What's your name?
Ed 'Hotdog' Siteman
Where are you based?
Tell us about what your ordinary day looks like.
I'm retired from work, so I have a lot of free time. I really enjoy giving back to the community, so I do a lot of volunteer work. I deliver food to needy people in Houston, I cook homemade meals for people through an organization at lasagnalove.org, I give rides to people who fly into Houston for cancer treatment, I help repair homes of poor people, I test kids for eyeglasses through a program that the City of Houston runs called See to Succeed. We give free prescription glasses to kids that need them.
In addition to the volunteer work I do, I like to run - at age 50 I decided to run a marathon as a bucket list item, learned that I enjoyed it and this month I will be running a half-marathon - it's like my 15th long race. I also like bicycle riding.
I'm learning to speak Spanish, and how to play the guitar.
I have two grandkids whom I adore and who I spend a lot of time with. These two are children of my older daughter; I recently learned my younger daughter is expecting a baby boy in the coming year, so that's pretty exciting too.
My days are pretty full - I don't know how I had the time to work, and I'm glad I don't have to do it any more.
How did you get into the world of puzzling?
I've been doing jigsaw puzzles for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid growing up in Maine, me and my two brothers would pass the winters by doing them, we only had a few and we would do them over and over again. In order to make them more challenging after putting them together for the umpteenth time we would make up goofy rules. For example, we might do the outer frame first, then the next row, then the next, then the next until we came to the center. Or we might turn all the pieces face down and assemble the puzzle this way, without being able to see the picture.
I've continued to do puzzles all my life, I find them kind of Zen - very focused, yet relaxing. And it's always so satisfying to put in that last piece. It's so satisfying that I'll confess to a silly thing I do. I started way back when I was a little kid and I still do it today. When the puzzle is just started, and when no one is looking, I'll take a random piece and put it in my pocket. When we get to the end of a puzzle, everyone who was involved will be looking all over to that last piece. Which I then put in, in triumph ;)
What makes you keep puzzling & how often do you puzzle?
I've always liked puzzles, not just jigsaw, but crosswords, sudoku, logic puzzles, etc. Like I mentioned previously, I enjoy the time of quiet focus. I live alone now, my kids are grown and have their own homes, so when I do a jigsaw puzzle these days I end up doing most, if not all of it, by myself. It might take a few weeks to finish one. I do several a year now.
What is your favorite type of puzzles?
My favorites these days are the Soonness puzzles!! They're so well made, they have attractive and unique art, they're 1000 pieces, which is a good challenging size, and they have cool, different shapes. The quality is top-notch, the pieces are of a good thickness and fit together perfectly. I'm kind of addicted to them, when Soon announces a new release I just have to have it.
During puzzling sessions, do you listen to anything or puzzle in silence?
I sometimes listen to music, or a podcast, but I also really enjoy the silence of it. I work at a puzzle in small snatches of time, maybe 10 or 15 minutes and then I move on to something else.
If you were to describe what puzzling means to you, what would it be?
Puzzles are my happy place - no matter what's going on in my life, or around me, those little sessions of puzzling bring me calm and joy.
Tell us about your other interests & joys.
I guess I pretty much covered this above. In addition I have two dogs and a cat that I enjoy having in my home. I love to cook and am adventurous at it, I'm always trying new recipes. I love to bake breads and bagels. I enjoy live music and live theater, I go out to shows pretty regularly. I love to travel.
Do you have anything you want to share?
I think the most important thing in life is to recognize that we're all part of a community, and that we should help each other. It's what makes the world go around, it helps people who need it, and it gives purpose to your life.