I've been interested in astronomy for years and finally got up the nerve to buy a telescope, a Meade ETX-90 in 2001. I've been having a blast with it, mostly observing the planets and the moon because at f/13.8 its focal ratio is too high for serious deep sky work. That being said, on one beautifully clear night I was able to observe the Ring Nebula from my back yard with it.
In order to fill the need for a deep sky capable scope, I built an 8" f/4 Dobsonian reflector following and adapting some plans I found on the internet. It's an open tube design, but not a traditional truss-tube design. It is a fast scope, and there is some coma, but the views are certainly worth it. And being an open tube design it reaches thermal equilibrium quicker.
For Hydrogen Alpha solar observing I've picked up a Coronado PST and have been really impressed with it. Being able to see prominences and other non-white light features is really impressive. It's too bad that I bought it at about the bottom of the solar cycle, but activity should be picking up soon and the views will only get better.
My interests, up to this point, have been planetary observation, double stars, and some solar observation. I've also played around with some astrophotography, both film and digital, but haven't done much with it. I've started using a Meade LPI Lunar and Planetary Imager to take digital pictures out of all three scopes with some good results. It's not a cooled CCD, so long exposure stuff is out, but I'm getting some good results with it.