This month I’m sharing thoughts about how we spend our time. Lately I’ve had some new experiences, like attempting (note the use of that verb) to strip wallpaper and putting together a wheelbarrow. Weeding and house painting are on the horizon. If you know me, you know that I’d much rather be reading, writing, playing backgammon, or doing a crossword puzzle. Speaking of which, a month ago the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament  was held in Stamford, Connecticut. (Congrats to 2021 champion Tyler Hinman and thanks to the legendary Will Shortz.) If you’re into this sort of thing, you can do what I did, order the tournament puzzles by mail.

Here’s a puzzle of a different kind. Can you guess what this is? (Answer below.)

Back to new experiences–it’s been good for me. Challenges are great for the brain anytime, especially these days. One example is Ernest Hemingway, whose mother insisted he learn to play the cello, which was not on his list of priorities as a kid. But years later he admitted those lessons were useful with respect to his writing structure. And we may have been still waiting for someone to create the Theory of Relativity if Albert Einstein’s mother hadn’t pressed for violin training. So I am hereby encouraging you to learn a new skill.

Of course I do have a chance to kick back and read a fair amount. Recently I finished author James Scott Bell‘s Force of Habit, a series of novelettes about a former child star who eschews Hollywood after finding faith, and takes her impressive Krav Maga skills (learned when she starred in a Steven Segal movie) with her as she fights crime on the streets of L.A. Super fun stuff.

This was a light and much-needed alternative to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelagowhich is easy on one level–the prose reads as though the author is speaking conversationally to you–yet the material so intense that I need to take it in measured doses. When I was about half-way through, the book seemed to be popping up everywhere.

For example, I found an interview of the author’s son, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, on the Eric Metaxas Show. Within a couple of days, I came across an article written by on old friend of ours from California days, Greg Koukl, who founded the organization Stand to Reason. In it he references The Gulag Archipelago, an interesting coincidence. Or was it? It seems like life is filled with random conjunctions these days. If you have one to share, please do so in the comments.

I’d also like to hear about what you’re reading. Classics? Cozy mysteries? Thrillers? True Crime? Historical Fiction? Non-Fiction? If you’re not a reader, tell me how you’re making the best use of your time. Brag a little!

Regarding the photo, if you said “personal size extra cheese pizza” you were…wrong. That’s a good guess, and what popped into my mind first, probably because of the endless temptation to snack during the past year. The correct answer? It’s a test result for determining blood type. I think we’ve all become more mindful of health and safety these days, so if you don’t know your blood type and would like to, check with your personal physician or click here (brush up on your Italian first) to order your own test kit.

In the meantime, stay well and do leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Featured image credit: Pexels (at Pixabay)