Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reality in the Digital World

When I began blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. It was a sort of journal / family sharing concept for me. And because of that, I highlighted what I thought family may find interesting or what I wanted to remember. Another aspect of blogging, one I hadn't anticipated, was the network of acquaintances you can develop as you receive comments and comment on the blogs you read.

I found as I read blogs I frequently felt overwhelmed, inadequate, or challenged. So many people out there doing so many things that I found worthy, interesting or helpful. How to do it all. Their lives looked so perfect. I once commented on this to my sister and she pointed the finger right back at me - the point being that my blog could make it look like my world was so smoothly oiled and full of fulfilling things. Ouch. I guess in my quest to be a positive voice, I didn't realize I was not presenting the entire picture. So if I'm going to make posts, I think I need to keep it real.

As I have been for a couple weeks now, I'm canning today. I'll include the picture of my 16 pints of peach jam that turned out very nicely today.

What sweet success! It tastes great, very peachy. Look at the shine on the clean glass jars and rings. Sigh. Now I'm thinking, as I read the blog post, "Oh, I should can some jam. I wish I was (fill in the blank) so that I had some pretty jars of jam on my counter." But wait! Maybe you have something better to do today than toil over jam.

Let's back up a bit and see if this is still as appealing. (Spoiler alert - my life is not all shiny)

Now before this picture could be taken, there was the actual canning. It involved hot, steaming cauldrons of water on this nearly 80 degree day. And not being one to enjoy long exposure to sauna-like conditions, I do all that I can to mitigate that sweltering situation. Like rig up a way to wedge a box fan into my kitchen window to send as much heat outside as possible:

Three nails and some kitchen twine later, I've got this beautiful creation over my canning stove. I know, you want me to do a tutorial on how to achieve this look. Maybe later.

And not only are the pots hot but the contents, as well. Now if this was a perfect, shiny life, I'd be doing this jam canning in a sundress with stylish apron and some pretty sandals. But since I have a fear of boiling jam adhering to my legs and feet when I clumsily spill a pot someday, I look more like this:

You know, your basic cold winter gear on a hot summer day. Jeans and hubby's slippers. (Don't tell him. I actually was wearing shorts and flip flops when I started out this morning and, being lazy, kicked them off and stepped into his slippers for the dangerous part of the canning). Is your jam envy waning? Mine is.

And of course, there is the spooning, measuring, stirring, etc. which results in countertops strewn with sticky, goo laden pots, bowls and utensils:

 Oh yeah, that's gonna be fun to clean up. And as long as I'm being brutally honest, here's another side effect of the canning - trash:

Yes, the trashcan is heaped with empty sugar bags, pectin boxes and I've decorated around it with vinegar jugs that need to be put in with the recycling. (As a side note, jam takes a great deal of sugar. And the more jam you make, the more sugar you need. I know this because it turned out that my quadruple batch of jam needed 30 cups of sugar. Oy! I emptied a large bag, two small bags and, getting more and more desperate, emptied the sugar bowl and most of my organic kombucha sugar to get enough to make the recipe. Oops. I'll be more prepared next time. Right.)

Now, I won't subject your poor eyes to pics of my trashcan every post, but I guess what I'm saying is that I don't want to contribute to that digital phenomenon we experience on blogs, Facebook, and Instagram. Always try to keep in mind that we are seeing the "greatest hits", not the entire recording session.

Now I'm going to go can some green beans. They leave a much less sticky mess behind.

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