Excuses, Excuses


Four-inch moth photographed yesterday on my screen door by my friend Caren. Never seen anything like it!

I HATE BLOG POSTS THAT START OUT with “Sorry I haven’t been blogging much lately, but…” Jeez, I think, no one cares about your excuses. Either do it or don’t do it. Don’t complain, don’t explain, as Wayne Dyer says.

However. I haven’t been blogging much lately because:

  • It’s June, I’m in the country, and the weeds are calling my name.
  • Deadlines. I’ve written three magazine articles in the past two weeks, including a Maui story for Coastal Living and one about a cute cottage in Sag Harbor for Hamptons Cottages & Gardens
  • I’m without a camera at the moment (and how frustrating not to be able to photograph the irises!) My last one — a Nikon Coolpix — shattered when I fell off a ladder onto my butt, with it in my back pocket. I have a loaner, but I’m unable to charge it. I’ll be in the city later this week and will get myself a new camera at B&H. Suggestions welcome (up to $300).
  • I’m lacking in focus, and have been for some time (if it’s not evident). Since I’m not actively house-shopping or renovating, my life as I’m living it doesn’t offer much blog fodder. This is not a blog about reading on the deck or getting new tires for my car. And though I troll the real-estate listings here on the East End of Long Island, I haven’t seen much worth calling to your attention.
  • I’m suffering from a failure of imagination. Maybe it’s a lack of feedback. Though I’m still getting 400 or so hits a day (a huge fall-off from the numbers of a year or two ago — what is that telling me?), and recently hit the half-million mark since starting this blog in December ’08, I don’t know what y’all want to read out there. My creativity is in a fallow period. Any time you want to shoot me some ideas, or let me know what you’d like me to focus on, please feel free.

Bear with me, friends…

24 thoughts on “Excuses, Excuses

  1. You are more than welcome to blog about my deck & house painting project… Before & after posts are always interesting!

  2. Gladly – I love before and afters too. And it will give us an excuse to get together:-) (Eileen is my neighbor here on Long Island)

  3. Don’t give up the blog!!! I always look forward to it & enjoy reading it! I learn a lot from it. I am always interested in how you see things & it makes me focus on things like architectural details etc. And of course I always like reading about gardens – especially yours & how it evolves!

  4. Let’s do a segment on summertime clothing – for country and for city.
    Spent yesterday at Governors island for the Polo matches and was told by everyone I was the best dressed there. Not hard to do as most of the women, including Donna Karan and other fabulously wealthy – looked dreadful.
    The weekend of June 25-26 on Governors Island promises to be full of photo candy for you. There will be a big band orchestra playing, the members and band leader decked out in fabulous 40’s barbs, lots of 20’s bathing beauties and couples dancing in period clothing. It’s always great fin, everyone looks divine, picnicking on the grounds in great style, ladies under their vintage umbrellas, vistas all around, Bill in his blue jacket getting it all on his camera. You should come!
    Call me and let’s make a date. I miss you! Let’s do it this time!

  5. I so hear you. My blog is supposed to be about what I love, but once you start writing about it, is it possible you love it less because you now see it as a chore? I dunno what to tell you but I’ll be reading any and all suggestions hoping someone has a magical solution. I just spent a week in the city for Blogfest and thought I was leaving there so inspired. Truth be told, I haven’t stepped foot in my workroom since. Perhaps it was the intimidation factor of seeing the inner sanctum of Hearst Inc. and/or Kravet’s studios. Regardless, it’s summer. Chilling is allowed.


  6. What those 400 hits want to read about is what you write about: “Old houses for fun and profit”. You’re doing exactly the right thing. Reporting on others’ old houses. Finding – or as soon as you get a new camera, taking – interesting pictures. Giving your POV.

    Worry not about less hits. Every year there are more Info Age things to take people’s time. Getting through every blog or pub that needs reading, not to mention emails and Netflix streaming can take all day. 400 hits a day is substantial. Your readers are happy. If you’re not having fun, well then, stir the pot. Do whatever you like. It’s your house, we’re just guests.

    You have complete freedom to do anything. That can sometimes be a bit paralyzing. Too much choice. But there are no limits. Whatever interests you will interest us.

    If you want to try to monetize your blog and spend your life trolling the internet to find great pics a la Remodelista, and doing all the hit soliciting reciprocity with other blogs, and seeking publicity around the web, well, then that’s a full time job. Which you have not seemed to be interested in having.

    The “next level” you want is not more hits. It’s more fun. If you’ve ever wanted to write a new book, test market it here. If you’ve ever wanted to get hired to write a particular kind of column, here’s the testing ground. If you’ve ever wanted to not necessarily be employed, as you’ve already had an excellent career, but just have doors open to a particular kind of biz, enterprise, or institution, start covering those. (Hotels, shops, places that redo tag sale items, travel, restaurants, galleries, quirky designers, whatever.)

    You’re already well known and established in one zone, widen that. If you like. Or if not, then deepen into the things you do like and have been you career already.

    And if going deeper into “Old houses for fun and profit” seems like a snooze. Then stop. Or take time off for yourself.

    But whatever you like exploring, we’ll enjoy seeing. Actually, blogging about searching for new interests is interesting in itself.

    Survey of one: Always enjoy reading about how people found their old house. Also enjoy reading about people who changed their lives and that change involved an old house. Life change is interesting.

  7. Wow – a blogger’s voice cries out in the wilderness, and there’s a response! Not only do I get feedback on what to blog about, I get free career counseling (thank you, Maze, good to know you’re still there!) Old houses have by no means become a snooze, and I’m really not bored with blogging, or the subjects I write about — I’m just afraid I’m boring others when my damn “numbers drop.” You’re so right about the demands on people’s time. Who has time to read all these blogs? I sure don’t. I’m grateful for my 400! Nouveau, the Blogfest sounds like a press trip. Exhausting. Over-stimulating. You need to recuperate from a thing like that. Thanks, too, Kym, Tzip, ML, Eileen, for weighing in with your comments, ideas, encouragement. I will take them all under advisement! oxo

  8. Cara, I have nothing to add in the way of inspiration or career/life advice, but perhaps can give you insight into one type of reader. I have your blog setup on email alert – that way I don’t have to click on it and feel disappointed if nothing new is up. When I get that email, I rarely if ever have time to immediately surf over. But inevitably I do, that evening or the next, and I can tell you it always feels like a delightful desert. Light, sweet, sentimental (hmmm…hope that doesn’t come off wrong…I find you be quite thoughtful as well). Anyway, I love my occasional morsel of casacara, you truly are a treat, and I feel lucky I discovered your blog.

    I should add that over the winter, I spent a considerable amount of time surfing the archives. You have a wonderful point of view. It honestly doesn’t matter (to me) what the topic is, I love your perspective, wit, and sensible approach.

    The pics are icing. You had a great eye to begin with, but I think it got even better after you took that class.

    At any rate, big fan, don’t change a thing, and know that there are others like me who appreciate your posts however frequent/infrequent they may be.

  9. Get a Lumix or the more expensive Leica D-Lux. Panasonic apparently makes both but the lens on the Leica-branded camera is probably directly from Leica/Leitz diretly. My son got me a used Leica at B&H and I love it! My cousin’s husband is into cameras. He and his uncle both know a lot and looked at my camera compared to Lumix they had and determined the lens on the Leica is much better. Disclaimer: I don’t work for B&H! LOL

  10. BTW, you fell off a ladder?!!! JHC! Thank God the camera went and you’re okay!!! And yes, it’s late and I’m reading my favorite blogs! LOL!

  11. I LOVE your blog just the way it is. I’m always interested in your before/after garden shots. I love the info on old houses. I bought an old rundown brownstone 5 years ago and am suffering through a painfully slow renovation. Your blog gives me confidence I did the right thing. I think you give great advice and have a terrific perspective. I check it everyday.

  12. Shucks, Jo, makes me very happy to read what you wrote. Thanks for taking the time to reassure me that my posts are striking a (harmonious) chord with you. BG, always good to know you’ve paid me a visit in your midnight internet wanderings. Mama, welcome. A bit of whining brings a new commenter out of the woodwork! Thus fortified, this faltering blogger vows to have more fun (per Maze’s wise counsel) and get on with it.

  13. Please don’t despair. Fallow periods for creatives are normal, just go with it and enjoy your summer. BTY, I’m a newcomer to your site and I find your offerings delicious!

  14. I love your blog! You bring me to places I cannot get to! New York, Hamptons! Fab gardens! Amazing houses! Thank-you for doing what you do!

  15. Say, you folks are great! Welcome, Janice and Anonymous (don’t know if you intended to be anonymous, but that’s how it came up). Really appreciate hearing from you guys. And now, on with the show.

  16. If you want to spend a tad more both Canon (G series) and Nikon I think p700? have camera’s that allow you use them in manual mode and have hd video options which can be fun. I think the Nikon is less expensive but you can probably find a used G9, G10 Or G11 at B& H. Good luck! Oh, also the Canon S95 is very slim if you are looking for another camera to put in your back pocket. I was just doing this same researtch.

  17. hi Miss B, thanks for the input. I am leaning toward the Canon S95. I had a Canon G10 last year but gave it away because it was too complicated. I never figured it out properly, so was never able to use it to its potential.

  18. As someone with uneven freelance income, I’ve always fantasized about the whole 2-family “rent a floor to another tenant” idea. I’d like to hear more about how you choose and buy your rental property, what cities or towns you think are good buys, etc.

    I’d also like to know about little houses or cabins that are seriously cheap, like under 150k.

  19. I really love your blog and I hope you don’t change it. It’s very thoughtful and well written — you’re a professional and it shows. I always learn something, and it’s a pleasure to read.

    As for traffic, by coincidence, I was just studying that very topic on home dec and other types of blogs for a consulting project. Some of the very best blogs (DoorSixteen, KatyElliott) have low traffic. Traffic alone is not the measure of success or importance.

    As Maze points out above, if you want to boost numbers, that’s a whole different and full time job. Some of the things involved are adding partners/staff, creating articles with key search words in the headline (seriously), syndication and distribution via such means as Google News, linking to and from and content swaps with other blogs, etc. Getting picked up by Brownstoner and Remodelista helps too, of course.

  20. P.S. I have posted a few of your photos of houses on Pinterest. Maybe that will send you a reader or two.

  21. Welcome, Kristi, thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear you’re interested in rental properties. I’m bullish on Philadelphia, which is affordable and just a hip, interesting city overall, though property values don’t seem to be going anywhere fast. I’m with you on the seriously cheap. Two of my properties — the cabin in upstate NY, and a trinity house in the Old Kensington section of Philly — cost under 150K. You don’t say where you are located, but one of my favorite real estate listing sites is columbianortherndutchessmls.com, which covers the Hudson Valley in New York State and parts of the Catskills and Berkshire regions. You can search up to 150K and I think you’ll be surprised at how much is available in that price range.

  22. hi Mopar, thanks for your kind remarks and support. It’s always nice to be appreciated:-) I take heart from your point that traffic is not necessarily a measure of success. (And if number of comments is, I should whine more often. This post is setting a casaCARA record!) I did make more strenuous promotion efforts in the beginning — I started this blog 2-1/2 years ago — and had early expectations that my numbers, which were strong after just 3 months (with help from Brownstoner links) and have never reached those heights since, would continue to climb. But I see what’s involved in all that, and as much as I’d like my blog to be popular and lucrative, I don’t have the input of a partner nor do I want a full-time job! So it is what it is….again, thanks so much for weighing in.

  23. Thanks, Cara, I appreciate it. I’m in NYC (renting in Harlem). One of the things that worries me about buying here is how hard it is to evict tenants if they’re not paying. And of course i’m not sure I could get into a 2 family in NYC at all, based on prices … I was down in Philly a few weeks ago. Loved it. I remembered your posts and that you were very pro-Philly. Thanks for that website, I’ll take a look.

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