15 July 2012

Used to...

You know, I used to smoke. I had a really hard time quitting.

One day, I guess, I'll be saying: "You know, I used to blog. I had a really hard time quitting."

I wouldn't be the only blogger who ever quit blogging. I know several who have, so I know it's possible.

The question is whether or not to go quietly. Some blogs I've enjoyed reading over the years have just disappeared one day. The blogger was never heard from again. It happens with commenters too — they just vanish. I hate that.

One blogger I used to enjoy reading said he quit because blogging was preventing him from doing other things that he wanted and needed to do. I'm not sure I feel that way about it. There are certainly a lot of other things I need to do around the house and in the yard and garden, but then those are things I have always blogged about.

Another blogger friend said she quit because she didn't really enjoy writing, and especially didn't enjoy trying to come up with "interesting" subjects to write about on a regular basis. That part has never bothered me — I just write down whatever pops into my head. (You don't have to read it...)

Doing otherwise makes the blog turn into something resembling a work obligation, and I certainly don't want that. The yard and house give me plenty of work to do already. And weeds don't stop growing when you're tired. Radiators, window frames and sills, and balcony edges need paint. Dog hair needs vacuuming up. Plants need repotting. I have reading I really want to do but never seem to find time for. Hey, I'm supposed to be retired!

So why am I having what might be the blogger version of an existential crisis? Maybe I just need a vacation. Or maybe I need a new subject, a new focus. Hey, maybe I could just write about the weather for a while!

If I do stop or cut back on the blog, what will I do with all the pictures I take. Will I stop taking them? How many more pictures of the vines, the dog, the flowers, the skies, can you stand? So many questions...

I guess this is my way of saying that I'm going to try to take a two-month vacation. No visitors until late September. No travels until November or December. We are so far behind because we were far too busy last summer with visitors and travels around France. Then we had a hard winter. We had constant rain from April 1 until ... well, today, in fact ... and we went away for two weeks in May right when it was time to be planting the garden and getting a head start on weed-control.

On another front, I'm now getting 50 to 100 spam comments on the blog every day. The Blogger spam filter is catching them. But I have to look through them all every day and see if there are any non-spam comments being caught in the net. And they are clogging up my e-mail big-time — every time somebody — anybody, even a robot — leaves a comment, I get an e-mail containing the content.

Therefore, I'm going to have to turn the word verification feature back on. Sorry to make it more difficult for you to comment, but I'm feeling just slightly overwhelmed.


  1. That's OK with me as long as I can read [guess?] both words I have to type!

  2. I sometimes think about taking a blogging break, but every time I do, something new inspires me!
    Totally understand about the frustrating spam comments...they are so annoying.
    Enjoy a day without rain. We are too (hopefully)
    And enjoy your break! :)

  3. For me, it's like work, but work I love. I do have a schedule (Wednesdays and Saturdays) and feel a powerful obligation to stick to it, but somehow it keeps happening. I do think it's weird when regular bloggers quit without telling anyone. I always think we ought to alert the authorities to go peek in a window, or something.

  4. Enjoy your break and I hope that you return.
    We who read and get involved with your lives will miss you.
    On the other hand readers, not bloggers, have also their mid life crisis and have to have a break from what was a daily read. I have had to stop reading M.Ongoose after the v. sad demise of his dog Wilf.
    Currently I am suffering a tech. fault that stops me from commenting on many - well 6 - of my favourites. The Publish box will not be clicked. A sort of Spam Filter in reverse!

  5. Enjoy your vacation and hopefully you'll return refreshed and ready to share your life and thoughts via your blog again.

    I'm a sometime commenter but all time reader so will miss your thoughts and photographs.

    I deal with hard to read WV is to type some random letters and the new WV which appears is invariably easier to read. Check it out!

    À bientôt, j'espère...

  6. I wasn't quite clear from your post as to whether your 'vacation' included not blogging. If it does, my guess is you will be back. There will always be something from time to time that you are inspired to write about or want to share. Remember that blogging has some wonderful positives - the networking opportunities are very rewarding. Also remember there is a middle way - blog twice a week like MB. That way you retain the discipline required to keep going, but don't have to come up with a new topic nearly so often. These days, with all the feeds available to readers, they won't miss a post just because you don't post every day. In the old days, we started posting every day because it was obvious that readers didn't get into the habit of checking if you didn't post something new every day. Now most people use Google reader or RSS or similar to alert them to new blog posts so you can be as irregular as you like.

  7. The above jibberish just goes to show that my WV trick isn't perfect!
    Sorry ...

  8. Interesting. I used to worry when a blog disappeared or a commenter stopped commenting. What happened to them? Are they ok? I learnt not to worry. Blogging, well our kind, is recreational and you don't have any obligation to anyone. Do it if you want too but it doesn't matter if you miss a day, a week, whatever. A single photo post paired with a single sentence won't set the world on fire but it something that is easy to do if you aren't feeling inspired.

  9. I just got m'y blogs offline. I still keep à journal that is of no interest but to myself and keep taking photos that I occasionally post on Flickr. I have started a tumblr but am already reckless. I am too much of a dilettante to stick to anything I guess. I'm pretty sure you won't quit. Or rather hope so.

  10. I hope your hiatus is restorative, and that you do return soon to offer us the daily dose of life in France!

  11. Time to pamper yourself a little and do just what you feel like doing. Have a good break! We'll look forward to hearing from you again in your own good time.

  12. Sorry to hear that you will be taking a break. I enjoy reading your blog.....have it listed as one of my favourites on my own blog.
    I will miss your day to day stories of life in Saint Aignan.
    I guess if Walt continues blogging the void will not be too bad.
    Get the rest you desire and then come back PLEEEASE all refreshed and take us along with you for the adventures of your life.

  13. Like Susan, I'm not sure whether your'vacation' means that you won't be blogging for a while. Or whether is means just sitting back, smelling the roses, working in the garden and enjoying the life in Saint-Aignan, taking it one day at the time, without having to worry about a busy schedule of visits, parties to host or to attend ... Whatever it'll turn out be; have fun and come back soon. I'm certainly going to miss your daily posts, because they are my link with La Touraine. And something to look forward to every morning! Martine

  14. I'll miss your daily posts too. I love reading about your life in France. I'll be watching for your return!

  15. I guess this is going to show that spammer- I got really mad at him (women don't sell that product) also!

    Please come back! Your posts are a comfort to many- I wonder how many lurkers will miss you? You have a real gift of communication that goes beyond photos and recipes.

    I'm going to miss the cooking a lot, but not the weather this summer. Keep taking photos for us and enjoy your summer (did the radiator project factor into this decision).

    Wait- I'm going to miss the commenters too! Judy is not going to like today's news. Perhaps we need to start a Facebook club or something....

    au revoir, j'espere

  16. yours is the first blog i read every AM.....I will miss you! enjoy your break and hope you will return

  17. Quit blogging would be harder than quit smoking...I used to smoke , I easily quit

  18. Ken, you will be missed very much. I hope you come back refreshed. I'd appreciate it if you'd email us when you're back at the old stand.

    Hey, I will miss your regulars also. I don't think Judy has missed a day commenting. Well, maybe her wedding day.

    Nice to see Murr Brewster commenting. Have you seen her blog? She writes about what's on her mind, and it's the kind of mind you want to hear from frequently.

    Ken, this idea will take some getting used to. Your blog is the first one I read each day. You deserve a break, so I understand, but..but...but...I'm feeling sorry for myself.

  19. Somehoow I wasn't left with the
    impression that you are going
    "dark" for the entire two months.
    Hope not.

    By the way, on the subject of
    painting radiators. In the US
    we have foam "brushes." They
    are great for getting into
    little crevices. They've been
    around for quite a while, maybe
    you can find them there. So cheap
    they're throwaways.

  20. I am sorry that you've been having such a hard time with this because I always enjoy your blog. But enjoy your down time. I hope you will return sometime because I enjoy so much reading what you have to say every day.

  21. Like another commenter here, I always read your posts but rarely comment. A few years ago when someone told me about RSS feeds and Google Reader, I put together a bunch of blogs that I started getting feeds from, including this one. Over the years I've dropped some, and some I've kept but rarely read. But I always read Living the Life. And, like a few others here, it's not clear to me whether your vacation includes the blog. Maybe you're not quite sure yet. In any event, when you post, I'll get it and read it. And I can certainly understand it if you feel you need a break. I also understand why you're using WV, although I really hate it because I generally find the words so hard to read.

  22. Evelyn is right, I'm sad to hear that you won't be blogging for a while, but I'm hoping that you'll be on Facebook sometimes? I sometimes wonder if some bloggers, once they get involved with FB, feel that their need to be in touch with far-away friends and to share their photos is satisfied there.

    I actually don't know about Google Reader-- I just come here every morning to see what's new in Ken's world :) Amy H. used to mention on FB, "Chitlins readers: There's a new post!"

    Perhaps the twice-per-week type schedule might work for you, as others have suggested? :))


  23. I'm not a "commenter" (and don't blog or do social media) but read and enjoy your blog. I had a short time living in Europe, and although it didn't work out for me (the job was awful), I envy those who can make it work. I've also recently "early retired" myself and while I haven't made dramatic changes as you did, your blog entries have been a guide and inspiration. I have you on RSS feed and will look forward to future postings. Best regards.

  24. What Carolyn said.
    Love you!

  25. I will miss reading your blog every day, have been reading since 2007. Enjoy your time off and I hope to "see" you soon!

  26. I am one of those selfish people who love your blog but rarely comment.

    I just want you to know that I will miss your lovely writings and photos, but will wait eagerly for your return. Have a good rest.

  27. How about blogging just once a week? That would give you time to do other things the other six days. I read your blog every day to get my France fix and will really miss it if you take a two-month break.

  28. Ken

    Sorry to read about your blog interfering with your day-to-day life but I guess taking a break to do other things that do require your attention and time may help you plan how to continue with it in the future .

    I am certain that you won't quit but will do it when time and schedule permit it - after all it is a way to document your life in France :-)

    Dans l'attente de vous lire , I will say "enjoy your summer and your gardening" and do keep "in touch" because you write beautifully about your surroundings and daily life.

  29. I do not comment, but your blog is a part of my everyday routine. I am not surprised at your wanting to take a break-- you have been "visiting" a lot lately. As for subject matter, I am of the opinion that life isn't quite lived as richly until you have reflected on it and attempted to put it in words.... Think of your break as a sabbatical-- to fill yourself up before you give out again.
    Bon courage, a friend from Bellingham, WA

  30. I am not surprised at your wanting to take a break, you have been busy traveling and "visiting" a lot lately. As for subject matter, I think you haven't really lived as richly until you take time to reflect on it and put it into words. Think of this as a sabbatical to fill yourself up again.

  31. Enjoy your break - but come back soon!

  32. Enjoy your vacation. I hope you decide to come back, even if it's not daily. I don't think I could do it every day. I love reading you, though, and I'll miss my morning fix.

  33. I, too, have been blogging daily -- for me, it's been since 2004. I've been reading your blog for years, so it will be sad not to start the morning with a check on what you're up to.

    A daily blog is a reflection on steps taken, foods eaten, thoughts that come and go. It's not driven by events, it's driven by life, as it transpires.

    Of course, you should stop writing if it's not doing anything for you anymore. But I do think that there are alternatives. Post just one photo a day, everyday. This way you can keep your photographic nose sharp and you can write a sentence just about that photo. Or, as some have suggested -- post once a week.

    When you start talking about two month breaks, that sounds like you've run out of steam for good.

    Still, thanks for not just disappearing. It is worrisome when people who were once there are there no more!

    And thanks for the years of sharing!

  34. Ken, like GaynorB I am an everyday reader and sometime commenter. I hope you have a super break and don't suffer "withdrawal" symptoms! Take care, Louise

  35. I too, enjoy your blog and hope you will come back after your rest. Best of luck accomplishing everything you hope to do. Just remember, you have a lot of fans/friends hoping you will come back.
    Barb in Minnesota

  36. Noooooo! I do not comment very often, but I read your blog every day - last, because I like to save the best for last! I have several friends who read it at my suggestion - two of them French teachers. But hey, no pressure! If you are taking a sabbatical, enjoy!

  37. I am an avid reader of your blog and will miss its appearance. Hope you will be back soon!
    Linda from Alabama

  38. too bad !! i'm reader and never comment. J' adore votre blog et c'est toujours un plaisir de le lire régulièrement. Revenez vite !

  39. if you are taking a complete break from blogging enjoy it; though we will miss your posts :-)
    We may not comment all that often but we do, like many othes, read your posts- their very 'everyday-ness' [in the nicest possible way] makes them a lovely read :-)

  40. well you know i'll miss you. every morning i enjoy my coffee with you and Walt and Callie and of course Bertie. i'm sending you a ton of hugs and hope you enjoy your break.

    and i'm glad you just didnt disappear but gave us all a little explanation. of course i would have laughed if one of us showed up at your door just to make sure you were ok if you had just vanished.

    with warmest regards
    your pal,
    ps re: blogging...i hope that one day....when the morning light comes streaming in
    You'll get up and do it again

  41. If blogging is keeping you from doing other things, you're spending way too much time on it.

  42. Ken - You deserve a vacation. Your life in Saint-Aignan has been a pleasure to read and I have enjoyed your photos and words immensely. Thank you for your french translations and cooking suggestions. Of course, I will continue to follow Walt's blog as long as he continues.

    As another blogger commented, even just a photo now and then to keep us updated with your garden, your cooking, Callie and Bertie would be welcomed...

    My life has had it's ups and downs and sometimes my computer lies idle while life takes me on other adventures, but I have always read your blog and gone back to the missed days (it always felt like I was catching up with you!).

    How disrespectful of the bloggers that have caused you harm. Some people... That would drive me nuts.

    Mary in Oregon (I had started to drop that when I figured out how to add an avatar)

  43. But, but, but.. how will we know what you and Walt are up to if you don't blog?

    Everyone deserves a vacation, of course, but your faithful readers (even those of us who rarely comment) will miss you. Hugs to you both.


  44. Ken

    It's Ok with me! I can read some of your earlier Blogs.

    On my own Blog I post every week not every day now too!

    Brisbane Qld

  45. Ken, by all means take a break. You should know I could never get sick of your postings and photos. You and Walt have given me such an education.
    I would have never known, except for a book or movie, anything about living in France until I started reading your blogs. They are both so different, and a part of my day every day. I love how you taught me how to properly pronounce words and what certain French words mean. I'll be missing you until your return. Take Care of Yourself! Kim

  46. I too am a 'lurker' and seldom comment, but your blog is one of the first things I read in a morning and I've very much appreciated a little taste of la France profonde over the past few years (and the recipes). I hope you enjoy your vacation and return soon.

  47. Enjoy your break, Ken. Hope you come back refreshed.

  48. We all need time to recharge the batteries, so I'm pleased you're going to have a sabbatical from your remarkable blog.

  49. I have enjoyed reading your blog. Enjoy your time away - and please know that you have brought a smile to my face so many days! I enjoy your blog very much.

  50. Ken, I'm another very occasional commentor who loves your (and Walt's) blog. I notice a log of folks say they read you first thing in the morning. I always save reading it until the end of the day - kind of like dessert. I will truly miss your so very interesting stories of day-to-day life in the French countryside. I hope you return as soon as you feel recharged enough! My best to you!

    Donna in SF

  51. Ken,
    I often wondered how you managed to blog every day. It is nice to hear you will take a break.

    As I have just purchased a second home in St Aignan your blog provided me a window on a location and lifestyle I would love to live permanently. I looked forward to reading your blog everyday.

    It would have been nice to meet you on this visit, maybe next time.

    If you are over for the market on Saturday feel free to pop your head though,if you wish. You know where we are.

    All the best, Rachael

  52. I guess I'm one of those commenters that disappear... i read you hate that, sorry. I like so many others have enjoyed your blog on a regular basis. Thanks to I've learned much about cooking, I found the Hertzmann site, purchased the Larouse gastronomique, and even got a little French book about mushrooms. I don't speak French and can only read a little but I try. I found your blog because one day i was searching for Breton, france and your blog showed up with those buckwheat pancakes, that's the post i have bookmarked. I still haven't tried that recipe, but I have prepared a few other dishes that you posted. I hope you enjoy your time away and will check back often in hopes that you are still active. Thank you for years of enjoyment.

  53. the unknown above was craig

  54. Hello Craig, yes, I was disappointed and mystified when you suddenly stopped blogging. I was sorry not to be able to read you any more. But we all make our decisions. I know you and Walt have exchanged e-mails.

    Me, I'm still in limbo — as I said, blogging has turned into a kind of addiction. After nearly seven years of doing it, I'm not sure what to do now.

  55. i'm the other craig... in michigan :^)

  56. Oops, I thought you were Craig in Scotland. Apologies...


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