Archive | May, 2016

I Miss The Old Blogging

18 May

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This week one of my favorite bloggers retired from the blogging world.

She was one of the first bloggers I really got into, about four years ago, when my blog obsession began.  I spent nearly a year reading the entire archives of several blogs and falling in love with their writers and their words.  Those bloggers, the first few, are still so important to me.  I know them from 10 years ago.  I feel like I know them!

As I read this blogger’s goodbye comments, I was overwhelmed with how many people felt the same way as I did.  How many people this one girl’s words had inspired and changed.  How many of us readers felt genuine sadness.

I saw this coming.  You don’t read someone’s words for 10 years and not see something like this coming.  But I hoped it wouldn’t. I refreshed her page over the past few months, wishing for a killer essay that would get me writing and thinking and blogging again.

Instead I got a farewell.

All of my favorite bloggers, the ones from those times, are basically gone.  Sure, they may update a few times a year now, but there was this golden time, well before I started blogging, where they were updating nearly every day.  Where silliness and inner thoughts and unworried posts were thrown together.

Today there’s so much hate online you have to watch every word and even then you’re not safe.

Today there’s so many sponsorships online you can’t believe any word and even then you’re not safe.

Many of these original bloggers are married and have children and they are giving their families privacy and separating themselves from hate and I am glad for them, but I am also sad that I am losing them.  I’m losing the rants and opinions and the real thoughts.  The uncensored posts.  I love those.  Getting a blog post from one of those writers is like waking up to a bouquet of fresh hydrangeas at my door.  A big, puffy gift.

Now this gift is done giving.

And my eyes are puffy.

(This took a turn.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately.  How fashion bloggers are now in the millions of followers and milliosn of dollars category.  How these girls (often) offer the same rotated few words:

Totally obsessed with these new (free and sponsored) shoes!!!!

These shoes!!!! (free and sponsored)

I don’t want this to be a judgement on fashion bloggers.  They are their own thing.  But it makes me sad that my blogging world is being reduced to these same few sentences and non-opinions. That the women with voices and unfiltered thoughts and skills and lives and words I aspire to are slowly dripping away.

It’s been happening for years now.  The Wild West of the blogging world is gone and we are fully into the very manufactured, all-alike suburbia.

I miss it.

I wasn’t even a part of it, I feel like I sort of got on the blogging train a few stops too late, that if I were to really have dove into this thing I needed to start 10 years ago, I needed to build some big base and to go on some journey that I documented.  And that my silly 2016 words about Chip Gaines and books and little epiphanies I have throughout my very regular days, well, what are they offering anyone?  What are they offering me?

Maybe I should retire, too.

I’m funny like that, I see someone else do something and I immediately question my own decisions.  Even if I’m happy with my current life, watching someone boldly forge a different path makes me wonder if that’s the right path!

If that’s the right podcast!

Eventually I settle in and I calm down and I make my own decisions.

(Mostly.)

And this is my decision.

All the girls in my family are going on a vacation to Texas next month because of my last blog post.

I’m here, baby.

Me and my words are still here.

I’m In Love With Chip Gaines And I Don’t Care Who Knows It

13 May

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Today I found myself on a Reddit thread about Chip Gaines, one half of HGTV’s golden couple on Fixer Upper.  One woman on the thread declared, “If I was Joanna, he could get it.  If I’m me?  Still no.  I respect Joanna that much.  I feel the same way about Obama.  I can understand his appeal but I also respect Michelle entirely too much to think about him in a sexual manner.”

This is the place I’m at in my life.

I fell in love with Chip the way John Green tells us we fall in love–slowly and then all at once.

He’s not my usual type, so I wasn’t expecting it.  Chip is a redhead cowboy with a Texas accent and a goofy heart.  He wears tool belts and acts like a child and my type tends to be more of the frighteningly thin boys with skinny jeans, a library card and neuroses.

But Chip.

Well, I guess this is why they say you should be careful who you spend your time with.  You spend enough time with someone and you fall in love them.

My marriage to Chip Gaines is evidence of this.

I referred to my love for Chip as a marriage when I was first writing notes for this post.  “In the process of watching HGTV shows I’ve gotten married and aged 20 years.  Not for Chip–I would never change for a man.”

I read this snippet to a friend on Sunday night and we laughed and laughed and then got serious.

I’m in deep.  I’m in “I respect Joanna too much” deep except I don’t.   I love Chip.  In some universe I live in Waco, TX and we are married and it’s OK because in this universe Joanna is somewhere else with someone else and the world has spun a little bit off its axis.

I think it’s something to do with the tool belt.  Chip is just so…handy.  Does that seem sexual?  Now it’s seeming sexual.

It is what it is.

Chip can tear out an entire bathroom. He can lay tile and fix foundations and rewire the plumbing on a house.  Chip could take the condemned sea green beach home that I’ve had my eye on and make it a masterpiece.

Chip is a masterpiece.

He loves Joanna.  He worships Joanna.  He knows, full well, exactly how lucky a man he is to be with freaking Joanna Stevens Gaines.

He made her Joanna Stevens Gaines with some charm and some smiles and some fireworks shows.

Chip is that hands-on, wonderful dad that puts all sitcom dads to shame.  He chops wood and adopts pets and suddenly I think I could want to adopt pets.

To have wood in my home.

Chip is changing things.

I am changing.

My descent into the HGTV home shows was also like falling in love.  A House Hunters episode here.  A Love it or List it there.

Suddenly I’m on Reddit threads.

Suddenly I’m talking marriage.

The truth is I don’t want Chip Gaines.  Well I do want Chip Gaines.  It’s confusing.

The appeal of Chip lies in how much he loves the people he loves and how he isn’t afraid to show that.  It lies in his devotion to his wife and family and work.  It lies in his tool belt.

OK, I can’t get away from the sexual.

I don’t know if I want to.

Tonight I’ll watch another episode of Fixer Upper.

Or two.

There’s no telling.

I’ll await a picture my friend is sending me of a Ken doll she found who looks just like Chip.

I’ll pen my Chip and Joanna fan fiction.

I’ve never written fan fiction before, but this seems as good a starting point as any.

Chip Carter Gaines loved wood paneling and pheasant decorations and tearing up kitchens.

I will make sure to include at some point, my own rendering of the Reddit thread.

If I was Joanna he could get it.

If I’m me– 

Well.

It’s complicated.

Stephen King Audiobooks And Self-Actualization

6 May

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For a couple of months there, I listened to Stephen King audiobooks nonstop.

It seemed like a revolution in my life.  Now all the time spent in my car would be Productive Time.  Now I would be reading!

Stephen King proved excellent for driving. The plots were quick and not too difficult.  The stories made me want to finish them.

 

Salem’s Lot

Misery

Christine

Dolores Claiborne

Carrie

Cujo

 

I made it a game.  Could I finish this book by Thursday? Or Friday?  How quickly could I get to the next?

I had it all figured out.  Driving for the rest of my life!

 

And then I didn’t.

I can’t pick out a specific turning point.  It was some time during The Shining.

I found that I didn’t want to turn the book on anymore. I didn’t want to turn any book on.

I downloaded a few podcasts, and then a few more.

 

This American Life

Anna Faris is unqualified

Women of the hour

Dear Sugar

Modern love

 

Suddenly my driving time was Productive Time.  I was listening to Important Things!  I was smart, interesting Podcast Girl!

I had figured it all out.

Driving for the rest of my life!