I love the photo of Lynne, (above) and the way she gazes steadfastly at the camera. You loved it too -- a photo of a woman by a lake wearing a photo of a lake. There's something mysterious about her expression, something unknowable in her eyes, don't you think? (Click here to read the post, one of the most popular in 2017.)
We are all drawn to people of mystery. Did you know that you readers are a great mystery to me? Every Friday, after I publish a post, my husband and I spend the evening talking about the interesting things you write or the unexpected way you interact with my content. You never fail to surprise me. it is delightful, actually, to never know what to expect from you. It keeps me on my toes.
As The Bubble Joy turns four, I thought I'd take a moment to share some of the things I've learned about you this year. And in the year to come, you have my promise that I will endeavor to surprise you too. Otherwise, where's the fun? And isn't that the point of this blog?
Anyway, here's a round-up of some of the surprises you gave me this year.
YOUR FAVORITE INSTAGRAM POST
Seriously? An insect motel that looks like a brown cyclone of twigs gets more likes than the soft pink bedroom in the Cotswolds? Don't misunderstand me. I think it's wonderful. I'm just surprised you loved it so much. Are things that bad? (Yes, maybe things are that bad.)
YOUR FAVORITE BLOG POST
I shouldn't be surprised that the post on 'Appalachian Trail' Ellen resonated with you. (Click here to read it.) Strong is beautiful, isn't it?
Many of you forwarded this blog post about a school teacher who pushes into the wilderness to find herself. I had over a hundred new subscribers. It got thousands of views via Facebook.
All of my profiles of older woman have been popular. I plan to do many more. But it isn't all that easy to find subjects willing to sit for me. These women, born in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, are not as comfortable in the limelight.
YOUR LEAST FAVORITE INSTAGRAM POST
This is a pic of my homemade ginger cookies, which I took to a Half Christmas party, and which, apparently, met with your disapproval. This photo got fewer likes than anything else I posted in 2017. One of you cracked me up when you said this about celebrating Half Christmas:
WHY is this a thing???? I ate at a Thai restaurant and they were playing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and I almost spit my food out. Cuz seriously the Christmas music is gonna start the day after Halloweeeeeeeen! Geeze! How could you DO this my friend?!?!?!?
SURPRISES IN THE MAIL
You sent me gifts, like the Milwaukee newspaper (above) and the balls of steel (below). Perfect little gestures of affection that revealed the truth about the Internet. It is not a soulless backwater. It is fertile ground for fellowship, friendship, and sometimes, love.
YOU ASKED MY OPINION
You sent pics of items you were thinking of selling. You asked me to help you accessorize your rooms. You looked to me as a resource for special one-of-a-kind gifts. You let me pick out art for your new home. You trusted me and I appreciate it.
YOU CAUGHT MY MISTAKES
This is a portion of a poster in the shop that inspired a blog post titled "Summer of Love and the Suburban Hippy". (Click here to read it.) Do you see Muhammad Ali in leg irons? I thought that was Ralph Nader behind him but astute reader Barb June wrote this to me:
I beg to differ that the figure next to Muhammad Ali is Ralph Nader. It is almost assuredly Everett Dirksen. While Dirksen actively championed the Civil Rights Act, he was also an ardent supporter of the War in Vietnam, hence his proximity to the shackled Ali (Clay at that time). I remember seeing Dirksen on the evening news, his glasses perched down on his nose. When I Google pictures of him now, though, I can't find any with his glasses down, but I'm sure it's him in the poster.
YOU TIRED OF MY FINGER PUPPETS
You just don't love my finger puppets the way I love my finger puppets. I guess we will have to agree to disagree [sniff sniff].
For pity's sake, did you not read The Borrowers? Did you not watch Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Did you not stare at the cover of Gulliver's Travels? There's something so comforting about miniatures.
So the finger puppets are here to say. Sorry, not sorry. In the words of the great sculptor Alberto Giacometti, "By doing something a half centimeter high, you are more likely to get a sense of the universe than if you try to do the whole sky."
YOU SHOWED ME YOUR JUNK
As you cleaned out your homes or your parents' homes, you sent me photos of items you knew would tickle my fancy. Keep 'em coming! By far the best perk of this job is hearing from you!
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