Travel Dummy

Food feeds the belly, travel feeds the soul, friends feed your heart

Jack of all trades, master of none April 5, 2010

Filed under: Ramblin' (wo)Man — Angela @ 7:33 am

This odd little rambling that is taking the place of my Hearst Castle post (which I still havent been able to make myself write…I believe I am absurdly overwhelmed by the massive amount of photos I took) was titled and half-written yesterday as, “Does it move you?”. Today, it seems to hold a slightly different meaning since the ground, quite literally, started to wiggle this way and that as what felt like the longest earthquake in history rumbled through the earth.

Interesting, no?

What I had intended is more cerebral than literal, so the title got a little update and I no longer need to dwell on the strange coincidence the other one held.

***

I find inspiration just about everywhere. Music (obviously), clothing, photos, my cat, you name it and I will be inspired by it. The problem? Nothing sticks. I am a lucky one, most things I attempt I am better than average at doing (Hey, it’s the truth!), but I can never stick with it to perfect it, become a master, to turn it into something profitable or useful. Instead, several weeks in I am inspired to the very depths of my soul to do something completely different. I drop my exciting venture to explore a shiny brand new one.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

My life is full of half paint murals and abandoned websites.

Tragic.

This little website was another exciting new toy that has since fallen by the wayside from the draw of other experiments. I’m supremely disappointed in my lack of fortitude and think I would like to use this as a time to change.

Follow through.

Persevere.

I can commit! Gosh darn it I can!

So, throwing my hope out into this great vastness, lets see if I can make it boomerang into something I can be proud of…and not something else to sweep under the mat.

My question to you is, what do you do to keep yourself on track? Tips, tricks or helpful hints?

 

You give love a bad name March 22, 2010

Filed under: Ramblin' (wo)Man,Travel Dummy — Angela @ 7:48 am

It’s hard not to notice your singleness on Valentines Day.

“But wait!” you say, “You’re a newlywed! Isn’t it against the rules to complain of loneliness on the Day of all Hallmark Days?!”

Well…yes. And no.

My dear and lovely husband is a traveller. He doesn’t get sick days, vacation days, personal holidays or nights and weekends free to spend with his attention hungry wife. For better or worse, he is on the road working hard for the money.

This year, like many years in the past, I jumped on board the Valentines Day is Evil (with a capital E!) bandwagon with just as much vigor as my single counterparts.

Then, one pre V-Day night while watching the Discovery channel late into the evening with my bottle of wine and feeling-sorry-for-myself pajammys, a stunning moment of clarity occurred.

The show as on Stonehenge. Tradition, rituals, community, sacrifices and Pagans. All fascinating mostly because of how strange, backward and foreign these things seem to our ‘civilized’ culture.

This particular show really stressed how important rituals were to the Pagan community. Sure, they really did believe that warriors wearing a skinned wild boar would be far better protected than if they should wear armor. And, of course, we have all heard about the sacrificing of numerous animals on every major holiday.

Then…something clicked in my fuzzy, wine drenched brain.

I could go into detail about how every holiday we celebrate today has roots in old Pagan rituals, but I wont bore you with ancient customs and religious conspiracy theories (that’s for another blog). What I am intrigued by is the underlying reason for these rituals, beyond the desire for bountiful crops, health and vitality. I’m sure the vast majority of ancient peoples really did believe these holidays were incredibly meaningful in the literal sense, but the leaders, the intellects, the groundbreakers, the people who created these rituals in the first place, why did they do it?

Community.

I can only imagine how utterly mandatory it was to have a closely bonded group of people. Your life, quite literally, depended on that trust and support. United we stand, divided we fall.

These rituals brought people together with one unified goal. They spent weeks, sometimes months, preparing for the event and every man, woman and child would participate with gusto. It brought them together, made them strong, created a universal understanding that spanned ages and gender. Whether or not bathing in ox blood would do little more than stain your clothes wasn’t the point, it was the bond that forms by everyone working together for the same cause.

So how does this translate to our contemporary, squeaky clean and relatively young American culture? Alright, I’m not telling you to string up your local feral kitty and do a little jig around a bonfire…well, the jig is ok, but please leave the animals out of it. The point is we have been brainwashed by corporate America, by Hallmark and high-end restaurants, by flower shops and Russell Stover, and we are completely missing the point!

Valentines Day isn’t a day to recklessly scramble for a last-minute date with someone you will never speak to again just for the sake of not being ‘alone on Valentines Day’ (oy, if I had heard that statement from one more person you would have had to peel me off the ceiling).

It’s about love. Plain old, simple, hippy dippy love for everyone.

The universal meaning is absolutely beautiful! Ring up your Grandma Esther that you typically only call on her birthday and just say, “I love you Grammy!!”. Send your sister that box of chocolates instead of The Gap, where that girl you like is working, she’ll probably just think its creepy anyway. Your sister will undoubtedly appreciate it much more, and afterall, do you really love Gap girl? Probably not, but I bet you love your sister.

I’m all for romantic gestures and believe me, I would have swooned if my husband showed up with roses and whisked me away to Spago. Valentines Day (albeit its origins are highly controversial) does have roots in significance to lovers, but don’t have tunnel vision.

My hope is that enough people will see holidays as a way to bring them closer to their community. Unification and a sense of belonging. Its simple and can be pretty silly, but in a world of text messaging, emails, Facebook and Twitter, we are all increasingly isolated. This is a fun, healthy and easy way to give us all a little common ground and a little joy. Not to mention high involvement and belonging in a community is said to lead to a much longer and healthier life.

So my proposition to you is embrace holidays! Slap on your bunny ears and shower candy on everyone you meet! Raise a Guinness and toast your Irish friends! Paint the American flag across your forehead and actually learn the words to the National Anthem! And for goodness sake send your mom a big box of chocolates with a note that says, “I love you!”. If enough people are able to shed their jaded, lackadaisical attitude, imagine what fun and happiness could occur!

Afterall, how can anyone not smile in a world full of people with bunny ears and chocolate?

 

Don’t worry baby February 4, 2010

Filed under: Ramblin' (wo)Man,Travel Dummy — Angela @ 2:05 pm

Riddle me this batman, I break my husbands beloved laptop and he buys ME a new one? Is that how this marriage thing works? He didn’t get a new one for himself…oh no no…he got ME one!!

I really kinda like my husband a lot, don’t tell anyone.

Today I have spent moving all of the info I (smartly) backed up on to an external hard drive, on to my very cute new little white MacBook, and watching a Rick Steves marathon. I think I will spotlight Sorrento next Tuesday in excitement of the upcoming Spring.

I feel desperately guilty for my lack of consistency with my blogging, especially since I set up such clear rules for myself and promptly broke them all. I will get the it down eventually, I’m just not feeling the rhythm yet.

I blame the computer, or maybe the TV for being so seductive…

Here is a photo to keep you happy. A square in Rome just outside of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

 

Farewell to my partner in crime January 29, 2010

Filed under: Ramblin' (wo)Man — Angela @ 10:52 am
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Today is the would-be introduction to Foodie Friday. We were going to have soy bean hummus, and let me tell you it was SO TASTY. Yummy soy-ness abounds….

However, the trusty ol’ MacBook has officially moved on to that great big motherboard in the sky, taking the recipe (and all proper interweb surfing) with it.

Sad day my friends.

So, cheers to you MacBook. Im glad I backed you up before you bit it.

 

Foiled! January 25, 2010

Filed under: Ramblin' (wo)Man — Angela @ 7:35 am

Damn you rain! You can’t see me, but I am shaking my fist at you!

I fell into the age-old Southern Californian trap of planning a wonderful and exciting outdoor activity…not even paying attention to the torrential downpour that is happening over my head.

Oh hike to the Hollywood Sign! Oh Batman Cave! I didn’t mean to stand you up! There was RAIN! And MUD! And….RAIN!

So, my weekend challenge was foiled and I spent the weekend holed up watching a Heroes marathon, missing my husband and helping my parents evacuate their house. I had plans to lie and replace this weekends challenge with some amazing excursion I have had over the past year…but I’m certainly not going to start off my new adventure of self discovery lying. That wouldn’t be right would it? No ma’am.

So, I admit it.

My name is Angela and sometimes I suck.

The good news? It can really only get better from here. 😉

Have any good weekend challenges for me? Next weeks is going to be SO FUN by the way!! Just you wait, I’m so incredibly excited!

 

To everything…there is a season January 12, 2010

Filed under: My Crazy Family,Ramblin' (wo)Man — Angela @ 10:27 am
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Three years ago, the town of Santa Clarita (as well as many other surrounding communities) were affected by a horrible fire that claimed lives and destroyed homes.

My childhood home was one that was in the path of the fire. The firefighters said that they simply couldn’t fight it, it was burning too hot and too fast. They needed to let it “burn through”our neighborhood and that they were sorry.

After evacuations and threats from officials to throw him in the county jail for failure to cooperate, my father chose to stay and defend the house he built with his own two hands.

He fought the fire…and he won.

He suffered from severe smoke inhalation and spent some time in the hospital.The house (a log cabin with, shall we say, character) also suffered. Ash and soot invaded every room, imbedding into curtains, clothing, our mattresses. It became an uninvited guest that just wouldn’t leave. For three years, every time you wipe down the bathroom counter or vacuumed the rugs, there would be a thin layer of soot 30 minutes later.

Don’t even get me started about the persistent cough none of us could get rid of.

Homeowners insurance claimed nothing was wrong. The house was fine. There would be no payout to fix the damage.

Too bad they didn’t realize that my father was willing to fight a fire that firefighters deemed too dangerous, he was certainly willing to fight a greedy insurance company.

Here we stand today, years later, victorious.

Every stitch of everything that has been in that house for three decades has to be removed and my family relocated for the months of work to be done on the home.

So, what is the point of this story?

Since we are evacuating our home (in a sense), I will not have internet…and therefore no blogging…for about a week.

This blog will commence Tuesday January 19th.

Dont forget now…;)

 

Sunday Bonus! January 10, 2010

Filed under: Friends, the way we get by,Ramblin' (wo)Man — Angela @ 1:23 pm
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I have always said that my friends give me life. Now, there is a bit of evidence to back it up.

Surround yourself with the people you love and you will live a longer, happier and fuller life for it!