The topic of the day is hobbies! Old favorites, new adventures… and maybe some future hobbies suggested by you, our intrepid readers!
At the moment I am racking (apparently it’s not “wracking” anymore) my brain trying to figure out exactly what I do these days, besides work and writing. Extra housework, for sure. I also anxiously scroll the news, then run to make cranberry coffee cake. “Hobbies” implies that you enjoy those activities, though, right? Well, then: My new hobby is…online shopping. Yes, I know that sounds terrible. It’s not like I have extra money to spend. But near-instant delivery is relatively new to my little part of the planet, so it’s kind of exciting. Recently I’ve bought items both essential and non-essential: PPE and sanitizing stuff; fleecy/flannel-y, cozy lounge (um, writing) wear; fresh office supplies; a giant instant pot (which I’m scared of); ridiculous pet toys; cute cuddly baby outfits, holiday doormats; funky blue light glasses in red, and a little black dress (with nowhere to go). Oh, and a small fairy-light tree from someplace called Celtic Serenity. My daughter mentioned this morning that there’s a new Home Edit show on Netflix. Maybe I need to tune in, but…the guilt. The shame. Marie Kondo is already gonna hunt me down and slap me.
I have a new hobby this year – mask collecting! Not the kind you wear on Halloween. The kind we’re all wearing every day. I began with a basic boring mask from the hardware store. Then people began getting creative and I jumped on board. I bought masks featuring Cajun/Creole food as in New Orleans. I sent doggy-themed fabric that was collecting dust in a bin to a reader making masks for local school kids and was rewarded with my own doggy-themed masks. I donated unused Halloween-y fabric to a fiend and now I actually do have Halloween masks… kind of. I found a site where they turn photos of your pets into masks. I bought them for the whole family. Even my mom clamored for one. Best of all, I found a site where I could customize masks with my book covers and logos.
So what if no one can get close enough to see that the pattern on my mask is the cover for MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD? I know it’s there, and I love the mask for that. And if one person asks about the design, well, that could be one new reader. Ellen Byron, Human Billboard!
So, truth be told, my hobbies are still reading and watching old movies. But, I have developed a recent obsession of sorts. I’ve been googling celebrities from the 1970s (mostly). For instance, I was watching an episode of Password from the mid-seventies and the celebrity guests were Patty Duke-Astin and her husband John Astin (best know as Gomez on the Addam’s Family). I wondered if they were still married. My Google foray showed they had divorced in 1985. Also, sadly, I saw that Patty had died in 2016 at only 69 years old. Duke won an Oscar for her portrayal of Hellen Keller, but as a kid I became a fan of the Patty Duke TV show, in which she starred as as identical cousins! She remarried after her divorce from John Astin, and was married for 30 years to a military man named Michael Pearce, and I like to believe her last years were happy ones. I know this is kind of a odd pastime, but it beats watching the news these days!
Well…this is a hard topic for me because I have never had a hobby other than reading. Which is now technically part of my teaching and writing work, so I don’t even know if I can count it anymore? There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to add something new, but this post is making me think that I should consider picking one up (maybe after the kids go to college?), so if you have any suggestions for relaxing hobbies that take no longer than a minute at a time, please share in the comments. 🙂
But to me, these things constitute “life,” not “hobbies.” I think of a hobby as what you do in your spare time to relax and which creates something, such as sewing or embroidery, baking, or building model airplanes. I don’t do any of these things to relax.
What I do to truly relax is sit in the sun in my backyard, close my eyes, and simply space out. Does that count as a hobby?
Hobbies, you say? Ah, yes, I’ve heard of those. I’ve been so busy of late my “hobbies” have become respiration and blood circulation. I do hobby—in its glorious verb form—vicariously, however. I occasionally try my daughter’s Tik-Tok dance routines with hilarious results, and I’ve been enjoying (I guess??) my son’s recent forays into learning how to do a death metal growl. (I’m not even kidding.) It keeps things interesting in these very interesting times.
I turned my hobby of crossword puzzles into a new book series! My dad always did crosswords so he taught me and I’ve done them ever since. Then when I was noodling over a new series, I thought it made perfect sense that the main character would construct puzzles. Of course, that meant that I had to teach myself how to create crosswords. Even though I use pretty heavy-duty software, it’s still really hard, specifically trying to figure out where those &*^%$% black squares go. But just like completing a puzzle in ink, there’s a huge satisfaction (and relief) when I make a puzzle for the books and my testers give me the thumbs up on them. I also make purses out of old books, which I think I’ve showed here before. I haven’t been in my workshop for ages though (see crossword construction whining above), but I have some finished ones I think I’ll give away for my book launch for Puzzling Ink. I have a dictionary purse that might be perfect!
I’ve actually revived an old hobby of mine. As a child, I spent my free time painting with watercolors. I even took an art class in college as an elective. Staying at home during the pandemic has resulted in me picking up watercolors again. Bonus: I’ve got to spend some fun creative time with one of my kids.
Readers, drop us a note in the comments below!
Readers, what are your relaxing hobbies?