Monthly Archives: August 2011

Hobbies? Or Addictions?

I have many hobbies I suppose. I don’t necessarily think of them as hobbies but more as expressions of who I am. To think about what they are, I need to list them:

Music (playing and listening) and singing (loudly and sometimes even near a key)
Writing – anything and everything from to-do lists to novels
Learning stuff – as much stuff as possible
Reading – how do you stop reading in such a visual world anyway?
Craft – often wish I was more crafty by nature but…
Gardening – not weeding. Love mulch! And boiling water takes care of many weeds if you get out there quickly enough. Otherwise, they invade your land and corral you into a dank corner next to the compost.
Making a mess – if only I could get excited about cleaning it up

Hmm. Eclectic collection, not in any necessary order and interesting to stop a look at. I wonder if I should focus on just one or two. Fact is, whichever one I’m doing is probably my favourite at the time and therefore the one I can’t do without.

There is a bit of an order though. Music and singing, writing and reading and learning are probably, definitely the highest rated and are more expressions of who I am than just what I like to do.

The others are things I love to do, actually. I was going to say like, but no, love is the appropriate descriptor. I love them most when I’m doing them. Well, mess making, perhaps that is not meant to be in this list but head of the list of things I most need to change about me.

Once, exercise would have been high priority. These days I’m less able to exercise but I intend to get back as much as I can. I have a couple of autoimmune deficiency diseases which have made movement not as easy as it used to be. (Can’t have anything to do with the fact that I’m turning 61 in a few days! No, definitely not! Only as old as you feel…um, perhaps that isn’t a good bit of reasoning here. In regard to exercise, which is addictive and the more you do the more you want to do and the more you enjoy it, especially the challenge of doing more – see, I told you it’s addictive – I could easily list the types of exercise I like (love).

Walking and swimming – not at the same time, but I can chew gum when I walk
Horse riding (that’s out now unless I can take a portable hoist)
Ballet – should be No. 1 as I did it for 30 years. Love to do it but, at least I can still jiggle a bit
Running – for more than the bus, or my lost breath
Climbing (trees rather than mountains)
Pilates and Yoga
Strength training
And Tai Chi (which I’ve learned in a remedial setting).

I’ve played the guitar since I was 18, ah the good old days of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and John Lennon. Now I add quite a bit of Leonard Cohen and a thousand others. I also thoroughly enjoy writing my own songs. I get the odd screech from my clarinet, can whistle a happy tune on my recorder, plunk a few chords on the piano but haven’t yet learned to master the neck muscles needed to play my blues harp. Still trying though.

Writing, well that goes without saying. In fact, it is a toss up for me which is the most important in my life, writing or music. I don’t think I can decide actually. I often write while listening to music, and I write my best poetry with a classical air abounding.

Singing, love it, need it, would have liked to have been a professional singer but definitely do my best singing in the shower. As it would automatically come with me to a deserted island, it isn’t usually on my list of three things I would take, or that ugly list of 1. Music or writing? By the time I decided, I’d be on that island without either of them.

Reading, that’s a given for a writer and I’ve done it since I was 4. Couldn’t get enough stories read to me so I learned to read using a favourite Enid Blyton book “The Little Grey Donkey” which I knew by heart. That way, I could read whatever, whenever. Only way to go and I’ve had my nose in a book ever since, even walking home from the school bus. Only trouble is, I can’t read just one at a time. I usually keep myself to one fiction and several non-fiction at a time.

Learning stuff. Well, what’s the point of being alive if you don’t continue learning? I don’t think I’m suited to finding the answers that suit me best and sitting under their umbrella. That only makes me feel insecure rather than the opposite. I have trouble understanding people who sit under such brollies – but I continue to try to learn to.

Craft. I enjoy all sorts of crafts but the one I am reasonably able to do is knitting. Thankfully I have grandsons who are still young enough to love picture jumpers and then there are footy knits and then it’ll be… Oh, Nan, I’m too old to wear that! A few good years to go yet. I can sew a bit, but nothing too intricate.

I enjoy decorating a room and drive my family mad because I’m always moving the furniture and changing the décor (and where everything lives in the kitchen cupboards). I don’t need expensive items or anything, in fact I’m too green to be a heavy consumer or materialist. I’m happy to reuse things I’ve had for years, found in second-hand shops or at markets or have made. One of my favourites is a piece of driftwood that my father gave me when I was a kid. There’s hardly a decor it doesn’t go with somewhere, often as part of a dry arrangement.

Drawing in charcoal or pastel (done badly, not fit for human consumption) is a sometime occupation. It’s not as important as some of the others but I get a buzz now and then and drag out all my stuff (making a mess of course).
I get fads as well. I’ve done a few cross stitch items, tapestry and collages over the years. Made the odd dream catcher, decorative cake and lacy soap holder – much to family and friends delight – right? Crotched a few berets, bootees and a granny square blanket or two. And during those empty years when my own children were ‘too old’ for home knits and the birth of grandsons, I met my knitting fetish-um-hobby by making baby clothes for charity.

But wait, there’s more…

No, thinking about it, my grandsons are getting older by the minute so I better get back to my needles. Plus, I’ve got some tomato seeds to sow. It’ll be spring here in a few weeks. And then there’s that dressing table I want to restore, the material I bought for a tablecloth and… she walks away mumbling to herself…

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