The startling joy of non-computer hobbies.

When I was in college, I used to work at a horse therapy ranch called the Ride On Center for Kids.   It’s a few miles away from Austin, and provides therapeutic riding programs.  Mostly for children with autism, or cerebral palsy, or other forms of physical and cognitive challenges.

There were two main girls that I worked with, and they were sisters.  One was seven, the other was six, and both were severely autistic.  In our sessions each day, both sisters would ride a horse around the ring, and go through little exercises: Hitting a bell affixed to a post, grabbing a flag from my hand and placing it in a raised bucket.  The point was to feel the horse’s rhythmic walking motion beneath them, and, feeling secure in that, perform tasks simultaneously.  It was a trust thing.

But one of the sisters, Victoria, got overstimulated.  Often.

When the weather was threatening, and it looked like it might rain, she’d kick her feet at my hands as I led her horse around the ring.  She was worried, and couldn’t concentrate.  I’d offer her a flag encouragingly, and she’d smack it away, as if to say: “Who can think about flags at a time like this!”

I have been feeling a lot like Victoria lately.

Do you ever get overstimulated for long stretches, and you don’t know why?  For the past couple of nights, I’ve been staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning — 3:00 last week — because it’s been really hard to turn my brain off.   I’m not stressed out, necessarily.  Just ON.

On those nights, when Ross is snoring next to me and I’m still surfing the Internet mindlessly, visiting all my favorite blogs and allowing my synapses to fire away, I begin to think that maybe I’ve gotten a little codependent on my computer.


This is the first week in a while that I haven’t had aerial silks classes or samba school.  Which is a giant organization of 50+ drummers and 50+ dancers, drummers playing samba beats, the dancers performing Afro-Brazilian sequences.  I’m on the dancing side, and Ross is on the drumming side.  I didn’t go to silks because we didn’t have any class this week, but do you want to know why I didn’t go to samba?  BECAUSE I STAYED UP TOO LATE THE NIGHT BEFORE. Surfing the freaking web.

Now, I love the Internet.  I really do.  But if I’m not careful, it sucks my creativity dry.  I so easily get pulled into a blog-reading and Facebook-lurking vortex, that by the time I pull myself out, I feel dazed and oddly out-of-touch.  Which is the very affliction that social media is supposed to cure, right?

Anyway.  Pardon the whining.  The real point of this post was to hear about all of the non-computer hobbies you all are enjoying right now.  It is summer!  Half of my friends are teachers-gone-wild right now, waking up at 10:00am and brunching on their apartment balcony.  They woke up at 10 because they went booty dancing the night before.  On a Tuesday.

So what hobbies / fun stuff are you doing offline, now that it’s the summer?  Here’s what I am trying out.
1. Decorating my house.  One paycheck at a time, the new house is getting cuter.  Right now we are still rounding up basic things, such as curtains.  And chairs.  But, all in due time!  During broke weeks, I collect ideas of things rather than buy them.  For example:

There’s a person under there!  Can you see her?
This work is by Australian-based artist Emma Hack, and I want her art in my office.  Like whoa.
2. Aerial silks.  I’ve been taking these classes since January now, and people, I am completely obsessed.  The best part about taking silks is that you are forced to think about absolutely nothing else while you are doing it, because if your mind is wandering, you could hurt yourself.  Or (more likely) you get all tangled up in the silks, like I have on many occasions, and need to have your teacher come untangle you.  Like you are five.
(Would you like to see a picture of my teacher, by the way?  Here she is.)

So unbelievably graceful.  When she demonstrates a trick in class, all of my classmates and I just stand there slack-jawed for a moment … and then go, “uh, can you do that again?”
We learned a new dance routine this session, and next time I’m in the studio, I’ll take my camera with me and tape it so you can see.  
3. Photography.  I am still a complete moron at taking pictures of myself, which is why you haven’t seen any outfit posts yet.  But I can take ok pictures of still things, like food.  And flowers.

Eh?  Eh??
I took these at the Four Seasons on Wednesday, where I had a fancy date with myself.  That’s one of my weirder hobbies.  Going out to eat, solo.  I take a book, and it is marvelous.  Do any of you do that?

What offline hobbies are you trying right now?