Tom's Personal Interests October 2004 - Seems like I update my "personal interests" page only about once every two years. I'll run down the page and make a few changes where appropriate. Biggest change I can think of before looking down the page is that I'll have to mention electric radio control airplanes - neatest toy invented as a big boy's toy! Here are a few links:
Tom's Personal Interests
October 2004 - Seems like I update my "personal interests" page only about once every two years. I'll run down the page and make a few changes where appropriate. Biggest change I can think of before looking down the page is that I'll have to mention electric radio control airplanes - neatest toy invented as a big boy's toy!
Here are a few links:
I'm quite happy with my life as I get near the end of the 2004 calendar year. It's not boring! I'm fortunate to have many interests, and if I find problems in one area, there are always good things going on with some of my other interests.
I'm very greatful that I have a smart, hard working, and not hard to look at partner and best friend who works with me at all my business activities and generally takes care of me. We are a "beauty and the Beast" couple, but it works well for us. Meghan knew me for some time as a neighbor (and for a while as her boss) before she became as thoroughly involved with Longacres and my other recreation businesses as she is now. Now she's "the boss" in many areas and is actually taking over some of my business ventures as her own.
Here we are:
My greatest good fortune is that I can make a modest living doing things I really love. Most of my business is related to various outdoor recreation activities.
My traditional family business is theLongacres Riding Camp, a children's summer horseback riding school. Although there are frustrations and stresses in this business, there are great rewards. I really enjoy putting the farm in nice shape every spring for our customers. It's almost like I am a millionaire on a fancy estate - except that I'm the guy driving the lawn mowers and trimming the grass under the fences! I would never want to be in the horse care business year round, so I loan or lease my horses to others over the winter (want one?). But I am competitive and I do enjoy coaching the girls and taking them to shows during the summer where they compete jumping over courses of hurdles. It's exciting and very beautiful.
Next to the horse farm, managing4-wheel drive truck races keeps me busiest. My stage name in this part of the country is "Mr. Mud", and I am quite well known in this special interest sport in the northeast. Kind of a "big fish in a small pond!" I organize and manage these truck races for many other groups and I am often the announcer and an entertainer at these shows. Meghan is now the principal in this business and she runs everything from very small shows in the back of some guy's junkyard up to big "Monster Truck" shows at large county fairs. It can be exhausting during the spring and summer, but I love it. (usually! L )
The next thing on my list of regular activities is managing several rental properties. We've got several houses and cottages on my farm that are rented out year round. I've been lucky recently to have several long term tennants who have been with me for quite a few years and who are great people to deal with. But every landlord knows of the irritations that come with owning buildings. AAAAARRRG! One day last winter, I had a phone call that the door had fallen off a common water distribution room, the pipes were all frozen and broken, and no one had any water. Plumbing problems are my very least favorite thing!
Another business that doesn't make big money, but which has been very steady and good for me is publishingboating books. I love boating and being on the water in my home made work boat, "Wooden Nickel II", relaxes me. I publish the "Boating and Cruising Guide to the St. Johns River", a major recreational waterway in North Florida. I spend some time there every year doing research and making sales calls for the book. It is beautiful to have an activity like this that is enjoyable and actually makes a profit (YES, it does, Mr. IRS!)
All the above things keep me busy, give me happiness, and are businesses that make some money. Not a lot of money for any one of them, but put all together, enough to get by.
I have two true personal hobbies that have nothing to do with business (haven't figured out how yet!) One issnowmobiling! Being out on a groomed snowmobile trail on a bright sunny day or a full moonlit night with fresh snow on the tree branches is one of my favorite "highs".
and another snowmobile picture - -
The other hobby that recently has taken up much more of my time than I ever imagined when I first tried it last spring is flying electric powered radio control model airplanes. I crashed my first plane dozens of times and it is now a heavy ball of tape repairs and epoxy patches. But I learned. I fly a Hobbyzone Challenger and a Parkzone Stryker every chance I get. It is a great mental escape and I experience much joy when I conquer some new stunt or flying trick.
Below: Beloved Toys; the orange winged plane is the Challenger which is slow and graceful and can be kept aloft for a long time. The nasty looking one is the Stryker, which is fast and does rolls, loops and other stuff (and crashes more often!).
I feel grateful that many things in my life fascinate me. There is much that I do as a part of my work that I would gladly do as a hobby if I won the lottery and was truly retired from having to work for a living. I will never be bored with life (for very long!). Some of the things I love doing, like snowmobiling, are expensive. But if I had little money, there are other things I could spend hours at for little cost.
Advanced video and digital video editing is a serious interest. I get to do a lot of this with the horse program and the truck races. I could be happy as a videographer. Regular photography, both film and now more digital is another serious interest.
I have enjoyed working with computers since the earliest personal computer days in the 1970's. I can while away endless hours organizing and experimenting with computer stuff. I was a PC user for many years and used to pooh-pooh Apple computers. I still use an older PC for routine word processing, but have been won over to Apple for video and photo work. As you can see if you spend much time browsing my rambling, loosely organized website, the internet is another real interest. I'll do lots of computer and website stuff if I ever retire from my "real businesses".
I love trains and model railroading, though I don't have time to do anything with them at this point in my life. It's another of those activities that is "on hold" in my life, waiting for quieter times. (Update, October 2004 - a simple HO gage display layout in the bedroom is in the advanced planning stage!
Target shooting with precision guns, reloading ammunition (but too busy now), (NOT hunting anymore, though once upon a time did), stamp collecting, studying film and movies, producing video's, classical music, collecting old toys, collecting reference books, RV travel, politics, current events, and people watching at the mall (or better yet while traveling) are more of the things that keep me now and for the future from getting bored.
About eight years ago I had emergency abdominal surgery while traveling. A moment in time from that scary night says a lot about my life. Just before being wheeled into surgery and put to sleep, the hospital staff asked me if I was ready. It was actually a very peaceful moment, as I was under some pre-op drugs already and the intense pain was gone. I can remember like it was yesterday saying to myself, "Well, Tom, if you don't make it out of this surgery, you've had the good fortune to experience very many interesting things in your time. It's been a pretty good life!"
The surgery went well, and I have tried to stay grateful for my life ever since and to live each day as though there might not be another.