Forget sex and romance; the solving of puzzles, mental trial and error, the deeply pleasurable act of raveling and unraveling—therein lies a secret part of the female psyche. (Knitting, anyone? There ought to be a movie celebrating this complex craft, which, if you ever get hooked, can give you—as it did me and a surprising number of women I know—no less than an emotional foundation. I see it as a Henry Jaglom, Sundance Channel movie, all monologues straight to camera: Women Knitting.) I think of a girlfriend I ran into recently—a sometime playwright, sometime public-radio arts commentator. While we pondered life in our forties, she charmingly admitted, "I've given up on my artistic ambitions—nowadays my happiest mornings are doing the crossword." I knew exactly what she meant! How often do I long to just sit in my office and play computer solitaire all day, with as much intensity as I want, without having to make a living, feed my children, or converse with my husband? But no, these people I live with seem to do little more than encroach on mother's hallowed puzzle time. Full of needs, they don't seem to understand their roles. While their mistress is intellectually engrossed, with her keen, attractive excitement, they should unobtrusively be bringing her warm plates of food, sharpened pencils, fresh checkbooks.

-- Sandra Tsing Loh, The Atlantic Monthly