More “Up North”

My people are making plans to gather for Thanksgiving. They are coming “up north” where we have short, cold days. This gets me started thinking about what there is to do up here when I have visitors.

I’ve gotten suggestions of activities some would like to do, most of which are either out of the question, or I don’t even know what they are.  One of my daughters will be here for most of the week. Thank you, dear, for this list.

Her suggestions were:
Afternoon of frisbee golf       (didn’t I tell you it was snowing up here?)
Visiting a slaughterhouse    (um, no slaughterhouses. A new interest of yours?)
Build a Star Wars AT-AT out of bacon  (you don’t like to touch meat, remember?)
Skunk hunting (for sport)   (oh sure…)
Chapel Hill graffiti tour  (I don’t think we have a Chapel Hill)
Lunch at Chipotle   (no Chipotle… sorry)
Power walking race    (maybe, in Walmart – you ok with that?)
Photo shoot near the big pickle  (no, it’s a Musky and it’s a fish!)
Hip hop dance lessons   (I think we’d have to import a teacher, but yeah…)
Yarn bomb an italian restaurant  (no Italian restaurant, sorry)
Bit torrent party  (what?)
Go caroling outside some night clubs  (we have bars, not night clubs)
Camping!  (didn’t I tell you it was snowing up here?)
Make a turkducken  (you’re kidding… why?)
Night at the ballet   (no ballet, sorry)
Computer day (no one talks to anyone, except chat & email) (already do this, no)
Clean up a mile of I-40   (I think that’s in North Carolina, no)
Dress up Lily fashion show   (what?)
See if an iPad will blend    (what? what?)
Frozen margarita chugging contest    (my head hurts thinking about this…)
Uno    (Now you’re talkin’, yes)
Amish day  (how does one do that?)
Zelda marathon    (?what?)
Arts & crafts table at the flea market  (flea market closed when it started to snow – doubles as a hockey rink, sorry)
Make organic free-range black bean burritos   (maybe, what’s a free range black bean?)
Christmas shopping roulette  (incompatible ideas,  no)
Street racing with test drive cars  (snow, ice, remember? way too exciting)
Plant an acai garden   (the ground is frozen, no)
Afternoon of epic naps  (this will happen without planning, yes)
Record a music video  (we could do this in house, yes)
Visit a winery  (no winery, sorry)
Start a Google group   (you would want to do this? really?)

A couple of weeks ago the talk of the town was the high school play. I wasn’t too excited about a plot that centered around the trial of the wicked witch of the east and featured every fairy tale personage you’ve ever heard of, but mom decided she would go with my nephew. She said it was fun, so, based on her glowing review I decided to go the next night. I was desperate for a theatrical cultural experience and figured this was as close as I was bound to get for a while. I even ended up going ALONE, which takes some courage. I sat in the front row. It’s just what I do.

High school plays have not changed much in the last 50 years. I was so reminded of my first chances to be on stage. There is a lot to appreciate in these simple beginnings that teach poise, presence and test one’s memory of lines, and ability to be someone else. I still have an occasional nightmare where everyone is waiting for my line while I look frantically through the script to find it.  There was some of that this night, but overall the whole play was well rehearsed, and it was fun. I think the actors had fun too.

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The judge and one of the witnesses on the stand, Sleeping Beauty, I think.
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The three little pigs were bailiffs, kind of…
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Hansel and Gretel gave some incriminating testimony.
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The big, bad wolf was epic…

“Up north” activities may lack the variety and sophistication of big city life, but I see a simplicity and wholesomeness in what does take place. People work hard up here and their free time is often spent in community service, activities with their kids, or just being home. There are many choices in those categories. I’m just sayin’ that so far, I have no trouble keeping busy.

#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things J

Jigsaw Puzzles

I would be so wrong of me if I didn’t choose Jigsaw puzzles as my favorite J things. My family would never let it pass.  The obsession is obvious every time we gather in a group, like for Thanksgiving. But even when there are just two or three of us, it seems we have to have a puzzle to draw us together at the table. We work at it while we talk. It’s really quite addictive. Plus, I really think there’s a genetic component to this proclivity toward jigsaw puzzles since it spans three generations of our family. That’s proof, right?

I’m not naming names here, but:

Some of us bring a puzzle even if we have to fly thousands of miles with it in our suitcase.

Some of us shop all year round for the perfect puzzle for the “next one”.

Some of us panic when we run out of puzzles before we run out of holiday time.

Some of us check puzzles out of the library like other people check out books.

Some of us hide the last piece for fear we won’t get to put it in.

Some of us are afraid to go to bed for fear someone else will finish the puzzle before morning.

Some of us stay up all night to finish the puzzle before morning.

Some of us never want to take the puzzles apart and hide them under the bed for years.

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We ran out of puzzles at Thanksgiving so I had to buy this antique one at a Thrift Shop in Michigan.

Puzzles are good for the brain.  They teach your brain to think of any way it can to find the next piece, to be flexible. Sometimes the clue is the color, sometimes it’s the shape – the differences can be so subtle. We can actually feel ourselves getting smarter doing a puzzle. And doing puzzles teaches cooperation. You can only bend over another person’s space for so long before they cooperate and move to another side, as they should.

This winter we did “Puzzle Marathon” which I pictured on Facebook and am all too happy to post again here in tribute to the puzzle gene…

 

 

 

 

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And this one we had to do on the trip home through Pennsylvania
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This one was one of my favorite ones – pretty!

Seriously, this is only about half of the puzzles that we did, but you get the idea. Doing puzzles is truly one of my favorite things.

Do you do puzzles? Yes or no?

 

 

A 21st Century Mother’s Day

Things I did on Mother’s Day weekend 2014:

Giant rose takes over dining room table
Giant rose takes over dining room table

– The husband started things out by taking me to Miller’s Dutch Family Restaurant. We went on Saturday night because Miller’s is always closed on Sunday, so we thought.  We were greeted by signs everywhere that they were now open 7 days a week.  Wonder what brought about this change? But we stayed.

– Went to the evening service of Exalt Church, which was fortunate because it was the only social celebrating of the M.D. occasion the whole weekend.  Received a beautiful rose and there were tasty desserts.  I was pretty full of Miller’s strawberry pie but managed to  put down a piece of  chocolate cake, a sacrificial act, to be polite of course.

– Talked on phone with the eldest daughter who was agonizing over our inability as a family to make much of holidays. Evidently I don’t make people feel guilty enough when they forget when the holiday is, therefore they develop the habit of forgetting. This daughter calls several times a week and we talk a lot so I have no trouble forgiving her for not driving for four hours and appearing on my doorstep.  I tell her not to feel guilty. We perpetuate our habit of not keeping holidays.

– I try to send my email Mother’s Day greeting to my mother.  Called her earlier to apologize for not mailing the card I bought her on time for her to get it. She doesn’t make me feel guilty… hmm, something familiar about this scenario.  Computer is being really difficult and won’t let me send so I go to bed.

– Sunday morning and the computer has healed. I send the letter to my mom.

– The husband has met up with a virus overnight (he didn’t catch a cold, it caught him). He doesn’t want to be coughing and hacking all over people at church so I go alone. Received nice Mother’s Day hugs from several friends. Oddly enough, no mention in the service about it being Mother’s Day (or was I just not listening?)

– Made a call to a young mother and had a good chat.

– Received a long email from youngest daughter yesterday but also today, a picture via text of the card she bought me.  This gives me great idea because theoretically, one would not even have to buy the card – just take phone camera to the card shop and click away. Clever.

– Another text greeting from a “not quite, but almost like a son” young man in California. Came with a virtual hug.

– For fun, I relax by catching up on all 5 types of solitaire challenges for month of May until I am hallucinating and feeling weird.  I see a 6 and immediately think 7, numbers are coming at me from all directions. I go to kitchen for my favorite, Cozy Shack rice pudding.

There are still several hours of this holiday left and who can guess what wonders await me.  Feeling happy and blessed.