25 June 2008

In the Hobby Lobby

Do you ever feel like all the good hobbies are taken? I have been on the hunt for a hobby for the better part of 4 years, and to no avail. I suppose that to actively look for a hobby somehow defeats the purpose; aren't they supposed to be natural expressions of things we're good at? But I just can't seem to land on that one thing (one, at least, please!) that I can call my own. Sure, I'm good at some things like organizing (snoozefest) ... [long pause here while I try to think of things]... being a friend (NOT a hobby), reading (who doesn't?), skiing (I'm really great those 2 times a year), lounging (actually, I'm not so good at this because I'm too busy organizing), going to restaurants (great, I like to pay a lot to eat food) and I like to pick out greeting cards. See what I have to work with?

In talking to my friend Jessica (who, gratefully, is
on the hobby hunt too), we realized that when we think of hobbies, we automatically think that they must be something creative. Things that come to mind: sewing, painting, knitting, cooking, taking photos, quilting, playing an instrument, building, writing... you get the idea. I enjoy dabbling in creativity, but with a creative husband and irritatingly creative friends, I'm just about always playing second fiddle (I did try playing mandolin... hobby potential TBD). I suppose a hobby doesn't have to be exclusively creative, but I would like it to reflect something I'm good at or something I enjoy--something unique to me.

So, what to do? Anyone have some good hobby suggestions? Here are some guidelines when proposing hobby ideas:

1. Not too expensive (I'm not about to buy a yacht or take polo lessons).
2. Not a huge time commitment (this should be a hobby, not a day job).
3. Fun (sorry, I'm good at organizing but I'm not going to file your old bank statements or check the expiration dates on your old spices).
4. No collections.
5. No scrapbooking.

That's it. Sounds easy, huh?

24 June 2008

On Education

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

-Robert Frost

A fine reason to go back to school.

19 June 2008

Turnip Tales

This past week we received our second box of veggies from our CSA program, in which we discovered napa cabbage, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, purple-top turnips, head lettuce and baby beets. In order to dialogue about our experiences, our church has started a blog where we can reflect on our participation with Mike and Clare's Farm and Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm. The idea is to provide an opportunity to share thoughts, photos, recipes, triumphs and challenges. Check out the blog and my guest post for this week!

18 June 2008


On Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting a graduation party for our friend, Cristina. We have developed a close friendship with her over the years since she came to the US from Romania to start her undergraduate education at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Fortunately, when we moved to Chicago, so did she, and she has just completed her Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She is an inspiration to many and we are exceedingly proud of her. Congratulations, Cristina!

13 June 2008

"May, which stamp would you like to wear?"

It was on this day, June 13, 88 years ago in 1920 that the US Postal Service ruled that children may not be sent via parcel post. The parcel post method of shipping, in which items can weigh up to 70 pounds, was started by Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock on January 1, 1913 under the administration of President Taft. According to this Smithsonian Institution Libraries site, "In 1914, the parents of a blonde four-year-old named May Pierstroff sent her from Grangeville, Idaho to her grandparents in another part of the state for 53 cents, the going rate for chickens. Word of her excursion quickly prompted the Post Office Department to forbid sending any human being by mail."

Perhaps the US Postal Service should reconsider this restriction given its lack of business in recent years.

11 June 2008

Further Confirmation: Summer Is Not for Working

I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me:
O what sweet company!

But to go to school in a summer morn, --
O it drives all joy away!
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.

Ah then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour;
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning’s bower,
Worn through with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring!

O father and mother if buds are nipped,
And blossoms blown away;
And if the tender plants are stripped
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay, --

How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?

William Blake, "The Schoolboy" from Songs of Experience (1794)

I'm pretty sure my buds are being nipped.

Signs of Summer

05 June 2008

Random Resources

Here are a few interesting websites I've happened upon.

eNature.com | An online field guide to over 5,500 species of everything from seashells to birds to wildflowers.

Earth911 | Wondering where to dispose of an old cell phone or fluorescent bulbs? Input your disposable and zip code here to find out the recycling or re-use location near you.

The Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan
| For your political amusement and/or bemusement...

| Input ingredient, get recipe.

World Ark | The magazine produced by Heifer International. I've received this publication at home for a few months now, and I'm impressed by its in-depth approach to various and complex issues.