Posts Tagged With: television

My love for the ocean, a Holiday Rental in Asheville, and other random things

I was born in Southern California. We moved away when I was 7, so I can’t really say I grew up there, but I kind of did a little bit. Regardless, we went back a lot to visit, and I will always have a little bit of SoCal in me. It’s what gave me a love for the ocean, I’m convinced of it. I’ve always said my favorite smell is the smell of the sea, the sun and the “tourists covered in oil” (a little Jimmy Buffet influence there). Every time we went to the beach after a long time away, I eagerly anticipated that first glimpse of water. You could usually smell it first, the salt, the smell of rotting seaweed. Then you would suddenly notice an absence of anything on the horizon, just the vast nothingness of the sky. Then, there, was that it? Just the briefest glimpse of the horizon, the subtle difference of blue on blue. Yes, there. The ocean. Just thinking about it make a slow smile spread across my face. I’ve always been enamored with the waves. I could sit on a beach and watch the waves roll in for hours and be perfectly content. I remember an ex of mine saying the same thing about the mountains -“couldn’t you just watch this all day?” I looked at him like he was crazy, because that’s what I thought he was. Watch mountains all day? They don’t do anything! The ocean moves, it dances, it sings. It destroys and cleanses and gives and takes away.  Mountains erode.  Slooooowwwllllyyyyy.

Its amazing how good you feel after feeling bad. Sunday morning, just before my yoga class started, I started getting a headache. I fought building nausea throughout the class, and by the time I got home had a full blown migraine. I nursed Baby J for ten minutes, then thrust him to Stephen, said “Take the baby, I’m going to lay down,” heated a small bottle to get the baby through to the next feeding, and collapsed into bed. About an hour later I got up and felt much better. And kept realizing how much better I felt, so that I just felt so good all afternoon. It’s much the same with the nipple issues I was having. There are times when I suddenly realize, “Hey, my boobs don’t hurt.” When you’ve become accustomed to persistent  pain, realizing there is an absence of pain is a wonderful thing.

It annoys me to no end when I’m looking for a product or service online and I can’t find a price. Example 1 – I’m looking for a photographer to do a family photo shoot while were back in the US. So many photographers don’t have any sort of pricing on their websites. Guess what? I’m not going to call to find out your pricing. I’m going to find a photographer that has their pricing on their website. You lose a potential client. Example 2 – I’m looking for a birthday present, and found an interesting “experience” gift. No pricing. Guess what, that right there tells me it’s likely more than I want to pay. And even if it’s not, I’m not going to call to find out. You lose a potential sale. <end rant>

My friend Jen just listed her carriage house on airbnb, and it’s gorgeous! If you’re looking to vacation in Asheville, I highly recommend contacting her. The listing is here, and she gives you a tour on her blog here. She also has a bunch of Asheville links on her blog, so be sure yo check those out! And if you go, give Jen and Jon and Miriam a hug for me. 🙂

I highly recommend reading this piece on kindness. It’s a long read – settle yourself in someplace comfy for half an hour. It’s worth it. You might want to bring a tissue along.

 

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Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

E.T. Spotted

I saw this a few months ago, and now I see it every time I watch The Daily Show.  Jon Stewart sits in front of a world map, and there are these little red dots in some places.  There are two red dots in Northern Africa, and they look like eyeballs, and then…Africa looks like E.T.  It’s particularly noticeable while Stewart is interviewing people.

Do you see it, too, or am I insane?  (You don’t have to watch the whole clip,  just check out Africa behind Stewart’s right shoulder – you can see it several times within the first minute.  Heck you can almost see it in the still shot below…)

Baby J update – 23 Days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

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Grand Designs

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Stephen and I have been completely sucked into watching Grand Designs.  It’s a British series that follows a couple or family that is building a house that is somewhat “outside of the box.”  No cookie cutter, standard homes for these people.  These are people who buy crumbling 15th century castles and rebuild them, people who buy enormous former commercial buildings and refurb them, people who build giant white contemporary homes in the middle of quaint half-timber houses, people who use super-sustainable building products like straw insulation and composting toilets.

My favorites, for the most part, are the ones where they buy a crumbling historic property and try to bring it back to life.  I love crumbling ruins, they fascinate me, and seeing these people actually succeed at making a home out of them is amazing.  Especially when it doesn’t seem the building will even stay together long enough to fix the damage time has done.  What makes people think they can do this? A 15th century castle with only three walls, a collapsed roof, and a center wall that literally falls apart in three seconds while on camera?  Insane!

Even though both Stephen and I, while watching this show, agree that we will never build a house (ohmigod the stress!), I can’t help but want to give one of those crumbling ruins a second chance.  I simply love the idea.

So now, while traveling, every time we see an old house, falling apart, we’ll say, “Grand Design!”

Example:

Old house at Valley of the Temples in Sicily - Grand Design?

Old house at Valley of the Temples in Sicily – Grand Design?

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Random thoughts from Finland, v.2

We finally moved into our apartment last week, and we’ve been settling in.  By that, I mean I’ve mostly been unpacking, cleaning, papering shelves, organizing….  Haven’t had a lot of time to do much else, and we didn’t have the internet set up yet, so not much opportunity to read the news or check email or, you know, do silly things like blog….  However, we have internet now (we’ve actually had it the whole time – long story, next post), so how about some random thoughts I’ve collected over the last few weeks?

  • While in the hotel, we had roughly 15 TV channels to choose from.  They had some programming in English, but in the evenings we had a hard time finding something to watch.  I can’t believe how many times we ended up watching “I Used to be Fat” or “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.”  It’s like, it came on, and we couldn’t stop ourselves….  We also watched a lot of old TLC style home improvement/design shows on the weekends.
  • And as long as we’re on the subject of TV – daytime TV was very similar to US late night TV:  infomercials galore.  One day, I sat and counted what was playing.  There were 9 stations (of 15) playing infomercials, and FIVE of them were for some sort of bra!!
  • I find myself sick of going to the grocery store.  It seems like I go to the grocery store five times a week.  I go at least four times.  Some chicken here, lunch meat there.  But since I don’t have a car, I have to carry everything back with me, so I have to limit what I buy.  We do a big trip in the car once a week, and anything we need during the week is another trip to the store.  I hope to cut back to 2-3 times a week soon, once we have some staples and I figure out how to shop.
  • Yes, how to shop.  I think I’ll have to do a whole separate post on grocery shopping…
  • I’m surprised at how dirty the streets are.  I don’t know why, but I expected it to be very clean here, because, you know, it’s Europe and they actually recycle and don’t throw glass on the streets.  And yet.  There’s much more trash lying about than I expected – candy wrappers, juice boxes.  Cigarette butts, my god!!  So many cigarette butts on the ground!  And dog poop!!  Just there, on the sidewalk, sometimes in the middle of the sidewalk.  I wonder if it’s because all the snow is melting, and the layers of three months of snow/trash/snow is being uncovered.  But still.  It’s there.  Snow or no snow, dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk is gross.
  • Finland has these cameras along the road to catch speeders.  They give you a nice little warning – a big sign with a graphic of a camera – and then they intersperse several cameras over the next 10km or so.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but speeding fines around here can be quite hefty, so it’s nice of them to post these signs.  But here’s what I find funny:  the cameras are HUGE.  Seriously, they’re mounted on poles about 4 feet off the ground and they’re boxes that are probably close to two cubic feet in size.  Honestly, I don’t see how you can miss them.  They move the cameras from time to time, to keep you on your toes, but I keep thinking – if I can see it from a kilometer away, I can slow down in time for it.  The camera flashes if it catches you, so you know you’ve been caught, but it doesn’t clock you until you’re almost on top of it.  Still, Stephen’s been great about setting the cruise control on the speed limit and not taking any chances.
  • We’re still in a rental car, which I’m not authorized to drive.  I’m sure it would be a simple enough matter to add me to the contract, but I don’t have the car when Stephen’s not around (because he has it), so it hasn’t been an issue.  Stephen recently pointed out that it had been about five weeks since I drove a car.  “When’s the last time you didn’t drive for so long?” he asked.  My answer:  since I was 14.
  • Oh!  And we have these weird 4-way non-stops here.  It’s the oddest thing.  These are not roundabouts – roundabouts I get (and love).  It’s an intersection, like where in the US we would have a four way stop.  But here, they don’t have any signs whatsoever.   I mean it.  No signs.  It’s this four way intersection with no signs, and apparently you’re supposed to yield to the car to the right.  But how you’re supposed to know this, I don’t know. I guess it’s in Finnish Driver’s Ed.  Before we knew the rule, we had no idea we were supposed to yield – we’re on a street, there’s no sign, we keep going.  I’m sure there have been some Finns out there slamming on their brakes and cursing us – “F-ing tourists!”
  • Many of the radio stations play English language music, and Adele is quite big over here.  Stephen is in the car more than me, so he hears Adele a lot, which is fine, he likes Adele.  What drives him crazy is they pronounce her name “AH-duh-lay.”  Drives him nuts.
  • Yes, they have Jehovah’s Witnesses here too:

Okay, that’s it for now.  I’ll post about the apartment, including pictures, in the next day or two.  Other upcoming posts:  Our trip to Tampere, Shopping in a foreign language, Living without a dryer.

Kippis!

Categories: Finland, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

5 Things I’m watching this summer

  1. Covert Affairs.  I realize it’s horribly cheesy, but that’s part of the fun.  Mindless entertainment!
  2. In Plain Sight
  3. Burn Notice
  4. The last four episodes of The Mentalist, still saved and unwatched on my DVR
  5.  This movie

What are you watching this summer?

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Favorite Things

(***This post was originally posted on Open Salon on March 6, 2011, in response to an Open Call for Favorite things.  Please see this post about my decision to migrate to WordPress…if you’re interested.***)

In response to Alysa Salzberg’s Open Call, I submit the following things that bring me joy lately:

All things Firefly.  I was a Buffy and Angel fan, but came to the Firefly game a little late.  I’m not sure why I ended up watching it on DVD, but I immediately fell in love, and introduced the (sadly, cancelled) series to friends.  They gave me a quote tee-shirt for Christmas this year (see below – “Also, I can kill you with my brain.”).  Jayne slays me with lines like “I’ll be in my bunk” and “It’s my very favorite gun,” and my love for Summer Glau is immeasurable.  Every time Nathan Fillion eludes to it on Castle, I squee (especially when he showed up on Halloween in his Malcolm Reynolds outfit).  Lately, there has been a lot going on on the Firefly front.  Fillion made an off-hand comment recently that he would buy the franchise if he won the California Lottery, and Browncoats (aka: fans of the show) immediately seized on the opportunity to show support.  While I don’t think more Firefly is likely to happen, I would love to see it.

Also, I can kill you with my brain.

My new teacup.  I have plenty of large mugs, but one day I decided I wanted a proper teacup and saucer.  A visit to a local antique mall uncovered this cute little gem, complete with pretty much every zodiac/good luck symbol you could imagine.  On the outside, it says, “Perchance this cup will show it thee.   Would’st thy fortune like to see?”  (Seems like those sentences should be reversed, but that’s what it says.)

teacup

My Haiku bag.  Another recent Christmas gift.  I have a little Acer notebook, and really wanted a bag that I could carry it in.  Being particular, as I am, I wanted very specific things – a bag that went across the chest, so it wouldn’t kill my back, and the ability to use it as a regular purse, sans computer (IOW, I didn’t want a laptop bag).  My friend found me The Perfect Bag, and it’s only gotten more perfect over the last couple of months.

Haiku bag

(Haiku Laptop Courier Bag available at REI.)

My japa mala.  I have been wanting a japa mala for a while now, but really wanted to make my own.  I finally sucked it up and made one.  It’s just simple, cheap wood beads, and I hope one day to get more significant beads and make a new one, but for now, this one makes me happy.

japa mala

Scrivener.  I’ve never had a Mac.  I grew up on a PC, and that’s what I’ve always had.  So I didn’t know anything about this software called Scrivener until last November, when I discovered Scrivener for Windows.  It’s in beta right now, due to be released in early April, and I’ve already requested it for my birthday.  I now understand why I could never finish a book in Word.  Trying to edit and revise 70,000 words all at once is…daunting.  But break it up into little moveable parts, with the ability to make notes, and…well, let’s just say I’m getting closer.

Metafilter.  Random news, sometimes weird, sometimes beautiful, sometimes boring.  My favorite post of all time (the one I still tell people about) is people playing Roomba Frogger on 6th Street in Austin.

Margaret & Helen.  A friend of mine (Thanks, Paula!) recently introduced me to this blog, and I was an instant addict.  I love little old ladies who say it like it is.  Screw being PC, screw worrying what people think about you, and screw anyone who messes with Helen.


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