If you don't want to read the personal back story, please scroll down to the bolded line.
I am going to make my very best effort to not make this post whiny, but instead practical. I am sharing my thoughts and ideas because I know I do still have a following whose opinion I hold above all others. I am going to criticize myself here, and I am trying to be honest, not begging for compliments. I welcome and encourage all suggestions and constructive criticism. If you have something negative to say, please do not hesitate: I am occasionally a grown up, and can handle it. I would only ask that if you have a complaint, please offer a suggestion.
First of all, let's face it::this site has pretty much sucked for the past two years. There are a few reasons for this:
1. When the economy took a decline, my household saw a 40% reduction in income (2009 compared to 2008). That caused a ton of stress and depression and obviously meant I could not afford to continue to review restaurants. Writing about food was a constant reminder of how stressful it had become trying to adapt to my new life without disposable income. I am not complaining or whining or asking for pity, I am just stating facts. And yes (Mom), I realize that some of the stress could've been prevented with better planning, etc. 2010 has seen more of the same, although we are now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. For the past 18 months I have been enormously grateful that we didn't listen to our mortgage broker, who told us we could afford a house at lease $80K more than what we ended up with. Who knows what might have happened?
Going to the farm markets became an exercise in anxiety for several reasons, mostly the fact that where I once would go through $90 without a thought, visiting all my favorite markets on a Saturday morning, I sometimes had like $8 to spend.
Yes, I know there are people who are far worse off than I am. I am thankful for the experience I am going through because it has made me realize how important it is to spend money wisely, and locally. Please, if you have money, support local independent businesses and artists. It is the creative class which makes a city worth living in. We might not provide jobs, but we provide do make things interesting. /lecture.
2. Aside from the economic issues, Husband was spending nearly 40 hours a week (or more) studying for his Master Sommelier exam. He was so stressed, which made me stressed. I didn't realize how anxiety-riddled we were until the exam was over and we returned home. Over the past few weeks, I have been rediscovering the amazing man I married. His sense of humor and lightness returned slowly and we find ourselves laughing more often now. I am so incredibly fortunate to have the luxury of being married to my best friend in the whole world, even when we spend time laughing at others' expense.
3. I spent much of the first part of this year being elated to be asked to write a cookbook, working on it, hoping it would be the thing that sealed my future as a writer (I am bound by a confidentiality agreement, but I will say the book was for someone 99% of the foodies in Columbus know and adore, and the announcement about the book has been made) and then devastated when the whole project fell apart (well, my part of it - obviously it was still written). Fortunately, only a very few people knew about my work on the project, so I haven't had to explain why my name won't be included in the final product. You can imagine for someone who has dreamed all their lives of being a paid writer, to have the dream evaporate from your grasp might make one a little insane. Or a lot insane. In the end, I do believe it is working out for the best, but it was and is still painful to fail (in some eyes) so spectacularly at such a golden opportunity.
You might be asking why on Earth I am talking about all of this.
In May, I made a decision that I would retire Restaurant Widow at the end of this year. As I said earlier, I know RW has not been living up to its potential for a long time now (a phrase I've heard all my life, by the way - it's kind of my thing).
Until about September 1st, I had been incredibly happy about the decision. My heart wasn't in it, I was disappointed in myself for not working to sell adverts or promote myself, to try to get a book deal, whatever. I am not whining::these things are my fault, and I am learning how to stop being a lazy wanker and start doing things.
After Husband and I returned from Dallas (where he was taking his Master Somm test), we spent a long weekend at home, trying to wrap our brains around our future - it had never occurred to me that he wouldn't pass all three sections on his first try; that might sound stupid, because the odds are so stacked against him, but if you know him, you know he's brilliant and I never had any doubts. Everything in our lives had been on hold for so long that we sat around a lot having a lot of "now what?" conversations.
Over the past month, my desire to write - and to write about food - has been slowly returning with a vengeance. In May, I really thought it was time to hand the reigns over to someone else. Lately I have been getting a serious feeling that my work isn't complete yet.
So, now what? I am going to spend the month of October retooling the website and trying to find some financing. Not a lot, just enough to begin to review more restaurants without breaking the bank.
I am going to return to focusing on restaurant reviews; it seems to me that is what most people want (at least those of you who read because you live in, are moving to, or are visiting the city of Columbus). I am going to resurrect my "Things to do" segment, because I get so many complaints about failing to do so!
I am going to force myself to communicate with my readers::I am a total failure when it comes to answering emails, I make no bones about it. I am actually considering hiring a (very) part time assistant to help me keep on top of emails and opportunities.
I will be moving my Bistro Apron series to an alternative site. It will be linked here, but I will make an effort to separate the two.
I am not going to be concerned with posting at least 4 times a week! My altar ego needs time to write, too, and I'm going to let her have as much as she wants.
I have learned a lot over the past year or so. Hopefully now I can start putting it to use.
If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, whatever - please comment! Let's talk! I will use the opportunity to practice my new commitment to communication.