I began this site back when I was in college, so late 2001. The concept was I could use the site to give everyone at home updates on what I had been up to. This was a big step from the angelfire site I had previously kept my random diddles on.
In hindsight, I suppose the simpler route would have been to jump onto the livejournal or blogger.com bandwagon. Both sites had launched in 1999 and were quickly rising in popularity. But at this stage in the game, blogging was not nearly as much of a craze as it is now. I guess the world had yet to discover the value of putting any and all thoughts online.
I am not in any way saying that I was at the front of the game, part of the trend setters of the tech community. I just wanted to keep a running journal of my experiences, so those I knew thousands of miles away could keep in contact in some small way. I do not think I even knew what a "blog" was in those early days!
These days, things are a bit different. The most obvious change has to be that I no longer go by my maiden name. Still, I am a sentimental fool and have no desire to get rid of this domain. It currently serves two purposes: to provide a chronicle of my experiences at University in London and, more importantly, to serve as a place for my photography portfolio.
My photography at this point is simply a hobby. I need to sit down and come up with a plan for taking it to the next level. Until then, I am using this site to show some of my favorite images. The further along time goes, the more interested I am in choosing the best images. I have yet to flush out quite what that means though.
As I do not have the know-how to set up a system for commenting, tags, or navigation, I have set up an official blog using Wordpress. They have the tools I need to publish the way I would like to, even if I have to use an outside site. Eventually, I would like to host my own blog here. Especially if I can find software which allows me to integrate all the other aspects of my site (I am looking at Movable Type). So, we shall see.
That explains this website. As for JoNell?
I live a roving lifestyle for most of the year. My husband, Patrick, and I perform stage shows at festivals all across the country. Generally, that means Renaissance Festvials where we portray Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Wherever we are and whatever the theme, we present family-oriented, audience participatory shows. When we are not working on our shows, we are trying to bring our educational programs through Presenters of Living History to more schools. While this would mean more travel on our part, being as we live in Washington and our programs are in California, giving these kids the chance to realize learning can be fun and rewarding is worth whatever distance needs to be trekked.
The two things I miss the most about not being at home, apart from family and the comfort of simply being at home of course, are my kitchen and my scrapbooks.
I love to cook. I love to bake most of all, but I really love to cook in general. Trying new things, experimenting, and feeding whomever is willing to try what I put on the table. The hardest part is keeping it healthy and not serving myself mutliple helpings. A true challenge when that baking part of cooking comes into play! The benefit of travelling when one loves to cook: trying cuisine native to cultures and regions all over the country (and sometimes world!) and meeting people who know how to cook the previously mentioned cuisine and are happy to share recipes and techniques. I have a little black book (it amuses me, truly) in which I jot down all the recipes I gather. Then, when at home, I attempt to recreate the dishes. If it is successful and worth cooking regularly, at least as regularly as I can, I put it in my special recipe book made for me by my friend Mary. It is a little too inconvenient to travel with, so it must stay at home. But I do cherish it so.
And then there are my scrapbooks. I admit, I am a Creative Memories junkie. I think they make the best basic scrapbooking tools and I prefer their albums and pages over any other brand. I have started to branch out to other brands for other scrapbooking needs (like pens and paper) simply because there are more options that way. However, truth be told, if CM had the variety I would probably be snobbish on that count as well.
I scrapbook because I am a photographer and a historian. I believe pictures should be shared, and the stories that go with those pictures are equally important. Remember, for all the variety of storage options, digital media changes quickly. Who is to say when those raw files of many Christmases will go away? When cds or dvds become as obsolete as laser discs and there is no way to retrieve and update the files? Many archivists will tell you that the best way to preserve an image is to print it. So print them I do! And as the prints go into my albums I write their stories as well.
We recently moved and while unpacking the boxes that had come from the attic in our old house I discovered a massive amount of pictures. Many of which are from the early 20th and late 19th Centuries. Most have no names to go with the faces, but I know they are Patrick's ancestors. Some I may be able to decipher; I hope "some" is in fact "many". But I look forward to tackling that project. Perhaps I will use this site to track my progress as well. Perhaps.
What else about me... I sing (jazz and showtunes are preferred), I read (genres too numerous to list), I write (there is a novel in the works, however slow-going it might be), I sew (costumes do not make themselves) and I am usually happy ("sunshine incarnate" has been applied). I wish I could dance better, I should do yoga more frequently than I do, and I want to learn more German than "enough to get by". I have a weakness for Werther's Orginals, caramel, Nutella, cookies of any variety as long as no coconut is involved, and root beer. I still have the teddy bear I have had since I was two and I prefer toe-socks to normal socks. For all that I am naturally shy and would rather observe than participate, I sure love making my living being a princess and making little kids happy.
And so, social and engaging I shall continue to strive toward being.