We are Puzzled

Usually summer is a time to kick back, relax by the pool, go to the beach, visit with family and friends, take a vacation, and so much more. For our family it also means game playing and jigsaw puzzles. But this is not the usual summer. While still able to do many of the above-mentioned things, we have done an exorbitant amount of puzzles. In all fairness, though, that began back in March. We took a little break during June as our eyes were glazing over after doing a couple of 1000 piecers with writing on them so small we had to use magnifiers, but the puzzling continued after that short respite.

As I’ve mentioned before, puzzles are in short supply around the country. We have borrowed and lent out puzzles. We have done every puzzle in our closet with the exception of the holiday/winter ones. I have even gotten in a virtual line at http://www.libertypuzzles.com to purchase a single puzzle. They simply cannot keep up. It took two weeks before my name made it to the top of the list and then I had 24 hours to place my order – one per customer. It is due to arrive this week. I’m so excited. Yes, it’s come to that. I’m excited about getting a new puzzle.

Also, my favorite local used bookstore, BrightLight Books, has taken some of my puzzles on trade (or they’ll pay you a reduced price – http://www.brightlightbooks.com). I love that store and they were happy to have the puzzles which caused eyestrain to Bob and me.

Picking out the perfect puzzle to reflect the mood of the day can be challenging. When I saw this Blockbuster puzzle, it took me back to 1975, the year I was married; and people were impacted in such a great way by a single movie that the beaches were a lot less crowded that year.

Of course we had to go birding. This 1000-piece puzzle about did us in. I’m sure someone has bought it by now and is cursing the day they did – unless, of course, they are under 40.

 

Yellowstone National Park and Grand Canyon National Park were on our puzzle travel list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did a quick pass of all the major national parks as well.

 

 

 

Bob wanted to go to the place where golf was invented. No problem.

I insisted on more bird watching.

We really loved our trip to Utah which we took two years ago. It was nice to revisit.

But I don’t know what I was thinking when we did the map of Bryce Canyon. Maps, maps, maps. Sigh… Bob wouldn’t let me quit though, even though the printing on the puzzle was miniscule.

This was as tall as we let our tower of puzzles get. Oh, this is not all that we did, but it is still a fun memory.

 

Enjoy your summer as best you can. We have a lot to be thankful for, and if you’re in my area, you can always stop by and borrow a puzzle.

A Thousand Little Celebrations

imageThrough this winter season we have almost constantly had a jigsaw puzzle in progress.  We have traditional puzzles for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I like these old favorites because they are family puzzles, meaning they consist of three different sized pieces in the same box.  We would line up the children on one side with the big pieces and the parents on the other side with the small pieces.  The middle ground was a compromise between the two.

Now that I wear bifocals, my favorite side is the one with the big pieces.  In this age of instant gratification I enjoy finding pieces quickly, especially after you work the puzzle for a while.  I want my puzzles to be like my life – more fun than work.

During the after-Christmas sales, I found a puzzle with an enticing picture.  Macaroons.  Yum.  Makes me think of Paris…..  I guess I was so busy thinking about Paris that I failed to give a second thought to the fact that the puzzle had a thousand pieces.  A thousand little pieces.  A thousand little pieces that did not have my preferred distinct variations in pattern or color.  It also would take more than a day or two to complete, all the while sending subliminal messages activating my sweet tooth and releasing my inner cookie monster.

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The frame had been complete for several days and we were at the point where it typically starts to come together a little easier.  Only it wasn’t.  I begged Bob to let me put it away.  He was relentless.  I wasn’t having fun.  My back hurt.  My eyes were drying out.  My laundry was piling up.  I hadn’t brushed my teeth in days.  I was consuming massive amounts of cookies and coffee.

I thought about the frame.  We had picked through all thousand pieces to put it together first.  Unfortunately we had missed two pieces as the cruel puzzle maker had somehow managed to craft those pieces to look nothing like an edge.  So wrong.  But we had enough to work with.  We could begin to fill it in.

Bob continued to remain steadfast and refused to let me throw the puzzle back in the box and burn it.  I watched him work diligently, happily placing one or two pieces and giving each a triumphant tap as the picture began to come together.  He not only didn’t mind the challenge, he liked it.  That has always amazed me about him, I thought as I rifled through the box wondering if maybe I was color blind.

I needed an adjustment (not chiropractic, though that wouldn’t have been a bad idea after several days bent over a table).  So with the next piece that I found I celebrated.  Not just a little tap on the piece, but a hip, hip hooray.  Completing this puzzle was going to take commitment and a thousand little celebrations.

I’m happy to tell you that we did complete it.  Then I quickly gave it away.

There is something else that I have completed recently.  It started out as a bunch of characters, mental pictures and words in that brain box of mine.  Slowly the edges began to come together and then the picture started to gain focus.  There were a couple of key missing elements to the frame but with the help of my friends and family I was able to discover them.  Soon I had a completed work.  My book.  I completed the middle-grade novel that I have been working on for the last nine years.  After a few minor edits, I’ll attempt to enter the world of published authors.  I plan on starting that process in May.  This is one big celebration for me.  It’s even better than placing a puzzle piece.