Today is the official start of the Kentucky Derby Festival, which means Thunder over Louisville, and big, bodacious traffic jams. The weather has also decided to cooperate, and it's beautiful and sunny, which even I can admit, and I'm not the most sun-loving person around.
One thing I do like to do in such weather is go to restaurants where we can eat outside. Unfortunately, we were reminded last night of the shortage of such places in Louisville. After a few tries, we ended up back inside, just like it was still winter.
This coincided with big major conversation about What We Should Do With Our Lives, and to some extent, Where We Should Do Whatever It Is We Should Do With Our Lives. We go back and forth a lot about this town as opposed to all the other towns in the world -- at least I do. I lived in the same spot for my first eighteen years, a spot that I never stopped hating, and I think it left me with the ol' itchy feet.
So I'm thinking about this: what is it that makes a place THE place you want to be? Forever, no less. All our joking about Utopia (AKA Portland, OR) aside, what make some places the places you live and others the places you go for vacation? And why doesn't everyone live in the places you go for vacation? (I also wonder why, if everyone likes the weekend better than the week, we don't make the weekend 5 days and the week 2. But I digress.)
Here's what I want in my own personal Utopia (in no particular order):
1. Liberals. I want to live in a blue state. I'm tired of my vote not counting for diddly, and of having to say, "but I'm a Democrat, really!" when I say I'm from Kentucky.
2. Trader Joe's. I keep hearing about all the fabulous stuff one can buy at this place and it's just about to drive me crazy. And while we're at it -- Ikea.
3. Mass transit. I've been thrown from a car twice. 'Nuff said.
4. A shotgun house. With a yard for Sam the Best Dog Ever and Penny the Wonder Puppy. Oh, and enough sunlight to grow tomatoes.
5. A thriving arts scene. Bring on the orchestra, the local theatre and the gallery hops. Poetry readings optional but encouraged.
6. Cool restaurants. Ethnic ones. Cheap hole in the wall ones. And Greek ones. Why are there no Greek restaurants in Louisville?
7. Crime. Yes, crime. We're a two-lawyer family, it's a necessity.
8. A non-corrupt judicial system. (Hey, I said Utopia, and I mean Utopia.)
9. Cool churches. Presbyterian beliefs with Unitarian interests. Even for those who haven't joined the Mommy brigade.
10. Safe bike paths. Because wherever Utopia is, Todd has to be, too.
Some of those things are here in Louisville, I know. And if pushed, living where Todd lives is more important to me than living in Utopia. I guess I'm just not ready to say yet that I will live in Louisville forever, just because I've lived here for the past five years. And if I do live here forever, I want it to be because we decided to, not because we just, well . . . did.
Anyway. Today, we live in Louisville. And it is the start of the Derby Festival. So tonight, we're off to the fireworks and the Chow Wagon (yum!).
Oh, and how stoked am I that I finally got a great haircut? Props to Sarah at Hair Strobel, and to Annie for the recommendation!