What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in the water?

I would not call it strange, since these animals belong in water, but it was strange seeing dolphins so close to home. The first time I was at Baker Beach in San Francisco, I was looking out and saw dolphins swimming in the water. They were even somewhat close to shore. I tried to take some pictures, but kept missing them. :( There were other people who saw them though. It was interesting to me since I had lived in Florida for a short time and my roommates then had gone out on a boat and saw them in the Gulf, but I wasn’t even on a boat. Just sitting in the sand enjoying the sunshine and warmth. So, it wasn’t strange to see them in the water, but strange to see them in the setting I was in. I know that San Francisco is sorta famous for the seals that hang out at the piers near Fisherman’s Wharf, and I’ve heard there are parrots that live in the Palm trees that are along the Embarccadero (yet I have not seen those) so I know that there’s some creatures that lurk around these parts (as well as some interesting characters) so when I tell this story, people seem surprised, yet seem to believe it. It was pretty cool to see dolphins without leaving home, but now I just want to see them again. And get some pictures. But for now, here’s a cute dolphin (and cat) video (because what else is YouTube good for?):

And that has made all the difference.

That is the last line of one of my favorite poems. I took this prompt from the February NaBloPoMo: “ Look up a favorite poem, then take the last line and use it as the first line of today’s post.” This is the last sentence of the poem, which will give the title of the poem away:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, it is Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken.

I like the poem because it shows that you have to make choices in life and sometimes the choice involves one path that everyone takes and one path that is, well, less traveled. For example, there’s the graduate high school-go to college-get a job, typical path. There’s also the graduate from high school-take a year off-go to college-get a job path. There are also several other variations of these paths that others have taken. I think that it depends on a lot of things which of those paths you take and which is right for you. There are some people who follow the first, and probably most traveled path because of how they grew up. It’s the thing to do. It’s the right thing. I took that path. I sometimes think about what life would be like if I took the latter and taken that “leap year”. What would I have done? Would I have done the “typical” travel through Europe thing? Where would I be today? What would I be doing? Would my life be (mostly) the same? Of course, no one could answer those questions, but it is fun to think about. I do think that I would not have met the same people I met because of moving to San Francisco when I did. I would not have had the same first apartment and I would not have had the same first job. It would’ve been different if I chose the “road not taken”. That last line of the poem could never be truer.

Was there a typical path that you took? Or was there a “road less traveled by” that you did take? What were the results?

By the way, here’s the full poem:

The Road Not Taken; by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What does the word HOME mean to you?

I think the word home could have a lot of meanings. I grew up in the same house for the first 18 years of my life. I never moved, was never away from home except for family vacations. That house was my home for a long time. It felt weird the first time I was in college and called my dorm room home. Was it really my home? I suppose it was. I lived there. I had friends there. But then again, I called going back to Connecticut going home. I still called going back there “going home” after I moved to San Francisco. I was once on a plane back “home”, to Connecticut, and the person asked if I was going home or just for a visit. I almost didn’t know how to answer. I was going for a visit back home. But San Francisco was my home now. Even when I was traveling to Israel, everyone was calling that the “homeland”, which I understood only as the “home” of the Jewish people. However, once we landed, our American tour guides said to me, “welcome home”. I guess you could say that “home” is where you feel safe. It’s the base place where you live or once lived. A lot of people say “home is where the heart is”. I even knew someone who had a tattoo of a house with a heart on the inside and said that is what it meant to her. I can believe that. Home is where the heart is if you love being there. I can say that the place I lived in while in Florida for 18 weeks was my home, but I did not love it, so my heart was not there. I think that was the only time I did not really like where I was living. I even liked that I could go to my dad’s apartment on the weekends I was supposed to be there after my parents split. It was a second home. I guess you could say I have called a lot of places home over the years and I think that means a lot. It takes a lot to turn a house into a home. It takes living in it for a long time and putting care into it and really loving it before being able to call a place a home. I am happy to call San Francisco home and I think I will be calling it home for a very long time.

Where would you like to go swimming? (NaBloPoMo July: Post 1)

I have decided to take the challenge again, and take part in NaBloPoMo for the month of July. This month’s theme is SWIM. While I do not have to stick to the theme, which might be done by writing based on the prompts given on their website, I do have to write something everyday for the month of July. I did it in June, and I had fun writing about things that inspire me and I hope to inspire others.

Today’s question/prompt is, as the title of the post says, “where would you like to go swimming?”. I would love to swim in the ocean. The Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii would be nice since I’ve never been there. I liked swimming/floating in the Dead Sea and I would love to do that especially since it would mean I was back in Israel. I would like to swim in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.   These are just some of the places I would like to swim in though I know there are more. I would go swimming in a pool in my backyard, if both of those existed, but since they do not, I go to the YMCA and swim there. I am not a strong swimmer, but I like it as a break from the usual gym routine. If I could, I would swim in these places, and I hope that some day I will have the chance to do so.

What is your favorite board game?

(last NaBloPoMo post for June-I did it!) This is a tough question…I like many board games. I suppose Sorry! is/was the best one because it was a bit of chance, and a bit of strategy. Once I learned the strategy, it was one of the board games I was good at winning. I also like playing Monopoly, but I am not as good at that. I liked playing trivia games including Trivial Pursuit, and Go To The Head Of The Class. I am/was not very good at those either because I am not very good at remembering (trivial) facts. Hmm…I was a big fan of Candyland but that is really just a game of chance. As was Trouble. I also like playing Clue and even watching the movie from time to time, but I am also not very good at making guesses. I’ve played The Game Of Life a couple of times, and not really a big fan of it. I guess my favorite board games involve either trivia or strategy, even if I am terrible at it because when I win, it really makes me feel more like I’ve accomplished something. Really hard to pick just one as my favorite. I guess if I really had to choose, I would say Sorry! because while simple, there is enough strategy and change in the game to keep me interested for a while. Does Scrabble count as a board game? I don’t really know what else it would count as. Just a word game? Anyway, I like Scrabble, but I’ve learned to like Bananagrams better. It goes faster and you don’t have to wait for other people. You also do not have to score anything, since there are no point values on the tiles and no board, so no “triple word scores” to count. I also like playing classics such as checkers or Backgammon.  I like playing Connect Four, but I am not sure that counts as a board game, since it is vertical. I guess that’s pretty much all the board games I’ve played. So I guess you could say I like them all. What kind of games do you like to play?

Do you like your name?

I like my name. It is unique and not too complicated. Though people sometimes make it complicated. They’ll ask, “how do you pronounce it? Is it AR-riel or like AIR-riel?” How is it spelled? Some people like to spell it like it’s the aerial view of something. Or like the font-Arial. Or, something more understandable, like Michelle, with two Ls and Es. Nope. It’s just Ariel. Spelled like “the mermaid” but not named after her. If I had a quarter for every time I was asked “Ariel, like the mermaid?” I’d be so rich! :) It is a Hebrew name, a unisex name, meaning Lion(ness) of G-d. And yes, I have met male Ariels. I was excited to go to Israel, not just because I had not been there before, but I was expecting to see memorabilia with my name on it. Like a pencil or something. I was always obsessed with looking for things with my name on it when I was little. I think that the only way I got things personalized was by asking for it specifically. I like when people make other connections with my name other than The Little Mermaid, such as Ariel, the character in The Tempest. I tried getting people to believe that I was named after that Ariel character, and not named after a Disney princess. They didn’t believe me. Then I explain the Hebrew thing, and then get into a Jewish thing. I like my name, but I do not like the conversation I have with people about it when I first meet them. I like the people who say, oh, that’s a pretty name and move on. I like having a unique name and I like that it is only five letters and that’s it.

My last name is a whole different story. Always knew when it was a tele-marketer because they would mis-pronounce the name. I do like being in the middle of the alphabet. I always felt bad for those toward the end. It was good during graduation, I did not have to be the first and not know what to do, and did not have to wait too long for my name to be called. I also usually got out of doing something because the teacher would pick people alphabetically, and by the time they got to me, they had enough people for what they had to do. I didn’t mind sitting alphabetically in class. Sat next to some nice and interesting people that way.

So yes, overall, I like my name. Will I be happy to change my last name when I get married? Only if it is easier for people to pronounce and spell. Otherwise, I will be happy because I am marrying the man of my dreams and the one I love, and that’s what matters the most.

How about you, do you like your name? Do people pronounce your name and spell it correctly on the first try?

Where do you buy your groceries?

This video:

reminded me that there are many places to buy food. Not only are there the greatest places to buy (fresh) food, aka farmer’s markets, but there are more mainstream grocery stores and supermarkets. There’s Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s and here in SF, there’s Rainbow Grocery for the Organic/Natural foods as well as Safeway and CalFoods and Mollie Stones for just about everything else. There’s also Lucky and some other markets that are just produce or just meat and there are Russian markets and Chinese markets and a bunch of other places to get food to cook at home. So as you can see, we have a variety of places to go food shopping. However, I remember only being able to go to Publix and Walmart for food when I was living in Florida. To me, this was unfortunate because Florida, like California, there’s an abundance of produce at their finger tips. It seems like a waste to have a Walmart in a place like Florida. Though, I guess people mostly buy other things at Walmart than food. Anyway, I thought the discussion I had with a few friends a while back was interesting because it debated shopping in one place versus shopping in multiple places and why. Is it the prices? The convenience? Both? I like to save money when I shop, but I also like getting the best food (though I am brand-loyal to some things) and I know that I might shop at multiple places to get what I want. I know others would shop at multiple places to get the best price. Others just want to buy everything in one store. In. Out. Done. So tell me, where do you get your groceries?