The One About Remembering A Muse, Sharing Some Mundane Moments

INTRODUCTION TO THE MUSE PART

Today I’m going to share photos, but first I’m going to tell you why I’m sharing these particular photos. I have a reason.

A muse, if you will.

People influence you in life. It’s all about where you place your power, but you know that [or at least you should].

Getting to my point…

Many, many years ago when I was newbie blogger [mid-2000s] there was a blogger, Rayleen*, who was a professional portrait photographer. She was into poetry and musings and, of course, photos. The ones on her blog were informal & not necessarily of people.

Her vibe was mellow, her thoughts were straightforward, and her use of light when snapping pics was awe-inspiringShe had a positive influence on me and how I went about learning to blog.

On your journey to be a better blogger ultimately it’s NOT the people who tell you how to blog with their well-intentioned lists and rules, it’s the people who show you how to blog with their own style, allowing you to learn and grow from their examples.

THE MUSE PART CONTINUED

One autumn day Rayleen mentioned that she had begun to notice, and thought it was a shame, that people on social media were only sharing photos of perfection. Nothing messy was going on because it was all staged.

She was prescient on this point.

Have you seen Instagram lately? 

On that day she encouraged personal bloggers to occasionally share photos without deeper meaning or treasured memories. Instead, take photos showing imperfection, mundane moments in time that record the normal messiness of ordinary life.

Focus at least briefly on things around you that you tend to push aside, or ignore, when snapping photos for social media.

In other words, allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be real, by showing the world your own special messiness for no reason other than you can.

So today as a tribute to Rayleen and as a way of saying thanks for her guidance, I’m sharing photos of nothing much in particular. We were ships that passed in the night and because we did I’m a more authentic and open-minded blogger.

THE PHOTOS OF MUNDANE MOMENTS PART

Dirty dishes in the sink & on the kitchen counter

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Assorted stuff heaped on the hutch

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Piles of pillows on the screened-in porch

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Old-fashioned time-wasters on the end table

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Boxes of stuff destined for Goodwill in the garage

THE QUESTIONS OF THE DAY PART

Can you think of someone who came into any aspect of your life who influenced you then disappeared leaving you better off for knowing this person? 

Have you posted photos on social media that show the daily, often overlooked, messiness of your life?

Which of the above photos is your favorite? And why? 

~ ~ • ~ ~

* I think this is the proper spelling of her name, at least that’s how I remember it. Could have been Reyleen or Raylene– or Reylene, I guess. It’s been a loooong time. I shall not fret if I got her name wrong.

271 thoughts on “The One About Remembering A Muse, Sharing Some Mundane Moments

  1. Taking your questions in reverse order…I LOVE the “heaped on the hutch” pic. Yep. I agree — reality is infinitely more interesting than the scrubbed and filtered, highly tweaked social media images. I think that’s partly why I don’t do much of it. Fantasy – just fantasy.
    And as for who moved through my life and left me changed…great question. A former supervisor, Nancy, comes to mind. She kicked my butt regularly when I wanted to obsess about details while missing the bigger pictures of beauty – right smack in front of me. xo, Ally! 😘

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  2. I love this post, Ally! And my most immediate answer to your question is yes, you! You have influenced my life just with this post (and others of course). The beauty of what you’ve written by how someone gives us a glimpse into their life and it impacts us in ways that we can’t enumerate – it’s such a tribute to what we can do when we authentically share. It’s so cool!

    Love your pics – especially the screen in porch just because I love that idea and we don’t have many of those in the Pacific NW. But most of all I love your words – your call to vulnerability and authenticity. Because why share if we’re not going to be real?

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  3. Looks like a normal house to me except there was no cat laying around! One of the early bloggers I followed had an interesting style. She broke rules like abrupt sentences. I started adopting some of that into my writing. Her goal was to write a post every day for a year, which she did, then she rode off into the sunset. I had a few like that but her style struck me the most. Your blog reminds me of Seinfeld. It’s mostly about nothing written in such an entertaining style that it demands comments.

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  4. I’ve had a few teachers who I would put into the influenced and better for it category. I don’t post on social media anymore but even if I did messy is in the eye of the beholder I think. I see nothing in your pictures that strikes me as messy Ally Bean. It’s all just normal living. I mean even your Goodwill boxes are neat and placed out of the way against the wall! Favorite pic is the screened porch hands down. Actually any porch would win my vote as I love porches and sitting on or within them.

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  5. I haven’t posted photos on social media since I stopped blogging (over a YEAR ago!!!) Loved seeing these glimpses into your life. I think since we see so much perfection all around – perfect houses, perfect children (adorable, of course), perfect relationships, perfect makeup, perfect bodies, we begin to compare our own lives to the perfection we see all around us, and we come up short. Of course. I love the idea of posting some imperfection. We all should do it. Let’s start a movement – post about the tiff we had with our spouse last night, the shortcomings of our children, the mess in the sink, the wrinkles, the sags, the mundane. You have inspired me, Ally. As always!

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    • Laurie, about you leaving blogland… WHY NOT COME BACK? I miss you. However if it’s not for you right now I get it.

      You said it about the *perfect* everyone and everything you see on social media. You’re right that it could make you feel less than, if your life is imperfect. I think that’s what Rayleen was trying to mitigate when she urged us to post about messiness– and showed us some of her own. She saw this trend long before I did. She was smart.

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    • I so agree! I loved these glimpses for those reasons and more.

      Yes, the filters so many put on their lives: they’re always happy, always up for adventure, always smiling, no grinning, always looking perfect. It requires so much posing, so much photoshopping… There was this scene on one of the first episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel where she woke up an hour or so before her husband to pretty herself up and then laid in bed so when he woke up he would see her “naturally perfect”…

      I also love the insight into … you. There are details that we SEE that others may forget to mention. NOt intentionally, they just don’t seem to matter enough to mention, but give insight into one’s preferences, into one’s self.

      Thank you so much for sharing, and for “starting the movement”!

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      • Endless Weekend, you’re right about how people filter and fluff themselves on social media so that everything looks perfect all. the. time. I remember that scene from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Kind of wacko, but then look at the era.

        It’s been interesting to read what commenters see in the photos of what I’d call just stuff. I don’t know if I’m starting a movement as much as carrying on one started by Rayleen all those years ago. She was ahead of her time in seeing what was to come on social media.

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  6. The screened in porch wins hands down. A great place to read. Do I show real life photos. Occasionally- certainly any of my grandkids when I do share are real life messy!
    Not to seem to maudlin but my besr friend’s daughter, which died at 3 of cancer, inspired us all by really living each day. Gone to soon but her life and death impacted me greatly.

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    • Bernie, I like to hang on the screened-in porch so I get your preference for it. Good point about kids, by their nature they’re messy, leaving a trail of mess behind them. I’m saddened but pleased that the little girl taken too soon inspired you to live each day fully. Sometimes the ways in which we get better are through examples like hers.

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  7. THE BOX FOR THE ICE CREAM MAKER!!! This has nothing to do with your post but I sure hope you are enjoying it. We love ours. I just made strawberry ice cream yesterday, to great accolades.
    I like all these photos. I recently came across a piece on Cup of Jo about Catherine Newman’s house. She was influential to me back in the day; I wouldn’t say I started a blog just because of her, but she was one reason for sure. Anyway, her house was just glorious; piles of books and games everywhere, absolutely un-staged in any way. It’s interesting because this weekend I was talking to a friend who is relocating and is trying to sell her house. It has to be staged “just so” in order for people to come and view it. When we were house shopping back in 2000, I don’t think anyone staged their houses at all. The photos weren’t great either. Now everything has to be PERFECTION. It’s very silly. One of the things I loved about viewing houses was that you could see someone else’s style and hominess. Anyway, all of which is to say that IG is just like that. The things I love best on IG are the photos that are natural, and a real slice of life. Sure, beautiful things are lovely but I think imperfections make things more beautiful. *stares in the mirror at wrinkles*

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    • Nicole, after I wrote about how we broke our KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment many bloggers, you included, mentioned buying a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker. So we did and we LOVE it. Chocolate sorbet is the best thing ever although Z-D would join you for the strawberry ice cream.

      I SAW THAT ARTICLE on Cup of Jo and was immediately taken with that woman. I’d never heard of her before, but you have? I liked the wall of games and all the framed pictures of pears. I want to do that with apples.

      The last time I went house shopping no one tried to make anything look perfect, just clean. You’re right that it’s silly to attempt to persuade a buyer that your house is perfection– but there’s a whole industry out there of people who, FOR A PRICE, will make your house look perfect– or as I think of it, bland. Wrinkles are lovely, btw. Just saying

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      • The dark chocolate sorbetttttttttt. Oh so good. I need to make that again; i.e., I need to make something that *I* actually eat!

        Yes! Catherine Newman was the very very first blog I ever read! She had a blog at Babycenter at the time, and I was so charmed by her that I followed her to every single platform. She has written a few books too and I asked for one of them for Christmas! Or I will, I haven’t actually made a Christmas wish list yet.

        Yes, back in 2000 houses were generally clean when I was house hunting, but not always. Generally the people were still living there and it was apparent. Not like now, apparently the house has to be essentially a showroom. I don’t know what you do with that. How do you LIVE in a showroom? I feel a blog post coming on…

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        • As a childfree woman I’m not familiar with Babycenter either, but am happy that she inspired you. How else would I have met you?

          You’re supposed to live in what amounts to a showroom of housing perfection? Oh I couldn’t do that and remain sane. That’d be worse than having the house torn asunder because of remodeling. At least with that you can be sloppy then blame it on construction woes.

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  8. Well said, Ally. People influence us in life, often in unexpected ways. My daughter and I had this discussion recently about photos. As you say, many of the photos on social media are almost too perfect. My daughter takes many photos and then has the daunting task to select a favourite one for her projects, sharing and contests. The photos that get the most, often unexpected positive responses are the ones that have an “it” quality. Goosebumps…a new perspective…and I believe the energy she imparts in her photo. Not staged and not perfection. Thank you for sharing your muse. 😀

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    • Erica/Erika, excellent point. You’re right, photos that resonate have a high energy with that indefinable “it” factor. Many people attempt to create the “it” factor through perfection, but that doesn’t always happen, does it? There’s something more to the photos that call to me than staging and perfection. They have to have heart.

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  9. Ally, I have been fortunate to have so many inspiring souls in my life. From professional mentors, to wisdom seekers, to children who always speak the truth – I have learned so much. I crossed paths with a few very inspiring bloggers. One person who has now passed away. She was a photographer, a collector of sea glass, and so adept at using a few words to tell a huge story. I still visit her blog from time to time. Another blogger was a young woman who shared the artwork of her sister who could neither speak not hear. The imagery combined with the words of her sister were lyrically composed. She left for college and as far as I know, never returned to blogging. I loved your kitchen photo. It shows me things we have in common. The salad spinner is well used in our house but always the last thing I want to wash! The stand mixer makes me wonder what you make with it? I cannot quite tell the color, but mine is cobalt blue. Sunday I made pizza dough.

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    • Maggie, I’m happy to know that you’ve had the good fortune to cross paths with many great bloggers. They sound wonderful and varied– which in my experience has opened my mind to all that blogging can be. I truly think that the bloggers who show you the way, are the ones who make the best guides. Not that I dislike how-to lists, but they’re just the beginning, a way to start. There’s more.

      I’m with you about the salad spinner. I use my cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer for lots of things: mixing nut bread batter, making whipped cream, combining ingredients for a vegetable dip, and making mashed potatoes, of course. I’ve done pizza dough, but it wasn’t so great. Wrong recipe probably.

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  10. This post makes me think about the Catherine Newman house tour on Cup of Jo recently that touched a major chord in the interwebs: https://cupofjo.com/2022/08/09/catherine-newman-house-tour/ People really responded to the realness of it. And it was the impetus for this piece from a writer who studies “momfluencers,” which I also really appreciated: https://sarapetersen.substack.com/p/this-hour-tour-made-me-cry

    I know that physical environments are really important to me; they have a big impact on how I feel and live. What I want most is for my home to be comfortable, and having things be aesthetically pleasing and tidy is part of what makes me (and my husband) comfortable. But, going too far in that direction creates discomfort. There’s a balance to strike. I mean, right now I’m looking at our dining table which has on it a stack of library books, earbuds, and a box of beer. I don’t particularly like that and will clear it soon, but it’s evidence of yesterday’s errands and that I was too tired when I got home from them to put everything properly away. Instead of tidying, I sat and talked with Cane when he came home from work.

    I sometimes share snippets of our home online, and I will admit that I tend to show it in its best light. But, I think not a perfect one. We don’t have that kind of house even if I wanted to.

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    • Rita, you’re the second commenter to mention Catherine Newman’s house tour on Cup of Jo. Thanks for the link. I saw the article when it came out and loved her house, her attitude, her joie de vivre. I, however, have no idea who she is.

      I’m like you in that I feel like there needs to be a balance between pristine and messy. Real life isn’t about always doing things in the moment, it’s living the moments to their fullest. Hence I understand why the stuff is still on your dining table. In. truth, I don’t mind some messiness in my daily life. My motto is: a place for everything and everything near its place. 😁

      I also agree wholeheartedly that I wouldn’t want a perfect house even if I could have one. That’d make me nervous, worrying I’d ruin something.

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      • I love your motto and plan to steal it. 🙂 And I guess Catherine Newman could be my answer to your question about inspiration. In addition to house inspiration, she’s a writer I’ve long admired, though I’ve only read her short essays. I always meant to read Waiting for Birdy, but I avoided infertility memoirs when it was published. Still do. Some things I don’t want to revisit.

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        • Thanks for explaining who she is. I don’t know of her, but figured she was being featured on Cup of Jo because of her quirky style. Will look for her. I do like house inspiration and good essays.

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  11. Oh, I would have to say a few of the teachers I’ve had over the years would be the people who have left an impression on me.

    I don’t post pictures on social media very often – not sure if my blog counts. If my blog counts, well – I definitely post pictures of our messes. I don’t mind sharing those picturs because it is part of reality.

    I love all of your photos. The dirty dishes in the sink resonated with me. Glad to know it’s not just the Shenanigans who have these everyday issues. 😉

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    • Ernie, teachers are definitely in that category of ships who pass in the night– and have the potential of changing your life for the better… beyond the academics.

      I’m including photos on blogs as being part of social media. I know Rayleen was years ago. That being said I know you’d not worry about imperfection– and I mean that in a kind down-to-earth way. I’ve seen your photos, I love them.

      Yep there are only two of us here, yet we manage to use more bowls and plates and glasses and silverware than you’d think was possible. Hence the photo of dirty dishes.

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  12. I love the picture of your screened in porch. What a cozy nook. I’ve had several mentors over the years, people who arrived at just the right time and stayed just long enough to send me in a more productive direction. I cherish them. As for social media photos, I have to confess to not posting the mundane, but I think I at least err on the side of funny, or inspiring. They aren’t always happy photos, but they are photos that make a person think. And no selfies. I don’t understand selfies. I think that in most cases I’m the least interesting thing wherever I’m standing.

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    • Arlene, we have the screened-in porch because when we had the house built Z-D had the foresight to insist on one. I didn’t get it at the time, but now I do. You’re right about mentors who guide you to being a better person. I’m not sure you can ever say thank you enough, even if it is only through a blog post many years later.

      I don’t get selfies, either. I don’t do them for the same reason you stated. I like to see what you’re seeing, not you seeing it. Which is where I get confused about the concept of selfies. 🤨

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  13. I LOVE real people, real photos, real emotions and real reactions. Our society is so quick to cancel today and people are afraid to be real. One of my guilty pleasures is watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette and I find the last few seasons contestants are so curated and staged in their reactions to being broken up with. Like nobody can say they are mad anymore? Or hurt? They pretend they are just so glad to have had the experience of knowing the person…great and part of the process, but not the whole real truth methinks.

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    • Collin, good points. I hadn’t thought about photos that show emotions in the moment, real emotions versus manufactured ones. Rayleen was talking about physical messes but you’re onto something. Many people certainly are afraid of being unpopular so they default to insincere blandness? I’ve not watched the Bachelor/Bachelorette recently, but I get what you’re saying. Methinks the same thing as you.

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  14. Hi Ally,

    You asked a question that reaches deep into my heart. I won’t go into details as this isn’t the right place. Suffice it to say that I was at the lowest point in my life with no light at the end of the tunnel. One day, seemingly out of the blue, a gentleman came into my life for the briefest of moments and not only turned on the light at the end of the tunnel, but he also made it possible for me to get to the end of said tunnel.

    My favorite photo of the ones provided? The last taken in your garage. Reminds me of my own garage. I love the little pedestal your water is sitting on.

    Johnny

    Liked by 2 people

    • Johnny, yours is a wonderful story about healing guidance that pops up at the right moment in the right way. I’m pleased to know this gentleman helped you.

      There’s a story about that little pedestal. It used to be a long bench out in the garden, but one day while moving it my husband dropped the bench top and it broke in half. Who knew concrete could break like that? Anyhoo, I liked busted bench so much I brought the pieces into the garage and turned it into the official place for bottles of water. It’s just too cute to get rid of.

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  15. I always find the question about who influenced my life difficult if not impossible to answer – some people left my life and I was the better for it – mostly I instigated their leaving by saying “Leave” or I left, slammed the door and burned the bridge – those people certainly influenced my life, but in a negative way. Or their leaving was positive in that I learned that I don’t deserve to be treated that way. Any person who stays in your life, for whatever reason or for whatever length of time, influences you in some way or another. I suppose the people you miss are the ones who were a positive influence.

    I like the porch photo because it is colorful. I have rarely posted staged photos unless you call arranging a vase flowers in such a way that it CAN be photographed. I’ve posted food photos along with the recipe but since I was the one who cooked the food they were messy. Occasionally I cook something super tasty but it is never super pretty – I’m a messy cook and don’t know jack about food presentation.

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    • Grace, you’re right that some people are a negative influence on you– and living without them in your life is positive. I think we all could come up with lists of those people. I prefer to reflect upon those people who helped me become a better me, by their examples not their rules. 🙄

      I like color, too. The screened-in porch is shaded by trees but with the right accessories in there it pops with color. I don’t consider arranging a vase of flowers as staging. I’m not good with food presentation either. Too hungry I guess– I just want to eat.

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  16. I love the screened in porch because I would want to be sitting there with a book and a coffee! I’ve posted messy photos but mainly here and not necessarily on Instagram or FB where I don’t tell the stories or explain them like I do on my blog. I’ve learned to be more genuine because of the influence of other bloggers. More myself. When I write I feel like I’m at a coffee date sharing my day/life with friends.

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    • Margaret, the screened-in porch is a delightful space. I go out there year-round, albeit with a parka on in the winter, because I like a whiff, at least, of fresh air. I agree that bloggers can show you how to be a different, presumably better, version of yourself. I like your coffee date idea. Yep that’s what we’re doing here.

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  17. I’d take that “time-waster” from your end table, and maybe a few catalogs from your hutch, and settle in among the pillows on your screened-in porch for hours (all the while ignoring the dishes in the sink, of course). I love a neat-and-tidy house but, honestly, that only really truly happens when we are expecting guests.

    I’ve been lucky to have had several – many? – people who have come into my life at various times just when I needed their wisdom. I hope I have been that person for others too.

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    • Janis, yours is a perfect comment. You know that, right? You put all the pieces together. Well done. I know what you mean about making the house TIDY for guests, but just kind of being there for yourself.

      I imagine everyone, who is honest, can remember at least one person who helped them at the right time, passing on wisdom. Excellent point about doing the same for others.

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  18. I actually wrote a blog post, complete with photos called messy adult playrooms about two very untidy but very much used rooms in my house. Then there are our night tables which will make neat freaks cringe. Although I like things to look nice in my house, there are many things that are temporary out of place at the same time. Mail, heating pads, empty pickling jars,or just things left out as visual reminders so I eventually get around to doing something with them. So I guess it is the hutch pic that resonates with me. As far as a mentor goes, I guess I am still waiting but no longer needing.

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    • Bitchy After 60, how cool that you’ve tackled this subject on your blog. I think you make a great point: “there are many things that are temporary out of place…” That’s the essence of it. I’m not a neat freak so things scattered around don’t upset me, but occasionally I do like to see the house pristine. Will I take a photo of it? Probably not. I try to keep stuff off the hutch, but it doesn’t happen. Ever.

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  19. The idea of sharing mundane moments is very inspiring. I just looked at our microwave spinning around as it heats up our tea. I should photograph it and post it. There are so many mundane moments here, I could do a blog post everyday! I love your photos.

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  20. I love the photo of the puzzle book, cards, and pens. That could have been taken at my home, and it inspired the most meaningful “connection” for me. I don’t use a lot of photos on my blog (which is my only social media), but when I do I am looking for non-perfect pictures…live is messy, and as you noted, we have enough photos of perfection. Non-perfect, messy pictures often inspire more meaningful connections, words, and thoughts than perfect photos. I had a supervisor years ago who worked the department I was in very hard, but he always had our backs with other departments and that inspired us to work harder for him. He taught valuable lessons about teamwork and unity which I tried to inspire in future roles after we parted ways. Great, fun post, Ally. Take care, Bruce

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    • Bruce, we always have a few crossword puzzle books around with a pen nearby. Gotta be ready to challenge the brain when the brain decides it wants to be challenged.

      I like to see photos of whatever it is that inspires someone to write something– or just an image that the person likes and tacks onto their writing. However, I know that too much perfection makes me wonder about someone’s reality– but you know, you do you, boo. Make of that what you will.

      Sounds like your supervisor helped you in many ways. Valuable lessons stick with you– and can be shared at the right time.

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  21. Bloggers have a way of disappearing from our lives, but leaving an impact, or at least lasting memories. Some that come to mind: a mellow surfer from Australia, an edgy biker chick from Atlanta, a stay at home Dad from Charlotte. It was a peek into a life that I’d never have gotten the chance otherwise.

    I liked the kitchen photo, just because I like learning about people through what’s on their counters. Even better, inside fridge pics.

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    • Bijoux, yes, I like the glimpses into other people’s lives but bloggers just disappear. I wonder if we followed the same stay at home dad in Charlotte. [Three kids? Wife an attorney? He a sculptor?]

      I remember when taking photos of the inside of your refrigerator was a big thing to do. Then add a photo of what you saw looking out any window in your kitchen. Simpler blogging times.

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    • “Prelude to a Fort” is perfect, AutumnAshbough. That’s what it looks like– and there plenty of throws in that room for when the building gets serious.

      Yep, I didn’t understand some of the lessons until too late. But I do still admire the people who tried to show me the way, more than the people who told me what to do.

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  22. Your comments and photos remind me of my Annual Christmas Letter. I always tried to write it to show how imperfect and messy our life had been that year! Mostly I tried to find the funny in all the ‘incidents’, though one year it was the announcement that our youngest had just been diagnosed with leukemia. The upside to that was that some of my friends did all my Christmas baking for us that year…

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  23. I love all of those photos. But since you asked us to pick a favorite, I’ll have to go with the boxes one because I’m looking at boxes in my livingroom. Some are from two years ago that I never unpacked when I moved. Others I packed from stuff around my desk because someone is supplsed to repaint the ceiling. (Paint peeled off months ago.) I’m still waiting for the painter to show up!

    As for people who influenced me, I’d say my college roommate sophomore and junior year and yes many bloggers I’ve met over the years. I didn’t appreciate my roommate until she left my life. I didn’t know how to be a friend to her. I was too busy chasing popularity–something she didn’t desire. She was way more mature!

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    • L. Marie, the thing about boxes is that once something is inside them I no longer consider them clutter, even when they’re underfoot and clearly, objectively, clutter. I understand your situation.

      Interesting how your college roommate influenced you in retrospect. I wonder if you did the same with her– and you just don’t know it?

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  24. I LOVE the kitchen sink/ dirty dishes pic. It is often the view here as well. On a very related note, I had these very thoughts going through my head when I recently posted a picture of my bee hive over run by the wax moth…(I was hammered with thoughts of what kind of a bee keeper must I be to have such a failure, then posting it on line to boot. Then I thought, you know, I am not the first person who has lost a hive to wax moth. It is part of the journey, and hopefully make me just a little wiser next season. I love your candid, vulnerable style of writing. It is my favorite part of your writing. You are so normal! thank you. DM

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    • DM, I wish I could say we ALWAYS wash the dishes as we go and there are NEVER any dirty dishes sitting around, BUT that’d be a lie, first class. I remember your post & photos about the bee hive which was a shame, but like you said has helped you learn what to do better nest time. Thanks for thinking I’m “so normal.” Got you fooled, oh yes I do! 🤓

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  25. This is wonderful, Ally. I can’t say that any particular blogger from the past has influenced me, but as I read this, I was reminded of people in my life who are no longer alive but have influenced me, and it felt good to remember them in that way.

    I love all of the photos you’ve shared. It’s refreshing to witness the truth of our daily life rather than the perfection we believe we should share. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us today. ❤️

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  26. Such a great and inspiring point! I am not on any social media platforms for this exact reason! I love your screened-in porch, I could read out there for hours!

    I love that you share your “imperfect” kitchen… my living room would be the picture I’d share with all of Charlotte’s knickknacks decorating the rug! We try to keep it tidy but life gets in the way, and that’s a beautiful thing if we learn to see it from that perspective. How lucky am I to have a knickknack-littered living room where a happy child runs free 🙂

    I follow a blogger who no longer posts as frequently but she’s inspired the way I write- she is hilarious and writes about the most mundane things and makes it light up! 🙂

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    • Jenn, I think of Rayleen every fall so this year I wrote about her. I have to give her credit for seeing into the future of social media, being wary of too much perfection.

      My parents were older when I was born and I remember my mother saying that some of her friends couldn’t imagine having toys strewn around the living room. My mother said the same thing as you, that she felt lucky to have a kid who knew how to play like it was her job.

      Mundane gets a bad rap, but I’ve found it to be a source of inspiration, the challenge being in “how do I make this interesting?” 🤔

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  27. Porch wins every time. 🙂I think we’ve all been somewhat influenced by social media to show photos that are somewhat staged. Heck, we stage our homes before we sell them. I guess we don’t want people to know who we ‘really’ are? What would they think if they new we had a box for donations in the garage? 🙂 Years ago, I worked with a woman who had recently lost her husband to cancer. A group of us women went out to eat one evening and everyone except this new widow was complaining about someone or something – you know, just normal conversation. She waited until a break, and very quietly said ‘you know, if you can throw money at it, it’s not really a problem.’ I have thought of that statement more times than I can count and when I get upset about something that is what I ask myself and go from there.

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    • Judy, the porch photo is the most popular one by far. Don’t know if it’s the pillow mess or the colors that are drawing people to it. That’s a great example of someone who has influenced you for the better. I’ll be adding that line to my toolbox of words to live by. She was/is so right. Thanks for sharing that here.

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  28. Many people have influenced my life for the better and then I’ve lost touch with them. This is really true in the blogging world. I like the photo of the time wasters – I have more of them than you do! And they’re all over my house.

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  29. I post very few pictures on social media and my blog. It just feels more private that way. I have a friend my age—80—who posts Facebook a dozen times a day including 4-5 selfies and it seems all very sad to me that people like her are so busy staging and documenting life that they aren’t really living it. Okay, I think I lost track of the question so I’m out of here. LoL

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    • Jean, I like your assessment that using fewer photos makes your blog more private. I feel that way, too. I’m not comfortable with too much attention. I cannot imagine taking that many selfies, [well, any selfie] in attempt to document my life. I’d rather live it, then check-in with blogs and social media when I can. Live first, blog later.

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  30. I do like the screened in porch, piles of pillows looking aesthetically lazy and lovely. I have similar boxes stored in my garage for donations, so even though we are worlds apart, you could walk into my house and see the same thing! I think at present there is even some water bottles too – even though I hate one-use plastic bottled water. (NB. I didn’t buy them).
    As for who influenced me, that is a good question. The bloggers who have influenced me are thankfully still around and I still follow them 😉 and in life, I could cite two inspirational yoga teachers. They were so Zen and so together, I can still hear their voices and wisdoms in my mind!

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    • Amanda, I like how you describe the pillows: “aesthetically lazy and lovely.” Yes, that’s the vibe I was *intentionally* going for. 🙄 The boxes will eventually make it to Goodwill, but I figure there’s no rush.

      I had a couple of yoga teachers who influenced me in a good way, too. I think of them often when their catch phrases drift into my mind bringing me back to center. Thanks for mentioning your Zen teachers, I hadn’t thought of them in this context.

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  31. Several months ago I posted a picture on the blog for one of the podcast episodes. It was of me eating a hamburger. A friend who is also a blog subscriber quietly suggested that it wasn’t the most flattering picture of me (and it wasn’t) but I said I didn’t care because it was REAL. I’m not always so willing to display imperfection, and I will admit to being a little more selective when I’m cobbling together the annual Christmas photo card, but social media has gotten out of control not just showing only perfection in the photos themselves, but in the portrayal of people’s lives as perfect. So grateful my childhood occurred before the digital age.

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    • The Travel Architect, yes, yes, you said it: “… social media has gotten out of control not just showing only perfection in the photos themselves, but in the portrayal of people’s lives as perfect.” I’m with you in that I grew up before the concept of social media existed– and am grateful for that. As an adult, I can brush off the need to be perfect but as a teenage girl I never would have had that strength.

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  32. I love your topics, Ally Bean! They make me think — a much needed occurence some times! 🙂

    There have been many who have been my muse, on different aspects of my life. Your post made me think of all them (or at least the ones who came to mind easily) and it brought me feelings of gratitude for these people.

    Of those 3 pictures you posted, the porch called to me. It looks so cozy, and I can easily see myself spending hours there, reading or just day dreaming! I love the color combinations…and believe it or not, it does not look messy at all. They are throw pillows, after all….you’re supposed to throw them around, right???

    It’s incredible how staged homes for sale are nowadays. I like having a tidy house but it doesn’t happen often, unfortunately. I always say it will be better when I am retired and no longer tied to my computer…but I don’t know if that will be true! I can’t imagine living in a showroom…I like a house that shows we live here….but there I have some rooms that can use a few hours of tidying. The kitchen is one area that I really care a lot about. I used to be a lot more bothered by untidy kitchen counters; I cried when my late MIL (who really was a wonderful woman) came to visit us a few weeks after my son was born and made a sandwich but left crumbs on the counter. It was too much for my kitchen-obssessed and hormonal and new-baby-stressed self could handle! I’ve relaxed quite a bit in my older (and wiser) years, thank goodness!!

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    • M, hear, hear: “it brought me feelings of gratitude for these people.” I get that and feel the same way.

      You’ve made me laugh out loud about the throw pillows that we’ve thrown. Brilliant assessment of what happens out there on the screened-in porch. We’re merely doing what the pillows want to happen.

      I understand how you wanted the kitchen to be clean. I’m the same way, but like you as I’ve gotten older and wiser and lazier I am able to overlook crumbs and smudges and dull stainless steel sinks. But there was a time… 😒

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  33. The time wasters at the end of the table have to be it for me! I appreciate this post! I could relate to this a lot because I have mundane moments everyday and try my hardest to be real on my blog.

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  34. Good to read this blog Ally, I actually enjoyed reading it and also it is incredible to realize the influence other bloggers have on new blogger , it is a way of showing the newbies the ropes and it is great to learn and get experience from professionals just like Rayleen had an impact on you👏👏. Have a great day

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    • Mthobisi, blogging is fun but I’d not be where I am with it, if I hadn’t interacted with some really smart people along the way– who nudged me in the right direction. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

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  35. Love this post because it’s, as always, real. The pics I take are all over the place, and hopefully real, as well. I’ve taken more than one messy and I’ve taken some that I really worked hard at achieving.
    I am torn between your porch – because I would soooo much want to add one to my house but it’s impossible – and your kitchen – because I am obsessed with kitchens (loving to cook, as I do) and I prefer a lived-in look to a spotless (looks like it’s never used) one.
    As for influences. I will have to say my late mentor Patricia. Pat taught me so much and we were so creative together. I think if our company had not moved to another province, I would have learnt so much more from her; at least until she died in 2001, two days after my birthday.
    As always, you make me stop and think.

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    • Dale, I like random photos taken by people who are showing the world how they live, tidy or messy or somewhere in-between. Your photos are perfect.

      The porch is a comfortable spot, but our kitchen is also nice. I know what you mean about photos of spotless kitchens. I often see those on IG and I’m concerned about the people who live there. Do they eat out all the time in spite of having a beautiful kitchen? Or are they OCD and cannot exist with anything out of place so clean the kitchen constantly? I need to know!

      Patricia sounds like she was a mentor who helped you for as long as she could. Who knows, maybe she’s still helping you every time you reflect back on her, reminding yourself of one more tidbit of wisdom she shared?

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      • Yes, I agree. And I thank you!

        Both do look wonderful to me. And right. What is up with the un-lived in kitchen? I think there has to be something hanging around!

        Pat was one of a kind. We laughed, we cried (she was a big suck), we shared Kraft Dinner (what you call Mac n’ Cheese in the blue box) because she loved the stuff. I like to think she is.

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  36. I’ve had mentors in my professional and personal life, so this post immediately appealed to me. There have been bloggers who have influenced me as well.

    Not much of an Instagram person, but I understand Rayleen’s point. The same is true of most photos for as long as we’ve been snapping pictures. It’s human nature to want to look good in a photograph.

    One thing I’ve always found curious that people take pictures of is their food. I understand if you’ve prepared the food, but I find it humorous when someone takes photos of their pancakes, omelets, etc., in a restaurant. I mean, why not take pictures of your cook, napkins, and utensils while you’re at it? 🤣

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    • Pete, I, too, know that there’ve been many people who have influenced me, making me a better person, and I appreciate them all. Rayleen floats into my mind every fall, so this year I thought I’d acknowledge her.

      Excellent point about how wanting to look good is human nature.

      I’m smiling about your take on photos of food. You’re channeling my mother and you don’t know it. She didn’t like photos of food, preferring to see either pics of the people you were eating with, or the tablescape before people sat down. As for the food itself, those photos didn’t interest her.

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  37. I like the pile of stuff, perhaps related to some of mine. Who knows? I also like the old-fashioned time wasters, although I’m currently online with Waffle and Wordle. I do however have copious numbers of books, either physical or e-. In fact, when I see a home with no books, magazines, etc., I do wonder a bit about the people who live there. 🙂

    Your post brings to mind the thoughts I have when I see photos of homes in magazines with, for instance, a beautifully made bed (often with so many pillows that you have to take off and stack somewhere when you want to go to bed and then put back in the morning–WHY?) with a fur coat or sometime similar casually thrown onto it. Just like my bed. Right.

    Blog influencers? When I started I mostly wrote and now I mostly share photos. I admire good photographers and good story tellers/good writers (you’re one) but mostly just do what I can and feel like. 🙂

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    • Janet, me too: “when I see a home with no books, magazines, etc., I do wonder a bit about the people who live there.” I don’t get how there can’t be some books around, but… 🤨

      I agree about too many pillows on the bed. They look beautiful for a photo shoot, but on a daily basis moving them around would tire me. I mean, look at our screened-in porch, we cannot keep those few pillows in place– and they’re puny compared to Euro and king-size pillows decorating a bed.

      I hear ‘ya about doing what you can and feel like. That’s my approach to personal blogging, too. I show up [usually] once a week and have no editorial calendar on which I plan what I’ll be writing about months in advance. I fly by the seat of my pants here when it comes to topics.

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  38. I’m a fan of the screened in porch shot. My ideal home would have one. I do not post photos much of anywhere but on my blog, so no on that question. I had a friend, Karen, who was one of those people who rub you wrong when you first meet them (but in the most polite way), and then you realize you’re just jealous because they are self-assured and happy in a way we feel we can never be. I was sorry when she returned to Army life and we lost touch. Turned out she retired about 5 hours away and later passed away of cancer and we never reconnected. She taught me to cross-country ski and how to roll with life’s punches (still working on that).

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    • Eilene, the photo of the screened-in porch has been the most popular one by a long shot. It is a nice space, I’ll confirm that.

      Karen sounds like one of those ships that pass in the night people who are with you for a while, then move on. Sorry you never reconnected. I’ve found that [often] it’s in retrospect that I realized how much someone had influenced me to be a better version of myself.

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  39. I think I like the kitchen sink photo best. Kitchen sinks are the place where dirty dishes get washed. It makes sense. I’d love to have a photo of my grandma’s kitchen sink after Thanksgiving dinner with all the women in there, talking and working–the good workers and the ones who get in the way. My grandma and Aunt Gertie would definitely be right in the middle of it.

    You got me thinking about the things we photograph and the things we don’t. Vacations, holidays, and graduations get lots of attention. The ordinary things of everyday life don’t. My mom used to complain that people didn’t bother to photograph the outside of their houses. My dad built houses, so that mattered to her.

    When I was keeping a journal, I used record lots of little details of my surroundings–not just the beautiful things. Those journals were useful when I wrote my last novel.

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    • Nicki, now that you mention it I’d like to have a photo of my grandpa’s kitchen sink. He was a widower by the time I came along, but he hosted big family dinners– and by hosted I mean he bought the food then my mother and her sisters fixed the meal in his kitchen. There was always a mess afterward.

      Interesting about people not photographing the outside of houses. I have one pic of ours, but that’s it. You’re right about how vacations & holidays & events are what people usually photograph. Treasured memories, I suppose.

      I don’t keep a journal. However, I can see how the little details you save in them can come in handy when you write novels. Makes sense

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  40. I love that you prompted readers to pick a favourite photo; that would never have crossed my mind!

    My fav is definitely the one of your kitchen. It looks warm and cozy and I just love to eat, so the kitchen is a vital room for any eating experience!

    I’m not on mainstream social media channels, but I do blog. I don’t put a lot of thought into it, but feel like I post a mix of photos, which is kind of like life? I’ve shown the giant hole in the drywall in our ensuite bathroom when I snapped a picture of a new dress (that I got for $3.75 at a thrift store – so “new” is relative); I’ve posted pictures of giant holes being jackhammered in our basement. And then I also post pictures of sunsets and heaps of veggies from our local farmer’s market because…well, that’s life. There are moments (like some of those sunsets) where the pictures are just practically perfect – without having to try or be selective. And then other times life is really, really messy. And I definitely try to WRITE about the messy, too.

    I will say that house/life tours like this always make me feel guilty. I LOVE order and while our house definitely has a lived-in-vibe, I feel like I’m not giving my kids a fully fun life because we don’t, for example, have white paper over a coffee table (we don’t even own a coffee table, so there is that element to it as well!).

    We had a giant board game set up on our dining room table for over a week this month and I loved how the kids kept gravitating to it and playing at random times BUT IT SLOWLY drove me nuts. I wish this were not so.

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    • Elisabeth, it was only after I saw the photos in a line on the draft that it dawned on me to ask which photo anyone liked. They’re so different I figured replies would be interesting and they have been.

      I’m glad you like the kitchen one. I prefer to have a tidy kitchen, which is what I usually share when I snap a photo, but in reality it is often a bit of a mess. Oh well

      We have a board game, Viticulture, set up on our dining room table right now. A few days ago Z-D put out all the bits and pieces but we have yet to play it. It’s complicated and we’re waiting until we have a few uninterrupted hours together to learn it. My point is, the game sitting there doesn’t even register on my radar as being messy– yet. I can, however, understand how, like you, it might bother me if it’s there too long. We’ll see

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  41. I sometimes worry that the photos I share are mostly of ordinary things that I see while walking or driving (usually in the same area). I guess I am worrying needlessly.

    As for your photos, I like the old-fashioned time-wasters. It’s nice photo, and the idea of spending time without a device in your hand is nice to consider.

    When I first started blogging, I was extremely nervous about commenting on blogs by women, especially when the topic leaned toward issues of interest to women. I don’t know if you remember Sammy, but she seemed to make it her mission to fix that for me. I still miss her blog.

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  42. Pingback: Cleaning up – A Silly Place

  43. Pingback: The Messy Part of Life | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  44. I’ve flirted with screening in my terrace. It would make it easier to entertain without finding a place to isolate the dogs, but also hate creating a separation from the pool and the view…and Zoe, the puppy, would have the screens shredded within days.

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  45. My fave is the pic of your comfy area on the porch; it looks like at any minute, someone could plop down and arrange the pillows to maximize comfort.

    Many people left an impression on me in my blogging life that I mimic here and there; it does take you a while to find your style and rhythm. Reading other blogs, you can see what you are attached to and what you don’t care for.

    Messy photos are what life is really about.

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    • Suz, you’ve described what happens on the screened-in porch all the time. I like to pretend those pillows have an assigned place, but the reality is they float around to various spots depending on who is out there.

      In my early blogging days I read a wide variety of blogs. This allowed me to figure out what resonated with me and how I wanted to be perceived. How-to advice is fine, but it’s seeing how other people do things that helped the most.

      Case in point, Rayleen.

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  46. I love this sentiment, and I concur. Your kitchen is beautiful, and your screened-in porch looks like something from a magazine. I want to be there. It looks super cozy, and I love the colors and the proximity of the trees, so that one’s my fave. 🙂

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  47. Firstly, your first photo of the kitchen sink and counter is my favorite because it looks as messy as my own kitchen counter whereas the other photos show a neater house than the one I live in.

    Secondly, I have not posted photos on Instagram about the messy details of my life, but you have inspired me to change that.

    Thirdly and finally, I’ll have to think long and hard about that one. Well, wait, there was one woman I met in grad school who I later met again at my workplace. What happened was: She had an assistantship but was leaving the doctoral program that I was just entering. Her assistantship was given to me and we met one day just to go over stuff. She exuded a level of self-confidence that I envied and she said that, even though she “loved” the dean (the person who had chosen us for the assistantship), she knew the program was not for her so she was leaving. Not sure where she was going to go and what she was going to do, but, per her, she knew when it was time to leave. She left me wondering about my own choices in life, and when I left the doctoral program a couple of years later, I thought of her. A few more years go by and she shows up at my workplace for an interview. I was on the panel and quite excited to see her again. We hired her and not too long after that, she told me (again) she was leaving. I remember I wasn’t surprised (it was not a good work environment) and (again) I envied this woman who didn’t spend years trying to decide if she should stay or go. She trusted her instincts. This has nothing to do with blogging, but so it goes.

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    • Marie, I’m with you admiring anyone who has the self-confidence to know when it’s time to leave– and then leave. It’s amazing how your life overlapped with this woman and I can see how she gave you pause. I can overthink anything so to just trust your instincts with no fanfare is inspiring. Thanks for sharing this slice of your life here. For those of us who are cerebral, people who just do things are fascinating.

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  48. I’ve been so lucky to cross paths with people who gave exactly the helping hand I needed at exactly the right time! I credit them for any success I’ve had since. As for photos, I’m guilty there….I do tend to share only those that are flattering. But you’re right, those aren’t the good ones, the ones who will remind us what life was really like years from now. My favorite set of photos from my childhood were both taken on Christmas morning: one before we children ripped into our presents, with the perfectly decorated tree and beautifully wrapped presents, and one after we opened them, where the living room looks as if a tornado hit it. I still smile when I look at that one!

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    • Ann, I feel the same way as you, I’ve only gotten to where I am because many people have helped me along the way. I may have started the ball rolling, but other people have guided me as I’ve gone along. The trick is to know who to pay attention to– and who to politely ignore.

      Your before and after Christmas morning photos sound wonderful. I think they’re exactly the sort of thing that Rayleen was encouraging us to do. Just show reality, messy as it maybe. Don’t need to do this all the time, but occasionally they provide balance.

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  49. I love this idea! Whenever a blogger would ask readers for photo requests, I’d ask to see the inside of their fridge. Doesn’t get more messy or mundane (or fascinating, really) than that! I tend to post “nice” photos, but I swear they’re not staged. I should try a similar post to yours someday.

    I like the screened-in porch shot best. Just because it looks like such a cozy retreat, one that Tara and I covet in our next home.

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  50. I think that is a great idea Ally! My favorite is your porch – it looks very serene and I like blue. Second favorite is the dishes in the sink/counter, as it reminds me of my daily mess and Lord am I sick of cooking. I don’t do Instagram, don’t even check it out, nor Pinterest, so I have no idea of the state of perfection of the photos. I do tend to be fussy about my photos, the ones that I post on my blog, but then I’m mostly using them to illustrate a post, and I don’t have a good camera.

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    • Joni, the porch is a comfortable place, and we use it almost year round so making it look pretty is a priority. The kitchen mess is what it is. Anyone who cooks understands it instantly.

      I like to post well-composed colorful photos, but I don’t stage anything [other than making a bouquet of flowers look better– or turning on a light when necessary]. Like you I use photos to accent a post, nor do I have a great camera, so what you see is how it really is. I do, however, usually not show daily messiness, but as this post has proved, there’s no harm in it.

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  51. I am not the best housekeeper, likely a silent rebellion from years of living with my mom who was a perfectionist in her housekeeping. It took me years to convince Mom that yes, it was okay to leave the house with breakfast dishes in the sink, or to go to bed with a couple of dirty mugs in the sink. My influence then was good, but now I see a perpetual mess in this house, especially in the good-weather months. I tell myself “I’ll make it look good come Winter and even better when I’m retired” but the simple truth is I hate to waste my precious free time on housework and no one comes to the house except for A/C and furnace checks. This year even the yard looked terrible – lack of interest due to the heat/humidity and lots of rain earlier in the year. I don’t share my unkempt parts of the house on social media and all I show in the house for my blog are the counter tops or a table, but I freely admit to everyone that I won’t win any Suzy Homemaker contests. Your photo of “assorted stuff heaped on the hutch” mirrors many items bunched, heaped or segregated to available flat surfaces here. 🙂

    I had a mentor at the ad agency who wanted to help me step up the ladder more quickly and then we lost our major account, so he left and couldn’t take me, so that glimmer of hope faded. We kept in touch a bit, but before social media, cellphones, etc., contact soon was reduced to an annual Christmas card. A few years into my blog I decided to get in touch with Jerry to tell him about it. I knew from Googling him before that he had become a film producer and lived on the East Coast. A few mouse clicks later, I learned that he had died suddenly a few weeks earlier … rotten timing. I was devastated though I hadn’t spoken to him in 30 years.

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    • Linda, I’m with you about ignoring household chores“especially in the good-weather months” because I prefer to groove on pretty outside than deal with dust bunnies inside. I’m glad you helped your mother lighten up on her perfectionistic tendencies. That’s not easy to do.

      Oh that is weirdly rotten timing with Jerry. Or maybe it was the right timing, giving you permission to bless him for his help and then experience closure from your days in the world of advertising. Move on, as it were– not literally [obviously] but figuratively. Life can be like that.

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      • I am a procrastinator on top of it … that contributes to my disorganization. I wasn’t always like that. I have my pre-blogging organizational skills versus my current organization skills; the latter due to time constraints are not so swift.

        I wish I could have connected with Jerry again – it was not meant to be, but I would have liked him to know I did something with my sheepskin. I did write a tribute post in his honor and that was cathartic.

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  52. Ooof, all of those pictures are relatable to me.

    As for my favourite photo, the old-fashioned time wasters one sticks out. It calls back to a simpler time when you could physically see what someone was interested in and spark a chat with, which can be somewhat difficult if someone’s they’re looking at a screen.

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    • Strangely Irid, you’re right about how when someone has their nose buried in a screen you have no idea what they’re reading or what game they’re playing. It cuts off potential conversation instantly. Maybe that’s why people like their cell phones so much, they can isolate themselves from other people while being among other people?

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      • Could be, I can see how a phone could avoid awkward or stressful chats in general. Plus there’s probably enough on the phone to prevent someone from being present with the people nearby too.

        I’d like to believe that talking to the person nearby about the book they’re reading or the activity they’re doing will ultimately feel better than whatever we’re distracting ourselves with on our phones, making that photo stand out to me all the more.

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        • Yes, I remember when people/strangers would have casual conversations, often in passing, that were about something at hand like a book– or what you’re buying in the store. That kind of informality is rare anymore.

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  53. Oooh, first off, I’ve never heard of a piece of furniture called a “hutch” other than something rabbits live in 😀 Thank you – I love adding new words to my vocabulary.

    I met a group of women on a breast cancer support forum who made a huge difference in how I experienced my treatment and the time afterwards. They called themselves the Storm Riders, and they were a great group of strong, independent women. Sadly, too many are no longer with us, but they left their mark on me and doubtless others as well.

    I love taking photos, but rarely of my everyday life. If I’ve used my phone instead of my camera to take the picture, it’s more likely that I’ll post it on IG, but that’s rare.

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    • Deb, no kidding? In England you don’t call that piece of furniture a hutch? Didn’t know that was an Americanism, but now that you mention it I suppose you call it a cupboard?

      Your cancer support group undoubtedly made an impression on you– as well it should. I’m sorry many of the woman are gone, that’s difficult.

      I understand your distinction between everyday life photos taken with the camera in your phone and taking photos with your camera. They have a different gravitas to them. I almost exclusively use my phone camera now, so nothing I snap is all that important or meaningful– it’s the stuff of IG!

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      • Ally, I think it’s called a dresser (although not a Welsh dresser which is something where you display plates & other doodads on the upper shelves), or maybe a display cabinet. It’s a funny old thing how we share a language, but – uh – don’t!

        I’ve an old iPhone, so perhaps I’ll be more inclined to use its camera more when I upgrade (if I ever get round to it!)

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  54. I dunno, but those images look pretty close to perfection and beauty to me.
    You have laser focused on what I think is the reason so many of our kids and the general public are having difficulties in life – thinking all those “pretty” pictures/events and lovely “stories” on social media are actually “stories” and not real life. They are so busy trying to also post images others will be impressed by that they are not seeing or living in real life. Worried and wasting what time living they have?
    Anyway, nice post. You are no doubt a silent mentor/muse/role model to many new bloggers

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    • philmouse, I take your point about these photos. IF you’re of a mindset that living life is paramount & taking photos of it is secondary, THEN these photos are cool beans, very normal. BUT many people seem to be obsessed with presenting themselves as an example of perfection, nothing amiss. Rayleen sensed that years ago, but I only got thinking about it in the last year or so. You’re onto something with your idea that many difficulties in life are because of the unrealistic expectations… as seen on social media.

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  55. The only one that looks truly messy to me is the first one with the sink. It’s one of those things, like an attic, which is supposed to serve a specific purpose but when it serves that purpose for too long, it becomes useless – like a fully loaded sink. However, the thing that intrigues me about that photo is the peculiar red dot on the floor. What is it, a laser beam, a reflection, or something not present in the room but in the image; a ghostly anomaly.

    When I began blogging, two decades back, there was an existing site called and hosted by “themanwhofellasleep” and I was very inspired by that. The web had more blank canvas then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ian Kay, good comparison of the sink to the attic. The counter is there for a purpose and I guarantee you the dishes do get washed… eventually.

      The red dot is what the dishwasher does while it’s running. It’s incredibly quiet and there’s no front panel with buttons, so that dot indicates the machine is doing its thing. When the cycle is over, the dot goes away and we know to open the door.

      I’m sure I don’t know about “themanwhofellasleep” but I’m feeling sorry I missed him. You’re right about the blank canvas aspect of early blogging. It was a different place.

      Liked by 1 person

  56. I love this musing, Ally. I have at times avoided sharing spontaneous photos because I caught the messy counter in the background or the like. I’m rethinking that now. I share the messy parts of my life in words on my blog. Why not in photos too? To answer your questions, 1) I had an English teacher in junior high, Mr. Cook, that built my confidence and insisted I had a special quality and talents at a time when I was particularly insecure. 2) I just admitted that I typically don’t share the messy photos of my life, but some do get through and I plan to do more now. 3) I think I like the boxes in the garage photo, because I have a similar stash at my house. Guess I better deliver them to Goodwill, so someone else can enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christie, good point about sharing the messiness of life in words, so why not extend that to a few photos? Mr. Cook sounds exactly like the sort of person I was thinking of when I asked the question. It’s easy to forget about good people like him.

      I feel a little guilty about not getting those boxes to Goodwill. It’s not like they’re heavy, it’s just that I’m lazy… and I rarely drive in the direction of Goodwill. Lame excuse, I know

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  57. I resonate with your photos. I could have taken the same ones of the piles of stuff! What caught me about your post was the mention of instagram “perfection”. Perfection is to achievable now with filters, photoshop, and other kinds of editing, it’s refreshing to see things that are “real”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sumiko, you’re right, I hadn’t thought of it but with editing tools anyone can make a photo look perfect. There must be a lot of that happening in IG. I don’t even think to do much, if anything, in the way of changing my photos. I’m old school + a bit of a sloth.

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  58. Every time I take pictures in our home, my wife always says “Oh, no!” because she’s usually right that it’s going in the blog. I guess I’ve unwitting showed everything merely as it is, just as you have. One thing I couldn’t help but not notice, Ally, is how beautiful your kitchen countertops are! Well done. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marty, I try to take photos that are well-composed and clear, but I don’t stage much of anything. I’m sure I could make things look perfect but why bother? The countertops have done us well. They’re granite, but not a fancy one, a very basic one. Thanks for noticing.

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  59. Your post made me smile, and now I’m totally obsessed with the idea of the Muse of The Mundane. I was trying to imagine what her costume would look like, because of course she must have one. And suddenly I saw her – she’s actually two-sided like a coin. Her other side is the Muse of The Magical. Makes sense doesn’t it? Magic is always hidden in the mundane, we just don’t often use our eyes to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. I love the messy kitchen and the dishes in the sink, it has a poignant quality about it. I was in situation once when one of my children was badly ill and it was those mundane things that I found myself missing, like washing the dishes. I was longing for normal and sons return to health and the dishes were my muse.
    I’m just starting to blog and really enjoyed this, thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  61. I love this idea. I think the most *relatable* picture would be the dishes piled everywhere. My favourite would be the time wasters. Both of them are showing a space that’s being used, meaningfully.

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  62. I like the paragraph about the “show” of a blogger versus the “tell”. I remember when I first started I was drawn to the so-called pros, who only seemed to blog about how to blog. Eventually I came to the same conclusion as what you wrote. It’s much more fruitful if you simply read the posts of those who are good writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave, I did the same thing. I read all the HOW TO BLOG posts I could find, poured over them… and got nowhere. Eventually it dawned on me to focus on people who were actually writing blog posts, not on the people who wanted to tell me what to do. That’s been key to my success as a blogger. Maybe all newbie bloggers go through this process/realization?

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  63. I portray my life in Japan as an immigrant, and it’s only natural that photos accompany my blog posts— and I post the same photos to Instagram, too, because I’m simply too lazy to spend hours curating Instagram-worthy photos.

    However, I try to be mindful of my reasons for taking photos. “Does this photo serve me or someone else?” is a simple question I ask myself before posting it to social media. It truly curbed my desire to “show off” the “perfect” parts of living in Japan. I am tired of how Japan is portrayed on social media—all the stereotypes and unrealistic comments. I’m glad I don’t do it (at least), so I can call myself a realistic Japan blogger 🙂

    Great blog btw, I’ll keep coming back and read more!

    Like

    • Bahanur, I like your question: “Does this photo serve me or someone else?” I see value in asking yourself that to be clear about why you’re posting the photos you post. I also see value in not showing off which is what Rayleen was talking about years ago even if she didn’t say it that way.

      I’ll admit that whenever I see photos of Japan they are perfect, nary a tree branch or chopstick out of place. Your approach to capturing the country sounds refreshing. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. Welcome

      Liked by 1 person

  64. I really enjoyed this blog post. I tend to add some silly and mundane entries to my journal. I’ll journal about the traumatic experience of my car accident on one page and write about the expression my chihuahua had when she bonked her head on the coffee table on the next page. I think it’s valuable to keep our writing light and playful, and remind our readers that we are relatable humans. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Belle, I agree. Being a relatable human being is the essence of personal blogging. I believe life is in the details, so that’s what I focus on. I keep it light around here, although I do occasionally go deeper when so moved [which isn’t often]. I attribute this approach to some of my early blogging mentors who showed me how to do this goofy thing called blogging. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  65. What a lovely post ♥️ yes to sharing the mess, though your house messy looks like my house tidy 🤣

    I’ve learned something new from you today: the word ‘prescient’ which I hadn’t come across before.

    You’ve also helped me become more comfortable with comments on blogs, at first making comments & receiving them felt very forced but the more we do things the easier they get, so thanks for showing me that 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rae Cod, I’m pleased to know that you’re now more comfortable leaving comments on blog posts. It took me a loooong time to get to that point. As for our house, it is what it is at any moment. I refuse to apologize for how we live. Because… I just won’t. And it’s more fun to share photos of what is.

      Liked by 1 person

  66. Pingback: We should all scream for this: Sept. 25 – A Silly Place

  67. I cannot pick a favorite, but the premise is spot on. I owe my gratitude to a teacher decades ago who taught me the value of letting children create their own art, and avoiding pre-done, cookie cutter art that can only make a child feel unsuccessful. It’s the same thing as your photos. Thank you, Ally.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. This is such a great post about the imperfections in life. I remember my art mentor, Arlyn. He was like a brother to me and unfortunately passed away after a few short years of knowing each other. I will never forget him or his kindness ❤️

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  69. 1. I tend not to show messes. Messes are ok in person for awhile, but when I see them in photos I don’t like them.
    2. I can’t remember anyone like that in my life, although there have been some, I’m sure. I don’t have too many available brain cells currently.
    3. I don’t remember what order you asked the questions in.
    4. My favorite shot is the screened in porch which I found to be stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. As a professional photographer who leans more towards fine art photography (with a painterly style) than a photojournalistic style, I don’t typically take pictures (with my good camera) of the mundane. Not because I don’t care to prove that I’m human, but because I shoot things that are important to me and I deeply enjoy photography that challenges me. It’s harder to come up with a concept in your head and get it onto the screen than it is to shoot at random. I appreciate the humanity and nature of shooting with a more documenting approach… And while I have many images that are beautiful in their simplicity… It’s not something I lean towards artistically. Which I think is what makes what I photograph… my own.

    As for someone who influenced me… I had this incredible friend named Alex. She dropped off the map but I was just thinking about her earlier this morning while rummaging through my laundry for a pair of socks. When I was young my mom told me that everything should match so into adulthood down to my socks… I made darn sure my outfit matched. Alex (a young woman who served in the Army reserves) happened to be my horse riding partner. We had so much fun together. One day while stressing over locating matching socks for my muck boots… She reached over and out her hand on mine. She looked me in eye and said “LaShelle, life is too short to spend so much time looking for matching socks nobody is going to see.” She was right. It was a good analogy for other things too. Leaving the house with a fresh face but no makeup, tossing my hair into a messy bun when it hadn’t been brushed yet. Those who matter won’t care and those who care won’t matter right?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LaShelle, I understand your reasoning for not taking photos of the mundane. I get how for you to do so would be a betrayal of your standards. You use your photos as example of the meaningful and the memorable– which is not what a mundane photo is. Rayleen was a professional photographer, but with a different point of view. Whatever works, eh?

      I’m laughing about your matching socks story. First off I agree with Alex, life is way too short to worry about how you look all the time. Socks, schmocks. And second, in the very next post to this one I wrote about a woman who had to match her bra and undies. Comments about that topic have run toward Alex’s advice too.

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      • Not really a betrayal of my standards, it’s just not the style I was always drawn to ❤️🤗. When you work hard as an artist to find your “voice” a deviation from it feels… As if you’re someone else. It’s hard to explain 🤪 hopefully I’m coming across better. I love artists that enjoy doing that kind of work and I don’t mind looking at it, it’s just not for me. ☺️ For some reason I never felt like my bra had to match unless I was wearing something that would make it show 🤪 but I’m glad you and Alex had the same concept! I think it taught me to care less about what other people think of me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I feel the same way as a writer that you do as a photographer. I try to be concise and specific when I write something, leaning more journalistic than academic, intentionally editing to the fewest words possible while making my point. On the other hand I like reading posts and books written in a wordier style than mine, but I won’t go there anymore.

          As for the bra and undies quandary in the next post, replies have been funny and snarky.

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