Free Time

Husband loaded his pickup on Monday of this week and headed to Denver to see his dad and stepmom. His dad is in an assisted living facility due to Alzheimer’s Disease, and he hasn’t seen him for a year. Husband returns home  later today.

I am accustomed to Husband spending time away from home during the week when he works on the Reservation.  He is usually home on Friday, and it was strange not having him here yesterday.  Strange, yet somewhat restful,  since yesterday was the first Friday for eons that it was the end of the week, I was at home, and we were not planning what to cook for the weekend.

Husband is a compulsive cook, grocery list maker, and menu planner. I can tell when he is thinking about cooking something.  He has this broody look on his face and gets real quiet. If I ask him what is going on he says “Just a minute”, and, many, many minutes later, he tells me what foods  he wants to prepare.  This only happens when we are at home. He recognizes how odd this is and confesses that he can’t stop thinking about cooking when he is at home.

I got off work early yesterday. I was content to eat ham sandwiches and breakfast cereal. The free time was nice, and I had had a restful afternoon playing with the cats.

What do you like to do in your free time?  What do you find relaxing?

80 thoughts on “Free Time”

  1. When I was younger and still athletic, the nicest use of a free autumn afternoon would have been to take a long walk in the off-leash dog park with my buddy, Katie. We had many friends down there, human and canine. A woods in fall is comely and sweet smelling. It is such a joy to come home and curl up with a book, savoring the afterglow of exercise.

    These days there isn’t a nicer use of free time than playing on the computer while listening to folk music. In particular I enjoy fiddling around with old digital images in my editing program, tweaking colors and and fine-tuning the feel of a scene I photographed years ago.

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  2. What is this free time of which you speak? (I know it will return after we get our friend’s house cleared and sold…)

    Reading, usually;occasional TV watching; and writing – commenting on the blog, emails to keep up with friends, and I can usually find time for about three blog posts a month. (Apologies, Renee – this month not so much.) And some cooking, which seems to come in spurts – another thing that has fallen by the way this month.

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    1. Aside from the activity and obligations around the clearing and sale of W’s house, I get the impression from things you’ve said on the Trail that your lack of free time is self inflicted.

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  3. Husband stayed in Newcastle, WY last night and should be home by noon. Tomorrow is Reformation Sunday #500, so it will not be a day of rest for us at all since the choir sings at both services and there is Confirmation and an awfully big hullaballoo because of the day’s historical significance.

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      1. We both sing in the choir and just returned from church where we rehearsed with the brass choir and organ and practiced processing for the big wingding tomorrow.

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  4. To continue on from yesterday’s theme, I am flabbergasted that your husband is so compulsive about cooking and planning to cook, Renee. I’d like to borrow him for a while, please. By the time he leaves, I expect the freezer to be full of prepared meals and prepped meal ingredients. (Just kidding. Sort of.)

    Free time? Well, babysitting of course. NOT. Seriously, I like to read books when I can put aside all the things I should be doing. Or go shoot pictures, although I’m trying more and more to think of that as my work (poor me, walking around in beautiful places, shooting pictures and calling it work) and not something I squeeze in whenever I can fit it. I also like to watch certain things such as Poldark, which I am behind on watching at the pbs website and I better get cracking on that before they take down the free viewing of whatever episode I’m on now. And sometimes I write letters by email to people.

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    1. Regarding picture shooting, ljb, have you ever been to Silverwood Park? I just discovered it last week. It’s just off Silver Lake Road in New Brighton, but really not that far from us and it’s a really nice park with a lake in the middle.

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      1. Silverwood is the park with the neat number sculptures as I recall. Miss S took some art camps up there a couple summers ago (including one on photography). Nice little park.

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  5. Reading is #1. Also – going for a walk, playing piano, golf (weather permitting, playing or cuddling with my sisters’ three cats, kayaking (weather permitting), catching up with friends via email/FB/face to face visiting, movies (matinees only as they are less expensive and way less crowded), and, believe it or not, cleaning.

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  6. Almost forgot……one of the most relaxing activities for me is being near, on, or in water – especially staring at waterfalls or waves. It’s just mesmerizing…………

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  7. I’ve been so immersed in my mother’s life, since we started to prepare for her move, that when I have free time, I flit. Just darting from one thing to another, never accomplishing anything, never completing anything. I gaze at one unfinished task and then move on to gaze at the next. I’m just flitting around like a maniacal butterfly. I have never mastered mastered meditation, but I think it would be a good thing to try now, if I can find someone to do it for me.

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    1. I can understand that, OC. When I immerse myself in a project, sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself when it’s finished. For instance, when I worked on getting my website this summer, I worked long hours, often until 2am, on it (a lot of the work was re-organizing all the photo files and then re-editing the images until I was happier with them). When I was done, then I didn’t know what to do for a few days and would sort of drift from thing to thing, not accomplishing anything.

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  8. OT: It’s a nice, quiet Saturday, so maybe I can update the story of my family’s move to Port Huron. My grandson likes his life here, although school continues to be a mixed story for him. That was true in Oregon, too. My daughter loves her rented home, a place that exudes character somewhat like my beloved old bungalow. She exercises every day and has lost 34 pounds since arriving. I’ve made my peace with my apartment here, a tiny place in a senior citizen complex. I wouldn’t have chosen to live among old farts, but now that I am I’m not unhappy, and my medical care is the best I’ve had. We would like to stay here if we can.

    The only unhappy person is my son-in-law. He struggles with guilt since he isn’t working now. So far he hasn’t come close to finding a new job in this semi-depressed area. He had three interviews this week, but there was something wrong with each of the jobs. I can’t guess how this will come out. He is talented and hard-working, but the employment environment here is not encouraging.

    We have agreed that if he can’t land a job by Christmas, we will forced to give up on Michigan. Our next move will be to Saint Paul (although we’d consider many towns in the general area (Winona, Afton, Stillwater).

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    1. I hope you all can find a way to stay there, Steve. It’s too bad that after finding a place that is good in many ways, you may have to leave.

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    2. has he thought about entrepreneurial reach?
      there is so much that needs to be addressed in most locations that if you look around trying to figure out what it is that can be done you end up narrowing it down not looking for more

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  9. I can so totally relate to your husband’s compulsion to plan meals, Renee. I love to do that, too, although I have a feeling that he gets into meals that are lot more complicated than mine. This time of year, when there’s a chill in the air, there’s nothing better than a nice, warming soup or stew for dinner. It doesn’t have to be complicated (or expensive) to be good, in fact, I derive so much pleasure from knowing that nothing is going to waste. (As I write this, a pot of chicken broth is simmering on the stove, utilizing the carcass from yesterday’s roasted chicken.) Later in the day, that broth will become the base for caldo verde, a Portuguese potato and kale (from the garden) soup. Served with a chunk of good bread, and a glass of wine, voila! a very satisfying meal that doesn’t require me to be slaving at the stove for any length of time.

    Reading is high on my list, as well. It feels like such a luxury to have the time to read in the middle of the day if that’s what strikes my fancy.

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    1. I told husband about my mention of his cooking obsession. He said he thinks about cooking all the time, not just when he is at home. I suppose that is better than thinking about other women or gambling all the time.

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      1. Boy I sure wish that Hans would think about cooking – at least once in a while – but he seems a lot more interested in just eating.

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  10. I make most of the dinners at our house. I am the one who does the bulk of the grocery shopping and keeps a mental inventory of what we have in the pantry and freezer and where to find it. Around 4:00, I’ll ask Robin what she feels like for dinner and usually she answers, “I don’t know. Do you have any ideas?”

    Whereupon I’ll tell her what I have in mind, based on the ingredients we have on hand and/or what I have a hankering for and that we haven’t had recently. Usually that’s acceptable.

    Our dinners are typically simpler than the ones you describe, Renee, and may be (in the summer) grilled fish or meat and a vegetable or a salad or stir fry or (in the winter) chili or stew or soup or something like a pasta dish or shepherd’s pie. It’s a particular challenge, with just the two of us, to not make so much that we are eating it for days afterward. I love having leftovers available but there are limits.

    For relaxation, there is of course reading. I generally have an art project I can work on. Lately it has been botanical illustration, prompted by my recent class at the school of botanical art. I always have books to restore. One thing about book restoration is that it’s methodical and you can’t rush the steps. Then there’s genealogical research and the ongoing process of archiving and organizing the materials I have. I particularly like it when I come across a gap or unanswered question in the line that I am able to doggedly solve. The cooking I do is also relaxing for me and if I have the time I quite like preparations that require a lot of knifework and assembly.

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    1. I imagine if I had someone who had good ideas of what to cook for supper and actually did the cooking, that I would be agreeable to just about anything!

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      1. Hans is usually pretty content to eat whatever I put on the table, knowing that I try to avoid foods that I know he dislikes. Sometimes, when I feel uninspired, I’ll ask him if there’s anything he has a hankering for, and it’s obvious that he just doesn’t think about food the same way I do. He’s always up for some sort of pasta or chili, and doesn’t take seasonal vegetables into consideration at all. Yesterday, out of the blue, he announced without being asked, he’d like French fries for dinner! “French fries and what else?” I asked. “No idea, whatever,” was the reply. Instead we had a bowl of left-over borscht, and roasted chicken with a couscous/vegetable blend.

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        1. poutine would have been my inclination

          gravy, cheese, maybe onions or shrooms
          tomatoes and a chipotle sprinkle

          potatoes call out to me and i find things to make it a meal regularly

          irish i guess

          baked in an oil and breading with seasoning is a new focus due to fried payback response similar to gluten intolerance

          contentment is keeping both your stomach and you bowels happy

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    2. Maybe someone should point out the great difference between cooking as PJ and Renee’s husband do it and the cooking done by a mom (who might have another job than housewife) putting meals out day after day for a family. It is such a luxury to cook for fun, not part of the daily grind, and to cook for two rather than for a family (with all the menu prejudices involved with that). Cooking can be a daily burden, but then cooking can be a creative joy.

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      1. Well, cooking is not something I took up as a hobby or for fun after I retired, Steve. Putting food on the table is something that has been part of the daily grind for as long as I can remember, even when I worked long hours at a demanding job. Some days I don’t feel like cooking, and I’ll admit that when that happens it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have kids. Fortunately, most days I don’t consider cooking an unpleasant chore. And to suggest that cooking for two is somehow a less valid application of an interest in food and cooking seems rather strange to me. Sorry, but I take umbrage at that comment.

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        1. Huh? I didn’t think he meant it was less valid. I thought he was making the point that when you’re cooking for two adults vs. cooking for kids, you might have more enjoyment with the former and it has a whole different atmosphere. In my experience, cooking for kids has a lot more potential for doing it just because it has to be done with no enjoyment at all. But that’s just me.

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        2. Sorry, ljb, that’s not how I see it. Steve is a writer. He chooses his words carefully, and I don’t see how that first sentence of his could have been any more condescending and dismissive of the way I and Renee’s husband approach cooking.

          During my tenure at the alternative school, I was the person who developed the school’s breakfast and lunch program. I made up the weekly menus so that they would comply with federal nutritional guidelines and yet be palatable and acceptable to our students. Occasionally I was also the person who had to cook them. I understand full well that cooking for a crowd is different than cooking for two. Yet, during that fourteen year span, I went home virtually every night and put a meal on the table, and usually one that I had planned for in advance.

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        3. Well, then, I guess we can agree to disagree. I appreciate that here on the trail we can disagree in a respectful and friendly way.

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        4. In all my years of posting, I’ve never been so surprised by a reaction to something I said. I do try to choose my words, but I obviously can’t control the way people respond to them.

          PJ is an excellent and creative cook, which is something I’ve been lucky enough to experience in person. My post was not intended to criticize her in any way. I only meant to express sympathy for all the moms who don’t have the luxury of being creative while cooking to please a family day-to-day. I don’t use posts to take digs at friends, and I sure didn’t intend anything like that here.

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        5. I guess my reaction was similar to PJ’s, because Steve’s comment implied, in my mind, that only moms are responsible for “putting meals out day after day”…I’ve never had to cook for children, but I still have long periods of time, especially in the warmer months, when figuring out what to do for meals is just a chore. Sometimes I’m not even very hungry; I just know I have to eat something every day. There are days when I come home late and just make popcorn because that’s all the energy I have to do.

          Winter months are usually somewhat better, since I work less. Then I’m more inclined to think creatively about food preparation. I’m always very happy to go out to eat, though.

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    1. ask if hes ever looked into the art of cooking on the enginne block of you vehicle. we used to heat baby bottles and baby food back in the day but i heard someone talking about usuig it like a slow cooker where the chili can cook for hours going down the road. you can stop every 50 or 60 milkes and stir it to be sure its not sticking to the pan but it ususlly is at a moderate temperature and like good home cooking sort of

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        1. I always have a little anxiety on road trips that something is going to go wrong with the car. I think, for me, trying to cook something on the engine block would just amplify the anxiety.

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  11. i have a cooking problem where i am the only one who appreciates my cooking
    my arizona son likes it but hes gone
    so i make veggie beans rice potatoes veggies and add my spices and the other things that come to mind i am always intrigued by the differences that they make. i tend ot have leftovers and modify the remaining stew to rebirth mode under an new and exciting identity

    to relax, a soak in the tub with music and or a book or movie is best for me.
    i enjoy going for a walk but usually want to get back to a task that strikes my while i am walking.
    i have a new sidekick for another two weeks or so. he is a guy i went tos school with who is a automovtive engineer who got whacked up side the head by a truck 5 years ago and has a stablized brain trauma that he is learning to be accepting of. i have been in his corner as all the stuff he has been waiting for is coming to a head right now.
    his long term disability, social security, pension, and the money from the trucking company tha thit him are all done or proposed to be done and waiting i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed before he can get on with it. he slod his house in pheonisx and is moving to texas gulf coast to live oin a boat and spend the money he has amassed in a way that feels right.
    the other day he asked me… is you day always so full of action activity chaos every day? i told him. you have been around for a while, you are abkle to be the judge. he shook his head and said he didnt know how i kept such a high energy level going all the time.
    i had a friend tell me once i was not a lot of fun to relax with because it involved so many moving parts. there is no book in the corner while i sip a glass of my chosen beverage and do the aha of life

    a tub and a tune is as close as i get. i can do that for an hour at a time 5 times a day but that seldom comes close to happpening

    i hurt my back last week and the relief from the temporary pain involved trumps favorite narcotic. oxycotten. now that gives me a reason to pause for a moment. i take it about 11 pm and it allows me to sleep to 5 am without the stabbing pains that wake me without it.

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    1. I can recommend a good acupuncturist, tim, if you need one. A very good massage therapist, too. Hope you’re better soon. Back pain is no fun.

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  12. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Yesterday I did something unusual with my free time–Lou is away at a family gathering and I stayed home with the dogs–so I stayed in bed all morning, just because I felt exhausted by life. It really helped. I dozed, listened to a really stupid audiobook, and played on-line boggle.

    This is not something I ordinarily do, but I think I needed to do something to get a grip on me. With the onset of the cold weather, every joint in my body, but especially my right ankle, ached. Emotionally I felt exhausted, too. The situation with my friend and colleague’s child, who is critically ill, put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders at work. Our clients are very upset because she is gone, and I am left behind to cope with it while she tries together her child through this illness.

    I finally got out of bed about 12:30 and ate lunch, then cleaned the bathroom which was satisfying but not fun. This morning I feel quite a bit better, so I guess that is what I needed.

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  13. Well, we got back from church a little while ago and I am going to take a nap. We sang at both services, the second of which was also Confirmation in addition to the Reformation celebration. One of the pieces we sang called for a percussionist to strike an anvil to reflect Luther hammering the theses on the church door. I had planned to make lefse this afternoon, but I decided to rest instead.

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  14. Ah…the question at hand. Free time and what to do with it. These days when I get snatches of free time I read. Or watch shows on Netflix that don’t require deep engagement (e.g., re-watching West Wing or Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries). If I can sit by a body of water – lake, creek, anything larger than a puddle – that is good for the soul. Ditto sitting on my front steps in the sunshine and watching the world go by.

    Today was getting elbow deep (quite literally for one gourd) in pumpkin guts. Scraping out the insides can also be therapeutic in the way that kneading bread can be…meditative and sticky. 🙂

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  15. I had a long list of things that I wanted to accomplish today, but did not make much progress on it. Instead I went out for a late lunch and brought a book along, and read it over a cup of coffee. The book was a couple of days overdue at the library, so I had to get it back to them. This evening I’m going to watch the World Series game.

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      1. I guess I don’t have a strong favorite. A win by the Astros would be fitting, since their city had a recent natural disaster. The Dodgers seem like a deserving team as well, though.

        Mostly I like to see a series in which both teams are competitive and it goes to seven games.

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        1. What a game! Loved it. I feel the same way about the teams, but am glad the series is turning out to be competitive.

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    1. what a game 6 hours of back and forth

      i’m pulling for dodgers but i like houston a lot
      and don’t like that the dodgers are the new multi billion dollar team the twins can figure will put them into a deeper hole in the last unequal sport in the pros

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