Monday, February 05, 2007

The puzzle puzzle: solved!

Did you ever find an activity that just made you feel calm and happy? Ok other than THAT one :)

People with ADD and possibly OCD apparently find some peace by taking up activities with repetitive hand motions.

I am surprised by how many acquaintances used to knit during the Vietnam war, then let it lapse, then have recently taken knitting up again. Myself, I don't pretend to make anything fancy, just rectangles that could charitably be called scarves.

My new activity is a logic puzzle called Paint by numbers.* My sister found one book of these that she liked so much, she would erase the puzzles and do them again. Me: ok weird, but interesting.

*Eeeeek, my first successful link on this blog...

Then I found a magazine in the St. Petersburg airport, airside, mostly in Japanese with pithy sayings and salacious ads in Russian. Got one for my sister and as an afterthot one for me.

Well! Turns out it is very calming to quietly calculate which squares to fill in with pencil strokes. So I find myself hooked. It has helped me keep my sanity while waiting in airports, on long distance flights, and while enduring inevitable pauses in Plame trial news. [Go Jane, Christy, Marcy, Swopa, Pach, TRex!!]

So this time leaving St. Petersburg, following a troubled trip in terms of customs harrassment and being followed by strangers, I looked forward to buying another pair of puzzle magazines at the airport for Marilyn and me. Alas! The space where they had been was vacant, open for reconstruction. Ach du lieber. Went towards the departure gate and found the store in its new location. Hope springs eternal [not, hopespringsaturtle, one of the all-time great pennames].

Rustled thru my briefcase and pulled out the beloved puzzle magazine, Do you have this? She looked over at the magazine rack and said, Sorry. Ruh roh. Class C emergency. It doesn't really matter in the long haul, but still....

[Little travel joke about long haul. Guess you had to be there.]

So upon return to the USSA it was a priority to research this puzzle book. I thot I would have to contact either a Japanese or a Russian distributor to get the needed material.

New theory: maybe a general US puzzle magazine would have this, good thinking. I looked carefully at Games Magazine and found the gold at the end of the rainbow: the familiar pattern on the corner of the cover. Raced to google the name of the puzzle, and found many! books and magazines with diverse names:

Paint by sudoku
Paint by number

VICTORY! So I ordered a set for my sister and a set for moi. Patiently waiting. Ok those of you that know me, not so patiently waiting.

I struggle to calm my hyperactive brain. It is a great blessing except when it isn't. Thots flying too fast. Scanning the universe in search of....? Anything I find to help calm me down, excluding alcohol, is on the list.

I drink so I don't become hysterical, and angry, and say something that would hurt someone. PLEASE GOD let the researchers find new drugs that will help people like me.

Puzzle not quite solved, after all.


egregious said...

Your puzzle?

What's on your mind?

egregious said...

Ooooh, my first time making an edit at wiki!


NZ Expat said...

8:00 pm on a sunny Tuesday night here. We took a long ramble along some paddocks and by a rapid river. Walking like that is a real smoother for me.

I'm on standby even now, as my daughter is struggling to get some papers written for morning classes. She is four classes and three months away from graduation (but that includes two research papers, 12 response papers, and numerous exams and tests). She refuses to quit so close, but often her brain is whirring and she can't produce actual work.

She talks a lot about getting derailed and interupted and not even starting what she knows she needs to do for fear of being interupted. Does that sound at all familiar?

Today, I was thinking that you really might consider at least a month of going at least as far south as the tropics next November and then again in January. Your body is trying to talk to you and what do you do? You take it to St. Petersberg in January? I have lived in the Arctic in summer (endless light for two months) and Fairbanks in winter. Our bodies are like plants with lights.

egregious said...


YES the not being INTERRUPTED. That is huge.

I often drive the longer way home because significantly fewer stops.

My daughter and I interrupt each other because we are afraid we will forget the shiny thing but then react poorly to being interrupted. It was really funny when we figured out the dynamic.

Must your daughter complete all of these things? What is the next best alternative? [This is one of my new questions in general.]

Does her school know that she has...whatever she has...and are they working with her on a plan to get thru this period? They should, or is that falling once again on your shoulders.

I was thinking about my high school time and associated emotional disasters interspersed with academic leaps and wondered, "Why didn't they ASSIGN anybody to guide me?"

And not the poor guidance counselor drowning in college paperwork.

Food for thought, I was anorexic so what's the emotional equivalent?

egregious said...

Repetitive hand motion: wonder if typing counts? Playing piano? Sewing?

NZ Expat said...

The daughter is at a big state university. They have someone that can intervene when it gets real messy (i.e. interact with teachers to get extensions) but no daily guidance. I generally don't mind that it is me that does this (my husband minds a lot, but he is gradually calming down). It seems like it has taken me over 20 years to begin to "get her." And now, she is beginning to get herself too. So there is just a few terrible months to go. She is bright and loves to learn, but hates the pressure of grades and deadlines.

Her father's family has many academic stars (3 MIT grads) and she feels more pressure than anyone wants to put on her.

She's been through many doctors, counselors, and many regimes of medicine (with the accompanying hated 40 pound weight gain that she can't seem to shed). Last summer, she quit all docs, all meds. And she is doing better, though there is much trembling all around.

Still I have a lot of hope, so much hope, when I used not to hope at all.

This will sound crazy, but even when she was very young (4 months) the doctor said she seemed to have no screen against the world, no sorting, or filtering mechanism. She takes it all in and she crashes, is what I was told. She got worse when Bush became president. She said his election showed her the sham of "adult responsibility" and much of politics. She also said once she was less afraid of a terrorist attack than of seeing what stupid people were leading the country (that was in 2002). So sometimes I think she has no membrane against the big world, her personal struggles are partly her absorption of the very distorted world we've been living in the past five or six years.

egregious, thanks for listening....I'm in awe of all you do and of all of yourself that you give to others, known and unknown. I'm doing okay now. Take care.

egregious said...


We are the canaries in the mine.

Especially yr daughter. God bless.

cbl said...

mornin' egorgeous,

"We are the canaries in the mine."

that's big 10-4 in cbworld.

I got nuthin' just my usual respect and awe for folks like you and nzpat's daughter who bravely put one foot in front of the other every day

my fave is word o day - where you take a usually common 7-10 letter word to see how many other 4+ letter words you can make of it - think I'll try egregious next time I'm fishin around for a new one : )

egregious said...

It's heavy on the vowels.

Good to hear from ya.

egregious said...

egorgeous :)

NZ Expat said...

okay all...the best word I've found is Constantnople for making other words (though my students enjoy Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, etc)....I do it with them for practice in vocabulary and geography.

griddlers said...

Visit my site and solve Nonograms online

Anonymous said...

Nonograms online: Nonograms

armando said...

If you want to try out something new in sudoku, try shendoku, using the sudoku rules but playing two people, one against the other, like battleshipps. They have a free version to download at . Anything else they are bringing out or they are working on you can find at or at they´r blog . Have fun, I am. I specially like one slogan I heard about Shendoku: SUDOKU is like masturbation (on your own)…. SHENDOKU is like sex (it takes two).

jade said...

If you love puzzle game, you will love to play Gemsweeper, a really great puzzle game from The game is easy to use, has colorful graphics and more than 200 mind bending puzzles.Even kids will love this.Try it