Saturday, December 29, 2018

Life Phases and a New Hobby?

Over the past several months I've become somewhat preoccupied with thoughts of how fast my life is passing by. It's kind of disturbing. Weeks, months, and years fly by like I'm in some sort of time warp. I think in terms now of how many more years of mobility I have left to live the active lifestyle I enjoy. It's not something I take for granted. Do I have 15 more years? 20? Maybe 25, tops? All I know for certain is that whatever amount of time remains in this active phase of my life, it's going to pass much too quickly. Now, more than ever, I have a difficult time sitting still for very long and watching my remaining time here slip away at a pace that saddens me. I've got at least a dozen books I'd like to read but I tell myself there will be plenty of time for reading in my next phase of life. It's come to that.

We've been enjoying a mild winter in the Minneapolis area. I'm not complaining but I wouldn't mind some snow and cooler temps to make for decent trail riding. The temp inside our insulated garage has been hovering at around 40ºf (4.5ºc) on its own with no help needed from our ceiling mounted electric heater -- yet.

We had Drew's (Rachel's boyfriend) family over last Saturday. It was nice to spend some time together, getting to know them more. They're good people. And our downstairs got to see some action for a change. Since Rachel went off to college it's been a little quiet down there with the exception of my time spent there for workouts and stained glass work. We all enjoyed ourselves.

Over the past several years, Tammy and I have made a point of downplaying the Christmas celebration. Where it's most noticeable is in the lack of Christmas decorations both inside and outside our home. It probably takes us no more than a half hour to decorate our small tree and hang a wreath outside on a permanent screw to the right of our front door. No more Department 56 village displays or other touches of Christmas that in years past seemed to become an unwelcome guest after a few weeks. And I no longer do an outside light display. I missed it the first year without it but I quickly got over it when I realized how much work I was putting into setting up the display and taking it down.

Tammy and I did exchange a few gifts. The gift from her that I like most is my Northern Brewer Hard Cider making kit. It was a total surprise. I spent some time Thursday going over the information and getting it up and running. I'm intrigued by it and the idea of experimenting with different blends of fruits to create different flavors of cider. I've got it set up in a closet in our den. It appears to be fully engaged in the fermentation process. Tammy ordered the kit online but didn't notice that the company is located in St Paul, less than a 25-minute drive from home. We stopped in there yesterday to check out what else they have. It's an impressive little shop. I'm quite sure we'll be back.

I remember how my mom used to make balloon wine in the late '60s. She would set her gallon jug(s) out of the way in the basement with whatever ingredients she was using to make the wine. She would place a balloon over the jug's opening and once the balloon had inflated and then deflated through the fermentation process, the wine was ready to drink. I have no idea how palatable it was but I think she mostly enjoyed the anticipation of what her efforts may produce. Sorta like how I feel about making my hard-cider. I haven't enjoyed a Christmas gift this much since Rachel bought me an ant farm several years ago!

That's all I've got.

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