Tag Archives: Scrabble

Senior secrets

How long do you suppose you’ll live? Why? Have you ever known anyone who has lived 100 years or more and attributed a long life to a particular ritual or lifestyle?

If you are lucky enough to be fêted by NBC’s Willard Scott, then you have an opportunity to tell the world your secret to longevity. These secrets can be contradictory—some centenarians attribute their advanced years to eating bacon at every meal and a taking a nightly nip of gin, while others tout a life of temperance.

One of my recent favorites to receive a Smucker’s greeting from Willard was a woman whose secret to staying young is “using Crisco every day, on her face.”

Yesterday, a Jamaican-born Washingtonian turned 107. She has proudly has enjoyed a lifelong relationship with red meat, and shared a few other secrets in a Washington Post interview over the weekend.

Having had a milestone birthday of lesser proportions last year, I now pay attention to long-living seniors, and check to see how my own lifestyle matches up. Betsy Stanford, the 107-year-old honoree, is fastidious. Check. She plays Scrabble and works crossword puzzles. Check, check. She carries the phone numbers of family and friends in her head. Check (in my case, I am afraid I’ll misplace the list).

I’m not quite sure what I think of the key ingredient in Betsy’s daily diet—a Guinness and Ensure smoothie. I may have to give it a try.

What lifestyle secrets have carried you as far as your most recent birthday?


Filed under Food, Health, Movies, Television and Radio, News

The rest nest

Last night my husband and I spent two hours gazing into our future.  At the end of the two hours, we signed up for Long Term Care insurance.

The timing of the meeting with our insurance agent wasn’t ideal; and in retrospect, should not have been scheduled so soon after the Golden Girls experience I had just days ago.

In two hours’ time, we saw ourselves a decade or two, maybe three, in the future, when statistically, one or both of us will no longer be able to function independently, or inter-dependently. 

While the agent and my husband were crunching numbers, I visited a place where I was hunched over my walker, or maybe puzzled and doodling all over my checkbook or lying at the foot of the basement stairs with a broken hip.  Or, knowing me, walking away from blazing stove burners long after the pots have come off

Then, while those two pored over actuarial and premium tables, I traveled to Florida, to an upscale assisted living facility, and watched myself playing Scrabble.  My husband was out on the lanai, comfortable in a rocker, alternately grinning and dozing.  A musical group came into the dining room and performed a Sheryl Crow medley and the score from Mamma Mia.

One thing I know as I contemplate the long term care scenario is that we must do away with the word “facility.”  If I am going to one, it can’t be a facility.   It must be something fuzzier.

We were bound to tackle euphemisms here someday, so we might as well start now.

I am not going to an assisted living facility.  Where am I going?

According to the blog of Entertaining Euphemisms, it’s a “wellness and vitality residence” or “continuum of care lifestyle community.”

Pretty good.  Can you do better?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Family and Friends

Mattel me it isn’t so

I would have written an impassioned piece about Mattel’s plans to introduce a version of Scrabble that permits the use of proper nouns.  By the time my smelling salts took effect, all the good puns and analogies had already been played.

The story has gone viral, so there isn’t much to add.  All I have to share here are a few questions based narrowly on Mattel’s rationale. 

Reportedly, the company believes relaxing the rules will encourage younger consumers to play Scrabble.  Presumably, being able to turn ore into Oreo will attract kids to the board. 

If this is true:

Will Mattel next introduce a version that accepts the spelling conventions of instant messaging?  (That wouldn’t do much to boost a Triple Word Score.) 

What about the fact that many twenty-somethings, and young corporations for that matter, appear to have abandoned the upper case altogether, even in their own names?  Will those names be deemed legal in conventional Scrabble?

What about all those made-up names and inventive spellings?

For those who fear the invasion of this diluted version of their favorite word game, take comfort in knowing the so-called Scrabble Trickster won’t be sold in the United States any time soon.  Mattel does not own the rights to sell Scrabble in North America and will offer Trickster only in the United Kingdom for the time being; hence, you can play as you do now within U.S. borders.   But players hoping to turn mile into Miley here at home are out of luck.  Hasbro, which owns the Scrabble rights in the U.S. market, has no plans to legalize proper nouns in this country.

Consider this:  Perhaps proper nouns will be extinct before American Scrabble players ever face this scenario.

Note:  Word Nymph takes Sundays off.  Tomorrow she’ll be giving her Scrabble Deluxe Edition a little love.  See you Monday.


Filed under All Things Wordish