When a day comes that I don’t have to get into the car, I consider it a vacation. It’s just the way that life is here in L.A. We drive everywhere and it takes typically 45 minutes to get anywhere. For friends that live on the other side of town, I don’t see them.
This week, I got a set of car shades to keep Maggie and I cool during these hot summer days. It’s been getting up into the eighties and the sun is strong. Beyond that, I had to take a dose of antibiotics this past week which lower my resistance to the sun. Within a few minutes, my skin was already getting red.
Thus, life in L.A. has its pros and cons. Fortunately, I would take the car any day over public transportation. After spending too many years on the NYC subway, I’m happy to be in my private, air-conditioned, clean space. I just wish there wasn’t so much traffic all the time.
This summer, I got inspired to create a few photo books since I realize that we don’t very often print photos any more. There are so many great ones, but we often just leave them on our phone and rarely look at them again. I decided to try and hold onto these great memories a little bit longer with photobooks.
My mom was in her hometown of Prague for eight weeks and my step-dad is a great photographer. He took her photo is so many fabulous places, with beautiful flowers, and with family that we don’t see very often. I sent her the book that arrived upon their arrival back to the U.S. and she loved it. I’m looking forward to flipping through the pages in a few years and reminiscing on the good times she had in 2015.
Book by Shutterfly and Montage. Choose Montage if you want a really high quality one!
My mom and my step-dad just came back from a short vacation in Munich and they had such a good time. My mom was telling me all about their view of BMW HQ, the delicious schnitzel that they ate, and the friendly people. It reminded me of the many visits I have made to that lovely city and the many fantastic experiences.
This week, I also got a new foam pillow that was made in Germany and it reminded me also of the quality products that come from there. Besides BMW, there are so many good things that we use or see everyday like Henkel knives, the Disney castle modeled after Neuschwanstein and German beer.
With the recent debate between Greece and the EU, I think again on the leadership of Germany. They are a large country and doing their job well by leading the guidelines for which Greece needs to follow to succeed.
I look forward to sleeping peacefully tonight on my pillow, dreaming of my adventures in Bavaria, and wishing good things for the future in Greece.
Whenever I eat these things, I seem to think of Hawaii. My cousin lives in Honolulu and I used to work there so I have so many great memories of the Aloha lifestyle. It’s a bit more laid back and there is a feeling of relaxation as you step off the plane even if you are there to implement software, as I did.
This week I am also watching a tv series that seems to be taking my interest intensely. Girls is about four women in their 20’s who are exploring careers, relationships, and life in general. This show reminds me of Hawaii because it was during that age that I went there very often for work.
As I look back 10-15 years ago this week, I feel fortunate to have had those years. I enjoy going to Hawaii with my husband too, but there was no replacing a visit when I was eating coconuts, macadamia nuts, and exploring life as a young adult!
My mother-in-law doesn’t do Facebook or have a computer. She sends us hard copy 4×6″ photos every few months to update us on what is going on in her life. She lives 3000 miles away so keeping her up to date on our end has created a new process for me. I now also print photos, write on the back, and put them in the U.S. mailbox. I haven’t done this since college.
Below is the one of the latest that we’re sending to her…a photo of our dog, her new friend, and these awesome new travel dog bowls that we got for them. The nice part is that she can put the photos up around her apartment and see them when she accomplishes tasks around the house. We are hoping Maggie, Millie, and their travel bowls bring a smile to her face in Boston, as they do our ours!
A friend of mine wore a t-shirt today that said “New York Los Angeles”. It made me smile since these are two of my homes. I grew up in New York and now I live in LA. It made me think of NYC and the experiences I had there. There were so many great ones…friends, career, and family.
One of the bad experiences I had was one with bed bugs. Ever since I lived in NYC and got an infestation of these ugly creatures, I have been overly protective of my sleeping quarters. I use not only a mattress “sack” that zippers up to ensure no critters touch my body during the night, but I also just got a waterproof mattress protector to double-up on my protection.
Although I haven’t had an infestation in LA, I am still scared by the event and take any precautions to ensure we are protected. The hard part about bed bugs is that they can enter the home via a variety of routes and we really can’t do much to prevent them. Even nice hotel rooms have them so I am always nervous about bringing them home without knowing.
I even made a video about how secure my new mattress cover is. Fortunately, this was the worst of my experience in NYC. I loved my time there and am happy to return for visits from LA…bed bug free.
I discovered a new technology this week that I feel really makes me life so much easier. I believe it’s been around for a few years, but it was the first time that I paid and printed my own packing labels at home without the need for the post office. After spending so many quality hours with my local postal worker last fall during the wedding-prep phase, I am happy to no longer need their time or service. I am self-sufficient!
I logged onto www.usps.com and immediately there is a place to create your own shipping labels. I entered the weight and within a few clicks, I was checked out and taping my label to my box. Fortunately, I have a fantastic kitchen scale at home too that helps me figure out an accurate weight.
I love when these old rituals, such as visiting the post office, enter the 21st century. There is a way to make our lives easier and technology does that. During my 15+ year tenure in the software industry, I was always proud to be able to bring products to people that helped streamlined their lives and their businesses. I am now so glad to be a customer of this advancement and am very supportive of the USPS in making these strides.
A few weekends ago, my husband and I went camping at a state campground near us called Leo Carrillo. I had heard about it and had seen how difficult it was to get reservations on-line, but I had no idea that I would find a small city of people, tents, and bikes when we arrived. Normally when we camp, it’s quiet and remote. This was the opposite. It was a half a mile from the road and there were tons of people squeezed onto each campsite with music, drinking games, and full kitchens set-up outside.
At first, I was taken aback. Could this centering and grounding like other camping experiences I’ve had where we get out into nature? Will this be fun? As soon as I saw all the kids riding around on their bikes at night with the glow in the dark wheels, I knew I was hooked. This was like an amusement park for outdoors people!
What I liked a lot about the atmosphere of Leo Carrillo is the social, friendly, and outgoing nature of it all. As soon as we pulled in, our neighbors greeted us and welcomed us to the site. The next day, they asked to meet our dog and were happy to chat for 20 minutes as they prepared breakfast. When I looked around, I noticed that everyone was friendly.
Because it’s so popular, we were only able to stay one night, but as soon as I got home, I put ourselves on a waitlist for a full weekend later this year. I can’t wait to go back. This time I am going to come with my lights for my bike and maybe even a party hat to go with my Patagonia heavy camping fleece.
For the past few months, I have gotten obsessed with camping and getting outdoors on the weekends. My husband is busy with work during the summer and winter months which only leaves us a few weekends in the spring and fall to get out of town. Thus, I started planning and booking weekends for every weekend I could, as I do like to travel.
This year, I have fallen in love again with our home state of California and have booked every campground within a 2-hour drive. We drive out Thursday afternoon and come home on Sunday. Sometimes we do car camping and sometimes we do some backpacking.
It has been AWESOME for our psyche, spirit, and health to spend all these hours outside. Every time we come home, I feel refreshed, healthy, and peaceful. Getting into nature seems to somehow calm the soul and allow us to get back to our roots. We check in with our priorities, we communicate on a variety of different topics, and we make decisions that often seem unclear when we leave town on Thursday.
Since we’ve gotten so much enjoyment out of these trips, we spend a good portion of our week preparing goods and food for the weekend. Whenever we get something new, we very often say “this would be great for camping!”. We get excited and either put it with our camping things or on a list of things to take. One of our latest gadgets are foldable water bottles that are made out of silicone, for example. They are light, BPA-free, and look cool.
Often, when we start preparing to go out and our little dog, Maggie, notices that we’re leaving, she plants herself at the door of our car. Especially if we are going out together and we’re taking my husband’s car, she’s sure to sit exactly where we can’t miss her. She never likes to be left at home when we are going out.
Last week, we noticed her hair was getting stuck in-between the seats of his recent December 2013 purchase. He loves his car and I hate to see him lose value when it could be avoided. He also uses the rest of his backseat for papers and files that he needs when he visits clients during the week. This too is creating some wear and tear.
Thus, I got him a car seat cover designed to protect the upholstery. I think it’s a great idea since it’ll keep the car looking new and still allow Maggie to come with us on rides. She’s not the only one who likes it when she comes along. I too love rockin’ and rollin’ with her in the car.