Showing posts with label Scrabble. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scrabble. Show all posts

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Good Byes and Hellos and a Scrabble Cruise

Hello, September and hello virtual friends.  

We have sold our house and bought another, all within ten days' time.  Good bye house and garden views. Will surely miss seeing this from my patio chair.  Good-bye to cosmos, marigolds, mint, hollyhocks, grape vines, Jupiter's Beard, columbines, and field of grasses.  

Hello to xeriscaped yard and outside plants in pots next year; hello to never needing to mow.

Below is a picture of the house we bought on Waite Avenue, just one half mile west, and where we will move the last of September.

Zillow said this about our new house:
This one is Parade of Homes nice! Upgrades everywhere you look. The Larkspur model is the most popular model home in Copper Creek Subdivision. This is the only Larkspur plan built with a 3 car garage! With nearly 1650 square feet, 3 beds, 2 baths and a 3 car garage! Hardwood floors, granite counter tops, custom cabinets, oversized stamped concrete back patio with stamped concrete sidewalk surrounding the home. Stamped concrete drive way, garage attic storage with pull down ladder and much more! Split bedroom design with luxury 5 pc master bath and walk in closet. Great room concept with vaulted ceilings. All windows have high end custom blinds and there is a security system included.

That printed, please don't feign to feel sorry for us in our new and smaller digs.  With no grass to mow.  We have given away furniture and thrown away things that no one could possible want.  I was a little sorry to have my good china exit the house, along with the Howard Miller grandfather clock, but there is absolutely no time to mourn.

On the cancer side, side effects now are loss of eyebrows, a little hair lost on the left side where I part my hair, and gut woes. The blood work shows expected neutropenia so hand washing is a must. I follow a neutropenic diet as much as possible. Yup, I have lost weight.  Maybe I will gain it back on an upcoming vacation with Scrabblers.

Those diet, fatigue and tummy issues might present a few glitches when I go off on an 18 day jaunt with Scrabble cruisers when we leave from Southampton, England and go north to France and on to Ireland before heading across the Atlantic to Nova Scotia and on to Canada.  Yea!  This WILL be a great trip, and if fatigue gets to me, there is always a place to rest on the Azamara cruise ship.  I leave on September 7 and return on the 24th from Montreal.  Again, how could you possibly feel sorry for my lot? I am Blessed!
On the Julie front: she is doing fine, with her birthday coming up the day before Labor Day.  The manor is buying her a fast food lunch, a special treat, and we are having a "do" for her at our house when she makes her weekly, now Tuesday, trip over to love on the dogs and watch tv with us.  It will be her last visit to the old homestead on September 6.  Future visits with Julie await us on Waite Avenue, thanks to front door wheel chair accessibility.

Will blog pictures of London, maybe Paris and at the least, the coast of France and Cherbourg, and perhaps more over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for Adventures on the High Seas and wish me great luck playing Scrabble with 16 other tournament entrants as we play 24 tournament games!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tea Party

Tuesday was the Tea Party for four manor residents.

Gene went to the grocery store for most of the party fare and bought cookies and cucumbers and thin white bread for buttered tea sandwiches.  He even found the Queen's recipe! 

For my part, I cleaned the patio and cut roses and whipped up scones, and made an ice ring with silk flowers frozen between layers of water.  During The Purge of Kitchen Doodads several years ago, our ancient handed down punch bowl, cups and ladle were dismissed with fond farewell.  So for tea, other utensil improvisations were in order. It all worked out.  More or less. Except we limped along without a ladle, pouring sherbet and 7-up punch from a pitcher into clear plastic cups.

This week I accompanied Julie when she went to her long awaited appointment with the ophthalmologist.  After the exam, he launched into a speil about how she would be having corrective surgery on her crossed eyes later in the summer at Children's Hospital in Denver.  I stopped him in his tracks when I brought up her winter flight to Denver for medical reasons, explained issues with pressure sores, the ambulance ride home that exacerbated the wounds, and ended my diatribe with the declaration that it would be very difficult to get her transported over to Denver.  
Long story, but the female ophthalmologist who corrected her eyes back in 1993 is still practicing in Denver and this current specialist with confer with that woman, reaching back 23 years into Julie's medical records and will likely, hopefully, be doing the corrective eye surgery on Julie in August.  Yes, Julie definitely needed a change in lens prescription but will wait for new lenses until after the eye surgery.

I am leaving today for Bangor, ME for the Cineast Scrabble Tournament in Castine, Maine.  It should be lots of fun, and I will be glad to get away for a week. Julie has been testy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ollie Again and Scrabble Update

For a month Ollie has been away.  Then this morning an owl appeared in the house, spotted around 8:15 am.  I had checked at dawn, but the owl house was vacated.  So some owl appeared later after sunrise.  Gene thinks it may be a different owl.

Owl seen on Janurary 10, 2016:
Owl seen on February 16, 2016:
We think it may not be Ollie, but Ollie II.  This owl is lighter in color and the area to the left of his closed eye is a bit more heart shaped. What do you think?

Scrabble and Julie Update:

The 32nd annual Scrabble tournament was held at the Hilton Doubletree in Tempe.  Warm weather and a fun time was had by most all.  We used the updated dictionary, including over 5,000 new words.  I challenged "ZEDA", one of the newly included words in the TWL, losing the challenge, of course.  

Although I had a bit of a time worrying about Julie while in Arizona, it was nice to be away from Colorado in warmer weather, playing my favorite game. 

Juliet had and has an upper respiratory infection (aka as a "cold"), but Gene held down the fort.  He finished reading aloud to Julie the third book in the liturgical mysteries series by Mark Schweizer and started on the fourth.  She had a chest x-ray over the weekend that showed no pneumonia. The manor has been giving her breathing treatments as her nebulizer has not been of help with this particular bug.  They also have her wear an oxygen mask at night as her H2O sats are low.  

The wound vac suctioning sound and the loud alarms on the machine are pretty much constant during the night, disturbing her sleep, but the nurses are taking good care of her.  She hopes the wound vac will have done its job healing up her belly incision, and that she can have it removed on Thursday of this week.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hand Spun Gifted Wool

An internet Scrabble friend whom I have virtually known for about seven years but have never met personally, sent me this:

An amazing gift of hand spun wool

This wool draped over a tomato cage is not even all he sent because I shared some with friends.  Natalie got right to work on her portion, knitting up a pretty shawl.  The darker and lighter colored two ply wool shown below will be worked up as the bottom piece of the wrap.  She is doing a good job of styling John's yarn into a usable creation.

My friend, John, spun all this wool himself.  It cost him a kings' ransom just to mail it from where he lives in Australia.  He and I have previously exchanged post cards; he sent me a picture of an Aussie wombat years ago.  He likes wombats.  I sent him something back, a watercolor methinks.

And not only does this John spin, he also knits.  He asked me via the chat line on the ISC forum several months ago if I needed something knit up: a baklava, or a hat. My reply was "no" because I happen to also knit.  But I asked him if he could spare some hand spun wool because I can't, don't, and will never spin wool.  

Lo and behold, he sent me over five pounds of hand spun Australian sheep wool.  Wow.  You should feel the lanolin in this wool, just marvelous.  Thank you, John!

This is the tomato plant not clad in wool, and it has produced three actual, edible tomatoes.

And this sweet little four inch tall angel was given me last week by the husband because he thought I needed a bit of extra love.  She is hanging off my newly replaced iPhone.  Replaced because the first one was in a sack in which iced tea was spilled, ruining the iPhone. Note to self: do not put your phone in a plastic sack with other items, especially one containing liquids. 

On the Julie front: after church this morning I am encouraging her to write a blog.  Her stepfather, her aunt, her uncle and I have all asked her to do this, but she has been unenthusiastic about it thus far.  It is now time to take the bull by the horns and sit down in front of a laptop plugged into some common room area at Mesa Manor and start the process.  Maybe next time I post it will be with a link to a Julie Created Blog.  We shall see.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sharing Goodness

Indulge me in the sharing of the goodness I found and re-found today in searching the web.  Here are web sites, readily accessed in the future for perhaps Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) or recipes or music or books (if I remember this particular post).
Julie is at Colorado Canyons Hospital, back from South Carolina last week, and is faring well.  Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes.  We hope for a Grand Junction placement soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scrabble in Tempe

A Sonnet to a Scrabble Tournament

It's off to Scrabble Thursday I will go
To Tempe where the clime is very hot
To try and put together words that flow
And maybe use some words that I'd forgot.

Surprising those opponents ever new
Using high value tiles, oh please, oh please!
With words that from their mem'ries maybe flew
To fling down on the board...effortless ease

Just let him challenge esoteric words
Only to see the challenge not prevail
For nontheless we are all wordy nerds
And each time Z Z Va might say "no fail"

So wish me luck on February games
And also bring to others goodly fames.

* (Z Z VA is a computerized word judge showing either "acceptable" or "non acceptable" words in play)

More about the make up of a sonnet here

Monday, October 27, 2014

Barcelona on Monday Market Day

Busy market in Barcelona, open Mondays through Saturdays.  Maureen and I were there Monday morning and we purchased marzipan candies for her cake decorations.  One of her varied careers was a restaurant and tea shop owner, so she knows the business of making foods look enticing.  She purchased watermelon and strawberry marzipan.  Little baby bottles, all sorts of fruits, animal and bird shapes were available.

Nuts all around, not including the people.

Look at these fish!  Fresh.

Pretty fruits for a quick breakfast. 

 Now off to the Celebrity Equinox for the sail back to Florida.  Buenos diaz. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Off to Scrabble while Transatlantic

Today I put up a new blog picture header from the view out my study window.  Fallish, autumnal colors and a pretty ash tree quickly losing its leaves.  The time to hunker down is coming closer.

But for the next few weeks, I will be in Spain and then across the ocean back to the Americas, landing in Ft. Lauderdale in mid November.  I will be checking in and posting pictures from Barcelona and the Canary Islands, along with a few pictures of Scrabble tournament play while aboard the Celebrity Equinox.

For now, I leave you with this picture of a cosmos seed that was planted in May and has grown and topped up at five feet, two inches.  An amazing feat since most of the cosmos plants were well under three feet in height.  We will be saving the seeds for next spring from this yellow mother plant to see if the new plants from this giant will reproduce tall plants also.

And the usual size of our cosmos plants:

(September, 2014)
Happy Fall and see you in a few days.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DNA Lexicon of Scrabble is Morphing

As an old dog playing Scrabble in tournament play since the mid '90's, I am very sorry to see that the new OWL (Official Word Listing) list in effect since 2006 will be changing at the end of the year.  Over 5,000 new words will be added.  Sigh...this old dog is rolling over.  Even more information to try to pack in between brain neurons and synapses.

According to a well written post here, the new acceptable two letter words are not just baby talk.  The four two letter words that will be allowed in tournament play effective December 1, 2014, DA GI PO TE, are going to change tournament play.

Just for your information, here is the existing list of acceptable two letter words, with thanks to The Phrontistery.  (He has an extensive listing of Scrabble words for cloth and fabric that is fascinating.)


To give you the full flavor experience in a small shot, these are the new three-letter words that are are back hooks for those new two-letter words: DAS DEP DOH EMO EST FAH GIF GIS HOM HOO LAH LOR MAM MEH MES MMM MOI MUX NAV NUG OIK OMA OPA ORG OWT PAK POS REZ SHO SIG SOC SOH TEC TES TIX TIZ UMS UNI YAS YER YEZ.

Wordologists are cleverly at work creating a new listing of all the new words.  Seattle and its Scrabble club are well on the way to creating their own list, but it will be a while before all of us catch up on a complete listing.  A new OWL dictionary is not yet  available, although you can buy an updated Scrabble Players Dictionary for non-tournament play.
(Remembering my 149 point play of "m-u-t-i-l-a-t-e" in 2009 in a Calgary tournament: post here.)

“It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand.”

― Randy Pausch 

Leaving you with this mushroom under one of the trees in back, and wishing you good luck in whatever game you play!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Zealand and Australia Pictures Beta Testing on Photosnack

Because I did not make a movie or slideshow from a Scrabble trip to New Zealand and Australia back in 2009, I decided to do so by trying out Photosnack to publish some of those photographs.

Slideshow 1: go here

Slideshow 2: go here

These need more work, like putting them in date order and with descriptions under pictures, so am considering this a beta test, but it seems to be working thus far.  I will include the updated slideshow at the bottom of this blog page when they are in working order.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

More Flowers on Fencing

Now we have both the east and the west back yard fences painted with flowers, just in case the seedlings do not prove viable and flowers won't grow according to plan.

Above is the east side yard fencing, under a much pruned lilac.  We have had that lilac many years, and it really needed branches culled, especially around its base.  Out came the clippers, then the saw, and finally the chain saw.  The lilac was denuded, making the fence bare.  A bit of decoration was in order, so this time I added a spider and a cobweb to some echinacea flower leaves and petals.  The bee was cautioned about the spider web across the way.


The Vogue Shawl was completely taken apart and the linen yarn rewound.  It just did not seem to be working, plus I found a huge mistake I had knitted into the pattern way back when. Thoroughly unsatisfactory, so it was dismantled in short order.

The organic linen was re-purposed into the start of another Shetland Lace Shawl, and the linen fiber is behaving much better with this pattern.  So far, I am about 10 percent through it, with mistakes at a minimum.  The first Shetland shawl turned out well, so fingers are crossed that this one will come up to muster.


Blue iris were added to the back, thanks to a friend's pruning hers back.

Columbines are blooming.  This week has been very cool and the night temperatures are still going down into the 40's, so I have not yet put out the seedlings.  But I purchased one dozen geraniums and planted them this week. Several years ago I was getting three dozen geraniums for patio pots, but am cutting down this year. Those yellow iris are doing their duty and continuing with profuse blooms.  The amaryllis have been put out, a new black-eyed susan root and day lily roots have been planted, and the husband planted a lettuce variety, cilantro, corn, tomatoes and cucumbers, along with zucchini.  The basil that was planted last week, along with a rosemary plant, are perking up, and the cilantro is 1/2 inch in height.  We added a garden bench to sit under a Japanese maple tree for ornamental purposes.  We planted this tree about eight trees ago and placed the ashes of our sweet black dog, Grace, under this tree, beneath a statue of St. Frances.

This area is now called a "bethel," thanks to learning a new word from Zana this week on Words With Friends.

Cooking & Domestic Duties

New recipes this week include a flour less chocolate cake, similar to this one. This is for Mother's Day brunch, so will get busy on it in  a few hours.  Except the recipe I am using (again, thanks to Natalie) calls for baking it in a 7" spring form pan in a crock pot sans water in the bottom. Also, Natalie insists that the cacao percentage be over 60%, as good old Hershey's just will not do for this decadent dessert.  A raspberry sauce goes atop.  It keeps in the fridge for two weeks, so the left overs will be good on ice cream.

We have clean windows as of yesterday, as our friendly young men who run "First Impressions" did a great job of getting the dust and dirt off the insides and outsides.  The cleaning of windows necessitated the taking down of the accordian pleated cellular blinds, two that were broken and needed replacement.  After 16 years in this house, one of those blinds has been repaired twice, but enough is enough.  This time Home Depot will be my default seller, and I'll get vertical wooden blinds instead of the cellular type.


Powering through Vera, almost through Season II.  Love this British detective series!  Ann Cleeves wrote this series, and since I have read all her books save the most recent one on my Kindle, it is no wonder this is a favorite.


We got a new car this week, a Honda Civic with all the goodies on new cars. It is silver in color and I love it.  My husband purchased a 2013 Honda Sport Fit and really likes his, so now two little Hondas share garage space.  I don't drive out of town very much, but the Civic handles the highway well and has plenty of zoom.

My next travel will be to Barcelona, Spain in October for a Scrabble transatlantic cruise directed by friends Barbara and Larry.  Remember when Barbara celebrated her 30th year of directing play a few months ago?

That's my update.  Tell me yours!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

30th Anniversary: Phoenix Scrabble

Barbara Van Alen started a local Scrabble Club in Phoenix, AZ, then progressed to become a director and then went on on to host her first tournament for Scrabble players.  That was 30 years ago in Phoenix, AZ. Last weekend marked her 30th hosted Phoenix tournament, along with her co-director and husband Larry Rand.  93 participants attended the tournament and represented five levels of player accomplishment.

Barbara and Larry with a cake for celebration

It was a great tournament, Phoenix hit record highs for temperatures in the mid 80's, the venue was excellent (Chaparral Resort in Scottsdale) and here are new words to add to my memorization list that were played on me, some of which I challenged:
  • pilei
  • bubu
  • seinite
  • moots
  • liger
  • serine
  • diene
  • uredial

Site for all pictures of the tournament: vanrand1 at smugmug dot com

I won a prize simply because my player number was "30".  Again, my score results over 28 games were about dead center in my group, which was division "C" of divisions "A" through "E";  dead center of dead center.  Talk about middle of the road and average.

I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.

A good time was had by all.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Not Just Another Scrabble Tournament

...because this time the tournament is in fairly close proximity, beautiful Durango, Colorado.

In a few hours I'll be on the road to Durango to fling down tiles over the next two days.  All the details are here.  It should be a beautiful road trip with the fall colors still displayed.

In this morning's Daily Mail there was a post about 101 ways to win at Scrabble, a small book by Barry Goldman.  The tips are what most tournament players already know, but darned if he won't make a mint of money on his little book because he got great print media coverage for his production.  Well, good on him.  He does not mention cheating of any sort.  (By the way, if you want to read of my little heartbreak with a cheating scandal five years ago in a Calgary tournament, check out my prior post from 2008.)

The Apple app Words With Friends is a really fun game, in my humble opinion.  But people do cheat there (a lot) with a cheater app, so it is really just a fun kind of way to learn new words withouth taking the game seriously, win or lose.  My friend Ginger played the word ZAPTIEH and told me she looked it up; she got over 125 points for it, if I remember correctly. We both laughed and decided neither of us would remember that word.

If you play Scrabble and want to play me on WWF, invite me with my handle of "templeton7" and I'll be sure to let you beat me.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Camera Returned: Pictures from Scrabble Tourney

Phew!  My camera was returned today via USPS and all is well.  I had left it in Las Vegas, but kindly tournament director Mark mailed it back to me, along with all my notes and picures.

First, may I introduce Miss Betsy Chai from Calgary, CA whom I played in the tournament last week.  Is she not a doll?  Please don't think I am being too friendly, Betsy, in saying that.  Eric, the man in her life, thinks so too!

Below is a picture of Olobatoke, Chief of Kabba, from Abuja in Nigeria.  His grandfather was the King of Kabba, elected by the families in his tribe.  Chief Toke, as he is called, plays the Collins dictionary.  Chief Toke, or Toke, is also the President of the Nigerian Scrabble Association and has served since 2009.
Talking with Toke was a treat, and he was patient with me as I tried to get all his family history down correctly.  He might also become King of Kabba if elected by his community of a dozen families.  As current Chief, he is a magistrate and settles disputes and gives advice, generally in charge of administrative and civil matters in his tribe.  The picture below is of Toke playing in the tournament.

Next, may I introduce Bassey Umoh.  He lives in the southern part of Nigeria in the state of Akwa Ibom.  He speaks not only English, but his native language is Efik/Ibibio.  Umoh has been the State chairman of the Scrabble Association in his area since 2012, and also plays in the Collins Division.

Umoh works as an auditor for his state government.  This is Umoh, and standing beside him is Sam Kantimathi who organized this tournament. Sam is from California.

 Umoh, on the left, mostly wore a business suit during the tournament days, but doesn't he look handsome in this blue?  I failed to ask him about this outfit, so I really do not know if this is what he might wear in his off-work hours.
We did some sight-seeing and I was amazed at the ceiling of the Belagio Hotel that was covered in colored glass that featured this work by artist Chihuli.  The picture does not do it justice.
Since it was the Chinese New Year, all the hotels were beautifully decorated in red with the Year of the Snake being emphasized.
And I just have to show you some women at the reception desk wearing those killer six inch heels.  Will they be able to walk when they are 50?
Sam put on a good tournament and was ably assisted by Director Mark Milan.  They do this for the love of the game.  Thanks, gentlemen!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Haps in the Household

What is happening in your world?  Mine, not so much.  Mainly the Mr. and I have been involved in taking care of our wounded pet.  Wounded neither by man nor beast, but by her own exhuberance and increasing age.

Libby Sweetpea, therapy dog and healer of the mind, had a torn ACL.  At six years of age, this is not too uncommon.  She took a flying leap off the back step, as usual, but that one leap ten days ago left her in pain with the liklihood of permanent disability if she did not have surgery to repair the tear.

So she underwent a tightrope procedure and spent one night at the animal hospital.  She probably did not miss us near as much as we missed her.  This was her little shaved leg a few days ago; she was recuperating on the lap of the Mr.

This is how Libby's dad remembers what to do for her and when to do it.  I thought it was cute that he wrote it all out.  She does not mind doing her range of motion exercises too much, and just whimpers a bit when it hurts.

Libby this morning:
I am feeling much better, thank you.

This is a pair of Faceted Rib Socks in progress:

linking to Tami at Works in Progress Wednesday

Tomorrow I am heading out to Las Vegas to play in a Scrabble tournament at the Riviera Casino and Hotel. There will be 56 competitors.  Can you find me in this listing?  Please wish me lotsa luck!

Take at look at 313 five letter J words here that I will be studying today to prepare for the tournament.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Greenhouse is Alive and Well

Our Greenhouse on the Grand Lawn seems to be working out fine (the "Grand" references the husband's blog livingthegrandlife).  Last evening at 5 PM the ambient temperature outside was 64 degrees F but inside the greenhouse it showed 74 degrees.  And that was after the zippered flap had been opened and we peeked inside several times during the day.

Here is a picture of the interior and where you might find at least one occupant of the Grand House reading, tooling around, or smoking a cigar...not really, but that thought has been bandied around.  There really is not room enough for two people inside these close quarters, but one or two small dogs just might wend their way there if bribed with puppy treats.

Not to be pessimistic, but I wonder how these plants will look when it gets to be ZERO degrees outside.  There are two large black trashcans filled with water under the wooden planks to give humidity, and an inch or so of bark on the bottom of the interior to help mediate the temps. Plus the walls seem to be fairly heavy translucent fabric to aid capturing solar heat. We shall see.

Yesterday was a Scrabble day with six participants who seemed to enjoy lively challenges and debate.  Here are four of them playing.

The only guy there was Allen.  He and I have been playing almost weekly for ten years.  I  have three filled out journals of  scores for each of our games recorded since 2003. Nine years' worth of scores between us.

Here is the button on my Scrabble bag:

Hope your Wednesday is going well.  I'll try to keep my whining to a minimum.