Apt. 11D Is Now the Home of Many Hobbies

When Jonah was christened, Steve’s cousin came to New York to act as Jonah’s godfather. Looking around for topics of conversation — our dissertation topics were certainly not of interest — he asked what our hobbies were. I think we laughed, which I suppose was rude, but the thought of having time for a hobby was absurd. Steve had just begun working on Wall Street and was finishing his dissertation on the weekends. I was watching Jonah, adjuncting at Columbia, and trying to turn my dissertation into an article. We had no lives outside of work or parenting.

Now that we’re not slaving away in the netherword of adjuncts and temporary administrative positions in finance, we have more time, and, thus, have hobbies. If Steve’s cousin ever asks about our hobbies again, we’ll have lots of answers.

I’m collecting old books at estate sales and then reselling them. Steve and Jonah are growing heirloom tomatoes in the basement, which they’ll replant in the garden in a month. There’s European soccer on the TV. Ian’s drums and music. Jonah’s longboard. Steve’s genealogical research on his cousin-marrying Mennonite farmer ancestors.

We sometimes think that we’ll return to the city when this parent thing is over. But we need elbow room for the hobbies, so maybe not.





25 thoughts on “Apt. 11D Is Now the Home of Many Hobbies

  1. I love hobbies, and there was a time in my life when I didn’t have time for them. One of the things I’m missing as the kids have gotten older is the hobbies with the kids. I’ve always loved learning how to do something new without too much pressure (my definition of a hobby). My most recent acquisition is making real flower corsages (which also gives me an excuse to acquire a flowershop of flowers.


      1. Hey, it will be a legal crop soon. Though as I like to tell my teens, not for teenagers, even here. Though I guess I should check whether they are allowed to grow for legal users, just for the sake of accuracy.


  2. BOOKS. Books are the best hobby.
    For me its genealogy and word-type puzzles (crosswords, acrostics, cryptics). And traveling, though I don’t think we’ll be able to travel again for the next 7 years.


    1. Wendy said:

      “And traveling, though I don’t think we’ll be able to travel again for the next 7 years.”


      I’m (re)discovering a taste for travel, too.


  3. We’re also having an explosion of hobbies at home.

    –running (D–he’s run a 5k and a 10k this spring)
    –indoor rock climbing (D and my husband–D has done several competitions)
    –ukulele (C–we own at least 8 for the club at school)
    –3D printing everything imaginable (my husband)

    One of my husband’s recent projects was printing a plastic hook that he attached to a pole and used to fish kites out of trees. We’ve also enjoyed homemade cookie cutters.

    I don’t really have any hobbies, unless internet commenting, laundry and epic potty training count.


  4. I had a pretty awful breakdown a few years ago, which got me to a therapist, who asked what my hobbies were, and told me to get one. After that meeting I drove home thinking that basically I have always liked throwing things at targets, and fantasized about amusing everyone by taking up guns and joining the NRA.
    But I didn’t. So: Bowling (the American kind) — I average 150, and go every Sunday morning with one or other of the younger kids. I’ll join a league when I’m not always on the hook for looking after kids in the week.
    I also watch cricket on TV, which feels a huge indulgence. And this weekend was charmed by some of my students to go watch them play softball, and can see that as something I’d enjoy watching when there’s time.


  5. I was just thinking about hobbies versus interests/passions. For the latter it’s foreign film (year 17 at the Toronto International Film Festival this September) where I’ll see 4-5 a day. And books – a big old book hound as I love to read.

    But for hobbies (which I think are doing/creating/making)? Making music has been a huge part of my life since I was 11. Clarinet and piano (classical and then jazz for the latter). I’ve been learning bluegrass guitar for a little over a year and play in a super amateur/beginner group. Low barrier to entry instrument and something I can easily drag to the cottage. I bought some new clarinet reeds and am going to get that going again. I miss playing chamber music!

    I like making/creating things which has at various times looked like sewing two Dorothy dresses (pre and post Tornado) for the school musical, weaving, sculpting, learning to bake bread, etc.


  6. I think this thread may have invaded my subconscious.

    I just woke up from a dream where I was talking to my dream version of bj. She was driving a school bus and (very modestly) acknowledged that she knows how to fly a helicopter–but just a little.


    1. 🙂 my IRL equivalent was when it was casually mentioned that one of my mom friends had flown jets (for UPS, it turned out). Very unexpected, since we would have guessed dressage as a far more likely skill. She was very modest.


  7. I’m thinking of walking across Vermont the long way if I ever get a spare couple of weeks during the right time of the year and get to where I can do 20 miles a day over hilly terrain while carrying 25 pounds.


      1. Food is about 1.5 to 2 pounds a day, even with freeze fried stuff. You need at least five days with you. Even if you get the rest of your stuff to under ten pounds, you don’t have room for much drinking. Just a night cap.


  8. We went to Vermont last summer. It was just awesome. And Jonah will be doing an Outward Bound adventure in the mountains of North Carolina for eight days in August. So, I guess hiking is another one of our hobbies.

    I forgot to mention local politics. I started going to school board meetings last year, because it’s helpful when writing about school stuff to actually know what happens in schools. And I got hooked. It’s kinda fun to know a lot of people and tell them what to do.


  9. My hands are sore from lawnmowing and gardening this weekend. This is a new hobby since I bought my house five years ago. It’s really enjoyable but I don’t think it’s going to be sustainable; it’s already making me prematurely arthritic. Bread baking also became a hobby a few years ago when I got some sourdough starter, but I’m trying to ease up on that because the bread is so good I eat a lot of it and gain weight. So I need to find some sustainable, healthy hobbies.


    1. af said:

      “Bread baking also became a hobby a few years ago when I got some sourdough starter, but I’m trying to ease up on that because the bread is so good I eat a lot of it and gain weight.”



    2. Baking bread for others? I went through a period as a teen where I baked cakes but didn’t eat them (which wasn’t a good thing), but, I am guessing that there would be grateful recipients of fresh baked bread.

      My serial hobbies have been a lifelong interest. It took me a while to realize that I actually liked them because they were serial, that I enjoyed learning how to do something new without requiring myself to become an artist or an expert.

      I am quite good at a variety of crafty hobbies, but, in quite a few of them, I know people who are truly skilled and gifted (knitting, origami, painting, . . . .). Not immodestly, the artists often see potential (especially since I love hearing about the skills and ideas that make them artists), but, I want to be a dilettante.


  10. I have neighbors and friends who are big fans of my bread, but I am not disciplined enough to make two loaves (the ideal recipe size) and not start eating one right after it comes out of the oven. Also, my boyfriend loves it and so I don’t want to give it all away. There is no better food, really.


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