Chocolatespoon: Emily’s Musings

No excuse for not posting here since Thanksgiving, but here’s my excuse for not posting anything for the next few weeks — we’re deep in the throes of Puzzle Day planning for this year’s event.  Here’s a quick write-up in case you haven’t heard me talking about it over and over again.


Details and pre-registration information are available at

Saturday (1/30) will be a packed day of puzzle-themed workshops (10:30am-5:45pm). Workshops include 5-time ACPT champion Tyler Hinman and repeating US and World sudoku champion Thomas Snyder sharing stories together about what it is like competing at the championship level.  Tyler and Thomas are also each giving workshops about other kinds of puzzles that keep them busy.  There will also be a panel of cruciverbalists, moderated by Andrea Carla Michaels, talking about the whole crossword puzzle construction process from ideas to publication.  Hear how one Puzzle Day attendee was inspired by the workshops last year to try his hand at constructing and had his puzzle accepted to the NY Times!  There will also be a workshop discussing common crossword words and what goes into creating a crossword puzzle dictionary.  Check out the whole workshop schedule online on the Puzzle Day web site.

Sunday’s tournament will feature the sudoku competition in the morning and the crossword competition in the afternoon. Thomas Snyder is providing our sudoku puzzles and Will Shortz is providing the following week’s yet-to-be-published crossword puzzles for the crossword tournament.  There will also be bonus cryptic crossword and killer sudoku rounds to try your hand at.  Doors open at 9:30 and box
lunches and snacks (as well as puzzle books and other items) will be available for purchase during the event.

There is also a youth division (ages 8-15) with separate tournament puzzles and workshops aimed at them, so it’s great for multi-generational puzzle fun.

Puzzle Day benefits the Morgan Hill Library Foundation. Workshops are free, and donations of $20 for adult tournament competitors and $10 for youth tournament competitors are suggested.

We hope to see you at this fantastic event!  It’s a great way to warm up for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and/or meet new puzzle loving friends, all for a good cause!

Hosted a big Thanksgiving for 13 (5 family houseguests plus 5 friends and the three of us) at our new house.
Family at Thanksgiving
Had a great time cooking, eating, watching TV, playing poker and generally just hanging around playing and eating some more.
A few photos:
Mixing with SaftaBaking corn bread muffinsThanksgiving 2009Thanksgiving 2009Thanksgiving 2009Post-Thanksgiving TV

Clara’s 3rd Halloween — and she definitely got the concept this year (she even practiced trick-or-treating on our door yesterday). We went to the big downtown safe trick-or-treat extravaganza/mob scene and then tried out the other houses on our new street — only one of which had even bought any candy since apparently no one ever comes trick-or-treating there (one of the others gave us a persimmon, and the third with people home gave us a full-size candy bar out of their freezer.) Then we went up to Lisa’s (and probably was one of their only trick-or-treaters for the night there too.) Last weekend Clara went to a Halloween party and yesterday was the parade at daycare and a party at the Little Gym, so I think she definitely has had a full Halloween experience.

Here’s our little construction family — appropriate, we thought, after all the house renovations we’ve been doing!
Family Halloween PhotoChecking out the giant pumpkinsConstruction time!

Here she is in the parade at daycare:
Halloween at Daycare - Clara in the paradeHalloween at Daycare - Clara in the parade

And with her friends last weekend:
Group photo

More Halloween photos

Clara turned 2 today! With the impending move (we’re about half way packed and the house should be ready to move into in about 2 more weeks of fix-ups) we didn’t manage to throw her a party or anything, but tried to fill the day with some of her favorite things and will be bringing lots of cupcakes to her daycare class tomorrow.

Birthday Balloons from Grandma and Grandpa BillSwan BoatSwan BoatOn the artichoke rideDriving the firetruckChocolate cake on my birthday

She’s talking up a storm these days — our current favorite is when she comes over and asks “whacha doing mommy?” and then when you answer says “oh” like it’s something profound. She parrots back pretty much everything so we’re trying to be careful with what we say. She talks a lot about her best friend Camryn at school and we’re all very sad that Camryn and her family are moving to Texas in 2 weeks! The two of them have been together at daycare since Clara was 3 months old and just love each other. Clara talks about her all the time — “Camryn is a busy bee” (their 2’s class at daycare) — and Camryn is incredibly useful for positive peer pressure (look, Camryn’s doing that, why don’t you try it?) She still loves to color and paint, to hang on any parallel bar she can find (especially at her weekly Little Gym class), to go on the swings and slide at the park over and over and over again, to watch Curious George (part of our nightly bedtime routine) or read her Curious George books, to watch Elmo, jumping (which she really wants to do but can’t quite get both feet to time it right yet), to dance (especially in the bed of “Abba’s white truck”), to sing the “spaghetti song” (on top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese…), to help with the laundry, to scold the cats (“No sitting on the table Mitzy!”), to push her baby doll around the house in the toy stroller, to make cookies (real with me and the ones in her toy kitchen). She’s also very into throwing food and pretty much everything else she gets her hands on onto the floor, especially when she’s done eating.

And, after all the fun (and chocolate) today, her birthday present to us was going to bed early tonight!!!

  • Brian's joining an impressive group of folks for a 1-day event in San Fran.
    (tags: brian)

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