skypalace: the game 

we are lucky. i reflect each day on how hard so many in this world are struggling in our new reality and i know we are lucky. so lucky. not a morning goes by that i do not feel boundless gratitude for our situation. my situation especially. what is that you ask? well, here it is, as i see it. 

skypalace (our home) affords us enough space for four humanoids on lockdown to roam, play, sleep, study, think…to have one's own and collective place to frolic. nevertheless, uniformity and routine, the inability to do things one used to do, wear on one. whereas i, as a homebody, may be perfectly happy hanging with my loved ones day in and day out, an energetic boy deprived of his social outlets will begin to feel the pull of unease, ennui, sadness even. why can’t we travel to see our friends? why can’t i have play dates? it’s not fair! 

we agree.
ergo, some of us spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to stimulate the mind of a curious, clever and indefatigable 10-year-old. mine.
samson loves games—especially video games. unfortunately, as the only child in our home (as he often reminds me) who is also incredibly social, he does as much online connecting as his parents allow. i’m one of his parents. in an effort to gain some of his trust and coax him slowly (to prevent atmospheric shock) back into the three-dimensional world we’ve created skypalace: the game.
skypalace is a simulated video game. a physio game, if you will. in fact it’s closer to real life than a video game. and by that i mean, yeah, it’s real life. yep. but let’s just call it a physio game 'cause that sounds cooler.
it’s a simulated video game complete with gamertags, health, damage, elixirs, avatars and NPCs (non-playing characters)…okay, so maybe video games are a lot like physio games…except in skypalace: the game DaYummyBurger (his gamertag) gets to look right at his mama with his big beautiful sparkling brown three-dimensional eyes.

let me state the obvious for a moment here. we don't live in a palace. i am not a warrior queen with zero damage and perfect health. but one man's shack is another woman's palace. one avatar's small amount of damage is another gamer's almost complete health. the idea i'm crafting here is that because it's a game we can make it whatever we want to. we chose a palace in the sky. you can choose your own imagery. although we may be limited physically, we need not be limited psychically. we can expand our world to include things that give us joy, and wings. we can be superheroes. we can engage in conflict that's resolvable. we can overcome obstacles and reach the heights of victory, winning a golden trophy or a treasured gem in a chest buried deep in a secret cave. we can transform.

in my imagination i can walk around the house unencumberednot attached to my 100-ft. "nose hose." and i can eat three coconut macadamia cookies and have it be a sum-positive (elixir of life) instead of damage (to my diet). that is the beauty of a physio game. we can be in the real world, but still use our imaginations to have fun and, most importantly, connect with each other.

with my vocal issues, i struggle even reading a story aloud to my son, but i can write him one. i can't hit the tennis ball back and forth with him, but i can exchange captivating game imagery and feats of daring, challenging him to virtual duels using our wits as weapons.

he has already risen to the challenge and drawn our avatars. we present them below, along with the first draft of our strengths, weaknesses, and abilities/superpowers. take a gander.


  • video games
  • designing things
  • sports
  • eating
  • old puzzles
  • old video games
  • certain cakes 
  • writing
  • reading
  • drawing
  • making a funny cheek-fluttering noise (see video demonstration) 


a DaYummyBurger superpower


in our game i am reborn as rye.tin.bette, the lead documentarian in skypalace portal (this blog detailing our life in skypalace the home/game). of course, we are all producers of the written or visual record to some degree.

DaYummyBurger rendered an image of rye.tin.bette (a.k.a., mama) better than anyone has heretofore, complete with a pen in her right hand, a partially used journal in the other, glasses, and a cannula (to her 100ft “nose hose”*). it’s all in the details.

[*i realize it looks like my hose is connected to nothing, but it is, after 99 more feet, connected to an oxygen concentrator, which is not nearly as sexy as my avatar ; ). and yes, my hair really is THAT fabulous!]

  • cuddling
  • loving my peeps
  • movie picking
  • writing some stuff
  • remembering that word for something
  • clothes shopping
  • lung capacity
  • math
  • making bad puns
  • fatigue
  • procrastinating
  • rocking a cannula (see drawing above if you have any doubt)



besides myself and my bouncing boy, our merry band of skypeeps includes my husband phil, or his alter ego fill_space. phil works full-time from home in between weeding (and by weeding i mean editing skypalace portal) and drilling DaYummyBurger on math problems.

  • can find a typo at five hundred paces
  • chocolate
  • writing book club recaps
  • cooking waffles & pancakes
  • disdain for all video games
  • chocolate
  • editing, just editing
  • doubling numbers at super-human speeds
  • weeding
  • filling space, duh! (again, see drawing)


and there’s an uncle zum, a traveling semi-pseudo ex-monk funkyunkymunky who keeps us on our tennis toes and generally helps out with the whole kit AND caboodle (as traveling semi-pseudo ex-monks are wont to do).

in samson’s imagining of this avatar, funkyunkymunky appears as a monkey with a robot tail (which has a red laser on the end) and a green mohawk (obviously), plays tennis like nobody’s business…and likes fruit. a lot.

  • eating fruit
  • being silly
  • pillow fighting
  • laser pointing (with tail)
  • chocolate
  • remembering that thing that just happened
  • sleeping
  • playing virtually any game and playing any game virtually
  • rolling with the flow and flowing with the roll
  • tennis (trust us)
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as the blog progresses, we’ll be making updates to this page. we’ll be updating our strengths, weaknesses, and abilities/superpowers as we have new ones and lose old ones. we welcome your input. please comment below on what you think they should be—or should NOT be.

one new addition as of 2020.09.11:

DaYummyBurger has provided the following information for instructional purposes only. we think it could be useful when planning swamping strategies in the physio world. i think you’ll find it highly relatable across many platforms, including at the office—if you ever return. personally, i find the cloning spell to be of invaluable assistance around the kitchen. it makes peeling garlic a breeze! enjoy!


by DaYummyBurger (a.k.a. Samson)

Swamping is a strategy of battle in Clash Royale. It is also known as mobbing. Swamping is where you have such a large number of troops deployed that it overwhelms the enemy’s defenses. My personal strategy for swamping doesn’t involve lots of troops but a CLONING SPELL. This means that I have to place a few troops that spawn multiples. (Explanation: if I wanted more for a low price I would play goblin GANG instead of goblin.) Then all I have to do is drop a CLONING SPELL on it and BOOM­čĄ» I have a goblin gang 2 times the size and damage. What you have to know is that CLONES of other troops have no health bars. If I clone a Minion, and the normal and UN-CLONED Minion is attacked by a Barbarian, then the UN-CLONED Minion will receive 5 hits from the Barbarian and die. If the CLONED Minion is still there after the NORMAL Minion is killed by the Barbarian, the Barbarian will only have to hit the CLONE once because clones only take one hit to destroy, no matter what, under any circumstances. This also works with spawners, which are inanimate objects that SPAWN other troops and will CONTINUE to do so until the INANIMATE BUILDING is destroyed.

a little sample of SWAMPING up close

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wanna play? 
  • what would your gamertag be?
  • what would your strengths and weaknesses be? 
  • what about your abilities/superpowers? 
  • what would you name your terrain? (ours is skypalace, what's yours?)
we’d love to see your suggestions. you can comment below, or send a separate email. your choice.
thanks for visiting our game/world/portal!

play on!



  1. Did you know that the Skypalace is one of the many marvels in the Legend of Zelda game series? Each Zelda game begins with castles like the Skypalace getting overrun by evil creatures, who decorate it to their preference -- happy home to deadly vermin, pleasantly adorned with peril and fire and deadly creatures, vast bubbling pools of acid and poison, and decay beyond recognition. Your job as the hero is to clean it out and magically restore it to its majesty and unthinkable marvelousness. Then it's just a wonderful place where you can come hang out. I'm going to think of your Skypalace as the place after the hero does her work, if it's all the same to you. Good job on conquering evil, purging the final dregs of the dark magic, and washing the world in color and brilliant light. It's all just part of your service, you know, you never ask for more, although you always get a grateful princess hug which sets your heart aflutter. For my part, I wish to come hang out in your Skypalace. I'll use the avatar name I always use when playing Zelda games with my kids -- Krusty.

    1. hi krusty! thank you for playing with us. it's lovely to have you. thanks for the amazing description of skypalace in the zelda game. i did not know. but it's such a cool name, i'm guessing there are multiple skypalaces out there in the multiverse. sign me up for princess hugs any time!

      now you just need to work on supplying your strengths, weaknesses and abilities/superpowers. we'll be posting ours very soon!


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