Nov 18, 2016


5 Hobbies and why I love them:

Hobbies. Huh.  My first thought was I don't know if I have time for one hobby much less five of them. But, I thought about it for a bit and I realized I do have a few pastimes, even if I don't get to enjoy them as often as I'd like.

In order of how often I get to spend time on these activities:

1. Running
I love running for the sense of accomplishment I feel when I'm done.  I love it because I feel like I'm taking care of myself and my body when I run. I love it because when my pace is right, a good song has shuffled up on my phone, and I'm pushing myself without feeling like crap, it feels really good.  I love it for the challenge.  And I love the camraderie I have with other runners.  I began running more as a social activity, and I still miss running with other people--Vince, the FourRunners, Erwin. But I've come to appreciate the time to myself too, and the chance to think and enjoy my music. Most of the year I run between 2 and 4 times a week.  4 is the goal, 2 is acceptable.

I think it's time to buy some new running shoes

2. Reading
I love reading for the escape.  I love stories (which accounts for my third hobby also).  I love a good novel that keeps me turning the pages, but also provides me with thoughtful insights into life and the human condition. I also love reading to learn new things.  As long as the material is not dry or overly technical, I love reading to learn.  That's why I try to read Time magazine cover to cover every week. If you count reading online, this is actually the hobby I do the most.  I literally read in every spare moment I have. When I was younger, in the days before the ubiquity of online devices I always had a book or magazine in my hand.  Now the phone suffices. It's  number two though because I only sit down for the purpose of reading maybe once or twice a week.  Maybe.  So the reading material I'm meaning to get to tends to pile up.

On my nightstand: What I'm reading now. As you can see, I'm a little behind on my magazines.

3.  Movies.
I love movies for much the same reason I love reading. A story well-told, with complex characters that provide insights into human nature and the human experience are reasons I love watching movies. I don't love all movies.  I never watch horror films.  Few action films interest me. And I'm particular about comedies. Just as I like reading to learn, I enjoy good documentaries as well.  The "prestige" television shows that have been appearing on cable TV for the past few years also appeal to me in the same way that movies do. Unfortunately, with two small kids at home, I don't get to the movies very often--maybe a couple of times a year.  And even at home, it's hard to find time to watch movies. My Netflix queue has over 50 movies in it and that number hasn't budged in years as I tend to add more titles once I've watched some on the queue

Some of the movies in my personal collection. I don't often buy movies but on the rare occasion that I feel like I can watch a movie over and over again, I'll buy the film. I've seen all of these movies multiple times. When Harry Met Sally is my favorite movie of all time.

4.  Live Music
I love live music first and foremost because I love music. But I also like specifically hearing songs that I love live. I like that you're never quite sure what you're going to get in a live performance.  Even the less than perfect moments when the song goes off-key or the band messes up appeal to me. I like the rawness and authenticity of live performances. I enjoy watching my favorite artists work at their craft. I like to be up close where I can see the roadies moving around on stage, trading out the guitars and placing water bottles strategically  for the performers. I love hearing my favorite songs reinterpreted live. In fact some of my favorite versions of some songs are ones that can't be found on any official recording--they are bootleg versions of live songs.  The live versions of "Beautiful Day" and "One Tree Hill" played at my first U2 concert in Tokyo, and which I found the bootleg recordings of a few days later are my favorite versions of those songs.  It's also a special treat when a favorite artist covers a song by another favorite artist (as when Mat Kearney covered U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" at a show I attended this summer). And of course sharing the experience with thousands of other fans is amazing. Those moments where we're all singing "Pride (In the Name of Love)" with U2 or "The Sound" with Switchfoot are transcendent.  I don't get to pursue this hobby very often.  This year I went to two live shows, the year before two back-to-back U2 concerts.  There are years where I don't go to any concerts at all.

I was at the July 5 show in Chicago at Soldier Field

5.  Cooking
I love cooking because I like to eat good food, and I like to try new things. Now the truth is,  most of the time I don't cook as a hobby; I cook out of necessity.  There was a time when my goal was to make something  new every time I  cooked.  If I could remember making a recipe in the last year, I didn't want to make it. These days I've even given up making new things because my children prefer "simple food" as my older son put it.  Barbara also tends to be. . .selective, shall we say, in what she likes.   I've also become somewhat of pie specialist, and I'm always excited to try a new pie.  The last new recipe I tried was for an apricot pie.  Even though I cook several times a week, I consider this a hobby that I practice the least since it's been a long time since I cooked for enjoyment rather than simply because we need to eat.  There's a lot of room for growth in my culinary experience.  I'm not a real cook in that I don't make up recipes of my own and I don't even taste my own food as I"m preparing it.  I am a rigid recipe-follower, but I wouldn't mind learning more about the art of cooking, and developing my hobby into a real talent.  Maybe when the kids are older.

Pasta bake for my  picky family. Elijah doesn't like the Morningstar Crumbles (fake ground beef), so the top section is his.  Babs doesn't eat cheese so the middle section is for her. And Ezra and I share the bottom third, that contains both cheese and meat.

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