While re-reading my previous blog entries, I came to a startling realization. I’ve noticed that my blog entries read like the Christmas letters we used to write.
It started this morning as I was scrolling through our blog entries. We both do that sometimes to make sure what we’ve written late at night still makes sense the next day. Because we no longer always read each other’s postings before publishing, it’s also a chance to catch up on what’s spilling out of our heads… Chris also tags my entries with proper labels (he’s stopped asking me to remember to do it myself). My main objective, however, is to check how my writing looks in terms of flow, and to check for spelling mistake and typos.
Last fall when we started blogging, I was pretty anal about my spelling and grammar. As we got busier, less so. I used to go into the edit function right away when I caught a typo/spelling mistake and change it. I did this as fast as I could, cringing, and hoping not too many people had read the entry yet. I’m not sure if I was half expecting Professor Scanlon to be reading it and to give me an ‘F’ in my comment section (my journalism peers will understand the panic in this statement!)
Some of the mistakes are interesting. There’s the usual ‘on’s’ for ‘of’s’ and double ‘the’s’. I noticed recently that I used ‘chilling’ instead of ‘chilly’ as in “it was a bit chilling in the morning”. Almost NY ghetto-like in its syntax. (In my NY ghetto-ignorant opinion, anyway!)
Probably the most amusing was after Chris and I had made both sweet and dill pickles. I posted “Chris’ sweet pickles are yummy.” I didn’t catch this until minutes after posting when I was entering the same statement on my Facebook page. Needless to say I removed it lickety split from our blog. I sat in front of Facebook, however, repeatedly hitting the ‘delete’ key to no avail! Stupid bug…. I finally gave up and commented on my own post about how it could be taken the wrong way. My friend Keren from Kitchener helpfully pointed out that it could have been worse without the ‘s’ on the end of ‘pickles’!
I digress. The infamous Christmas Letter. For those of you who started writing AFTER the internet (and blogging, Facebook and Twitter) was firmly and insidiously entrenched in our lives, Christmas letters were the way we — and a lot of other people — used to update family and friends on happenings through the year. I LOVED Christmas letters, both writing them and receiving them.
These letters were glorious, both the ones I wrote and the ones we received! We were all so great. We had a great year. The kids are perhaps among the cutest, smartest and funniest in the world. The dog is funny. We are still totally in love. We are so…great. Apparently, not too great for words!
In the early days of computers (darn, did I just date myself?) we would type in our update, print out multiple copies on Christmas paper bought from a store (that we either walked to or drove to; forget online sales). We’d spend a night stuffing envelopes and writing addresses and killing a bottle of wine.
When we finally got email my Christmas letters totally went out of control. Pages and pages of blah, blah, blah, and eventually pictures taken on our very first digital camera. No more envelopes or stamps and eventually no more wine, after I spilled a glass on a keyboard one late December 24th night, making our Christmas letter a New Year’s letter.
To keep my blatherings under control, Chris hijacked the process every other year, keeping things to a sane level of greatness and minimizing the strain on our CPU and hard drive storage.
I guess because Chris and I have always chosen paths that stray from the norm, we have inevitably received a lot of comments from our Christmas letters and emails. Comments such as, “wow, you guys are pioneers”, or “you should write a book” and “what an experience for you as a family.” With the start of our blog, we’re now getting these comments from perfect strangers! The internet is an amazing thing.
On one hand, it’s kind of neat to be glorified like this. Wow. Who (but us) knew we were that great??? I must miss it (we stopped Christmas letters a few years ago) because it feels like my entries are like mini-Yuletide missives. I have to admit that Chris has moved beyond a seasonal writing schedule and has developed a thoughtful, insightful, and slightly self-deprecating/amusing style of writing. At least one of us has matured in the Language Arts!
So it’s confession time. There’s lots that happens in between my blog entries that I deliberately leave out, despite the fact it may be relevant and interesting to our project.
For example, there are several topics that are completely off limits: our religious beliefs or non-beliefs, the nitty gritty of our finances, and sex. Sorry, just won’t talk about these except where it concerns livestock and poultry. And really, have you ever tried to discuss Buddhism with an $8 randy rooster???
There are also a few topics that the kids have asked us to NEVER POST ON THE BLOG! For obvious reasons I can’t tell you what these are.
But we also scratch other things that can be pretty illuminating. For example, there’s the missing post where Chris and I are standing on the newly excavated building site with the dripping water line sticking out of the bank (because it ran through our building site and we had to cut it), arguing about how we were going to supply our little house with water for the summer and then, possibly, winter. One of us wanted to deal with it right away and the other wanted to put it off until winter (when maybe we wouldn’t have to deal with it because we’d be in a new house). Did this fly? Hah! Nope, nope, nope. So the argument continued until stony face met stony face and one of us stomped off. I won’t tell you which was which, but I can tell you that I’ve never seen Chris stomp.
How about where we “discussed” propane appliances vs. electric? No pictures for that missing post. Or how we were NOT going to make the pantry smaller to accommodate “you-fill-in-the-blank.” In fact, the blog entry title could have been: “DON’T TOUCH THE PANTRY! Wife sleeps under kitchen sink to accommodate food storage in tire house.” Or even more to the point, “Don’t touch the #*^$@ pantry!”
I’m on a roll.
There were more than a few times this summer where I was beat from the heat and snuck into the house to make myself a single glass of ice tea. Just for the sheer relief of it. To all the volunteers (and Chris), SORRY, SORRY, SORRY. I do feel guilty about it…now.
I never posted the picture of the kids at the barn screaming at each other to feed the lambs, that he/she did it yesterdayI’mgoingtotellMomifyoudon’tdoitnow! I also never wrote the four-in-a-row expletive I uttered when I dumped apple cider vinegar in my 32 quarts of apple butter (instead of just apple cider). I’ve never blogged about our ongoing power struggle to keep our little house tidy and who feels they do the most to accomplish, not tidiness, but the holding-at-bay of germ warfare in the kitchen. (Actually this could be pretty funny, but feelings on this one can be raw on both sides, even at the best of times! Ditto for the Mt. Everest of all laundry piles.)
So this morning I ditched my typo/grammar searching mission –no more worrying about old Journalism profs tut tutting over my writing — and I’ve now been re-reading entries from a year ago, trying to confirm if this is actually true! Generally, I can sum up most of a year’s worth of postings like this:
“We’re great, look what we’re doing, look what we believe in, see our well adjusted and busy kids, see what I’m doing now?, don’t we have neat friends? isn’t Chris great? Aren’t we FUNNY!!!!????
Wow! Have I been misleading? Hmm. Nope. We do write fairly true to actual events and our personalities aren’t much different than what you read (although I do think I’m much more outgoing here than in person!)
So, believe everything you read. Because, after all, Chris IS great and the kids ARE well adjusted and busy! We’ve also been known to be funny and crack a joke or two or laugh at ourselves (and other people!) We do want you to see what we’re doing and to share with you what we believe in environmentally.
But I’m writing this to tell you that the really interesting stories seem to lay between the lines….(lay? lie? darn!)