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We Need Hobbies

Rachel and I were discussing a couple of days ago that we seriously need hobbies. But hobbies take desire and commitment.

I teach about 14 hours a week and hold about 10 office hours. So, I honestly only work 24 hours a week. I grade about 900 essays over the course of the semester (that’s kinda scary now that I think about it), but most of them are short, and when you consider I have 160 or so office hours per semester, it’s not really that bad.

I have no research responsibilities. I have grand plans to research, but I have no real desire to do it. I do end up doing it though. And I do other work stuff. Hey, I even carpeted the upstairs loft (a miracle for anyone that’s seen me do anything of that sort) with the help of a friend.

I asked Jon the other day if he had any ideas. He replied that I could read or write. Right. That’s what I’ve always done. But I’m looking to expand my horizons here. Any other ideas that don’t waste money and are productive.

I mean, my most productive hobby is playing with my stocks, but there’s only so much I can do with that before I start scaring myself.

We’re going swimming everyday, but I can only do that for a bit before I get bored.

We watch about 5 movies a week, and that’s totally not productive.

It takes a lot to impress me or catch my attention. I don’t want to do anything where my life is at stake.

Surfing the net is a waste of time, and I’ve even taken up politics as a hobby lately. I think I’ve read every Bush and Kerry published this year, and I even find myself reading CNN.com, rasmussenreports.com, and electoral-vote.com every single day. This shouldn’t be. Help me.

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I’m Blogging!

I’ve avoided this for a while, partially because I think this blog is ugly right now, and partially because I’ve been so caught up in married life that blogging kinda slipped my mind. But now that my sister and brother-in-law both started blogs, it kinda pushed me back into it.

Married life is really fun. I’m getting involved in things down here in Monroe like I never thought I would. It’s weird, how people just kinda hire you at the spur of the moment … no interviews, no “getting to know you.” It’s just a phone call, if that, or maybe lunch together, and bam! You’re working office hours at a music company and teaching violin on Thursdays and hired to play in the Monroe Symphony Orchestra. Isn’t that crazy?

Last night, I called the guy who heads up the MSO, and he told me that I could not only play in this first concert (which is October 9), but that I would be hired for the entire season. All this, after only a phone call and a few quick questions. (“How long have you been playing violin?” And “What’s your SSN?”) That was literally it.

OK, I guess Monroe really appreciates what I have to offer or something. I also want to get involved in the ULM orchestra and possibly be able to take some classes for free, if I am qualified for a “talent grant” or whatever you want to call it. But that has to wait for next semester.

Rick & I are going to sign up to use the ULM pool a few times a week. I’m excited about that.

Last night was amazing. (No, it’s not what you’re thinking…dirty minds.) I went outside, and I felt a CHILL. OK, so it was just slightly lower than room temperature, but still … I couldn’t believe the novelty of it all. I spread my arms, closed my eyes, and relished the moment. Fall is approaching. I think.

I think I might have some friends down here. We see Jon & Hollie pretty often, and then there’s the unavoidable Matt Wilkins. I really like my boss, and though we don’t run into each other a whole lot, there’s Thomas and Emily. But in a lot of ways, I feel totally different, in personality and culture, from everyone here. It’s getting gradually better though.

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Cabin Fever

We’ve traveled a lot this year.

We visited Joel and Laurel in Philly. We saw Valerie in Baltimore. We went to Harvard and Princeton. Boston’s Green Monster greeted us. We slept in Connecticut cottages. I saw an “aggressive driver” sign in Delaware. We braved New York City more than a few times. The Phillies beat my beloved Mets. We visited the Hornes in Oklahoma as well as my parents. I vaguely remember a meat market in a gas station during our Texas escapade. We spent seven weeks ministering in New Jersey. We swam in the warm Atlantic waters off St. Augustine, and we (well, she) braved the icy Pacific in Oregon. Of course, we were in Washington for most of the year, and we took the occasional trip to Idaho. She went through Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, and Arkansas while I was in Washington D.C. and Mississippi.

And now we’ve been back in Louisiana for four weeks. We haven’t even left Monroe. I take that back. We’ve gone to West Monroe. And I shouldn’t be bored. I’ve had plenty to do. (Okay, maybe not. With my “full-time” teaching schedule, I work about twenty hours a week. But I research; I promise). Ah, I need to quit whining. Thirteen weeks until we can get out of the state.

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Ministers in the Community

On the other side of the coin, I’ve had the opportunity to spend considerable time with the various ministers and congregants in the community. I’ve drunk beer with Episcopalian clergy, I’ve eaten lunch with the Roman Catholics, I’ve argued extensively with the ELCA minister in my living room, I’ve had awkward conversations with the LCMS minister, and well, I obviously know two Presbyterian ministers a bit.

And on the one hand, it’s been very good to get into the ecumenical swing of things. On the other hand, it’s made me a discontent. Well, I’ve probably always been a discontent, but it’s really made me miss Salem.

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