Ah yes, here I am, staring into space, contemplating what comes next and how to like it. (One of the best books I read in 2018, by the way: “What Comes Next and How to Like It.”)
This week, The Bubble Joy is turning five. I’d rather not dwell on the bizarro fact that I’m entering my sixth year as a blogger because what is there to say? We all know that the subject of time flying is so dull.
You know what subject is not dull? Syphilis.
THE BUBBLE JOY’S MOST POPULAR POST OF ALL TIME
Did you know that my story about Florence Foster Jenkins and Syphilis, published three years ago, brings me more traffic than any other post I’ve written? Google ranks me on page one if you search “Florence Foster Jenkins” and “syphilis?” Go ahead and try it on your phone.
Every day, Google sends sweet sweet syphilis traffic to The Bubble Joy and these readers stick around for an average of seventeen seconds before skedaddling to, I don’t know, the CDC?? IMDB? Only 1.6% of them stay, which apparently is enough for Google to consider me an expert because the leads keep coming. Anyone have ideas for how to leverage that traffic and get these syphilis explorers to subscribe?
Or should I purge the page? Try to rid myself of the disease? Because after five years of blogging about nostalgia and strong women and vintage and style, do I really want to be known as the woman with the syphilis story? Leave me a comment if you have an idea or a cure.
THE MOST POPULAR POST OF THE YEAR
“We Bought a Farm!” was the most popular blog post of 2018. You all are delighted with this news! Thank you for all the wonderful messages you’ve sent. (And the ideas for a name! I’ve got a list!)
Are you, like me, seeing fertile fields of material stretching endlessly ahead? Here’s a starter tidbit. Did you know that the night we signed the contract, I came home starved and excited and dropped a carton of eggs on my freshly washed floor? And really, dropped isn’t accurate. I tripped on my own shoe and flung the open carton of eggs into the air. An omen? I imagine so.
THE FUNNIEST POSTS OF THE YEAR
I have gone backwards to figure out which post of 2018 was the funniest, and it has struck me that since my diagnosis eighteen months ago, my sense of humor has definitely taken a hit. I’m not as funny as I used to be.
But you loved “Crime and Punishment,” the story of the Russian engineer who stabbed his roomie at the research station in Antarctica over spoiled book endings. Those of you emotionally invested in this story (Marjorie, I’m looking at you) should know I have tried and tried to find more information about the case. Specifically, I want an address so I can send Sergei books in jail. But I’d also like to confirm that his sentence was a slap on the wrist, as we all agreed should be the case.
You also really liked “Thursday Night Fights: Mithra vs. the Pre-crastinator.” Let me assure you, nothing has changed on that score. Right now as I type, the pre-crastinator is asleep in the chair next to me. Poor guy has no idea I have plans for our farm blog to be co-written. If agriwork doesn’t kill him, that will.
YOUR FAVORITE INSTAGRAM POSTS
This photo of a Garth Williams illustration for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter'“ was highly hearted on Instagram.
Like you, I love Laura Ingalls Wilder. But I loathe Instagram. It is truly despicable. It is destructive. It inhibits creativity. Twenty years ago, in the glorious days before social media, I knew my competition was successful. I just didn’t know how successful. Ugh, so easy to get caught up in it.
That being said, I’ve made some great friends on Instagram. One of my goals of 2019 is to meet as many as I can.
And one cannot survive without Instagram. I view it as a tax for being online. Like paying tolls. I just wish I understood it better. Because the two photos below, while nice, received by far the most likes.
CLOSING ONE BUSINESS AND BEGINNING ANOTHER
This year, I joined Past Basket Milwaukee as their stylist. It’s been a super experience. I’ve learned a lot! For example, did you know that in a really busy room, the bookshelves look nice when pared down, with more negative space around objects. In a minimalist space, the opposite is true. Also this: it is difficult to help someone with their home until you get a little acquainted, and the books on a client’s bedside table are great icebreakers.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing photos of recent projects and more tips and tricks.
I’ve also decided to close Finder Not Keeper when the rent runs out in June. All of my vintage accessories will now be sold exclusively at Past Basket.
I see the phrase badass woman bandied about on social media and in magazines, applied to all sorts of young women doing interesting things. In my opinion, until you’ve reached a certain age, until you’ve experienced the disillusion of a limitless life, you are not badass.
The women I feature on The Bubble Joy inspire me. They teach me how to face forward. How to live. They don’t care about their age except in the context of productivity.
Linda Bleck, the artist floating in a milk bath above, is a shining example of badass. (Coincidentally, that milk did shine up her skin quite nicely.) Her post, “A Milk Bath to Soothe the Way,” really spoke to you. Here is what one of you wrote about Linda and chronic pain:
As you know I have been dealing with the similar problem of chronic pain for more than 15 years now. And when it fully surrounds you, your life takes a downward turn before you know it! As a professional working mother of two and someone who thought multitasking was just the normal way of living, it took me a long time to ask for help. Basically I grasped for something to keep me from the final fall! Not an easy path!
In the world of chronic pain you have to come to the point of acceptance and changing your role from trying to find a cure into searching for ways to manage it. It being your life with "your pain" not "the pain" but YOUR PAIN. It's part of you now!
So I fully agree with her in not pursuing what makes her unhappy or things that are not giving her joy! It's easier said than done but when you understand it and when you do it the "floating" feeling is so refreshing !!!!
I look forward to profiling more women this year. If you would like to nominate yourself, or someone you think I should meet, get in touch!
FINGERPUPPETS? NOT SO MUCH!
This year, I sent you a survey for the first time, and it was very enlightening to get your feedback. A few of you adore my knitted fingerpuppet family, but most of you were tired of them. I think you preferred the living breathing version.
So I took the fingerpuppets to Disney World and filmed them having a ball. A farewell tour, so to speak.
And then I lost them! I left them on the monorail in Disney World. Such a bad mother! I lost our youngest son in Disney World years ago but c’mon, he was three and he could talk!
Unbelievably, the fingerpuppets were found and came home via UPS. They are now comfortably sheltered in a shoebox in my closet, awaiting their next chapter on the farm.
ALL ABOUT YOU
Let’s talk instead about you for a moment, you darling readers of this blog. Someone on Instagram asked me how I manage to show up every week and churn out a blog post and newsletter.
Because of you of course!
Commenting on my posts is a pain in the arse. The Disqus platform is buggy for many of you. So I understand that I don’t always hear from people who read. Then I got this message from Heather, a reader in Colorado who said, “I know many of your readers don’t always comment to you, but you should know that many of us find humor and joy in you sharing your life with us!”
I feel a deep connection to you, darling reader, which is weird since we haven’t met. Does this stem from my early childhood love of penpalling?
Thank you for your eyes. Thank you for paying attention. And appreciating this labor of love.
In the coming year, I shall endeavor to surprise you, to keep you on your toes. As Ben Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”