I Have No Hobbies

I have long been irked by the word hobby. Such as when people say to me, Oh, you’re an artist? What a great hobby!

I cringe every time I hear this. What does a hobby imply? To me, a hobby is something that is fun, but if you don’t have time for it, that’s no big deal. It’s extra. You don’t get paid for it, and you do it primarily for relaxation, that it is secondary to your real work (what you do for money) and you are expected to drop it when it is no longer relaxing or fun (i.e., there’s more important work to do so it doesn’t fit into your schedule anymore). People look at you funny if you spend too much time on your hobbies, and parents with small children certainly don’t have time for them. By this definition, I have no hobbies. Yes, with a family and paid work and unpaid work, I certainly don’t have time for hobbies. About my art, and my garden, and several related activities that feed into the same vision, I feel that:

1. I’d like to get paid or compensated or earn a livelihood from these activities, I just haven’t figured out a way to do it yet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t or can’t

2. I believe they have social value and importance to other people, not just as stress relief or a break from my “real” work

3. I continue to pursue them even when they add extra stress to my life, because I think they are too important to let go of in the face of other responsibilities

4. If I were to drop some of my “hobbies”  when they became inconvenient, other living beings would die.

This, to me, sounds more like vocation than hobby. The other day I tried to think of a single thing that I do on a regular basis that would qualify as a “hobby”, and I could not think of any. Maybe collecting Breyer Model Horses….but I stopped the collecting part long ago, and now I just look at the (very cool) collection.

So, in an effort to make peace with the word “hobby”, I looked up the etymology of the word. Bless my soul, Hobby used to mean a kind of horse. A lightweight, small, versatile  workhorse. Or a child’s toy horse, as in “hobby horse”. OH! there you go! Yes I do have lots of hobbies! Probably about 30 of them lined up on a shelf, that I collected as a child!

Ah, there. I feel better about the word hobby now. How can I hate a word that started out as meaning a kind of horse?


What’s Blooming?

What do you get when you cross an art opening at a gallery with a farmer’s market? An art fair! That’s kind of what it feels like to me, anyway. I’ve been in gallery shows, and helped out a farmer’s market booth, and find both activities immensely enjoyable. Tomorrow is my first outdoor art fair and I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of new folks and showing off the fruits of my labor. The weather is supposed to be on the hot side of perfect.

I’m ready!

If you’re in the area and looking for something fun to do, check out What’s Blooming on Harrison. 

I’ll be at booth #78 on the South side of Harrison Street, east of Lombard.

Then after that I’ve got to focus a little bit on What’s Blooming in my garden. The weeds have definitely gotten the upper hand this year, so they need a little talking to! My little dwarf peach tree is leafing out and my fig tree looks awesome. The persimmons, japanese maple and paperbark maple are looking happy too. It occurred to me the other day that I might eventually be able to take the flaky bark from the mature paperbark maple and roll them into beads, kind of like the Ugandan barkcloth beads I bought from Mzuribeads.com. That might work together in a necklace. I also need to plant my canna lilies so I make sure to have lots of the perfect, round, unbreakable seeds that look great as spacer beads. They are a deep chocolate-brown. And of course, over the next week or so I need to plant lots of scarlet runner beans, the magic bean that started my jewelry making frenzy.

I’ll still have plenty of edibles, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, and such are going in the ground too. And then I need to harvest the bumper crop of garlic, carrots and purple peacock broccoli that lived through the winter and completely took over the square foot gardens.

What’s Blooming indeed!