Tag Archives: hobbies

Day 22

10 Aug

Day 22: A picture of something you wish you were better at

Another tough one.  There are lots of things that I’m competent at, but wouldn’t brag about, like my ability to change a tire, or construct things, color coordinating an outfit or being on time.  Also, there are things that I used to be good at and am now just totally out of practice with, like speaking German, or welding, or holding any yoga pose for more than 5 seconds.  I’ve tried lots of things, failed miserably and gotten over it in short order; playing basketball, softball, bowling or any number of organized sports, making pickles, and drawing anything concrete other than cats and plants.  But the one hobby I tried vainly at for years and just never got the hang of is knitting.

During college it was the fashionable thing to do.  This was the rise of Stitch ‘n’ Bitch; the hip way to get back into doing something domestic.  I had dreams of my own hand made mittens, hats, socks and scarves, which were quickly squashed by my own two clumsy hands.  All my friends seemed to be enjoying relaxing homework breaks in front of the T.V. with a ball of yarn on the floor, needles clicking softly as colorful scarves appeared magically in their laps.  I, on the other hand, missed most of the T.V. show and anything that was being said to me because I constantly had to be supervising my disobedient hands lest they do something disastrous resulting in me having to yet again pull apart said colorful scarf.  It also didn’t help that around this time I discovered I had a wool allergy and while all cotton yarns turned out not to be out of my college budget, they stretched too easily and everyone else used wool.

Yet, I persisted, and amassed quite a lot of needles and different colored yarn which are now collecting dust in a box on the porch.  I did finally finish two things after years (and I promise I’m not exaggerating) of frustration.  The one scarf I knitted for myself is about 3 and a half feet long and has no determinate width.  I also managed to take all the yarn my mom dyed during her career in textiles and make her a mother’s day scarf.  That scarf is quite long, but equally lumpy and took me at least 2 years to complete.

Now that I’m older, I’m harboring a delusion that I will pick up the needles once more, but I guess only time will tell if practice makes perfect, or it’s just not meant to be.

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Spring Cleaning

30 Apr

Ask my mother, I’ve never been a particularly organized person.  My idea of cleaning usually involves piles that may or may not be categorized.  Lucky couples balance each other out; one might be a total neat freak, or someone who really enjoys cleaning the bathroom every day, or someone who doesn’t believe in material posessions.  Really lucky people find their match with some type of professional organizer.  I was not so lucky.  I went out and found someone with the same lazy organizational skills and attraction to clutter.

Since we started renting our first actual factual house, we made each other a promise.  We decided it was time to step up and make this home one to be proud of.  And we’ve done a really great job with that so far.  We keep everything clean, tidy, and everything has it’s place, so for the first time in my life I’m organized.  We’ve been here for six months now, so we decided it was time to go through the house and do some reorganizing.  It took us all afternoon on a beautiful day, but I’m happy to be done now, and everything looks great.  But the room I’m happiest about is my art room.

My art room is really a 3 season porch off the back of our carport, so during the winter it was out of commission.  This is also where we enter and exit the house, so it became a sort of catch-all for random stuff that didn’t have a place yet in the house; old knitting supplies, shoes, leaves I had been trying to sketch in the fall, broken pottery waiting to be thrown out, and another partial drum set that was rescued from the side of the road.  With winter officially behind us (I say NO MORE!) I had been meaning to clear the stacks of cast-off drawing attempts from my drafting table for a while so I could have my space back to become the next Picasso, so we tackled the art room first, and I’m so pleased with the results.

Even though my table is currently being occupied by the next generation of melons and squashes, they will soon be out the door and my space will truly be mine again.

All the old mail and half-finished drawings have been thrown out, the drumset is nestled safely in a closet, and the shoes are tucked neatly away.  From here I can look out at my garden and let it inspire me to (I hope) artistic greatness.  My supplies are all where I can find them easily.  Everything has a place, and now so do I.

Don’t You Blow Your Top

1 Mar

We are people.  Most of us.  That means we get frustrated.  If you don’t, please tell me your secret, or trade places with me for the day.  If you’re like me, the source of your frustration often comes from that which you hold most dear; the cats, the house I wish we had, my seedlings that keep wilting, my directionless state, and last but certainly not least, my sometimes better half.  I won’t bore you with the details, because now they are irrelevant, but I woke up this morning feeling frustrated.  All I wanted to do was lay in bed in my jammies with the cats.  Maybe I would get up later and watch movies.  However, I forced myself to leave the house, and during my swim, I came up with the idea for this blog.

Fawn’s Top 10 Ways to Ward off Frustration! (In no particular order, and they are all practically free)

1) Exercise.  You don’t have to blow all your money on a gym membership, or even devote a lot of time to it.  A good dose of vigorous activity will take your mind right off what was bothering you.  For me, my workout usually ends up with a pat on my back for a job well done, and then all I can think about are my aching joints.  A lot of my frustrations ultimately stem from some sort of unhappiness I find with myself, so working out is especially cathartic for me because I just feel so much better about myself afterward. Having an exercise routine is also beneficial to those of us who need to stay scheduled in order to avoid the inevitable chair blob routine.  I know I have to get up at a certain time of day so I can eat a healthy breakfast, do an hour of yoga with relaxation and get to the pool in time before it fills up with other more graceful athletes.  After my workout, I still have time for me and I no longer feel like I am wasting my days.

2) Take a walk.  Sort of in the same vein of #1, but I like to take peaceful walks that don’t result in leg cramps.  It may sound formulaic, but getting out in the fresh air does a body good.  Sunlight supplies you with much needed vitamin D; a deficiency of which can result in depression and anxiety.  If you don’t like nature, than TS, you go enjoy your grouchiness.  I have a handful of things I like to do on walks.  House-spotting.  I have a track I usually take when I walk downtown which takes me through a decent neighborhood with some unique houses.  My favorite is Easter egg yellow with deep blue trim around the doors and windows.  This house also has a large cat population milling about outside, so I usually stop to say hello.  In the spring and summer I look out for gardens.  I love love love gardens, and am susceptible to serious garden envy, but at the same time enjoy seeing growing things.  I also mull over writing prompts and other ideas I have, such as the topic for this blog.  When you leave the house, you also increase the possibility of human interaction.  Some lady may walk with you ten blocks because she notices you are wearing flip-flops on the first day of March.

3) Drink and draw.  This is less fun now that I am not drinking, but I can still bust out the rootbeer and tie on a serious sugar buzz.  I’m not advocating that you get blotto, just have a drink, sit down with your art supplies, and see where the mood takes you.  Don’t expect a masterpiece, and don’t expect to love it upon sober inspection.  I like to do this because my inhibitions about what I am capable of as an artist are considerably lowered in the company of alcohol.  I feel productive, and lose myself in the project, causing myself to completely forget my woes.

4) Visit the library.  For me, short of a park, there are few places more peaceful than libraries.  We are also lucky enough to have a fabulous library in our small town, and I was proud to see an “LGBT Safe Space” sign hanging at the entrance to the young adult’s section today.  Props to Amanda for pointing out how important it is to have a “to read” list.  Libraries are free, and within their hallowed walls one can find countless hours of informative information.  My current library adventure is finding interesting memoirs to aid in the writing of my own.  Extra bonuses of visiting your local library: Making the geeky check out boy’s day by being a cute girl he can talk Stephen King to.

5) Watch a cartoon.  Favorites from my collection include; South Park, Futurama, The Simpsons and Digimon.  The internet is a great big place where you can find countless hours of childish entertainment.  Alternately, select a childrens movie, something that will make you feel so good you’ll want to barf.  Personal favorites: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Dinosaur, Lion King, How to Train Your Dragon, Monster’s Inc., High School Musical and Finding Nemo.  I could go on; this category has it’s own section in my DVD library.

6) Watch a cat clean themselves.  It sounds pervy, I know, but it’s almost like doing yoga.  Watching a cat groom themselves in a sunny patch is one of the most relaxing, tranquil experiences you can have.  If you don’t have a cat of your own, borrow from a friend, or make use of Youtube.

7) Try a new recipe.  Cooking is a serious hobby of mine, but I tend to improve as I go.  Frequently I like to try out a new recipe that is time-consuming and requires me to follow the directions.  The result is an activity which I can enjoy for an extended period, sometimes while making use of other items on this list, at the end of which I have a finished product which is usually more attractive than my usual mix-everything-together-and-stir-fry/bake approach.  It also gives me a chance to expand my cooking knowledge, and adds another recipe to my collection.  This also makes my man happy when he comes home to a meal, and when he is happy, usually so am I.

8 ) Call my mother or my sister.  Okay, this should have been at the top of my list, but they are in no particular order, so it’s okay.  About 90 per cent of the time when I’m frustrated about something, all I need to do is vent some hot steam.  When you spend every day of your life with someone, they become a not-so-neutral party, and it’s not nice to dump on them every day after they have spent eight hours at the office.  I am 26 years old and I still talk to my mom on the phone at least once a week, sometimes more frequently.  My family knows me best; they have spent decades figuring out just which wire to snip in order to avoid having a Fawn-splosion.

9) Work in the garden.  Have you noticed a theme here?  This really is just a list of my hobbies.  Making use of my hobbies makes me feel useful and productive, as well as infusing me with a general feeling of well-being.  My garden right now consists of two trays of seedlings and houseplants crowding the South facing window.  Sometimes I just go and look at my plants.  I grew them.  It makes me feel proud.  In the spring and summer and to a lesser extent, the fall, I can actually get out and play in the dirt.  I like to garden without gloves, so I get really messy.  There’s something to be said about the healing power of the Earth.

10) Home pedicure.  I have plantar fasciitis, which basically means the arch of my left foot gets sore and causes the rest of my foot to become cramped and painful.  I don’t get to see my lovely massage therapist every month anymore, since she is located in Minnesota and I’m sort of on limited funds, also heaving around my bulk sometimes leaves me with swollen tired feet.  An at home pedicure is cheap and relaxing, and you can usually do it while enjoying a drink, a hot cup of tea, or a good conversation.  A carton of epsom salts costs about three dollars at Target and lasts for a while, it’s likely you have lying around your house a receptacle you can stick your foot or feet into, and if you aren’t my dad, you have hot water.  That’s really all you need.  I like to soak my feet for a long time and then buff them with a pumice stone.  Sometimes I do polish, sometimes not.  I also have dry feet, so a weird trick I picked up is to put a layer of vaseline on your feet and then put on thick socks.  This works best right before bed, or if you know you are going to be sedentary for a while; read one of the books you picked up at the library, watch your happy movie or cartoons, call your mother, watch your cat cleaning itself, read up on new recipes to try, new plants to start.  You can always just sit still, contemplate your day, and congratulate yourself on working beyond your frustrations to a happier you!