I have a few projects and hobbies, that I do when I can. I work full time, and this year especially, I have been busy helping care for my dad, so some of my hobbies or projects either get put on hold, or take longer to finish than usual.
I have an older classic 1972 Chevy. My first car, actually, which I got when I was 15. I had it parked for many years, and started restoring it about 10 years ago. I've done most of the mechanical work by myself, with the help of my brother, which includes installing the engine, transmission, rebuilding the brake system, etc. Coming up on 3 years ago, I had the paint and body done. Old cars are nice when they are running well, but as the old adage goes, they don't build them like they used to. In this case, that is a good thing, because I am constantly having to muck with it somehow. Working on an old black car in 112+ degree heat sucks, though, so its parked until October.
I am not very good at it, but I've been trying to learn to play guitar for a few years now. I mostly do this to relieve stress, so most of what I do is more like practicing scales or guitar playing exercises, with random blues lead jamming. Usually, all I do is make living room noise that annoys the cat. But, related to that, I like to tinker with guitars. I'm pretty good ad soldering. So, I like to pick up cheap Squier stratocasters, and upgrade the electronics with better quality, full size CTS potentiometers and orange drop capacitors, wiring, and pick ups. This is a project that is ongoing, but only when I can find a guitar for like $20-$30 (not hard to find for Squiers). I've done a few of these, and donated them to an organization called Guitars for Vets. I am not as good at tuning or doing set ups (EG lowing string action), but I am learning this.
Computers & Laptops
In the last 5 years, I've started taking a step back from computer side work, which I used to do for extra money. It seemed too much like my day job and I started to burn out. But, I still occasionally end up with computer or laptop donations (EG, people I know replacing older PCs and giving me the old ones), or I come across really good deals. So, when that happens, I will refurbish a PC or laptop, and since usually all I have invested is my time (or very little money out of pocket), I will donate them to a worthy cause. Earlier this year, I donated 4 older laptops I refurbished to a friend's husband's non-profit who helps rehab recovering addicts in sort of a half way house, and a couple years before that, I donated a bunch of desktops and laptops to a couple Native American nonprofit organizations.
Between 2014 and 2017, I went back to school part time for a grad degree in the museum industry. This required a couple internships at a couple different museums. after those internships, but while I was still in school (and for a few months after I graduated), I volunteered at these same museums I interned at. It was usually for only like 4 hours a day on my day off. But because smaller museums are on tight budgets, I would help out with tech needs, in particular, like digital signage (Raspberry Pis are good for this, among other things) or helping set up mediated exhibits. I also helped with digitally archiving hard copy photographs, which is basically scanning photos, and uploading to the state capital museum server. I haven't done much of this in the last 2 years, though, due to work demands. I want to get back into volunteering, but I want to focus more on archiving and handling artifacts.
I am a nerd for sure, and I don't deny it. So, is it any surprise that I build and paint models, occasionally? I like to build Polar Lights and AMT/ERTL 1:2500 and sometimes 1:1000 scale Star Trek ship models. I have a whole fleet that takes up 3 shelves on my book case, with various incarnations of Constitution, Galaxy, Ambassador, and Sovereign class ships. I haven't built any new ones in over 6 months, though. But, it is yet another hobby to help de-stress.
I'd not claim to be an artist at all, but I like to draw cartoon figures from time to time. Many moons ago, I had a pipe dream of starting some cartoon strip about a bunch of cats living in a pumpkin patch. Stupid, I know, and that petered out, but I still like to doodle from time to time. I can still draw a decent cartoon kitty. My brother is a kindergarten teacher, and he keeps telling me he wants to get into the business of writing children's books, and use me as an illustrator. Maybe that will happen some day, but our schedules are so different it hasn't happened.
Another pipe dream, that probably never will happen. I am not that creative when it comes to story telling, and especially, writing dialogue. I'm an introverted person who doesn't really talk a lot to people I don't know well, therefore writing dialogue confounds me. So, most of my writing experience is more of a research paper variety. But I had this idea of writing a book that plays to that strength, which is sort of a cryptozoology and mythos encyclopedia book, with creatures I made up, and the narrative being sort of a psuedo scientific record written by the main character (basically me), documenting these creatures. I may have kind of subconsciously stole that idea from years as a teen reading the Monster Manual, Dieties and Demigods, along with some Cthulhu thrown in. I have a few word documents I have typed up, stored somewhere on an external hard drive I have packed away. The likely hood of me working on this again, right now, is slim to none.
One of the nice things about where I live is there is no shortage of park trails to go hiking in, and the weather here is agreeable to that. On days off, I like to hike at least once a week.