Hobbies

by Swim

Friday fun topic: do you have an unusual hobby – perhaps something that you’re obsessive about that those around you don’t find as interesting? Did you turn it into a profession or is it something that just makes you happy?

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117 thoughts on “Hobbies

  1. My current hobby is being President of a local non-profit (only because no one else volunteered and I’m passionate about the cause). I’m currently spearheading our biggest fundraiser of the year (again, because no one else volunteered) and I’m finding great joy when I get a “Yes” for donated raffle items.

  2. I don’t have an unusual hobby (I love reading but I wouldn’t call it unusual). DS though is obsessed with cars. He has had a subscription to Motor Trend since he was 4. I’ll be very interested to see if he ends up with a career in the automotive industry or if it stays a hobby which makes him happy.

    And I certainly know more about cars than I used to :-)

    DH is taking up photography. Which is not unusual but is certainly expensive. The first camera I bought him for Father’s Day is the most expensive present I’ve given him in terms of the path it created to ever better (and more expensive) cameras and lenses.

  3. Also SBJ – thank you for the suggestion that we visit the Petersen Automotive Museum and do the vault tour on our LA trip. It was a huge hit! As were the electric scooters you also suggested. And Risley, I loved the Will Rogers hike.

  4. I posted a while back that I’ve been trying to find a hobby. I still haven’t really found anything. I built some model rockets and we launched them last month, maybe we’ll launch them again this weekend. But the kits are all so similar to each other so I’m not all that interested in making more of them.

    I was hoping to coach softball this spring but it didn’t work out, so hopefully I can get a team in August. Otherwise I’m still bored quite a bit and still looking for something.

  5. Oh, I really like putting together puzzles. When I was a kid I loved puzzles, but then I stopped doing them. Last year I went out and bought half a dozen puzzles and really enjoy putting them together. Our library has a table with an ongoing puzzle. Whenever I’m there I’ll spent 15 minutes or so working on it. It is usually me and several senior citizens.

  6. My hobby remains my job, kids, and house. ;-) I hope to expand that to more pleasurable writing as those demands ramp down, but for now I’m boring as dirt. Well, actually, you could probably count the gym as a hobby, because I kinda go through a little withdrawal when I don’t make strongman training and schedule my meals/snacks around when my class will be, and I also do acupuncture and such to keep my body in shape to do so. Not sure whether that qualifies as “hobby” or “addiction,” but it’s good for me, so I don’t care. ;-)

    The thing I have done totally unintentionally is develop collections. We have what is now a huge collection of Zuni fetishes,* to which we add at least a half-dozen every winter at Keshi in Santa Fe. And I have always been a fan of cobalt blue glass, particularly in fused-glass creations, as well as clocks and metal and stone. So our house is now filled with a variety of arty things that contains some combination of all of those. And I love them all and they make me happy when I look at them.

    *I am such a strong bear it’s ridiculous; almost evey single one that grabs me is a bear, with a few bushy-tails and cougars thrown in. Purple bears in particular — fluorite or sodalite — although my most recent one is jet and is awesome and comfy.

  7. I just love the process of collecting and researching and developing a keen eye. The mid century decorative items are an inexpensive alternative to watches. But after all, I am in Switzerland right now…

  8. I have a relative who is obsessed with nature photography. Within the past year he’s been on about four trips on three different continents to photograph all sorts of wildlife and landscapes. Someone was trying to convince him to get a show of his photos, but somehow I doubt that’s feasible. I don’t mind seeing his photos in social media, but I don’t relish the thought of receiving one of his framed prints for a Christmas gift. Not my thing.

    DD — does photography interest you?

    I don’t have unusual hbbies, but those around me don’t find them very interesting!

  9. My hobbies are so boring, but I’m actively trying to cultivate and spend more time on them as the kids get older and need me less.

    Running/exercise – is this even a hobby? I’m not sure. The result of 2 stress fractures is that I’m having to run much less. 2-3 times/week instead of 4-5. But I’m rounding out my exercise routine by doing some strength training classes at the gym 2-3 times/week, and it’s been really fun. I actually feel like I’m in better shape now than when I was running more often.

    Cooking – I’ve always enjoyed this but recently I’ve had more time to get dinner on the table. I’ve been making dinners that take more like an hour to make, vs. 30 minutes, and it’s really enjoyable to make a more elaborate meal. Helps that I have an appreciative audience. Also, DH set up Roku for me on our kitchen TV so I can watch DVR’d shows (usually cooking shows!) while I cook and this is ridiculously enjoyable.

    Travel planning. I’m always researching our next trip, or looking into packing tips and travel tips for an upcoming trip.

    I would really love to start taking tennis lessons with DH, and now would be a good time to start since it’s light in the evenings, but we haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Both of us used to play years ago but we’re pretty rusty now.

  10. LfB — Be careful. One of my relatives has collected Kachina dolls for years, along with sports memorabilia from his favorite teams. When he and his wife moved after retirement, dealing with all the collectibles was a huge undertaking. They downsized a little, and now they have two rooms CHOCK full of collectibles with some still packed away. The vintage stadium seats had to be moved out to the patio in their new house after spending years in the rec basement at their old house.

  11. I guess fitness activities is my hobby. And sadly, this one still fits:

  12. Three things taking me different directions:
    1. I initially took up tai chi to get some exercise (and learn something I could do long term year round that didn’t require something special like equipment or a pool), but started teaching in January and am expanding classes in September. Teaching more will reduce some of the classes I take or at least the frequency I attend. So, this is turning from a break-even to a money maker – though not replacement income to quit my other part-time job.

    2. I have become active again in a book group in which I was a regular for about 10 years before kids. I’ve been attended sporadically this past year, but committing to participate more this year and took on the responsibility for the discussion one month. The only drawback is one member from my neighborhood attends and now asks me for a ride every month. I want to be helpful, but also like to leave home early and either treat myself to dinner or include a couple of errands before the meeting.

    3. I work with a GS group and prior to our last two events this year made a large commitment for next year. As the group has paid for something that is not transferable, I am going to carry on through next May. This may have to change as I cannot be in the position of Lemon Tree of “doing in all” just to keep it going.

    4. I am lurking, have attended one event, on the edge of a fairly loose group that hosts a variety of special interest meet-ups. I have been to one so far and am trying out another next month.

  13. @July — LOL! I think I’m ok so far, because they still fit on the windowsills of my home office, with a couple moved to my office at work. But I have thought about getting a display case for them, which I then rapidly backed away from because it sounds like the beginning of the slippery slope. ;-) But really, it feels wrong to pack them away behind some sort of glass door, when they seem so happy and vital in the sun that comes in through the windows.

    Speaking of slippery slopes, I looked up from typing this and realized I had missed a huge opportunity: I had limited the fetishes to the windowsill. I just took a few minutes to put the translucent ones on the top of the bottom pane (the flat spot where the window locks are), and boy do they look awesome up there. Plus I now have at least two more visits’ worth of space available on the windowsill. ;-)

  14. My hobby is musical, once a week and 4 concerts a year, plus each concert has 2 extra rehearsals – I try to skip 1or 2 rehearsals per cycle so that DH doesn’t get too mad about it. We used to fight over it every week until I had our nanny stay late on rehearsal nights.

    I also bake a lot – all of the birthday cakes, occasional weeknight cookies and cakes, morning muffins/scones, etc. I have started to get into decorating with piping, but not with fondant etc.

  15. Pre-kids, DH and I used to really enjoy motorcycling. Post-kids we look at it differently, no surprise there. I sold my bike after DD was born, but we kept DH’s (a Harley Davidson) in the garage thinking that we’d get back to it when the kids were older. Your perception of risk changes as you age, and after having a knee replacement this winter, DH is currently in the process of getting the bike running again in order to sell it. I am entirely on board with that decision.

    A few years back DH decided that he’d like to learn to paddleboard, so we went to a local place as a family and took their intro course. I’m the one who ended up hooked, I’d paddleboard every day if I could! I use ours far more than anyone in the family.

    Now DH has decided that he would like to try mountain biking. We’ll be taking a group lesson again as a family this summer in VT. Let’s see who gets hooked this time.

  16. I wish I had time for a real hobby. I go to the gym or track most days so I guess that is a hobby but it feels more like personal upkeep than a real hobby. I’ve watched all three of my kids blossom into accomplished artists, and realized that I used to be pretty good myself. I wish I had time for it. I used to do a lot of photography too, but that died out as my job demands increased. I used to play trad fiddle, too, but no more. I gave my violin to my oldest.

  17. Like L, I’ve been singing in choral groups since high school, with a long hiatus during the work years and when the kids were little. DC has a lot of great amateur choral organizations, but it was hard to make a weekly rehearsal and the extra performance prep when I had inflexible work and childcare demands. When I finally started up again in my 40’s, I was one of the youngest people in the groups. Now I am among the oldest, but that is mostly because we have a cadre of grad students in the current campus-based group. One of my former choral groups in the DC area had over 200 singers (with no auditions, it was very popular) and some of the members were well into their 80’s. They had to have chairs nearby during performances. So if we ever move back, there is a group for me….

    I also resumed my seasonal obsession with trapping and deporting chipmunks, who cause all kinds of expensive problems with pool equipment. Last season I sent away more than 200, and I was hoping that there weren’t any left, but that is sadly not the case. Some friends use lethal traps instead, but I can’t quite bring myself to do that, especially because I would have to remove the critters as DH wants no part of this obsession. The compost piles finally unfroze about a month ago, so that they are up and running as well. The lawn service indulges this obsession by piling up as many leaves as possible next to the bins. They think I am nuts, but I insisted that there is no such thing as too many leaves back there. Even so, they end up blowing piles of leaves into the street for removal too.

    I swim every day, which is also sort of an obsession, but added in a strength class last year, and recently started Pilates Reformer sessions.

  18. DD — does photography interest you?

    Not at all. I enjoy making things and building things but if I find stuff to make, we’ll just end up with more crap we don’t need :)

    I have been playing racquetball about once a week at the new gym so that’s working well. The drive isn’t as bad as I was expecting.

    I am thinking of doing some major upgrades to the yard this summer. Although I would consider that to be more of a pain in the ass than a hobby :)

  19. My dad’s hobby in retirement is relocating squirrels. Finally after many many years of relocating brown squirrels he thought he was down to a reasonable amount…and the black squirrels moved in. So now he is busy relocating black squirrels. The brown squirrels were destructive, and the black squirrels are so agile that they are winning the bird seed and lard battle, not matter the feeder or location.

    My dad is like the Geico commerical “the squirrels are back…”

  20. Till DS starts driving, I won’t have much downtime. Really stretched with work and the kids. I know it will change but I won’t realize till after the change has occurred.
    I do want to exercise on a consistent basis. After that I want to start volunteering to assist kids with schoolwork. Of course this means no downtime again !

  21. I don’t have any unusual hobbies. The things I choose to fill my valuable free time with right now are reading, cooking (and reading about cooking), gardening, baseball (watching & helping DS practice), hiking/walking – sometimes while listening to podcasts, playing the occasional tennis game, etc. Pretty mundane.

    When I no longer work FT and/or when DS is older, I’d like to join a legit tennis league/club (or maybe pickleball if I can’t handle tennis), get more active in the neighborhood (e.g., take a position on the neighborhood group board, be a member of the area park district advisory board), do regular volunteer work, and also a lot more of the things I listed above.

    DH collects some coins (nothing super exotic) and bobbleheads. He also held onto some of his baseball cards although boxes full of them went into the dumpster when his parents downsized and forced him to take them out of their house. The bobbleheads have taken over DS’s room even though DH cares more about them. I don’t collect anything really – which fits my unsentimental personality and hatred of clutter. I do pick up Christmas ornaments when we travel, but I don’t know if that truly fits the definition of a “collection”.

  22. LfB – in a similar setting I’m always drawn to the ravens. Funny how strong an inclination one can have for something like that.

  23. I really enjoy me book club. It’s only 3 ladies and we meet once a month for lunch and discuss books. It’s low key and so much fun.

    I used to foster dogs for a local rescue. Now I don’t have the time, but have started volunteering and their Sunday vet clinic (to give foster animals vaccinations, medication,etc.) and I am enjoying it.

  24. So many hobbies are really expensive. I’d like to try biking with a really decent bike, but a really decent bike seems to cost of minimum of $2K and more likely $6K. That’s a lot of money to spend on something that you don’t even know if you’ll like.

  25. I like cooking and baking, but since I’ve started eating low carb, baking is a hard hobby to keep up. I am trying to get into riding again, and DH and I are going to look at a horse this weekend.

  26. Kayaking is another hobby I’d love to get into – we live in a perfect place for it. What I’m noticing is that most of my free time is in the evenings after dinner, 7ish – 9ish, and so I’m giving thought to what can fill those hours in the non-sports seasons.

  27. @Cassandra: clearly what you need to do is join a CrossFit gym. You will discover a whole new world of high-protein, macro-friendly baking. And some of it doesn’t even suck. ;-)

  28. I love wrapping presents. I love giving people beautifully or creatively wrapped gifts, even if it’s just socks or pajamas inside the box. I’ve been trying for years to find a way to make money on this talent, but I’ve had to settle for just enjoying it at Christmas.

  29. Finn, yeah, because a violin would cost around $1000 and at that time we didn’t have that cash (temporary cash flow situation) nor did we have the time to put into finding a violin. Right now, it seems that my sister has one she can sell him – a very good quality instrument – so since we are visiting her soon, we might snag that one.

  30. We also bought him the expensive graphics tablet, which he is really into. His artwork is amazing. I heard from my middle kid that he has been getting some commissions for work

  31. RMS, what kind of bike? Road, mountain, cyclocross, etc?

    I’m pretty much a roadie, and a bike that would approximately replace my current bike would go for a bit under $1k, I estimate.

    For $2k, I could get a bike with which I’d be very happy.

    Otoh, that’s just the start. Then you’d need a helmet, shoes, gloves, shirts or bib, pump, camelback, etc.

  32. SWVA, my SIL has been paying someone to wrap all of her Christmas gifts for years. You should keep putting yourself out there and see what happens! I bet you could find someone like my SIL who loves to give beautifully wrapped gifts but doesn’t have the knack.

    One of my many empty nest life changes was to get certified as a Master Gardener in my state and I’m done with the coursework and deeply into the volunteer hours. But mostly right now, having just moved, I feel like my hobby is decluttering. I am good with needles and sewing, and keep planning to re-learn tatting, which DH’s aunt taught me to do 35 years ago. It is a dying art, and knowing how to make lace by hand surely will come in handy during the zombie apocalypse.

  33. Then you’d need a helmet, shoes, gloves, shirts or bib, pump, camelback, etc.

    I have some of those already, but yes, the accoutrements add up too. Well, my California friends do century rides (it is extremely unlikely that I would ever do a century ride) or else they do 30-mile or 40-mile rides through the wine country, or Healdsburg, or similar pretty places. So I would want a bike that would handle that kind of workout. If I ever got strong enough (again, highly unlikely, especially given my age) I could do Ride the Rockies with the Colorado people who bike.

  34. I guess paddling a kayak is a hobby, since I booked a week in Portugal this fall and will have to train all summer for it. And several bridge games a week, and yearly trips to the side events at the national championships also constitute a hobby. But when one is retired, those sorts of pastimes feel more like daily activities.

  35. I like looking at gardens but I have never seriously gardened. I think I am impatient it’s grow ! Grow now ! What you died ??

  36. “But when one is retired, those sorts of pastimes feel more like daily activities.”

    haha! My whole life is a hobby?

    RMS — do it while you can! Some of my hobbies are limited by medical issues and by old age aches and pains. I appreciate doing things now that I may be unable to do as I get older.

    I don’t think any totebaggers golf. That was something H and I both did before kids and then a little bit after kids. But neither of us has much interest in it now. For me in particular, any athletic endeavor requires a lot more work/practice than required for the average person since I lack any natural ability. So I have to be selective in what I do. Golf in particular took up a lot of time with little reward.

  37. RMS said “else they do 30-mile or 40-mile rides through the wine country, or Healdsburg, or similar pretty places. So I would want a bike that would handle that kind of workout. ”
    Are they riding really fast? Otherwise, this sounds like the kind of bike riding I do, and I definitely do not own a $2000 bike! Mine actually dates from the mid 90’s, and I think I paid $500 for it at the time. We actually got DD through a 30 mile ride when she was 6, on a kids bike. It did take some promises of ice cream at the end.
    Oh, and I have ridden centuries. If you can do a 40 miler, you can ride a century…

  38. I’ve done a bunch of centuries in the Bay Area, including the wine country/Healdsburg area, and what makes those rides difficult for many people is that most of them involve a fair amount of climbing. It’s not easy to plan a 100-mile, or even a 100 Km, route in that area without much climbing.

    And the rides with less climbing tend to have more wind. Given a choice between fighting headwinds and climbing, I’ll usually take the climbing. OTOH, flat, windy rides can be made less taxing by simply going slowly.

  39. July’s golf comment interested me because the South has always been heavily golf oriented but golf is fading out, apparently generationally. Golf courses and country clubs are closing or finding themselves in financial trouble. DH’s father was a traditional social golfer – never home on Saturday, vacations were to golf resorts, etc. That sort of parental absenteeism has fallen out of favor. I’ve heard, perhaps here, that the socially acceptable way to escape your kids for five hours at a time is to train for a marathon, but heading to the golf course is out of fashion.

  40. “Mine actually dates from the mid 90’s, and I think I paid $500 for it at the time.”

    That sounds like a pretty decent bike, pretty close to mine– a bike shop bike, as opposed to a big box store bike, and at least a step or two above the basic bike shop bike.

  41. I wonder if another factor in the decline of golf was the Reagan tax cuts.

    I’ve mentioned before how it was explained to me BITD, before the Reagan tax cuts, that the top marginal federal income tax rates were 70% or more, and this led to doctors typically golfing on Wednesdays.

  42. “And the rides with less climbing tend to have more wind. Given a choice between fighting headwinds and climbing, I’ll usually take the climbing. OTOH, flat, windy rides can be made less taxing by simply going slowly.”

    I remember a particularly hard trek when we were in Belgium, riding along the coast and fighting headwinds so brutal the kids could barely pedal enough to move forwards. My middle kid actually fell over into a ditch at one point. We were all riding those big ol’ Dutch bikes. Those things are like the Cadillacs of bikedom.

  43. I don’t think it has to do with Reagan tax cuts. One reason is how we spend our “leisure time” when we are parents. A lot of families have two full time working parents, and weekends are spent on errands, bday parties, sports, dance etc. Golf requires a lot of time away from the family and that is harder to do int he modern family. I learned to play golf when I first started to notice that I couldn’t attend certain events since I didn’t play golf. I haven’t played golf in over 20 years for many reasons, but it isn’t like riding bike – you can’t just stop playing and expect to go back and be able to play. I live on a street with a golf course and I pass at lest two other courses when I drive to the train. Golf is still popular around here, but it does seem to be more of a sport for the older/retired people around here due to the time commitment. There are a decent number of public courses around here too, so it isn’t just about the money. I think time is a big factor in why the game is dealing in popularity.

  44. “Golf requires a lot of time away from the family and that is harder to do int he modern family.”

    But is not so hard to do when you don’t work on Wednesdays (or some other weekday) because most of what you make would be taxed upwards of 70% anyway.

  45. Earlier in my career I knew of a manager who was into golfing on Wednesdays. The culture has changed where a manager could take off and golf leaving the underlings to slog it out to one where the expectation was that managers work more hours than subordinates. Anyway this manager used to leave the light on in the office and pretend that he had a meeting in another building. One Wednesday an emergency presented itself and it was noticed that he was not back from his meeting. Word of his golf habit leaked out. He was eased out of his position.

  46. I’m at a point in life where I have the time to pick up hobbies, but I need to figure out what I want to do. I golfed and played tennis when I was younger but the heat and humidity in Houston bother me more than they did when I was younger. I enjoy spending time on ancestry research but need some active hobbies. I do yoga videos now, so may Trump to take classes somewhere so it will feel a little more social. I really like being able to just fit it in when the mood strikes. Pre-kids, DH got his pilot’s license so we used to spend a lot of time at the airport watching planes and walking on the trails there. We would occasionally rent a plane and fly somewhere, but that was too expensive to keep up once we had kids. I like to ride my bike but alone. I don’t want anyone trying to set my pace and when I’m done I want to be done, not dependent on the group to be finished. I want to have several hobbies in place before retiring.

  47. RMS, you’ve mentioned e-bikes in the past. I’ve read several articles about them recently, and one common theme is how they allow riders of dissimilar abilities and fitness to ride together (common case being couples). Did you ever pursue your interest?

    For the type of riding you describe, a road bike is probably the way to go (other than an e-bike), and IME, a $2k bike can make those rides easier than a $500 bike, although I’m guessing your friends are already riding some pretty good bikes, so a $2k bike might be more like getting you onto their level than giving you an advantage.

    BTW, IME, regular rides of the 5 to 10 miles will give you a solid base from which to try some of the 30 to 40 mile rides you mentioned. One way to go might be start with a decent bike in, say, the $500 to $1k range and build a base, starting at 5 to 10 miles and stretching up to more like 20 miles, then perhaps try one of those 30 to 40 mile rides. By then you’ll have a pretty good idea if you like riding enough to make the $2k to $6k bike worth getting, and you’ll also be more prepared for it as well.

    Riding a really good road bike can take some getting used to for someone without a lot of riding experience; I’ve heard it described as not being unlike going from driving an underpowered econobox to something like a Ferrari or Lamborghini.

  48. RMS, a favorite ride of mine was up to Foothills Park, when I was eligible to enter the park (entry is limited to Palo Alto residents and guests).

  49. Hobbies, not really, but in the past couple of years I have expanded my grilling efforts to include smoking meats. The cheap, $99 at Home Depot, one I got from my kids for Father’s day a couple of years ago does great for both. (Sidebar – I actually saw a nicer one, still for $99, at HD tonight. Nicer mostly because it has a door thru which I could add more fuel without opening the lid. America is a great country.) Tomorrow my two youngest and I are doing some outside work in the morning and then we’ll smoke a chicken and a couple of racks of ribs. Sunday we’re celebrating Mother’s Day since it was just DW & me home last weekend. The guys are in charge of breakfast, dinner, dessert and all other things Mother’s Day and I’ll smoke a couple of port butts for pulled pork. One to put away for us for later use, one to give to the neighbors with the quadriplegic 22yo (auto accident).

    This conversation has inspired me to take my road bike out of the garage and to the bike shop for a tune up and to then start riding again. I used to ride 30-45min before work for several years late 90s to late 00s but then age started creeping up and I was not comfortable with it. I think I’ll be ok again, so I have to try it.

  50. OT, I suppose you could consider biking a hobby of mine, although I don’t think it’s very unusual.

    Before kids, I did a fair amount of woodworking. I’m not sure if I’d do much of that in retirement, because our house pretty much already has all the furniture we need. If one of the kids lived nearby and needed a cabinet or table or something like that, I’d want to build it.

  51. LfB – ditto on my hobbies being my kids and my job. Funny story, I was in one those local paper profiles for something last year where the reporter asks a standard bunch of questions and then picks 5 or 6 to use in the story. One of his questions was “what about hobbies, do you run marathons or ride horses or anything?” I laughed (self-consciously) and tried to brush it off with a “not really time for that between my job and my family”. Omg, he USED that in the story. I mean, my other answers weren’t that boring, I don’t think. It is something that I know I need to work on….and my kids are now mostly grown and half out of the house. Why can’t finding great new things on Netflix count as a hobby, or watching reality tv? ;) on that note, check out Period. End of Sentence.

  52. Fred, I’m salivating a bit at the thought of what you might bring to the totebag potluck.

    Have you tried smoking fish or venison?

  53. I like the process of crafting, but I don’t really like crafty things, so that’s a dilemma. Like quilting. My mom quilts and I love taking her to quilt shops and stocking up on lots of fun fabrics. She has no eye for design and I think I would enjoy that part of it. But I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment yet, I don’t have quite that much free time!!

  54. RMS, a favorite ride of mine was up to Foothills Park, when I was eligible to enter the park (entry is limited to Palo Alto residents and guests).

    Oh, I know! I spent months there (cumulatively) in my youth. My Girl Scout troop went there all the time. My family often went there for cook-outs on a Sunday afternoon. I miss it and kind of feel locked out of paradise, which is really stupid because the surrounding area is just as pretty. But I know the Los Trancos trail like the proverbial back of my hand.

    I have an e-bike in Santa Cruz. I really like it. But I’m not there all that often. I don’t think you can really do a super-long ride on an e-bike because the batteries don’t last. And if the batteries poop out, then you’ve got a really heavy bike to try to pedal home. I have two sets of friends in Silicon Valley who do the biking thing and I kind of think it would be fun to join them, but then I’d need the really good road bike of the type you were mentioning. Naturally they all have high-end carbon fiber bikes with fancy accoutrements. That’s where I’m getting the $6K number from.

  55. Sunshine, I thought about getting into quilting when I was hanging out with my old Mennonite church people. But the group project quilts were problematic. There were two really good quilters in the group, and if they didn’t like your stitching, they’d quietly take the quilt home and tear out your stitches and redo them. I don’t need that kind of judgment in my life.

    I knew another woman who joined a knitting “guild” and was annoyed that it was really just a club. She wanted it to be a “real guild” where you had to show improvement every month or you got kicked out. Jeez louise. Do we really have to make crafting into a death match?

  56. “I’ve heard, perhaps here, that the socially acceptable way to escape your kids for five hours at a time is to train for a marathon, but heading to the golf course is out of fashion.”

    Funny you say this. DH ran the local marathon when DS was a preschooler, and we did argue about the time commitment. I told him not again until DS was older. I wouldn’t mind if he ran it again now, but he’s got no interest. (I wouldn’t have minded even a few years ago but it was a burden in the potty training, heavy supervision years.)

    The only people my age I know who good regularly are in Sales. Golf is such a high commitment hobby. So much time & money.

  57. There was a long thread on Corporette the other week about some woman with three small kids whose husband insisted on playing six hours of golf every weekend. The general consensus was “shoot him” or else hire a babysitter.

  58. Finn
    No fish or venison yet but DS3 asked yesterday about smoking salmon (I was grilling a side of salmon) and DS2 wants to do duck.

  59. “Golf is such a high commitment hobby. So much time & money.”

    Yes. But it’s less expensive in places I’ve lived down south where there are more public courses and locations with fields where you can take your own bucket of balls to practice. It was a shock to move to NY where the golf clubs are so pricey, the public courses require lotteries and/or lining up at dawn to hold your spot, and of course prohibition against hitting golf balls on open fields so you need to drive to and pay at a driving range. Some municipalities offer affordable town “country clubs” with swimming, tennis, and sometimes golf. They are considered very desirable.

    I know a passionate quilter who has a bedroom devoted to her hobby with a frame that takes up most of the space. She and her fellow quilters produce exquisite work.

  60. DD is a natural art and craft person. When fancy strikes or if there are birthdays coming up, she’ll make something from the materials on hand. It’s effortless, quick and the product is original. I really admire the process. I don’t have that skill.

  61. I’ve finally gotten some plants to grow again, and am planning to grow veggies on the balcony, so I guess container gardening is my hobby. Still haven’t done anything about finding lessons and a group to play recorder.

    “they’d quietly take the quilt home and tear out your stitches and redo them.”. That’s incredible! Outrageous! Also seriously bizarre.

    On the golf thing, I think I’ve mentioned on here before that my dad had a lot of friends who were doctors and spent part of every weekend golfing. I can recall him talking about them trying to get him to take it up. He made a conscious decision to be with family, and we spent many evening and weekend hours doing yard work & gardening together. I think some of those golfer dads eventually started taking their sons along.

    Off topic: I goofed. Was commenting on my son’s SAT scores as I looked through them, so didn’t emphasize how well he did on the verbal part (although I mentioned it), and mused at the math score that we had figured it wouldn’t be as high. He was crestfallen, and nothing I can say now seems to erase it. And he still isn’t signing up for Kahn.

  62. I once worked with a guy who was a big golfer and had two younger kids. His solution was a 530 tee time every Saturday so he would be home by 1030.

  63. I don’t know if it’s still this way, but oil companies used to provide access to golf as a perk. In our prior city, DH played on his group’s team for their corporate intramural league. If he was working on something with a deadline they’d push it on to someone else and send him to the course (they played during the work week). They won the trophy. When we first moved down here, the company had a 9-hole course for employees and retirees on land that had a pipeline running though it that was about 6 minutes from our house. DH and the guys that transferred down here with us would play 9 holes after work a couple nights a week. Neighborhoods are required to accommodate storm water runoff, and most choose either golf courses or faux lakes, and our first neighborhood was a golf course one. They had special rates for the neighborhood and when my dad visited he could go up and hit a bucket or two without having to find his way around Houston. I’m not sure if companies still provide courses to employees and retirees. My employer never has.

  64. I think I’ve mentioned that some students from DH’s law school (this was ’93-’96) tried to persuade the law school to allow the students to take golf classes for law school credit. The school said, “Yeah, no.”

  65. Trip report Part 3 – Switzerland. Decent weather and DH as healthy as he gets obviously contributed to the following assessment, but the Swiss portion is why we selected this particular itinerary. We enjoyed Basel and Zurich. These are not primarily tourist cities, but there was enough to see, we had very good guides, and a very good meal in Zurich. The Glacier express train ride, the time in unhectic off season Zermatt, the cog rail to Gornergrat and a cloudless day to view the Matterhorn, a nice hike for me, a lovely winery visit overlooking Lake Geneva, a trip to the Patek Museum, and time with a compatible couple we met from remote northern California ended the trip nicely. We still have to fly home tomorrow, so the grade for the total trip is not final. Switzerland is very expensive compared to surrounding countries, but I think any traveler with or without kids in tow would enjoy a vacation here in almost any season. Trains take you everywhere, and the cities have Easily navigated public transit. You can rent a car and drive, too, if you prefer. Advance reservations needed.

  66. Trip report – European River cruising assessment. Viking is a well oiled machine. The local guides were all top notch. Attention to all passengers and special accommodations not an issue. However, it doesn’t suit us. Your mileage or your parents’ mileage may differ.

    1. My husband is simply not up to the walking involved to participate in most land activities. And there is really nothing to do on the ship when he stayed behind, unlike the activities on an ocean cruise. I dont need to spend money like that be split up most days.
    2. Dinner time is fixed, most tables are for 6, so you have to socialize in a fairly rowdy room. He was sick the first two days so I went alone and used up a lot of interaction quotient. He went with me the next two nights and that was it for us. There was an alternate dining option, seating about 20 at small tables, out of the 180 guests aboard, and we used it for the other 4 nights, but why choose a vacation model where your enjoyment depends on discovering how to be an outlier?
    3. Very little evening entertainment other than the house piano player and cocktails. The cabins are small, since you are expected to join the party when sailing or be off the ship when docked. The paddlewheeler river cruise we took a few years ago had great entertainment, so this is a choice Viking has made.
    4. On the good days the dropping into a city or region felt like an excellent tasting menu. You want to come back for a full experience. On the bad days it felt like free samples of packaged ethnic specialties at Costco. There is a deliberate choice to hold the walking tours early in the morning to avoid the crowds and get special access, but many things are not open and if you aren’t docked for the whole day you dont have time to explore. Twice we were in prime shopping areas on a Sunday, and none of the stores worth patronizing were open. It should be noted that i have zero interest in town halls, statues of dead guys and ABC, as the guides put it, “another bloody castle”. Bloody in the UK vulgar sense.

  67. Meme – good to know about Viking. The Switzerland part of the trip sounds amazing!!!

    Mooshi, what graphics tablet did you get your DS? Our #1 is angling for one.

  68. Thanks Denver! I’m afraid my comment made him feel I was disappointed, instead of focusing on his disappointment. He was hearing the scores for the first time as I read them.

    Moonshi, glad you decided to spring for the big one, and that he’s getting such good use out of it.

    Meme, thanks for the boat tour report. I think the reason my mom likes them is that they are set up like summer camp, and you’re expected to do the activities provided. It sounds like Tauck has more private showings /experiences set up (like a small musical group performing in 18th century apparel at a palace where Mozart’s music would’ve been performed, or tastings) and I think there are often a few free hours after the tour/activity to explore the city, get dinner on your own, and do any shopping you wish. It’s funny to me that you said the cities are good to see despite not being touristy. I would think they are because of that (then again, parts of Zurich are quite touristy anyway, like the pedestrian zone & the lake)

  69. Most of my raised beds are planted and the poles for the pole beans are going up this weekend. Lettuce is almost ready to start eating.

  70. “That sounds like a pretty decent bike, pretty close to mine– a bike shop bike, as opposed to a big box store bike, and at least a step or two above the basic bike shop bike.”

    Yes, absolutely. It is a midrange Trek. I used it to bike tour in Iceland, and a few trips to Canada. And I ride it a lot at home. Tomorrow, the Sunday morning bike rides on the Bronx Parkway finally start up again (cancelled for two weeks straight because of rain), and I will be out there on my bike!!

  71. Curse all you people with growing seasons. I think we’re about to get a significant hailstorm in a few minutes.

    S&M, it’s so hard to avoid hurting the kids’ feelings. Everything Mom says has such significance. I’m sure he’ll recover but I sympathize with both of you.

  72. Meme, thanks for the report. It sounds like you enjoyed yourself despite the negatives. It hits the main reason cruises (river or ocean) don’t interest DW and I – the lack of flexibility.

    Travel-related, some friends are on a tour in Italy and the big excitement is that Rick Steves is staying in the same hotel with his tour.

    Following up on the farmers market talk, we went again this morning and saw that they are actually calling it a “fresh market” now. That makes much more sense :)

  73. Fred, this is our family’s favorite smoked chicken recipe, courtesy I think of the Traeger website. Cook time is longer with our usual ~6 lb chicken.

    Whole Smoked Chicken

    Prep time10 mins
    Cook time2.5 hrs
    HardwoodMesquite
    .
    Ingredients
    Brine:
    1/2 cup KOSHER SALT
    1 cup BROWN SUGAR
    1 GALLON WATER
    Whole Chicken:

    Big Game Rub
    1 TSP GARLIC, MINCED
    1 (3-5 LB) CHICKEN
    1 LEMON
    1 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION (we use sweet)
    3 WHOLE GARLIC CLOVES
    4-5 SPRIGS THYME
    Preparation

    To brine the chicken, dissolve the kosher salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Once dissolved, place the chicken in the brine and refrigerate overnight. Make sure chicken is fully submerged weighing it down if necessary.
    When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on smoke with the lid open until fire is established (4-5 minutes). Set the temperature to 225 degrees F and preheat, lid closed 10-15 minutes.
    While the grill is preheating, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Rub with the minced garlic and Traeger Big Game Rub.
    Next, stuff the cavity with lemon, onion, garlic and thyme. Tie the legs together.
    Place chicken directly on the grill grate and smoke for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

  74. @ Meme – thanks for the trip report. Very interesting. I’d still like to do one of the family-oriented river cruises, but our kids are not even remotely interested, and I’m not going to spend that kind of money on something they’re not interested in.

    We finally decided on our big anniversary trip w/o kids – Galapagos. It will have more of a river-cruise boat feel rather than large ocean cruise, fingers crossed we like it! (I think we will.) We couldn’t go over our actually anniversary for logistics reasons so we ended up picking the time that just worked best for everyone’s schedules. Before basketball season ends, but not over March Madness. Ha.

    And, I can’t believe I didn’t list boating as a hobby for me. I’m typing this salty and slightly sunburned after a fantastic day on the water (where we passed no fewer than 10 boats run aground, clearly victims of the full moon and ignorance of Red Right Returning).

  75. “I’d still like to do one of the family-oriented river cruises, but our kids are not even remotely interested, ”
    I’ve said this before but I will say it again – I think a riverboat or canal cruise with kids would be like descending into one of Dante’s rings of hell. Those boats have no space on them for kids to move around, and I am guessing that fellow passengers would tend to be older couples who probably would not appreciate spending the 6pm dinner seating with kids making fart jokes.

  76. I am guessing that fellow passengers would tend to be older couples who probably would not appreciate spending the 6pm dinner seating with kids making fart jokes.

    Do younger couples appreciate sitting with kids making fart jokes? What’s the age range for couples who enjoy that? I was in my 30s when DSS went through that phase, and I was pretty happy when it was over.

  77. What the world is waiting for is Disney to start doing river cruises. Here you go, Disney, take my idea and run with it. All I ask is 1% of the subsequent profits.

  78. “I used it to bike tour in Iceland, and a few trips to Canada.”

    I’m curious how you got your bike to Iceland and Canada.

    I guess if you drove to Canada you could just load it on a bike rack on your car. But how’d you get it to Iceland?

  79. What the world is waiting for is Disney to start doing river cruises. Here you go, Disney, take my idea and run with it. All I ask is 1% of the subsequent profits.

    Disney already does they have like 4 different ones. There are a couple other companies that do family-only itineraries as well.

    Those boats have no space on them for kids to move around, and I am guessing that fellow passengers would tend to be older couples who probably would not appreciate spending the 6pm dinner seating with kids making fart jokes.

    The older passengers concern isn’t an issue, because you do a family-specific departure. I don’t know about the boat specifically, but my friend that did the Disney Danube river boat trip 2 years ago said it was the best vacation they’ve ever done. They’re doing another one this summer, the Rhine, I think.

  80. Meme – I love your trip reports.

    It’s hot here almost 90 but very clear. It’s clear and hot all next week.
    As part of a shopping trip with DD, I was motivated to go to the Container Store (thought of SM) and bought a whole bunch of small bins to organize our medicine and misc. closet. DD helped me organize it and it looks so great – she helpfully added labels to the bins. I am not done yet and have to go back tomorrow for more bins.
    I am tired from running around all day. Tomorrow is a busy day too, more running around.

  81. SM – what’s saac’s objection to Khan Academy ? It’s free. If he benefits from it, tell him he can donate to the organization.

  82. WCE – thanks for the chicken idea. My overnight brine is water, kosher salt dissolved, some whole peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves and some applesauce for sweetness (more typical would be something like apple juice, but we didn’t have any around). DS2 made the rub and I wasn’t really paying attention to what it was but he did stuff the bird with onion, garlic & lemon.

    Both the chicken and ribs turned out great…2.5 hours in the smoke.

  83. Children are not permitted on most river cruises in Europe, other than those designated for families. Tauck is a higher price point than Viking with more included premium events but has less flexibility. It was easy for me to exit an excursion early and work in a couple of short hikes or a different museum.

    The program for future couples travel for us is to avoid jet lag as much as possible since that sets DH back for a significant number of days and to make sure that he has recreational alternatives to running around with me, whether a bridge tournament or the pool or lectures on an ocean cruise.

  84. but kids were meh so I canceled.

    You guys all need to form a collective and swap kids for various vacation events.

    I still want to borrow someone’s children so I can do a Disney cruise.

  85. Hey, literature majors, help me out. This article in SciAm is distinguishing between “sociological” and “psychological” storytelling, with special reference to GoT and why this last season is angering the fans. But I feel like that distinction must surely have been made in the past by literary critics using different language.

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-real-reason-fans-hate-the-last-season-of-game-of-thrones/

  86. RMS, feel free to borrow my kid along with DH, for the Disney cruise. They can’t do it since I get super motion sick.

  87. Louise, I’m smiling that the Container Store made you think of me. I wish I was as organized as that implies, but what I actually love there is the feeling that my life can be as perfectly arranged as their displays.
    I hope the kiddo will still do Khan Academy, but my comment cut the legs out from any motivation he had stemming from himself. It’s not deadly, and I’ll probably be able to steer him towards it in a few weeks, but I wish I had been more smooth. Right now he left the house by himself (highly unusual), texted me later that he’s going to hang out in a park and watch 13 Reasons Why. That should provide sufficient emotional drama for the evening, without SAT scores.

    Dell, loaning your husband out? Do you have pix? lol

    Meme, if you want to do more hiking, you might look at the Sierra Club’s offerings. Dad spent a night or two in his own little tent way up high. Mom did a photography class and a couple similar things in base camp, and they had a couple nights at base camp together. Not sure of any details though; it was at least 10 years ago.

  88. Finn, our bikes flew with us. It is easy to cart a bike overseas. I’ve done it many times. The bus from the airport into Reykjavik had bike racks on it.

  89. S&M, my daughter does Khan Academy and IXL, both for math practice and grammar practice. They are good for drill type practice, which is precisely what she needs because she tends towards stupid mistakes on material she understands. She really likes doing them – she likes all those badges and statistics.

  90. Just got back from my first real bike ride of the season. It was nice, beautiful weather, but riding home there were a lot of headwinds. Now I am tired!

  91. Mooshi, how do you pack your bike(s) for air travel? What do you do with your packing container(s) if you put your bike(s) on the racks on the bus?

    I’ve looked into this before, and a quick look confirms that airlines’ stated policies typically include about $100 to $200 fees each way for a bike as baggage.

  92. Finn,
    I haven’t done it in a while, although the last time I flew to Italy, the guy sitting next to me was arriving for a large ride through the Alps, and he was bringing his bike, When I was waiting for my luggage, a whole ton of bike boxes came off the plane, so there were evidently a number of cyclists arriving.
    We always got cardboard boxes from bike stores, and assembled them in the airport. We would remove the pedals and deflate the tires. The sleeping bags and tent could also go into the boxes, so we didn’t have to check anything else. In the earliest days, they did not charge at all, but the last time, there was a charge. It is still cheaper than renting for a multiweek tour, and you get to use your own bike.
    Believe it or not, we could always store the empty boxes at the airports. European airports are very bike friendly. Brussesl airport even has a bike path to it, so after we reassembled the bikes, we just rode into town on the bikes.
    The funniest thing was arriving back once at JFK. We decided to ride the bikes to the longterm parking where the car was. Supposedly, there was a path to ride on – but it turned out it didn’t start right at the airport. So we ended up riding for about half a mile on the Van Wyck!!!!!

  93. RMS, when I was in the literary analysis trenches academia was still in the throes of deconstructionism. The story was way beside the point. (The joke was that the English department thought all fiction was about sex, Christ, or death, the lit department thought all fiction was about literature.) If I recall correctly looking at how literature shows people dealing with larger historical and societal forces would have been in vogue about the same time as structuralism, looking at and finding meaning in how the author structured the work. (Deconstruction, of course, has more the attitude of ‘never mind what the author *meant* to say, let’s rip it apart to look at all the little offhand details and the things the author assumed went without saying, and use that to draw profound-sounding conclusions about our own society. That’s why you could study pulp fiction or mass-market comics just as well as Tolstoy.) Because of this there wasn’t a ton of focus in my discussion sections on “how would we analyze the structure and intended message of this story” as compared to, say, finding dubious phallic symbols or playing spot-the-Christ-figure.

    So anyway, if you’re looking from a perspective of ‘what was the author trying to say with this story and was the focus on individuals or on the whole society’ that’s terribly old-fashioned although a much more popular and interesting approach for non-academics wanting to dig deeper into a story.

  94. that’s terribly old-fashioned

    Yeah, I should have figured as much.

    playing spot-the-Christ-figure

  95. I spent more than I expected at the Container Store and reorganized my medicine, travel and misc. closet. One shelf of misc towels yet to go We have a ton of sunscreen, the biggest category. Spray, lotion, stick…ridiculous !
    I now feel great joy, when I see the closet, that feeling is priceless.

  96. So DS is still grounded, and DH basically told him that in order to be freed, he needed to figure out what he did wrong and come up with a proposal for how he was going to fix it. Saturday night we went out for our anniversary, and when we came home, DS was in the bathroom watching videos on YouTube. I busted him (again) — said something like “what are you doing watching videos?” And he said, “I’m not watching videos.” !!! “Dude, I can hear it through the door.” “Fine, I was watching videos” — exit bathroom, stomp off to other room. And DH and I look at each other and say, well, apparently he’s learned nothing.

    So now the grounding is further extended and the consequences are going to need to escalate. Sigh. I was hoping he was sharp enough to get the point after a couple of days without his friends or toys. But nope. I so love having a 13-year-old. . . .*

    Meanwhile, I sat down to the computer this morning, and it was open to a google search for “how do I get ungrounded.” ;-)

    *OTOH, when DH was that age, he almost set the house on fire and almost created cyanide gas, both by playing inappropriately with his chemistry set in his room. So maybe I should count my blessings. Really, it is such typical teenage behavior that I am veering between annoyance and laughter — it’s just very very different from DD’s misbehavior, and it’s depressing to realize that just as DD’s departure has provided great anticipation of additional personal freedom, I now have to up my game with the other kid and learn how to manage an entirely new set of issues.

  97. Rhett, Laura, other car enthusiasts, I have to go to South Carolina this week for work. I was looking at the flights, and I estimated that by the time I got to the airport early enough, parking, security, etc. I may as well just drive. Corporate policy is to rent a car when you do that

    I requested a small SUV. What does enterprise have for me when I pick it up this morning? A brand new Audi A5 Quattro with only 1000 miles on it. Holy shit this thing is fast! I tried a fast merge onto the highway where I could get in front of a couple of trucks. I then look at the Speedometer and I’m doing 110

  98. DD’s misbehavior, and it’s depressing to realize that just as DD’s departure has provided great anticipation of additional personal freedom, I now have to up my game with the other kid and learn how to manage an entirely new set of issues.

    Ha ! Never fails…one thing replaced by another.

  99. @SM: I’m sorry about the SAT, both from his perspective and yours. There really is no “right” thing you can say in the moment, because when they’re that hurt, everything is heard as an attack.

    FWIW, the only thing I found that helped with DD in that kind of situation was to make it clear that how she responded was her choice, and that my role was limited to making sure she understood the likely result of each choice. So in his case, perhaps you can do a little research on the colleges that are in his wheelhouse at the current SAT scores, vs the ones he could aspire to if he studies and practices more and improves his score. Same for scholarships, as a lot of schools offer merit aid to kids with test scores above certain thresholds. He should also consider the ACT — I know I’ve said before, but DD scored the equivalent of 100+ points higher on the ACT. The ACT questions are more direct and knowledge-based (e.g., much less “which is the better answer,” where you have to guess which one the test-writer would prefer). The downside is you have to work very quickly, but I have the feeling that would come naturally to ‘Saac. And he doesn’t need to commit to the official test; he can take one or two practice tests online and see if the format suits him first.

    I will say that DD often did not choose what I would have wanted her to, and the hardest thing for me was being non-judgmental when she made those choices. But I knew that pushing was going to backfire and just force her to double down on her position, whereas giving her the space to think it over gave her the space to change her mind and see it as her decision vs. caving to parental pressure.

    Or, depending on how much lower than expected the test scores were, you can always bribe him into the behavior you want. Sometimes stubborn, vulnerable kids can get into a self-destructive loop because they’d rather not try than deal with the pain of possibly failing again, and you’ve got to do what you can to convince them to take that first step. (Of course, the hardest part is knowing when to follow the “let them figure it out” approach and when to switch to the “step in” one!)

    @Milo: awesome!! Full report after the trip, please. ;-)

  100. But I knew that pushing was going to backfire and just force her to double down on her position, whereas giving her the space to think it over gave her the space to change her mind and see it as her decision vs. caving to parental pressure.

    I was like that and DD completely takes after me in that regard. I wanted to make my own decisions, and if anyone told me what I should do, I was going to pick something else, even if I wanted to do what they said.

    Fortunately since I’ve done it, I can see it in DD and know not to give her advice unless she asks.

  101. “I was looking at the flights, and I estimated that by the time I got to the airport early enough, parking, security, etc. I may as well just drive. ”

    Everytime I fly to Detroit, I regret it for this very reason. (Our office there is also 45 minutes from the airport, which makes the calculation lean even more towards driving.)

    Have fun with the Audi!

  102. Laura, sounds like your kids have logical emotions. Mine doesn’t–emotions in general aren’t logical. I had assumed the SAT would be better for him than the ACT, as it was for me. If he gets into doing the test prep, I’ll have him try a practice test online. Case in point on the video watching–you’re going with the very behaviorist approach, like people think of with dogs (although that might not be how dogtrainers do it. https://theaspergian.com/2019/03/27/is-aba-really-dog-training-for-children-a-professional-dog-trainer-weighs-in/ ). More punishment would never have worked on my kid. He once went an entire summer without any computer access, because he wasn’t writing journal entries. He didn’t need to make them all up, just write one, and I’d give him an hour. That’s how I got back to the Hand in Hand Parenting that had been so effective earlier and is now as well. It doesn’t sound like the punishment approach is working with yours either. But you’ve got my sympathy on the new set of issues. Just going through the stages with one has been enough for me.

  103. Laura—quick answer because my last one seems to have been swallowed. I don’t do behaviorist reward/punishment parenting, partially because of the likelihood of getting the kind of result you’re having now. Once you’ve started down that road on a particular issue, it’s hard to correct course, because you’re contradicting what you’ve said earlier. Another reason is that it’s more important to me that my kid knows how to make good decisions as an adult, rather than follow decisions I made for him as a child. But you’ve got my sympathy on the ages & stages juggle.

  104. @SM: The being grounded is more what I’d consider a natural consequence. The boy has a ton of freedom, particularly for a 13-yr-old. He has that freedom because I trust him to know where the boundaries are and to be mature enough to control his impulses and stay within the lines. Really, I put the guardrails pretty far apart; I don’t think it’s asking too much of my kid not to steal and not to lie. So when he demonstrates to me that I cannot trust him to control himself to stay even within those pretty basic guardrails, then he loses the freedom that comes with that trust. And to get it back, he needs to earn my trust back. It’s not punitive, it’s not treating him like a bad kid — it’s just what happens when you demonstrate you aren’t mature enough to manage the level of freedom you have.

    I will admit the video/phone ban veers toward the punitive side — I just don’t want him replacing running around with videos and become even more of a couch potato. Honestly, I’m liking him much better when he’s spending more time reading and less time on videos, so I am thinking that I need to impose more limits on video and computer time so that doesn’t become a permanent default entertainment.

  105. “I will admit the video/phone ban veers toward the punitive side — I just don’t want him replacing running around with videos and become even more of a couch potato. Honestly, I’m liking him much better when he’s spending more time reading and less time on videos, so I am thinking that I need to impose more limits on video and computer time so that doesn’t become a permanent default entertainment.”

    Like I said earlier, disconnecting DD’s phone from Internet access has led to not only more reading and artwork, but her grades improved. A lot.

  106. Laura, I didn’t see the original post on why he’s grounded in this thread. Sounds like it’s a bigger thing than I had realized.

  107. Laura, now I see in Thursday’s posts. My son did that in first grade when he was being badly bullied. At that age it is a classic cry for help. I don’t know if that’s true for tweens or not, but you might want to hang out with him and let him talk, to see what concerns come up. I hope he’s just stressed over end-of-school-year exams & performances, but who knows. Whatever it is, if there is something there, might explain the stealing but doesn’t excuse it. What was he going to do with the money anyway?

  108. A tween or young teen from a comfortable home usually steals or shoplifts because he wants something for which he does not have money. Sometimes it really is all about the benjamins. It is only primarily a cry for help or an attention getter if money is really not at issue, at least not in the kids mind.. It is often initially a clothing item or food and entertainment with friends or game play gift cards or in my day comic books or pop singles. The initial thefts may be testing to figure out how easy it is to get away with and what the consequences are if caught. If he figures out how to do it it becomes a habit, sort of like a supplemental allowance, and the purchases may eventually become more consequential or dangerous.

    When it comes to light parents make their best effort to get at the root cause, modify their own habits and set up safeguards to minimize the opportunity and temptation, ensure that the kid has a reasonable allowance with opportunity to earn a little extra at home if too young to work or if they wont allow him to work, and of course make sure that there are consequences for the actual misbehavior.

  109. Milo – enjoy the trip! This is why after having an Audi I couldn’t get a Prius – WAY not enough pickup. :)

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