Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Hobbies!

I am curious about what you all do for fun. You know…the times when you do something just for you. Writing used to be that for me, until my first book was published, then it became a job. Don’t get me wrong, I still love writing, but I don’t see it as a hobby anymore–as that thing I do just for the fun of it.

Most of you know that I have horses, so they are definitely one of my hobbies and those guys are members of my family. Well, I’ve also hand-quilted for many years. It’s something I don’t do as often as I used to, but I love it. It’s relaxing and something I can do while sitting in front of the television. But about six months ago, someone made me this beautiful horse-and-boots-themed quilt because…well horses! And that quilt, made by a very accomplished seamstress, was (gasp) machine quilted.quilt gift

I remember studying quilts to see how tiny and even the maker’s stitches were. I’d always been kind of a quilt snob. And yet, this machine-quilted beauty had all kinds of fun and intricate stitching. All somehow accomplished on my friend’s sewing machine. That’s when I decided I had to try my hand at that. And there were actually classes on that very thing: machine quilting. I felt like I’d been living under a rock. So I took a class and visited my friend to watch her work and to pick her brain. Then I stitched up my first machine-quilted project–on my fifteen-year-old sewing machine. A very simple table runner that I gave as a gift to someone. quilt front

Well, I’m hooked. I love the speed, and I love trying to coax my machine to give me what I want. It’s kind of like my horses–it’s a partnership that brings immense satisfaction. And now I’m envisioning a new sewing machine in my future. One that is made with quilting in mind. It’s new and exciting…and it’s just plain fun. quilt back

How about you? What do you do for fun? It can be a hobby or something else. I really do want to know!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Quirky Stories, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

Blast from the Past

Tina cantering around barrels for the first time in Brazil

Lately I’ve found myself reliving certain activities from my childhood. I have no idea why I feel compelled to take a trip down memory lane, but I do. Maybe because I’m growing older and figure if I don’t do some of these things now, my joints will reach the stage where they’ll no longer bend and cooperate, but will sit stubbornly on the sidelines refusing to move. Or maybe it’s just to prove I’m not as old as I sometimes feel. Whatever the reason, I’ve been enjoying this stage in my life.

So what kinds of things have I found myself doing? Well I’ve gone back to riding horses, which I’ve done on and off for most of my life, but it’s now become almost an obsession. So much so that I’ve been scouring ads on Craigslist and Equine Now in search of the perfect quarter horse (keep in mind that I live in Brazil at the moment). And instead of being happy with the trail riding I once used to do, I’m now getting involved with specific disciplines—I’ve even taken barrel racing and pole bending lessons…in Portuguese (not sure what those are? Check out YouTube, and you’ll see some examples of each). And I did some Western Pleasure and Showmanship when I was in the States a couple of years ago.

I’ve also taken up running again. I used to run three miles a day as a high school student (I had a friend who was in track and I ran with her). Anyway, back in December I decided to attempt the Couch-to-5K running program to see if I could even do it. And I completed it! And it feels fantastic, like I’ve been transported back to a younger, healthier me. And believe it or not, I actually ran over 4 miles for the first time in my life, a couple of weeks ago. My ultimate goal is to run 10K, if my knees and ankles keep cooperating.

Oh, and then there are Hula Hoops. That’s right. Hula Hoops. My middle daughter—at 16 years of age—had never had the opportunity to do the weird hip shuffle involved in keeping that hoop up where it should be. (Anyone remember the shoop-shoop sound those little beads made once you got the hoop going?) Ha! So, not wanting her to miss out on any of those unique rites of passage that I went through, I bought 2 Hula Hoops, and we went to town. Okay…so my daughter ended up laughing at my attempts more than actually learning how to get that hoop spinning. But I finally got it going. No way could I have done the two or three at a time that I used to be able to do, but the sense of accomplishment I felt from being able to twirl one was great!

So why the need to go back in time and relive those experiences? Maybe I’m feeling a little more mortal than I used to. Maybe I want to go back to simpler days when I could laugh at myself. All I know is I’m loving every minute of it (and being able to touch my toes again—at least for a second or two). Hopefully I’m wise enough to know that some things are better off left in the past. Doing a backbend at this stage of my life, for example, is out of the question—unless I want to snap my body in two. But the things I can do, I want to do…for as long as possible.

What about you? Have you thought about going back and trying things you did when you were in school (or if you’re older—like me—the things you did as a young adult)?  If you did, how was it? Is it something you’d keep doing, if given the opportunity? Or are you a daredevil who is always trying something new and exciting?