Monday, November 17, 2014

The Strip Down Model



We've had a company car for most of our marriage. They have never been terribly fancy, but we don't care because it's one huge monthly expense we don't need to worry about. We've had a Buick, a Pontiac, a Taurus, a Subaru, and a Ford Explorer. The Pontiac was a silver, base-model Grand Prix. There isn't more I can say about a nondescript company car.

Oh, wait. Yes there is. The Mister and I were parked outside the medical office I managed at the time. We were driving the Grand Prix, so this was about 16 years ago. We noticed another Grand Prix pull up as we were walking towards the front entrance. The door opened and out from the back seat flew a boy of about 10 years of age.

"What level do you have!"

Exclamation point intentional!

He was really excited about our car. It took us a few seconds to realize he was asking about our engine. I was about to shrug my shoulders (like I know or care about engines), and I could tell the Mister was scrambling to remember lest he have his testicles removed according to the bylaws of The Manliness Association of Car Knowledge.

We never got that far because the boy's mother reached for him as if he was leaping into a mosh-pit of children teaming with lice and whispered, "Shhh! It's the strip-down model."

Shhhh! It's the strip-down model.

Don't talk to them; they're dirty.

Shhhh! It's the strip-down model.

Those poor people with their $20,000 car aren't ballers like us with our $25,000 car.

Shhhh! It's the strip-down model.

I don't have to tell you that for the last 16 years we have repeated that glorious line to each other whenever we can.

School shoes came apart after only a month? Must be the strip-down model!

Pizza taste bad? Must be the strip-down model!

Don't like the President? Must be the strip-down model!

Thank you, Baller Woman, for giving us one of our favorite catchphrases.


My lack of blogging lately has been obvious. My waning enthusiasm for the medium has a lot to do with my absence. I've mentioned before my frustration with the way things are, and how it used to be so much better way back when. I sound, even to my ears, like a crotchety old woman yelling at the kids for walking across her lawn.

But it's true that blogging has changed since the advent of social media. The end of the month will mark my 7th year as a blogger. Seven years.

I read a long time ago that the average homeowner redecorates every 7 years. It was a good time for me to change if we pretend my blog is wall-to-wall carpeting. I felt like my blog had turned into something I didn't want. It was too structured, too controlled, too impersonal. Objectively I don't think it was, but it felt that way. 

I debated starting a new blog for months. Probably close to a year, if I'm being honest. I had an idea of what I wanted, just not how I would go about getting it.

I knew my new blog would have a strong focus on books. I knew it would be more of a journal. I knew I wanted to do away with advertising and series and post schedules. I knew I wanted a simple look, almost a white page. I knew I wanted to go back to the color yellow, which was the color of my blog from almost the beginning. That sounds silly, but there you go.

Most of all, I knew I couldn't afford anything I wanted. 



I already pay hundreds of dollars per year on my other blog. I couldn't do the same somewhere else. I knew a blog design would cost an additional several hundred dollars. I couldn't do that, even though designers do deserve their fee--I'm not saying they don't! I knew I was going to have to do it myself if I wanted a fresh start at blogging.

I went back to blogger and got a free blog like I did almost 7 years ago. I bought a $15 template and watched countless hours of youtube videos to figure out how to put this here and that there. I read 4 different websites on how to add a contact page. I figured out how to make a favicon and add social media icons. I'm pretty sure I didn't blow up the internet.

I'm still figuring things out. I'm not sure all the things that click are clicking, and don't even ask me about the categories thing or drop boxes or whatever because I haven't made it to that section of youtube. I'll figure it out eventually!

So, here I am. Brand new but still the same. I hope you like it! This new home isn't fancy or unique or likely to change the face of blogging, but that's okay. I don't expect it to because shhh--it's the strip-down model.

56 comments:

  1. So lovely! I'm excited for you! I look forward to seeing what grows here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. I don't know about that, though I did feel like I could climb a mountain after I figured out the contact page thingy. Hah! :)

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad you're back to yellow! (My website's yellow too.) I still remember the site with the yellow honeycomb design as background! I LOVED that design with your family's pic in the header and the about on the side saying something about dinosaurs......... Phenomenally indecisive you certainly are. :-) Congrats on figuring it out on your own. That's amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was my first design!! And I said "My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds." :)

      Delete
  5. Well, I must admit, I was a little sad to hear Pancakes & French Fries would be phased out. But then I came here, and it was like coming home--it made me smile. A good reminder that new can be quite fabulous, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whew! I knew you and a couple of other people weren't excited about the change I've been talking about for a while. Glad to hear it passed muster!

      Delete
  6. It's so pretty! I love the yellow!
    I can really relate to your struggle with blogging lately. I've been at it for 10 years now (how in the world?) and I keep finding myself stuck in the "Why am I posting this? What is the point?" thought cycle. I love your writing and your insight, and I'm glad you're sticking with it! I'll definitely keep following along on your new blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How in the world is right! I realized that Nico grew up on my blog. Craziness. The thought cycle you talked about is exactly what I was going through. I needed to control-alt-delete.

      Delete
  7. "Stripped down model"? Lol. :) totally stealing. Excited for you and the next adventure here. Plus, I love yellow. Good things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's so awesome about that phrase is that it makes absolutely no sense. Strip down model! Not stripped, strip. I always imagined that we pulled a stolen car off the side of the road and were driving around in just the frame.

      Delete
    2. Ha ha. You're right. Makes no sense, but now I'm going to have a picture in mind of you riding dirty in the strip down mOdel. Lol.

      Delete
  8. yay! Good for you for figuring out what works best for you. And I absolutely LOVE that strip-down model phrase - simply perfection. ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a good phrase. You can use it for everything--like like salt or white socks! Just today I used it to describe to my husband a really medical office.

      Delete
  9. Thank goodness. Such a relief. And very pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't even figure out how this can get any more you-er. Does that make sense? It's beautiful and I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey Jules,

    You're rocking this strip-down model too!

    So glad you're still sharing your adventures with us ;)
    The new site looks great. I love that the yellow is back!

    Kudos to you for figuring it out how to do it all yourself - so so cool!

    Big hugs from the UK.



    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the strip down model!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The new blog is lovely! I've always enjoyed your book posts, so now I can look forward to more! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. You just William-Morrissed your blog. (HIGH FIVE!)

    I blog at two different spots - one through blogger and one through wordpress/hostmonster. Blogger is free (fietsofstyle.blogspot domain) and I pay $15/year for hosting for the wordpress one (seven2seven8). One is public. One is private. Both are nonmonetized and exist soley at and for my pleasure. It takes a LOT of the pressure off. I kept my day job. ;)

    Wishing you the best. A couple of friends posted this today and it fits here:

    "For a star to be born,
    there is one thing that
    must happen: a gaseous
    nebula must collapse.

    So collapse.
    Crumble.
    This is not your
    destruction.

    This is your birth."

    -Noor Tagouri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did WMP the blog! It's like an empty closet now. I need to fill it up! ;)

      I love that Noor Tagouri quote. I might have to post that on FB myself!

      Delete
  15. happy for you and your fresh new space. I love it, suits you. XO

    ReplyDelete
  16. Totally agree with Rebecca. What a major William Morris project! If it's not useful, out it goes. Hope you find joy in writing here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't think about it that way, but you both are so right! It was a huge undertaking, but now I feel so relieved.

      Delete
  17. Hi Jules! Following you on over.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love it!!! The story AND the new blog! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Reading things you've written and things about books? I'm in!

    ReplyDelete
  20. These are ALWAYS my favorite posts anyway - the book ones and the daily life ones. I'm here, even if I don't comment much!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Excited to join you - I already like what you've done with the place!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love the new look and William Morrissing of the blog. I've been meaning to do this forever with my own blog but just cannot come up with a better name. (Shouldn't be a high bar, as not much could be worse, but yeah, just can't seem to do it.) Your new space is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for letting us tag along. Glad you feel better in the new digs, that's what actually matters.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Can I just tell you how happy I am that you'll still be writing? I hope you will be very happy at your new address!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Jules, I was worried that you'd decided to stop blogging and just instagram or just quit altogether. Truth is I love reading your writing. I'm glad you've made some changes to make it more 'you', because that's who this blog is for. I'm just along for the ride. Thanks for still letting me ride on your coat tails. Lu x

    ReplyDelete
  26. Shhh - I like the strip-down model. ;-)
    Tanja

    ReplyDelete
  27. So glad you're still here! The new design is clean and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I like it! And I'm glad you've continued blogging. The interwebs would be missing out if your voice faded away from this platform.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Argg! I hate being late to the party . . . but I'm here! And . . . (you might remember I've mentioned disliking change) I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new blog and design! The yellow! The flowers! Your name font!!! Can I confess that I never liked your old blog redesign? The pink and black. Sorry. But I just loved your yellow original design, and thought the feet picture of you four was adorable. But this is perfect. Your story was perfect, and yes, your old enthusiasm shows through again. Thank you so much for letting us tag along some more! - LauraC

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hey, I'll follow you wherever you want to write on the Internet! Um, in a not-stalker way, I mean. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. So glad for the post reminding me you moved!! Happy to follow you over here, the blog looks great and I love the new focus. Enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Beautifully simplistic. When one blog closes, another opens. Way to follow your heart and instincts. I truly enjoy your writing and am glad you have found a way to still write and do it in a way that feels right for you!

    ReplyDelete
  33. SOOOOOOOOOOOO so so so glad you are still blogging Jules, I mean Mrs. Kendall :-) I love your style and sense of humor and that you are so real and transparent. Oh and; I have two boys who are now 23 and 20, the things you share about Mickey and Nico bring me back, love that. Thank you!

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yay, I'm so glad you are still blogging here. I was bracing for the end of Pancakes and French Fries because you weren't happy with it. I would have really missed your voice. Congrats on the new blog. I hope it's everything you wanted, and if not, I know you can change it the way you want to!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm here, I'm here! I'm late, but I'm here! And I just don't have the stomach any more for blogs that aren't telling a personal story. Seriously. I stopped blogging completely after my daughter was born a few months ago - not for lack of wanting, but because the entire blogosphere just felt like it was turning into one big neverending commercial. I felt like... what is the point of even blogging? No one cares about what my kids did on Tuesday. Except, I care about what your kids did on Tuesday, and what book you happen to be reading, or how you defeated permanent marker on a microfiber couch. I care. You make me want to blog again, Jules! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Love the new space and cannot wait for regular family life updates and more and more chat about books! So much blogging has become all about the adverts, sponsored stuff etc. which is great if people enjoy doing it and reading it, but I do prefer the more pared down, more personal stuff. Cheers from London, Helena

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dear Mrs. Kendall,
    This story should be in a book. Part of some anthology with other great writers of today. It's fantastic.
    Your new blog is refreshing. Charming. To be truthful, I just visited Pancakes and French Fries as I was cleaning up bookmarks. You were so right to start over. The header is perfection. Congratulations and I'll be visiting often like I used to.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.