November 9, 2011


This is my 100th post here at The Reading Nest. 100 posts after nearly 4 years – that took a might too long, huh? In the last couple of months, I've made a concerted effort to post more often. For me, that translates into about twice a week. It's hard for me to do more, it takes buckets of time to compose my posts. (That's my fault. I could rely more on images, less on words, but since I'm a writer, that doesn't come easily, either.)

I've hemmed & hawed a bit about what to say in this momentous 100th post. Thought about doing a “greatest hits” and showcasing a handful of favorite posts over the years. Thought about coming clean with a list of 5 embarrassing things about myself (still plan to do this, and spoiler: the list includes the phrases “Barry Manilow” and “big shoulders.”)

But what I want to talk about today is something that feels Really Big, and like the Willie Nelson song, is Always on My Mind. That thing is: Home. And also, Community.

Here's the thing: I have a very, very conflicted relationship with where I live right now. And let me say right up front,  I realize I'm blessed, lucky, and in the minority of the world's population to own a nice, spacious home in a safe neighborhood, in a good school district. I get that. Add in the fact that I'm in Southern California,  get to enjoy sunny, warm days in deepest winter and live about an hour's drive from either the mountains or the sea, and one might just say, “bitch, puh-leeze.” I get that, too. There are worse places for fate to have put us.

Still. It remains, this itch, this discontent under the surface of so many days. We've lived here over seven years. The dragging economy, and the housing market in our region being one of the hardest hit in the entire nation, means that it'll be several years before we move away. Unless we win the Lotto. Or the Publisher's Clearing House prize. (I mean, somebody has to win, right? )

This is what I need to do:

Bloom Where I'm Planted? I try. I try, try, try. But should it still be this hard, this many years into it?

Recently I paid to take an online e-course, called Blogging Your Way, and run by hugely successful blogger Holly Becker of Decor8. One of the reasons I took the course, besides the intent to better understand blogging and focus on improving my own site, was to find a community of like-minded souls, in a similar place in their bloggy careers.   Well. Yes for the former, not so much for the latter part. With something like 700 registrants, the class just felt too big for me to feel much of the “community” aspect. I did bump into a few bloggers from San Diego (an hour away), but we just kinda waved in passing, if that.

However, the course helped me realize that a big part of what I love most about my very favorite blogs is how they all convey a strong sense of place, and the bloggers seem really, really content in their surroundings (not their homes, per se, but that too). Many times, their blogs spotlight their towns or regions, with lots of pretty pictures of neighborhoods and hillsides, or flower fields and sidewalks, of waterfalls, of lamposts and laundromats.  The glorious to the mundane, they soak it up, they revel.

I do not feel the same urge to document my own backyard. Maybe in the past, I've posted something like this: 
My actual backyard, from several years back. Or maybe this: 
A hot air balloon, landing in the park tot lot adjacent to our house.

In fact, I've purposely avoided mentioning even the name of my town: Temecula. (There, I said it.)   The reason has to do with my sense of community:  I've never, even at the height of my MOMS Club involvement (I even served as co-president one year) felt much at  at ease in my particular milieu of fellow stay-at-home moms.  Not because I think I'm better, or more interesting, or anything like that. I take the blame, entirely mostly:   I really suck at making friends, at letting my guard down enough to truly let people in.  And also, I just haven't felt that I've ever found "my people."    Maybe I'm not "more interesting" than my neighbors. But can I say that we do not at all share the same interests?  Also, I know more than a few judgemental souls in town, and I've feared them stumbling here, onto this blog and some of my most honest, public declarations, and feeling, well: judged. "If you have time to blog, you have time to come mop my floors." Someone may or may not have said that, once. 

But I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm going to be judged anyway, whether by some mom down the street, or some cranky dude in Lithuania who ended up here to see my Ikea kitchen. (And hello, Lithuanian's!) 

In the future, I plan to explore more here about this notion of home, of community, of belonging. After all, half of my blog name is "Nest."  My goal is to make my vague dream of "anywhere but here" more concrete and quantifiable. If I have a firm idea of just what I'm looking for in some future town, city, or state, than maybe I'll be helping the Universe along in making it all happen.   If nothing else, it will be a point to steer toward.   And maybe in between, I'll have some posts of my town, this place where I'm quite firmly rooted for now.  Pictures of things that define this place, besides air balloons and well-manicured greenbelts.

In the meantime, thank you interwebs, for the lifeline of other blogs and kindred souls, who've helped me grow and inspired me to (slowly!) post 99 times about books, fears, dreams, and decor. And have reassured me that even if they're not right down the street, my people really are out there, somewhere.
(And thank you for reading this far down in this extra-long, rambling post.)  Do you like where you live?  Does your town fit you like a  kid glove, or does it make you stuffy and itchy as a cheap rayon sweater? 

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