Horse Hobby

I’m glad we have Zoom technology these days, because it has allowed me to take advantage of some really cool writing seminars, and to sit in on hearings for a family member arrested in connection with police brutality protests. Next week, I’ll use Zoom to attend a virtual concert, and my sister-in-law is doing a lot of medical consultations via Zoom tech.

So having internet access is probably a good thing, given the present pandemic, and alas for the tens of millions of Americans (mostly poor and/or rural) who don’t. I also suspect that having a pet and most especially a dog makes coping these days easier. Pets are good company, they distract us from our woes, and they give us messes to clean up. Dogs who need walking also get us up off the couch, and when it is that ever a bad idea?

If I had to list another item to keep in my pandemic bag of tricks (besides good books, of course), I’d include hobbies. We don’t hear much about hobbies any more. Our children and grandchildren have activities, extra curricular classes, or instruments to practice (or they did earlier in the year), but those goal-oriented, qualitatively evaluated, supervised efforts are not a hobbies.

I think of hobbies as non-productive activities undertaken purely for fun. I am a flower gardener several months of the year. I used to bake a lot. I ride horses when my thumb and wrist aren’t boogered up. These activities don’t earn money, they don’t have to be social, and they don’t relate directly to what I do for a living. They are enjoyable pastimes that I’ve pursued for the sheer joy of doing as I please.

They also create a time when I’m not attending to the news, not fretting over that man without a mask in the produce section, not staring down some character who won’t tell me what his defining trauma is (Sycamore Dorning, take a bow). My creative brain needs these moderately-engaging, low stress activities to free up my subconscious to solve problems, generate new ideas, and make new associations between divergent concepts.

I NEED the break hobbies provide, in other words. I benefit from goofing off in ways all the focus, discipline, and determination in the world can’t match. When reality is scary and uncertain, knitting a scarf, methinks, can be the best coping mechanism.

I hope some clever PhD candidate in psychology or sociology is studying how we regular folks are weathering unprecedented storms. I suspect simple tools–a hobby, a pet, screen-free days, passion projects, or handwritten letters–will prove to have stood us in good stead.

Have you ever pursued a hobby? If you could pick up any hobby at all, have all the tools right at your fingertips, which one would it be? A long, long time ago, I earned a Girl Scout merit badge in embroidery….

I will add three names to my ARC list for My Heart’s True Delight, so let’s hear your dream hobby ideas!

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19 comments on “Horse Hobby

  1. I used to love to do cross-stitch and crewel embroidery as well as needlepoint. I have a needlework bag that has been untouched for at least ten years, maybe more. It’s under my desk in my bedroom, looking at me as if to say *you have time now, PICK ME UP!* And maybe I will. When I was in grad school and my kids were in grade school, I was too busy to just sit down to catch my breath much less do needlework. Then they were in high school and my career was getting busy. And when they were in college, I just make time. Now I do have time….soon, I hope, soon.

    I have so much to do this fall with with basement renovation (sorting through 26 years of clobber so we can move stuff from the soon-to-be-finished part to the storage part so the workmen can have at it), I know it won’t be for a while. I have at least one needlepoint project half finished, and all the materials for several more in that bag so it’s not a question of me needing anything else to get busy. Sigh, perhaps once the basement is finally on its way!

    My chamber choir is having its first Zoom rehearsal on Tuesday. We’ve missed each other and I’m grateful we have this option. 🙂 Music is healing and it’s something I’ve missed!

  2. I use to enjoy needlework – crewel and embroidery mostly. I ought to look into doing it again. The picture you have included of the butterfly and flowers make me want to give it a go. I have more than enough time now.

    I tried to learn knitting and crocheting several times, but I just never got the hang of it. My mother was so good at both.

    Stay safe and happy Grace.

  3. I loved to cross stitch when my daughter was younger. I stitched many of the characters from the Peter Rabbit stories, framed them and hung them in her room. My sister creates beautiful cross stitch pieces- she’s been working in several large designs during the pandemic.

    My hobbies are dogs, reading and baking. I have enjoyed my time with my older girl Rose, am training Greg in the next level of rally (which he seems to enjoy) and working on Laci’ s obedience.

    I have challenged myself to read different authors and genres during the pandemic. I am enjoying suspense thrillers and have read 2 historical fiction works by two new authors.

    Baking kept me busy during March- May. I tried several different bread recipes, rolls, cakes and cookies. And have found that I can modify recipes from skinny taste to stay on weight watchers.

    I would like to revisit my garden at some point. The garden suffered when I went full time at work. It’s going to be my retirement goal.

  4. I wish I had the time to learn a new language right now. I’m an essential worker, so my days have been very full. I’ve been jealous of those who have had time away from work to do other things (although I’m fully cognizant of the blessings of still having a job!)

  5. Fountain pens with bodacious nibs like stubs, oblique triple broads, Arabic grinds & so forth are my loves. I just treated myself to a couple more bottles of beautifully colored ink with good flow because the art in me needs feeding as much as the body. There’s few things as sensual as the effortless flow of words across fine paper when I just sit back, unplug the thinking part & let random thoughts pour out. It’s a peaceful kind of meditation and the ever changing colours on the pages show my progress from day to day.

  6. Hi Grace,
    My favorite hobbies are sewing and reading. My 43 year old daughter died suddenly the day after Mother’s Day in 2016. I credit yourself and other romance writers of the world for keeping me from succumbing to my still overwhelming grief. Not self help books. Not grief counseling. My favorite romance writers allowed me to escape and cope. I read almost 200 books in 2016. (I am also retired). At that time I couldn’t concentrate enough to sew. Now I’m better.
    I love to sew! My grandmother taught myself and my female cousins to make doll clothes by hand-sewing when I was a little girl. My mother and 3 paternal aunts encouraged my love of sewing. I am not found of making my own patterns, so I love perusing pattern books and on-line pattern websites. I’m not very crafty. But I love making garments. Dresses. Slacks. Blouses. Shirts. Jeans. Denim jackets. Suits for women as well as men. Wedding gowns. I get excited from choosing a pattern, then the fabric and notions. I can look a at bolt of fabric and see the garment in my mind’s eye. I even like sitting for hours in the fabric store and looking at pattern books.
    So, Grace, my hobby choices are reading a good romance novel and sewing. Although I wish I knew how to crochet and knit.

  7. I love to try out new recipes – nothing fancy – just regular meals, and sometimes desserts. Seems that cooking is becoming a lost art as more and more meal prep services are arriving on the scene.

  8. I’m so glad you asked for dream hobbies, as I have very limited time – still working full time and dreaming of retirement. Leisure time is precious. I already love to read, and used to do embroidery – a long time ago. Not sure I could do that now with my arthritic hands, but would like to learn to knit. I could gift all my relatives with warm woolly socks for Christmas. I’m sure they would dread seeing those packages in the mail.

    About pets, we have 3 dogs from the shelter, 10 cats who were all rescues (7 were ferals), and currently 2 temporary kittens who are getting socialized before going to the shelter for adoption. My pets are family members and I honestly think that animal rescue is a calling.

  9. Before the lockdown I was able to travel around the U.K and see for my self our very diverse and beautiful land.Our history,our geography and culture.The people and their towns and cities.So I started collecting postcards,leaflets,maps and taking many photos.I purchased three scrapbooks and have filled all three.Being optimistic I went out shopping and now have three more.Soon I will be able to travel again and explore new places.I will keep to all the procedures that we all have now to live with.But I also know it can change quickly.So off I go in 2 week’s time to Harrogate Yorkshire.Full of grand history and scenary.My days of world travel have finished—- my homeland and her treasures await.So God willing I may be given time to complete my three new scapbooks.Reminds me of my school years when I had collections of many cuttings and paper clippings of interest.Enjoy all you do and be safe.Hobbies are important so get all the pleasure of what you have chosen to do.

  10. I used to crochet, which I really liked, especially when I had a labor of love to pursue, like baby blankets for my grandkids. Alas, carpal tunnel and the baby factory being closed (as my daughter-in-law insists it is!), have made that pleasure less so. So, in an effort to keep somewhat sane in these times of COVID, I picked up a totally new hobby, making miniature furniture & furnishings for a dollhouse room. Since my other hobby is cooking, I chose a dollhouse kitchen kit. I find I get lost in the ridiculously tiny details of a 1 inch diameter fruit platter (containing slices of kiwi, grapefruit & strawberries!) or mini cast iron frying pans, sometimes not lifting my head for hours. I already have a second kit on order, this one a “book nook.” It’s so much better than staring at a screen for hours on end!

  11. Since moving into a small apartment, I miss my vegetable garden. I recently resolved to grow potted herbs on my small front patio. My most forgiving and resilient new green friends are: sweet marjoram, chives, basil and thyme. But the one that draws my hand to its cobalt pot every time is rosemary. Something about the aroma: I brush my hand over the leaves, and it releases an almost piney scent that inspires the creative side of my brain! Thank you, Grace, for sharing your hobbies. As usual, I look forward to being transported by your next novel, especially during this strange time.

  12. Years ago, I became a scrapbooking maniac. Met weekly with friends to do it, and worked on it at home on a regular basis, spread all over my dining room table. After a while, I let that go, but will go back to it eventually. Then I crocheted scarves for our troops, with another group of ladies. Haven’t had the patience for it for a while now – and it showed in my tight stitches, so I’m taking a break from it. Lately, with the business of my life (we are moving out of state later this year), and with a need for something mindless, I’ve started doing online jigsaw puzzles on my laptop or iPad. It’s become a bit of an obsession, whenever I have a few minutes of downtime. It’s a hobby that takes up no room, I can do it while watching TV, waiting for a pot to boil, having breakfast, or while on the phone. I’ve always loved puzzles, but haven’t done any since my kids were preteens. We would spread them out across the dining room table (my poor, beleaguered table), and spend days doing thousand pieces puzzles between homework, housework, and life. With all of the sadness and craziness of our current reality, puzzles of beautiful and happy things bring a smile to my face. I’ve even created some from my own photos. So that is my non-productive, but very gratifying, hobby of the moment.

  13. I do different types of needlework, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross stitching, and even some jewelry making. These activities are a nice stress reliever and in the end, the time invested yields a useful item. My brain has time to simmer down about things that I can’t solve or change. I often return to a problem or task with more patience and perhaps a fresh perspective.
    I have a pet rabbit and his bond mate died last month, so I have been trying to help him through his grief and adjusting to living alone. He is going for speed dating in hopes of finding him a new bond mate. Life is definitely interesting with a pet. I began doing virtual yoga classes through Zoom and would be all relaxed in a pose when a rabbit nose nudged me. If I didn’t respond, I got nipped. I wasn’t supposed to ignore the rabbit or lay on my belly, I guess he thought I was sick. He was used to seeing me standing or sitting when interacting with him. Laying on the belly wasn’t a usual position. Who knew that something like that bothered him.

  14. I love bookbinding but haven’t done any since my oldest was a toddler (and she is “away” to college next year) and would really like to get back to it. I am currently trying to get through the clutter of nearly a decade in this house with kids and no extra time. We still have boxes that we never unpacked! The plan is getting back to binding this fall/winter when the time (quarantine) and space (decluttering) magically coincide and also magically keep my kids at bay for chunks of time long enough to focus. My mind has gone a little rogue though, wanting to create fantastical weird books out of hardware store finds and other unconventional materials. I guess I will see what comes of it. In the meantime I have trying new recipes, yoga, and of course, reading.

  15. Dream hobby? I would love to be able to knit. I was pretty hopeless at trying to crochet and knitting was beyond my skills.

  16. I think my hobby is buying materials for other hobbies.

    I’ve tried dozens of crafts and then I go on to the next thing to strike my fancy.

    I’d love to learn languages. I tried learning Gaelic (probably after reading the MacGregor series! lol), but it was sooooo complicated (the Gaelic, not the MacGregors)! It requires a teacher. I couldn’t do it on my own.

  17. Travelling was my hobby and I do miss it- seeing and experiencing new places and people. I have so enjoyed your books and it has given me some ideas of places to visit on the UK that I had not previously considered. I did dance as a hobby and still enjoy dancing around the kitchen. For fun!

  18. I’ve enjoyed crocheting, knitting, and making jewelry with seed beads, but my last passion is painting. I’ve done a couple painting parties, where an instructor provides the paints and canvas, and teaches methods while you all work on your own similar painting, but I have graduated to a paint by numbers kit, if I can find some time – I’m mobility challenged, so it takes most of the time I’m not working just to get basic stuff done.