Obsession

I feel like I haven’t been very present on the trail the last week or so.

The egg table is up.

I have a love/hate relationship with my Ukrainian egg (pysanky) hobby. I love the quiet, steady progress of the craft and I love the outcome.  However I hate that I tend to get a little carried away; once I sit down and start to work, it’s hard for me to stop.  Just one more color, one more pass of wax, just finish this batch of six.  And I’m a little obsessive about cleaning everything up after each session.  This means I stay up too late and don’t get enough sleep when the egg table is up.  Chores go undone.  Relationships get neglected.

It’s the same with jigsaw puzzles. I adore doing jigsaw puzzles, but I can’t quite leave the puzzle alone until it’s finished.  Just a “couple more pieces” and suddenly its midnight and my back and neck are stiff!  It’s the main reason I don’t do large, complicated puzzles – those are rabbit holes I’m afraid to go down.

What obsession can sidetrack you?

45 thoughts on “Obsession”

    1. LOL. I actually had to block my sister on Facebook a few years back because I just couldn’t stand looking at all of the requests to buy a pig or plant corn.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. I can also relate to the jigsaw puzzle obsession…….lately have just been doing the 500 piece ones as they take up less time. I make coffee size photo books with pics from my international trips……big time rabbit hole! If I get absorbed into a good book, well, goodbye to getting anything else done.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rise and Find that Puzzle Piece With the Tip of the Fir Tree, Baboons. It goes Right. There. And I will not rest until I find it.

    Well, obviously I relate to the jigsaw puzzle obsession. I have a new one to take to AZ this year, where I have the time to fuss with such things. There are some polymer clay projects that pull me in this way, too. Unfortunately, while I have been recovering from knee surgery, I cannot sit comfortably in the type of chairs these projects require. My knee cramps, so I have not indulged these obsessions.

    The other “lost time” activity for me is genealogy on the on-line sites. If I find a genealogical thread that I am following, there is often a rabbit hole close by. Either I find an error in someone else’s work and have to change the information in my family tree, or I discover a new connection that leads to some intriguing life story that applies larger threads of human history to my family’s story. I so enjoy that contextual experience, then I come back to real life to find the weekend has vanished. I am still seeking the history of the “Cook” family of Ashtabula County, Ohio which, to date, has disappeared into the illiteracy and diaspora created by the Louisiana Purchase. Maybe this winter the thread I need will appear. Then I will disappear.

    Lately, on PT days, I disappear into the effects of the pain meds I have to take to tolerate the bending and stretching of PT. Yesterday the PT said I am ready for weekly appointments so that black hole will be reduced. Last night we had Trick or Treaters at the door and it took a lot of effort to get past the pain med and open the door. And the kids are so adorable.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot about the genealogy rabbithole. In addition to the mysteries I have been chasing for years, I am still only partially through the process of digitizing and identifying all the photos my grandparents on both sides left behind. My parents saved them, moldering in the basement, but never did anything with them. I’m just trying to preserve them, along with as much identification as I can supply, for posterity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a Ukrainian Cultural Center in town where you can get a good Ukrainian lunch a couple of times a week and buy a pysanky or two if you want. There is an enclave of descendents of Ukrainian immigrants in a town about 16 miles west of us, and they are very active in promoting their culture.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. My understanding of graft and corruption would clarify that it is not the Ukrainian DNA that drove the request to investigate, rather it was #45’s perceived motivation to acquire the foreign aid money. On behalf of the USA I would like to apologize to Ukrainians everywhere.

          That poor Ukrainian Prime Minister is in a tight spot.

          Like

  4. The books I work on often come to me in poor condition. That’s in part because the copies I can afford are ones that are far from pristine and in part because the books I’m interested in were ones that got read and passed from reader to reader and seldom were the ones that sat for decades in some well-appointed library.

    It’s not a significant problem if the primary damage is to the cover. I can rebuild and reattach the cover, using as much as possible of the old cover or make a new one from scratch. When the text block is broken—when pages are loose—I have to completely dismantle the book. That means, first of all, cutting the old cover free and then removing the old glue holding the pages together. Since these are typically books 150 years old or older, the paper is often a little fragile, which makes removing the glue a painstaking process. If I get impatient and rush it, I cause damage I later have to fix. Once the glue is removed, I punch and restitch the pages, making sure I keep them in the correct order. The restitched text block gets glued along the spine with a succession of adhesives and tissues and other components, each step requiring a pause of several hours while the glue dries. Once the text block has been restabilized, the rebuilt cover can go on. Usually it’s at this point that I repair any tears to pages within the book, although that can be done earlier and sometimes needs to be, depending on the tear.

    When I’m working on a book, it’s completely absorbing, since every book has its own unique problems to solve and because the process demands focus.

    It’s the same with drawing and painting and, for that matter, certain kinds of writing. You try to get into that zone where everything else, including the passage of time, just slips away.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’ve also been working on a series of botanical-style illustrations of non-botanical subject matter for a local organization that solicits artwork which it then sells in a gala event to raise money to provide homeless shelter. Botanical illustrations are by their nature methodical and fastidious.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’ve always known about You Tube but it’s been the last year I’ve sort of become addicted. I have certainly learned a lot from them, but I know I’m reading less books and magazines because rather than picking that up to read I see what’s new on YT. And so many videos are 15 or 20 minutes (I tend to avoid anything more than that because, well, that would just waste too much time) but I’ll watch 2 or 3 15 minute videos. And pretty soon there goes an hour.

    I’m trying to do better.

    At work or fixing stuff, yeah, I hate to leave it uncompleted; let me just finish this part… and then just wrap this up. I think it has to do with staying in the groove; keeping the mindset, right? Same with puzzles or genealogy; just stay in the groove.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I had to spend Tuesday night in Bismarck. I stayed in my hotel room as I didn’t need to go shopping , and there isn’t a lot else to do in Bismarck on a Tuesday night. My goal was to go to bed early. I never watch tv at home, but I was pretty bored so I turned on the tv in the hotel room. I was up until 1:00 am watching crime shows. How stupid! I have been exhausted all week as a result of that rabbit hole.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I had the idea that I wanted my jack-o-lanterns to have pearly whites, so I got myself a block of Sculpey clay (a polymer clay that you bake to harden) and sculpted a full set of pumpkin dentures. I had to build a metal cradle that conformed to the arc of the pumpkin face in order to bake it. When it came time to insert it into the pumpkin, it had warped enough that it was difficult to cut an exact hole for it to fit and as I was attempting to work it into place, it shattered. The clay was not as resilient as I expected. As a simpler alternative, I made a lot of random-shaped teeth and inserted a toothpick into each one. The good news is that I can save them and use them again. It was kind of a lot of bother for something so ephemeral, but that’s the nature of rabbitholes.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A friend is an artist living on Long Island in New York. She hadn’t touched a pumpkin until a few years ago, when she began sculpting them each fall for various events.

      I can’t insert a photo here to show her work. You won’t be disappointed if you do a search string: Sue Beatrice pumpkin.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I just told a student the other day; the amount of work I’m willing to put into something to ‘amuse myself’ depends on how funny I think I will find it.

    You did good there Bill.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. After my experience of trying to fit them into the “mouth”, I would have done them differently—smaller at least. Maybe I’ll make some more for next year.

        Like

  10. An obsession implies something one cannot stop thinking about or doing or participating in, so I’m not sure I have any obsessions in that sense.

    However, I can fall down rabbit holes like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, being a commercial author these days requires participating in some sort of social media. My big three are my website, FB, and Twitter.

    The website can capture my attention for hours because I “built it” myself. I used a free WordPress template, then add my own widgets and other things. When I write a blog post or change a page, I can easily spend an hour or two tweaking it for SEO (don’t ask… you don’t want to know) and readability.

    I’ve also spent hours checking out other free templates as well as paid templates, looking for a better webpage design. I can also waste hours looking at other posts and videos about web page design and compare my site to other authors’ sites.

    You all know about FB and Twitter time sucks. A necessary evil to maintain contact with readers and customers. Merely liking selected posts by FB friends or Twitter followers can kill an hour easily.

    No one tells new authors that if they want to do their own marketing and do it as cheaply as possible, free social media will cost them dozens of hours of their time each month. I could easily spend more time marketing myself than actually writing!

    One of the fun rabbit holes I sometimes go down is when I’m doing research for one of my books or stories. It’s fun because I often learn the most interesting and/or arcane facts you could imagine. Just studying firearms in all their forms is amazing. Who knew humans were such experts on inventing ways to kill humans and other living things? (Or to destroy targets like cans, bottles, clay pigeons, etc.

    Other subjects I’ve delved into are fires, gas explosions, law enforcement, spy gear, criminal legal issues, conspiracies, hypothermia, gunshot wounds, medical issues like hand surgery to repair tendons, flora and fauna in certain areas–gotta make sure the trees I mention a character seeing in the BWCA, for example, really grow there.

    I suppose you might say I have an obsession with golf because I consider myself addicted, but I don’t crave it every day, especially now when I tweaked my back last week and the thought of trying to swing a club makes me sore. And the older I get, the more I appreciate the forced vacation from golf during winter. I’m too frugal to head south for the winter . . . yet.

    Chris in Owatonna

    **BSP Alert***
    If you’re looking for a good excuse to get out of the house tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 2, come down to the Galaxie Library in Apple Valley for the Dakota County Local Author Fair. 12-3. More than 20 local authors like me will be selling and signing their books. There are a few programs before and during that time slot that you may be interested in. For more info, check the Events and Appearances page at my website, chrisnorbury.com, or this site: https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/libraries/Programs/Everyone/Pages/local-author-fair.aspx

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Most recent rabbit hole has been creating a schematic for friend W as he moves from a 1-bedroom apt. to an efficiency. After enlarging the “map” of the apt., I cut pieces (to scale) that represent the furniture that is likely to fit. Then we “play” with these in different arrangements. I’m probably the only one who gets a kick out of it, but it is very helpful when I need to convince him of what is or is not going to fit in the new place!

    I can also fall down one when I try to write out the melody (and maybe chords, too) of a song I don’t have music for. Learned early on to ALWAYS use pencil on the staff paper… Another kind of meticulous work that can cause back aches between the shoulder blades.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My second most obsessive obsession is digital photo editing. Get me started with a fresh batch of unedited images and I might lose track of time for half a day. It starts innocently enough with efforts to correct flaws in a photo. But why stop there? If the original photo was shot on a gloomy day, I can brighten the scene and add warmth to the light. If the original sky was boring I can usually add drama and interest to it. If the colors are flat or ugly I can do a lot about that. I can change the color intensity of a scene or maybe just jack up the greens and make the blues darker.

    At some point you have to wonder if you really want to make a drab photo so appealing and powerful. What ethical principles should apply here? Making banal images attractive doesn’t hurt anyone, and yet it can feel like a form of deception. And, god knows, we have enough deception these days without creating more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve thought that. I take photos of our plays, edit them and distribute to the cast. But how much should I change the look? I’m not as good as you are; my editing is basic exposure correction and some cropping. Maybe I can maskout a simple something or other but that’s about it.

      But sometimes I can enhance the color and I have to think about if that’s still ok and, as you said, ethical.

      When lighting a show I will spend hours working on the fades. 2.8 seconds or 3.1 seconds. Nobody cares but me. No one will notice but me. And lately I’ve started creating ‘part’ cues meaning when the cue happens these lights take 3 seconds, these lights wait 2 seconds then take 4 seconds and this light waits 6 seconds and comes on in 1.
      it makes me happy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s a great description of how it is, Ben. “Nobody cares but me.” Think of all the good workmen in history–whether they were building a cathedral or making a drawer for a cabinet–and they take care to do it right although nobody else will ever know or care. God bless ’em all!

        Liked by 3 people

    2. I know I’ve mentioned Erik Johansson on here before, but he has truly taken this whole idea of manipulating photos to a whole new level. I love his work. It really is pushing the boundaries of photography. Did anyone make it to his exhibit at the American Swedish Institute while it was here?

      https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/graphic-design/a-swedish-artist-is-mashing-photography-and-drawing-with-amazing-results/news-story/2995479e2dc55cae586b68961d6a15f8

      Liked by 4 people

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