Sometimes It’s The Little Things

Every Thursday I pick up a free copy of the San Diego Reader.  No, it’s not for the marijuana ads in the back (which were all for escort services before pot was legalized!).  No, it’s not for the articles (which are actually pretty informative and entertaining).  And no, it’s not for the Suduku (Sudoku?  Sodoku?  Sdojdskwou?).

It’s for the crossword puzzle.  And if you’re a Reader fan, you know that although it’s nice they have a puzzle every week, it’s no NYT puzzle.  They often have answers in foreign languages (mostly spanish or french).  They do a lot of abbreviating (which always seems like cheating to me). HOWEVER, it’s free, they do it every week, and it’s always fun.  On top of that, they also make it a contest and the first handful of people who submit a completed puzzle win a hat or t-shirt (no, I’ve never won).

But none of that is why I like it.  Every Thursday I pick up the reader, take a picture of the crossword, and send it to my Mom in CT (I’m here in CA).  And each week we each do the puzzle then come together the following Wednesday, put our heads together and share the answers to see what we each missed.  It’s one of my favorite things to do each week (the first is volunteering at the library, so I’ll have to write about that one day too).

Today is Wednesday.  That means that I’m scrambling to finish off the clues that gave me the most trouble all week long before Mom and I trade answers this evening.  I’ll get a few more, but probably won’t finish it (I usually don’t, and have 3 or 4 answers missing at the end).  Ironically, it’s significantly MORE fun when I don’t finish it, because then we have answers to trade!

Dave: “I missed #27 down, what do you have for that?”
Mom: “I have Kerfluffle, that was a toughie!  What did you get for 42 across?”
Dave: “Kerfluffle, of course!  I had Fractals for 42 across.”
Mom: “FRACTALS!  DUH!  I had Antidisestablishmentarianism for 11 down, but I don’t think that’s right.”
Dave: “I had Aneurism, but I’m pretty sure I misspelled it and it also doesn’t fit so *shrug*.

See?  That’s lots of fun!  Otherwise the conversation goes like this:

Dave: “I finished it.”
Mom: “Me too.”
Dave: “Neat.”

And there you have it.  BOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGG.  But that’s okay.  Because (to bring us back around here), it’s the little things that count.  I tend to focus on them more than the big things, and it’s been bringing me down lately.  You can’t read anything online without seeing 50 things that are frustrating or depressing.  When out and about it’s easy to get upset about that jerk who cut you off or didn’t use their blinkers (#$%@#$%!), the elderly lady taking what seems like an eternity to put her groceries on the conveyer and then wants to pay by check (GROAN), or the fact that you dropped your keys on the ground when trying to unlock your front door (THE WORLD IS ENDING!  AAAAHHHH!).

The point is, the small negative things drive us crazy, but we ignore the small positive things.  So, I’ve been making an effort to identify and enjoy the little things.  Each week I’m going to try and identify one small thing that made me smile.  I’m also going to share one small change I made in my life to build in automatic smiles, like cross-country-crosswording with Mom (Love you!).  Next week, socks!

As always, thanks for reading and you’re welcome!

Living the Dream,

Humble Dave

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