in the dark or froze during winter months. Dad was a miser. He hoarded his wealth and spent as little as possible when it came to his kids or his wife. Around the time my younger sister and I were nearly teenagers he changed. We’ll never know why he changed but he was emotionally absent from our lives and good memories are few and far between. Oatmeal cookies are one of those few memories I have of the man through my teenage years.

Dad is no longer with us. In February of 2009 doctors diagnosed the cancer and gave him six months to live. He lived 18 months and was able to put his affairs in order and spend time with the family. It was during this time I got to know my Dad better than I’d ever known him. While he waited for the Lord to take him, we had a long conversation at his home in Florida. It was during that talk that he told me how much he loved me and how much he regretted not expressing his love for his children and grandchildren. Before that day I could count on one hand how many times I’d heard my Dad tell me he loved me.

In the years since his passing I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on his life and the type of father he was to my sisters, brother and me. But that’s a story for another day. Today is about a good memory. The memory of Dad, his love for oatmeal raisin cookies and letting me bake by myself for the first time. And that was the start of my love for baking. And as a parent I swore that I’d express my love for my kiddos every chance I got. They’ve always been my shadows in the kitchen. All three of them could cook and bake by the time each of them turned 10. The kitchen in my home is central to this family. We gather together to cook, bake, BBQ and of course eat. These days we’re handing down all that knowledge to the grand kids.

Thanks Dad.

©2019 Betakanim All rights reserved.

©2019 Betakanim All rights reserved.


Catching Up. Again. by BETAkanim

Nine days since my last blog post.

I blame Spring Cleaning and Easter.

This year our family celebrated Easter on Saturday because my oldest son had to work the holiday. He’s single and they pay him double time-and-a-half. He usually works holidays so that a co-worker with kiddos can have the day off. I raised a gem, yes I did.

A few months before Easter my middle son declared “I better get a feckin’ ham for a holiday this year!!” Apparently I didn’t cook a ham for any holidays in 2018. He wanted his mama to bake ham. So I did. I also decided that I wanted to smoke a brisket because it’s officially BBQ season.

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Last summer we gifted ourselves with a Traeger wood pellet grill/smoker. J is originally from Kansas City, Kansas and misses the barbecue. Because I love him and love to cook I decided to learn how to smoke everything. My first brisket of last season was a hit. Everything on the Traeger was a hit.

The RTD temperature sensor experienced an untimely death so we ordered a new one from Traeger because the grill is under warranty. Both J and I were SO excited when we fired it up for the first time this month. The smell of mesquite is the best thing ever! Once I get the mesquite in my blood all I want to do is grill and smoke food. So I decided to add brisket to the Easter menu. My youngest decided to add a third protein to the meal and purchased two pounds of extra large shrimp.

We rounded all of that out with smoked macaroni and cheese, steamed broccoli, baked-battered asparagus, deviled eggs and for dessert… CHEESECAKE.

Of course no family get-together is complete without a round of gaming. J pulled out our latest purchase for the game vault: Trivial Pursuit 40th Anniversary Edition. I won. Actually I had the most wedges when we called it so they declared me the winner. Next time we’ll team up to make the game play a bit faster. We played as individuals for our first time.

Trivial Pursuit has always been a favorite of ours. Well mine and J that is. The kids, not so much because they felt we had an advantage due to age. The Ruby Edition however spans 1979-2018 in all categories. We enjoyed it a lot.









Image from Amazon. Copyright Hasbro

Image from Amazon. Copyright Hasbro

You can pick up the Ruby Edition of Trivial Pursuit for $25 right now on Amazon. Just click the image above.

It was a relaxing holiday spent just the way we like. Conversation, good food, goofing with the grandnuggets and playing games. Life doesn’t get any better.











Another Sunday by BETAkanim

Slight changes here on the site.

Changed the domain from nimnee.net to www.betakanim.com. I’ve struggled with finding the right domain name. In the world of gaming, and Twitter I have been known as Nimnee. Whatever game I play has a character named Nim or Nimnee. Using the previous domain worked because of that. But when it comes to sharing my photography, drawings, painted creations and more I’m not known as Nim. On this side of the monitor I’m just Bet. Wife, mama, grandmother and small town gal. Bet also known as Nim. New domain and peace in my little creative heart. I’ll be updating my Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Smugmug accounts to reflect the changes.

We planned to do a bit of shopping and yard work today. That was the plan right up until the mower wouldn’t start. Thank goodness Frikkles, my middle son, is mechanically inclined. The other two are not and neither is dear husband. Off we went to Walmart for a spark plug and then food shopping. When we got back my boy met up with us and in 10 minutes had it purring like it was brand new. The mower is only 4 years old so neither of us wanted to buy a new one.

Once the yard was looking like a manicured yard again we fired up the smoker and grilled steaks, corn and potatoes. Grilling/smoking season is our favorite time of year. I could have smoked meats through winter but our Traeger had an issue with the RTD temperature sensor that sits inside the grill. We finally got around to ordering one from Amazon (trying to order one from Traeger was a nightmare and a story I’ll share another day) and installed it today.

Turned on the smoker and BAM, temp went to 400° without a problem. Last year we couldn’t use it above the 300° setting because it would spit out the “errH” code. The sensor was telling the grill it was too hut and shutting the process down. It made grilling and at times smoking a real pain in the arse. But all is well and I’m picking up a brisket this week to smoke for Easter!

Tonight was Game of Thrones night. Episode 1 of season 8, the final season aired. And as usual we sat for an hour with our jaws on the floor. There was quite a bit of humorous moments in the episode that got us laughing. This season is going to be phenomenal.

I’m just hoping that Cersei isn’t the lone survivor when all is said and done.

Friday, April 12, 2019 by BETAkanim

Staycation is officially over and it’s sad that J has to go back to work but we still haven’t won the lottery.

With most of our Spring cleaning and re-organizing finished it’s easier to slip into a totally creative day. I had wanted to work on my next macrame project today, a runner for the TV console, but I had to wait for Amazon to deliver my cotton rope. So I did the little bit of housework I needed to do then grabbed the sketchbook. It’s time to get back into the routine of working in the sketchbook each day.

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This is still a work in progress with just a few areas that need to be finished. It’s very relaxing to work on these. I spent several hours just inking and stippling this little print. Not sure what I’ll doodle tomorrow.

I whipped up a few rocks on Thursday evening. The images aren’t the best because I took them quickly with my phone. I’ll have to take new photos with my Nikon and add them to the gallery.

Don’t really have a lot to type today but I wanted to settle into a routine of adding posts several times a week. Will definitely be adding more here on a regular basis.

Another Goodbye by BETAkanim

My youngest son had to deal with one of the hardest things in life. His cat's health deteriorated drastically over the last two months and we all knew her time was coming. She was a family member but she gravitated to him and became his cat. She stayed in his room seldom coming out to socialize with anyone else. She's been by his side since he was 8 years old.

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On Tuesday he asked J to drive him to the animal hospital so that he could do the best thing for her. She hadn't purred in months but as he held her for the last time she was pouring loudly. We believe she was telling him it was okay. 

Now he's dealing with the grieving and we're doing what we can to help him through it all. It was just 8 months ago when we made the same trip for our Boxer boy Toa.  

She gave us all 17 years of unconditional love and friendship. We all miss her very much. 

Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3 by BETAkanim

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE BORDERLANDS 2!! Seriously love the game. After attempting to play the game on console, J had given up on me and any kind of shooter.

Nim + controller = disaster

But last year I downloaded and started to play Destiny 2 when it showed up on my Battlenet launcher. At one point I could feel J’s presence behind me as he watched me play. “You’re playing Destiny 2? Wait, you’re actually playing Destiny 2 and holy crap you’re good.” He immediately installed the game and we started rocking through content. The game made me nauseous but that was alleviated by cranking the field of view setting to max. Motion sickness plagues my life. Flying, boating, amusement park rides and first person shoot ‘em ups require medication and tweaked settings. J realized that my complete ineptitude playing Borderlands on the console came down to the controller. Give me a keyboard and mouse and I’ll decimate mobs with a quickness.

We put a lot of time into Destiny 2 but hit a wall and frustration when it came to running forge quests. Everything required a party of 3. For awhile all three of the boys (my sons are grown ass men but I will forever call them my boys) were playing the game so we could group occasionally Unfortunately having grown adult children means that they have work and life schedules that don’t line up with our own. Being unable to play through content as a duo made us a tad salty. I took a break to spend more time in the studio painting and drawing. J dove back into Magic the Gathering Online, Slay the Spire and Skrim.

Then just after we started our spring staycation, Gearbox announced Borderlands 3. We watched their presentation at PAX East and lost our freaking minds after watching the official trailer

.Even with the technical difficulties Gearbox experienced at PAX we stuck it out and thought it was the best thing we’d seen from PAX. But that’s just us of course. We’re crazy excited for Borderlands 3. We jumped into Borderlands 2 and all the DLC. Currently we’re on our second play-through and loving the remastered versions.

Tiny Tina has never looked better.

She’s my absolute favorite character.

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I play Maya in Borderlands 2 but I’m looking forward to playing Moze, a gunner with a mech in Borderlands 3. Not sure how I’m going to act without the phaselock ability!

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That bottom screenshot has J’s character in it. It makes me sad that I can’t take screenshots of my own character. The top with the inventory screen is the best I can do. Screenshots make me happy. I spent a lot of hours taking really great screens in FFXIV and every other game I’ve played.

We’re hoping to finish our second play-through before he heads back to work. More levels means more difficult content and that means really kick-ass weapons. Because that’s what it’s all about.

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Borderlands 2 is still on sale through Steam. You can get the game for FIVE BUCKS!! It’s currently 75% off and the ultra HD remaster is free, free, free. Check it out in the Steam store.