Puzzles + Cupcakes = Happy Me

Saturday’s Delight du Jour:

My roommate and best friend of 20+ years celebrated her birthday on Saturday. Several of my dearest friends have birthdays within about 2 weeks of each other, so we do a joint birthday party we call “Cancerama.” But I’m the type of person who thinks that birthdays should be celebrated as often as possible, so on her birthday (actual) we went to the Art Institute of Chicago for a scavenger hunt developed and put on by a company called Watson Adventures.

Fun fact: Although I assumed that “Watson Adventures” was named after the character from Sherlock Holmes – it’s not. That’s the founder’s last name. Some of us are born to our professions, I suppose.

The hunt’s conceit was that we had to solve the murder of one of the museum curators. We were given clues that took us from gallery to gallery finding images, donor names, anagrammed titles, and dates to piece together the culprit and the motive. Even though it was billed as their most challenging hunt, our team made short work of it. We even were one of the teams in the 5-way tie for first place. (We lost the tie-breaker trivia question, but whatever.) It was so much fun to wander through the museum (“Was that a Monet?” … “Holy crap, that’s American Gothic!“) to piece together the story and solve the mystery. The environment alone was worth the price of admission.

Granted, our team takes our puzzling seriously. The four of us competed in the D.A.S.H. puzzle hunt last April – which was close to 8 hours of puzzling madness, and my idea of a good time. Our team motto: “We’re Not Last!”

Where else could I combine some of my favorite activities … scavenger hunt, collaborative puzzle solving, great friends, amazing works of art, museum, and earlier in the day — OMG-good-chocolate-ganache-cupcakes… into one afternoon? Darn near perfect. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get the bonus point for the best team name. There’s a temporary Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at the museum, so we called ourselves “Roy Lichten’s Team.”

Well, I thought it was clever, anyhow. No accounting for taste.

It amazes me how something as simple as an afternoon spent working towards a common goal can shift my mood. My little extroverted and collaborative heart was bursting with joy by the end of the day – and it wasn’t just the cupcakes. (Did I mention they were incredible, though?) It just goes to show that this is part of what feeds my soul – and I need to seek out more opportunities to make it happen.

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