Monday, May 9, 2022

Where in the World Are We?



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Have you played Tradle? I know we’ve talked about Wordle, and Tradle is like that, only with geography. Here's the link.

Reds and readers, this is an exercise in humility for me. It is TRAGIC. And yet, I KEEP doing it. And I keep discovering how clueless I am about geography.

It works this way: the game displays a block graph, with carrying sizes of squares, depicting the major exports of the country. For instance: In huge letters: AUTOMOBILES. In huge letters: CHEMICALS.In huge letters: SEMICONDUCTORS. In medium letters: Photo lab equipment. In small letters: gold: In tiny letters: Non-filet frozen fish. There are MANY boxes, but you can tell the ratios by the size of the boxes.



(Can you guess the one above?)


So the game lets you access a list of all the countries in the world. (Do you know how many there are? Guess. I had to ask Alexa.) And then you get five tries to name the country. Once you enter a guess, the thing tells you how close you are to correct by telling you how similar the products of your guess country are to the correct answer, many kilometers your answer is from the correct answer, and what direction the correct answer is from your answer.

It’s kinda fascinating, because it really makes you think. If the main exports were, say, tea and spices, you’d put yourself in a different part of the world than if the main experts were iron ore and lumber. It’s really cool. And mind-bending in a fun way.

And like Wordle, you can only play once a day.

But. Unlike Wordle, I have NEVER gotten it right. Never. I have played it four whole times, and I have never gotten it right. Once I posted on Twitter that I had failed at the day’s Tradle, and that when I saw the answer I had almost hidden under my desk in embarrassment. (The number one expert was: Water. And I MISSED IT.) A lovely twitterer told me her fifth grader had gotten it in one try. Lovely for him. Lovely.

In today’s I had another embarrassing obstacle. I kept yelling at the screen: “I know what this country is! I can show you on the map where it is!! But I just don’t know the name of it! ” VERY embarrassing. (Because I do not allow myself to look at a map, of course, it seems like that would be cheating.) I was right, that’s exactly where it was, but I still don’t call that a win.

Have you tried it?


LUCY BURDETTE: Based on your recommendation Hank, I did go take a look. So far it’s a big NO for me. It looks frustrating, and on top of that, looks like a big time sink, though I can see that I’d probably learn a lot! But keep in mind that I’m always late to a trend, so let me know if everyone in the world decides to do this, and then I’ll try harder:).

HANK: It really takes about 10 minutes. And you can only do one a day. :-)

HALLIE EPHRON: I am so bad at geography. Whenever there’s a Jeopardy category that remotely relates, I go to the bathroom. Jerry (a longtime stamp collector) would have been great at this game. I play Spelling Bee and the NY Times Mini Crossword and Tiles and the Boston Globe crossword puzzle… daily… which I usually manage to ace. I’m so impressed that you’re hacking away at Tradle, Hank. For me it’s a bridge too far.

HANK: Yes, I do words, happily, too. But this is SO IMPOSSIBLE!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: This is 100% the kind of game Ross would have forced our children to play. A geography bee champion as a kid himself, it was the one thing he had stage father ambitions for. I have vivid memories of the flash cards, the atlas books, etc., etc. The Maine Millennial actually made it to our state geography bee in 6th or 7th grade. She didn’t win, but it did get her a nice discount once when we were shopping at the National Geographic Museum store in DC.

As for me? No. No way. I can’t remember capitals (except for Oslo, which is popular in crossword puzzles) let alone who produces the most Scandium in the world. Honestly, Hank, this sounds like something Soviet kids would have gotten quizzed on in the 60s.

HANK: I just burst out laughing. SO hilarious. Yes, maybe soooo…

RHYS BOWEN: I have to try this! I’m usually good at geography. As a kid I loved pouring over the Atlas and looking at encyclopedias and I have traveled extensively as an adult. My favorite category in Trivial Pursuit. So this will be another time waste after Wordle before I get up. I’m now played Wordle 102 times and failed twice. One was a word with too many options: shame shake shave etc and the other didn’t count as an English word in my opinion!

So let’s see how frustrating Tradle will be!

HANK: Ooh, try it!

JENN McKINLAY: I have not tried it, but being a game masochist, of course I will! Not that I need more humility but it’s all about balance I suppose. My parents frequently played geography games at dinner - name the states, provinces, etc of various countries. My brother always won - very annoying.

HANK: This is so challenging..but doable, you know?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Hank, I'd never heard of this, and now I'm hooked!! That is so much fun, and I got my first Tradle on the 6th try. I love maps, I love geography. I play Trivia Genius all the time and usually do pretty well on the geo questions–as long as it's not the capitals… With Tradle, it helps if you think in kilometers, always a struggle for me!

HANK: Oh, I am so excited to hear this. And shaking my head at your success. Isn’t it fascinating? Not so much my humiliation at it, :-) but it feels like I’m really learning something. And visualizing the world. And yes, thinking in kilometers. I just cut it in half, that works well enough.

How about you, Reds and readers? Are you savvy about geography? Are you tempted by challenging games? Have you tried Tradle? When you were in school, did you love geography? Why? Or did you not care? And don’t you think it’s fascinating how the Reds differ on this?

(And if you try it, let us know!)

70 comments:

  1. This is a new one for me; I’ve never heard of it.
    I like word puzzles so I play Wordle, the Mini Crossword, Spelling Bee, Letter Boxed, and Tiles [which isn’t a word game, but it is fun]. I’ll have to check out this Tradle game . . . .

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    1. Yes, exactly! We're talked about word puzzles--but this is SO different! Let us know! xxx

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    2. Meh . . . I think I'll stick to the ones I already play . . . .

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  2. I GOT ONE! I GOT SUNDAY'S!! I am SO happy. It took me all SIX times, but whoa. YES. Got it.

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  3. I haven't even heard of this one. Sounds like a take off of Worldle (not Wordle, but Worldle) which some friends play. There, they give you the shape of the country, and then tell you how far away you and what direction the real answer is. I don't play that one either. I'm sticking with Wordle and Antiwordle. I don't have time for any more.

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:14 AM


      Oh, I did not know about that! Dare I even look at it? Stop me!

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  4. I just tried today's and after five tries, I landed on the correct answer. Will I play again? I doubt it. Give me my solitaire and I'm a happy camper.

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:15 AM

      Dru! You are a total genius! I am so impressed!

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  5. will give this one (1) week, only because it is a distraction from housework. then back to fighting dust bunnies, and flying 6 legged please don't let them be termites.

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:16 AM

      Ohhhhhhj noooooo let us know how the battle goes! And how you do at the game! I bet you will be amazing.

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  6. HA HA, I LOVE MAPS. I play WORLDLE each morning, as well as Wordle and Canuckle (Canadian version of Wordle). I usually do well at Worldle, except on those days when the daily place is an obscure island country or territory. Here's the link, if you're interested in playing
    https://worldle.teuteuf.fr/

    I majored in geography at the University of Waterloo. As a child, I was fascinated with maps and my travel wanderlust to explore other countries was born. FYI, economic geography (and trade) were never taught as a course at Waterloo, it was not that type of geography program. I think I would suck at Tradle.

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    1. UPDATE: Dumb luck, I solved today's Tradle in 2, but won't play on a regular basis.
      #Tradle #64 2/6
      🟩🟩🟩🟨⬜
      🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
      https://oec.world/en/tradle

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    2. I tried your Worldle. It's hard! My first attempt was a DUD

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    3. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:17 AM

      Oh, Grace, that is incredibly impressive! Amazing! Yes, it’s frustrating because sometimes I know right where the country is, and I can even see where it Hass to be, I just don’t know the name of it. Wow, majoring in geography that is incredibly impressive, too .

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    4. ROBERTA: Worldle varies in difficulty. Yesterday was JAMAICA, which I got on the first try, If you don't get the right continent (or geographic area), then it takes more steps to get to the right region & then narrow it down to ID the country/island/territory.

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    5. HANK: Geography was a good major for me to study arts & sciences together in an environmental studies program. But I focused more on the physical geography side (climatology, hydrology). Topics like economic geography & trade were not my strong point.

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    6. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:22 AM

      Don’t tempt me! Don’t tempt me! :-) I am so curious… But I have so much to do! Xxx I am only allowed one game! :-)

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    7. Grace, I tried Worldle for the first time, and got the answer on the third try. Might have to keep playing this one. I might learn something!

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    8. KAREN: Yay! I solved Worldle on my second try but only because my first guess was so close.

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    9. UGH, that was me above but I was using my Android phone instead of the laptop, and of course Blogger now default to anonymous.

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    10. Grace, that was exactly my experience this morning with Worldle. I like it because it helps me learn a little about country placement in all those regions of the world that I see as an amorphous mass (tsk tsk). My first guess is usually just to try and find the right hemisphere.

      My mornings, before getting up, find me lazing about with Worldle, Canuckle, Wordle and Chrono.quest. Helps me relax after the 6:00 news.

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    11. I play WorLdle and enjoy it, because I use an online world map to help me. It's a great way to learn more about the countries in the world. I have fond memories of geography class in middle school; I always enjoyed tracing continents and colouring in each country in a different colour.

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    12. Good to know this are so many online games to suit different interests. I just like doing the 3 daily games each morning (before coffee) to get the brain cells working.

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  7. No, nope, just no. I'll tell Irwin, he is very good at geography. He always gets those answers. I don't play any games these days. (Hank, how do you have any time for games with everything you do? Are there two of you?)

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:19 AM

      Well, this takes about five minutes, and it’s just my little one moment of not working. It’s my little treat, and I only play this now, I stopped doing Wordle. But this was too intriguing to miss. Eager to hear whether Irwin conquers it!

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    2. Oy, Hank, he says, "Fugetaboutit!"

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  8. I'm loving Wordle, but I don't care about a country's products and so on. And I definitely don't need one more time sink in the mornings before I start writing.

    That said, I love maps and atlases and geography. My father taught it, and social studies/emerging nations in a high school, so the whole family was immersed in the topic. He would bring out of date pull-down wall maps of the world to put up in our play schoolroom behind the garage (southern California open air - with a roof but no walls). We loved them!

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:19 AM

      That’s one reason I kind of like it! It’s completely not anything I’ve ever think about, and it challenges a different part of my brain!

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  9. Judy, that's it! Hank is really identical twins. Congratulations on solving the puzzle of the ages.

    Tradle sounds like an exercise in frustration! Are all the answers (and those in Worldle) five-letter names? That would seem to limit the possibilities. I do like geography, but I think people who travel, or have traveled extensively, would be better at that category. I know I'm way more knowledgeable now than I was before I ever left this country.

    I've been playing Chrono, which involves putting in chronological order six historical events. You don't get as many tries as Wordle, but it makes you think. One of today' six events, for instance, was the birth of Christ, and another was the signing of the NATO treaty. https://chrono.quest/

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    1. KAREN: No, Worldle is ALL countries and territories in the world, no letter limit. Same with Tradle (for me) today.

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    2. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 8:21 AM

      Exactly. It has nothing to do with five letters, it’s the names of the country. And oh no, the chronology one would be fascinating, but I refuse! I would never never never be able to do that. Never! I am so impressed!

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    3. KAREN: I tried Chrono. It took me 4 tries...the celluloid one tricked me!

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    4. It's fascinating, isn't it? Things you think you know, or should know!

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  10. This is one I haven't heard of and I probably won't get into. I haven't done Wordle, either. I am fairly good at geography and when I play Trivial Pursuit, I'm decent at that category. But naming a country y major exports? No, I think it would be extremely frustrating and, therefore, not a whole lot of fun for me. I have this terrible competitive streak (that very few people know about - I don't like to perform badly at games. I'm okay with losing as long as I've been competitive.).

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 9, 2022 at 9:05 AM

      That’s exactly why this one is so hilarious! It’s absolutely impossible, you think… But then you start trying to be a detective about it, and see if you can figure it out. It’s completely fascinating. And it makes you feel really smart. Truly.

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  11. I have not tried Tradle, which sounds very intimidating. I asked for and received a World Atlas a few years back because the geography categories on Jeopardy were so difficult for me (and easy for my son, how does he know all this stuff???) Have I studied the Atlas or learned? NO! Most of my interaction with it is moving it off the coffee table so I can move said table and vacuum.

    My son is into Octordle, where you have 8 Wordles to solve at the same time. He's pretty good at it!

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    1. Oh, I tried that! It's kind of fabulous--but SO complicated! And I have to say it was very gratifying when I didn't fail--that's about all I can say. Whoa, he must be so brilliant! Love to know how your son handles Tradle!

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  12. I LOVE Wordle! My daughter and I play it first thing each morning and then text each other our screens. (Side note: did you all see the article about the mom and daughter who did this, and one morning the mom didn't text the daughter, so daughter knew something was amiss, and called the police? The police went to mom's house, and found the mom hiding in the bathroom because a crazed male intruder was running around her house. Naked. With a knife. The mom was unharmed, by the way.) Anyway, I just tried Tradle. Um.... I got the continent right, but not the country. This looks impossible to me! Hank, if you want to torture yourself further about geography, try Worldle.

    As for other word games, I love the mini crossword on the NYT puzzle app. I feel so cheery when I finish it and get the little dance-y song at the end. (Plus it only takes a minute or two.) I can do the very easiest full NYT crosswords, but forget the Sunday one! And I like their Spelling Bee game, which seems like it SHOULD be easy but gets challenging quickly. I only do about one a week of those because they take me so long!

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    1. I agree, Jess, the Mini crossword in the NYTimes is instant gratification. I also play tiles which is their shape matching game. It's harder than it looks. And yes, I can do Monday's crossword but i top out by Wednesday or Thrusday.

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    2. Oh, yes, I am a big Wordle fan, and we have talked about word games here before, of course! But unlike word games, this geography game was SO far out of my comfort zone that I had to try it.

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  13. I love geography, Hank. But as Grace notes, there's economic geography and then there's the physical kind. And I ain't touching the economic variety with a 10-foot pole because I'm like Liz in that I'd at least like a chance to win :-). Nephews and I do like to play Wordl--as does the 6-year-old--his current favorite word to start with is 'write.' It took him a year, but he finished his first 'book.' Am I a good influence or what? ;-)

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    1. I used WRITE as my first word, Flora, thanks to your comment here, and it worked out beautifully for me. Please thank your nephew for me!

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    2. Oh, yes, we could do a whole blog on our Wordle start words. But yes, that's why I was attracted to Tradle--trying something that I was really unlikely to be a able to do, but that i MIGHT be able to do.. I usually am a fan of succeeding, so I knew this would be a different challenge. And YAY for brilliant nephew! Yes, you are the BEST influence!

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    3. "I am a fan of succeeding" is a lovely turn of phrase, Hank!

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  14. I love this! New Jones :). No I didn't get it right, but in a way, I did. How is that possible. It's a problem we people of a certain age have. The countries have changed names (but not danced) and I had no idea what the "new" name was - no credit pre-independence names.

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    1. EXACTLY! Exactly! I kept saying--I know what this is, I just don;t know what it's called now! And now, I do, and that's great. See? A good thing. xx

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  15. Oh goody, another game to challenge my stupidity. :-) I'll pass. I like my evening Solitare puzzles.

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    1. SO funny. Yes, I am kind of embracing that. I really feel as if I am learning a lot by losing. Isn't that weird?

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    2. These types of games are frustrating for those with dyslexia! Given your spellings issues, you probably have some form of it.

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  16. I'll pass on this game, thank you. I'm happy with the three I already have on my morning list: Wordle, Canuckle (as Grace says, the Canadian version of Wordle), and WorLdle. All good fun -- but enough for me.

    Jess: I did read about that mother whose life was saved by the daughter who was concerned she hadn't yet received her mum's Wordle score by text. I'm waiting for someone to make that into a storyline in a mystery!

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    1. Yes, that was an incredible story. And please don't tempt me with WorLdle. I only get to do one game! xxx

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  17. Tried Tradle and I am not sure how this works? I typed in the country and I get arrow up or arrow down with a number percentage. I love Wordle because I know how it works. Tradle is not clear, though.

    Loved geography when I was a kid. I remember looking at maps and putting the puzzle pieces in the right places. I even have a photo of myself at the age of 7 with a map puzzle of the USA.

    Diana

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    1. SO--the number is the number of kilometers away the real country is from your guess, in the direction of the arrow. SO: 100 KM >. means the country you guessed is 100 km west of the answer. So you would think: okay, what country is 100 km west of the one I guessed?

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    2. Thank you. I'll try again tomorrow. xoxo

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  18. Not sure what I was doing wrong, but I could only choose from a few countries, those beginning with the letter A. Maybe I'll try later because I do love geography, that is countries, capitals, rivers, mountains, etc. When my children were very small I bought them a globe. Surprisingly it was the 3-year-old that was most interested in it. The song Africa was popular then and that was the first thing he wanted to find on the globe. After that everything he ever heard about, someone had to show him where it was.

    It could be a coincidence, but I am convinced it was that globe that eventually, after a few detours, led to his degree in geography. And now whenever we speak at length or are together, sooner or later we get into a geography discussion. Most recently it was concerning Holland and the Netherlands. One of his favorite courses involved history, something like how one has influenced the other. I'd like to take that course myself.

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    1. AH! It frustratingly won't let you shop or scroll through the countries! Try putting in a letter, and then it'll offer you those! xx
      And aw, that is a wonderful story about "Africa"! And now I am humming.

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  19. I'm sticking to the Washington Post's Mahjongg Solitaire. I have to think for a living, I don't want to think even MORE when I'm kicking back and relaxing!

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    1. HA! Okay...I just love that it uses a different part of my brain. xxx

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  20. I think the economic side is fascinating. Who knew that this country exported that?? The game takes less than ten minutes and I feel like I've learned something in the process. Thanks, Hank!

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    1. I SO agree! Exactly. Yes. And it takes much less time than Wordle, I think. xxx

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  21. There is also Worldle, which shows you the geographical outline of a country, with similar responses to wrong guesses. I'm treating it as an opportunity to learn all the new countries since I studied geography many years ago. (PS Hi, it's Jim, google doesn't recognize me today for some reason.)

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    1. Hi Jim! I keep hearing about that, an I am SO tempted! STOP ME!

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  22. Argh!!! Right continent and I had the country surrounded. Maddening!

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  23. I can't say I was a geography enthusiast when growing up, but I do have an interest now. I can thank reading for that. So many interesting settings in my mystery/crime fiction reading, and even though I have my favorites of England and Scotland abroad, I've come to welcome settings new to me, too. I don't know if I'll try Tradle. I don't do Wordle either. I have my Word Cookies game that I play, much lower stress level for me, and I can start a puzzle and come back to it later.

    And, I missed commenting on yesterday's Mother's Day post. I enjoyed reading through all the stories of what precious things your children have done. There are so many wonderful memories I have of my children growing up, Ashley the older by three years than Kevin. With Kevin, one of my most cherished memories is sharing the Harry Potter books with him, from book one, before they were being widely read, to the midnight bookstore events when the new book would come out. We would sometimes sit on opposite ends of the couch reading our own copies. With my daughter, although I didn't have the Harry Potter experience with her as much, there were other instances where she would get excited over a book, and I knew she was a reader for life. The funny incident with Ashley that I always go back to is when there began to be tiny rock or bean like objects appearing in her bed in the mornings after her sleeping there. I didn't know what the heck was going on. Was there something coming out of her like that? So odd. Did I need to call the doctor or what? Before I made it to calling the doctor, Ashley spent the night with her grandparents (my in-laws). I had mentioned the objects I'd been finding to my MIL. So, the next day when I went to pick my daughter up, my MIL told me she had solved the mystery. The little puppy stuffed animal that she always slept with had a leak. It had a pebble-like filling and it was coming out from a small tear in the puppy's bottom seam. MIL sewed it up and I avoided the embarrassment of telling the doctor that my daughter was leaking pebbles.

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  24. Pamela A PriestMay 9, 2022 at 2:44 PM

    Ooh this is fun! I started out on the wrong continent but in the right hemisphere, and once I figured out the mileage thing I got onto the correct continent, but the wrong country, LOL. Good thing it only allows you to play once a day! This is tough, but fun! Thank you Hank!

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