Time to say goodbye

Here, a little background music while you read:

A good blog (allow me to flatter myself) is like a good TV show. It amuses; it informs, seriously or with humor, about matters vaguely important or unapologetically trivial; it has a target audience; and it knows when to quit. I could also add that a good TV show yields lasting cultural markers—the Rachel, anyone?–and that a blog, if it is true to its purpose, would do the same. Which is why y’all should understand that really, this post from almost exactly a year ago was probably the beginning of the end.

Yep, I used y’all in a post. I use it in real life. No one looks at me funny. That’s how I know it is, as Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli are currently putting it so melodiously, time to say goodbye.

Red, white, and new.

Now that I’m home full-time with the oyster, being red doesn’t matter so much. In fact, being red around here matters less than being red further away from this town. Being white actually has “mattered” in ways that I didn’t expect and that make me uncomfortable and would be hard to explain to anyone who is insulated by distance or by work that keeps them sheltered in a particular like-me demographic, like being a young professional in this area. And finally, the elephant on the blog, the thing I’ve noticed as I’ve had less to say over the last few months…I’ve acclimated. I’m no longer new.

I launched this blog three years ago one week from today, on September 11, 2011. It was meant to be what the subhead says, the story of “a midwest transplant trying to put down roots in the center of the free world.” We were delayed in our adventure by Martha and were surprised shortly after our arrival by the oyster. We have had some incredible highs and devastating lows in the past three years and those things and all the details in between and along the way and behind us and ahead of us mean only, really, that we are living life.

We love the life we live and it’s hard to maintain a full and focused life when you’re distracted watching for potential blog posts in the daily details. So I won’t do that anymore after next week. I’ll post three more times before I close up shop next Thursday.

I’m going to miss y’all.



Thank you, readers!

Yesterday this blog crossed the 14,000 hits threshold–thank you, readers!

Some of those views are one-time, and some of you are faithful readers. I appreciate each one.

The stats tell me where in the world my blog has been viewed on any given day, and redwhiteandnew has made appearances this year alone on screens in Canada, Turkey, the Philippines, Italy, Ireland, France, the Czech Republic, Germany, the UK, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Nigeria, Vietnam, Colombia, Malaysia, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and, most interestingly to me, the Maldives.

I started this blog to keep friends and family up to date on our lives as we moved from the old home state to the center of the free world, and assumed that the blog would be primarily work-related and work-focused. Life takes some funny, not funny, unexpected, exciting, and terrifying turns, but it’s never dull and realizing that has helped me feel just fine blogging about What’s Happening Now, whether that’s Martha, moving, having the little oyster, looking for work, or just walking Dietrich.

Redwhiteandnew is a biographical statement, nothing more and nothing less. What I post is an honest account–or my best interpretation–of daily life, milestones, and unique events or experiences, nothing more and nothing less. I have fun writing, and I love reading comments when readers post them and so, for all the time and attention you all have put into pushing the blog over the 14,000 mark, thank you! Nothing more and nothing less.

One down, 18 to go

Of course I didn’t throw a Microsoft Paint party for myself. Dietrich hosted…

Today I finished the first draft (!) of my first children’s story (!) and I’m very happy (!) with the overall result. As a draft it will obviously undergo some changes, but the bones are there and they have meat on them. Yesssssss.

With Ray the golden alpaca born now, it’s time for Amanda Gorilla to have her day in the sun.

After that we’ll see where the Happy and Round series picks up. Two of those stories, chronicling the (mis)adventures of two baseball-loving little boys, were nearly complete but were lost forever on the errant USB drive. May it rest. And may my inspiration return ten-fold.

Also in the hopper, a young adult trilogy that follows a female cop through the streets of (yay, a location I can write about first-hand) Washington, DC. There are no vampires in these books. This is how I know they will sell to my target audience.

One day the grown-up novel I have in my head will also find its way on to paper. Interestingly, I have been mulling this one over for seven or eight months, and I still don’t have a title in mind. That’s how I know it will be good. Eventually.

And of course, my etiquette guide is always in the works. Feel free to email me (redwhiteandnewblog@gmail.com) with etiquette questions you would like me to answer in this tome.

Last but not least, my memoirs. One about my time as a sales rep, in short story format, and the other about other stuff, also in short story format I think. The sales one is partially complete, but I am still deciding whether or not to name names because I might need someone to print all these amazing works of genius and the old sales company is probably going to be my best bet. Things to consider…

I know you are but what am I?

More than a playground insult, it’s an existential inquiry, really.

I am an annual pass holder at Mt. Vernon, as of this weekend. That’s something.

During the coffee hour after church on Sunday, the husband and I chatted with another young, childless, non-DC-native married couple. He’s an FBI agent and she works for the government, alluding to her work in such a way that I, with excellent people-reading skills, understood not to ask more. I’m confident that both of them could kill me from across the room with just a stare and a snap kick.

When we meet new people, the question of what everyone does immediately comes up. This makes sense. We’re a culture that tends to gather basic information about how to relate to one another based on what we do for our bread and butter.

But what if one, such as yours truly, isn’t working? I’m not a communications manager anymore. I’m no longer a press secretary, or, as I liked to say to avoid questions, “in political communications.” Even my freelance book reviewing days are indefinitely suspended.

So when we chat with people and the husband says what he does and everyone (around here) knows what that is and what his days are filled with, I stand next to him thinking quickly about how to communicate that until very recently I was gainfully employed and highly thought of by lawmakers and senior staff alike.

If we had kids, I would have no problem staying home and telling others I stay home with the kids but “I stay home with the dog” doesn’t command the same understanding or respect.

The husband and I chatted over the long weekend about income-generating ideas I could undertake. I could open my own dog walking business. I could be a pet sitter. I could stroll over to the mall and apply at Ann Taylor. I could follow up with A Certain Organization for the third time in five days and elevate the art of following up to the level of professional stalking.

But I don’t want to own my own business, I don’t want to feed other people’s cats and I don’t want to work weekends at the mall. The husband and I have worked very hard our whole marriage to pay off debt, live frugally, and save. We keep reminding ourselves that we came to DC in the full faith and knowledge that this is God’s plan and that we can, with continued frugality, live on the husband’s income alone. Bearing these things in mind, the urgency of a mall job suddenly dissipates.

So what do you want to do, redwhiteandnew?

Isn’t it obvious?

I want to write. I want to be a writer. And now is the perfect time for me to do that.

So I’m a writer. A purveyor of fine words and phrases, if you will. And if the time comes in the next weeks or months that I need to work part-time for someone else, I will do that but I will still be a writer first and foremost. So be it if this writer also happens to have a 40% discount at an upscale women’s clothing store. Worse things have happened.