Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gotta Have, Gotta Do

I don't know about you, but in my more ambitious moods, I bookmark several blogs where the authors post recipes, household hints, and things like 25 ways to save money....or 12 ways to use leftover rice.....or get out of debt NOW - you get the gist.  I take a look at my limited time (I still work full time and will for a few more years) and resources, not to mention energy (I turn 60 in 6 months) and foolishly plan how I'm going to do it all.  

I'm a person who never really learned to cook.  For various reasons that never happened for me.  I can follow a recipe that doesn't contain too many flourishes that require advanced cooking techniques.

This is true for so much of the other things I can do.  I can adequately crochet and knit, I can adequately garden, but I haven't had much luck with growing veggies down here in South Florida, although I don't give up.  I can keep a clean house within reason, but dusting isn't my forte and I have a lot of stuff lying around that gather dust, not to mention 5 cats, so don't look too close.

In other words, I can follow directions as long as they aren't too difficult.  But anything beyond being adequate isn't in my repertoire.  I blush to tell you how many knitting or crochet projects I've started that I have not finished.  I also blush to tell you about the kitchen appliances I have purchased and rarely, if ever use.  My bread maker.  I've used it, but haven't in a long time.  Of course I was going to make my own bread ALL THE TIME.  My juicer I've used maybe twice - so that my husband and I could be HEALTHY.  I have made a few purchases that I am glad I did - my cast iron pans are wonderful and I do use them.  And get this - I HAVE NEVER CANNED.  Oh the shame of it.   I have scads of essential oils to make my own face creams, shampoos, skin oils, sugar scrubs - and I have made some, but not as often as I think I should.    I have budget notebooks that I've created and never used because, well, time.  Just time.   And I still lust after a grain mill so I can grind my own grain to make the bread that I never make.

I wish I could live on a homestead and grow all my own food, can everything, have sheep in order to have my own wool which I would hand-dye and then either put on a giant loom or knit or crochet.  In addition, I'd like to make sure I've decorated my home carefully, not too cluttered (like it is now), good eye-pleasing colors which I would paint myself. Any repairs would be made right away by either me or my very handy husband (again - another story we won't get into now.  Suffice it to say, my husband is excellent at working outside the home.) and all would be creative, lovely, useful, hand made, frugal, budgeted - and we would live happily ever after.  If any problem came up, my extensive knowledge of just about everything would solve it pronto.  

I've taken some of these blogs very seriously, and showed them to my husband as examples of things I'd like to do.  I get a "bug" and decide we're going to finally be the people we should be - and that includes my husband - and I try to bring him into the plan by showing him what so lit my fire.  When I sent my husband a link to one of these blogs about being frugal and living on less, he pointed out that the person who wrote the blog had ads all over the place to entice one to purchase, had a professionally created web presence with the requisite high Google hits, often had items for sale either through Etsy or directly from their page, was retired and had a large homestead with all comforts and necessities.  In other words their advice works for them but may not for us.  I've felt very disappointed with myself for not being able to just become the best cook, the most frugal user of my resources, the most creative crafter, the most prolific knitter or sewer - you name it.  And all at the same time.  I just need to go back about 30 years in age so I can get all this accomplished and have the energy to do it.

Can I tell you how many times reading these blogs cost me money I didn't need to spend for things I didn't need to do?  That was not their fault - it is rather a compliment to their ability to convince me.

Now don't get me wrong.  These bloggers paint a beautiful picture.  They make me imagine what I could do.  What I am describing is something I've noticed in the past 5 years - more and more household bloggers have crossed the road into trying to make money with their blog.  One of these blogs was very upset lately when their account was hacked by someone in Europe, thereby deflecting all the ch-ching hits that normally would accrue to their financial account, now disappearing down the European drain somewhere untraceable. 

I don't see anything wrong with trying to make money, but posting in such a way as to appear just another housewife with some helpful advice that she has tried - and really being someone who is thoughtfully using advertising, color, ideas not her own or not really tried by her, a professional web site, etc. etc.  is dishonest in my opinion.  Maybe I'm the dumb one.  Maybe everyone who goes to their sites realizes what the person is doing and is quite happy with it.  Maybe I'm a gullible idiot who really believes these women do all they write about.  And maybe some of them do.  

But there's a suspicion I have that many of these are just like the advertising in any commercial enterprise - made to draw you in, but not necessarily true or even possible.  There is one I read for years and she really was just another blogger with some helpful hints and interesting blog posts.  Then - bam, she changed.  It started to become all about a particular brand of Essential Oils and how you, too, could sell them.  Every blog post was about some aspect of how she was using Essential Oils in cooking, health, household maintenance - you name it.  A blog I used to like had become......commercial.  And I didn't feel like I knew that person anymore or could trust what she had to say.  There is a price for trying to make money on the web with your oh-so-cozy blog hints and tips.  

That said, I'm wising up.  I can still use these FREE sites - it doesn't cost me money to go there and get their advice, most of which really is great if you can do it.  I just have to remember that I'm not going to be able to do everything I read about and that I have to pick and choose both the tips and the blogs.  Caveat Emptor and all that - and how about "know thyself" and not having what my mother used to call, "eyes bigger than my" (it originally ended with "stomach", but this isn't about eating too much) ability.

There are blogs that are inciteful, truthful and helpful without being all about money.  They also have links for Amazon or Google or whatever and get a little help from those links for purchases.  They can even sell things or put a link to Paypal so you can donate.  The difference is they are real people and you can see it.  I can relate to them because they aren't perfect and don't have a solution for every single thing in the world.  So it really isn't about the money making - I'm all for it - it's about the voice behind the blog.  Is it real or just a bunch of stuff to draw people in and make money?  Is it someone you'd like to meet and have coffee with?  Is it someone whose real self shines through or is it someone who is covered over with the latest designs, great colors, perky to the nth degree all. the. time.

I guess that is my beef and now all I have to do is fight the urge to wallow in all those bloggy places and fantasize how I'm going to do it all.