Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…

It is now cool enough in the morning that I can sit out on the front steps with coffee. This is an improvement. I still can’t do yardwork worth a damn, but I can at least sit there, and stare at the garden, and go “Why did I ever think that seven-foot-tall weirdass South American pea-plant would fit in a bed that size?”

I have plans, once fall hits and I start the new big bed in the front, to move a bunch of plants. We’ll see how it works out.

Meanwhile, condemned to work indoors, as I slowly continue to paint the living room, I find myself looking at design and decorating blogs, with the voraciousness and mild shame with which normal people look at porn.

You know how it is…you skim through one at random until you find something that looks like something you might actually DO, then you follow the link to another blog, and wander through the zillion links attached to it. Unfortunately, there’s so few things that look like anything I’d actually do. I did not consider the seventies a pinnacle of design, and I tend to avoid Shabby Chic because, in a house with this many cats, everything will be shabby in short order without any effort or distressed paint finishes on my part. And there is usually too much fiddly crap on the walls. I am not fiddly. This is not because of bold pop-art aesthetics, it is because I lack patience and manual dexterity. Some of those stencil-transfer-y things kill me. You’d have to have the fingers of a fairy safecracker to get the swoopy swirly things laid out right.

Nevertheless, I keep browsing. I cannot help myself. How are these women–they are almost always women–taking these photos? Do they lug a studio light around with them at all times so that they can take extreme close-ups of their artfully arranged muffins?* Who photographs their lunch with such exquisite care? I admit it, I’m jealous. My lunches tend to consist of a microwaved Lean Cuisine or a nuked bowl of leftovers, which Kevin, in deference to my culinary failings, carefully arranges into “Artist Sized Portions” which can be shoved as-is into the microwave the next day. They are often tasty, but not really suitable for the extreme close-up photo with the soft focus fading into a blurry bowl of peonies in the background.  For one thing, I would need peonies, and having inherited one at my last house and discovering just how much care those plants need, I wouldn’t take one if you gave it to me.

Several of the blogs told me that they were about “living the authentic life.” This phrase struck me in particular, because I had never considered the authenticity of my life before.  Being prey to the gnawing insecurity which afflicts most of humanity, I immediately assumed that my life was not authentic and went to the blog for answers.

After nearly an hour of browsing, I am still in the dark about what is required, although according to the photos, coordinating napkin rings may be essential. This may be where I have gone wrong. I do not own a napkin ring. It always seemed pointless, what with also not owning napkins. (I suppose I could stick paper towels through the napkin rings…)

Anyway. After part of an evening of such browsing, I gave it up and just went over to Catalog Living instead, which is at least funny.

Only another month until the heat breaks. I hope.

*Not a euphemism.


  • BeckyinVT says:

    Anyone who’s “authentic lifestyle” involves co-ordinating napkin rings is not authentic, but faking it.

    I own napkins, none coordinate, almost all come out of the dryer with a little cat/dog fur on them, and I don’t have a napkin ring to my name.

    That’s authentic, the rest is artfully arranged.

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks for the laugh! I love your writing style. And I am fairly certain that any decorating style that was not named years after going out of fashion is phony. Put things in your house that make you happy, and to hell with style.

    Totally in agreement about cool mornings in the garden with coffee. Last week I discovered via early coffee that we have hummingbirds in the garden! Yay!


  • Kelly says:

    I’m addicted to home improvement and DIY blogs, but despair when I see pictures of perfectly arranged fruit bowls and the like. Young House Love and the Saucy Dwellings LJ community are my antidote to all of those supposed “authentic living” blogs.

    You might have already come across it, but another funny blog in the same vein as Catalog Living is Unhappy Hispters 🙂

  • im kinda sick of my battery on my android going down so fast, seriously annoys the crap outta me, see what happens, find a good site and BAM my battery is dead, so yeah, i luckily had enough battery to read this and post the comment haha, i have no life. yay me!

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