Sunday Snaps: Scrabble by Candlelight

Last Sunday, I shared photos from our beautiful but cold sunny walk on January 1st.
The very next day, everything changed when a blizzard moved in and left our little town without power.

The lights – and heat! – went out at suppertime while our macaroni and cheese casserole was still baking. That was okay, because it was almost done and there was enough heat  in the oven to finish it up. So we ate by candlelight in the living room.

With no other heat source and before the room cooled off completely, hubs and I covered ourselves in bathrobes, throws and blankets and decided to read to each other from my Kindle. We chose Treasure Island, which I’d forgotten I had, and read alternating chapters until we got too cold to continue.

We found out online that the power wouldn’t be back until morning at the earliest because of the ongoing blizzard. So we got the idea to go to the small spare room upstairs, light as many candles as we could find, and hopefully stay warm that way until bedtime.

It worked! We set up a game of Scrabble and the candles on my writing desk, poured some wine, and played while listening to digital music. You wouldn’t believe how much heat comes from candles in a small area!  We were toasty warm until it was time to blow them out and turn in – cats and all, of course.

Scrabble by candleight

Who won the game, you may be wondering? Hubs was in the lead the entire time, but my last play of all seven remaining letters clinched a win for me!
Neither one of us can remember what the word was – probably because of the wine. ūüėČ

A couple of nights ago we took up Treasure Island again and read some more to each other. No, the power wasn’t gone, but we thought it was fun enough to continue reading it that way.

Have you ever come up with fun ways to enjoy a winter power outage?
Do tell!

The Day We Met

One day back in September of 1994, when I was divorced and living in an apartment in Mount Pearl around the corner from my sister, she called me on the phone. Being a weekday and her husband’s birthday, she invited me over for a low-key evening, with our brother joining us to make a foursome for a game of Scrabble. Yay! Scrabble was one of my favourite games, so I quickly agreed.

scrabble_H

But she called back later with news.¬†‚ÄúIt looks like we won‚Äôt be having that game of Scrabble tonight after all,‚ÄĚ she said. Our brother had called her to say he was bringing his friend Paul along, and five was too many for Scrabble, so we had to scrap that plan.

‚ÄúDamn!‚ÄĚ I fumed to my sister. ‚ÄúI was so looking forward to a game! Who is this Paul person, anyway, and why does he have to come over and spoil our fun?‚ÄĚ She told me she, her husband and our brother had known Paul for years, and we would have to plan a game for another time.

I swallowed my disappointment and agreed to join them anyway to hang out. We had drinks to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday, and we watched the guys play video games for a while. When my sister introduced me to Paul, she told me he was an artist and he loved cats, and had one of his own. Something in common! ūüôā

I know this sounds far from exciting, but when we chatted, I became intrigued with “the new guy”. It wasn’t love at first sight exactly, but for some reason – chemistry, I guess – I fell head over heels in LIKE with Paul. ¬†And he seemed to like me too.

When I left to go home, he said, “It was really nice meeting you for the first time, Jennifer.” Walking back around the corner to my apartment, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Irrationally, I had hoped he might have offered to walk me home, because I thought we connected. But maybe I had read more into it than he did.

As it turned out, he later gave my brother-in-law a piece of paper with his phone number on it to give to me, with instructions to call if I wanted to talk sometime. He knew about my past and my kids, and didn’t want to pressure me if I wasn’t interested. After some hesitation, my brother-in-law gave it to me (he was also concerned it may have been too soon after my messy divorce). Truth be told, at this stage in my life I was not looking for anyone to date, but a new friend would certainly be nice. Especially one as nice as Paul.¬†PRODTHM-553

I was overjoyed! This being only a few days since our meeting, I raced home and nervously dialed his number. But he was still at work, and I left a message.

He called back. Being the shy person I was, our relationship began with a number of lengthy getting-to-know-you, way-past-our-bedtimes, I’m-going to-be-tired-in-the-morning phone conversations, before we ever started dating. I’ll never forget how jittery I was getting ready for the first date. My sister called while I was doing my makeup, and I filled her in, telling her we were going out to dinner at the Casa Grande. She practically dropped the phone, squealing excitedly to her husband, “They’re going on a date!”

Subsequently, I fell in love with the guy, and we delighted in discovering how compatible we were. Coming upon twenty years since that first meeting, we still are. That “unwelcome guest” who spoiled the Scrabble match became the love of my life.

And wouldn’t you know it? Turns out he loves Scrabble just as much as I do.

scrabble-tournaments

A Love Affair with Words

As far back as I can remember, I have had a penchant for words, especially the written word.¬† Whether that love was instilled in me by a father who¬†had such an affinity for¬†language and books,¬†or it was inherited from him, I believe he deserves the credit.¬† I’m sure my brother, who shares that love, would agree.

Word games have always been my favourite.  Give me a competitive game of scrabble any day over other board games.  I delight in solving a difficult crossword puzzle, anagram, cryptogram, or jumble.  And if playing Jeopardy, what is my favourite category?  You guessed it:  Word Origins.

When I think of word origins, I fondly recall¬†one particular¬†book, recommended and owned by our dear father.¬† ¬†Our Marvelous Native Tongue – The Life and Times of the English Language by Robert Claiborne, is probably the best book ever written about the origins of our language.¬† Thorough in its examination and encompassing¬†the first intonations of our caveman ancestors to the many dialects of today, I found it hard to put down, even on a second reading.¬† Particularly notable¬†are the many words we ‘borrowed’, and then¬†kept from other languages, making English a true amalgam, and the¬†rich, colourful and ever-evolving¬†tapestry of words and speech we know today.

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.”¬† – Truman Capote