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Rock City Gardens
A magical place near Chattanooga
🛕 Travel Tales
Rock City Gardens
Rock City Gardens is located 6 miles outside Chatanooga on top of Lookout Mountain in the town of Lookout Mountain, Georgia. It includes an almost mile-long trail, a swinging bridge, a 90-foot waterfall, skinny rock crevices, and a view of seven states.
The mascot of Rock City Gardens is a gnome, and there are still more than two dozen barns across several states that serve as billboards for Rock City.
Albany, NY has some amazing architecture. There’s apparently a large Dutch influence due to the original Dutch settlers. I’m completely enamored with the home below, especially its unique roof outline and materials.
But what I don’t dig is the Brutalist architecture that’s downtown. Apparently, much of it was the idea of Nelson Rockefeller, who was governor at the time (and who named the buildings after himself).
The almost 100-acre area currently covered by the Capitol complex was mostly Black (of course) and was demolished in 1962.
Making myself at home
I arrived at my AirBNB in a bit of a stressful state after driving for two days with no power steering. Then, two days later, I drove my car to a Ford dealership 30 miles away and did not prepare for that scenario very well because I left all of Libby’s cat litter in the car. Fortunately, a quick visit to the Hannaford’s website let me set up a delivery of her brand of cat litter and a few grocery items.
Then, I brought my attention to the comfort of my space. The bed was a pretty thin, firm mattress, so I ordered a foam topper to put on it. OK, that takes care of sleeping. But what about working?
The only work surface was a large coffee table. And if you work at a computer, you know that’s insufficient for everyday work. So, I ordered a small folding desk from Amazon. I measured the amount of space using pieces of paper (which I knew were 8.5x11). I figured 31.5” was enough for my laptop, tablet (as a second monitor), keyboard, mousepad, and papers.
I did have to order a laptop riser because mine took up too much space. I also had to order a USB female to USB-c male dongle because I forgot my laptop only has one damn USB port and needed to plug in keyboard and mouse.
The last thing I needed was a desk lamp because the overhead lamp in this AirBNB puts out orange light that constantly makes me think it’s nap time.
My setup is fantastic, and I will use it at my next AirBNB that I switch to next week, which also doesn’t have a workspace.
👀 Life Observations
In case you're wondering about my car… $2500 later, and she's good as gold.
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The Real World
Walking around Albany, NY, I suddenly feel like I’m in the “real” world. It’s gritty. There are all kinds of people intermingled TOGETHER (not segregated) in the city.
The city’s problems are not hidden behind fancy palm trees, expensive boutiques, or cocktail bars. Real people live here, and real life happens here.
I remember when I lived in Vermont in my 20s, and my teenage niece visited from Galveston, TX, which in many ways is probably similar to St. Petersburg, FL. She said, “People can just be themselves here, can’t they?” She noticed that no one was trying to impress anyone, and that’s how I feel here in Albany.
I recently told a friend that my life in Florida was too easy. And I wasn’t exactly sure what I meant when I said it. But I think it’s that I can live a life where I’m not growing. A life where I can separate myself from anything unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong; this was a much-needed thing after the life I lived for a long time. (Chaotic, constantly moving, frenetic.)
But also, St. Pete doesn’t need me. It’s got tons of people doing tons of things, and it’s hard to stand out or feel like you’re doing something that’s really needed and not already being done.
I’m feeling the need to be somewhere that needs me and that I need. Somewhere real and gritty and maybe even a little difficult. Albany has a lot of needs that aren’t being filled, and there seems to be a lot of opportunity there.
You Can’t Move to a Place Without Changing It
I am in a state of intense introspection, which is a great place to be.
As I walk around Albany, I see things that I would improve on based on my experience in St. Pete. Then I thought, if they were improved, maybe Albany would turn into St. Pete, which is rapidly turning bougie and expensive. I stopped myself. Why did I want those things to change? Because of my personal aesthetic?
It’s impossible to move somewhere without changing it because you bring your likes and dislikes and preferences with you. Each and every person. And if a lot of the same type of person moves there, it will change in that direction.
I’ve talked to a bunch of people about Albany. The sustainability guy said that Albany is seen as a good place to be in relation to climate change. Someone else said it’s on some list of great places for young professionals. Lots of old brownstones are being purchased and refurbished, providing more apartments. But, like with St. Pete, this often means higher rents because the apartments are nicer and newer. A wealthier clientele moves in and demands fancier homes and businesses. And suddenly, it’s not so great for young professionals (unless they have very high-paying jobs).
But maybe that’s not its destiny and I should focus on the positive contributions I could make.
🌱 Learning & Growing
AI Being Used for Bad
I recently got this email with an attached PDF that looks like a PayPal invoice.
After reading it, I realized that foreign scammers are now using AI to sound like folksy Americans. Except this sounds so ridiculous and not the way people normally write emails. So, hurray for the new ways scammers are trying to steal people’s money.
🌻 One Positive Thing
There are always strangers out in the world who would love to help you. Even if it’s just to accept the shot you offered them in exchange for talking you up at a bar in a strange town. But also, if it’s them standing in the rain making sure you don’t hit the car in front of you as you power your car out of a tight spot with no steering assist.
❄ Enjoying the cool nights in Albany with windows open.
📚 Reading Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh.
👩🏼🤝👩🏻 Meeting new people and having great conversations.