Saturday, January 16, 2016

Looking back over 2015

It's that time again.

And I have to say, it's been a wonderful year of puzzling.  I started out in January with a Boys and Toys!  I mean does it get any better than that?  It was in close competition to the Toys fair.   The next month I saw my sweet AJ (he's got a nice a** y'all-runner that he is)!  We are both fools and signed up for the Standard Chartered Marathon.  A special couple of guests were in town.  Otis and Timur.  we met briefly before heading home for naps.

My boy Otis stayed through the new year and it was on to April flowers. And flowers there were! I finally had my Astronaut brought home and I had a young lad 'visit'.  Sadly I was remiss in my message reading and only got to meet him at the airport.

In May I got to celebrate with my boys in HK and our favorite prototyper!  I managed to end the month with yet another trip to Finland and the FPP.  (I love my job!)
August was a full month with George followed by The KPG.

October saw the annual Boys and Toys in GZ with all the usual suspects.  I had the joy of traveling to the DCD yet again.  I have a feeling this is going to be an annual trip for me.  November brought Otis to HK, and I met up with Ming and AJ in GZ.  December was a puzzling dinner with some of the boys after AJ and I ran in the GZ marathon.

Only 8 puzzle gatherings this year.  I'll have to do better in 2016.

Friday, January 15, 2016

It has been one heck of a week!
I had the treat of doing another trip for work this past month.  I had to go teach a PhD presentation and publication course.  Of course, when the offer came up I jumped on it.  The course was held in Suzhou and I realized I could go visit with my other brother Tom.  I headed out on Saturday morning and me up with Tom at the airport.  On the way to his house, we stopped and picked some fresh strawberries.  They had the most amazing taste and I had to pick up a crate to send bring back home with me.



Little did I realize that he was having a big family dinner that night.  As usual Tom and his family welcomed me with open arms.  Of course, there was a bit of drinking along with the good food and even better company.

Before the dinner, we went to Tom's house and played with a few puzzles.  He gifted me a couple, and I returned the favor.  It's always great to give and receive puzzles.  Throughout the dinner, we puzzled on and off, and just had a great time.

The next morning he brought me over for a big clan dinner.  There must have been at least 60 people there.  And yes, they welcomed me just like family yet again.  Sadly I had to be in Suzhou by 6 so around 2 I was taken to the train station. What a joy that was!  I bought the ticket, but wasn't leaving until 9:36 PM! So much for my meeting.

I arrived at my hotel around midnight and rose early the next day to do 4 days worth of teaching.  I ended up getting a terrible case of food poisoning and ended up spending an extra night to make sure the students got the full course.  Tom met me on Friday around noon, and we headed off to see his friend Mr. Wu.

We spent a couple of hours there looking at all of his wire puzzles, and I had the great pleasure of watching him make one.  It took about 40 minutes and because it was so long, I had to divide it into two videos.  The first can be seen here, and the second here.  I was so impressed with his work, I immediately asked him to produce my exchange puzzle for the next IPP. (For any that will be coming to HK in August, he has promised to join us with toys to sell.)

We returned to Nanjing and had a quick dinner at the hotel before calling it a night.  I had to return to HK on Saturday afternoon to go meet Hendrik for the upcoming toys fair.  All in all, it was a wonderful week. I can't wait to see Tom again.