My Dorky New Hobby

Joanna Goddard

Have you picked up any random hobbies during this pandemic? Here’s my newest pastime…

If stage one of quarantine is getting a mask, and stage two is baking bread, and stage three is stopping baking bread, and stage five is cutting bangs, and stage fifteen is following Connell’s Chain on Instagram, I’ve reached stage forty three.


You guys, I’ve become obsessed with writing limericks. It began this weekend, when my friend’s husband asked us to write one for her birthday. Suddenly I’ve found myself writing one for everyone I know. My kids are making so much fun of me, and Alex is being supportive but you can tell he’s kind of like, wait what is going on? ;)

Here are a few examples…


There once was a writer from Brooklyn
Who loved his kids, ’60s rock and dry gin
To keep his wife cheery
He kept his beard beardy
A nicer guy there never has been

My mom:

There once was a mom with cold hands
Who wore silk shirts and black Capri pants
But her real secret skill
Comes when things go downhill
Have a worry? Jeannie understands

They’re ADDICTIVE. Want me to write one for you? Here goes…

These readers, so funny and smart,
Discuss Trader Joe’s, dating and art
Stinky cheese they adore —
And the smell of bookstores —
Our love for them is off the charts

And for very close readers:

A group of women who are literary
Wow us daily with smart commentary
These well-rounded folks
Have the best inside jokes
Like, shopping carts? Do it for Larry!

Omg, someone please stop me. Have you gotten into anything new/weird/random lately? If you want to, write your own limerick below! xo

P.S. More nerdiness, and readers show off their cozy spaces.

(Photo by Christine Han.)

  1. Liz Backer says...

    There once was a zoo gnu named Hugh
    Who threatened to sue the zoo crew.
    Hugh was lonely, you see,
    But now Hugh’s filled with glee
    ‘Cause the zoo crew’s new zoo gnu’s named Sue!

  2. My new random COVID hobby has been researching the genealogy of my and my husband’s families on Ancestry. They could not be more different. And I’ve made so many surprising discoveries. The biggest blessing has been learning about my grandmother’s family and reconciling that some long held beliefs I had about her were misplaced.

  3. Julie says...

    You inspired me! I have 11 written up for Christmas! I used a little poetic license — thank you all for some of the lines I ‘borrowed’.

  4. margaret says...

    Cheers to all the funny poets!

    Are jigsaw puzzles a hobby? We did a couple at the beginning of this GD pandemic and I wasn’t that into it. But in October we started doing a puzzle while listening to ghost stories on podcasts. Over Thanksgiving, we did a puzzle while listening to an audiobook about the royals (we had just finished the crown). Over Christmas, I think we’ll listen to some of Ira Glass’ favorite episodes of This American Life (he just published his list!) while putting together a new winter-themed puzzle. I’m a bit tired of tv but still really love stories. So this has been a really fun way to be carried away by a story when my brain is too tired for a book.

  5. Laura C says...

    There once was a shopper named Larry
    Who in grocery store lots liked to tarry
    He wished folks of all ages
    Would use those nice cages
    To return carts that accost folks unwary

  6. In quarantine, I took up crochet
    Even if it’ll never pay
    Although there is a perk
    It kills time while I work
    And helps get me through the day

    • Crochet is brilliant for long commutes!

  7. Liz says...

    These are amazing!!!!! Also what a great gift idea to gather up a bunch of limericks for someone!

  8. Jamie says...

    I haven’t seen my mom since quarantine started. It was her birthday recently so I bought us both the same paint by numbers. I am obsessed now! It is actually really relaxing and takes my mind off work and Covid.

  9. Emily Olsen says...

    I think of Larry all the time. I’ve told so many friends about that little story, and every time I’m in a store parking lot and I’m tempted to abandon my cart somewhere, I always think better of it and put it back.

    • Hillary F. says...

      Me too. Larry forever.

    • Larry Forever! <3

    • Katie says...

      I am laughing so hard all over again thinking about Larry and the other amazing comments. I hope you make it an annual round up!

  10. Robin Parke says...

    Ha! I think of Larry every time I’m in the Wegmans parking lot, separating the small carts from the big carts in the cart hut. How difficult is it to follow the clearly marked signs and return the carts accordingly? Even in Covid times, I can’t help myself!

    • Claire says...

      Every time!

  11. Love your limericks! One of my music theory teachers would give us credit for writing content relevant haiku on our exams. I loved it!
    I started podcasting over isolation, and I’m a woman obsessed. I have TWO now, one of which is solo and the other with three lifelong friends. I never imagined I would be happy spending 6 hours a week refining audio and writing scripts/outlines, but I love producing this content SO much! It’s making me feel more connected in a time where I really need that.
    Best to you and your family!

  12. Laura says...

    This is adorable and I am dying of cuteness. Thank you for sharing Jo! I’m definitely going to try this.

  13. daci says...

    this is so funny and cute and random :)

  14. Melissa says...

    I’ve started reading poetry regularly… Is that a hobby? (I’m counting it.) It all started with your rec of Kate Baer’s What Kind of Woman, which led me to Mary Oliver and Margaret Atwood and Billy Collins… I keep the books down by our fireplace and read them in the evenings while my sons play around me. It’s hard to read other material while they are around because of… well because they are children and they are around, but a poem or two fit perfectly and even make me feel recreational+ly productive with that weird time after the dishes are done but before bedtime. And now, I regularly text the poems to family and friends… so your recommendation is a gift that keeps on giving.

  15. marylou says...

    Oh my gosh I felt compelled to do one!

    There once was a boy who wore dreadlocks
    Who married a girl who loves rocks
    The moved to the land of mountain rocks
    And had three lovie kids with dirty socks

    stop it.

  16. H says...

    This summer, we literally drove through Limerick, in Ireland (where we are living right now), on my husband’s birthday. The kids had some epic birthday poetry battles in the car and our family to took part too, texting limericks back and forth across the world. It made the car ride feel more like a family hang out in our living room! x

  17. Stella says...

    Crossword puzzles! I subscribed to the NY Times Crossword app and I can’t stop!!! I don’t think I ever completed a crossword puzzle before a couple months ago and now I can’t go to bed if I haven’t finished the daily.

    • Julie says...

      Oh my gosh same!! I am loving the NYTimes crossword app!

    • Patti says...

      Love the mini every night and spelling bee first thing in the morning. Sacrosanct

    • Me too!!!!!

    • Hope says...

      Me too. Every single day!

  18. Kayleigh Collins says...

    This is so weird. I LOVE IT!!

    • Jill says...

      I am obsessed with trying to reach the Genius level every day on the NYT Spelling Bee game. I don’t always make it, but I don’t let myself stop til I get to “Amazing.”

  19. Meredith says...

    I’m not sure that this counts as a hobby but I’ve started using way too much soap in the shower and it is MAGICAL. Sometimes I mix whatever random bottles we have laying around together – it’s all just stuff from the drugstore. But it’s an excess that’s cheap, easy, fun… it really brightens my day to feel so clean and smell so great.

  20. I love this so much!! I used to be into writing limericks in high school (that was decades ago – ha!) you’ve inspired me to begin again…

    I wrote these for my family. I think I’ll read them aloud on christmas morning. :)

    there once was an urbanite from b-town
    who liked to read books (like notes from the underground)
    to keep his boys cheery
    he walked them ‘til weary
    my love for this man is profound
    oh, teddy: you’re so funny and smart
    you play restaurant, watch snoopy, like crafting and art
    you keep us in stitches
    with all the personas and sing-songy pitches
    your excitement for life fills with joy our home & hearts
    little leo: your stormy blue eyes
    seem to say you are loving and wise
    it’s so cute how you shake your head no
    (which mirrors my feelings on the speed that you grow)
    I’m not sure how we survived before your cute, chubby thighs
    happy christmas to my sweet crew of four
    you are all of my dreams for a family and more
    you bring joy to my days,
    accept all my ways
    hours of laughing leave my cheeks oh so sore
    so much love overflowing out my heart it does pour
    … i am grateful this holiday, even more than before

    • Joanne Michael says...

      Love this, Anna.

  21. Christine says...

    Love it! And I literally think of Larry EVERY time I return my shopping cart. Just when I think it’s cold and my car is too far from the store, that little voice inside of me says… but you have to do it, for Larry!

    Also, I called to inquire about Jason Suran this past weekend and told his booking agent I heard about him on CoJ, had they ever heard of it? And he said oh yes, Joanna put us on the map! After the first CoJ post when he was mentioned, he got over 500 inquiries in 3 days. The power of this community is strong!

    • Sara says...

      I glared at someone who didn’t put their cart away the other day. (I was already leaving or would have) I channeled my inner Larry.

  22. Libby says...

    I have been working on my very own “millow” as my pandemic hobby, inspired by your grandmother’s beautiful and prolific collection. It’s slow going in my hands.

  23. Lindsey Dowd says...

    Dear Joanna,
    I love your limericks!
    This year was my 70th birthday.
    My oldest daughter and her husband, (they have 3 kids) teased me upon receiving it, telling me I had too much time on my hands. I burst into laughter!
    The following is the limerick I sent to my two daughters.Be my guest
    Be my guest
    Put my service to the test
    Tie your mask around your face, cherie
    And I’ll provide the rest

    Turning seventy
    With integrity
    How? I live with lots of levity!
    Even though I’m hard of hearing
    And my thoughts, keep disappearing!

    Type to enter text
    We’re a pod
    And for that we can applaud

    And a dinner here is never second best
    Go on unfold your menu
    Take a glance and then you’ll
    Be my guest
    Oui, my guest
    Be my guest

    Lots of food
    A soiree
    Cake and candles en flambe
    I’ll prepare and serve with flair
    A culinary cabaret

    Driving far
    Or close by
    We will gather and fly high
    No one’s gloomy or complaining
    Why? We’re all so entertaining!

    We’ll eat knish
    No whitefish!
    Blow the candles, make a wish
    And its all in perfect taste that you can bet

    Come on and lift your glass
    You’ve got a family pass
    To be my guest
    If you are stressed
    Its fine dining I suggest
    Be my guest
    Be my guest
    Be my guest!

    • Lindsey, Happy Birthday! I LOVE your take on Be Our Guest. So perfect!

  24. mims says...

    Allison, when walking the streets of my small downtown area, I pull weeds! Rarely do I see any trash, but especially in the spring the weeds growing in the cracks and curbs really disturb me. I literally vary my walking paths each day so I can pull them all before they set and disperse seed (and make more weeds!). My husband jokes I should be in the payroll of the City’s Maintenance crew. I just think of it as giving back.

  25. Sydney says...

    I think this is wonderful! I started doing a (somewhat) daily haiku when all this kicked off in March. Limerick are more fun, but as someone who thinks out loud and over explains everything, it’s a good exercise in brevity. I think my best one was:

    Usually jasmine;
    This year, Lysol permeates.
    Inauspicious deal

    I live in the Bay Area and the night blooming jasmine is one of my favorite things about Spring here.

  26. Veronica says...

    Your freckles are the cutest miss Jo.

  27. Kellyn Christmas says...

    You’re in good company! I caption almost all of my instagram posts with haikus.

    A few favorites:

    Today they observe
    National siblings day by
    Plotting a jailbreak
    (Image of my 3 sons conspiring in the youngest’s crib)

    Adulting is when
    You pay for a sitter and
    Walk two houses down
    (Image of wine glasses and the bachelorette playing in the background)

    The magic kingdom:
    The monorail was worth the
    Price of admission
    (Image of my son pressed against the glass peering excitedly out of the monorail at disney)

  28. Lisa says...

    Love your limericks but also here to say I fully support Stage 15. Paul Mescal. 😍

  29. Elinor says...

    Ahhh this brings back memories. Some friends and I had a class we disliked but attendance was mandatory, so we started writing collaborative poems to amuse ourselves. This was the beginning of my favorite:

    There once was a chicken named Lars
    Who got on a shuttle to Mars.
    He went into a store
    and squawked (in horror)
    “Why don’t they sell pickles in jars?”

    As he said this, a passing young Martian
    said, dragging his limbs with exhaustion,
    “Instead of jars, we
    use iron bars, see –
    We approach our pickles with caution!”

    Poor Lars was taken aback,
    and he exclaimed, “Alas and alack!
    On Earth orange zest
    will cause civil unrest,
    but veggies are only a snack.”

  30. Carolyn says...

    My husband and I are in a limerick zoom group with 3 other couples. We are given a theme to write about and then we have to come up with 4 or 5 limericks each. We meet once a month and read them out loud while we enjoy cocktails. They can get fairly bawdy and it’s just hilarious! Political themes have been particularly entertaining this year.

  31. Give me a couple of more weeks, and I think I will hit Limerick writing stage during the tundra like conditions of a Minnesota winter, aha. But I have gotten into some serious needlepointing and bad piano playing since the start. And when I say bad piano playing, I mean abdominal..but I have fun! hahaha :)

    • Sonja says...

      abdominal piano playing is possibly better than abominable piano playing ;) ;)

  32. AJ says...

    Fun! Love a rhyme

  33. v says...

    AMAZING! I am in the midst of a poetry unit with my grade 9s and will share these limericks as examples for their “structured poems”. The cutest hobby :)

  34. Mims says...

    With foodstuffs, I like to play
    So opted for DIY Tempeh
    It needs an inoculum spore
    And results in furry gore
    Maybe I should go back to clay.

  35. Jess says...

    My ode to 2020:

    There once was a girl who was married
    Of her, her husband did love and adore
    Then along came another
    With whom her hubby climbed ‘neath the cover
    And then she was married no more.

    • Agnès says...

      that is beautiful and sad; sending many thoughts your way; I remember once Meryl Streep said: “take your broken heart and make it into heart”, and you did that so beautifully.

    • SP says...

      Oh my god, JESS! I am so so so sorry if this is autobiographical but you’re hilarious. That idiot didn’t deserve you anyway.

    • Oh, Jess, I’m so sorry. I’ve been through this and know how brutal it is. Please feel free to reach out through the message system on my blog (I’ll put the link in my name) if you need someone to talk to or want book or blog recommendations for people who’ve been through this. Thinking of you and sending you light and strength.

  36. Shannon says...

    Omg, I *also* enjoy writing limericks! It’s so fun. The habit runs in my family. My grandpa used to love traveling to Ireland and he would write limericks while riding on the tour bus. And my aunt did the same when she traveled with him. I have to share these hilarious verses my grandpa wrote on a trip to Limerick one year (warning, they’re X-rated!):

  37. Tammy Sutherland says...

    I got into jigsaw puzzles a few years ago, but it was a contained pastime – a couple at the cottage over the summer, one at Christmas. Since March I have done a ridiculous number of puzzles. It’s so soothing to have a problem that I can fix. Even if it’s difficult, even if it takes time, there is always an answer and only one right way to get there. I get a weird hit of confidence with every piece that fits, and that confidence has helped me keep my head up in 2020.

    • Mims says...

      I am into puzzles too….although no as fully committed as you. I love how I forget all my troubles when I focus on puzzle fitting. It is a low stress time to put down my burdens and lose myself. I love the puzzles made by Remarks: compilations of smaller pictures to make a large collage. I have done doorways of NYC, famous book titles, movie titles, etc. I got over the impossible to solve-all-one color or landscapes with tons of sky or water. Life is too short to not enjoy a puzzle!

    • Yes, jigsaw puzzles were Always part of a family holiday. A holiday was never complete without a few new puzzles. Now I am So into ipad/tablet jigsaw puzzle’s. Rather addictive. I love the idea that i can do them in bed at night, so calming. Also brilliant for commutes.

  38. Shannon Robinson says...

    Ohh, I’m so pleased to be in on the “Do it for Larry” joke. What a sweet, sweet thing!

  39. Steph Peterson says...

    Omg!!! I love them ❤️

  40. Alice says...

    I was inspired by “Hunt for the Wildepeople” to write a Haiku last week! I sent it to a close friend along with some GIGANTIC acorns from our new backyard, at her request. The topic of the haiku was, obviously, acorns. I am quite sure I haven’t written any form of poetry since grade school.

    • Kristin says...

      Yes Haiku are my favorite!

  41. Stephanie says...

    Rounding out 2020 with my anxiety at an all-time high.

    Writing this helped :)

    There once was a girl filled with do-goods
    Who cared a lot more than she ought-should
    Her family grew wary
    Of every cautionary
    She said she relax if she just could.

    • stephanie says...

      she’d relax*

    • Alex says...

      Love this one!

    • Stacey says...

      This feels oddly familiar to my own life! *hugs*