This second puzzle project of the summer involves less pieces than the first puzzle (two hundred less) but has a more difficult and complex color collage, which is proving to be challenging. Previously, I finished the dragon puzzle in less than three days and probably not more than six or eight hours total.
According to the bottom of the puzzle box, the artwork is called “King of the Jungle” by Blend Cota. An oil on canvas painted in 2018, his Artist Notes describe “This magnificent creature is sitting peacefully, his crown gently waving in the soft summer breeze as the tall savannah grass engulfs him. And yet, deep inside these quiet moments, I can feel the majestic roar ready to land shake… such a powerful symbol of strength, pride and glory.”
I am off to a slow and steady start. After nearly a week, I’ve completed most of the bright colored background (mostly yellows, oranges and greens). I’m not sure how to proceed or what color to focus on. I may try to complete the lion’s face, which will leave mostly a dark blue, purple and black pieces to sort through. Such a rainbow of colors and cathartic brush strokes.
I won’t have much time this month to devote to the puzzle though. I’ve started a soft skills online course this week which runs through the rest of July. I have several critical deadlines for projects at work that will probably mean longer hours. I will snatch a few moments throughout the day to find a piece or two and place it where it belongs.
I’ll take photos sporadically and update the album so check back to track my progress. With the heat forecast in the mid 90s with high humidity, any indoor activity is preferred to the sweltering summer outside.
When last I wrote, a week ago, I was nearly finished with a puzzle of a wizard riding a dragon defending a castle. I finished it Monday afternoon. I corresponded briefly with my daughter about the process to preserve the puzzle as a poster so I could hang it in our Purple Room. Yes, my house is like the game Clue. I have a Blue Room (aka Family Entertainment Room), a Green Room (aka my daughter’s former bedroom and now my home office) and a Purple Room (formerly my son’s bedroom, but when he moved to the basement, my daughter commandeered it). I’ll let you guess which rooms were painted by my daughter and which were painted by me.
Winding back to Tuesday evening, Terry and I jumped in the car as soon as I got home to return the bluetooth stereo headphones to Best Buy at the Legends. In an effort to one-up my surprise anniversary gift of a 24 inch widescreen HD monitor for Terry, he purchased a Nook Color for me. I spent the next couple of hours playing with that new gadget and finally getting the recent software update to download and install.
Not having enough to do, I setup the telescope near the mailbox on the driveway since the night was exceptionally clear for an early May spring evening. I was able to view Saturn and at least one of it’s moons and I saw the shadow of the rings on the surface of the planet as well as some contrast between the clouds of that gas giant. I tried a filter, but couldn’t remember the exact number I should have used from my reading of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide (Part 1). I swung around to the north-northeast to view Mizar in Ursa Major and attempted to find the Owl Nebula (M97) and as well as M81/M82 (a couple of galaxies). However, the light pollution from the Lansing Correctional Facility and my neighbors porchlights and yard lights (and possibly some haze in the atmosphere) prevented me from find any of the deep sky objects. I packed everything back up and went off to bed.
Wednesday morning, I left early to visit my local Wal-Mart to find a protective cover or sleeve for the Nook Color. Even though two employees were in the Electronics department, stocking shelves, they managed to ignore me the entire time I searched for said product. I found a leather-looking folio-type cover which had the word ‘nook’ on the packaging and purchased it for about $30. Once out in the car, I quickly discovered that ‘nook’ does not mean ‘nook color’ as the product was too small. I had run out of time though to return it immediately and rushed to meet my vanpool and commute to work. During lunch, I took a fifteen minute walk to the Country Club Plaza Barnes & Noble to pickup the cover I had placed on hold via the B&N website. Since most of my lunch hour still remained, I walked back east and decided to try Firehouse Subs. I had just received my order when a couple of my coworkers arrived and asked to join me. We had an enjoyable visit before I headed back to the office building.
I easily transferred the 15 CDs worth of MP3s for the audiobook Elvenbane using the microUSB cord provided and a spare 4GB microSD card I originally purchased for my unsmartphone. The Nook has a regular headphone jack (instead the proprietary one for my Samsung cell phone) which allows me to use a comfortable pair of wired stereo headphones. I enjoyed an hour’s worth of listening during the commute back to Leavenworth. That means in about a week I should be able to finish this book and write up a review for Fantasy Literature. I’m about one-quarter finished and a bit exasperated with the current characters, who are children acting like children, even if they be dragons or half-elf/half-human in origin. I usually avoid young adult fiction and/or fiction that focuses on children, pre-teens or teens because the melodrama usually makes me nauseous.
While on the phone with an IT colleague in our St. Louis office, I received a call from my daughter. I asked her if I could call her back as I’d been trying to connect with the St. Louis person for several days. I surprised myself by remembering to call my daughter back when I finished. Rachelle reported she passed her opera divisional jury easily. The jury panel once again wondered why she was a music history undergrad student and not a vocal performance one. She consoled them by affirming she planned to study vocal performance as a graduate. We also discussed the best way to send her the rest of her summer tuition, debating the merits of PayPal versus a traditional check. She opted for the latter and I mailed said check promptly Thursday morning along with several other items I had forgotten to mail throughout the week.
Wednesdays mean Wolfguard rehearsal, focused for their benefit concert this Saturday afternoon. I didn’t hang around for the first set. Instead, I ran back to Wal-Mart to return the nook cover. Ironically, after finding all of the items on Terry’s shopping list (except for the nine volt batteries!), I spent the same amount that I had just had refunded to me. I made it home in time to catch most of the second set rehearsal.
I had trouble dozing off, tossing and turning until well past one o’clock in the morning. So when the alarm went off at five o’clock I felt like I’d had a nice nap. Joy of joys, Thursday mornings are trash days in Lansing, so I dealt with the garbage and the recyclables before dragging myself to the van for the morning commute. I again listened to Elvenbane while trying to stay awake without the assistance of a caffeinated beverage.
My morning flew by as have the other two days of this work week. So much to do, so many projects to juggle and so many distractions and fires interfering with my well laid plans. Just after the bi-weekly Change Management meeting broke-up and as I was settling down to compile some information, I received a call on my cell phone from an unrecognized number. The woman on the other end was the Director of the Leavenworth Library, calling to tell me my mother had been ambulanced to Cushing Hospital a few minutes before eleven o’clock. I asked the Director what her symptoms and/or condition was and she replied that she had been dizzy and incoherent, on the verge of passing out and once the EMTs were on site, her blood pressure and blood sugar were both very high. I, of course, assumed the worst — that she was having a stroke or heart attack.
I spent the next several minutes making phone calls to determine how best to get home. Since I don’t drive to work, I can’t just jump in my car to return home when an emergency occurs. However, one of the benefits of participating in the Guaranteed Ride Home program for the last several years (first as a carpooler and for the last year as a vanpooler). Never before have I had an emergency occur where I couldn’t find an alternative way home without invoking this benefit. Today was the day. I explained my situation and they provided a limo service for me since I live over thirty miles away from work (although it’s a similar fare if you are going from the Plaza to KCI, since I live very close to KCI, just across the Missouri River on the Kansas side). One of the last call’s I made was to Cushing Hospital ER to get an updated status on my mother. I was able to talk to her (she hadn’t seen a doctor yet) and I told her I probably wouldn’t make it to Cushing until close to one o’clock in the afternoon.
The ride home was uneventful but dreary, as rain had arrived in Kansas City. However, by the time we reached Lansing, the rain let up and the clouds began to break-up and patches of blue sky became visible. In fact, when I parked the Firebird at Cushing, the sun was warming up the recent rain and promising some humidity and haze.
The ER reception desk at Cushing was unmanned, although I sign indicated I should sign in on a clipboard. I hesitated to do so since I was not a patient needing care, but rather a relative seeking to visit an ER patient. After standing around for fifteen minutes, a woman returned to the desk and asked me if I had signed in. I explained I did not need treatment but wanted to see my mother. She shocked me by stating that my mom would be released in a few minutes so I could have a seat while I waited. True to her word, my mom arrived in the waiting area about five minutes later.
The ER doctors had run an EKG and a CAT scan and found nothing of note. He encouraged her to rest for the next couple of days and eat more frequent small meals. Apparently, her appetite has been suppressed recently (in fact, she’s lost enough wait to wear clothes two sizes smaller than usual). I’m not sure if that’s a result from her previous trip to the hospital a couple of weeks ago and the prescriptions she’s been taking for that incident. I got her into the Firebird (which rides low) and took her home so I could switch cars and gather up Terry. I fed her a light lunch to make sure she got something to eat before we drove out to Easton. We stopped by the Library to drop off her doctor’s note excusing her from work for the rest of the day and tomorrow. I drove her car back to Easton while Terry and Mom rode in the Bonneville.
I am grateful nothing more serious occurred to my mother, especially since Mother’s Day is this Sunday! That was my other reason for taking her to my house – her card was sitting on the kitchen table for Terry to deliver that afternoon.
Terry and I stopped at Denney’s Produce on the return trip but couldn’t find many appealing or appetizing veggies. Once home, we talked for a few minutes and then watched three days’ worth of Jeopardy episodes. Then I took Roxy for a walk and saw a vivid rainbow just before the sun set.
It doesn’t look like I’m going to get a break until Sunday. Tomorrow night might be all right, but Saturday is chock full of activities – first Spring book sale for the Kansas City Public Library at the City Market (undecided if I’ll attend), the Wolfguard benefit concert and opening night at Powell Observatory. I feel tired just thinking about the next forty-eight hours.