Gettin' schtuff dun

It's a nice feeling to be settled.  Shoot.  I even bought a clothes drying rak last week!
There is not single thing I can think of now that we still need to buy (thanks to a store called bargain hunters a few blocks away and IKEA)  I even have the pantry stocked with stuff like baking soda and flour!

Tomorrow will be the first Saturday we've even had where we have no plans set, no events to go to.  No apartments to hunt for.  No jobs to look for.  I honestly don't even know what we are going to do with ourselves for a whole day!  We may even just get bored out of our minds!  I'm looking forward to it!

Now it's just fun stuff like...hmmm...maybe I want to buy a basil plant!  Where and how would I go about doing that?!?  Don't know!  Time to find out!

Perhaps we could check out the farmers market together, or wander a new neighborhood.  The world is our oyster.

So happy summery weekend everyone!  Here's to chilling out and doing nothing!  Hoorah!



Medium, one shot skim.
Large iced coffee with room. (Ok, that one is easy, but popular!) 
Vanilla iced, 3 shots with foam on top. 

For better or for worse, I love my regulars. It's kind of a love hate thing. 
They are picky sons of bitches that expect miracles, but I give them miracles because it's a mutual appreciation love fest and I'm needy of positive attention!  ;)

Plus, there's something beautiful about seeing a stranger.....someone I'm not in a relationship with and isn't a friend required to say nice things.....this is someone who really loves and pays money for something I make them. Face to face!  That's kind of awesome!

Also, I know it works the other way. As a customer, when someone knows and recognizes me and makes a point of making me feel special, that can change a whole bad day around. That is perhaps the difference between making or breaking a job interview or a tough meeting at work. Or just having a good day.  It's important. I know when Rodolfo worked at home for a while he wouldn't talk in person to another living soul all day accept me and the barista lady down the street. 

It also creates a feeling of neighborhood.
I love my weekly conversation with the lady at the laundromat.  It's mainly non verbal. First there's smiles. Big smiles. To eachother. This is really the big part for me.  Then I say hello. More big smiles. Then she asks...."1 small?"  (1 free detergent for 1 small washing machine?)   I say yes. She hands it to me.  We do a little bow thing and more smiling.  That's it!  But I love it!!!!   So great. Just like a burst of friendly consumer happiness!  What I love the most I think is that every time she sees me, there's even more smiling and bowing from both of us exponentially, like we've both been looking forward to it all week....is it going to happen again?  Ooh!  It is!  She's still there!  I'm back again!  Yay!!!  Perhaps I should speak for myself?  Because I absolutely do!  I love my awesome happy laundromat lady!  And my librarian!  And my bank teller!  They make me feel part of something. I'm a regular!

Did I mention the love hate thing?
Working at the neighborhood spot has its drawbacks.....
I don't remember people's names. Never have. Plus....let's face it. The odds are against me. I have 100 people walk in and out the door every day and a lot of them look exactly alike!  (Sorry hipster white boys). So.....I animatedly say "Hey!  How are you?!?"  To every one equally. I deflect. I ask how babies or dogs are, but I avoid names like the plague. I avoid even first asking names from the beginning, because one day someone will walk in and say, "hello Sarah" and I will have nothin'.  No back up. Nada. I fear that day because they will feel disappointed and unloved. I don't want that to happen. Best to just avoid it completely. 

Busy mornings.....
I will make a  3 shot 2 percent mochaccino iced latte with hot soy foam on top at 3pm for anyone who asks for it, but if you dare ask me for that with 4 people behind you at 9am, you better believe I'm swearing at you silently while prepping your spro, day dreaming about spitting in your cup when you're not looking. You asshole. If you love me like you tell me you do and trust me, I love you too and truly want to believe you bestest beloved regular who I count on to come in daily, you lovely thing you, you will order an iced Americano like everyone else in line, you will know where the creamers and sugars are already, you will not ask for a lid, you will get it yourself and you will smile and say goodbye. Easy!  So easy!  Just do it...then come back at 3pm and ask for the fancy drink....becuase otherwise I'll have time to write a mean blog about the earlier mean you. It's a reciprocity thing, the mutual love.....it's part of being a regular.....you know what to order already, I know what you're going to order already.....it's our daily Schtick. Stick to the program!

Now for the love part.....
Most New Yorkers are far away from where they grew up, so except for a yearly visit to the homeland, friends are family, however, with work and commuting and yadda yadda, really, the people we see the most every day and smile and laugh with are our coworkers and the shops and stores we go into on a regular basis....Yep, the coffee shops, the fruit stand people, strangers on street corners....I don't know how many times now I've experienced a random therapeutic laugh and smile at a traffic intersection with a stranger over some crazy thing we are both seeing, it's a great feeling.  sometimes I catch someone else doing something kind hysterical, like walking into busy traffic or picking their noses, catching their eye that I saw it and then the next thing you know, we are laughing at the situation together. It's pretty great. I've had my fair share of my own embarrassing intersection moments....not sharing.  Ahem. 

So there's your coffee shop corner talk for the day. 
Don't forget to tip!


summer heat

Every time the temp warms a little bit more and the humidity peaks it's head out here in NYC, there is a group harumphed statement of:

Oh.  You just wait!  The heat is coming!

Well, I've seen the movies and and comic sitcoms of college kids carrying their AC units from Best Buy to the train and up the 10 flights of stairs to their apartments and maybe even accidentally dropping them out the window.  I'm certain we will be joining them all too soon.

However, in all my uncertainty of what's actually going to be the horrors to come.

 - I think a lot of people are little weakling babies now adays when it comes to body temp and staying mellow and chill and still and just letting the breeze blow....and I don't actually enjoy AC blowing into my face all day, we've had an ac unit over the last few years, but generally only use it 2-3 days at most.

I have fond, fond, happy memories of summer miserableness for more then a decade with no AC, growing up in the Twin Cities, or as us Midwestern MN folk say, "The Cities" 

Here's a few that flash thru my mind with a feeling of euphoria....

Making gigantic pitchers of lemonade (1 cup sugar, 1 cup lemon juice concentrate, fill with water) and taking it in the backyard and drinking the whole thing with my neighbor friend Becky along with giant bowls of chips and salsa.

Making marshmallow bars, because at this very moment I've realized the brilliance of my mother in this...you don't have to turn on the oven!!!

All day trips to museums down town on the city bus....this was reserved for the super hot days we had to get out of the house and AC was a much needed treat/break.

Hiking out in State Parks under the breeze and shade of trees and camping under the moon.

Just sitting in the backyard listening to birds and cars and the sound of giant cottonwood trees swaying in the wind. 

Water gun fights

Jumping thru water sprinklers

Biking up and down our dead end street over and over again. 

Reading for hours in the basement, where the damp cement walls kept everything cool.

Growing up sans ac was a great thing, probably due to the creativity it took my mom to come up with things to do to stop our bratty whining!  Bring it on summer!  Try to make me whine!  Just try!


Getting ahead...of what?

Perhaps this is a new creative writing weekly theme now every Monday, but an article in the Times has once again inspired me to elaborate on a current war of the worlds inside my mind about my existence on this planet/in this city/in this apartment on the dodgy side of Brooklyn. 

What is "getting ahead" exactly?  What are we getting ahead of?  What is it that we are getting away from that was so bad to begin with that we didn't want to do anymore? Why did we do it? What are we doing now?

Thinking about it physically in terms of a race, once a race car 'gets ahead', doesn't it either eventually get passed by another driver so it is no longer 'ahead'?  What happens after the goal is accomplished and the finish line is reached and getting ahead is just in time itself, behind us?

Perhaps this concept of 'getting ahead' was possible for the former generations of - mad men and suburbanite stay at home moms - the carrot on the stick for the buzzing worker bee to believe in, but I don't.  I now see the devastation that fallacy has had on my parents generation with broken promises and dreams of travel and adventure never lived out.  Maybe the cookie cutter cutout just doesn't fit all of us?   - Maybe it's just me being lazy and useless in my jammies not contributing to the greater good once again on a Monday morning -

In the New York Times Sunday styles section yesterday, Foster Huntington was featured in "Escape to Bro-Topia, telling the story of his fashion designer lifestyle coming to an end and choosing to live out of a van on the west coast for a couple years living off the grid and working online and then building himself a tree house to live in on his parents land.....literally living outside of the box...his tree house is octaganal...who doesn't love a good tree house story?  SERIOUSLY!

The part I don't buy into if you read the article, is that New York City is some kind of toxic poison to creativity and adventure, that if you live within the grid, you're choosing the robot life.  "Mr. Huntington soaked in the tub and reflected on his time in New York: the overpriced apartment on the Upper West Side, the corporate job, the more-more-more rush of it all.  That world seems so distant"

What he has done is no doubt awesome, and I believe in his adventurous courage and inspirational can-do attitude and what is becoming a popular unknown choice among my age group of choosing the "other" box when given choices that don't and won't make us happy.  I love all of that.  However, I think that life can be chosen and happen anywhere, not just in a tree house in the woods.  I look down from my own window and hear birds and music and street sounds that make me feel just as alive and part of something as I did standing at an overlook on the Drakensburg mountainside of South Africa or a cliff sides in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, but here I can walk half a block and buy a carton of milk after my adventure to the duck pond in the park and go to sleep in my own comfy bed....not to mention, I'm a little scared of heights.  My point is, adventures come in all kinds of packages, not just the octaganal kind. 

What I love about this article is the inspiration to choose NOT getting ahead as a life choice, but instead, choosing a simple life in the present.  One of my good college friends is currently living in a trailer home hitched up to her truck, slowly wandering thru the southern regions of the country as she works online.  Another friend recently posted photos of her tiny home she built herself recently replanted into an unknown forested region, yet another friend purchased a home in Detroit for a few thousand dollars, these people amaze me!

My/our choice for adventure is to live simply as well, to try something different and new and crazy, it just happens to be a little more permanently structured inside of a gigantic brick building overlooking other gigantic brick buildings....this is our personal tree house adventure and we came to the city exactly for  that experience, not away from it.  I believe in the inspiration to break out of the mold, go against the grain and do what feels right to your heart.  Especially if it doesn't make sense for the goal of 'getting ahead and making it big'.  

Settling down with a house and a dog and a subaru for us young folk may happen for some, but not for all of us.  Enjoying the experience of living...traveling, cooking, sharing time with friends and being present in the moment while doing some kind of work that contributes to that adventure, getting into the now, that's a concept I can get behind, not ahead of.


matured beauty

I was once told by a Chilean acquaintance that he felt that older women who were in good physical shape were more beautiful than younger women in the same/equal level of good physical shape.  

At first, this pissed me off, believing he was pulling an arrogant latino male card (I know my fair share of this type).  I tried to argue this fact at first, feeling it was unjust, or sexist, or something!  How dare he make comments about womens bodies in this way!  What right does he have?  Who is this guy to say these things?  Not to mention just feeling a little awkward about the whole conversation!

Then, he introduced me to his wife and two small children....40 something dude married to a beautiful 40 year old women with two toddlers... and the things that he said, not only made me think about my own body in a more positive light (me: girl, you lookin' gooooood!), but also about the love and considerable respect he had and felt for his extremely beautiful and incredible looking 40 year old wife and mother of two toddlers...that he had a point.  Respect to the milf's of the world!

As I get older....everybody gets older.....there's a little thing called metabolism?  and it slows down.  It's harder for a 40 year old to be in the same shape of someone in their 20's without working their ass off for it.  Therefore a man or women at 40 taking care of their body, exercising and eating well just has to work 2 or 3 or 20 times as hard as someone in their 20's to look and feel good about their bodies.  If they are willing to put in the time and work to make that a part of their life, yes, that makes them more beautiful then a 20 something.  If the world were fair, those considerations would be made....although, I grant ya, some people's genes are just better/luckier then others! 

This is going to sound weird, but as much as I believe and respect this view on beauty and age, I also believe it applies to relationships, particularly with significant others. As we get older, relationships get harder and more complicated (just like metabolism!), and those of us who stay focused and commited to a partner over many years, thru all the fights, spats, miscommunications and tough decisions and still find that special spark with someone else, that beauty in life, that is something to be admired and celebrated by the world!   It's that maturity and time that make it that much more beautiful and worthy of admiration.  Like a freaking fine wine.

Happy 6 years married babito.  Let's just hope my bod holds up as well as that Chilean dudes wife did after two kids at 40~  We'll see how things work out 8 years from now.  Ya-po!


the filter

I have been following the horror drama stories of an old coworker/acquaintance thru facebook updates.  She writes daily of the newest woes of her life and how horrible things are going for her by the hour.  Being fired from her job.  Ending a long term relationship.  This isn't news that's surprising to me from this individual.  Some people love drama.  I hope she turns things around for herself and I'm glad she's getting help from friends and taking care of herself...but I do feel like she's oversharing...just a little.  At the same time, I also find her over sharing absolutely fascinating and look forward to the newest installments of her personal drama series...kind of like how I follow Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber....or even "the good wife".  It's exciting.

This very public attention to personal daily detail has made me think about and appreciate the days/weeks/months and years of personal drama that go on in everyone's lives, particularly those older with no access to facebook updates, that don't speak out of the crazy shit in life, but rather, deal with it, encounter it, find positive ways to work around it without making a spectacle and putting their dirty laundry out to dry for the world to see.

I say this, because I've noticed that where I used to share with friends in college every detail of my personal life, I now pick and choose.   I sensor myself not just every day, but every minute, what's appropriate and what's not.  I filter continually.  At work.  At home.  With friends.  With my husband.  I think it's healthy!  It's also something I'm learning and will continue to learn as I get older.

Of course I still over share.  OF COURSE I do!  All the time.  Way too much.  But I'm aware of the lines at least of knowing how my personal information can and will effect others when I do and I make that choice!

I think that filtering is an art.  It's a protection.  It's being socially appropriate, sharing in the right spaces at the right moment.  It's tact.

At the same time, this sensorship can get taken too far and the next thing you know, contact with friends and family is limited, true feelings are hidden away and it's a life in the dark not knowing what to share and also not knowing what's happening to everyone around in fear that they might be hurt by your pain or frustrations.  Maybe they too are afraid to share what's happening....their dreams and hopes and fears and feelings, the goods and the bads all floating around in a big duffel bag shut up in the closet.

Last summer I posted a short note on facebook...it was an intentional emotional cry for help...a panic attack and a feeling that the world had flipped upside down and I didn't know what to do or how to get thru it second by second.  A total freak out.  All true feelings.  Minutes after posting, I went for a walk and then a yoga class to calm myself down.  When I got home, the amount of support I read was astounding.  The friends and family that reached out to help me blew my mind....but I also realized that thru my feelings of grief and frustration, I'd effected others...some thought Rodolfo was in the hospital, others thought perhaps I had cancer (told to me months later), an acquaintance came into my work and gave me a hug and offered help.  It was tremendous and overwhelming....and I had scared the heck out of them!  It was an honor to know I had such support from people in my life, but I also realized it was a power not to be abused and that I needed to be careful with how I shared information.  I could hurt people I cared about just thru their concern for my well being. 

At the same time, a lot of times a story I think of doesn't get written because a list appears in my mind of the specific people that that story might effect in a bad way....if I have this issue for my own little personal blog no one reads, what is it like for a New York Times Journalist?

Last week, Wednesday Martin wrote a piece in the Times about a book she wrote "Primates of Park Avenue" splaying out all the dirt on the housewives of the Upper East Side.  She befriended these women and then proceeded to share their dirt....I find it absolutely tantalizing to get to know what's going on behind closed doors, especially after walking thru the neighborhood, serving these women coffee and and selling their spoiled children cookies.  I kind of want to high five this Wednesday Martin!  At the same time, for her statements, there is now a great outburst of hurt and anger.  She shared private secrets to the world about real people, names and faces, and now there is going to be a response.

It's exciting and fun, riveting really, but I can't also help but feel a little sad.  Who did she hurt and why.  Did she burn bridges?  Lose close friends?  Did she care?  Does it matter? 

Where's the line?
I ponder that question every day I think about updating my life online.  Tact is a skill.  Maybe something to add to the list of things not taught in school, right up there with personal finances, cooking and home decorating.


the final countdown is over?

I guess I'm still in a process of shock re-absorption.

I was preparing my mind and body for so long for a great big bomb of......


It has sort of inclined in intensity over the last year, 6 months, 3 months, 2 weeks and then just as it built up, all the pressures of not knowing, not planning, planning without knowing, doing things without planning, have all come to a pleasant unclimatic ending.

I guess I've never done anything according to a normal schedule and I've married someone in the same boat. We do things out of sync with the norm.  Spend our 20's in a sleepy college town reccommended for retirees and college kids working quasi dead end jobs.  Travel when we should be working to kick ass at big careers while we are kid free with energy.  Move to a big insane city to 'settle down'....in our mid 30's.  It feels so good to do the wrong thing I guess.  Maybe the more out of whack it is for me, the more right it feels.  Although it's been a tough time and a long time coming, this change feels right!  Plus, our time of transitioning is finally over! 

I'm so excited to have space in my brain now to think about things like; going to a museum or a walk or checking out a book at the library, instead of anxiously itching my skin neurotically obsessing about: broker ads, craigslist ads, job start dates, the electricity turning on, how to work a washing machine at a laundromat correctly, how to use the subway system, or the bus system...better yet, how to merge into a traffic lane on a bike!  How to kindly request not to have 3 plastic bags for my one tomato purchase and where to buy a good bottle of wine....these are the types of changes that drive me mad!

I don't know many people who actually like change (Rodolfo loves change), new neighborhoods, transportation, jobs, grocery stores, cultural customs and norms. (R man loves all of that stuff) But finally, I have some little routines set, I know some of the faces at the markets and the bank, I know a good route to bike to work and heck, we even located a pretty decent farmers market a short bike away. 

The biggest sign of adjustment though?

Getting the weekend copy in paper form of the New York Times.

Yeeah.  That feels pretty darn good!
To me, there's nothing else that defines us as "settled" more then that!
So feel free to stop in any Saturday morning and pull up a chair!  We will be in our jammies, sipping coffee slowly, eating flapjacks and reading our personal copy of the Times from cover to cover every Saturday morning until we die.  The countdown is over.  We are SETTLED!