Friday, March 13, 2009

One Year, or The Longest Post Ever

This is perhaps my favorite picture of all I've taken since I first began this whole blogging gig. The Mathews tourism people like it too, because they are using it in some of their promotional material, free of charge. It's a weird feeling when you pick up a brochure (in this case FYI Mathews - the Fall and Winter 2008 edition) and see your picture in it. But that's just one side benefit of starting this blog.

One year has passed since I started this blog, and one year is how long it will take you to read this post of mine. I figure since I'm celebrating Life in Mathews' birthday, I'm entitled to go on and on even more so than usual.

For the abbreviated version, here are the three main points: Sometimes the darkest times of life open doors to unexpectedly wonderful and rewarding experiences. Laughter is really, really an essential ingredient in this recipe called Life. And ants have no business having a life inside my house. (I don't really talk about this below, but still.)

For the sleep-inducing version which stretches from here to Annie in Australia, keep reading.

A little over a year ago, I didn't know what a blog was and had to look the word up on Wikipedia. Then, I did a search on "the best chocolate cake recipe ever" for my daughter's birthday and stumbled upon the Pioneer Woman's blog. I was instantly hooked and spent hours in front of the computer reading about her life. So really it's her fault that I am addicted to blogging.

Eventually I found Bossy's blog and discovered a world that was guaranteed to make me laugh, no two ways about it. I started making comments on both of these sites and came to know another blogger/commenter, tj, one of the dearest, kindest people I've never met. She convinced me to start a blog, and with the help (or was it coercion?) of my friend Kathy, a blog was born.

About the same time, my entire life changed drastically and unexpectedly. The world that I knew, one that I thought was reasonably stable and secure, was turned upside down, chewed up, spit out and left for dead. Although I've endured many difficult periods in my life, this one was the worst. Indeed another whole blog could be filled with that true story, but I do not allow that part of my life any room here on this one.

This blog was created as a diversion from the horrendous life events I was going through. I decided I could either let what was happening do me in--and it very well could have--or I would channel all my emotions elsewhere. Thankfully, all of my energy was tossed in this bucket.

I'd never used a digital camera before, never taken any pictures other than snapshots of my kids. All of a sudden I discovered the ability to look at things most people would find ordinary, boring even, and frame it in a way that made it different.

And that pretty much sums up the undercurrent of this blog: ordinary life stories put under a microscope and examined a bit further or looked at a little differently, as in through a slightly-off-balance woman's eyes. Well, some days that's the undercurrent. Other days, some might argue that it's too many days, it's just a current of hot air.

My original goal was to share some of Mathews and our life here with _______ --fill in the blank. (That blank would likely be my children; my family; maybe a few friends, that's about it). Little did I know there'd be people from other states--never mind other CONTINENTS--reading about our little community and our rather lackluster lives.

Over this year or so, I have met some pretty incredible bloggers--in person. Bossy made a cross-country road trip last spring and stopped in Richmond. I drove 150 miles round trip to meet her and am still unable to believe I spent several hours talking to this incredibly ingenious writer. Bossy makes me laugh like there is no tomorrow, and she's a beautiful person inside and out.

During my summer vacation last August, I was honored to meet Meg who got to see first hand just how technically inept I am. In spite of the fact that she erroneously thinks she's Harry Connick Jr.'s girlfriend (because he's all mine), we had a lot in common both coming from small towns. When we figured out we were going on vacation the same place, the same week, we met. She let this internet-deprived person use her mouseless laptop, and I was so thrown off by the lack of mouse I couldn't operate it. My 9 year old daughter had to help me....but my point is she was as delightful as I imagined.

Foolery. Heavens. Her comments on Bossy cracked me up, and we went from complete strangers to her calling to wish me a Merry Christmas. (My own family doesn't even do that, btw.) She sent me the most delectable almonds I've ever tasted, and I'm hoping she brings a boatload of those to Blog Fest. She's another comic genius, brilliant like Bossy.

Big Hair Envy. She lives a hop, skip and a jump from here and is as wonderful in person as she comes across on her blog. I've enjoyed getting to know her while planning for our little blog fest this summer. It's so nice having a fellow blogger so close by.

Mental Mamma and Grandma J.? I feel like I've known them my entire life and we've never met. (That will change come July.)

All of these wonderful people share a few key interests, not the least of which is humor. They make me laugh after the longest, dreariest days.

Last but certainly not least are the people who live (or have lived) in Mathews. Their contributions in the comments section make this whole thing enormously rewarding. Some of my guest contributors, such as Anonymous Mathews Native and Mathews Mountain Man, for example, really help convey what it is like living in the last frontier, one of the few places with no Wal-Mart, no McDonalds, no traffic, no Hectic. (I just made "hectic" a noun, a proper noun even.)

So, we go from "What is a blog?" to a whole new world which will crescendo this July, when bloggers from all over the country descend on little old Mathews. People from Canada, California, Washington, Connecticut, New York, Texas, Maryland, Maine--from all over--are traveling hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles just to meet their fellow bloggers. It's really incredible.

As far as the future of this blog, I cannot say. It's very rewarding in every way except financially, so I can't see stopping it, but I can see slowing down some. The pace I've set for myself is strenuous and time-consuming for a person who is already stretched thin. I don't see my readership growing any more, which is fine with me really, but I do hope to keep the two or three that I have. I truly thank you for reading.

Well, that's enough hot air for today. I've learned there are many good, brilliant people in the blogosphere, and I've learned that love and laughter is what this crazy life is all about. Stuff happens, and you either let it win or you laugh at it, it's your choice. (Choose laughter, you won't be sorry.)

One year of blogging has been incredibly good to me, and hopefully it has been for you, my one dear reader, the only one able to survive the length of this post.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a great, immensely rewarding year.

Love and laughter,
Chesapeake Bay Woman


Grandma J said...

Happy Blog Birthday! Looks like we started around the same time...and I found you through bossy's blog.

So tonight, you go and get all sappy on me...and btw, that's two nights in a row. But that's ok, I can handle it, just as long as you don't do it more than three nights straight...or I'll have to bring JJ to the blog fest to tickle your funny bone.

You are a bright spot in my day, and you can't suck me in to this addiction called Life in Mathews, and then decide to slow it down. I'm already a charter member in 18 twelve step programs!

Love ya, xoxoxo

Annie said...

Well, I think you will find that there are a lot more than one of us who get to the end of your post today, cbw!!

Happy birthday to cbw's blog
Hip Hip Hooray, I say.

What would we do without you. As Grandma J says, we need you, but yes I can imagine what a stretch it do it all so well, esp answering everyone's comments! Very special!


ps I think I have already said that I started my blog about a year ago too! So we must be twins..I think you have a lot of twins all over the world ...mmm...

ps I am sad to hear that the occasion for your starting your blog was not a joyous one, and that you went/have been through some sad and distressful times. I do hope that things look up for you from here on in!!!! I am sure we all look forward to continuing our bloggy friendships with you, and reading just as much as you are able to write! I must admit when you get to a year it does seem as if you have said all there is to say...

Interesting statistic from a former statistician (I can't even spell it now): do you know I read somewhere that the average life of a blog is 9 months?

Pregnant pause.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - It's a belated celebration - I think I actually started the blog more towards the first of March (heaven forbid I should actually go back and look), but better late than never. I promise to go back to my sarcastic, non-sappy self this weekend. Thank you for being such a loyal visitor, and for driving all the way from Texas this summer. It will be a blast.

Annie - Thank you, too, for visiting as often as you do. You and I definitely must be related, everytime I see one of your photos I become more convinced. That's an interesting stat on the life expectancy of a blog. If you're ever in the states visiting your kinfolk and you want to take a trip south, come on down.

It's finally Friday, hallelujah. Have a great weekend.

mmm said...

Happy birthday LIM!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Aw, shucks, I'm all verklempt over here! I've been formulating a "why I (still) blog" post in my head and we share many of the same feelings about it. Especially the meeting-of-people part. People who don't blog don't get that part, but WE DO.

You really have a gift for writing and I'm happy you have chosen to share it with the rest of us.

I feel lucky that our paths have crossed in person (even though you needed the touchpad tutorial) and look forward to throwing back more wine in July than can be contained in one Tonka sippy cup. Cheers!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MMM - I thank YOU for being such a valuable contributor, both in the comments section AND with your wonderful stories. I'm expecting more good things from you, be forewarned.

Meg - Again, a big thanks to you for continuing to return here. I've really enjoyed your blog lo these many months and can't wait for a larger-than-sippy-cup sample of wine in July.

Now I'm going to psyche myself up for a trip to the dentist, if that's possible.

Not Moved Mom said...

No you don't CBW, you cannot slack off now. You have finally sucked me in to this blogging phenomenon. I have been a reader for a little over a month and now I am making the plunge to "put my two cents worth" in. Your words are an inspiration to many and your laughter just brigthens many days, especially when one now knows the reason behind your writing. The fact that you chose to be an "overcomer"; not let your circumstances overcome you is just what makes the rest of us sign in daily for your wisdom/laughter (I am sure some of your family members would debate the wisdom part!). I look forward to a promised smile daily when I read you blog and your fellow blogger's comments. time for you to think about it....just keep writing.

P.S. Glad you behaved yourself in the church last night--since you were sitting behind me.

Island Girl-I did it!!!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Yay, NMM! Congratulations on finally commenting. That church was beautiful, so was the program, but heavens that was a long time to sit on a hard wooden bench when you are old and have lower back problems....

I'm looking forward to hearing lots from you, and anytime you want to write about that seafaring family of yours, please send me something.

Just don't ever make me play basketball when I'm sick again.... :)

Mental P Mama said...

I am so glad you chose laughter. I am enjoying the ride, and I cannot wait to see you in July! I'm gonna give you a big ol' hug;)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MPM -Thank you, and thanks for not only coming here in July but for recruiting others to join you. I've really enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and via Facebook. Hopefully your daughter will be going to college in Va. so you can make many trips down here.

Now I am REALLY off to the dentist......

IslandGirl said...

Good Morning CBW! I know what it is like to have the rug pulled from under your life. And yes we do have a choice to make and Life and Laughter is always the best choice. I have so enjoyed all your blogs, just started reading this week and I am hooked. So thanks for taking time from your crazy busy life to show us what a great place our hometown is. You are so right about wanting to get far away from there when you are a teenager and think you have to see the big world out there and when life starts passing by, you long to go home and be with the people you know and love and enjoy time with them. I am learning so much about you. Its amazing that you can grow up with people and not really know who they are. So girl, take another picture, write another blog and enjoy the life you are living, because it is a great one. Look at your blessings that you have. Have a great day and enjoy it is FRIDAY!!! yohoooooo.

p.s. NMM - you go girl!!!

Anonymous said...

CBW I'm so glad you told me about your blog. Even though I live in Mathews, you take me the greatest places with your pictures and remind me why I still live here and will probably die here. I Don't always comment, but I guarantee I am reading EVERY day. It's the first thing I do when I get to work in the mornings LOL...don't tell my boss. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Blog and thanks for a smile every day.

Ellen said...

Congrats on you blogaversary. I've enjoyed your photography and reading your slice of life from Mathews and hoping I'll get to the blog fest to meet you and many more bloggers.

Anonymous said...


I found you by googling "Donk's" to get the show schedule. I COULD NOT RESIST checking out a website entitled "Life in Mathews".

I almost fell out of my chair in shock that such a blog existed. I was sucked in by the title, I stayed because of the hilarity.

The back and forth commentary between you and Foolery was just as funny as your posts. I now read Foolery faithfully too.

Thanks for all the fun. Thanks for loving our little community. As long as you keep blogging, I'll keep reading (even if we're next door to each other at the nursing home in the courthouse -- let's make sure they install WiFi before they admit us, OK?).

I'm looking forward to Blogfest! Someday, I'll finish moving, and maybe we can get together for something fried at the Seabreeze.

All my best,


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Island girl - I'm thrilled that you've started reading. Those years we played basketball were great ones, we had a lot of fun with Smith, Buckwheat, Dopie, etc. Even Middle Sis. I hope you are able to move back here some day, but in the meantime please let me know when you come visit your family, because I can see the island from my house and there's no reason I can't trot over to say hey. Hopefully you can make it to our shindig in July, but in the meantime it's nice to be in touch here. Thank you!

MsSeabreeze - I love hearing from you! We had so many fun adventures in that Pinto of yours. That was pretty much the Skating Rink Express for many a weekend back in the day. It's wonderful to be back in touch, and I'm glad you're still here in Mathews. (Oh, and your secret is safe with me. Your boss will be none the wiser....)

Ellen - Thank you and I really hope you can make it in July. I have your name on the guest list, so in my mind you're as good as here. You'll have a good time, I can guarantee that.

AMN - To think I didn't even know who you were before this blog, although Baby Sister knew you. I also didn't know we went to the same university. All those many years I drove by those cows and had no idea who they belonged to. It's truly a small world, and I'm so glad you've joined this crazy one I've created here. Your writing is fantastic, your stories are so enjoyable, and I really look forward to hearing from you, whether it's in a story or in the comments. Thank you!

foolery said...

I need to share how I found CBW.

I kept seeing her comments on Bossy's blog (maybe Pioneer Woman's, too), and they were always the funniest comments on the page. Her name was not a hyperlink to a blog. "WHAT?!" I asked the wine bottle. "How could a person THIS funny NOT have a blog?" The bottle had an answer, but it actually wasn't helpful.

Until one day, when a link appeared. CLICK! And a friendship was born. A friendship that has included long distance pesterings and yammerings in her comment space (for which I apologize), great comments and e-mails from CBW (for which I am eternally grateful), and a lot of laughs.

Happy Blogthday Life in Mathews! Take it slow but keep it simmering!

-- Laurie @ Foolery

big hair envy said...

Happy Blogoversary!!! You always brighten my day, and I am SO glad that we are friends:) I'm trying to remember how we first "met". I believe I initially clicked onto your site because I was looking for local bloggers. When I saw "Life in Mathews", I knew I had found a homegirl:)

((hugs)) & lots of bloggy love, bhe

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Foolery, I am not ashamed to tell the world that I love you and your wit and am eternally grateful for all the support you've given me these many months. I am forever indebted to you. (Plus, I'll pay good money for some more of those almonds....where good money = enough to get a happy meal or maybe some malt liquor.)

BHE - I don't remember how we "met" either, but never mind, it isn't important. It's like picking right back up with an old friend every time we've ever met, and I hope there are many years of Oyster Festivals and Blog Festivals ahead of us.

mom x 2 said...

I am so glad to have found your blog. I found you through BHE and I love to visit everyday. Your pictures are amazing... If I took pictures of the same thing it wouldn't look nearly as amazing. Your wit and humor is something I look forward to! I too have learned there are a lot of good and brilliant people out there in bloggy land. And as you know "its a crazy world out there" and coming to bloggy land makes it all seem better:)I am looking forward to actually meeting you at Blogfest!!! Happy Blogoversary!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Momx2 - thank you so much, and any friend of BHE is a friend of mine. So glad you are coming to Blog Fest, and am looking forward to meeting you in person. (Enjoy those oysters tonight. I'm so envious.)

Annie said...

Forgot to say that I love the photo...and congrats at getting it published for the local tourism people...may there be many more of your wonderful photos published too!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Annie, thank you so much.

kaffy said...

Happy anniversary LIM blog! CBW-- you never fail to put a smile on my face even when I'm feeling the lowest of the low. You are wonderful and talented and oh-so-funny. It's a shame about your looks, though. ho ho. Please keep blogging. You are such a treasure. I may not comment often, but I read you every single day!

michelleharbour said...

I had a blog that I kept going with one post every day for a year. It started off as a photography blog, but as I "met" more and more folks from around the world, it grew to be a - here's a picture, this is my life - kind of thing. It was fun, but very time consuming. I am still "friends" with many of my fellow bloggers, even after three years.