Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekly Geeks - 2009.04

Well, I was quite late posting my first weekly geek entry - yesterday (not a good way to start!) - so I thought I would try to post in a more timely fashion this week. The meme asks:

#1. What are you passionate about besides reading and blogging? For example, are you crafty (knitting, woodworking, scrapbooking, model building)? Do you cook? Into gaming (computer or board)? Sports (player or spectator)? Photography? Maybe you like geocaching, rock climbing? Or love attending events like renaissance fairs, concerts? Music? Dancing? You get the idea.

Tell us why you're passionate about it. Post photos of what you've made or of yourself doing whatever it is you love doing.

#2. Get us involved. Link to tutorials, recipes, Youtube videos, websites, fan sites, etc, anything that will help us learn more about your interest or how to do your hobby. Maybe you'd like to link to another hobbyist whose work you admire or tell us about a book or magazine related to your interest.

#3. Visit other Weekly Geeks. Link in your post to other Geeks who've peaked your interest in their passion. Or maybe you might find a fellow aficionado among us, link to them.

Well, as I have stated before, I am a singularly focused person, so while I have had other passions in my life besides reading, they have tended to be my singular focus for the decade and then I move on. It is not that I decide that I don't like it anymore, it has mostly to do with "life" happening and my priorities shift.

I guess as a student my other passion would be considered music. While I would buy the occasional record (they were not called vinyls at the time) and always listened to the radio, my real passion in music was to play the flute. I started flute lessons in 6th grade and continued through my sophomore year in college. I can honestly say that if I did not have band and orchestra in my life at that time, I am not sure I would have survived those turbulent high school days. The camaraderie of fellow "bandies" fulfilled that sense of belonging that all teenagers desire. (While I do not have pictures of this glorious time in my life right at my finger tips -- I urge you to read Sheri's post to see some lovely vintage photos, as well as a great essay on high school days.)

While band initially fulfilled that same need for acceptance when I began college (especially on a new campus 6 hours from home), by my junior year I had met my own group of friends outside of band and decided that it was time to say good-bye to the bandie lifestyle (and....quite honestly....I never enjoyed marching outside in freezing cold rain during those fall football half-time shows). I am not an artistic individual (my brother received all those genes), but I do enjoy creativity. Somehow I was introduced to Counted Cross Stitch at this time of my life and that quickly replaced the flute practice. I think I liked the feeling of actually "being" artistic without having to have any talent. I mean, you start off with a blank piece of fabric - and end up with a beautifully crafted piece of artwork. It reminded me of a sophisticated "paint by number" - but less messy. This phase lasted through my early thirties and actually led me to meet a group of terrific women at my church. For about 3 years we would meet on a VERY regular basis once a week to cross stitch, chat, and encourage one another. I was very blessed by their friendship. (Again, I do not have any pictures of the cross-stitch I have made, but if you want to see some lovely designs, visit Kim's post).

While I continued to cross-stitch off and on during my thirties (usually incredibly "on" during the holidays when I would have great ideas of making family gifts, and "off" the rest of the year because I had burnt out), I developed a passion for gourmet cooking. I wrote about this in a previous post, so I will not go into details. My real love is desserts. There was even a brief time when I turned this passion into a part time catering business, but since my kitchen was not officially up to code, I had to keep the advertising on the "down low." Cooking also filled that creative need - and the rewards for a job well-done were instantaneous (verbal praise and clean plates). It is funny how the constant complaints of little ones can quickly dampen the creative kitchen spirit ("I like the blue box macaroni and cheese - not this stuff"). Life became stressful raising 3 children, and I began to turn to casseroles and hamburger helper. Now my 15 year old daughter is the dessert queen of the household, and I am more than willing pass the torch on. While I have many cookbooks at home (although I went through a purging stage about 15 years ago and gave away just as many) - and even Mandy is starting to build her own collection, both of us use as a great starting point for any dish.

As gourmet cooking was fading......I was introduced to Creative Memories. This introduction quickly became a big-time obsession. At this time in my life I had several BOXES of unorganized pictures that I was desperate to do something with. I have always taken pictures, but more because I wanted a keepsake of the memory, rather than the artistic hobby of photography. Creative Memories was perfect for me because it was practical (I was doing something useful with objects I already owned) AND it was creative (organizing those pictures in albums that others would want to see). I truly loved the "journaling" aspect that the company was passionate about --- tell the story because photos do not speak for themselves 50 years after the event. I became a consultant and eventually rose to the ranks of Senior Unit Leader. Now, I am NOT, repeat NOT a salesman, and that part of being a consultant never appealed to me. But when I was educating people about proper photo preservation - and when I showed them that anyone can create keepsake albums - I was transported into another world. I loved it. And I truly feel that it is because of this decade-long experience with Creative Memories that I was able to walk into a classroom and teach without any "proper" training or certification.

I am still passionate about scrapbooking - but I simply do not have the time. I have grand dreams of completing many precious scrapbooks once I am fully retired. The craft of scrapbooking, however, requires quite a bit of space - and lots of tools, papers, and decorative items. It is the thought of lugging everything out - and leaving it out - that hinders my progress at this time in my life. I have recently, however, in the past 5 years or so, discovered the papercraft of Rubber Stamping, This uses many of the same tools and products as scrapbooking (there is that practical piece) and it is less time consuming to create one card vs one scrapbook page. I also like the fact that my time spent doing something creative for me can be translated to a word of encouragement for someone else. It is the ministerial aspect of helping others through this craft that appeals to me most. Again, my artistic talent is nil, so I greatly rely on Split Coast Stampers for ideas and tutorials.

A final I went back and re-read what I wrote (again - a little verbose - sorry!) I have discovered that all these passions in my life not only involved some kind of creative expression, they also involved a need for companionship; a need to feel like I belong. Band is a community of musicians; my cross stitch group was an invaluable source of encouragement; Creative Memories allowed me to hold monthly "crops" in my home (similar to quilting bees, for those not accustomed to the lingo) where usually 10-12 women would bring their photos, supplies and friendship. In fact, I met my dearest friend, Jeanne, through Creative Memories and she and I continue to get together on a semi-regular basis and create cards. I think this is why I have fallen in love with this book-blogging community. Not only does it provide intellectual stimulation, introduce me to other genres and authors, and validate my obsessive/compulsive passion for reading and books - but there is a definite sense that I belong to a community who truly cares and encourages one another. If you think I am exaggerating. just take a look at the 56 responses (and counting) to Wendy's loss this week. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to her.


  1. What a fun post to read...and the similarities are eerie! I, too, tend to be singularly focused, played the clarinet instead of the flute, went through a serious cross-stitch phase, and still love cooking (my 15 year old daughter often helping). I never tried scrapbooking, but was the world's biggest sports fan (my husband says it was wasted on him). When companionship and creativity go together, there's nothing better!

  2. I'm like you - some interests have come and gone, but I've loved reading the whole time. Great post.

  3. Terrific post! Thanks for sharing some of your interests. My passions come and go, but books and some kind of needlework have stayed with me for years. And my love of cooking will likely never fade either.

  4. This post is so much fun. Outside of reading, I like to travel. I travel on a big trip once a year, Hawaii or Hong Kong to visit my family. I also like to go to symphony concerts.

  5. hi! I agree that this book-blogging community is awesome. When I read abt your Creative Memories love, I checked where you were from: KC area! wonderful!! I used to drive to Concordia MO from KC to attend crops and I loved and miss that group of women.


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