Friday, March 25, 2011

Ideals v. Realism

I've always been an idealist. When I was a child, I read about the horrible corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and I wanted to do something about it. I decided that I was going to become the head of the BIA and erradicate corruption from the system. That dream has mostly fallen by the wayside, primarily because I don't have a drop of Native American blood in me (I'm all German), and I feel strongly that the Tribes need one of their own to represent them on the federal stage. Unfortunately, that idealistic view has not led to any reforms. But the dream did drop off my radar.

A while ago, I was out to lunch and trying to find the Whole Foods near my work and I happened to walk by the BIA headquarters in DC. It brought my dream right back to me. And although I'm extremely happy in my professional life right now, that dream keeps niggling at the back of my mind. But unfortunately, I'm also a realist, thanks to a college education focused on teaching me the difference between laws and practice. Besides the whole not being a Native American thing, my biggest concern is that I wouldn't actually be able to achieve anything even if I were to become the Director at some point. In theory, I could do anything as the Director. However, I think I would have to work my way up to get that far. And one of the many whistleblowers that has worked for the BIA, was fired as soon as he reported what was going on in the Agency financially. So if I had to work my way up, I don't think there's any way that I could watch the corruption going on and not say anything about it. Then I would get fired and never make it to Director.

Dreams suck when you get realistic about them.

List #13: DIY's I Want To Try

List #12: Weekly Rituals

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

Usually I don't follow the news. I get my updates at the end of the day when DH comes home from work. And even then I only hear about it, if it's major. So I was really impressed that I knew about the earthquake and tsunami warnings in Japan only minutes after it happened. Why, because I got lucky. Someone had posted on Facebook that they couldn't believe the fire and flooding that they were watching Live. So of course, I had to google "fire and flooding" and I managed to get the first updates about the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami that followed as it was happening.

That being said, my heart goes out to the people of Japan and everyone else caught in the path of the resulting tsunamis. Tsunami warnings are in effect all along the West Coast of North, Central and South America. Waves have hit Hawaii and were only slightly higher than average and the evacuation seems to have been a success. Reports of tsunami waves hitting Alaska's Aleutian Island chains vary from 5 feet to 18 inches. Worst hit was northern Japan, with waves reported at 13 feet.

I've seen so many comments about mother nature being angry or that this signals the end of the world, etc. That the tsunami looked like the one in the movie 2012. I think that's all fear mongering. Granted, natural disasters have recently seemed to gain in intensity. But for every earthquake, tsunami, volcano, bad hurricane, etc. I can point to a like natural disaster at some point in history. And the earth hasn't ended yet.

And while I'm an environmentalist with a very real appreciation for how much human activity can screw with the workings of nature, I just don't think that an earthquake occuring deep in the ocean was related to anything we are doing. So, it's not the action of some sentient nature spirit, or a higher power, or the end of the earth punishing us for our collective sins. It's a natural occurance which triggered another natural occurance. I'm pretty sure if mother nature were actually sentient, we'd see much more targeted disasters (forest fires to discourage loggers, tsunamis to discourage overfishing, earthquakes to protest urban sprawl, droughts to protest overuse of water, flooding of strip mines, etc.).

List #11: Date Night Ideas

Date Night Ideas
1) Candlelit dinner under the stars (doesn't necessarily need to be on the beach)
2) Picnic by a lake (a lot of my date night ideas revolve around food)
3) Slow night in, home cooked meal, Netflix movie
4) Playing World of Warcraft together (I once staged a scavenger hunt while we were doing the long distance thing, and at the end he found my character with a virtual picnic basket)
5) Dinner at Meskerem (our favorite Ethiopian restaurant), followed by a play or concert (if I could ever manage to drag him to one, I know he'd enjoy it, he did last time)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

List #10: Wishlist

1) A Savannah Cat (but DH needs a dog first)
2) A house with a yard
3) A cute new pair of shoes (it's been a while)
4) A raise/new job for DH
5) Another bookshelf

List #9: Favorite Websites/Blogs

Favorite Websites/Blogs
1) Gmail
2) Facebook
3) Blogger
4) Etsy
5) Havertys- room designer

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

List #8: What is in Your Bag?

What is in Your Bag*?
1) Cell Phone- the boring flip variety with only a camera and no apps
2) Large black leather wallet (think check sized)
3) The Exile of Sara Stevenson by Darci Hannah
4) Several pens and pencils
5) Several unused Kleenex- a holdover from my long recuperation
6) Chap Stick
7) Red Umbrella
8) Black Day Runner Organizer
9) House/Car Keys
10) Fob and Picture ID for work

*The purse in the picture has no relation to my actual purse, except in the sense that my actual purse is black leather with silver metal studs. And there the similarity ends.

Monday, March 7, 2011

List #7: Blog Goals

Blog Goals
1) Add more pictures to my blog for visual interest (by the way, I have no clue what that picture has to do with blog goals, but it does add visual interest, because I LOVE that dress)
2) Post more often (I seem to go on hiatus for weeks, sometimes months at a time)
3) Finish out year 2 of my blog
4) Look more into getting my blog printed in book form (I'm thinking of doing one year per book)
5) Start my hubby and my cooking blog in earnest (right now it has the welcome post and that's it)

List #6: Least Favorite Words

Least Favorite Words
1) The C-word (rhymes with hunt... every way that word could possibly be used offends me. I start screaming at DH is he even looks like he's thinking of using it)
2) The N-word and every other racial slur
3) Dishes (I get irritable just thinking about them)

I realize that I have very few words I hate. Usually I hate the context in which words are used more than the actual words themselves.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

List #5: Weekend Goals

Weekend Goals
1) Play World of Warcraft (yes, I reactivated)
2) Relax
3) Put the apartment back together
4) Create a list of houses to go look at next weekend
5) Relax

List #4: Today's Playlist

Today's Playlist
1) NIGHTWISH - The Islander
2) Xandria - Ravenheart
3) Rondo Veniziano - Tiepolo
4) Sirenia - The Other Side
5) Andrew Bocelli - La Voce del Silencio
6) Gregorians - Wind of Change
7) Chris de Burgh - Rose of England
8) Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah
9) Jem - It's Amazing
10) Lady Gaga - Alejandro

List #3: I Am Looking Forward To...

I Am Looking Forward To...
1) Owning my own house
2) Many more years of happy married life
3) Finishing at least one of my craft projects
4) Getting a second cat
5) Having kids

List #2: Things I'm Good At

Things I'm Good At:
1) Counted Cross-Stitch
2) Making a house a home
3) My work
4) Playing World of Warcraft
5) Efficiency
6) Spending money
7) Paying bills on time

List #1: A Few Things About Yourself

A Few Things About Myself:
1) I'm a cat person
2) I've been married for one and a half years
3) I love my job
4) I'm an environmentalist
5) I have political opinions, but don't care about the day to day running of the government
6) I'm ready to move out of this apartment and into our own house
7) I'm a city girl by choice, but fantasize about country life
8) I wish we lived a little closer to our families

30 Days of Lists

Found a new prompt for a 30 Day Challenge here: 30 Days of Lists. It sounds fun, and not quite as intense as the art journal challenge which I failed at horribly. I seem to be at least 5 days behind however, so I'll probably be posting the first 5 over the course of the day.

In other news, I think we've found a new realtor who was actually willing to go out and look at houses with us this weekend. Since my sister just left after her three week stay with us, and we've been looking at houses for four weeks straight, both DH and I need a weekend to recuperate and relax. Although we are invited to do something with some friends of ours; plans have not been finalized though.

Look for the first of my lists soon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Week of Ups and Downs

This week has had some crazy highs and some depressing lows. It all started on Sunday, well, really it started as soon as I had sent this Sunday's list of houses to our realtor. I was so convinced that we would find something this weekend, because I felt like a we had a great set of choices in this batch, at least from what I could see in the pictures. They were all comfortably in our price range, they all had at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

My sister, DH and I took the Metro across town and ended up in Suitland, MD, which is the second to last stop on the green line (for all of you who are familiar with DC). The very first house we looked at was in a quite, safe-feeling neighborhood with lots of green space and a tennis court. The house itself was a foreclosure, but the bank had put in all new carpets and painted all the walls white. I really wish every home owner would do this when trying to sell their house, because it is so nice to start with a clean slate instead of some of the garish or just plain hideous colors, wallpaper, and carpets we've seen to date. Or if you have hardwood floors, rip out that old carpet and get them refinished.

Anyway, the first house was a split level, and part of what attracted us to the place so much was that it had a deck, it would have taken just enough work that we could put our own stamp on it without spending a ton of money or even really NEEDING to do anything right away (i.e. it was move-in ready), it was the brightest and happiest place I'd ever been in (part of that was due to the sunlight streaming in every window), and it had a finished basement that was just as light and airy as the rest of the house. Oh yeah, and it had three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. One on every floor. As far as I could tell, the only downside was that the stairs were a bit scary because the upstairs stairs and the basement stairs overlapped with only a wobbly banister in between a fall of several feet (I'm scared of heights).

We measured, we sketched, my sister and my DH went through the whole house with a very critical eye (my sister is way more critical than I could ever be). Then we looked at the other 7 houses. Some of them were complete duds, one of them was gorgeous on the inside but had no curb appeal, had weird wires trailing along the front of the house, and was in a neighborhood where I did not feel safe, and one of them had potential but potential that would have cost a lot more than we were willing to spend plus again with the sketchy neighborhood. As far as I can tell, Suitland seems to be very hit or miss when it comes to the individual neighborhoods.

So that evening the three of us went out for dinner and discussed the pros and cons of the first house in detail. We discussed the furniture my mother had offered to give us (a piano and couch set my parents have had for years) and if or how it would fit into the house. The repairs we wanted to make. I was mentally moving in. I called our realtor to let her know we wanted to put in an offer and didn't hear back from her until the next day. She told us that the bank had received several offers on the house and was no longer accepting any more. I was completely crushed. I felt like crying, I felt like nothing was ever going to be good or wonderful again. Our house would never be ours. I told DH and he was equally crushed. After much consolation, I finally started to see that there might be some good to be gleaned from the situation. Like the fact that we knew which neighborhood to look in now. And I proceeded to look for every house in our price range and with our specifications in that same neighborhood.

On Tuesday, DH had an interview. He is currently a line cook, working for an upscale restaurant. He had a chance to interview for an executive chef position and was told to pitch his idea for the restaurant. The restaurant doesn't even exist yet, it's literally an empty shell. We'd both worked on the idea for days, he focusing on the food, I focusing on the design. We made visuals, I gave him pep talk after pep talk, and I waited anxiously to hear back about how the interview had gone. They loved it! They loved his idea and even went and grabbed the blueprints of the restaurant to show to him. And they wanted him to send them a whole menu (he'd come up with a few dishes to show them the direction he wanted to take things). So we worked on that after he came home on Wednesday and were both so elated when he sent it off this morning.

Then I got the news that our realtor wanted to stop working with us. All legitimate reasons: too far of a commute to look at houses, didn't know the areas we were looking in, kept getting lost, potential jury duty at the end of the month, etc. I'm probably the world's most insecure person, because my first thought was... did I do something wrong? Was I too pushy? Did I expect too much? Then I became angry... was our price point not high enough for her? It's not like I wasn't completely upfront about our price, the locations we wanted to look in, our expectations, our past experiences with realtors and all of that. She at least said she would refer us to a couple who does work in the areas we're interested in, so hopefully we won't lose too much time.

On top of everything, I've been sick since Thursday, and I haven't been able to sleep well due to constant coughing fits while lying flat. Quite frankly these lows and highs, this emotional rollercoaster is making me feel exhausted. Enough already.