Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All Those Blogs

As some of you may have noticed, I have a whole family of blogs (on the side bar). A good question would be why so many? Another question might be how do I have time to keep them up? And, why do I bother and what's the point of it all? These are all very good questions. More than a year ago, I was looking for a retirement home for Lily and Norman, and stumbled across the Paradigm Farms blog - thanks, Melissa, this is all your fault! I thought, "hmm, that's interesting, maybe I could do that for fun". And that's where A Year With Horses came from. I just started writing, and it took on its own shape over time. It's interesting to me how that happens - I think each of us bloggers has a unique voice - each blog out there has a particular tone, style and feel - some of us write about daily activities, some have photos, some tell stories, etc. - I find the variety of voices and perspectives refreshing and enjoyable. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted A Year With Horses to be, and feel. I've done writing before, but somehow this is easier, and having an audience keeps me accountable in a way - I try to be honest, and to think about the reader's perspective. Through this blog, I've also been blessed to find a wonderful community of horse people, with their challenges and triumphs, and much to offer.

The other blogs arose because I have many other interests; I think of them as different but related aspects of my life and personality. The separate blogs have different purposes and points for me, and I also thought it would be easier for readers to pick and choose what they were interested in reading. In Our Own Backyard is close to my heart, but its style and function are still "settling down", and I've found it harder to write for. When I started it, I thought of it as an old-fashioned natural history - descriptions and observations of nature. But it's turned out to have lots of photography as I've learned more about that - photos giving a feel for the natural wonders I see in my own corner of the world every day. And I'm very interested in natural science, and ecology, and environmental policy and the impact our human activities have on the world around us, so it's about that, too. It's very much a work in progress.

CrazyVeggieLady is about cooking and food. I love eating, and cooking, and care a lot about those things, and try to be thoughtful about what I eat and why, which leads naturally to thinking and writing about food, nutrition and food policy. I'm also interested in the personal moral and economic choices involved in eating, and how people learn to eat and cook as children and adults. And yes, someday I'll learn how to take a decent photo of what I'm eating! And it'll also be about growing food, although that's a seasonal thing in this part of the world. This blog needs to become less about lists of what I eat and more about thinking about food and eating, but it's not there yet.

Baroquely Yours is about my exciting and sometimes difficult journey into music. Until very recently, I had almost no musical knowledge or training, but a few years ago I was somehow inspired to take up playing the recorder. I've learned an enormous amount since then and still have an enormous amount more to learn - it's a journey that will never end until I do, I expect. This blog is mostly very dry - just a record of what I'm practicing day to day, as well as thoughts on my progress as an amateur musician, how to practice and suchlike. Interestingly enough, having to write this down has made me more organized and accountable in my practicing. There will also be occasional thoughts on music I listen to or concerts I attend. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic - running from early music right up to today, both classical and popular, but the blog will mostly be about recorder and baroque music. I'm pretty happy with where this blog is right now.

The Reader's Closet is evolving - it started as a set of lists of what I was reading and wanted to read. I'm in the process of changing how I go about reading - I used to be an indiscriminate and omnivorous reader but I want to change that in order to enjoy my reading more and get more out of it at the same time, and it's very much a work in progress. The lists are now gone - I'm actually consciously not keeping lists, which is a challenge for me! It also has movie reviews, although I don't know that those really belong there, and that may change. I hope that this blog will change quite a bit as I change how I read, and think more about my reading, but I'm not completely sure where it's going yet - I'm hoping it will become less "squibby" and more thoughtful.

One Photo, One Quote and One Word are just for fun, and are occasional. I'm slowly developing my photography, and One Photo is for photos I find particularly pleasing or interesting. One Word is for odd and interesting words, and One Quote is things I stumble across that mean something to me.

Fear No Finance is a recent endeavor. I've had a number of prior careers, including in law and finance. Although I never went to business school, I'm a CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) (this involves at least three years of self study, and three 6-hour exams covering such topics as accounting, economics, investments, investment policy and such exotic stuff as derivatives, futures and options) and have learned some things about economics and how people in the financial industry think. I think a lot of what passes for financial and economic policy is wrong-headed, and sometimes just plain wrong, and academic economists sometimes mistake theory for real life. I also think the American public, and our children, are woefully under- and mis-educated about everything from basic financial concepts to how the economy works. I had the occasion a while ago to design and teach a very basic financial literacy course to 8th graders - based on brainstorming about what they wanted to learn - at a school my younger daughter was attending, and I have a strong interest in this aspect of education (and Breathe, if you're reading this, please e-mail me information about the financial literacy course you mentioned). This blog is an experiment in trying to communicate on this topic, and may very well evolve into something else.

And there's a new member of the blog family on the way - The Journey. This one isn't live yet, but I hope it will be soon. As some of you know from reading along, I'm at a very interesting inflection point in my life. My children are grown and are now both adults (although they're still circling the nest!), and I've been reexamining my life, interests and allocation of time and resources to figure out what is next. The Journey will be a very personal reflection on these topics, and will undoubtedly be a work that evolves. I've been mulling over the themes I think will shape the next stage of my life - Adventure and Creativity/Self-Expression - and what I need to do to allow them to flourish. The Journey will, I hope, be about my exploration of these topics, from the mundane to the philosophical.

Now, why do I do all this, and how do I have time? I'm retired (for now, although there may be other career-type activities in my future), which means that, after taking care of business - bills, errands, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the horses and animals, etc. - my time is my own. I'm really enjoying the writing of these blogs and it's causing me to think and leading me to some interesting places right now, and surprisingly, it actually doesn't take all that much time, and if at times it does that's because I find it a valuable way to develop my thinking. I'm one of those people whose thoughts aren't clarified in my own mind until I have to express them somehow to someone else, and these blogs allow me to do that. I appreciate having the opportunity to write, to have readers who quietly follow and also to hear from those of you who comment. We'll just have to see where this all leads!


  1. You are "bloggerlific," that's for sure. Writing on the Internet is a great way to publish yourself and test your writing skills.

    Which reminds me, my choir director is a member of a two man group called "The Practitioners of Musick." My director, Donovan, plays the harpsichord, and John plays the recorder. There is a website, but you have to link to Donovan's picture through the menu on the side. Definitely baroque music in the repertoire.

    I think John played at least four different recorders in the concert I attended. And Don played two different harpsichords. Amazing.

  2. I am definitely more of a silent reader on almost all of the blogs I follow and like you I do enjoy the variety of feels and different writing styles.
    I love writing too but as English isn't my first language I can't quite come to terms with how lame my writing skills really are and how different my blog could be if I was able to express myself properly.
    Nevertheless it's still very enjoyable and I also like to share my thoughts for better understanding of them in my own mind.
    Happy writing :)

  3. Interesting, I can completely see (and feel) the need for several blogs. It's tricky trying to integrate all aspects of one's life under whatever the designated "theme" was. The "Journey" will probably pull on a lot of threads, who knows where the labels will start to overlap!

  4. I'm actually thinking of starting another blog myself. I sometimes feel inspired to write about aspects of my life that aren't horse related, but I don't know that people who read horse blogs want to hear about boring things like gardens and children. It seems this blogging thing is a dangerous addiction, once you have one you want more......not unlike horses.

  5. Kate...I learned a lot more about you in this post. How you do all this I will never know. My Journal is almost 2 years old and I have not missed a day...that is all I can handle, don't know how you do it. My Journey, cooking, taking photos, teaching and horsing around are all clumped together. Kudos to you.

  6. Wow! I didn't realize you had so many blogs!! Good for you!
    I love reading all kinds of blogs, but concentrate mostly on the animal ones, of course!!

  7. Hi Kate! I've been wanting to write in response to your last post about Fear no Finance for a few days, I just haven't had the time!

    I am impressed that you have a "vision" for each of your blogs. I wish I had a clear idea of what I wanted it to be! Mine is a mish-mash of everything, for sure, and if I try at all it is to make it not too much about any one thing. Cause that's me!

    As a reader, I sometimes don't have the time to read and comment on the (or write my own!) blogs as much as I might want. I tend to catch up all at once, get behind, catch up, and so on. Or I read the post and want to think for awhile before commenting, or wait until I have a good moment. Sometimes if a new post comes up too soon, I don't get around to commenting on the last one.

    I've especially enjoyed this and your CrazyVeggieLady blogs and now your FnF too (I will have to wait until tomorrow to post on that blog, the canine master awaits her nightly prowl!) I look at them all, when I can.

  8. I enjoy all of your blogs. Of course A Year With Horses is my favorite as horses are my main passion. I have enjoyed your book reviews, especially those in regards to our food chain. Local, sustainable, agriculture with happy animals and plants is a topic near and dear to both Jason and myself. I am really enjoying Fear No Finance as well. I also like Baroquely Yours, mainly because I played the clarinet for years (and was actually really good at it!!). I keep telling myself I will find the time to take up music again. I actually bought a violin a few years ago and have yet to take a single lesson. I also would love to learn to play the piano as well. It is interesting how so many of your blogs touch on topics and activities of such interest to me.

    Thanks for giving me credit for inspiration, that is very kind of you. I think we both know that I had little to nothing to do with actually inspiring your blog writing, but I'll take the compliment anyway!

  9. Kate, I have started reading your FNoF blog - and am learning! Right now I'm studying your post on Risk... with questions to follow once I understand what it is that I want to ask, haha.

    I am enjoying both blogs - and the readings you lead me to. Now I have learned about Paradigm Farms - and am reading it too! Thank you.

  10. Kate, I honestly admire how you fit it all in. Like others I don't always find time to write even my own blogs but try always to read everyone's even if I don't have the time to comment. I have a financially organised OH, if not I'd be firing questions!!!

  11. That is a really interesting way to handle the different aspects of your life! I tried off and on with SHN to map the intersection of my work and personal life, but it never quite happened. (Though I guess you could say that the reason blogging occurred to me at all was because I worked for a technology company.)

    I am now, oddly enough, in the financial services world myself, but still at a loss when it comes to explaining my true passion to business associates.

    Them: "You like cleaning horse pens?"
    Me: "Um, yeah, it feels real and honest."
    Them: "____"

    Oh, well.


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