Tag Archives: hobbies

Tools of the trade

A friend of mine—a Renaissance man of sorts—writes a blog about fishing.

His latest post, entitled “The Right Stuff,” examines the equipment people need for their various hobbies and professions. Also a musician, this man likened fishing rods to guitars, as far as the selection of equipment based on one’s goals and skill levels goes.

While I know as little about casting a rod and reel as I do about playing the guitar, I found his post thought provoking. He discusses why a beginner shouldn’t begin with the most advanced—and often, most expensive—equipment and what considerations go into proper selection.

I know a fair number of golfers and have overheard my share of debate over the need for expensive equipment. My husband, a marathon runner, spends what he considers a lot of money to buy shoes and enter races and participate in running clubs. A cyclist friend pours his spare change into bikes and flying to Hawaii to watch the Ironman triathlon up close.

My friend’s blog got me thinking about my own hobbies.

In 1977 I got into crocheting. I spent about half of the $2.35 an hour I earned at the yarn store on acrylic yarn. Once I spent an exorbitant sum of $6.99 on a complete set of crochet hooks, which I still have but no longer use.

That’s it. Except for a couple of style guides, I don’t spend anything on my hobby. Perhaps it shows.

I suppose I could take up more hobbies, and then I could blog about those. Golf is out, as plaid does not become me. We’ve already established I lack musical and athletic talent, so neither a violin nor a tennis racket is an option.

I don’t care much for stamp collecting (sorry, Dad) or bird watching or scrapbooking.

As I look back on some of my most popular blog posts, I notice (and WordPress confirms) that the best stories came from travel experiences and mishaps.

Therefore, would it be reasonable to conclude that I’d be a better blogger if I had a bigger travel budget?

As I see it, my choice is either to buy more style guides (and new bookends!) or a plane ticket.

With any luck, things will go terribly wrong.

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Filed under Sports and Recreation, Technology and Social Media, Travel

Charmed, I’m sure

This year, as in years past, charm bracelets are a hot holiday gift item.

Most of the ones I see advertised come ready-made, with the decorative trinkets already dangling from them: bulbous hearts, seashells, and other, dare I say, gaudy baubles that may or may not bear any special significance to their wearer.

There do seem to be individual charms available for those who might like to personalize their bracelets to reflect their love of cats or ladybugs.

In my day (that’s what ladies of my age say when we reminisce), we accumulated charms based on our interests, hobbies or places we’d visited.

I started adorning my charm bracelet early on, with tiny pendants I collected in my younger years. My mother insisted we have the charms soldered on to the bracelet so they didn’t fall off. I’m pretty sure that somewhere I have a pouch of charms that we never got around to having soldered.

Last night, after seeing several holiday commercials for charm bracelets, I decided to dig mine out. I wondered what people would learn about me—or at least who I was as a child—simply by what hangs from my bracelet.

There are 20 charms, not counting the ones that were never affixed. Almost every one has a story of one kind or another:

  1. A train engine, representing a cross-country trip my father and I took in 1969
  2. An Alpine tram car, from our family trip to Switzerland in 1970
  3. A Christmas tree
  4. A crutch, representing my brittle ankles
  5. An ice skate, right next to the crutch
  6. A telephone, on which I spent many hours when I was young
  7. A space capsule, representing man landing on the moon
  8. A house; in particular, 4615 Duncan Drive, Annandale, Virginia
  9. A swimmer (technically it’s a diver wearing a light blue swim cap), from when I took swimming lessons–and failed
  10. A piano. You’ve already heard that story.
  11. A pendant bearing my astrological sign, Sagittarius
  12. A four-leaf clover, engraved with Lucky 13 for my 13th birthday on the 13th
  13. A framed photograph of my best friend, Mary Engdahl, who I hope will one day Google herself and find me here, because I sure as heck can’t find her
  14. A church, with a tiny window through which you can read the Lord’s Prayer
  15. A cowboy hat from the Ponderosa Ranch, a souvenir from Mary Engdahl
  16. An Amish buggy, from my trip to Lancaster, Pa., with Lisa Vernon and her family
  17. A dachshund, representing Gretchen, an early pet that used to belong to my Nana Marie
  18. A yellow and green flowered sleeping bag with the words Slumber Party engraved, representing a time when family friends stayed with us for an extended period. The charm was a gift from Becky Sterago who, when she gave it to me upon leaving, said sharing my room had been like one long slumber party
  19. Ballet slippers, representing another attempt at something I never mastered
  20. A black cat, representing Gus, my first feline friend

Somewhere I have an Eiffel Tower, a Sweet 16 and a few others, but I have no idea where they are.

I’ve already shared accounts of the family trip to Europe, a little about my love of the phone, my dislike of piano lessons and my zodiac sign. Many of the others could easily be woven into blog tales.

Which ones would you like to hear? Or do you prefer I keep my memories to the quiet jingle of the bracelet?

Better yet, what’s on your charm bracelet?

16 Comments

Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Family and Friends, Holidays