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Your toys/hobbies ?
Old 05-18-2015, 07:22 PM   #1
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Your toys/hobbies ?

Would be interesting to hear 1) what folks who have ER'ed have for hobbies toys and 2) Did dream of have "all the time in the world" for your interests before you ER'ed and how has it been since you did?

I ask that because sometimes we think nirvana is to have all the "free" time we want, but then when we do our interests change. Has that happened to anyone? Lost interest, or picked things that you never thought of?

Another thread called these "core pursuits" a term that works well for me.

I am about 1.7 years away from ER and have lots of toys/hobbies..... and look forward to ditching that job and spending more time with them!
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:10 PM   #2
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  • Driving a Miata
  • Amateur Radio
  • Restoring old electronics - the sot that glow and heat the place in the winter...
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:20 PM   #3
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I dumped a high travel, must-be-at-your-desk job and 8 months later drifted into a contract job that I do from home. That aside, I have way more free time to do what I please. I am far more involved with my kids. I get to volunteer with causes that matter to me (never had time to volunteer before). And I have indulged myself in stuff I have wanted to do hobby-wise: beekeeping, more fishing, more camping, learned to reload shotshells, started shooting trap, thinking about aquaculture...


I don't have time to do everything I want, but I have far more time than when I was a prisoner in cubeland.
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Old 05-19-2015, 03:33 AM   #4
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I still participate in the majority of my pre-ER hobbies, and have picked up two new ones: fly fishing (did it a little, long ago, but now more seriously) and trap shooting (and sporting clays). Both are great fun.

Since our recent condo purchase, I guess my amateur radio days are over. Could put up a little stealth antenna, but doesn't seem worth it.
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:13 AM   #5
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My primary post ER hobbies (or activities) are cycling and reading. Until my mid-50s I did a lot of windsurfing, skiing (both types), snow boarding and roller hockey but I gradually dropped those after I retired 10 years ago at age 56. I just lost interest in the hassles to get ready and go. Also, I found the bending in roller hockey started causing lower back aches. I did pop up on a slalom ski last summer but that was an outlier. So far cycling has no ill effects and I hope I can carry it into my 80s. We shall see.
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:15 AM   #6
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Volunteering was my main "hobby" while w*rking and for a few years after FIRE. I found that as I changed from being a tightly scheduled paid cube drone to a full time lazy bones retiree , I had less patience for the behavior of groups of people. I miss the volunteer activities, but not the silliness.

These days, I am fully engaged in container and vertical gardening, in all seasons. My techie skills are coming in handy. I am managing a small laboratory, only this time it is plants and grow lights instead of digital and optical equipment. My growing room is completely analog.
My winter growing efforts are done in a 10'x13' room, with plants that do not require pollination. My summer efforts are much larger, utilizing a 20'x20' enclosed porch and the outdoor open walkway along 3 sides of it.
I have several dwarf fruit trees growing inside my home (Meyer lemon, Celeste fig, lime, pomegranate, star fruit). It will be a few years before some of smaller specimens blossom and fruit. I successfully hand pollinated the Meyer lemon just last week.
I've done a lot of reading online and have downloaded several Kindle books for optimal ways to grow my own food. My gardening buddy is very helpful with organic fertilizing methods and assisted me with the configuration of the indoor growing room. He has a ground garden. I grow plants for him using heirloom seeds he buys and/or saves. I will get a lot of what he produces in his ground garden.

Growing plants from seed, nurturing my green "kids", and eating or visually enjoying (houseplants and flowers) the results, is something that gives me constant exercise and great personal satisfaction.

Best of all, plants do not create any drama.

As for toys, I still have my Mustang convertible and power boat.
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:48 AM   #7
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Freebird, I'm with you on gardening being my main hobby.

I am growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, winter and summer squash this spring and just harvested potatoes and garlic. I have lots of blueberry plants and one raspberry, a Meyers lemon and two different Mandarins in my small lot. I'm about to add a small asparagus bed, though the crowns won't be available until late fall.

I start most of my plants from seeds...I have heat mats and grow lights and my neighbors must wonder what I'm growing inside the house in January and February because of the lights in my spare bedroom. My volunteer work is helping people to learn how to grow vegetables as a Master Gardener. And I work in the MG demonstration vegetable garden also, which is a second source of fresh produce.

Recently I have been upgrading my gardening tools and helpful supplies after too many years of trying to make do with what I had on hand. I have a nice array of steel supports for beans and cucumbers and large tomato cages made from concrete reinforcing wire. I trellis what I can to save space. I need a bigger side yard to store them now.

Quilting, knitting and reading are my inside hobbies. I have lots of sewing machines, knitting needles and yarn. Those are toys, aren't they?
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:33 AM   #8
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I do much more of what we did before. I bought new golf clubs the year that I retired and joined the local country club and join up with a few groups of people that golf regularly. So now, during the season, I golf 2-3 times a week where I golfed at best once a week when I was working.

We live on a lake and go for frequent slow boat rides around the lake in season. Last year we bought a neighbor's used pontoon boat that was in nice shape. The wonderful thing about it is that my 84 yo mother now will often join us where she would not because of the hassle of getting in and out of the bowrider we previously used.

While not a retirement purchase, we bought a jet ski when we both turned 55 and have had a lot of fun with that. What was funny was that when we first got it the acceleration and 60 mph top end was scary fast.... but in about a month you get used to it and it is no big deal.

I also do a lot more home maintenance projects... never ending it seems. I also winterize and do routine maintenance on the boats where I had it done at the local shop when I was working.

Winters are quieter, but we did get a downhill ski pass to our local ski area one season but now we go away for a couple months but still get back in time to enjoy some spring skiing.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:43 AM   #9
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I play bass in 3 bands and am currently working on my guitar and keyboard playing. I'm retiring next year and look forward to having the extra time to practice.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:50 AM   #10
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I find that when I have free time, I tend to work on car related projects. When I between jobs 15+ years ago, I got to finish a restoration of an mid 50's MG that had stalled. When I got laid off, I mean retired, a few years back, I had the time to build a car from scratch. It keeps my mind fresh with the design and problem solving. This Spring, I bought an old pop-up camper and converted it to a car hauler.


Home remodeling, maintenance and yardwork are also up on the list.


I still work a few hours a week out of the home, which has involved some international travel (paid).


I don't know how I ever had time to work 50 hrs a week!
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:51 AM   #11
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Except for Don Heff's roller hockey... everything already mentioned, including knitting... to one degree or another.

From day one, 25 years ago, a wonderful new world of trying to learn everything... I wanted to be Tom Young... Never, ever enough hours in the day, and almost never a subject that doesn't need exploring.

The list is too long, and better defined by exception... the most lamented of which is the declining ability to do the physical things that once were in the mix.... mountain climbing, triathlons...
the others include:
learning Sanskrit
collecting movie star memorabilia

Other that that, every day is a new adventure in toys and hobbies. R&R comes as a break, bumbling around the forums on ER.

Life is good.

"The days aren't long enough, and the nights are too long!"
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:53 AM   #12
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...I don't know how I ever had time to work 50 hrs a week!
+1 When my dad said that a few years after he retired I thought it was the lamest thing I had ever heard him say. Now I understand.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:07 AM   #13
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  • Driving a Miata
  • Amateur Radio
  • Restoring old electronics - the sot that glow and heat the place in the winter...
Copycat!
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:16 AM   #14
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I play bass in 3 bands and am currently working on my guitar and keyboard playing. I'm retiring next year and look forward to having the extra time to practice.
Often joked that I wanted to be an old bluesman...

Hobbies include playing guitar and writing music, bicycling and resistance training, cooking/grilling/smoking, photography, travel...

Plus, I'm a world-class piddler!
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:24 AM   #15
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  • Woodworking - on and off again, when necessity and creativity meet I can easily get carried away building stuff; past projects included multilevel cedar deck, finished basement walls & ceiling in pine car siding, bar w/wet sink & pine cabinets & bar rail, added pantry cabinet and breakfast bar to match existing oak kitchen cabinets, built my own 36x48 shop, hiring out only the masonry and some help putting shingles on the roof - I was getting tired towards the end. Have some of my Dad's equipment, in retirement he had begun making some really nice heirloom furniture and I can see myself eventually moving on to that as well.
  • Motorcycling - have done several long tours on a couple of different continents, although sore knees are making longer rides somewhat more challenging, riding still puts a smile on my face pretty quickly. Have had sport bikes, touring models, current ride is dual sport which is great for exploring forest roads.
  • Landscaping on a larger scale - turned 32 acres of farmland with river & creek frontage into our homestead. Literally hand planted thousands of trees; white spruce, red pine, larch, red oak, and a couple varieties of apple. Gave DW several pounds of wildflower seeds for a birthday gift one year - we now have a couple of acres of native wildflower prairie. Every spring we are changing up plantings, modifying the lawn, etc. Our lawn does not adjoin any neighbor’s yards as the house is smack in the middle of the land. Privacy and wildlife have become so natural to us that we keep shelving the idea of moving to a low maintenance condo and just put up with the aches and pains.
  • Wrenching - most of my career was based on maintaining high-value capital equipment, either doing it myself or managing those who did. I am still putting those skills and experiences to use in maintaining a BMW motorcycle and two Porsches. In part to be frugal, as relying on dealership maintenance can be expensive, but also because I find it to be enjoyable. Wrenching on well-engineered machines is a truly a joy.
  • Active as board member in regional Porsche club, motto is “It's not just the cars, it's the people” which definitely rings true, as members have very diverse backgrounds and getting to know them has provided enjoyable social interaction since ER.
  • Technology - I'm no networking pro, but maintain my own wireless link to service provider for last-mile solution, options for high bandwidth are limited in these parts. Have done some fairly elaborate computer programming in the past but only as a hobbyist. installed our own security system with several IP cameras, provides peace of mind when travelling as we can check in on the place from afar, redundant NVR setup recording on motion activation – perhaps I will catch the fencepost thieves in action yet!
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:33 AM   #16
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I play bass in 3 bands and am currently working on my guitar and keyboard playing. I'm retiring next year and look forward to having the extra time to practice.

Ah, a personal fantasy never to be realized.... Having 3-4 friends, a keg, a huge back deck overlooking private woods and playing live music to nobody all afternoon.


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Old 05-19-2015, 09:35 AM   #17
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Ah, a personal fantasy never to be realized.... Having 3-4 friends, a keg, a huge back deck overlooking private woods and playing live music to nobody all afternoon.


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Usually more appreciative and better behaved than your average bar crowd...
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:16 AM   #18
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My interests come an go

Photography - off and on since the 1990's (rather off recently).
Journaling, drawing, painting, bookbinding, calligraphy - off and on for 20+ years (really on right now).
Walking, hiking, snowshoeing - off and on for 30+ years (really on right now)
Woodworking, furniture making, building stuff - off and on for 30+ years (off for the past 3 years as I live in a condo, but would pick up again if I had a garage/workshop)
Gardening - off and on for 20+ years. I don't currently have a garden, but I do enjoy creating and maintaining miniature terrarium landscapes.
Traveling - Road trips (in the Miata ). That is the style of travel that currently interests me. I just came back from such a trip and had a blast. My interest in international or long haul travel has been off and on over the years, but it is definitely off right now.
Food, tea, beer, and whisky tasting - I have been on a journey to discover the world of single malt scotch whiskies and oolong teas for several years. Cooking is a perennial hobby of mine.
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:01 PM   #19
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Guitar, trying to write music (failing mostly since I can never seem to follow through with ideas), biking, working out, walking the dog, yard work(not really a hobby actually more of a necessity for the last 2)

Now that I'm Fire'd reading more working on learning some Spanish
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:22 PM   #20
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M Paquette is the first person in a while who I have seen call the hobby amateur radio, instead of what seems to be the more oft-used term "ham radio". I too prefer the term amateur radio, as it communicates the fact that we pursue this interest for love rather than money.

I guess my two main interests are amateur radio and photography, though photography has taken something of a backseat in the last few years. I tend to limit my interests to very specific areas, and rather than declaring my hobby to be amateur radio, my interests recently have focused specifically on building regenerative shortwave receivers. I don't actively pursue photography as a hobby anymore, but it's nice to be able to use my old (but still functional) DSLR to take pictures of my home-brew projects.

This is the front end board for the regen I am currently building. From right to left, it comprises an RF pre-amp, separate Q-mulitplier and detector stages, and an AF pre-amp. The plug-in coils for the different bands, and the variable capacitors for tuning will mount separately -



The AF board, with the basic active audio filter. It's a 2-stage filter with a 3dB cut-off set at 4KHz and a relatively slow roll-off, for general shortwave listening -





I plan on using a 6-way rotary switch to select various active filters. This is a 4-stage filter with a 3dB cut-off set at 2.4KHz. The response is designed to be about 80dB down at 5KHz and is intended mainly for listening to SSB. I may redesign it for a slightly wider 3dB cut-off at 2.7KHz or even 3KHz -





I'll add a few more filters when the receiver is built but next, the chassis and front panel need to be made. The main chassis will be constructed of 12 gauge aluminum, and the front panel will be custom-designed black powder-coated (or anodized) aluminum, with the lettering and other markings all engraved into the panel. A couple of black instrument handles will look good too, I think.

The main tuning control will be this lovely piece of engineering, a National HRO NPW gear drive and dial, which I stripped down, cleaned and re-lubricated -







I'll also use a couple of National Velvet Vernier drives for the regen and fine tuning controls. The front panel should have a fairly vintage look, if it turns out the way I am hoping.

I'm rather excited about this receiver. If it works out as planned, I hope to find a local carpenter to construct a nice wooden cabinet for it, so that it can truly be a "keeper". When my head isn't full of such geeky radio thoughts, I am riding my bicycle around town, befriending the local stray and feral kitties, and watching British TV shows, while pondering what it would actually be like to live in Old Blighty once more.

That's pretty much it. Now it's time for a glass of cab and an episode of "A Touch Of Frost" on Hulu. It just turned 12 noon, and I do like to wait until at least the afternoon before touching the plonk
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