6 11, 2013

MENSA – One Word Wednesday

By |2013-11-06T06:00:30-06:00November 6th, 2013|one word Wednesday|0 Comments

We recently spent an evening with my son’s family matching wits with puzzles from a fun book titled Match Wits with Mensa.

Our family does enjoy mental challenges and besting one another in sports, games, and jokes, but we’re not Mensa members.

175px-Mensa_logo_svgThe word mensa means “table” in Latin, and is symbolized in the organization’s logo, which depicts the round-table nature of the organization and the coming together of equals

Mensa began in Oxford, England, in 1946 by Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Dr. Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer. Their idea was to form a group for people with high IQs that would be non-political and free from all social distinctions.

Mensa has grown to an international organization with more than 110,000 members in fifty national groups.

The largest U.S. Mensa group is in the Chicago area. Every year around Halloween, the group hosts a costume party for which many members create pun-based costumes. Check out the American Mensa website here: http://www.us.mensa.org/

Mensa’s purposes:

  1. to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity
  2. to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence
  3. to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members

The organization also provides programs for gifted children, literacy, and scholarships.

Sometimes, I think we forget to challenge and train our brains, which we should do–especially as we age. Brain cells do die off, you know.

You don’t have to be a Mensa member to be intellectually stimulated. You can build brainpower with:

  • Puzzles from Matching Wits with Mensa like we did. Click to purchase:

mensa bookcover

  • Jigsaw or crossword puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Word games like Scrabble
  • Trivia mind games

There are oodles of books available as well as on-line sites like Brainbashers or Mensa’s game page.

When I taught school, I began each class with a thinking warm-up—puzzles, logic problems, and review questions from lessons. The puzzles and thinking problems were by far the students’ favorite.

YOUR TURN: Try these brain warm-ups and put your answers in a comment.

The first commenter – who gets all three brain warm-ups correct – will receive a free copy of Love in the Morning Calm.

EXAMPLE:  7 D in a W = 7 days in a week 

  1. W of the AW
  2. S on a S S
  3. 64 on a C
18 01, 2013

Fortunately – Unfortunately on the Miller Farm

By |2013-01-18T09:04:51-06:00January 18th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

My father used to tell the story of a man flying an airplane.

small twin engine airplane

Unfortunately, the engine went out.

Fortunately, there were two engines – unfortunately, the second engine went out.

Fortunately, the man had a parachute – unfortunately, it didn’t work.

Fortunately, there was a haystack in the field below – unfortunately, there was a needle in the haystack.

Fortunately, the man missed the needle – unfortunately, he missed the haystack.


 All the rain we’ve had this week made me think of my own fortunately-unfortunately story.

Fortunately, the rain means that I don’t have to fill the chicken waterers – unfortunately, it means the chicken yard is a muddy mess.

Fortunately, the rain will bring more flowers for bees to make more honey – unfortunately, my feet get wet and cold.

Fortunately, the roof of my classroom does not leak – unfortunately, my classroom is a portable building, which means walking through the rain to the bathroom.

Fortunately  the rain stopped today and it was a beautiful sunny day – unfortunately the rain is supposed to start again tomorrow.

 And that brings me back to the beginning again–Fortunately the rain means I won’t have to fill chicken waterers…

Life  on an urban farm is like that–a vicious cycle of fortunatelys and unfortunatelys.

CW Sara’s email had me wondering about  fortunately-unfortunately cycles. So I Googled the term.

According to Wikipedia, Fortunately-Unfortunately is an actual word game first played at conventions of the National Puzzlers’ League.  Click here to read more.

Writers play a similar game. We call it brainstorming. Instead of fortunately-unfortunately, we say What If?

Your turn: Have you ever played Fortunately-Unfortunately?

16 03, 2012

JIGSAW FUN for Cognitive Training

By |2012-03-16T08:37:32-05:00March 16th, 2012|Friday Free Day|1 Comment

Research shows our brain needs as much exercise as our body. So far I as know, there aren’t any brain gyms but there are brain games for cognitive training.

 My favorite game is Jigsaw puzzles.

At our house we keep a designated puzzle table in our living room. Amazing to see how guests gravitate to the puzzle table. All the while protesting that they don’t do jigsaw puzzles. Next thing you know, I’m begging them to leave and join the rest of us.

Here’s the current puzzle underway. Charles Wysocki’s Cape Cod Fishing Party

The table is downstairs on the direct route between the bedroom and the kitchen. I stop by the puzzle table and add a piece frequently.  I’m exercising my brain. In fact there is some strong research to suggest that working jigsaw puzzles renews your mind and helps stave off Alzheimer’s.

When I’m upstairs in my office and have a writing block moment or a piddling urge, I click on a website called  JigZone  to work a puzzle.

Cool site with fun stuff. You can even create your own jigsaw puzzle from a picture or a book cover.  NY Times best selling author Jo  Ann Ross has all her bookcovers as jigsaw puzzles on her website.

For daily exercise, Jigzone will send a puzzle to your email daily. Click and give one a try: Fruit and Veg Jigsaw Puzzle

Everyone have a great weekend. I won’t be on the porch. It’s raining pollen here.

YOUR TURN: What’s your favorite brain game?