Why I am Still Enthusiastic About Blogging, BlogHer and So Much More

I've always been rather coy about my location and my identity. But after six years of blogging and after a gradual loosening of my self-imposed identity rules, I am ready to break free and participate more fully in the world of blogging. (I'm even hanging out at BlogHer again and entering a competition for a conference swag bag, which you can do right here.)

My name is Mary Johns, but nieces and nephews have always called me Mimi. I guess it's easier for a two-year old to say. Since my mother once suggested this would be a better nickname for me than the one given to me by my father, which was BooBoo, I've always felt an affinity for the name. We have a thing for double syllable nicknames in my family: BooBoo/Mimi, Bobo, Gigi, and PeeWee are my siblings.

All my life I've worked in publications and public relations, taught journalism and wrote for a newspaper (where I did a weekly food column for about three years). About five years ago I took a job leading a non-profit organizations, and in two months I will be happily retired. Rewired, I'm calling it, as I have lots of personal and community projects on my docket, including working with one of our local farm markers markets and helping preserve an historical building. I may even get paid for doing some writing again.

I'm coming out of the kitchen, so to speak, because earlier this summer, I created two new blogs that I hope will enable me to continue to promote my community, which is located about 50 miles north of Green Bay, Wis., (and we all know what Green Bay is famous for, don't we?) on the Wisconsin-Michigan border, and its food sources.

Our two-city, two-state community is in transition. We suffered greatly in late 2008 and early 2009: Unemployment was as high as 13-14 percent on either side of the state line. But thanks in part to expansion at the local shipyard and at other local industries, our economy is holding its own and has begun a slow and steady upward trajectory. We have many newcomers and much potential for many more newcomers. That's why I want to promote my community online.

In recent years, I've looked at my two home towns through new eyes. We are located on the bay of Green Bay, as well as the Menominee River. We have instant access to water, parks, waterfalls, legendary fishing and sailing. Yet we have remained authentic. There's not a lot of terribly cutesy for pretentious stuff here. But we are pretty cool sometimes.

I've seen an increase in young entrepreneurs who operate restaurants, a winery, photography studios, shops and service businesses. On any given summer night, you'll find a free concert, skateboarders, kayakers, sailboaters, bicyclists and others out and about, enjoying our location and the sense of community that I think has increased in recent years.

Frankly, it's easy to promote this community. Please take some time to read more about it on Marinette Menominee Daily Photo and Marinette Menominee Eat Local. The first blog is intended to give outsiders a taste of life here while the second is aims to build awareness for local farm markets and farm stands. Both are works in progress.

Currently, I am taking photos with a Nikon Cool Pix S4, which has traveled in my purse for more than six years now. Once I've got more time on my hands, I'll experiment with our Canon Digital Rebel, which should improve the quality of my photos. My husband, himself a former photographer and filmmaker, is retiring too, and I'll get him to make a photographer out of me yet!


Farmgirl Cyn said…
You already know I am thrilled to have you blogging on a regular basis again! Your posts have nearly always been filled with good photos, good stories, and insights into times past. I love it that you are back...stronger than ever, it seems!
Christine said…
I am so pleased to know that your strong, clear voice and presence will not be lost to us. You have so much to offer and I am excited for you! Xoxo
Thank you, Cyn and Christine.

I think the past four years have made me less shy and more confident.

I appreciate your comments and your support. Let's see what happens next!
Fiona said…
You are a great blogger Mimi/BooBoo ! I find it hard keeping up with it all, but it is always very interesting. You will be able to give it a lot more time during your "rewirement" ;)
It's great to have you back in the blogging world, and I'm looking forward to following your local blogs and learning more about your community and it's abundant resources. And don't sell yourself short --- you're already a pretty darned terrific photographer.
Thank you, Lydia. That means a lot.

Gee, it's good to be back. I have missed you all!
You are a good friend, Fiona.

I try. Much to learn.

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