I enjoy much in life and list these things separately from "hobbies" because they are things that I take or took more seriously or that I participate in more often.
I enjoy supporting charities that promote health, environmental balance, and the care of animals. I couldn't name my favorite one if I tried...there are just so many good organizations out there.
That doesn't mean there aren't a few that stand out. Stray Haven, the Waverly, NY SPCA, is where two of my cats lived for a while. The Lollypop Farm, an SPCA in greater Rochester, NY provided us with Nicoli. The Tompkins County SPCA yielded us Risis. More on the critters in the Pets section.
Cooking has long been a passion of mine and my participation in the Epicures, a Freeville, NY-based gourmet club, is evidence of that. The group meets monthly, alternating hosting households. Largely composed of couples, the Epicures has a few single participants, too. The hosting household is responsible for selecting a theme, creating a menu, assigning dishes to the rest of the group, designating appropriate attire, and preparing the main entree.
I was a member of the Open Hearth Cooking Guild of Newark Valley, NY as of February 2004 until late 2005. There is a little information at the Newark Valley Historical Society Web site.
I served as the coordinator and a teacher for computing sessions on a volunteer basis. This program was also at my local library, the Berkshire Free Library, and was made possible by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I became increasingly busy and and resigned in 2003.
I sold Tupperware for a few years, ending my involvement after the consultant commission system was restructured and certain other strangeness with the new system.
I started with Tae Kwon Do in 1994 or so. I was about to test for my black belt when I moved out of state. At the end of January 2002 I was able to begin taking Tae Kwon Do once again. I was thrilled about that! As of November 2002, I came up in tested level to about half the advancement I previously achieved. The plan was to test for my black belt by July 2003. Life got in the way and my priorities shifted, again putting that goal on hold.
Other arts I've had the honor of practicing include Jeet Kune Do, developed by the late Bruce Lee, and Judo, an ancient art.
My husband, Bob, and I are raising four cats, Nicoli, Minsc, Zephina, and Tragur. Sadly, our first cat, Shadow, passed away in November 2001. He'd been with my husband since August 1993. Hallow, a wonderfully colored orange, black, brown, and white kitty that we inherited with our house, also passed away, but in 2000. Among other pets that have enhanced our lives were hamsters and Guinea pigs, too!
Sherbert, a white and orange-brown domestic long hair, was presumed to be part Maine Coon. She was our second feline adoptee in February 1999. We lost her to complications with a blood clot in February 2009. She would have been ten.
In February 2000, Bob got the idea that we needed a dog, but not just any dog: a border collie mix! Risis quickly proved that border collies are indeed as smart as many people say, but she also demonstrated a little-discussed stubbornness that the breed has perfected. In April 2009, she succumbed to an incredibly rare bladder cancer in April 2009. We loved her, but she's probably the only dog we'll ever have!
Along came Nicoli, a grey and white domestic short hair, in September 2001. He captured our hearts while we were visiting my in-laws near the Rochester Lollypop Farm. Who could resist such noble stature and adorable white "socks"?
On November 18, 2002, we were adopted by two, unrelated, six-month old cats. Zephina, a domestic short-hair tiger, is speedy like her wild cousins. Minsc, an extremely playful white and black/brown domestic long hair, also presumed to be part Maine Coon, is so accommodating with snuggles that we've nicknamed him "floppy". He has grown to be the largest and most unruly of the zoo.
After Sherbert died, some friends asked us if we'd adopt their third cat. One of their first two cats really hated "Pumpkin." A year later, in February 2010, we finally gave in and gave him a try. Well, he's been renamed to Tragur, has decided we're not so bad, actually does a bit of his own picking on the others, and has become proficient in the paw-to-shoulder pat method of getting me to pet him no matter how much work I'm trying to do. It's safe to say the ol' boy's not going anywhere.
Until I moved in December of 2005, I coordinated a writers' group on a weekly basis. Originally hosted at my local library, we had moved to my former home in 2005. There's more on my group on my Writing page. The group had been going on since sometime in the summer of 2001. I've since started a new writers' group in new location.
I joined my town's volunteer newsletter staff as of 9/18/01. That was an experience. It had been an interesting addition to my newspaper gig. Due to scheduling conflicts, I resigned for the October 2002 issue.
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