How do you use your spare time? I have a great opportunity over the next few weeks to really relax and get some stuff done at home. Between vacation and a plant winter shut down, I will not be going back to work until the New Year. So what to do with all of that time? First and foremost, I will be writing. I will be working on my science fiction novel that I started over a year ago and I will be putting my first book into the proper formats to allow people to download from the Hyrax store.

Next I will be making cookies, lots of cookies. My daughter came home from College this weekend and the first 10 dozen are made with the dough for an additional 20 dozen in the refrigerator waiting for morning. That represents 30 dozen cookies of 5 types so far. We still need to make 3 more types. We will not be making all of Martin’s favorite cookies this year, partially due to lake of time, and partially since I will not be able to take many into work.

A year ago, I would have talked about playing video games, but not this year. Video games are a great escape mechanism, but in the end, they only have entertainment value. This year I am taking up crocheting again. I learned to crochet at the feet of my grandmother when I was very young. It was a way of staying up late and a way to hear stories of the past. It is a comfort to crochet now that I am older. Remembering back to those days, usually at Christmas time when my grandparents would visit. Now I sit by the fire watching football and crocheting.

This year, I am working on an afghan for my daughter to take back to college with her. It is a simple design, cream-colored variegated yarn for the top and dark green for the border. No special patterns, just a simple double stitch in a rectangle. It is just as time-consuming as computer games with the benefit of producing something useful, eventually.

My wife knits, something I do not have the skill or training to try yet. She is even taking classes at a local weaving and yarn shop. She will eventually make some really complex articles from hats and sweaters to socks and mittens. You can make similar items with crocheting, but I am sticking to the easy stuff for now, blankets and throws.

I hope you fill your spare time with whatever is enjoyable to you. I also hope that you actually get some spare time, if not during this holiday season, then sometime in the near future. I am a Catholic, so I will wish everyone an early Merry Christmas (we are still in Advent after all). I have many friends and relatives who are Jewish and I wish them a happy Chanukah. My hope is that every person around the world has a chance to prosper, experiencing joy and happiness, during this holiday season and every day.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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