Unexpected Sideline

Today is the birthday in 1903 of bandleader Guy Lombardo, conductor of the Royal Canadians and the cultural figure who “owned New Years Eve” before Dick Clark took it over. Lombardo’s music is clean and precise and by the more modern standards of those who were raised on rock and roll, sterile and empty.

But he wore a nice red jacket and made a name for himself at a time when a person could become a popular star simply by smiling and waving a baton. And for people in my age group, he carried an air of mystery because he did his best known work on TV, in front of my parents, after we were sent to bed.

The other thing Lombardo did is unexpected (to me). He raced hydroplanes, roaring across the surface of rivers and lakes at frightening speeds powered by engines that were loud and obnoxious in a way his music decidedly was not.

He was good enough at it to be inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. I never would have guessed this – it makes about as much sense as discovering that Liberace was a heavyweight prizefighter. (Can we start that rumor here?)

We assume people who are known for a particular thing or make their living in a specific realm love only that and never indulge in anything different. But it’s undeniable that the Guy who seems so mild and pleasant in the video above enjoyed having the wind in his hair and could have swamped a slow boat going anywhere when he was having fun on the weekend.

What is your unexpected sideline?

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164 thoughts on “Unexpected Sideline”

  1. Good morning. Actually I think everything that I do is more or less a side line. I didn’t really have a career and have developed some skill a scattering of areas.

    I have scientific training and did continue to work on scientific projects after completing my degree. This included helping farmers do scientifically designed experiments on their farms. I am a self taught educator who was responsible for running educational workshops on sustainable farming and I also taught in schools as a substitute teacher.

    I love music and I have learned to appreciate many different kinds music although this interest did not evolve into any kind of paying job. Carpentry and home repair are interests of mine and I did work for a while as a roofer. My interest in nature study did fit in a little with my work in sustainable agriculture and then there is gardening and seed saving.

    Are any of these unexpected side lines? Oh, I also like writing, but all of you have had a chance see a little of what I try to do in that area.

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  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I am a woman of many sidelines, as I suspect many Baboons may be. This appears to be a talented group. I can sew you a dress or some curtains, cook up some wild grape jelly and preserve it in a sterile jar, grow and then can tomatoes, or draw a pretty picture. I like to be busy.

    But when I tell people, “I do this blog-thing almost everyday,” they seem surprised at this sideline.

    So Dale, what is your sideline when you are not writing or radio-ing?

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        1. “Hare…” is my book pile, PJ, and I have a small collection of netsuke that I treasure. I’ve always been fascinated with miniatures and saw many netsuke during my years in Japan. It’s the first exhibit I go to every time we’re at the MIA. Also fascinated by containers/bags of all kinds, puzzles and nesting objects like matryoshka dolls.

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        2. Ooh, Robin. We’ve got to make a date to go to the MIA so you can show me. I was pretty sure you’d know what netsuki are considering where you grew up.

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  3. My sideline is that of a bass player in a rock/gospel group. It is totally unexpected, especially by me. I played bass in the school jazz ensemble all through Junior High and Senior High school and I never thought I would pick up another bass again, but there it is, my new Ibanez bass and Ampeg amp sitting here by me in the office/computer/music room. We have our first gig at the end of July on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

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  4. (I’ve been in the hospital for five days now so haven’t been posting!) My sideline is probably unusual because of my age, but it’s my free style, Tina Turner-like dancing. I never danced until turning 60, a delightful discovery after divorcing (my 60th birthday gift to myself!). I go alone, come home alone, and in between dance with everyone on the dance floor. I can only dance to Motown
    band music as nothing else inspires me. There aren’t words enough to describe the joy I’ve experienced from this unexpected late middle age passion and I plan to continue into my 80s.

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      1. Malnutrition and dehydration landed me here, both of which are an outplay of the massive surgery two years ago in which I lost half my stomach & entire esophagus. What this means is that food dumps directly into my small intestine while eating. This causes my pancreas to suddenly over-produce insulin which in turn constricts blood vessels so much that I can pass out. I had six episodes in one week of this, making me reasonably anxious about ever eating when I’m not at home. It’s called “dumping syndrome” and most gastric bypass patients suffer with it, too. Eating tiny, frequent meals and only foods low in sugar, fats and carbs is opposite my lifelong patterns, but staying alive is my goal!
        Self-discipline and I have yet to meet, so this is my greatest challenge.

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        1. CB sorry to hear that you have been sidelined! I hope not much longer so that you can get back to your sideline—where it sounds as if you don’t stand on the sidelines. That you love your dance may be inspiration enough to follow the eating rules in the future? Please take care of the dancer in you.

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        2. This phrase caught me, CB: Self-discipline and I have yet to meet – I’m afraid I could say the same. Hope you’re home and dancing soon.

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        3. Cb, best of luck in recovering. I face a similar challenge, though not as severe, as a result of the radiation treatments to my abdomen when I had cancer 16 years ago. I can eat whatever I want, but although I gain weight I don’t derive the full benefit of the nutrients I ingest. My blood work when I was in the hospital revealed alarming deficits in so many areas, but explained why fatigue is a major issue for me. May you be back dancing soon.

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    1. I hope you will not be in the hospital too long, CB. I think I might like to try free style dancing. I have never had much luck learning dance steps, but I think I could do a little free style dancing which would be fun. I’m sure I wouldn’t become one of the better free style dancers. However I might be able to have some fun with it even if I never developed a lot skill at doing it.

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      1. The cool thing about free style dancing is that it’s purely subjective who is “better” at it – to me, the people who look like they are having the most fun are the “best”. :)

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      2. And it takes courage to be good, not great, but just good. You don’t need to be the best, but if you don’t put yourself out there how will you know where you stand? Or have the fun of doing? I think being afraid of even trying is what most undermines creativity. So go for it, Jim! And good for you, CB!

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  5. Morning all. I always think of my crafting and artistics pursuits are sidelines, since I came to them on my own after I was grown, and because I was the “smart one” in my family, not the “artistic one”. But I’m in the same camp as Jacque…. this blog and the friends I made through it seem the most amazing sideline of the last few years!

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  6. Morning–

    The whole farming with theater on the side and now theater with farming on the side surprises a lot of people. And the chickens seem to be a surprise and the bread baking… I think maybe the people I hang out with just had low expectations of me! :-)

    My daughter makes her own scrambled eggs every morning. (weekends and summer). She does good but she’s from the ‘if a little is good, more is better’ camp. It’s kinda funny; apperantly there can’t be moderation in ALL things, just some of them. Fix one she finds another. First it was soaking the pan with Pam. Then it was the cup of cheese in the egg and more cheese on top. Yesterday she had a plate of spices with egg in them… I have to laugh. And then we talk about “sprinkling”… She does like to try new spices though.

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      1. She just turned 17 but she’s got some special needs; She has Downs Syndrome. Great kid; very funny, no physical problems. She knows everything of course. “DAD, I know! I know everything!”

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    1. Some tasty selections. Does she always manage to eat her creations? I see no problem with the mega-cheese eggs but, depending on the spice, the mega-spices with egg could be tough to stomach.
      I, too, have enjoyed the fb pix of your daughter.

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      1. Yep she always eats them. This morning we discussed how her eggs are more brown (burned) than when I make them. And that’s OK if you like them that way!
        Tomorrow morning we’ll practice that.

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    1. I get how a person can be an idiot. I’ve practiced that act for decades. I understand how some idiot rise to the level of “village idiot.” How, though, can you be an award-winning village idiot? Back where I come from, we didn’t hand out no awards to idiots.

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      1. Well, it was Renaissance Festival and I was performing a character…the award was for performance. (My particular character was named “Jenny” – she had quite the vocabulary, but mostly behaved like the average 4 or 5 year old…had a running gag with a friend of mine who played a nun out there about having me join the convent – which was a well and good until it came to cutting my hear – which I had in Pippi-style braids – no sir would Jenny cut her “pretty” hair…)

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        1. Had a grand-boss who was very amused that she had an award-winning village idiot on her team…not really something I list on the resume, but you’d be surprised how handy some of the idiot skills are in the “real world.” :)

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        2. Anna, I have no doubt that village idiot skills can come in handy in “the real world.” Husband has perfected the skill of writing very stupid letters in protest of parking fines and other nuisance issues. Has worked beautifully several times.

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        3. The main ability I came out with is having absolutely no fear about looking ridiculous. Also, being able to think quickly on my feet for any situation (and pulling out a good snappy comeback from time to time). Haven’t quite found a good “real world” application for knowing that Dream Whip makes for a better cream pie filling n a food fight than real whipped cream (it’s less sticky and doesn’t stink once you’ve had it on you in the hot sun for awhile – also it “throws” better), but I’m working on it. ;)

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        4. Anna, I do hope it’s not a baboon gathering that you’re considering as your real life test on the pie throwing. If it is, I’d like to be on the sidelines.

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        5. Linda, one of our daughters had a stint during college feeding and caretaking the monkeys in the psychology lab. It was a huge cage with free roaming monkeys inside. They’d grab your glasses, poke your eyes and pull your hair for fun and Lindsay said going into the cage was hysterical and kinda rough. She put “monkey wrangler” on her resume for a few years after that.

          Slightly OT, but our other daughter once crafted a research project during college interviewing clowns about how they thought people perceived them, as well as interviewing a control group of students about how they actually perceived clowns. For weeks, she fielded emails from “Stinky Pants” and “Bug Nose” et al. Plus it made for a colorful visual presentation. Kind of random, but better than interviewing people about their purchasing habits or even their liking/aversion to being interviewed. She said most of the research topics were deadly dull.

          I wish I’d seen you, Anna; I’m sure that you deserve your many accolades, but it seems a shame that you had to hide those fabulous curls in Pippi braids. Can you bring a photo to next Blevins?

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        6. I will endeavor to remember to bring a picture to the next BBC meeting (though certainly not a cream pie – the first rule of food fights is that you only engage those who wish to engage…and never hit an innocent passer-by).

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        1. It was a whole other lifetime ago… It was a block of wood with a pig on top all spray painted gold. I think it had all the winners names on it though… and yes, it was for ‘performance’ as it were.
          Not quite the same league as ‘Village Idiot’! I am humbled in your presence, Anna!

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  7. Like Jim, I tend to look at everything I do as a sideline. Jack of all trades, master of none, as they say. But I suppose the thing that most resembles Lombardo’s hydroplane racing is that I am on a team that races dragon boats.

    Our team is competing this Saturday at the Capital Lakes Dragon Festival in Madison. I’m not going along for this trip, but I’m planning to go to Fort Dodge, Iowa next month.

    My most colorful activity, literally and figuratively.

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    1. How fun, Linda! What does a dragon boat paddler wear? I’m picturing it kind of like sculling in drag(on).

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  8. No true sideline here. Jack of all trades, master of none. My latest skill that I have added and become pretty good at is using my chainsaw. OK, it is small, 14″ inch blade and electric but I used to be afraid of it. Now, I have developed an ease with it. My wood stove is small; I usually have to shorten about half of my precut firewood.

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    1. I have a chainsaw that size. I didn’t feel unmanly about it until I hired a local guy (living near my cabin) to fix it when it was hard to start. He took one look and said, “Oh. One of them lil’ egg beaters.”

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      1. : ) I grew up around guys like that which is why I was compelled to announce that it was a little chainsaw. I bet he is a good repair guy. In the city on my block, I can be a pretender to the chainsaw throne—back home, not at all.

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        1. I think every guy in the neighborhood who owns a chainsaw, including husband, is out there sawing away. Major trees down as a result of last night’s storm all over the neighborhood. On our block alone, 4 big ash trees snapped off at the base, two of them blocking the street. We just got electricity an hour ago.

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        2. Wow, PJ, you got a lot more storm than we did in Longfellow. When I drive through Wirth Park, I’m still dismayed at the storm destruction from last year. The ecosystem is reviving, but it still looks so raw and ragged to me.

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  9. My two most surprising sidelines have been a little book business, which lasted almost 3 years, and an organizing business which lasted 2. They’re where some of my passions lie, but I discovered they were a lot more fun as sidelines than trying to place them front and center. Same with teaching folk dance, I suppose. As others have mentioned, this writing here is a suprising turn.

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  10. Like Jim I’m sort of more sidelines. I’ve never really written this out before. I used to own a picture-framing business. I used to carve. Used to do photography. Once upon a time I drew and did pastels. Part-time pastor for 14 years. Did some community theater. Did melodramas in the park for a few years. Coached football. Advised school newspaper and yearbook. Directed high school plays. Taught photography and tennis in the summer. Did some carpentry for cabin owners. Used to do lots of gardening and was city garden of the week once. Written poetry. Helped publish 43 manuals of educational support materials, 17 of which I co-wrote. Wrote the novel. Designed and built furniture.
    And as long as I’m going, taught English 7 to 12, journalism, AP English, college prep English, interdisciplinary French and English, basic skills English. Created and ran a K-12 gifted ed. program.
    Now I’m learning nursing care, at which I hope I am better than all the above.

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    1. Left off coaching and judging speech. And turned a cabin into a house on the NS. Designed it, built it, plumbed it, wired it, like so many of my age did on the NS. We helped each other over many summers.
      Driving in the intense rain yesterday–which is upon us again but we are sitting in a resort–my wife and I were remembering many things because we were driving through the UP where we spent so many camping trips with the kids. We talked about that house and how I grew up with parents who only vary rarely hired anyone. You just did it yourself. My father could do anything with wood, metal, brick, stone, motors, etc.

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      1. Clyde, it seems your ability to do many things might come from growing up on a farm where your father and family did all kinds of jobs to keep going and save money. My Dad came from a similar back ground growing up in a family that operated small cheese factories and a small farm in Central and Northern Wisconsin. My Dad could do everything needed to build a house and did design and build one of the houses in which we lived

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      2. Krista and I saw some of Clyde’s work when we visited him a while ago. We saw some very nice carvings, paintings and photos. I was especially impressed by the beautiful hand made wooden furniture including a large very attractive clock.

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  11. Like others have said, I have a lot of diverse interests and trivial skills, and it is hard to identify anything of significance. I used to be a surprisingly bad guitar player, but I’ve given that up. I have a fascination for many obscure topics: the Little Bighorn battle, classic jazz giants of the 20s and 30s, the criminal history of the Wild West, King Tut, certain aspects of animal behavior. I was a surprisingly good wedding photographer, but I gave that up because I was a surprisingly poor wedding photographer businessman. I probably know as much as any man about what goes on inside the head of a pheasant, but nobody really cares about that and it isn’t a profitable skill. I have some perversely weird tastes: my favorite musician is avant garde performance artist Laurie Anderson, although I hate avant garde.

    I’m coming to think that my most distinctive skill is my ability to remember stuff that happened long ago. That’s odd, because the person I lived with for 30 years mocked me for my lousy memory, and I agreed with her.Only when I wrote a book about my parents did I discover that my recollection of key moments (and quite a few goofy ones) from the past was really quite good.

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    1. Did you see “Custer’s Last Stand” on PBS’ American Experience recently? I contributed an historical image of actor Lawrence Barrett they used in the production.

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  12. OT, an inter-generational moment. While eating a lunch of snacks and leftover tacos, my wife in reaction to dropping part of her taco on he plate said, “Good Gravy!” The nine-year old looked around the table in confusion and said, “Are you commenting on gravy or . . .”

    the rain is clearing, we can go do something in this resort.

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    1. It’s not often you hear good grave anymore – my mom used to say it all the time…

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        1. Yup – typos bring out my inner smart ass. Luckily this group is always okay with seeing the humor in their own typos (at least I think so).

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      1. My dad, too, though I’d forgotten it till this minute. Steve and Clyde, I think you’re on to something with your writing. Just start and the memories will come. They’ve got to be in there somewhere, yes?

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  13. Nothing unexpected from me. Having had much the same job (with 3 companies) since 1978, my resume is pretty thin.

    I can be pretty quiet and people might peg me as reserved so it MIGHT be unexpected to see how I can throw myself into being 8 years old at my beloved camp (for which I will be leaving Sunday afternoon for a week).
    We have singing sessions twice a day, dancing twice a day, crafts, discussion and 5 eating sessions.

    Almost all activities are open to all generations so in Singing, we always do some songs that will appeal to kids.
    I LOVE the ones that have physical elements to them (Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes, In a Cabin in the Woods, etc.) or silly ones (Peter Mayer’s Jamma Day, Sandwiches and a surprisingly vigorous Hit The Road Jack come to mind)
    I just can’t get enough of those songs and have no reservations about bopping around with the best of them.
    Of course, I can’t get enough of ALL the singing we do. Besides the kids’ songs, I especially love songs that lend themselves to harmonizing.
    When our 45-60 minute session gets truncated for another activity I’m always disappointed.

    I can’t get enough of the dancing either. In the morning, there is dancing for all ages so it’s geared for little ones. I’m always one of the big ones participating.
    At late-night dancing (or late-late-night-dancing at midnight), I’m always the last one from my generation who stays.
    No sensible regard for getting adequate sleep results in exhaustion by the end of the week and a dicey drive home.

    It’s my FAVORITE week of the year and I’m full of anticipation at the moment.

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      1. Bunkmate is right. Usually the dorm is so crowded that they put four middle aged women in a room with two sets of bunkbeds. Makes the middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom a challenge.

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      1. Nope, hadn’t yet named it. It’s called Danebod Family Camp. It’s based on a Danish folk school model where our unofficial motto is “How to Live”. It’s where I learned about the Rødgrød med Fløde (the rhubarb pudding) that I made for PJ’s gardening party. Since PJ is Danish, she knows about it and is friends with some other campers. It’s located in Tyler, Minnesota, about 20 minutes south of Marshall. I think that a number of Baboons would be right at home.

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        1. Lisa, several of my very good friends go th.ere, year after year, and their kids are continuing the tradition with their own families. I can’t interest husband at all, and so have never gone by myself. Perhaps I should. It sounds like a lot of fun.

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        2. Note that I said “Danish folk school MODEL”. There are three separate weeks of camp and ours is the least Danish. We have few people of Danish extraction and the songs, crafts and dances are much more diverse (we have a fabulous Israeli dance teacher, for instance). The August camp, where PJ’s friends probably attend, is much more Danish. (I’ve never been to either July or August so I can’t say exactly how they differ). Without attending the other two, though, I do know that ours is the best! It is a wonderful village for raising a child. My two were teenagers when wasband and I first went and I didn’t think they’d enjoy the activities and worried about their fitting in to an established group so they never attended. I often wish we had started when they were younger.

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  14. Two years ago when I was visiting my friends in Bellingham, a couple of avid sailors took me out in a sail boat on Lake Whatcom. What a thrill! Wish I had discovered much earlier in life how exhilarating it is to hang with your butt over the side of the boat, leaning as far out as you possibly can to prevent the boat from capsizing (although I was told the boat is built so that can’t happen, but I remember what they said about the Titanic). Otherwise, like many baboons, my sidelines are mostly pretty tame and probably not surprising to anyone. I’ve dabbled in so many things without ever excelling in any of them, except possibly this: I love working with a forge to shape iron, and I was pretty darn good at it. I envy Anna her village idiot award, would to love to have some such distinction.

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    1. Forging iron, cool! Or hot, but you know what I mean. A friend of mine has taken classes at the Fire Arts Center on Chicago Ave. He really enjoyed it, and wants to set up his own forge if he can find/make the space. I considered it myself, but I think I’ll stick to wood rather than metal for now.

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  15. I think that even people who don’t know me expect me to be a writer or artist of some kind, so the poetry never seems to come as a surprise to anyone. One thing is kind of unexpected, though I think I’ve mentioned it here before: for several years, I took bellydancing classes at the Jawaahir studio on Hennepin and Franklin. I don’t know how much it surprised people back then, since I was slender, cute and goth even if I was a fierce feminist, but now that I’m heavier, grayer and more androgynous, I’m sure it’d scramble some brains. Actually, I took it up because of a particular book I’d read as a teen that linked belly dance to the goddess-worship in the ancient Near East. I soon discovered I really enjoyed it and wasn’t too bad at it…except for spins. Whether it’s related to my ear trouble or not, spins are just something I can’t do for more than a few steps. I love the music, too, and hope to be able to afford doumbek classes again. Recently I’ve heard about sexual harrassment issues at the drum/dance circles of some Pagan festivals, so I’m looking forward to someday hauling my old bones and my drum (and my Elder staff) out there to totally ruin the fun of some very rude and randy young men.

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    1. Wow – and you can (sort of anyway) play the doumbek – I love that instrument. I envy you the bellydancing classes.

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  16. If I had ever put as much energy and enthusiasm into my employment as I did into my side interests, I’d likely be a whole lot more financially secure today. But I wouldn’t be me.
    Like Steve, I am fascinated by diverse and obscure subjects- all of which generally cause my would-be auditor’s eyes to glaze over within about 30 seconds, so I’ve learned to keep them to myself. Most of those subjects relate to the mid-nineteenth century, though, perhaps surprisingly, only tangentially to the Civil War. My interests (and book collections) are in the areas of nineteenth century theatre, forgotten humorists, utopian experiments and communities, spiritualists and spiritualism, pre-Columbian American antiquities, John Brown and the raid on Harper’s Ferry, Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Louisa May and Bronson Alcott and Emerson, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and that whole bunch.
    When Robin and I were active in historical reenactment, we belonged to a mid-nineteenth century civilian group. We each outfitted ourselves, Robin with dresses, bonnets, cage crinolines, etc. and I with frock coats, sack coats, shirts, pants, vests, ties and an overcoat. We also volunteered in the costume shop at the Guthrie.
    I took some classes at the MCBA in book repair and have since repaired or restored quite a few of my more damaged old books, sometimes to the extent of completely disassembling them and resewing them before replacing the cover.
    I did stained glass back in the early ’70s before it was so popular. A friend of mine and I built lampshades and tried to sell them in art fairs, but the cost of the materials back then made the price at which we would make any sort of profit too high for most customers. Now similar lampshades are imported from Asia and sell for what we were paying for materials.
    I painted in oils for a decade or so, but found that the paintings were just piling up and that I had no real interest in showing them. I used to have a darkroom, but have supplanted all that with digital counterparts.
    Partly because I can and partly because I’m cheap, I do most of my own home repairs and improvements. Over the years, I’ve completely rebuilt a kitchen, added two bathrooms, built a deck with a gazebo, numerous fences and various built-in furniture.
    Probably the most unusual sideline that Robin and I had was that of making props for professional photographers. For several years we specialized in making photo-realistic seasonal fruit- blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries and occasionally apricots- which we would ship overnight to studios around the country. I also made glowing charcoal inserts that photographers could drop into a grill unit for barbecue and grilled food shots.
    My greatest regret is that I have never been able to make myself stick with practicing a musical instrument long enough to become competent.

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      1. I was working at the time for a company that produced cookbooks and also shot photography for outside clients (among other things). One Friday afternoon the photo studio manager asked me if I thought I could make her some realistic blueberries. They needed them for a photo session the next week and decent real ones were not to be found. I told her I’d give it a try and the next Monday I presented her with a little box containing a couple dozen fake blueberries. They were a hit. When other food stylists got wind of that, they called on me whenever similar situations came up, with requests for cherries, for raspberries, strawberries, apricots and even peaches. Robin and I figured out how to make them and then refined our technique as much as we could to make them consistent. At the height of our business, Robin and I were shipping fake fruit to studios around the country and occasionally to Mexico.
        I think the sorts of fruit we were making then are more generally available year round now. Besides, with the advent of Photoshop, it’s easier to strip in images from other sources.

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        1. Some of it was a special mixture of paraffin and other waxes we devised. Some of it was polyester resin. It all depended on the sheen and translucency we were going for.

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        2. Of course, I know where you were exposed to photographic trickery. That was a fascinating place, wasn’t it? I learned a lot from them.

          Looks like WordPress doesn’t think I deserve a gravatar today. Pooh on you, WordPress.

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    1. Wow, Bill – I only knew a fraction of that! I hope you got photos when you and Robin were in full nineteenth century costume. Would love to talk to you about book repair sometime, and the spiritualists, and… :)

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    2. It sounds like you might have made some money with your sidelines. I have never been good enough to sell anything, and the fact that selling craft is a not-for-profit antic.
      I can write a long list of things but if I were to list what I was good at, it would be very short.

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        1. Yes, I’m sure he does. My knowledge goes beyond that, too, but I’m not confident or skillful enough to take apart a book and re-sew it (sewing and I have been mortal enemies all my life).

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      1. The books have to be durable enough to withstand the repair work, Edith. Interestingly, books from late 19th c and early 20th c were printed on rag paper which has lasted much better than anything printed in the decades following (which are hardly worth repairing because the paper is degraded and brittle.) It’s putzy work. We took our class from Jana at MCBA — Crow Girl’s friend, yes?

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        1. My mistake, the mid 19th c books were printed on the rag stock and the late 19th c and early 20th were the bad stuff. I understand papyrus is quite durable, too :-) Has anyone read “Canticle for Leibowitz” — the famous relic that survived a world holocaust?

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    3. Wow – I am impressed by the fruit-making and most everything else. Prop-making can be an interesting challenge, but getting something to look real for a photograph…that’s totally cool.

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      1. Yeah, digital technology made us obsolete. But frankly, chasing small children during the day and up all night squinting through magnifying head gear painting seeds on a strawberry took its toll! We never saved any samples or took any photos either! Our stuff was all over cereal box covers etc. The ubiquitous fake fruit. We called ourselves “Bill and Robin’s Real Good Fakes”. One time Bill made a milk drop that could sit on the tip of a spoon for hours under the hot lights without falling/dripping off. And there was the infamous chocolate volcano — Someone needed a volcano that both smoked AND spouted chocolate chips, but the chips kept melting. So Bill built the volcano and we spent a week or two making hundreds of chocolate chips. That kind of volume is more like Chinese prison labor than creative endeavor, believe me. Then there were the lima beans (in the pod) which are impossible to find anywhere anytime, the block of ice with the logo embedded in it, acerola cherries (which were grown in very limited areas and were quite unattractive so Bill had to prettify them for package art), peach slices, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, a foam boar’s head piled on a huge platter with small pies and sausages (all carved from foam) for a “Christmas Carol” production at Phipps Theater in Hudson. . . Many of the jobs were one time challenges that involved making a prototype and a mold etc. That’s all we can recall now.

        I know it sounds interesting and it was a challenge and it paid for years of swim and gymnastics lessons, but it was piece work and we couldn’t discount for quantity because each berry was handcrafted and took just as long as the one before. So many things that are interesting or fun can be grueling if turned into mass production mode.

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  17. I hope that our West St. Paulites (PJ and Linda and ?) have heard that they should only be drinking bottled water as the city fixes damage caused by the storm last night.
    As much as I don’t approve of bottled water, this is a time that I say Go for It!

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  18. I finally remembered what’s probably my most surprising sideline – making Kombucha, a natural probiotic. At just under $4 in the health food stores, it was a no-brainer for me… I’d been told following nutritional counseling to take a probiotic. One of the teachers where I worked at the time (Nutritional Weight and Wellness – weightandwellness.com) made it at home, and also teaches a how-to class at the Wedge Coop. So we now have two glass jars in the darker corner of the kitchen with a “mushroom” (culture) to which we regularly add new organic tea, water, and sugar. (Works on kind of the same principle as a sourdough starter.) It ferments into a fizzy, slightly sweet refreshing drink that we use with meals. I have given it as gifts to select people…

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    1. I made Kombucha back in my college days. Don’t recall why I quit. Probably for the same reason I quit making kefir; I love it, husband won’t touch it, and after a while I simply had too much. Still have some kefir grains in the freezer. Maybe I should thaw them and see if I can revive them.

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      1. Wow, it never occurred to me that another baboon might know how to make this! Let me know how the kefir goes, PJ.

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        1. Kindred spirits and all that Barb. At the moment I’m focused on getting my car back from the repair shop where it has been since Monday of last week. Hope they are not charging me for what appears to be a steep learning curve and storage.

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  19. I’m okay at painting. My walls, that is. I’m not speedy but they look good when I’m done. I AM pretty fast at jello. Eating it, that is.

    Hey kids! Do I have a proposition for you! The weekend of July 21, ANY and ALL Baboons are invited to the family cabin on Big Spirit Lake. Unfortunately this is in Iowa but it’s located very close to the Minnesota border. I swear. As the name implies, it’s a pretty big lake. The cabin’s a little smaller. There are two beds, a couch, and enough floor space in the living room for two or three sleeping bags. So I guess you could say it sleeps seven or eight. Nine or ten if we lay on the bed crossways. It sits on a big enough lot so tents are an option. The cabin has electricity and running water. Those in tents are permitted to come inside and use the facilities as often as needed. Or the lake is always an option. There are a lot more potentially wonderful amenities I could describe but I would prefer you just take my word for it and come see for yourselves! My email is dkbarstad@gmail.com. Once I receive your confirmation I’ll send directions to the cabin. If you’re not comfortable sleeping three to a bed or bathrooming with perch, click this link for additional options: http://www.vacationokoboji.com/ I am totally serious about this. We will have a blast! AND Dale – you especially will want to take note here – the guest with the newest car gets first dibs on the paddle boat!

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    1. Donna – I’m going to try to tack this onto the end of our college tour…. just might work!

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  20. I have a new sideline but am sworn to secrecy until 9 AM tomorrow. It does however involve ice cream!

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  21. Tim…………I finally got out of the hospital a few hours ago and caught up on this forum. What you wrote; “good news is there is hope it will be over soon, hang in there tiny dancer”, brought me to tears. I don’t know why, but it touched me at the deepest level. So, thank you.

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      1. Don’t cry too much-it will make you dehydrated and we need you to be here on the trail dancing with us

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  22. My list is similar to the rest of the trail
    Artsy stuff painting sculpture singing Playing a couPle of instraments writing gardening being a foodie a movie fan a woodworker for therapy I used to enjoy sports before my foot took me out of vontentionrecently a baba dasher has been added to my list I have been accused of being a serial entrapraneur and now I am looking at trying to reinvent my main focus and go for a new unexplored direction that will keep me busy for the next fistfull of years. I am lucky to be interested in a wide array of stuff and have the good fortune of getting to try so many things in so many interesting places it is fun looking at the big picture.
    I had a colleague early in my career who was in a former life a big band leader who worked with guy Lombardo and all those guys. He said guy Lombardo signed a deal with the Waldorf way back when for a dollar amount of what was correct at the time and the Waldorf held him to it wouldn’t let him do it anywhere else and didn’t give him a raise. He was screwed. No wonder he took up hydroplane racing he was trying to kill himself

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