Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Traditional Fifth Anniversary Gift: Wood

The traditional gift for the fifth anniversary is wood.

Bernie neatly chained sawed some  wood for me.
After all...five whole years of blogging ought to be worth something, right?

There has been a lot of changes in my world during the past five years.

Some changes were big, others quite small.
For instance: five years ago...on June 1st 2006, I didn't have a peony bush and now I do.
(Truth be told, last year I didn't have a peony bush either...)

Five years ago I began to blog because a friend was blogging her life from Switzerland.

She encouraged me to give blogging a try too.
(Eventually Bernie and I got to go visit our transplanted Texan friend in her new European digs and I was able to blog the whole visit!)

Five years ago I began blogging because wanted a place where I could do writing "finger exercises", a place where I would practice my written communication skills daily.

I didn't even have a digital camera back then.
All images had to be formed via carefully selected words.
I had to use storytelling and re-counting situations for posting about my life on my blog.

With family in California and Utah, and me in Texas...I wanted a way to communicate without making them feel like they had to take the time to respond like they might if I just wrote them an email.

A blog post could be an easy way for them to tune in to my world for a moment if they wished to.
Some family members wanted to read my posts, others were too busy to bother.
Oh well.
(I also never had bleeding hearts in my garden five years ago....)

I had hoped to use the blog to engage in both light hearted and serious prose.

When it struck me to do so, I would research and react to whatever came my way.
(Because that's what librarian's tend to do anyway.)

And then there was the millinery part of the blog.

The blog would become a place to document millinery wonders that I found, and millinery creating attempts that I made.

By the way, I am still really interested in millinery.

If you are interested too, HERE and HERE are links to milliners in the UK that I really admire. Classic, classy wearable hats, headpieces and bridal pieces too.

Sigh. Makes me want to clear some time for some millinery work really soon.

(The lily of the valley: first time I've had that in my garden too. It just bloomed today!)

My blogging had to have a bottom line, a guideline if you will: Blog to please myself.

Sometimes that easy sounding guideline really wasn't easy at all.
It was tempting to peek at other blogs that had gathered a large audience and wonder if I should target subjects of interest to broader audience.

It was easy to feel hurt when I would labor to communicate something I felt strongly about, only to have only one or two comments, while a post about something unbelievably trivial would result in a string of comments.

I got the mind frame that friends and family had actually read what I had written, and was irked when they asked me about something I had just written about, like where I had gone on vacation.
More than once I have considered putting the old blog out to pasture and just enjoy taking pictures for my own pleasure instead of writing about what is going on.
Mostly I am over all that.

Five years down the road: What have I gained by this almost daily exercise in cyberspace?

I've gained a way to revisit special days and moments, like Fourth of July Parades, arriving in my great grandparent's home town in Germany, the farewells to pets and places.

I find I have forgotten a lot of details about days and events until I re-read what I wrote at the time.
Like how it was when it snowed on us on Memorial Switzerland. 
That's the kind of stuff that slips from one's memory too easily.

As a way to back up one's memory, blogging just can not be beat!

What I really really like though is all the interesting people I have come to know via blogdom.

Some blogging friendships moved from random blog comments, to email discussions, then phone calls and then even in person visits.

The Weather Channel map now has names and faces to go with their places. Funny how one can suddenly care about a storm in a place from which a blogging friend writes!

Just a couple of weeks ago I got a "do not publish" comment from a woman in Connecticut. She said she believed we were relatives after finding a post I did several years back about my paper clip inventing great grandfather Corneilus J. Brosnan.

In the comment, she included her email for me to contact her.

I wrote her an email...she wrote back:

I have been trying to locate information on my grandfather Tom Brosnan for years. He was born in Ireland and came to the US with his family.

My father always said his dad had a brother Cornelius who moved to Massachusetts. So while searching for my grandfather, I also searched for Cornelius. I found his baptismal record... and was thus able to get a baptismal certificate for my grandfather. I am so happy to have finally reached you!

Once I found the Brosnan info on your blog, I wasn't sure where to go...I tried the libraries in SLC, and then a friend suggested I try reaching you thru the Blog.....

Interestingly enough, I am also a Librarian (Archivist) I have a cat, I love to garden, and I collected stuffed mice....including a Christmas tree trimmed with mice!

I also know that there were Brosnans in Wallingford who were milliner. 

My family has wondered for years where my great grandfather was born in Ireland...thanks to this long lost cousin, I know have not only the town he was born in, but also the church he was baptised in!

And who would have imagined two women with a relative in common that was born in the early 1800's would have so many things in common!

So that is what comes of day by day just never know when a new friend or long lost relative will land in one's life via blogdom.

(When I began blogging I had never seen a Lazuli Bunting before...)
My father-in-law dubbed my blog "Cats and Hats".

Yes, it is about that, and gardening and birds, traveling (oh so much lovely traveling!) and creating, family and friends, seasons and weather, politics and problems, work and play.
(Five years ago it was Tiggie and Tidbit that cuddled together like this...good Texas cats that they were. Now the two Utah born kittens snuggle and purr as I write.)

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Or so says Socrates.
It really would be too much to say "the unblogged life is not worth living"...But I will say this: blogging really does make one much more aware of the stuff that makes up one's life.

A blog is a way of creating a window into one's world.

Others may stop by for a moment and enjoy seeing what I view or they may simply pass by without looking or even knowing the window exists.
For me...every time I use a blog post as a window into my world, I feel  more aware of my days and my world, and find I am more likely to celebrate and be thankful for all that life has given me.

(And as for the "Finger exercise" of blogging to improve my writing skills?  Oh gee...I confess my prose and sentence structures have actually become much worse.  I'm OK with that...I have promised myself  that I will go back and fix all that some day.  Yeah right....!)

So if you will humor me a bit on this, my fifth blogging anniversary: Will you leave a comment about when you first remember reading a post on my blog?
I'd like to have a tiny record of when through this blog we first met.
You will be writing on an electronic format, so we can say you are saving a tree by not using paper...and that tree wood that you save will be my Fifty Anniversary gift!


Lovella ♥ said...

OH Jill. ..we've become loyal friends haven't we? I think we've missed a few of each others posts over the years since we met here in blog land but I'd like to think we are a little bit like Tiggie. .faithful friends.
The first post I read was this one

I left a comment that day, telling you I'd be back again.

I agree that blogging must first of all be for the pure joy of blogging. If it ever becomes a chore or a job or even dissapointing. .perhaps it is time to take a hiatus and explore new hobbies. I thnk we all are dissapointed and irked at times when those closest to us don't respond . . .but on the other hand I have gained respect for those peoples boundaries of remaining silent about my hobby.

You would get a ribbon for most improved in photography. Your pictures are becoming more and more fascinating.

Happy 5th blogaversary!

ellen b. said...

Oh are asking a 60 year old to remember when she first visited your blog...Maybe after your visit to Lovella's home. Love your anniversary post...

Vicki said...

I was a a bit of a late-comer to your blog, Jill. (I think I've related this to you before, perhaps while sitting on your deck in SLC last August!) I found your blog quite by accident. I was relatively new to blogging (my five-year anniversary will be next month) and I was google-searching for blogs of interest to me. There were about 4 or 5 blogs that I visited regularly, and I noticed the same people leaving comments each day on one of them. I clicked their their blogs...added them to my blog-reader. I kept coming back to one in particular (my Aussie-friend, Carolanne, who recently moved to Washington state), and then I began clicking on the names of her commenters. Somehow, I ended up at Lovella's blog and each time I came back, I enjoyed reading your comments as much as her posts, so I clicked your name. I landed right in the middle of your Dustin Family Saga, specifically this post: I backtracked to the beginning and read the entire saga as you posted it. I'm not sure when I actually left my first comment...I was a very timid commenter back then. I've learned a lot from you over these past few years through your blogging, and I found a wonderful friend!

I love that you connected with a relative by blogging about your family history! The world continues to get smaller, doesn't it?

I'll have to admit, my blogging has its ups and downs, I'm still not a very good commenter, and I have a microscopic following (which really is fine with me), but I'm glad for the friendships, both real and virtual, that I've found through blogging. Happy fifth blogoversary, Jill!

a woman who is said...

Jill I am not sure when. I have been a bit of an infrequent visitor. I think I found you through a few other blogs...Much Ado About Something comes to mind. It was a hat post I think that caught my attention.

I do love how you can tell a story, and your photo's of nature.

Vee said...

I first became aware of your blog via Lovella, I think. You were in Texas then, right? See, this helping you remember is tough on my old brain. At first, I thought your blog was all about hats and costumes. Then I realized, reading your political commentary, that it was more, much more. Now you've evolved into an incredible photographer!

You've told your journey so well putting into words feelings that I'd have challenges with for my greatest challenge in blogging is specificity. Congrats on five wonderful years of blogging... Blog on!

Anonymous said...

My first memory of the blogging experience was hearing you agoninze over how to build the site and publishing....Can't believe I have been a part of the blogging journey for 5 years, but I wouldn't have it any other way. We both learned lots over the time reviewing the posts and how others have interacted with "the window into Jill's world". Please don't stop. Mr. B

Vicki said...

Note to Mr. B: You're a significant part of this blog...a supporter, a source of inspiration, a willing photography subject (and at times a willing photographer), and where in the world would Jill be without you?!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said... are going to make me think today?

Here's the deal. I think I met you through Lovella...on her she blogged your visit to the Fraser Valley. Then I started visiting your blog...and learned all about you...before I ever left my calling card. And just to be sure you were for real...I visited you in SLC last summer. And had a wonderful time. Oh yes...and a wonderful meal (guys and girls in SLC can cook!).

Congrats on your 5th anniversary of blogging! If not for that...our paths would have never crossed. And thanks to Mr. B for encouraging you all along the way.

BTW...tell Mr. B to be careful on those business trips...because he never knows what bloggers with cameras are lurking, even in the most remote places. I still have proof that he was in Whistler last May!

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, you expect me to remember when??! I am a newcomer, but I found you back in the winter and I think I found you through another blog when you were writing about those (oops, I don't remember the right terminology) ice sculptures. Beautiful photos, and something I had never heard of before (being from VA where we have snow and ice but not that much!) Anyway I have been hooked ever since and thoroughly enjoy your photos, flowers, cats, travels, etc. though I don't always agree with all of your opinions,... but that is life. Happy anniversary and DO keep on blogging....Thanks. (BTW, I am a retired college librarian.) From VA

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jill,since I am your #1 fan of course I have read your blog from the very beginning.It has been a marveloud way to know what you are doing not only by your writings but the wonderful pictures that go along with it. We do a lot of phone calling and e-mailing and that also keeps you close to my heart. Both your Dad and I so enjoy your ability to write so creatively and insightfully about the way you view life and we always look for more. Lovingly, Mom

Anonymous said...

We started to learns to reads on your blog!!! It was 2009, and we were just picked up from Vista and brough home. Laura showed it to me! Fire looked interesting. We still loves to snoopervise fires! THis is the one I met you on:
~Cessa and Hensley

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Hi Jill. I agree with you about's the people we meet that are the frosting on the blogging cake. Yeah, my writing skills have declined also and gotten very cliche these days!

I found you through your Switzerland posts. One day I had nothing much to do (being newly retired) and started googling people I used to know and wondered whatever happened to them. That's how I found you.

And, you might be pleased to know, it is due to YOUR blog that I decided to give blogging a try myself. So, thank you!


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

PS: I think it is so cool that you found a distant relative and that you both have so much in common! Wow.