Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday at the Lake and Patriotism

It's kind of messy and cloudy Down the Hill (what we call mountain-folk call the rest of southern california) but we're above the clouds, so I went to the lake today for the first time of the season. Our lake is only about a mile from the house, and our little small town in the summer is so Norman Rockwell, I could spit. Everyone comes to the lake, gets hot dogs from the 7-11 across the street, and it's just too much Americana and I eat it all up.

Which reminds me of the fact that my hubby is friends with someone who is currently going on about how America kind of sucks, and it makes me think about how I never appreciated America until I lived abroad. Yeah, there's parts of America that are really pretty bad, and it's easy to throw around statistics about how we suck at health care and education and yada yada (and I'm not saying we don't). BUT. It's easy for Sweden to be first in everything. They have like ten people and an area like the size of California. Just like it's easy to manage a supply chain that's smaller, it's much easier to manage a smaller country (for one reason, it's not as diverse. When you look at Olympic teams, how many countries have teams as diverse as the US??? Maybe the UK and some European places come close, but no one has all the nationalities represented that the US does). Just because a lot of our schools are miserable, doesn't mean that we also don't have some of the best schools in the world. The UK has Cambridge an Oxford (and the London School of Economics. How could I miss that?). We have Harvard and Yale and Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago and NYU and Columbia and tons more that are comparable to any schools in the rest of the world.

I guess the thing is that it's just not comparing apples to apples when you compare the statistics of the US against the rest of the world. Compare the US to other countries with its size (Russia, China, India?) and diversity (um...none) and it becomes a much more flattering picture.

And I'm not all into hugging America and stuff right now, but I think it's pretty cool that I live in a country that has given its citizens the right to pursue happiness. No other country has done that. We have codified the right to try to do what we want to do . Yeah, it sometimes creates a national identity of selfishness and survival of the fittest, but that's just taking the bad with the good, and I'm learning to overlook that.

And we elected Obama. So to me, there's got to be hope for this country. Not like I don't want to get back to the UK - lord knows I do - but when I do, I'll still be sticking up for America because like Bill Clinton said, there's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what is right with America.

And with that, the patriotic lecture is now officially over.

Homemade pizza date night tonight. Yippeeee! I love me some homemade pizza date nights.

And what about The Fashion Show (which I continue to watch even though I don't like it...I just miss Project Runway so much!). This week's episode was great. I was drooling over the shoes. But I'm bummed that the guy got kicked off - I didn't like his dress, but I thought the girls were way too b*tchy about him and I wanted him to stay just to spite them.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some things I'm thinking about right now...

-bummed at missing the Champion's League final yesterday now that I know who won. Bummer for ManU. Catching up on what happened with podcasts

-heard on Marketplace (I love Marketplace...):
The pope's radio station is going to start running ads for the first time in the 78 years it's been on the air. Vatican Radio said this week it'll start taking what the pope's spokesman calls "ideologically sound" commercials come July. The first spot will be from the Italian energy company Enel. They don't call 'em ads, by the way. It's... publicity.

-think AudioBoo is the coolest new toy ever.

-and I'm stoked that I got invited to join the Amazon Vine program because I have a high reviewer ranking. All those years of reviewing books and music is paying off. Man, I'm so excited. Free books. Yay for me!

- watched The Fashion Show for the first time the other day - I'm going through Project Runway withdrawal, so I thought i'd give it a try. Bad move. Isaac and Kelly do not match up to Tim and Heidi, and the contestants all seem really weird. I like the team challenge aspect, though.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm a little bit ashamed...

...of how much I love Peter Cetera.
(she says, sneaking around listening to World Falling Down, which is like marshmallows for the ears - totally devoid of any nutrition whatsoever, but dang, it's sweet going down...)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Still stewing in nomadchick messiness

Thank you to the comment on yesterday's post about not giving up on my dreams. I'm definitely not going to do that - I guess I'm more just thinking about what my dreams really are these days. I feel like NomadChick has been this anvil around my neck for so long - that was my dream when I was 24, but I don't know whether it is any longer.

And I'm thinking about other dreams that I might have now that I never had before. I've had a lot of people tell me, for example, that I take really good pictures, and I'm always walking around with a camera in my pocket, so now I'm thinking about taking a photography course in the fall. And writing classes. And who knows what else. Considering I'm not that nomadic myself anymore, is nomadchick really the highest expression of my dreams that I can think of? So that's what I'm stewing in at the moment. I still think I'm going to do something with it, but I don't think it's going to be NomadChick.

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day, and remembered all the service men and women. We had our lovely neighbors over for a cookout and sat around telling stories for hours. They are a retired couple who live in Palm Springs during the winter, and just came back up for the summer, which makes me so happy. It's so nice to see other people in the house, and it not just sitting empty.

Before that, though, I had to clean the deck. There's this really gross yellow powder that starts collecting for about three weeks at this time of year, which is followed by the worms that fall from the trees. Ick. Today I finally got seriously fed up with the powder, and besides, it's done for the season, I think. So I swept, cleaned, and rinsed all the deck furniture and got rid of a lot of it. I wish it would rain and wash it all away but I'm not holding my breath. It probably won't rain until at least late August or early September now, so I had to take matters into my own hands. I got filthy, but it felt good to work hard. I like physical labor on a fairly regular basis. It makes the shower afterwards feel so much more earned.

I was decluttering my space this weekend and found a bunch of half-finished cross stitch projects that it would be good to finish, so I'm going to work on one a bit before bed tonight, and that's really all the excitement I can think of.

Oh, and I am trying to write 1500 words a day, and got in all 1500 words each day this weekend. Now let's see if I can do it on the weekned.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Could this be a turning point?

So here's something weird that happened. My domain name expired, and someone else grabbed it for a real estate blog. It's really a strange feeling. My life has been dominated, on and off, for nearly eight years, by the desire to create an online community for single women travelers. I never fully realized that vision (though in London, the Nomadchick meetup has about 400 people in it, so maybe it is getting realized that way?) for various reasons - mostly feelings of inadequacy and fear. I could probably be in therapy for ages figuring out why I never completed much with NomadChick. But I didn't, and now it's gone.

I have a couple of choices:

I could buy a similar domain name - or something - and still try to make a go of nomadchick (rather like how Breakup Girl had to buy a new domain name after screwed her - I love breakup Girl).

I could buy a different domain name that still has something to do with women and travel, travelchick or something? - and try to get the whole thing going again under a different name, without all my nomadchick baggage.

I could declare the thing "over" and let it go.

So I'm going to have a think on it. Either way, I'm sure that this whole "letting the domain name expire" thing was meant to happen. I couldn't just keep clinging to it and never doing it.

Anyway, that's my news. Long time no blog because I injured my shoulder and spent a week and a half completely high on painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory meds. I couldn't string together enough words to make one sentence, let alone a blog entry.

Happy Memorial Day. Now I've gotta edit all my profile listings everywhere and take out NomadChick from the listings. It's a weird feeling. I'm just going to let it sift for a little bit. No rash actions. Just sit and stew in it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Spring Weekending

Oprah says to declutter, so I'm decluttering. I had a big yard sale yesterday, and after lugging tons of bags down the 32 stairs from our house to our driveway, there was no way I was lugging them all back up again, so the stuff that didn't sell got taken to the thrift store, where I got a tax credit thingy. It was a good time. I was happy that a bunch of stuff got sold, and by 2pm I was ready to wrap up. After going to the thrift store, we went to the Mexican restaurant by the lake and sat outside enjoying the breeze and watching the water.

Now that my life is decluttered, I am amazed at my closet. Everything in my closet fits and looks good on me now. It's such a great feeling.

Today I am having a Recession Spa day, which includes having my hubby do my highlights and cut my hair (he's good at it!) and having him help with my pedicure. It's nice having a husband who's secure enough in his masculinity to help me with my girly things.

After the Recession Spa day I will work a bit in my garden, but it's a bit too cold outside to do a lot, so I will work with my pots in the kitchen. And then, the highlight of my week, the Tudors.

I love peaceful quiet weekends like this.