February 20, 2012

Easy Like Monday Mornin'

Discovery Park Seattle

It's the early hours of the morning and the light has begun to break. (What a relief to have daylight coming earlier each day!) I took the dog outside, cup o' tea in hand, and stood in the wake of the world's rise. Fergus bopping around taking in the scent of the air while looking most official in his morning rounds. A crow passes overhead without a sound except for the unusually pronounced "woosh... woosh" with each flap of its wings. It's cold and crisp, it's Monday, and I'm feeling easy. I have a lot on my mind these days and yet, for the first time I can recall, I don't feel frenetic. There seems to be a calm and collected sensibility that has settled in and I'm most grateful for however long it chooses to visit.

On a very personal note, I am facing the failing health of my mother who is experiencing increasing moments of memory loss. That alone is difficult to face for a whole host of reasons that you can likely imagine, but she also refuses any attempts to get her to seek proper medical attention which has my family facing some seriously difficult decisions. However, in spite of these painful realizations, I'm finding myself much more willing to savour the present over stressing over the future. Conversations that I had with her previously which could be done while answering emails, cleaning, or other assorted forms of the much overrated "art" of multi-tasking, have now been replaced with a quiet room and an attentive ear. She could repeat the same story ten times in two hours and I'm now in a place to feel joy and gratitude to hear her voice and gifted that she still knows who I am. This is delivered grace for which I am immensely grateful.

On a more practical side of things, after coming back from Alt Summit, all sorts of thoughts have been swirling around my head concerning "The Bedlam". I've been mulling over ideas of a redesign, putting together an editorial schedule vs. spontaneous postings, producing more original content, starting a small online shop, work/blog/life balance, advertising, etc. This leads me to a couple of things I'd like to address.

First, let's just get this one out of the way, shall we? Advertising. There, I said it. It kinda makes people want to take a long shower when they hear it, and, yes, I'm experimenting with it. I know this can be a somewhat controversial topic in the blogosphere so I didn't want to just start throwing up ads without some kind of conversation about it with you.

I know there are many who consider it more noble to have an "ad free" blog. But, anymore, that feels an awful lot like the "nobility of the starving artist" diatribes I'd hear in art school. Is it really any more noble to spend the bulk of your time being a waiter/banker/real estate agent/etc. in an effort to scratch some time out to be an artist, than it is to make a line of your own stationery to help fund your artistic pursuits? It seemed most want/ed to consider the latter selling out. But, I see the former as much more inclined to sell your soul. And, that is a much more egregious offense in my mind. All in all, I think a good many of us can find it extremely difficult to place any kind of monetary value on anything that we enjoy doing or are considered talented at when we do it. So, in an effort to avoid the discomfort, there are many who will dismiss taking those steps by deciding to attach a greater value in the sacrifice of taking nothing. It's classic "people pleaser" and I'm working to shed that skin.

Now, that said, this is an experiment and I have it on good authority that it ain't gonna have you calling me "Daddy Warbucks" anytime soon. Not by a long shot! But, if it rewards me with enough to buy the ingredients to share a recipe with you or, let's face it, enjoy a little cocktail? Cool beans! It's one way to say to myself and the universe around me, "Cheers! I'm worth it!" But, it also doesn't have to mean that I'm going to sell us all down the river for a bag o' chips either. I think that's the "ick" side of advertising that we all dread and I'm not interested in having us swim through that sludge. Auto parts ad? Yeah, I don't think so. An eco-friendly line of handmade clothing ad? Awesomesauce! Diamond importer? Have you even looked at my blog?! A little kickback from Amazon or Chronicle on the sale of a cookbook that I have and think is rockin' and, thus, recommended? Thanks! Are ya' feelin' my flow? I'd like to think that I've got a good head on my shoulders with the concept of advertising and I want to have both of our backs on this one. So let me know your concerns should they ever come up. Deal?

Secondly, speaking of your thoughts and concerns, last week I received a comment from a reader. It was a pretty harsh and judgmental one and took me back for sure. But, despite the glaring lack of graciousness in its delivery, there was what could have been some constructive criticism. Basically, this person hates the way and the frequency with which I say "kids". Now, in my day to day dialogues this is par for the course and you'd just have to deal. But, I don't write this blog in a vacuum and things that work in the course of face-to-face conversation may not read well in the written word. Thinking about this, for some "kids" may come across as jovial and welcoming, while others may find it condescending or schticky. So, while we're at it, what do you think? "Kids"? Love it or leave it?

And, while we're on the topic of your thoughts, do you have any other opinions you might like to share about "The Bedlam"? What you like and don't like? What you wish there was more of and less of? I'm totally open to hearing your input and constructive criticisms. And, while I'm all for honesty, "brutal" honesty can be left at the door. I'm gonna side with Mary Poppins on the whole 'sugar helping the medicine go down' theory. So, feel free to be open while remembering it isn't open season on your uncle. (And, if it makes it feel easier, you are welcome to leave your comments anonymously.)

I'll be happy to take into account all of your feedback and we'll see what happy medium that might leave us with. Whatever that is it's going to have to remain authentic for me while engaging for you. It's kinda like any good party. It can't be all about the host and it can't be all about the guest, but if each is thoughtfully considered then they can all have a great time.

Thanks for sharing... kids! (Eh, one last hurrah! Maybe.)

(Oh, and if you'd rather, you can also feel free to email me at unclebeefy@gmail.com.)


45 comments:

  1. Keep doing EXACTLY what you are doing. There is nothing about your blog that should change, and that is why you are so loved. It's beautiful and refreshing! I love being called a kid!

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  2. I say...keep the "kid". It's you. It's your personality. People come to your blog over and over again because they want to know you, your likes, etc. If you change who you are then you aren't being true. You're Uncle Beefy.

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  3. Don't change a thing. I found your blog fairly recently and I just adore how your personality comes through. It's part of what keeps me coming back. And you can call me "kid" any ol' time.

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  4. I really, really like your blog for its surprising content, for your personal style of writing (yes, I like the "kid" thing), for your honesty and wit. So I don't see what needs to be adjusted or changed. Sure, a few tweaks with the design or adding some thoughtful ads is always fine - but in a larger concept, this is just a perfect blog to enjoy, discover and - hell yes - put a smile on every face!

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  5. Keep the "kids" thing, it makes me feel like "yeah, I'm reading the beefy blog!" As for ads - go for it, this is your space and nearly all established websites carry ads these days. I see no reason why your blog should be any different.

    Also sending a massive hug your way. Chin up, Bradford.

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  6. I used to be a "blog whore" and looked 25 blogs (or more) on a daily basis. Recently, I realized this was using up a lot of my time and that invariably I was just going from blog to blog, looking at pretty pictures or reading about someone's "perfect" life (which always rang false). So I went on a purge and chose just 3 to view regularly. Guess what? Bedlam was one of them.

    You have an original, interesting voice in the blogosphere. My only suggestion is more original content - I love to know about YOU and your life...and your photos and artwork are wonderful.

    Go ahead, advertise. There's no shame in it, and it's only reasonable that you get some compensation for providing a great read for the rest of us.

    Thank goodness for Uncle Beefy.

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  7. I think "kids" is fine - it comes off to me as warm and inviting. However, I can tell you are a great writer, so maybe you can find some other terms of endearment too? Just not "dear" or "sweetie" or "honey, " please ;)

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  8. I like the "kids" too! It's your schtick, your personality. I feel like I know you already even though I have only recently started reading you.

    Advertising - I am fine with it. I don't like sponsored posts as I find them a bit forced. Kickbacks from Amazon sales? Yes - people trust your judgement so might as well. A few more scheckels into Uncle Beefy's jeans? Yes!

    Other thoughts? Editorial calendar? I have been thinking about this myself. I do have a loose one (I fear it is SOOO loose that no one but me is aware of it!) but am considering tightening it up as it'll make me more efficient <-----work/life/balance stuffs. And the benefit to the readers of knowing when this or that is coming.

    Now what do YOU call original content? I think you are already doing that by putting the Beefy spin on things. More writing? If you want - and you can make some dough-ray-me doing some freelance writing.

    Online shop - thumbs up for that. Signed photos of Uncle Beefy for sale?

    So there you go - advice worth EVERY penny that you've paid for it. And on a personal note, hang in there with your mom. And when it gets tough, think of the good times in the past AND take comfort from the fact that you are treating her with the respect that we all can hope for when we are that age.

    It's not easy being a grown-up - even if you are Uncle Beefy!

    Here's to more posts and more fun....

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  9. "Kids"---love it!

    Expressly because it is YOUR blog use should use YOUR personal wording, style, phrases, vernacular. Personally, your conversational style is what keeps me coming back to read as frequently as I do.

    Coming off as genuine in any media situation is truly a talent and a gift. Keep up the great work!

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  10. Hello uncly ! :-)

    Not being a blogger or a dedicated blog reader, apart from one I care very much for (obviously), I can assure you that I love reading your blog ! For the variety of topics, for the way you're writing (SO yourself !! I love when people sound honest, sincere and true !), and for the way it looks.

    I love being part of your "kids", and I love the way you respect your readers and how you care for their thoughts.
    Just try to ignore the mean comments, it's like giving them too much credit ! You worth much better than them !!! Yeah, think "L'Oréal" !! Lol

    One last thing... You're right about your mum, even though it's quite hard regarding her memory loss, just keep enjoying the precious time you can enjoy with her. Mine meant the world to me, I just wish I had spent more time with her and done much more things... But hey, c'est la vie...

    Keep being yourself, keep sharing with us, your kids, and keep entertaining us !!!

    A bientôt !

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  11. First of all.......I'm SO sorry to hear about your Mamma. With my recent struggles with my own Mother.....it has been made all too clear just how precious and fragile life really is. You are in my thoughts and prayers B. xo

    On another note......don't you DARE change a thing about the way you write!!! Any "Kids" who don't like it can simply move on and read some other blog where they are addressed as whatever the heck fits their fancy! You are brilliant! BIG BIG hugs! xo, Georgina

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  12. Anyone who says, "cool beans" is alright in my book.

    Tweak all you want, it's your blog.
    We "kids" will follow...

    Hang in there.

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  13. if i recall correctly the last time i read the blog it was uncle beefy. it says it all. it states it in the very beginning that you will probably encounter an avuncular tone.

    oy vey. some people's kids! looking for hate in all the wrong places. drop the subscriber and keep the kids. from what i've read, i'm not alone.

    as far advertising. go for it. that is nothing to be ashamed of. i am not a believer in purity litmus tests.

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  14. You're a fantastic writer - anyone who would be offended by the use of a word is someone who is most likely envious of your talent. Keep things the way they are, with perhaps some choice ads in the mix, and you'll continue to grow the Bedlam to epic proportions!

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  15. oh, beefy. people are jerks. I can honestly say that my life has been bettered since I met you last month. I think you bring a different perspective which is spectacular. Can't wait to read more in the future, dig through the archives, and maybe collaborate on a project or two sometime along the way. My only one little teensy bit of comment is just that the script font that you use sometimes is hard to read in my google reader when I am trying to be sneaksy at work. Help a slacker girl out ;)

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  16. I love being a "Kid".
    Of course, advertising is smart, and if done in the right way with the right choices, no shame about it.
    I really appreciate you taking the time to tell us about it before though.
    Great stuff! Keep it up!

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  17. Oh Beefy, I can't imagine reading you without the "kids". It's you and always has been. The blogs that I enjoy are the ones that seem like I'm not just reading them but actually hearing their voice. I can hit any number of blogs for a professional essay, I like a little personality with my coffee in the morning! Now having met you personally it's even better.

    And on the ads, it's your blog the readers know that you would never do anything to fiddle with the integrity of it. Make a little pocket change!

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  18. What do they say… you can only keep 48% of people happy… So just be you and say what you want to say!

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  19. Woah Uncle B. There's a lot going on here.

    First, I'd like to say that I'm sending loving and supporting thoughts your way regarding your mom. This must be really tough for you and your family and I wish you lots of peace and courage in these changing times.

    Please keep "Kids". You're the Uncle. It just makes sense :)

    And as far as advertising goes ... I think, do it. When the ads are in line with your concept, your beliefs and your ideas then there's nothing sleazy about that. Plus, it's a form of support. If I ever build enough influence to advertise I would like to do so to support all those I believe in.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us here.

    Best!
    Xx.

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  20. Love your blog. Love that you have a pic of yourself now. Love the "kid" thing. Love your photos, your font, your keen eye. Keep it up! Oh, I don't mind the ads if they don't pop up in the middle of your posts and spoil things. On the side, fine. xo

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  21. "Kids" is very you, Uncle B. I find it charming and welcoming and inviting. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I like the flavor of it. And I feel the same way about advertising that you do -- it's going to give me the ability to do things that I otherwise wouldn't have. And I sold my first ad recently and used the money I made to brighten a friend's day. What better way to spend money than making others smile, right? And that's what blogs do.

    As for your mother, I'm so sorry you have such a serious issue to deal with, but you seem to be facing it with grace, gratitude, and a positive determination. Sending you lots of loving thoughts.

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  22. No problem with advertising. Wait, isn't there advertising here already? Just don't do what one of my fave bloggers does and claim to lose your bike then choose a certain bike and urge readers to buy one without noting that expensive bike company is an advertiser.

    "Kids" works for me. Another blogger I read calls her readers "pigeons" and another calls them "my dears."

    The only thing I'd recommend you do is post more photos of your dog. Oxytocin generator.
    Good luck with doing the good work you're doing taking care of mom, this blog, and all else.

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  23. Bradford, I'm terribly sorry to hear about your mom. I can't imagine how difficult it must be.

    Second, I adore you! I found you somehow last year (maybe through Jen Vallez?), and I recommend your site to everyone I know. You're funny, witty, have a killer eye and I love your conversational style.

    Plus, after having met you in person (at Alt) I can see how much this blog is you—completely charming!

    As far as the whole advertising thing goes... You have massive amounts of integrity and style. Having advertising on your site isn't going to change that.

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  24. DON'T CHANGE A THING!
    If 'kids' don't like the term then they can always switch off.
    Wishing you all the very best with your mum
    x

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  25. First of all, about ads, do it. As a reader, I just hate those ads that pop up in the middle of my reading. But any other kind of ads, why not? I'm sure you're smart enough to chose right, to chose something consistent with your blog.
    About "kids", it's Uncle Beefy! I mean, it's part of your blog. Once again, as a reader, I'm free to read any blog, and I can unfollow it any time if I don't like something. So, you should be yourself and chose by yourself, if you ever change something about Bedlam, do it because you feel like it, and not because a reader wants to.
    Just be yourself, we're a lot of people out there who like your blog!

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  26. Dear Uncle- So sorry to hear about your dear Mum. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Whatever you decide to do with your blog is fine, I love you for you. Carry on my good man! Hugs!

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  27. oh beefy, your honesty is why i love you so! very sad and sorry about your mom, it's very courageous of you to share. i will take your blog anyway you serve it as long as it stays true to you. that's what i love and why i've passed it on to my best friends and followers as one of my favorites. there will always be people who disagree with a particular person's style. like art, music and books, there is so much out there to choose from. i don't get why they don't just politely leave the party.

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  28. Uncle Beefy, - no point starving - then you won't be able to write anything will you! I have every faith in your advertising judgement. Rembrandt ran a business. We could all do with getting off our precious ponies and getting on with doing what we like to do - he did.
    Ditto above comment for the "kids" - its you, its good, don't trouble yourself. You'll stray from the authentic if you question it all too much. The odd navel gaze is good for moving on ( e.g. love your new pic) but don't stress.
    Aging is universal and unavoidable ( the only other option is to die early) and its an honour to hold someones hand as they make it through this new stage of life. Wish you all the best of luck with this tricky and poignant time. Keep an a wild eye off to the side so you spy the unique humanity of it all. Cheers ( and see how we can talk to you like this - you must get a couple of things right!)

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  29. I love your blog. And, being called kids makes me feel like I'm one of the... kids, in the in crowd, a friend of beefy's, and young (at heart). You tell that one mean person to F off and do what you do, how you do it, when ever you want to do it.

    I guess i should confess that I'm also more then a little jealous of your blog. Your ability to angle and layer pictures and the "hand written" font you use is charming and artful.

    Sorry to hear about your mother... you will both be in my thoughts.

    Bill
    www.billbarr.wordpress.com

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  30. I love your blog and I love your voice. When you say "kids" I feel like right there with you, admiring some pretty thing, cocktail in hand. I found your blog via Sweet Paul and I'm so happy I did. Please don't change a thing. I don't have a blog, but I read many and I'm always popping over to my Uncle Beefy to see what you have to share.

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  31. Another vote of "yay" for kids. I like it. I think it's just another way of your warm personality coming through. Some other bloggers have endearments that I'm not as fond of "Sweeties, lovies," etc. I dunno. I think it's a case-by-case situation.

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  32. Re: "Kids"...
    have always loved it, from day one.
    Cozy, friendly family fun!

    Ads -
    As if you would don cheesy plaid used car salesman pants!
    (Hey but if you did, you'd do em fab)
    Totally trust your style -
    hello...that's why were all here...right?

    I have said this here before:
    Please Write!
    You are a talented, warm and funny writer who has heaps of taste and style. Write a book - I will buy it, I will make my friends buy it and we will nestle our Uncle Beefy Books right up to the Engulfed in Flames Shrine.

    Bring it.

    PS.
    Alzh really does pull you into the now...
    front and center,
    which oddly enough,
    turns out to be a nice
    place to be.

    Take care.

    Happy you've have added your pictha - BTW

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  33. Beautiful blog, lovely tone throughout and I love the "kid" thing-it's great and it's you!

    Ad away-do what you need to do.

    Ads or not-we will come back to visit with you and your lovely blog.

    Best,
    Athena

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  34. You know what Uncle Beefy? It's YOUR blog, don't let anyone tell you what to do with it.

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  35. Hello there!
    First let me say that my prayers are with you w/ regards to your mother. I can understand what that is like. I've dealt with the same thing w/ a great aunt.

    Now on to the lighter notes, change is good so a redesign of your blog might be a great idea. Producing original content is always good, and if you had an online shop what would the product be? As far as advertising it depends on what your goal is. I personally would have not have advertising unless the product or service was in line with my aesthetic and beliefs— not just for the sake of making money. I'm sure that you'll figure it out and they will be good ones. I can't wait to see what you decide.

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  36. I found you! I was twittering to you on twitter. Enjoyed reading this post - very sorry about your mom, but I think finding peace in such unfair and painful circumstances is to truly live in the moment & you are allowing yourself to not regret later.

    Everything else you are doing is tops! I can't wait to see what else will be unfolding this year, and the idea of you having a shop would be delightful!

    xx

    Tiffany

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  37. I am not reading the comments so, I am just saying from heart: YOU are SPECIAL my friend. Do not stop anything that you so lovingly, uniquely and awesomely ( is that a word? I am going with it) do. I LOVE that you say "kids", that is YOU man! And if anyone met you in person they would know it fits you perfectly. I am sorry for the snarky comment left by the insensitive lout. But, there is snark & then there is just fact. And the FACT is that you are wonderful, just as you are. Just as this blog is. If you want to add stuff cause it makes YOU happy, then I am all for it. And as to your mom....I knew you were struggling with her illness and I am still so very sorry that you both are going through this. It shouldn't have to be this way. I am so glad you are feeling some calm amidst all of this....I adore you.
    xoxo
    Melis
    ps and you were in Rue mag today!!!!! YAY!!!!!!

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  38. Hi Uncle Beefy,
    First of all, I really enjoy your blog.
    You always share good finds and your own content is always spot on.
    As to Mr. "no kids", I'd like to ask if he's ever heard of VOICE?
    It's a literery term and you've nailed it, my friend.
    Coming from me, it might sound contrived or even ridiculous.
    But it fits you, it fits the persona you've created for this blog.
    In the world of advertising, it would be part of your brand.
    It works!
    It's fun and funny and casual and friendly.
    I hope you keep it.
    Maybe he's just jealous.
    As far as constructive criticism, the only thing I'd offer is that I find that cursive font hard to read.
    Knit picky?
    Sorry.
    But if that's all I have to offer, you must be doing something right.
    Keep it up.
    Love from,
    Greta
    PS. And what beautiful wisdom you share about your mother. Thank you for that. I wish both of you the best.

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  39. We love you Uncle Beefy! Don't change a thing <3

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  40. I like your site, sorry to hear you have a cold :( And boo to negative people. Good for you for realizing you have the talent to expand your blog business. Some people like to squash talent. You create talent! Way to go Uncle Beefy!

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  41. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I can't even imagine what that's like, and I send you my warmest sympathies.

    I've been battling with the idea of advertising as well, and it was so nice to read your thoughts on it. If you do decide to go for it, let me know and I'll certainly buy an ad :)

    And lastly, don't change anything. I adore your blog and find it incredibly endearing that you call your readers 'kids."

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  42. Hi Uncle B, haven't read a blog in weeks, but stumbled upon this post and had to say hi!

    First of all, I'm so very sorry about your mom. It's amazing how you've been able to carve out that quiet time to talk with her and be patient. You are a good son, and I'm sure she's a great mom to have raised such a mensch!

    Okay, business talk...

    Advertising = yes! And I'd be happy to place an ad.

    Kids = but, of course silly!

    Just keep being you, my friend! Your blog rocks!

    HUGS xoxo

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  43. I like being one of your "kids." It makes me feel young, and at 41, well, that's a good thing.

    Love to you and your mum. Dementia is a delicate, bittersweet journey. Stay strong, friend.

    And as for the rest of your blog, everything's a keeper!

    xo
    Linda

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  44. II'm new to your blog - saw your hilarious comments on Pinterest and it brought me here. Oddly enough, I also call adults "kids". I never though it might offend others, I think it's endearing.

    Everyone has an opinion and they have a right to share it. I love how you express your thoughts. Keep being yourself, it's working for you!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I always appreciate your thoughts. Your comment will appear as soon as I can publish it.

p.s. - Contrary opinions or constructive criticism are also fine but "The Bedlam" doesnt' serve as a platform for random (or anonymous) acts of offensiveness. Rude? Deleted.