Sunday, December 30, 2007


I've never really thought of myself as a puzzle person. But if other people are doing puzzles, I can get sucked in pretty easily, which is what happened when I went to the Sylvia Beach hotel with Carmen and Traci. So when Jess and I saw this puzzle in the gift shop at Crater Lake, we thought it would be fun to invite Carmen over and have a puzzle day, which is just what we did today.

There was guacamole and chips, tea and good conversation and catching up. Jess didn't like working upside down so I took the top spot and worked on the clouds. The two of them poured over colors but colors were useless to me in the cloud section. I became obsessed with memorizing shapes, which is my preferred puzzle methodology. Once I had an image of some distinctive feature, I could often be heard muttering "two bumps, two bumps, two bumps," or some other reminder chant. This always caused the others to make fun of me, but they couldn't argue with the effectiveness of my methods. This was definitely one of the most challenging puzzles I've encountered, with odd curves to the pieces and no clear lines. Often pieces would clearly fit together, but not hold together on their own until a third or fourth piece was found to hold them fast. When I solved one of these, I would declare, "Security! We have security!"

There were two edge pieces that we didn't find until late in the game. Whenever a piece proved particularly wily, Jess would exclaim, "I think there are pieces missing!" even though we'd just cracked open the sealed wrapper. Sensing an opportunity, I told her she had to give me a dollar for every time she said it. A quick and easy $20 for me if only she would pay up...

Sadly Carmen had to leave before we were quite finished. Jess and I spent another hour or so and it was a battle to the end, but oh so satisfying.

I could see myself becoming a puzzle person.

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