Presenting the SECOND HALF of my 100th Post Celebration, where I am taking a look back at the last 5 years/100 posts and highlighting some of my favorite aspects of this blog:
5. Best Captioned
I have a thing about captions when I post something. Sometimes the post caption comes easily, sometimes I have to think about it a little bit, and sometimes I can’t think of anything that interesting, so I just go with something very simple and basic. For example: Halloween. Wait a second…(as I am reviewing all my post titles while writing this) RIJEN wrote that one! That’s a guest post I missed from him! Will have to go back and fix that one. Ha ha, I like how at the end of his post he wrote next year “we should be back in Virginia,” ….little did we know at the time……
AHEM. So back to simple captions I have used: Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Siena Pt. I, Siena II, December Seventh, January 13th, In February, F.H.B. has arrived!, Frohliche Weihnachten! (Ok, this sounds creative, but it’s just Merry Christmas auf Deutsch). F.H.B. has arrived!, Fiona turned one today!, Leif has arrived, Fi is three (I did give myself points for the rhyme), and Leif turned two today & yesterday. There are only so many ways one can title posts about holidays and birthdays, right?? Often, I feel like simple is just fine.
One of my “style rules” for myself when I sit down to write a blog post is to try TRY and avoid using a song lyrics/titles for my blog post title. For some reason it is so so tempting? Not sure why. Sometimes I just think it is the easy way out. I mean, how many times could I have used “I Think I’m Turning Japanese,” as a post title!! And, it wasn’t the title of a post, but I did type and erase, “Let’s talk about STATS baby,” for the “10” heading in my previous posts, and just decided to change it to something more straightforward. I promise, I am helping you out so that you don’t have whatever song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Come on, I know right now you are thinking back to 1991 and humming that Salt-N-Pepa tune…..
That all being said, I do have some blog posts with song titles. I blame Rijen for I Think We’re Alone Now…., although he did acknowledge the use of the reference right away, and he has no idea of my personal rule. AND I did allow myself the luxury of Sara..Sara…no time is a good time for goodbye…. This song came out when my niece Sara was little and and I? We’ve? often associated it with her naturally and she and I have had MANY tearful goodbyes with each other over the years. This one was especially painful because I have no idea when I will see her again. I’m not sure if The Rite of Spring counts against me, because that is a classical piece by Stravinsky, so it doesn’t have the same feeling as a pop song title. Plus, I just really felt that the spirit of Stravinsky’s work in celebrating spring exactly fit the feeling of what I was trying to express in that post. Anyway, now you are likely rolling your eyes thinking I spend WAY too much time thinking about the post titles, but that’s just the way it goes over here.
Maybe its all the excellent English teachers I had over the years- and I did have some really really good ones. When I can, I think it is more fun to try to come up with a title that maybe creates some interest and perhaps might encourage someone to click on it and see what it is I am talking about. So, here are my favorite post titles:
I can’t explain it, but you just have to read it to understand. I just love that post and the title was easy. It fit exactly what I wanted to convey there.
When I get frustrated with my dad, or thinking back to when I was a teenager-when I maybe would have preferred to have a dad who didn’t shave and eat breakfast in the car, or try and do indian dances with the ska kids at the youth dance, I just have to think, well, at least he isn’t boring.
Photo actually from a different post- The Daryl McMurrin– where I created a smoothie recipe (including pickle relish) just for him.
SPOILER ALERT: You have to read the WHOLE post down to the end to find out what happens to the gecko……and the grill.
Ha, I felt pretty sneaky to use a symbol as a blog title. But it fit the post celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary since the infinity symbol yes, symbolizes our marriage– AND it looks like the number 8.
4. BEST TRAVEL POST(s)
Ah, this one is like a knife in my heart because of ALL the travel we have done I have practically nothing to show for it on the blog. I thought of this category before I realized that most of the travel posts I THOUGHT I had done are either in my head or still drafts. Which makes this selection pretty easy. Pretty much the only major trip that I actually got around to blogging about was when I visited Sara in Italy and we drove down to Calabria to stay at a beach house with her husband’s family. They were gracious enough to include me and Fiona in their summer tradition and it was one of the most authentic travel experiences because I got to see exactly what it was like to be part of an Italian family. A lot of it is what you would expect: Lots of pasta, pizza, beach and fast Italian I couldn’t understand. I broke the trip up into different posts, and you know YOU KNOW WHAT?? Of course I didn’t even finish posting about it. There is WAY more I didn’t even get to. Like what happened when Sara and I went out in a canoe and a wave almost took off my bikini top and Dani was having fun with my camera and literally took about 500 pictures of the whole thing. Playing soccer in the street at 11PM with the local kids and also watching them eat a roasted marshmallow for the first time. I’m going to HAVE to do a follow-up someday…..
But here is what I got:
ITALIAN ROAD TRIP: The drive down from Naples to Calabria
il mare: Fiona and I having fun in the ocean. Until she is “All Di.”
mangiare: All the good food. Fiona eating oysters PLUS Italian horse-meat baby food!!
My favorite post though for a “destination” and in capturing at least some of what a place and its identity means to me, then it would have to be one of the many posts I did about visiting my grandmother in North Carolina. Plus you get some great vintage photos from Better Homes and Gardens.
3. TOP FIONA
I feel this blog often revolves around Fiona- there is a LOT of her in it. So, although you may be tired of seeing photos of her, I do have a top 3. They remind me of all the wonderful days we had together wandering around Stuttgart. Back when I had hardly any other responsibilities than taking care of her. I loved those days.
From Fountains, Stones & Hearts: Fiona & the fountain she loved & Valentine’s Day.
From The Rite of Spring
From Mailied – May Song – Celebrating Goethe, Fiona & the month of May
BEST FAVORITE PHOTOS
I do enjoy having this blog as a medium to display photos since our walls are embarrassingly bare. My favorite posts for photography was the St. Patrick’s Day series last year where I featured a color every day. I really enjoyed picking photos out for that one, and those posts probably have the “best” photography of the whole blog. And in case you are wondering, I am STILL planning on doing my St. Patrick’s Day series 2014, even though it WILL be late late late.
I admit this category is a little/a lot? self-aggrandizing since I am the one judging my OWN photos!! That’s why I just changed the category heading from best to favorite, since I am obviously a very partial judge. So now, you can be the judge and see what YOU think!
BEST FOOD PHOTO
From The Daryl McMurrin. This may not be the best “food photography,” I just remember how funny it was when the waiter (who was shocked that we were ordering Fiona an adult meal) set this dish down in front of Fiona and how curious she was about how her chicken was “dressed up.” Don’t get used to eating like this, Fiona.
BEST ARCHITECTURAL PHOTO
I really love taking pictures of architecture. It was a close call between this one and a photo of York castle, but the Moroccan silhouette won out. Both from the same post: BLUE 水色 MIZUIRO
BEST NATURE PHOTO
Okay, it wasn’t the famous cherry blossoms, but this photo did seem very “Japanese” to me. Plus it fit the post Yellow 黄色 Kiiro perfectly.
BEST ANIMAL PHOTO
Luckily I never did any real posts about our Safari, otherwise I would have many more to choose from. However, this may be the best one anyway. Also from Yellow 黄色 Kiiro
BEST BIRD PHOTO
Those of you who know us well (and have traveled with us) KNOW that those last two categories were just building up to this one! This one from The Rite of Spring. We have LOTS of bird pictures, but only a few are on this blog! Mainly because I am saving them for their own post….or their own blog for that matter….
BEST STALKER PHOTO
Our last summer in Stuttgart, when Fiona was playing in this beautiful public fountain (wow, I miss Europe) I suddenly realized that right next to her the guy in this photo was proposing to his girlfriend. So I started taking photos of their engagement while PRETENDING to take pictures of Fiona. I confessed to them eventually. Find more photos of this romantic moment on ∞.
BEST STALKER FAIL
Besides ARCHITECTURE AND BIRDS, my other favorite subject while traveling is strange and interesting people. Unfortunately, (….or fortunately?) this crotchety Parisian caught me in the act. From Click.
BEST PHOTO OF OTHER PEOPLE TAKING PHOTOS
Besides ARCHITECTURE, BIRDS and STRANGE AND INTERESTING PEOPLE, I also love taking photos of OTHER people taking photos. I am sure I have hundreds at this point. Again, only ONE on this blog! I am depriving all of you! Don’t worry, at some point I will make my whole body of work known. I like how this guy just abandoned his tripod for the perfect shot. And you know what? NOW I know they are Japanese!! Look at her hand gesture! From 9 Countries in Utero.
BEST CANDID PHOTO
To go along with the above categories, I looked through the media I’ve uploaded for a good candid photo(not of strangers). However, I’m a bit disappointed in myself that there are not more candid photos on this blog. I was looking for a good one of Rijen, myself, or an extended family member. So, one of Fiona is kind of a cop-out, but I do love everything about this picture, ESPECIALLY the moment it captures. Do you spy the kitty cat? From My North Carolina Top 10.
The clear winner is…..
MOST TIME CONSUMING
At least one thing you can rely on with these photos is that they are NOT Photoshopped, since I don’t own Photoshop. Not like Photo shop is a bad thing- I would love to learn how to edit and improve aspects of photos. AND it would have come in handy with this photo. Since I wanted to number everything going on in this picture of our kitchen in a state of chaos, I had to somehow do it using Word. I remember it being very annoying and time consuming. But it got the job done. Also time consuming when I remember was cleaning that kitchen after bedtime. From Late to church, Steffan Engaged Part II.
From: The Stuttgart Sara Sam Sylvester Spectacular 2011, which I should have titled “The Stuttgart Sara Sam Steffan’s Snowman Sylvester Spectacular 2011.
BEST OVERALL: Burney Road Still Life
Here it is, my favorite picture of them all. A simple photo from one of my last trips to North Carolina. I am one of those individuals who tends to impart objects with emotion and/or identity. The negative aspect of this being that it is very hard for me to get rid of things that I have emotional attachments to. Luckily, for example, Leif was able to wear those red boots and they are still going strong.
However, it is more than just being nostalgic or a semi-hoarder. The objects in this picture communicate to me. They hold little mysteries: Did Gary pick up Fiona’s boots and place them neatly by his, or did Fiona put hers there to be like Gary’s? And where did that old stump come from anyway?!? How long has it been there, and why is it sitting there? For a stranger looking at this picture, they might wonder about the owners of the boots: What were they doing that day, and where are they now? I love the potential energy the boots have, waiting there at the foot of the steps.
The objects communicate about the actual time and place the picture was taken, but also beyond that- a timelessness of past and present- about the sense of identity of the place itself. The boots are set in front of the porch stairs- pointing toward the family entrance into Grandma & Grandpa Trogdon’s house, not the formal entrance. Where we would come and congregate, eat, talk and watch the little ones run in and out of that door. Whenever I arrived at Grandma’s house, I would enter in and depart through the formal, front door entrance. But when I stayed there for days or a couple weeks at a time, and for any other close family visiting there, those were the steps we would take to go into the house. That was where Gary would come up and down to check on Grandma several times a day. It’s where Grandma would walk down to do her gardening, and at the end, where she would walk out and stand and look out at her garden which Gary and others grew for her. Even though this picture only shows a very small area, anyone who has ever been there would know exactly where this is, and I imagine would have similar recollections.
Still-life as art has been noted since the Egyptians, and developed further into a genre of art throughout the middle ages and especially (perhaps at the genre’s high point?) with the Dutch painters of the 16th and 17th century. Objects often had allegorical meaning, which were immediately obvious to the viewer with the requisite knowledge, while a casual viewer may appreciate the scene only on some levels. Perhaps the painter intentionally obscured the meaning as well, in order to impart a sense of privacy or intimacy to those who understood or to create a sense of mystery. This photograph wasn’t staged like a 16th century still life, however I appreciate some of the similarities. I’m sure at the time I happened to notice the position of the boots and thought it would make a pleasing composition. The layered meaning unfolds for me now, looking back at it a few years later. What is that porch step like now, I wonder? Who is going up and down those steps now? Are the third or fourth generation kitty cats still romping around? Does Gary ever put his boots there, even though his mother no longer waits for him inside?
And that stump? Is it still there?
1. MY FAVORITE POST
Presenting my favorite post of all 100: Why I love Finland.
This was not the most popular post with anyone else, or even much commented on. (Perhaps that is why I feel like it needs a little more attention now). It only had a few photos and probably only a couple dozen words, and about that many views. I happened upon this picture when I was on the laptop, probably nursing Leif, and, having just birthed my second child, it spoke to me. Plus, I do just love Finland. I also hope to visit Finland someday and find other reasons to love Finland besides this one. Although it is a good one….find out what it is here! You know you are curious!!
In exciting news, while I was working on post #99, I noticed that someone from Finland had come to my blog, and yes, that post was viewed. I only can assume that view came from someone in Finland.
[Aside: In my STATS countdown, I neglected the category where it shows me (since February 25, 2012 when they started this feature) where in the world my viewers are coming from. Since that date, 8,135 views have come from the US. The next country with the highest number of views is France, then Thailand (I’m almost positive THAT is due to the brunette and pregnant snafu, UGH!), then Germany and the UK for a solid top 5 countries viewing this blog. The most obscure country with one viewer is the Nation of Brunei.]
My blog has been viewed from Finland a total of 16 times. Kiitos paljon!
Remember in Post #99: Coming to You Sporadically Since 2009…. I announced that there would be a 1ooth post giveaway!
And I actually followed through and mailed the package, AND in the time it has taken me to finish this 100 post celebratory wrap-up, the package HAS found its way all the way from Japan to America to it’s rightful owner, the most prolific commenter, my friend Anitra–who, just happened to be having a bad day, sent me a “complainy email,” and an hour later got the package. Pretty good timing!
Just don’t ask her what happened to the marshmallow treats I put in there for her baby Clyde. I do appreciate Anitra for being such a consistent and vocal reader. As a fellow blogger herself, I know she understands the value of a comment. Find her over at www.itsmeanic.blogspot.com. And now, I feel like I truly have arrived as a blogger. I’ve had a guest post, done a giveaway, I actually gave it away, and I’ve typed the phrase “Find her over at…” with the hyperlink to another blog!!
I hope this countdown has been a fun review of my blog. I’ve enjoyed looking over posts I felt were successful, but I mostly realized all my shortcomings: I never respond to comments, although I read them all, LOVE when I get comments, and I think I THINK I respond, but I don’t think I ever do. I’ll try and work on that, which shouldn’t be hard at all!! There were little things that needed to be cleaned up, like the pictures of Leif and Fiona on their respective pages. That was a bit painstaking to go back and find the pictures from the appropriate weeks, but I love being able to scroll down through their first year and see how they changed and all the memories of that time period. There were some organizational things that I needed to do that won’t be apparent to the viewer, but helped me out.
I have so many posts I’ve THOUGHT I’ve done, or have partially done but are drafts. I have 24 draft posts!! The next step of this “cleanup” should be to finish and publish those. Some titles include: “The Leaning Tower of McDonalds AND “McPisa” which I think is the same post draft, just deciding which title I liked better, “Gehen Wir Trampoline Springen,” “Prurient,” Early Delivery,” “The Tallest Church in the World,” “Eating Bambi and Chasing Thumper,” “Skeumorphic,” and Herr German and Mr. English. Who knows, maybe, just maybe some of these posts will grace the next few hundred entries of this blog……Which one are YOU curious about?
Well, as for a slice of our life today, I’ve got to sign off and get my kids into bed. This has been a month of sickness, starting with Rijen, then me, then Leif, then Fiona, then Leif again. All different things (or maybe just manifesting differently in each of us). I’m afraid that there was more I wanted to say or something I forgot here. However, I’ve got a child calling me urgently from the bathroom, which means I better just hit publish. Hey I’m back! False alarm, she just wanted to tell Knock Knock jokes. But, I probably should just go now. I’ve said enough. And for those of you who have probably read all or almost all 100, THANK YOU!
And please comment, really, do. Especially anyone who reads this and enjoys it and usually never comments. I’d love to feel like I actually know who some of you are besides the ones I know about and can count on two hands!! And maybe…there will be something in it for you if you comment…. But, for now, I would write this blog just for those 10 people, and ultimately, just for me.