My current hobbies include
Writing – This blog was one of my goals for retirement, triggered for real by a visit to Ted with Linn. It’s been great fun, and takes at least an hour a day. Besides writing, the most fun part of the deal is paging through old photo albums looking for just the right picture to illustrate the story. I’ve found long-lost, barely remembered photos, discovered pictures that I didn’t even know existed, and I’ve been frustrated by the inability to find some important pictures. One of those boxes has to have that photo! There are about a dozen plastic storage boxes in the attic and my office with fifty year old photo albums.
Reading (primarily non-fiction) – I just about reached an informal goal of one book a week in 2014. Never thought it possible. Maybe won’t ever do it again. It was great! I also follow various blogs – some folks call it surfing the web, I call it looking for something new to learn about, looking for a new book, finding something that makes me smile, or allow me to chill for a few minutes. There’s nothing like a good blog or TED Talk.
Grand children – I like to say I tolerated my kids and want to spend time with my grand children. That would be overstating the case, but close. Both of my children and all the grand children have been a joyful and challenging diversion. We do child care for the three kids in town. Judy is primary, and I do a lot of backup. They are all worth my time.
Cooking – I’ve started cooking the main meal almost every day. I feel a real sense of satisfaction from creating something pleasurable every evening. My repertoire is increasing every month.
Gardening – There’s something special about that moment in the morning when the grass is green, the trees are whispering in the breeze and the flowers are attracting the buzzing bees. I love that moment so much that I invest significant time and money in making the yard look nice. Shoveling the sidewalk and driveway in the winter is a poor substitute for gardening, but it works. Someday, when I’m incapacitated, I may get a snow blower, or I might just move to a condo.
Walking (all year) – Nothing clears the mind like a five-mile walk in a blizzard. We are so lucky to have great trails in Rochester and plenty of weather to keep it interesting. Usually there’s a coffee shop at the end of the walk, so I get two things done with one activity. The picture at the top of this page shows the confluence of Cascade Creek and the Zumbro River, along my walk to Dunn Bros Coffee.
Friends – I try to share coffee or lunch with friends and former co-workers a couple of times each week. I am lucky to have so many good friends. They encourage, console and challenge me every day. These relationships take time and money, but they’re worth it. Good coffee is its own reward, which is why we have five coffee makers in the kitchen. It’s an unusual day if at least two of the machines aren’t used, typically the espresso machine and the French press.
Single malt Scotch Whisky – I come from a line of alcoholics, so it’s essential to know what I like and what the limits are. I drink to relish the favors, not for what it does to my brain. We’ve been to innumerable tastings and hosted several. It’s great fun and a good way to get to know people. It’s not just whisky, beer and wine that figure into the equation, too.
Exercising – This was on the retirement to-do list, too. I’ve joined a health club and go about three times a week. It’s been good for me and has become a true habit. If it gives me a couple more years of good living, it’s worth it.
Institution Review Board – This is a lot like work, where I contribute to the success of medical research projects. There’s a lot to learn, and some really smart people in the meetings. The few hours per week are well worth the small stipend.
There are a couple of hobbies that take less of my time these days, to the point where I shouldn’t even say they are my hobbies. I’ve included them to show that I have given up some fun things.
- ’53 Cadillac – Would you like to buy an antique car?
- Running – It hurts and bores me. Any other questions?
- Tai Chi – Our Tai Chi master died. We have not found a good successor.
- Biking – I’d like to continue biking, but it’s not as exciting as it was thirty years ago.