I finally uploaded some of our photos from NYC to Flickr. There are more pictures from the New York trip on a disposable camera (our digital one was acting up) which I have yet to take in to be developed, but when I do, rest assured I will upload those, too. That set has pictures of Albany and the Hudson River, and a few photos from the Welsh course. I have no idea what the quality will be like. They all looked like crap through the viewfinder. Seriously. And I can't really take credit for these digital ones, since Rob took the majority of them, while I was a slacker with the disposable and didn't take any in NYC.
The trip was amazing, though. I enjoyed Albany and the Welsh course, and met some really cool new people as well as seeing the course "regulars." I got to step down as Board President, which is so awesome I lack words to describe it adequately. I'm still on the Board, doing committee stuff and advising the new Prez, but I'm happy not to feel like I'm the spokesperson for the group. I dreaded giving administrative announcements every morning at the plenary session, I disliked being the focus of innumerable questions and having to be nice to everyone all the time, and I really disliked having to preside over the daily lunchtime Board meetings. Nope, I've known for quite some time that management is not for me.
On an unrelated note, I just got back from a party at the house of one of Rob's co-workers, and now I've totally seen how the other half of Modesto lives. Now, the "other half" is actually divided into two quarters--one quarter that's the sort of old-money, old Craftsman or Victorian or fakie-Tudor houses set; and the other quarter that's the nouveau-riche, gated community, McMansion set. It was the latter we were introduced to tonight, and believe me, I had no idea that we had a gated community in Modesto that has a man-made lake in it.
There is a lighted fountain in the middle of said lake, and all the houses with lakefront property seem to come with their own little paddle-boats, including the house we were visiting. Every place was immaculately landscaped, and when we were in the backyard looking out at the fountain in the miniature lake, and the fancy, box-like houses all around, it didn't feel like we were in Modesto. The weird part to me was that it didn't feel like anywhere. It just felt like generic upscale-tract-house-land. I can't imagine one would feel like they were part of their town, their community, living in a sterile place like that. Even the gated community in SoCal where my dad lives (a place I really hate) has some character and some actual nature in it. This place ("Sundance Lake," I think) was like a designer community. There was something twilight-zone-like about it--the perfect houses, the perfectly landscaped yards, the perfectly trendy olive-green-painted walls and glossy wood floors and curving backyard terraces leading down to the lake.
I found myself wondering if I would even want a place like that if somebody offered it to me for free. At first, I thought, yeah, of course, who wouldn't take it? And then I thought, God, no, I could never live in a place like this. And then just now I thought, of course I'd say yes, so I could turn around and sell it and buy a really cool house with some history and character. Possibly in the UK. (Yeah, I've been daydreaming about that again.)