Chocolate Chip Cookies, the Simple Life, and BFFs

chocoalte chip cookies from the happy sorceress
Almost two years ago, I peeked over my cubicle wall, because, yes, I was actually still working back then, stole a furtive glance around the geometric farm known as my “office” to make sure no one was coming directly for me, then slinked back down into my chair. I shimmied down a little lower in my chair, ducked my head behind my open laptop, and strategically angled the cover downward so that no one would be able to see my screen. My screen was utterly exploding with porn.

Wildly graphic, explicit, full frontal…food porn.

I was feeding my recent addiction to food blogs.

It wasn’t long after that that I decided to start a food blog of my own. Even before I ever published my first post, I had turned my food-blog-to-be into a mini web/business strategy project. I had name-storming sessions. I diagrammed the site architecture. I built wireframes. I mocked up page designs. I tested color palettes. I did PESs to determine which blogging platform would best meet my needs. It was strange submitting deliverables to myself for approval. I was my own worst client.

The strange thing is, despite all the careful planning, I didn’t really think about my end goal for my as-of-then unnnamed food blog. I had simply fallen in love with the idea of having my very own place to spew out the random musings about food that flood my mind every day. I had no real direction, no clear objective, no idea what I was getting myself into. When I published my very first post, I think I might have let drop a tiny little tear of joy. Of course, I deleted the post because really, how geeky is it to have my first post say ‘Hello, world?” That’s so, you know, BASIC.

The web is public, but I didn’t pay attention, and wrote on The Delicious Life as if it were private, because really, I never expected anyone to come visit my microscopic little thread on the interwebs. I just deposited thoughts about food with reckless, shameless, uninhibited abandon – as if I had slipped into my frilly little negligee, set my hair in baby pink and seafoam green velcro rollers, curled up under the down comforter with a sparkly set of gel pens and pulled my Dear Hello Kitty diary with working lock and tiny faux gold key out from under my pillow to scribble, doodle, and make notes to myself about {heart}-ing Anthony Bourdain and Tyler Florence. “Sarah + JGold = tru {heart} 4evah!!”

I don’t really do that. I’m like thirty-something. Come on. I stopped writing in my Hello Kity diary two years ago.

With my first few posts, I had dipped my beautifully pedicured big toe into the Olympic pool we call the blogosphere. It was skimming the surface. It was a taste. It was just a teeny tiny splash which, two years later, has become a fully exposed skinny dip, swimming breast stroke, back stroke, stroke of a genius (who know the song? who?), cutting through the water like an unagi, doing flip turns at the end of every lap. I was in there, as they say, like swimwear. I posted every day, wrote in draft, edited, re-wrote, squinted into the night while cropping and uploading photos, participated in memes, created my own memes, manipulated my schedule to accommodate “virtual” events, and I obsessively checked my own Inbox for comments.

The Delicious Life had become my real life.

Some will read that sentence and shake their heads, finding it, well, a little sad. “Poor pathetic hermit girl has no real life.” However, some will read that sentence, then lean in a little closer to their computer screens and read it again. They will be nodding their heads, first slowly, then with increasing velocity until the little knot of unwashed hair piled on top of their heads comes loose and their left hands have flown up to cover agape mouths because God forbid their right hands ever leave the mouse. They are enthusiastically nodding in agreement. They understand. They know. They are bloggers, too.

Blogging has had negative impacts on some parts of my life. My abs just aren’t quite as rock hard, chiseled as they used to be (!) when I wasn’t 99% sedentary (it would be 100% if I had wireless in my house and could actually blog from bed – oh the stories that would come out if that actually happened, so never mind). My body is developing that curvature that isn’t considered sexy when it’s a hunchback from sitting in my totally non-ergonomic desk chair. I have finger spasms, the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome, and wickedly strained eyesight now. Sometimes I wonder what sunlight looks like (but never feels like, because I am married to my SPF 55+).

But despite the superficial tolls that blogging has taken, the positive aspects of blogging far outweigh the negative ones. Back when my position was eliminated from a previous employer, blogging kept me busy, giving me something to do other than sulk about the house, unshowered, unkempt, in the same clothes I was wearing when they kicked me to the curb on my last day. At least I was unshowered, unkempt, in the same clothes for days on end, but busy blogging.

I try not to play the “What if” game, but I will anyway. Had I not had blogging as an outlet, I’d likely have fallen into the trap of immediately going back to a career that I didn’t really like, but took anyway because it was there. Because it is the norm. Because it is the “right” thing to do for a beautiful, brilliant girl with an MBA. It’s even the “right” thing to do for an ugly, stupid girl with an MBA. I would be sitting in a cramped little cubicle shared with someone who talks too loudly on the phone, working through lunch, skipping dinner, grinding out spreadsheets of numbers I don’t care about, completely, totally, utterly miserable. Expressing myself so freely has allowed me to consider paths that previously, I wouldn’t have even known existed. I have not necessarily taken any of those paths, but at least I know they are there.

But perhaps one of the greatest results of food blogging has nothing to do with me. Rather, not just me. Blogging has everything to do with…community. While
all this time I have always thought of blogging as an individual activity, self-centered spewings of a whole lot of different “me”s that just happen to all be on the same platform, blogging is really about the community of bloggers. Yes, a blog is written by one person. On a group blog, a post is written by a single person. However, unlike regular types of writing and media, which are one-way communication, blogging is a multi-way communication. Bloggers write. Readers read. Readers comment. Bloggers reply. Readers click to other blogs. Readers read those blogs. They comment to each other. Bloggers call out other blogs in their posts. It’s one giant, chaotic orgy of conversation that eventually leads to…friendship.

Now I understand that there are people who see “socializing” via blogging the same way they see MySpace, which had sucked in hundreds of thousands of people into a virtual “life” that has erased their ability to interact with real society. Blogging, like MySpace, only leads to behaviors which, when taken out of the Internet and applied to real life, the life that is not encapsulated within the virtual pages of a blog or a Profile page, are really really awkward. Like actually saying “lawl,” spelling out “o-m-g,” and pausing for uncomfortably long intervals between statements.

At first, I was very shy about interacting with readers and other bloggers. In fact, it made me nervous to even have comments enabled on my posts, inviting total strangers to talk to me. Well, we know how much I‘ve changed. It is amazing that over the course of two years, I have gotten to “meet” and “know” so many people via The Delicious Life. Yes, I am still very shy about meeting other bloggers in real life, but for now, the virtual friendships I have are good.

chocolate chip cookies
simple pleasures

…which brings me to chocolate chip cookies.

One of the bloggers with whom I have struck up a friendship is The Happy Sorceress. Many of you know her, she who writes the blog Dispensing Happiness. Some of you may not know her, and if that’s the case, rock your ass over to her blog and check her out.

I don’t actually remember when The Happy Sorceress and I started “talking” (which means chatting over googlechat), particularly because when first I visisted her blog, I have to admit, I thought to myself, “Oh, how nice. Another one of those food bloggers who writes about the things she cooks for her perfect little family.” I don’t think I even read a post before I clicked right out. I wasn’t really “into” reading Mommy blogs thinly disguised as food blogs.

How mistaken I was to judge a blog by it’s cover! The Happy Sorceress’s name and profile picture imply that she is the sweet, smiling, embodiment of domesticity with a perfect bob hair-do and spotless apron tied around her waist, but be not ye fooled. She may be sweet, she may be smiling, and in fact, she really is a domestic diva, but the girl is fierce, both in the kitchen and on the blog.

I believe that is why, even though we’ve never met in person, we are BFs – blog friends. Thousands of miles separate us, and we lead wildly different lifestyles – I a swingin’ single in LA, she a fabulous mom, fabulous-er wife in Tennessee – and yet, via this strange connection called the Internet, we are able to connect. Food. Blogging. Love of good writing. And of course, what has endeared me to her… she “gets” me. We both have a snarky, sarcastic sense of humor that is really just a cover-up for something more delicate inside. She is thoughtful, caring, and has a heart of gold. Me, well, I’m just delicate because I’m mentally imbalanced.

chocolate chip cookies
big cookies comes in small packages

Thank you, Stephanie, for being such an amazing sweetheart, for thinking of me on my birthday over the summer, for unleashing your inner Pedro and baking and sending me a beautiful birthday cake all the way out here in LA (!), for not hating me when it was returned to you because I, in all my utter lame-osity gave you the wrong address, for forgiving me enough (not that you were upset in the first place) to send out yet another package filled with the biggest chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever seen when you knew I was having quite possibly the craziest worst month of my life. Ever. On the planet. In the history of (wo)mankind. Thank you.

You are, in my humble opinion (“IMHO,” as we webgeeks would say), a rockstar. A sweet, smiling, happiness-dispensing rockstar.

** a year ago today, dark chocolate cupcakes with crunchy peanut butter frosting explained the Special Dark Effect **

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