Thursday, 8 January 2009

Putting the World to Rights

I don't know about you but by the time evening rolls around, particularly after I've eaten dinner, I'm ready to sit down and do something leisurely, like watch TV. Only TV around here is so bad it's more irritating than entertaining.

I love all sorts of movies, but Bill only like a few specific types of films and one can only watch Harry Potter so many times before it begins to pall. We sometimes go for a walk after dinner to pass the time and get some fresh air, but usually when it's warmer than now. Neither of us has a really fascinating book on the go just now, so reading in front of the fire doesn't seem to do the trick either at the moment.

Unless I come up with some other idea, Bill will sit and play Spider on his laptop the entire evening or watch You Tube videos of his favourite musicians. When he does this I can read or knit or play on my laptop as well. Unlike with reading a book, however, intermittent conversation isn't really possible when one is working out the Spider strategy and of course his ear plugs also shut me out, so I don't find his laptop activities to be very companionable.

So, when I ran across a couple of 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles I bought ages ago on sale, I thought we might give that a try. We are both fascinated by maps: I had the local street map on a wall for ages. Bill's big Route 66 holiday involved intensive map use to plan. When we bought holiday souvenir places mats for the kitchen table that were laminated maps, our food was neglected for finding places we'd been or meant to go next time. I thought we'd start wtih the puzzle map of the world and see how it went.

I'm not sure it's a companionable activity, though. We seemed to almost compete rather than cooperate! I set about putting the pieces into stacks by continent, calling out names I had no clue about. Bill starting putting together the pieces around the border. When he started taking my stacks and putting them together, I was a bit miffed at having done the ground work and missed the fun of the completion. It's hard for two people to sit in front of the puzzle at the same time, so someone will always be shut out and have to work around the edges. I got used to all that after awhile.

I left him to do the US and Europe and set about figuring out Russia and China, about which I know nothing. I wouldn't say I know a great deal more, though I have a better appreciation of the relative size and position of Russia, China, Mongolia, SE Asia, etc., and I might recognize the names of a few of those tiny little islands a bit quicker. I probably won't feel any sense of accomplishment or learning until we've done the puzzle again. The other one is of Western Europe and it should be much simpler, but then it is still 1000 pieces and so quite detailed. I'm looking forward to that one.

One puzzle I definitely feel I've solved: I found something else Bill really likes to do! He says it doesn't even need to be a map, he just likes solving the problem of getting the pieces together to make the picture. Thrift stores, here I come! I'm sure this is yet another one of those things that says we're really old...


Rick Stone said...

Old? I'd say it's a sign of your getting really old. I remember why grandmother always having a puzzle set up and in some form of being completed.

Shelley said...

Thanks very much, Rick.

On the other hand, did she scan the teenie-weenie picture on the front of the box, put it on a memory stick and transfer it to two laptops to view it at 200% so she could put the pieces together? I'll bet not...but then she didn't get old in the 21st Century, did she?

Anonymous said...

Oh! I say do something rather than watch TV. But when you do watch TV, I have some lovely and entertaining BBC shows to suggest. I fell in love with some of them in my late 20's a decade ago. I'd been to London once as a teen, but my husband also loves these shows as much as I do. They make us chuckle. Kind of like Seinfeld only not at all. I've watched some of these on our PBS channels, but now can see them all on My husband also likes Dr. Who which I am not crazy about. It gives me nightmares.

My very favorite: As Time Goes By. This is the sweetest one. Others are The Good Life (aka Good Neighbors) great fun from the 70's about a couple that takes up eco-life the suburbs with a garden and pigs etc, and a newer Scottish series Monarch of The Glen which is more of a show than a sit-com.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever set up a table with a variety of art supplies and nice paper? You could do a watercolor night, colored pencils, quality crayons etc. It's really fun for adults too! I have children, and we all LOVE this. Sometimes we let company play too. :)