What to do?
I was 14 years old, home alone, and I was bored. I paced from my bedroom to the living room to the kitchen, and back again. In the kitchen, I opened and closed the cabinet doors. Over and over again.
I was looking for something. Something to eat? Something to do? I didn't even know. Round and round I went, until I found what I didn't know I was looking for: a tub of Quaker Oats oatmeal.
I decided to make cookies.
My mother was an occasional baker and her go-to cookie was the oatmeal raisin. I'd seen her make them, helped her make them, and I knew where to find the recipe: it's printed on the underside of the lid of every tub of oatmeal.
I gathered the ingredients, followed the instructions, and waited for the first batch to bake through—ten minutes, maybe twelve.
To my surprise, baking the cookies lifted my spirits, erased the boredom, and filled the better part of my afternoon. When my mom and brothers and sisters came home we ate cookies together. And they were good. Really good. Just as good as Mom's.
And I was hooked.
I went from being bored (and to be honest, a little lonely), to feeling good, productive, interested, and happy.
It was the gathering of ingredients, the measuring, and the mixing that shifted things. I was focused on baking, no longer distracted by my boredom. Dollops of dough and a baker's dozen. I was hooked.
Baking cookies helped me understand that it's the doing that makes the difference. That hobbies offer not only distraction, but reward, too. Maybe not always with baked goods or a finished product, but a shift ... in mood, progress, outlook, or skill.
The cookies became the start of a life-long pursuit of hobbies, passions, and pastimes. Of baking and hiking, sewing and stitching. Writing letters, cooking, and camping. Some experiences long-lasting efforts, others one-and-done.
I sometimes think my hobby is finding new hobbies.
And why not?
I can whip up a batch of bread and butter pickles, stitch a popped button back on a shirt, and skate backwards on a frozen pond.
And I can bake.
I make a pretty good apple pie, a decent Irish soda bread, and yes, a darn good oatmeal raisin cookie.
I made some this morning. Here's the recipe.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(Adapted from the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies recipe. I don't add the cinnamon.)
Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer (or by hand) until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add to butter and sugar mixture.
Add oats and raisins; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Enjoy!
If there are any left over, store tightly covered.
1/1/2020 01:44:28 pm
I bought oatmeal this week for the first time in a while to make some apple cranberry crisp. Your cookies look yummy, too. Hmmmm, might be time for some procrasti-baking!
1/1/2020 02:05:15 pm
Might we also get the apple cranberry crisp recipe?
1/1/2020 01:52:10 pm
I enjoyed your story. Very well written and made me hungry for a snack. Maybe a cookie. :-)
1/1/2020 02:32:32 pm
I'll go head-to-head with you on an Irish Soda Bread bake-off anytime!
1/1/2020 03:43:34 pm
Nice ideas and website! Now I want to start a new hobby too!
Ann Elise Davison
1/1/2020 04:11:03 pm
Just a few hours ago I was searching around Riddle Me Mail to see if you had announced your new adventure and then your email came. Congratulations! I'm along for the ride on the Hobby Line.
1/1/2020 05:17:10 pm
Thanks Chrissie! I love to bake, too! I have always baked. I started baking bread as a teenager and became the Connecticut State Bread Baking Champion in the 4H. I am grateful that my mom taught me this skill. And I believe in hobbies too! I am excited about your new site. I would love to see you skate backwards sometime!
1/1/2020 08:08:07 pm
Congrats on the new direction you’re going-I love it!! Creativity abounds with you😊👏🏻
1/2/2020 07:16:23 am
Such a great story you've told. Now I need to make some cookies! I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming blogs.
1/2/2020 10:15:23 am
I was eagerly awaiting to see what the future held for you, post Riddle Me Mail. I like what I see! I have always been inspired by your articles in the RMM newsletter. As someone else said, I'm along for the ride too!
1/5/2020 08:10:19 am
Hobby Line, I'm in! Congratulations. I look forward to more.
1/5/2020 08:53:37 am
Well now, I enjoying this post and can attest to the quality of your cookies! Good Luck with The Hobby Line. I enjoy crocheting a strange garment at least once a year!
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Ideas for making the most of the time between the things you have to do for the things you want to do