This Weekend Open Thread is Dreaming Big

Happy weekend! Join me for a daydream.

Our own Sally Lawton just got back from her awesome trip, and I’m not going to lie, I’m a little jealous. If money were no object and I was free of responsibilities, there are a few places I’d love to see. I’d love to go to Spain and practice my language skills, or the beautiful scenery (OK, and Lord of the Rings attractions) of New Zealand. If I could invest months at a time, I’d rent a car (or a buy a cheap one to be sold later) and take my camera across the U.S., on a sort of domestic photo safari.

Let’s talk about our travel dreams. Or whatever. Just chat.

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[E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

79 thoughts on “This Weekend Open Thread is Dreaming Big”

  1. I’m living the dream in Northwest England (ha), so my holidays these days consist of visiting the families in Germany and Poland. Lately, I’ve been wanting to go on a road trip through the US. I watched a documentary about Detroit a few years back, and I have to see it! Random, but I work that way. There’s also always Australia, and India, although I’m afraid that one won’t work with a family in tow.

    I’m new btw. Helloooooo!

  2. I’m lucky; I’ve gotten to travel to a lot of cool places. But the BF hasn’t. He’s had 8+ years of Japanese but he’s never gotten to go. So…I hope someday I’ll be able to take him there.

    In terms of smaller trips though, I haven’t gotten to go on a vacation somewhere in a couple years, and I’m itching for something. We’ve actually only gotten to take a vacation once together, in the six years of this relationship…I really hope we can do it again sometime in the near future. The last time we took a trip, we went to see Wicked and RENT in the same weekend, in two different cities that were about 3 hours away from each other. So, we drove to the one, saw Wicked, then stayed the night in the other. It was great.

    If we took another smallish trip like that, I’d prolly want to go to the Ozarks. It’s gorgeous there, and I haven’t been there more than once. Either that, or I’d like to go somewhere where we could meet up with some of my internet friends. :)

      1. Just saying, if you make it to the Ozarks, let me know. I grew up in them and would love an excuse to ramble on about their beauty and hidden treasures. :P

        (I’m also moving back in 6 weeks, and I’m super excited and nervous as hell about.)

  3. For those of you who watched me freak out in the comments sporadically over the last few weeks, my giant field trip that almost got cancelled went through on Friday and Saturday! We ended up having a couple of AMAZING parents drive for us in their own cars, and the kids had an amazing time. It was fabulous. And it almost didn`t happen by a hair`s breadth. Thank God for unexpected parental awesomeness.

  4. I told myself I was going to the shelter for some interaction, NOT FOR ADOPTION. Then I met Bambi. If the landlord agrees, and all goes well with the shelter application, she should be mine sometime next week. I am changing her name, though. Probably to Daisy, unless the bf can come up with something better. (I got the Daisy, Daisy, what am I ever to do? song stuck in my head while we were hanging out in a field.) She’s super chill, but also really interested in what’s around her in a “I would like to know what that thing is. Please excuse me momentarily.” It’s all very polite. I’m really hoping this works!

  5. Ok my nail polish loving people. I am going out for a fancy-schmancy supper next weekend and I have decided it would be fun to wear nail polish. Help, please! I have been blessed as I get older (maybe eating better?) with nice nails. They are strong and nice and I usually just let them grow until they’re long enough to start bugging me and then cut them off. They’re pretty long right now. I need to know:

    1. Are long or short nails in right now?
    2. What colour should I wear? My dress is black. I’m not into black on my nails because I’m a newb and it would make me self conscious, but could totally do a dark, dark purple or something? Is that in? What are you cool kids wearing these days?
    3. I just want a plain polish with nothing fancy and I’m pale with a lot of freckles, does that make a difference?
    4. Any tips to do my dominant hand? I can do one hand quite well and then the other looks like a four year old painted them.

    1. I’ll preface this with “while I do mail nails frequently, I don’t follow many of the trends.”

      I just wear my nails at whatever length is most comfortable and uniform. If you’re wearing colorful shoes or accessories, I’d match or coordinate my nail color to them. And you could use the vaseline trick–cover the skin around your nails with vaseline, so you can just wipe off any excess. I know some people who paint their fingers with elmer’s glue, let it dry, paint their nails, and then peel off the excess with the glue. I hope that helps.

    1. Ireland has lovely beaches (west coast) but the water is cold… fair warning!

      (also, when you do come, please refer to the region as “the UK and Ireland” even if you’re just going to Northern Ireland. One of those things…)

  6. My travel dreams include EVERYWHERE, provided I learn the language and customs well enough to not need an interpreter or tour guide. That may or may not happen to the extent I would like, but I can be optimistic.

    Also, my important question for the weekend: my doctor wants me to work on lowering my blood pressure (I want to do this too, because I only get the one body and I’m hoping to be able to use it as long as possible). I’m already working on the stress management and physical activity.
    What kinds of seasonings do y’all use that are low/no sodium? I already know to avoid cans of soup and anything that’s basically “just add water”, but with the food pantry and food stamp shopping I go for a lot of boxed pasta, TONS of rice (seriously, four different kinds, plus couscous), and more canned beans/veggies than fresh. And I know to drain/rinse anything in a can.

    1. Honestly, I just avoid premixed seasonings in general. It makes keeping the salt low and the flavor high pretty easy. I have few “make your own” mixes that I use for mexican food and others for when I’m feeling lazy or need to give my mom a small present. You can find them all on google and then just cut the salt out of the mix itself and then use it just a little as needed. Good luck!

  7. I’ve been posting sporadically, so I figure it’s about time to properly introduce myself…
    My name is Rachel and I’m a guest teacher (new fancy name for subs) in the Pacific Northwest. I 87% like the subbing, and only 52% like the Pacific Northwest. I grew up on the Jersey Shore, do not know Snookie, and moved to the PNW for my husband’s job.

    We have 2 Basset Hounds, 1 cat, and 1 algae ball. I like to read, sew, crochet, swing dance, and play games like Race for the Galaxy. I’ve been saving up for a Doctor Who marathon since the beginning of Season 7 in November (I’m a bit behind in my TV). I used to be Team Real Books, but my Kindle is awesome and light and doesn’t prompt awkward questions from six-year olds. However, I will never defect from Team Oxford Comma.

    If I had unlimited travel money, I’d split it between going skiing (and the lessons required to learn how to ski) and tracking down lovely quiet beaches. Plus occasional excursions to water parks.

      1. Ok, maybe it’s my age or my Canadian education, but we always had to use the Oxford Comma. I didn’t even know it was a ‘thing’ until a couple of years ago when I read a heated debate on a forum. So, is it regional, do you think? How come some people use it and others don’t?

        Any other Canadians not use it?

        1. (Warning: copyeditor nerding ahead.) So, in the world of words, there are all these style guides. There’s AP, Chicago, AMA, Oxford, etc., and each one tells you how to do certain things, like punctuate and italicize or capitalize and things like that. Some guides, like AP, say not to use the Oxford (or serial) comma. With AP, this is likely because AP is the style guide for newspapers and a lot of their rules are holdovers from using as few characters as possible to keep printing streamlined. Some things, like where punctuation goes in relation to quotation marks, can vary whether it’s American usage, which is inside the quotation marks, or British (and often Australian and Canadian and other non-U.S. English) usage, which is outside the quotation marks.

          I use the Oxford comma because I think more often than not, it adds clarity. Without it, the last two items in a list become joined together, often leading to convoluted meaning.

          I told you I’m a nerd.

          1. Oooh, you know about style guides, that is cool. I have often wondered about them. When I first started uni it was MLA for humanities courses and APA for social sciences. Then I switched schools and it was APA or Chicago. Now, where I’m at it’s APA or Vancouver (which I hadn’t heard of until I came here).

            The punctuation and quotation marks has often made me wonder. I see it both ways and was taught that it goes outside, but then I get confused and can’t remember.

            In elementary school when learning grammar I remember there was a little phrase about remembering to always add the comma before the and. Something about salt and pepper and a shopping list.

          2. I totally don’t remember a damn thing I learned in English classes. Yet, I always use the Oxford Comma (and didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing!). Same with the quotation marks and punctuation… I got into an argument about it with an American friend, because she wanted to edit one of my pieces to put the punctuation inside the quotation marks, and I asked her to please just leave it, because it looked weird to me the other way. I was raised in Canada, so US and Canada have different rules for punctuation (we use the British way, I suppose). I never had to think about this stuff much before I started publishing my writing online! It’s just stuff I instinctively seem to KNOW, you know?

    1. Welcome! What is an algae ball? Do you photos of the Basset Hounds? I’m curious about the 52% on the PNW. I have spent little to no time there, but it’s always portrayed as a rainy utopia in the US. Is there something in particular you don’t like?

      1. The algae ball is a type of algae called Marimo. It grows in a round ball shape and is super easy to not kill.

        The 52% on the PNW is mostly the weather. I grew up on the East Coast, with 4 distinct seasons. The PNW has about 10 months of chilly, drizzly weather, and 2 months when it gets kinda sorta warmish. I always get really bummed about having to wear a coat on my birthday at then end of June. Plus, the people tend to be really nice, but can tend towards passive-aggressive. Like, they’ll let you merge, then tailgate you. This also means that major infrastructure improvements take FOREVER because everyone wants everyone else to be happy and build a consensus, which is often impossible-you can’t increase road capacity and not impact anything around the road being built!

        We have lots of Basset pictures on our flickr site:
        Sadly, I don’t have any good pics of the beasts together on my computer, and you can only attach one image. So, Mr. Wonderful it is:

        1. Ok seriously, on your first page image 5212 (I think it’s the same guy as the pic you posted) where he looks like he is laughing / sleeping / about to fall off the couch. Please share that for everyone. One of the best dog photos ever. I’ve looked at it about three times now.

              1. His M.O. is to try to eat your face (not in a good way), then calm down and fall asleep on your lap, then wake up and forget he knows you, and then try to eat your face again, then remember that he likes you and feels very ashamed of trying to eat your face. Visitors get very detailed instructions on how to interact with Gershwin. On the other hand, the instructions for handling Schubert are: give him as much love as you want, contrary to what he says, you ARE in fact allowed to stop scratching his chin, and don’t let him follow you home.

                    1. He tries really hard to be mature and grown-up Princess Basset…he’s 4. But it’s tough when one falls up the stairs, trips on the floor, chews his dog-brothers ears compulsively, gets squashed by dog-brother, and sticks his tongue out when he sleeps. (The tongue thing is the CUTEST! but every time we try to get a picture, he wakes up just enough to tuck it back in.)

  8. Everybody! I have proper Irish tea!!! SO DELICIOUS.

    Also it turns out I may have a chunk of money coming my way in the next year. I have no idea what to do with it. If any of you have gotten an unexpected windfall, what did you do with it?

    1. Irish tea? How is it different? I’ll have to try it and see. As for windfalls, I’m kind of a stick in the mud about money, so extra tends to go to one of three places 1) some to school loans/debts 2) some to charity 3) and the rest into the bank. But if I weren’t so prudent, I’d probably go on a trip or buy something for my apartment (furniture or art since I ave none).

      1. I’ve been living in England for six months, and while the English love and adore their tea, their standard stuff of whatever brand is usually tasteless muck. Whatever way the Irish brands blend their teas it just smells and tastes so much more delicious (Barrys or Lyons, FYI).

        Definitely most of it is going in savings – definitely. I’m lucky enough not to have any debts (free university and comfortably-off parents FTW), and my apartment is rented.

        BUT yes to charity, possibly yes to travel.

    2. I also had a smallish windfall when I was 16 (it was a settlement from a car accident which almost killed me). It sat in trust until I turned 18 and then I put it with a reputable investment broker. Mainly I try and not think about the money and just live my life on the money I make as a ta (I’m a grad student) and doing whatever other summer or freelance work.My background is pretty solidly lower middle class and I think I believe so strongly in working and the value of hard work that the fact that technically I have a trust fund is pretty overwhelming.

        1. Hi sorry it took so long for me to reply, my weekend was really busy. Because I am Canadian we don’t have a lot of options for investment firms since it is highly regulated and administered through the banks. Mine are through an offshoot of one of the major Canadian banks. I think, in general you can just go to a bank here and say you want to invest and use a broker ( rather than self administering your portfolio). In terms of the choices I made when the money came out of trust I chose a lower risk portfolio because at the time, I could only conceive of using the money for retirement. That is what Ihave stuck with and given the economy, I am glad. Now, I meet with the broker every six months or year and we talk about whether I am alright with how thing are going, if I think I will need to cash out investments this year, and if I want to continue. Generally speaking my portfolio is a mix of mutual funds, GICs ( a canadian fixed interest investment certificate), and more stable stocks.You can also do a higher risk portfolio if you a closer to retirement because it can generate more income faster….but there is also more risk of loss with that. Anyways, I hope this helps. I will say, at 18 my parents guided me a lot on this course ( but I am pretty conservative with money, so it was what I likely would have chosen). The choice to keep my money organized this way for the long term is my own though.

    3. I would typically do something sensible like the ladies who posted above, but in an ideal world where I have all my other financial needs met I would either 1) travel! 2) buy a boat (kayak? small sailboat? Depends on the amount of windfall.) 3) or upgrade a bunch of things (shoes, wardrobe, couch) that have really gotten shabby.

    4. Well, the only time I can think of that I got an unexpected windfall was when my youngest brother came to live with me for about 10 months. My mother was keeping all the child support from my father, and we were getting no help financially to care for him. Then, the month after he moved back in with my mother, I received a check for like $3,200 from the government, as back-pay for all the Child Tax Credit I should’ve been getting while he lived with me (and my mother got a notification saying she had to pay all of it back to the government!). So I believe we used it to pay off some bills/debts… I can’t remember if we spent any of it on anything fun. If I could, I would take a nice trip to a sunny, beachy, all inclusive-type place. :)

  9. Trying to decide what to do tomorrow. There’s a UFO festival a couple towns over that was quite entertaining when we went last year, a children’s festival here that Lexie would probably enjoy the most but I have a feeling it’ll be really small and the timing would mean not being able to do anything else, or there are a bunch of free nature activities going on at this absolutely gorgeous local resort on a mountaintop lake. I’m leaning toward the resort because we’ve only gone there once before because it’s usually hella expensive, and it is sooo pretty. But the UFO parade is some epic people-watching.

  10. All my travel plans are temporarily on hold. I didn’t do a particularly good job in negotiating for vacation days, so I don’t have much time off work this year at my new job. Next year my bff and I are planning on road tripping down the Mississippi River though. It was between that and Route 66, but we, being creatures guided by our stomachs, opted for the trip that would involve the most soul food and cajun cooking.

    1. I have never actually seen Grosse Point Blank, despite the fact that I live in fairly close proximity to Grosse Pointe. I should probably correct that.

      The only non-movie musical soundtrack I have ever really spent a lot of time listening to is A Knight’s Tale.

    2. These are all excellent and I fully endorse them, but I must advocate Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet. Cardigans, Stina Nordenstam, Radiohead, Mundy, Garbage, Everclear… and a fantastic arrangement of Everybody’s Free…

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