Permission to fail

With the weekend down-time, I’m probably gonna start my next puzzle tomorrow. It was a Christmas gift from my niece, and it ended up having a bit of a joke attached to it. You see, she’d also brought a puzzle to her parent’s house as a traditional Christmas project—yet another one of those shared traditions I’m looking forward to ALL of us enjoying together for Christmas 2021!*

Only the wintry scene on the puzzle itself was not a match for the wintry scene she’d chosen, as represented by the picture on the box.

A completed puzzle sitting in front of the puzzle box it was packaged in. The puzzle box shows a wintry scene with a gazebo among tress, with a single red cardinal ion the foreground. The completed puzzle shows a wintry scene of a snowman standing in front of a wooden fence, surrounded by more than a dozen birds.
It was the multiplicity of birds that gave it away

(I will pause for a quick sidebar to give mad props to anyone able to do a 1,000 piece puzzle without a guide photo…)

So, I was warned that the photo on the outside of my new Springbok puzzle box might or might not end up matching the puzzle inside.

A box for a 1,000-piece Springbok puzzle, showing a picture of a red-and-white striped lighthouse on a grassy bluff, in front of a pink and peach colored sunset sky.

It’s like a bonus mystery with my gift. Fun!

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Piece by piece

I finished my first winter puzzle tonight after work.

A photo of a completed jigsaw puzzle depicting a cozy indoor winter scene.

I can’t pat myself too much on the back for doing this one semi-quickly. I’m sufficiently out of practice that I’m deliberately grading myself on a curve by starting with 500-piece puzzles. Once I’m more in the groove, I’ll drag out the 1,000-piece examples and really dig in.

Still, completing this puzzle—and being reminded of the joy that puzzle-making brings me—has me feeling grateful and a little bit celebratory.

And like it may be worth sharing a bit more about why this activity suits me so well.

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Decking the halls

We got the Solstice tree decorated tonight.

A Christmas tree with white lights and decorations, topped with a Santa Claus hat. The tree and white lights can also be seen reflected in a window behind it.

Now, considering I posted a gajillion days ago about starting the holiday decorating, you’d think I’d be done by now. But no.

Some of it is my inherent laziness: after putting in a full day at the NPO, there’s some nights I have not been in the mood to work on things. And my general philosophy for all this year’s decorating is “only if it makes me happy.” So if it makes me happier to do things slowly, I’m A-OK with that.

We also hit a bit of a speed-bump with the tree.

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