May 24, 2009

The Hobbyist

Two weeks out of college, and I've discovered that I can do what I want with my time. Week 1 found me packing all my belongings to move halfway across the country, opening a new bank account, purchasing a new cell phone, writing 20 thank-you's, attending kindergarten graduations and a baseball game, editing html code on this site, designing a logo for a client, and perfecting the art of homemade mayonnaise – twice.

I’m immediately learning the art of pacing myself. Let me explain. Week 1 hogged all the activity, leaving me with only scones, newspapers, and bird-watching with my parents the following week. Doing nothing is exhausting. Really. I've never been more tired at 9:00pm than when I've done nothing all day. You probably want to slap me through the screen right about now for saying this, but I haven’t felt this lazy since the summer of 7th grade, spending Pizza Rolls & Dr. Pepper infused afternoons with my best friend Arp, while we watch Days of Our Lives and reruns of the Cosby Show.

This week found me either fishing, having a beer with friends, or reading. I can’t say I’ve been cooking a lot, either. (You know enough is enough when your family raises their eyebrows at basil.) The most gusto I’ve shown this week was making a batch of scones for this week’s breakfasts, which have looked a little something like this:

If there’s one person keeping me alert these days, it’s my dad. Informing me as to the bird drama that unfolds (not only in our bird feeder-laden backyard, but also the front yard where a surprisingly nasty dove has been frequenting), explaining taxes (the things they don’t tell you in college), mapping out my upcoming road trip, and ever-so-coolly teaching me about making rhubarb wine.

A hobby man of sorts, never before have his curiosities resulted in towel-covered pails of fermenting liquid in the house. But tangible projects like this keep him going. Loving to dig into the technicalities of things, my dad is the perfect example of the respected blue-collar worker spoken about in this week's New York Times magazine article titled, The Case for Working with your Hands. By having physical tasks, a sense of a ‘job well done’ is much more attainable. People that do things with their hands are people worth spending time with. They don’t look at the world through rose-tinted glasses. Safety goggles - yes.

My dad’s a hoot, too. While crafting my portfolio and telling him it’s nearly 40 pages long, he smugly comments, “and when they ask for the ‘b.s.’ writing, you’ll give them the other 40.” Never taking himself or anyone else too seriously, he keeps a level head. In an attempt to get a better night’s sleep, he’s taken up the suggestion to drink warm milk before going to bed. Immensely critical of the suggestion, as he walked upstairs he joked about almost dozing off right then and there. 10 minutes later, mom and I hear him sawing logs. Things of that nature, I’ll miss most. (Not the snoring from across the hallway upstairs, but my parents’ wackiness.)

As my bedroom is being taken over by a bunk bed, now outfitted with polka dot sheets, I’ve been thinking about what new things in my new life are going to take place of the old. And my level-minded, hobby-man father, inspired me to make a list:

Goals for an Aspiring Hobbyist

1. write old-school, snail-mail letters
2. bake mail friendly goodies to send to friends/family back in the Midwest
3. tinker with html code (yes. computer geek. I know.)
4. make pastas
5. maintain a stock of homemade a) mayonnaise b) granola c) crepe batter d) compound butter e) soup
6. find out if Mark Bittman really knows how to cook everything
7. Tweet
8. Update these photos.
9. And maybe, just maybe, I'll start to read fiction.
10. To be determined ....

Any other ideas? Share your hobbies!

May 13, 2009

Stepping up to bat

2 days until I'm thrown out into the 'real world.' It's about time. These past few weeks have been crazy, and I'm way overdue for an update around here. Right now I'm living out of bags, suitcases, and trunks. Not quite in Seattle, not completely in Minneapolis, I'm in limbo. And being in limbo is not conducive to making very good sense of things and writing a narrative worth reading, so I'm going to share a photo of my nephew Isaac, running to first base.

After stepping up to bat and completing my degree, I'm off and running. Much like Isaac in this picture. Things are crazy, and times are uncertain, but all we can do is go. And I have my nephew to thank for reminding me that its even ok to go ahead in mud boots. We are what we are.