New Year, New Focus

It’s a brand-new year, and with that comes the inevitable updates, resolutions for change, refocusing, renewing, etc. I’m no different, when it comes to both my personal life as well as the blog. I have goals, hobbies and interests I’d like to resume. Some of that includes the blog.

No doubt you’ve long-since noticed my drop-off when it comes to recipes and posts. I’ve gone from posting several times a week to a link-up post each week – And that’s only if I can remember to set it up! The last sponsored posts I did were back in October, and the last one I was actually going to be paid for, I had to drop out of because I had to rush back home to see my dad before he passed away. I might’ve been able to make it work there at my mom’s and take the photos, but I ended up spending so much time at the hospital, it just didn’t work out.

And since my dad’s passing, I’ve really struggled with doing much of anything aside from subsistence. I’ve been half-assing cooking, and we’ve been eating out a LOT more than we should. Like to the point that I shudder to think how much money we’ve spent, were I to add up every meal since June that I didn’t prepare at home. But I chalked it up to the fact that I didn’t really care where the food came from as long as we all were fed. That, and I came back from my dad’s funeral and jumped right into Fall Rush at work. That was a mess in and of itself, and a lot of us were feeling seriously burned out by the time it was over. Things have finally begun to slow, though now we have to play catch-up with all the things that got put on the back-burner. But during the months of August, September, October, and November, we were slammed most everyday, and if I wasn’t fighting depression, I was simply exhausted, so there was no cooking.

Though I did some holiday baking for a couple friends, I never got around to taking photos or writing up posts for the baked goods. It was the first real baking I’d done since Choctoberfest, but truthfully, my heart wasn’t in it at all. I tried – I thought it would be fun to surprise a couple friends with homemade treats, as well as send goodies to my mom and sister. I still need to send presents to my other sister and my great-nieces, but they’re little enough, they won’t notice that Christmas has been extended by a couple weeks. But it felt like too much effort to drag out the camera equipment and try and set up photos and then do all the writing. So I didn’t.

I feel conflicted – Like I’ve never had the chance to just break down and properly mourn my dad, but at the same time I feel like I’ve been wallowing too much and need to snap out of it. Everything happened so quickly…He went into the hospital around the middle of June, and by the beginning of July, he was gone. I spent most of the latter half of June in Ohio, and we made a trip back to Columbus less than a week after he died. And then were back again a month later for his funeral. And in between all of that, I worked, because I’d been given the opportunity to go to a full-time shift right before things got really bad.

But I do feel like I should be snapping out of things, though my doctors have reassured me, this is normal. I saw my primary-care doctor about a week after my dad passed, and our clinic has started mental health screenings with each appointment. Which is awesome, since mental health is so important, but is so often overlooked. And though I filled out my form honestly (emotions were still raw and I wasn’t sleeping/eating, felt apathetic and sad), I explained that there was a caveat. My doctor took the form and threw it away – She said we’d talk again at my next appointment, but had she known before I filled out the form, she wouldn’t have bothered with it in light of the circumstances. I explained the same to my OB/Gyn last month, and he said it can take at least a year before you start feeling “normal” again. I’m at the point now where I’m not crying every day, but there are times when it hits me like a ton of bricks that my dad is gone. The bambino’s birthday was a few days ago, and Shutterfly ever so kindly sent me a link to the online album from the day he was born. A very joyous and happy occasion for sure, but seeing the pictures of my dad holding my hours-old newborn son was a punch to the gut.

What I’ve been doing instead of blogging has been to write, but personal writing in my journal. I’ve been buying up washi tape and stamps and ink pads and pens and stickers like they are going out of style. My desk overfloweth with office supplies and papers and sealing waxes. It’s bordering on the ridiculous, because my letter-writing has also lagged. All of my pen pals have been very kind and understanding with my lengthy pauses between responses. But we’re coming up on InCoWriMo 2018, and I don’t want to be that person who sucks with their correspondence. I plan to take letters to work with me, and write during my breaks and lunch time. Otherwise, I’m afraid my letters will pile up and I’ll never get around to answering them. And that’s just plain rude on my part.

But that leads me to the whole point of this post. While I haven’t been blogging per se, I HAVE been thinking of what to do with this space. I thought about just letting it die a slow death – Something I’ve considered off and on for probably the past year anyway. In one of my Facebook groups, there’s been a lot of discussion on rebranding, and how to go about that process, and what kind of impact it has on ads and so on and so forth. I toyed with the idea of rebranding myself – I chatted with another blogger who is planning to do the same, because we both feel like we’ve outgrown our names/they don’t quite fit any longer. I figured I’d buy up a new domain, work with my hosting company to redirect everything to tramplingrose.com, come up with a new name and have a new design, etc., etc. And I got as far as choosing a new name even, which was the hardest thing to come up with. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, why not work with what I’ve already got? I’ve actually had the Tramplingrose blog since the days of a long-gone host called Blog-City, which is where I met a couple other blogging friends I’m still in touch with. Way back in the Blog City days, this was more of a personal blog, and I used it to chronicle my move to South Dakota and my life here, and how everything was/is so different from life in Ohio. Around 2009/2010, I opted to dive into food blogging, and try and make some money off the blog. It’s been a long struggle – I think there is a glut of food bloggers out there, both because anyone with a decent camera can share recipes, but also because so much of our lives are based around food. Everyone’s gotta eat, but not everyone can/will eat the same things. Food connects us all.

And as much as I love food, it doesn’t have the place in my life it did 7 months ago. I love to eat, I do still love cooking and baking, but right now, those hobbies just don’t hold the same appeal. I know I’ll get back there one of these days – My dad would be disappointed in me if I let all this slide away just because I was mopey about his passing. No, what I’d like to do is go back to how things were in the beginning. I’d like to shift back to more of a personal journal, that will include travel, music, food and recipes, and scads of paper products (seriously, it’s out of control, and a Joann Fabric is about to open up here in Brookings next month. Quick, someone stage an intervention!). So I am working on refreshing the blog layout and have come up with a new tagline, which I’ll debut once I have a new logo. This likely will take a couple months, but I’m kind of excited about it. A good thing that’s come from my dad’s passing is that I no longer want to just accumulate things. Well, I am still buying all the washi tapes and stamps and pens, but that’s something I’ve done since I was a kid. My mom’s best job ever (aside from the record stores she used to work in) was when she worked for an office supply store. THAT was the coolest. All the pens and tapes and pencils and note pads my little 9-year-old heart could desire (or however old I was when she worked there). No, what I want are experiences. I want to see and taste and experience as much as possible, before it’s all snatched away. There are things my dad never got to do, and now it’s too late for him. I don’t want that for myself, or for the bambino and Jay. As such, we’ve begun saving for a trip to Scotland in the next couple years. Jay has never been out of the country aside from Canada, and the last time I went anywhere requiring a passport, I was 15. So we’re thinking that we’ll make 4 trips to the UK: one to Scotland, one to England, one to Wales, and one to Ireland. And after that? I’m pushing to see New Zealand, and Australia. I’ve said before, if I had unlimited time and resources, I would LOVE to travel all over the world. My sisters and I are in the process of planning a weekend trip in spring, and I’m also going back to IFBC in August, as I missed last year’s and this year’s will be in New Orleans. So I will very likely talk a lot about those excursions.

So all of that aside, I will be moving away from food posts only, and I hope that all of you will stick with me. Letter-writing, envelope/mail art, fountain pens, and journaling will all be forthcoming – As a matter of fact, I treated myself to some fancy-pants watercolors (courtesy of the Christmas present from my in-laws), because I sometimes like to paint the pages in my journal. That’s something I might write about and showcase. Same with decorating my journal pages with ephemera and washi tapes, and using different colored pens and inks. I probably also will talk a lot about letter-writing and envelope/mail art, especially with InCoWriMo starting 1st February.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment, or shoot me an email, or leave a message on Facebook. Here’s to a better 2018 for all of us!