Reader Poll: What non-work project are you working on in your spare time?

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“One of my most favorite projects to work on when I'm not at work creating extraordinary experiences for our elders is gardening. I have perennials around my entire home and garage as well as two corner gardens that I spend numerous hours from spring until snow flies tending to.”

Bonnie Behnke
Director of Development, Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh
Oshkosh, WI

“Junk car ‘fast-tracking.' As a hobby I enjoy working with one of my brothers rebuilding an old Ford Contour to then participate in enduro and sprint track events against other ‘rebuilds' at notable tracks like Charlotte Motor Speedway and Road Atlanta, as well as classic road tracks Virginia International Raceway and Carolina MotorSports Park, and others. Though the actual tracking events can present its own share of stress; overall the activity provides a great weekend distraction from the day-to-day decisions we face in our profession caring for our residents, ensuring a quality workplace for staff and keeping up with our constantly changing regulatory environment.

To me, many similarities exist comparing the compassionate individualized care and rehabilitation of our seniors with the impassioned and great patience rebuilding older cars to ensure they are safe and track worthy. Aside from the stress relief, my greater joy comes from spending time with my brother and challenging myself to never stop learning new things. This comes along with the excitement of a successful rebuild realized when after coming out of Turn 4 at CMS @120+ MPH the adrenalin kicks in when you look to the right to see you are inches from the wall, and looking to your left you see another car inches from your door.  And this is stress relief… ?”

Paul Babinski
President, Liberty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Services
Wilmington, NC

“Work keeps me very busy, but to relax, I knit newborn hats and donate them to a local hospital. I also decorate cakes and do party planning. The fun things really help to keep things in perspective!”

Kimberly S. Geldien
Customer Service/Public Relations, Riverview HealthCare
Oak Harbor, OH

“I'm making quilts for two of my grandsons from their mother's clothing; she passed away four years ago. At the request of one of my granddaughters, I'm making a princess costume for her dog to play in, as well as princess clothing for her Barbie and Monster High dolls. Sewing, quilting, crocheting and needlepoint projects are all 'in process.' I'm also tearing up carpet and replacing it with hardwood floors — and the two grandsons mentioned above (and some of their friends) are moving Papa's tools to the back of the pole barn so they can convert it to an indoor basketball court! Oh… and I'm taking four classes at Purdue's North Central campus.”

Janet L Kostielney
Director: Marketing, Training & Community Development
Comfort Keepers, Indiana/Michigan area

“I am a quilter. I get a lot of satisfaction in creating quilts — from small wall hangings to queen-size bed quilts. I am also blessed that my workplace lets me put up my wall hangings, which I do for each month and holidays.”

Kathi Polz
Education Services Coordinator, DuPage Convalescent Center
Wheaton, IL

“My hobby is autocross racing on the weekends. Autocross is a driving skills competition where a road course is created with traffic cones in a large parking lot or airport and scoring is done through electronic timing. I love the adrenaline rush! My hobby has helped me to connect with the people I serve, especially those who used to do motorsports racing or loved to work on cars. A few years ago when I was the administrator at a skilled/residential care center, Grey Birch in Augusta, Maine, I had five residents come out and ride along with me during an event. We all had a great day!”

John Rice
Director of Operations, Schooner Estates Senior Living Community
Auburn, ME

“Over the last four years, I have become involved in acting. I have performed in a number of plays, from comedies to heavy dramas. Most recently, I have a role in a children's play. I love losing myself in preparing to be, and becoming, someone else for a while in an interesting story.”

Michael Schneider
Administrator, Heritage Health Therapy & Senior Care
Jacksonville, IL

“I am a member of the PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association). There is a huge push to “grow the sport” and, boy, is it ever growing. I compete in a casual winter league called Oregon Team Disc Golf where 24 teams compete every other Saturday and Sunday from October through February, basically for fun and bragging/trophy rights. During the regular tournament season, I play competitively against other women in the Advanced division and have even competed in the Oregon Disc Golf Championships and the US Women's Disc Golf Championships. Many tournaments are held to raise money for charities, such as one I played in that benefited Michelle's Love, which is a charity that provides resources to single mothers fighting cancer in the Portland, OR area. I've played tournaments in OR, WA and MT. It is an extremely fun sport, and casual play is very inexpensive.”

Rebecca Tobias, RN, DNS
Oregon Veterans' Home
The Dalles, OR

“I personally enjoy ballroom dancing during my off time to relax.”

Terri Ugarkovich, RN, BSN
Director of Nursing, Hanceville Nursing & Rehab Center
Hanceville, AL

“This past summer I got back into close-up magic, which I used to do in college. I had forgotten just how much I loved learning, practicing and performing magic.”

Scot Park
Principal, Artower Advisory Services
Willoughby, OH