The right side of my brain (the creative side) is full of spinning wheels, sparkles, audio and video stimulation and fast-moving light shifts. The left side of my brain (the analytical side) is a vast wasteland. It is like stepping into an empty auditorium at midnight. Without seats.  Drafty.  Full of cobwebs.  When it comes to math, I have the IQ of a pretzel (my apologies for insulting the pretzel community).  In high school, Miss Delp generously gave me a “D” in algebra because I constantly showed up for help after school (“duhhh how much is two and three again?”).     My brain today remains pretty much the same as it did when I was in high school though on most days counting to 20 doesn’t require removal of my socks and shoes.  I see that as a “major improvement.”   

I was introduced to Sudoku by my brother-in-law who can whiz through the highest level, 30 row mind-benders in minutes.  With his eyes closed.  I tried a Sudoku puzzle with all the numbers filled in except one.  And got it wrong. I’ve been continually challenged by level one Sudoku.  That is – until about a year ago when I was determined to “get it right.”  And I did.  Probably took me a week to correctly finish a level 1 puzzle.   These days, I will work the level 1 Sudoku in the Chicago Tribune while I ride the train in the morning.  And if I get it right — I do a silent fist pump (“Yeahhhhhhh”).   Every once in awhile, I will succeed on a level 2 (cue the “Hallelujah” chorus).  And once – a miraculous level 3. . . .      

I like to think that doing Sudoku is keeping the grey matter from shriveling.  And it’s starting to fill that empty auditorium with folding chairs.  And the vague hum of activity.