In the 1980s, folks worried that the fantasy board game Dungeons and Dragons could somehow lock young people into a fantasy world from which they could not escape.
That didn’t happen. But the worriers are now warriors, playing the tabletop game, which involves fantasy, strategy, role-playing — and you don’t need a partner to do it. All you need are some other people who want to be an elf, a wizard, or a knight, or a troll or another fantastical creature.
Each player creates a detailed description of their character and its skills. The Dungeon Master starts the game by telling a story.
As the Dungeon Master tells the story, players can respond to danger or challenges by yelling out their strategy. A Druid character might cast a spell, for example. A troll might use a hammer.
In the meantime, lots of table talk propels the game forward with players rolling dice to see what damage their strategy created — all this directed by the Dungeon Master, so there is no doubt what each player has to do next.
What? You are in a castle with a barred door?
“I smash the door with my magic sword,” says one senior player.
“You could have just tried the handle,” says another.
“Sword, I say,” asserts the player, flailing the imaginary sword around for all to see.
The Dungeon Master tells the player to roll the dice to see what kind of damage is done. A high roll. The door opens, and somewhere inside that castle is a treasure.
Although no one really remembers where the game left off the week before, the Dungeon Master knows and directs the play. Players might even dress up in character to play.
Best yet: No one needs a computer to play (except maybe the Dungeon Master).
Arts and crafts: Beautiful butterflies to brighten up your summer!
Do you enjoy crafts? Follow these seven steps to make colorful cardboard butterflies.
Here’s what you’ll need to make one butterfly:
• Construction paper (including one white sheet and one black sheet)
• An empty toilet paper roll
• A stick of glue
• A black marker
• A pencil
1. Cut a sheet of construction paper (in a color of your choice) into a strip that’s the same width as the toilet paper roll. Make sure it’s long enough to go all the way around. Glue the paper to the roll so that it’s completely covered.
2. To make the butterfly’s eyes, cut out two small circles from the black paper and two larger circles from the white paper. Glue the black circles in the middle of the white circles, then glue the eyes on the side of the roll near the top.
3. Using a black marker, draw on the butterfly’s mouth and eyebrows.
4. Fold a sheet of paper in half (you can choose a different color than the body). Use a pencil to draw the outline of a butterfly wing. Make sure the wing starts and ends at the fold as if it were the body of the butterfly.
5. Carefully cut along the pencil line, then unfold the paper. You should now have a pair of wings. Glue them on to the back of the butterfly.
6. Cut out circles of construction paper in different sizes and colors. Glue them onto the wings as decoration.
7. Use a pencil to trace two antennae on a sheet of paper. Cut them out and glue them to the front of the toilet paper roll on the inside.
You can display your beautiful butterfly on a shelf or use string to hang it somewhere in your home.
What you need to know about teething kittens
Kittens normally have a full set of baby teeth by the time they turn six weeks old. If they don’t have them by nine weeks, you should visit a veterinarian. Here’s what to expect from a teething kitten.
How to recognize the signs of teething
Teething can cause gum sensitivity and make chewing more difficult. Some kittens may also develop mild gingivitis. If you notice that your kitten has lost weight or has persistently foul-smelling breath, con¬tact your veterinarian. If your kitten likes to chew on things, make sure to keep electrical wires and poi¬sonous plants out of reach. You should also provide your furry friend with plenty of soft chew toys to help soothe any pain.
What to watch out for
Did you know that cats can have misaligned teeth much like people? If you think that your kitten’s teeth are starting to overlap or emerge at strange angles, visit your veterinarian immediately. In addition, make sure they’re eating enough by feeding them wet food or soaking their kibble in warm water.
For personalized recommendations, contact a trusted veterinarian.
12 safe and fun outdoor activities for seniors
Are you looking for safe ways to enjoy yourself this summer? If so, here are some outdoor activities that’ll allow you to make the most of the season.
Grab your binoculars, and head out to look for birds in the park, a nearby forest or your own backyard.
Have a picnic
Enjoy a simple or elaborate meal in the quiet of your own backyard or at a nearby park or beach.
Go on a nature walk
Take a stroll on a boardwalk or a countryside trail, and recharge your batteries as you breathe in the fresh air.
Put your swing to the test on the most picturesque courses in your area.
See the world through your camera lens, and capture moments that fill you with wonder.
Do tai chi or yoga
Maximize the benefits of these gentle practices by doing them outdoors.
Visit a U-pick farm
Collect your own berries to make jams and desserts, or sample them right off the bush.
Break free of your daily routine, and find a serene place to unwind — around a campfire, for example.
Get away from it all, and focus on living in the present moment as you cast a line.
Leave the car at home, and (re)discover your community at your own pace.
Paddle your way to a great workout, or simply take in the scenery on calm waters.
Go to a drive-in
Set up the inside of your vehicle so you can watch a movie under the stars in total comfort.
How to correct your dog’s bad behavior
Does your dog bark too much, jump on your guests or climb all over your furniture? If so, you may be wondering if simply ignoring this type of conduct is the right thing to do. Here’s some advice to help you correct your dog’s bad habits.
Determine the source
The first step in correcting your dog’s unwanted behavior is to determine what’s causing it. For example, teething puppies often try to self-soothe by nipping and biting. In addition, stress, anxiety, and boredom can trigger negative behavioral changes.
If you allow your dog to chew on your shoes or dig holes in the backyard, it may think you approve of this type of conduct. This is why ignoring your dog when it behaves poorly may not be the best solution. Instead, try to divert your dog’s attention by encouraging it to play with its toys.
Target unwanted behavior
If you want to put an end to your pooch’s bad habits, here are some things you can do:
• Implement preventive strategies. If your pup jumps on visitors, install a baby gate near the front door to thwart this behavior. Similarly, keep shoes in a closet so they can’t be chewed on, and use visual blocks if your dog tends to bark at people outside.
• Teach your dog better habits. If your dog is trained to do something in lieu of the unwanted behavior, you’ll have a greater chance of success. For example, you can train your pooch to lie in its bed while you eat instead of begging for scraps at the table.
• Interrupt the bad behavior. Choose a word, and train your dog to stop what it’s doing, and come to you whenever you say it. Give your pup a treat each time Fido obeys to reinforce the habit. Practice this trick in situations where your dog is distracted. Eventually, you can use it to interrupt bad behavior.
If you need help keeping your dog’s behavior in check, reach out to a local dog trainer.
How to handle problems with a neighbor
There are plenty of reasons you might have a problem with your neighbor, from frequent noise disturbances and strong odors to an unkempt yard and property line disputes. Before you call the police or make a formal complaint to your landlord, however, consider other ways you can resolve the issue.
The first step is to make sure your grievance is legitimate. For example, you can check municipal bylaws about noise control or find out if smoking is prohibited in your building. For more complex issues, such as the placement of a fence, you may need to consult a professional.
If your neighbor is at fault in some way, politely inform them of the issue. Hopefully, they simply weren’t aware of your frustration and will be willing to adapt their behavior. If the person refuses to cooperate after a verbal warning, however, you may want to send them a registered letter or schedule an appointment with a mediator.
In short, remember that it’s preferable to settle disputes with your neighbors amicably whenever possible.
Work-at-home opportunities on the rise
The work-from-home trend that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic may have opened some doors for seniors and for those with mobility issues who want or need to work.
One key to any remote work is making sure you have adequate computer skills. If you want a job at home, take a class or brush up! These skills are essential today, according to FlexJobs.
Among the jobs that may be available today:
Bookkeeper. Reconciling accounts or processing payroll, even part-time, can pay $25 to $30 an hour.
Customer Service Representative. Good phone etiquette and people skills are essential for this job. Reps can work from home, answering calls and sending emails, and it pays $10 to $18 an hour.
Data Entry Specialist. If you know how to use a 10-key number pad on a keyboard, this could be the job for you.
Editor. Love grammar, punctuation, and clear writing? You can edit manuscripts or proofread newsletters.
Online English Teacher. You can teach people learning English as a second language. This may require an English teaching certificate, but not always. If you have experience in the field, check out sites like italki.com. Speak another language? Try teaching your language to English speakers.
Virtual Assistant. You need great organizational and communication skills for this job, as well as some tech-savvy. These jobs pay from $10 to $19 per hour.
Transcriber. Requires strong attention skills and a love of detail. Strong English and grammar skills. This job does not have to be demanding, sometimes requiring just two or three hours per day.
Information Technology Specialist. Here is one area where ageism tends to rule. But retirees with major tech skills might be able to do this job from home.