Monday, February 15, 2021

Pandemic Hobbies for the Dark Days of February in New Jersey (Day 46)

Friends, we are coming up on a very important anniversary: one year since a global pandemic changed our lives from existing out there to existing in here. 

It's been a long year. 

I've spent a large part of the lockdown exploring all sorts of new hobbies--from hoarding groceries to staying up until 2 am to get an Amazon Fresh Delivery slot to analyzing public health data to gardening to cross stitching to completing Netflix series like I am filling up a bingo card. But, now, as we are stuck in the dark days of February that have been sprinkled with ice storms and snow and now cold mud, I am feeling in a pandemic hobby rut. 

I figured you all might be in the same boat! So I bring to you my February Pandemic Hobby List--for the days when you are sick of the snow and sick of your adult coloring book! I've tried all of these activities at some point during the pandemic. Let me know what you've tried that I haven't covered! You can multi-task several of these hobbies (perfect for overachievers!). I like to multi-task "Offensive Cross-Stitching" with "TV Marathon Training!" 

Without further whinging and whining, here is my list of Pandemic hobbies for the dark days of February in New Jersey:

1. TV Marathon Training 

When I trained for a half-marathon, two things kept me going: the variety in my training courses and peer pressure. The same goes for your pandemic TV marathon training. Spice up your endless TV viewing by trying out a new streaming service--we've explored the very end of Netflix, the halls of Hulu, the aisles of Apple TV, the shelves of Amazon Prime and the closets of HBO and Showtime. And then, when I think there is nothing left, I'll see 12 people post about a show I missed and peer pressure brings me back. So call your relatives and get their log-in to the Peacock Network! 

Note: This a marathon that will make you more likely to have coronary artery disease. Also, I am not a medical professional, so maybe you will be fine. I don't know. 

2. Offensive Cross-Stitching and Other Lost Art Forms. 

While my husband's grandmother was not impressed with my cross-stitched sampler that says: "Damn it feels good to be a gangster," and frankly, disturbed by the one I made that says "Merry Christmas, Shitters Full," I know deep down she appreciated my dedication to the lost art of squinting and trying to poke a very sharp needle through an invisible hole to spell out an uplifting message that will become a family heirloom! 

Other lost art forms to try: making your own butter, fermenting food on your counter and praying you don't die when you eat it, learning to play the never been tuned piano and sewing dresses from curtains. 

3. Spending $130 on Yarn to Knit a Scarf You Can Buy for $17

I once was a constant knitter. We have yarn and needles and half finished projects tucked all over this house. And while I thought about picking up one of those projects or seeing what yarn I already had, I figured that since I abandoned it in the first place, I should just start fresh with a new project! Plus, I saw a scarf I loved for $17 on sale at Madewell so spending $130 on yarn that isn't even wound into balls  and another $20 on knitting needles seemed like a good deal! 

Now I have a project to keep my hands out of the peanut butter filled pretzel jar during our TV Marathon Training! 

4. Get to Know Removable Stick On Decorative Wallpaper (AKA redoing the blank walls you've been staring at) 

Since we are literally here all day, every day, all the time, I spend so much time staring at walls with complete distain. Sometimes, when I am supposed to be doing very important, I find myself accidentally looking at Pinterest and Amazon and Wayfair for items to make my view better. I recently decided removable stick on wallpaper with a midcentury crane motif was what I needed in my bathroom. And while now I have to actually stick it up, those brief 10 minutes of euphoria after I pressed "Order Now," were totally worth it! 

Use this time to refresh everything in a substandard way! You will most likely have time to refresh it again and again as the pandemic goes on! 

5. Planning Your English Manor Garden

Last year, we brought our vegetable garden to life in our front yard with a stone pathway and an obelisk and an arch entrance! This year, we are expanding to the other side of the yard with a front yard sitting area, a flower cutting garden and more impossible, tedious, difficult projects! I have approximately 200 seed packets, a very professional drawing I made with crayons with notations on "lion placement," and a husband who for some reason gets on board with the madness! 

Now is the perfect time to plan your gardens. Whether English manor or rustic French Sanatorium, February is a great month to put down your adult coloring book and pick your child's notebook and crayon to lay out some firm spring plans! 

6. Learning All About Trip Insurance and Cancellation Policies

Go ahead, plan your European vacation to see Pearl Jam in concert for a third time! And while you are at it, become an expert on trip insurance and the vast variety of cancellation policies! Dream big and book everything, as long as the fine print says it is refundable. 

7. Digital Challenge Challenge 

How many challenges can you join? How many stars are in the sky?!! There are limitless checklists and challenges you can join this February! Jump on the Goodreads challenge (I am already two ahead of my goal!), order a Peloton or get the Peloton app and earn a blue circle everyday (46 for me!), sign up for Weight Watchers and count your month's allotment of points in one single day (winning!) or find some other challenges in the App store or on Facebook and get yourself raking in the wins that mean absolutely nothing! 

Goals keep us from descending into complete madness and from the boring habit of doing things simply because we should. Forget that--sign up for all the challenges and earn your worthless badges! 

8. Realizing You Can Walk In Winter

Before the pandemic, I don't think most of us realized you could like go outside in the winter time and exercise. BUT you can! Just a wear coat! 

February it an excellent time to bundle up (and wear good shoes! No need to spill and fall!) and get ready for all the virtual 5Ks we are all so excited about this Spring! Plus, I bet there is a digital challenge revolving around walking so you can multi-task and get yourself that digital badge! 

9. Explore Yeast-Based Hobbies 

Pandemic is a perfect time to bake bread! While maybe it does not taste very good because you got distracted while binge watching 90210 from the beginning and let it burn in the oven, it is something you made with your own hands! 

You can also explore making your own wine and beer! These two yeast based endeavors are perfect for these lean times when someone might accidentally dump out all the wine in the world. It is good to be prepared and independent! 

10. Home Edit it All 

Once you've reached the end of the streaming services, cross-stitched obscenities onto every throw pillow and did all the other junk, you will realize that you had been totally neglecting the organization of your fridge and pantry. These spaces have been stretched to the max by pandemic food hoarding; so now is the perfect time to watch the Home Edit, read the book and organize everything you own and eat into clear plastic containers. Each container costs $14.99 and you will need about 750 containers! (maybe sell your cross-stitch on Etsy and your bread on the street corner?)

Well, that's it for the dark days of February. I'll be back for Spring and Summer hobbies, which will include refreshing your inflatables and investing in garden gnomes and garden gnome accessories! 

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