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Archive for the category “hobbies”


Building. Hammer & nails. Earth & shovel. Paper & glue.

It all started last Christmas when John gave me an N-scale train set. It really started years ago with the little idea in my head that said to build a Christmas village. With the train set I had some parameters.

I rolled up my sleeves and learned about wood and styrene and adhesives and scale. I veered away from styrene because I just didn’t like the feel of it. So wood was my medium of choice. Measuring. Cutting. Gluing. Cursing. Lots and lots of cursing.

Cutting wood into minuscule N-scale walls and roofs was impossible never mind framing windows and doors.

In the wee hours of the morning, the little idea in my head said, “Paper.” I had largely ignored what I read about building with paper because it was not geared toward scale building. But that little idea, and the hour of the day, would not let me be combative.

The realization that working with paper was the only way my village would even break ground before Christmas was accompanied by the thought that paper will allow me to really expand on the idea of what I want to create. So the cutting began.

I started with a template from N-Scale Limited. If you click on the link, you’ll see a beautiful N-scale model built from wood. I’m sure my paper section house won’t be nearly as elegant but then, it’s not meant to be.

Instead, I hope my village will express the boundless genesis that the little idea in my head has in mind.


The Shit Happens Life

The other night I experienced a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment. In and of itself, that moment is absurd in its modernity and in the level of my dependence on technology. The battery on my Kindle is low and is demanding to be charged. But the cord is missing.

Battling a migraine and making every effort to take care of myself, I tried to go to bed early with a cup of tea and a book. I couldn’t read my book because I couldn’t plug it in. I spent an hour searching the house. I know it’s here but I never found it.

I cried and screamed, all the while knowing my meltdown didn’t really have anything to do with the missing Kindle cord.

In times of challenge and loss people are fond of saying, “It’s the little things in life that matter.” That thought is utterly misguided.

The big things in life are what matter. Relationships, health, hobbies, work, learning… the big things that provide a level of ease and comfort in life. Pay attention to the big things. Nurture them and be grateful for them. The little things are just added sparkle.

Indoor Person’s Garden

For many years, until I moved into a sunless basement apartmen, I raised a variety of houseplants. Many of them were unusual and fascinating. But the cheap apartment won over a hobby I hadn’t really thought about; it was simply something I did.

Then I had a sunny apartment and a few plants but a kitty came to live with me who preferred that the plants be dead. He won.

Still I didn’t give much thought to this hobby. I’ve never been a gardener per se. I hate bugs and I hate being hot. Indoor plants on the other hand, add so much to a space – a softness and sense of nurturing – without the bugs and many times without the heat.

But there are kitties to be reckoned with. My first cat, Arcadio, past away last fall so one might expect my home to be rather jungle-like by now. No, kitties rule and Ophelia joined us in February. She immediately started chewing on the lucky bamboo.

Today is the first day I’ve ever really dedicated any thought to my passion for plants. It was as I filled four planters with various annuals that it hit me how good it feels to place the roots in the soil; make sure they have enough space and water. Can’t do much about the sun.

They add so much more to my home than the investment I put into them in terms of money and effort. All summer long, they’ll bloom and smile regardless of what sort of day I’ve had. It’s a neutral hobby. I don’t have to DO anything beyond fill and pour the watering can. I don’t have to rely on steady hands or patience, having the right materials on hand or waiting for the right weather.

One thing is for certain, I won’t forget this joy or ever again take it for granted. And never again will I live in a sunless basement apartment.


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