Friday, February 10, 2006

I Need A Hobby - Part 2

Around noon today my boss, very graciously and probably not a little out of a sense of guilt for having previously given me grief over my request for time off to go see my ailing mother, offered to let me take the rest of the day off so I could pack for my trip. This was both generous and somewhat surprising but remembering the old adage of not looking a gift horse in the mouth I accepted with alacrity and a sincere word of assurance that I would, indeed, be trying to fit in some work inbetween packing too. He amazingly dismissed this and said, "Nah! Just take the rest of the day off. And don't worry about putting it on vacation either."

Will wonders never cease? Someone does love me today. Or maybe this is what the universe was trying to tell me all along through my telegraphing keychain.

After I got home an hour ago I kicked off my cute new work shoes, poured myself a really tall glass of soda and watched half of an old favorite (Sabrina) curled up on the sofa. The things that make a girl feel wonderful sometimes. I felt like a million dollars. Maybe it is something about not working on a Friday afternoon that makes a working girl suddenly feel like a pampered princess.

So now I am seriously considering lying around as a potential hobby. Can that be done? Can Friday afternoons spent sipping tall drinks (even if they are the PG-13 kind), watching old movies from the couch and giving myself a manicure be considered a leisure activity? Probably. Assuredly. But since I can't count on my boss's generosity every week or a slow enough day where I won't get frantic calls mid-movie if I were to just take off like that I think I should stick to my resolution of finding a new hobby.

Knitting - Recommended by two commenters and my friend Heather who promises that once I get started I will never stop. As a bonus my aunt is always knitting sweaters and scarves so I can definitely reach out to her for help while I am still learning to count stitches.

Hiking - Another great suggestion and one that I enjoy doing, weather permitting. Unfortunately, weather here is not very reliable.

Writing/Blogging - Writing is something I have always done. Over the years I have written everything from a childish rhyme (when I was six - it made the school magazine) to a burning piece on feminism (which made headlines in the school paper and for some bizarre still-inexplicable reason endeared me to half the guys in my year) to a short story that my teacher made me stand up and read in class (oh, the horror!) I kind of stopped after I got busy with work and I am really glad to have this now. But a lot of the writing that I do here is introspective and self-exploratory and kind of private so I still need a day hobby, one that I don't feel compelled to hide from people.

Planting/gardening - Sounds great except I have the .. what's the opposite of a green thumb? I killed a potted plant once. I have considered planting a small herb garden on my balcony though. I saw this cute Ikea gardening table a few years back, aluminium top with wooden legs and big silver baskets to hold supplies on a shelf underneath. I ran to it and stood there dreamily fondling the surface for about an hour before reluctantly walking away because back then I was living in a tiny windowless closet that sometimes passes for apartment in big cities and it seemed cruel to bring living objects into that tepid air and sunless existence. But now, maybe. Besides, herbs are supposed to be fairly low maintenance so there's less of a chance I would kill one.

Wheel throwing/pottery making - This sounds absolutely fascinating and makes me dream of sensual evenings a la the Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze scene from Ghost. Except I know next to nothing about this and I keep thinking I need the gigantic loft shown in that movie and my own pottery wheel and plentiful supply of mud readily lying around and I hardly have the space for that.

Reading/Movies - While great for enriching one's mind, nourishing one's soul, lifting one's spirit or just making one laugh it's someone else's creativity and I am only the receiver. I like both reading and watching movies but more as recreations than hobbies. (I know I am splitting hairs but I want something that allows me self-expression the way writing does)

Music - Same although I could probably make a hobby out of burning custom mixes and stay busy for the rest of my life. And then there's the fact that I have always wanted to play the guitar.

Crafts - I would love to design and create some beaded jewelry. Maybe a little charm bracelet.

Photography - This sounds like fun and I have the supplies. A digital camera, photo paper and printer may not exactly be Ansel Adams but it's a start.

And, finally,

Drawing/painting - I used to do a lot of this once. A few of my pastels even found their way into exhibitions thanks to overenthusiastic art teachers. I think I even won some prizes. But over the last few years running from city to city, lugging luggage and a laptop bag around airports and catching up on bills and sleep during the weekends left very little time for much else. Typing this suddenly makes me realize how much I have missed it.

Suddenly I feel like I have so many things to do. I am going to pick up some drawing supplies this weekend and maybe some jewelry beads for starters. Later I would like to try all the above ideas.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,

3/09/2006 8:38 AM  
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