Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Visitors at the park

The nice weather yesterday sent me off to the park with my camera. Where I found a flock of Canada Geese on a rest stop during their northern migration.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One antidote to Interstates

My son and I will soon be driving to Florida to visit my mother, a trip we make several times a year. It's an 800+ mile drive that we do in two days, and most of it is on interstate highways at 65 or 70 miles an hour. Since Eli doesn't drive, he's in charge of keeping the driver alert. And although he's pretty good at that, the road still gets old.

However, there are compensations. This time of year we will be driving into spring as we go south. When we come down out of the Blue Ridge into North Carolina everything will be green and blooming. And by the time we return to Pennsylvania, spring will have arrived here as well.

And then there is the chance to stop at Francis Beidler Forest (^) in South Carolina, (both coming and going if I can manage.) It's such a relief to go from 70 miles an hour to a walking pace in a place where the air smells good, the sounds are soothing, and no one is in a hurry. On our return trip I have scheduled a five hour window to go to the swamp early in the morning with my camera and take pictures of whatever presents itself to intrigue my eye. Several of the staff will be mist netting and banding Prothonotary Warblers, there might be otters, and if I'm very lucky I'll come home with a picture of "green air."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Awful .... and not

Elyria's Purple and Green

Lost all the rating points earned in the last six months, and at least two games from inattention or just plain stupidity.

But ....

Had the chance to visit with friends I only see at tourneys, learned some new words, and got away with a couple of pretty outrageous (and unintentional) phonies.

Ah well, the tiles will turn, I will learn not to shoot myself in the foot quite so often, and it will always be a pleasure to see my favorite Scrabble junkies again no matter how the games turn out.

And one more saving grace, it has knocked me out of the top division at the Richfield, OH tourney where I would have played a large selection of the "run me down like a truck" folks. Now in a division that is friendlier territory.

Monday, March 9, 2009


In bed with some bug ....

Made it almost all the way throught the winter without getting sick, and now I'm down with something miserable. Pfui.

So I curl up with the cats and read the old dependables, the ones that stay when others go back to Half Price Books. Anna Quindlen (essays and fiction), David McCullough, Wendell Berry (poetry), and Terry Tempest Williams to name a few. Some paperbacks so old the pages are falling out, but back on the shelf they go when I'm done for the pleasure I know they will bring the next time I open them up.

Comfort food for the mind.

Currently reading: "Blink" by Malcom Gladwell

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

C is for "Continuing the Meme"

My blogging (and Scrabble) friend Deadpan Alley had an interesting post on her blog the other day that ended with an invitation to her readers to continue the meme. I took her up on the invitation and asked for a letter. Which brings us to:

10 Things I Like That Begin With "C"

1. Cats. Most animals, really, though I'm not a fan of cockroaches. I have seven felines in the household (down from a high of nine), and they keep life interesting with their various personalities. I don't own a television, but with the cats I don't need one. Continuous entertainment, no reruns.

2. Compound words. The top three "words I want to play in a Scrabble game sometime" are all compound words. "Bespoke" and "tantivy" are bingoes on their own, but being able to play "mocking" in front of "bird" would make my day no matter what the outcome of the game.

3. Curry. Though I don't like food that makes me sweat, a little bit of curry improves all sorts of dishes. Curry mayo for artichokes, tuna salad with curry, egg salad with curry, curried fruit. Yum.

4. Cardinals. The kind that fly, not some sports team. Seeing that gorgeous shade of red against a background of snow in January or February always makes me believe there is life after winter.

5. Charley Harper. An artist who had a unique and (mostly) humorous view of the world, and once you have seen his work you will always recognize it. The limited edition Harper serigraphs I have are a constant delight. And I'm currently in the midst of a conversation with Scrabble Crush about the design of a custom "Harper" Scrabble board to delight my eyes some more.

6. Chrysler products with cruise control. My first car was a Plymouth, my second car was a Plymouth, and my last seven cars have all been some form of Chrysler product (and all seven of those have had cruise control.) I really really hope Chrysler stays in business. Having bought my last six cars from the same guy, I don't want to break in another car salesman at this stage of my life.

7. Competition. When my son was younger, we played pick up sports every Wednesday night at the "open gym" held by the local rehab center. Basketball, whiffle ball, volleyball, floor hockey, and (my favorite) murderball. The best part was that those large-hearted athletes let me sit in a wheelchair for a few hours and play right along with them. "Flat out and guts on the floor" was the order of the evening and a wonderful method of stress reduction. These days I spend my Wednesday evenings playing Scrabble. Though it is certainly less physical, it satisfies my competition jones quite nicely.

8. Classical music. Bach organ toccatas and fugues, Scarlatti harpsichord sonatas, Van Cliburn playing Rachmaninoff, Yo-Yo Ma playing almost anything, "Perpetual Motion" by Bela Fleck .... bring it on. I enjoy most kinds of music, though heavy metal and the majority of country western leave me pretty cold.

9. Comic relief. Chuckle, chortle, giggle, snort, guffaw, laugh till you cry, or ROFLMAO, I always enjoy a good laugh. It lightens my spirit and (I'm quite sure) lowers my blood pressure.

10. Car Talk. See #9 above. These guys are not doing their job if I don't laugh out loud at least once on Saturday morning. I will never forget them talking about someone in LA driving an SUV with a "rhino pack." I must admit, however, that my second favorite piece of car terminology, "giggle truck," came not from the car guys, but from my sister.

And one for the road ....

11. Courtesy. It's so easy, takes so little time, and provides lots of "graphite" to keep the social wheels turning. Nobody loses. Enough said.

You are Cordially invited to Carry On "Continuing The Meme."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Local club tourney

Seeded 8th (of 8) in my division, I finished third with 4-2, -84, and will get a nice bump in my rating.

Highs and lows for the day included:

1.) a loss where I managed to keep the score within 25 points even though my opponent drew 9 of the power tiles.

2.) a stomping by the #3 seed. (One of those " he beat me by more than I scored" games. Though not my lowest ever tourney score, it was certainly the largest spread for a lost game.)

3.) two wins from a guy I had never beaten at the club.

4.) a strong win over the #2 seed.

5.) seeing one of our newer club players (who had an extremely rocky start in tournament Scrabble) finish second in her division.

All in all, a good day, (except for the stomping). Next stop, Elyria, OH in two weeks.