International Scrabble Day

Scrabble

Now here’s a holiday to celebrate!

Today is National Scrabble Day and what better way to celebrate than to try to beat my husband in a game of Scrabble.  I have shared before that I am an addict.  Confessions of a Scrabble Addict!  There are groups for those trying to overcome addiction to drugs or alcohol but there is nothing to help those of us who cannot stop trying to make words out of every sign, every book title, every thing we see in writing.  So I guess I am stuck with my addiction.   My Addiction has Returned

Today lets me know I am not alone!

There are apparently many more out there who love Scrabble.  There is an International Scrabble Club created and run by the player known as Carol (real name Florin Gheorghe), who lives in Romania.  There is a World Scrabble Championship which is held every year with players from more than 30 countries.  This championship is the most prestigious title in competitive English language Scrabble.   Contestants come from more than 30 countries to compete.  The 2017 North American Scrabble Championship is scheduled to take place in New Orleans.

Serious Competition

While we will never make it to the national championship, we keep up a tough competition between us.   Many of our games are very close but last January was one for the books.  When the game ended I was one point ahead of my husband.  However, because I had one tile that I had not played, its point value had to be taken from me and added to my husband’s score.  That gave him the game with one point ahead of me.  Needless to say, I was NOT a happy camper.

We also compete to see who can get the highest score in a game.  So far, my husband holds that title with a game played back in May 2015 with 961 points.  Yes we do keep records of our scores.  I told you we are addicts.

Another area where we compete is to see who can play all seven tiles in one turn.  For years I was way behind my husband.  But slowly I have learned to do as he does and keep shuffling my tiles around to see what words I can make.  Of course, this takes time so we have to be patient with each other.  Some of the crazy words we have come up with over the years include unbonnet and yaupings.  He loves to keep reminding me that twice he has had a game where he played all seven tiles five different times.

We have become familiar with the Greek, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet as those words are allowed in Scrabble.  There are 105 playable two-letters words in a regulation Scrabble game, according to the Official Scrabble players’ dictionary and we have memorized most of those.

So for my fellow Scrabble lovers

Scrabble joke

 

 

 

My Addiction has Returned

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According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Well – my husband and I seem to be addicted to the game “Scrabble.”  I have confessed my addiction in the past hoping that being totally honest would free me from this obsession with the game.  Confessions of a Scrabble Addict!

This summer we spent a lot of time in our hosta garden.  That is another area where we seem to seek some kind of “brain reward” by seeing how many hostas we can plant in our back yard. Our entire back garden is full of hostas!  We have close to 200 different varieties. That  sounds like a lot – but there are over 3000 different varieties registered so it is really not that large a collection.  We would try to get more varieties, but we have run out of yard space.

While working in the garden (we also have roses, columbine and lots of day lilies) kept us busy this summer, it appeared we had conquered our game addiction.  Instead of playing 15 to 20 to 30 games a month, we actually only played five to six games and there were even months we did not play at all.

Then came the cold snap!

We thought we were free!  Then Old Man Winter arrived with bitter temperatures dipping below zero and wind chills readings 20 to 30 below.  Since my husband has a heart condition and his doctor has told him not to go out in these bitter cold temps, we were stuck in the house.

You can only watch so many movies!

I baked an apple pie and we watched some old movies.  But you can only watch so many movies before your brain dies.  So out came the scrabble game.

And we are hooked again!

The month is not over and we have already started out 25th game!  My husband loves to be able to play all his letters in one turn.  In these 25 games, he has played all his letters 22 times.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot keep up with him on this great feat.  However, I am getting better as I have played all my letters 13 times this month.

Do we sound crazy?  Our kids insist when we die they will not have a visitation.  Instead, in our honor, they will hold a scrabble tournament.

Anyone else out there love scrabble?  Are we the only nuts in the world?

Spring will come!

Hopefully with the arrival of spring, we will be able to shake free once again of this addiction.  At least until winter returns in 2017.

 

 

 

Life — What a Wonderful Gift!

I Made it!!!!!!

This month I celebrated three years of retirement!!!  Over thirteen years ago I was diagnosed with a very advanced and aggressive breast cancer and told the “odds were not in my favor.”  (https://barblaneblog.com/2014/10/13/cancer-survivor/).  As I went through nine months of treatment, my prayer was “Dear Lord, please let me live until I can retire and give me three years of retirement to enjoy with my husband.”

On January 3 of this year, I reached that milestone.  I  have enjoyed three wonderful years of retirement.  My husband and I have been able to travel to the east coast visiting the homes of Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Monroe as well as the Confederate States White House in Richmond.  We followed the Morman Trail out west and visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina with our daughter and her husband.

I have enjoyed days of working in our hosta garden, reading all the books I brought when I was working but never had time to read and playing countless games of Scrabble with my husband.  We share an addiction to the game.  (https://barblaneblog.com/2015/02/22/confessions-of-a-scrabble-addict/)

I am so thankful that my prayer was answered and I have had these past three years.  Each day that I live beyond January 3 is like a priceless gift – a gift “above and beyond.”  I have no idea how much further this “journey’ will take me.

  • Will I live to be 102?
  • Will this be the last year of my life?
  • Will I remain cancer-free and healthy?
  • Will some day the cancer appear again somewhere in my body?

But I have determined to not worry about tomorrow – but just enjoy today!  I cannot change the past – I cannot control the future.  But I can enjoy every moment of today!

“It is not required that we know all of the details about every stretch of the river. Indeed, were we to know, it would not be an adventure, and I wonder if there would be much point in the journey.”
Jeffrey R. Anderson

 

So come on Life!

I’m looking forward to whatever God has in store for me tomorrow!!!!!!

I Owe My Scrabble Addiction to an Out-of-work Architect

No relief in our addiction!

My husband and I continue our Scrabble addiction (Confessions of a Scrabble Addict). We played 26 games in January and ended in a tie – 13 games each.  For February we have played a game every day (it’s been bitter cold outside – so what can you do?) and we are still tied at 14 games each.  Guess this means we are both equally smart — or equally dull-witted.

Thank you Mr. Butts!

It’s interesting to me to learn that the game of Scrabble was invented during the Great Depression.  With no work and time on his hands, architect Alfred Mosher Butts decided to do something productive – and he invented the board game of Scrabble.  His goal was to combine the word skills of crossword puzzles (in fact, he first named the game Criss-Cross Words) with the element of chance.

To determine how many of each letter to use in the game and what point value to give them, he studied the front page of The New York Times.  His study found that we use vowels more than consonants, and the vowel “E” is the most frequently used vowel.

Mr. Butt originally made the board and tiles himself and gave them to family and friends for their entertainment.  His attempts to interest games manufacturers led nowhere.  In 1948 one of the couples who had the Criss-Cross Words game convinced Mr. Butts to let them manufacture and market the game – changing the name to Scrabble.

Mr. and Mrs. Brunot received a trademark for the name “Scrabble” in 1948 and, like many new ventures, lost money in 1949 – the first year of production.

The story is (not able to confirm if true) that the president of Macy’s came across the game while on vacation in the early 1950’s and ordered some for his store.  Soon, it was a hit with everyone.

Today it is estimated that over 35 million people play Scrabble.  It is one of the favorite on-line games.

So – after researching the game, I find that I do not have to be ashamed of my addition.  Seems I’m not alone!

So – on we go to March.  Questions remain:

  1. How many games will we play in the month of March?
  2. As warm weather returns, will our addiction ease up – or will our rose and hosta garden suffer from neglect as we continue our obsession with the game?
  3. Will we be able to leave it behind when we go on vacation this summer?

 

 

Confessions of a Scrabble Addict!

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My name is Barbara and I am a Scrabble addict!

  • I must confess that I am constantly looking for new words to use in a game.  When I read a book I am on the outlook for new words.  As I glance through a magazine, my eyes just seem to latch on to new words in the articles or the advertisements.
  • During the commercials when I watch TV or wait at a restaurant for my food – or any other time I find myself waiting – I often write out a long word or a greeting such as “Merry Christmas” – then see how many words I can make from the longer word or greeting.  (My husband gets tired of finding these lists of words everywhere – in the desk drawer where we keep our mail – on the computer desk – on the end table next to my recliner.  I tell him I will stop – but I can’t seem to help myself.)
  • I actually “read” the dictionary looking for new words.
  • All my other hobbies take a back seat to the game – reading, writing, watching TV.  None of these are as important as getting my husband to join me in a game of scrabble.

I need help!  But……..

My husband is an addict too!

  • He also reads the dictionary learning new words.  He loves to take words he already knows and search to see how the plural or past tense would be spelled.
  • He recently started making a list of all the new words we find and use in our games.

Our daughter thinks we are nuts!

We take our Scrabble games seriously.  We have kept score of every game we have played since 2008.  Even the games we play with family or friends is entered in our book.

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We may have gone too far this winter!

With the cold weather we have been indoors more than usual the past few weeks and I think our Scrabble addiction has gotten out of hand.  My husband is now keeping a record of our average scores for each month.  We are in a serious contest to see who wins the most games for each month.

We play only Super Scrabble!

The regular size Scrabble board is 15″ x 15″ but we use the larger Super Scrabble board.  It is 21″ x 21″, has quadruple letters and words and twice the number of tiles as the regular Scrabble board.  Since we constantly try to increase our scores and take this so seriously, our games can last for two to three hours.  (But we are retired, it is cold outside, so who cares?)

Come on spring!

We really need warm weather to return so that we can regain some sanity and move on to other interests before our addiction overtakes us completely.

If you are addicted to Scrabble too, let me know.  We could start a Scrabble Anonymous Club.