Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Has Arrived

I love this time of year. The weather is crisp, the trees are turning all sorts of beautiful colors and the air just smells good. It is one of my favorite times of year.

Too bad I rarely get to enjoy any of those things anymore!

Now fall consists of the temperature often reaching the 80s and 90s, brown, dry vegetation waiting to be consumed by wildfires, and air that you can, well, see.

Okay, so it's not really that bad. Can't complain about wearing tank tops and flip-flops all year. But I do miss the falls in the Midwest. For many people I know, it signals that it is finally time to break out the sweaters and head outside for some pick-up football games. That is, when no one is crowded around the game showing on TV.

However, I know that fall is really and truly here when I find myself getting caught up in the most magical time of year. That's right: Baseball playoffs. After 162 regular season games, it's time for 8 teams to fight to the death for bragging rights for the next year. Hopefully this year will provide us with a World Series worthy of our patience during the entire season. In some of our cases, we've been patient for the last century. It's time.

It's all so exciting--I can hardly contain myself! Go Cubs Go!!!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oh Dear...

I was briefly looking over my pathetic little excuse for a blog and realized something that I think I’ve always known about myself but willfully ignored. My writing “voice” and my speaking voice sound nothing alike! Or do they? I hope not. I fear that when I write I may sound a bit, um, pretentious. Okay, maybe a lot. But I swear I don’t mean to sound that way!!! I really and truly believe that what comes out on paper is what was naturally flowing in my mind. I honestly can’t help it, without doing some serious editing afterwards. Maybe there is some great divide between my think-and-speak section of my brain and the think-and-write part. (Whether I think before I speak is a whole different topic, and if put to a vote, I’m sure it’d be a resounding ‘no’.) Then again, I am pretty certain that on occasion I end up speaking in the same manner in which I write, much to the chagrin of those having to listen. Do I sound like an idiot? And how often? I have been told that I can be confusing. Was that just a nicer way of telling me to shut up, no one understands, and please sound like a normal person?

I am very disconcerted by all of this. I mean, discombobulated. I mean— Oh dear...

I give up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

From Mountain Daydreams to Amish Homes to the Old West

I have a not-so-secret desire to live somewhere near the mountains in a rustic and rural town, worlds away from the busy, crowded cities. I love the idea of essentially being in the middle of nowhere. You would think I have had my fill, growing up in a small town in the Midwest, right? When I become frustrated by the daily irritations of trying to co-exist with 8 million others, I often want to pack up and move to Montana. (I'm sure it's just as easy as that, too.) At the same time, I have to try to force myself to forget the fact that I can't stand the winter and have basically become a weather wimp. In Los Angeles, 60 degrees is FREEZING.

I then try to reason with myself that if I cannot live in my own private, mountainous reverie, I could possibly live in a house that seems as if it belongs against the backdrop of a beautiful range. I can't say that I absolutely love the idea of living in a cabin that looks as if it was built from a set of Lincoln Logs, but I can remember always being drawn to older looking homes with exposed beams and careful woodwork. I simply like simplicity. I believe it is more versatile and serves as a neutral--but certainly not boring--backdrop for any sort of design or decorating scheme. Plus, who says you can't install imported textiles and fancy appliances if it is your heart's desire?

With all this in mind, I was instantly intrigued when I came across an
article in the Wall Street Journal. It is about people who seek out Amish contractors to build their homes based largely on the craftsmanship and work ethic of these contractors. Not to mention having a home that is built faster, cheaper and better than your average run-of-the-mill contractor, at least according to the article. Beyond business, though, the article also gives a small insight into the worldview of the Amish. There is a note that scholar Erik Wesner has a blog chronicling his study of the various Amish sects and cultures. I only checked it out briefly, but his blog seems to contain a wealth of fascinating information about the history, lifestyle and future of the Amish community.

I have been a long time fan of the history and time period concerning homesteaders and pioneers, who founded the American prairies and territories of the West from roughly the 1850s through the early 1900s. I am clearly no expert, but I would venture to guess (and maybe even hope a little) that much of the cultural aspects of the contemporary, conservative Amish would somewhat resemble, or at least echo, the lives of those 150 years ago. In the near future, I look forward to roaming through the bookstore in hopes of a few great reads that will tutor me on the lives of these incredibly interesting people.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Blogosphere

I love blogs. There is no limit to what can be shared and discussed, and more importantly, no rules. A blog can capture moments of the everyday or highlight social and political issues that impact us all. It can be a place to connect with distant friends and family or to showcase our latest culinary achievements. The possibilities are endless!

As exciting as that may be, it also leaves me feeling incredibly nervous that I will not be able to tap into my creative reserves. For one who often has the opportunity to take part in the creative process of reality television (and no, that's not a contradictory statement), I am terrified of being without a game plan. I was always the kid in school who could write vivid and detailed text analysis or research papers but always stared at my blank sheet of paper when asked to go off page and write something from within.

I honestly do not have a vision for this blog. I cannot even begin to describe what I think this blog will become. All I can say at this point is that I hope, in time, it becomes a mirror that accurately reflects things in life I value, enjoy, dislike, can't believe, struggle with, and love.