A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Rules of Dating… January 23, 2010

Filed under: Random — italicana kitchen @ 10:54 am
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Being in the dating world is like being a fisherman on the open sea. The fisherman has one main objective–to catch a fish.  He may be looking for the biggest fish that he can find or a certain type of fish he’s never caught; he may be fishing solely for the game of catch and release or he may be trying to catch a fish that he is  proud of, that he can take a photo and hang it on the wall to showcase his prized possession. The aims of dating are similar, one dates to find someone else. Some search for a lifelong partner, others for a one night stand.  Some search to pass the time, others to create moments to remember. In the end, though, the baseline of fishing and dating are the same: you are searching for something, there is excitement in the unknown, and a sense of hope that you will find the best catch.

There are multiple ways to date, and there are multiple ways to fish. Do you put out one line, and only one line to catch a fish? Or do you put out multiple lines and increase your odds of how many fish will bite?  With the first you are more focused, more in tune with what you are doing and are ready the moment a fish may tug on the line, the second you have more possibilities of catching something but may miss the opportunity of a bite while you are focused on another line.

With dating it is the same. When you date, should you commit yourself only to dating one person at a time to focus attention on what you are doing? Or is that the entire point of dating, to not commit yourself to a person but rather to throw out many lines to increase your chances of catching something worth keeping?

I’ve always gone with the latter, dating multiple people at continuous times until I’ve found someone who I want to get to know intimately and that is when I pull in all my other rods. But, as I’ve found out yesterday, levels of intimacy are different for each person. For instance, what is a value of a kiss? Is it something you give out to multiple people or is it something you give only to someone as a commitment?

I’ve always thought of a kiss as part of the dating process. A kiss can tell you a lot about a person and whether you’re attracted physically without playing on a bigger ball field like sex, which for me is the top-level of intimacy and something you share safely in a committed and monogamous relationship.

Yet, back to a kiss. A kiss is something that moves you from the “friend” zone and into the “dating” zone.  But, is it appropriate to kiss multiple people at once?  For me, I always believed it was. If there weren’t levels of excitement, attraction during the kiss than the relationship should be turned backed to the friend zone. If there are no butterflies, then it’s almost impossible to grow an intimate relationship even if you love everything else about the person. If there are sparks during the kiss than the relationship can move into the exclusive zone, given that is what you want and the other important pieces (values, interests, morals) of the relationship fit.

What do you think? Is dating multiple people at once an acceptable convention or is it a superficial way to date?

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You’re on Hold, Thanks for Waiting… January 21, 2009

As I sit here writing a post for my blog, I couldn’t help but open a blank page and switch to write about my father’s ordeal in ordering a computer warranty from Dell. It was quite the morning entertainment.

With any customer service call, there usually is a small wait time. I agree with my dad’s lamenting about being put on hold, it is quite annoying especially when you have things to do.  And, for my dad, waiting on hold wouldn’t be so bad with music, but listening to a recording about, “Dell’s new products, buy one today!” sent him straight into a tizzy.

Now, for those who don’t know him personally, my father is one of the most hilarious individuals I have ever met. Being around him is like watching a live comedy, you just sit back and wait for him to do or say something, then you keel over laughing. His satire is much like something you would see on, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, written by Larry David, a former Seinfeld writer. It’s dry, offbeat and often times pushes the limit of things you should or shouldn’t say–but with my dad, anything goes. Every topic, every person, every situation is fair game.

He began his ranting as soon as the customer service voice recording came on. For five minutes or so he complained about how stupid it was to be put on hold, how he hated it, how he DIDN’T want to buy a product etc.

I sat there, listening until finally I had enough!

“Dad!” I said. “Deal with it. It’s not going to help anything by complaining, what good is it going to do?”

“Thank you for being patient,” the woman’s voice recording said in the meantime.

“No, I’m not patient!” he barked back to no one.

After a few more minutes of the voice recording rambling on in a sales pitch, I hear a loud yell coming from the man sitting next to me….yes, my father.

“Your mother’s ugly!” he yells into the phone.

Thankfully, it was just the recording on the other line.

Oh dad….

 

A Moment in History: The Inauguration of Barack Obama January 20, 2009

I am sitting on my parent’s tan couch, feet up on the ottoman, the sound of trumpets and loud cheering are filling the living room while I watch on television as President Elect Barack Obama walks down a red and blue carpet, his face wavering between smiles and concentrated thought before taking a seat in a blue leather armchair that faces out towards the hundreds of thousands of spectators that are bundled up in hats, gloves and warm coats on the National Mall in front of the capital as they wait with great enthusiasm for the inauguration of the 44th President to commence.

Now, less than an hour later, Barack Obama has been sworn in as the 44th President of the United States and has addressed the nation with the current challenges that face America as well as his optimistic visions in addressing these issues head on.

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time, but know this, America — they will be met,” he said.

I find comfort in these words. They are not inflated with illusions that all of America’s problems will magically vanish now that Obama is President. He does not sugarcoat the gravity of America’s situation nor does he promise instant resolutions. Instead, Obama is honest about the detrimental crises that face our society, and the challenge it will be to restore or improve the nation’s economic, political and social standings.

“The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise healthcare’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.”

Obama’s goals for the nation are set high, and some may argue that they are unrealistic given our current situation.  Yet, why would we want a President who’s goals are set low? America does not need a President who is looking for a short fix for our nation in order to save face or to please the public. America does not need someone who wants to sew a patch on our current problems. America needs someone who is willing to rip that hole bigger, to rip out the old threads that are sewn in a zig zag mess or on the verge of breaking and to start new–thread and needle in hand, mending at the root of the problem even though it may take longer, yet, in the end it will be easier to sew a straight line.

A small goal is the same as a large goal, they are both goals and will only be accomplished by one thing…action. It is President Obama’s commitment towards action to address America’s challenges that will propel this nation forward.  President Obama will not coddle America through this recession, but rather challenge the public and the government to strive for high aspirations as we rebuild our society by combining imagination and courage to carve our own path and foundation for the future.

 

Three Reasons I Heart Google January 16, 2009

For Christmas I asked for Microsoft Office for Mac; however, I am finding that although it is a great program, I am not using it for my writing like I imagined I would. Instead, I have become addicted to Google Documents. I still am exploring what Google Documents has to offer, but here are just a few of my top favorite features, which in my opinion are AMAZING!

1. Accessible anywhere–When I was on my around the world trip I didn’t take a computer and instead wrote story ideas, poems, thoughts and reflections all in multiple journals (I was a freak and carried two leather bound, one plastic covered, and two smaller journals.  One of my worst nightmares is to be caught idle without pen and paper!) The fact that I can freehand write, then type it into a Google document for safekeeping while I’m on the go is priceless. And, now that I am back home, I still prefer to type in Google documents because I never have to mess with uploading or downloading files, making sure I pulled the correct versions, or worry about leaving my files on my computer, hard drive or flash stick.

**Note my next big trip I might take my computer, but then  1) I would have to worry about battery life, and most places I stayed on this trip didn’t have electricity 2)I would be “weighted” down with fear of losing or getting my computer stolen 3) I write a lot when I am outdoors…dust…rain…sun…you name it…not so computer friendly…

2. Sharing Option: When I first started planning my trip I created a master spreadsheet of all of the things I needed to do, their current state and next steps. I also created a packing list, an estimated budget and a rough itinerary of some of the places I wanted to go. The majority of my trip, we travelled by the seat of our pants, going places people recommended, using the city’s I-site for information, or pulling information from guide books.  However, before leaving the states I put together a rough itinerary spreadsheet and sent it to my fellow travel companions and we were all able to modify, change, and add information in real time (no kidding, you can see the other person’s cursor moving and typing in the document if you are both working on it at the same time–a little eerie but cool.) Even though my parents never used it, I shared the files with them so they could have a rough idea of where we were (places/dates always ended up changing but at least they knew what country I was in!)

3. Revision History–Everyone writes differently. When I write I continually save throughout my writing (every 10-20 minutes or so) as I have gotten burned before, loosing everything I had written. Devastating, but lesson learned. Now a days it is common to have an autosave feature to back up your work as you type so you don’t have to, this blog for example does it for me.  I never found a feature like this in a normal Word doc (and maybe it existed but I never knew?), and sometimes I would write something, save it and realize that what I had written before was better but have no way of retrieving it because I saved over it! (and, yes, I’m not super techy so I’m sure there probably was a way to retrieve the files…)

With a Google Word Document, all you have to do is: go to your Tools Tab select Revision History and a full page including the date and edit revisions are recorded. You never have to worry about losing that “perfect sentence” again–you can always go back later on and retrieve it! If you kill off that character but wish you hadn’t—oh wait, he can come back to life.  And, the information is presented in a non-effacing way. You click on the dates you want, and can compare the difference in changes.

Genius. Love it.

 

Stuff…Stuff…and MORE STUFF… January 14, 2009

I’ve spent the last 3 days cleaning out my old high school room at my parent’s house and I cannot believe how much STUFF I have accumulated over the past 10 years…and sadly, I have only scratched the surface as a lot of the boxes have been moved from my room when they painted and redecorated.

Some of the stuff is easy and it goes straight to the trash or give away pile, but other stuff is harder to sort through, like presents given to me from my parents when I was a child. There is this elegant ballerina snow globe my dad gave me when I was a little girl, it’s memorable because HE gave it to me, but it’s nothing I would display in my future house or apartment. Do I keep it or give it away to a little girl who would truly appreciate it?

Or how about high school memorabilia? I have a full box of “Most Inspirational”, “Most Valuable Player” or “Team Captain” plaques from my glory days on the varsity volleyball, basketball and softball teams. Sports were my life growing up and these   awards are great reminders of my hard work and perseverance to push and challenge my mind and body to achieve goals I set for myself, but on the other hand I look at these plaques now and they are only clutter. Really what am I going to do with them? I would never put them on display, but I feel guilty in throwing them away or giving them to a secondhand store.

And what about cards and letters? I haven’t looked at all of them but I probably have a shoebox full of birthday cards and notes from friends and family. On one hand, it is great to look back through a few and read them–it brings me back to a different time in my life. On the other hand, what do I do with them? Right now, I can leave them in a box at my parents because they have a lot of storage, but when they move I’ll need to take them and I like to be mobile not weighted down by things.

Since travelling I have become a minimalist–I don’t need a lot of things, and I don’t want clutter. However, so, far the only ideas I’ve come up with on what to do with my stuff I’m torn about whether saving or getting rid of, is to take pictures of the objects I no longer want but still want to remember, and give them away. As for the letters, pick out only a few that will fit into a manila envelope and purge the rest. This is just what I am thinking now…but any other advice or helpful tips on how to appreciate your things from the past but eliminate clutter in the future, I would love to hear it!

 

WWW…what? January 13, 2009

I love discovering useful websites. Below are some new websites I’ve become addicted to as well as a few oldies that I have been using for awhile but am still surprised people don’t know about–like Pandora, seriously the BEST music device ever! Hope you enjoy…and don’t forget to leave a post with a few of your favorite sites!

Trip Filma: http://www.tripfilms.com/
My brother just introduced me to this. It’s like you tube, but travel specific, and if you submit a video you get the added perk of earning points and rewards the more times people view your videos! Plus, the site promotes cool promotions like free trips or meals. LOVE IT. And, yes…when I buy my camera…you will see a lot of Cindy Swain travel videos!

Pandora: http://pandora.com/
The best music player I’ve found on the web. You pick an artist or song and the player will generate similar music. It’s perfect for dinner parties as you don’t have to create playlists, you learn about new artists and it’s free! What are my top stations I’m listening to right now: Joshua Radin, Louis Armstrong, Snow Patrol, Leona Lewis and Chris Brown

Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/
Free streaming movie and television shows. Endless entertainment at your fingertips.

Coupon Cabin: http://www.couponcabin.com/index.htm?ref=pandora1208_2
I haven’t used this site yet, but it has promise if it does work. Who wants to pay full price for items when you can get a discount?

Skype: http://skype.com/welcomeback/
I used this site all throughout my travels to make cheap phone calls home. The best part, however, is that if both people have Skype then the call is FREE! You heard me. Free. Plus, you can talk on videochat with a click of a button (You’ll need a webcam and mic though. For mac users and new pc’s you probably have this built in.) I’m also signed up for videochat on Gmail as well, which is pretty much the same. Videochat is how I am going to see my nephew grow and talk, have dinner with my parents a thousand miles away (they can just set the laptop on the counter!) and feel connected to the places and people I love.

Photofunia: http://www.photofunia.com
A fun site that let’s you easily get creative with your photos–perfect for those of us who don’t have photoshop!

 

Love>A Great Word January 6, 2009

Building on my last post, it is no surprise that I love saying the word love. In fact, I use it constantly in my daily speech to describe things that I have a strong passion for or are very fond of. However, when I say this phrase in Italian, I get corrected on my grammar. Believe it or not, in the country known for their candid expression of love Italians don’t use this term like we Americans do. Instead of I love Florence, I love coffee, I love wine, they more often say either mi piace (I like) or adoro (I adore).

But I do love Florence I try to explain. I really really love coffee I contest. And, seriously, I not only love, but am in love with wine.

So, I apologize Italy. I love love….mi amo amore. So instead of correcting my grammar, can’t we just update the dictionary?