Lens-Artists Challenge: Pastimes

Lens-Artists Challenge #97: Pastimes

With so much time being spent at home, many of us have been looking for new pastimes or taking up old ones in order stay occupied or even sane. So that is my theme for this challenge – Pastimes. It could be something that you are trying for the first time or a hobby or interest that you have enjoyed for many years. Feel free to dig into the archives or take a picture to illustrate a current pastime.

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Trying to stay sane…that can be a challenge all on its own.

However…

The days begin with one of my favorite pastimes since I’ve been retired and empty nested. Coffee and the local newspaper. The paper itself is getting thinner by the day. Less ads with businesses shut down. No current sports to cover.

“Letters to the Editor” are ramping up though. Almost as much as during the presidential primary. I find them entertaining but I am also intrigued at the drama people thrive on and perpetuate.

I also read the obituaries. I always have. Some may think that’s odd or morbid or depressing. However, the obits often tell the fascinating – and often inspiring – stories of lives well lived…details of places visited, accomplishments and family. My favorite discoveries are the glimpses into sweet memories or personal quirks that make me think…I would have enjoyed meeting this person…

Of course not everyone’s obituary is like that. Some (probably due to the expense of listing) are brief and sum up the life of a 90 year old citizen with no details whatsoever. I wonder about them.

My late mother-in-law used to claim she read the obits faithfully every day to make sure she wasn’t in there. Sounds like reason enough for me.

The paper may still take half the morning to read while I sip and enjoy. Who knows…maybe eventually I’ll find some positive news.

morning coffee

 

A new pastime due to the pandemic has been a work-in-progress jigsaw puzzle. It waits for completion on the end of the dining table near the window…helping take my mind off the latest crisis. Perhaps fueled by my return to watching the evening news…just in case there is a breakthrough in testing or research or something hopeful.

We just finished our second puzzle (this one full of dogs looking very relaxed). We will admire it for a few days and then plan to move on to the next one.

puzzle

There is a patch of woods behind our condo building, which I have mentioned before in this blog. Many of my macro shots originated there. It has a few paths as well as an unpaved access road for the utility company. It borders a state highway, so it is not as quiet as I would like.

However it’s still a place of refuge during these days.

woods path

When all else fails – go outside! Walk! Sometimes I plug my white earbuds into iTunes and listen to one of my many playlists. Perhaps “Energy Dance Mix” or “Motown Choices.” There’s nothing like Aretha belting out R E S P E C T or Diana’s soaring Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to lift your spirits or quicken your step.

With my camera close at hand, I keep an eye out for potential Eureka moments when the sun is at the perfect angle in the afternoon. The golden hour that photographers get excited about.

And then at the end of the day…

I find that I have returned to a pastime that originated a very long time ago. When writing was my default – especially in troubling times. During my childhood I wrote feverishly in diaries (I say “feverishly” because the handwriting often had that look to it) about everything I did…down to the most mundane listings of television shows I watched. Emotions and opinions jumped out every so often too. Much of it is boring as sin to read now, but it served its purpose back then.

When the pandemic hit, I started writing at night again. Usually in bed before turning out the light. Just summarizing the day…and eventually the statistics. At first I thought…this is silly…but then did it anyway as it felt like the most natural thing to do. Perhaps to make sense of what was going on…or something.

I feel like I sleep a little better too.

I dug out a diary from 1965 to show here with my current one.

I wonder what the children of today are writing in their diaries…about how they are passing the time.

Time will tell.

26 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge: Pastimes

  1. A poignant post, Andrea. Love the path for walking–and Motown, YES! Haven’t gotten a puzzle out yet…no time–but the treadmill commitment begins “by Saturday” πŸ™‚

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  2. Loved your post this week OLU (aka Andrea I’m happy to see!). I too do coffee and the local paper every morning. Locals laugh about it but I love seeing the local goings-on. I always smile when I see AP reports that I’d read 3 days earlier online LOL. I used to keep a diary when I was younger but gave it up long ago. Now my blog is my way of following my history through the years. I just did blog-to-book for my past 7 years which was really fun. Anyway, thanks for joining us and keep photographing and puzzling on!

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    1. Thank you Tina! The local paper does sure give a glimpse into the community you live in. I figure it’s always good to know what’s going on πŸ™‚
      I am intrigued by your mention of a blog-to-book project. How did you make that happen? I would love to do something like that – any ideas are most welcome!

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      1. There are several companies who do it Andrea. I chose to use Pixxibook and am very pleased w the result. You have NO control over how the pages lay out but the images come through beautifully as does the text. The downside is the max # of pages/book and the cost. But for me it was well worth it.

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      2. Thanks so much for this information. I will check it out. The quality of the book is my priority (over layout, which would be nice…), so it’s helpful to know what your opinion is! How nice to have a hard copy of all your gorgeous photos and posts!

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  3. Such an interesting take on the theme! I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on looking at the obituaries in newspaper. As I get older, I find myself looking more and more at obituaries online to see if there are any familiar names. We used to get a daily newspaper but sometime during one of our economy drives we cancelled it, much to my regret. Reading the news on the internet just isn’t the same. And I miss the crossword puzzle. I love your comparison between the two diaries! Although I don’t keep a diary as such, I do maintain a yearly desk diary with a brief description of anything of note each day, such as appointments, visits to family etc. The kids always call on me when they’re looking for a date for something that happened ten, twenty or sometimes even thirty years ago. Thank you so much for participating in the challenge.

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    1. Thank you! I also sadly discover people I know listed in the obituaries. I notice the ages too – and how so many are not older than I am – which used to be the case. I could “read” the local paper on the internet, but the screen is too limiting and I get enough screen time as it is. You’re right, it just isn’t the same. I like the physical paper. Glad you liked my diary angle. Your yearly desk diary reminds me – I have saved our wall calendars (which listed everything going on in our busy family) since the late 1970s. So that’s where I find old info like you do. πŸ™‚ (or maybe we just have incredible memories LOL)

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  4. That is a beautiful forest. I would spend a lot of time in it. I’m not keeping a journal (learned THAT lesson) but I admire you for doing it. I’m leaving it up to others to chronicle and report on this strange historical moment. ❀

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    1. Thanks. I do enjoy the forest’s proximity to where I live. It is something I didn’t have nearby when we lived in a house. Well, we’ll see how long I keep the diary going. Hopefully the pandemic will end before I run out of interest in recording such details!😊

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  5. Thank you for sharing your past-times with us. My mom saved obituaries and wedding announcements. I found so many of them in her papers that I ended up being blessed with to sort through when she moved to assisted living. As I read each one, I felt like you say you do, I wondered what kind of person they were and if I would’ve enjoyed hanging out with them. I loved seeing your side-by-side diaries, very creative. And your penmanship has stayed beautiful all these years!

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    1. Thanks πŸ™‚ The diaries are a unique look back, that’s for sure. The obits used to be longer (in our local paper) before they started charging money to publish them. They still can be a fascinating read.

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