April 4, 2018

You Thought Your Hobby Was Unusual!

After a few rather weighty subjects over the last several weeks, I thought I'd take a look at something fun today: unusual hobbies and collections. One of the joys of blogging is the time spent on the Internet researching various retirement lifestyle topics. Part of what I am learning is that humans have the ability to entertain themselves in an infinite number of ways.

Most of us have a hobby or two, something we like to indulge in during free time.  As a youngster I was a stamp and coin collector. Recently I have begun collecting and restoring vintage radios from the 1940s. I discovered a company that sells rather elaborate wooden kits of things like locomotives, racing cars, or clocks. These have been fun to put together in conjunction with my grandson. I continue to be a ham radio operator. Part of my office is filled with various transmitters, receivers, scanners, and things with dials all over them. The attic contains s few antennas , allowing me to  talk to other amateurs all over the world, or listen to programming from other countries.

Those outlets and use of my free time (and money) are quite mainstream. I am a hobby straight arrow compared to some of the stuff I found with little effort on the Internet. Just to prove my point that we are a rather diverse life form, here is a small sampling of actual hobbies and collections that exit:


Collections:
Must have a very big garage
  • real war tanks (Arnold Schwarzenegger, apparently) 
  • accordions 
  • McDonald Tray liners
  • colors (I gather paint chips from Big Box stores)
  • toasters
  • air sickness bags (there is a museum for this one)
  • carved egg shells
  • snow globes
  • cigar bands
  • swizzle sticks (my father-in-law did this)
  • sugar packets
  • Zippo lighters
  • Swingline staplers
  • handcuffs (don't ask)
  • cookie jars
  • barbed wire (I thought they were all the same!)
  • soap bars
  • decorated toilet seats
  • salt and pepper shakers (I've been to the museum in Gatlinburg, TN)

Chain Maille
If you want to make something a little out of the ordinary and are feeling medieval, there are over 600,000 sites to tell you all about making chain maille.

Friends of our family were fascinated by mead, a drink of the same time period. They made it, consumed it, and served it at parties. No one else I know found the stuff very drinkable.

In case you are looking for a hobby, or you have a lot of free time, here is a list of 50 different hobbies and activities for you to consider. Actually, if you have time to read through these items, you have time for a hobby.

As a final treat, here is a video from Youtube of some of the world's oddest collections It is less than 6 minutes long, so if you have the time enjoy what some truly unique folks do with their spare time.




I thought I'd be a little silly and trivial with this post. I hope you had a smile or two. After all, a satisfying retirement is about having fun and enjoying yourself. Hobbies are one way we do so.

What do you do to entertain yourself and occupy some of your free time? It doesn't have to as odd as some of these to add to our enjoyment!

35 comments:

  1. Technically, this may not qualify as a hobby, but I absolutely love to plan vacations. I can spend hours (lots of hours!) reading guidebooks, checking TripAdvisor and other web sites to gather information about attractions and dining options, working out an itinerary, calculating expenses and determining a budget. I truly enjoy all the research and, in a way, it actually allows me to enjoy the vacation twice.

    As for collections, I’m currently working on two – one tangible and one intangible. Although my husband and I used to collect mugs from our various vacation destinations, we have switched to collecting magnets from the National Parks we visit. This collection is easier to store and display as we simply add them to the metal range hood in our RV. The intangible item? Experiences – or, as we call them at our house, adventures. They require no physical storage space other than some space on the desk or fireplace mantel where we might choose to display photos from these experiences. I actually keep a running list of potential “adventures” which includes items both big (visiting a particular State Park three states away) and small (pick up fresh bagels and coffee and head down to the river to watch the boat traffic). The list is constantly evolving as we cross off the completed adventures and add new ones as they present themselves. Our adventures bring wonderful memories to mind, just like our collection of mugs does, but they don’t take up four boxes and a lot of space in our storage area!

    I have to admit, I've never even considered collecting war tanks . . .

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    1. Tanks would be tough to use as a toad.

      I am right there with you and planning. The sense of anticipation it creates is sometimes as good as the actual trip!

      We still collect coffee mugs of places we visit. The sheer number we have now have forced us to display the more recent or colorful and put some in storage, only to be rotated back for display every so often. Betty collects the small fabric patches that many parks and historical places sell. She put them all over our spare wheel cover on the RV and on repurposed blue jeans she had made into magazine holders for the inside of the rig.

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    2. Mary - your hobby is my hobby too! I absolutely love the planning part of travel. I like to set a good foundation that allows us to be flexible wherever we go (and we collect mugs too!)

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    3. I agree, Laura! I find that (for our family) the more we know about a particular destination, the better able we are to enjoy it. And I love finding gems that we can use. For example, last year on our way to the west coast, we visited Las Vegas for a day. I had found a tiny fact in a guide book that the Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace have one of the only two spiral escalators in the United States. So, of course we had to find it and ride on it! As the family travel planner, that kind of thing is just so rewarding to me.

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  2. Minnesota winters give me a lot of indoor time since I don't snowshoe anymore. I use the winter for all the indoor house repairs and crocheting in my spare time. I crochet hats for the homeless and have expanded to string shopping bags, also donated to the local shelter. The city is consider8ng a ban on one time use bags, something I support and I recognize that the price of a reusable bag would be better used to ourchase food. The crocheting keeps my hands busy and donating them gives me an outlet for what I produce. Thank you for your work on producing the blog and the slways interesing topics.

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    1. The movement to ban single use plastic bags and even things like plastic straws and utensils is gathering force...all good. Your hobbies that please you and benefit others are a win-win. Good for you.

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  3. I have always felt life is a banquet! SO MANY activities, interests, ideas to explore. I have a core of hobbies/interests I circle through as inspiration moves me: Watercolor, rubber stamping, cooking, studying nutrition,studying astrology,reading Tarot cards, hiking. One thing I would like to devote more time to is becoming an amateur naturalist.I enjoyed the little bit of birding activities I've participated in, and I love botanicals.. I still volunteer periodically at the Botanical Garden, but not every week. There are a couple of obscure books out there guiding one to learn to become a naturalist-- how to keep a sketch journal, how to live with and celebrate the seasons.. I also have a desire to learn more about USA and world history--I don't remember much from school days and I suspect they left a lot out!! I'd love to hear other people's interests/hobbies too.. will be following this post!!

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    1. I can see you doing some naturalist sketching. The journals and pencils are easy to carry on your bike. Or, take a picture and then copy the picture as a sketch.

      I collected books about Arizona and Southwest history for a time. But, when we downsized they had to go.

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  4. I love any form of art but, I find collage very relaxing. I use mostly handmade papers and they tear beautifully. Aside from art supplies I'm not a collector.
    b

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    1. A neighbor of ours at a previous house was a collage maker. I gather he was well known in art circles since he had exhibits of his art in Scottsdale, Maui, and San Francisco. The various textures he used fascinated me.

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  5. Regarding collections, a blog I have found is called "garbagefinds(dot)com" and is written by a young Canadian man who is making his living sorting through garbage for things to sell. It is quite fascinating and not at all unpleasant as he is quite careful. People throw away tons of stuff and sometimes it is even valuable jewelry. But the point I was getting to is the number of really odd things that he knows there are collectors who will want them. Check it out

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    1. I will certainly check out that web site. Yes, if there is a product someone will collect it.

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    2. You will get sucked into his world of garbage and not even care to come out.

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  6. Bob, given your interest in ham radio, you may find this a good read - All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. If a hobby is something that occupies time, interest, effort and money, I'd have to say cooking/baking is a hobby. I get lost in this activity plus it morphs into reading recipes in cookbooks, magazines and on-line. Then there's the menu planning and shopping. And there are the seasonal implications. Music appreciation occupies my time and that involves listening to favorite radio programs, attending concerts and hosting house concerts. And finally, walking. There was an old Nike ad that read - Walking isn't just good for your heart; it's good for your soul.

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    1. Thanks for the book referral. I will take a look.

      Cooking is a hobby for a lot of people. I have seen photos of some serious cooks whose cook and recipe books cover an entire wall.

      I do listen to old time radio shows, like Sam Spade or Bob Hope. There are plenty available on the Internet.

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    2. Mona, I have put the book on hold at our library. It sounds fascinating. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    3. I have read this book and I agree with Mona - it is excellent.

      Jude

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    4. I am picking up my copy tomorrow.

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  7. My current hobby is all things related to safety razors. Since it is a necessary chore (for me at least - I'm not much of a beard-grower), it might as well be enjoyable. My son actually got me interested a couple of years ago. I now have 5 razors. Two are modern, and three are vintage - one from 1972, one from 1954 and one from the 1930's. It is interesting to see how each one shaves differently, and also to think of the history and the things they've "seen". I also have about 5 different creams and 3 or 4 brands of blades at the moment.

    While it can obviously get as pricey as you want it to, the savings in blades alone can make it worth a try. My old Mach 3 cartridges cost about 4 bucks each. The safety razor blades cost about 15 cents each.

    I have also started asking men I know that are of a certain age about their experiences, since many would have started shaving with safety razors. It does prompt some interesting conversations and reminiscing.

    It is interesting to see what interests others here too.

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    1. Well, that is a new one for me, Dave. Safety razors are certainly less lethal than straight razors. Interesting.

      Your comment just reminded me, I knew someone who collected fountain pens. They can be quite beautiful and very expensive.

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  8. My hobbies are so "traditional". Grandchildren, gardening, canning fruits and reading. I collected hats from traditional peoples when we traveled throughout the world. After I had no where to keep them, I stopped collecting "things". We decided it was more important to just do experiences.

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    1. After a while some things just become something to dust. But, hats from around the world? That sounds fascinating.

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  9. My primary hobby is quilting and I started a collection related to that - thimbles. They don't take up much room and you would be amazed at what you can find.

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    1. I imagine thimbles can be quite colorful...right?

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  10. My hobbies are all boring. But my brother-in-law does pumpkin chucking -- hurling pumpkins as far as possible with a catapult. Yeah, it's a thing; google it if you're interested.

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  11. I have always loved collecting. I started with key rings when I was young and collected over 100 (and have no idea what happened to them), but moved up to silver charms when I was in high school, and have a beloved charm bracelet with over 60 charms from all over the U.S. I never wear it, and my daughters aren't interested in it other than to look, so I may pass it on to my granddaughter eventually.

    I collected several things when we lived in Japan: iron teapots, cotton hand towels (tenugui), ceramic hibachis, dishes, blue & white porcelain, etc. My favorite collection though was and still is chopstick rests (hashioki). I have over 400 different ones, and all have blue in them somewhere. I don't have a place to display them right now so they're wrapped up in a box and put away, but one day I intend to put them out again. I haven't bought any for a while for that reason and because the price has climbed over the years. They used to be around $1-$3 each when I started collecting but now they're $6-$9 each (and up). So, I mostly look and admire these days, but they're still very tempting. I remain amazed at the variety of designs you can find for such a humble piece of tableware.

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    1. What I love about this post is that it highlights the incredible variety of interests and creativity we all have inside us. I have never heard of chopstick rests, though I assumed they were something that chopsticks lie on or for storing them.

      Well, I found the web site, Everything Chopsticks, and looked at pages of beautiful and unique rests for chopsticks for sale. How fascinating, and what a great idea to remind you of your family in that part of the world. When your Big Adventure is done, hopefully your new home will have room to display them!

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  12. I collect A&W Root Beer Mugs and antique electric lamps of all kinds. I especially love floor lamps. Most of mine have three arms on the top and a center light. The three arms operate one or two or three at once. The top center light is a separate control, too. I use only the top lights when I entertain for the mood. Additionally, some of the floor lamps have a control for a bottom light that faces the floor, sort of a night light. Since I am not an electrician, I have to pay someone to wire the lamps!

    Of course, then I had to learn to cover the wire frames so I could have lampshades! Since sewing is a hobby, that works out well.

    Genealogy is a hobby I often neglect.

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    1. I see the type of floor lamps you describe at flea markets and antique stores. Some of them are quite beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen one with a light at the bottom, which is an idea that new lamp makers should add. That would be very helpful.

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    2. you cannot really see the light. However, there is a little push button on the base that I use my foot to operate. I have two with the very early eisen glass. They look like a marble base, but they are very fragile.

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  13. I am very unimaginative in this regard. I look around my house and I can't even find anything remotely interesting to report. I do like learning things. Is that a hobby? I'm still working on Chinese and I have started taking piano lessons.

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    1. Learning as a hobby? Absolutely. Maybe a better word in your case is passions. You find something that interests you and you pursue it, like learning Chinese and your on-going martial arts and Tai Chi activities. Starting music lessons could open up another area of passion for you.

      Relax, you are right there with the rest of us!

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  14. I have lots of hobbies, but I do not intentionally collect anything, as we already have too much stuff. Rob, however, likes to collect a variety of things, such as fishing gear, computers and computer parts, tools, bicycles and bike parts, Hi-Fi equipment, old cameras, and so forth. All of his collections relate to his existing hobbies. Like me, he has many!

    Jude

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    1. I assume you have helped him organize such an impressive collection of different things!

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